Reformation in England

A Survey of the Events and Individuals Involved in the Reformation of the Church of England

Curated by Ryan Reeves

Course Introduction

About Dr. Ryan Reeves


Samford University, B.A.
Reformed Theological Seminary, M.A., M.Div.
University of Cambridge, Ph.D.


Dr. Reeves has been a full-time faculty member at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, FL since 2010. Dr. Reeves completed a Ph.D. in Church History from the University of Cambridge on Tudor evangelicalism. He has been a guest lecturer for Reformed Theological Seminary and also for Cambridge University. A church historian, Dr. Reeves’ primary research interests are political theology and ecclesiology during the Reformation, specifically political obedience, resistance theory and the relationship between church and state. He also has an interest in the early Swiss Reformation, the Tudor dynasty and early Protestant theology.

Henry VIII and Early Anglicanism

How did the English Reformation differ from other Reformations?

The Reformation in England did not take place in one generation but slowly grew over a long period of time. Also, the Reformation in England was heavily influenced by politics.

What was the main political factor that God used to usher in Protestantism in England?

The need for Henry VIII, in the Tudor line, to have an heir to his throne was the main political factor.

What did the Act of Royal Supremacy (1534) declare?

It declared that the ruling Monarch is the head of the church in England.

Additional Resources

Elizabeth I and Anglicanism

Why was Mary known as “Bloody Mary?”

She reimposed Catholicism on England, and she killed around 300 Protestants during her reign.

Elizabeth I, although strongly Protestant, resisted what form of Protestantism?

She resisted the hard-line reformed version of Protestantism found in John Knox and returning English exiles.

Additional Resources

Stuart England

What was the Millenary Petition?

It was a Puritan document given to James I in 1603 signed by 1,000 disgruntled Anglicans who requested reforms within Anglicanism.

What project did James I give to the leaders in the Anglican church?

James ordered a new translation of Scripture which became known as The Authorized Version, or The King James Version.


What was the difference between a Puritan and a Separatist?

A Puritan wanted to reform the Church of England from within. A Separatist left the Church of England to pursue his own denomination.

What was The Great Ejection (1662)?

The Great Ejection, which was brought about because of The Act of Uniformity (1662), forced over 2,000 Puritan pastors out of their ministries for refusing to comply with King Charles II and his anti-Puritan ideas.

The English Civil War and Puritanism

During the reign of Charles I, was Parliament comprised mainly of Protestants or Catholics?


What groups fought each other in the English Civil War?

The English Civil War was a fight between the Parliamentarians (those who supported the members of Parliament) and the Royalists (those who supported Charles I).

What are the three parts of the Westminster Standards?

The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism, and the Larger Catechism

Unitarians, Baptists, and Quakers

What are the five marks of Anabaptism?
  1. Primitivism – church practice should only be based on Acts or the NT
  2. Pacifism – no wars, no soldiers, no violence
  3. Anti-Society – separate communities, no culture with the world
  4. Anti-Tradition – rejection of things like music, worship, pastors
  5. Anti-Hierarchy – clergy as well as anti-denomination
How were the Unitarians, Baptists, and Quakers similar?

Although each embraced very different theology, they all wanted to be radical for their faith and not accept the involvement of the church with the state.