- 1517 ♦ October 31, Martin Luther launches the Protestant Reformation by nailing the Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Church at Wittenberg, Germany.1521 ♦ April 17-18, Luther defends his view before the emperor and the leaders of the Holy Roman Empire at the Diet of Worms.1523 ♦ Zwingli leads the Reformation of the church in Switzerland with the publication of the Sixty-seven Articles.1525 ♦ William Tyndale publishes his translation of the New Testament in English.1527 ♦ Schleitheim Confession summarizes the major beliefs of the Swiss brethren but is unable to stop the persecution of the Anabaptists.1529 ♦ Colloquy at Marburg between Lutheran and Reformed leaders fails to resolve major differences concerning the Lord's Supper.1530 ♦ Publication of the Augsburg Confession, early statement of the Lutheran position.1531 ♦ Zwingli killed in battle between Reformed and Catholic forces at Kappel, Switzerland.1535 ♦ Miles Coverdale publishes Old Testament in English.1536 ♦ Subsequent to the publication of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin arrives in Geneva. He would leave two years later but return in 1541 and lead the city in becoming the center of the French-speaking segment of the Reformation.1540 ♦ Pope Paul III approves the formation of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) by Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556).1545 ♦ The Council of Trent opens deliberations. It will meet sporadically to 1563.1547 ♦ With the death of Henry VIII, his young son, Edward VI, becomes king of England, and his Protestant advisers move to establish the Reformation throughout the land.1553 · Calvin approves the execution of Michael Servetus, who had published antitrinitarian volume, The Restoration of Christianity.1555 ♦ Peace of Augsburg legalizes Lutheranism in those countries ruled by a Lutheran prince.1558 ♦ Elizabeth I begins her lengthy rule in England. Through a series of actions, she will institute the modern Anglican tradition as a via media between Puritanism (Calvinist Protestantism) and Roman Catholicism.1563 ♦ John Fox Publishes his Book of Martyrs that recounts the deaths of Protestant leaders during the reign of Mary I. Periodically reissued, Foxe's book will negatively affect Protestant-Catholic relations for centuries.1572 ♦ Numerous Protestants are killed in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.1588 ♦ Defeat of the Spanish Armada assures Anglican dominance of England for the next century.1598 ♦ Edict of Nantes provides toleration for Protestants (Huguenots) in France.1607 ♦ Virginia settled. Church of England founded in Virginia, its first establishment outside of England.1611 ♦ Publication of the King James Version of the Bible.1618 - 1619 ♦ Synod of Dort.1620 ♦ The Pilgrims, separatist independent Protestants, land at Plymouth, Massachusetts.1630 ♦ Puritans migrate to Massachusetts, where they will establish the Congregational Church.1643 ♦ Roger Williams publishes The Bloody Tenant of Persecution, an early tract on religious liberty.1648 ♦ The assembly of church leaders at Westminster publish a new Presbyterian confession and catechism. Presbyterianism will dominate the religious landscape in England until the Restoration (of the monarchy) in 1666.1649 ♦ King Charles I is executed and Oliver Cromwell becomes the ruler of England as the Lord Protector.1666 ♦ Restoration of the monarchy in England leads to the reestablishment of Anglicanism as the primary church of England.1678 ♦ John Bunyan publishes the Protestant classic The Pilgrim's Progress.1685 ♦ Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.1689 ♦ The Act of Toleration grants legal status to dissenting Protestant groups (but not Roman Catholicism) in England.1701 ♦ Founding of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, an Anglican missionary organization.1706 ♦ Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg and Heirich Plutschau, with the support of the Danish government, arrive in India, thus initiating the modern Protestant global missionary enterprise.1737 ♦ First missionary assigned to Africa, Moravian George Schmidt, settles near Cape Town.1738 ♦ John Wesley's "heart-warming" experience becomes the seminal event leading to the establishment of Methodism.1739 ♦ George Whitefield's preaching throughout the American colonies becomes a catalyst for the initiation of the First Great Awakening.1748 ♦ The Pennsylvania Ministerium is established by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and others as the first Lutheran denominational structure in North America.1781 ♦ Bill of Rights guaranteeing religious freedom and separating religious groups from the national government is added to the Constitution of the United States.1784 ♦ John Wesley consecrates Thomas Coke as a superintendent (bishop) and gives him Articles of Religion (a statement of faith) to take to the newly founded United States. In America, Coke will lead in the establishment of an independent Methodist Episcopal Church.1789 ♦ The Bill of Rights, added to the United States Constitution, proscribes the national government from establishing any religion and prevents its interference with the free exercise of religion.1792 ♦ More than 1,000 former slaves who sided with the British in the American Revolution leave Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Sierra Leone. Once settled in Freetown, they will found the first Methodist and Baptist congregations on the continent of Africa.1793 ♦ William Carey arrives in India as the first missionary of the Baptist Missionary Society (England).1793 ♦ Congregationalists and others found the London Missionary Society.1799 ♦ Anglicans found the Church Missionary Society to supplement the effort of the older Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.1804 ♦ British and Foreign Bible Society founded.1807 ♦ With the support of the London Missionary Society, Robert Morrison becomes the first Protestant missionary to reside in China.1810 ♦ Founding of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions with primary support of New England Congregationalists.1813 ♦ Adoniram Judson, the first missionary supported by American Baptists, arrives in Burma (Myanmar).1816 ♦ American Bible Society founded.1833 ♦ John Keble's sermon at Oxford on national apostasy leads to the formation of the Oxford Movement and the development of the Anglo-Catholic faction of the Church of England.1834 ♦ Peter Parker, the first medical missionary, begins work in China under the auspices of the American Board.1835 ♦ German scholar David Friedrich Strauss publishes his Life of Jesus, which attacks many of the historical claims of Christianity.1844 · Founding of the Young Men's Christian Association in London.1845 ♦ Southern Baptists separate from the national Baptist organization. The Southern Baptist Convention would become the largest Protestant body in the United States by the end of the 20th century.1848 ♦ The first Women's Rights Convention convenes in the Wesleyan Methodist church in Seneca Falls, New York.1853 ♦ Antoinette Brown, first woman ordained by a Protestant church body, is ordained by the Congregational Church (in the United States).1855 ♦ As a result of his exploration of the Zambezi River, David Livingstone becomes the first European to find Victoria Falls.1859 ♦ As a result of a treaty concluded the year before, two Episcopalian missionaries, John Liggins and Channing M. Williams, enter Japan and are allowed to stay.1865 ♦ Hudson Taylor founds the China Inland Mission, later to become the largest Protestant missionary agency working in China.1875 ♦ Alliance of the Reformed Churches throughout the world holding the Presbyterian System (now the World Alliance of Reformed Churches) is founded.1881 ♦ First of the Ecumenical Methodist Conferences is held. They would lead to the formation of the World Methodist Council.1884 ♦ Horace N. Allen, a physician, becomes the first Protestant missionary to reside in Korea.1890 ♦ William Booth's In Darkest England and the Way Out becomes the manifesto of the newly formed Salvation Army1906 ♦ A revival begun among a small African-American congregation based on Azusa Street in Los Angles becomes the catalyst for the worldwide spread of Pentecostalism.1907 ♦ Having received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Charles H. Mason and his supporters form the Church of God in Christ, the largest Pentecostal church in North America.1909 ♦ The first volume of The Fundamentals, a 12-vol-ume collection of essays by 64 conservative British and American Protestants, offers a founding perspective to the Fundamentalist movement.1910 ♦ World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh launches the modern Ecumenical movement.1925 ♦ Scopes Monkey trial in Dayton, Tennessee.1934 ♦ Confessing Church in Germany issues the Barmen Declaration to counter the positions taken by the larger body of Lutherans in support of the Nazis.1936 ♦ United Church of Canada begins to ordain women.1942 ♦ Anglicans in Hong Kong ordain Florence Li Tim Oi on an "emergency basis."1947 ♦ The Lutheran World Federation holds its first meeting in Lund, Sweden.1948 ♦ World Council of Churches founded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.1951 ♦ World Evangelical Fellowship (now Alliance) founded.1956 ♦ Presbyterians in Taiwan begin ordaining women.1957 ♦ United Church of Christ founded by merger of General Council of Congregational Christian Churches with the Evangelical & Reformed Church.1961 ♦ World Missionary Council merges into the World Council of Churches.1962 ♦ Vatican II, a council of the Roman Catholic bishops, opens in Rome. During the years of its sessions (1962-65), it will pass important statements that will make possible a vigorous Roman Catholic - Protestant dialogue in subsequent decades.1968 ♦ United Methodist Church formed by merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren.1970 ♦ November, Elizabeth Platz becomes the first woman ordained by an American Lutheran church body, following the approval of female ordination by the Lutheran Church in America several months earlier.1972 ♦ William Johnson is ordained by the United Church of Christ, thus becoming the first openly homosexual person ordained in modern times to the ministry by a historic or "mainline" Christian church.1973 ♦ Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion in the United States.1973 ♦ Anglican Church in Wales approves ordination of women.1977 ♦ Anne Holmes becomes the first openly lesbian woman ordained in the United Church of Christ.1997 ♦ David Bromell is "received into full connexion" with the Methodist Church of New Zealand in spite of his being openly gay.1980 ♦ Marjorie S. Matthews becomes first woman elected as a bishop of the United Methodist Church.1988 ♦ January 1, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, formed the previous year by the merger of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the American Lutheran Church, and the Lutheran Church in America, officially begins operation.1989 ♦ Barbara Harris of the Episcopal Church (U.S.) becomes the first Anglican woman consecrated as a bishop.2003 ♦ The Episcopal Church consecrates openly gay Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.