The Key Political Thinkers & Writings of the Reformation Era

March 23, 2017

Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants) by Stephen Junius Brutus, 1574

During the Reformation era, some Bible-based thinkers rose up and challenged the Divine Right of Kings—the unlimited, absolute rule and power of monarchs—calling for political reform in the church and civil government.  These early modern writers included John Ponet, Theodore Beza, “Stephen Junius Brutus,” Hubert Languet, Philippe de Mornay, and Samuel Rutherford among others.  Many advocated for greater religious and political freedom and the people’s right to resist civil tyranny.  Notably, they defended their positions from the Bible.  Many of their writings impacted later European and American thinkers who influenced American ideas.  For example: 

Thus a clear line of modern, Western political ideas with explicit roots in the Bible can be traced through these unprecedented writings of the early modern Reformation era.  Because these writings impacted later European and American thinkers who influenced American ideas, they reveal the Bible’s significance to America’s principles and founding.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related Blogs/Videos:
1.  The Context of the Protestant Reformation
2.  The Igniting of the Protestant Reformation – Martin Luther’s 95 Theses
3.  The Key Tenets of the Protestant Reformation
4.  The Reformation Led to the Translation and Printing of the Bible Into People’s Common Languages
5.  The Catholic Counter-Reformation
6.  Three P’s That Led to Freedom in the West:  Printing Press, Protestant Reformation, & Pilgrims

Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 1, Part 1, Activity 4:  Details, Questions, and Conclusions, pp. 56.  HS.

To download the whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the member resources page on

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Published by: The Founding

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