Oct 30, 2023

What Was the Reformation All About?

8 Min Read

The Protestant Reformation is a story of transformation—a transformation from hate to love, from slavery to freedom, and from blind faith to a glorious discovery of the truth in Jesus Christ. In this short video, Dr. R.C. Sproul summarizes the main catalyst for the Protestant Reformation and the mission of Ligonier Ministries more than five hundred years later. Also available in Chinese, FrenchGerman, ItalianPortuguese, and Spanish. You'll find below several other resources that explain what the Reformation was all about.


Luther and the Reformation: How a Monk Discovered the Gospel by R.C. Sproul

This book (also available as a teaching series) by Dr. R.C. Sproul discusses several crisis moments in the life of Martin Luther that led to his recovery of the gospel as revealed in Scripture. Justification by faith alone was a liberating truth for Luther and the other Protestant Reformers, and it is still good news for God’s people to cherish today.

The Heart of the Reformation: A 90-Day Devotional on the Five Solas by Ligonier Editorial

Sometimes one word is all that stands between the truth and a lie. During the Reformation, that word was sola: “alone.” That word made all the difference during the Reformation, and the same is true today. This devotional covers the five solas of the Reformation, helping readers to better understand the core biblical truths that display the reliability of God’s Word and the depths of His mercy.

The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World by Stephen J. Nichols

In this book, Dr. Stephen J. Nichols takes the Reformation and presents its major players in a fresh way. From Martin Luther to kings and queens, it goes behind the scenes to uncover the human side of these larger-than-life Reformers. Along the way, readers meet Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Kings Henry VIII and Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Anne Bradstreet, and many others.

Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

Just as Deborah, Esther, and the New Testament Marys helped shape Bible history, so the women of the Reformed church have helped to make its history great. In Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard introduces readers to twelve sixteenth-century women who provide an example to Christians today of strong service to Christ and His church. These influential, godly women were devoted to Reformation truth, provided support for their husbands, practiced hospitality, and stewarded their intellectual abilities. This book can help readers better understand church history and how God used women to further the Reformation through their work and influence.


Luther in Real Time with Barry Cooper

Covering events that occurred more than five hundred years ago, this podcast invites listeners to walk in Martin Luther’s footsteps at the dawn of the Reformation. Hear in Luther’s own words the powerful story of his journey from heresy charges to his famous stand for the authority of God’s Word at the Diet of Worms.

5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen J. Nichols

Travel back in time with Dr. Stephen J. Nichols to look at the people, events, and places that have shaped the story of Christianity. This podcast offers an accessible glimpse into how God has worked in the church and how this can encourage believers today.


Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer by Stephen McCaskell

Discover the story behind the man who sparked the Protestant Reformation. Told through a seamless combination of live-action storytelling and artistic animation, this film presents Martin Luther’s daring life in extensive detail with commentary from R.C. Sproul and other teachers.

Teaching Series

The Necessity of Reforming the Church by W. Robert Godfrey

What if the priorities of the church and the priorities of God’s Word were worlds apart? This realization launched the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, as men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin worked to bring the church back under the authority of Scripture. Slowed by opposition, Calvin wrote to defend the necessity of reforming the church. In this teaching series, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey gathers insights from Calvin’s treatise to ask penetrating questions for Christians and congregations today as the work of reforming the church continues.

Reformation Profiles with Stephen J. Nichols

People new to Reformed theology may wonder why a five-hundred-year-old historical movement still affects our thinking so much today. In this teaching series, join Dr. Stephen J. Nichols for “Reformation 101” as he explores the events of the Protestant Reformation from the perspective of important figures from four key countries.

Reformation Truths with Michael Reeves

Some people dismiss the Reformation as a peculiar chapter of history with little relevance to contemporary life, but nothing could be further from the truth. In this eight-part teaching series, Dr. Michael Reeves explains that the Reformation still matters because the gospel still matters. This series surveys the beliefs of Roman Catholics and Protestants, revealing that these two traditions hold very different views on salvation—one relies on our performance, while the other rests on Jesus’ righteousness alone.

For Kids

Reformation ABCs: The People, Places, and Things of the Reformation from A to Z by Stephen J. Nichols

A follow-up to his popular The Church History ABCs, this engaging and informative book by Dr. Stephen J. Nichols offers kids ages three to six an engaging way to learn about this pivotal era in church history as they learn their ABCs. Featuring charming illustrations, the book introduces families to a host of important figures, locations, concepts, and events, including John Calvin, justification by faith alone, Heidelberg, Westminster, and more.

Martin Luther: Christian Biographies for Young Readers by Simonetta Carr

In this volume for children, Simonetta Carr tells the compelling story of Martin Luther, the monk who wrote ninety-five questions hoping to start a discussion about sin and repentance. The book traces Luther’s quest for peace with God, his lifelong heroic stand for God’s truth, his family life, and his numerous accomplishments. The Reformer’s greatest accomplishment, Carr writes, was “his uncompromising emphasis on the free promise of the gospel.”

Reformation Heroes by Joel Beeke and Diana Kleyn

The Reformation did not happen instantaneously. Rather, it was something that God in His providence arranged over a number of years. This book looks at how the Lord used various individuals to plant the seeds of church reform long before Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses. Readers will learn about figures including John Knox, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Zacharias Ursinus, and Willem Teellinck, who contributed to the Reformation. Also included are chapters covering the Anabaptist and Counter Reformation movements.


Browse more curated content on our website and mobile app by selecting the following Reformation-themed collections.