Martin Luther (148301546) was the Reformation pioneer, and his ideas stimulated others in a range of directions.

His challenge to the spiritual and temporal authority of the papacy helped provide a platform for Henry VIII to break with Rome for his own reasons, and the story of the Church of England through the rest of his reign, that of Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth I from 1559 took its own path.

Luther's teaching also reinforced ideas emerging in independently-minded German speaking cantons in Switzerland, but Zwingli and others agreed on some issues, but not on others. The Reformed tradition based on Calvin's exposition of the new approach to the Bible and understanding of how people were put right with God through faith in Jesus Christ also took its own direction.

Many attempts were made to build a common understanding among the different streams of protest against the old church, but they failed, even if Reformers were prepared to acknowledge their debts to Luther at the same time as they wish to build a more rigorously biblical model of the true church of Jesus Christ.