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Women in the Reformation

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

The luminary figures of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, and Melancthon are just a few of the men who shaped the Reformation of religion and society in the 15-16th centuries.  Left in the dustbin of history are often those people who are at home raising families and praying for husbands, leading others to change through writing, and keeping safe those who would continue the Reformation.  In her new book, Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard focuses in those women who particularly impacted the continuance of the Reformation started by the likes of Luther and others.

Rebecca begins her book looking at the life of Anna Reinhard, the  wife of Zwingli.  She cared for her husband in a most beautiful manner and was a woman of humility and virtue. Rebecca writes, "Anna welcomed large numbers of her husband's friends and entertained guests..The upper chancellor of Silesia visited in 1525...and called Anna "an angel wife." (4)  She was called the Weeping Mother of the Reformation due to such grief through the death of her husband and son.  Yet, she cared for those around her, including Bucer.  Anna had a daughter named Regula and she carried on the beauty of her mother and the piety of both of her parents (6).

Born into a wealthy family, Charlotte Arbaleste grew up in comfortable surroundings.  Her father later on converted to a Protestant faith while her mother continued in Catholic tradition.  She came into contact with Huguenots around her time in France and married a Protestant who would very soon after die.  Yet, after fleeing from Paris she found the company of a Huguenot solider Phillipe de Mornay, and soon was married.  An odd case of church discipline arose when she was living in the south of France concerning women curling their hair not being admitted to the Lord's Table.  She was barred from table but made it clear in writing, both from Scripture and Calvin's commentary that this prohibition from the table was not in tune with Reformed churches around and Scripture.  Charlotte, seeing it the goal to be a godly steward of God's gifts, "trained her children in the hopes that they would be useful in the kingdom (59)."

Wives, mothers, godly followers of Christ, these women of the Reformation saw fit to live out their faith amidst a culture that was increasingly hostile to the new reforms of Protestants.  You will not be disappointed as you read about these faithful followers of Christ.

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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