The stability and breadth of Reformed theology during this period stand in marked contrast to the bitter controversy experienced by Lutherans prior to the 1579 Formula of Concord.Due to Calvin's missionary work in France, his programme of reform eventually reached the French-speaking provinces of the Netherlands.Martin Luther and his successor Philipp Melanchthon were undoubtedly significant influences on these theologians, and to a larger extent later Reformed theologians.
The remainder of the 16th century saw an explosion of confessional activity.Having established itself in Europe, the movement continued to spread to other parts of the world including North America, South Africa, and Korea.Calvin did not live to see the foundation of his work grow into an international movement; but his death allowed his ideas to break out of their city of origin, to succeed far beyond their borders, and to establish their own distinct character.Early influential Reformed theologians include Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Theodore Beza, and John Knox. Gresham Machen, Karl Barth, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Cornelius Van Til, and Gordon Clark were influential. It was a common practice of the Catholic Church to name what they perceived to be heresy after its founder.In the twentieth century, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. Nevertheless, the term first came out of Lutheran circles.