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In the context of the Reformation, Huldrych Zwingli began the Reformed tradition in 1519 in the city of Zürich.His followers were instantly labeled Zwinglians, consistent with the Catholic practice of naming heresy after its founder. Reformed churches may exercise several forms of ecclesiastical polity; most are presbyterian or congregationalist, though some are episcopalian.
While the Reformed theological tradition addresses all of the traditional topics of Christian theology, the word Calvinism is sometimes used to refer to particular Calvinist views on soteriology and predestination, which are summarized in part by the Five Points of Calvinism.God elects people based on His will alone – election is not based on any merit in the person chosen. All those who are truly born-again will persevere in their faith.As for Limited Atonement, however, four-point Calvinists believe that atonement is unlimited, arguing that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just for the sins of the elect.Very soon, Zwingli was joined by Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, William Farel, Johannes Oecolampadius and other early Reformed thinkers. Calvinism is largely represented by Continental Reformed, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist traditions.
The namesake of the movement, French reformer John Calvin, converted to the Reformed tradition from Roman Catholicism only in the late 1520s or early 1530s as it was already being developed. The biggest Reformed association is the World Communion of Reformed Churches with more than 100 million members in 211 member denominations around the world. It was first used by a Lutheran theologian in 1552.Moreover, these churches claim to be—in accordance with John Calvin's own words—"renewed accordingly with the true order of gospel".