Women in Black Too: The Untold Story of Women and the Reformation

CBMW » Women in Black Too: The Untold Story of Women and the Reformation.

At the website of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), Stephen J. Nichols has a fine essay on the role of women during the Reformation. It is a wonderful tribute to the many women God used during this great reforming of the church. Along the way he defends the position that the reformation did much to restore the true dignity and worth of women, even though it restricted their roles in the church to that which the Bible allows. I believe both men and women will benefit from this article, but I hope especially that the ladies will be encouraged by it. May God continue to use our wives, mothers, and daughters today to serve Him and to keep the church “reformed and always reforming”.

Here is an excerpt from the essay, as well as information about its publication on this site. Follow the link above to read the full article.

The home, cities, economic life, and government would virtually disappear. Men can’t do without women. Even if it were possible for men to beget and bear children, they still couldn’t do without women.

-Martin Luther

Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Conrad Grebel, Menno Simons, Thomas Cranmer, John Bunyan, Jeremiah Burroughs-all of them have at least one thing in common. They’re all men. When the story of the Reformation gets told, it’s typically their story. There is another story to be told, however-the inspiring story of the courage and fortitude of the women of the Reformation. Their too often untold story needs to be heard.

The women of the Reformation fit into two categories: Reformers’ wives who made quite an impact themselves and women who made substantive contributions on their own. Among the first category, none is more well-known than Katherina von Bora, the former nun who married Martin Luther. In the latter category we find mostly nobility and even royalty-some risking great wealth and family honor for their commitment to the Reformation cause. All of them played significant roles.

…While Katherina von Bora might be the most famous of the Reformation wives, she didn’t quite compare with Wibrandis Rosenblatt, at least not when it came to the number of husbands. She was Wibrandis (Rosenblau) Keller-Oecolampadius-Capito-Bucer. Yes, she had four husbands, and all of them were significant Reformers, causing one writer to dub her “the Bride of the Reformation,” or as she is known in German, the Reformationfrau.

This essay originally appeared in Stephen J. Nichols, The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World (Wheaton:Crossway, 2007), 115-28. Edited and reprinted with permission of Stephen J. Nichols and Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.org.