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.Although much of Calvin's work was in Geneva, his publications spread his ideas of a correctly Reformed church to many parts of Europe.Scripture was also viewed as a unified whole, which led to a covenantal theology of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper as visible signs of the covenant of grace.
Since the Arminian controversy, the Reformed tradition—as a branch of Protestantism distinguished from Lutheranism—divided into two separate groups, Arminians and Calvinists.
However, it is now rare to call Arminians a part of the Reformed tradition.
The 1549 Consensus Tigurinus brought together those who followed Zwingli and Bullinger's memorialist theology of the Lord's supper, which taught that the supper simply serves as a reminder of Christ's death, and Calvin's view that the supper serves as a means of grace with Christ actually present, though spiritually rather than bodily.
The document demonstrates the diversity as well as unity in early Reformed theology.
Calvinists differ from Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers, among other things.
As declared in the Westminster and Second Helvetic confessions, the core doctrines are predestination and election. Keller, John Piper, David Wells, and Michael Horton.
The remainder of the 16th century saw an explosion of confessional activity.
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.
Even though the vast majority of churches that trace back their history to Calvin (including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and a row of other Calvinist churches) do not use it themselves, since the designation "Reformed" is more generally accepted and preferred, especially in the English-speaking world.
Moreover, these churches claim to be—in accordance with John Calvin's own words—"renewed accordingly with the true order of gospel".
First-generation Reformed theologians include Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531), Martin Bucer (1491–1551), Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541), John Oecolampadius (1482–1531), and Guillaume Farel (1489–1565).