Refers to the religious ideas of individuals and groups who were greatly influenced by the reformer John Calvin (1509-64) as well as by 17th-century Calvinist scholars. Calvinism stresses the sovereignty of God over all aspects of life and the Bible as the sole rule of faith. Justification by faith alone is another central concept. Although predestination was not a leading axiom of Calvin's theology, it was heavily emphasized by his early followers, in part to distinguish themselves from followers of Luther. The Helvetic Confession (1566) and the Synod of Dort (1618-19) were important moments in the history of Calvinist theology; the latter affirming the 'five points of Calvinism': total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and the final perseverance of the saints. By the mid-17th century, Calvinism had spread from France and Holland to England and Scotland where it was espoused by the Puritans and taken to New England. While it has suffered rationalistic attacks, it influenced much church life and there has been a Neo-Calvinist renewal in modern times led by the theologian Karl Barth. As an historical force, Calvinism has had a wide impact on European and Northern American culture.