Last month Dr. Donald Sinnema, one of the general editors of the Synod of Dordrecht project, presented at the Junius Institute Colloquium on “The Project to Publish a Critical Edition of the Documents of the Synod of Dordt, 1618-19.” As the project describes, “Alongside the Westminster Assembly (1643-1649), the Synod of Dordrecht is one of the most important church councils in the history of the reformed tradition.” Moreover, “The goal of the edition project is to produce a critical edition of all the documents of the Synod of Dordrecht in their original languages (predominantly Latin, but some in Dutch, English, German and French) by an international team of institutions and scholars, mostly partners of Refo500. This critical edition will be published by publishing house Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht as a multi-volume series, and will be made available in digital format as well.”
Category Archives: Church History
It was 5 March, 1545 that Luther published the first collection of his works, in Latin. After a long preface in which he recounts his history, he remarks
I relate these things, good reader, so that, if you are a reader of my puny works, you may keep in mind, that, as I said above, I was all alone and one of those who, as Augustine says of himself, have become proficient by writing and teaching. I was not one of those who from nothing suddenly become the topmost, though they are nothing, neither have labored, nor been tempted, nor become experienced, but have with one look at the Scriptures exhausted their entire spirit.
To this point, to the year 1520 and 21, the indulgence matter proceeded. Upon that followed the sacramentarian and the Anabaptist affairs. Regarding these a preface shall be written to other tomes, if I live.
Farewell in the Lord, reader, and pray for the growth of the Word against Satan. Strong and evil, now also very furious and savage, he knows his time is short and the kingdom of his pope is in danger. But may God confirm in us what he has accomplished and perfect his work which he began in us, to his glory, Amen. March 5, in the year 1545.*
Amen, and amen.
*Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 34: Career of the Reformer IV. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 34, p. 338). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
… the five cantons of Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, and Zug, appeared to be the fittest instruments [of Satan in his effort to quench the Reformation]. Here an ignorant and corrupt clergy wielded a fatal power over the conscience, while adroit and reckless demagogues, who in foreign military service had gained themselves riches and standing at the cost of their sacrificed country, guided with violence or cunning according to the caprice or exigencies of the moment the Councils and the communities. Freiburg in Uechtland and Wallis formed a close league with all these papal cantons. Berne hovered between the papacy and the gospel, a vacillation which arose from the circumstance that a large part of the nobility were averse to evangelical preaching because of its forbidding foreign service.
This party, hostile to the Reformer, and which, in the Confederate Diet, formed an overwhelming majority, was to be employed by Faber and the Romish Legate for suppressing Zwingli and his work. Already had the resolution been come to under this influ ence at a Diet in Berne to take the Reformer prisoner wherever he could be met with out of Zurich.
What his fate would have been, a carnival sport enacted at Lucerne, in the presence of a vast concourse of people, shews. A man of straw, with Zwingli’s name affixed to it, was dragged to the place of public execution, and there burned as a heretic. Some inhabitants of Zurich, who happened to be in Lucerne at the time, were forced to witness the malicious spectacle.
Zwingli, on hearing of this display of spite, wrote to his friends, Zimmermann and Kirchmeier, in Lucerne : “I rejoice that I have been thought worthy among you to suffer shame for the name of Christ. I have, thank God, improbable as it may seem, borne no insult with greater equanimity than this. Your hope must ever grow more and more that Christ will not forsake His own.”*
Fratres carissimi, non est, quod vos multis turbem, ipse multis obrutus negociis, eos, quibus paucissima possunt satisfacere, quam quod unum hoc vobis significari cupio nos vehementer exultare, quod pro nomine Christi digni habiti sumus apud vestros contumeliam pati [Act. 5. 41]. Res creditu certe difficilis; sed gratia deo, nihil unquam adversitatis ęquanimius tulimus; unde vobis spes maxima nasci debet Christum suis nunquam defuturum.
Audio praeterea decanum apud vos, nescio quę axiomata promulgaturum contra me, ut defendat. Ibi ante omnia opus est, ut tuto possint omnes, quotquot veritatem quęsituri sunt, loqui, quę ad eam inveniendam faciant, fraudique non esse, quicquid liberius etiam dixerint, modo intra mensuram integritatis Christianę sese contineant. Quicquid in ea re certi indicare potestis, oro, ut indicetis.
Tabellio iste tutus est et fidus. Miratus sum vehementer tanto me tempore nihil literarum a vobis accipere; sed mirari desino, qum omnia, quę apud vos aguntur, contemplor. Servet vos Christus optimus maximus incolumes cum ossibus vestris, quas et salvas esse iubeo.
Ex Tiguro prima Martii M.D.xxiij.
[Domi meę non scripsi, ideo sigillum nostrum non indidi. Signa sint, Ioannes Xilotecte, quod contentionem Eremi inter te et N. ortam diremi, et Iodoce, quod tecum in Wolfgangi domo cęnavi. Ex domo Leonis Iudae.]
Meister Johansen Zimerman oder Josten Kilchmeyer, korherren zuo Lucern, sinen getrüwen. – Gen Lucern.
*Zwingli: THE RISE OF THE REFORMATION IN SWITZERLAND. A LIFE OF THE REFORMER, WITH SOME NOTICES OF HIS TIME AND CONTEMPORARIES, By R. CHRISTOFFEL (London: 1858).
My Lenten gift to you Lent-ianists, as you take a break from that 8 hour sermon Lent requires…
It’s interesting to a non-Lent-ian how many people celebrate the season- halfway. I mean, after all, is it really Lent that they’re celebrating, or some truncated, modernized edition? If they’re going to celebrate Lent, shouldn’t they include all the trappings of Lent as practiced, for instance, in the 16th century:
Veiling of images
Keeping fasts, except for the clerics
Litany of the saints
Hymns to Mary of an evening
Penance and satisfaction
Kissing and idolizing the cross
Burying the cross
Half-mass on Good Friday
Singing psalms at the [holy] grave
Not ringing, but clattering of bells
Passion sermons eight hours long
Consecrating the fire
Lifting the cross out of the grave and carrying it as in a play
Consecrating cakes on Easter Day*
Come on Lent-ians, pick up your game. Swallow some palms. Kiss and idolize the cross. Bury a cross somewhere. Sing at a grave. Go to a sermon that lasts 8 hours! And best of all, get yourself some of that good old confession torture!
I’m not sure but don’t most Lent-ians skip 90% of these? Why? Is it really Lent if you don’t attend an 8 hour sermon and get you some old time torture?
*Luther’s works, vol. 34: Career of the Reformer IV, pp. 55–56.
This one has me excited. So excited I’ve already pre-ordered it. That excited.
In a crucial period after the Reformation, when Reformed orthodoxy was vibrant and pristine, the great dogmatician Amandus Polanus brought the Reformers’ writings and thoughts together into one comprehensive work: the Syntagma Theologiae Christianae. Translated into English for the first time by Lexham Press, A System of Christian Theology presents Polanus’ Syntagma to the English-speaking world. A treasure trove of insight, comparable in scope to Berkouwer’s massive Studies in Dogmatics, no serious student of Reformed theology should be without this text.
Polanus, taking his place alongside such figures of doctrinal importance as William Ames, Francis Turretin, and William Perkins, created this comprehensive synthesis to defend Reformed orthodoxy from attack by the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation—especially the polemics of Jesuit cardinal Robert Bellarmine.
That may sound like publisher puff but it’s absolutely true. Polanus’ work is indispensable. That’s why I’m so excited. I hope it’s out by Christmas.
UPDATE: If you aren’t familiar with Polanus’ work- you can read a bit here.
“Be Renewed – A Theology of Personal Renewal”, published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in the Reformed Historical Theology Series, is the new book of Willem van Vlastuin, assistant professor in systematic theology at VU University Amsterdam.
Listening to Scripture and in conversation with a variety of theologians from the protestant tradition, van Vlastuin presents an up-to-date concept for a theology of personal renewal.
From the brilliant collection of Zwingli’s Works which also counts among its constituent parts this utterly fantastic introduction to the life and work of Zwingli- which is described thusly by Peter Opitz-
Jim West’s book on Zwingli can be highly recommended to everyone who wants to learn more about the faith and thought of the man whose works contain the seed of Reformed theology. It bears all the traits of a good introduction to the subject: short, easy to read, and true to its title pointing out what was most important to Zwingli himself, not leaving the darker sides of Zwingli’s biography unattended, and last but not least, letting the Reformer’s own voice be heard. — Peter Opitz, Professor of Church History, Universität Zürich
Happy Anti-Lent! You’re welcome!
Refo500 proudly announces the forthcoming publication of the “Journal of Early Modern Christianity” (JEMC). This journal is a co-production of De Gruyter and RefoRC, the academic department of Refo500. Editors are Tarald Rasmussen (Editor-in-chief, Oslo), Wim François (Leuven), Rady Roldan-Figueroa (Boston, MA), and Herman Selderhuis (Apeldoorn).
The JEMC will seek to contribute to interdisciplinary, interconfessional, and comparative research on Early Modern Christianity. The first issue will be presented at the Fourth RefoRC Conference 2014, May 15-17 in Bologna.
Click here to read more information on the JEMC.
The registration fee for the annual RefoRC Conference includes a subscription to the JEMC of the subsequent year (two issues). If you have registered or plan to register for the Fourth RefoRC Conference 2014 in Bologna, you will enjoy a special benefit and receive the subscription to the JEMC of 2014 (two issues) and 2015 (two issues).
Partners of Refo500 and persons affiliated with Refo500 partners receive a discount of 30% on the subscription rate when subscribing to the JEMC via the De Gruyter website. Click here for online subscription.
All the details can be found here.
Welche Faktoren haben die Geschichte des Christentums vorangetrieben oder zumindest maßgeblich beeinflusst? Neben der kirchlichen, politischen, gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Atmosphäre einzelner Epochen ist es eine Vielzahl von theologischen Köpfen, die als treibende Kräfte und Impulsgeber des Christentums gewirkt haben.
Dieses Buch beleuchtet die Biografie und das theologische Werk von 15 ausgewählten theologischen Köpfen aus dem 1. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert. In einer gut verständlichen Darstellung wird der Bogen gespannt von Paulus über Origenes, Augustin, Anselm von Canterbury, Hildegard von Bingen, Thomas von Aquin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Philipp Melanchthon, Johannes Calvin bis zu Friedrich D. E. Schleiermacher, Albert Schweitzer, Karl Rahner, Dietrich Bonhoeffer und Karl Barth.
Die Begrenzung auf Porträts dieser Theologen kennzeichnet zugleich den exemplarischen Charakter des Buches: Nicht um Vollständigkeit und lexikalische Ausführlichkeit bemüht, stehen die dargestellten theologischen Köpfe auch für die Epochen, in denen sie gelebt haben. Auf erzählende Weise werden die Wechselwirkungen zwischen den einzelnen Theologen und den Herausforderungen ihrer Zeit veranschaulicht. Im Horizont des Reformationsjubiläums im Jahr 2017 wird zugleich der Blick und das Verständnis für die Vielgestaltigkeit des Christentums eröffnet. Als deren Wirkung können einerseits Protestanten etwa durch die Wahrnehmung von Thomas von Aquin und Karl Rahner sowie andererseits Katholiken etwa durch die Neuentdeckung Johannes Calvins und Karl Barths wesentliche Einsichten für ihr eigenes Christsein entdecken. Insofern versteht sich das Buch auch als eine Anregung, die Vielfalt des Christentums und ihre Ökumenizität wertzuschätzen.