Zwinglius Redivivus

The Original St. Valentine’s Day Was About a Terrible Execution…

Posted in Church History by Jim on 12/02/2016

It’s good to remember things for what they are.  In the case of Valentine’s day, maybe Servetus-izing someone is more to the point…


Via Joel ‘The Guy Who Deserves to Be Servetus-ized’ Watts.

Just A Snippet from the History of The Church

Posted in Church History by Jim on 10/02/2016

eckJohn Eck died on February 10, 1543.  Geoff Bromily writes

Born as Johann Mayr (or Maier) at Eck (Egg) in Swabia, he studied at Heidelberg, Tübingen, and Freiburg. In 1510 he joined the faculty at Ingolstadt and in his later years served there as vice-chancellor.

Eck publicly defended charging five percent interest on loans—a practice consistently condemned by medieval church authorities. In 1514 that stance earned him favor with the Fuggers, a German banking house to whom the archbishop of Mainz was deeply in debt. Selling indulgences (pardons for sins—a practice attacked by Luther) was the means by which the archbishop could pay his debt.

When Luther issued his Ninety-five Theses (condemnations of abuses in the Roman Catholic Church) in 1517, Eck rebutted in a tract called Obelisks (1518), which evoked from Luther a response entitled Asterisks. A debate was then arranged in Leipzig (1519). Eck, with his fine scholarship and excellent memory, overwhelmed Luther’s advocate Andreas Carlstadt. Eck pressed Luther hard, quoting extensively from Scripture and drawing from him the dangerous admission that some teachings of Jan Hus (a late-fourteenth-century reformer) “are most Christian and evangelical.”

In 1520 Eck delivered a bull (papal edict) against Luther and thereby encountered considerable hostility among German princes sympathetic to Luther’s cause. He continued, nevertheless, to campaign against Luther and defend papal authority as articulated in his work On the Primacy of Peter (1520). At the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, he presented a confutation of the Protestant Augsburg Confession.

Eck’s works include a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible in German published in 1537, three years after Luther’s edition. Eck’s Manual of Commonplaces against Luther (1525), which contained scholarly arguments against reformers Philip Melanchthon and Ulrich Zwingli, went through forty-six editions by 1576.*

*G. Bromiley, “Eck, Johann,” ed. J.D. Douglas and Philip W. Comfort, Who’s Who in Christian History (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992), 219–220.

Here’s Something About the Confessing Church You Probably Didn’t Know…

Posted in Church and State, Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 09/02/2016

978-3-525-55789-1Nimmt man die beiden für die Bekennende Kirche besonders einschlägigen Publikationen zur Hand, die „Junge Kirche“ und die Reihe „Theologische Existenz heute“, so ist für unser Thema weitgehend Fehlanzeige zu vermelden. Kein Heft der „Theologischen Existenz heute“ nimmt das Thema auf und auch in der „Jungen Kirche“ finden sich nur zwei Beiträge, auf die noch einzugehen sein wird.

Wie wenig zentral dieses Thema für die Bekennende Kirche war, ist auch daran zu erkennen, dass sich kein Exponent der Bekennenden Kirche zu „Luther und die Juden“ zu Wort meldete, vielmehr waren es eher unbekannte, allenfalls regional bedeutsame Personen, die zur Feder griffen. Auch wenn die Frage nach der Einführung eines „Arierparagraphen“ mit zur Gründung der Jungreformatorischen Bewegung und dann auch des Pfarrernotbundes wesentlich beitrug – und damit im Vorfeld der sich gründenden Bekennenden Kirche eine wichtige Rolle spielte –, so standen bei dieser Auseinandersetzung kirchengeschichtliche Aspekte wie Luthers Haltung zu den Juden ganz im Hintergrund.

What a grand volume this has turned out to be.  My review will appear in the next couple of days.

Special Issue JEMC on Early Modern Theologies of Race, Colonialism and Christian Expansion

Posted in Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 09/02/2016

This may interest a number of you:

The editorial board of the Journal of Early Modern Christianity (JEMC) is planning a special issue tentatively entitled Early Modern Theologies of Race, Colonialism and Christian Expansion.

JEMC is published twice a year by De Gruyter. The special issue is projected to be published December 2016 (2016/II). JEMC is a peer-reviewed publication, which observes a double-blind peer review. The journal bears out its interdisciplinary character by including a variety of relevant disciplines, such as church history, social history, cultural history, art history, literary history, history of ideas, history of music and archeology. Its interconfessional approach means that it includes contributions covering the major confessions of early modern Christianity, as well as Christian minorities and dissenters that were not recognized by any of these mainstream confessional traditions.


Wittenberg vs Geneva…

Posted in Books, Calvin, Church History, Luther, Modern Culture by Jim on 06/02/2016

wittenI’m pretty sure Luther could take Calvin.  The former was a pudgy monk and the latter was a skinny and frail sickly lad.

What are the differences between Lutherans and Calvinists, and do they really matter? In Wittenberg vs. Geneva, Brian Thomas provides a biblical defense of the key doctrines that have divided the Lutheran and Reformed traditions for nearly five centuries. It is especially written to help those who may have an interest in the Lutheran church, but are concerned that her stance on doctrines like predestination or the sacraments may not have biblical support. To get to the heart of the matter, Pastor Thomas focuses solely upon those crucial scriptural texts that have led Lutheran and Reformed scholars down different paths to disparate conclusions as he spars with popular Calvinist theologians from the past and the present.

I’ve been sent a review copy and have spent the last couple of days reading it (though to be fair it can easily be read in a day).  Thomas handles the material he does handle well enough but he makes the same mistake that too many make when they talk about something they call ‘Reformed Theology’ – they only mean ‘Calvinism’.

Indeed, there seems to be some absurd notion out there that Reformed theology equals Calvinism and Calvinism equals Reformed Theology.  And that is historically totally inaccurate.

To be sure, the title of the book leads readers to believe that Luther and Calvin’s views will be the core of the work but then Thomas insists, pathologically, on talking about ‘Reformed Theology’ without so much as referencing Zwingli or Oecolampadius even though he does mention Leithart and Melanchthon.  Melanchthon, of course, is worthy of mention but Leithart?  While excluding Oecolampadius and Zwingli?  Ridiculous.

Even the sources which Thomas utilizes for his explication of Calvinism (I shan’t call his explication an explication of Reformed Theology because it isn’t) are quite narrow.  Horton and Sproul are, by and large, good scholars.  But no one believes, do they, that they are the standard bearers of Reformed thought.  And if they do, they shouldn’t.

Thomas’s problem is that he left Calvinism (Presbyterian type) and adopted Lutheranism.  He has an ax to grind and grind it he does.  Regularly throughout we are informed that the Lutheran viewpoint is the more scriptural viewpoint.  And, naturally, Thomas is free to believe that if he wishes.  He is not, however, justified in saying that the Lutheran viewpoint is more scripturally oriented when he ignores Zwingli and other founding Reformed thinkers with the aplomb of a blonde cheerleader ignoring the hapless chess club geek at the school prom.

I would very much like to recommend this book, but I cannot.  Unless the potential reader is a Lutheran apologist.  Then, and only then, will it be found useful.  Otherwise, it has been placed in the scales of theological enquiry and found wanting.

I Wish It Were 1596 Again…

Posted in Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 05/02/2016

That’s when these rules for the prosecution of heretics were published:


And then- my favorite part-


With thanks to David Lincicum for sending the essay this is from along.  Oh for the good old days…

The Anniversary of the “Peace of Augsburg”

Posted in Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 05/02/2016

augsburgFrom our friends the Saxons

5 February, 1555: After his victory over the Schmalkaldic League, Charles V convened the Diet of 1547/48, where the Augsburg Interim was proclaimed.

This attempt to give Catholicism the priority was rejected by many princes, though, and a resolution of the confessional tensions was only achieved at the session in 1555, which opened on 5 February and where the “Peace of Augsburg” was concluded (in September).

The treaty acknowledged the Augsburg Confession and codified the cuius regio, eius religio principle, which gave each prince the power to decide the religion of his subjects.

Today With Zwingli

Posted in Church History, Zwingli by Jim on 04/02/2016

zwingliIn the wake of the Second Zurich Disputation, which the Council of Zurich declared Zwingli the victor of…

Zwingli’s strong point was in asking for Scripture proof that he was wrong; yet Fabri offered to refute him orally or in writing and on biblical grounds. Zwingli expressed great eagerness to have him do it.

The deliverance was a great victory for Zwingli, and he gave public thanks to God for it.

Fabri then announced that he had just got a copy of Zwingli’s printed Articles, and that he particularly objected to Zwingli’s denial of the propriety of Church ceremonies, i. e., the things and the doings which exalt the Church worship, and that he would prove their propriety. “Good,” said Zwingli, “we shall be glad to hear you.” Fabri had made a rather poor show in the morning, but now he was primed, and the debate with Zwingli was much livelier and better in hand. He made a home thrust when he slyly asked Zwingli if the Council were not the judge between them. Zwingli, however, was not to be caught making any such concession, although that was the position the Council itself had taken. So at the risk of giving offence, he boldly maintained that Holy Scripture was the judge. Fabri’s thrust did not penetrate his armour.

At length the long debate was over, and as the crowd separated the burgomaster was heard to say: “That sword which pierced the pastor of Fislisbach, now a prisoner at Constance, has got stuck in its scabbard”; while the abbot of Cappel remarked: “Where were those who wanted to burn us, and had the wood piled at the stake? Why did they not show themselves?”


On February 4, 1523, Glareanus wrote to Zwingli congratulating him upon the success of the disputation and giving him the sequel of the railing of Doctor Gebweiler; how it had brought him into investigation by the acting bishop and into disfavour with the City Council, which, however, had previously acted against him. He repeats the commonplace slander of Zwingli’s relations with an honest wife.*

Which simply shows, again, that the foundation of Christian theology is not tradition, but Scripture.  Or nothing.

*Samuel Macauley Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (Heroes of the Reformation; New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1901), 191–194.

An Update on “This Changed Everything”

Posted in Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 03/02/2016

This_Changed_EverythingThis Changed Everything, Christian History Institute’s major three-part documentary on the Reformation is scheduled to release in October, 2016. Narrated by David Suchet and featuring over twenty noted scholars and experts, this ground breaking series takes a fresh look at the dynamic people, places, and events that shaped the Reformation.  This Changed Everything celebrates the fruits of the Reformation while grappling with difficult questions about the legacy of division. Visit the brand new website to learn more and watch a trailer for the series.


Reformation Jubilee Activities

Posted in Church History, Modern Culture by Jim on 03/02/2016

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