The Reformation

Philip of Hesse & the Marburg Colloquey

1529 AD.

Philip was neither a theologian, missionary, or church leader of any sort. One may wonder why we devote any space to him. Perhaps after reading these pages you may agree that after Calvin's and Luther's work, Philip's Marburg Colloquey was potentially one of the most significant acts of the Reformation. --or at least, it could have been.

Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Bucer, Hedio, and Jacob Sturm. Other side Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas, Cruciger, Menius, Brentz, Osiander and Stephen Agricola.

p.170 Menschrenk at Marburg Melanchthon said Zwingli did not believe in original sin.

The Marburg Colloquey was a meeting between Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and Zwingli's allies Martin Bucer, Oecolampadius, and Capito. They agreed on practically everything except the Lord's Supper. They tried hard to come to agreement, but the biggest problem was that the others denied of the real presence of Christ in the Lord's supper while Luther believed in it.

Luther could not get over that Jesus said "This is my body" taught the real presence of Christ. So while Zwingli said "is" meant simply "signifies" in this context, Luther could not agree.

At the end, Zwingli tried to shake Luther's hand even though they could not agree. Martin Luther refused to shake the hand of Zwingli or Bucer. Luther later said of Zwingli, "I will not have the devil teaching in my church." Later they wrote opposing pamphlets on the Lord's supper.

A key opportunity, to have Calvinist and Lutheran Christians be united, was lost.



Philip of Hesse and his guest and landgrave Duke Ulrich of Wurtemberg, in the presence of 50 persons.

Since Duke Ulrich did not want it to end in a total failure, he requested that they draw up a list of essential points of Christian doctrine. They drew up the Articles of Marburg. This included the Trinity, faith, justification, Scriptures, government, tradition, and infant baptism.

The fifteenth point, the Lord's supper, they wrote down what they agreed upon. One of the points was rejection of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Persecution of Believer's Baptists

Zwingliism dominated Zürich, but it was not the only movement. There was also an active Anabaptist movement. There were "disputations" (debates) between Zwingli and the Anabaptists on 1/1525, 3/1525, and 11/1525. Finally Zwingli had the Anabaptist leaders in Zürich imprisoned and later executed. Also in 1529 was the Diet of Speyer, where Luther agreed to put Anabaptists to death because they practiced infant baptism.

Zwingli authored many tracts. He wrote On the Lord's Supper in 1525 to explain the meaning of the Lord's supper. He wrote Tricks of the Catabaptists to 1527 to say why infant baptism was wrong.

What Happened to Philip of Hesse?

In all the religious wars of the times, the Lutherans did not help the Calvinists, and the Calvinists did not help the Lutherans. Philip of Hesse was the closest to being a leader both sides respected. However Philip lost a lot of support when he married a second wife without divorcing his first wife. At that time many rulers had just one wife, but one or more mistresses on the side. Rather than having an illicit affair though, Philip probably reasoned that it was better to just have a second wife. After all, the Bible gives examples of Abraham, Jacob, Saul, David, and Solomon. (uh... perhaps we ought to forget Solomon.) Since the Bible did not specifically prohibit polygamy, and the law permitted it (Philip made the laws), was anything wrong with Philip marrying a second wife?

Luther made some attempt to justify this, which

In the wars between the Catholics and Lutherans that followed, Philip of Hesse was defeated and captured by the Catholics. After being imprisoned for many years, he was finally released. After his release he still was ruler of Hesse, but showed little interest in public religious matters.


Medieval Christians

The Council of Constance

1415 AD.

The Council of Constance was called in 1415 primarily to settle the division among the three simultaneous Popes, for all saw that this division, and even granting indulgences to those who participated in a crusade against a rival Pope, were harmful to the respect people had for the Catholic Church. At the Council the writings of John Wycliffe were condemned, and Jan Huss was burned to death. The purpose of reading this is two-fold; first to expose the character of the leaders who condemned Huss, and second to lay to rest the assertion that official church councils can be trusted as used by God. Just as the Decretals issue proved that Popes have led many into grave sin, Constance, above all other official church councils, shows that even some church councils can be tools of the devil that all true Christians, Protestant and Catholic, are to repudiate.


The Background on Constance

Constance was a small village of ~1,500 in modern day western Switzerland. This village was swamped by over 500 official church leaders and princes, about the same number of scribes and official bull writers, and over 18,000 priests, theological students, and other clergy. The council was very well organized; accommodation was built for all, and non-inflated prices and sufficient quantity were present for all essentials.

Preparations were thorough to meet all the needs of those attending. In addition to 83 full time sellers of wine, there were 1,500 "public ladies", to meet all the needs of those attending. As Huss remarked on the situation, it would take a hundred years before Constance is cleansed of the sins committed there.

There was a monastery at Constance, complete with its own dungeon, where Huss was imprisoned. It was right next to the latrine, and Huss, arriving in Constance in full health, was dangerously feverish after spending a few days there. His quarters were immediately improved, because it would be unseemly to have a heretic die before his execution.

In the sin of Constance, one might say Huss stood out as a man "on fire for God." As Paul says in Phil 3:15 "...children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe"

The Reformation

Ulrich Zwingli

1484-1531 A.D.





According to Edith Simon The Reformation p.57-58, here is how Luther and Zwingli interacted. Zwingli's and Luther's ideas differed and the two engaged in a "pamphlet war." In 1529 Philip of Hesse invited Zwingli to come meet Luther at Marburg Castle and mend their differences. Both agreed on the infallibility of scripture, but Luther's interpretation was more mystical, and Zwingli's more rational. They differed over whether the bread and wine at the Lord's supper miraculously became Christ's body or not, with Zwingli saying they were only symbols. Unfortunately the two could not agree. At the end, Zwingli offered to shake hands with Luther, but Luther indignantly refused. Luther later compared Zwingli to the Apostle Judas betraying Christ and said, "I will not let the devil teach me anything in my church.

The five Forest Cantons of Switzerland were Catholic, and they raised an army of 8,000 to attack Zurich. Zwingli raised an army of 1,500 to defend it, but they lost and Zwingli was killed.

Eventually Zwingli's followers followed John Calvin. Their views were very similar, though Zwingli was probably more affected by humanism.

Zwingli believed that Paradise would have in it admirable Jews and pagans. He believed in persecuting heretics.

Rejected the Book of Revelation from the Bible



Luther entered an Augustinian monastery at 22.


95 Theses nailed on the north door of Frederick's Castle Church in October 31, 1517.

Tetzel's remark "Within three weeks I shall have the heretic thrown into the fire."

Work Ethic

If I rest, I rust.

Even the shepherds went back to their flocks after seeing the Christ child. Surely that must be wrong We should correct the passage to read 'They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries and put on cowls. Instead we read 'The shepherds returned'. Where to? To their sheep. The sheep would have been in a sorry way if they had not."

Luther thought the most important career any man or woman can have is raising a family. (p.179) Luther and Kate had six children and adopted eleven orphans.

Luther wrote 80 volumes. Not all of them have ever been published together. Will you only serve God if God keeps you healthy? Luther had colic kidney stones ulcers and gout, and he died in his fifties.

Put James, Revelation, and others in an Appendix.



Erasmus was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1466.

"Truly the yoke of Christ would be sweet and His burdens light, if petty human institutions added nothing to what He Himself imposed. He commanded us nothing save love for one another."

Remained a Catholic to the end. Urged toleration of Luther.

Homosexuals claim he could have been a homosexual, but I have seen nothing to substantiate that.


Calvin's Geneva

34 witches executed in 1545 alone.

Kid killed for disobeying parents.

In Germany 10K to 100K witches burned.

Albert Magnus (1200-1280) was the teacher of Thomas Aquinas.

Albigenses (or Cathari) came from Manichaeans.

Patrick of Ireland died 3/17/461

While many prior to Zwingli and Martin Luther tried to reform the church, and many believed in following the Bible rather than the church, popes, and councils, it was Luther and Zwingli that can be said to have started the Reformation. Luther was born a bit earlier than Zwingli, and started Lutheranism. Zwingli was the forerunner of Calvin and Calvinism. The third movement, the anabaptists, also started in Zürich.

In this paper, we will focus on four things: what exactly Zwingli did, the consequences, why did he do it, and what can we learn about God, man, and ourselves that is applicable today. Before learning these things though, let's read some background on Zwingli.

Zwingli's Life

Ulrich (or Huldrich) Zwingli was born in Switzerland 1/1/1484. He was well-educated, studying the classics and philosophy and Vienna, Basel, and Berne. Zwingli had an affair, but he tried to partially excuse it to a friend of his by saying "she was only a common strumpet." Priests having affairs and children was common at this time. They often had to simply pay a small, one-time tax / indulgence and that was it. At this time the Swiss were famous a mercenary soldiers, and Zwingli was a chaplain stationed at Glarus, for the troops. After seeing the carnage and suffering of war, Zwingli spoke out against being used as mercenary troops, especially by the French. The French party at Glarus got Zwingli reassigned, and in 1516, when he was 32 years old, he went to Einseideln, a suburb of Zürich.

1516 was a significant year in Zwingli forming his beliefs. He visited Italy three times, which turned many people off to the Catholic Church, including Martin Luther. He read much of the early church fathers. Erasmus had made a fresh translation of the Greek New Testament into Latin, so one could compare it with the Latin Vulgate, written by Jerome over a thousand years earlier. Zwingli must have thought highly of the New Testament in general and Erasmus' translation in particular; Zwingli memorized the whole thing! He corresponded with Erasmus, but Erasmus did not think highly of him. At this time Zwingli says he discovered Evangelical belief. He preached the Gospel "openly but cunningly." He preached the true Gospel, but in such as way that the Catholic authorities would not realize it was radically different than what they were teaching. However, also at Einseideln was one of the numerous Catholic shrines, and Zwingli spoke out against veneration of saints and shrines, indulgences, and other "adornments" to Christianity.

In August of 1518 a Franciscan monk, Bernadin Samson came to Switzerland to sell indulgences. Indulgences are an "agreement" where you pay so much to the person the church authorized to give the indulgence, and either your sin were forgiven, you had a shorter stay in purgatory, or someone you loved had a shorter stay in purgatory. Zwingli had great influence of the city council of Zürich. He convinced the it to pass a law forbidding Samson to enter Zürich. Zwingli became the priest of the Great Cathedral in Zürich. Pope Adrian VI wanted Zürich to remove Zwingli as priest; the city council set up a disputation, in which Zwingli presented 67 theses. One of the these was that the bishops should not allow harlotry, and should allow priests to marry, or at least wink at their marriage. (Why not, since they winked at harlotry?) Also, only the Holy Spirit is required to make Holy Scripture intelligible, not the church, councils, or Pope.

In 1519 the city council passed a law forbidding all religious practice without foundation in scripture. Zwingli got the plague in 9/1519, but he recovered.

Zwingli had a style of preaching not seen since John Chrysostom and the Antioch Christians in 430 A.D.: expository preaching. While preaching through books of the Bible might seem commonplace and natural today, it was a novel thing then, especially since most priests had very little knowledge of the Bible.

Zwingli did not accept the Apocrypha as scripture. He was very "Augustinian" or "Calvinist" in his preaching. One serious theological problem Zwingli had though, was that he believed the book of Revelation should be in the Bible.

On 2/2-20/1523, in the Canton of Berne, there was a public disputation, with 900 people, between Zwingli and Catholic priests. Berne was won over.

In 1524, Zwingli openly married his long-time secret wife, Anna Reinhard, a widow. Also in 1524, someone procured for Zwingli a new-fangled contraption, a printing press. Zwingli wrote a tract On the Lord's Supper, saying it the Eucharist, saying it was not a repetition of Christ's sacrifice but only a remembrance. Luther wrote bitter tracts to respond to Zwingli. In 1525 Zwingli said that "Luther was in a fog." Unfortunately, there was probably some jealousy on Zwingli's part, and unChris-tian nastiness on Luther's part. The powerful Protestant prince Philip of Hesse held a Colloquy at Marburg in October of 1529 between Luther, Zwingli, and Zwingli's co-worker Martin Bucer, to iron out their differ-ences and have Christian unity between these two reformers. They agreed on everything ex-cept Christ's presence in the Lord's supper, and Luther refused to shake the hand of a heretic.

Zwingli dominated Zürich, but his was not the only movement. In 1525 the Anabaptists challenged Zwingli's control in Zürich, and on 1/2/1526 there was a public disputation. The Anabaptists were exiled, primarily because they believed the church should be indepen-dent of the state and because they believed in baptism of believers, not infants. In 1527, Zwingli wrote the pamphlet, Tricks of the Catabaptists, to show why believer's baptism was wrong. Later, Zwingli, in a poor showing of Christian unity, had the Anabaptist leaders in Zürich imprisoned and later executed. Also in 1529 was the Diet of Speyer, where Luther agreed to put Anabaptists to death (both the radical and moderate Anabaptists) because they practiced infant baptism.

All images were removed from church in Zürich. After seeing the political consequences of these results, Zürich prepared for war.

In 1531, at Zwingli's urging, Zürich and the Protestant cantons of Switzerland made a pre-emptive strike against the five Catholic can-tons, and won. They imposed lenient terms, mainly insisting that they be allowed to have trading posts in the Catholic cantons. How-ever, On October 9, 1531 the five Catholic cantons struck back. As the 1,500 Zürich troops went out to fight the 8,000 Catholic Swiss troops at Kappel, Zwingli was the standard bearer and chaplain for the army, a post he knew well. Zwingli was wounded on the 9th, and found and dispatched by the Catholic soldiers on the 10th. fighting continued until the 23rd of the month, and the Catholics imposed terms on the Protestant Cantons, and Zürich never did recover its pre-eminent place.

Zwingli's Legacy

As Zwingli lay on the field of battle wounded that day, it would be easy to conclude that all he worked for was lost. Nevertheless, history says otherwise. Switzerland is half-Protestant and half-Catholic to this day.

The traitorous, murderous, lecherous Council of Constance in 1415 pretty much destroyed the respect many had for the Catholic Church. Zwingli's efforts took them a step further; they could follow Christ indepen-dent of the Catholic Church. When Calvin came to Geneva, he did not convert half the Swiss to be Calvinists; in a sense they already were Calvinists.

The First Helvetic Confession, written by followers in 1536, after Zwingli's death, showed the theology of Zwingliism.

Zwingli's Protests

Zwingli did not have a problem with the Catholic Church's stand on infant baptism, the power of the church in government, and torturing people with different beliefs, though he should have had a problem with these.

Zwingli had a problem with worshipping saints and shrines, worship of bread and wine as Jesus, images in churches, prayers to dead mediators, priest's celibacy, fasts, Lenten abstinence of meat, the Apocrypha, and obeying church leaders when they were not following God. However, none of these issues are the root cause of Zwingli's decision to formally break with the Catholic church. The root difference is Zwingli's teaching that the Holy Spirit is all that is needed to make Holy Scripture intelligible, not the church, council or popes.

Application Today

Christians are in trouble when they forget some of the these Zwingli presented at Berne:

"(2) that this Church imposes no laws on the conscience of people without the sanction of the Word of God, and that the laws of the Church are binding only in so far as they agree with the Word; (3) that Christ alone is our righteousness and our salvation, and that to trust to any other merit or satisfaction is to deny Him;"

The Reformation

Martin Luther

1483-1546 A.D.

It may be surprising to know that Martin Luther was a reluctant reformer. However, he studied Romans 1:16-17 and could not get the verses out his mind. Perhaps we should not get those verses out of our mind either.

As we briefly glimpse Luther's life, may we learn from his dependence for truth on the Bible, and also learn from his mistakes, where he did not fully break with wrong tradition.

Luther's Early Life

Martin Luther had a strict upbringing by his parents,


According to Edith Simon The Reformation p.57-58, here is how Luther and Zwingli interacted. Zwingli's and Luther's ideas differed and the two engaged in a "pamphlet war." In 1529 Philip of Hesse invited Zwingli to come meet Luther at Marburg Castle and mend their differences. Both agreed on the infallibility of scripture, but Luther's interpretation was more mystical, and Zwingli's more rational. They differed over whether the bread and wine at the Lord's supper miraculously became Christ's body or not, with Zwingli saying they were only symbols. Unfortunately the two could not agree. At the end, Zwingli offered to shake hands with Luther, but Luther indignantly refused. Luther later compared Zwingli to the Apostle Judas betraying Christ and said, "I will not let the devil teach me anything in my church.

The five Forest Cantons of Switzerland were Catholic, and they raised an army of 8,000 to attack Zurich. Zwingli raised an army of 1,500 to defend it, but they lost and Zwingli was killed.

Eventually Zwingli's followers followed John Calvin. Their views were very similar, though Zwingli was probably more affected by humanism.

Zwingli believed that Paradise would have in it admirable Jews and pagans. He believed in persecuting heretics.

Rejected the Book of Revelation from the Bible



Luther entered an Augustinian monastery at 22.


95 Theses nailed on the north door of Frederick's Castle Church in October 31, 1517.

Tetzel's remark "Within three weeks I shall have the heretic thrown into the fire."

Work Ethic

If I rest, I rust.

Even the shepherds went back to their flocks after seeing the Christ child. Surely that must be wrong We should correct the passage to read 'They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries and put on cowls. Instead we read 'The shepherds returned'. Where to? To their sheep. The sheep would have been in a sorry way if they had not."

Luther thought the most important career any man or woman can have is raising a family. (p.179) Luther and Kate had six children and adopted eleven orphans.

Luther wrote 80 volumes. Not all of them have ever been published together. Will you only serve God if God keeps you healthy? Luther had colic kidney stones ulcers and gout, and he died in his fifties.

Put James, Revelation, and others in an Appendix.



Erasmus was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1466.

"Truly the yoke of Christ would be sweet and His burdens light, if petty human institutions added nothing to what He Himself imposed. He commanded us nothing save love for one another."

Remained a Catholic to the end. Urged toleration of Luther.

Homosexuals claim he could have been a homosexual, but I have seen nothing to substantiate that.


Calvin's Geneva

34 witches executed in 1545 alone.

Kid killed for disobeying parents.

In Germany 10K to 100K witches burned.

Albert Magnus (1200-1280) was the teacher of Thomas Aquinas.

Albigenses (or Cathari) came from Manichaeans.

Patrick of Ireland died 3/17/461

Margaret and Hans, the latter from whom he inherited his hot temper. Luther went to schools with harsh discipline, which was normal at that time. Later, Luther was very critical of harshness in raising children.

At 14 Luther sent to Madgeburg to continue his education, and he earned his living by singing in the streets. The music of some great Lutheran hymns, such as "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" was actually taken from German drinking songs. While some might criticize this, others would respond "why should the devil have all the good music?"

Luther was a good student, especially in Latin. In 1501 entered the University of Erfurt, the most famous university in Germany, where he studied Latin, philosophy, and Scholastic theology. In 1505 he began to study Law. After a near miss by a lightning bolt, in July of 1505, he renounced all this and entered the (strict) Augustinian monastery at Erfurt against the wishes of his father. Luther learned theology as many did, from Peter Lombard's Sentences. He received the Master's degree Sententiarius (Master of the Sentences).

In 1510, Martin Luther visited Rome on church business. He was amazed by the corruption he saw there, but at this time he still did figure out the Catholic Church was not reformable. Somebody should have counciled Luther that error was too "enTrentched".

Luther was a troubled monk, burdened with questions about deliverance from guilt. When you sinned, how could you be sure if you repent sufficiently? Being a priest, how could you be sure the penitential works you assigned people who confessed their sins to you was sufficient? He found comfort in the writings of Bernard and Gerson, but these and the counseling he received were not the answer. Likewise our counseling, pop-psychology, and wisdom can bandage people's troubles, when what they really need is the Lord.

Luther was converted in the winter of 1512-1513 as he studied Romans 1:16-17. Just as he was almost struck by a bolt of lightning in 1505, he was struck by a another bolt from heaven, God's Word, in the middle of winter. He saw clearly from Romans 1:16-17 that his core concept of justification by God was all wrong. We are not justified by God, (in a retribution sense) on account of our merits and penitential works. Rather, we are justified by God, (in an imputed sense) by His mercy and received by our faith.


Saved by Merit, but Whose Merit?

Merit is there, but it is only Christ's merit, not ours, that counts. Catholics in general completely agree that we are saved by God's grace through faith, because of Christ. That was not the issue. The issue was, and is, Grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone. This is part of the rallying cry of the reformation. God's grace alone means it is not a combination of God's merit plus human merit. Faith alone means it is not a combina-tion of our faith by our meritorious works, and Christ alone, means we look to and depend only on Christ, not Christ plus Mary, plus saints, plus other sources of merit.

Luther saw that the teaching of the Scholastics was a poor substitute for the teaching of God. He wrote 98 theses against scholastic theology, in Sept., 1517. Luther was a professor of theology, and one of Luther's students defended these 98 theses against the prevalent theology of Western Europe in a public debate to get is bachelor's degree. ' And you thought it was hard to get a bachelor's degree today.

On October 31, 1517. On that day, Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. This was not an unheard of practice, to publish a challenge to debate on theology on the doors of a church. To understand what was involved here, we have to see what Luther was incensed about.


Indulgences are based on the Catholic doctrine that sin has both an eternal (heaven & hell) punishment and a temporal (for a time) punishment. God takes away the eternal punishment, but the temporal punishment remains to be fulfilled, either in this life, or else after death in a fiery place Catholics call purgatory. Thomas Aquinas first taught the doctrine of the "Treasures of the Church" and the superfluous merits of the saints that the Pope could draw on to take care of the temporal punishment. This was made official doctrine by Pope Clement VI in 1343.

In Luther's time, the stated (but not real) purpose of the Papal Indulgence was to build St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome (which Michael-angelo was working on). However, the real reason was so that the Archbishop of Mainz could pay Rome the large sum of money he owed them for buying the office of Archbishop. John Tetzel, marketed these indulgences in a circus-like atmosphere. From this the slogan came, "every time a coin rings, a soul from purgatory springs."

In July, 1520, Luther "invited" his readers to wash their hands in the blood of bishops and cardinals." (Durant p.431) In 1520, a papal Bull ordered the burning of all Luther's works. On Dec. 10, 1520, Luther publicly burned a copy of the bull, along with a copy of church Canon Law. In Jan. 1521 the Pope excom-municated Luther and called on the Emperor Charles V, to arrest Luther.

Diet of Worms (Not too Appetizing)

Because of the views of Philip of Hesse and a great many of Charles' subjects, Charles instead called a Diet (Parliament) at the city of Worms from Jan. to May, 1521 to discuss this. In April, Luther was summoned, under a grant of safe conduct from the Emperor, to appear. Luther eagerly accepted, as he would have an open, public forum to honestly discuss and debate his views, ' or so he thought.

After he arrived, Luther found that the only issues were 1) if his writings were his, and 2) if he was prepared to recant. He answered that he wanted 24 hours to consider. Luther was haunted by a very sober thought: what if he was wrong. On April 18, he gave His answer: "unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by an evident reason - for I confide neither in the pope nor in a council alone, since it is certain that they have often erred and contradicted themselves ' I am held fast by the Scriptures adduced by me, and me conscience is taken captive by God's Word, and I neither can nor will revoke anything, seeing that it is not safe or right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen."

After leaving Worms, Luther was taken by his friends to the Castle of Wartburg and hidden there until 1522, when he returned to Wittenberg. While he was at Wartburg, he "passed the time" by making an excellent, readable translation of the New Testament into German, wrote works against Catholicism, and wrote many letters. In 1525, he married Catherine von Bora.


Luther's Later Life

A profound event in the life of most Germans was the failed Peasant's Revolt of 1524. 100K were killed and 50K left homeless. Starting out originally as a repudiation of noble tyranny and serfdom, it turned into complete anarchy. Luther was against the anarchy, and wrote the warlike commoners should be "exterminated." Many commoners turned against Luther. This marks the beginning of the excesses of Luther during the latter half of his life.

Luther's Errors

Luther played such an important role in the church, one could easily overlook his errors in theology. Like Augustine, Luther believed in a dead human will, traducianism, infant bap-tism, and a wrong view of women and sex. Luther was wrong on consubstantiation, God's total control of everything, some antinomian tendencies concerning salvation. For the last point, Luther taught, "Sin boldly, but believe in God more boldly still." Luther wrote a tract against Copernican astronomy, because "scrip-ture says earth is the center of the universe."

Luther taught five extremely serious errors: rejecting as Christians those who deny Christ's physical presence at communion, downplaying the book of James, killing all who practiced believer's baptism (after 1530), burning Jews along with their schools and synagogues (after 1537), and savage unChristian mockery of others. Most Christians would not defend Luther's illustrated tract, showing a man with his pants down mooning the Pope.


Luther, despite his excesses, was used mightily by God. You cannot rest your faith on Luther though, only on God.


Luther and Calvin

While Luther and Zwingli had a major "tract-war" between them, Luther had more respect for Calvin. Like Calvin, Luther believed the error that fallen man, apart from special grace to some, had no ability to respond to God. However, unlike Calvinists, Luther firmly believed that Christ died for everyone. Actually though, it is debatable whether Calvin himself believed in limited atonement or not. Here is Luther's beautiful quote on the atonement mentioned in 1 John 2:2.

"It is a patent fact that thou too art a part of the whole world; so that thine heart cannot deceive itself, and think, the Lord died for Peter and Paul, but not for me."

Luther's Legacy

Out of 1 billion nominal Christians, there are about 330 million Protestants. Of these, 50 million are Lutheran. Many of Luther's theology came from Augustine. Luther was an Augustinian monk, and Augustinian orders were very common in Europe and North Germany. However, in Germany the Augus-tinian hermits were dissolved in 1526, because most of them had left and joined the Reformation.

Lutherans today generally hold to three creeds of earlier times: the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. They also hold to the Augsburg Confession and Luther's Shorter Catechism. They disagree on, the Apology for the Augsburg Confession, the Schmalkald Articles, Luther's Longer Catechism, and the Formula of Concord.

Since Luther's time, Lutherans turned away from Luther's teaching on man's will, and now says that sin had not totally destroyed man's sensitivity to God, and there is a synergism between God's grace and man's will.

In the nineteenth century, many Lutherans turned away from following the Bible; Paul Tillich, Wellhausen, and others were Luther-ans. In America, the Lutheran Church of America follows this tradition. However, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and the Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod still follow the Bible as the Word of God.

Half of all monks in Germany left their monasteries

Saint Martin Luther

We know all about Luther's vices; his detractors made sure we knew.

Luther ate too much and drank too much beer, though he was never drunk.

Durant p.417 eleven orphaned children

Tract Writer

Durant p.417 death of Luther's daughter Magdelena


The Reformation

The Diet of Worms

January to May 1521 A.D.

This drama recreates a pivotal event in the history of Western Europe. Where possible, actual quotes have been used.

Act 1 Scene 1

Narrator 1: Scene I: A conversation between Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, and John Tetzel, Papal legate authorized to sell indulgences in Germany.

John Tetzel to Frederick of Saxony: I have been appointed by the Pope to sell indulgences to save people out of purgatory. May I have permission to sell indulgences in Saxony.

Frederick: I don't think so.

Tetzel: You really don't want your subjects to hear that you do not want to get souls out of purgatory, do you?

Frederick: How much of the English proceeds does King Henry 8th of England get?

Tetzel: 1/5.

Frederick: Do King Charles of Spain and King Francis of France get a cut of the proceeds from their countries?

Tetzel: Yes.

Frederick: Then how much is my cut from Saxony?

Tetzel: I am not authorized to give you a cut.

Frederick: Then you will not have any cut to deny me from Saxony. You cannot enter.

Tetzel: We'll see about that.

Narrator: So John Tetzel set up shop just across the river from Saxony.

Act 1 Scene 2

Narrator 2: Scene II: Across the River from Wittenberg

John Tetzel: Every time a coin rings, a soul from purgatory springs. Do you really love your dear departed parents. How about your dead uncles and grandparents. Maybe you could not give them much while you were alive, but you can give them a gift far more precious now that they have died. It is the teaching of Christ that Christians must go to purgatory to pay the temporal punishments for there sins. Well, fortunate for you, and even more fortunate for them, the Pope, out of his goodwill has decreed a special indulgence. Pay your money, and they will be freed from purgatory. Remember, every time a coin rings, a soul from purgatory springs. (Pass the hat to the crowd.) You do not want to be selfish, do you. If you do not pay, you are committing the ultimate act of selfishness. Remember, every time a coin rings, a soul from purgatory springs.

Martin Luther: It makes me angry seeing these poor people cheated out of their money like that, and by priests at that. Something has to be done, and I am going to do something about it. (Nails up his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church.

Narrator 2 motioning to the crowd: (Gasp)

Member 1 of the crowd: Can you believe what the monk Martin Luther wrote.

The Pope did not have jurisdiction over purgatory, so the indulgence vendors are deceiving people. If the Pope did have jurisdiction, why did he not empty purgatory? If the Pope was filthy rich, richer than Croesus of Lydia why did he not build St. Peter's out of his own pockets, instead of wringing money from the poor?

John Tetzel: Who cares about Luther's arguments. Within three weeks I shall have the heretic thrown into the fire.

Narrator 2: Word got back to the Pope about Luther's challenge. To this the Pope first said:

Pope Leo X: I will not be concerned with a petty Monkish squabble.

Narrator 2: However, things later did get out of hand, and Cardinal Cajetan came to discuss things with Luther.

Act 1 Scene 3

Narrator 3: Scene 3: Meeting between Martin Luther and Cardinal Cajetan at Augsburg, in October of 1518.

Cardinal Cajetan: "You know, Luther, the theory of indulgences rest is a matter of Christian doctrine."

Martin Luther: "I deny that."

Cardinal Cajetan: "There is no point in talking with a heretic like you anymore."

Act 1 Scene 4

Narrator: Act 1 Scene 4: Luther had sent placards to a few friends. Some of the friends had them printed at a local printer and distributed it to thousands. In July of 1519, Luther debated the famous theologian John Eck at Leipzig.

John Eck: "Luther, you are holding to the heresy of Jan Huss, who was burned at the stake by order of the Council of Constance in 1415."

Luther: "The Council of Constance was wrong to condemn a godly man such as Huss; some of his ideas were thoroughly Christian."


Act II

Narrator 3: Act 2 Scene 1: At the Diet of Worms on April 17, 1521. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Fifth is presiding over the trial. He has been Emperor for a year; he is 20 yrs old.

Aleander Papal Nuncio: As papal nuncio, I request you, Emperor, to go back on your promise of safe conduct given to Luther, and send him off to Rome immediately.

Emperor Charles V: When the electors made me Emperor over Francis I after I paid them 850,000 florins, I had to promise I would not allow any German to be condemned without a fair hearing. Thus I risk Papal displeasure by having the trial for Luther.

Aleander: "All Germany is up in arms against Rome. All the world is clamoring for a council that shall meet on German soil. Papal bulls of excommunication are laughed at. Numbers of people have ceased to receive the sacrament of pen-ance....Martin is pictured with a halo above his head. The people kiss these pictures. Such a quantity has been sold that I am unable to obtain one.... I cannot go out in the streets but the Germans put their hands to their swords and gnash their teeth at me. I hope the Pope will give me a plenary indulgence and look after my brothers and sisters if anything happens to me."

Prosecutor Johann Eck: Martin, are these all your compos-itions, and will you retract all heresies contained in them?

Miltitz: As Luther's lawyer I object. You should mention the works you are talking about by name.

Emperor Charles V: Objection sustained.

Prosecutor Johann Eck: The works are: The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, a Treatise on Christian Liberty, An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate. etc. Also, on December 11, 1520, you actually tried to excommunicate the Pope by saying that no man could be saved unless he renounced the rule of the papacy. Now Martin Luther, do you confess that these works are yours?

Martin Luther: (pausing to try to get up his courage). (In a low voice) The books are mine, but as the second question, I beg time to consider.

Emperor Charles V: I grant you one day. Adjourned.

Narrator 3: Act 2 Scene 2. That night, in Luther's room.

Luther to himself: Martin Luther, what are you thinking? Do you mean to say that all the previous teachers knew nothing" (pause) "Are you alone the nest egg of the Holy Ghost in these times? God, help me.

Narrator 3: Act 2 Scene 3, the next day, April 18, 1521, at the Diet of Worms. the large courtroom is standing room only.

Prosecutor Johann Eck: Martin Luther. I ask you, will you repudiate, in whole or in part, the works you have written?

Martin Luther: Those portions that dealt with ecclesiastical abuses were by common consent just.

Emperor Charles V: (loudly) No!

Martin Luther: Should I recant at this point, I would open the door to more tyranny and impiety, and it will be all the worse should it appear that I had done so at the instance of the Holy Roman Empire." (pause) I agree to retract all doctrinal passages that should be proved contrary to Scripture.

Prosecutor Johann Eck: Martin, your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wyclif and Huss.....How can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than all of them? You have no right to call into question the most holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect Lawgiver, proclaimed throughout the world by the Apostles, sealed by the red blood of martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, and defined by the Church ... and which we are forbidden by the Pope and the Emperor to discuss, lest there be no end to debate. I ask you, Martin - answer candidly and without distinctions - do you or do you not repudiated your books and the errors which they contain?

Luther: "Since your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without distinctions.... Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by an evident reason - for I confide neither in the pope nor in a council alone, since it is certain that they have often erred and contradicted themselves ' I am held fast by the Scriptures adduced by me, and me conscience is taken captive by God's Word, and I neither can nor will revoke anything, seeing that it is not safe or right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen."

Crowd: (gasp in astonishment)

Prosecutor Johann Eck: No error could be proved in the doctrinal decrees of the councils.

Martin Luther: I am prepared to prove such errors.

Emperor Charles V: (interrupting) It is enough; since he has denied councils, we wish to hear no more."

Narrator 3: Act 2 Scene 4. The next day.

Emperor Charles V: A single friar who goes counter to all Christianity for a thousand years must be wrong.... After having heard yesterday the obstinate defense of Luther, I regret that I have so long delayed in proceeding against him and his false teaching. ... He may return under his safe-conduct, but without preaching or making any tumult. I will proceed against him as a notorious heretic, and I ask you [electors] to declare yourselves as you promised me."

Narrator 3: Two days later, Pope Leo X transferred his support from Francis I to Charles V.

Aleander: Praise God.

Narrator 3: Act 2 Scene 5. Towards the end of Luther's life.

Luther: I predict this for your O pope. "In life I was your pestilence; dying, I will be your death, O Pope."

The Reformation

Katie Luther

1499-1550 A.D.

It is too easy to read about the great reformers and think of them as collections of ideas rather than as real men. Today we are going to see more of Martin Luther's personal side and his unusual marriage to a remarkably fitting companion, Katherine von Bora.

It is natural for a Christian to ask before marriage, "could I stand to live the rest of my life with a person?" "Would I thrive spiritually doing so?" "In God's view, who would be the best person for me?"

It is not a natural but equally important to ask before marriage "who could anyone stand to live the rest of the life with me?" "Would he or she thrive spiritually?" "In God's view, who am I the best person for?"

If you want advise on how to date and meet a prospective spouse, you do not want to look at this example. However, if you want more wisdom in discovering God's will for your life in marriage, this paper may help. Now one secret of marriage is that the spouse you marry is not the same one you have at the end of your life. It may be the same person, but people change. Who is your spouse turning into, and what kind of spouse are you becoming?

Before we glimpse into the private life of a great man of God, with flaws too, we have to know a little bit about the future couple.

The Young Katherine von Bora

Katherine was born to a noble but poor family. She had red hair and a fiery temper. As a teenager, she entered a Cistercian convent as a nun. As a nun, she vowed to remain single and celi-bate the rest of her life. We have no evidence that she was discontent with her chosen path. Her choice did not matter though, because apparently God had other plans.

Martin Luther the Bachelor

Martin was an Augustinian monk prior to his conversion. He took his vows seriously, and there is no evidence that he was discontent being celibate. After he started the Reformation, he was content being single, and thought he would be single the rest of his life. Apparently God had other plans.

The Need

One time, forty nuns read Luther's writings and wrote Martin Luther, because they wanted to escape from the Catholic Church and join the Lutheran movement. That was a brave and dangerous thing to do, for the Prince would kill people for that. One night, some Lutheran men came to the convent, using the ruse of being herrig merchants. The women escaped by hiding in the empty herring barrels. At that time, women could not financially support themselves without a man, so the practical thing to do was for all of them to get married. Various single Lutheran men married the nuns; all that is, except one. No one was found willing to marry the hot-tempered, heavy-boned, over-weight, redhead, Katherine von Bora. Martin prevailed upon a friend of his to marry Katherine, but at the last moment the friend backed out. Where could Martin Luther find an eligible Christian bachelor....

Luther finally decided to marry her himself. Luther's close friend, Philip Melanchthon, beg-ged him not to do it, because she was so ugly. The way he put it was "Marry, yes, but for heaven's sake not that one." Martin married her, not because of his need to be married, and not because of love, but because of her need. He was 43, she was 27. At the wedding his friends cried, and it was not tears of joy.

The Results of the Marriage

To the surprise of many, this godly man and godly woman had a close and wonderful marriage. Dear Katie, as Luther called her, still had a quick temper sometimes, but she was friendly and hospitable toward all, witty, and wise. She helped Luther much, and ministered both alongside and independently of Martin Luther.

Perhaps God "blessed" Katherine with a lack of beauty so that she would end up marrying one of the better men and better Christians of her time. If Katherine had only been more physically beautiful, if she had only not had the flaw of a hot temper, then she might have missed out on her wonderful marriage.

Probably everybody can find something about their physical appearance they wish was different. Light skinned people want to be more tan, even at the potential cost of cancer. Darker skin people want to avoid the sun, for the sake of beauty. Instead of wishing we were physically different for whatever reason, why not be happy the way God made us for the plans He has.

Everyone certainly can find something on the inside that is a spiritual defect. Now we know that God can use the godly aspects of our character, but the really amazing thing is that when we dedicate our lives to God, God can use all of our lives, even our failings and shortcomings. God is Holy and does not sin or tempt us to sin (James 1:13-14), but God even uses our sin for His purposes. In Gen 50:20 Joseph said to his brothers "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..." We should avoid sin, and repent of our sins, but God is great and wise enough to even be able to use our sins for good. As Rom 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Do you think that your appearance, person-ality, or flaws might make you less attractive to some potential mates. Well that might be just wonderful. We must not only give God our strengths and talents, we should give our failings, shortcomings, and weaknesses to Him too, for His use. Give these to Him in prayer; then stand back and see what He can do.

More on the Marriage

There marriage was not calm perfection; it could not be calm with six children of their own. In addition, they adopted eleven orphans; Catherine mourned the lack of attention she received with all the attention Luther paid them. Luther taught them almost continuously about doctrine. Some of the children took notes, and today we over 6,500 entries.

Katie was not always submissive, sometimes Luther said he bowed to the will of "Lord Kathe". Yet Katie was versatile, and Luther called her "the preacher, brewer, gardener, and all things else."

The Luther family was no stranger to tragedy. His eleven year old daughter, Magdelena died of illness, and Luther's heart was broken.

Luther used strong language; He spoke of papal decrees as dung, the Pope as the devil's sow, bishops as larvae, priest ordination as marking a man with the sign of the beast, Catholic monks as at best, "fleas on the Almighty's fur coat."

As Katie put it "Dear husband, you are too rude" Luther replied, "a twig can be cut with a bread knife, but an oak calls for an axe".

The Sad Part of Luther's Life

As the historian Will Durant put it "Luther should not have grown old." It is unclear what else Katie could have done, but Luther was in desperate need of firm rebuke as he got older.

 Luther went from toleration for Anabaptists, to death to all who practice believer's baptism.

In 1537 he said Jews were to be forgiven for keeping their own creed, "since our fools, the popes, bishops sophists, and monks, those coarse assheads, dealt with the Jews in such a manner that any Christian would have prefer-red to be a Jew. Indeed, had I been a Jew, and had seen such idiots and dunderheads expound Christianity, I should rather have be-come a hog than a Christian... I would advise and beg everybody to deal kindly with the Jews..." Yet later in his life he advocated burning their schools and synagogues.

ƒ Luther said that "He does not receive my doctrine cannot be saved." Luther became so intolerant, that the Reformers Leo Jud and Carlstadt called Luther another Pope.

If you were Katie or a friend of Luther's, what would you do to rebuke this great man of God? If a godly person starts developing serious problems, what are things you can do?


The End of Luther's Earthly Days

We do not know everything Katie and Luther's friends did, but at the end of Luther's life he returned to toleration. "In his last sermon, he advised abandonment of all at-tempts to destroy heresy by force; Catholics and Anabaptists must be borne with patiently till the Last Judgment, when Christ will take care of them" (Will Durant The Reformation p.423)

We do not know who God used to turn Martin Luther back, but we do know what James 5:19-20 says: "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner away from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

Here is an example of the intensity of the opposition that Martin and Kate Luther faced.

Daughters of the Church p181

"Woe to you, poor fallen woman, not only because you have passed from light into darkness, from the cloistered holy religion into a damnable, shameful life, but also that you have gone from the grace of to the disfavor of God, in that you have left the cloister in lay clothes and have gone to Wittenberg like a chorus girl. You are said to have lived with Luther in sin. Then you have married him, forsaking Christ your bridegroom. You have broken your vow and by your example have reduced many godly young women in the cloisters to a pitiable state of body and of soul, despised of all men."


The Reformation

John Calvin

1509-1564 A.D.

John Calvin started one of the three main branches of the Reformation: Calvinism. Over 50 million people are a part of churches that have some form of Calvinist, also called Reformed, Theology. We will first study this brilliant man, and then his novel theology.

Life Before Geneva

John Calvin was born on Noyon, France, the son of an administrator, Gérard, and an innkeepers daughter, Jeanne le Franc. He studied hard to be a priest, and was educated in the household of a noble family Hangest de Montmor. He was close friends with them and a number of other people. John first became a chaplain in May 1521, the same month and year as the Diet of Worms.

After being curator at a couple places, but at his father's urgency, resigned to study Law in May of 1528. It was prior to this time that he first disagreed with some Roman teachings. However, he seems to really been converted between 1532 and 1533. In 1534 he began work on His most influential work Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin was a consum-mate scholar and researcher, but not a leader, governor, and, lightning rod of the Reforma-tion. That was to change shortly, however.

In 1534, since his life was in danger because of his faith, he went to Basel, Switzerland. Francis I of France persecuted the Evangelical Christians of France, justifying this by calling them all Anabaptists. In order to refute this charge, Calvin published The Institutes of the Christian Religion, first in Latin, and later in French. He was 26 at the time. The work was brief, with only six chapters. His choice of the core essentials of Christianity is interesting:

1. The Law (Ten commandments)

2. Faith (the Apostle's Creed)

3. Prayer

4. True Sacraments

5. False Sacraments Catholics added

6. Christian liberty, church and civil power

The Institutes was revised later to become a massive, work, but Calvin never retracted anything he said in the first edition. It was first published anonymously, which makes sense, since there were people who were after him.

The Theocracy at Geneva

Calvin decided in move to Strasburg or Basel, but he had to go through Switzerland because of the war between Francis I and Charles V. In Geneva in 1536, Guillaume Farel very strenuously argued with Calvin to stay and lead Geneva. Calvin argued that he was too young, inexperienced, and needed more time for his studies. Farel threatened him with the wrath of Almighty God if he preferred his own study to the Lord's work. So, at the age of 28, Calvin agreed to stay.

Calvin drew up a confession of faith. Each and every citizen of Geneva had to agree with it. Those who did not were banished. In March of 1537 there was a public disputation with Anabaptists in Geneva. The public was so excited about it, that the city council halted the debate, drove the Anabaptists from the city, and claimed that Calvin was the winner.

Leaving Geneva

Calvin and Farel were not just concerned with Christian teaching, they tried to reform the Laws, schools, and enforce Christian discipline in a theocratic state in Geneva. As a consequence, had to leave the city. Between 1538 and 1541 Calvin left Geneva, living mainly in Strasburg. During that time, Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto tried to bring Cath-olicism back to Geneva. Calvin stopped him cold with a letter defending the Reformation.

1539 Charles V had a conference on Chris-tian Reunion. Calvin was there representing Strasburg. Calvin also met and became close friends with Philip Melanchthon, the second most influential man in Lutheranism. This is interesting, because he had a long-standing debate with Lutherans over whether or not Jesus was actually present in the bread and wine during communion.

Back in Strasburg Calvin married a widow, Idelette, whom he had converted from Anabap-tism. In 1542, their one child, Jacques, died only a few days after birth.

Calvin was recalled to Geneva in 1541, where he was permitted to essentially govern the city through his close allies on the City Council.

Calvin's Institutes and Commentaries

While Calvinists rank Calvin's Institutes were as the most brilliant work published since Augustine, many would rank his commentar-ies a close second. Calvin started with Romans in 1540 and ended with Joshua in 1564. The last edition of the Institutes was completed between 1558 and 1559.

According to Boettner (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination p.407, Jacob Arminius, the name most associated with Christian resis-tance to Calvinism, exhorted his students to study Calvin's commentaries, as of more high-ly valued than everything handed down to us excepting scripture itself.

The Killing of Servetus

One event has greatly marred the reputation of Calvin in the eyes of many: the execution of a heretic named Michael Servetus. Servetus vigorously denied the Trinity, and he wrote virulently against both Catholics and Protes-tants. He was condemned to death by a Catholic Court in Vienne, but escaped to Gen-eva. At this time the Libertine party had power in Geneva, and Servetus apparently wanted to join with that party in driving Calvin out. Calvin had Servetus arrested and accused him before the Civil Court of heresy. The Court tried him over two months and ordered him to be burned alive. Calvin fully approved of the execution, but Calvin wanted him to be killed by sword rather than fire. Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists all approved.

Thus people are wrong if they accuse Calvin of the burning of Servetus. However, Calvin was instrumental in killing Servetus. The prac-tice of killing heretics was shared by almost all except moderate Anabaptists, in these times.

However, Forster and Marston, in their excellent book, God's Strategy in Human History p.287 say of this incident, "An appeal to the times is not convincing. It becomes still less convincing when we are told, often by the same apologists, that those like Calvin and Augustine were the most competent Bible scholars in history. Surely if Calvin could write a work hailed as the most systematic treatise on the Christian faith ever written, it is an in-sult to suggest that his moral teaching was not an integral part of his system but was based on some opinions of contemporary men. Surely if Augustine had the greatness of mind and strength of character to overturn all the Chris-tian teaching of the first 300 years, it is absurd to excuse his advocacy of persecution on the grounds of a spirit in him of conformity. The tragic fact is surely that those who deny any power but God's, and hence reduce everyone including Satan to servants of God, may (if times are ripe) finish by using Satan's own weapons of fear, force, pain, and persecution. Although Augustine initially adopted persecu-tion because of its practical success... he him-self directly linked it with his theological system."

Calvin's Distinctive Teaching

Calvinism can be traced back to two core beliefs: God controls every detail of every event and action, and all are guilty before God of things God has not given them any choice or ability to alter. Calvin himself thought of this as a "horrible decree" but taught that is the way God is. As Calvinists quip, God's justice would not be divine if we could understand it.

Calvin himself admitted he did not see how we could be responsible for things we were not free to do differently. He basically said not to think about it too much or you will go mad. Non-Calvinists might quip that perhaps Calvin thought about it too much.

Calvin's Legacy

Calvin finally died, a rather poor man, of plague, on 5/27/1564. It was said, that in 1561, one quarter of all Frenchmen were Heugenot Calvinists. Later Calvinism became the dominant religion of Scotland the Nether-lands, and half of Switzerland. Christians came from as far as England, Germany, and Poland to Geneva to be trained as pastors and return to their own countries.

Calvin's influence goes well beyond the 50 million or so people today who belong to Pres-byterian and other reformed churches. Calvin and Luther they showed Christians around the world the importance of being guided by the Bible, and not by Popes, Councils, and tradi-tion. Calvinists, Lutherans, and the moderate Anabaptists also showed that sincere Chris-tians can disagree on interpreting the Bible.

This can be troubling to many Christians. I believe the resolution is that God made the essentials of true faith clear in the Bible, and things Christians agree on. Secondary matters are less clear. When Christians lose focus and elevate the secondary things to the level as primary things, they will divide and not ac-complish together all God would have them do. Knowing all the right doctrine in not good enough for a Christian. We have to keep focused on Jesus and His Gospel. Then we can have unity with genuine Christians who dis-agree on secondary matters while not com-promising with unbelievers. What do you think are the primary things of the Gospel? Read 1 Cor2:2;15:1-5; 2Cor11:3,Ga6:14,Ac 10:34-43.

The Reformation


1466/67-1536 A.D.

It is an understatement to say that Desiderius Erasmus was a complex man. He was accused to being a Pelagian by both Catholics and Protestants. He was accused of being the origin of Luther's ideas. He greatly influenced most of the other reformers, who later criticized him. Anabaptist Menno Simons quoted him to show the early church fathers did not believe in infant baptism. Heretic Michael Servetus asked Erasmus in vain for help, since Servetus thought Erasmus shared his views. Finally, he is (correctly) considered a father of modern humanism.

How can we understand a man whose theology had similarities with the reformers, saw clearly the corruption of the Catholic Church, yet remained a Catholic all his life. Erasmus had great knowledge, but never showed much courage. The key words in understanding Erasmus are "toleration" and "inconsistency". In both a good and bad sense, Erasmus was the consummate compromiser. In this brief paper we will learn of his early life, the great weight his opinion carried with Kings, Popes, and Reformers alike, and learn from his good points and shortcomings.

The Early Life of Erasmus

Erasmus was the illegitimate son of a priest and a physician's daughter. Erasmus thought he was born in Rotterdam around 1466. He was uncertain about much in his life. After his parents died of plague when he was 18, Eras-mus and his older brother were sent to an Augustinian monastery. Erasmus became a priest and a prolific writer. Due to the printing press, he was the first person in history to live off of the profit of publishing his books.

Erasmus' Greatest Contribution

Erasmus' greatest works were publishing his Greek New Testament, and subsequent Latin translation of the Bible. The Latin work was dedicated to Pope Leo X, a dedication which Leo accepted. Additional Greek texts were available in Erasmus' time, and so Erasmus' Greek New Testament was improved over previous ones. He used the same textual method Italians used on old Roman texts. Erasmus' Latin work became the basis of the Textus Receptus, which the King James and other Bibles came from. A second key factor was the general acceptance that the current Latin Bible, the Vulgate of Jerome in 400 A.D., could be improved. The greatest result of Erasmus' Greek and Latin translations was not the relatively high quality of work, but rather that everybody was reading the Bible. The Reformers all developed most of their beliefs from the Bible - published by Erasmus.

The Penpals of Erasmus

Erasmus wrote over 1500 letters. He had many famous friends, including Thomas More Lord Chancellor of England, Pope Adrian VI, the son of James IV of Scotland, and Melanch-thon. Other people he wrote to were King Henry VIII of England, Pope Clement, Martin Luther, Bucer, Zwingli, and Calvin.

When Pope Paul III became Pope in 1534, Erasmus sent him a letter of congratulations, as he did to all the Popes. Pope Paul hoped that Erasmus could mediate a unity among Catholics and Protestants, but Erasmus turned him down. Do you think he was right?

Erasmus and Pelagianism

Two things that most Protestant Reformers and Catholics agreed upon was that Erasmus was a Pelagian, and that Erasmus was for the other side. His books were banned at the Catholic Council of Trent in 1546.

Like the heretic Pelagius, Erasmus believed that we inherited original sin from Adam by imitation. Unlike Pelagius, Erasmus accepted that we inherited a liability in our nature, too. Erasmus, in exalting man's autonomy and free will, helped, indirectly, to lay the theological groundwork for "Christian humanism", a form of religion where man, not God is at the center. Erasmus differed from Pelagius, but he was more Pelagian than Semi-Pelagians and the Catholic Church.

Erasmus ' The Lutheran???

Because Erasmus heavily criticized the corruption of the Catholic Church and believed many Biblical doctrines, he was accused of being a Lutheran. Even more, he was accused of being the originator of Luther's ideas. Actually Erasmus influenced most of the reformers, except for Martin Luther. He was Luther's friend until Luther spoke at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

Well, perhaps he influenced Luther after all by Luther's strong opposition to him. Erasmus wrote The Freedom of the Will in 1524 to oppose Luther's determinism. Luther viciously refuted Erasmus' arguments in one of his most famous books, The Bondage of the Will. Eras-mus was almost a Pelagian. In response to this error, Luther went too far to the other extreme that God totally controls every detail.

Erasmus' thoughts on Free Will

As Will Durant mentions in his book The Reformation (p.434), Erasmus said that it ap-proached blasphemy to say that God punished sins that His creatures as made by Him could not help committing. It made God an immoral monster. Erasmus acknowledged that man's moral choices are fettered by a thousand cir-cumstances over which he has no control; yet man's consciousness persists in affirming some measure of freedom, without which he would be a meaningless automaton." He bas-ically concluded, let us admit our incapacity to reconcile moral freedom with divine knowledge and choices, but let us shun any hypothesis that makes man a puppet, and God a tyrant crueler than any in history."

Pope Clement VII gave Erasmus about $5,000 for the conciliatory work. The work might be credited with influencing Melanch-thon the entire Lutheran church to abandon Luther's position on men having no part in their regeneration.

Thoughts of Erasmus

Education was very important. Children at that time began regular school at seven, and he believed that children should learn Christianity and Latin before that time. [Is Christianity just a learned thing, like Latin??] Erasmus wished that every plowboy might whistle the Psalms as he furrowed the soil.

On religion, he urged the reduction of dogmas to as "few as possible, leaving opinion free on the rest." On one hand that is not exactly a search for truth. On the other hand, in an age of the Inquisition, here was a voice of tolerance that was listened to somewhat more than the martyred Anabaptists.

Toleration Above Truth: Good of Bad?

Should Christians ever tolerate doctrinal error in other Christians? The Lutherans who burned to death the Calvinist Kreel did not think so. Calvinists, Lutherans, and Catholics who killed moderate Anabaptists thought not. Radical Anabaptists, who tore down churches and killed Catholic priests did not think so, either. As they saw these ungodly acts in the name of God, Erasmus and other humanists did tolerate doctrinal error. They never advoca-ted killing any, except possibly the most heretical heretics.

So, if we should tolerate error, in that we do not kill people, does that mean we should never criticize anything as wrong? Erasmus criticized the Catholic church, but with exception of fatalism, never really stood for truth against anything.

We should warn even friends when they are making mistakes, but what kind of people should we actually oppose. We should oppose in words those the Bible says to in Gal 2:11-14, 2 Cor 11:11-12, and Acts 15:2.

Now we know that many oppose Christians, but as Gal 2:11-14 shows, sometimes Christians are supposed to oppose Christians, when Christians are in serious error.

What We Can Learn from Erasmus

As Edith Simon says in the Reformation, Erasmus had a revolutionary mind, but not a revolutionary heart. Erasmus had great learning, and saw many issues clearly, but never really took a stand. I hope no Christians today are like that.

Erasmus and the moderate Anabaptists saw more clearly than the other reformers the truth that persecuting other Christians is not what Christ desires. We should be building up the body of Christ, not tearing it down. He saw the importance of Christian unity.

However, Erasmus lost focus of what was important, because he valued toleration and unity at all costs. Despite all the clever argu-ments Erasmus and others could muster, there can be no unity in Christ between those who trust in God alone for their salvation and those trusted in church, saints, and merits.

"Truly the yoke of Christ would be sweet, and His burdens light, if petty human institutions added nothing to what He Himself imposed. He commanded us nothing save love for one ano-ther." Erasmus wrote many nice quotes, but it is too bad he did not have the courage to stand against ungodly men. Actually, the quote is false doctrine: man-centered religion. The first commandment is to love God, and loving others is the second commandment, not the only commandment.

Erasmus - verbal

You know American western movies are rather easy to understand. The bad guys are totally bad and wear black hats, and the good guys are totally good and wear white hats. However, most real people are somewhat more complicated. ' And then there is Erasmus.

Erasmus devoutly wanted unity among Protestants and Catholics, almost at all costs. If they both agreed that he as a Pelagian, and supported the other side, well, at least Erasmus got the Catholics and Protestants to agree on something.


People accuse Erasmus of inconsistency, but I believe he had a consistency, though a strange one. One can use great learning and skillful language to say what one thinks best to try to keep the peace and the status quo.

too high a view of man



The Reformation

Who Said This?

in the Reformation

1517-1567 A.D.

Read the quote and guess who made it. There are 6 choices: Martin Luther, John Calvin, Philip Melanchthon, Anabaptists, Desiderius Erasmus, or other Catholics.


"I vigorously opposed their publication because I was afraid of the uproar they might cause"

Erasmus on Luther's books (from a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz)

"I perceive that the monarchy of the Roman high priest (as that See now is) is the plague of Christendom, though it is praised through thick and thin by shameless preachers." Erasmus in 10/1518 in praise of Luther's 95 Theses

"Do you mean to say that all the previous teachers knew nothing? Are you alone the nest egg of the Holy Ghost in these times? God, help me." Martin Luther to himself at the Diet of Worms in 1521

"A single friar who goes counter to all Christianity for a thousand years must be wrong" Catholic: Emperor Charles V

"What would I, who am unwilling to battle with my own particular bishop, hope to gain from him that I should want to side with him against the teaching of the Gospel, or against the Church of Rome, ... or against the Roman Pontiff, who is chief of the whole Church." Erasmus (p.159)

"I am not so irreligious as to dissent from the Catholic Church, nor such an ingrate as to oppose Leo," Erasmus (p.159)

"No man must debase himself by showing toleration toward heretics of any kind, above all toward Calvinists" Catholic: Card. Caraffa.

On the burning of Servetus who "gave thanks to the son of God for the punishment of this blasphemous man." Philip Melanchthon in a letter to Calvin and Bullinger.

"Within three weeks I shall have the heretic thrown into the fire." Catholic: John Tetzel about Martin Luther

"Wash your hands in the blood of bishops and cardinals" Martin Luther July 1520

"Catholics and Anabaptists must be borne with patiently till the Last Judgment, when Christ will take care of them" Martin Luther's last sermon

"In the same way we ought to regard those who, with like feelings, eagerly kiss the bones and other relics of saints. In these matters Paul, as I see it, conceded that 'each one should be quiet in his own opinion."

Erasmus. (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.89) However, see 1Cor 11:3

"Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime." John Calvin

All should be killed who denied infant baptism, original sin, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and all who professed a false religion. Melanchthon

"The inquisitors, constantly urged on by the Pope, scented heresy in numerous cases where a calm and circumspect observer would not have discovered a trace of it." Catholic historian

"In my opinion, indeed, those people who have been infuriated by images of the saints have been spurred to this zealotry ' intemperate, one must say ' by something not altogether a fact. Idolatry ' that is, image worship ' is, of course, a heinous offense which, even though it has long since disappeared from human custom, is nevertheless a danger, lest through the wiles of the evil spirits those who are off guard bring it back." Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.88)

Who spoke of papal decrees as dung, the Pope as the devil's sow, bishops as larvae, priest ordination as marking a man with the sign of the beast, Catholic monks as at best, "fleas on the Almighty's fur coat." Martin Luther

"He does not receive my doctrine cannot be saved." Martin Luther

"But to those [God] devotes to condemnation, the gate of life is closed by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judg-ment." John Calvin Institutes 3:21:1.

"It is difficult to believe in God's mercy and goodness when He damns those who do not deserve it, [stop reading here] we must recall that if God's justice could be recognized as just by human comprehension, it would not be divine." Luther (Here I Stand p.244-245.)

"There is a certain causality, though not worthiness, in the recipient [person] subor-dinate to the Divine Causality. Melanchthon (Loci 1533).

"free will is a lie." Martin Luther The Bondage of the Will p.17

"On the whole, men should define as little as possible. In definition lies division, a fierce contention over words when the crying need of Christendom was agreement upon essentials"

Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.10)

"by God's disgrace the King of England....Since with malice aforethought that damnable and rotten worm has lied against my King in heav-en it is right for me to bespatter this English monarch with his own filth. Luther to King Henry 8th in 1525 after Henry's writing against Luther abandoning the 7 Sacraments

"My disposition is such that I can love a Jew if only he is an agreeable dinner companion and friend, and doesn't blaspheme against Christ in my presence." Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.11)

"I will not be concerned with a petty Monkish squabble." Catholic: Pope Leo X prior to the Council of Worms

"It lies with you, God helping, to recover those who have been seduced by [blank] from the right road." Catholic: Pope Adrian VI to Erasmus about Luther

"Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him." Catholic: Pope Paul III (Paul was likely suffering insanity from Syphilis Durant p.921)

"Let us keep a daily count of our sins by marks on lines that represent the days, and let us strive each day to reduce the marks. Kneeling in our darkened room or cell, let us picture hell to ourselves as vividly as we can;"

Catholic: Ignatius Loyola Jesuit Reformer (Durant p.909) Loyola was one who urged the Pope to restore the Inquisition, but we do not know how many marks he put down for that.

"Sin boldly, but believe in God more boldly still" Martin Luther

"Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture or by an evident reason - for I confide neither in the pope nor in a council alone, since it is certain that they have often erred and contradicted themselves ' I am held fast by the Scriptures adduced by me, and me conscience is taken captive by God's Word, and I neither can nor will revoke anything, seeing that it is not safe or right to act against conscience. God help me. Amen."

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521

"I have never broken off a friendship with anyone on the basis of that person's Lutheranism." Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.11)

"The rest were hunted from one country and place to another. Like owls and ravens, which durst not fly by day, they were often compelled to hide and live in rocks and clefts, in wild forests, or in caves and pits." Anabaptist historian describing Anabaptists.

John is the new King of Israel, the city of Münster is the New Jerusalem, and all who are not baptized as adults must be or leave the city in the middle of winter. Radical Anabaptists

"Jews were to be forgiven for keeping their own creed, "since our fools, the popes, bishops sophists, and monks, those coarse assheads, dealt with the Jews in such a manner that any Christian would have preferred to be a Jew. Indeed, had I been a Jew, and had seen such idiots and dunderheads expound Christianity, I should rather have become a hog than a Christian... I would advise and beg everybody to deal kindly with the Jews..." Luther 1537

"hunt out and kill all priests and monks"

Radical Anabaptists of Speyer.

"I praise those who support the Roman Pope, whom every devout person does support. Who would not support the one who in the closest imitation of Christ devotes himself wholly to the salvation of Christian people?" Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.162)

"If the immoral practices of the Roman Curia demand some sweeping and immediate reform, certainly it is not my concern or of those like myself to take this task upon ourselves." Erasmus (p.159)

"A frightful Bull has come out over the signature of the Roman Pope. Luther's books have been burned. People are in an uproar. Hardly anything more deplorable could be done. The Bull seemed to everyone to be too harsh to be consonant with the mildness of our Leo" Erasmus (Erasmus and the Seamless Coat of Jesus p.159)

"The design of the Lord's Supper is threefold. 1. To aid in confirming our faith towards God. 2. To serve as a confession before men. 3. To be an exhortation to charity." Calvin Aphorism 85.

"' Moreover I consider Free-will in this light: that it is a power in the human will, by which, a man may apply himself to those things which lead unto eternal salvation, or turn away from the same." Erasmus. Martin Luther (p.122) quoting Erasmus' definition of Free Will

"that you not only by far surpass me in the powers of eloquence, and in genius,..

I greatly feel for you for having defiled your most beautiful and ingenious language with such vile trash; and such unworthy stuff should be borne about in ornaments of eloquence so rare; which is as if rubbish, or dung, should be carried in vessels of gold and silver." Luther to Erasmus Bondage p.13-4

"Many think I am too fierce against popery; on the contrary I complain that I am, alas, too mild; I wish I could breathe out lightning against pope and popedom, and that every wind were a thunderbolt. ... I will curse and scold the scoundrels until I go to my grave, and never shall they have a civil word from me.... For I am unable to pray without at the same time cursing. If I am prompted to say, 'Hallowed be Thy name,' I must add, 'Cursed, damned, outraged be the name of papists.' I never work better than when I am inspired by anger." Martin Luther

"Even unbelievers should be forced to obey the Ten Commandments, attend church, and outwardly conform" Martin Luther

"The sum of evangelical doctrine is, to teach, 1. What Christ is; 2. Why he was sent; 3. In what manner he accomplished the work of redemption." John Calvin Aphorism 39.

The Reformation

Felix Mantz

~1498-1/5/1527 A.D.

Most of the Swiss Anabaptists were like Zwingli; they were first Catholic humanists under the influence of Erasmus and others. They became reformers after reading the bible that Erasmus published. Many of them were close associates and co-laborers with Zwingli at Zürich. These included Ockenfuss, As late as 5/1/1523, Zwingli said he was open to believer's baptism as practiced in the Bible.

Zwingli turned against his friends, though. After having public disputations with Anabaptists in January, Mary, and November 1525, many were later drowned. In 1529, at the Diet of Speyer, Luther and Lutherans also agreed that Anabaptists should be killed.

Felix Mantz was born around 1498 to Johannes Mantz. Felix had a good education in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Mantz wrote the first systematic Biblical defense of believer's baptism. He was not an eloquent speaker, but he wrote better than he spoke. His defense was a 1,500 word pamphlet; unfortunately, it is lost today, except for quotes by Zwingli.

This paper will look at arguments for who should be baptized and why, and also other things we can learn from Felix's life.

Arguments for Believer's Baptism

Believer's baptism means that an adult or child should themselves believe before they are baptized. At one extreme, the early church at Alexandria made people attend a two-year class before being permitted to be baptized. I also know of a Christian man who said he truly believed when he was four years old, and he was baptized at four years old.

Gal 3:26 says, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ."

Rom 6:3-5 says, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."

1 Pet 3:21 in the context of Noah's flood says, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also ' not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,"

Believer: The meaning is plain as these are read, baptism is a sign of the believers rebirth.

Infant: Baptism could allow for vicarious faith, that is, where the faith of the parents is applied to the child until the child comes of age.

Believer: Adults were baptized in Acts 2:41.

Infant: If adult converts were unfortunately not baptized as infants, then they should be baptized as adults.

Believer: Acts 2:37-41, Acts 8:12,18; 19:1-7, and Mt 28:19, show that a person must repent and believe first.

Infant: Baptism is a not a work of man, but of God. It is a promise by God for adults who are baptized and infants who remain faithful to the vows given in their name.

Arguments for Infant Baptism

Infant baptism means the infants of a Chris-tian parent should be baptized, as well as adult converts who were never baptized. Augustine taught that baptized infants who die go to heaven, and unbaptized ones who die go to hell. Various other reasons given are that baptism takes infants from spiritual death to life, releases us from the guilt of original sin in Adam. Lutheran doctrine says that faith of the parents is prerequisite for infant baptism to be effective. The Catholic church says it does not. (Millard Erickson Christian Theology p.1090.)

Zwingli's main argument was that baptism in the New Testament is a type of circumcision in the Old. Since circumcision was done to Jewish [male] babies, baptism is appropriate for Christian infants, that is, not that infants are Christians per se, but the children of Christians. There are two verses in support of this position.

Gal 2:11-12 says, "In him [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

1 Cor 7:14 says concerning a marriage with one spouse a believer and one not, "Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

Infant: This implies that babies of a Christian parent are in some way declared holy by God. Since this is true, baptism seems appropriate for those declared holy by God.

Believer: Does not say baptism though.

Infant: Other verses, such as Acts 16:31-33, show were families were baptized. It does not say that the children were of age or not. The household of Stephanas is in 1 Cor 1:16.

Believer: The household of Stephanas were converts in 1 Cor 16:15. Thus, if this supported infant baptism, then it seems that baptized infants can be called converts.

Infant: Acts 10:44-48 show that all who heard the message were to be baptized.

Believer: That is because all who heard the message received the Holy Spirit, and all who heard spoke in tongues. (argument given by Baptist Beasley-Murray Baptism p.315)

Infant: 1 Jn 2:13 shows that John wrote to the children too. Matt 18:2-6 mentions children in God's kingdom.

Believer: So? When the children believe, then baptize them as believers.

Summary for Infant Baptism

The argument for infant baptism centers on two things: 1) comparison in Gal 2:11-12 of circumcision with baptism, 2) and the purpose of baptism giving remission of original sin and/or spiritual life to babies, and/or giving membership in the visible church. In the Old Testament, circumcision did not guarantee the boy was saved. Rather, it showed that he was a part of God's visible family on earth, the Jews. You became a Jew by physical birth. Presumably, you become a part of the Christian family on earth, the visible church, by either physical birth or else conversion.

People who hold to infant baptism believe that an individual's belief in Jesus is still essential, but it is a confirmation of the earlier baptism.

A difficulty is how someone obeys the command to be baptized when they had no free will in the matter. Actually, this is not a difficulty for Calvinists, who believe we have no free will in any spiritual matter, anyway.

Summary for Believer's Baptism

The argument for believer's baptism centers on two things: 1) the purpose of baptism is a visible sign of being born again (Gal 3:267 and Rom 6:3-5), and 2) baptism is a promise of a good conscience toward God(1 Pet 3:21). Baptism is for all who are saved, who are clothed with Christ.

The comparison of Old Testament circumc-ision with New Testament baptism in Gal 2:11-12 actually fits very naturally with believer's baptism. One became a Jew by natural birth. One becomes a Christian by being born again. A male Jew should be circumcised after he is born. A Christian should be baptized after he or she is born again.

A difficulty is what about infants and children who die without being baptized? Since most Christians believe that baptism is not essential for salvation, there is no difficulty here at all. Abraham in the Old Testament, and the thief on the cross in the New Testament were never baptized, and God saves, through the cross of Christ, all who put their trust in Him.

Who Believes What

Denominations that hold in believers baptism include Baptists, Bible church (like us), Christian and Missionary Alliance, Calvary Chapels, Mennonites, Assembly of God, and most Charismatics. Denominations that hold to infant baptism include Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodox.

The Martyrdom of Mantz

Mantz and a number of other Anabaptists were imprisoned in 10/1525. They escaped from prison, but Mantz and Blaurock were later recaptured. On 1/5/1527, Felix Mantz and other Anabaptists were taken to the lake Limat and drowned. Since Anabaptists stres-sed water baptism of believers, downing was a favorite way of murdering Anabaptists. As Mantz was being taken out in the boat, his aged mother, was standing on the shore encouraging him to remain steadfast.

The Reformation

Balthasar Hübmaier

1480-3/10/1528 A.D.

Balthasar Hübmaier was one of the most out-standing Anabaptist theologians. Despite prison and torture, given that he wrote outstanding works, debated Catholics and Zwingli, refuted infant baptism, refuted total fatalistic control by God, and pastored 18,000, one wonders what he would have accom-plished if he had been born again for more than the six years he had until his martyrdom.

Rather than attempt to give a complete account of his teaching, this paper will just concentrate on a few small topics of his life.

The Five Stages of Hübmaier's Life

Catholic Phase (1480-1520): Balthasar grew up in Friedburg, near Augsburg. He received a Th.D. under the famous Catholic theologian John Eck, who later became his bitter opponent. As a Catholic, Hübmaier was a popular preacher.

Zwinglian Phase (1520-4/1525): Hübmaier apparently was born again the winter of 1522/23. From 1522 on, Hübmaier was sym-pathetic to humanism and Zwingliism. He was an evangelical Catholic until he went to Wald-shut in 3/1523 and converted the entire town to Zwingliism. On 10/26-28/1523, in Zürich, he was on the evangelical side during the debate over images and the mass. Zwingli was a friend of his at this time.

Zürich Anabaptist Phase (1525-7/1526): William Röublin first explained the principles of Anabaptism to Hübmaier in April of 1525, right before Röublin was exiled from Zürich. After Hübmaier was imprisoned and tortured, he recanted on baptism and was exiled. As soon as he left, he took back his recantation.

Moravian Phase (1527-1528): After Balthasar left Zürich, he went to Nikolsburg in Moravia. He persuaded all the evangelicals in the town to be Anabaptist evangelicals. He was a pastor to 12,000 Anabaptists. In addition, there were 6,000 baptisms.

Final Phase (1528-∞): Balthasar and his wife were captured by the (Catholic) authorities who came to Nickolsburg. Imprisoned in Vien-na. He "semi-recanted", but it did no good. He was burned at the stake on 3/10/1528.


What are the Key Christian Doctrines

After Hübmaier had a formal hearing in Zürich on 1/13/1526, the city council told him he had to either recant or leave town. He stayed and made an offer to publicly recant his views. When the time came for him to stand up and speak and recant, he instead defended believer's baptism.

Hübmaier was imprisoned for a month and tortured on the rack. This has been proven by a letter by Zwingli himself in Jackson, Huldrich Zwingli p.250. For good measure, his wife and other Anabaptists were imprisoned too.

While Hübmaier was in prison, he had time to reflect on just what the essentials of Christianity were. Here is a very brief sketch of his Twelve Articles of Christian Belief; note that most of the points each have three parts. What are the three parts?

1) God the Father Almighty, Creator, has for my sake created heaven and earth and all that in them is, and has me as your loved child from your fatherly grace.

1b) Men lost this position through the disobedience of Adam.

1c) Father, I set all my comfort, hope and trust in you that certainly this fall will not be injurious or bring condemnation to me.

2) Jesus Christ, true God and true man, our Lord and expiation for our sins

2b) You have given us power to become your child in faith. I hope and trust him wholly that he will not let his saving and comforting name be lost on me, a miserable sinner.

3) Jesus was virgin birth by the Holy Spirit.

3b) You were born of the Holy Spirit that we might by born of the Holy Spirit, you, Son of God, became man that through you we might become children of God.

4) Suffering and death of Jesus for our ransom

4b) By pouring out of your rose-red blood, the greatest and highest love to us poor men is recognized. You have changed the heavy cross for you into a light yoke for us.

4c) I will praise and thank you for this, Jesus, for ever and ever.

5) Christ preached to the spirits in prison and rose from the dead for our sake.

5b) Christ paid for the sins of all men.

6) After 40 days, Jesus ascended into heaven, where He is our one and only advocate.

6b) The Father has given to you all power over his possessions, in heaven and on earth.

7) Jesus will come again to judge the quick and the dead.

7b) Then we shall see our Savior face to face and our sinful life will be ended.

7c) Jesus, shorten the days; come down to us.

8) The Holy Spirit, is True God.

8b) Without the Holy Spirit nothing is Holy, and in Him I put all of my trust.

8c) I pray the you will strengthen my faith and kindle my heart to love God and my neighbor.

9) The church is the communion of all believers, with the two bonds to Christ, water-baptism and the Lord's supper.

9b) Jesus, your rose-red blood has sanctified to yourself the church, and you will remain with her to the end of the world.

9c) I pray that we may be united to hold to what you commanded, and root out all things God has not planted.

10) The Christian Church has received remission of sins and the keys for the opening of heaven.

10b) Those in sin, after a threefold brotherly reproof, are excluded from the church.

11) The physical resurrection of the dead.

11b) Even though my body may be eaten by worms, drowned, frozen, or burned, I will receive true honor at the joyous resurrection of my flesh.

11c) Jesus strengthen me; hold me in thy faith

12) eternal life to the faithful and elect.

12b) After the suffering of this life, we will have joyful eternal life, beholding God's face.

12c) Please graciously keep me in the faith. If I be driven from it by tyranny, sword, fire, or water, raise me up again by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The only real error I see if in the first article. Can you see it?

As he was tortured, Hübmaier was "allured" to recant, (as Zwingli put it. In his recantation, he says he erred on believer's baptism. However, he never taught the errors he was accused of, that Christians could not hold office in government, all property should be in common, he is without sin. After this, the Council exiled him from Zürich. A year later, he published his Twelve Articles. In later years he deeply regretted his giving in under torture.

Hübmaier's Teachings

Denying no free will slanders God as a tyrant. God does not condemn people for reasons about which they can do nothing.

No free will says one can tell God we rob and still because we must obey God's decreed will.

We have guilt for Adam's actions as well as a sinful nature. Our body and soul fell, but not our Spirit. (even Hübmaier made mistakes)

Don't just be mouth Christians, but action C's.

Obey and participate in government in all that is not against God. It rightfully bears the arms.

The Lord's Supper is a memorial.

He also examined and refuted the Calvinist interpretation of Rom 9 and Prov 16:4.

Hübmaier's Weakness

Balthasar's twice recanted under torture. However, it was not Christ he denied, but believer's baptism. If this was a sin, certainly it was lesser than the sin of persecuting him.

Hübmaier's Legacy

As Henry Vedder puts it (p.153) "In learning, in character, in eloquence, he was not less fitted for leadership that Luther or Zwingli; and had continued opportunity been offered him, there can be little doubt that he could have here accomplished that which would have left his name by the side of the greatest preachers and reformers of the age. If Luther had been crushed at Worms as Hus had been at Constance, we might now read as little of him as we do of Hübmaier." Hübmaier had a tremendous influence for someone who was only an Anabaptist for three years.

As a side note, as Hübmaier left his defeat in Zürich on his way to Moravia, he stopped by Augsburg and talked with Hans Denck. That is likely how the entire south German branch of Anabaptists started.

Suggested Reading

Klassan, W. (ed) Anabaptism in Outline. Herald Press (official Mennonite Press) 1981.

Pipkin, H.W. and J.H. Yoder Balthasar Hubmaier. Herald Press 1989.

Vedder, Henry C. Heroes of the Reformation : Balthasar Hübmaier. G.P. Putnam's Sons1905

Balthasar Hübmaier Supplemental Material

"May we be one with [the church] in faith and doctrine, and hold all that you have com-manded us in your Word, and root up all that you have not planted. May we not be led astray by any human invention, opinion, teaching of the Fathers or popes, councils or universities, nor ancient usages, nor be brought into error by them." Twelve Articles (Anabaptism in Profile p.102)

"Faith alone and by itself is not sufficient for salvation.... With the heart man believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation (Rom 10). Now we do not wish to be mouth Christians only... Rather, faith must express itself also in love to God and the neighbor. Faith must be active in love (Gal 5). Therefore faith by itself alone is like a green fig tree without fruit, like a cistern without water, like a cloud without rain...."

"O, we wish to be good evangelical Christians; we boast about our great faith, but have never touched the works of the gospel and faith with the smallest finger. Therefore we are, as stated above be, nothing but mouth Christians, ear Christians, an paper Christians, but not action Christians. ... (Jas 2) I confess this article with all my strength: that faith by itself alone is not worthy to be called faith, for there can be no true faith without the works of love." p.43-44) Justification 1526

"Now all the teachings which diagnose diseases and point to the physician [Jesus] are only 'they letter that kills' before they are believed. But in faith God makes them to live, wax green, and bear fruit. One must put on the rough coat of John the Baptist before one can receive the soft, mild and meek lamb, Jesus Christ." Summary of a True Christian Life 1525

He could also sing. Balthasar was also involved in mariology and (non-violent) Anti-Semitism. He was not so much against Jews, as against all who charged interest, which often was 20%.

Hübmaier on Free Will

Whoever denies the free will of man and says that 'free will' is nothing but an empty and useless term without any reality, the same slanders God as a tyrant. He charges God with injustice and gives manifold cause to the wicked to remain in their sins. Indeed, he overthrows more than half of the holy Scriptures. The proof of this article: If man were robbed of his free will God could never justly condemn the sinner for his sins. For he condemns him for reasons about which man can do nothing. God forbid!

"Indeed, because of your eternal foreknowledge and judgment we must go with the devil into eternal fire in order to fulfill your eternal foreknowledge"

"my stealing and my robbing was not my fault but God's will which no one can resist (Rom 9) Without his will I could not have done it. Because of my will I had to do it because it is bound and imprisoned.

If our will is totally bound, who bound it? who is responsible for it being bound?


Hübmaier on Baptism

In Zwingli's tract On Baptism, Anabaptism, and Infant Baptism, he had three arguments. 1) Since nothing outward, baptism included does not remit sins, and God commanded baptism, then baptism is a sign of allegiance of God's people and nothing else.

2) Christian children are not less God's children than their parents, as circumcised infants were in the Old Testament.

3) Since Anabaptism has not the teaching, example, nor witness from God's word, they crucify Christ afresh, either from selfishness or seeking novel religion.

Is baptism a profession of faith?

If people are baptized on the faith of their parents and grandparents, can people become a Christian on the faith of their parents and grandparents too?

Since baptism is a mere sign, like Zwingli and Leo Jud say, why do we strive over a mere sign? When Jesus says to let the children come unto him, he did not baptize them. Likewise, Hübmaier supported infant dedica-tion, with no more water than Jesus used. (from p.109)

Hübmaier said that since Zwingli taught that the children of Christians are certainly and undoubtedly children of God, that is wrong. He says "There you attack God's judgment and grant to physical birth what belongs alone to the spirit and the Word of God. For God alone makes children of God. We were all conceived and born in sin (Eph 2), nobody since Jesus has been physically born a child of God. p.45

An Anabaptist Hymn

The Anabaptists wrote a number of hymns. As one modern writer put, it, what they lacked in style and rhythm they made up for in enthusiasm. There is an anonymous hymn that was very likely written by Hübmaier. The subject is the last line of each stanza "God's word stands sure for ever." It is 18 stanzas long. As the stanza works it sway through the Bible, it speaks of David in the tenth stanza. The first stanza is appropriate for closing

Rejoice, rejoice, ye Christians all,

And break forth into singing!

Since far and wide in every side

The word of God is ringing.

And well we know, no human foe

Our souls from Christ can sever;

For to the base, and men of grace,

God's word stands sure for ever.


As oft as ye eat this bread (mark that it is called bread) and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

"So it follow that the slayers of heretics are the worst heretics of all, in that they, contrary to Christ's teaching and practice, condemn heretics to the fire.... A Turk or a heretic cannot be persuaded by us either with the sword or with fire, but only with patience and prayer, and so we should wait patiently for the judgment of God.... So, to burn heretics is to recognize Christ in appearance, but to deny him in reality." Concerning Heretics and Those who Burn Them 1524 Anabaptism in Outline p.292.

Hübmaier's Writing Style

Hübmaier was a trained writer, debater. Unlike Luther and Zwingli, Hübmaier was "scrupulously fair to his adversaries" (Vedder p.157). The one thing he would do is write "Debates" with Zwingli and others, in which he wrote both sides. One would get the impression that it was an actual debate, not that he was putting words in the mouths of others. Balthasar would typically end his written debate material with phrases like "Truth is immortal" or "Truth is unkillable".

The Reformation

Thomas Müntzer

c1480-5/27/1525 A.D.

Today we will study about someone who was as crazy as a loony bird. While some say he was the logical consequence of Lutheranism, others say he was the founding Anabaptist, we would like to say he had no influence at all on the reformation. Or at least, no influence we would like to admit to.

Most encyclopedias will tell you that Thomas Müntzer was a radical Anabaptist who was born in Stolberg, violently captured the city of Muhlhausen in 1525, and was captured and soon executed by Philip of Hesse. What they do not say is why. Why was Müntzer this way. Even stranger, why did so many people follow him? Perhaps by examining this thoroughly crazy man, we can gain some insight into religious subjectivism and crazy religious movements of our time as well.

Müntzer's Life

Müntzer was born to moderately well-off parents. He loved learning, studied Greek and Latin and in 1519 the church fathers. He attended the famous University of Leipzig in 1506. He was somewhat attracted to humanism, but was won over by Luther' s arguments that for centuries the church stood just fine without the Popes and Catholicism.

In 1512, he was involved in some sort of plot against the Archbishop of Madgebeurg. In 1518 he met with Luther. Much later, Luther recalled that in the course of talking he punched Müntzer in the nose once or twice. Müntzer called Luther a liar, saying he was never punched. Luther was particularly angry about those who would turn the Reformation into a political revolution, and who would elevate subjective leading of the Holy Spirit above and against God's word.

At Zwickau, Müntzer shared the pulpit at St. Mary's church with the humanist Egranus, who strongly opposed him. Müntzer tried to win the hearts of the people by publishing a set of wild and extreme propositions - using Egranus' name! When Müntzer advocated violence to overthrow priests and the Catholic church, he had to leave the city.

When Müntzer was driven out of Zwickau in 6/1521, he went to Prague, where they initially considered him a Lutheran. On 11/1/1521, Thomas wrote a manifesto in Prague, similar to Luther's famous 95 Theses. Because he preached violence, he came and had to leave Prague, Allstedt, Mühlhausen and Nuremberg.

Finally he returned Mühlhausen and joined forces with Pfeiffer and Storch who had similar views. Some think Storch's preaching was a little too strong. Read and see what you think.

"Those in authority live only in lust, consume the sweat and blood of their subjects, eat and drink night and day, hunt, run, and kill... Everyone therefore should arm himself and attack the priests in their fat nests, beating, killing, and strangling them; because once the bellwethers are removed, the sheep are easier to handle. Afterward the landgrabbers and noblemen should be attacked, their property confiscated, and their castles destroyed."

After they forcibly took over Muhlhausen, Philip of Hesse marched with 2,000 trained troops, artillery, and cavalry. Müntzer went 20 miles away to Frankenhausen, which was more defensible. In the battle with 10,000 peasants, 5,000 peasants were killed, Müntzer was captured, and the rest fled. A little fighting continued, but Müntzer's cause died with him.

Müntzer on Baptism and the Bible

Müntzer was considered a radical Ana-baptist by Catholics, Lutherans, and Zwing-lians alike. One of the most common miscon-ceptions is that Müntzer believed what Ana-baptists believed about their key belief. Münt-zer argued that infant baptism is not taught in scripture. That alone "proved" he was an Ana-baptist to some. However, he believed Holy Spirit baptized, and thus nobody needed to be baptized at all. His belief was not too deep though, for he continued to baptized infants.

On the Bible, even uneducated Anabaptists surprised their persecutors with their Bible knowledge, for Bible teaching, not theology, was central to many of them. Müntzer knew the Bible well, too. However, Müntzer believed his revelations direct from the Holy Spirit superseded the Bible.

Thus, calling Müntzer an Anabaptist is sort of like calling someone a Christian simply because they oppose enemies of Christianity.

What Others Felt About Müntzer

Martin Luther after Frankenhausen, wrote, "I am truly sorry that poor people were so miserly seduced and lost their bodies and souls; at the same time I am glad that God made a judgment and settled the matter."

Conrad Grebel initially praised Müntzer as a Christian brother for his bold stand for truth in a 9/5/1524 letter. He later criticized Münt-zer for having singing and infant baptism. Af-ter knowing more, Grebel rebuked him sharp-ly for 'seizing the sword' to advance the Gospel.

Like Grebel, our beliefs and ministry can be misunderstood when we carelessly praise those who have very serious theological prob-lems. Similar to this, Paul warns Timothy in 1 Tim 5:22 "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure."

Müntzer the Scapegoat

Calvinists: Bullinger started the myth that Müntzer originated Anabaptism. This slander was never refuted until 1897.

Lutherans: Luther distinguished between the radicals, such as Müntzer, and the moderate Anabaptists. However, other Lutherans perpe-trated Bullinger's lie, and painted all whom they called Anabaptists with the same brush. It was not until Lutheran Heinrich Boehmer work in 1922 that Lutherans stopped believing that the originator of Anabaptism of Müntzer.

Communists: Marx's co-author Frederick Engels specifically pointed to Müntzer as the great proto-Communist leader who led the German peasants' war. Boehmer shredded that myth. Müntzer was from the middle class. He was not a political hero, but an idealist who misled. He only led peasants in a relatively small area for only three days.

Catholics: John Cochlaeus and other Cathol-ics painted Müntzer as the final stage of Lutheranism. Never mind the fact that Luther himself strongly denounced Müntzer: Besides being the devil incarnate, Cochlaeus claimed Luther was a traitor for not sticking by Müntzer. Evan as late as 1965, Catholics still blamed Lutheranism for Müntzer.

Examining Catholic Criticisms

A Catholic criticism of Müntzer in particular and Protestantism in particular is that of "religious subjectivism", or as they put it, "every man is a Pope." One could retort that having only Popes delude us with fables is not much better than lots of people delude us with fables. However, in the case of Müntzer, var-ious cults, and some subjective religious move-ments of today, we should take this criticism seriously. If we all claim to follow the Bible, and we do not accept the more traditional or more modern Catholic interpretations of the Bible as our authority, who is to say that everyone's interpretation of the Bible, no matter how wild, is equally OK? If there is no check on everyone's private interpretation, who is to say that Müntzer would not happen again, with the likes of David Koresh? There are three parts to the answer.

I. Arnold of Brescia (1155)____________________


II. 2 Pet 2:1-3; 3:16, 2 Tim 2:1-4______________


III. Eph 4:3 Heb 10:24-25 1 Cor 12:14-26 _____


Why Would Anyone Follow Müntzer?

Seeing that the authority of the Catholic Church was corrupt and void, one choice was to learn God's word and obey it. A more exciting choice for those who hated authority was to bypass God's word and trust in a leader with great charisma, who promised them blood of their enemies, glory, and overthrow of tyr-anny, and a quick return of Christ. It is allur-ing to follow someone who says the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to them such that scrip-ture is not needed. People look for sincere rel-igious men who are certain about everything.

The Enemy of My Opponent is...

If nothing else, the lack of immediate, uni-versal condemnation of Müntzer by Anabap-tists shows how wrong it is to think that "the enemy of my opponent is my friend". A more fitting saying I have heard is, "Christianity has more to fear from her supposed friends than from her avowed enemies."

Other Lessons We Can Learn

Do not be surprised that the way of truth is often slandered by false teachers. Otherwise, 2 Pet 2:2 would not be true.

When you teach and give examples of faith, love, and perseverance of false teachers, take care that your implicit endorsement does not come back to haunt you. By the way, aren't Mother Theresa, Albert Sweitzer, Rabbi Kushner, and Pope John Paul really great...

Thomas Muntzer Supplemental Material

"I, Thomas Muentzer of Stolberg, confess before all the church and all the world, wherever this letter may be shown, that I, together with Christ and the elect who have known me since childhood, can testify that I have made greater efforts to attain or possess a higher instruction of the invincible and holy Christian faith than any other man."

Some might possibly think Thomas had a slight problem with pride.

At Allstadt, Thomas wanted to eliminate all of the godless. "The godless have no right to live except in so far as they are permitted to do so by the elect."

In 1523, Cochlaeus warned Luther that an uprising would occur, and told him to write something to stop it.

The City of Münster

While Luther stressed obedience to existing authority, and Zwingli and later Calvin tried to set up theocracies on earth, true radical Anabaptists tried their own hand at theocracy. In 2/9/1534, John Matthysz, John of Leiden, and many Dutch Anabaptists took over the city of Münster. After Matthysz died, John pronounced himself "King of New Zion" and became polygamous. Protestant and Catholic armies combined to destroy the city of Münster on 6/25/1535. Whenever people have tried to set up a theocracy on earth, be it Cromwell in England or the Puritans in America, the experiment always seems to turn out as a failure or else be short-lived. I suppose we just cannot get around the fact that our citizenship is in heaven.(Phil 3:20,Heb11:15-16, 1Pet2:11)


For Further Reading



The Reformation

Conrad Grebel

~1498-1526 A.D.

The earliest distinct group of Anabaptists were the Swiss Brethren, and Conrad Grebel was one of the four founders. Among other things, we will see why it is important that we respect the conscience of others.

Conrad was born into a very distinguished family of Zürich with five bothers and sisters. The Grebels were both landholders and mer-chants, and his father was the magistrate of Grüningen, outside of Zurich. As a boy, he grew up in the magistrate's castle, the same castle where he would be imprisoned later.

Conrad's Education

Conrad was a talented student at the school in Basel, leaving in 10/1514, where he was briefly taught by Glarean (Heinrich Loriti 1488-1531), one of the most famous northern humanists after Erasmus The northern (pri-marily Dutch and Swiss) humanists emphasiz-ed high morals and the study of Christianity, though from a man-centered perspective. The southern (Italian and Austrian) humanists, cared little for studying Christianity and had low morals. Glarean was poetic, and well-studied in history, music, and mathematics

Erasmus said of Glarean, "With scholasticism he is familiar but now rejects it. He once pursued the study of theology at length but was driven from it by the fruitlessness of the instruction and the incredible strife among theologians, and began to study Christ from the sources." Erasmus mentioned that Glarean was bellicose towards Sophists, "nevertheless, he is free from conceit and haughtiness."

Nearly all reformers, except for Luther, were humanists at one point in their life. Due to Glarean's plans to go to Italy, Grebel left for Vienna, where he encountered other kinds of humanists.

Vienna was a center of humanism, and the church school Grebel attended had 5,000 students. In Vienna, fighting, prostitution, and drunkenness were everywhere. Many of the students carried knives and even short swords to school, apparently because they needed them. Conrad himself was involved in a knife fight in 1518. Never forget, that learning and knowledge, even head-knowledge of the Bible, in and of themselves do not lead to a godly life.

Conrad was very close to instructor, Vadian (Joachim von Watt of St. Gall 1484-1551), a fellow Swiss and northern humanist. Grebel wrote 57 letters to him. From 1518 to 1520, Grebel went to Paris to study with Vadian.

Vadian as well as Conrad became Zwinglians, and Vadian was a close friend of Zwingli and the Grebel family. However, Vadian debated extensively against Conrad and Conrad's stand against infant baptism.


Conrad and Parental Authority

Conrad's parents were strongly against him marrying his sweetheart, Barbara, probably because she was from a poor family. After a year of engagement, he married her anyway in 2/6/1522 when his father was out of town. His mother wept uncontrollably. Conrad and Barbara had three children. When we make choices, even correct ones, without honoring our parents, the situation can be bad. In Conrad's case, the situation was such that he needed a mediator to negotiate between him and his father for financial support.

The Main Issues of Contention

Erasmus said of Anabaptists, "The Anabap-tists have flooded the Low Countries just as frogs and locusts flooded Egypt, a mad generation, doomed to die." Despite this, Grebel still respected Erasmus.

What were the main points of disagreement. There were a hodge-podge of issues, and what was more important to some was less important to others. Here are some views.

Hans Krüsi (3rd Swiss martyr executed 7/27/1525) "No one should be obligated to pay tithes and the like." "No superior magistrate but God."

Jacob Hottinger "For it is not given to any gov-ernment to dispose over God's word with worldly means of force. Is not after all the Word of God free?(Portraits of Anabapt. p.541)

Vadian wrote to Grebel on 12/28/1524, "The battle is almost altogether about baptism"

Zwingli's saw that Anabaptists were schisma-tics who would divide the church and destroy the order of the Reformation.

Grebel thought the main problem was that Zwingli and other reformers turned from trusting in God to trust in themselves. Phil 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven. In Zürich, and later Geneva, reformers were trying to build a theocracy on earth.

Strong George

Sometimes divisiveness occurs not only by what is said, but how it is said. Jorg Blaurock, nicknamed "strong George" was an Anabaptist ex-priest who called Zwingli a thief and a 'mur-derer', after the German translation of John 10. He had the unusual practice of "storming pulpits." For example in October of 1525, he entered a church as a worshipper, run up to the pulpit during the middle of the sermon and say, "Whose place is this? If this is God's place, where the word of God is proclaimed, I am a messenger from the Father to proclaim the Word of God." He would then take over the service and say what he wanted to say.

The spread of Anabaptism was too slow for Jorg, and by his tactless impatience, he started the path to its persecution and near destruction.

Imagine how Christians would feel if you traveled to a country where the Gospel was suppressed, and you courageously, fearlessly, tactlessly, rudely, and foolishly preached the Gospel too openly. The authorities would have an excuse not only to arrest you, but to arrest many other Christians as well.

Anyway, the authorities in Zürich arrested Blaurock, Felix Mantz, Conrad Grebel, and a number of other Anabaptist leaders.

The Great Escape

A number of Anabaptists, including Anthony Rogganacher, Conrad Grebel, Felix Mantz, Ockenfuss, and Jorg Blaurock were impris-oned in Zürich on 10/8/1525. The Zürich council was not sure what to do with them. Conrad's father Jacob was on the Council and was against the death penalty for Anabaptists. By coincidence, Jacob was Conrad' father. In 3/1526, Someone, either through carelessness or else sympathy, left one of the latches on the shutter to the window undone and also left the drawbridge down one night. All of them escaped except for two who chose to remain.

Some of them were recaught, but Conrad never was. At the age of 28, Conrad died of plague in August 1526.

Grebel's Views

Grebel believe that Christians should never use the sword to fight. Grebel believed that everything that is not specifically mentioned in Scripture, such as all singing in church, is forbidden to us. Col 3:16 says, "...sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." However, Conrad inter-preted "in your hearts" to mean you were not supposed to sing out loud. The error, that everything not specifically mentioned in scrip-ture is forbidden, is briefly answered in Col 3:17, was also held by Mennonites and Amish. When Grebel endorsed Müntzer before really understanding him, his poor judgment had awful future consequences for Anabaptists.

The Contribution of Anabaptism

Most Anabaptists believed three teachings other churches could not tolerate: believer's baptism, separation of church and state, and free-will. These three views were united by a common thread: a belief in conscience and the freedom to make choices.

While God is the one who provided salvation, we bear the responsibility if we choose to reject it, and we have a responsibility to respond to God's offer. This concept was incompatible with the views of many Calvinists.

As God does not always coerce people, neither should the state. We, and not the state, ultimately bear the responsibilities for our choices about God. The state and other authorities should not coerce people to follow God. This is the exact opposite of the argument of Augustine, that since God sends people to Hell, the state and church have the right to torture for heresy.

Believer's baptism is a sign that the believer has made a choice for Christ. Many who hold to believer's baptism believe the baptized baby automatically becomes and remains a part of God's family unless he or she chooses to leave.

Does Scripture affirm, deny, or remain silent about a person's conscience and freedom to choose? Rom 14, 2:15, 1 Cor 8:7-12, and 1 Cor 10:25-29 are verses demonstrating the importance of the concept of conscience. For our choices, an often-quoted verse, Joshua 24:15, "choose this day whom you will serve..." However, this only lists the two choices of previous idols or Amorite gods. What verses show we are able to choose to follow God?

Conrad Grebel Supplemental Material

Both Zwinglin and Grebel against singing in the church. Grebel said not to because :1 there is no example or teaching in the NT

2) It does not edity

3) Paul forbids singing (Eph 5, Col 3)

4. What Sripture does not positively teach and command is forbidden

5. Christ requires only the preaching of the Word

6. Human beings may noty add to the Word

7. Singing is not justified as a means to eliminate the Mass

8 & 9 It was not ordained of God and must therefore be rooted out by the word and command of Christ.

1525-1527 Zwinglin banned organ music and singing

The Reformation

Andreas Karlstadt

1480-1541 A.D.

A papal Bull issued in 10/1520 threatened excommunication of two men by name: Martin Luther and Andreas Karlstadt. We have studied about Luther, but today we will learn about Luther's teacher, his one-time ally, his bitter opponent, someone who Luther assisted, and Luther's opponent again. We will look at a complex man who at various times could be called a Lutheran, or a Calvinist, but is classified as an Anabaptist.

Karlstadt's Early Life

Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt (or Carlstadt) was born in Karlstadt, Bavaria. He studied in Erfut (1499-1503), and taught in Cologne, and Wittenberg; he was one of Martin Luther's professors and was on the committee that gave Luther his doctoral degree. Karlstadt was greatly influenced by Augustine when he purchased his works in 1517.

Karlstadt was no stranger to debate. Prior to Luther's 95 theses, Karlstadt posted a debate challenge of 151 theses in support of Luther. In 1518, Karlstadt wrote a set of theses for Luther and against John Eck. In 1519 there was a public debate between Karlstadt and Luther versus Eck. There was disagreement was to who would be the primary debater against Eck, and this may have been the start of the animosity between the two reformers.

Karlstadt, a former cleric, on 1/19/1522 took the bold step of marriage, to a fifteen year old girl. Karlstadt wrote approvingly of Philip of Hesse's polygamous marriage to two women. Rulers did not usually do that; instead, many rulers had affairs on the side.

When Luther was in hiding in 1521-1522, two leaders of the Wittenberg church were Philip Melanchthon and Karlstadt. Karlstadt instituted a numbers of reforms. One person fainted when he was given the communion wafer instead of having it placed in his mouth. When Luther returned to Wittenberg, he undid Karlstadt's reforms. What were the differences between the two men?

Doctrinal Differences

Karlstadt's beliefs were the same as Luther's except for the following: Karlstadt did not believe in oral confession, believed all status should be take out of churches immediately, had a higher regard for the book of James, believed in infant baptism, and later believed like most Protestants, that the bread and wine were representative of Christ versus Luther's view of consubstantiation.

Karlstadt also taught differently from Luther on Original sin. Like later Dutch Baptists (Pater p.267-268), Karlstadt taught that the effects of Adam's sin are still with us, but that Adam's sin is not imputed to us. (Pater p.110)

The Falling Out

Many times when people disagree there are stated reasons, but some key reasons can be unspoken. While both men referred to doctrin-al reasons, there was a more fundamental dif-ference: radicalness of reform. They agreed that images should not be venerated, and that lay people should receive both the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper and not just the bread. However, Karlstadt wanted these chan-ges immediately. Luther sensed that imperfect-ly taught people were not ready for this yet, and wanted a slower pace for reform. Thus Karlstadt was a "radical" not only because of infant baptism, but because he wanted more rapid and radical reform than Luther.

Karlstadt began to teach believer's baptism around 1523. He was still concerned about children though, for citing Elisha's tormenters and Eli's sons, he said that parents who fail to instruct their children in Christianity are Christians ' just as Judas was an apostle.

Karlstadt vs. Luther

After Luther publicly derided Karlstadt, Karlstadt left for Orlamünde and started his own reforms. In 1524 he wrote a diatribe attacking Luther's view of the Lord's Supper.

In 1525 Luther replied, writing that "Doctor Andreas Karlstadt has deserted us, and on top of that has become our worst enemy." Luther said he approached the task of destroying images by tearing them out of men's hearts first, and that Karlstadt was unfair to call him a "protector of images" since Luther was slower since he was orderly and did not have a factious, violent, and fanatical spirit. Luther then goes on to unfairly compare Karlstadt with the violent radical, Thomas Müntzer.

What do you think about tolerating images in a church? There are four "kinds" of verses Protestants can use that relate to this issue.

Π2 Cor 11:2-4; Col 2:18

 Rom 14:1-16

Ž Ex37:7-9; 1 Ki 7:25-44; Nu 21:8-9; Jn 3:14

 Ex 32:19-31; 2Ki 18:3-4

Karlstadt himself believed in proper, not illicit, honoring of saints. However, "all reputed Christians who love the saints as if they were gods, call on them and vow to them, commit adultery with their gods."


Luther Helps Karlstadt Out

Luther wrote to Frederick asking that Karl-stadt be removed as pastor. Frederick went farther than that, banishing him from Saxony. Karlstadt suffered greatly from that, and wrote to Luther asking him to intercede with Fred-erick to allow him to return. Luther forgave the past and did so, and Karlstadt returned to Wittenberg, on the condition that he recant his views on the mass and did not teach.

Karlstadt's Later Life

Karlstadt saw no future there. He was asked to write against Zwingli and others in Swit-zerland but refused to do so. In 3/1529 He left for Holstein to be with Melchior Hoffman, but the situation was dangerous after Luther wrote to Chancellor Brück that Karlstadt should be imprisoned for life. Hoffman broke with Karlstadt, and Karlstadt went to Calvinist Switzerland, where on Bullinger's recommen-dation he was appointed to minister in Basel.

In 1536, he went to Strobergh to moderate a compromise between Lutherans and Calvin-ists, but the compromise did not come about. He died peacefully in Basel, on 12/24/1541.

The Bible versus Theology

Karlstadt, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Anabap-tists, and other reformers were united in their cry of "Sola Scriptura". This does not mean we should go by scripture, rather, it means we should go by scripture alone, as opposed to using often contradictory church tradition.

But what happens if your theology and scripture do not agree? You can re-interpret scripture, or you can change your theology. While the two are not reconciled, you have to decide which is higher: theology or scripture. Luther felt free to add some non-Biblical teachings that were a part of Catholic tradition as long as they did not violate the teachings of scripture. Anabaptists, including Karlstadt did not. Some Anabaptists, such as the Amish and Hutterites would not allow anything that was not in scripture, even if it be modern technology. A practical approach is that extra-Biblical opinions that do not contradict scrip-ture are OK, as long as everyone remembers they are mere opinions.

Karlstadt viewed Scripture every bit as im-portant as Luther and the other Reformers (perhaps higher), but he also warned against bibliolatry, of which he used to be guilty.

"I imagined that I was a Christian when I clove profound and beautiful sayings out of Jeremiah and saved them for disputations ... and writings. But when I came to my right senses, I found that I neither knew God, nor did I love the highest Good as Goodness. I saw that I trusted, loved, and de-pended upon the created letter, and the same was my god, but I did not perceive what God had spoken through Jeremiah: 'Those who keep my law do not know me,' and they have not asked for me [Jer 2:9]. Behold, how one can enact and keep God's law and still neither know God nor acknowl-edge him. One knows the letter or sets one's desires upon it, but one does not know God when one's love and desire are founded upon the letter. For, those who are sons of God are driven by God; not the letter."

While the basis of our faith is not Popes or church tradition, the basis of our faith should not be the Bible either, though in its original manuscripts it is the inerrant word of God. Rather, the basis of our faith should be God. We are to trust, obey, and even love God's word as Ps 119 shows, but there is a problem if we trust it apart from God. We should not trust in what we can contrive Scriptural words to say; rather we should ask what it is God means to say. The Bible was written for all be-lievers to understand, not just the erudite few. If we have any "Bible interpretation" that God was unwilling, unable, or unsuccessful at communicating to any believer for over a thousand years, then we have to choose between our theology and the plain meaning God sovereignly chose to communicate.


The Pace of Change

We should never be impediments to God's changing peoples lives, but sometimes we can be too impatient with the pace at which God changes his elect. When it seems hard to tolerate fellow believers, with their flaws and errors, remember, Rom 15:7 "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."


Karlstadt believed you should never try to spread the gospel by force "sticks and whips do not convert." It is OK to defend youself, and it can be compassion to challenge unjust rules. However, even those who are presecuted never have the right to presecute others. Heretics can be exiled and their goods confiscated, but they should never be killed." Magistrates do have the right of the word, though.



The Mirror

We can look in a mirror and see our physical reflection (pimples and all), but do you ever wish to possess a spiritual mirror, to take stock of your spiritual growth? You already have one. James 1:23-25 talks of the perfect law of liberty as a mirror.

One of a number of ways of looking at this mirror is to ask yourself honestly, is there a part of the Bible I do not like as much as other parts? Is there a part I do not see the purpose for, or I wish was not there? Some of the reformers spoke about certain books of the Bible, and we can learn from the comments more about their own shortcomings than about the Bible.

In 1520 Karlstadt began preaching a series on the Book of James. It was as Karlstadt was preaching on James that Martin Luther decided to ridicule teaching out of James and downplaying the book. Martin Luther did not reject James as scripture; he included it at the very end. He said that compared to Paul's writings, it is an epistle of straw.

Luther's theology was basically correct about our righteousness coming from God, but he went farther than most evangelicals today would be comfortable with. He compared us with Christ as snow-covered dung. By nature it is ugly, but Christ covers us. He left out the fact that Christ is performing a work to sanctify us. Luther said, "sin boldly, but believe in God more boldly still." Luther was not a worldly antinomian, but some of his sayings and theology could encourage such error. It is easy to see why Luther was critical of James, because this book of the word of God was critical of the excesses of Luther's theology.

Both Erasmus and Zwingli, did not care for the book of Revelation. Erasmus emphasized the ethical nature of Christianity, saying little about Christian devotion or hope for Christ's return. Zwingli's rational mind had little room for future symbols that did not affect our core theology and ethics, so he left Revelation out of the Bible.

In 1520 Karlstadt derided the Mosaic auth-orship of the first five books of the Bible. While a scribe could have written the words down, Jesus mentions them as the books of Moses. Perhaps in Karlstadt's struggle with others over infant baptism, the state, images, and other controversies, he did not appreciate the Pentateuch as much as Calvinists and other Christians.

In our day of positive (only) thinking, it does not seem so popular, to study the warnings of the Old Testament. While many churches do study Revelation diligently, others, in the interest of avoiding controversy, ignore this part of God's word and the blessing given in Rev 1:3 and 22:7. At one liberal church, a couple of Sunday School teachers were kicked out for choosing to teach out of Revelation. Are there parts of the Bible you would rather avoid studying. If so, then you have been "blessed" with the opportunity to see you shortcomings in your spiritual life and ways you can significantly grow.


The Reformation

Menno Simons

1/1495/6-1/31/1561 A.D.

Menno was born around January of 1496 in Witmarsum in the Netherlands. At that time in the Netherlands many people did not have last names, and Simon was apparently his father's name. He was a Catholic priest from 1524 to 1/30/1536. As a priest, he had never actually read the Bible: "Lo, such a stupid preacher was I!" as he put it. He decided to read the New Testament, but he had not gone far before he said of his training, "we were deceived."

From 1525 on, Menno did not believe the bread and wine really turn into Christ's body and blood, but he continued to practice the Mass anyway. In 1531 Menno heard of a man was killed because he was baptized as a believer. In 1535 Menno's brother was killed as part of a cultish movement, and Menno felt shame. Here his brother died for his erroneous convictions, and Menno did not have the guts to stand up for what was true.

In 1536 Menno courageously resigned being a Catholic priest, married, and started his own group. After much prayer by the Obbenites, on 1/1537 Menno was anointed by Obbe Philips as a leader of the Obbenites. Before we go on, we need to learn more about Anabaptists.

Dutch and North German Anabaptists

The German ex-Lutheran preacher Melchior Hoffman did much to spread Anabaptism in Germany, Denmark, and Holland. Among his later followers were Jan Volkets and later Jan Matthijs, who died in the Münster movement. Jan Matthijs had apostles who baptized two brothers, Obbe and Dirk Philips. The Dutch Anabaptists developed their ideas independent of the Swiss Anabaptists, but later found out about the Swiss Brethren. The two groups believed the same except for two things: the Dutch group placed great emphasis on the books of Daniel and Revelation, and Hoffman's teaching on the celestial body of Christ.

Menno was ordained by Obbe Philips as one of their new leaders. Obbe, perhaps because of the persecution of Anabaptists, left the move-ment in 1540 and lived out his days quietly in Rostock in Germany. Because he left the work, Menno accused Obbe of being a Demas.

Early Obbenite (Mennonite) Doctrine

Menno wrote 25 works. In them he taught there was no authority outside of the Bible, and no church hierarchy. Menno denied the legitimacy of civil rule, though it was our duty to obey the civil authorities. He believed in believer's baptism, and his followers were pacifists who abstained from military and government service. Taking oaths and taking of life were forbidden. They were uncomfor-table with Luther's teaching on faith, stressing that faith without works is no faith. They believed in original sin as the Adamic curse.

They practiced baptism and Lord's supper, and understood them as symbols only. A third prominent ordinance is foot-washing.

Menno did not use the term Trinity since the word was not found in scripture. However he believed in the Trinity, as shown by his 8 page tract, The Triune God. When an Anabaptist leader, Adam Pastor, denied Jesus' divinity in 1547, Menno and Dirk first talked with him, and then excommunicated him.

Melchior Hoffman set a date for Christ's return, but the Obbenites rejected this. Hoff-man and the Obbenites, in trying to explain Jesus being born without a sinful nature, believed Christ was fully human, but with a "celestial body" that was in Mary but not of Mary. They were accused of denying Christ's humanity, but as Dirk Philips stated, "He who does not confess the eternal Godhead and true humanity of Jesus Christ is an antichrist."

Obbenites believed that believers who did not repent of sin should be shunned, and that if a spouse committed adultery and did not repent, the marriage was broken and the other spouse was free to remarry.

According to Gerrish (p.206-207) Menno stressed scripture alone, saving faith, volun-tarism, obedience of faith, grace alone, all believers are true saints, the importance of being like the early church, and downplayed ceremonies. Voluntarism is something we take for granted today, but it was a concept absent from the Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist churches at that time. Voluntarism says that the people who are a part of the church are those who freely choose to be a part of it. You cannot be automatically born or baptized into it without your consent, you cannot be forced into it by the sword, but you must choose by your conscience. We can measure the pro-foundness of this thought by the profound per-secution by Christians who failed to see this.

Menno's Later Life

The four main leaders of the Dutch Anabaptists were Dirk Philips, Menno Simons, Gillis of Aachan (beheaded in 1557), and Leenaert Bouwus. Menno lived in Holland until 1543. In 1539 Tjaert Reynerdson was tortured on the wheel because he had taken Menno into his house. In 1542 Charles V issued an edit against Menno because he was "endeavoring at night and other unseasonable times ... to seduce by his false teachings and sermons the simple people, our subjects."

From 1543 to 1536 Menno lived in East Friesland and Cologne, where the Catholic Archbishop Herman was very tolerant toward Anabaptists. From 1546 to 1561, he spent most of his time in Holstein, then in Denmark.

The Wismar Boat

In 1553-1554 Menno lived in the Wismar, a port in Germany. At that time a boatload of Calvinist refugees arrived fleeing from Bloody Mary in England. Rather, they almost arrived, for the boat got stuck in ice just outside of Wismar. The Lutheran town, knowing they were Calvinists who disagreed on baptism and the Lord's supper refused their plea for help. Menno and his followers, knowing that Calvinists tried to extinguish the Swiss Anabaptists, went out an helped them anyway.

There is something very shameful about Lutheran Wismar here. We can learn that theology can be a terrible thing, if it takes precedence over Christ's commands to love our neighbor. Theology, even if it were correct theology, can be horrible if it becomes a god.

Menno requested the privilege of being able to debate the Calvinist pastor about theology. Now a public debate between Calvinists and Anabaptists would be laughable to be allowed in a Lutheran city, but two private debates were peacefully held. Another Calvinist was called in for reinforcement, and the Calvinists kept returning to the Mennonite doctrine of the celestial body of Christ, which does not have Biblical support.

Mennonite Doctrine Today

Mennonites do not emphasize a theology as much as following the Bible, only the Bible, and nothing but the Bible. Primarily because of the differences in practice, the 200K Men-nonites are split into 16 different groups, the largest having 67K people. Here are examples of Mennonite rules to help follow the Bible.

Semi-nudity is forbidden, along with men's beards and mustaches. Neckties are discour-aged, and life insurance is bad. Musical in-struments are banned from worship, marriag-es, and funerals. TV is banned and radio is banned by some, though some have Gospel radio programs. Mennonites should not vote, participate in war, join labor unions or join patriotic organizations such as the Boy Scouts. Unlike Church of Christ, Mennonites let a Christian from another denomination can join without being rebaptized. They baptized by pouring. Mennonites should not support or join with revivals or other Christian groups that do not teach separation from the world and pacifism, though I did see a Mennonite table at an Urbana Conference. They believe it is important to follow the Bible without adding anything to it.

Short History of the Mennonites

The Mennonite Anabaptists were instrumental in the formation of beliefs of Bap-tist churches. English non-conformists such as John Smyth in 1609 fled England under Bloody Mary for Holland. These Calvinists interacted with Mennonites and became Cal-vinists who believed in believer's baptism and were called Baptists. Around 1633, they split into Calvinistic "particular Baptists" who said that Christ only died for some, and "general Baptists" who said that Christ died for all.

The Mennonites were almost eliminated from Europe except for a few in Switzerland and Hungary. After a while they were no longer killed; from 1753 on they were used as galley slaves in the Venetian and French ships. Persecution and discrimination of Mennonites was not lifted in Switzerland until 1810.

The first Dutch Mennonites came to America in 1644, and many more came to Pennsylvania starting with 1683. The Amish consider them-selves the "Orthodox branch of the Swiss Brethren" and split from the Mennonites be-cause the Mennonites use modern machines. Hutterites differ from both in that Hutterites hold all material goods in common. Today there are a couple hundred thousand Men-nonites, Amish, and Hutterites in the world.

The story of the Mennonites shows how God used a body of godly, but not perfect people to preach His word. When groups of good Christians choose to isolate themselves from other true Christians as well as from the world, their strange beliefs and lack of unity can make them almost irrelevant. How relevant are you to God's work on earth?

Menno Simons Supplemental Material

My 2 year old wants to have to her socks and shooes on, and she insists that I have socks on, too. I cannot explain to her, "why can't everyone choose themselves whether or not to wear socks?"

Of Tjaert Reynerdson. Jesus said that whoever helps one of his children will get a reward. Thank goodness this life is so insignificant compared to the next, because look at the reward Tjaert got in this life.

Charles V

It is interesting how shallow an excuse can be and still be acceptable to people. While there is no evidence that Menno did a lot of teaching at night, and it did not matter if he did, who did teach a Pharisee at night?

What other words are not in the Bible?

Pacifism, Triune, Rapture, Believer's baptism, infant baptism, sanctification (noun) justification (noun)

Menno called the Munsterites a "perverted sect"

"We live with Christ in the heavenly throne, or die with the devil in the depths of hell"

50% of the ex-Mennonites left because of restrictions on behavior and thought. 14% due to marriage, 9% moved away, and 7% spiritual hunger.

no wedding rings, no life insurance, no labor unions, no lawsuits (arbitration OK) no secret societies. No feasting or pleasure seeking on Sunday.

Expelled for three reasons: flagrant sin, willful disobedience, missed communion 3 times or for 3 years. Counseling first.


2,173 Hutterites died for their faith

Mennonites and the Jews

Mennonites differ on the importance of sharing the gospel with the Jews. Some think that it is as important to share with Jews as with others, and other Mennonites think it is more important to share with Jews. As Paul would preach the message to the Jews first, they want to do the same. During World War II the Mennonites sent letters of condolences to thousands of Jews, and attached were evangelistic tracts.



"This is my only joy and heart's desire; to extend the kingdom of God, reveal the truth, reprove sin, teach righteousness, feed hungry souls with the Word of the Lord, lead the straying sheep into the right path, and gain many souls to the Lord through His Spirit, power, and grace. So would I carry on in my weakness as He has taught me, Who has purchased me, a miserable sinner, with His crimson blood, and has given me this mind by the Gospel of His grace, namely Jesus Christ." (Complete Writings of Menno Simons p.189)


The Reformation

Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits

1491- 7/31/1556 A.D.

Today we will look at one of the greatest heroes of the Reformation - from the Catholic perspective. Ignatius founded the Jesuits, and he was declared a saint in 1622, a silver statue was put atop his tomb, poems have been written to him, and Congresses have convened to discuss his work Spiritual Exercises. Very few people have matched Ignatius' zeal, discipline, or great cruelty.

Iñigo López de Loyola was born into a noble Basque family in Azpeitia, Spain, in militant times. The Moors' 800 year rule of Spain was only decisively ended at the battle of Granada in 1492. At that time, this seemed much more important than the discovery of America. He was the youngest of 13 children, and his mother died soon after birth.

He was raised to be chivalrous knight, loyal, and a staunch Catholic, though not very reli-gious. Loyola was known as a person not to be trifled with. He was involved in gambling, sex, and sword duels. There is little in his early life to suggest his later religious zeal and devotion, except for his loyalty and chivalry.

In 1517 he entered the military. On 5/20/ 1521, Ignatius was wounded, almost mortally, by a cannon ball in his legs while 1,000 Spanish soldiers were defending the citadel of Pamplona against 12,000 French. Loyola was a cripple for the rest of his life. The French kindly took him back to Loyola castle, where he slowly recovered. He had several painful and botched operations, and in his pain and depression he had a religious conversion. He came to feel he must imitate the lives of the saints. He was often depressed, and noticed that ponder-ing worldly things gave him pleasure that turned to depression, while pondering religious things cheered him up.

After Ignatius recovered, in 3/24-25/1522, he decided to clothe himself with Christ and dedicate himself to the Virgin Mary at Mont-serrat, during the Feast of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. For almost a year, from 3/25/1522 to 2/1523 he lived an ascetic life alone in a cave. His excessive fasting and penance brought him close to death. After this he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When he returned to Spain, his dress and gathering disciples around him caused the Inquisition to arrest him, but then let him go. He was arrested a total of five times by the Inquisition.

Loyola was in France in 1534-1535 when in 10/1534 Protestant tracts appeared criticizing the Catholic Mass. In November some Protes-tants were arrested and burned at the stake after either their tongues were pierced or their hands were cut off. In 1535 laws were passed saying whoever tried to hide a Lutheran will share his fate, and whoever turned in a Lutheran will receive a reward. Loyola would later lobby for extremely harsh laws against heretics.

Around 1539 his group considered starting a religious order, and in 9/27/1540 Pope Paul II issued the papal Bull starting the Society of Jesus, also called the Jesuits.

Loyola's friend and fellow Jesuit Francis Xa-vier took Catholic teaching to the East Indies, Japan and China. In 9/1534, as penance for participating in athletic games earlier in his life, Xavier had his arms and legs bound so tightly, that gangrene started to set in and he was in danger of losing his arm. These people led by example as well as by words and the force of the inquisition. In contrast, Jesus aid his yoke was easy and burden light. People have to choose which example to follow.

Loyola's Spiritual Exercises

Loyola's major work is his Spiritual Exercis-es. It grew out of his own practices, which included spending 7 hours a day on his knees in prayer. His work does not focus on either theology or ethics, but on spiritual renewal and discipline. Here are some thoughts from it.

"Let us keep a daily count of our sins by marks on lines that represent the days, and let us strive each day to reduce the marks. Kneeling in our darkened room or cell, let us picture hell to ourselves as vividly as we can;" (Durant p.909)

Imaging was important in Loyola's teaching. "Imagine Christ our Lord present before you upon the cross, and begin to speak with him, asking how it is that though He is the Creator, He has stooped to become man, and to pass from eternal life to death here in time, that thus He might die for our sins. I shall also reflect on myself and ask: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ? As I behold Christ in this plight, nailed to the cross, I shall ponder upon what presents itself to my mind. (p.28)

"If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black, if the hierarchical Church so defines.... For it is by the same Spirit and Lord who gave the Ten Commandments that our Holy Mother the church is ruled and governed." p.160

The hierarchical Church, our holy mother is the supreme criteria for discernment of spirits. (p.170)

Loyola's Visions

Loyola had a great number of visions, some-times seeing the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, or sometimes all three together. In one of his first visions in 1522/23. His autobio-graphy said that "it often happened that on a bright day he could see something in the air near him; because it was indeed very beauti-ful, it gave him great comfort. He could not discern very well the kind of thing it was, but in a way it seemed to him to have the form of a serpent with many things that shone like eyes, though they were not eyes."

Also in 1523, "while he was hearing mass in the church... at the elevation of the Body of the Lord, he saw with interior eyes something like white rays coming from above. Although he cannot explain this very well after so long a time, nevertheless what he saw clearly with his understanding was how Jesus Christ our Lord was there in that most holy sacrament."

Ignatius also claimed to have seen Christ, as a white body without distinct members 20 or 40 times. He also saw the Virgin Mary in a similar form many times.

For Jesuits, one of the most significant vis-ions is called La Storta. In this vision later in his life, Ignatius learned that "God the Father had indeed placed Ignatius with His Son", i.e. Ignatius would be saved after all.

With all of his visions, there are only three possible conclusions. 1) By Ignatius' life, zeal, visions, and alleged miracles of those who came to his shrine, the Catholic position made him a saint. 2) The Catholic church made a saint out of someone who had demonic visions. The non-Catholic Christians who were burned at the stake for their faith would view him as a demon incarnate. Loyola's ungodly cruelty, physically self-destructive practices to please his god, and total lack of understanding of God's grace imply this conclusion. 3) A third conclusion, on which a massive book has been written, is that Loyola's fanatic practices in his exercises gave him pathological mental problems. A basic difference between most Catholics and Protestants is whether Loyola is a "saint" and a good example for us to follow, or an evil example of those who kill Christians.

The Catholic Counter-Stroke

"[Paul III] took many other measures to stem the tide of heresy and disruption and to restore and revivify religious life. In all these events Ignatius and the Jesuits were to play an outstanding part and were to become perhaps the most important agents of Catholic revival in this troubled age." (The Autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola p.9 in Intro by John C. Pliz.

The Jesuits became the main forces behind the Inquisition. They worked untiringly to win the hearts and bodies of people back to the Catholic faith. By their austere life, many regained the lost respect of the Catholic church, especially in France and Southern Germany. Those who did not certainly respected the torturous methods they used.

The harshness of Loyola's measures were beyond even the normal standards of these cruel times. The Inquisition existed before Ignatius, and it was active in Spain about 50 years before it was active in the rest of Europe. Ignatius appealed to the Pope to re-institute it for Europe. The Inquisition had an ?Index of Prohibited Books in 1547, and a second list in 1551. The 1551 list included Erasmus' works, one of Saint Theresa's works, and the New Testament in the common language. As the Inquisition put it, "The reading of scriptures was an inexhaustible source of heresy." (Bataillon 1950 p.715-725).

The Jesuits

The Jesuits were started by Loyola and eight other men. By 1556 there were 938 Jesuits, and an equal number of others. By 1574 there were 4,000, and 8,000 in 1600.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "In 1550, Protestantism seemed on the verge of a sweeping triumph in Poland, Hungary, Aus-tria, Belgium, Bavaria, and the Rhineland. That these sections of Europe, fifty years later, were finally and overwhelmingly Catholic was due largely to the Jesuits."

If we only had to dedication to spread Christ's love that Loyola and the Jesuits had to spread their faith and their Inquisition.

Two reasons for the spread of Protestantism were the truth that it taught, and in comparison the laxity and hypocrisy of most Catholic priests. Show a map of Europe. Most of Europe: the Balkans, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Bavaria, France, and parts of Italy had the possibility of turning Protestant. This was effectively thwarted by what is often called the Catholic Counter-Reformation. There were two key reasons the spread of Protestantism was stopped: the Inquisition, and the Jesuits. The Jesuits were in general extremely dedeicated men who restored Catholic's confidence in Catholicism.

Imagine what it would have been like if the Pope became a Protestant. That did not happen, but the highest position in the orthodox church was held by a Calvinist who sought to make the Orthodox church Calvinistic. Simon Lucar studied in Geneva, became the patriarch of Antioch, and later the Patriarch of Constantinople, the highest position in the Orthodox church. He was banished a number of times, mostly at the insistence of Jesuits. Since most of southeastern Europe was under the Turks, the Turkish Sultan finally had him killed for allegedly sitrring up the Cossacks. After his death, the Orthodox Church convened the Council of Jerusalem, in which they recognized Protestant teaching and rejected it.




The Pope did not abolished the use of torture until 1816.

Loyola's key view was "There is only one idea - to work with Christ for the salvation of souls."


"What if I should do what St. Francis did, what St. Dominic did?"

On his way to Montserrat on a mule, he encountered a Moor on a mule, and they started talking. As they were conversing about the Virgin Mary, the Moor said he believed that Mary was a virgin when she concieved Jesus, but that she was not a virgin after his birth. After they left, Loyola prayed to God to guide his mule. If the mule went by the highway he would go that way. If the mule went on the road tothe village, he would go there and seek the Moor out and kill him for daring to insult the Virgin Mary. The mule went by the highway.

He and a relative were accused of murder, but in their defense they claimed immunity as members of the clergy, though it was proble-matic that Ignatius was a member at this time.

This was a part of the first phase of the war between Francis I or France and Charles V of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire.

Pope Paul III said the purpose of the Jesuits was "for the advancement of souls in Christian life and doctrine, and for the propagation of the faith. Pope Julius III (the Warring Pope) on 7/21/1550 added to that "for the defense of the faith."

God, Church, and obedience are the measure of all ethical laws.

The Huguenots -1562 plundered Bonaventure's grave

1562 @Toulouse French kill Huguenots 4

1562 Protestants pillage abbey at Tours, France

1570 French Huguenot pirates kill 39 Jesuits enroute to Brazil

1576-1593 @France Catholics & Huguenots fight

Life consisted of a struggle between two sides: Christ and Satan, and each strove to attract all men to their standard.

named himself Ignatius because like Ignatius of Antioch

Autobiography written down by Luis Goncalves da Camara. Tells of life from1521-1538.

Poema en honor de San Ignacio de Loyola, fundador de la Compania de Jesus written in 1760

Congress on Saint Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises.

1540 Papal Bull establishing Jesuits: Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae.

By 1753, over 120,000 North American Indians were associated with Jesuit missions. By 1582, due to Francis Xaxioer's work, there were 200,000 Catholics in Japan. By 1612, when great persecution started, there were 1.8 million Catholics in Japan.

In China under Father Matteo Ricci, the Jesuits had some success; they permitted continued worship of ancestors. In India they also had success, they permitted the caste system and ancestor worship. This work was cut short by Catholic censure of these compromises.

They were scattered from Brazil to India, and Ethiopia to Germany. By 1574, there were 4,088 Jesuits and by 1600 there were 8,272 Jesuits. The Order was suppressed starting in 1759, but in 1935 it had 10,799 Jesuit priests.


See J. Broderick, S.J. Saint Peter Canisius New York 1935 p.211-214.

Robert E. McNally, S.J. in B.A. Gerrish, Reformers in Profile Fortress Press 1967.

The Reformation

An Inquisition Trial

~ 1560 A.D.


In 1560 two English Protestants and one French Protestant were burned to death in Spain in defiance of international law. This sheet has rough scripts to enact an Inquisition trial.

Law has not always been practiced identical-ly to the way it is in our country today. In this mock trial, the accused has nothing to worry about. He or she will be given all the fairness and mercy the Inquisition provides to people. As this trial unfolds, we will see if the defender can find a way out.




First try to get the trial moved to Venice, because in Venice the Inquisitors do not get any percentage of the confiscated property.

Try to find out all of the charges so that they cannot bring up other charges at the end.

For prosecution witnesses, ask them in the name of truth if they really saw with their own eyes what they say.

Some arguments you might use

1. Many Spaniards are resentful of the Inquisition. Also, many Spaniards resent the influence of the Papacy in Spain.

2. The inquisitors pay no taxes on confiscated property, and are not accountable for what is confiscated.

3. In 1312, at the Council of Venice, excessive torture was forbidden. (However, excessive was not defined.)

4. You might question the legality of these proceedings.

5. You know, in 1279 the people of Parma revolted and killed the Inquisitors because they were too severe.

6. The Pope himself is very concerned about the Inquisition, as too many people die in custody before they are actually pronounced guilty.

7. The Inquisition's verdicts should be just, and you should not copy unjust verdicts. For example, in 1309 the entire population of Venice was guilty of heresy because they opposed the election of Clement V as Pope. The entire Colonna family was declared to be heretics because they opposed the Gaetani family.

8. Ignatius Loyola was accused before the Inquisition five times of being an "Illuminati" that is, seeking inner light and rejecting formal religion. However, he was innocent, the each of the five times the Inquisition let him go. They never did anything to him except put him in a prison for half a month with only bread and water.

9. The only reason they charge the accused is because of the spies. Former Jew and Moor families had to provide spies to the Inquisition so that the families would not be accused by the Inquisition.

10. If the prosecution mentions Pope Paul III, you might mention it is a known fact that he was very likely suffering from insanity due to syphilis.

11. The Bible he was reading was translated into Spanish by the virtuous priest, Ximenes. At the time it was translated, the Pope had no objection to it.

Lucinda is a character witness you have for the accused. She is known to be an honest, virtuous woman.

Lucinda: an Honest Woman

You testify in support of the accused as to his flawless character and godly life. You also never saw him reading the Bible at all. You can add whatever you wish.

The Accused

You do not have much to say, as you have been without sleep for four days and have been tortured. However, you admit to reading the New Testament as the Catholic monk Ximenes translated it into Spanish.

Prosecutor (and Judge)

The trial judge and prosecutor are one and the same. You know the accused has read the New Testament in Spanish, but you do not need to reveal that this is the only charge. Perhaps you can find more things to charge the accused.

Rules of Law:

You are not obliged to reveal these rules. Do not reveal these unless challenged on the legality of a point.

1. People can be tortured for heresy according to Innocent IV's papal bull in 1252.

2. The Inquisition is valid in general, because it was instituted by Pope Gregory IX in 1233.

3. The Inquisition is a valid in Spain because it was established by Ferdinand and Isabella (the same ones who sent off Columbus) in 1480.

4. The accused to do need to know who their accusers are.

5. Women, slaves, and children cannot testify in defense of the accused. They can testify for the prosecution, though.

6. Even girls as young as 10 can testify for the prosecution.

7. If a witness is caught lying, they can be fined and punished. However, the testimony can still be used.

8. The accused are guilty until proven innocent. If they are not proved innocent... then they are guilty.

9. The accused can be tortured. Witnesses can be tortured too.

10. People can be guilty and killed not only for actions, but also for their thoughts and for their tendencies.

11. Almost nobody is completely acquitted.

12. The guilty, if they completely recant at the end, can be given life imprisonment instead of death.

13. Most punishments can be avoided by paying the appropriate fine into the Inquisitor's pocket.


Strategy: Try to confiscate everything you can, because, in general, the Inquisitors get a share of the spoils.

If they question these proceedings, you might mention Rule of Law #1 and the following:

"Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him." Catholic: Pope Paul III. (Paul was likely suffering from insanity due to syphilis, though)

You can mention and have the soldiers perform some of the tortures.

Prison with only bread and water

Putting a spike in the person's tongue.

Cutting off arms and legs.

Stretching a person's body on a rack.

Sleep, food, and water deprivation

You do not have to tell the charge until later in the proceeding. The charge is reading the New Testament in Spanish.

The 1551 index of forbidden books includes the New Testament in the common language. As the Inquisition says "The reading of scriptures was an inexhaustible source of heresy." [Bataillon 1950 p.715-725]

Don't forget at the end, if someone defends the accused, then they are guilty of heresy, too.


Esmeralda: a Ten-year Old Girl

You are to say you saw the accused practicing witchcraft.

If you are asked if you really saw this with your own eyes, you must confess that you did not really say that. Do not say this unless you are asked, though.

You are still certain the charge is true though, because that is what the priest told you to say. If you do not cooperate, the Inquisition might suspect your family is heretical, too.

The Reformation

Philip Melanchthon

2/16/1497-1560 A.D.

Who Is This Guy?

When he was only 21, he was hired as the Greek Professor at Wittenberg, though it was known Martin Luther and other professors preferred another man. He stuttered and by his own account, was always a poor speaker. His students found his lectures boring. Then he gave the annual inaugural address.

His speech was a great success. Within three years enrollment at the University doubled because students wanted to learn from him. His Greek and Latin were not bad. At 21 he published a Greek grammar book which was in used for over 100 years. His Latin grammar was used for over 200 years, even in Catholic schools. Martin Luther saw in him someone whose theological depth was greater than his own. Erasmus later said this teacher would surpass all the humanists, Erasmus included. In 1546 John Calvin translated his major work into French. Both the kings of France and England requested that he come to their coun-tries and teach. He became the second most important founder of Lutheranism, and his work shaped the 39 articles of the Church of England and later the 25 Articles of Method-ism. As a side note, almost all Protestant Uni-versities trace their foundations to him, and he could be said to be responsible for bringing the high standards of learning to Germany, and he came as close as anybody to reconciling Lutherans to both Catholics and Calvinists. Yet today this influential and controversial man is almost forgotten.

We will attempt to study Philip Melanchthon. Because he thought so deeply about so many theological topics, this brief paper cannot give a fair and complete synopsis of his teaching. We will be content to focus on a few aspects, and what he can learn from his great wisdom and his errors, and the fascinating ways a Christian's theology can deepen over time.

Some key questions are: when is it OK to compromise, and what is your theological position versus your theological stand.

Early Life

Philip was born at Bretten in Baden, Germany. His parents were Barbara and George Schwartzerd, an armorer. His great uncle was the famous humanist John Reuch-lin, who surnamed him "Melanchthon" which is Greek for Schwartzerd (black earth). Reuch-lin made sure Philip had a great education. For example, he was reading Aristotle, in Greek, when he was 12. Philip was educated at Hiedelberg and Tübingen. Professor of Greek at Wittenberg in 1518.

Melanchthon and Luther

The two men complemented each other well. As Luther put it, "I am rough, boisterous, stormy, and altogether warlike. I am born to fight against innumerable monsters and devils. I must remove stumps and stones, cut away thistles, and thorns, and clear the wild forests; but Master Philip comes along softly and gent-ly sowing and watering with joy, according to the gifts which God has abundantly bestowed upon him." (Richard p.42) Manschrenk p.54)

Early Changes in Theology

Melanchthon was originally a northern hu-manist. Like the Reformers, northern human-ists emphasized reading the scriptures for yourself versus relying on tradition, a pressi-mistic view of man's flesh, and a Christ-centered view of theology. Melanchthon origin-ally shared with northern humanists an opti-mistic view of man's reason, will, and power.

As Melanchthon lectured on Matthew 1519-1520, he emphasized Christ the King, whose life was full of victory and triumph. When later he lectured on John, Philip emphasized Jesus' voluntary humiliation at becoming a man.

"When Jesus voluntarily came to earth in humiliation, proud men were scandalized and charged Him with blasphemy against God. The cries of 'crucify him' led to the greatest humiliation of all, Christ dying on the cross as a sinner, criminal, and blasphemer."

Later Changes in Theology

The first edition of Loci (1521) was almost fatalistic. After reading Erasmus and Luther's works, he changed in the 1533 edition. He still accepted predestination, but he rejected "stoic determinism" and believed that man's will, though bound, was able to assent or reject God's working. In John 6:44 God only draws those who will to come.

Melanchthon was not too firm about "semi-transubstantiation" which Luther held. After his former college classmate, friend, Zwinglian, Oecolampadius wrote against Melanchthon's and Luther's views, Melanchthon began to shift away from semi-transubstantiation. Luther believed that "Christ's flesh is being 'eaten and bitten with teeth.' Melanchthon believed that while the Catholic view was idolatrous, both Luther and Zwingli had extreme views and the truth was in-between.

The Central Issue

There are many differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, but Luther and Melanchthon were able to see past details, and even agree to compromise on minor points, but never to compromise the most ser-ious difference: righteousness through faith.

Cardinal Campeggio tried to win Philip back to the Catholic church, but like many even today, did not understand the central issues, and Philip wrote him a letter to set him straight. "People are mistaken when they think that Luther simply wants to abolish public traditions.... Luther does not fight for external things, he knows something greater, namely the difference between human righteousness and the righteousness of God. He goes back to the Scriptures in order to know with certainty just how the conscience can be fortified against the gates of hell and to know the real nature of penance. Keeping human rites and traditions do not make one righteous before God...It is abominable to think that the es-sence of religion consists either in despising or in observing ceremonies!" [CR1:657-658]

Melanchthon's Teaching on Truth

"Where there is no repentance, there is a painted faith; where there is no good work, faith is dead." (CR 26:51 52-54)

"When a parent refuses to exert himself for the proper instruction of his children, he is not only sinning, but betraying a brutal mind. (CR 11:111).

Philip said he must wage an implacable warfare against "sophistry", which is described as magnifying the importance of whatever pleases a person's fancy, and rejecting everything disagreeable to a person as of no account.

Philip would not agree with "justification by faith alone" if faith meant man was completely inactive." (Manschrenk p.295)

Melanchthon's Subtlety

Melanchthon criticized Erasmus for "dissim-ultude", that is, making points and pretending to lead people down a particular path, when you have an ulterior motive to take people in a direction they do not see. Melanchthon did this, too. He advised Philip of Hesse to grad-ually introduce Protestantism into his lands without the common people seeing any abrupt changes. The ruler did not do this though.

Philip of Hesse asked Melanchthon's and Luther's advice on marrying a second wife, when he had already made plans to do so. Melanchthon said it was not best but allowable, and try to keep it a secret.

Melanchthon is thought of derogatorily by some as "the great compromiser." When things looked bleak for the Lutherans after their military defeat, he asked Luther "what can we give up and still maintain what is essential."

Melanchthon's Errors

Unfortunately Philip held to some serious errors. Like Pope Julius III and Paul III, Melanchthon believed in astrology and palm reading. He did not worship the stars, but he believed not studying the heavenly bodies was disdaining the warnings of God.

As a Lutheran, Melanchthon believed in con-substantiation, though his view was closer to the remembrance view than Luther's. "He believed in infant baptism, and in us bearing original guilt for Adam's original sin.

Melanchthon said that all should be killed who denied infant baptism, original sin, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and all who professed a false religion.

As serious as Melanchthon's errors were, he held to "revelation over reason" and did not trust his own opinions as he trusted scripture. At various times, when Karlstadt was intro-ducing radical reforms in Wittenberg, and counseling peasant's in the peasants revolt, his leadership was inadequate because he did not act with conviction.

A Thought to Ponder

How do you react when you and others know God has given you gifts in a certain area and a Christian comes around who has greater gifts in "your" area. If you are Martin Luther, you praise God and work to enable that person to use those gifts for God as much as possible.

The Reformation

The Augsburg Confession

6/15/1530 A.D.

Background on the Confession

The Diet of Worms 1-5/1521 branded Luther and his teachings and outlaw. When threats to the Holy Roman Empire appeared from Suleiman II of Turkey and Francis I of France, and there was enmity between the Pope and Emperor Charles V, Charles saw compelling reasons for unity among the German princes. He convened the Diet of Spires in 5/1526. Here they declared that every ruler can choose his domain to be Lutheran or Catholic.

In 2/1528 Dr. Otto von Pack sold to Philip of Hesse a document Pack forged showing details of the Catholics were secretly preparing to attack the Protestants. Philip and his allies mustered 26,000 men and were prepared for a pre-emptive strike. However, they listened to Luther and Melanchthon, who counseled that it was all right to use to sword in defense of the Gospel but not to attack. Though Peck later admitted his document was forged, the distrust and persecution of Catholics and Protestants increased to an explosive point.

On 3/15-4/25/1526 Emperor Charles held the Second Diet of Spires to resolve the Protestant issue. He ruled completely in the Catholics favor, that the Diet of Worms ruling was still in effect, all who deny transubstantia-tion were not permitted to publicly preach, and that participating in the mass was not to be forbidden anywhere.

Six princes and fourteen cities presented a formal "protest" in the name of freedom of conscience and the rights of minorities on 4/19/1526. They prepared for war, and tried in vain to unite with the Zwinglians at the Marburg Colloquy on 10/1-3/1529.

The Emperor held the Diet of Augsburg on 6/15/1530 to settle this and "give a charitable hearing to every man's opinion, ... to bring and reconcile them to a unity in Christian truth..."

Many Protestants were pleased they would finally be given a fair hearing. However, on 3/14/1530 John Eck released a book detailing 404 errors of Protestants. Some of these reflected genuine differences, but many of these were deceptive. It was learned that the Emperor would not have a lot of time for arguments. What should be done?

It was decided not to attempt to answer Eck's 404 charges, but instead to write a positive confession of what they did believe. Melanchthon rushed to write it with the consent of others, and he was writing up to 6/15 when the Emperor arrived at Augsburg. It was originally only a Confession of the Saxons, but the other Protestants agreed it was common for all of them.

What Exactly Was Important Here?

People had different perceptions of what was important. According to one of the four or so top leading Catholic theologians there, John Faber, the Turks were better than Lutherans, because Turks at least fast and Lutherans do not. "If the alternative were required, I would rather reject the Scriptures than the venerable errors of the Church." [Manschrenk p.165]

While all Catholics did not share that view, if an entire institution would rather preserrve its "venerable" errors rather than change to obey God's word, it is time for that institution to close its doors.

Issues that separated the Catholics and Lutherans were as follows:


Venerationof relics

The nature of man's depraved,. bound will

Predestination and human freedom

The authority of the Pope and Councils

The authority of tradition

Worship of transubstantiated bread and wine

Worship ceremony

Justification by God's grace alone (not appropriated through Mary, saints or the church)

Justification through faith in Christ's work alone, and not our righteousness

The authority of Holy Scripture alone

No apocrypha

Some Luthernas believed that none of these should be compromised in the least. However, the Lutherans had their backs against the wall here, and Luther and Melanchthon were willing, not ot accept errors, but to tolerate them as long as they were not the tolerating errors on the essential points. Gal 1:6-9 shows we are not to have any toleration for a false Gospel, yet Rom 15:7 commands us to accept one another just as Christ accepted us, and Rom 14:1-12 shows that we are not to pass judgment on disputable matters.

What were the essential differences? Today, some Catholics and some Protestants say there were no "essential" differences, and many more are totally unclear about what the essential differences were. Melanchthon, derogatorialy labelled the "great compromiser" wrote in the Augsburg Confession his view of the essential differences he and Lutherans were willing to suffer and die for. Lutherans disagree on accepting Luther's longer Catechism and other documents: there are only two Lutheran documents all Lutherans were agreed on, and this was one of them. Read these and see if you agree with it, and see if you agree that this captures the essentials of the Gospel.

Key Points of the Confession




Reactions to the Confession

The Emperor's mind was already decided prior to the Diet. According to one source the Emperor was very attentive. According to another, he slept for part of the two hours the confession was read.

"Duke William of Bavaria, realizing he had been misinformed about Lutheran beliefs, leaned over to Eck and asked how it could be refuted. Eck replied that it could be refuted out of the Fathers but not out of Scripture. The astonished William then asked, 'Do I under-stand that the Lutherans stand on the Scrip-tures and we outside of them?' Melanchthon reported that the Bavarians were very subdued.'" [Manschreck p.194]

Five free German cities signed their names to the confession on the spot.

Luther on one hand rejoiced over the confession, but on the other hand he was angry because he was not consulted, and he thought Melanchthon too timid and too trusting of men's rationalizations. Melanch-thon sent Luther an apology, but Luther was disturbed by Melanchthon's asking him "what and how much we may yield to the Papists.."

The Counter-Reaction

Many Catholic princes wanted to act cautiously because they wanted the help of the Protestant princes against the Turks. A com-mittee of Catholic theologians was assigned to write a Confutation. Eck, their leader wrote 351 pages in two weeks. The Emperor looked at it, dripping with scorn, and sent it back for revision. It was revised down to 31 pages. The Confutation was publicly read, but the Protes-tants were told they could not have a copy of it unless the promised to first accept it and not to publish a reply.

Apology for the Augsburg Confession

In this context, "Apology" does not mean you are sorry for something, but it is a defense of why you believe something. In addition to Melanchthon's Apology, 12 Protestant princes formed the Smalkaldic League to prepare for War.

While this was formed, and observing that Charles was not willing to negotiate a peaceful solution, The Turkish Sultan decided this would be a good time to invade the Balkans up to Hungary.

Reaction Again

The Archbishop of Mainz forwarded a copy of Melanchthon's apology to Emperor Charles to show how the Christian religion was being destroyed.


Sometimes it takes a moment of crisis to cause people's minds to focus on what is essential and what is secondary in their life and belief.



Luther stole Melanchthon's notes and published them.

Melanchthon : The Quiet Reformer. Abingdon Press 1958.

The Diet of Spires, 3/15/1529, re-instated the Edit of Worms, Forbade those who denied transubstantiation to preach in public , and no one should be forbidden to hear the mass.

On April 19, 1526 Six princes and fourteen cities joined together to present a protest to the second Diet of Spires.

p.100 letter to Philip of Hesse 2/25/1525 declared for the Reformation

"Is the Lord's Supper a mystery?"

At Marburg Luther talked with Oecolampa-dius, and Melanchthon talked with Zwingli. He was even more negative toward Zwingliism than Luther, and Luther refused to shake Zwingli's hand.

"the cause of the difference of final destiny among men lies in the different method of treating grace which is possible to believers as to others. Man may pray for help and reject grace. This Melanchthon calls free will, as the power of laying hold of grace. there are three concurrent causes in conversion: the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and the human will. Melanchthon (Encyclopedia Britannica)



Melanchthon helped in revising Luther's German translation.

Melanchthon died in 1560 and was buried next to his friend, Martin Luther.


1519-1520 Melanchthon lectured on Matthew

The Castle Church at Wittenberg contained over 7,000 relics. People visiting these relics were an important source of income for Wittenberg and the church. In fact, the Univer-sity of Wittenberg was supported by the these relics. Some of the relics include: A piece of John the Baptist's cloak, some of Mary's milk, 4 strands of Mary's hair, 35 splinters from the cross 3 pieces of myrrh and a piece of gold from the wise men. a strand of Jesus' hair. a nail driven in his hand. a twig from Moses' burning bush. 204 bone fragments from children killed by Herod.

"Reason imagines and desires a Savior who will not condemn the things of the flesh. Rogness p.17.

Melanchthon and Astrology

Melanchthon shared with Pope Paul III, Johannes, Kepler, and many other leaders a belief in astrology. He studied astrology under John Stöfler at Tübingen. According to Manschreck p.102 Stöffler and at least 55 other authors predicted catastrophic events in 1524. Melanchthon felt that not studying the heavenly bodies was disdaining the warnings ofGod. Luthe did not share Philip's interest in astrology.






Peace of Nurnberg 8/2/1532.

Pope Clement VII agreed to a council, as long as the Protestants agreed to accept the Pope as the final authority. Would you accept or reject?

Melanchthon adviced John Frederick not to reject this, but instead to insist that the Word of God be the final authority.


"It was not Luther but Melanchthon who determined fully what the exact consistency of Lutheranism was to be. He was the chief teacher and instructor, the scholarly publicist, and the theological diplomat of early Lutheranism; as such he passed Luther's ideas through the sieve of his formulations. (Quoted fromProf. Wilhelm Pauck's lecture, 'Luther and Melanchthon.'" p.vii in Melanchthon, Reformer without Honor Michael Rogness Augsburg Pub. 1969.

Would you agree to work within a church with:

mandatory fasts, holy days, clerical attire, worship of siants clerical celibacy

suggested fasts, holy days, clerical attire, worship of siants clerical celibacy

Bishops, cardinals, and church tradition

witholding the cup from the laity

righteousness by human works


One could say Luther's doctrine was semi-transubstantiation, and Melanchthon would rather leave Wittenberg than accept that. In the end, Lutherans changed and accepted consubstantiation.


The Reformation

Heinrich Bullinger

1504-1575 A.D.

Heinrich Bullinger was born on 6/18/1504 to Henry Bullinger and Anna Widerkeht at Bremgarten, 10 miles west of Zurich. Heinrich was the fifth child. His parents lived as "faithful marriage partners", though of course they could not obey what God commanded about actually being married on account of his father being a Catholic priest. This was a common practice of the time.

He was educated at the University of Cologne from 1519-1522. On 8/17/1529 Bullinger married Anne Adlishweiler, a former nun. On 12/31 of the same year, his parents were formally married.

After Zwingli was killed in battle in 1531, Bullinger was selected as his replacement at the great Church of Zürich. He ministered there the rest of his life.

1541 was an unhappy year for Bullinger: his mother, a son, and his close friend and fellow reformer Leo Jud all died of plague in Zürich.

On 3/24/1549 Calvin, Farel, and Bullinger met and formed a "consensus" between Geneva and Zürich on the Lord's Supper.

Lest Bullinger feel left out of place with Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, the Pope in 1550 issued a papal bull specifically condemning Bullinger.

In 1564 Bullinger's wife died of plague and he almost died.

Bullinger and Leo Jud were instrumental in drawing up the First Helvetic Confession of Faith.

Bullinger and His Opponents

From 1556 to 1564, Bullinger wrote exten-sively and somewhat bitterly toward many, including Joachim Westphalus, Stancai, Brentius and the Ubiquitarians, and Bernard Ochin. Ochin was for polygamy and against the Trinity. Bullinger was also very vitriolic against the Anabaptists. It was he who started the lie that all Anabaptism originated with Thomas Müntzer.

Bullinger was fairly moderate toward Luther-ans. Bullinger had been attacked by Luther with harsh words (The Best of John Calvin compiled by Samuel Dunn p.29). Yet Bullinger "would honor Luther as a servant of God, for-getting neither his fine virtues nor his glaring weaknesses!" It was on Bullinger's recommen-dation that Luther's former professor, Andreas Karlstadt, was appointed the minister in Basel.

Bullinger died of illness on 9/17/1575.


The Reformation

Major Beliefs of Protestant & Radical






Most Baptists







Assembly of God


Mennonites & Amish



Numbers are +/- 8%

Total nominal Christians 1,000 m

..Protestants 330 m

....Anglicans/Episcopalians 65 m

....Baptists 36 m

....Lutherans 50 m

....Methodists 40 m

....Presbyterians 50 m

....Denominational charism. 11 m

....Assembly of God/4-Square

....Other Charismatics 82 m

..Orthodox 74 m

..Roman Catholics 580 m

....R.C. Charismatics 10 m

..Mennonite & Amish 0.2m

Lutherans (47 churches.) 50 m

......Germany 24 m

......Scandinavia 15 m

......North America 8 m



......Korean 9.5 m




The Encyclopedia Britannica

Luther, Martin The Bondage of the Will translated by Henry Cole. Baker Book House 1976.



Augustinian orders: Augustinian Canons, Augustinian Hermis (or Friars, Premonstra-tensians, Trinitarians, Gilbertines (Gilbert of Sempringham) Augustinian canons arose in the 12th century, and at one time there were 200 of them in England. 60 of them were suppressed in England in 1538-1540.

Major reform of the Augustinian hermits in north Germany. Luther from here. Dissolved in 1526, after most of them joined the Reformation.

Augustinian abbey of St. Maurice in Canton of Valais, south Switzerland.



Calvin believe Luther a great man and an illustrious servant of God. It is true, however, that as he is distinguished by eminent virtues, so he labours under great faults. Oh, that he had studied to restrain that intemperance which is ever ready to boil over in him! That he had always directed that vehemence, which is inseparable from his nature, against the enemies of the truth, and not sometimes turned it upon the servants of God!" (p.29)

When we become mutual accusers of each other, [the ungodly] will be only too ready to believe us both." Dwell upon these considerations rather than on what the intemperance of Luther may have deserved at your hands. Let us not bite and devour one another, lest we be consumed."

Theodore Beza born in Vezelay, France 1519. At Calvin's recommendation, he was appointed a professor of Greek at Lausanne.

Servetus born in 1509 In Villenueva, Spain. Studied medicine and civil law at the Univ. of Toulouse in France. Very good doctor for his times. 1531 published "Errors of the Trinity" 1532 Dialogues concerning the Trinity. 1553 Restitution of Christianity.

Servetus put in prison at Vienne, but escaped through a careless jailer. June 17th sentence of death against him of being burned in a slow fire. He was burned in effigy in Vienne. Then he came to Geneva. Burned in Geneva 10/27/1553.

What did Servetus believe about the Trinity? He was adamant about his doctrine, but his doctrine was rather confused. He denied the trinity, yet said, "The Father is God, the son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is not the Son, neither is the Son the Holy Spirit, nor is the Holy Spirit the Father, according to the propriety of person. Christian Restitution 274.

Calvin letter February 1546 "if Servetus come to Geneva, I will use my authority in such a manner as not to suffer him to go away alive." August 20, 1553 letter to Farel, "I hope that a capital sentence will be passed."

1545 Cardinal de Tournon massacred 3K Waldenses

According to Will Durant, the population in 1515 of various places was:

France 16 M

Paris 300K

England 3 M

Spain 7 M


Johan Marbach of Strasburg


Thomas Erastus 1524-1583

Supremacy of the state in ecclesiastical causes


Erinyes - Greek furies

Other Swiss Anabaptists

Michael Wüst ~1519-1524

Grebel disappointed in Zwingli in a letter 12/15/1523

Father, Jacob receiving Conrad's pension from the French king and only giving Conrad 1/3 of it. Did not pay the dowry for marriage. After Conrad got a mediator, Jacob agreed, but failed to live up to his agreement. After Conrad's death, Jacob owed the orphaned children 1,000 guilders.


Carlstadt visited Zurich October 1524

1524 Zurich preachers denounced Anabaptists as "satans in angels' clothing." Manz expounded OT using Hebrew and Grebel NT in Greek.

Felix Manz was Conrad Grebel's brother-in-law

Bullinger was responsible for the Zurich church.

Grebel broke with Glarean after a drunken bout in 1519. Glarean never abandoned a quarrel.

Grebel almost lost the use of his hand in Veinna.

Grebel lost Vadian's friendship in a fight on 5/1/1519 in which two Frenchmen (likely bandits) were killed.

Authorities punished none of them, and Grebel had a clear conscience.

Cocceuis (Johannes Koch (1603-1669)

Formulated Federal Headship and Covenant theology. It was said that Cocceius found Christ everywhere in the Old Testament and Hugo Grotius found him nowhere. Most famous pupil was Campeius Vitringa 12 volumes of theology.

For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714 by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.