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CALVIN, ZWINGLI, PIETISM

 

 

"The pietism and unionism of Muhlenberg and his colaborers was the door through which, in the days of Wesley and Whitefield, revivalism had found an early, though limited, entrance into the Lutheran Church." F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 2 vols., The United Lutheran Church, Gen Synod, Gen Council, Un Syn in the South, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 78. 

 

Calvin, June 18, 1550 to Mel: "My grief renders me almost speechless. How the enemies of Christ enjoy your conflicts with the Magdeburgers appears from their mockeries. Permit me to admonish you freely as a true friend. I should like to approve of all your actions. But now I accuse you before your very face. This is the sum of your defense: If the purity of doctrine be retained, externals should not be pertinaciously contended for. But you extend the adiaphora too far. Some of them plainly conflict with the Word of God. Now, since the Lord has drawn us into the fight, it behooves us to struggle all the more manfully. You know that your position differs from that of the multitude. The hesitation of the general or leader is more disgraceful than the flight of an entire regiment of common soldiers." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 101.   

 

  

 

"Zwingli, who was a moralist and a Humanist rather than a truly evangelical reformer, taught: 'In itself the Law is nothing else than a Gospel; that is, a good, certain message from God by means of which He instructs us concerning His will.' (Frank 2, 312.)" F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 161.

 

 

 

"The indignation of the Lutherans against the Calvinistic propaganda, roused by Westphal and his comrades in their conflict with Calvin and his followers, was materially increased by the success of the crafty Calvinists in Bremen and in the Palatinate."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 184.

 

"Such was the manner in which the Elector allowed himself to be duped by the Philippists who surrounded him,--men who gradually developed the art of dissimulation to premeditated deceit, falsehood, and perjury. Even the Reformed theologian Simon Stenius, a student at Wittenberg during the Crypto-Calvinistic period, charges the Wittenbergers with dishonesty and systematic dissimulation." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 188.         

 

"To all practical purposes the University of Wittenberg was already Calvinized. Calvinistic books appeared and were popular. Even the work of a Jesuit against the book of Jacob Andreae on the Majesty of the Person of Christ was published at Wittenberg. The same was done with a treatise of Beza, although, in order to deceive the public, the title-page gave Geneva as the place of publication. Hans Lufft, the Wittenberg printer, later declared that during this time he did not know how to dispose of the books of Luther which he still had in stock, but that, if he had printed twenty or thirty times as many Calvinistic books, he would have sold all of them very rapidly." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 189.     

 

 

 

"By mistake the letter was delivered to the wife of the court-preacher Lysthenius....After opening the letter and finding it to be written in Latin, she gave it to her husband, who, in turn, delivered it to the Elector. In it Peucer requested Schuetze dexterously to slip into the hands of Anna, the wife of the Elector, a Calvinistic prayer-book which he had sent with the letter. Peucer added: 'If first we have Mother Anna on our side, there will be no difficulty in winning His Lordship [her husband] too.' Additional implicating material was discovered when Augustus now confiscated the correspondence of Peucer, Schuetze, Stoessel, and Cracow. The letters found revealed the consummate perfidy, dishonesty, cunning, and treachery of the men who had been the trusted advisers of the Elector, who had enjoyed his implicit confidence, and who by their falsehoods had caused him to persecuted hundreds of innocent and faithful Lutheran ministers. The fact was clearly established that these Philippists had been systematically plotting to Calvinize Saxony. The very arguments with which Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper and the Person of Christ might best be refuted were enumerated in these letters. However, when asked by the Elector whether they were Calvinists, these self-convicted deceivers are said to have answered that 'they would not see the face of God in eternity if in any point they were addicted to the doctrines of the Sacramentarians or deviated in the least from Dr. Luther's teaching.' (Walther, 56.)"

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 190.

 

 

 

"Thus ended the Crypto-Calvinistic drama in Electoral Saxony. Henceforth such men as Andreae, Chemnitz, and Selneccer were the trusted advisers of August, who now became the enthusiastic, devoted and self-sacrificing leader of the larger movement for settling all of the controversies distracting the Lutheran Church, which finally result in the adoption of the Formula of Concord." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 191f.        

 

"While according to medieval theologians the descent into hell was regarded as an act by which Christ, with His soul only, entered the abode of the dead; and while according to Calvin and the Reformed generally the descent into hell is but a figurative expression for the sufferings of Christ, particularly of His soul, on the cross, Luther, especially in a sermon delivered 1533 at Torgau, taught in accordance with the Scriptures that Christ, the God-man, body and soul, descended into hell as Victor over Satan and his host." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 192.        

 

"Calvin and his adherents boldly rejected the universality of God's grace, of Christ's redemption, and of the Spirit's efficacious operation through the means of grace, and taught that, in the last analysis, also the eternal doom of the damned was solely due to an absolute decree of divine reprobation (in their estimation the logical complement of election), and this at the very time when they pretended adherence to the Augsburg Confession and were making heavy inroads into Lutheran territory with their doctrine concerning the Lord's Supper and the person of Christ,--which in itself was sufficient reason for a public discussion and determined resentment of their absolute predestinarianism." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 195f.     

 

"As a matter of fact, however, also in the doctrine of predestination Zwingli and Calvin were just as far and as fundamentally apart from Luther as their entire rationalistic theology differed from the simple and implicit Scripturalism of Luther. Frank truly says that the agreement between Luther's doctrine and that of Zwingli and Calvin is 'only specious, nur scheinbar.' (1, 118.) Tschackert remarks: 'Whoever [among the theologians before the Formula of Concord] was acquainted with the facts could not but see that in this doctrine [of predestination] there was a far-reaching difference between the Lutheran and the Calvinistic theology.' (559.) F. Pieper declares that Luther and Calvin agree only in certain expressions, but differ entirely as to substance. (Dogmatics, III, 554.)" F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 209.   

 

  

 

"Wohl scheint auf den ersten Blick die ganze Differenz recht unbedeutend; aber in Wahrheit gibt sich hier die gefaehrliche Richtung der Pietisten zu erkennen, das Leben ueber die Lehre, die Heiligung ueber die Rechtfertigung und die Froemmigkeit nicht als Folge, sondern als Bedingung der Erleuchtung zu setzen also eine Art Synergismus und Pelagianismus einzufuehren. (At first glance, the total difference seems absolutely paltry, but in truth the dangerous direction of Pietism is made apparent: life over doctrine, sanctification over justification, and piety not as a consequence but declared as a stipulation of enlightenment, leading to a kind of synergism and Pelagianism.)" Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelische-Lutherische Dogmatik, 4 vols., ed., Walter and Otto Hoenecke, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1912, III, p. 253.     

 

"Zwingli, Calvin, and their adherents denied that the Word of God always possesses the same efficacy, and that God always operates through the Word." E. Hove, Christian Doctrine, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1930, p. 27.   

 

"...it is exceedingly difficult to prevent this low view from running out into Socinianism, as, indeed, it actually has run in Calvinistic lands, so that it became a proverb, often met with in the older theological writers--'A young Calvinist, an old Socinian.' This peril is confessed and mourned over by great Calvinistic divines. New England is an illustration of it on an immense scale, in our own land." Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House, 1871, p. 489.         

 

"We probably think first of such groups coming into being in the late 1600s in connection with Pietism. Spener promoted them as a vehicle by which pious laypeople could be a leaven for good in reforming the 'dead orthodoxy' of a congregation and its pastor." Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.  "The point being made here is that the reason for having home Bible study in small groups seems to have shifted from the Pietists' or parachurch groups goal of creating cells of people who will reform the church to having small groups as an integral part of a congregation's work." Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127. 

 

"They [the Zwinglians] divorced the Word and the Spirit, separated the person who preaches and teaches the Word from God, who works through the Word, and separated the servant who baptizes from God, who has commanded the Sacrament. They fancied that the Holy Spirit is given and works without the Word, that the Word merely gives assent to the Spirit, whom it already finds in the heart. If, then, this Word does not find the Spirit but a godless person, then it is not the Word of God. In this way they falsely judge and define the Word, not according to God, who speaks it, but according to the man who receives it. They want only that to be the Word of God which is fruitful and brings peace and life..." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 664f.    

 

"Meanwhile, back in Europe the corrosive effects of Pietism in blurring doctrinal distinctions had left much of Lutheranism defenseless against the devastating onslaught of Rationalism which engulfed the continent at the beginning of the 19th century. With human reason set up as the supreme authority for determining truth, it became an easy matter to disregard doctrinal differences and strive for a 'reasonable' union of Lutherans and Reformed." Martin W. Lutz, "God the HS Acts Through the Lord's Supper," God The Holy Spirit Acts, ed., Eugene P. Kaulfield, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1972, p. 176.        

 

"The term 'Reformed' has therefore become a distinctive name and denotes all those church bodies which follow the theology and particularly the church practices of Zwingli and John Calvin. It is correct when Lutherans insist that there are three large groups of Christians: the Catholics, the Lutherans, and the Reformed." F. E. Mayer, American Churches, Beliefs and Practices, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, p. 24.

 

"Luther protested against Rome's soul-destroying teachings and reformed the Church by restoring the pure doctrine of God's Word. Zwingli hoped to reform the Church by abolishing Rome's superstitious practices. Calvin believed that a complete reformation implied two things: First, it was necessary to abolish all ceremonies, even those which were in use in the ancient Church, such as the liturgy, the church year, pulpits, altars; secondly, a truly reformed Church must follow the pattern of the Apostolic Church in all its church practices and adopt the form of church government given to Israel in the Old Testament." F. E. Mayer, American Churches, Beliefs and Practices, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, p. 24.      

 

"The divine power must never be separated from the Word of Scripture; that is to say, the Holy Ghost does not operate beside or outside the Word (enthusiasm, Calvinism, Rathmannism in the Lutheran Church), but always in and through the Word, Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23; John 6:23." John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 134f. Romans 10:17; John 6:23; 1 Peter 1:23.

 

"The doctrine of the means of grace is understood properly only when it is considered in the light of Christ's redemptive work (satisfactio vicaria) and the objective justification, or reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20, which He secured by His substitutionary obedience (satisfactio vicaria). If these two doctrines are corrupted (Calvinism: denial of the gratia universalis; synergism: denial of sola gratia), then also the Scripture doctrine of the means of grace will become perverted." John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 442. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.       

 

"Calvinism rejects the means of grace as unnecessary; it holds that the Holy Spirit requires no escort or vehicle by which to enter human hearts." John T. Mueller, "Grace, Means of," Lutheran Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Lueker, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1975, p. 344.  

 

"Pietist preachers were anxious to discover and in a certain sense to separate the invisible congregation from the visible congregation. They had to meet demands different than those of the preceding period: they were expected to witness, not in the objective sense, as Luther did, to God's saving acts toward all men, but in a subjective sense of faith, as they themselves had experienced it. In this way Pietism introduced a tendency toward the dissolution of the concept of the ministry in the Lutheran Church." Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1943.      

 

"All those doctrinal questions which were not immediately connected with the personal life of faith were avoided. The standard for the interpretation of Scripture thus became the need of the individual for awakening, consolation, and exhortation. The congregation as a totality was lost from view; in fact, pietistic preaching was (and is) more apt to divide the congregation than to hold it together." Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1943.        

 

"Pietism greatly weakened the confessional consciousness which was characteristic of orthodox Lutheranism." Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1945.   "In other words, Zwingli and his numerous adherents declare that the means God has ordained are unnecessary and hinder true piety." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 104.