Concordia Theological Monthly

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reformation, lutheran movement, rome, luther, papacy, vernacular, catholic, huss

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Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


The Augsburg Confession is a confession of faith. But through its four hundred years it has become more: it is a witness to the persistence of the Lutheran Reformation. It was in its origin an episode in the growth of the Lutheran movement; it is a testimonial, after four centuries, to the permanent power of its principles. Why did the principles formulated under the inspiration of the Lutheran movement have this quality of persistence, becoming largely identified with the name and personality of Luther, maintaining their distinction through centuries and under varying circumstances? Why did not, for example, the Wycliffe or the Hussite movement persist under its own impulse? Historians remind us of the "mysterious element” in all great revolutions of human thought (Trevelyan p.195); and the simplest explanation is thus summarized: "The greatness of Luther and Calvin, as contrasted, for instance, with Marsiglio, Wyclif, or Gerson, does not lie so much in greater zeaI, more thorough method, more logical aim, ns in their greater opportunity. The fullness of the time had come." (Workman, p.17.) This opportunity- is thought of as a complex of political, ecclesiastical, intellectual, doctrinal, and economic ingredients, proportioned according to the school of the historian. (Cf. Smith, p. 699 ff.) But it is startling to what an extent these ingredients are present in the manifold attempts at revolt from Romo and its system before the Reformation. A review of these ferments at work in the pre-Reformation period may serve to emphasize in a less usual way that principle which stands out, by contrast with the past, as the dynamic of the Lutheran movement -- the sola fide.


History of Christianity

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Nehemiah 13:23-27;

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Laity; Ministers; Scholars