Concordia Theological Monthly

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council of mantua, german, papal bull, pope paul iii, evangelicals, luther, smalcald articles, vergerio, augsburg confession

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


Like the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles were forged for use in confessional confrontation and were the product of a complex political-ecclesiastical situation. Luther composed this confession of faith not for himself but at the request of his prince. Elector John Frederick of Saxony ordered the summary of the chief articles of faith as a position paper to be used in possible negotiations with representatives of the Roman party after Pope Paul III promulgated a bull of convocation for a general council in June 1536. The Smalcald Articles were but one literary reaction to the papal bull of convocation. Other writings by Luther's fellow believers reveal more about the mood of the Lutheran camp when it first faced the papal challenge of the convocation of the council which many Lutherans had so long demanded. This study presents one such document, A Conversation Between Pasquil and German on the Forthcoming Council at Mantua. This tract helps detail and explain the suspicion with which the followers of Luther regarded the council of Paul III, scheduled for the city of Mantua; it also shows how the theologians of the 16th century presented arguments of an ecclesiastical- political nature to the public.


History of Christianity

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars