King's Business - 1967-03

ceived great military strength in the person of Sweden’s Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years’ War, and American religious life was influenced through the migration of Scandinavian Protestants. JOHN CALVIN A reformer almost equally famous with Luther was John Calvin. The place, time, and circumstances of his conversion are unknown, but he has recorded for us the fact that it was sudden and transforming. For three years, 1533-1536, he was a fugitive evangelist wander­ ing under assumed names through France, Italy, and Switzerland, finally arriving at the city of Geneva. He had intended to stay only a night in the city, but his plans were abruptly changed by the' reformer Guillaume Farel. Having heard of Calvin’s arrival in the city, Farel visited him and stated that God’s judgment would rest upon him if he did not stay in Geneva and help with the reformation there. Calvin stayed to create the Genevan theocracy which lasted, with a brief three- year interruption, until 1564. The influence of Calvin was widespread. One of his most enduring works was his Institutes of the Chris­ tian Religion. Produced in Basel, Switzerland, when Calvin was only twenty-six years of age, immediately they were recognized by both friends and foes as a great theological production. His wide friendships and correspondence tended to make Calvinism international. The Genevan organization established a pattern and source of strength for other evangelicals. The Puri­ tans, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, and French Huguenots were influenced greatly by Calvin, and as a result his influence was strongly felt through them in America. In addition to this, the Genevan Academy (today the University of Geneva), which he founded in 1559 for the training of ministers, was the chief school of reformed theology and literary culture for two hundred years. REFORMATION IN ENGLAND Perhaps the most distinctive phase of the Protestant reformation was that in England. It was different from the rest in that it was confined largely to England and spread mainly through migration of the English people. It had no outstanding leader and was dominated largely by personal and political interests. It was the least radical of the European reformations and retained a worship which was more Catholic than Protestant. Even its theology was different, being moderately Calvinistic with a Lutheran basis, later giving way to Arminianism. When Henry VIII passed the Act of Supremecy in 1534, it was apparently his intention to change only the headship of the church. However, his revolt from Rome gave Protestant leaders in England an opportu­ nity to carry the reformation farther than Henry de­ sired or planned. As a result, during the reign of his successor, Edward VI, the cup was restored to the laity at the Lord’s Supper, priestly marriages were legal­ ized, an English Bible was placed in the churches, and a Book of Common Prayer was introduced. Following Mary’s abortive attempt to restore Cath­ olicism to England, Protestantism was reinstated by Elizabeth at the very outset of her reign and was made the established religion of England. In 1559 a second Act of Supremecy was passed, vesting the headship of the English church in the monarch. In that same year an act of uniformity was passed, forcing upon all Eng­ land the same worship and ritual. Two years later the famous Thirty-nine Articles were imposed.

Lent had no scriptural foundations. This action brought forth his first published book which was on the subject of Christian liberty as related to the use of certain food. That same year also saw the publication of his Sixty-seven Articles, which emphasized that Christ is the only Saviour and Mediator and that the Bible is the sole rule for faith and practice. At that same time they rejected the pope’s primacy, the mass, and prayers to saints. Under the leadership of Zwingli, the canton of Zurich, forsaken politically and religiously by the other cantons, began its own reform. Churches were despoiled of their stained glass windows, pictures, images, and relics with the result that the Swiss churches were sometimes referred to as “whitewashed bams.” In these respects Zwingli’s reforms were more radical than those of Luther. On October 1, 1529, an attempt was made by Philip of Hesse, a Lutheran nobleman, to unite the Lutherans and Zwinglians for their self-protection. The meeting was held at Philip’s castle in Marburg whence it de­ rived the name “Marburg Conference.” Zwingli was quite willing to attend, but Luther did so with great reluctance. He was suspicious of the Zwinglians’ doc­ trines of the Trinity and original sin, but he was in complete disagreement with their position on the Lord’s Supper. While Luther rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, he believed that Christ’s glorified body was objectively present with the bread and wine. Zwingli, on the other hand, looked upon the Lord’s Sup­ per only as a memorial. Zwingli urged that the two groups unite because they were Christian brethren, but Luther would not consider him a brother unless there was complete agreement. Both parties left the confer­ ence with all hopes of union dead. THE ANABAPTISTS In 1525 a division had occurred among the Swiss reformers. A group of men who had supported Zwingli staunchly separated from him over infant baptism. He urged his disgruntled followers, the Anabaptists, to be moderate and patient with the weak who could not yet accept their position of believers’ baptism. However, the Anabaptists were unwilling to wait; and when they refused to have their children baptized, they were driven from Zurich. While contemporaries accused the Anabaptists of terrible heresies and crimes, they were actually theo­ logically sound and morally upright. They accepted the Bible as the sole rule for faith and practice of the Christian life. They insisted upon a regenerate church membership, placing this requirement above that of baptism. They practiced only believers’ baptism, but they did not insist upon a particular mode. They ad­ vocated religious liberty and the separation of church and state. THE SCAND INAV IAN REFORMATION The story of the Scandinavian reformation is quite different from that of Germany and Switzerland. In the northlands the reformation stemmed primarily from political motives. In addition it was imposed from above, generally by the monarch. Consequently, because the people were neither ready nor anxious for reform, prog­ ress was slow. While the Scandinavian reformation was not as spectacular as that in other countries, it made a def­ inite contribution to Protestantism. The number of Protestants was greatly increased. Protestantism re­



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