By Faith Alone: Essays on Justification in Honor of Gerhard O. Forde

By Joseph A. Burgess; Marc Kolden | Go to book overview

Human Performance and
the Righteousness of Faith:
Martin Chemnitz’s Anti-Roman
Polemic in Formula of Concord III

Robert Kolb

The Formula of Concord was intended above all to address and settle internal problems within the Lutheran churches of Germany. So stated its signatories, the Lutheran princes and city councils who pledged themselves to its teaching, in their preface to the document.1 Indeed, its seventh article, on the Lord’s Supper, acknowledged that it was addressing Zwinglian ideas “even though Zwinglian teachers are not reckoned among those theologians pledged to the Augsburg Confession”; in fact, the chief concerns of articles VII and VIII revolved around the repudiation of the theological program of the so-called “Crypto-Calvinists,” the “crafty sacramentarians” mentioned in paragraph 3 of the Solid Declaration of the Formula, article VII, who were viewed as the “most harmful sacramentarians” precisely because they had secreted themselves within Lutheran ranks.2

Nevertheless, the authors of the Formula of Concord were theologians of the church, expositors of the word of God who were concerned about the whole life of their churches, not only their internal difficulties.

1. Formula of Concord, Preface, BSLK, 11.

2. Formula of Concord, BSLK, 796. See Paul Tschackert, Die Entstehung der lutherischen und der reformierten Kirchenlehre samt ihren innerprotestantischen Gegensätzen (1910; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979), pp. 544-57; cf. also Irene Dingel, Concordia controversa, Die öffentlichen Diskussionen um das lutherische Konkordienwerk am Ende des 16. Jahrhunderts (Gütersloh: Gütersloh Verlaghaus, 1996), pp. 15-20, 280-351, 647-85 on reactions of the students of Melanchthon to Formula of Concord VII and VIII. Dingel shows the broad spectrum of differing developments of the doctrines of the Lord’s Supper and Christology among these students.

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