The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century

By Jill P. Raitt | Go to book overview

4
The Person of Christ

The doctrine of the person of Christ became the major theological sticking point between Reformed and Lutheran theologians in the second half of the sixteenth century. From the Maulbronn Colloquy of 1564 through the bitter battles about the meaning of kenosis in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, discussions of the Lord's Supper, which meant discussions of the manner of Christ's presence, became christological arguments. Reformed and Lutheran theologians affirmed the presence of the person of Christ and agreed that Christ offered himself to communicants who received the bread and wine. The arguments began when one asked in what way communicants were thereby related to the human and divine natures of Christ, which quickly became the question of the relation of the natures of Christ to each other and to Christ's person.

The arguments did not end there, however. Although both Lutherans and Reformed agreed that faithful communicants received the body and blood of Christ, 1 they fought over where and how this occurred and over the language used to express their beliefs. During the course of the long polemical wars, both sides accused one another of ancient heresies and cited patristic and scholastic sources to bolster their arguments. Neither side succeeded in persuading the other (or, it seems, many of their audiences or readers) to change a theological position previously held. The people of Montbéliard remained true to the doctrine that had first converted them.

The Colloquy of Montbéliard provides an example not only of the relation of politics to religion in this troubled time but also of the polemical debate that went on in the period among Protestants and also between each of the major Protestant churches and the Catholics, especially in the empire. The Counter-Reformation gained momentum after the last session of the Council of Trent ( 1562-1563), and its advocates took a leaf from the Reformers' book and staged debates as a means of trying to persuade princes and the councils of free imperial cities to remain steadfast Catholics or return to the Catholic fold. Of course the Protestants worked just as hard to maintain and even to increase the areas they had already gained, often by the means of public debates so effective in the past. Nor could the Protestants' common need to unite against the Catholics, strengthened by the doctrinal and reform decrees of Trent, provide sufficient motivation to overcome theological differences.

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The Colloquy of Montbeliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 10
  • 1 - Ancient Liberties and Evangelical Reform 11
  • Notes 32
  • 2 - The Political Background 45
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - The Lord's Supper 73
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - The Person of Christ 110
  • Notes 126
  • 5 - Images, Baptism, and Predestination 134
  • 6 - Aftermath (1): Polemics and Politics 160
  • Notes 176
  • 7 - Aftermath (2): The Larger Scene 187
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix 1 Appendix: in Which Is Taught, What Was Done, Regarding the Communication and Protest of the French Exiles After the Colloquy of Montbéliard 197
  • Notes 201
  • Appendix 2 - Instrument 203
  • Appendix 3 207
  • Note 210
  • Bibliography of Works Cited 211
  • Index 221
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