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Basel Confession

(463 words)

Author(s): Neuser, Wilhelm H.
In 1534 the city council of Basel adopted a confession in order to distinguish Reformation teaching more clearly from that of Roman Catholics and Anabaptists. Its author was Oswald Myconius (1488–1552), a friend of U. Zwingli (1484–1531) and the ¶ leader of the Basel church. He based it on the synodal confession of J. Oecolampadius (1482–1531). The 12 articles are short and clear. Article 1, which describes God in terms based on the early doctrine of the Trinity (§2), states that before the creation of the world God elected us to eternal life (Predes…

Calvin’s Theology

(4,064 words)

Author(s): Neuser, Wilhelm H.
1. The Institutes John Calvin’s main work, Institutio Christianae religionis, ultimately appearing in English as Institutes of the Christian Religion, is the most significant dogmatics of the Reformation period. It is more systematic and comprehensive than either the Loci (1521ff.) of P. Melanchthon (1497–1560) or the True and False Religion (1525) of U. Zwingli (1484–1531; Zwingli’s Theology). It was intended as “a necessary aid to study” (1539 preface), as “a key and door” to Holy Scripture (1541 preface). 1.1. 1536 Edition In 1536, at the age of 27, Calvin gained sudden f…

Agendenstreit (Liturgical Dispute)

(579 words)

Author(s): Neuser, Wilhelm H.
[German Version] The call for unity issued by king Frederick William III of Prussia in 1817 aimed at effecting a liturgical union between Lutherans and Reformed Protestants: Under the influence of Enlightenment ("a better spirit"), "inessentials" were to be set aside, as only "external differences" continued to divide the two confessions. This was a misevaluation, for the old doctrinal controversies awakened in opposition to the union. In the Agenda Dispute, the work of unity was put to its first test of endurance. The king had already ordered liturgical reforms: in 1818 the …