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#25549 Mon May 30, 2005 10:33 PM
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This is probably not pertinent to my original question, but in speaking of Presbyterianism. I have heard that their were four men who has had a major impact on Reformed theology and the different strands. One was Peter Martyr, a Martin Bucher, and (sorry) I forget the other two. One may be Zwingli but probably not.


Moved because off-topic—CiB

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Who were Peter Martyr and Martin Bucher, and what was there influence on Reformed theology?


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Martin Bucer (1491-1551), for many years the most prominent leader of the Reformation in Strassburg and, indeed, throughout southern Germany, deserves to be better known. Next to Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin, he was the most influential of the Protestant Reformers. He helped to introduce the Reformation in Strassburg and then became the chief builder and spokesman of the Reformed Church in that city. He represented and defended it at many important political and ecclesiastical meetings during the Reformation period. Because of his accomplishments in Strassburg, he became an organizer of Protestant churches in many places, e.g., in Hesse and in such important cities as Ulm, Augsburg, and Constance. He spent much time and energy in order to obtain unity in the ranks of the Reformers through the reconciliation of Luther and Zwingli. Indeed, he hoped to unite the German and the Swiss movements of the Reformation. At the same time, he was ready to negotiate with Roman Catholic churchmen in order to bring about a reunion between Protestantism and the 'Roman Catholic Church. He spared no effort in order to over-come differences. He held innumerable "conversations" and was involved in arguments with defenders of all kinds of religious and ecclesiastical causes—Anabaptists and Spiritualists, trained and untrained theologians, clergymen and laymen, political leaders as well as the common people. Many were suspicious of him because he was so indefatigable in his readiness to settle disputes. They did not trust him, for he seemed not to take seriously the groundings of the positions that he attempted to reconcile with one another, often by proposing a skillfully formulated phrase. But he had definite and strong convictions of his own. He was not shifty, as many have suspected at his own time as well as later, either in his theology or in his churchmanship. In both respects, he displayed great strength and consistency. This was the secret of his wide influence and of the persistency of his leadership in many places, but chiefly in Strassburg, over many years. He became a follower of Luther at the very beginning of the Reformation in 1518, under the direct impact of the power of critical and constructive theological thought which Luther displayed in defending his teachings before the convent of Augustinian Friars in Heidelberg. Bucer was then a Dominican monk, steeped in the Thomistic traditions of his order and, at the same time, filled with enthusiasm for the humanistic learning of Erasmus. Throughout his career, he never ceased to exhibit certain characteristically Thomistic trends of thought, but he also held theological views distinctive of Erasmian Humanism. Yet his basic position was that of one who had learned from Luther that the Bible should be the source and center of all theological thinking. To be sure, from the beginning of his career as a defender of the Reformation, he differed from Luther at certain points, particularly insofar as he stressed the agency of the Holy Spirit in the election of individual believers and in the constitution of the church; but he never wavered in his loyalty to Luther and he adhered to Luther's fundamental teachings. In connection with his work as an organizer, he came under the influence of Zwingli and, in the course of his labors for the establishment of the Reformation in Strassburg, he went far beyond Luther in his insistence that not only the church as an institution but the whole of human life, individual and social, must be ordered according to he will of God as revealed in the Bible. He regarded the Reformation as a movement through which the Christianization of all human life was to be accomplished. The Bible was for him the source and pattern of all legislation required to this end. This view was far different from that of Luther, because it did not agree with the latter's distinction between the law and the gospel. Bucer stated his distinctive conviction and program not only on numerous memoranda, proposals, and letters addressed to princes and magistrates as well as to clergymen and private persons in Strassburg and elsewhere, but also in theological works of a scholarly character. Most of these were Biblical commentaries (e.g., on The Psalms; the Synoptic Gospels; the letter to the Romans; etc.) . Others were in the form of theological treatises, chiefly on ecclesiastical themes (e.g., "Of the True Cure of Souls," "Dialogues on the Christian Magistrate," etc.) . These works, which were written (or dictated) in the midst of a very active and greatly varied career of practical church leadership, display broad learning as well as original scholarship. They entitle Bucer to a place of honor next to the technical scholars of the Reformation, especially Melanchthon and Calvin. Indeed, theologically he closely resembles these two. There was a kinship between him and Melanchthon because as Protestant theologians both cultivated the methods of Erasmian Humanism and, probably because of this Humanism, they were prepared to engage in constructive discussions with Roman Catholics. There was also a deep affinity between Bucer and Calvin, not only because their outlook, especially on the needs of the Church, was similar (in this connection, we must note that, like Bucer, Calvin also found himself drawn to Melanchthon) , but chiefly because Calvin's mind was profoundly shaped by what he learned and took over from Bucer, particularly during the years (1538-1541) when they were associated in common work in Strassburg. Bucer's most characteristic book was the last one he wrote, entitled [i]De Regno Christi[/i] ([i]On the Kingdom of Christ[/i]). It reflects his entire career insofar as in it he sets forth that doctrinal and practical understanding of the Reformation which he had achieved in connection with his work and experience. It shows him as an ecclesiastical organizer of unusual practical talent, as a teacher with great power of communication, and as a theologian with deep moral convictions. It was written in 1550 for the young English king Edward VI, the son and successor of Henry VIII, in the hope that during his reign and under his own auspices, the Reformation would be established in England in such a way that it would shape and penetrate the entire life of the nation. [[i]Melanchthon and Bucer[/i], Library of Christian Classics, vol. XIX - Westminster Press:Philadelphia, 1959, pp. 155-157]

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John,

This is a link to an article on the Reformer, Peter Martyr:

http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/vermigli.htm

It gives a good summary of his life and even mentions his links to Bucer and possible influence on Calvin.

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I would have to say there are far more than four. John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Jerome Zanchi, Theodore Beza, and Zacharias Ursinus, and this is just the beginning. However, I was wondering if the FOUR you heard about are the ones on the Reformation Wall in Geneva: (1) John Calvin, (2) Théodore de Bèze, (3) John Knox, and (4) Guillaume Farel. Of course, this group does not include Martin Bucher, Peter Martyr, but ...

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Joe, thanks.

A first year RTS-O student mentioned the 4 when he was describing one of his classes. Since, I have moved to another town, I will email him for clarification. Beza comes to mind as a 3rd. Bucer, Martyr, Beza and one other. Maybe they were leaving out the obvious such as Calvin and Knox.

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John_C said:
Joe, thanks.

A first year RTS-O student mentioned the 4 when he was describing one of his classes. Since, I have moved to another town, I will email him for clarification. Beza comes to mind as a 3rd. Bucer, Martyr, Beza and one other. Maybe they were leaving out the obvious such as Calvin and Knox.
Ok, now the grouping is making more sense. More than likely this is Dr. Frank James' list who teaches Church History. He is the foremost Peter Martyr scholar in the world today and tests on such important issues as who was John Calvin's barber <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> His list is John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr, and Ulrich Zwingli. Of course, Church History is not normally a first year class, thus ...


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Joe,

I'm curious. Why doesn't Luther fit in with these men? It seems to me that the Reformation and the name, Martin Luther are almost synonymous.

Of course he wasn't presbyterian but he certainly was a great influence. I don't know if they called themselves "presbyterians" in those days.

Denny

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Adopted said:
Joe,

I'm curious. Why doesn't Luther fit in with these men? It seems to me that the Reformation and the name, Martin Luther are almost synonymous.

Of course he wasn't presbyterian but he certainly was a great influence. I don't know if they called themselves "presbyterians" in those days.

Denny

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Good question. These are Dr. James favorites. His reasoning would be (if I may be so bold to speak for him) (1) Luther, though he greatly influenced the Reformation also fail short in many areas, if we compare his theology with that of Calvin and others on an issue by issue basis, (2) though Luther was instrumental in the Reformation, Calvin and others formulated "more so" the theology of it rather than Luther, etc. I see Luther as sounding the trumpet for reform, but Calvin and others orchestrating the score by which the Reformation became a part of Western civilization. While both were important to the Reformation, each played different parts. James list includes the men formulating the doctrines of the Reformation early on and not so much the initial battle of Luther, Wycliffe, and others. However, please note in class James goes over Luther and others with great detail.


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Thanks Joe,

This makes sense to me. Could we say that Luther was the evangelist and Calvin along with the others were the pastors and teachers? (Ephesians 4:11)

Denny

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Denny

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Adopted said:
Thanks Joe,

This makes sense to me. Could we say that Luther was the evangelist and Calvin along with the others were the pastors and teachers? (Ephesians 4:11)

Denny

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Humm, I feel a little uneasy with "absolute" titles, but maybe generally speaking ..... Calvin was extremely evangelistic, sending missionaries in every direction. I would say that Calvin was a "more informed" teacher and pastor than Luther (as he took his flock further in the faith, et. al.), but Luther was still a good pastor and teacher (he spoke to the needs of his people, he had his own seminary, etc.). We also have to realize that they were both in different countries working against different situations (religion, politics, and social structure). I think BOTH men were highly ordained and used of God in special ways to BOTH fulfill the individual duties God had before them.


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Adopted said:
Thanks Joe,

This makes sense to me. Could we say that Luther was the evangelist and Calvin along with the others were the pastors and teachers? (Ephesians 4:11)
Personally, if I may interject here, I see Luther as a "pioneer" and Calvin and others as the settlers. Luther carved a rough trail while Calvin et. al. built the roads, dwellings and set up shop. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Humm, I feel a little uneasy with "absolute" titles, but maybe generally speaking .....

I didn't mean to give them absolute titles. I guess I should have said, "Luther was [sort of] the Reformation evangelist and Calvin and the others were [sort of] the in depth pastors and teachers."

I much agree that Luther was also a great teacher. IMO his book "The Bondage of the Will" is a masterpiece of logic and biblical truth.

Denny

Roms 3:22-24


Denny

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I agree. Pilgrim's assessment also looks very good below. "The Bondage of the Will" is one of my all time favorites.


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