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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 1 of 2)

Die Bekenntnisschriften der reformierten Kirche


Scotland, etc.--_The Geneva

Confession_ of 1536 (Art. 1), _The Second Helvetic Confession_ of 1562 (Art. 1), _The French Confession_ of 1559 (Arts. 3-6), _The Belgic Confession_ of 1561 (Arts. 4-7), _The Thirty-nine Articles of_ 1563 and 1571 (Art. 6), _The Scots Confession_ of 1560 (Art. 19). It is instructive, however, to note how this is done. The key to the central note in all these dogmatic statements is to be found in the first and second of _The Sixty-seven Theses_ published in 1523 by Zwingli at Zurich, where it is declared that all who say that the Evangel is of no value apart from its confirmation by the Church err and blaspheme against God, and where the sum of the Evangel is "that our Lord Jesus Christ, very Son of God, has revealed to us the will of the heavenly Father, and with His innocence has redeemed us from death and has reconciled us to God." The main thought, therefore, in all these Confessions is not to assert the formal supremacy of Scripture over Tradition, but rather to declare the supreme value of Scripture which reveals God's good will to us in Jesus Christ to be received by faith alone over all human traditions which would lead us astray from God and from true faith. The Reformers had before them not simply the theological desire to define precisely the nature of that authority to which all Christian teaching appeals, but the religious need to cling to
the divinely revealed way of salvation and to turn away from all human interposition and corruption. They desire to make known that they trust God rather than man. Hence almost all of them are careful to express clearly the need for the Witness of the Holy Spirit.

422 Compare especially the discussions in the first part of the Second Book of the _Summa_.

423 Harnack, _History of Dogma_, vii. 173-174.

_ 424 Luther's Works_ (Erlangen edition), Latin, xxxvi. 506: "Quodsi odit anima mea vocem homoousion, et nolim ea uti, non ero haereticus, quis enim me coget uti, modo rem teneam, quae in concilio per scripturas definita est?" It may be remarked that Athanasius himself did not like the word that has become so associated with his name.

_ 425 Luther's Works_ (2nd Erlangen edition), vi. 358: "Dreyfaltigkeit ist ein recht boese Deutsch, denn in der Gottheit ist die hoechste Einigkeit. Etliche nennen es Dreyheit; aber das lautet allzuspoettisch"; he says that the expression is not in Scripture, and adds: "darum lautet es auch kalt and viel besser spraech man Gott denn die Dreyfaltigkeit" (xii. 408).

_ 426 Ibid._ v. 236.

_ 427 Luther's Works_ (Erlangen edition), xlvii. 3, 4.

_ 428 Luther's Works_ (Erlangen edition), xlix. 183, 184.

_ 429 Luther's Works_ (2nd Erlangen edition), xii. 244.

_ 430 Ibid._ xii. 259.

431 Calvin, _Opera omnia_ (Amsterdam, 1667), viii. 38, 39.

_ 432 Augsburg Confession_, Art. xxi.

433 Mueller, _Die Bekenntnisschriften der reformierten Kirche_, pp. 935 f.

434 Mueller, _Die Bekenntnisschriften der reformierten Kirche_, pp. 34 ff.

435 Luther's gradual progress towards his final view of the Church is traced minutely by Loofs, _Leitfaden_, pp. 359 ff.

436 Enders, _Dr. Martin Luthers Briefwechsel_, ii. 345.

437 Enders, _Dr. Martin Luthers Briefwechsel_, i. 253.

_ 438 Luther's Works_ (Weimar edition), i. 190.

_ 439 Luther's Works_ (Erlangen edition), xii. 249.

440 Calvin, _Institutio_, IV. i. 12.

441 Herrmann, _Communion with God_, p. 149.

_ 442 Luther's Works_ (2nd Erlangen edition), x. 162.

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