Preliminary History (§ 1).
Mediation of Jakob Andrea (§ 2).
The Formulas of Maulbronn and Torgau (§ 3).
The Formula of Concord (§ 4).

The Formula of Concord is the last of the six con fessional books of the Lutheran Church, forming the close of the Book of Concord. The Lutheran

Church, from the beginning, has stood for pure doc trine; i.e., the doctrine of the three symbols of the ancient Church, of the Augsburg Con

I. Prelimi- fession (or more precisely of Luther,)

nary His- and of the church and school oftory. Wittenberg. Melanchthon dogmatized and thus externalized the authority of

Luther; but he departed from Luther's doctrine.

Thus, after Luther's death dissensions arose, and two opposite tendencies were developed. Both parties the Melanchthonians or Crypto-Calvinists (see Philippists) and the Gnesio-Lutherans such as Flacius (q.v.)-fell into extremes and exaggerations. Among the questions in dispute may be mentioned the In terim and the matter of adiaphora (after 1547);

Osiander's doctrine of justification (after 1550); the

Majoristic controversy (see Major, Georg) over the assertion of Major and Menius that good works are necessary for salvation and the opinion of Amsdorf that they are an obstacle to salvation (after 1552), and in connection with it the antinomistic controversy; the controversy on the Lord's Supper (after 1552); the synergistic controversy (after 1555); and the Christological controversies, which began in the early sixties. The idea of effecting an agreement between the two contending parties arose at an early time. In 1556 Flacius issued " lenient prop ositions " in that direction, but made them de pendent upon a public confession of those who had erred. Melanchthon acknowledged his fault in regard to the Interim, but excused his attitude. The serious nessof the situationwas generally felt at the Relig ious Colloquy of Worms in 1557 (see Worms), when the Saxon theologians (i.e., the party of Flacius) questioned the right. of their Philippist opponents to appeal to the Augsburg Confession. The Protestant princes tried to establish peace by the Frankfort Recess (q.v.) in 1558, at which the introduction of an official censorship of writings of a religious nature was decreed; but the adherents of Flacius successfully resisted all such attempts. At the Diet of Naumburg (1561), where an open Calvinist like Frederick III. of the Palatinate was the leader, the divergence in doctrine regarding the Lord's Supper became more evident than ever. It was felt that. the Augsburg Confession was not a sufficient confessional basis. A convention at Lüneburg, for instance, demanded a corpus doctrincewhich should comprise, besides the Augsburg Confession, the Augsburg Apology, the Schmalkald Articles, and Luther's catechism, as well as his other writings. Such corpora doctrines arose now in different parts of the country. The Melanclr thoniana also produced a Corpus doctrince christiante (Leipsic, 1560), in which they embodied chiefly works of Melanchthon. In this way fixed norms of doctrine were established. The next task was to establish a common corpus doctrinte for the whole Lutheran Church of Germany. It was solved by the "Book of Concord" [the title of the Formula concordice in the editio princeps, 1580; this name was afterward reserved for the collection of all the Lutheran symbols], in which the different corpora doctrince found their consummation.

The different collections of confessions, however, did not wipe out the old controversies on the Phil ippist errors. The need of a new confession as the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty was felt more and more. In June, 1567, Landgrave Will iam IV. of Hesse-Cassel and Duke

a. Mediation

Christopher of Württemberg com missioned Jakob Andrea to draw up of Jakob a formula which could be accepted by Andrea. all theologians of the Augsburg Confes sion. It bore the title, Bekenntnis and kurze Erklarung etlicher zwieeptlltiger Artikel, riach

welcher sine christliche Einigkeit in den Kirchen, der

Augsb. Konfession xugethan getroffen und die arger

liche, larrgwierige SPoltung hingelegt werden mochte.

It related chiefly to the five articles of justification by faith, good works, free will, adiaphora and the

Lord's Supper. But the time was not yet ripe for the success of the plan. Duke Christopher, the originator of the idea, died, and Landgrave William of Hesse-Cassel conceived the impracticable scheme of applying the intended agreement not only to all elements of German Protestantism, but also to the

Reformed Churches outside of Germany. In

Electoral Saxony Philippism still flourished, and the theologians of Ducal Saxony still clung to their ultra-Lutheran views. Andrea's journeys to Sax ony in 1569 and 1570 did not alter the situation. After the death of Duke John William of

Saxony the ultra-Lutheran party was dispersed under the protectorate of Elector August, and the eyes of the elector, who had always regarded him self a good Lutheran, were opened to the Crypto

Calvinism existent in his own country. In 1573, be fore the overthrow of Crypto-Calvinism in Electoral

Saxony, Andrea had published Sechs christliche

Predigten (Tübingen, 1573), in which he tried to settle the controversies not by theological investi gations, but by the catechism. The sermons openly showed his Lutheran convictions. He had


changed his position; there was no attempt any longer to conceal anything that might be disagreeable to the Philippists. The original thought of reconciling Lutherans and Philippists by a formula of compromise had been abandoned as impossible. The plan now was to draw up a formula that should consolidate all Lutherans against Philippists and Calvinists. Through the mediation of the theological faculty in Tübingen, the sermons of Andrea were not unfavorably received in North Germany by leaders like Martin Chemnitz of Brunswick, Joachim Westphal of Hamburg, David. Chytreus and the theological faculty of Rostock. Andrea was asked to put his sermons in the form of articles. Thus originated the so-called Swabian Concordia, which showed great similarity to the later Formula of Concord. It was signed by the theologians in Tübingen and the members of the consistory in Stuttgart, and in Mar., 1574, was sent to Duke Julius of Brunswick and to Chemnitz, that they might enter into negotiations with the churches of Lower Saxony.

After the overthrow of Philippism in Electoral Saxony, the elector himself felt the need of ending the disastrous controversies by a generally accepted formula. In Nov., 1575, at the instance of Count George Ernest of Henneberg, Duke Louis of Württemberg and Margrave Charles of Baden, Lucas

Osiander, court preacher of Warttem-

3. The berg, Balthasar Bidembach, provost Formulas of at Stuttgart, and Abel Scherdinger,

Maulbronn court preacher of Henneberg, with and several theologians of Baden, com-

Torgau. posed the Formula of Maulbronn,

which was signed in the monastery of Maulbronn Jan. 19, 1576. This formula agreed with the Swabian Concordia in content, but departed from it in that it preserved the order of articles in the Augsburg Confession. Both formulas were sent to Elector August, wlio asked Andrea for an opinion on them. Andrea gave the preference to the Formula of Maulbronn and at the same time induced the elector to convoke an assembly of theologians for the purpose of establishing a common corpus doctrince. The time was favorable, as many of the old polemical agitators had died. In Feb., 1576, there was a convention at Lichtenberg, and from May 28 to June 7 at Torgau. The leading theologians were Nicolaus Selnecker, Andrea, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, and Andreas Musculus. On the basis of the Swabian and Maulbronn formulas there was established a third one acceptable to all parties, the Book of Torgau, of which Elector August sent copies to most of the Evangelical estates of Germany. As Landgrave William and others criticized the prolixity of the Book of Torgau, Andrea made an epitome (Kurzer summarischer Auszug der Arlikel, so zvrischen den Theologen augsburgischer Konfession I Jahre slreitig, zu Torgau durch die daselbsl versammelten and untersehriebmen Theologen im Monat Junio 1676 christlich verglichen worden).

By Feb-, 1577 most of the requested criticisms on the Book of Torgau had been sent to Dresden. Elector August then commissioned Andrea, Chemnitz and Selnecker to come to an agreement on the

Formula of Concord

final form of the confession. After having been joined later by Andreas Musculus and Christof

Kbrner of Electoral Brandenburg, and 4. The by David Chytr~eus of Rostock, they

Formula of began their meetings at Bergen, near Concord. Magdeburg; and on May 28, 1577, there was laid before the elector the Book of Bergen (Bergen Formula), which is identical with the Solids declaratio of the Formula of Concord. At the same time Andrea's epitome of the Book of Torgau was carefully read, article by article, and approved. The electors of Saxony and Brandenburg now sent copies of the Book of Bergen for approbation and subscription to all estates whose consent to the new plan was undoubted. It is not strange that the confession was not received everywhere with the same willingness. Churches which had gone through a different process of confessional development and had adopted the later doctrines of Melanchthon, in order to retain their connection with the Calvinistic Church, rejected the confession of Bergen and were driven to the Reformed confession. At the instigation of Queen Elizabeth of England, Count Palatine John Casimir, an adherent of the Reformed faith, attempted to obstruct the acceptance of the Formula of Concord by forming a counterunion of all the Reformed Churches at the Convention of Frankfort (1577), but without success.

The "Book of Concord" was published, in German, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Augsburg Confession (June 25, 1580). The first authorized Latin text appeared in 1584, in Leipsic. The confession was signed by three electors, twenty dukes and princes, twenty-four counts, four barons, thirty-eight free cities, and nearly eight thousand preachers and teachers. It was rejected by Hesse, Anhalt, Pfalz-Zweibrucken, Brunswick, SchleswigHolstein, Denmark, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Danzig, Bremen, Speyer, Worms, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Magdeburg, and Nordhausen. Silesia did not take part in the negotiations. Some of the dissenting State Churches accepted the Formula of Concord at a later time. Although it does not and can not speak the last word of the religious knowledge of Lutheranism, it was a historical necessity. The doctrinal differences produced by Melanchthonian ideas necessitated a separation of churches. The more Philippism approached Calvinism and GnesioLutheranism stepped out of the limits of a party, the less possible was a union. Andrea perceived this at the right moment. A concord among the friends of Lutheranism and the establishment of a uniform corpus doctrince was possible only if the extreme Philippists together with the Calvinists were excluded. The great importance of the Formula of Concord and of the Book of Concord lies in the fact that by them the Lutheran Church maintained its independence over against Calvinism. It must not be imagined that a theological party had here merely obtruded its views upon the Lutheran Church; in the Formula of Concord there have come to their full development the germs of a really existing consensus of belief. Not only the extremes of Philippism, but also those of the Gnesio-Lutherans, such as Flacius, Amsdorf, and


Osiander, were cut off. Thus the Formula of Concord brought peace to the Lutheran Church, and for along time gave direction to the efforts of the Church in the sphere of dogmatics.

(R. Seeberg.)

Bibliography: J. T. Müller, Die eymbolischen Bücher der evangeliach-lutherischen Kirche, Gütersloh, 1877 (text and introduction); Schaff, Creeds, i. 258-340 (history and discussion, list of literature), iii. 93-180 (text); H. E. Jacobs, The Book of Concord, i. 487 sqq., ii. 245 sqq., Philadelphia. 1893. Consult: J. G. Planck, Geed tichts der Entatehung . . protestantisdhen Lehrbegriffa, vols. iv.-vi., 8 vols., Leipsic, 1791-1800; H. L. J. Heppe, Ge achichle des deutadhen Protestantismus, 1666-1681, 4 vols., Marburg, 1852-58; K. F. GSsehel, Die Concordienformel nach Arer Geschichte, Leipsic, 1858; F. H. R. Frank, Die Theolagie der Concordienformel, 4 vols., Erlangen, 1858 1865; G. Frank, Geschichte der protestantischen Theologie, pp. 330-374, Leipsic, 1862; C. P. Kmuth, The Conserva tive Reformation and its Theology, pp. 288-328, Phila delphia, 1872; G. Wolf, Zur Geschichte des deutschen Protestantiemm, 1666-69, Berlin, 1888; and in general the works on the church history of the period.


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