Thursday, February 06, 2014
Lutherans Coined the term "Calvinism"?
To consolidate the Reformed faith in this region [the city of Heidelberg], Frederick requested that a public confession of faith be devised that could be used to instruct the people in the new version of Protestantism. The result was the “Heidelberg Catechism” (1563), widely regarded as one of the finest documents of its kind. Calvin’s influence is everywhere apparent in this document, which did much to consolidate his influence beyond Geneva. Around this time, the term “Calvinism” was used by its opponents to refer to the Reformed type of Protestantism as a means of emphasizing that it originated from outside Germany. The term appears to have been introduced around 1552 by the Lutheran polemicist Joachim Westphal to refer to the theological, and particularly the sacramental, views of the Swiss reformers in general, and of John Calvin in particular. Once introduced, the term rapidly passed into general use in the Lutheran church. (McGrath, Alister (2009-10-13). Christianity's Dangerous Idea (p. 98). Harper Collins. Kindle Edition.
The Lutheran disdain for anything "Reformed" is alive and well, at least on the Internet, so it doesn't surprise me that it may have been a Lutheran who first coined the term. For a good example of futile Lutheran vs. Reformed dialog see the recent CARM discussion: A Lutheran Looks at "OSAS". I can summarize the entire exchange with the following:
Reformed: The Bible says x, and here's why.
Lutheran: The Bible says x, and explaining "why" is an appeal to human reason, so I really don't care about your "why."
The discussion is nothing more than a bunch of people speaking past each other. What I would love to see is an in-person debate between a good Lutheran theologian and a good Reformed theologian, and I wouldn't watch it unless there was cross-examination.