Monday, November 03, 2014

Calvinists Invented Reformation Day?

Here was an interesting post from R. Scott Clark: What’s Wrong With Reformation Day?  He posts on some of the usual stuff, but I found this comment he took from Mark Noll and Thomas Howard rather enlightening:

Interestingly, it was Calvinists, not Lutherans, who in 1617 first proposed a centennial marking Luther’s attack on indulgences. Alarmed by an increasingly assertive Tridentine Catholic Church and lacking legal status in the Holy Roman Empire. early in that year church and royal officials in the Reformed German Palatinate proclaimed in October they would hold a centenary “jubilee,” to remember how “the eternal, all-powerful God has looked upon us graciously and delivered us from the horrible darkness of the papacy.” The ruler of the Palatinate, Friederich V, urged all Protestants (by which he meant Lutherans and the Reformed) to put divisions aside and offer thanks giving between October 31 and November 2 for recovering the bright light of the gospel.

Also potentially infuriating to Lutherans is this post from R. Scott Clark: Calvin: The Lutherans Belong To The Church And We Are Their Members. He posts the following quote from

It cannot be too strongly emphasized at the outset that Calvin did not think of himself as “Reformed” in the sense of inner-Protestant polemics. Calvin was not a Calvinist but an Evangelical, and what he thought about Luther can only be understood from this viewpoint. He identified himself wholly with the common Protestant cause and never faced the Wittenbergers as the sponsor of a rival movement. This was at no time made more plain than when Calvin learned of the struggle between the Saxon Lutherans and Heinz von Wolfenbüttel (1545). He immediately obtained permission from the Genevan authorities to hold a special service of intercession, and from his pulpit he exhorted the people of Geneva: “I am not speaking of Geneva alone, but of all towns and territories where the gospel is proclaimed.… May we set ourselves apart? May we say, ‘They are far away from us’? No, they belong to the church, and we are their members.” Moreover, as is well known, Calvin testified to his solidarity with the Lutherans by accepting the Augsburg Confession.14 Of course, the eucharistic debates repeatedly menaced the relations between Calvin and the Lutherans. But it is common knowledge that on the points at issue between Luther and Zwingli he recognized the validity of Luther’s case. And he did not permit even the bitterness of his debate with Joachim Westphal to shake his confidence in the German Reformer, whose memory he continued to cherish. —B. A. Gerrish, The Old Protestantism and the New: Essays on the Reformation Heritage (London; New York: T &T Clark, 2004), 29.

(Picture credit)


Don Stein said...

I'm with Noll, Howard, Clark, et al. The nailing of the Thesis is silly for both Lutherans and Reformed to celebrate. Whether it was started by Calvinists or Lutherans is irrelevant - celebrations on Oct. 31 is nothing but Unionist drivel. And the "all-Protestants-are-basically-the-same" Zeitgeist didn't quiet any over time, either. A few Lutheran synods in America and Australia can tell you all about it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what we have in common, but there's nothing to celebrate here. I'll stick to remembering June 25.

Ken said...

June 25, 1530 - the Diet of Augsburg

I think April 18 is better

April 18, 1521 - Luther's defense at the Diet of Worms

Nevertheless, Luther's protest against indulgences and bad translation of "repent" got the ball rolling toward the other events, as the RC response drove Luther further into the Scriptures to see Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.