Rethinking the Wittenberg Concord for Today
One of the mostly forgotten gems of the sixteenth century Reformations is the Wittenberg Concord. Signed in 1536 by representatives of evangelical southern German imperial cities and territories and the Lutherans, the dialogue that led to the concord provided space for the participants to have a meaningful dialogue that led to the recognition of each other's understanding of the sacraments as orthodox. This was remarkable, given the very public failures at Marburg in 1529 and Augsburg in 1530. The lack of agreement threatened the unity of the evangelical estates and made them, along with the Reformation teachings, vulnerable to attack by the Holy Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church.
The dialogue participants created enough space in their own understandings of the sacraments of baptism, absolution, and the Lord's Supper to allow the agreement to occurand function reasonably well, at least until the beginning of the Thirty Years War in 1618.
The final two chapters explore how this concord has impacted the church since its acceptance, and how the lessons learned from this dialogue can assist churches today in providing healthy spaces for ecumenical dialogue to discuss controversial issues.
About the Author
Gordon Jensen is the William Hordern Chair of Theology and Dean of Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon in Canada. He is the author of Walking Together in Christ (2006), as well as numerous articles, essays, and chapter contributions.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Timothy J. Wengert
1. The Quest for an Evangelical Political Alliance
Justifying an Evangelical Alliance
The Diet of Augsburg
The Formation of the Schmalkald League
Renewed Possibilities for Theological Concord
2. Stifled Dialogues (1520Æ1529)
The Lord's Supper
At God's Right Hand
Confession and Absolution
The Marburg Colloquy
3. Re-creating Space for Theological Dialogue (1530Æ1534)
New Threats to Dialogue
Dialogue with France, England, and Rome
4. Negotiating an Agreement (1534Æ1536)
The Initial Breakthrough
Selling the Lord's Supper Formula
Negotiation Preparations and Challenges
The Journey to Wittenberg
Negotiations in Wittenberg
5. Agreeing on the Lord's Supper
The Nature of Christ's Presence in the Lord's Supper
With the Bread and Wine
Do Unbelievers Eat Christ's Body and Blood in the Supper?
6. Agreeing on Baptism and Absolution
Agreeing on Baptism
The Necessary Bath of Rebirth
Baptism as an Action of God
Faith, Baptism, and Infants
Baptism and Original Sin
7. Failed Negotiations: Controlling Church Property
The Imperial Chamber Court
The Wittenberg Memorandum
What People are Saying About This
"Gordon Jensen's book draws some important lessons from the experience of the sixteenth-century reformers that are still relevant for anyone involved in ecumenical dialogue today."
"A remarkable achievement, and a lasting contribution to Christian ecumenism!"
"Precisely and sympathetically written book rich with historical narrative and lucid theological analysis, this study is an excellent tool in both ecumenical work and in classroom."
"Professor Jensen's work makes important contributions both to our understanding of the Lord's Supper in the Reformation and to potential ecumenical discussions today."