Martin Chemnitz (d. 1586) was such an influential theologian in the Lutheran branch of the Protestant Reformation that he has been called “the second Martin.” If you’re interested in this part of church history, here’s a good summary of Chemnitz’s role in the Formula of Concord, the Lutheran confession which was published on June 25, 1580.
“Martin Chemnitz was one of the most important figures in the development of the Formula of Concord. He worked tirelessly to achieve doctrinal harmony among as many laypeople, pastors, and theologians as possible. He was not given to a brusque and abrasive personality, as were certain leaders among the Gnesio-Lutherans. He was more diplomatic. As a young man he attended the aging Martin Luther’s lectures on Genesis in Wittenberg. Melanchthon was also one of his beloved teachers. Chemnitz carefully studied Holy Scripture. He read virtually every book available written by the Early Church Fathers. He eventually became the leading pastor in the territory of Brunswick.”
“[Chemnitz] was passionate about carefully teaching the pastors in his territory how to be good pastoral theologians. Chemnitz was appointed by his sovereign, Duke Julius of Brunswick, to help revise and rewrite the Swabian-Saxon Concord of 1575 (an early Lutheran confession of faith – spl).”
In 1576 six leading German theologians worked together to combine two early Lutheran confessions into a single one, which was summarized and became known as “The Epitome of the Formula of Concord.” This document was in turn sent out to a number of Lutheran theologians who worked together to produce the final version of the Formula of Concord in 1577. After Elector Augustus accepted it, Martin Chemnitz and several other Lutheran leaders wrote an introduction to the Formula and promoted it among laypeople, pastors, and other Lutheran theologians.
“Chemnitz worked tirelessly to advance the cause of concord – harmony and peace – in the Church, based on common confession of the truth of God’s Word.”
This excellent summary of Martin Chemnitz’s ministry and the Formula of Concord (which I edited slightly) can be found in Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, p. 453-4.
Here’s the full info: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions. A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord. Editors. Paul McCain, Edward Engelbrecht, Robert Baker, and Gene Veith. Revised, updated, and annotated based on the translation by William Dau and Gerhard Bente. Second Edition. (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006).
4 Replies to “Martin Chemnitz and the Lutheran Formula of Concord”
Martin Chemnitz getting a shout-out on a Reformed blog?! I’m speechless! ;-)
Ha! Thanks for the “like” and comment. BTW, we’ve quoted Luther on here more than a few times. His “house postils” were very influential in my own life as I was learning more and more about the gospel and God’s grace.
A Hurrah for Chemnitz! I would also recommend the new (and first time) translation of John Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces by Richard Dinda, Concordia Publishing House. Gerhard is something like a Lutheran Turretin–clear, orderly, thorough (extremely!) and incisive. Of course, he is very Lutheran, but you can’t win ’em all!
Thanks for that book note, Monty. I may have to get that in the future!
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