Leipzig Colloquy (1631)

Thereafter, the theologians of both sides did most carefully, with a good heart, go through each of the articles of the Augsburg Confession one by one, thereby making known their respective opinions. Being called to examine the first article concerning God carefully and word by word, the electoral Brandenburg and Hessian theologians clearly stated: they firmly believe along with the electoral Saxons that God is one in being and three in persons; also that the doctrine of the unity of the divine being and the mystery of the three distinct persons in the Godhead are powerfully and irrefutably grounded in the Old and the New Testaments, regardless of some pronouncements of contrary interpretations that have appeared in the writings of certain teachers. They believe from the heart, as did the electoral Saxons, that God is a simple and an eternal, incorporeal, and indivisible being, without end and without any limits, and so is all powerful; that He can do all things which He wills to do, and that nothing at all is impossible to Him, except only that which is declared by His Word to be contrary to His nature and counsel. In all the remaining points which are comprehended in the first article as also in those which are thereby refuted, they were completely of one mind and voice. . . .

On the fourth article,1 the theologians of both sides are of one accord (and the electoral Brandenburg and Hessian theologians declare) that the fourth article is likewise loved by them and taught on every occasion. That Christ the Lord and Savior died for all men and with His death had acted for the sins of the whole world completely, perfectly, and, in His death in and of itself, powerfully and sufficiently. That it is also not mere appearance, but that it is His actual, earnest will and command that all men should believe on Him, and be saved through faith; thus that no one is shut out from the power and benefit of the sufficiency of Christ but he who shuts himself out through unbelief.

“The Leipzig Colloquy” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 4:168 and 174. [Underlining Mine and footnotes mine.]

[Notes: 1) This Colloquy was signed by:

Dr. Matthias Hoe von Hoenegg, by his own hand
Dr. Polycarpus Leyser, by his own hand
Dr. Henricus Hopfner, by his own hand
Dr. Johannes Bergius, by his own hand2
Dr. Johannes Crocius, by his own hand
Theophilus Neuberger, court preacher at Hessia Cassel, by his own hand.3

2) Dennison’s Introduction:

The second of the three Confessiones Marchicae(John Sigismund’s of 1614 is the first and the 1645 Colloquy of Thorn is the last) was drafted at a gathering of Lutheran and Reformed theologians summoned by Elector Christian William (1587-1665) of Brandenburg. Nearly halfway through the devastating Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637), friend of the Jesuits, issued an edict for the eradication of Protestantism in Germany (the so-called Edict of Restitution, 1629). However, the landing of King Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) of Sweden preserved Protestantism in Germany. Caught between the Swedish invader to the north and the Roman Catholic Ferdinand in the south, John George of Saxony (1585-1666), at the urging of George William of Brandenburg (1595-1640), invited some 160 Protestant princes to meet for the Leipzig Convention on February 16, 1631. At the conclusion of this political gathering (April 12), the Leipziger Bund (defensive association) was established in order to cooperate in raising an army of 40,000 men for defense against Wallenstein’s Roman Catholic troops.

In the context of this convention, Lutheran and Reformed theologians gathered in Leipzig on March 3, 1631 (cf. Bodo Nischan, “Reformed Irenicism and the Leipzig Colloquy of 1631,” Central European History 9 [1996J: 3-26). The Lutherans were represented by Matthias Hoe von Hoenegg (1580-1645), Polycarp Leyser (1586-1633), and Henry Hopfner. The Reformed were represented by John Bergius (1587-1658), John Crocius, and Theophilus Neuberger (1593-1656).

Using the Augustana (Invariata of the 1530 Augsburg Confession), these theologians agreed on twenry-six of the confession’s twenry-eight articles. The sticking points were article three (communicatio idiomatum) and article ten (ubiquiry of Christ’s physical presence in the Lord’s Supper). Though the Reformed granted a concession on the Supper (Christ’s "true body . . . and true blood . . . were truly and physically offered, distributed and taken"), the implications of this apparent manducatio oralis (oral partaking/ eating) was fiercely disputed after the colloquy concluded on March 23. Our text is from E. G. A. Bockel’s Die Bekenntnissschriften der evangelisch-reformirten Kirche (1847), 443-56; cf. Niemeyer, 653-68.] [pp., 164-165.]


1[That is, the 4th article in the Augsburg Confession (1530):

Article IV: Of Justification.

Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.]

2[Theologian and court chaplain of His Electoral Highness of Brandenburg.]

3[Bergius, Crocius, and Neuberger were the three Reformed representatives.]

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