Sandomierz Consensus:

1) Thus our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, by His suffering and death and His complete obedience, which He fulfilled for us after His birth here in the body, reconciled His Father with all believers, cleansed our sin, overcame death, defeated damnation and hell, and by His resurrection He returned eternal life and restored immortality to mankind. For He is our righteousness, life, and resurrection; in Him alone all believers have the forgiveness of their sins and the perfection of their lacks; in Him is salvation and all abundance of God’s gifts, as the apostle wrote to the Colossians, in chapters 1 and 2. "The Father was pleased that all completeness be in Him, and in Him you are made complete:’ Therefore, we believe that Christ is the only and eternal Savior of mankind and of the whole world, in whom all are saved by faith, all who were saved before the law, under the law, and under the gospel, and all who are yet to be saved until the end of the world. For the Lord Himself said in the gospel, ”The one who does not enter the sheep pen through the door but from somewhere else is a thief and a criminal; I am the door to the sheep" (John 10:1, 7). Likewise, "Abraham saw my day and was glad" (John 8:56). And St. Peter also said, "There is no other salvation except in Christ, nor was any other name given to people under heaven in which we could attain salvation apart from this one" (Acts 4:12). We firmly believe that we will be saved by the grace of God through Christ, just as our ancestors in the faith were; for thus St. Paul wrote regarding this–that "all those ancient fathers shared one spiritual food with us and drank one spiritual drink. They drank (he says) from that spiritual Rock, which was following after them from the wilderness, and that Rock was Christ" (1 Cor. 10:3-4). Also, St.John the Evangelist calls Christ "the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world" (Rev. 13:8) and "the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). Thus, in a full confession, we proclaim that Christ is the only Savior, Redeemer, King, and highest Bishop of the world, the true, holy, and blessed Messiah whom all the faithful awaited from of old, whom all the rites and ceremonies of the law presented and exhibited, whom the Father, according to His oath, gave and sent into the world so that it is unnecessary to wait for another. For there is no other hope; and we need to give this glory to Christ alone, believe in Him, and stop at Him alone, rejecting all other helpers and mediators, because all who seek salvation in something other than Christ alone fall away from the grace of God and cannot be sharers in Christ. “Sandomierz Consensus (1570)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 201-202.

2) Yet because we were all, without a doubt, born in sin, and we are guilty of crime and of death before the majesty of God, it is certain that we are justified by the Highest Judge, that is, we are made free of sin and of death, by the grace and merit of Christ, not with respect to our own persons or merits. For nothing clearer can be said than the words of St. Paul which he wrote to the Romans: “All have sinned and do not have the glory of God in themselves, but they are justified freely through His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23-24).

For Christ deigned to take upon Himself the sins of this world and made satisfaction to the justice of God. Therefore, for the sake of His only begotten Son, who suffered for us and rose again, God is a merciful judge of our sins, and He neither adjudges nor considers them as ours but rather adjudges and considers the righteousness of Christ as our own, so that we are not only cleansed from sins but also endowed with the righteousness of Christ and pronounced and made free by the Lord’s decree from sin, from death and eternal damnation, and judged to be righteous and heirs of eternal life. This is how, according to the essence of the words of Scripture, only God Himself justifies us for the sake of Christ when He does not judge our sins but credits His righteousness to us and makes it our own. “Sandomierz Consensus (1570)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 211.

3) Thus God desires that these invented reverences or praises be rebuked and demolished, and therefore we truly set forth in itself and straightforwardly the voice of God, which condemns these errors. We wholeheartedly maintain before God and before the whole church that is in heaven and on earth that there was only one propitiating sacrifice, by which the wrath of God is propitiated, that is, the whole obedience of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified and who rose from the dead. This is the one Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. Regarding this one sacrifice, it is said, Hebrews 10[:14]: "By the one sacrifice He perfected forever those who are sanctified:"

This sacrifice is appropriated or accepted by faith by each one who hears the gospel and uses the sacraments, as St. Paul testifies, Romans 3[:25]: "which He gave as a propitiation in blood through faith.” And Habakkuk 2[:4]: "The righteous person will live by his own faith.” And also 1 Peter 1[:2]: "sanctified by the Spirit for obedience, and redeemed by the blood of Christ.” The other sacrifices in the old law, which will be discussed more extensively later, were a figure, and these sacrifices were not a means of meriting the forgiveness of sins. All the righteous [works] of holy people at all times were, are, and will be sacrifices of praise or thanksgiving, which do not bring about any such merit that sins should be forgiven because of the one who offers them or for anyone else, but they are the praise of God that everyone is obligated to give, and they please or are agreeable to God because of the Mediator, because of the Most High Priest, the Son of God, as it is [written) about this in Hebrews: "Through Him we always offer the sacrifices of praise to God" (13:15). This is an unassailable and forever manifestly revealed truth. “Sandomierz Consensus (1570)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 263-264.

4) But God wants to have corrupt worship reproved and abolished. Therefore we do simply and truly propound the divine voice that condemns those errors. And with all our heart, we affirm before God and the whole church in heaven and on earth that there was one only propitiatory. sacrifice, or that whereby the wrath of the eternal Father against mankind has been placated, to wit, the whole obedience of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified and raised up again. This only is that "Lamb which taketh away the sins of the world.” Of this sacrifice only it is said, "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10). And this sacrifice is applied to each one by their own faith when they hear the gospel and use the sacraments, as Paul says, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood.” And, "The just shall live by faith.” And, "Elect through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter). Other sacrifices in the Old Testament were typical, of which we shall speak more fully in their place. Also, they did not merit any remission of sins, and all the righteousness of holy men at all times were, are, and shall be sacrifices of praise, or ευχαριστικα, which do not merit any remission, either for those that offered them or for others. But they are services that everyone ought to perform and are acceptable on account of our Mediator and High Priest, the Son of God, as it is said, "By him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” That this is an unchangeable and eternal truth is most manifest. And whereas certain fragments, which they call the canons of the Mass, are alleged against this so-clear light of truth, it is also manifest that the Greek and Latin canons disagree. The Greeks themselves differ most among themselves about the matter. Also, it appears that in the Latin canon that is used, it appears little by little and that small pieces were stitched together from unknown authors. “Sandomierz Consensus (1570)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 281-282.

Dennison’s introduction:

The cross section of Protestantism found the~ Reformation principals and their followers eventually mamfested m the Pohsh evangehcal church. Lutherans, Zwinglians/Reformed, and Czech/Bohemian Brethren segregated themselves in defense of their distinctives. But the relentless pressure of the Counter~ Reformation and the emerging defections of the anti~Trinitarians forced the three factions to consider a consensual statement of ecclesiastical union. From 1555 to 1570, the three groups held meetings in which they sought to unite theology and practice. At Kozminek in 1555, the Minor Polish Reformed and Czech Brethren agreed to full joint communion. When John à Lasco (1499-1560) returned to Poland from Emden in 1556, he embarked on joining all Protestants in a single united church from Poland to Lithuania. At the Synod of Wlodzislaw (June 15-18,1557), à Lasco sought to reach out to the Lutherans. Four months later (October 16), the Convocation at Goluchów between the Minor Polish Reformed and the Czech Brethren recognized the intransigence of the Lutherans. À Lasco turned to Albrecht of Brandenberg (1490-1568), Duke of Prussia, in an attempt to unite the Lutherans via a formal public disputation (April 14, 1558). He failed, but until his death in 1560 he still treasured the hope of a united Protestant church in Poland and Lithuania.

Several meetings between the Czech Brethren and Lutherans in the period 1560 to 1567 produced no movement towards union. In fact, the Lutherans drew up several points of Bohemian "error;’ especially on the Lord’s Supper. But King Sigismund II Augustus (1520-1572) declared his support for "one church in his realm" at the Lublin Parliament (1569). A flurry of activity occurred in the following year.

On February 4, Lutherans and the Brethren met at Poznán to discuss the nature of Christ’s presence in the Supper. The Lutherans advanced the substantialiter of the Augsburg Confession; the Bohemians countered with non substantialiter, sed sacramentaliter. At Vilnius (Wilno, Lithuania) on March 2, 1570, Lutherans and Brethren met at the urging of Mikolaj Radziwill (the Brown, 1512-1584). The results of this meeting are obscure since there is no extant record of its conclusions. In April 1570, Polish and Lithuanian Lutherans, Reformed, and Brethren gathered at Sandomierz (Sandomir/Sendomir) in order to draft a consensus. The goal was one church with a common confession and liturgy. Each faction began with its own modular confession: Bohemian (1535), commended by Andrew Prazmovsky (Andrzej y Przasnyska); Second Helvetic (1566), commended by Paul Gilowski (†1595), who had translated it into Polish with slight modification of the portion on the Lord’s Supper; and the Augsburg (1530), championed by Erasmus Gliczner (1530-1603). On April 11, a decision to use the Second Helvetic as the basis of discussion was reached. But the Bohemians wanted to retain their own confession, and the Lutherans refused to accept a Calvinistic confession. The Consensus Sendomiriensis (Formula Recessus) was not the confession that the three had sought; it was a declaration of mutual respect and charity for the orthodoxy of each body on the fundamental articles (God, Trinity, incarnation, justification). In fact, the doctrine of the incarnation was disputed (as later events disclosed), i.e., with respect to the nature of the glorified body of Jesus Christ, and the fundamental disagreement was evident in the respective doctrines of the Lord’s Supper. When the phrase "Christ is present . . . substantially" was included at Sandomierz, it was more a concession to the Lutherans, who subsequently condemned the Consensus as "inadequate.” At the Convocation of Poznań from May 18 to 20, this inadequacy became manifest–dissension over the Lord’s Supper was patent between the Lutherans and the Brethren. By the fall of 1570, the Consensus was moot.

When the Synod of Toruń (August 21-26,1595) reaffirmed ministerial subscription to Sandomir as the basis of unity in the Kingdom of Poland, they resorted to union via edict, not consensus according to doctrine. The Lord’s Supper remained the bone of contention.

We are providing an English translation of two versions of this document: the full Polish original and the shorter Latin synopsis. The original Polish version is found in Konfesja Sandomierska: Transkrypja i komentarz jrzykowy Krystyna Dlugosz-Kurczabowa (Warszawa 1995), 1-283. Where Scripture allusions are merely quoted or cited as book and chapter, the translator has provided full verse identification. In addition, we have omitted the title list of articles, since they recur as the superscriptions of each. The abbreviated Latin synopsis that follows this complete version is from Niemeyer, Sandomierz Consensus (1570)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 168-170.

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