à Lasco:

We are also taught by this same name of Jesus that he, who in this manner was conceived and born of the virgin mother by Divine power, is truly that which is proclaimed, namely, the true and all sufficient savior of the entire world, except where someone would voluntarily despise him and his benefits through an obstinate and absolutely rebellious impiety, and thus, drive him from himself. To this, indeed, all Angels, Prophets, and Apostles unanimously testify (Mt. 1; Acts 1; Isa. 53). Thus, they, who establish or look for other saviors of some kind or patrons of their salvation, apart from this Jesus, the son of the virgin Mary, or along with him, do not really know the name of Jesus in that Ecclesiastical faith. There is, indeed, no other name under heaven, in which we must be saved (Acts 4). . . .

The Church of Christ is the assembly of those men along with their offspring who were called and are yet to be called from the remaining multitude of men in the entire earth. They have been called from our first parent Adam and will so continue to be called by the voice of God, delivered through Angels, Prophets, Christ, and his Apostles. until the consummation of the world. They believe and profess either publicly or privately, by mouth, by the observance of ceremonies instituted by Christ. and by the performance of duties as each calling requires, that Jesus is truly the son of that Virgin Mary, that is man from man, namely from the virgin mother; that he was conceived and born by the action of the Holy Spirit as our brother in the flesh and, thus, was precisely able to die in our place for our sins, and to be now in the society of our flesh the all sufficient savior of the entire world; that he is also equally God, and that none is savior except God himself. Next, they believe and also profess that this Jesus is that true Christ who was continuously foretold by Angels and Prophetic teachers from the beginning of the world itself; that he is that one, supreme and eternal King, Prophet, and High Priest for the entire world, who shall have dispelled and utterly abolished all types of carnal law by the light of his advent. Finally, they believe and profess that same Jesus Christ to be true, natural, and only begotten Son of God the Father, begotten from God the Father himself in the same existence of his Divinity, just as the man consented to be conceived and born from man, namely from the virgin mother, that he might be and atone for the sin of the entire world; he is to be praised along with the Father and Holy Spirit, the one true God in heaven. Amen.

John à Lasco, “The Compendium of Doctrine Of the One True Church of God and Christ,” in Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed. James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), 1:563 and 576-577. [underlining mine.]

[Dennison’s brief biographical and introductory comment:

The Reformator Poloniae, John à Lasco (Jan Laski, 1499-1560), came to the Reformed faith by way of Erasmus (1466 -1536), Zwingli (1484-1531) and several others. Educated in Italy, he was ordained a priest in 1521 and became dean of the church in Gnesen. Traveling abroad in 1523-24, he met Erasmus in Basel, Zwingli in Zurich, read Luther (1483-1546), and began to re-think his Roman Catholic convictions. He was recalled to Poland in 1526 (yet unconvinced of Protestantism) and served the church until 1538. In or about that year he converted to Protestantism and resigned his bishopric. Setting Out once again, he journeyed to Louvain, married a woman named Gudula in 1540 and settled in Emden (East Friesland). Count Enno II (1505 -1540), ruler of East Freisland, had died in September to be succeeded by his brother, Johann I (1506 -1572). Johann served as regent for two years, relinquishing the office to Count Enno’s widow, Countess Anna von Oldenberg (1501-1575), when he returned to the Roman Catholic church in 1542. It was the Countess who appointed à Lasco Superintendent of the Protestant churches in her realm in 1543. À Lasco established a weekly coetus (meeting of the clergy) to reinforce the organization he was bringing to the regional church and to cement Reformed opposition to Anabaptism which was prevalent in the area.

When the Augsburg Interim (1548) was imposed by Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), Countess Anna was forced to agree to a compromise that would allow Catholicism a rebirth in East Friesland (1549). À Lasco departed for England in order to take refuge with Edward VI (1537-1553) and Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) rather than tolerate the renewal of Catholicism in Emden and environs. He arrived in September 1548 and huddled with Cranmer at Lambeth Palace influencing the future Book of Common Prayer. He returned to the continent in the spring of 1549, but was back in London by May 1550. In July, the Privy Council granted a charter for establishing a ‘Stranger’s Church’ in London with à Lasco as superintendent. The church met in Austin Friars and was composed of French, Dutch, and Italian refugees. The French group, pastored by François Perussel (Francis Riverius/Rivius) and Richard Gallus (Vauville), subsequently grew roo large and established a separate place of worship at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Threadneedle Street. The Italian church was pastored by Michel Angelo Florio. For the Dutch congregation of pilgrims (pastored by à Lasco and Martin Flandrus [Micronius]), à Lasco composed a liturgy and order of discipline (Forma ac Ratio, 1550). . . .

The confession printed below was the basis for admission to the immigrant congregation. Subscription to its tenets was required for admission to the Lord’s Supper. While Abraham Kuyper believed that à Lasco was the author of the document, à Lasco himself intimates that the confession was probably a joint project involving several additional unidentified individuals.

The confession was first published in 1551 in Latin: Compendium doctrinae de vera unicaque Dei et Christi ecclesia. It is reprinted in Joannis à Lasco Opera (1866), edited by Abraham Kuyper (2:285-339). A Dutch translation by Jan Utenhove (1520-1565) appeared in 1551: Een cort begrijp der leeringhen. . . . Our translation from the Latin text was. made by James Frantz Smith for his Ph.D. dissertation at Vanderbilt University in 1964. It is found on pages 225 -276 of that work entitled John À Lasco and the Strangers’ Churches. Dr. Smith has kindly granted permission for us to reprint his version below. Cf. Busch, 1/3: 59 -77.]

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