Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chemnitz and McNabb

What possible connection could there be between Martin Chemnitz and Donovan McNabb? Well, apparently, my comments about Chemnitz being overrated have irritated some people as have Rush Limbaugh's comments about McNabb. Limbaugh did not say McNabb was a bad quarterback -- only overrated. Likewise, I did not say that Chemnitz was a bad theologian -- only overrated.

Chemnitz is described as a centrist who did not like the vitriolic nature of the controversies among Lutherans. Probably one of the most outspoken Lutherans of the latter half of the 16th century was Matthias Flacius. Apparently, there was no love lost between these two Lutheran theologians.

Flacius chastised those Lutheran theologians who opposed the Augsburg Interim and Leipzig Interim in a quiet, non-confrontational way --among whom were Melanchthon and Chemnitz. It was Flacius's strong, passionate defense of Lutheranism and opposition to the Interims that led to the withdrawal of the Interims and the freedom for other theologians to compose the Book of Concord.

So, did Chemnitz make great contributions to Lutheran theology? Certainly! He is one of the greatest theologians of Lutheranism. But when Lutheranism faced its direst moments after the death of Luther, it was not Melanchthon and Chemnitz who stood up to the forces of the pope and emperor, but men like Flacius and the people of Magdeburg. Historically speaking, if it weren't for Flacius, Chemnitz would not have flourished.

If we want to rate Luther with an A+, then I would put Chemnitz as B+ and Flacius as A-. If Flacius erred in his doctrine of human corruption, Chemnitz erred in being a pacifist in the midst of strife and controversies.

6 comments:

Paul T. McCain said...

Gary, I regret that you can never post something that is a response to a question of something you have said without making it sound as though you are being "picked on" or being persecuted.

Your comment that Chemnitz did not "stand up" to the Interims like Flacius did is misinformed.

Chemnitz was still in school when the "Interim" situation developed, and had no position to "attack" the Interims like Flacius did.

You need to be more careful when you make statements like this. You betray a woeful ignorance of the history of this period, and of Chemnitz in partiuclar.

Lutheran Enigma said...

Flacius was born in 1520. Chemnitz was born in 1522.

Flacius graduated in 1546. Chemnitz graduated in 1550.

Flacius took up his opposition to the Interims in 1548 and moved to Magdeburg in 1550 from where he strongly attacked the Interims.

Chemnitz became librarian to Prince Albrecht in 1550 and joined the Wittenburg faculty in 1554.

Now just because he was in school does not mean he could not have spoken up. I know a few men from CCRF who opposed an errant prof while they were still students.

Even if we grant that students cannot speak out on controversies,
Chemnitz graduated soon after the Interims were imposed. The Leipzig Interim was in effect until the Peace of Augsburg (1555) -- based on the Treaty of Passau (1552) -- which gave religious liberty to Protestants. He had the opportunity to speak out and did not, especially while Germans watched the seige of Magdeburg by the Emperor's army.

Jeff said...

I think you need to follow Matthew 18, and take this up with Martin Chemnitz BEFORE posting it on-line.

I expect your public apology forthright.

Lutheran Enigma said...

So Jeff, you are saying I need to get a medium before a mediator. Pastor

Jeff said...

No, that's clearly anti-biblical as well. Your options here are mightily limited- but you're resourceful, I have hope!

And since James 5:16b says 'The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.' I'll make sure to let God know he should give you a solution which allows you to remain steadfastly within the realm of biblical laws.

You need to have faith, in Him or me.

Paul T. McCain said...

I had forgotten this little conversation until just now, and came back to note your comment Gary.

Your position on Chemnitz is simply, well, silly.

Matthias Flacius was a great hero and champion of the Reformation, but he was by no means a "one man show" on these points.

It would do well for you to expand your knowledge of these times and people beyond Oliver Olson's research which tends toward hagiography in regard to Flacius.