9.7.09

This Is My Body

The lack of a definite conception on Luther's part regarding the Reformer of Geneva has made all kinds of conjectures possible. While strict Lutherans were inclined to believe that in Luther's evaluation Calvin would have been only another Zwingli, others speak of him as if he were the only true Lutheran in the 16th century after Luther. Either view, of course, is untenable; on the other hand, there is some truth in both. Calvin began his work as Reformer as a 'Lutheran'. He wanted to be Luther's disciple, and felt himself far closer to him than to Zwingli and Oecolampadius. As a Lutheran he wrote the first edition of his Institutio religionis christianae, following the train of thought of Luther's Catechism. His 'Lutheranism', however, was limited by the fact that he knew only such works by Luther as were written in (or translated into) Latin. Consequently, the most important writings of Luther on the Sacrament were unknown to him, and he was unable to follow the Great Controversy between Luther and Zwingli which was in progress while he was being converted from Catholic humanism to what at that time in France was called 'Lutheranism'. It seems that Zwingli, whose Commentarius de vera et falsa religione he had read, exercised a greater infuence on him than he realised. But, above all, it was Bucer who helped shape his theology, first by his writings, especially his Commentary on the Gospels, and later during the yearsof their association at Strasburg.

From This Is My Body, Luther's Contention for the real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar, Revised Australian Edition, March 1977, Lutheran Publishing House, pp 260-261.

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