HOW FAR IS IT CORRECT TO DESCRIBE THE THEOLOGY OF MARTIN BUCER AND JOHN CALVIN AS A MEDIATING THEOLOGY? – Part 3

Martin Bucer’s first attempt at reconciling the two sides comes in his 1526 Apology. This was a response to charges laid against him and other reformers of Strasbourg, as well as Zwingli, in the Swabian Syngramma. This was a document made up by Lutheran clergy who adopted a formula devised by Johannes Brenz[1] defending the real presence of Christ in the eucharist. Luther was in such agreement with this document that he wrote a preface in German. Bucer in his Apology gives a straight forward account of his beliefs. Bucer’s intention in clear when he recounts his first letter to Brenz writing, “I strongly urged harmony concerning the eucharist, since it is intrinsically most unworthy for the symbol of supreme unity and concord to be made the focus of dissensions and the see-plot of animosities.”[2] Later, Bucer directly asks Brenz and the other Lutheran clergy to consider the “merits of Oecolampadius and Zwingli, lest the Christ in them be despised, and the churches disturbed.” He goes on to say that Zwingli’s teaching on the eucharist does not “conflict with the scriptures.”[3]

Bucer’s own theology of the eucharist does appear to try and balance Luther and Zwingli. Bucer (as Luther does) sees two realities in the eucharist; an earthly one, the bread and the wine which remain unaltered in their mature substance… and a heavenly one, the true body and blood of Christ, that is the Lord himself. But Bucer goes further. He says that Christ does not leave heaven, neither is he naturally mingled with the bread and wine, but, “gives himself to us there after a heavenly manner,” which is very close to Zwingli’s view of a spiritual presence of Christ.

 


[1] It was claimed that the document was published without Brenz knowledge

[2] D Wright Martin Bucer (Sutton Press 1972) pg316

[3] Ibid pg 317

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s