Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Philipp Melanchthon, Confessor

Commemoration of Philipp Melanchthon (birth), Confessor
Shrove Tuesday
February 16, 2010

The Lord be with you

A date that is commemorated only on Lutheran liturgical calendars (as far as I know) is the birth of Philipp Melanchthon, which is today. Melanchthon (1497-1560) was a brilliant student of the classics and a humanist scholar. In 1518, he was appointed to teach along with Martin Luther at the University of Wittenberg. At Luther’s urging, Melanchthon began teaching theology and Scripture in addition to his courses in classical studies. In April 1530, Emperor Charles V called an official meeting between the representatives of Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism, hoping to effect a meeting of minds between two opposing groups. Since Luther was at that time under papal excommunication and an imperial ban, Melanchthon was assigned the duty of being the chief Lutheran representative at this meeting. He is especially remembered and honored as the author of the Augsburg Confession, which was officially presented by the German princes to the emperor on June 25, 1530, as the defining document of Lutheranism within Christendom. The Augsburg Confession had an impact far beyond Lutheranism, as most confessional documents that came after it followed the pattern of the Augsburg Confession, often lifting out whole paragraphs. Melanchthon died on April 19, 1560.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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