Martin Bucer's Doctrine of Justification: Reformation Theology and Early Modern Irenicism (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
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Martin Bucer has usually been portrayed as a diplomat who attempted to reconcile divergent theological views, sometimes at any cost, or as a pragmatic pastor who was more concerned with ethics than theology. These representations have led to the view that Bucer was a theological light-weight, rightly placed in the shadow of Luther and Calvin. This book makes a different argument.
Bucer was an ecclesial diplomat and a pragmatic pastor, yet his ecclesial and practical approaches to reforming the Church were guided by coherent theological convictions. Central to his theology was his understanding of the doctrine of justification, an understanding that Brian Lugioyo argues has an integrity of its own, though it has been imprecisely represented as intentionally conciliatory. It was this solid doctrine that guided Bucer's irenicism and acted as a foundation for his entrance into discussions with Catholics between 1539 and 1541. Lugioyo demonstrates that Bucer was consistent in his approach and did not sacrifice his theological convictions for ecclesial expediency. Indeed his understanding was an accepted evangelical perspective on justification, one to be commended along with those of Luther and Calvin.
your salvation with fear and trembling,” the article states that in this way it is not absurd to call this cooperating grace.268 Finally, there is perfecting or consummating grace, which is the gift of eternal life. All these grades of grace are understood as being obtained through Christ by faith, by which believers believe in God.269 For Lexutt this is the primary weakness of the article, because the idea that man cooperates to complete justiﬁcation enters in with the inclusion of the concept
Pollet, “Origine et structure du De Sarcienda Ecclesiae Concordia (1533) d’Erasme,” in Scrinium Erasmianum: Mélanges historiques . . . à l’occasion du cinquième centenaire de la naissance d’Erasme, ed. Joseph Coppens, vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 1969), 183–196. For shorter discussions on this work, see Kantzenbach, Das Ringen um die Einheit, 84–92; Cornelis Augustijn, Erasmus: His Life, Works, and Inﬂuence, trans. J. C. Grayson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995), 180–182; Krüger, “Bucer and
irradiat, naturalis dici solet. Haec tanta quidem est, ut omnem nobis excusationem adimat, et nos apud nos ipsos impietatis convincat: at eo usque non valet, ut verum dei studium cultumque parerert. Altera vero plena est adeo, et solida, ut ilico exse gignat amorem, dignamque reverentiam Dei, unde et vita aeterna dicitur. Haec est quam dominus promittit electis suis per Christum, novique foederis particibus propriam facit: Cognoscent me omnes a minimo usque ad maximum, ut non sit causa cur frater
412; CP 101. 307. BRom (1536), 22; (1562), 22; CP 196. MARTIN BUCER’S DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION 101 us, is rightly enjoyed, with everything else he has been pleased to bestow upon the whole nature of man. As I have said, human nature cannot perceive in full the truth while it is still destitute of the light of faith, unless it is born again.308 Bucer’s teaching of justiﬁcation by faith cannot be accurately described as “double justiﬁcation.” Bucer did not conceive of separate judgments, one
immutando malevolam voluntatem, eam facit benevolam, et suae voluntati consentientem. Unde voluntatem quidem nostram Deus immutat, et sic operatur in nobis velle, sed tamen quia voluntas invita mutari nequit, Deo cooperatur dum ei consentit.” 110. Enchiridion, 143(v); “Itidem non inﬁciamur assensu voluntatis nostrae ad iustiﬁcatione opus esse, quemadmodum Augustinus dixit: Deum qui creavit te sine te, non iustiﬁcare te sine te.” Augustine on Philippians 3, in Lombard, Collectanea; PL 192, 243.