To get a good grasp of Reformation history and theology, one must turn to the primary source material. John Calvin and Jacopo Sadoleto's debate over Reformation theology is one of the most important ecumenical discussions of the past 500 years. This short book introduces the authors, provides historical context, and contains the two letters in their entirety, as well as additional information on the differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant theology on the doctrine of justification.
A Window into the Roman Catholic/Protestant Divide of the 16th Century That Still Affects Christiani
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 15 years ago
A Reformation Debate collects a March 1539 letter from Roman Catholic Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto, bishop of Carpentras (France), to the residents of Geneva, Switzerland, and an August 1539 response from Geneva Protestant reformer John Calvin to Sadoleto. Geneva had become a Protestant city, and Sadoleto wrote to urge the citizens to return to the Roman Catholic faith. Calvin responded with a lively defense of the Protestant faith. Both letters provide helpful windows into the Roman Catholic/Protestant divide that has shaped Christianity ever since. The book also contains two valuable appendixes, the first one collecting sections in Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion on justification by faith alone, and the second one printing the Council of Trent's decree on justification. Sadoleto constructs his argument almost as an apologetic in which he moves toward the Genevans as far as he can without compromising the Roman Catholic Church's position. He begins his correspondence by conveying his concern for the Genevans with deliberate allusions to letters of the apostle Paul. These Pauline echoes provide only a few of the Scripture quotes and allusions found throughout letter. Sadoleto also takes the major controversies of the Reformation and agrees with the Protestant positions as much as possible before explicating where Rome differs. It is an oversimplification to say that he essentially makes an appeal to human self-interest in obtaining salvation, as Lester DeKoster (following Calvin) concludes in the book's introduction. Sadoleto's final (and therefore arguably more important) appeal used to conclude his letter is one urging Protestants to return to the Roman Catholic Church for the sake of the unity of the body of Christ. Calvin's letter is more than twice the length of Sadoleto's correspondence and not only reacts to the bishop's arguments, but defends Protestant viewpoints. The Geneva reformer charges Sadoleto with steering Christians to self-concern for their salvation rather than concern for God's glory. Calvin goes on to sound the distinctive themes of the Reformation while mostly arguing that the reformers are returning to the early church fathers. (On two points, discipline and confession, he admits they have departed from the fathers.) The reformer declares that the Roman Catholic Church is a true church but has been overrun with false shepherds. In doctrine and practice, it has in some cases has gone beyond Scripture (e.g., in requiring confession to a priest) while in other cases has limited Christ (e.g., transubstantiation limits Christ to the elements when Christ cannot be bound to them). As to the unity of the body of Christ, Calvin argues that church splits have been occurring since the start of the Church, and that the reformers are only leaders attempting to unite the Christians who have been scattered by the Roman Catholic Church's apostasies. The two writers differ markedly in the way they make their appeals. Sadole
A Reformation Debate
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
Excellent and very promt service. The book arrived in excellent condition as advertized, and well ahead of schedule.
Great primary source - real Jewel
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 17 years ago
This very helpful book is really two letters from two highly qualified church leaders, Cardinal Sadoleto for the Catholics and John Calvin for the Reformers. The editor writes a very fair and balanced introduction giving biographic background to both men and why they wrote. Cardinal Sadoleto, having heard that Calvin and Farel have left Geneve, writes to encourage the city fathers to return to the Roman Catholic fold. From his letter you will get a Catholic's view of the causes and reasons for the reformation. You will also gain insight into the Catholic view of salvation, religious authority, and the nature of the church from one of their finest theologians of the day. Calvin is asked to write a response to Cardinal Sadoleto's letter. He answers the Cardinal's charges, counters his position and gives a clear defense of the reformation. The beauty of a book like this is it gives the opinions, insights, and positions of men who were there. Rome and the Reformers get to speak for themselves. There is no comment by the editor beyond setting context. This book will be equally helpful to Roman Catholics and Protestants. There is also a wonderful appendix at the end of the two letters covering the doctrine of Justification. First are key sections of Calvin's writings on Justification taken from his "Institutes of the Christian Religion". Again there is no commentary on what Calvin wrote, it is simply his own teachings on this key subject. Next are key sections from the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church's rebuttal to the Reformed doctrine of Justification. The inclusion of these to statements on Justification is very valuable to the reader, especially those just beginning to read the history of the Reformation. This doctrine is at the heart of the debate, both historically, as the formal cause of the Reformation, and also in the letters of both Sadoleto and Calvin. In this little treasure of a book, the reader is treated to a first hand view of the issues and causes of the Reformation and the role the doctrine of Justification. The Council of Trent continues to reflect the official doctrinal statement of the Roman Catholic Church on Justification, and Calvin's writing on the subject continues to represent the position held by Reformed churches. Great gift for pastor, student, or anyone who desires to know more about the Reformation. Enjoy!
Good perspective on Reformation polemics.
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 25 years ago
This books is a tremendous introduction to the polemics of the Reformation. Sadoleto challenges the new "heresies" of the church, resting on the history of Catholic dogma. Calvin, with humor and theological insight, responds.
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