Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Melanchthon on the Church and the Word (2)

This is just a short one for today. In this passage, Melanchthon sketches how one ought to affirm the supreme authority of Scripture without going overboard. His concern for antiquity echoes Zanchi’s wonderful statement that “I, certainly, do not depart from antiquity unless I have been compelled.”

Of particular note in this regard is the example he uses, Michael Servetus. Though Servetus is usually associated with John Calvin, it is worthy pointing out that his status as persona non grata was a cross-confessional phenomenon; you might even call opposition to Servetus the ecumenical movement of the sixteenth century.

On the Church and the Authority of the Word of God (Continued)

Again, too, certain natures of a rather impudent kind, when they fabricate new opinions from badly distorted passages of Scripture, absolutely disdain the consent of the ancient church as well as all councils without distinction, as when Servetus quarrels with the church of all ages, and perverts the passages about the Word in 1 John, and seeks a more suitable (as he thinks) interpretation. In order, therefore, to restrain such impudence in some way with barriers, so to speak, the church is necessary, just as the ancient councils and ecclesiastical writers adduce the first testimonies received from the apostles and trustworthy authors.1

  1. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.