Calixtus, George

Calixtus, George, perhaps the most independent and influential of the Lutheran divines of his age, was born at Medelbye (or Flensborg?), Schleswig, 1586. His proper name was Kallison; his father was pastor at Medelbye. George was first taught by his father, then went to school at Flensborg, and finally studied at the University of Helmstidt, 1603-1607. After thorough culture, especially in the Aristotelian philosophy and in theology, he traveled into England and France on literary journeys (1609-13). On his return to Germany in 1614 he was appointed divinity professor at Helmstadt. The thesis of his in a mural was that kingdoms and states cannot safely coexist with the religion of Papists or Jesuits. For nearly half a century he led a life of unwearied literary activity at Helmstadt. Peaceful himself, the aim of his studies and efforts was to settle the disputes of the Christian parties, and it led him into endless controversies. Though a Lutheran all his life, his tendencies were Melancthonian, both by nature and education. "He had adopted the opinion of the peacemakers and Remonstrants that the essential doctrines of Christianity were held by all the churches, and desired to propagate this opinion, and to bring the adherents of all the churches to some nearer understanding." He wrote against all exclusive claims in any of the churches. Against Rome he wrote De Pontif. Messice Sacrificio (Francf. 1614); and numerous other publications to the same end followed it. In the Calvinistic doctrine he objected to predestination and the Calvinistic view of the Eucharist; but he did not hold these errors to be fundamental (De Prcecipuis Christ. Relig. Capitibus [Helmstadt, 1613]); nor did rigid Lutheranism find any more favor with him, and he especially rejected the doctrine of the ubiquity of the body of Christ. His first publications gave umbrage to the strict Lutherans, who regarded him as lax in theology. In 1619 he published his Epitome Theologice, which was warmly welcomed by his friends, but awakened new opponents among the rigidly orthodox. He applied Aristotle's philosophy to theology, dividing the science into three heads:

(1) the object, man's best good, including holiness, immortality, etc.;

(2) the subject, God, creation, apostasy, etc.;

(3) the means, grace, redemption, the sacraments, etc. He also, in his Epit. Theologice Moralis (1634), separated theology from ethics, giving the latter the form of an independent science.

On this Dr. Pusey remarks, in his Theology of Germany, p. 34, that "the separation by Calixtus of the system of Christian moral' from 'Christian doctrine,' with which it had been hitherto interwoven, though in itself greatly to the advantage of the unity of the latter science, seems to have produced at the time no effect but that of extinguishing even the sense of the necessity of presenting it in a form influential upon, the Christian life." The very titles of his writings and those of his opponents would fill pages. His liberal views were styled Crypto-Papism, Philippism, Crypto- Calvinism, Babelism, and many other hard names, ending with Atheism. Especially after the Colloquy of Thorn, 1645, where he showed a strong disposition to compromise all minor differences in order to bring about a reunion of Lutherans, Reformed, and Romanists, the opposition of the high orthodox party to him and to the Helmstadt theologians, who were more or less imbued with his Syncretism, increased.. SEE THORN, COLLOQUY OF. His followers were known both as Syncretists and Calixtines. The chief objection brought against him by the more candid of his opponents was that he maintained,

1. That the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, by which he meant those elementary principles whence all its truths flow, were preserved pure in all three communions (Romish, Lutheran, and Calvinistic), and were contained in that ancient form of doctrine known by the name of the Apostles' Creed.

2. That the tenets and opinions which had been constantly received by the ancient doctors during the first five centuries were to be considered as of equal truth and authority with the express declarations and doctrines of Scripture.

3. That the churches which received these points, and "held the additional tenets of the particular churches as non-essential, should at once come into peaceful relations, and thus pave the way for a future union of the churches." His opponents were legion, but the most bitter and persevering was Calovius (q.v.). Calixtus died March 19, 1656. A full list of his writings is given in his Consultatio de tolerantia leformatorum (Helmst. 1697, 4to). An account of Calixtus, from the Puseyite stand-point, is given in the Christian Renzembrancer, 1855, art. 1:See also Gasz, Georg Calixt u. d. Syncretismus (Bresl. 1846); Gieseler, Ch. History, pt. 4, div. 1, ch. 4; Henke, Calixtus u. s. Zeit (1853-56, 2 vols. 8vo); Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1865, art. vi; Mosheim, Ch. History, cent. xvii, sec. ii, pt. ii, ch. i; Dowding, Life and Corr. of G. Calixtus (Lond. 1863); Gass, Prot. Dogmatik, 2:68. SEE SYNCRETISM.

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