Concord, Formula of

Concord, Formula of (FORMULA CONCORDIAE), the seventh and last symbolical book of the Lutheran Church, first publicly adopted in 1580. It was framed in consequence of the long disputes between the stricter Lutherans and the milder Philippists and the Crypto-Calvinists in Germanyo The principal theologians and evangelists considered it their duty to unite the Church as much as possible by clearly defining its fundamental doctrines in accordance with the principles of the Augsburg Confession of 1530. In 1574, duke Julius of Brunswick and the elector Augustus of Saxony commissioned professor Jacob Andrei (q.v.), of Tubingen, to frame a suitable formula. His work underwent divers alterations in the hands of Chemnitz and Chytraeus, and was finally received as the confession of Swabia and Saxony. Subsequently, by the influence of prince George Ernest of Henneberg, a second formula of concord was framed by Osiander and Bidenbach, theologians of Wurtemberg, and revised and completed by a body of theologians in the convent of Maulbronn in January, 1576 (known as the formula of Maulbronn). Andrei considered this latter as too short, the former as too diffuse, and undertook to base a third on these two. For this purpose the elector, in May, 1576, called a meeting of theologians at Torgau. Among the eighteen who answered to the call were Andrea, Chemnitz, Chytrseus, Selneccer, Cornerus, Musculus, Crell, and Morlin. Between them, and based on the two preceding formulas and the Augsburg Confession, they framed the Book of Torgau (published by Semler, Halle, 1760), which was submitted to the elector and his council on the 7th of June, and by him sent to the other evangelical princes and states to be approved or altered according to their suggestions. After many additions had been made to it, the elector required Chemnitz, Andrea, and Selneccer to remodel it. This was done in March, 1577, in the convent of Bergen, near Magdeburg. In order to embody the different additions made to the primitive production (Solida declaratio), they made a small supplement (Epitome). At a second session in April they adopted a new redaction; and in a third, in May, where they were assisted by Musculus, Cornerus, and Chytraeus, they perfected the final version, which was then handed to the elector. The latter named it Formula Concordiae, and with the elector of Brandenburg called on the theologians of their states to sign it. It was then joined with the other received symbols in a Corpus doctrinoe, and this Book of Concord was officially recognized at Dresden, June 25th, 1580, as the fundamental symbol of the Lutheran Church.

It is divided into two parts:

1. The Epitome, or summary, consisting of eleven articles, each headed by the enunciation of some controverted point of doctrine (status controversiae), which is then followed by the orthodox doctrine (pars affirmativa), and finally by the condemnation of the opposite view (pars negativa).

2. The Solida declaratio, or fundamental exposition, which treats of the same articles in connection with each other.

The eleven articles, taken in the order of the Augsbnrg Confession, are on,

1. Original Sin (human nature by original sin has become utterly depraved [in universum corrupta]);

2. Free-will;

3. Justification by Faith;

4. Good Works;

5. The Law and the Gospel;

6. The third Use of the Law;

7. The Lord's Supper (the body and blood of Christ is really and substantially [vere et substantialiter] present: there is a sacramental union between bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ, and consequently and oral [ore] reception of the body and blood of Christ, in a supranatural and heavenly manner, so that also the unworthy and the unbelievers receive the real body and blood of Christ, though to their condemnation);

8. The Person of Christ;

9. The Descent of Christ into Hell;

10. The Customs of the Church;

11 Predestination and Election (the foreknowledge of God [praescientia] relates to all men, the predestination only to the good).

To these is joined an appendix concerning heresies and sectaries (i.e. all who had not accepted the Augsburg Confession). The appended testimony of the witnesses of the Holy Scriptures, and of the pure doctrines of the original Church, on the person and work of Christ (Communicatio idiomatum), by Andrea and Chemnitz, in eight articles, is not considered as part of the creed.

As to Anthropology, the Formula Concordiae carries out the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession with regard to original sin to their logical results, and after distinctly rejecting the view of Flacius, which made original sin to be the substance of the human soul's agency, and not the soul's essence, the Formula Concordiae affirms that "Christians ought not only to acknowledge and define actual faults and transgressions of the commands of God to be sins, but they ought also to regard that hereditary disease (morbus), by which the whole nature of man is corrupted, as a specially dreadful sin, and, indeed, as the first principle and source of all other sins, from which all other transgressions spring as from their root." The first position in the statement of the doctrine of original sin, according to the Formula Concordime. is that "this hereditary evil is guilt (culpa) or crime (reatus); whence it results that all men, on account of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, are odious in the sight of God, and are by nature the children of wrath, as the apostle testifies" (Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 639, 640; Shedd, 2:155).

The Formula "is the only Lutheran symbol in which the distinction between the active and passive righteousness of Christ appears." Its statement is as follows: "That righteousness which is imputed to faith, or to the believer, of mere grace, is the obedience, suffering, and resurrection of Christ, by which he satisfied the law for us and expiated our sins. For since Christ was not only man, but truly God and man in one undivided person, he was no more subject to the law than he was to suffering and death [i.e. if his Person merely be taken into account, without any reference to his vicarious relations], because he was the divine and eternal Lord of the law. Hence not only that obedience to God his Father which he exhibited in his passion and death, but also that obedience which he exhibited in voluntarily subjecting himself to the law, and fulfilling it for our sakes, is imputed to us for righteousness, so that God, on account of the total obedience which Christ accomplished (praestitit) for our sake before his heavenly Father, both in acting and in suffering, in life and in death, may remit our sins to us, regard us as holy and righteous, and give us eternal felicity" (Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 68; Shedd, Hist. of Doctrines, 2:342). As to the work of regeneration, it teaches that "before man is illuminated, converted, regenerated, and drawn by the Holy Spirit, he can no more operate, cooperate, or even make a beginning towards his conversion or regeneration, with his own natural powers, than can a stone, a tree, or a piece of clay" (Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 622; Shedd, 2:368). For a full discussion of the Christology of the Formula, see Dorner, History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, div. 2, vol. 2:209 sq.

The Formula was originally framed in German; the Latin translation by Osiander was adopted by Selneccer in his first Latin edition of the Book of Concord; but the latter afterwards made another translation of it, which, after being revised in the convent of Quedlinburg in 1583, was inserted in the new edition of the Book of Concord in 1584. The signatures of the princes who endorsed it were placed after the preface, which was prepared at Juiterbock in 1579; those of 8000 ministers (put in A.D. 1582) follow immediately after the text. The Formula was for a long time rejected by Denmark and Sweden; in the former country its publication was, until 1580, forbidden under penalty of death. It was received in Hungary(1593- 1596), Holstein (1647), Pomerania (1685), and Livonia. It was rejected in Hesse, Anhalt, a part of Mecklenburg, and the free cities of Frankfort on the Main, Spires,Worms, Strasburg, Nuremberg, Magdeburg, Bremen, Dantzic, etc.; the electors of the Palatinate (in 1583), and Brandenburg (1614), and the Duke Julius of Brunswick, who had previously accepted it, retracted afterwards. Thus, of the three Protestant electors of the German empire, Palatinate, Brandenburg, and Saxony, only one (Saxony) remained a champion of the Formula of Concord, and he subsequently joined the Church of Rome. The Formula of Concord, united with the Augsburg Confession of 1590, the Apology, the Articles of Smalcald, and the two catechisms of Luther, forms the "Concordienbuch," or the Book of Concord, of which there are many editions in German and Latin. "But the Lutheran Church is still divided upon this symbol. The so-called High Lutherans insist that the Formula Concordiae is the scientific completion of the preceding Lutheran symbolism, while the moderate party are content to stand by the Augsburg Confession, the Apology, and the Smalcald Articles" (Shedd, Hist. of Doctrines, 2:458). SEE CONFESSIONS OF FAITH; SEE SYMBOLICAL BOOKS; SEE LUTHERANS.

See Hospinian, Concordia discors (Zurich, 1607; Genesis 1678); Leonhard Hutter, Concordia concors (Wittenb. 1614, 1621; Lpz. 1690); J. Musaeus, Proelectiones in opitomen Formulae conc. (Jena, 1701); Balthasar, Hist. d. Torgischen Buches (Greifsw. 1741-56, 8 vols.); J. N. Anton, Gesch. d. form. Conc. (Lpz. 1779,2 vols.); Francke, Lib. Symbol. pt. 3; Mosheinm, Ch. Hist. 153165; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 3, 87 sq.; Franck, Theologie der Concordienformel (Erlang. 1865, 4 vols.).

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