Mentzer, Balthasar (1)

Mentzer, Balthasar (1), a German Lutheran divine, greatly noted for his decided opposition to the Reformed Church theologians, was born in Allendorf Hesse, February 27, 1565. He studied at the University of Marburg, where he excelled by the display of unusual talents and knowledge. After preaching for several years at Kirtorf, he was appointed in 1596 professor of theology at his alma mater. While in this position he was involved in many controversies because of his prince's tendency towards the doctrines of the Reformed Church. Mentzer was especially radical in his opposition to their views on the doctrine of Ubiquity, on Iconoclasm, the Lord's Supper, and the Decalogue, and in 1605 was actually forced to quit Marburg, and, together with' his colleagues, Winckelmann and Leuchter, removed to Giessen; to take a position in the new university founded by landgrave Lewis, and there became one of the most renowned teachers. He died Jan. 6, 1627, at Marburg, to which place the university had been removed in the mean time.

Mentzer was a pure Lutheran; his Christian faith was a truly orthodox belief in the Christological dogma as furnished in the idiomatic and ubiquistic doctrine. He published many works, most of which bore a polemic character. His Latin works were afterwards collected and published by his son: Opera theologica Latina (Frankf. 1669,2 vols. 8vo). His apologetic works against Romanism aid the Reformed Church contain the Exegesis Confessionis Augustance (Giessen, 1603). Similar to this is his Repetitio Chemnitiana. Challenged by the work of the Romanist John Pistorius (Wegweiser fur alle ves fuhrte Christen), he wrote Anti-Pistorius sui disputatio de prcecipuis quibusdam controversis capitibus (Marburg, 16 ( "Engelischer Wegweiser (Marburg, 1603); and many others. He engaged in a controversy with John Crocius, profesor Marburg, against whom he sent forth Abstersio calumniarum J. Crocii, Apologetica, Anticrocia, Collatio Augustance Confessionis cum doctrina Calvini, Bezoe et sociorun (1610). He had also a controversy with John Sadeel, of Paris and Geneva, Matthias Martinius, at Herborn, Paul Stein, at Cassel, Schinfeld, and Pareus: Elencheus errorumn J. Sadeelis in libello de veritate humance naturce Christi (Giessen, 1615): — Elencheus errorunm J. Sadeelis in libello de sacramentali manducatione (Giessen, 1612): Anti Martinius sive modesta et solida responsio, etc. (Giessen, 1612); and many others. These polemics concerning the human nature of Christ, the sacramental use of the Lord's Supper, and the idiomatic use of impanation, give an idea of the logic of the Reformed criticism and the tenacity of the Lutheran defence. The humanity of Christ, the "Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," are the principal points of Mentzer's theological grounds. He condemns his opponent's view as Arianistic: " Non igitur existimo, unquam exstitisse inter Christianos, qui Christo homini vel naturse ejus humanae minus gloriae et auctoritatis et potentale tribuendum censuerint, quam Martinium hunc Freienhagensem" (Anti-Martinius, p. 167). In a communication to Martinius, Mentzer's assertion, "Ipsa divina pruesentia juxta sacras literas est actio," provoked another controversy with his colleagues at Giessen, professors Winckelmann and Gisenius. This controversy was settled by the landgrave's personal interference only, who in 1607 imposed silence and peace on all parties. Mentzer's principal work is Necessaria et justa defensio contra injustas criminationes L. Osiandri, M. Nicolai, Th. Tummii, in qua multi de persona et officio Christi erroris deteguntur et refutantur (1624). This was answered in 1625 in Thummi's Acta. In 1618 Mentzer was called to Wolfenbittel to give his opinion on Calixtus's Epitome theologice. He never went thither, but sent a criticism to his son-in-law, superintendent Wiedeburg, acknowledging the eminent talents of the author, but judging his epitome from his own narrow and exclusive stand-point. See Witten, Mem. Theol. 1:223 sq.; Strieder, Hessische Gelehrtengeschichte, vol. viii; Walch, Relig. Streitigkeiten innerhalb der Luth.-Kirche; also, Streitigkeiten ausserhall der' Luther. Kirche, 3:505; Henke, Georg. Calixtus, 1:123, 282, 307, 321; 2:23; Memor. Theol. 1:223 sq.; Gasz, Gesch. der protest. Theol. 1:277, 278; Walch, Biblioth. theologica, 2:654; Dorner, Doctrine of the Person of Christ, 2:243 et al. (J. H. W.)

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