Naumburg Convention

Naumburg Convention was a meeting of German evangelical rulers and states, held at Naumburgon-the-Saale from January 20 to February 8, 1561, with a view to harmonizing the evangelical parties in Germany by subscribing anew the Augsburg Confession of 1530. The Protestant German Church was sadly divided on dogmatic grounds; the Council of Trent was to meet again, and the desire of the princes who met at Augsburg was to give by their subscription of the Augsburg Confession, not only a uniform Confession to the Church, which might bring about the long-desired peace between the dissenting parties, but also to present to the council a harmonious body and union within the Protestant Church. Since the beginning of the Reformation, the German as well as the Swiss Protestant Church had been not only in a constant fight with the Romish Church, but also with each other, which since Luther's death had not diminished, but rather increased. The new edition of the Augsburg Confession, which Melancthon published in 1540, made him the mark of those zealots who adhered to the dead letter of Luther, and who attacked and charged him with apostasy, while his adherents the "Philippists," as they were called, were charged in connection with their master with "crypto-Calvinism." Besides the Calvinistic and crypto-Calvinistic controversies, the Interimistic (q.v.), Adiaphoristic (q.v.), Majoristic (q.v.), Osiandrian, Stanarian, Synergistic, and Flacian controversies disturbed the peace of the Protestant church. All attempts of the Protestants to have peace among themselves and with the Church of Rome were in vain; but this object was never lost sight of whenever a good opportunity offered itself. Thus in 1557, February 11, a colloquy was held at Worms for this purpose, but Flacius frustrated it. Another effort was made in the following year, when the Roman king Ferdinand was to be proclaimed emperor at Frankfort-on-the-Main; some of the Protestant princes charged Melancthon to prepare a declaration on the controverted points, in which declaration the princes acknowledged a full harmony with the Augsburg Confession, asserted it to be their own confession, and incorporated it into the Frankfort Recess, March 18, 1558; agreeing at the same time to have a friendly understanding on such points of the controversy as might need yet a fuller explanation, but that for the present "nothing should be taught, preached, or propagated which was not in harmony with their confession as laid down in the Recess." But this attempt was also in vain, since some, especially the Flacians, would not accept the Frankfort Recess. The same must be said of the attempt made by the duke John Frederick of Saxony to convene the states and theologians of Lower-Saxony at Magdeburg, May 16, 1558. When in the next year, at the Diet of Augsburg, the emperor Ferdinand promised to try to convene a council in order to do away with all religious controversies, Which seemed the more likely now that pope Paul IV was succeeded by Pius IV, the evangelical rulers said more clearly that something ought to be done to bring union and peace into the Church. The Church of Rome was wont to reproach the Protestants that they did not know which Augsburg Confession to accept, the one originally made by Luther; and known as the Confessio Invanriata, or the one doctored by Melancthon, and known as the Confessio Variata. To take away this reproach, it was necessary in the first place to agree which form of the Augsburg Confession should: be the basis of their creed, and in the second place to effect a union of the whole Protestant body, in order to appear before the council as a phalanx strong in union and unanimous and harmonious in faith. To bring about this result, especially through the exertions of the duke Christopher of Wirtemberg, the Naumburg Ecclesiastical Convention was convened. In the first place, the duke Christopher came to an understanding with the elector Frederick III, and his son-in-law, duke John Frederick, that all should subscribe anew the Augsburg Confession of 1530, accept the Apology and the Smalcald articles, remain steadfast in their confession, tolerate no sects in their lands, and forbid their theologians to renew their attacks. They also agreed to invite the other rulers and states to appear at a convention to be held, where every effort for a union should be made on the basis of these stipulations. After the landgrave Philip of Hesse and the duke John Frederick had approved of this plan, the elector August of Saxony issued a proclamation, December 6, 1560, summoning all evangelical rulers and states to meet at Naumburg January 20, 1561, for the purpose of subscribing anew the Augsburg Confession, by means of which at the future council a unanimous and firm confession could be presented. There were present or represented by delegates all the Protestant rulers of Germany, with the exception of the dukes Henry and William of Luneburg, who, like king Frederick of Denmark, declared in a letter that they would accept all the resolutions of the assembly. The tenth session, January 29, brought about the result that the confession of 1530, as compared with the different editions of 1540 and 1542, should be the common confession of all, and that in the preface to the new edition the essential harmony of the Apology and the Variata of 1540 should be emphasized. This new edition, which was to be presented to the emperor, was signed by the elector Frederick of the Palatinate, the elector August, the landgrave Wolfgang of 'Zweibrticken, duke.Christopher of Wurtemberg, margrave Charles of Baden, landgrave Philip of Hesse, count William of Hohenstein in behalf of the elector of Brandenburg, count Otto von Seelen in behalf of the palatine George, George Albinus in behalf of the margrave John of Brandenburg, Wolf von Koderitz in behalf of the margrave George Frederick of Brandenburg, count Ludwig von Eberstein in behalf of the duke Barnim of Pomerania, Christian Kissaw in behalf of the duke's brother, Joh. Trockenbroot in behalf of the princes of Anhalt, and Sebastian Glaser in behalf of the count of Henneberg. Some of thedelegates and princes, however, especially duke Ulrich of Mecklenburg and John Frederick of Saxony, induced by Flacian theologians, refused to subscribe the preface, because it was not severe enough in anathematizing the Lutheran errors and sects. The latter even left Naumbunrg at the fifteenth session, February 3, thus frustrating the union among the Protestants, which was almost achieved, and causing the discord to appear more conspicuous. On the same day the imperial and papal delegates made their appearance, .and presented the breve of pope Pius IV, which invited the Protestants to the council; they were especially loud in their praises of the forthcoming council, as the best means of settling all the pending questions. The rulers and states promised to take the matter into consideration; the result of it was that they not only returned the breve in which they were addressed as "beloved sons," against which address they protested, since they wished neither the pope to be their father nor them to be his sons; but they also refused to attend the council, as in no way would it meet their demands. Finally, they also addressed a letter to the kings of France and Navarre in behalf and favor of the persecuted Huguenots in France, accompanying the same with a copy of the newly-subscribed Augsburg Confession; they also sent a copy to England, Scotland, and Sweden. After having delivered to the imperial delegates a letter for the emperor the convention was closed on February 8, 1561. See Calinich, Der Naumburger Furstentag (Gotha, 1870); Gieseler, Church History, 4:220, notes; Hase, History of the Christian Church, page 404; Wessenberg, Gesch. der Kirchenversammlungen des 16 u. 17ten Jahr. 3:358, 359; Planck, Geschichte der Protest. Theologie, 3:1-11, 124, 183; Wendecker, Neue Beitrage zur Geschichte d. Rebrmantion, volume 2; Dr. Beck, Johann Fredrich der Mittlere, etc. (Weimar, 1858); 1:356 sq.; Gelbke, Der Naunburgische Fiirstentag, etc. (Leipsic, 1793); Salig, Vollstandigei Historie der Augsburg Confession, volume 3; Heppe, Geschichte des Deutschien Protestantismus in den Jahren 1550-1581.

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