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Great Reformers

08. March 2017

Columns, Gentle Reformation,

  —Barry York

The last issue of the Witness reminded readers that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses, an event used to mark the beginning of the Reformation. Luther was not the sole vessel the Lord used to bring reform. In the coming year, this column will be devoted to highlighting other great Reformers and the special contributions they made. I will begin with Martin Bucer and the theological reformation he brought to church governance.

Bucer was born in 1491. After entering Blackfriars (a Domincan monastery) in 1512 in Heidelberg, he studied the teachings of Erasmus and Luther. After meeting Luther in 1518, he was converted. Three years later he left the monastery to become a priest. In 1522, he ministered in the town of Landstuhl and then Wissembourg. His teachings on the new Reformation doctrines were widely spread. He eventually was excommunicated by Rome, and his life was threatened. He fled to his parents’ home in Strasbourg and in 1524 began a 25-year service there as pastor.

In Strasbourg, Bucer worked tirelessly with others to reform the city. During these years, Bucer’s view of the church proper developed significantly through studies and experience. He was often sought after to help bring truth and conciliation amidst the doctrinal turmoil of the Reformation. He presided over the Regensberg Coloquy in 1541 that brought Protestants and peaceful Catholics together, with Bucer hopeful that they ...

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