Overview for Chapter C: Tells the story of the Reformation through the experiences of a cautious theologian who helped bring Protestantism to Strasbourg, France. After 1517, Capito devoted himself to seeking compromise and conciliation between various Protestant factions. The futility of his persistent efforts illustrate the irreconcilable theological differences between Anabaptists, Calvinists, Catholics, and Lutherans. The chapter also examines the importance of Erasmus, humanism, the Holy Roman Empire, and scholasticism.
1. Capito seems to have both spiritually and temporally feared making the wrong choice the first decades of Reformation. What would be the equivalent moral and practical choice today?
2. Capito believed in the value of compromise. Does that make him a historical figure who was strong? weak? admirable? foolish?
Let’s pretend it’s 1540 and you live in a town near the modern borders between Germany, France and Luxembourg. Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism compete for Europe’s faith, but your town isn’t satisfied with these three choices and wants to form a new church with a new, Christian theology.
1) Things to think about generally:
Sabbath, communion, baptism, music, membership, diet, service, pilgrimage, clergy, symbols, marriage, holidays and ________________.
2) Now, specifically decide:
How will your church be governed? Who will be in charge?
What will a religious ceremony involve? What is your liturgy?
What will distinguish your church from the other three denominations?
What is your theology?
What traditions will you seek to develop?
What steps will you take to expand your new churc
• This article discusses Capito and Bucer's Tetrapolitan Confession at some length and discusses several ways in which leaders of the Reformation shared an often-overlooked ecumenical vision. See: Carl Mosser, “Recovering the Reformation’s Ecumenical Vision of Redemption as Deification and Beatific Vision,” Perichoresis, Volume 18: Issue 1, June 2, 2020, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2020-0001
Map for Chapter C: This map by the author is in the print edition of the book and shows the places that were important to Capito or others mentioned in the chapter.
“Portrait of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor,” oil painting on panel by Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (manner of), 1530, courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, SK-A-164.
Strasbourg Cathedral, west facade and main portal. Photograph by the author, April 2013.
Église protestante Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune (Protestant Church of St. Peter the Younger), which was Capito's church. Photograph by the author, April 2013. Construction of the church began in the second half of the 13th century, but most of it dates from the 15th century. There were also extensive renovations in the 19th century.
Portrait of Capito on a pier in the nave of Église protestante Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune, Stasbourg. Photograph by the author, April 2013.
Baroque choir of Église protestante Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune. Photograph by the author, April 2013. This was the part of the church Catholics used when the church was divided in two parts, one Catholic and one Protestant, in 1682 with Louis XIV's conquest of the city. The church remained used by both denominations until 1898. Today, it is a Protestant church.