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Chapter Six

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Chapter Summary

The first Reformed theory of church discipline grew out of the Zwinglian Reformation. During the Vestiarian Controversy of 1564-1566 George Withers had refused to wear the "square cap" prescribed by the 1559 Prayer Book. Withers was one of the representatives of the emerging Puritan party who traveled abroad in an effort to influence church leaders in Zurich, Geneva, and beyond on its behalf. The summer and fall of 1568 would prove to be the most heated public phase of the Heidelberg church discipline controversy. The most famous document to come out of the Heidelberg controversy over church discipline was Thomas Erastus's treatise on excommunication, the Explicatio gravissimae quaestionis. In Erastus's estimation, a five-man cadre drove the movement to establish a church consistory on a Genevan model in Heidelberg: Zuleger, Olevianus, Dathenus, Ehem, and Konrad Marius.

Keywords: Explicatio gravissimae quaestionis; George Withers; Heidelberg Church Discipline Controversy; Thomas Erastus



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