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Competing Clerical Efforts To Secure Lay Support in the Flacian Controversy Over Original Sin

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image of Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History
For more content, see Church History and Religious Culture.

In the decades following Luther's death, adherents of the Wittenberg Reformation fought amongst themselves over how to define the reformer's theology. Often such struggles pitted Philippists against Gnesio-Lutherans, but sometimes the controversies took place within these groups themselves. The following article examines the Flacian controversy over original sin as it split the Gnesio-Lutheran pastorate of the central German county of Mansfeld. Rather than focusing on the content of the debate, this study analyzes the two distinct approaches to the laity taken by the pastors on each side of the divide. One side endeavored to present the doctrinal complexities of the disagreement to the parishioners; the other attempted to shield the laity from the intricacies of the dispute. It was, therefore, not only a theological disagreement that divided the pastors, but two distinct and competing visions of ecclesiology and the role of the laity in the church.


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