Bucer to Bullinger (6): On the Wittenbergers

Last time we started Bucer’s comments on the Wittenberg theologians. Today we finish that section. He has some firm words for his Swiss friends. I’ve included the previous passage as well. The new material begins with “It is possible…”.

Bucer to Bullinger on the Wittenbergers

Concerning the Wittenbergers: Here, I insist on nothing from you other than that what you condemn them for doing to you, you not do to them–namely, that you not condemn them when the case has not been examined. For you cannot stand to learn about this case either from what has been written or from conversation with brothers who truly love you all. Even if I should have to pay a serious punishment for this judgment of mine, I nevertheless would be unable to judge anything other than that you all have been no less unjustly and injuriously affected toward them than they have been toward you. Content yourselves to know that I write what I think–and what I think before the Lord. If, on the one hand, you use milder words you do not harm yourselves and them so often or so openly. But, on the other, what more savage thing can be said of them that that they betray Christ’s truth, that they crush Christ’s church with ungodly tyranny, and that they rail at Christ’s ministers with lies? They give grounds–I am grieved to say it–from which, perhaps, you have occasion for these accusations; but to the degree that you seem to yourselves to be more courageous, to that degree it was right that you take greater care lest anything except the truth slip out from you, even against your greatest enemies. It is possible that I err when I judge that there are reasons on both sides for why you ought to embrace each other in the Lord. In the meantime, nevertheless, when I see that you ascribe views to them that they were the first to attack and attack still today, and that you deliriously prate beyond excess about their character as a whole, it is not possible for me not to grieve over your retaliation, who thus run away from serious conversation about these matters–and not only this, but you even read their writings in passing, considering only what they say in general, etc. But thus has it seemed good to the Lord that we who ought to spend our blood in compelling Christ’s sheep who have wondered away into his sheepfold instead get in the way of his gathering them together, and meanwhile interpret our actions as directness and constancy. May Christ our Lord put us off of ourselves and put himself on.[1]   


1 Rom. 13:14.


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