Perichoresis 15.4

Perichoresis 15.4 (2017)


Forces of Change: The Sculpting of a Reformer

Paige Patterson


With this article, Paige Patterson identifies six events in the life of Martin Luther that shaped the Reformer and ultimately affected the entire Reformation. By surveying Luther’s journey to Rome, his friendship with Johann von Staupitz, the Leipzig Disputation, the Diet of Worms, his year in Wartburg Castle, and his marriage to Katharina von Bora, Patterson’s goal is for his readers to gain a greater understanding of Martin Luther. In so doing, Patterson encourages his readers to consider the contribution of these events and the people involved to their own lives still today. PDF 

Balthasar Hubmaier: The Theologian of the Anabaptists. Nikolsburg and Catechetical Instruction: A Labor of Love

Jason J. Graffagnino


Balthasar Hubmaier is often called ‘the theologian of the Anabaptists’ for he was the only early Anabaptist leader with an earned doctorate. The former Catholic priest embraced the reforming thought of Erasmus, Zwingli, and eventually Zwingli’s former pupils (the Anabaptists) and led the Moravian city of Nikolsburg to become a bastion of Anabaptist thought and practice. The multi-dimensional religious landscape both afforded Hubmaier the opportunity and compelled him to author the first Anabaptist catechism. Through the work, Hubmaier articulated a clear and succinct portrayal of Anabaptist theology and ecclesiology summed up in the Erasmian tenet of the love of God and neighbor. PDF

Huldrych Zwingli: Reformation in Conflict

Stephen Brett Eccher


The Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli was a pioneering and domineering voice during the early sixteenth century, especially at the genesis of the Protestant Reformation. Despite his stature, Reformation historiography has sadly relegated Zwingli to a lesser status behind reformers such as Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and John Calvin. However, his contribution to the changing religious ethos of Reformation Europe was pivotal, yet always accompanied by controversy. In fact, this essay will argue that almost all of the Reformation gains made by Zwingli over the course of roughly twenty-five years of ministry took place through conflict. All the Protestant reformers experienced an element of conflict as a part of their work. Such was the nature of religious renewal and reform in the sixteenth century. Still, conflict not only facilitated and drove Zwingli’s Reformation, but was also a theme woven throughout his life. And in Zwingli’s case war was both figurative and literal. His battles moved well beyond those of his contemporary reformers. Beginning with his haunting experiences as a young chaplain in the Swiss army and culminating with his early death on the battlefield at Kappel, conflict shaped Zwingli’s life, ministry and theology. His was a life characterized by volatility; his Reformation was contested every step of the way. As a portrait of Zwingli emerges against the historic backdrop of war, division and strife, his lasting contributions to the convictions and practices of Protestantism, especially in Baptist and Presbyterian life, should become apparent.  PDF

Anabaptism in Italy

Maël Leo David Soliman Disseau


While relatively unknown to Anglophone circles, there was a thriving Anabaptist community in Italy during the reformation. It is the scope of this article to help retrace the origins of the Anabaptist movement in Italy (a movement which lasted at best for sixty years, from the 1520s-1530s to the 1570s, and did not leave us with the theological writings such as those produced by Hubmaier, Marpeck, or Simons) and to set straight some misconceptions unintentionally (or intentionally) perpetuated by some who have attempted this journey in the past. This is done in the hopes of raising appreciation for the movement and of enticing future research interest in this forgotten branch of the Radical Reformation.  PDF

The Ecclesiological Contributions of Thomas Helwys’s Reformation in a Baptist Context

Marvin Jones


The English Separatist movement provided the background for which John Smyth and Thomas Helwys emerged to reconstitute a biblical ecclesiology. Through the study of the New Testament, they came to the position that infant baptism and covenantal theology could not be the foundation for the New Testament church. Both men embraced believer’s baptism as the basic foundation in which a recovered church should be built. Unfortunately, Smyth defected to the Mennonites, leaving Thomas Helwys to continue the fledging work known as Baptists. This article will examine the life of Thomas Helwys and his contribution to Baptist ecclesiology; it will also review selected literary works that contributed to the recovery of a New Testament church and the founding of Baptist ecclesiology. PDF

Toward Radical New Testament Discipleship

Malcolm B. Yarnell


Radical New Testament disciples may benefit from placing the 16th century South German Anabaptist theologian Pilgram Marpeck in conversation with the 20th century Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth. Marpeck and Barth will enrich ecumenical Christfollowers within both the Reformed and the Free Church traditions even as they remain confessional. Our particular effort is to construct a soteriology grounded in discipleship through correlating the coinherent work of the Word with the Spirit in revelation, through placing human agency within a divinely granted response to the gracious sovereignty of God, and through providing a holistic doctrine of individual and communal life in union with Christ. PDF