From Pastoral Care to Polemic
The Evolution of Early Evangelical Views of the Mass
This chapter describes discussion of the mass in pamphlets published between 1518 and 1524. Luther's earliest pamphlets, which dominated the market through 1520, emphasized the assurance of forgiveness imparted through sacramental communion. Early pamphleteers shared this pastoral emphasis, but they also emphasized inward spiritual communion, a theme found in late medieval preaching and in Erasmus's discussion of the sacrament. The discussion turned more polemical in 1523, when Ulrich Zwingli argued that Christ's unique sacrifice on the cross meant that the mass could not be a sacrifice, a position followed by South German pamphleteers. The different emphases of the Wittenberg and South German/Swiss reformers foreshadowed their later disagreement concerning the Lord's Supper.
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