Biblical Memoir

oday for November 8Johannes von Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor. Johannes von Staupitz (ca. 1469-1524), vicar-general of the Augustinian Order in Germany and friend of Martin Luther, was born in Saxony. He studied at the universaties in Leipzig and Cologne and served on the faculty at Cologne. In 1503, he was called by Frederick the Wise to serve as dean of the theological faculty at the newly founded University of Wittenberg. There Staupitz encouraged Luther to attain a doctorate in theology and appointed Luther as his successor to professor of Bible at the university. During Luther’s early struggles to understand God’s grace, it was Satupitz who counceled Luther to focus on Christ and not on himself.

Today for November 9Martin Chemnitz (birth) Pastor and Confessor. Aside from Martin Luther, Martin Chemnitz (1522-86) is regarded as the most important theologian in the history of the Lutheran Church. Chemnitz combined a penetrating intellect and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture and the Church Fathers with a genuine love for the Church. When various doctrinal disagreements broke out after Luther’s death in 1546, Chemnitz determined to give himself fully to the restoration of unity in the Lutheran Church. He became the leading spirit and principal author of the 1577 Formula of Concord, which he settled the doctrinal disbutes on the basis of Scripture and largely succeeded in restoring unity among Lutheran’s. Chemnitz also authored the four volume Examination of the Council of Trent (1565-73), in which he rigorously subjected the teachings of this Roman Catholic Council to the judgement of Scripture and the ancient Church Fathers. The Examination became the definitive Lutheran answer to the Council of Trent, as well as a thorough exposition of the faith of the Augsburg Confession. A theologian and a churchman, Chemnitz was truly a gift of God to the Church.