Seven Myths about the Reformation Debate over the Lord’s Supper

This past July I attended a lecture at Calvin Seminary conducted by Amy Nelson Burnett from the University of Nebraska. Her talk was on “Seven Myths about the Reformation Debate over the Lord’s Supper.” Fortunately, it was recorded and this past week I listened to it again. It is an excellent lecture simply brimming with information. Burnett knows how to pack a lot into a 45-minute talk. If the topic is of interest to you I would encourage you to give it a listen. You can find it here. Here are the seven myths as she gave them. The seventh point she admits is not really a “myth” but an important point nonetheless. She spends the bulk of her time on the first myth but this lays an important foundation for the remaining points. I’ve also included the times (roughly) where she starts each point.

Myth #1 – The Eucharistic controversy was chiefly between Luther and Zwingli.

Myth # 2 – (22:06) The Eucharistic controversy was a struggle between two equally balanced parties.

Myth # 3 – (26:26) The debate concerned the real presence of Christ in the sacrament.

Myth # 4 – (30:15) Wittenenberg Concord of 1536 was a failure and Bucer’s efforts to unite the two parties were a waste of time and effort.

Myth # 5 – (37:10) The Augsburg Confession of 1530 defined Lutheranism.

Myth # 6 – (39:52) Calvin was Zwingli’s spiritual heir and the natural ally of Bullinger and Zwingli.

Myth # 7 – (42:28) Most accounts of the Eucharistic controversy end either with the Marburg Colloquy or the Wittenberg Concord and say little or nothing about the Consensus Tigurinus (1548).

Amy Nelson Burnett is a specialist in early modern European history. Her research focuses on the early modern Protestant clergy and the early Reformed tradition more generally. She is the author of Karlstadt and the Origins of the Eucharistic Controversy: A Study in the Circulation of Ideas (2011), as well as translator and editor of The Eucharistic Pamphlets of Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt (2011) and editor of John Calvin, Myth and Reality: Images and Impact of Geneva’s Reformer, Papers of the 2009 Calvin Studies Society Colloquium (2011). Her book Teaching the Reformation: Ministers and their Message in Basel, 1529-1629 (2006) was awarded the Gerald Strauss Prize of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and The Yoke of Christ: Martin Bucer and Christian Discipline (1996) won the Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. She has published numerous essays and articles on the Protestant Reformation in southern Germany and Switzerland. She was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ (2009) and received fellowships from the American Philosophical society (2010) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2001, 2004). In 2012, Professor Burnett was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Leibniz-Institute für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, Germany.

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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