Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

REFORMATION DOGMA

The dogmatic teaching of the original Protestant reformers. They were constrained by the logic of separating from Rome to defend their new doctrinal positions. Thus we find Luther writing numerous treatises on faith, grace, and justification, and John Calvin (1509-64) producing in 1536 his Institutes of the Christian Religion, as the first systematic compendium of Protestant doctrine. "My design in this work," wrote Calvin in the introduction, "has been to prepare and qualify students of theology for the reading of the divine word." The beginnings of the Reformation were thoroughly dogmatic in character. The earliest Reformation dogma was biblical in the direct sense. It did not take philosophy as a basis or ally. Its first business was to know and expound the Bible. It did not claim Aristotle and Plato as friends or forerunners. It used reason, but reason derived only from the Bible and put to a biblical use. Actually there was a philosophy behind this dogmatizing, notably the nominalism of William of Ockham (1280-1349), whom Luther called "my teacher" and rated in learning far above Thomas Aquinas.

Two strains in Ockham, sometimes called "the first Protestant," became imbedded in the Reformation: a distrust of reason in dealing with religion, and a theory of voluntarism which made right and wrong depend on the will of God. THe first strain appeared prominently in Lutheran or evangelical thought, with the emphasis on revelation and grace as the exclusive media of religious knowledge and salvation. The second affected Calvinism and postulated, in Calvin's words, that "God chooses some for the hope of life, and condemns others to eternal death . . . . For all men are not created on an equal footing, but for some eternal life is preordained, for others eternal damnation." The divine will, therefore, and not as in Catholic doctrine the divine wisdom, is the ultimate norm of man's existence and destiny.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Renewal with God Behind Us: Man Determines All July 28
Introducing the Church Fathers July 27
Straws in the Wind July 25
Hans Urs von Balthasar on Renewal that Matters July 25
Wrongheaded diocesan legal defenses in abuse cases July 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21