Full Text for Church History 2- Volume 48 - Two Main Kinds of Protestants? (Video)

File 48. >> If Anglicans were basically reformed in their doctrine, it sounds like there were really only two main kinds of Protestants in the 16th century. Is this correct? >> Well, so far, Joshua, we've been talking about what are called the magisterial reformers. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, even Thomas Cranmer. And they're called magisterial because they implemented a reformation by the authority and with the cooperation of the magistrates. That is, government officials. And as long as we're thinking of reformation in these terms magisterial really on the Protestant side we do have kind of two main varieties. We have the Lutherans and we have the reformed. Oh, you know, there are some differences between these men. They're not carbon copies of one another. But, nonetheless, there are two main types, reformed and Lutheran. But that's not the entire story. There were other reformers who did not obtain the cooperation of government officials. Sometimes they wanted it and couldn't get it, and sometimes they didn't want it. These folks, we usually call the radical reformers. And so there is this other approach to reformation that doesn't fit into the category of Lutheran or the category of reformed. Instead, it's something different. It's radical. And one of the reasons that word has been chosen for these reformers is that they depart from the Christian tradition even more than do the other reformers. They will differ especially in their teaching from some of the long standing traditional teachings that were accepted by Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and so forth. Here I'm thinking, for example, of the Unitarians. These people rejected the Christian doctrine of God, the doctrine of the of the trinity. And we find a few Unitarians among the radical reformers. And, in fact, if you think back to what we said about Calvin in Geneva, one of the episodes of his ministry there was his confrontation with one of the Unitarians, one of the first Unitarians, and that was Michael Servetus. Maybe you remember how Servetus was arrested, tried, and ultimately executed in Geneva for his denial of the Christian doctrine of God, the doctrine of the of the trinity. Well, Servetus is certainly one of the best known of the 16th century Unitarians, but there were others. Particularly, two men, an uncle and a nephew. They were Italians. They were Lelio and Faustus Socini. And the Latin form of their Italian name, Socini, is Socinus, as a result of which their followers were known as Socinians. And so the term "Socinian" is often used for 16th century Unitarians. Let me say just a little bit about the Socinians. At the time of Servetus' trial, the older Socini, Lelio Socini, was actually in Geneva, and he attended the trial and really agreed with Servetus. Probably wisely, he didn't tell anybody that he was agreeing with Servetus, but, nonetheless, he wrote wrote a book on Unitarianism in which he argued that the Christian church was simply wrong and that they were misreading the Bible, and that the truth was that there was one God, and although it might be appropriate to call Jesus the Son of God, you couldn't call him true God the way the Father was true God, and you certainly couldn't talk about a trinity. Well, Lelio's work was later on published by his nephew, Faustus, and it was really Faustus who took these ideas and make it into made it into a movement, became a real advocate for Unitarianism. Well, Faustus Socini didn't find much success or support in western Europe, but he was able to relocate to Poland. We haven't talked much about Poland in this course, but there was a kingdom of Poland which was still very medieval in form, very feudal in form, and so central government was weak, and authority was dispersed among local entities. And so there were opportunities for freedom of religion, if you will, in Poland that you wouldn't have found in a nation state like France or England or Spain. As a result, Protestantism out there had, well, at least two varieties. There were the reformed, and then there were the Unitarians, and Faustus Socini was able to relocate there and a number of the Protestant congregations and communities in Poland adopted Unitarianism as their form of Protestantism. In 1605, Unitarians, disciples of Faustus, published what kind of became a classical expression of reformation Unitarian doctrine in something known as the Racovian Catechism, and it was named "Racovian" because of their location in a place called Racov, and there they actually had an institution of higher learning. So Unitarianism was a small expression of a Protestantism, and it is usually described as a part of the radical reformation.