Portrait of Philip Melanchthon, 1537, by Lucas Cranach the Elder
16 February 1497
|Died||19 April 1560
|Years active||16th century|
|Tradition or movement||Lutheranism|
Philip Melanchthon (born Philipp Schwartzerdt; 16 February 1497 – 19 April 1560) was a German Lutheran reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems. He stands next to Luther and John Calvin as a reformer, theologian, and molder of Protestantism.
Melanchthon along with Luther denounced what they believed was the exaggerated cult of the saints, asserted justification by faith, and denounced the coercion of the conscience in the sacrament of penance (confession and absolution) by the Catholic Church, which they believed could not offer certainty of salvation. Both rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, but not the belief that the body and blood of Christ are present with the elements of bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The Lutheran view of sacramental union contrasts with the understanding of the Roman Church that the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine at their consecration (retaining the accidents of both). Melanchthon made the distinction between law and gospel the central formula for Lutheran evangelical insight. By the "law", he meant God's requirements both in Old and New Testament; the "gospel" meant the free gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
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