19 October 2011

October 19th Important for Luther and Arminius

According to Christianity Today's "This Week in Christian History," October 19 was an important day for both Martin Luther and Jacob Arminius.  Luther earned his doctorate from UW (that's the U of Wittenberg, not the U of Wisconsin) on this date in 1512, while October 19 was not a particularly good day for Arminius in a strictly earthly sense.  Arminius actually died 402 years ago today in 1609.

The fact that they share this date, albeit for differing reasons, is a bit ironic considering their differing theological positions.  Luther, as you might know, exchanged niceties with Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam over the issue of free will.  Luther wrote On the Bondage of the Will in response to Erasmus' work on the The Freedom of the Will, which was originally written as a response to Lutheran ideas about human will.  Arminius provided the impetus for the famous TULIP of Calvinists because of his attempt at softening Calvinist doctrine related to predestination and election.  Luther and Arminius probably could have had a game of literary volleyball had they been contemporaries as Luther and Erasmus did.

Of note in American church history, on this date in 1744, George Whitefield arrived for his third preaching tour in British North America. 

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