Philip Melanchthon – #13 on our list of Influential Christians-

In the Protestant Reformation in Germany in the 1500s, Melanchthon played a key role; he was Martin Luther’s close friend, assistant, and successor.  Philip ranks #13 on our list of persons who most shaped today’s Church.

First published in 1521, his Loci Communes (“Commonplaces”) was the first systematic theology written by any Reformer.  He wrote some of the confessions of the Lutheran Church, including the Augsburg Confession.

A less controversial personality than Martin Luther, Melanchthon was willing to make some compromises with Roman Catholicism.  Especially, Melanchthon developed the idea of synergism – the teaching that man’s will works with God’s will to accomplish man’s salvation.  Both Martin Luther and John Calvin had strongly insisted that neither man’s will nor man’s activity play a role in accomplishing man’s salvation.

Feel free to openly comment on this selection, as we get closer to the official “Top 10”, and the book launch in early March.  Thank you, and God Bless,

Ken L.


4 thoughts on “Philip Melanchthon – #13 on our list of Influential Christians-

  1. Concerning Luther and Calvin’s theology, if man has nothing to do with man’s salvation, then what is man doing here on earth? I expect a response something like, “To do God’s will.” If God’s will is to generate souls (of men) for the kingdom, wouldn’t it make sense that God wants man to be a part of that? This is a theology I don’t understand.

    • Hello. Good question. As I’m not a true theologian per se, that’s a tough question to give a good answer to. We have a couple educated theologians that have helped us with the book- maybe one of them will like to answer this. Or perhaps someone else.
      I do know that this question has gone on and on- probably since the Apostles….

  2. Of course, Philip Melanchthon’s idea of synergism was not new with him. It characterized the view of the pre-Augustinian fathers (and early Augustine). My understanding is that it is the majority view in modern evangelicalism, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Most of such people would say that God must take the initiative in salvation, but that we must freely respond to His grace, that is, not reject it (Acts 7:51).

    In response to the earlier post, Calvinists I’ve known tend to think that synergism takes something away from God’s sovereignty and involves works. They also have difficulty with it because they understand God’s foreknowledge of all things as due to the fact that he has planned all things. Therefore they have difficulty with divine foreknowledge of truly free choices of human beings. Additionally, they view spiritual deadness as an ontological reality making it impossible for humans to respond positively to God prior to the new birth.

  3. What man is “doing” is being a bunch of sinful rats, in general. Man is supposed to be glorifying God, in which there is a free will. Luther taught (if I’ve got it right) that God accomplished the full redemption of man out of sin, so there is nothing left over for man to do but “Believe.” If man is completely sinful without God, he cannot come to faith on his own — faith is like a gift sat in your lap. You can choose to stand up and walk away, but you had nothing to do with putting the gift there. Is that what the previous comment was even asking about?? Anyhow, the reason man exists would be to glorify the Maker…just like the rest of creation.

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