The Other Martin of the German Reformation: Martin Bucer

Speaking of Reformed “dead guys”, there are some who are not only dead but forgotten. And that is our loss. Some who come to mind are Martin Bucer, David Pareus and Matthius Flaccius.

Bucer, the other “Martin” of the German Reformation, was right there with Luther, Zwingli and Melanchthon through most of those frenzied early decades of the continental Reformation. He was at times befriended, at other times distrusted, by the more famous Martin. His “problem” was that he wanted the various factions of the Reformers to be unified in the face of opposition from both State and from Rome. At times he was too pragmatic, like when he (along with Melanchthon and Luther, however) assured their local leader – I think it was Philip the Confessor – that he could have a second wife! And citing the Old Testament as precedent! But he later repented of this. Where Bucer really shines is in his carrying over his work into England, having been banished from Strasburg (along with his partner, Paul Fagius) for not going along with the compromise of 1548 with Roman Catholics (It was officially called the “Augsburg Interim”, but the name is not the thing).

It was in England that Edward VI, young heir of Henry VIII, eager to put God’s truth into action, asked him for help in carrying along true Reformed principles in the kingdom newly entrusted to him. The last, best labor that Bucer brought out for this young king was his “De Regno Christi” (“The Kingdom of Christ”). Shortly afterward he died. Bucer’s fellow-fugitive, Fagius, also died about this same time (of the plague, I believe). Unfortunately Edward died also, very soon afterwards. He died young, being replaced (after a tragic interim) with the vicious “Bloody Mary”, who promptly disinterred the bones of both Bucer and Fagius.

God’s purposes and working are truly beyond our understanding. Here was the opportunity for the German Reformation to bear wonderful fruit in England. But instead – after just a couple years – all of these, the advisors and the regal advisee – died. And along comes Mary!

But God knows what He’s doing.

As far as Bucer’s writings is concerned, Brittanica Encyclopaedia tells us “The definitive edition of the collected works of Bucer is now in progress”. I look forward to that.

Some sources that may interest you printed and online (read with discernment):

“The British Josiah”, N.A. Woychuk, 2001 (SMF Press)

Online:…/2002/…/daily-10-21-2002.shtml (English Synopsis of Bucer’s Latin Commentary on John)…/martin-bucer-a-reformer-in…/

About asterisktom

I breathe, therefore I blog.
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