« Barbeyrac, Jean Barckhausen-Volkmann Controversy Barclay, Alexander »

Barckhausen-Volkmann Controversy

BARCKHAUSEN-VOLKMANN CONTROVERSY: A discussion of the question of predestination and grace which was carried on with much ardor in Germany early in the eighteenth century. In the Reformed Church of Brandenburg particularly many things tended to start troublesome questions on these points. The Confessio Sigismundi of 1614 had followed the Augsburg Confession with “revision and improvements,” whereby it became not merely universalistic, but synergistic, and, in its exposition of predestination, approximated to the “Reformed Evangelical Churches.” As a matter of fact it taught both the absolute election of every believer and universal grace. The need of making concessions to the Lutherans led to some modifications, as in the Colloquium Lipsiense of 1631, the Declaratio Thoruniensis of 1645 (see Leipsic, Colloquy of; Thorn, Conference of), and an edict of the Great Elector in 1664 (in C. O. Mylius, Corpus constitutionum Marchicarum, i, Berlin, 1737, 382 sqq.). The Brandenburg Church was thus separated from orthodox Calvinism, while still adhering to the Reformed type, and this the more as a large number of French congregations bound to Calvin’s Confessio Gallicana were settled in the country.

The Barckhausen-Volkmann controversy began with the publication (Cologne, 1712) of the Theses theologicæ of Paul Volkmann, rector of the Joachimsthal gymnasium at Berlin; it was a complete presentation of the Reformed dogmatics, maintaining universal grace and conditional election. Konrad Heinrich Barckhausen, a native of Detmold and colleague of Volkmann in Berlin (in 1715 rector of the Friedrich Werder gymnasium), came forward as protagonist against Volkmann’s views. Under the pseudonym Pacificus Verinus he published in 1712 an Amica collatio doctrinæ de gratia and followed it the next year with a coarse German writing Mauritii Neodorpii Calvinus orthodoxus, d. i. sin kurzes Gespräch . . . worin bescheiden untersucht wird ob und wie weit die Lehre der Universalisten mit der Lehre der ersten reformirten Lehrer . . übereinkommen. A Berlin preacher, Stercki by name, took up the discussion on Volkmann’s side and Philippe Naudé), replied. The controversy was growing hotter when the Prussian king, Frederick William I, in 1719 issued an edict commanding both sides to keep silence (Mylius, ut sup., 534-535).

E. F. Karl Müller.

Bibliography: J. G. Walch, Einleitung in die Religionsstreitigkeiten . . . ausser der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, i, 457, iii, 746 sqq., 5 vols., Jena, 1733-36; Hering, Beiträge zur Geschichte der evangelisch-reformirten Kirche in den preussisch-brandenburgischen Ländern, i, 57 sqq., Berlin, 1784; A. Schweizer, Die protestantischen Centraldogmen, ii, 816 sqq., Zurich, 1854 sqq.

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