« Berleburg Bible Bern, Disputation of Bern, Synod of »

Bern, Disputation of

BERN, DISPUTATION OF: The decisive point in the contest which definitely established the Reformation at Bern. At first the movement made slow progress there, as both the character of the people and their manner of life rendered them little susceptible to new ideas; even after a reforming party arose, for several years things continued in an undecided and vacillating condition. The somewhat violent and domineering manner in which the Roman Catholic authorities attempted to use their victory at the Conference of Baden (1526; See Baden, Conference of) brought on a crisis which, after the fashion of the time, it was attempted to meet by means of a disputation. Some of the Reformers invited to participate declined, having in mind the result at Baden, and the Roman Catholic dignitaries and celebrities generally refused to attend. But a great number of delegates and clergy appeared from Switzerland and the South German states, including Zwingli, (Ecolampadius, Butzer, Capito, Ambrose Blaurer, and others. The opening session was held on Jan. 6, 1528, and the discussions lasted from the following day till Jan. 26. They were based on ten theses carefully prepared by Berthold Haller and Franz Kolb and revised by Zwingli. The outcome was that the ten theses were subscribed to by most of the clergy of Bern, the mass was done away with, the images were quietly removed from the churches, and on Feb. 7 the Reformation edict was issued, which gave the theses force of law, annulled the power of the bishops, and made the necessary regulations concerning the clergy, public worship, church property, etc. The majority of the country congregations soon gave in their adherence. The influence of the disputation was felt even in France, the Netherlands, and England.

Bibliography: The acts of the disputation were published at Zurich, 1528, and again in 1608 and 1701; the Ten Theses are given in English in Schaff, Creeds, i, 364–366, and Christian Church, vii, 104–105, in German and Latin, Creeds, iii, 208–210. Consult S. Fischer, Geschichte der Disputation und Reformation in Bern, Bern, 1828; S. M. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli, pp. 280–283, New York, 1903.

« Berleburg Bible Bern, Disputation of Bern, Synod of »
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