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Adiaphorists

(Gr. adiaphora, “things indifferent”). Those who supported Philip Melanchthon* when, on the ground of necessity, he maintained that concessions made by Protestants in the Leipzig Interim (1548-52) were in any case adiaphora. The terms included the necessity of good works, and the restoration of the Mass with most of its ceremonies. Many Protestants, such as Illyricus Flacius* and John Calvin,* believed that Melanchthon had sacrificed too much. The adiaphora argument has recurred often in Christian thought. It can concern actions that are indifferent (neither bad nor good, being neither commanded nor forbidden by God), ceremonies (neither forbidden nor commanded so they may be used or discarded), and doctrines (although taught in the Word of God, they are of such minor importance that they may be disbelieved without injury to the faith). The Interim was never in fact implemented, but it caused bitter controversy. The Peace of Augsburg* (1555) removed the occasion of the argument.

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