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Antinomistic Controversy

This arose from a dispute between Johann Agricola* and Philip Melanchthon* about the relationship between repentance and faith, and the place of the moral law in the experience of the believer. Melanchthon held that the moral law was required to produce conviction of sin and repentance, as the prelude to faith. Agricola's view, to which Luther gave the name “Antinomian,”* maintained that repentance is the fruit not of the law but of the Gospel, and that the law has no relevance for the Christian. The dispute was temporarily settled at Torgau in 1527 in a conference between Luther, Melanchthon, and Agricola, but was revived later and, becoming acute in 1537, was never really resolved.