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Johann Agricola

1494-1566. German Reformer. Born in Eisleben in 1494, he studied at Wittenberg under Luther. In 1519 he served as Luther's recording secretary at the Leipzig Disputation. In 1525 he went for a short time to Frankfurt and was later appointed director of the school in Eisleben and preacher in the church of St. Nicolai. In 1527 he had a dispute with Melanchthon* on the relation between repentance and faith. There may have been personal reasons behind their theological differences, as in 1526 Melanchthon was preferred to him for appointment to a chair in the University of Wittenberg. Melanchthon's view, shared by the other Reformers, was that the moral law was needed to bring the sinner to repentance, leading on to faith in Christ. Agricola held that the law has no place in Christian experience. Luther, who gave Agricola and his followers the title of Antinomians,* refuted his arguments and elicited some form of recantation, but bitterness remained. In 1540 Agricola went to Berlin, where he was appointed court preacher and general superintendent. In addition to theological works he compiled a collection of German proverbs.