Württemberg Confession

This document was one of a number of Interims prepared by Protestant theologians after the opening of the Council of Trent* as bases for ecumenical debate with the Roman ecclesiastics. Following on the Augsburg Confession* of 1548, Melanchthon’s Leipzig Interim of 1549 and his Saxon Confession* of 1551, J. Brenz* at the request of Duke Christopher of Württemberg drew up this statement of belief containing thirty-five articles and reflecting the mind of the Protestant church in that state. Predominantly Lutheran, it contains some concessions to the Calvinists and a number to the Roman Catholics, especially in respect to the Real Presence, in which Brenz was inclined to pursue dogmatic definition more systematically than Luther. Though dispatched to the Protestant representatives at the council, the Confession was rendered abortive by the unexpected armed intervention of Elector Maurice, and all thoughts of such Catholic-Lutheran reconciliation were ended by the Settlement and Peace of Augsburg* (1555). The Confession influenced Archbishop Parker* and the Convocation of 1563, when the Edwardine Forty-Two Articles* were refashioned into the more conservative Thirty-Nine Articles,* particularly in relation to free will, justification, the canon of the OT, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord’s Supper. A new edition of the Confessio Virtembergica was published in 1952, and it has featured in recent Lutheran-Catholic dialogue.