Philipp Melanchthon

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Philipp Melanchthon (February 16, 1497 – April 19, 1560), born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems. He stands next to Luther and Calvin as a reformer, theologian, and molder of Protestantism. As much as Luther, he is the primary founder of Lutheranism.[1] They both denounced what they saw as the exaggerated cult of the saints, justification by works, and the coercion of the conscience in the sacrament of penance that nevertheless could not offer certainty of salvation. Melanchthon made the distinction between law and gospel the central formula for Lutheran evangelical insight. By the "law" he meant the Old Testament system of requirements (and, by analogy, the Papacy and its rigid rituals controlled by priests); the "gospel" meant the free gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ, whom an individual could confront directly through Bible reading, hymns and prayer.

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