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Preparation Questions: (you must answer all questions to receive credit)
1. Perhaps the most central theological issue of the Reformation period was the understanding of “Justification” (how one is “made right” with God). In particular, the debate focused on the role of “faith” and “good works” in justification, and the Protestants and Roman Catholics articulated this relationship in contrasting ways. The first reading for today (Council of Trent) represents the perspective of the Roman Catholic church while the second reading (Calvin) represents a Protestant view. Compare and contrast John Calvin and the Council of Trent with an eye toward the following:
Definitions of what justification is and what it does for the individual.
The place/role of the human will in receiving justification
What exactly is the ground or cause of justification in an individual?
What place do Christian “works” (e.g. keeping the 10 commandments, acts of love toward neighbor, etc) have, if any, in the idea of justification? Do “works” play any role in one’s justification?
2. For Christians who might adhere to one articulation of justification or the other, what practical difference might these documents on justification mean for how a Christian lives his/her life?
3. The final reading for today (Schleitheim Confession) is a document representing the Anabaptist tradition (a more radical variety of the Protestant reformation). After reading this document, what strikes you as some of the most important values for this community?