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The Osiandrian controversy was a controversy amongst the Lutherans, originated in around 1550 by Andreas Osiander, a German theologian. He asserted that it was only through the righteousness of Christ, as God, that mankind could obtain justification, and that men became partakers of Christ's divine righteousness through faith. The Osiandrian controversy was said to have broken the "close connection between alien and proper righteousness and the idea that both were rooted in the cross of Christ," and led to a reaction within the Church: "The [strictly] anti-Osiandrian view, rather than Luther's own, became the basis for Protestant thought on the righteousness of God."
Criticism and debate
This doctrine was opposed principally by Francesco Stancaro, who ran to the opposite extreme of excluding entirely Christ's divine nature from all concern in the redemption procured for sinners. This controversy led to others,[clarification needed] which were highly detrimental to the interests of the Lutheran church.
Philip Melanchthon offered an early opinion on the Osiandrian controversy. Although his letter to Osiander was generally positive, he criticized Osiander, especially for "not including a discussion of Christ's meritorious death when mentioning Christ's essential righteousness." On 27 May 1551, Joachim Mörlin publicly attacked Osiander from the pulpit, which Osiander defended at the pulpit four days later. Johannes Brenz was also outspoken on the controversy and urged Osiander to "avoid causing division among the Evangelicals at this dangerous time". The controversy continued until around 1566 but continued to be discussed for centuries — notably by Eduard Böhl in the late 19th century, who declared it to have had an impact upon reformed theology. In 1555 there were outbreaks of violence in Prussia over the Osiandrian controversy.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Robert Eden's The Churchman's Theological Dictionary (1845)
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