Early Evangelical Consolation Literature

Ronald K. Rittgers

in The Reformation of Suffering

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795086
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950171 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

Early Evangelical Consolation Literature

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This chapter examines the place of suffering and consolation in the theology and ministry of the early evangelical reformers, both clerical and lay (male and female), showing the important lines of continuity and discontinuity between them and Luther (and Zwingli). (Early on, the chapter examines the place of suffering in Zwingli’s theology, noting the relative lack of attention to the topic in his extant works, especially in comparison with Luther.) This continuity included a widespread acceptance of Luther’s theology of the cross, while the discontinuity included disagreement about how broadly to define the actual crosses to be borne by the true Christian. Here so-called radical evangelicals took strong exception to the tradition of including all manner of spiritual and physical suffering in this definition, arguing that bearing one’s cross referred exclusively to suffering persecution for the sake of the gospel.

Keywords: Huldrych Zwingli; suffering; consolation; radical evangelicals; spiritual suffering; physical suffering; gospel; evangelical reformers

Chapter.  16746 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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