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A party in German Protestantism which held that certain rules and actions were matters of indifference. The first controversy on the subject broke out in connection with the Leipzig Interim (1548). One side declared certain Catholic practices such as Confirmation and the veneration of saints ‘adiaphora’, i.e. matters on which concessions might be made without prejudice to Protestant doctrine. The other side stressed the dangers to integral Lutheranism of these concessions. The controversy was ended only by the Formula of Concord (1577), which ruled that in times of persecution concessions should not be made, but otherwise ceremonies not commanded or forbidden in the Bible might be altered according to the decisions of individual Churches. Another controversy broke out in the late 17th cent. between the Pietists, who declared all worldly pleasures such as theatres to be sinful, and the orthodox Lutherans, who held them to be indifferent and therefore permitted.

Subjects: Christianity.

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