"In The Wittenberg Concord, Gordon A. Jensen attends with care and insight to the complex internal Protestant negotiations that led to the Lutheran-Reformed agreement on the Lord’s Supper, the 'Wittenberg Concord,' in 1536. This important ecumenical event has long been under-appreciated and is still too little known. As one might expect, Jensen offers a thorough review of events and controversies preceding the Concord, including the Eucharistic debates of the 1520s, and the almost-agreement reached at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529. But he goes well beyond these much-discussed events to lay out the historical contexts and consequences of theological disagreement, especially the political vulnerabilities of the Protestant authorities in the period leading up to the Diet of Augsburg (1530). Attending to the slow progress made between Martin Bucer, Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon in the early 1530s, Jensen shows how Bucer’s tenacity and Luther’s flexibility paved the way for their eventual meeting at Wittenberg in 1536. This face-to-face meeting succeeded in producing an agreement on the Lord’s Supper, and much more. The agreement itself focused upon what was most important, that is, the consoling presence of Christ as offered “in and with” the bread and the cup. Jensen also explores the Concord’s after-history, showing how it provided a new model for Christian unity, and examining the ways that model was imitated, or rejected, in ecumenical discussions from the confessional period down to the present day. Connecting the Concord with its more recent successor agreements, e.g., the Leuenberg Concord, Jensen makes the case for its abiding significance today. A series of appendices provide translations of key documents, as well as a helpful glossary of major players in the event. For students of Reformation history and theology, and indeed for all of us who work for the unity of the churches today, this should be mandatory reading. A remarkable achievement, and a lasting contribution to Christian ecumenism!"
Mickey L. Mattox | Marquette University