Adiaphoristic dispute

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The Adiaphoristische dispute (also: Adiaphoristenstreit ) was at the time of church policy Reformation in Germany between the "real Lutherans" or the Gnesiolutheranern and Philippists discharged.


The reason for this dispute was a compromise proposal drawn up for the Leipzig state parliament in 1548 by the Wittenberg theologians Georg von Anhalt and Johannes Pfeffinger under the leadership of Philipp Melanchthon . Through a combination of reintroduced Catholic rites with Protestant teaching, the Wittenbergers presented an alternative to the imperial compulsory regulation "Augsburger Interim" (transitional regulation). In Electoral Saxony, for example, the feared full return to pre-Reformation Catholic teaching should be averted.

The Philippists with their spokesman Philipp Melanchthon took the position that Protestants in the so-called " Adiaphora " ( Greek ἀδιάφορα "not different", "middle things", ie equally valid things) could not be willing to compromise with the Catholic Church but in the central Articles of Faith. The middle things they counted the ceremonies and rites, as well as high altars, lights, vestments and prayers of the hours. In the Leipzig articles drawn up by Melanchthon , he therefore made concessions to the Catholics in this area, as had been required by the imperial transitional regulations.

In contrast, the Gnesiolutherans objected that there are no middle or equally valid things in questions of the creed. Their protest against the Leipzig Articles by Melanchthon was led by Matthias Flacius . Flacius pointed out that the “wrong middle things” would be used for the compromise. A whole series of intra-Lutheran disputes developed from this. The latter repeatedly revolved around the main question of whether and under what conditions it was possible for Protestants to separate doctrine and rites in order to be able to make compromises with the old church for a specific reason.

This adiaphorist dispute in the interim period from 1548 ff. Is sometimes also called the “first adiaphorist dispute” and as a “second adiaphorist dispute” it is accompanied by an “individual ethical variant”, which concerned the Protestant-dogmatic admissibility of secular pleasures such as dance or the like.

Web links


  • Irene Dingel (ed.): The Adiaphorist Controversy (1548-1560) . Göttingen 2012.
  • Friedhelm Krüger: Adiaphorist dispute . Lexicon for Theology and Church (LThK), 3rd edition, Vol. 1: A - Barcelona. , 1993, ISBN 3-451-22001-6 , col. 158 (with references).
  • Matthias Flacius Illyricus: Thoroughly relocating the long comment of the adiaphorists or the delusion of their actions. Very useful read to thoroughly research the truth on this matter . Richtzenhayn 1560. Digitized

Individual evidence

  1. a b Irene Dingel (ed.): Der Adiaphoristische Streit (1548–1560) . Göttingen 2012, III.
  2. ^ Friedhelm Krüger: Adiaphorist dispute. , in: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church. (LThK) - Freiburg i. Br .; Basel; Rome: Herder. - 3. Edition. - Vol. 1: A - Barcelona. , 1993, ISBN 3-451-22001-6 , col. 158.