The Pińczów Confession of 1559 primarily focuses on the person of Jesus Christ. Today, Stephen Nichols takes us to Poland to tell us about this confession of faith and the main individual who drafted it.
Welcome back to another episode of 5 Minutes in Church History. We are continuing our theme of “Confessing Like It’s 1559,” and this week we are in Poland. Poland was a place of religious tolerance in the 16th century, and particularly the town of Pinczow was a center of the Reformation. It had an academy that was modeled after Calvin’s academy back in Geneva, and it was the location for the synods of the Polish Reformed Church. No less than three confessions came out of Synods held at Pinczow. There was the confession of 1559, of 1562, and of 1570. We will look at the first one. Let’s look at who wrote it and then what it says. John Lasko is his Anglicized name. His polish name is Jan Laski. He was the key architect of this confession. He was born in 1499, and he came from a noble family.
His uncle was an archbishop. He went on to Basel and studied under Erasmus, and he was also influenced by Zwingli. He became a pastor in East Frisian, that’s between the Netherlands and Germany, and while there, he moved much closer to the theology of Calvin and Geneva. By 1550, he was invited to England. He was there for the second half of Edward VI’s reign. He pastored one of the stranger churches. These were churches for foreigners who were living in England. Under Edward, these churches were granted a royal charter, and much of that was at the prompting and the work of Thomas Cranmer. Lasko’s church was called the Temple of the Lord, and it had preaching in Dutch, and it had preaching in French. Well then, as you know, Edward died, and Mary ascended to the throne, and as she did, Lasko left England for Brandenburg in 1553.
By 1556, he was back in Poland, and he was appointed to a position in service to King Sigismund II. Sigismund, formerly known as a prince, was a great and noble king, and accordingly, Lasko took his position as a leader of the Calvinist or the Reformed church in Poland. Lasko was joined by Stanislovas or Nikki who studied under Melanchthon and then under Calvin in Geneva and was more swayed to the Reformed direction over the Lutheran. There’s one more person, and that is Francesco Stan Carra. He was an itinerant priest theologian who, in the end, was promoting Arian views and other Christological and Trinitarian heresies. In 1559 our year, he published a book that had at best, a quote, “A peculiar view of Christ.” He was very popular and so in response to him and in the interest of putting forth orthodox teaching, we have the Pinczow Confession of 1559. Here’s the preface, “The confession of ministers drawn up in Pinczow on August 10th, 1559, in the churches restored through lower Poland concerning the Mediator between God and man, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, concerning both his person and His office, and delivered to the great Lord Olesnicki, lord in Pinczow.” This confession focuses on the person of Christ. It starts by concluding with the Nicaea and Chalcedon that Jesus is the God-man, and then it turns with most of its attention to Christ’s mediatorial role, and so it looks at Christ as prophet, and then it looks at Christ as our high priest, and then concludes by looking at Christ as King.
Confession says lastly, under the title of “King in Christ, the Lord,” “We believe and profess that He is the eternal King of His church as Mediator between us and God, who having conquered Satan and the whole world by his royal power, gathers us into his church already from the beginning of the world until the consummation of the age, and He governs us with His Holy Spirit and against every tyranny of Satan and the world so that He may defend and protect as the King of kings and the Lord of Lords.” That is the Pinczow confession. While we were in France last week, Poland this week, tune in next week to see where we will be. In the interim, keep confessing like it's 1559. I'm Steve Nichols, and thanks for listening to 5 Minutes in Church History.