Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012

Spiritual Courage: Reverend Chancellor Tobias Wagner of Germany

When studying the 16th and 17th century I like to showcase Protestant individuals who “pop out” at me during my research or who particularly interest me. Today I researched Reverend Tobias Wagner. Born February 21, 1598, in Heidenheim, Germany, he had the distinction of being a direct descendant of Doctor Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora. An affinity for the ministry was certainly passed on to Tobias, who became the chancellor of Germany’s University in Tubingen in the early 1660s.

The young Wagner’s talents became obvious when he was rather young, as he was placed in Nordlingen’s Latin School. By age 23 he was tackling theology at Tubingen. His adulthood assignments included ministering in Esslingen and becoming, as “A History of the Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania” says, “Dekan [Deacon] of the Tubingen Diocese.” He was also Doctor of Theology.

Chancellor Tobias Wagner’s claim to fame was his outstanding defense of the Lutheran faith. He also helped hold the University of Tubingen together in the dark years of the 17th century, where, although Protestantism was no longer new and vulnerable, it was violently under attack from outside sources and from Catholic academics that had set up shop in Germany. In that era it became increasingly difficult to know where one stood. Tobias Wagner knew exactly where he stood. The book “History of the University of Tubingen” by August Friedrich Boks states, “He was a profound scholar and as teacher and preacher on various occasions showed himself an accomplished theologian: he was singularly clear in his expositions and moderate in his treatment of controversial subjects.”

Boks goes on to say, “In theological casuistry he possessed extensive knowledge and experience, and for this reason his counsel was often sought from various and distant places in the most complicated cases.” Wagner authored about seventy-eight works, half of which were constructed in Latin. It is interesting that he was in a position of authority during the ravaging Thirty Years’ War. History is silent on what burdens he bore during that time, but it is safe to say that they were probably great. The theologian’s death came on August 12, 1680. Academics like Wagner shattered the 17th century image of Germans as backwards country peasants who could never keep up with times.

Chancellor Wagner lived and breathed one of the statements of his epitaph: Hie Evangelici conditur orbis honor. “This world is built on the honor of the gospel.”

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

1 comment:

  1. I just read the Bonhoffer biography and it was fascinating to read about German theologians and their Lutheran heritage. Not back woods peasants at all!


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