Conversions from Catholicism to Lutheranism

A large number of the Palatine refugees who arrived in England in 1709 were Roman Catholics, but the British policy was that only Protestants would be transported to America. For this reason many of the Catholics eventually returned to Germany, but many others were willing to reconsider their religious affiliation. Several Catholic Palatines became Lutherans at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church in the Savoy, in anticipation of their voyage to the New World. What follows is the text of the rite that was used on these occasions. The questions that were asked of each convert addressed some of the chief doctrinal differences between Tridentine Catholicism and Confessional Lutheranism. The reference to “the Reformed Faith and Communion” should, of course, be understood in a broader sense, as pertaining to the Reformation, and not in the narrow sense, as pertaining to Calvinism. This conversion rite is found in The Piety and Bounty of the Queen of Great Britain: With the Charitable Benevolence of Her Loving Subjects, Toward the Support and Settlement of the Distressed Protestant Palatines (London: 1709), pp. 63-64.

The Form and Manner of Receiving into the Reformed Faith and Communion, many of the Popish Palatines who publickly renounced the Errors of the Church of Rome, in the German Church in the Savoy, before the Lutheran Minister, the Reverend Mr. John Tribbeko, on Several Days in Septemb. and Octob. 1709.

THE Minister first made a Discourse upon the Purity and Authority of God’s Word, as delivered in the Holy Scriptures; and shew’d how far the Errors of the Church of Rome had deviated from that Rule of Faith; then he spake to the several Persons, who had profest themselves ready to Renounce the Popish Religion, in this Manner,


Since according to this Instruction out of the Word of God, ye firmly Resolve to Renounce the Errors of Popery, and to come into the Communion of the Evangelical Churches; it is fit and proper that Ye should make a Publick and Solemn Confession of your Faith; and therefore here in the presence of God, I Demand of You:

I. Do You Believe the Scripture of the Old and New Testament to be of Divine Inspiration, to wit, Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, and likewise the Four Evangelists, and other Apostolical Writings? Do You receive and acknowledge them as the only Rule of Faith? And do You Deny all Human Authority in Matters of Faith, and Especially the pretended Authority of the Pope of Rome, and his Adherents? Do You acknowledge Christ to be the only Head of his Church, and do You propose to live according to his Laws?

To which every Person Answers. I do.

II. Do You Believe, according to the Scripture, by the Grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ, that we are Justified and Saved by Faith, and not by Works; though this Faith, if it be true, will bring forth good Fruits, i.e. the Works of Charity? Wherefore Renouncing the Popish Errors upon this Article, do You firmly Embrace the Evangelical Doctrine?

Answer. I do.

III. Will You for the time to come Worship God Alone, and Serve him only, without any Invocation of the Virgin Mary, or of other Saints, and without any Worshipping of Images, as the Papists vainly Practise, whose Way of Worship is in the Scriptures condemned for Idolatry? And therefore, leaving that dangerous Way, will You Worship and Adore God Alone in the Name of his Son Christ Jesus?

Answer. I will.

IV. Do You heartily Renounce the Erroneous Doctrine of the Mass, namely, that it is a Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead; and that Christ is daily offered in it? Whereas he, by the Sacrifice of himself once offered, made a perfect Satisfaction for all that believe in him, and did institute his Last Supper, to be Observed for a continual Memorial of him, not under One, but under Both kinds of Bread and Wine, which are the Communion of his Body and his Blood, not the Transubstantiation of the Elements, as the Papists vainly Teach: Do You therefore Condemn and Renounce those Errors, and Believe the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostle St. Paul in those Points?

Answer. I do.

V. Do You stedfastly Resolve to persevere in this sound Faith of the Gospel all your days, and by God’s Grace to lead a Life worthy of the same?

Answer. I do.

And then the Minister concludes with Prayers and a Blessing.

The Names of the Catechumens, or Converts from Popery, who being well instructed in the Lutheran Church at the Savoy, did publickly Renounce the Errors of Popery, and were Admitted to the Lords Supper in the Protestant Communion. ... [The 40 names that follow in the original are omitted here.]

Pastor John Tribbeko preaching to the Palatines in the Lutheran Church in the Savoy

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