Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541) on the definition of faith


Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541) was a German Reformer. Below, in a dialogue reminiscent of John Calvin’s (1509-1564) Geneva Catechism, he discusses faith:

“A Brief Dialogue between a Christian Father and his stubborn Son, whom he would fain bring to the right understanding of the Christian man’s living.

[The father:] Above all pleasure and worldly delight (dear Son) to hear or to read the pure word of God, seems to me a thing most sweet pleasant and amiable without comparison to the comfort and derision of a Christian man. The son: Think thou thy self then a Christian man? The father: God forbids else. Son: Whereby knows thou that? The father: Because through the commandments of God I acknowledge myself a sinner. And again through his godly promises, and by that merit of Christ I doubt not but that I am one of God’s chosen children. For Christ has cleansed me from sin with his death. Son: Thou says well, but wherein consists the life of a Christian man, tell me. Father: In a steadfast faith toward God, and pure love without simulation toward a man’s neighbor. Son: What call thou faith? Father: It is a lively and steadfast persuasion of the mind, whereby we doubt not but that the promises of God are given unto us by Christ, as it is evidently declared in our Creed.”

– Wolfgang Capito (1478–1541), The true beliefe in Christ and his sacraments, set forth in a Dialoge between a Christen father and his sonne, very necessary to be learned of all men, of what estate soever they be, 1-2