Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Caspar Hedio

This reformer is truly forgotten. Finding discussions on Hedio are like finding diamonds in your back yard. A rare thing indeed. In fact, even his Wikipedia entry is only one sentence long, but it is long enough to tell us he died in 1552. It mentions he was a reformer and a historian who was located in Strassborg. That is all we get from the Encyclopedia. Although the German version of Wiki has a much more detailed entry.

Yet, there is much more to Hedio. He was a reformer, and an early one at that. Hedio studied under Capito at the University of Freiburg and then again at the University of Basel. He followed Capito to Bradenburg where he became the court preacher to the Archbishop after Capito was promoted to a counselor of Albert of Brandenburg. Albert, in case we have forgotten, was one who originally hired Tetzel to sell indulgences in his area. Albert never quite went over to the Reformation, but while Hedio and Capito were there he was quite unwilling to do anything against it. Hedio got a job preaching in Strasborg, which briefly hurt his friendship with Capito who also wanted the job, but the two reconciled. Thus Hedio aided Matthew Zell (who is our next reformer) reforming Strasbourg, and in a few months was joined by Capito (who got a different job in the city). That city boasted three powerfrul exponents of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hedio having preached before in both Basel and Bradenburg was quite a powerful preacher according to all accounts. Not only could he preach, but also he was active in the debates for the Reformation. The Marburg Colloquy had Caspar Hedio in attendance. He was on the side of Zwingli in opposition to the Lutherans. Thus, it is an interesting and rare moment to find a description of Hedio from someone who was opposed to him. Justus Jonas, a Lutheran present at the Colloquy stated that Hedio had “as much liberality as kindness” (pg. 501 D’Aubigne History of the Reformation). This was a compliment just in case anyone was inclined to read it otherwise. Thus, Hedio dealt graciously with those with whom he disagreed.

Hedio was widely regarded and appreciated for his gifts of ministry and preaching. Apparently other cities would often write to Hedio to get his opinion. Baden and even the Palatinate wrote to Hedio for advice, which he freely gave, and at one point Zurich tried to hire him, but Hedio had just accepted the job in Strasbourg and turned them down. Hedio also showed his scholarly side as he made translations into German of important works and wrote history chronicles. Some sources indicate that a work on tithing might also have been published. Hedio’s work is almost all lost to us now. Yet, it can be seen in letters and in his presence that people must have thought very highly of Caspar Hedio. A forgotten Reformer, Hedio was early on the field and obviously important in the establishment of the gospel.