The Protestant Reformation was hardly a unified protest against the doctrines and practices of the Medieval church. Aside from the mainstream Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed divisions, a variety of eddies and side currents also flowed through reform in the sixteenth century. There were Anabaptists, of course, as well as Spiritualists, Mystics, Pantheists, Anti-Trinitarians, and others in the so-called Radical Reformation.
One of the most intriguing of these smaller, too-marginalized movements were the Schwenkfelders, named for the Silesian lay theologian, Casper Schwenckfeld von Ossig (1489-1561). An irenic voice in the raucous controversies of the sixteenth century, Schwenckfeld pioneered a Reformation of the Middle Way that sought to avoid the extremes of the day. He started as an admirer of Luther, but developed a more spiritual interpretation of Christ's presence in the Sacrament. Venturing further along this vector, he emphasized the spiritual dimension in all ecclesiastical externals, including preaching, the ministry, baptism, and church.
Themes involving Christology and Soteriology, however, fill all 19 volumes of the Schwenckfeld's writings - the 'Corpus Schwenckfeldianorum - and form the very center of Schwenckfeldian theology, still espoused by the Schwenkfelders of eastern Pennsylvania. In brilliant fashion, this study illumines that core.