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Syncretists [1]

( Συγκρητισταί , Unionists), persons; who advocate a system of union and harmony which was attempted to be introduced into the Lutheran Church in the 17th century. It originated with Calixtus, professor of divinity at Helmstadt, who, in examining the doctrines professed by the different bodies of Christians, discovered that, notwithstanding there were many things to be reprobated, there was so much important truth held by them in common that they ought to banish their animosities, and live together as disciples of one common Master. His object was to, heal the divisions and terminate the contests, which prevailed. Like most men of a pacific spirit, he became the butt of all parties. He was accused of Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, Arianism, Socinianism, Judaism, and even Atheism. His bitterest opponent was Buscher, a Hanoverian clergyman, whopuiblished a book against him entitled Crypto-Papismus Novae Theologic Helmstadiensis. The subject was taken up by the Conference held at Thorn in the year 1645, to which Calixtus had been sent by the elector of Brandenburg; and the whole force of the Saxon clergy was turned against him, as an apostate from the strict and pure principles of Lutheranism. This great man continued, however, with consummate ability, to defend his views and repel the attacks of his enemies till his death, in 1656. But this event did not put a stop to the controversy. It continued to rage with greater or less violence till near the close of the century, by' which time most of those who took part in it had died. To such a length was the opposition to Calixtus at one time carried that, in a dramatic piece at Wittenberg, he was represented as a fiend with horns and claws. Those who sided with him were called Calixtines or Syncretists. (See Syncretism).