There was more chaos in the land in 1560. Two leading men had been expelled from the Protestant town of Heidelberg, Germany: one, the Lutheran Dr. Hesshuss, for his extreme hostility towards the other, a Calvinist. But even with Hesshuss gone, the controversy between the Lutheran view of the Lord’s Supper and the Calvinist view could still cause trouble. The people had a new-found love for the Reformed faith and were growing in their understanding of the truth, but many were still ignorant about much doctrine. The printing process was new, and not everyone owned a Bible, and not many catechism books had been written. The catechisms that were available were either too short or too long to be of use in teaching children. The result was much confusion for those who were trying to teach and for those who were trying to learn.
Elector Frederick III saw the need. As ruler of the land, he had only recently come upon the throne. He was a very educated man and had been brought up in the best of Catholic schools, for his father was a strict Roman Catholic. So how was it that Frederick saw the need for teaching Reformed doctrine to the church and its children in Heidelberg and beyond?
As a young man he began to see the corruption and hypocrisy that was in the church of Rome. As a young prince it was proper that he marry a young princess—even if she was a Lutheran one. It was not long until he was converted to Protestantism. Frederick’s father was not happy about this conversion though, and he kept Frederick, his wife, and the children they would have nearly penniless for many years. At times this royal family lived as the poorest of the paupers in the land, persecuted by their own father.
But now Frederick’s father was dead, and so was the former elector of Heidelberg. Now it was Frederick’s lot to rule in Heidelberg, Germany. It was in the providence of God that he saw the need for teaching doctrine to the youth of the church, and it was in the providence of God that he would have the will and the means to do something about it.
With Hesshuss and another professor gone, Heidelberg needed a preacher and a professor to replace them. Frederick knew that Heidelberg was an important city for the work of the Reformation. Not just any preacher and professor would do. But who?
God was preparing two men—two young men—even now for the work. They would boldly and faithfully preach and teach the doctrines of Scripture in truth. They would work to teach those doctrines to the church and its children in an understandable way, and to settle the matter between Calvinists and Lutherans. They would work to change the chaos and confusion into comfort and order. Such would be the turn of events…