Lex Charitatis: A Juristic Disquisition on Law in the Theology of Martin Luther

Lex Charitatis: A Juristic Disquisition on Law in the Theology of Martin Luther

Lex Charitatis: A Juristic Disquisition on Law in the Theology of Martin Luther

Lex Charitatis: A Juristic Disquisition on Law in the Theology of Martin Luther

Synopsis

This substantial work by one of Europe's most respected twentieth-century legal minds unpacks Luther's doctrine of law, showing how it derived from his central theological concern, justification by faith.

"When Johannes Heckel's Lex Charitatis appeared more than half a century ago, it brought new clarity to the much-disputed issue of Luther's understanding of the law and of God's governance of his created order. The Wittenberg reformer's use of the language of 'two kingdoms' and 'two governances' is still fiercely debated; having Heckel's work in English will assist scholars and students alike in putting Luther's insights to use in the context of twenty-first-century problems."
-- Robert Kolb, Concordia Seminary

Excerpt

For the scholarship of our generation, Johannes Heckel in Lex charitatis was the first to develop Luther’s ideas about church and law on the basis of the fundamental connection of their theological and juristic positions. in so doing, he also established directives for the proclamation of the church and for the present-day appropriate efforts to shape the legal form of the church in agreement with the gospel. the book, the result of decades of investigating the sources, was published in 1953; a second edition was published in 1973, and that edition is now presented in an English translation.

Lex charitatis was a groundbreaker in Luther research since it presented the whole of Luther’s doctrine of law systematically. Further, the book may be considered to be of epochal significance for the history of ecclesiastical law. the results of the book overcame the self-sufficient legal positivism and the historicism which up to that point dominated ecclesiastical law and its history; they eliminated the sterile separation of the method of theology and of jurisprudence which had fatal consequences for the legal praxis of the church and for the church’s relationship with the state; and they provided the theological foundation for evangelical ecclesiastical law on which it depends for its existence, especially in an increasingly secular society. the author developed a clear picture of the significance the central doctrine of Luther’s Reformation —justification of the sinner by grace alone — had for the understanding of divine and of man-made law, and of ecclesiastical and of secular law; he demonstrated the connection between that understanding and . . .

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