The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther

By Donald K. McKim | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

Martin Luther is not the ogre of unlimited government and tyranny, nor is he the liberal-minded Enlightenment democrat. Luther was an early modern, livingon the cusp of the medieval era and the not yet born modern world. His views are, from today's perspective, largely conservative; but that makes them no less revolutionary in their own time. Luther's understanding of freedom, his distinction between the Two Kingdoms, his rejection of coercion, his definition of authority, and his limited acceptance of resistance to tyranny became the font from which Protestant thinkingdrew throughout the sixteenth century. While others would go farther than he would have, they all acknowledged their debt to Luther. 26 That he did not always live up to his own standards is well known (e.g., he believed that blasphemy ought to be suppressed by the magistrate), but this points not to the fallacy of his convictions but to the frailty of the human condition.


Further reading

Primary bibliography (selected key works with political implications) Heidelberg Disputation (1518), LW 31 Two Kinds of Righteousness (1519), LW 31 The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), LW 36 To the Christian Nobility (1520), LW 44 The Freedom of a Christian (1520), LW 31 Concerning the Letter and the Spirit (1521), LW 39 A Sincere Admonition by Martin Luther to All Christians to Guard Against Insurrection and Rebellion (1522), LW 45

Invocavit (Eight Wittenberg) Sermons (1522), LW 51 Temporal Authority (1523), LW 45 Admonition to Peace (1525), LW 46 Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants (1525), LW 46 An Open Letter on the Harsh BookAgainst the Peasants (1525), LW 46 Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved (1526), LW 46 On War Against the Turk (1529), LW 46 The Augsburg Confession (1530) [while not by Luther, it certainly represents his thought], Bookof Concord

Warning to His Dear German People (1531), LW 47 Smalcald Articles (1537), Bookof Concord


Notes
1
Bernhard Lohse, Martin Luther's Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development, trans. and ed. by Roy A. Harrisville, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999), 3–6.
2
Thomas Brady, “Luther and the State: The Reformer's Teaching in its Social Setting, ” in James D. Tracy, ed., The Modern State in Germany (Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1986) : 31.

-190-

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The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Notes on Contributors xi
  • Preface xv
  • Chronology of Martin Luther xvii
  • Abbreviations xviii
  • Part I - Luther's Life and Context 1
  • 1 - Luther's Life 3
  • 2 - Luther's Wittenberg 20
  • Part II - Luther's Work 37
  • 3 - Luther's Writings 39
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - Luther as Bible Translator 62
  • 5 - Luther as an Interpreter of Holy Scripture 73
  • Notes 82
  • 6 - Luther's Theology 86
  • Notes 114
  • 7 - Luther's Moral Theology 120
  • 8 - Luther as Preacher of the Word of God 136
  • 9 - Luther's Spiritual Journey 149
  • 10 - Luther's Struggle with Social-Ethical Issues 165
  • Notes 175
  • 11 - Luther's Political Encounters 179
  • Notes 190
  • 12 - Luther's Polemical Controversies 192
  • Part III - After Luther 208
  • 13 - Luther's Function in an Age of Confessionalization 209
  • 14 - The Legacy of Martin Luther 227
  • Notes 238
  • 15 - Approaching Luther 240
  • Notes 252
  • Part IV - Luther Today 257
  • 16 - Luther and Modern Church History 259
  • 17 - Luther's Contemporary Theological Significance 272
  • Notes 286
  • 18 - Luther in the Worldwide Church Today 289
  • Select Bibliography 304
  • Index 313
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