The Theology of Martin Luther

By Paul Althaus; Robert C. Schultz | Go to book overview

1
THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE
AND OF THE CREEDS

INTENSIVE study of Luther's theology is particularly rewarding because of his originality. The voice with which Luther speaks to us is unmistakably his own. Luther however did not intend to say anything particularly original. He felt he was commissioned only to explicate rightly the truth contained in the Holy Scriptures and the dogma of the orthodox church. All of his theological work presupposes the authority of Scripture and the derived authority of the genuine tradition of the church.

We shall begin at this point: All Luther's theological thinking presupposes the authority of Scripture. His theology is nothing more than an attempt to interpret the Scripture. Its form is basically exegesis. He is no “systematician” in the scholastic sense, and he is no dogmatician—either in the sense of the great medieval systems or in the sense of modern theology. He wrote neither a dogmatics, nor an ethics, nor a Summa: he never produced anything like Melanchthon's analyses of individual doctrines (loci theologici) or Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Luther was professor of biblical exegesis at the University of Wittenberg. The major part of his literary work consists accordingly of exegetical lectures on the Old and New Testaments. Some he edited himself; some were edited by others. Together with these lectures stand the sermons. Again, some were prepared for publication by Luther himself; others were taken down and published by his students. In these sermons we again hear Luther explicating biblical material. His larger and smaller topical writings too are saturated with quotations from Scripture and are largely exegetical in character. Luther also prepared theses for his students to defend in the open disputations that were part of the examinations for the theological degrees; and although he tried to

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The Theology of Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • From the Preface to the German Edition v
  • Translator's Note ix
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Authority of Scripture and of the Creeds 3
  • 2: The Subject Matter of Theology 9
  • Part One - The Knowledge of God the Word of God and Faith 13
  • 3: The General and the Proper Knowledge of God 15
  • 4: God in Himself and God as He Reveals Himself 20
  • 5: The Theology of the Cross 25
  • 6: The Word of God and the Spirit of God 35
  • 7: Faith 43
  • 8: Reason 64
  • 9: The Holy Scripture 72
  • Part Two - God's Work 103
  • 10: God is God 105
  • 11: God's Will for Men 130
  • 12: Man as a Sinner 141
  • 13: Man Between God and Satan 161
  • 14: Man Under the Wrath of God 169
  • 15: God in Jesus Christ 179
  • 16: The Trinity 199
  • 17: Jesus Christ as the Reconciler and Redeemer 201
  • 18: Righteousness in Faith 224
  • 19: Law and Gospel 251
  • 20: The Freedom of the Gracious God 274
  • 21: The People of God 287
  • 22: The Church as the Community of Saints 294
  • 23: The Office of the Ministry 323
  • 24: The True Church and the Empirical Church 333
  • 25: The Sacrament 345
  • 26: Baptism 353
  • 27: The Lord's Supper 375
  • 28: Eschatology 404
  • Appendixes 427
  • Appendix One - “and Though I Had All Faith” 429
  • Appendix Two - “love and the Certainty of Salvation” 446
  • Indexes 459
  • Index of Names 460
  • Index of Subjects 461
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