The Theology of Martin Luther

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

2
THE SUBJECT MATTER
OF THEOLOGY

LUTHER very carefully considered the subject matter of theolLogy. Theology is concerned with the knowledge of God and of man. It is therefore both theology in the narrower sense—the doctrine of God—and anthropology. These two are inseparably joined together. God can be properly known only in terms of his relationship to man; and man can be properly known only in terms of his relationship to God. Theology is thus concerned neither with an objective doctrine of God nor with an anthropology that asks questions about man other than those involving his relationship to God. Both sides of this relationship are determined by the fact that man is a guilty and lost sinner and that God is the justifier and the redeemer of precisely this kind of man. This highly existential twofold theme of man's guilt and redemption—this and nothing else—is the subject matter of theology. “Whatever one seeks apart from this is error and idle gossip in theology.”1 This means that theological knowledge of God and of man is “relative” knowledge in the sense that each is known only in relationship to the other, a relationship that is ontological as well as personal. This is what Luther means when he says, “Christ is the subject matter of theology.”2

What is the significance of this for the relationship of theology to philosophy?3 Philosophy is also concerned with man, with man as a rational being and as the bearer of reason, which is the source of all culture. Philosophy however is not concerned with man as “theological” man, with man in his relationship to God. Philosophy thinks of man in immanent categories. Compared with the

1 WA 40II, 327; cf. LW 12, 310 f. Cf. WA, TR 5, 5757.

2 WA, TR 2, 1868 and frequently; cf. the index in WA, TR 6.

'See The Disputation Concerning Man, WA 391, 175 ff.; LW 34, 137–144.
Cf. also WA 4011,327; LW 12, 310 f.

-9-

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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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