The Theology of Martin Luther

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

27
THE LORD'S SUPPER

IN DISCUSSING Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper we cannot avoid distinguishing the different forms through which it passed before reaching its final form.1 The controversies with Karlstadt, the Swiss, and Schwenckfeld led Luther far beyond his earlier teaching on the Lord's Supper. In this process, earlier emphases receded into the background. Luther certainly did not simply abandon them. However, he did not repeat them and they were thus de-emphasized and perhaps even lost their place in his total theology of the Lord's Supper. And yet they remain an essential part of his total understanding of this sacrament. We may, therefore, neither simply ignore them nor can we fit them into the final form of his theology of the Lord's Supper. Rather we must discuss them individually before presenting Luther's doctrine as developed in his great writings on the Lord's Supper.


THE DEVELOPMENT UNTIL 1524

In viewing the total development of Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, we must distinguish between two stages. The dividing point is the beginning of the controversy about the real presence in about 1524. In the first stage, Luther is opposed to Rome; in the second stage, he is opposed to the Enthusiasts and the Swiss. In the first stage, Luther is fighting to preserve the genuine meaning of the sacrament as a gift of God in opposition to the doctrine of the sacrifice of the mass. In the second stage, Luther empha-

1 For this entire chapter, cf. Hans Grass, Die Abendmahlslehre bet Luther
und Calvin
(2nd ed.; Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 1954) and Ernst Sommerlath,
Der Sinn dts Abendmabls nach Luther s Gedanksn über das Abend ma hi 1527-
1329 (Leipzig: Dörffling, 1930). [The reader who is limited to English will
find two books helpful: Hermann Sasse, This Is My Body: Luther's Contention
for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar
(Minneapolis: Augsburg,
1959), and Jaroslav Pelikan, Luther the Expositor: Introduction to tit Re-
former's Extgetical Writings
(St. Louis: Concordia, 1959), pp. 137–260. Sasse,
op. cit., pp. 233–272, reconstructs the Marburg Colloquy.—Trans.]

-375-

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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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