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The Courage of Faith

Martin Luther and the Theonomous Self

By Mary Gaebler

Publication Year: 2013

The steep challenge of personal change is no less keen today than in Martin Luther’s day, and this book takes a new look at his important work. Luther’s notorious denial of personal agency apart from the grace of God, and his scoffing at any but the most spontaneous works of Christian life, have recently rankled both critics of classic Lutheran theology and ecumenical dialogue partners. In this book, theologian and ethicist Mary Gaebler offers a critical corrective to the historical record and theological assumptions about human being and human agency. She not only shows how Luther’s thinking on the will and effective agency evolved, she shows a deeper coherence in his thinking that guided him through successive vocations as a monk, a public figure, a spouse and father, and pastor. In addition, she shows Luther’s anthropology became increasingly open, with a growing affirmation of the created order and the recognition of faith’s role in the transformation of the world, leading to Luther’s exhortation to take courage in God’s transforming presence for the good of all.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

When Philip Watson produced a study of Luther’s theology titled Let God Be God, many applauded this succinct rendering of Luther’s prophetic theological vision.1 In the post–World War II context of an overconfident culture driven by the desire for conquest and personal achievement, Luther’s attack on human...

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1. God's Prophet

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pp. 23-82

Born in 1483, Luther lived in a world that knew death intimately.1 And while the terrors of finitude and human limitation were hardly unique to his time, it is nevertheless difficult for us today, with our scientific grasp of reality, to understand Luther’s world. For the people of his day, one thing was clear—once...

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2. Freed to Serve

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pp. 83-116

Luther’s God-Satan dualism, which underscored his initial rendering of justification (as well as his early view of the two kingdoms), now began to undergo further development, especially following the Leipzig Disputation of 1519. Luther did not abandon the earlier model; rather, he incorporated the Augustinian dualism into a larger dynamic and dialectical framework emerging...

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3. Luther and Self-Love

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pp. 117-154

Luther’s theological development did not stop with his mature articulation of God’s twofold reign in 1522; neither did it stop with his initial “turn toward the world.” It took Luther a long time to unpack the many dimensions of his doctrine of the two realms, which he only fully expressed anthropologically as he explored the practical application of his model in the context of ongoing...

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4. Life in the Spirit

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pp. 155-190

In the summer of 1520, Luther was excommunicated in the papal bull Exsurge Domine, which listed forty-one propositions extracted from Luther’s work, all of which were condemned in globo.1 Proposition thirty-six refers to thesis 13 of the Heidelberg Disputation (1518) in which Luther argues, “Free will, after the fall, exists in name only.”2 My aim in this chapter is to understand better...

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Conclusion

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pp. 191-202

Luther’s contentious theological claims—claims that ultimately resulted in his excommunication from the Church of Rome—are first and foremost the result of a different perspective. Like the problem of drawing a round world on a flat sheet of paper, everything depends on where you start. When historian and cartographer Dr. Arno Peters first introduced his “area accurate” map in 1974...

Index

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pp. 203-208

Back Cover

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p. 222-222


E-ISBN-13: 9781451438628
E-ISBN-10: 1451438621
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800697525
Print-ISBN-10: 0800697529

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies in Lutheran History and Theology
Series Editor Byline: