Reflecting on the early Reformation, the German church historian Rudolf Mau comments: "Never before or since in the history of the church has theological insight proven itself to be a power which both deeply and quickly changed the way people looked at their life and, consequently, also transformed their institutions, social order and politics." This observation equally applies to the ethos of the Reformation as well as the ethics stemming from it. The Reformation breakthrough thoroughly affected the essential understanding and expression of the Christian life. Consequently, Reformation ethics is one of the classical interpretations of the Christian life, and its ethos shaped this way of living for centuries. Modern Protestantism remains an heir to this tradition, even if it continues to depart more and more from its biblical origins and their rediscovery in the sixteenth century, and its Reformation heritage is still able to demonstrate renewed vitality. The perennial relevance of the Reformation legacy is especially true for Martin Luther's ethics, since his moral teaching served as the basis for all the ethical thinking in the Reformation, deeply influencing both the Lutheran and Reformed churches during the sixteenth century. Moreover, his ethics continued to impact the church and theology down through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and even today Luther's moral theology has proven itself to be an inspiring and thought-provoking approach.


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pp. 137-152
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