Lutheran theology

Forthcoming book from Brill

February 2008 will see the arrival of Justification and Participation in Christ: The Development of the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification from Luther to the Formula of Concord (1580), by Olli-Pekka Vainio. Dr. Vainio is Researcher in the Department of Systematic Theology at University of Helsinki.

This book is #130 of the ‘Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, and is listed at € 99.00.

The table of contents is:

1. Introduction
2. The Beginning of the Lutheran Reformation: Justification as Participation in Christ
3. Philip Melanchthon: Justification as the Renewal of the Intellect and the Will
4. Andreas Osiander and Matthias Flacius Illyricus: The Controversy over the Genuine Interpretation of Luther
5. Joachim Mörlin and Martin Chemnitz: Towards the Synthesis of the Extremes
6. Unio cum Christo in the Theologies of the Other Contributors to FC
7. The Doctrine of Justification in the Formula of Concord
8. Concluding remarks: What is the Lutheran Doctrine of Justification?

Here’s the blurb: The unity of the early Lutheran reformation, even in the central themes such as justification, is still an open question. This study examines the development of the doctrine of justification in the works of the prominent first and second generation Lutheran reformers from the viewpoints of divine participation and effectivity of justification. Generally, Luther’s idea of Christ’s real presence in the believer as the central part of justification is maintained and taught by all Reformers while they simultaneously develop various theological frameworks to depict the nature of participation. However, in some cases these developed models are contradictory, which causes tension between theologians resulting in the invention of new doctrinal formulations.

As a ‘closet Lutheran’, this is very exciting. It’s almost a Big-Kev moment.

Losing justification

‘The article of justification lost its commanding place in Lutheran theology because it gave way to a preoccupation with the subjective conditions required to motivate God’s decision to justify sinners. When regeneration is placed logically and causally prior to justification, the focus of interest shifts from God’s unmotivated decision to justify the ungodly to the restoration of their human capacity to apply themselves to grace, to repent and believe, and thereupon to be justified. The priority of regeneration over justification removes the article of justification by faith alone from the center to a marginal role in the doctrine of salvation.’ Carl E. Braaten, Justification: The Article by Which the Church Stands or Falls (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 22.