“Justification and Freedom”: Summary of Contents – 3

on July 30th, 2014 by admin | No Comments »

Let me give a detailed description of the text’s contents (see information here), since it is not available in English. All translations are my own

Here is a slightly simplified table of contents:
1. Introduction: Reformation Then and Now

2. Central Themes [Kernpunkte] of Reformation Theology
2.1. On the Concept of Justification – Key to the Reformation
2.2 Solus Christus – Christ alone
2.3. Sola gratia – from grace alone
2.4. Solo verbo – in Word alone
2.5. Sola scriptura – on the basis of Scripture alone
2.6. Sola fide – through faith alone

3. How can [the Reformation] be celebrated? [Wie kann gefeiert werden?]

4. Conclusion

Chapter 1, the Introduction, The Reformation Then and Now, lays out the intentions of the text. Most centrally, it wishes to interpret, with an eye to the questions of the present, the central concerns of the Reformation about how God relates to humanity (pp. 12f). “The doctrine of justification will here be elaborated as the heart of evangelical theology and piety and thus serve as an answer to the questions of present men and women” (p. 14).
In the chapter’s first subsection, the question is asked: how can the Reformation understanding of justification be made alive to the present? It lays out four concepts that can serve as an approach [Annäherung] to justification: 1) love, 2) recognition and appreciation; 3) forgiveness, and 4) freedom (pp. 29-33). All four of these concepts share this: “Persons are not measured by that which they outwardly represent or by their personal standing, but they are loved, acknowledged, valued by God, totally independently of their education, income, social background, or social standing” (p. 33).
The chapter’s second subdivision addresses the Reformation as a “learning history” [Lerngeschichte]. The Reformation is not a closed event, but an open-ended renewal, within which old teaching yields new insights (pp. 34f). A prime example is the process of the discovery of individual freedom, which contributed to the modern ‘history of freedom’ (p. 37). Four examples of this ‘learning history’ are given (pp. 38-43):
– The Reformation churches have learned to overcome the challenge of confessional division, most notably in the reconciliation of the Lutheran and Reformed strands of the Reformation;
– The Reformation churches must further learn how to address the challenges of secularization and atheism;
– The Reformation churches must further learn how to value the equality of the sexes and “dismantle gender hierarchies”;
– The Reformation churches must now learn to take up the task of interreligious dialogue.

Summery of further contents tomorrow.

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