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Principles of Lutheran Theology [Paperback]

Carl E. Braaten
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 1, 1983 --  
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Principles of Lutheran Theology Principles of Lutheran Theology 4.0 out of 5 stars (13)
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Book Description

April 1, 1983 0800616898 978-0800616892
First published in 1983, Principles of Lutheran Theology has guided students into theological reflection on the landmarks of Christian faith as understood in the Lutheran confessional heritage for a generation. The book sets forth the main principles of classical Lutheran theology but with an eschatological accent. Canon, confession, ecumenicity, Christ-centeredness, sacrament, law/ gospel, and two kingdoms are all examined not only in terms of their original meaning and historical development but also in light of current reflections.

In this new edition, Braaten takes stock of the research and reflection of the last twenty-five years and also adds a chapter on the distinctive, Archimedean Lutheran insight into the hiddenness of God as a fount or ground of all theologizing. This new edition, cross-referenced to key readings in Luther's Works and The Book of Concord, will both equip and facilitate the search for a contemporary articulation of Christian identity in light of the church's historic commitments

Editorial Reviews


"...a modern classic that criticizes, illumines, and inspirse with missionary zeal and catholic breadth." -- Steven D. Paulson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota<br /><br />"Braaten's construal of Lutheran theology is clear, concise, colorful, persuasive, and accurate." --Robert Benne, Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus, Roranoke College, Virgina

About the Author

Carl E. Braaten is one of the leading theologians in American Lutheranism. He taught Systematic Theology for a generation at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and was founding editor of the popular theological journal dialog. He has dialog written or edited many foundational works in Lutheran theology, among them is a two-volume Christian Dogmatics (1985, 6-0001- 1873-2), edited with Robert Jenson and Justification: The Article by Which the Church Stands or Falls (1990, 0-8006-2403-3). For thirteen years Braaten has been director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology and editor of its journal, Pro Ecclesia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (April 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800616898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800616892
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,887,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lutheran heritage past and present October 13, 2003
By matt
Carl Braaten has been one of my favorite lecturers and authors on t he subject of Lutheranism and the ecumenical movement. While he may be a little "circle the wagons", his points are always thoughtful and based upon a sound understanding the both the ancient and modern trends and writings.
With only 138 pages of text, this book is one of the best introductions to Lutheranism around. Braaten doesn't paint a romantic picture of the movement nor its theology, but rather shows the context out of which the movement began, as well as its relevance for today by asking the question, "What is the protest about for today?" Packed with sound scholarship and a general survey of the modern situation (although it is dated to 1982), topics include:
The Canonical Principal, The Confessional Principal, The Ecumenical Principal, The Christocentric Principal, The Contemporary Shape of the Soteriological Question, The Sacramental Principal, The Law/Gospel Principal, The Two-Kingdoms Principal.
Highly recommended, along with is another of his books on ecclesiology, "Mother Church".
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read on Lutheran church theology (although the word "Principles" should be emphasized in the title), ecumenical thought, and early Reformation vs. modern thought theology.

Carl E. Braaten is clear and concise to pack a lot of chapters in this little 154 page book. The term "Principles" should be emphasized, as Braaten does not write or present a systematic theology.

The chapters are as follows:
1) The Canonical Principle,
2) The Confessional Principle,
3) The Ecumenical Principle,
4) The Christocentric Principle,
5) The Sacramental Principle,
6) The Law/Gospel Principle, and
7) The Two-Kingdoms Principle.

Carl E. Braaten, accomplishes a couple of things for me, through this little intro to the theology of the Lutheran-"movement":

a) covers the whole wide horizon on how various Lutherans look at these important theological principles,
b) is not shy of showing the catholicity and also the ecumenical flavor of the Lutheran movement, and
c) presents Lutheran theology not as a stand-along theology but as a theology of a "movement" (Evangelical or Lutheran) whose scope is to reform (or revive, renewal of) the church, its members, and the role of Christianity and Christians in our modern times.

I would also need to add that in my search for an ecumenically-minded, creedal, liturgical, and historical Protestant church (coming from a neo-Protestant, free-worship, insular church and background) this book has been instrumental towards my finding the conservative Lutheran church as my home church. A church as a member of the Church (of Jesus Christ)!

Doing a search on Carl E. Braaten will show that his writings are focused on: ecumenism or Christian unity theology, ecclesiology, and Lutheran theology. These subjects should be welcomed also by Roman-Catholics and Reform Protestants.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent review June 23, 2004
By A Customer
A great overview of Lutheran beliefs and schools of theology. If you want to learn more about Lutheranism, as a church member or as a non-Lutheran, this is a good place to start. Not too difficult to read or too long, this book nonetheless packs in a lot of information. As a Missouri-Synod Lutheran I found it very helpful in understanding other Lutheran viewpoints. The price is right too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Carl E. Braaten, Principles of Lutheran Theology (Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1983)
Professor (Systematic Theology at the Chicago Lutheran School of Theology) Braaten neatly divides the major issues of theology into seven key issues which are central to the Lutheran way of thinking. The title is slightly misleading, as the good doctor does take a few digressions to show the wider world views some of these principles, but these are useful to our end of understanding the subject.

For a card-carrying Lutheran who has been through the drill with the Shorter Catechism and many, many sermons, this book has a few surprises, especially in the relation between Lutheranism and Catholicism. These are Dr. Braaten's seven principles:

1. The Canonical Principle. Lutheranism is all about the authority of the scripture, but with several very important qualifications, which firmly separate the Lutheran way of reading the scripture from those who abide by an unvarnished sola scriptura (scripture alone). Luther believed the scripture said what it meant, and meant what it said. This principle discards centuries of allegorical readings of scripture, which began as early as the second century CE, with Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Balanced against this literalism is the realization that you still have to read the scripture with a critical eye. It can discount an elaborate allegorical reading of The Song of Solomon, yet be content with treating the Genesis story as metaphor, if that is what the original author intended! Luther's most important lens for examining scripture was that it must be a witness to the gospel and divinity of Jesus Christ. Luther showed great restraint in not excising James and Revelation from the canon (due to tradition) because they did not profess this gospel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bratten's Principles of Lutheran Theology January 24, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Carl Braaten is one of the leading Lutheran theologians in America today. This book is an excellent statement of theology, though it would be dry and technical for the regular lay person.
It should not be the first such book that one reads. Still, it is solid theology.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars ... material that I expected and the book was in excellent condition.
It was the material that I expected and the book was in excellent condition.
Published 23 hours ago by Eleanor J. Siebert
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book
It was easy to follow and interesting. I had to have it for a course I'm taking and it worked well
Published 8 months ago by Dottie Jean
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Sound read
Author does a great job in explaining various concepts of the Lutheran way and they fit in with scripture teachings and carrying them forward.
Published 11 months ago by Dennis M. Barrowclough
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is very well written
I thought the book was very well written. However, I thought that the author had more of a Catholoc slant on it since most of his recent year were in a Catholic organization/
Published 16 months ago by AnthonyOhio
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, if partisan, Introduction for the Adventurous Lay Person
(Note: I read the old, 1980s edition of this book. I understand that the newer edition has been somewhat refined or padded out but I have not read it personally and so cannot... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Katie Luther
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I recommend it to every Christian. I bought it for my husband for Christmas. He reads it over and over.
Published 17 months ago by Shut in Shopper
2.0 out of 5 stars Principels
Definitely not written for the layman. It seems to be written more for seminary students or those already well educated in Lutheranism.
Published on March 15, 2010 by Gene L. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written.
Excellent piece. But could have been written in a simpler language for someone with a limited background in apologetics.
Published on September 15, 2008 by Ken Lopez Maddox
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