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The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church Paperback – February 1, 2008


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The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church + On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology) + Hammer of God
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080103180X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031809
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This eminently readable volume marks a high point in theological reflection on Martin Luther's contribution to today's church. Eschewing standard topical analyses that have often distorted Luther's thought, the authors--in essays focusing on God's twofold righteousness and God's powerful Word--have uncovered the very core of Wittenberg's theological revolution in a winsome, nondefensive manner. They thereby provide a radically new perspective on contemporary Christian faith and witness. This book is an invaluable tool for preaching, teaching, and learning the faith."--Timothy J. Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of the History of Christianity, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

"Kolb and Arand have provided a great service to all who seek a deeper understanding of reformational theology. The Genius of Luther's Theology is a fresh and innovative examination of the heart of Luther's theology. This book makes Luther more understandable and thus more usable for readers of all levels."--Jack Preus, president, Concordia University, Irvine, California

"Aside from a few slogans and provocative quotes, Luther's theology is largely unknown in the land that Bonhoeffer called 'Protestantism without the Reformation.' Christianity in America desperately needs the wisdom and penetrating insight into gospel logic that is winesomely introduced in this rewarding volume."--Michael S. Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

"Stressing Luther's theological anthropology and his view of the living and active Word of God, Kolb and Arand have given us a useful, pertinent, and contemporarily significant introduction to the genius of the great reformer's thought. This book is a valuable contribution to Luther research."--Lawrence R. Rast Jr., professor of historical theology and academic dean, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

About the Author

Robert Kolb (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison) is Mission Professor of Systematic Theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of numerous books, including Martin Luther as Prophet, Teacher, and Hero, and coeditor of The Book of Concord. Charles P. Arand (Th.D., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis) holds the Waldemar and June Schuette Chair in Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of That I May Be His Own: An Overview of Luther's Catechisms and Testing the Boundaries: Windows to Lutheran Identity.

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Customer Reviews

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This book is an excellent introduction to the theology of Luther for our contemporary context.
Dr. M. Veldman
Whether you are Lutheran or not, any Christian will benefit and be blessed by reading this highly readable and thought-provoking book.
Robert C. Johnson
This is outstanding writing of Luther research shared in language and examples that are readily accessible and applicable.
rodboomboom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Bloom on March 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, by two Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod seminary professors, is an excellent summary of Luther's theology, presented in a nontraditional (i.e., not topical) but highly effective way.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first, the authors explain how Luther defined human beings through two kinds of righteousness -"passive righteousness," or righteousness with God, which comes solely through God's initiative and His grace and favor; and "active righteousness," righteousness with each other (and by extension with the rest of God's creation), which comes through the good works that flow from us when we respond with faith and trust to the great gift of God's passive righteousness.

In the second part, the authors explain how Luther regarded the Word of God, that creative and recreactive Word that bestows passive righteousness.

I am a layman (ELCA Lutheran), not a theologian or seminarian, yet I found this book very readable. The authors write clearly with only a few excursions into terminology that sent me to the dictionary to look up a theological term.

Highly recommended, both as an introduction to Lutheranism and as a way for Lutherans to become more familiar with Luther and his thought.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 24, 2008
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Two prominent Lutheran theologians provide their take on two theological presuppositions which fueled and guided all of Luther's theology. First is what it means to be human, and this in two dimensions: to God and to other humans. Secondly, how God relates to humans through all forms of His Word.

Much of this will not be new to Lutherans or readers of Luther, except that this work highlights the oft neglected contrast between Luther's anthropology of active and passive righteousness. These two spheres of human activity thus help immensely in maintaining the tensions found in Scripture between law and gospel, and also God's election and human responsibility.

What this reader found to be so useful in this reading is that their well thought out insights into these theological aspects provide great material for sermons and studies. Diagnostics of the human condition and God's response in Word, both incarnate and revealed in His living Scriptures. Just as several examples to exhibit this point: "In general, every theology of self-glorification exhibits three characteristics. First, theologies of glory must write a new script for God on the basis of human observations about the world around them ... They rewrite God's job description! The new job description for God incorporates human performance into it. Theologians of glory want assurance that God acts in predictable ways." Or one more: "Whether it is weak or strong, faith possesses the complete righteousness of Christ and so the person is completely righteous in God's sight. As faith grows, one could say that the Christian grasps more firmly the righteousness of Christ. As faith grows, just like a tree, it does not become more righteous, but it does produce more fruit.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christian Guy on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Once again Drs. Robert Kolb and Charles Arand remind us that Luther's justification by faith alone is a timeless truth so appropriate today for those who are trying to distinguish Christian love from works-generated (and selfishly motivated) self-justification. Kolb and Arand seek to describe the life Christ had in mind for His people. One quote says,
"By repentence, Luther meant a life lived out in the rhythm that God set in motion through His baptismal Word of life...Old Adam in us is drowned through daily remorse and repentence and dies in all sins and evil lusts, and a new human creature daily arises who lives eternally in God's sight in righteousness and purity." Is there any better definition of the sanctified life? This book would be a blessing to any library, Lutheran or otherwise.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Pasadena on March 28, 2008
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For recent students of Luther this book belabors the obvious. That's the con.

For those who are not it may come as a surprise, and a definite read. For too long Lutherans have been in an identity crisis. Fortunately, in recent years theologians such as Dr. Kolb have risen to the occasion to point out the true gems in Lutheran theology, and the points Lutheran theology is 180 degrees from the pop Christian culture.

To be a Lutheran and not know the very basic premises behind Luther's theology is a sorry state. This book fills in the pieces.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RuggedShark on December 24, 2013
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if you're a protestant, then this is where it started. Luther did not get tied up in the philosophical debates that make theology so convoluted. He leaves the mysteries as mysteries and looks to regard the things that we know. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Radke on January 8, 2013
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Fantastic primer of Luther's two-fold approach to Christian theology: 1) the Christian in relation to God and His creation (specifically one's neighbors and one's vocation); 2) God's relation to His creatures through His Word and Sacraments. This book is deep and highly recommended for anyone who is ready to delve into Luther's work long-term. This is the prep work you want to read first.
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