Item description for Christ Present In Faith: Luther's View Of Justification by Tuomo Mannermaa & Kirsi Stjerna...
Overview Mannermaa's revisionist work on justification in Luther's theology - a notable contribution from one of the most influential Finnish scholars of Luther studies - is now available in English. His book opens up new interpretive questions for historical theology with striking implications for ecumenism, ethics, and spirituality. He writes, "the idea of the divine life in Christ which is present in faith lies at the very center of the theology of the Reformer." He argues that later Lutheran interpretation of this teaching has portrayed justification as more mechanical and forensic than Luther did, underestimated the extent to which God's righteousness is also ours, and obscured the radical personal transformation that Luther attributed to justification.
Publishers Description Mannermaa's revisionist work on justification in Luther's theology--a notable contribution from one of the most influential Finnish scholars of Luther studies-- is now available in English. His book opens up new interpretive questions for historical theology with striking implications for ecumenism, ethics, and spirituality. He writes, "the idea of the divine life in Christ which is present in faith lies at the very center of the theology of the Reformer." He argues that later Lutheran interpretation of this teaching has portrayed justification as more mechanical and forensic than Luther did, underestimated the extent to which God's righteousness is also ours, and obscured the radical personal transformation that Luther attributed to justification.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.68" Width: 5.52" Height: 0.4" Weight: 0.5 lbs.
Release Date Jan 31, 2005
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800637119 ISBN13 9780800637118
Availability 0 units.
More About Tuomo Mannermaa & Kirsi Stjerna
Tuomo Mannermaa is Emeritus Professor of Church History at the University of Helsinki.
Reviews - What do customers think about Christ Present In Faith: Luther's View Of Justification?
Mannermaa Gets It Oct 16, 2006
The translation of this book is a tremendously welcome addition to English-speakers who care about what Luther thought. The thesis here is refreshingly focused: There is a strong analogy, even affinity, between the Orthodox doctrine of theosis and Luther's doctrine of Justification, which holds that "Justification" exists not simply as a legal status imputed to the sinner, but in an active, ongoing relationship whith Christ, who through faith is really present, or in Latin, "in ipsa fide Christus adest."
With copious quotations from Luther's 1535 Galatians Commentary, which the Formula of Concord cites as the normative definition of the Lutheran view of Justification, Mannermaa takes only 88 pages to demonstrate unequivocally that the exclusively forensic presentation by that very Formula of Concord and later developments in Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pietism must not be construed as being something to which Luther himself held. For Luther, says Mannermaa, the favor of God must never be concieved of apart from the person of Christ. He is simultaneously the favor and gift of God, and becomes present really, ontologically, in faith.
It is hard to talk about any one center for Luther's theology, but what emerges here is that his basic idea was that Justification is a "communication of attributes." Through a mystical union, the believer is wed to Christ, and shares in all that is his. Christ bore our sins in his person, and we bear his righteousness in our person. This righteousness does not exist in some heavenly storehouse, but concretely in the person of Jesus Christ. And so to the extent that we share in his being, to that extent we also are righteous.
It is easy to see how this understanding of Justification precludes any distinction between it and sanctification. Mannermaa explains this in the second half of the book, showing how for Luther, "Christ is both the forgiveness of sins, and the effective producer of everything that is good in them." His discussion here of faith as the creative of Christ in the believer would be good to read in concert with the work of those such as Richard Hays and Morna Hooker on "the faith of Jesus Christ."
In light of the task it sets for itself, this book could not have been written better. What the reader takes away from this book is a clear understanding of how Luther could coherently understand the life of the Christian as at once defined by Paul's statement that "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me," and yet remain a sinner. This book is recommended for those interested in a new (or old, according to the thesis) perspective on Luther which has bearing on all aspects of his theology, since for him Justification was "the prince of doctrines." It is also recommended for those looking for an introduction to Luther's thought. Whether Luther's understanding of things is in fact biblical is a question for another book, and hopefully we'll see some work in the future from the Finnish School with some interaction with biblical studies. But for now, it is enough to say that with regards to Luther, Mannermaa definitely gets it: there was never any question for Luther that our righteousness exists only in Christ, who is only present in us through faith.
Luther the...Greek? May 18, 2005
It ought to be stated at the outset of this review what this short book (only 88 pages of actual text; most footnotes are simply references in the original languages) is not: it is NOT a claim that Luther taught the doctrine of theosis - becoming a "partaker of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4) and therefore, "god" by grace - which is an Orthodox doctrine. However, this particular study emerges from the interaction of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's ecumenical conversations with the Russian Orthodox church. Mannermaa's intent is to discover whether anything "analogous" to the Orthodox understanding of theosis (aka, "deification") in the theology of Martin Luther. Mannermaa's answer is "yes".
We should make another quick note; Mannermaa is researching the theology of Luther qua Luther - not Lutheranism, which he deems to have diminished the far more participatory elements in Luther's thought, especially since the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Christ Present in Faith was originally written over 20 years ago). Mannermaa explores Luther's Commentary on Galations and, in a careful reading of it, presents Luther's thought on the union that each and every Christian has with Christ who is present in faith - that is, present in that he is the substance of our faith.
What emerges is a view of Luther that loses none of its existential urgency - the individual self still stands as a sinner before God in desperate need of justification - but gains a very intimate sense of the presence of Christ. The experience of faith is an experience of Christ; faith looks less like an individual choice than a yielding to the work of God in Christ and letting that within. This yielding - this union - via faith/Christ effects a real change in the life of the believer such that there really is a new man within and, in this yielding, the new man comes to greater life while the old man is cut off more and more.
There are some obvious ways that more catholic (I use the term broadly) readers would like to see Mannermaa go with this. The sacramental and ecclesial expressions and nourishments of Christ present in faith are not paid a good deal of attention in Mannermaa. Future books that look into these things will undoubtedly increase our understanding of the man who very unintentionally dismantled the Catholic West into Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and other various Protestants.
There are, of course, some that will find Mannermaa's exploration far from satisfactory; those in triumphalist Reformation camps are likely to scoff at the notion of Luther wedding existential and mystical elements together, especially with an eye to the Eastern Orthodox. Similarly some, in reading Mannermaa's short work, will argue with his method, particularly his desire to put Luther forward as a type of spiritual director (and therefore into an ecumenical place) as a radical distortion of the "principles of the Reformation".
Yet, this is the stuff not only of theology but also of history. Although Mannermaa concludes his work by noting that he has not claimed that Luther's theology is the same as that of the Orthodox, but that there are "analogous" notions in Luther to the ideas of participation in God and union with Christ, it ought be noted that his (Mannermaa's) work has been making waves for a number of years in a number of different circles. Now that his primary work has been translated into English, there will probably be more waves made. Well worth the read.