Luther as a Spiritual Adviser: The Interface of Theology and Piety in Luther's Devotional Writings

Overview

Most Luther scholars have focused largely on the polemical side of the Reformer, with occasional allusion to his Devotional Writings in volumes 42 and 43 of the American editions. The aim of this book is to unfold the pastoral, not the polemical, side of the reformer, drawing on the spiritual insights he offers to people of high and low estate. These writings are devotional and catechetical in shape and intent, yet not devoid of rich theological substance, the fruit of his rigorous reflections. They are the ...

See more details below
Sending request ...

Overview

Most Luther scholars have focused largely on the polemical side of the Reformer, with occasional allusion to his Devotional Writings in volumes 42 and 43 of the American editions. The aim of this book is to unfold the pastoral, not the polemical, side of the reformer, drawing on the spiritual insights he offers to people of high and low estate. These writings are devotional and catechetical in shape and intent, yet not devoid of rich theological substance, the fruit of his rigorous reflections. They are the exercises of Luther's basic calling as a theologian-pastor, and are the concrete illustrations of the interface of theology and piety, the former being the abiding presupposition and logical cause of the latter. Through them, readers are informed not only of the Reformation theology of justification, but also introduced to a distinct expression of the Christian faith in which Christ and his cross occupy the centre stage. What is noticeable is the one single overarching theme—God's ways with people—that the Reformer, as a spiritual adviser, sought to relate to the events of his days such as evils, severe afflictions, the prevalent lay abuse of the Eucharist. He counseled how to meditate aright on Christ's passion, prepare to face the terror of death, advise the sick, rightly approach the sacrament of the altar, why and how to pray aright, what benefits could be gained from the Lord's Prayer, and how to live out a life of discipleship under the cross. Ngien's work reveals Luther as a true theologian, i.e., theologian of the cross at work in the pastoral context.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Dennis Ngien is Research Professor of Theology at Tyndale University College and Seminary, and founder of the Centre for Mentorship and Theological Reflection, Toronto, Canada. He is author of The Suffering of God According to Martin Luther's Theologia Crucis, and Apologetic for Filioque in Medieval Theology.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword Timothy George xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 Reaping the Right Fruits: Meditation on the 'Earnest Mirror, Christ' 1

Erroneous Ways of Contemplation 2

Correct Ways of Contemplation 4

The Earnest Mirror: The Revelation of our Sinful Nature 5

The Earnest Mirror: Law-Gospel Distinction 7

Joyous Exchange: Christ was made Sinner, not just Sin 9

The Simul: The Cross and Resurrection 12

The Eternal Heart of God and the Trinity 14

Proper Order: Christ as Sacrament and Example 17

Concluding Reflections 19

Bernard's for us (pro nobis) Christology 19

Christ's Humiliation and God's Inner Life 23

The Church's Mission and Vocation 24

Pastoral Implications 25

The Question of Assurance and Decision-making Theology 27

Chapter 2 The Art of Dying: The Glowing Picture of Christ and Its Opposites 29

A Common-sense Approach to Preparing to Die 30

Death as the Feast Day of New Birth 30

Triumvirate of Evils: Death, Sin, and Hell 31

Christ, the Glowing Picture 33

The Efficacy of Faith and Sacramental Promises 35

The Communion of Saints as the Cure of the Soul 37

Concluding Reflections 39

Hidden God and the Forbidden Quest 39

The Cross as a Crisis not 'Eternally' but 'Overcome' 42

Christ's Suffering and the Immanent Life 43

The Holy Angels - the Instruments of God's Power 45

The Voice of the Law and the Gospel 46

Chapter 3 Gems for the Sick: Proper Meditation on Evils and Blessings 48

Theological Prolegomena: The Word and the Holy Spirit 48

The Seven Images of Evil 49

The Evil within Us 49

The Evil before Us 51

The Evil behind Us 52

The Evil beneath Us 53

The Evil on our Left Hand 54

The Evil on our Right Hand 55

The Evil above Us 56

The Seven Images of Blessings 58

The Blessing within Us 58

The Blessing before Us 59

The Blessing behind Us 60

The Blessing beneath Us 61

The Blessing on our Left Hand 62

The Blessing on our Right Hand 63

The Blessing above Us 64

Concluding Reflections 66

Suffering and Sanctification 66

The Doctrine of Equality 69

The Extent of Revelation in Pastoral Care and Cure 70

Real Death Defined: The Feeling of its Terror and Fear 72

Death as Sleep: Theological Understanding versus Topographical Understanding 74

Resurrection and Justification as Consolation 75

God as Hidden and Revealed 79

Chapter 4 Sacramental Piety: 'Do unto Me according to Thy Words' 81

Sacrament as a Searching Event 82

The Hunger for God Precedes the Church's Precept 83

The Creation of Spiritual Hunger by Means of the Law 83

The Constitution of a Sacrament 85

The Trinitarian Form of the Eucharist 86

The Efficacy of God's Word 89

The Concept of Testament: Promise and Faith 91

Concluding Reflections 96

Theological Premise and Biblical Vision 96

Luther's Optimism of Grace: 'To receive God's word in many ways is so much better' 98

Order of Salvation (ordo salutis): God's Forgiveness and Our Repentance 101

Chapter 5 The Theology and Practice of Prayer: God's Initiative and Human Appropriation 105

God's Command and his Paradoxical Action 106

God's Promise, the Clothed God, and the Trinity 111

The Trinity and the Creed 113

Words for Use in Prayer and a Four-stranded Schema of Prayer 119

The First Strand: Instruction 122

The Second Strand: Thanksgiving 122

The Third Strand: Confession 122

The Fourth Strand: Petition 122

The First Strand: Instruction 123

The Second Strand: Thanksgiving 123

The Third Strand: Confession 123

The Fourth Strand: Petition 123

Faith: 'Amen' as the Condition of Efficacy 126

Conclusion 130

Chapter 6 A Method of Comfort: Temptation and Theologia Crucis 131

The Method of Comfort: Six Paradigmatic Principles 132

'A Letter of Consolation to All who Suffer Persecution Because of the Word of God' (1522) 134

'To all Christians in Worms' (1523) 139

'A Christian Letter of Consolation to the People of Miltenberg' (1524) 140

'Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague' (1527) 144

'A Letter of Consolation to the Christians at Halle' (1527) 147

'That a Christian Should Bear His Cross with Patience' (1530) 149

'Comfort for Women Who Had a Miscarriage' (1542) 152

Concluding Reflections 154

The Sunnier Side of God's 'painful grace': The Merciful Intention of the Hidden God 154

Preaching: An Instrument of Divine Power and God's Hiddenness in Human Language 155

Speculative Theodicy or Theology of the Cross? 159

Bibliography 163

General Index 177

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)