Author: Christine Helmer

Christine Helmer is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Humanities at Northwestern University, where she is also Professor of German and Religious Studies. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki. Her research focuses on the philosophy and theology of Martin Luther and Friedrich Schleiermacher as well as on the nature of theology in the university. She founded the Lutheran Scholars Network, which includes a subgroup “Logic and Luther.” Her most recent monograph is How Luther Became the Reformer (Westminster John Knox 2019) and she is completing a book (with co-author Amy Carr), Justification and Justice: A Theology of Ordinary Faith.

Luther Scholarship Under the Conditions of Patriarchy

[1] Martin Luther’s doctorate in theology, earned at the University of Wittenberg on October 19, 1512, granted him, as it did to all who earned the degree, the license to uphold church teaching and preside over disputations by either writing the theses in one’s role as “opponens” or to participate in them as “respondens.” Luther […]

Theological Touchstones for Disagreeing in the Body of Christ

[1] Martin Luther wrote his Small Catechism after traveling and observing how little of Christian teaching most people knew. Four hundred years later, one of us (Amy) had a Missouri Synod Lutheran grandmother who was not permitted to move from lower to upper Michigan with the rest of her family until she had finished memorizing the Small […]

The Author’s Response

Is doctrine of interest anymore to theologians and ethicists? If the answer to this is no, if doctrine ceases to incite curiosity and inspire questions, then the work of Christian theology and ethics too, will end. If the answer is no, then theologians will no longer inquire into the nature of doctrine, study doctrinal formulations from the past, and figure out how to best construct doctrine. Ethicists will no longer ask how human behavior relates to God; they will not prescribe action in community that is predicated on the doctrine of redemption. The end of doctrine would be the end of both theology and ethics.​