Issue: September/October 2017: Lutherans and Sanctification

Volume 17 Number 5

Editor’s Introduction: Lutherans and Sanctification

In this issue of the JLE we continue to explore the role of sanctification in the thought of Luther vis-à-vis that of John Wesley. The original setting of these papers was the January 2017 meeting of the Lutheran Ethicists Gathering which included an actual dialogue between Methodist and Lutheran ethicists. In the first article, Svend Andersen, professor at the Department of Theology in the University of Aarhus, Denmark, compares and contrasts Wesley’s explicit elaboration of sanctification as moral perfection with Luther’s more implicit understanding of sanctification especially as it finds expression in his discussions of the role of love in the life of the believer and the work of the Holy Spirit in the economy of salvation. In the second article on this issue, Mathew Riegel, bishop of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, offers an erudite exploration of the place of justification and sanctification in the thought of Luther.

Sanctification and Lutheran Ethics

Writing from a Danish perspective, Andersen explores the role of sanctification in Lutheranism, in part by comparing it to the Methodist tradition. Focusing on the role of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, Andersen analyzes the origin of caring for the neighbor, as emphasized in Luther. If Lutheran ethics is not about following moral rules, what is our guide and how is the Holy Spirit involved?

The End of the Human: Relocating Sanctification in Luther’s Thought

In order to discern Luther’s thoughts sanctification, and their significance for us today, Riegel, Bishop of the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, examines Luther’s questions: “What is the human creature? And what is its end?” With such an emphasis on justification in Lutheran theology, what role is there for sanctification? For Riegel, the answer likes in Luther’s theological anthropology.

Review: Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015)

[1] I came to this book as a preacher with a fully awakened understanding that the Earth is in crisis and a partially awakened sense that the Church’s way of speaking about Creation (Dr. Schade argues for capitalizing the word) is in need of reform. What I was looking for in Schade’s book was some […]

Review: Earth Ethics: A Case Method Approach (Orbis Books, 2015)

[1] Understanding the complexities of socio-environmental ethics is a daunting task. Even the most dedicated eco-ethicist is hard-pressed to have a comprehensive command of the facts and figures of the issues competing for our attention. This is why Earth Ethics: A Case Method Approach is such a vital addition to the library of any professor, […]