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Norway, Lutheranism in.

1. The Luth. Reformation* reached Norw. through Denmark. Anton(ius), a Ger. monk, is said to have preached ev. doctrines in Bergen in the late 1520s. Two others followed, but without great success. Frederick* I is said to have counseled tolerance for both Luths. and RCs.

2. Christian* III attended the Diet of Worms*; enforced the Reformation in Norw. beginning 1537, against considerable opposition. For a long time there was no Norw. but only a Dan. Bible, hymnal, and liturgy; the 1st Norw. Bible to achieve common use appeared ca. 1819. Torbjörn Olafssön Bratt (d. 1548), 1st Luth. bp. Trondheim (Drontheim) 1542, studied 2 yrs. in Wittenberg and lived in M. Luther's* house for a time. J. Erikssön gave great impetus to the Reformation. See also Pederssön, Gjeble; Nilssön, Jens. By 1600 Lutheranism was est. and organized in Norw.

3. More and more Norw. pastors studied in Ger. The 1607 “Ordinance,” or Directory of Worship, required theol. candidates to spend some time at a for. university. A 1629 ordinance required theol. examination of every Norw. candidate at the U. of Copenhagen.

4. Luth. orthodoxy (see Lutheran Theology After 1580, 3–5) came to Norw. from Ger.

5. Orthodoxy est. theol. on the Bible and built a lasting reverence for the Word; its emphasis on catechetical instruction produced a notable literature.

6. In the 17th c. proper orthodoxy fell victim to cold insistence on doctrinal correctness, without Gospel warmth and spiritual fervor in Christian life and love.

7. The next wave was Pietism,* which combined with remnants of proper orthodoxy esp. among the laity and such influences as the spiritual hymns and songs of P. Dass* to avert the death of orthodoxy.

8. Ger. Pietism came into Norw. from Halle (see Francke, August Hermann). But it began in Norw. as a fanatical and separatistic sectarianism hostile to ch. and ministry, spiteful toward the sacraments, and extremely legalistic. Proper orthodoxy was rescued by such healthy elements as the “Syvstjernen,” a pleiad of 7 pastors under leadership of T. v. Westen* in Romsdals Amt, near Molde and Kristiansund (Christiansund), W Norw. Confirmation was instituted 1736. See also Pontoppidan, Erik. By ca. 1750 Pietism had run its course and dissipated into subjectivism and recurrence of its early fanaticism.

9. Next came rationalism* tinged with the spirit of J. J. Rousseau* and Voltaire* and strongly impregnated with elements of the Enlightenment.* Revelation gave way to reason. God, virtue, immortality were the passwords. Science, culture, and art became the main concern.

10. Johan Norda(h) 1 Brun (1745–1816; bp. Bergen 1804; poet) opposed the theol. of the Enlightenment. H. N. Hauge* played a significant role in directing the ch. back to proper orthodoxy, but with possible overemphasis on sanctification, with resultant legalism.

11. Prominent theologians at the U. of Christiania (Oslo) include C. P. Caspari,* S. B. Hersleb,* G. C. Johnson,* S. J. Stenersen.* With resurgent orthodoxy arose an interest in missions (see Missionary Institutes; Norwegian Foreign Missions), but with a division of interest as bet. ch.-related socs. and schismatic groups. See also Laestadius, Lars Levi.

12. Modernism* and higher* criticism also came to Norw. from Ger. In response, a “free faculty,” organized 1908, est. an indep. theol. sem. 1925/26 Oslo. Conservative profs. include Leiv Aalen (b. 1906 Rennesöy, Norw.), Sverre Aalen (b. 1909 Rennesöy, Norw.; educ. Tübingen, Halle, Marburg, Leipzig, Copenhagen, Lund), O. K. Hallesby,* Olaf Eedvard Moe (1876–1963; b. Modum, Norw.), Olay Guttorm Myklebust (b. 1905 Bergen, Norw.), John Nome (b. 1904 Öyslebö, Norw.), Sigurd Vilhelm Odland (1857–1937; b. Bergen, Norw.; cofounder “free faculty”; resigned 1916), Andreas Seierstad (b. 1890), Ivar P. Seierstad (b. 1901 Hedrum, Norw.).

The ch. suffered in WW II under Ger. occupation of Norw. (See Berggray, Eivind). Its relation to the state was redefined, but it still is a state ch.

13. Norw. Lutheranism was transplanted to Am. by immigration in the middle of the 19th c. HAP

See also Anglican Scandinavian Conferences.

A. C. Bang, Den norske kirkes historie (Christiania, Norw., 1912); P. G. Lindhardt, Den nordiske kirkes historie (Copenhagen, Den., 1945); H. C. Christie, Den norske kirke i kamp, 2d ed. (Oslo, Norw., 1945); R. T. Nissen, De nordiske kirkers historie (Christiania [Oslo], Norw. 1884).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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