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Finland, Lutheranism in.

1. Fin. was comparatively untouched by corruption common elsewhere before the Reformation. Lutheranism entered the country early in the Reformation.

2. Pietari Särkilahti (Peter Särkilaks; d. ca. 1529), pastor and educator, converted to Lutheranism during studies at Rostock 1516–ca. 1522, labored diligently to abolish evils of RCm and to est. the Luth. faith. Martin (or Martti) Skytte (ca. 1458 [some say 1480]–1550; consecrated bp. by Petrus Magni, bp. Strangnas, who had received canonical consecration; bp. Turku [Aabo] ca. 1527, but not confirmed by the pope) favored the Reformation and sent 8 men to study at Wittenberg 1532–50. Of these, Mikael Agricola* is most prominent. Paavali (or Paulus) Juusten (1516–76) was ordained bp. of Viipuri by bp. of Strangnas, Swed., 1554. The AC was adopted by the ch. of Sweden-Fin. 1593. See also Sorolainen, Eerikki Eerikinpoika.

3. A university was est. at Turku 1640. A fire destroyed much of Turku 1827. The university was moved to Helsinki 1828. Strict orthodoxy prevailed in the 17th c. Enevald Svenonius 1627–88) was its chief proponent. In 1663 the Swed. govt. encouraged clergy to study entire Book of Concord. The Ch. Law of 1686 made the Book of Concord the confession of the Swed.-Fin. Ch.

4. Pietism, introd. by revivalists at the end of the 17th c., soon took a conservative form. Noted representatives of this earlier awakening: Johan Wegelius Sr. (ca. 1660–1725), Johan Wegelius Jr. (1693–1764), and Abraham Achrenius (1706–69). But ch. leaders in the 1st half of the 18th c. were influenced by the Enlightenment.* A later awakening after the end of the 18th c. had several outstanding leaders. Many joined the peasant leader Paavo Ruotsalainen* (1777–1852); an inner feeling of grace and proportionate lack of assurance of salvation marked his pietism. Fredrik Gabriel Hedberg 1811–93) broke away from the pietists and became leader of the ev. movement. “Evangelical” pastors, influenced by J. T. Beck,* represented the “Scriptural movement.” Evangelicals, under pressure for criticizing doctrinal indifference in the ch., organized the Lutheran* Ev. Assoc. of Fin. 1873 to carry on their work. The assoc. has tr. and pub. many writings of Luther* and the Book of Concord. Henrik Renqvist* (1789–1866), emphasizing prayer, became leader of the “praying ones.” In N Fin. a new movement was begun by Lars Levi Laestadius* (1800–61) and developed by the lay preacher Juhani Raattama(a) (1811–99). Laestadians teach that the spoken word is the proper medium of the Holy Ghost and that confession and absolution are necessary for conversion. See also Finnish Lutherans in America, 4.

5. A new and more liberal Church Law was enacted 1869. Reaction against lack of confessionalism in the state ch. led to formation 1928 of a Luth. free ch. that est. fellowship with the Mo. Syn.; in 1967 it adopted the name Confessional Luth. Ch. of Finland.

6. Fin. was acquired by Russ. 1809; became indep. 1917.

7. Ca. 92% of the pop. is Luth. First complete Fin. Bible pub. 1642, rev. in the 1930s. A Fin. hymnal appeared ca. 1585. The official Fin. hymnal, derived from the Swed. period, traced its origin to the beginning of the 18th c. The Ch. Assem. approved a new liturgy and hymnal 1886; this hymnal was revised 1938. There are 8 dioceses, including the archdiocese of Turku. Each diocese is headed by a Chapter composed of bp., dean, and several additional mems. Freedom of religion obtains; efforts continue for complete separation of ch. and state. GAA

See also Dogmatics, B 9.

E. Bergroth, Suomen Kirkko, 2 vols. (Borgaa [Porvoo], Fin., 1902); L. Takala, Suomen Evankelisen Liikkeen Historia, vols. I and II (Helsinki, 1929, 1933); I. Salomies, Suomen kirkon historia, vols. I–III (Helsinki, 1944–62); W. Schmidt, Finland's kyrka genom tiderna (Stockholm, 1940); The Board of Directors of The Free Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, The Free Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, tr. J. Hirsto (Hämeenlinna, Fin., 1948); Finnish Theology Past and Present, ed. L. Pinomaa (Helsinki, 1963); G. Sentzke, Finland: Its Church and Its People (Helsinki, 1963); Scandinavian Churches, ed. L. S. Hunter (Minneapolis, 1965).


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

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