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Lutheran Theology After 1580.

1. The Book* of Concord marked the beginning of about a century of strict Luth. orthodoxy. After many controversies, Luths. achieved unity. (See Lutheran Confessions, C.) Determination to safeguard this blessing accounts for the large development of theol. literature which followed.

2. The theol. calm created by the FC was disturbed by 2 Christological* controversies (see Crypto-Kenotic Controversy; Lütkemann, Joachim) and syncretism.* See also Dorsche, Johann Georg.

3. Luth. orthodoxy was not dead orthodoxy. It lived and flourished. Its useful productions include S. Glass(ius),* Philologia sacra; M. Walther,* Officina biblica; A. Pfeiffer,* Critica sacra and Hermeneutica sacra (later titled Thesaurus hermeneuticus); E. Schmidt,* Lat. tr. of the NT, with notes and Tamieion (Gk. “Treasury”; concordance of the Gk. NT); S. Schmidt,* commentaries on several OT and NT books; A. Calov(ius),* Biblia illustrata; L. Hutter,* Compendium Iocorum theologicorum; J. Gerhard, Loci theologici; J. A. Quenstedt,* Theologia didactico-polemica, sive Systema theologicum.

4. This activity was not merely of the head. Luth. orthodoxy produced J. Arnd,* Bücher vom wahren Christentum and Paradies-Gärtlein; J. Gerhard, Meditationes sacrae and Schola pietatis; C. Scriver,* devotional works; and such hymnists as H. Albert,* T. Clausnitzer,* S. Dach,* P. Flemming,* P. Gerhardt,* J. Heermann,* M. Meyfart,* M. Rinckart,* J. Rist,* G. Weissel.* See also Hymnody, Christian, 5–6.

5. Luth. orthodoxy is also reflected in such rulers as Ernest* I and Gustavus* II.

6. Pietism* spread through Ger., Scand., and Switz., preparing the way for rationalism.*

7. Notable works produced in the period of Pietism: J. G. Walch,* Historische und theologische Einleitung in die Religions-Streitigkeiten and an ed. of M. Luther's works (see Luther, Works of, Editions of); J. L. v. Mosheim,* Institutiones historiae ecclesiasticae; J. A. Bengel,* Gnomon Novi Testamenti; K. H. v. Bogatzky,* Güldenes Schatz-Kästlein der Kinder Gottes. The spirituality of the time found expression in A. H. Francke's* institutions, the works of such missionaries as B. Ziegenbalg,* H. Plütschau,* C. F. Schwartz,* H. P. Egede* and his son Paul, and in hymns (see Hymnody, Christian, 6).

8. By about 1750 rationalism had appeared in Germany. G. W. v. Leibniz* and C. v. Wolff* had planted the seed. Frederick II (1712–86; “the Great”; king of Prussia 1740–86) cultivated the soil. Rationalism substituted dictates of human reason for authority of God's Word. Others connected with the development of rationalism include J. A. Ernesti,* J. D. Michaelis,* J. S. Semler,* J. G. Toellner.* Rationalists who made noteworthy contributions to theol. scholarship include H. F. W. Gesenius* and K. G. Bretschneider.*

9. Rationalism suffered a serious blow at the hand of 2 of its disciples: I. Kant* exalted reason but showed its limitations in spiritual matters; K. A. v. Hase* is credited with having dealt the deathblow to rationalismus* vulgaris with Hutterus redivivus (1828; an attempt to set forth Luth. dogmatics as L. Hutter* might have done had he lived in these days) and a series of pamphlets 1834–37. F. D. E. Schleiermacher* contributed to the decline of the old rationalism by making feeling rather than reason the seat of religion. Luth. orthodoxy never was dead; it continued to live, e.g., in C. Harms.* But neither did rationalism die.

10. Liberal theol. derived the pattern of its development largely from Kant, G. W. F. Hegel,* and Schleiermacher. For Kant not creeds but moral precepts are the important factor in religion. Hegel converted hist. religion into philos. and rational ideas and stimulated the tendency to pantheism; men influenced by Hegel include B. Bauer,* F. C. Baur,* L. A. Feuerbach,* O. Pfleiderer,* D. F. Strauss,* J. Wellhausen.* Schleiermacher gave the new rationalism an anthropocentric approach to theol.

11. Luth. confessionalism reappeared as neo-Lutheranism* in reaction against the Prussian* Union and divided into repristination theol. and the theol. of the Erlangen School. Repristination theol. tried to restore hist. Lutheranism and was represented by C. P. Caspari,* E. W. Hengstenberg,* G. A. T. F. Hönecke,* T. F. D. Kliefoth,* J. K. W. Löhe,* F. A. Philippi,* A. F. C. Vilmar,* C. F. W. Walther.* The Erlangen School tried to combine Reformation theol. with the new learning; confessionalism was not to be static but dynamic; representatives of the Erlangen School included F. Delitzsch (see Delitzsch, 1), F. H. R. v. Frank,* T. A. Harnack,* J. C. K. v. Hofmann,* K. F. A. Kahnis,* C. E. Luthardt,* G. Thomasius.*

12. A. B. Ritschl* broke with the theol. of F. C. Baur's* Tübingen* school and later est. a school of his own: men influenced by Ritschl included W. Bender,* J. F. Gottschick,* K. G. A. v. Harnack,* J. W. Herrmann,* J. W. M. Kaftan,* F. Kattenbusch,* P. Lobstein,* F. Loofs,* H. H. Wendt.*

13. The hist.-religious school (Religionsgeschichtliche* Schule) stressed development of Christianity as seen in light of its hist. and geogr. environment. Christianity, like other religions, is considered a product of evolution. K. H. Graf* and J. Wellhausen* applied this theory to the study of the OT (see Higher Criticism, 12); those who applied it to the study of the NT include R. Otto,* J. Weiss,* W. Wrede.* Other mems. of this school include J. F. W. Bousset,* G. A. Deissmann,* A. Eichhorn,* H. E. F. W. Gressmann,* J. F. H. Gunkel,* W. Heitmüller,* A. Schweitzer,* E. P. W. Troeltsch,* A. Dieterich,* B. Duhm,* J. E. Linderholm,* R. Reitzenstein,* H. Windisch.*

14. More respectful of the creeds of Christianity: in Biblical studies T. v. Zahn,* A. Schlatter,* K. M. A. Kähler,* R. Kittel,* F. E. König*; in Luther research W. M. Walther,* K. Holl,* A. H. Boehmer,* H. Preuss*; in systematic theol. L. H. Ihmels,* O. K. Hallesby,* R. Seeberg,* T. Kaftan.*

These represent various shades of theol. opinions and degrees of conservatism.

15. Other representatives of neo-Lutheranism include W. Elert,* P. A. W. H. Althaus* K. Heim,* G. Kittel,* and exponents of the theol. of Lund.* LWS

See also Luther Renaissance.

J. H. Kurtz, Church History, III, tr. J. MacPherson (London, 1890); J. L. Neve, A History of Christian Thought, II, by O. W. Heick, [rev. ed.] (Philadelphia, 1966); E. H. Klotsche and J. T. Mueller, The History of Christian Doctrine (Burlington, Iowa, 1945).


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

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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
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Content Reproduced with Permission

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