Is Christian belief tenable today? Is it possible to be a creedal Christian? With the help of Martin Luther, Paul Hinlicky here explores classical Christian beliefs regarding the person and work of Christ and human nature and destiny. He also counters contemporary objections to creedal faith, from the so-called "new perspective on Paul" to Pope Benedict's rejection of the Augsburg Confession to the continuing challenge of Marx.
Luther and the Beloved Community does not present Luther's medieval thought as a possibility for today, but does make him available for the future as a teacher of the faith and a help for tackling contemporary questions of Christian belief. According to Hinlicky, Luther is misused and misunderstood by those of his own tradition and needs to be understood not as "hero of the faith" but rather as the proponent of a beloved community that does not yet fully exist. In performing this makeover, Hinlicky reveals genuine new insights concealed within Luther's rhetoric.
"Readers who have taken up this book expecting another 'business as usual' approach should be forewarned. The great strength of this book is not that it resolves all the questions about Luther's theology, but that it repositions Luther within the narratives that we theologians tell ourselves about the history of theology. . . . Hinlicky's Luther is much more than a one-trick pony who can run the syllogisms of forensic justification forward and back. To the contrary, he is a theologian grounded in the central teachings of the catholic faith and possessed of a remarkable capacity for applying that faith to perennial theological questions."- Mickey L. Mattox (from the foreword)
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
Paul Hinlicky has produced another important volume interconnecting the reconsideration of the heritage of Luther and the needs of contemporary theology. Whether or not one agrees with all of Hinlickys proposals (and this book contains many), his ideas are consistently rewarding and thought-provoking. He does not repeat received wisdom but explores paths at once traditional and new. Anyone who cares about the future of the legacy of the Reformation should attend to what Hinlicky is saying.
Admitting in good postmodern fashion that he is enlisting my Luther to construct an argument in critical dogmatics, Hinlicky lays out a new agenda for our use of recent Luther research. . . . Hinlickys incisive argument and interpretation of how Luthers thought functions as a whole to address specific issues on the table in social and ecumenical arenas will command attention and provoke discussion, furthering both Luther studies and a twenty-first-century critical dogmatics.
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