Martin Luther and Pope Leo X awake in heaven. It is the year 2017 and they have been asleep since the posting of the 95 Thesis in 1517. Naturally, they are disoriented upon waking. To their mutual chagrin not only does each discover the other face to face in heaven, but they learn that by divine decree they are roomed together indefinitely. The Popes first reaction to the news is to gather that this is his purgatory for the sins of the Medicis. Luther despairs that he is in hell: "It was works after all," he surmises.
Discussing the key issues that divided Catholics and Protestants and birthed a Reformation 500 years ago, this book tells a story: the authors imaginary reconciliation in heaven between Martin Luther and Pope Leo X who work through the issues that divided them in their historical encounter. Luther and Leo become the creative instruments of a renewed commitment to Protestant-Catholic ecumenical reconciliation (as signaled by the Joint Declaration on Justification by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999 and subsequently subscribed to by The United Methodist Church). Yet this fantasy a genre chosen for its teaching potential and popular appealis a well-grounded one, with extensive annotation in the endnotes and explanation in the Afterword. The notes and Afterword solidly ground all the assertions put on the lips of Luther and Leo in the text with documentation/references and offer a compelling argument for the theology that imagines their heavenly reconciliation.
Paul R. Hinlicky (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is an internationally-known theologian who has published more than seventy articles and many books. He is an authority on the theology of Martin Luther and how Luther's theology has played out in history since the time of the Reformation. He also works on the re-integration of Reformation and Patristic theology, and ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
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