Augustine of Hippo and Martin Luther had absolutely foundational influences over the thought, practice, and development of Christian theology. Yet somehow the work of these two theological giants has produced out-of-balance perspectives within Protestantism on marriage, sexuality, and singleness—thanks to Augustine’s view of sexuality as shameful and Luther’s exaltation of marriage as the sure way to holiness.
Augustine versus Luther on Sin, Sexuality, and Salvation analyzes how the theologians’ views on sin and salvation affected their divergent perspectives on marriage and sexuality. Their drastically different conclusions are still evident in Christian attitudes toward marriage and singleness today.
“Avarice, or self-love, turns a person from ‘the pursuit of the common good to one’s own individual good out of a destructive self-love.’” (Page 11)
“Concupiscence, in its broadest sense, means desire and encompasses all human emotion and passion.” (Page 9)
“Augustine’s distinction between good and corrupt concupiscence lies in the struggle between desires of the spirit and desires of the flesh. Desires of the spirit can be concupiscentia bona or concupiscentia naturalis. Concupiscentia bona is ‘a concupiscence of the spirit against the flesh, and a concupiscence of wisdom.” (Page 10)
“it is the sin that ultimately keeps people from salvation—they do not believe in Christ” (Page 31)
“Although Augustine and Luther form a single voice on matters of grace, they provide a form of doublespeak in church history on the issues of marriage and sexuality. Augustine’s prevailing opinion of both borders on the negative while Luther’s is overwhelmingly positive.” (Page 5)