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The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church
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The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church

by ,

Baker Academic 2008

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While other volumes are available that introduce readers to the theology of Martin Luther, this volume from two eminent Lutheran professors offers a unique approach. Rather than surveying traditional theological subject headings, they focus on two central ideas that informed the basic conceptual framework of Wittenberg theology.

The first presupposition concerns Luther’s anthropology. His well-known emphasis on justification by faith, or “passive righteousness,” described God’s grace. But Luther also emphasized a related aspect, the “active righteousness” of love that ought to shape and guide social relationships. The second presupposition concerns Luther’s focus on the way God works in the world through his Word—creative, incarnational, and sacramental. Taken together, Kolb and Arand find that these ideas formed a matrix that shaped the theological reflections of Luther and his disciples.

Twenty-first century Christians face significant challenges to their proclamation of the Gospel and to their existence as a faith community. Living in a tumultuous age, Luther faced equally challenging crises. His theological emphases, which are described and considered in this perceptive study, have much to offer contemporary pastors and theologians who seek to construct their own formulations of God’s message for the present age.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Provides penetrating insight into gospel logic
  • Reflects on Martin Luther’s Contribution to today’s church
  • Examines Martin’s theology in a fresh and innovative way


  • Part 1: “Our Theology”: Luther’s Definition of the Human Creature through “Two Kinds of Righteousness”
    • Luther’s Anthropological Matrix
    • The Core of Human Identity
    • The Shape of Human Performance
    • The Subversion of Our Human Identity
    • The Dynamic of Faith
  • Part 2: When the Word Is Spoken, All Things Are Possible: Luther and the Word of God
    • The Functions of the Word
    • The Enfleshed and Written Forms of God’s Word
    • The “Means of Grace” as Forms of God’s Word
    • God’s Word Takes Form as His People Convey It to One Another

Praise for the Print Edition

Aside from a few slogans and provocative quotes, Luther’s theology is largely unknown in the land that Bonhoeffer called ‘Protestantism without the Reformation.’ Christianity in America desperately needs the wisdom and penetrating insight into gospel logic that is winsomely introduced in this rewarding volume.

Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

This eminently readable volume marks a high point in theological reflection on Martin Luther’s contribution to today’s church. Eschewing standard topical analyses that have often distorted Luther’s thought, the authors—in essays focusing on God’s twofold righteousness and God’s powerful Word—have uncovered the very core of Wittenberg’s theological revolution in a winsome, nondefensive manner. They thereby provide a radically new perspective on contemporary Christian faith and witness. This book is an invaluable tool for preaching, teaching, and learning the faith.

Timothy J. Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania professor of the Reformation history, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

Kolb and Arand have provided a great service to all who seek a deeper understanding of reformational theology. The Genius of Luther’s Theology is a fresh and innovative examination of the heart of Luther’s theology. This book makes Luther more understandable and thus more usable for readers of all levels.

—Jack Preus, executive vice president for mission advancement, Bethesda Lutheran Communities

Stressing Luther’s theological anthropology and his view of the living and active Word of God, Kolb and Arand have given us a useful, pertinent, and contemporarily significant introduction to the genius of the great reformer’s thought. This book is a valuable contribution to Luther research.

—Lawrence R. Rast Jr., professor of historical theology, Concordia Theological Seminary

Product Details

About the Authors

Charles P. Arand is a professor of systematic theology and holds the Waldemar and June Schuette Chair in Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of That I May Be His Own: An Overview of Luther’s Catechisms and Testing the Boundaries: Windows to Lutheran Identity.

Robert Kolb is Emeritus Mission Professor of Systematic Theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Among his many publications are The Book of Concord and Martin Luther: Confessor of the Faith.