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In a Lutheran Perspective the conformity of Luther with Paul is essential. Thus doubts about this... mehr
Glaube und Handeln bei Luther und Paulus
In a Lutheran Perspective the conformity of Luther with Paul is essential. Thus doubts about this conformity, that have been raised by the New Perspective on Paul, question Lutheran identity in a radical way: If Luther and Paul differ in central aspects of their understanding of justification, especially in their assessment of the relevance of human agency, the interrelationship between the four reformation principles (“soli”) is to be revisited. This interdisciplinary essay engages in the dialogue with Lutheran exegetes and systematic theologians on the topic of human and divine agency as the essence of a Lutheran understanding of justification. In its main section, I – as a New Testament scholar – will show, that a Lutheran Perspective on Paul necessarily (but falsely) marginalizes the believers as agents of their actions. This marginalization of the believer’s deeds (coram Deo) might be Luther, but not Paul. Interestingly a systematic theologian, Elisabeth Gräb-Schmidt, pointing and referring to the protestant tradition (Luther), tries to regain the believer as responsible for his actions. She criticizes the identification of human agency with sin, which in her point of view renders ethics impossible. These insights of Gräb-Schmidt serve as a starting point for a discussion about the dignity of human agency coram hominibus and coram Deo in Luther and Paul. If Luther and Paul differ in their evaluation of human deeds, the question must be raised: How could Lutheran theology deal with the possibility, that the sola scriptura principle requires a reassessment of the Pauline doctrine on justification?