Luther Sans Lutheranism
Faith Victorious: An Introduction to Luther’s Theology, by Lennart Pinomaa, translated by Walter J. Kukkonen (Fortress, 1963, 216 pp., $4.75), is reviewed by Herman C. Waetjen, assistant professor of New Testament, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, California.

During the past eighty years the quadricentennial of the Reformation as well as of Martin Luther’s birth and death have been celebrated. These three celebrations have provoked and stimulated a great Luther renaissance whose beginnings can be fixed by the publication in 1883 of the first of the now one hundred volumes of the authoritative, critical Weimar Edition of Luther’s works. With the aid of the exacting application of the historical-critical method, Luther scholarship has effected an entirely new appreciation and understanding of the German Reformer’s thought and work. Until very recently American Lutheran denominations have remained aloof of this movement and have preferred to understand Luther through their own tradition, which, as is now evident, involved an almost complete misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Luther’s theology in terms of seventeenth-century Lutheran scholasticism.

Gradually American Lutheranism has been yielding to this Luther renaissance, and the result has been a resurgence of theological vitality and activity. This is immediately evident in the fifty-five-volume American edition of Luther’s writings now being published jointly by the Fortress Press and Concordia Publishing House. It is also manifest in the scores of books about Luther and his theology by Americans as well as translations of German and Scandinavian works on the same subject that are rolling off the presses every year.

Faith Victorious ...

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