"This book probes the beating theological heart of Luther's evangelical theology." — Michael J. Chan, Ph.D., Concordia College
In his Galatians commentary of 1535, Martin Luther insists that "our theology" relies on the proper distinction of two kinds of righteousness: Alien and Proper. In relation to our Creator, we freely receive our "alien" righteousness from Christ who has obtained it for us through his death and resurrection. In relation to humanity and God's created order, we practice a "proper" righteousness by actively fulfilling God's commands that set down the form and pattern for good human living.
The Alien and the Proper “helps us to appropriate Luther’s theology as our theology as well.” — Mark Mattes, Lutheran Bible Institute Chair of Theology, Grand View University
Luther posited that this distinction was the key to understanding our humanity. His regular use of this anthropological principle, particularly when applied to justification by faith, the nature of sin, and the proper practice of God's gift of humanity, demonstrates its centrality and importance.
In The Alien and the Proper, five authors examine the historical development of Luther's Twofold Righteousness and propose ways in which it can continue to serve Christians today. Through these essays you will learn about Luther's radical divergence from medieval theological formulations, and you will discover what it means to be human.
- David A. Lumpp
- Charles P. Arand
- William W. Schumacher
- Joel Biermann
- Timothy Saleska
- Robert Kolb (editor)
About the Author
Robert Kolb, professor emeritus of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis USA, co-editor with Timothy Wengert of The Book of Concord translation of 2000, and author of several books on Luther and the Lutheran confessions, brings together essays by himself and five colleagues, David Lumpp, professor emeritus of theology, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minnesota and four other professors at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis: Charles Arand (systematic theology), Joel Biermann (systematic theology), Timothy Saleska (exegetical theology), and William Schumacher (historical theology).
Honoring both humanity’s passive receptivity before God and its need for active civil engagement, the essayists in this book appropriate a neglected feature of Luther’s theology: the two kinds of righteousness. For the Wittenberg reformer, humans are constituted by two dimensions, a vertical one in which Christ’s righteousness is imputed to them and a horizontal one in which they are responsible for just and life-giving social relationships. Neither exiling themselves from the wider public nor occupying it through conquest, Christians empowered with Christ’s goodness should engage the secular world as full citizens, since their new identity in Christ impels them to make a difference in the public arena. Luther called this approach “our theology.” This book helps us to appropriate Luther’s theology as our theology as well. Mark Mattes Lutheran Bible Institute Chair of Theology Grand View University
In many expressions of twenty-first century Christian teaching, the only kind of righteousness one hears of is that of human works. This book, grounded in the Lutheran confessions and in the writings of Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, provides a healthy antidote to such mistaken instruction. By distinguishing alien and proper righteousness, as did Wittenberg’s reformers, this collection of essays by some of the leading scholars at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, places the gracious, life-giving announcement of God’s mercy at the very center of Christian proclamation and opens up new ways for Christians to imagine service to their neighbors. Few books available today will better inform the Christian church and its ministry. Timothy J. Wengert Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor emeritus United Lutheran Seminary (Philadelphia)
Robert Kolb has spent the last four decades investigating Luther’s understanding of God’s two kinds of righteousness. God’s righteousness in Christ restores His human creatures to saving relationship to their Creator through faith in the divine promise. Set free from self-righteousness, believers live in righteousness in the world, giving themselves to works that serve their neighbors. In this volume, we see the fruits of Kolb’s research manifested also in the scholarship of his former students, now colleagues, as they develop the implications of the Reformer’s confession of God’s twofold work for pastoral ministry, the doctrine of vocation, mission, and ethics. This superb volume makes Luther’s theology of the two kinds of righteousness accessible to a wide audience in the church. John T. Pless Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, IN