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Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther

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This book introduces the English-speaking world to the new Finnish interpretation of the theology of Martin Luther, initiated by the writings of Tuomo Mannermaa of Helsinki University. At the heart of the Finnish breakthrough in Luther research lies the theme of salvation. Luther found his answer to the mystery of salvation in the justifying work of Christ received through This book introduces the English-speaking world to the new Finnish interpretation of the theology of Martin Luther, initiated by the writings of Tuomo Mannermaa of Helsinki University. At the heart of the Finnish breakthrough in Luther research lies the theme of salvation. Luther found his answer to the mystery of salvation in the justifying work of Christ received through faith alone. But Protestant theology has never enjoyed a consensus on how to interpret the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith. In opposition to the traditional forensic understanding of justification, Mannermaa argues that for Luther "Christ is really present in faith itself." Mannermaa's interpretation of Luther's view of justification is thus more ontological and mystical than ethical and juridical. As such, his work challenges a century of scholarly opinion concerning a foundational doctrine of Protestant theology.


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This book introduces the English-speaking world to the new Finnish interpretation of the theology of Martin Luther, initiated by the writings of Tuomo Mannermaa of Helsinki University. At the heart of the Finnish breakthrough in Luther research lies the theme of salvation. Luther found his answer to the mystery of salvation in the justifying work of Christ received through This book introduces the English-speaking world to the new Finnish interpretation of the theology of Martin Luther, initiated by the writings of Tuomo Mannermaa of Helsinki University. At the heart of the Finnish breakthrough in Luther research lies the theme of salvation. Luther found his answer to the mystery of salvation in the justifying work of Christ received through faith alone. But Protestant theology has never enjoyed a consensus on how to interpret the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith. In opposition to the traditional forensic understanding of justification, Mannermaa argues that for Luther "Christ is really present in faith itself." Mannermaa's interpretation of Luther's view of justification is thus more ontological and mystical than ethical and juridical. As such, his work challenges a century of scholarly opinion concerning a foundational doctrine of Protestant theology.

30 review for Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Walsh

    Talks about many categories that I think are missing from lots of protestant discussions today, I think we have a lot to learn from the Finnish interpretation, agree or disagree.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Platter

    This is an extremely helpful book, both in exploring non-traditional approaches to Luther (especially on justification, theosis, and metaphysics) and in making constructive proposals for those topics for future Lutheran theology. It is an ecumenical volume, though it is written exclusively by Lutherans, because its impetus is to search Luther's writings for points of connection with Eastern/Russian Orthodox understandings of salvation (especially under the rubric of theosis, divinization, or par This is an extremely helpful book, both in exploring non-traditional approaches to Luther (especially on justification, theosis, and metaphysics) and in making constructive proposals for those topics for future Lutheran theology. It is an ecumenical volume, though it is written exclusively by Lutherans, because its impetus is to search Luther's writings for points of connection with Eastern/Russian Orthodox understandings of salvation (especially under the rubric of theosis, divinization, or participation). There are four central contributors, one is Tuomo Mannermaa, the instigator of the "New Finnish" interpretation, and the other three are (former) students of his and collaborators in this new interpretation. This new approach argues, among other things, that the forensic aspect of justification has been over-emphasized in Luther-studies, to the neglect of the theme of union with and participation in Christ. Along with each of these main essays, a different American Lutheran theologian responds, usually appreciatively. The one exception is Bielfeldt's response to Juntunen's essay on Luther and metaphysics. Bliefeldt expresses some reservations about what he believes is too hasty an identification of Luther's language of the presence of Christ in the believer with theosis. This is an excellent volume, which has helped make Luther "interesting again," as Mannermaa puts it. It's a quick read and is very helpful in thinking about new options on justification.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew McNeely

    Wow. Thanks to this little, but in depth book, I can now read Luther with a different frame of reference. My only concern is that by removing themselves from a neo-Kantian presupposition, are the Finns replacing the old interpretations by way of a new presupposition that is not really found in Luther’s writings/sermons. I hope not.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Roberson

    This is a short collection of essays from representatives of the so-called Finnish Interpretation of Luther, with responses from non-Finnish scholars. Tuomo Mannermaa & co. argue that Luther's theology uses union with Christ rather than justification as its central point. It's tough to find this stuff in English, so the anthology format is welcome. This is a short collection of essays from representatives of the so-called Finnish Interpretation of Luther, with responses from non-Finnish scholars. Tuomo Mannermaa & co. argue that Luther's theology uses union with Christ rather than justification as its central point. It's tough to find this stuff in English, so the anthology format is welcome.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Klynsmith

    A collection of essays by a few Finnish authors (with responses from other English speakers) looking at Luther's understanding of justification. They argue it is more than forensic in its character: justification also includes being brought into a participation in the righteousness of Jesus the risen Lord. I'm convinced. A collection of essays by a few Finnish authors (with responses from other English speakers) looking at Luther's understanding of justification. They argue it is more than forensic in its character: justification also includes being brought into a participation in the righteousness of Jesus the risen Lord. I'm convinced.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  8. 5 out of 5

    Axel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martha Highley

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adam Guthmiller

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Hughes

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  14. 5 out of 5

    Halden Doerge

  15. 5 out of 5

    Levi Jones

  16. 4 out of 5

    James

  17. 5 out of 5

    Derek A.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Cooper

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  21. 4 out of 5

    LA

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jordan B Cooper

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dwight Penas

  24. 5 out of 5

    EMIL ANTON

  25. 5 out of 5

    Theolojohn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vance

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Connor Longaphie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rod

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charles Puskas

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