The article discusses the concentration of Martin Luther’s theology on the Christian existence. There are three main areas pointing to this key idea. Firstly, the description of justification of the people in the categories of freedom gained through the experience of faith, which leads to a thankful service towards one’s neighbour. Secondly, sacramental understanding of the working of God’s Word as a performative that changes the world. It defines not only the understanding of the sacraments, with the key role of Baptism as a foundation for everyday actualisation of Christian life in penance, which strives for fighting off the sinfulness of an old, sinful man, and leads to building the man’s own justice based on the alien justice of Christ, but it is also the basis for the communion of believers – the church, as well as for the orders of creation, which structure the current reality. Thirdly, the remarks on theological knowledge closed in the triad prayer–meditation–temptation and theological weight of the experience of differentiating between the Law and the Gospel.
The purpose of the article is a critical presentation of Luther’s interpretation of Mt 5-7, with a special emphasis on its hermeneutical assumptions and anthropological consequences. At first the author presents the literary sources that contain Luther’s statements on Mt 5-7, i.e. his eminent hebdomadal speeches (Wochenpredigten) and some theological writings as well. Subsequently he discusses hermeneutical keys offered by M. Luther himself: the polemic against “double standard approach” (precepts and counsels) developed by the time of the Middle Ages and the polemic against the principles presented by the Anabaptist and other protestant idealists. However, the most significant factor of this interpretation was Luther’s teaching on two kingdoms (Zwei-Reichen-Lehre). The difference between the secular and spiritual kingdom is essential for Luther’s interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount (cf. WA 32, 299-301). The reformer claims that the message of the sermon is irrelevant for the Christian person in the world and it should be applied only to the Christian life in the Kingdom of God. M. Luther emphasizes also salvation by faith alone, therefore Matt. 5-7 has no soteriological value; it contains the ethical teaching of Jesus Christ. According to Luther the commandments of the Sermon on the Mount denote an impossible demand, therefore they are only a “mirror” of the Christian life. In the fourth step the author presents primary reactions of the Churches on Luther’s interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. Luther’s interpretation of Mt 5-7 has its significant place in the history of exegesis and nowadays it remains still the standard evangelical standpoint.
The Catholic image of Martin Luther in the course of the centuries evolved from the literally negative one during the time of the Reformation and the centuries that followed, through the theological attempts and historically in-depth analyses inspired by the ecumenical movement up to contemporary acceptance of several theological postulates. Contemporary movements of Roman-Catholic thinking of Luther well summarize historically vulnerable and dogmatically deepened opinions of the recent popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Following the agreement texts of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission at the world forum, ecumenically open popes can find out in Martin Luther a profoundly religious man, the witness of the Gospel whose theological thought is still relevant and a challenge for the presently secularized world.
”The 500th anniversary of the Reformation for the Orthodox Church is not a special reason for joy, because that was another division in the Church” – Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) said. Although it concerned the relationship between Luther and the Western Church, its reference became the Orthodox Church, in which Luther sought primary teaching and ecclesiology. The proof of this was the Leipzig dispute, during which the primacy, liturgy, structure of the Church, the teaching of justification and purgatory, Luther confronted with the teaching of the Orthodox Church. If Luther saw in the Orthodox Church a framework for his reform, why did he not decide to convert to the Eastern Church? Karmires, emphasizing Luther’s great knowledge of the Orthodox Church, claims, however, that it had only a superficial character, lacking empirical knowledge. He also concludes that Luther neither wanted nor accepted Orthodoxy because of his affection to the mentality of the Western Church and to scholastic theology as well.
Although the Russian Orthodox Church participates in the activities of the ecumenical movement, it remains sceptical about the evolution of Western Christianity, mainly Protestantism. In particular, attempts to challenge traditional dogmatic and ethical formulations are unacceptable. The Russian Orthodox criticism goes even further when it reveals the sources of the rejection of church tradition in early Protestant theology. In this context, the article presents the main elements of the contemporary Russian Orthodox critique of the Reformation’s rejection of tradition as an authoritative source of Christian faith. The first part outlines the theological and ideological specificity of the Russian Orthodox discourse on the Reformation. The second part presents the Orthodox concept of the authority of tradition in the Church as a starting point for the criticism of the Reformation. The third part discusses the main elements of the criticism of the reformatory concept of sola Scriptura with particular emphasis on its socio-political reasons and consequences.
The article presents Martin Luther’s teaching on justification in the context of its soteriological and anthropological consequences, which at least on the verbal level are defined by the terms imputatio and deificatio. The basic presentation of the main aspects of this teaching is preceded by an outline of the historical background of its formation, where both the dispute over indulgences and the mystical inspirations of Luther’s theology played a significant role. The Wittenberg Reformer comprehended justification both as attributing to the believer the righteousness of Christ and as a close union with Him. This unity, whose image is marriage, consists in the commercium sacrum between man and Christ. The participation of a believer in the righteousness of Christ manifests itself as a kind of “transition” into Christ. In this sense, the existence of the justified person becomes an “ecstatic” existence, extra se, that is in God, resulting as a new – divinized (vergottet) – life.
The paper outlines the Catholic and the Evangelical standpoint on the primate’s function served by the Bishop of Rome and its origin. The controversy revolves around the key phrase, iure divino and iure humano, which points to the divine or human origin of the primacy. In the Catholic perspective, Jesus Christ brought the Church into existence and provided this institution with permanent structural elements: primacy and apostolate. This thesis, considered an imperative of faith, is based on the texts of the Gospel which underscore the primacy of Saint Peter the Apostle among the Twelve and in the early Church. According to the Catholic ecclesiology, it was not only a private privilege enjoyed by Peter but a permanent element of the structure of the Church, which received the formal status of a dogma at the First Vatican Council. From the outset, the Reformation has assumed that primacy is an element shaped in the course of the historical development of the Church. The ecumenical dialogue between Catholicism and Lutheranism led to the establishment of a standpoint veering towards the consideration of the origin of primacy as a matter of lesser consequence. This step was taken in order to underscore the communal dimension of the Church, with its important function in unifying Christianity and presenting it to the world. The basic premise giving credence to this function is its foundation in the Gospel.
The paper’s authors undertake the reflection on the stages of the evolution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s views on the Church and its role as it is played in the lives of its singular members and in the context of the Reformation’s ethical heritage. One can distinguish among three stages of the Bonhoefferian ecclesiology, deepening his vision of the Church. As far as the first one is considered, the Church is defined as the spiritual community of believers, outside of which salvation is impossible. At the second stage the German theologian accentuates the sinfulness of man as a member of the Church. Its recognition constitutes the basis for the transformation that can take place in the human individual due to accepting Christ into oneself. The third stage is stepping into the world of „before-final” matters in the full responsibility for the choices made by particular members of the ecclesial community. The Church, as Bonhoeffer saw it, was supposed to support itself on strong pillars: on freedom, personal responsibility, imitating Christ, neighbourly love, on sacraments and Gospel. In this aspect Bonhoeffer was the faithful continuator of the Reformation program.
The author in his article deals with the role that Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Messiah, the Gebirah, played in the economy of salvation. The title Gebirah means the dignity of the king’s mother and the special power of her influence. Therefore, the Books of Kings almost always mention the name of the king’s mother by introducing the description of each Judah ruler from the Davidic dynasty from which the Messiah was born. The dignity of Gebirah was given to the king’s mother at the time of her son’s enthronement. The king’s mother received the prestigious title of Gebirah (2 Kings 5:3; Jer 13:18), because she gave birth to her son (geber), who became king (2 Sam 23:1). They mention three texts of the Bible about the mother of the Messiah, depicting an important figure of a mother’s role (Genesis 3:15; Jes 7:14 and Mich 5:2). Both the figure of the king and his mother prefigure the Messianic King Jesus (2 Sam 7:10-17) and his mother Mary. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, considered to be a messianic personification of the entire people of Israel, becomes the new Daughter of Zion. Mary as the messianic Gebirah is actually the Mother of the Church.
The influence of St. Augustine on the development of western latin theological thinking is significant. In many ways, he also influenced thinking of counter-reformation and reformation theologians, mainly Martin Luther. Martin Luther quotes the passage of the 80th homily on the Gospel of John in the third paragraph of the Smalcald Articles. Therefore, it is certain that Augustine influenced the understanding of baptism, mainly the relation between faith and word during administration of the sacrament of baptism. The aim of our study is to offer theological analysis of the 80th homily on the Gospel of John mentioned above in the context of Augustine´s thinking. It is a short dictated text written by the theologian of Hippo in 419-423 where he explains the Gospel of John 15, 1-5 word by word. Reformation, counter-reformation and post-Trentian theologians used to refer to the third paragraph of the 80th homily too often and their interpretation was influenced by their position, whether they were on the side of Catholics or Protestants. It is interesting that although the text was often quoted, there were only several studies that dealt with it in a professional way. Augustine´s homily reflects the spiritual wealth of the battle with donatism (the role of administrator and recipient of the sacrament of baptism) and pelagianism (baptism of children). In this study, we point to the fact that it is a commentary on the Sacred Scripture, therefore we analyse the homily as a whole. The study also includes the first complete translation of the homily into Slovak language.
The subject matter dealt with in this article fits into a broader discussion on sovereignty and patriotism, which has intensified since Poland’s accession to the European Union. It is also associated with the topical issue of patriotic education of children and adolescents, in which the Church engages along with the family and the school (e.g. as part of religion lessons, parochial catechesis, specialist pastoral work). When taking up the subject matter described in the title, the author first focused on whether now, in a changed historical context, speaking about patriotism and patriotic attitudes is still sensible and whether a Christian can (should) be a patriot. When seeking an answer to this question, a reference was made mainly to the Letter of the Polish Episcopate On Christian Patriotism, issued on the 200th anniversary of the first partition of Poland, and to the document of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate prepared by the Council for Social Matters, entitled The Christian Shape of Patriotism. It was against this background that an answer was sought to the question about patriotic content in homilies and catechesis. Homilies delivered by St. John Paul II during his pilgrimages to his homeland were used as a model in this regard. The basic assumptions of the religion teaching syllabus for schools and parochial catechesis, which refer at multiple points to patriotism as a value, emphasising the importance of developing an attitude of respect and love for one’s homeland and its cultural heritage, as well as a motivation to actively participate in social life, were also discussed.
This article, written on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, focuses on the subsequent 100th anniversary of this event and the celebrations in a given historical context and in relation to the perception of the person of Martin Luther. Within 500 years of the memorable speech of the Reformation Father, which initiated the “Protestant reform” movement, at least every consecutive hundred years was celebrated as a special commemoration of this fact, which changed the course of European and World history and moved deeply into Christianity. The individual anniversary of the Reformation should therefore be considered in relation to social and political situation in Europe of that time, especially in Germany. It is no less important to draw attention to the figure of the founder of the Reformed Church, which has always focused, even today, on the celebration of the anniversary of the Reformation. The article presents the main themes of Martin Luther’s life in the context of his reform of Christianity and the basic ideas guiding his thoughts. Then, the development of the Reformation is analyzed, understood as the deepening of doctrine and the stabilization of practice, in the years after the death of the founder of the reform movement. Against this background, successive anniversaries of the Protestant reform are presented with regard to the religious and political situation in Europe and in the world, with particular emphasis on the last anniversary i.e. 500th anniversary of the Reformation and its perception in Protestant Churches as well as in the Catholic Church in the context of the development of the ecumenical movement.
In the submitted study, the author shows that Paul in the propositio (12,1-2) the section of encouragement (12,3-15,13), although he does not use the word syneidēsis directly, but the words used in it refer to him in conjunction with his basic functions and prove in this way how fundamental it is to renew the mind in the right, i.e. salvifically effective, education of Christian conscience. He does so in the encouragement context to make the recipients aware of how important it is to have a renewed mind and conscience in being and continuing to become a Christian in everyday and concrete living as well as practicing faith in Jesus. With propositio, he makes the foundation on which he builds the paraclesical message of the Letter. It clearly states that permanently renewed by the Gospel of God mind, is an absolute condition for an uninterrupted evangelical renewal of conscience. Thus, renewed in this way conscience is the only deity of mercy granted to sinful humanity, which guarantees constant faithfulness to its norms of judgment with God’s justice revealed in Christ, the Son of God, or his absolute righteousness, which is an indispensable condition for achieving eternal salvation.