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.
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 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 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.