Lutheran Theologians calling for a Break with Luther
In a new book, Danish Lutheran theologians state that the medieval theology of Luther is out of step with the times and with faith in the 21st Century
This year, there has been an intense debate about the church's relationship with Luther. The debate was partly fueled by the publication of a new book called “Må vi være her? – Folkekirken efter Luther” ("Is there a space for us? – The Folk Church after Luther") by Louise Højlund Franklin, Anders-Christian Jacobsen and Liselotte Horneman Kragh.
The primary focus of the book is whether the belief of the church is shared by its members. As Christians we have the duty to spread the good news - to give the news of freedom. It's a huge task that requires a lot from us, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church is not up to the task according to the authors. The book argues that the church must change to become relevant, as well as take the experience of their members seriously.
The authors suggests that the church needs to try to figure out why people aren't turning towards them in times without meaning. But what is the reason that people choose not to? According to the book the reason might be in the fundamental Lutheran theology: What should I do to avoid eternal damnation? A typical question asked in the 15th Century but not so frequently asked today. Nowadays we would more likely pose questions such as: Does God exist? And how does Christian teaching make sence in modern society? The questions are different, and therefore we need different answers.
The authors of the book argue that we should critically reexamine Luthers theology, his view on the nature of man as sinners, and the 15th century fear of hell. In his theology one can find the answer to avoid damnation, but not the answer to the questions we seek today.
The books states:
... it is not enough to say that Luther occupies a lot of space.
No, he is overshadowing.
He is overshadowing, so it is difficult for common Danes to understand what to do with their faith. More and more ask: What does it matter to us?
Not everyone agrees with the authors. Some state that the problem lies in secularisation or loss of tradition and warn against "throwing the confession out with the bath water." And so the theological debate goes continues.