Merit and the Finnish Luther

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Abstract

The concept of merit, according to a Catholic understanding, is dictated by the nature of the divine grace that moves Christians to good works without violating their freedom. The Lutheran tradition, however, rejects the meritorious character of good works, at least in the context of salvation. In this article, it is argued that the new, Finnish Luther interpretation undermines the basis for Lutheranism's traditional resistance to the notion of merit. A tentative conclusion is that a Lutheranism that appropriates the Finnish interpretation has reason to embrace the applicability of merit-language in soteriological contexts.

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