Get access

The Future of Luther's Theology


  • Scott H. Hendrix

    1. Scott Hendrix is Professor Emeritus of Reformation History at Princeton Theological Seminary. Born 1942 in Columbia, SC, he graduated from Duke University and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. After receiving his doctorate from Tübingen University in 1971, he taught church history at three Lutheran seminaries before going to Princeton Seminary in 1998. He retired in 2007 and now lives in North Carolina.
    Search for more papers by this author


Abstract:  Some historical observations need to be made about Luther in his own time before his thought can be made useful for our future. First, theology was a collaborative undertaking for Luther and his Wittenberg colleagues. Second, theology was tied to their Reformation agenda of teaching a new way of practicing Christianity in accord with the gospel. That agenda required radical changes: a conversion of religious efforts to please God into advocacy of the neighbor; expansion of the church beyond Rome into an ecumenical assembly of holy and active believers; and a theological reorganization of public life that blurred the line between theology and ethics. In these areas, adapted to the 21st century, lies the greatest utility of Luther's theology for the future.

Get access to the full text of this article