II.Teil. Die evang.-luth. Rezeption*

1. Geschichtlicher Überblick

2. Kierkegaard als Anreger (Entdecker) der dialektischen Theologie

3. Der christozentrische Charakter der K. Barthschen Dogmatik („Engfürung in Christologie“ von H.U.v. Balthasar)

4. Kierkegaard und der evang.- luth. Glaubensbegriff (Verständnisse und Mißverständnisse)


What is the big differences between Søren Kierkegaard’s and Martin Luther’s theology?

He put the relationship between God and man well but didn't realized how personal it truely is!

Kierkegaard: a critic of Luther

Luther is against the freedom of choice...

Luther fundamentally thought that the Will was broken, and in need of redemption.

Matt Welch Kierkegaard’s favorite NT book was James (which Luther called “an epistle of straw”) and believed that the Christian faith rested almost entirely, not upon merely sola fide, but upon an ethic embodied in “Works of Love.”

[ Grundsätze der Reformation

sola scriptura     „Allein durch die Schrift“    
sola fide            „Allein durch den Glauben“                      

sola gratia         „Allein durch Gnade“         

solus Christus   „Allein Christus“                   ]


Yes, Luther didn’t emphasize the acts/actions. It probably wasn’t so important according to him. But solely pure faith in Christ was enough for salvation (grace) for him.

It's interesting because Kierkegaard on the absurd seems at once more "faith"-based and also more "actions"-based than Luther. "Choice" seems like a good and important word to describe Kierkegaard's difference from Luther (and maybe the Protestant reformers generally). Choice for K is more spiritual and physical than it is for any of the reformers. It's, like, not even on the radar.

As he advanced in age, Kierkegaard increasingly regarded Luther as a tragic figure. Luther had dubbed the Epistle of St. James "an epistle of straw" because it declared that "man is justified by works and not by faith alone"( ο άνθρωπος δικαιολογείται από τα έργα και όχι μόνο από την πίστη) (James 2:24)[Καθολικὴ Ἰακώβου 2,24: «…ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος καὶ οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως μόνον.».] This did not agree with Luther's notion of justification "by faith alone," so he rejected the entire Epistle as non-canonical. [1] Kierkegaard concludes that Luther made himself "a point of departure superior to the Bible":

"The longer I study Luther, the more clear does it become that Luther also ... confuses what it means to be the patient with what it means to be the doctor; he had the patient's passion for expressing and describing his suffering, and what he feels would be its alleviation. But he had not the doctor's breadth of view. And in order to reform Christianity the first requirement is surely to have a view of the whole of Christianity."

The softening of the Christian message was bound to lead people to re-interpret the commandments:
"Most people really believe that the Christian commandment (e.g. to love one's neighbor as oneself) is intentionally a little too severe, like advancing the clock a half an hour to make sure of not being late in the morning."

Steve Lawrence Kierkegaard knew what the earlier Eastern church Fathers preached on salvation-that we work with (synergia) God's grace to save our souls. Luther saw it as, what many Evangelicals preach today, as a "believe and you're all good" mentality. That's why Kierkegaard said, "The problem with believing the Bible is that you actually have to do what it says," and one of the things Christ said is to "Be perfect, like your Heavenly Father is perfect." Yes, it's through Gods grace, but it's a gift we have work at (like the Parable of the Talents).

Jaroslav Pelikan wrote this interesting book: From Luther to Kierkegaard;: A study in the history of theology


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