Luther and the “Second Reformation”
American Society of Church History 39
Tom Schwanda traces the reception and use of Luther within Puritan devotional works. Schwanda argues that Luther’s theology of the cross, his teachings on justification, and his focus on spiritual disciplines were often embraced by such key representatives of the Puritan tradition as Bishop Joseph Hall, Richard Sibbes, George Swinnock, Thomas Watson, Isaac Ambrose, Richard Baxter and John Bunyan. Next, Mark Olson surveys John Wesley’s appropriation of Luther, especially as it relates to Wesley’s “Aldersgate experience.” Although it has traditionally been understood that Wesley’s view of Luther was mediated through the Moravians, Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith was also passed on to Wesley through his Oxford education, other streams of pietism, and his own reading of Luther. Thus, Olson argues, by examining this broader context, we are better able to assess the degree to which Wesley appropriated Luther’s doctrine of justification for his own evangelical message. Finally, Tine Reeh draws our attention to the political scene in Scandinavia, where Pietists had a profound impact in the 18th century. The Reformation had originally resulted in the abolition of canon law and later Pietists pushed for radical religious individualism and arguments in favor of the secularization of the legal system. For these Pietists, Luther’s life and teachings provided a powerful heritage of protest against authority. This paper will examine this Pietist appropriation of Luther by showcasing the debates between the absolute Kings of Denmark-Norway, the theological faculty, and the faculty of law at the University of Copenhagen.
This session is organized by the leadership of H-Pietism (Pietism Studies Group) in cooperation with the American Society of Church History.