Beyond Indulgences

Luthers Reform of Late Medieval Piety, 15181520

By (author) Anna Marie Johnson

Hardback - £39.95

Publication date:

01 November 2017

Length of book:

240 pages

Publisher

Truman State University Press

ISBN-13: 9781612482125

Between Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 and his excommunication from the church in 1520, he issued twenty-five sermons and treatises on Christian piety, most of them in German. These pastoral writings extended his criticisms of the church beyond indulgences to the practices of confession, prayer, clerical celibacy, the sacraments, suffering, and death. These were the issues that mattered most to Luther because they affected the faith of believers and the health of society. Luther’s conflict with Rome forced him to address the issue of papal authority, but on his own time, he focused on encouraging lay Christians to embrace a simpler, self-sacrificing faith. In these pastoral writings, he criticized theologians and church officials for leading people astray with a reliance on religious works, and he began to lay the foundation for a reformed Christian piety.

“For Lutheran pastors and laypeople, grasping Luther’s pastoral concerns in his early years is vital for understanding the nature of his reform and the resulting Lutheran confession of the gospel, and thus of Lutheran identity and practice today. These early pastoral writings are an important but often neglected body of Luther’s works. . . . This book provides an excellent introduction.”

—John A. Maxfield, Concordia Theological Quarterly