"The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles." ~ P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lugioyo on Bucer and Justification

My good friend Brian Lugioyo's book Martin Bucer's Doctrine of Justification: Reformation Theology and Early Modern Irenicsim has recently been published by Oxford University Press in the Oxford Studies in Historical Theology series.

Not only is this excellent scholarship on Bucer, but Bucer's views on justification are entirely relevant for the current justification debate. It is unfortunate that Bucer has been overshadowed by Luther and Calvin.

The description of the book is as follows:
Martin Bucer has usually been portrayed as a diplomat who attempted to reconcile divergent theological views, sometimes at any cost, or as a pragmatic pastor who was more concerned with ethics than theology. These representations have led to the view that Bucer was a theological light-weight, rightly placed in the shadow of Luther and Calvin. This book makes a different argument.

Bucer was an ecclesial diplomat and a pragmatic pastor, yet his ecclesial and practical approaches to reforming the Church were guided by coherent theological convictions. Central to his theology was his understanding of the doctrine of justification, an understanding that Brian Lugioyo argues has an integrity of its own, though it has been imprecisely represented as intentionally conciliatory. It was this solid doctrine that guided Bucer's irenicism and acted as a foundation for his entrance into discussions with Catholics between 1539 and 1541. Lugioyo demonstrates that Bucer was consistent in his approach and did not sacrifice his theological convictions for ecclesial expediency. Indeed his understanding was an accepted evangelical perspective on justification, one to be commended along with those of Luther and Calvin. 


The comments include the following from Irene Backus, Professor of Reformation History, University of Geneva :
"For Martin Bucer the doctrine of justification through faith and love of neighbor was a fundamental of Christian faith. Brian Lugioyo argues that Bucer's understanding of this doctrine was not the result of a 'mediating theology,' as commonly believed, but had its own distinctive characteristics. By analyzing Bucer's commentary on Romans, and his articles on justification in the Interconfessional Colloquies of 1539-41, Lugioyo sheds new light on Bucer and the confessional unionism of the period. This is a major contribution to a renewal of Bucer studies."

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