A new book, The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church, authored by Dr. Robert Kolb, mission professor of systematic theology, and Dr. Charles Arand, professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, was recently published by Baker Academic.
“The Kolb-Arand presentation on The Genius of Luther’s Theology is itself genius, focusing, as it does, on Luther’s two greatest contributions to theological discourse, viz., the nature of human beings and the primacy of God’s Word,” commented Dr. James Voelz, professor of exegetical theology and dean of the faculty at Concordia Seminary.
“As noted in the sub-title, this focus provides a ‘way of thinking’ for contemporary Christians, especially in our land, who are living in an environment that is either increasingly hostile to Christianity, or increasingly captive to ‘evangelical’ understandings of our faith that privilege feelings and uncontrolled notions of the Spirit. This volume not only makes you proud to be a Lutheran, it also provides a solid basis for dialogue and outreach.”
The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church offers a unique approach to the theology of Martin Luther, focusing on two central ideas that informed the basic conceptual framework of Wittenberg theology. The first concerns Luther’s emphases on “passive righteousness” and the related aspect of “active righteousness.”
The second deals with Luther’s focus on the way God works in the world through his Word. Kolb and Arand find that the combination of these ideas shaped the theological reflections of Luther and his followers. Luther’s emphases, as discussed in Kolb and Arand’s study, are relevant for today’s challenges of proclaiming the Gospel and existence as a faith community, allowing contemporary pastors and theologians to utilize Luther’s theological emphases as they formulate God’s message for the 21st century.
“Over the years Charles Arand has stimulated my thinking in hundreds of conversations and to combine our efforts and produce a book out of those conversations was a delight and blessing,” commented Kolb. “We pray that those who ‘eavesdrop’ on our conversations by reading The Genius of Luther’s Theology will be enriched by our Lutheran heritage.”
Kolb received an associate’s degree (1961) from Concordia College, St. Paul, Minn.; a bachelor’s degree (1963) from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind.; the M.Div. (1967) and S.T.M. (1968) degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; the M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. degrees (1973) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.; and an honorary doctor of letters degree (2000) from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind. He has served as executive director of the Center for Reformation Research, St. Louis; guest instructor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Luther Northwestern University, St. Louis.
Arand received the B.A. degree (1980) from Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wis.; the M.Div. (1984), the S.T.M. (1987), and Th.D. (1989) degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Prior to joining the Concordia Seminary faculty in 1989 as professor of systematic theology and associate vice president for academic affairs at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, he served as a pastor in parishes in Illinois(1984-1989).