(2017/2) Editor(s): Marie-Theres Wacker(c), Felix Wilfred, Andres Torres Queiruga
Cover Page

Articles of the issue

Table of Contents

Contents - Reformation: A Global Perspective

Concilium 2/2017

Editorial: Reformation

Part One: The Reformation and its Consequences

Reformation, Disagreement Between Confessions, Religious and Cultural Differentiation: a Historian’s Views on the Contemporary and Future Significance of Early Modern Church History – Heinz Schilling

Constellations of the Reformation: Contemporary Religious Cultures in the Mirror of Reformation History – Erik Borgman

Impact of Reformation on India Through Missions: An Assessment – Daniel Jeyaraj

Part Two: Inspiration from Luther’s Theology

The Theological Significance of Luther’s Modifications to the Greek and Latin Texts of the Pauline letters – Manuel Santos Noya

‘The whole Church is full of the Forgiveness of Sins’: The Reformers’ Discussion of Indulgences and the Church’s Spiritual Treasury from which Merit is Distributed to the needy and Debt-Burdened – Lidija Matošević

Radicalising Reformation – Ulrich Duchrow

Part Three: Perspectives from the Lutheran World Federation

Reflections on ‘Reformation’ Today – Munib Younan

The Participation of Women in the Ordained Ministry and Leadership in the Lutheran World Federation: Women on the Move in an Ongoing Reformation – Elaine Neuenfeldt

Part Four: Between Dialogue and Disputation

Encounters Among Equals: The Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogues after the Second Vatican Council – Dorothea Sattler

The Incomplete Reformation: Unsolved Problems, Ecumenical Answers? – Jürgen Moltmann

Theological Forum: Discussing the Sacramental Diaconate for Women in the Roman Catholic Church

Abbesses as a Model for the Diaconate for Women?: Reassurances from History – Sarah Röttger

Justice for the Life of the Parish: Restoring Women to the Ordained Diaconate – Phyllis Zagano

A Son of Vatican II: Father Paulo Evaristo Cardinal Arns – Fernando AlteMeyer JR.


Editorial: Reformation

The year 1517 marks the beginning of what is known as the Reformation; the German Augustinian monk Martin Luther publishers 95 theses, with which he aimed to call for disputation on indulgences and the sacrament of repentance. The theses reveal that Luther’s theological preoccupations also immediately concerned ecclesiastical power structures. For, just to remain with the conflict on indulgences, how could God’s free mercy towards human guilt be proclaimed, if letters of indulgence could be bought, which helped ecclesiastical bearers of office out of financial debts? But also, how could God’s word be proclaimed in a church in which the People of God were excluded from the exegesis of the Holy Scripture, the witness of God’s word and did not even have access to the Bible in their own mother tongue?  Those processes touched on in such questions, did not remain limited in their effects within the church, and made the Reformation an event which changed the world. It gave impulses for the development of national states, for different concepts of the separation of State and Church, for religious tolerance (albeit through bloody religious wars), and for the recognition of the freedom of the individual. Going against a long tradition of catholic counter-profiling and clear separations regarding Protestantism, the Second Vatican Council signified a turning point in which an ecumenical access came to the foreground and urgent theological and practical questions, which are common to all Christian denominations, were taken up. One can actually receive the impression that central concerns of Luther – the primacy of the Word of God, the accessibility of the Holy Scripture in the many languages of the world, the priesthood of all believers, the understanding of the office as service in the Church, to name just a few – had now finally arrived in the Catholic Churches!....


Abstracts - Reformation: A Global Perspective

Heinz Schilling

Abstract: The fifth centenary of the Reformation offers the opportunity of a historically accurate appraisal of the life and work of the reformer from Wittenberg. What is needed is to position Luther, his theology, and his aims as a reformer in their contemporary context, a context that is alien to us today, and in the relationship between these and his supporters and opponents. Hence, the consequences of the Reformation no longer appear as a triumphant renewal or a heretical disruption but as the emergence of a need for reform with deep roots in Latin Christendom, a need expressed as two divergent but equally valid patterns of reform which over the generations emerged in conflict with each other and from which emerged a profound mutual hostility. The root cause was the absolute claim to fundamental truth upon both sides, something that was not exceptional in the early 17th century. To the extent that such a claim gradually softened in the context of the social and cultural changes from the end of the 18th century, the confessional differences caused by and specific to a particular historical situation moved into the background, as is shown by a historical analysis relevant for the present and future.

Erik Borgman

Abstract: This article reads recent historical accounts of the reformation as indications of how the contemporary religious situation is regarded. It shows how the Reformation indicates a plurality of events that lead to a profound multiplication of contexts and worldviews we will have to deal with. The paradox is presented of the Reformers strivinga return to true Christianity ultimately leading to social and cultural secularization we have both to accept and break away from. And the lack of attention for the Radical Reformation is deplored, who so creatively tried to understand the newness of contemporary events in the light of Biblical narrativity.

Daniel Jeyaraj

Abstract: This essay explores how Reformation Christianities, introduced to Indians by West European and North American missionaries, impacted Indians in general and Indian Christians in particular. Indian Christians received the four interconnected Reformation ideals of Christ only, Scripture only, Grace only, and Faith only, interpreted them through their own ancestral spiritualties and customs, and sought to express them not so much in their church architecture, liturgy and music, but in their indigenous songs, stories, proverbs and life choices. This process of articulation remains partial, but progresses continuously.

Manuel Santos-Noya

Abstract: In this Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen, Luther formulates two important principles of his way of proceedings as a translator. First, the Bible has to speak German instesd of Greek or Latin. He should not, therefore, slavishly follow the letter of the text. Second, his translation must bring out the deep theological sense implied in the text; that is, the theological meaning is more important than the literal meaning. Hence, his NT, especially in the first editions, differed not infrequently from the Greek text and the Vulgate. Most of these divergences are stylistic and irrelevant. On the other hand, a few (e.g. 1 Cor. 7:8 and Gal. 5:5-6) are true modifications of the Pauline text. This article esepcially deals with these texts.

Lidia Matošević

Abstract: The article first outlines the Church’s teaching on indulgences current at the time of the Reformation and its connection with the sacrament of penence, and sets it alongside Luther’s critique of it, and his theological answer to it, justification by faith alone. Subsequently it identifies two related theological and practical themes from which ecumenical impulses can be developed. One is that of the Church as a communion of saints, to whom the dead, but also the believers on the way here and now belog even if they constantly fall into sin. The other is that of the real suffering and hardship of peolpe that can be matched in the communion of saints with an active

Ulrich Duchrow

Abstract: Under the slogan ‘Radicalising Reformation’ an international research group has used the bible (and the religions of the axial age) and the current crisis to highlight Luther’s ambivalence. His biblically based critique of early capitalism as a pseudo-religion and system of theft can be applied without modification today. His violent pamphlets against Jews and Muslims are a regression to Constantinian Christendom and have had disastrous historical effects, even including Hitler. Since there are today liberation theology movements in all religions and the official worldwide ecumenical movement has also rejected capitalist civilisation, the time has come for an inter-religious alliance for culture of life.

Bishop Dr. MunibYounan

Abstract: The contribution shows the presence of Lutheran Churches around the World, their shift to the South and the self-understanding of the Lutheran World Federation as a communion of Churches, respecting differences and committed to justice, especially gender justice. As two great challenges issues around family and marriage on the one hand, climate change on the other hand are mentioned. Three ways in which Luther remains relevant to the churches across the Lutheran communion are highlighted. Denominational differences among Christians are seen as enriching and meaningful, and at the same time Churches have to be open for ecumenical and interfaith dimensions including diakonia and martyria in different forms.

Elaine Neuenfeldt

Abstract: This article is an analysis based on a recent assessment in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) on the participation of women in the ordained ministry and leadership in the 145 LWF Member churches around the world. In 2013, the LWF adopted a gender justice policy. Ordination of women and promoting women in leadership is one very important step and an open space where changes are possible. The article provides statistical information and theological reflection.

Dorothea Sattler

Abstract: The article summarises the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogues after the Second Vatican Council. It looks at the rules for ecumenical dialogues as set out by the Council. Key contents (the doctrine of justification, the understanding of the sacraments, the theology of the eucharist, teachings on ordination, scripture and tradition) are discussed. In 2017, we need to look back at the progress that has been made and be aware of new directions for ecumenism. The article concludes with a discussion of the role of theological dialogues in today’s ecumenical situation, and argues that they should continue, but be aware of new challenges to worldwide ecumenism, especially in the area of theological ethics.

Jürgen Moltmann

Abstract: After some opeing reflections on the vanished conflict culture of the Reformation period and the modern culture of dialogue, the article discusses four areas where there is still a need for disputation. (1) The concept of ‘unity’ needs to take into account, not only the relationship of the Christian churches to each other, but also the particular status of Judaism. (2) The condemnation of the radical pacifist ‘zealots’ at the time of the Reformation must be corrected, and this means a revision of the Augsburg Confession. (3) The doctrine of justification is very one-sided and focused on those do evil, and needs to be broadened to include the distress of the victims. (4) The limitation of the Reformation to Europe and to the internal world of Christianity, but above all the lock of a ‘mission of hope’, must be critically expanded.