Wipf and Stock Publishers
Luther as a Spiritual Adviser by Dennis Ngien Summary
Most Luther scholars have focused largely on the polemical side of the Reformer, with occasional allusion to his Devotional Writings in volumes 42 and 43 of the American editions. The aim of this book is to unfold the pastoral, not the polemical, side of the reformer, drawing on the spiritual insights he offers to people of high and low estate. These writings are devotional and catechetical in shape and intent, yet not devoid of rich theological substance, the fruit of his rigorous reflections. They are the exercises of Luther's basic calling as a theologian-pastor, and are the concrete illustrations of the interface of theology and piety, the former being the abiding presupposition and logical cause of the latter. Through them, readers are informed not only of the Reformation theology of justification, but also introduced to a distinct expression of the Christian faith in which Christ and his cross occupy the centre stage. What is noticeable is the one single overarching theme--God's ways with people--that the Reformer, as a spiritual adviser, sought to relate to the events of his days such as evils, severe afflictions, the prevalent lay abuse of the Eucharist. He counseled how to meditate aright on Christ's passion, prepare to face the terror of death, advise the sick, rightly approach the sacrament of the altar, why and how to pray aright, what benefits could be gained from the Lord's Prayer, and how to live out a life of discipleship under the cross. Ngien's work reveals Luther as a true theologian, i.e., theologian of the cross at work in the pastoral context.