A study of the confessions of the Lutheran Church as set forth in the Book of Concord. The documents of the reforming movement, viewed in the historical settings, are explicated in the light of their witness to the centrality of the gospel of justification by faith. Consideration is given to the contemporary importance of this witness for the life and mission of the Lutheran Church in a post-secular age. A central question of the course focuses on what it means to confess today in ecumenical engagement, in culturally diverse situations and interfaith contexts, and how that confession is shaped by those contexts.
This course inquires into the roots of present day Christianity in the Renaissance and Reformation, Luther and the Lutheran Reformation, various Protestant and Roman Catholic reforming movements, and other efforts for Christian witness in the early modern period through the eras of enlightenment and Evangelical revivals (approximately 1400-1800). The course considers the expansion of these movements from Europe and their reception and transformation in other parts of the world during this period. The course seeks, first, to be faithful to Christian tradition and, in the words of St. Paul, to deliver what we have received, and second, to examine how these traditions of reform and renewal continue to shape how Christians today understand their faith and how Christian communities today speak God's promise and serve our neighbors.