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FAQ #1 on Luther’s Two Kinds of Righteousness

Submitted by on October 24, 2013 – 3:01 pm8 Comments

Martin Luther, by CranachThe church’s theologians through the centuries have bequeathed us a rich theological heritage as they mined the riches of Scripture and bore witness to them in their day. Among those riches, they have given us various theological tools that help us keep Scripture’s story of God’s involvement with his world a Gospel story.

The distinction of Law and Gospel is perhaps the most well-known of these tools/resources for pastoral care. C.F.W Walther recovered that distinction for us in the Missouri Synod and skillfully applied it to an American situation shaped as it was by a pietistic and revivalist tradition.

But the sixteenth-century reformers left us other tools and resources as well. In the early twentieth century, for example, the so-called Luther Renaissance retrieved the theology of the cross in order to address theologies that exalted human endeavors. Others retrieved and developed the distinction between the two realms and the theology of vocation for the church’s life.

The two kinds of righteousness (2kr) is another one of these tools employed by the reformers. It helps to maintain the distinction between faith and works (justification and sanctification), while simultaneously holding them together. It helps to proclaim the purity of the Gospel without rejecting the proper role of works in life. It also equips us to speak of the Christian life in a way that flows from the Gospel rather than undermining the Gospel.

But in retrieving a tool that has been underutilized, questions arise that seek clarification in order to sweep aside misperceptions and misconceptions. To that end, various professors sat down to discuss various aspects of the two kinds of righteousness. The weekly series of videos will each address a “frequently asked question” regarding 2kr, its theological basis, and its importance for the life of the church. Below is an overview of the series, and the first two videos.

—Charles Arand

An overview of the 2kr FAQ series:

  1. Is the distinction of two kinds of righteousness biblical? (below)
  2. Where did Luther get the distinction of two kinds of righteousness?
  3. How does the distinction of two kinds of righteousness help clarify grace and forgiveness?
  4. How does the distinction of two kinds of righteousness help clarify sanctification?
  5. How did the distinction of two kinds of righteousness get revived in our circles?
  6. How can parish pastors make use of the distinction of two kinds of righteousness?





Is the Distinction of Two Kinds of Righteousness Biblical?




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