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Luther for Evangelicals

A Reintroduction

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This brief introduction to Luther's theology connects Luther with the evangelical tradition. Paul Hinlicky, one of today's leading Lutheran theologians, brings his years of Luther research to bear upon evangelicalism as he explores six key areas of doctrine for which Luther is regarded as an authority: the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Scripture, Christology, theological anthropology and the doctrine of sin, justification, and sacramental theology. Even though Luther is embraced as a leading light on these issues, his thought is often misunderstood or mischaracterized. Hinlicky corrects common misconceptions of Luther's thought in light of the whole of his theology and explores the problematic ways the legacy of the Reformation was subtly modified by the rise of empiricism and experimentalism in the Enlightenment, which obscured the profile of Luther as a dogmatic theologian.

Luther for Evangelicals regrounds evangelical mission in a new evangelism and catechesis on the basis of Luther's doctrine of the atonement as "joyful exchange." In addition to its classroom utility for courses on Luther, systematic theology, contemporary theology, and church history, it will be of interest to evangelical pastors and church leaders.


Overture: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
Part 1: Luther in Evangelical Perspective
1. The New Birth
2. The Bible
3. Evangelization
4. The Atonement
Part 2: Luther's Evangelical Theology
5. Catechesis as Christian Torah
6. The Decalogue
7. The Creed
8. The Christian Life
Appendix: Lyrics from the Hymns of Luther Discussed in This Book


"In this splendid book, Paul Hinlicky offers a fresh and critical reading of Luther based not only on the Reformer's theological treatises but also on his catechisms and hymns. By liberating Luther from Melanchthon and subsequent Lutheranism, Hinlicky helps evangelicals to discover their own Reformational roots while showing that modern evangelicalism will have to change if it wants to claim Luther as a spiritual ancestor. I recommend this book not only to evangelicals but also to all who want to know why Luther's theology remains pertinent for our time."

Jens Zimmermann, Canada Research Professor, Trinity Western University; visiting professor of philosophy, literature, and theology, Regent College, Vancouver

"Paul Hinlicky not only challenges the status-quo ways of reading Luther that have been reduced to 'influential but misleading interpretive clichés,' but also invites the wider world of evangelical Christians into a conversation based on an understanding of Luther as a teaching theologian rather than as a hero or prophet. Hinlicky's desire is to take each of us to the primary sources, Luther's writings, where we can hear, read, and sing his witness in such a way that we can grow in faith toward God and in love toward one another."

Amy C. Schifrin, president, North American Lutheran Seminary; associate professor of liturgy and homiletics, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge, Pennsylvania

"The need for contemporary evangelicals to rediscover their magisterial Protestant heritage is pressing: there are depths for us to plumb which will only enhance our sense of the urgency of the gospel and the unique significance of Christ. Paul Hinlicky has done the church and the academy a great service with this book and its reengagement with Luther. It is a masterful contribution."

Tom Greggs, Marischal Chair of Divinity, University of Aberdeen

"Evangelical or not, readers will enjoy and benefit from this learned, fresh, and imaginative interpretation of Luther's thought. Paul Hinlicky continues to impress as one of America's leading Lutheran theologians."

Robert Benne, Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus, research associate, and founder of the Benne Center for Religion and Society, Roanoke College

"A delightfully provocative and fresh reading of Luther using language familiar to evangelicals. Drawing on Luther's theology as found predominantly in his hymns and instructional material, Paul Hinlicky shows us a Luther who is at home talking about Scripture inerrantly pointing to Christ, and about the importance of new birth from above. Hinlicky also delves into how experiences of faith, located in the proclamation of God's grace and taught through the catechisms, embed the gospel in the human heart. This book helpfully explores Luther's deeply theological and experiential sense of the gospel."

Gordon A. Jensen, academic dean and William Hordern Professor of Theology, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon, Canada

The Author

  1. Paul R. Hinlicky

    Paul R. Hinlicky

    Paul R. Hinlicky (PhD, Union Theological Seminary, New York; DHabil, Comenius University, Bratislava) is Tise Professor (emeritus) at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, and doctoral faculty at the Institute of Lutheran Theology. He is a board member...

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