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Obermann’s view also does not take seriously Luther’s real struggle with sin, the Catholic Scholastics, and his own personal theological breakthroughs.

Further, the Finnish Lutheran, Uura Saarnivaara, has recently come out with a Augustine/Luther survey.

Saarnivaara’s survey is nice, but it does not answer any historical questions.


Luther said in his Lectures on Romans, “[The Christian] is at the same time both a sinner and righteous, a sinner in fact but righteous by virtue of the reckoning and the certain promise of God….

I did not know that though forgiveness is indeed real, sin is not taken away except in hope, i.e., that it is in the process of being taken away by the gift of grace which starts this removal, so that it is only not reckoned as sin….

Luther said in his Romans lectures, “[The Scholastics] imagine that original sin, just like actual sin, is entirely taken away, as if sins were something that could be moved in the flick of an eyelash, as darkness is by light” (Quoted in Kerr, Hugh T. Luther was greatly aided by Augustine who taught that sin and its effects remain in the Christian, even while Christ reckons the Christian as righteous. The Scholastic theologians like Gabriel Biel (1420 - 1495) and Duns Scotus (1265 - 1308) had a negative impact on Luther since they were modern day Pelagians.

In 1532, Luther would look back on this as significant for his theological career (Plass, Ewald M. Luther wanted to be righteous before God, but his conscience could not be at peace under their system.

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Heiko Obermann, Professor of Church History at the University of Tubingen has tried to promote a different idea.

He has stated that Martin Luther was simply a product of a modern Augustinian school (schola Augustiniana moderna), a form of Scholasticism that began in the 14th century and continued into the 17th century.

To combat these modern day Pelagians, Luther was greatly aided by the champion of orthodoxy against the first Pelagians.

With Augustine’s help, Luther articulates a Christian understanding of being sick and righteous simultaneously: sick because of sin, and righteous because of the promise of the Great Physician to heal him completely on the Last Day.

Simply because Luther quotes Augustine more then any other church father combined (which he does) also does not prove anything.

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