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date: 29 April 2017

Martin Luther in Finland and the Baltics

Summary and Keywords

Martin Luther’s thought has had strong influence on the religious and churchly life in the Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as in Finland. Its impact has not been restricted just to the Church but also has had deep social and political aspects. However, the role of Luther’s theology has been quite different in the Baltics and in Finland, mostly because the Reformation occurred in a totally different ways in each area. In the Baltics, the biggest towns had already turned to the Reformation by the 1520s, but in Finland the change was part of King Gustav Vasa’s work for strengthening the state. In the Baltics, the Reformation took place in direct contact with Luther and his colleagues, whereas in Finland the first influences came through some of his writings and the theologians who had studied in Wittenberg. During the 17th century, almost the whole area, except Lithuania, belonged to the Swedish kingdom. Theologically, this was the time of the Lutheran Orthodoxy, which was based on the Confessional Books of the Lutheran Church. From Luther’s works, the catechisms were known and used. In the Baltics, the time of Confessional Lutheran theology lasted until the 1910s. In the 19th century, certain Baltic German theologians, especially Theodosius Harnack, practiced remarkable Luther research. Harnack opposed the Neo-Protestant Luther interpretation and strongly influenced the understanding of Luther’s theology of the cross. Only in the 1910s did the Neo-Protestant Luther interpretation of Albrecht Ritschl and Adolf von Harnack get some support. In the 20th century, the Baltic theology was not very much concentrated on Luther, though some presentations of his person and thought were published and a clear consciousness of his thought was present. The Soviet time from 1940 to the beginning of 1990s was difficult for all types of theology. Nevertheless, for example, Elmar Salumae managed to translate international Luther research into Estonian and maintain the knowledge of Lutheran theology. In Finland, the 19th century did not produce academic Luther research, but Luther’s theology was important for the pietistic revival movement, and it played a central role in the disagreement of the revival leaders, which led to a division of the movement. Academic research on the Reformation began in Finland at the end of the 19th century, first as a historical study of the Finnish reformer Mikael Agricola and the Reformation in Finland. Research on Luther’s theology followed the German Luther Renaissance and began in the 1920s. The fruits of this research were published in the 1930s by Eino Sormunen and Yrjö J. E. Alanen and some years later by Lennart Pinomaa. After Pinomaa, Finnish Luther research played some role at the international level. It was first attached especially to the Swedish Lundensian approach and later, from the beginning of the 1980s, became more distant from it. Today Finnish Luther research refers above all to the work of Tuomo Mannermaa and his pupils. This theology, which stresses the real presence of Christ in faith and the participation in the Divine love, is not only academic research but also it has been applied to many churchly and ecumenical questions.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Baltics, Lutheran Church, Tuomo Mannermaa, theology of the cross

Luther’s Theology and the Baltic Christianity

Finland, Lithuania, and Latvia became predominately Lutheran in the 16th century Reformation. In Lithuania, the Lutheran ideas pervaded rapidly in the beginning. Somewhat later the Reformed faith rose to the leading position there but in the end the Catholic Counter-Reformation succeeded so well that the Protestant churches have remained small minorities. At that time, Finland formed the eastern part of Sweden, whereas Estonia and Livonia belonged to the Holy Roman Empire as its most northern areas and were ruled by the Teutonic Order and the Catholic bishops. Lithuania was then a Duchy and it formed a union with Poland during the 16th century. Despite the geographical similarities, the Reformation actualized in quite a different way in Finland and in the Baltics. In the latter, it began in the towns and had quite close connections with the German Reformers. In Sweden and Finland, it was, despite some early influences in the biggest towns, primarily the King’s Reformation and was not based on local decisions. In practice, the Reformation in Sweden and Finland was a slow shift from Catholicism to Lutheranism.

Luther’s reformatory thoughts were supported very early, for example, in Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania, in Riga of Livonia, and only a little later in the Estonian towns Reval (Tallinn) in the north as well as in Dorpat (Tartu) in the south, which both were at that time included in Livonia. The Lithuanians lived then in two areas: in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in the eastern parts of Prussia. In the 1520s, many Lutheran parishes were grounded in the Lithuanian towns but at the same time the Reformation was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church.1 Therefore, the center of the Lithuanian Reformation was soon the Prussian town of Königsberg. Prussia was governed by the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Prince Albrecht of Brandenburg (1490–1568) who converted to Lutheranism by 1523 and created the world’s first Protestant state in 1525, the Duchy of Prussia. In 1544 Duke Albert founded the Albertina University in Königsberg there, which became the principal educational institution for Lutheran pastors and theologians of Lithuanian language.2 The first Lutheran theologians in Lithuania produced the first original theological writings in the Grand Duchy. In 1542, Abraomas Kulvietis (Culvensis) defended his Lutheran faith in Confessio fidei. In 1544 Stanislovas Rapolionis (Rapagelanus), who by that time acted as a professor at the new Königsberg University, published his doctoral dissertation Disputatio de ecclesia et eius notis, an interpretation of Luther’s arguments about the Church.3 So Luther’s ecclesiology was present and applied in the early Lithuanian Reformation theology.

The Reformation began in Riga as early as 1521 and it was supported by the city council. Together with the towns Dorpat and Reval, Riga formed an evangelical alliance in 1524. The main reason for this was the opportunity to defend the independence of the towns and to oppose and restrict the power of the Catholic Church and the bishops. Therefore, the town councils wanted to resist the demand to prohibit evangelical preaching in the area.4 They invited reformatory pastors from Germany in order to get support for their opposition against the Catholic Church. So, Luther’s teachings were discussed among the clergy already in the 1520s.5

The first pastor who preached the Gospel on the basis of reformatory views in the Baltics was Andreas Knopken, who acted as pastor of the Saint Peter’s Church in Riga. He came from Germany and possessed a close connection with Johannes Bugenhagen.6 Knopken had already studied Luther’s book “On the Church’s Babylonian Captivity” together with Bugenhagen by 1520 in Treptow. Reading Luther’s writings and discussions with Bugenhagen led him to inner freedom. Nevertheless, theologically, he was more Melanchthon’s student than Luther’s.7 His theses for a disputation with a representative of the Catholic Church in 1522 prove him to be a more radical reformer than Luther.8 Knopken’s sermons have all disappeared, but he also published a Commentary on the Letter to the Romans (1524), which reached the fourth printing by 1525. Other important persons in Livonia’s reformation were Johannes Lohmüller and Sylvester Tegetmaier, both of German background. Lohmüller acted as the Town Secretary in Riga, and he was the one who undertook personal contact with Luther by asking for the Reformer’s support for the Reformation in Livonia. He remained Luther’s confidant also later. Tegetmaier was appointed preacher of the St. Jacob’s Church in Riga.9 He had been influenced by Andreas Karlstadt and was theologically more radical than Knopken. This could be seen in the iconoclasm of the early Reformation in Riga, which was a reaction to the efforts of the Franciscan brothers to annihilate the Reformation. Tegetmaier defended the iconoclasm and considered it a right way to act. Theological differences led to quarrels between him and the more moderate Knopken.10

The beginning of the Reformation in Riga is much better known than the events in Reval and Dorpat. In Reval, the first evangelical preachers Zacharias Hasse and Johannes Lange started in 1524. They opposed especially the Dominican brothers and succeeded in winning the council to the Reformation.11 Lange also established a common cache for the poor relief according to the reformatory model. In Dorpat, the first evangelical preacher was the former Catholic priest Hermann Masow, who had studied in Wittenberg. However, bishop Johann Blankenfeld forced him to leave and he could only return after a five-year stay in Reval.12 Iconoclastic incidents also took place in Reval and Dorpat.13

Luther did not answer Lohmeyer’s first letter until 1523, about a year after he had received it. In his letter, Luther briefly explained the two main points of the Christian life: faith and love. First, he explained the core of faith: when one believes that because of God’s graciousness Christ has become our Redeemer and the “bishop of our souls” through his blood and without human merits, this very faith will offer and give Christ to the believer. Faith shows that God is lovable through Christ’s work and wills good to the human. So the believer goes through Christ to the Father and remains confident and joyful in all events of his or her life. The second point of Luther’s teaching is that a person who has such faith in God does not need to do anything else but to love his or her neighbor. Here—as in many others of his writings—Luther explains love with the help of the golden rule (of course, without using this name). The idea is that because Christ already loves them and has done everything for their salvation, the believers do not need anything because through faith they already get everything that they need. What they want to seek or do for themselves, should be turned to the neighbor and do the good works for them that the believers do not need any more. So they would do like Christ has done for them: He did not shed his blood for himself but for us. Such love is also the sign of the true Christian.14 In research, Luther’s explanation of the specific nature of Christian love has often been left unnoticed.15

Luther received a letter of thanks from the city council of Riga in the beginning of 1524 and was pleased with the reception of his teaching in the area.16 He wrote one more letter to the Christians in Riga and Livonia, where he continues the same exhortation to Christian life in marriage, family, and a human community. He stresses that greed and the concern of worldly things prevent the ripening of the fruits of the Gospel. A Christian does not build on them but waits for everything good from God and then does what belongs to his or her calling as a husband, wife, mother, father, and a prince or governor. In order to teach the real Christian life to the people, the communities need good schools for boys and girls and especially for training of learned preachers.17

Thereafter, Luther followed the development of the Baltic Reformation through the 1520s and in the beginning of the next decade. One problem was the lay preachers who presented themselves as Lutherans but were inclined to spiritualism. The best known among them is the later leader of the Anabaptist movement Melchior Hoffman who turned up as a Lutheran preacher in Dorpat. At first Luther and Bugenhagen supported him but soon their opinion changed. The council of Dorpat banished him after iconoclastic revolts in 1525 and, after a short stay in Reval, he left Estonia forever. Luther wrote against him and Hermann Osenbrugge who came from Dorpat as well.18

Luther also tried to help with the arrangement of the church and education system by searching and recommending suitable persons for certain tasks. The church orders of the three Baltic Hanseatic towns Riga, Dorpat, and Reval were constructed following Luther’s ideas. The evangelical preachers of Reval wrote the first Lutheran order of the towns according to the model of the reformatory church order of Leisnig. The council of Riga asked the Reformer of Königsberg, Johannes Briesmann, Luther’s student and friend, to prepare a church order in cooperation with Knopken. Some years later, in 1533 in Wolmar, the councils of the three biggest towns decided to accept Briesmann’s Lutheran order together. The councils also excluded all deviation from Luther’s doctrine. All preachers should be invited by the magistrate or recommended by learned men like Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon.19

Many reformatory influences came to Livonia and Lithuania and to some degree also to Estonia through the Prussian town of Königsberg. Evangelical books were translated into the Baltic languages and printed there.20 The first known translation is a Lutheran catechism in Estonian from the year 1535. Literature does not tell quite clearly if it was Luther’s “Small Catechism” but in any case it was based on Luther’s teachings. However, the edition was destroyed soon after the publication. Only one partially preserved copy has been found. Heinrich Stahl published a new version of the Lutheran catechism in Estonian in 1632.21 In Latvian, the catechism was published for the first time in 1586. The first printed book in Lithuanian is the Lutheran Catechism of Martynas Mažvydas in 1547. It follows Luther’s teachings but also contains much other material. A translation of Luther’s “Small Catechism” appeared soon thereafter and it was used more in the parishes as Mažvydas’s version.

The consolidation of the Lutheran doctrine and church order in Estonia and Livonia took place after 1629 when they became parts of the Lutheran Sweden. Northern Estonia had, though, belonged to Sweden already from 1585 and therefore Lutheranism had a stronger position there than in the other Baltic areas. In the 17th century, certain ideas of Luther were important even though his name was not mentioned very often. Worship in the vernacular—as well as in German—began in the parishes very soon. The efforts to translate the Bible and church books were strong but this still took much time. In Estonia, the translation work aroused a competition between the northern and southern forms of Estonian. The Church Manual was published in the southern language form in 1632 and the New Testament in 1686. In the northern language, they appeared only in the 1690s and in 1715. The whole Bible was translated into Estonian in the 1640s, but it could only be published a hundred years later in 1739.

The development of the schools also followed—though rather slowly—Luther’s principles. In the elementary schools, teaching was first given in German or Swedish, but at the end of the 17th century they turned more and more to use of the vernacular. At the end of the 17th century, the majority of the schoolteachers were Estonians. The three biggest towns of the area, Dorpat (Tartu), Reval (Tallinn), and Riga got high schools in 1630 and only two years later the school in Tartu was changed to a university, where theology was taught on the basis of the Lutheran Confessions. Luther’s ideals did not actualize in the fact that the theology students and the Baltic clergy remained predominantly German. For this reason, most of Luther’s works and even of the Lutheran Confessions were not translated to Latvian or to Estonian.22 The social and linguistic distance between people and the pastors was probably the main difference of the Baltic Reformation in comparison to other Lutheran areas.

As a result of the Great Northern War, the Baltics came under Russian rule in 1721. Czar Peter the Great had guaranteed the Baltic Lutherans the right to believe and to teach according to the Augsburg Confession. In the 18th century, the new pietistic revival movements began to spread in the Baltic area. As a result, the distance between the laypeople and the Lutheran pastors grew even more. Among the laypeople, the movement of the Moravian Brethren became popular, but the majority of the Baltic German pastors and later, after the University of Dorpat was reopened in 1802, also the Lutheran university teachers opposed the movement.23 Confessional Lutheran theology was the main line in the faculty through the 19th century and modern, Neo-Protestant theological ideas got a foothold only in the 1910s. During the time of confessional theology, some important and well-known theologians like Theodosius Harnack (1816/17–1889), Moritz von Engelhardt (1828–1886), Alexander von Oettingen (1827–1905), and Traugott Hahn (1875–1919) worked there.24 Of course, the Lutheran Confessions were the most important and authoritative texts for the Church along with the Bible. The theological faculty had close contacts with the faculty in Erlangen, which was the center of confessional academic Lutheran theology in Germany. Among the Baltic theologians, Theodosius von Harnack is especially recognized as a Luther researcher. Harnack’s two-volume presentation of Luther’s theology is based on the writer’s own research, and it has later even been considered the most important work on Luther in the 19th century.25 He published the first volume in 1864 when he was working as a professor in the University of Erlangen, but the second volume appeared in 1886 when he was back in Dorpat.

Heinrich Wittram describes Harnack’s conception of Luther’s theology as Christ-centered. For Harnack, the roots of Luther’s theology are in Christ’s atoning works. He also emphasizes the importance of the theology of the cross for understanding Luther’s thought. Harnack was very consciously opposing the Luther interpretation of the Ritschlian Cultural Protestantism. He was also the first researcher to criticize the Kantian and Neo-Kantian theological programs. This was one of the main themes in the second volume of his presentation of Luther’s theology. According to Wittram, he understood Luther’s theology in a more paradoxical way and stressed, for example, the relationship between God’s wrath and love.26 Alexander von Oettingen adopted from Harnack the view of Luther’s theology of the cross and used it in his presentations of social ethics and Lutheran Dogmatics. According to Thomas-Andreas Põder, their view of theology of the cross had a deep influence on the Estonian Lutheranism in the beginning of the 20th century.27 Harnack’s and Oettingen’s pupil, also a well-known Luther researcher, Reinhold Seeberg (1859–1935), who began his career as a professor in Dorpat and continued to Erlangen and Berlin, approved the view that Ritschl’s and Luther’s conceptions of the Christian faith are not compatible. He sees the difference especially in the understanding of Christian freedom. For Ritschl, it means freedom from the evil powers in the world but for Luther from personal sin. Seeberg’s Lutheran theology can be seen as a continuation of the confessional main line of Baltic Lutheranism. However, in the beginning of the 20th century and between the two world wars, the liberal Cultural Protestant ideas had some impact also in Dorpat, for example, through the writings of Adolf von Harnack, son of Th. Harnack.28

Because of the decree of the Russian regime to change the teaching language to Russian, the professors of theology resigned in 1916 and the faculty practically dissolved itself. The remarkable university preacher and lecturer Traugott Hahn (1875–1919)had adopted the view of Lutheran theology as theology of the cross. He thought that God influences primarily through suffering in the world. This view was central also in his sermon at the Reformation jubilee, where he emphasized the importance of continuing reformation instead of conservativeness or revolution. In his sermon in the reopening service of the university in September 1918, he preached about the specific Protestant freedom of the conscience, which differs both from Byzantine spirit and the Enlightenment’s conception of freedom.29

The faculty functioned on the Lutheran basis until 1940 when it was closed after the Soviet invasion. Theological teaching did not stop totally, but went on under the Estonian Lutheran Church. The circumstances of theological studies were difficult, but especially the efforts of Elmar Salumaa (1908‒1996), who was permitted to return from Siberia in 1956, were crucial for the continuation of theological research and learning. He was not a Luther researcher, but Luther’s theology played a central role in his work. He published a presentation of the Basics of the Evangelical Ethics (five volumes, 1956–1958) and a Handbook of Dogmatics (three volumes, 1984). Besides Luther, Karl Barth’s theology influenced his thought. He translated several Luther studies and collected them as well as other theological studies as a series of books. So he offered the Estonian theologians the possibility to follow international research. From his initiative also many of Luther’s important writings—most of them for the first time—were translated into Estonian during the Soviet period. All his works and translations were circulated in Samizdat form (secret illegal copies) during the Soviet period. Over the last twenty-five years, some of them have been published.30

The Theological Faculty of the University of Tartu was reestablished in 1991. For a short time, there was a professor for Lutheran theology there, and Urmas Petti (1965–2015), who was a Reformation researcher and also wrote about Luther, worked as a Lecturer of Church History. He edited a collection of Luther’s selected works in Estonian, which was published in 2014.31 Otherwise the research of the faculty has not been oriented to Luther. The Theological Institute of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church continues and works in cooperation with the Theological Faculty. Luther’s theology and research on it are more explicitly present there than in Tartu, but the interpretations vary remarkably.32

The University of Riga in Latvia did not have a theological faculty of its own until 1920. One of the most important persons at the background of the establishment of the faculty was Voldemars Maldonis (1870‒1941). Maldonis was a Lutheran but his research oriented first to Friedrich Schleiermacher’s theology. Jouko Talonen describes Maldonis primarily as a student of Schleiermacher with a certain influence from Rudolf Otto and Adolf von Harnack as well. Also Martin Luther and Immanuel Kant were his authorities, but probably he read Luther in the way of the Cultural Protestantism. According to Talonen, he accepted Adolf Harnack’s view of the historical understanding of Christianity and of its essential content: “Jesus Christ and his Gospel.” He did not emphasize the Lutheranism of the Latvian Christianity but was more inclined to its “classic” and common foundation.33 Of course, this may also be seen as a Lutheran feature of theology.

In the 1930s, Maldonis published both a biography of Martin Luther and a presentation of evangelical dogmatics. The biography was written for the public, as Maldonis was not a specialist on Luther. In Talonen’s evaluation, Maldonis’s picture of Luther emphasized the Protestant and evangelical aspect of the reformer but was not strongly polemical.

Maldonis’s magnum opus, the dogmatics, appeared in 1939. He called his dogmatics “evangelical,” but not “evangelical-Lutheran.” Maldonis’s Christian dogmatics is principally in line with the traditional Christian faith and the conventional Lutheran understanding of dogma. His work cannot be seen as a product of rationalism because the transcendent starting point of Christian faith and its classical truths are clearly present. On the other hand, many of his dogmatic views do not correspond to Lutheran orthodoxy.34 Even though Maldonis was interested in dogmatics and Luther to some degree, these were not central themes in his teaching. Neither did his students orientate themselves to Luther studies or to Lutheran theology. Since 1993, the Lutheran Church educates its pastors—only men are ordained—in a seminary called Luther Academy.

Luther’s Theology in Finland

The reformatory influences reached the most international towns Vyborg (Viipuri) and Turku in Finland first. Probably they came through the Baltic towns, which had rapidly turned to the Lutheran faith in the 1520s. Vyborg on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Finland was an international trading town, which received and transmitted humanistic and reformatory influences.35 The lord of the Vyborg castle called the Lutheran preacher Johannes Block from Tartu in 1528. Block was a former Bible humanist who had slowly become a moderate Lutheran. When he moved to Vyborg, he also brought his large library along. In addition to many patristic works, it contained all of Luther’s writings that had been published till then. He is likely to be the first one who ordered a book by Luther to Finland, namely the Latin Postil that was printed in Strasbourg 1528. Mikael Agricola (c. 1507–1557), the coming Finnish reformer, went to school in Vyborg in the 1520s. He probably had the opportunity to read the books in Block’s library there.36 Agricola read certain of Luther’s texts thoroughly quite early. From Vyborg, he moved to Turku and worked as a secretary of the bishop. In 1531, he purchased Luther’s Postil in Latin and very likely knew it well before studying in Wittenberg. The knowledge of Martin Luther’s theology came to Finland also through the Finnish theologians who had studied in Wittenberg. The first of them was Peder Särkilax (Pietari Särkilahti), who was already in Wittenberg when the Reformation began and afterwards led the Cathedral School in Turku until his early death in 1529. After him, there was a break of about a decade until the next students were sent to Wittenberg. Most of them heard Luther lecturing even though they all studied mostly under Melanchthon’s guidance.37 The most influential of them, Mikael Agricola, has been characterized as a student of Luther and the great humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam.38 In the beginning of the Reformation, in Sweden and in Finland as a part of it, people did not make any precise differentiation between Luther and Melanchthon in theological issues. Therefore, it is hard to say what the exact understanding of Luther’s theology was. The theologians brought the Reformation theology or Lutheran theology from Wittenberg, which they had learned to some degree from Luther but for the most part from Melanchthon. However, of course, Melanchthon’s theology was strongly influenced by Luther’s ideas.

The theologians could read the Latin and German sources and usually also brought some books with them when they returned from Wittenberg. In the 16th century, only few of Luther’s works were translated into Swedish and some short texts into Finnish. The most urgent task was to get the Holy Scriptures into native languages. The Swedish Reformer Olaus Petri had translated the New Testament by 1526. He also published a catechism (1529), a Postil (1530), and a Lutheran order of the service in 1531. These could, of course, be used in the eastern part of the kingdom. In Finland, Mikael Agricola, now bishop of Turku, finished the translation of the New Testament in 1548. He also translated parts of the Old Testament, but the whole Bible was published in Finnish only in 1642. Furthermore, according to the Reformation principles, he wanted to promote the people’s teaching as well as spiritual life.

For these purposes, Agricola translated some short texts from Luther, but he used other sources as well, when he compiled his ABC-book and Prayer Book. It was meant to help in teaching young people to read but at the same time it was a catechism of the Christian faith. It followed the example of Luther’s “Small Catechism” but was not a direct translation of it. The first translation of it into Finnish was made at the end of the 16th century. The “Large Catechism” was translated for the first time in the 17th century. For a long time, only the two catechisms and some prayers and sermons of Luther were translated into Finnish. As in the Baltics, the Lutheran Confessions, which the Swedish Church had accepted in 1593 as its confessional basis, were more important than Luther’s different writings (except the catechisms) for the Lutheran Church and pastors in Finland.

The 17th century was the time of Lutheran Orthodoxy, which was based primarily on the Book of Concord. The demand for theological unity was strong even though there were two main lines: one relied on the Augsburg Confession and was open to connections with Reformed Christianity and the another appealed to the Book of Concord and defended a “pure” Lutheran theology. In Finland, which had opened its first university, the Academy of Turku, in 1640, the strict line ruled until the end of the 1680s. The first professor of theology, Enevaldus Svenonius, represented this line very strongly. During Svenonius’s time, Luther was named quite often in the theological theses. However, the dissertations were often modest and a reference to Luther does not indicate any deep knowledge of the Reformer’s theology.39 Luther’s theology was also sometimes discussed in the pastors’ convents. At that time, Johannes Gezelius Senior (1615–1690) and Junior (1647–1718) led the diocese of Turku. Their common project was a large commentary on the Bible, which was published in six volumes (1711–1728) in Swedish. Primarily, it is a work of the younger Gezelius. The commentary was written in order to help the pastors in preparing sermons. It also transmits knowledge of Luther’s interpretation of the Bible because Gezelius Jr. often cites Luther’s explanations.40

During the 18th century, certain pastors who belonged to the early pietist movement leaned—despite of certain criticism—strongly on Luther’s theology. Abraham Achrenius, Johan Wegelius Jr., and Antti Björkvist were productive and influential preachers and writers. Achrenius’s writings and Wegelius’s, as well as Björkvist’s Postils, were widely read also in the 19th century. According to Ruuth, it is at least partly a consequence of their conscious Lutheranism that the pietistic revival movements have mainly remained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.41 A special interest in Luther’s theology arose among the theologians of the pietist movement in Finland in the end of the 1830s. There were at least two main reasons for that. First, it followed the “Luther awakening” that had taken place in Sweden a little earlier. Second, the official Evangelical Lutheran Church saw the pietistic movement as a threat for the social and spiritual order and its public gatherings were prohibited. So there was a need and will to prove the movement’s genuine Lutheran faith. Therefore, some leading pastors began to translate Luther’s writings into Finnish, even though there was not unanimity about the task’s importance.42 Luther was seen in the spirit of German idealism and romantism, and as an adversary of the Enlightenment’s rationalism. As result of this, Luther’s theology began to be present in preaching and teaching more than before and also the lay people could read Luther themselves. Ruuth says that the Luther translations also sold quite well.

One may well say that Luther’s position in Finnish theology has been—and still is—very strong from the middle of the 19th century onward, even though many Finnish theologians were influenced by the biblical theology of Johann Tobias Beck who distanced himself from Luther’s theology.43 However, not everyone who wanted to follow Luther understood his theology in a similar way. One reason for the division of the pietist awakening into two branches, the “Heränneet”44 and the Lutheran Evangelicals, was a controversy concerning Luther’s theology. Also the Laestadianism in the north of Finland used Luther’s writings in arguing for its views.45 Even though the revival movements hold on to the Lutheran identity, they have remarkable differences in their spiritual life, understanding of the human being and the order of grace or the order of salvation, the doctrine of the Church, and in the conceptions of Christian social engagement. A rather new phenomenon in Finnish Lutheranism is the Luther Foundation, which has close contacts with American and Swedish confessional Lutheranism. In cooperation with the confessional Lutheran Heritage Foundation, it has published certain important works of Luther in Finnish for the first time.

Also the Evangelical Lutheran Church very consciously sees itself as a Lutheran Church and wants to express its Lutheran—and ecumenical—identity. Nowadays, the Church understands Lutheranism and especially Luther’s thought in an ecumenically positive way, and this is more or less alien to most of the revival movements. There are also conflicts concerning Lutheran biblical interpretation and the theology of the Church’s office. Luther’s theology has been applied both to defending and rejecting women’s ordination. The main problem between the Church and the main group of the Laestadians concerns their exclusive doctrine of the Church or the congregation.

Academic Luther Research and Lutheran Theology in Finland

Already from the early 19th century, people could read about Luther’s person and life in Finnish because several Luther biographies and presentations of the Reformation history were written and translated into Finnish. The academic historical research on the Lutheran Reformation and its influence upon the Finnish Church and theology had begun by Herman Råbergh at the end of the 19th century. Many Church historians have continued this line, first of them Jaakko Gummerrus, who made extensive research on the Finnish Reformer Mikael Agricola. He also gave a speech at the Reformation festivities in 1917, in which he dealt with Luther’s personality and theology in the spirit of Cultural Protestantism.46 For the same Jubilee, professor Martti Ruuth wrote a Finnish popular biography of the young Luther.47 Later the professors Kauko Pirinen (1915‒1999) and Simo Heininen (b. 1943) continued the research on the Reformation in Finland. Pirinen has also written a presentation of the history of Luther interpretations. Professor Kaarlo Arffman (b. 1950) has published several books and articles concerning Luther and the Reformation. He has studied, for example, the meaning of the history of the Church for Luther and Luther’s and his colleagues’ efforts to renew the poor relief.48

The systematic-theological research on Luther started in the end of the 1920s. Both German and Swedish Luther research were important from the beginning. The first phase of the Finnish Luther Research that lasted to the 1950s was closely connected with the German Luther Renaissance, especially Karl Holl, Erich Vogelsang, Emanuel Hirsch, Erich Seeberg, and Paul Althaus. Eino Sormunen (1893–1972) published a study about Luther’s conception of God’s grace during the 1930s, a book on The Special Nature of Luther’s Ethics, and a Luther biography. In the beginning, Sormunen follows the main line of the Luther Renaissance: the justification is not a metaphysical and nature-like condition but a personal and ethical relation. It cannot be any metaphysical change nor a remaining state but a relation to God and a repeatedly new experience of sin and grace.49 Even though Sormunen criticized the Ritschlian Luther interpretation about rationalism and moralism, he shares the same philosophical presuppositions. Sormunen was elected Bishop in 1939 and has had a deep and long-lasting influence in the Finnish Lutheranism.50 He wrote, for example, the text of the Christian Doctrine, an interpretation of Luther’s “Small Catechism,” of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was in use from the end of the 1930s to the 1990s. He—and with him many others—also promoted an understanding of a church, which does not pose any revivalist presuppositions for its members. He considered this kind of “people’s church” based on Luther research. Gradually this view became the main line of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.51

In the 1930s, also Yrjö J. Alanen (1890–1960) and Lennart Pinomaa (1901–1996) published their first studies on Luther. Both acted later as professors of systematic theology. Alanen’s main area in Luther research was ethics, whereas Pinomaa introduced Luther as an existential theologian and dealt with the themes of God’s wrath and human anxiety. Also the professor of dogmatics, Osmo Tiililä, who is commonly considered a representative of pietistic Lutheranism, published one academic study with a long chapter on Luther’s theology. Even though he was not specialized in Luther research, he has estimated it as his most important work.52 The notion of Christ’s suffering as surrogate punishment, which he found in Luther, was central for his own theology of the atonement. Tiililä’s writings have been highly estimated among the Finnish revival movements.

For Alanen, Luther’s central ethical concepts are righteousness, freedom, and conscience. Christian freedom is inward and spiritual freedom of the conscience. Therefore, the presupposition of Christian action is purification of the conscience.53 The truly Christian action is, thus, the work of the free human being, who lives in God’s and the neighbor’s service. The human being has the real freedom and thus the correct ethical attitude only when his will is united with God’s will.

In line with the Luther Renaissance, Alanen stresses that this unity with God in Christ is not a mystical union. Alanen understands the mystical union as smelting of the human soul with God and Christ and therefore excludes mysticism from Luther’s thought. In the common Protestant manner, he juxtaposes Luther’s personal understanding of faith to the mystical and impersonal view of faith. Faith is a deeply personal matter, a conscious position concerning God. In faith, the human being is united with God but remains an independent person.54 The personal character of Luther’s relation to God appears also in the significance of the conscience for him. Through conscience, the human being is in a personal and responsible relation with God and her environment.

Lennart Pinomaa, who was the first internationally known Finnish Luther scholar, adopted impacts both from the German Luther Renaissance and from the Swedish Lundensian theology. His view of Luther’s theology of anguished conscience comes mostly from the German Luther Renaissance. For him, Karl Holl has expressed the existential character of Luther’s theology in plain words by stressing religion as a personal matter of concern.55 Except Holl, Pinomaa appreciated and followed also the Luther interpretation of Erich Vogelsang. But Søren Kierkegaard also inspires his analysis of spiritual anguish. For him Luther and Kierkegaard agree on the insight that a speculative approach to questions of human existence is erroneous. Just as Kierkegaard defended the subjective point of view as the only one possible, Luther fought after his reformatory experience against the Aristotelian rational approach as blind to divine revelation.56

In his best-known book Faith Victorious, Pinomaa emphasizes Christ’s presence in faith as the basis of justification. Christ and faith have to be really united. In Luther’s view “the real presence of Christ is not magico-sacramental presence or an emotional state but a presence that is operative in the Word.” Christ`s presence is realized whenever the Gospel is preached. Then Christ rules in the believers, renews and rules their consciences.57 Thus, Pinomaa understands the presence of Christ as an event in connection with actual preaching of the Gospel.

The second phase of Finnish Luther Research begins in the 1950s and its central person is Lauri Haikola (1917–1987), who studied in Sweden after the World War II under the supervision of Professor Herbert Olsson. He adopted the so-called Lundensian approach to systematic theology there. Haikola’s most productive time was the 1950s and in 1959 he was appointed professor of theological ethics and philosophy of religion at the University of Helsinki. Haikola became internationally known through his study Usus legis, which was published in 1958.58 The main issue in the book is the role of the law in a Christian’s life that is about the “third use” of the law. It was also partially an answer to Uuras Saarnivaara’s revivalist Luther interpretation in his study Luther Discovers the Gospel.59 For Haikola, there is a clear difference between Luther who did not teach the third use and Melanchthon, as well as the Lutheran Confessions here.60 In Finland, Haikola was influential through his numerous students to whom he taught Luther’s theology. However, his students did not write any Luther studies before Jorma Laulaja’s (bishop emeritus of Lapua diocese) dissertation in 1981 on “The Ethics of the Golden Rule.”61 Laulaja has thereafter written a presentation of Lutheran ethics as well.62 Haikola’s impact has been strong especially in the socio-ethical thinking of the Finnish Lutheran Church. Furthermore, he taught that there are clear differences between Luther and Melanchthon as well as between Luther and the Lutheran Confessions. In his view, Melanchthon has difficulties in keeping the forensic and effective aspects of the justification together, whereas for Luther they are inseparable.63 He also began to criticize German Luther Research on certain of its Neo-Kantian presuppositions, for example, concerning Luther’s understanding of the natural moral law.64

During the 1960s, the research on Luther was strong in the Swedish-speaking theological faculty in Åbo Akademi. In the year 1968, Lorenz Grönvik published a dissertation on Luther’s understanding of the baptism,65 and Fredric Cleve a study on the conception of the Eucharist in Luther.66 Afterwards, Grönvik worked as the secretary of theological affairs for a long time and influenced the ecumenical relations of the Lutheran Church of Finland strongly. Cleve became a professor of systematic theology in the Åbo Akademi and he had impact on church theology as well. After them, Docent Leif Erikson and Bernice Sundkvist have represented Luther research in the Åbo Akademi. Erikson has studied the conceptions of unio and inhabitatio in Luther and early Lutheranism67 and also published studies on Luther’s pneumatology and view of the Bible. Sundkvist’s thesis is about the sacramental character of Luther’s preaching.68 She then acted as the professor of practical theology there.

Some themes of the third phase of the Finnish Luther research are in nuce present already in Haikola’s thinking. The third phase began at the end of the 1970s when Tuomo Mannermaa (1937–2015) published his study “In ipsa fide Christus adest: The Intersection of the Lutheran and the Orthodox Conceptions of the Christian Faith.” He maintains that not only the Eastern Orthodox theology but also Luther knows a certain kind of deification (theosis) of the believer. However, Mannermaa never claims that Lutheran and Orthodox conceptions of the deification are similar.69 His thesis has become known among Lutheran theologians all over the world and it has aroused a lively discussion.

Because of the context of Mannermaa’s innovative opening, the new phase of the Finnish Luther research has often been combined with the Lutheran–Orthodox ecumenical relations. However, the research project, which followed Mannermaa’s study has been historically oriented in the sense that the main interest has been in Luther’s own thought and writings as such. The main results of the project have then proved ecumenically fruitful, not only in the Lutheran–Orthodox relations but also in all other discussions that the Finnish Lutheran Church has had with other churches and denominations, like the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Churches, the Methodists, the Baptists, and the Pentecostals. The strongest disagreement with the results of the Finnish Luther research has come from German Protestantism and from Lutheran Confessionalism. The Protestants criticize the ontological or “real-ontic” understanding of Luther’s theology. The Confessional Lutheran theology may join with the emphasis on Christ’s real presence in faith but it neither accepts the emphasis of the close connection between justification and sanctification nor adopts the ecumenical consequences concerning the doctrine of justification. Otherwise, as is often maintained, for Mannermaa there is not any shift from Christ’s objective reconciliation on the cross to the subjective experience of Christ’s presence. The presence of Christ means participation in everything that Christ is and what he has done.70

Another central theme for Mannermaa is Luther’s relationship between faith and love. The book Two Kinds of Love: Martin Luther’s Religious World, which is based on Luther’s differentiation between human and Divine love, was published in Finnish in 1983.71 In this issue, one may see the inheritance from the Swedish Luther Research and Anders Nygren very clearly, as well as secession from it.72 Mannermaa adheres to Nygren’s view of Luther as a theologian of love and of agape or donating love as the nature of the divine and Christian love. However, he criticizes the distinction between eros and agape and the neglecting of the union with Christ, and denies Nygren’s Neo-Kantian value theoretic understanding of agape. He also disagrees with Nygren concerning the sinfulness of all pursuing love and its identification with eros.

Also, in Mannermaa’s view there is a clear difference between Luther and the Lutheran Confessions concerning the relation between justification and sanctification. Mannermaa stresses that for Luther these aspects are inseparable, whereas the Confessions make a distinction between the forensic justification and the effective sanctification. Already Mannermaa’s teacher Lauri Haikola had drawn this conclusion and it may be an inheritance of the German Luther Renaissance. Mannermaa’s student Olli-Pekka Vainio has analyzed the history of the doctrine of justification in early Lutheranism from Luther to the Book of Concord. The result of his study is that there are problems in the formulations of the issue because the writers try to avoid everything that would resemble Andreas Osiander’s teaching on justification. Nevertheless, the Formula of Concord is compatible with Luther’s theology, deification included. Vainio argues that when Formula of Concord III speaks about inhabitatio Dei as the result of imputation, the authors of the document mean by it the inchoate renewal caused by God. Therefore, this particular passage does not refer to the unio cum Christo, and it does not discuss the Christological context of justification.73 Furthermore, for Mannermaa, it was always central that this participation takes place through Christ’s humanity. This is something that diverges clearly from Osiander’s view about participation in the Divine nature and leads to quite a different understanding concerning redemption and deification.74

In Finland Mannermaa’s publications on Luther have been widely read and influential but the reception of his views varies. The Church has used the conception of faith as real participation in Christ successfully in many ecumenical dialogues. Also the at least partially new view of faith, love, and Christian ethics has been significant. One emphasis that has been largely accepted is the central role of the golden rule in Lutheran ethics. However, the understanding of the exact content of the rule may differ.

Mannermaa presented some ideas and sketches concerning Luther’s understanding of faith, love, theological ontology, the Church, and practicing of spiritual life. He has also applied the insights to the theology of pastoral care and to the diaconia of the Church. Many of these themes have been studied more thoroughly by his colleagues and pupils. The recent Finnish Luther research has been presented and described in many contexts both in German and in English.75 First, there is a continuing interest of understanding Luther from his medieval background. Cooperation with research on medieval philosophy and theology has been important for understanding Luther’s view of the relation between philosophy and theology, which concretizes itself in understanding of theological language and semantics, logical reasoning in philosophy and theology, philosophical psychology and theological anthropology as well as in his conception of action. Also the medieval backgrounds of Luther’s theology of love, theological ethics, and concepts of rights and dominium have been studied.

Second, like Lauri Haikola, Mannermaa noticed certain philosophical presuppositions in 20th-century Luther research. The main target was the Neo-Protestant and Neo-Kantian way to read Luther as an anti-ontological and anti-mystical theologian. Risto Saarinen (b. 1959), the successor of Mannermaa in the chair of ecumenics, wrote his dissertation on the especially Neo-Kantian philosophical presuppositions of the German Luther Research.76 Also many other publications of the project contain a presentation of the research history, which take the philosophical presuppositions into consideration.

Third, Luther’s theology is understood in a clearly Trinitarian way and Luther’s understanding of God as the self-giving Trinity has also been studied even though no monograph on that theme has not been published.77 Pekka Kärkkäinen has studied Luther’s pneumatology from a Trinitarian perspective78 and the Trinitarian foundation of theology is important in many other studies as well.79 The groundwork on the topic of participation in the divine life and deification is Simo Peura’s (b. 1957), now bishop of Lapua diocese, study Mehr als ein Mensch?, where he shows how the participation and deification are included in Luther’s understanding of justification.80 The theme of the faith as participation is important also in some other studies.81 Several other topics have been investigated as well.82

Luther’s theology of love, his theological ethics based on a specific understanding of the golden rule, and conceptions of the gift and giving have been researched and applied to contemporary discussions.83 The Evangelical Lutheran Church has applied the results to some present-day questions like the rise of neo-liberal economical thinking and the Nordic welfare state84 as well as the global and local reasons and consequences of climate change.85 The Church has also published a catechism for responsible citizenship, which is theologically based mostly on the insights of the new Luther research.

The research project, which Mannermaa grounded, has also produced several article collections in Finnish, German, and English, partly in cooperation with foreign researchers.86 For example, An Introduction to Luther’s Theology, as well as An Introduction to the Theology of Lutheran Spirituality, have appeared in Finnish.

The third phase of the Finnish Luther research is still going on and new studies are underway. So far the ontological understanding of the faith as real participation in Christ has formed the Finnish Lutheranism to some degree. Nevertheless, the Lutheran Faith in Finland contains also other, earlier layers.

Review of the Literature

Literature concerning Luther’s impact in the Baltic countries and Finland and the reception of his thought is quite fragmentary. A comprehensive study on the topic has not been written.87 The beginning of the Reformation and Luther’s role in it has been studied to some degree. The most recent fruit of the historical studies concerning the Reformation in Finland is Simo Heininen’s biography of Mikael Agricola.88 Heininen deals also with Agricola’s relation to Luther. Luther’s role in the Baltic Reformation has been described by Joachim Kuhles and Jokubas Minkevicius in article form. The Luther reception in the time of Lutheran Orthodoxy has been hardly studied at all. Only some short comments have been presented in the historical research. We have to come to the 19th century in order to find some research on Luther interpretations. In the Baltics, this means especially research on the thought of certain professors of the University of Tartu, especially Theodosius Harnack and von Alexander von Oettingen. Harnack’s Luther interpretation has been described on different occasions, though often very briefly.89 Poder has studied von Oettingen’s theology and also commented on his Luther interpretation.90

Luther’s position in the 19th-century Finnish academic theology has not been examined, but Eino Murtorinne makes some comments in his History of the Finnish Theology 1828–1918. Probably there is not very much to say because Luther was not studied at that time. In any case, the Luther interpretations of the revival leaders are better known. Many studies deal with them because a decisive disagreement between two revival leaders was based on their views of Luther’s theology. The impact of Luther’s theology in Finland until the 1980s has been presented in the book Luther in Finnland.91 The history and certain emphases of the systematic-theological Luther research from the 1930s onward has been presented in articles by Eeva Martikainen, Juhani Forsberg, and Risto Saarinen.92


Cordial thanks to professors Jouko Talonen and Thomas-Andreas Põder for sharing important information and to Master of Arts Katri Liimola for linguistic help.

Further Reading

Braaten, Carl E., and Jenson, Robert W., eds. Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.Find this resource:

Forsberg, Juhani. “Die finnische Lutherforschung seit 1979.” In Lutherjahrbuch 2005. Edited by Helmar Junghans, 147–182. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2005.Find this resource:

Kuhles, Joachim. “Luther und die Reformation in Livland.” In Martin Luther: Leben, Werk, Wirkung. 2d rev. ed, vol. 429‒438. Edited by Günter Vogler, Siegfried Hoyer, Adolf Laube, and Ingrid. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986.Find this resource:

Mannermaa, Tuomo. Christ Present in Faith. Foreword and introduction by Kirsi Stjerna. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005.Find this resource:

Mannermaa, Tuomo. Two Kinds of Love: Introduction to Martin Luther’s Religious World. Edited, translated, and introduction by Kirsi Stjerna. Afterword by Juhani Forsberg. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010.Find this resource:

Martikainen, Eeva. “Lutherforschung in Finnland seit 1934.” Theologische Rundschau. 53.4 (1988), 371–387.Find this resource:

Minkevičius, Jokūbas. “Kulturelle Wirkung Luthers in Litauen.” In Martin Luther: Leistung und Erbe. Edited by Gerhard Brendler and Horst Bartel. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986.Find this resource:

Ruokanen, Miikka, ed. Luther in Finnland. 2d rev. ed. Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1986.Find this resource:

Saarinen, Risto. “Justification by Faith: The View of the Mannermaa School.” In The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology. Edited by Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lúbomir Batka, 254–263. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Saarinen, Risto. “Partizipation als Gabe: Zwanzig Jahre neue finnische Lutherforschung.” Ökumenische Rundschau 57 (2008): 131–143.Find this resource:

Vainio, Olli-Pekka, ed. Engaging Luther: A (New) Theological Assessment. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010.Find this resource:

Wittram, Heinrich. Einblicke in die Baltische Kirchengesichte. Rheinbach: CMZ-Verlag, 2011.Find this resource:

Wittram, Reinhard, ed. Baltische Kirchengeschichte. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1956.Find this resource:


(1.) Ingė Lukšaitė, “The Reformation in Lithuania: A New Look. Historiography and Interpretation,” Lituanus: Lithuanian Quarterly Journal of Arts and Sciences 57.3 (2011).

(2.) Jokūbas Minkevičius, “Kulturelle Wirkung Luthers in Litauen,” in Martin Luther: Leistung und Erbe, eds. Gerhard Brendler and Horst Bartel (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986), 358.

(3.) Lukšaitė, “The Reformation in Lithuania.”

(4.) Joachim Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation in Livland,” in Martin Luther: Leben, Werk, Wirkung, eds. Günter Vogler, Siegfried Hoyer, Adolf Laube, and Ingrid Volz (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1986), 430–431.

(5.) Seppo Zetterberg, Viron historia (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007), 148; Eino Murtorinne, “Kirkolliset vaiheet,” in Viro: Historia, kansa, kulttuuri, ed. Seppo Zetterberg (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1995), 146.

(6.) Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation,” 431.

(7.) Ralph Ruhtenberg, “Die Beziehungen Luthers und den andere Wittenberger Reformatoren zu Livland,” in Baltische Kirchengeschichte, ed. R. Wittram (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1956), 57, 61.

(8.) Antti Ruutu, “Liivinmaan reformaation kuvainraastot” (The iconoclasts in Livonia at the Reformation time), in Suomen Kirkkohistoriallisen Seuran vuosikirja 2004 (Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen Seura, 2004), 52.

(9.) R. Wittram, “Die Reformation in Livland,” in Baltische Kirchengeschichte, ed. R. Wittram (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1956), 38–39.

(10.) See Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation,” 436.

(11.) Ruutu, “Liivinmaan reformaation kuvainraastot,” 61–62.

(12.) R. Wittram, “Die Reformation in Livland,” 39–40.

(13.) Murtorinne, “Kirkolliset vaiheet,” 151. The writer speaks about Sylvester Stegmaier but evidently means Sylvester Tegetmaier. For his relation to Karlstadt, see also Wittram, “Die Reformation in Livland,” 39.

(14.) WA 12:148, 21–32; 149, 13–25. For Luther’s understanding of the golden rule as a principle of love, see Antti Raunio, Summe des christlichen Lebens: Die “goldene Regel” als Gesetz der Liebe in der Theologie Martin Luthers (Wiesbaden: Verlag Zabern, Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2001). See also the article “Love” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther.

(15.) See Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation,” 432.

(16.) Jouko Talonen, “Latvian kirkolliset vaiheet,” in Latvian historiaa ja kulttuuria, eds. Marjo Mela and Lembit Vaba (Helsinki: Rozentals-Seura, 2005), 136–138.

(17.) WA 15:360–378.

(18.) Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation,” 433–435. Kuhles says erroneously that Hoffman would have moved to Münster. In fact, he did not live there, but through his prophecy of Christ’s second coming indirectly influenced the Anabaptist rebellion in 1534.

(19.) Kuhles, “Luther und die Reformation,” 437.

(20.) Minkevičius, “Kulturelle Wirkung,” 359.

(22.) Thomas-Andreas Põder, “Bemerkungen/Bausteine/Anregungen zu Luther in Estland.” Attachment of an e-mail to author, July 29, 2016, 2.

(23.) Talonen, “Latvian kirkolliset vaiheet,” 141.

(24.) Murtorinne, “Kirkolliset vaiheet,” 151.

(25.) So Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther im Spiegel der deutschen Geistesgeschichte (Heidelberg, Germany: Quelle & Meyer, 1955), 47. Also Werner Elert has revered Th. Harnack’s book on Luther’s theology. See Heinrich Wittram, Einblicke in die baltische Kirchengeschichte (Rheinbach: CMZ-Verlag, 2011), 74.

(26.) Heinrich Wittram, “Auseinanderstezung mit der kritischen Theologie,” in Baltische Kirchengeschichte, ed. R. Wittram (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1956), 236–237; “Einblicke in die baltische Kirchengesichte,” in ibid., 73–74.

(27.) Thomas-Andreas Põder, Solidarische Toleranz: Kreuzestheologie und Sozialethik bei Alexander von Oettingen (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2016).

(28.) Wittram, “Auseinadersetzung,” 237–238.

(29.) Wittram, “Einblicke,” 118, 240.

(30.) Põder, “Bemerkungen,” 5–7.

(31.) Martin Luther, Valitud tööd, (Selected Works), koost. U. Petti, tlk. Anne Burghardt, Meelis Friedenthal, Marju Lepajõe, and Urmas Petti (Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2013).

(32.) Põder, “Bemerkungen,” 8.

(33.) Jouko Talonen, “Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Theology in 1920‒1940,” in Systematic Theology and the Science of Religion, manuscript, 2016, forthcoming.

(34.) Talonen, “Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Theology.”

(35.) Simo Heininen, Die finnischen Studenten in Wittenberg 1531–1552. Schriften der Luther–Agricola–Gesellschaft A 19 (Helsinki: Luther–Agricola–Gesellschaft, 1980), 25.

(36.) Simo Heininen, Mikael Agricola: Elämä ja teokset (Helsinki: Edita, 2007), 36–39.

(37.) Simo Heininen, Die finnischen Studenten, 25–26.

(38.) Heininen, Mikael Agricola.

(39.) Pentti Laasonen, Suomen kirkon historia, vol. 2, 1593–1809 (Porvoo: WSOY, 1991), 220–221.

(40.) Pentti Laasonen, Vanhan ja uuden rajamaastossa: Johannes Gezelius nuorempi kulttuurivaikuttajana (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2009), 251. English summary: “On the Eve of the New: The Cultural Leader Role Played by Johannes Gezelius the Younger.”

(41.) Martti Ruuth, “Lutherin persoonallisuus ja vaikutus Suomen herännäisyyden heijastamina,” in Lutherin uskonpuhdistus ja Suomen kirkko I (Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen seura, 1921), 152–160.

(42.) Ibid., 185–186.

(43.) Eino Murtorinne, “Die Bedeutung Luthers für die Finnischen Erweckungsbewegungen im 19. Jahrhundert,” in Luther in Finnland. Schriften der Luther–Agricola–Gesellschaft A 19, ed. Miikka Ruokanen (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1986), 22–23.

(44.) There is no official English name for this movement, but the term “Heränneet” may be translated as “the Awakened.”

(45.) For Luther’s significance to the Finnish revival movements in the 19th century, see Murtorinne, “Die Bedeutung Luthers für die finnischen Erweckungsbewegungen,” 11–22.

(46.) Jaakko Gummerrus, “Luther ja hänen uskonsa,” in Lutherin uskonpuhdistus ja Suomen kirkko I (Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen Seura, 1921), 1–16.

(47.) Simo Heininen, “The Reformation Celebrations in Finland,” in Luther, reformaatio ja kirja (Luther, the Reformation, and the book), ed. Tuija Laine (Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen Seura ja Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 2012), 123–130.

(48.) Kaarlo Arffman, Sanan jäljet: Kirkon historian merkitys Martti Lutherin teologiassa (Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 1993);Auttamisen vallankumous: Luterilaisuuden yritys ratkaista köyhyyden aiheuttamat ongelmat (Helsinki: Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, 2008). For an English summary of the latter: Kaarlo Arffman, “The Lutheran Reform of Poor Relief: A Historical and Legal Viewpoint,” in Lutheran Reformation and the Law, ed. Virpi Mäkinen (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 205–230.

(49.) For Sormunen’s understanding of justification and his critique of Karl Holl’s view, see Eeva Martikainen, “Lutherforschung in Finnland seit 1934.” Theologische Rundschau (1988) 373–374.

(50.) Ibid., 374–375.

(51.) Eino Murtorinne, “Luthers Bedeutung für die neuere Theologie in Finnland,” in Luther in Finnland. Schriften der Luther–Agricola–Gesellschaft A 19, ed. Miikka Ruokanen (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1986), 29.

(52.) Osmo Tiililä, Das Strafleiden Christi: Beitrag zur Diskussion über die Typeneinteilung der Versöhungsmotive, Acta Academia Scientiarum Fennicae B XLVIII, 1 (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1941), 200–259.

(53.) Yrjö J. E. Alanen, Das Gewissen bei Luther, Acta Academia Scientiarum Fennicae B XXIX, 2 (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1934), 69.

(54.) Ibid., 74–75.

(55.) Lennart Pinomaa, Die existentielle Charakter des Glaubens. Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae B XLVII, 3 (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1940), 82–83.

(56.) Ibid., 12–13.

(57.) Lennart Pinomaa, Faith Victorious: An Introduction to Luther’s Theology (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963), 60.

(58.) Lauri Haikola, Usus legis. 2d ed. Schriften der Luther–Agricola–Gesellschat A 20 (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1981).

(59.) Risto Saarinen, “The Study of Luther in Finland,” in Luther, reformaatio ja kirja (Luther, the Reformation, and the book), ed. Tuija Laine (Helsinki: Suomen Kirkkohistoriallinen seura ja Suomalainen Teologinen kirjallisuusseura, 2012), 148.

(60.) Martikainen, “Lutherforschung in Finnland,” 377.

(61.) Jorma Laulaja, Kultaisen säännön etiikka: Lutherin sosiaalietiikan luonnonoikeudellinen perusstruktuuri (Ethics of the Golden Rule) (Helsinki: Missiologian ja ekumeniikan seura, 1980).

(62.) Jorma Laulaja, Elämän oikea ja väärä (Helsinki: Kirjapaja, 1994).

(63.) Lauri Haikola, “Melanchthons and Luthers Lehre von der Rechtfertigung: Ein Vergleich,” in Teologisia tutkimuksia, ed. Petri Järveläinen (Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, [1961] 1997), 100.

(64.) Lauri Haikola, “Luther und das Naturrecht,” in Teologisia tutkimuksia, ed. P. Järveläinen (Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, [1961] 1997), 101–105.

(65.) Lorenz Grönvik, Die Taufe in der Theologie Martin Luthers. Acta Academia Aboensis, Humaniora 36 (Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 1968).

(66.) Fredric Cleve, Luthers nattvardslära mot bakgrunden av Gabriel Biels uppfattning av nattvard och sacrament. Acta Academiae Aboensis, Humaniora 35 (Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 1968).

(67.) Leif Erikson, Inhabitatio—illuminatio—unio: en studie i Luthers och den äldre lutherdomens teologi. Meddelanden från Stiftelsens för Åbo akademi forskningsinstitut 116 (Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 1986).

(68.) Bernice Sundkvist, Det sakramentala draget i Luthers förkunnelse (Åbo: Åbo Akademis förlag, 2001).

(69.) By using the term “intersection,” Mannermaa only wants to say that—unlike what had been thought earlier—in this point there actually is something in common between the Lutheran and Orthodox traditions.

(70.) See also Olli-Pekka Vainio, “Luther and Theosis: A Response to the Critics of Finnish Luther Research,” Pro Ecclesia 24.4 (Fall 2015): 469–470.

(71.) In English: Tuomo Mannermaa, Two Kinds of Love: Martin Luther’s Religious World, trans., ed., and introduction by Kirsi Stjerna (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010).

(72.) Ibid., 108. The writer does not explain his relation to Nygen’s views precisely but assumes that they will be evident for those who know the issue.

(73.) Vainio, “Luther and Theosis,” 471.

(74.) See esp. Simo Peura, “Gott und Mensch in der Unio: Die Unterschiede im Rechtfertigungsverständnis bei Osiander und Luther,” in Unio: Gott und Mensch in der nachreformatorischen Theologie, eds. Matti Repo and Rainer Vinke (Helsinki: Suomalainen teologinen kirjallisuusseura, 1996), 33–61; and Vainio, “Luther and Theosis,” 472.

(75.) See esp. Juhani Forsberg, “Afterword: The Finnish Luther Research since 1979,” in Mannermaa, Two Kinds of Love, 89–103; “Die finnische Lutherforschung seit 1979,” in Lutherjahrbuch 2005, ed. Helmar Junghans (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2005), 147–182; and Risto Saarinen, “Partizipation als Gabe: Zwanzig Jahre neue finnische Lutherforschung,” Ökumenische Rundschau 57 (2008): 131–143.

(76.) Risto Saarinen, Gottes Wirken auf uns. Die transzendentale Deutung des Gegenwart-Christi-Motivs in der Lutherforschung, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz Bd. 137 (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1989).

(77.) Tuija Mannström, Oleminen on rakastamista: Martti Lutherin käsitys trinitaarisesta Jumalasta. Lisensiaatintutkimus (Being is loving: Martin Luther’s conception of Trinitarian God. Unprinted licentiate’s thesis) (Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto, 2000).

(78.) Pekka Kärkkäinen, Luthers trinitarische Theologie des Heiligen Geistes (Wiesbaden: Zabern Verlag, Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2003).

(79.) For the discussion concerning theosis, see Vainio, “Luther and Theosis,” 459–474; and Risto Saarinen, “Justification by Faith: The View of the Mannermaa School,” in The Oxford Handbook of Martin Luther’s Theology, eds. Robert Kolb, Irene Dingel, and Lúbomir Batka (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 254–263.

(80.) Simo Peura, Mehr als ein Mensch? Die Vergöttlichung als Thema der Theologie Martin Luthers von 1513 bis 1519, Veröffentlichungen des Institut für Europäische Geschichte Mainz (Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1994). See also Peura’s study “Iustitia christiana in Luthers später Auslegung des Galaterbriefes (1531/1535),” in Lutherjahrbuch 2004, ed. Helmar Junghans (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2005), 179–210.

(81.) Juhani Forsberg, Pater fidei sanctissimus: Das Abrahamsbild in der Theologie Martin Luthers (Wiesbaden: Zabern Verlag, Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1984); Eero Huovinen, Kuolemattomuudesta osallinen: Martti Lutherin kuoleman teologian ekumeeninen perusongelma (Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 1982). A summary in German: “An der Unsterblichkeit Teilhaftig—das ökumneische Grundproblem in der Todestheologie Luthers,” in Luther in Finnland, Schriften der Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft A 23, ed. Miikka Ruokanen (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1986), 130–144.

(82.) For the article collections in German, see the section "Luther Studies in Finland" on Risto Saarinen's

(83.) Antti Raunio, Summe des christlichen Lebens; Järki, usko ja lähimmäisen hyvä (Reason, faith and the neighbor’s good) (Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 2007); and Risto Saarinen, God and the Gift: An Ecumenical Theology of Giving (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2005).

(84.) “Towards the Common Good. Statement on the Future of the Welfare Society by the Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, March 1999.”

(85.) “Gratitude, Respect, Moderation. Climate Program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland” (Helsinki: Office of the Church Council, 2008).

(86.) In English: Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds., Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998); Ulrik Nissen, Anna Vind, and Olli-Pekka Vainio, ed., Luther between Present and Past: Studies in Luther and Lutheranism (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola–Society, 2004); and Olli-Pekka Vainio, ed., Engaging Luther: A (New) Theological Assessment (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010).

(87.) A short sketch of the history of Luther research in Finland is Saarinen, “The Study of Luther in Finland,” in Luther, reformaatio ja kirja ed. Tuija Laine (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura ja Suomalainen Teologinen Kirjallisuusseura, 2012), 133–151.

(88.) Simo Heininen, Mikael Agricola: Elämä ja teokset (Mikael Agricola: Life and Works) (Helsinki: Edita, 2007).

(89.) See, e.g., H. Wittram, “Einblicke.”

(90.) Põder, Solidarische Toleranz. See also Heinrich Wittram, “Alexander von Oettingen (1827–1905)—Theologe und Sozialethiker in Dorpat,” in Geisteswissenschaften und Publizistik im Baltikum des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, Schriften der Baltischen Historischen Kommission 17, eds. by Norbert Angermann, Wilhelm Lenz und Konrad Maier (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011).

(91.) Miikka Ruokanen, ed., Luther in Finnland Schriften der Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft A 23 (Helsinki: Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft, 1986).

(92.) See the titles in the list of further readings. The author would also like to cordially thank Prof. Jouko Talonen and Prof. Thomas-Andreas Põder for sharing important information for this article, and Master of Arts Katri Liimola for linguistic help.