Although the Russian Orthodox Church participates in the activities of the ecumenical movement, it remains sceptical about the evolution of Western Christianity, mainly Protestantism. In particular, attempts to challenge traditional dogmatic and ethical formulations are unacceptable. The Russian Orthodox criticism goes even further when it reveals the sources of the rejection of church tradition in early Protestant theology. In this context, the article presents the main elements of the contemporary Russian Orthodox critique of the Reformation’s rejection of tradition as an authoritative source of Christian faith. The first part outlines the theological and ideological specificity of the Russian Orthodox discourse on the Reformation. The second part presents the Orthodox concept of the authority of tradition in the Church as a starting point for the criticism of the Reformation. The third part discusses the main elements of the criticism of the reformatory concept of sola Scriptura with particular emphasis on its socio-political reasons and consequences.
The paper outlines the Catholic and the Evangelical standpoint on the primate’s function served by the Bishop of Rome and its origin. The controversy revolves around the key phrase, iure divino and iure humano, which points to the divine or human origin of the primacy. In the Catholic perspective, Jesus Christ brought the Church into existence and provided this institution with permanent structural elements: primacy and apostolate. This thesis, considered an imperative of faith, is based on the texts of the Gospel which underscore the primacy of Saint Peter the Apostle among the Twelve and in the early Church. According to the Catholic ecclesiology, it was not only a private privilege enjoyed by Peter but a permanent element of the structure of the Church, which received the formal status of a dogma at the First Vatican Council. From the outset, the Reformation has assumed that primacy is an element shaped in the course of the historical development of the Church. The ecumenical dialogue between Catholicism and Lutheranism led to the establishment of a standpoint veering towards the consideration of the origin of primacy as a matter of lesser consequence. This step was taken in order to underscore the communal dimension of the Church, with its important function in unifying Christianity and presenting it to the world. The basic premise giving credence to this function is its foundation in the Gospel.
This article, written on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, focuses on the subsequent 100th anniversary of this event and the celebrations in a given historical context and in relation to the perception of the person of Martin Luther. Within 500 years of the memorable speech of the Reformation Father, which initiated the “Protestant reform” movement, at least every consecutive hundred years was celebrated as a special commemoration of this fact, which changed the course of European and World history and moved deeply into Christianity. The individual anniversary of the Reformation should therefore be considered in relation to social and political situation in Europe of that time, especially in Germany. It is no less important to draw attention to the figure of the founder of the Reformed Church, which has always focused, even today, on the celebration of the anniversary of the Reformation. The article presents the main themes of Martin Luther’s life in the context of his reform of Christianity and the basic ideas guiding his thoughts. Then, the development of the Reformation is analyzed, understood as the deepening of doctrine and the stabilization of practice, in the years after the death of the founder of the reform movement. Against this background, successive anniversaries of the Protestant reform are presented with regard to the religious and political situation in Europe and in the world, with particular emphasis on the last anniversary i.e. 500th anniversary of the Reformation and its perception in Protestant Churches as well as in the Catholic Church in the context of the development of the ecumenical movement.
The paper’s authors undertake the reflection on the stages of the evolution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s views on the Church and its role as it is played in the lives of its singular members and in the context of the Reformation’s ethical heritage. One can distinguish among three stages of the Bonhoefferian ecclesiology, deepening his vision of the Church. As far as the first one is considered, the Church is defined as the spiritual community of believers, outside of which salvation is impossible. At the second stage the German theologian accentuates the sinfulness of man as a member of the Church. Its recognition constitutes the basis for the transformation that can take place in the human individual due to accepting Christ into oneself. The third stage is stepping into the world of „before-final” matters in the full responsibility for the choices made by particular members of the ecclesial community. The Church, as Bonhoeffer saw it, was supposed to support itself on strong pillars: on freedom, personal responsibility, imitating Christ, neighbourly love, on sacraments and Gospel. In this aspect Bonhoeffer was the faithful continuator of the Reformation program.
The Catholic image of Martin Luther in the course of the centuries evolved from the literally negative one during the time of the Reformation and the centuries that followed, through the theological attempts and historically in-depth analyses inspired by the ecumenical movement up to contemporary acceptance of several theological postulates. Contemporary movements of Roman-Catholic thinking of Luther well summarize historically vulnerable and dogmatically deepened opinions of the recent popes: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Following the agreement texts of the Lutheran-Catholic Commission at the world forum, ecumenically open popes can find out in Martin Luther a profoundly religious man, the witness of the Gospel whose theological thought is still relevant and a challenge for the presently secularized world.
The influence of St. Augustine on the development of western latin theological thinking is significant. In many ways, he also influenced thinking of counter-reformation and reformation theologians, mainly Martin Luther. Martin Luther quotes the passage of the 80th homily on the Gospel of John in the third paragraph of the Smalcald Articles. Therefore, it is certain that Augustine influenced the understanding of baptism, mainly the relation between faith and word during administration of the sacrament of baptism. The aim of our study is to offer theological analysis of the 80th homily on the Gospel of John mentioned above in the context of Augustine´s thinking. It is a short dictated text written by the theologian of Hippo in 419-423 where he explains the Gospel of John 15, 1-5 word by word. Reformation, counter-reformation and post-Trentian theologians used to refer to the third paragraph of the 80th homily too often and their interpretation was influenced by their position, whether they were on the side of Catholics or Protestants. It is interesting that although the text was often quoted, there were only several studies that dealt with it in a professional way. Augustine´s homily reflects the spiritual wealth of the battle with donatism (the role of administrator and recipient of the sacrament of baptism) and pelagianism (baptism of children). In this study, we point to the fact that it is a commentary on the Sacred Scripture, therefore we analyse the homily as a whole. The study also includes the first complete translation of the homily into Slovak language.