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Porvoo Common Statement

(2,330 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto
The Porvoo Common Statement (in the following: “Porvoo”) is a theological text that serves as a foundation of church unity between the British and Irish Anglican churches, on the one hand, and the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches, on the other. The text was completed in Porvoo, Finland, an old diocesan town near Helsinki, and was published in 1993. The participating churches approved it in their synods between 1994 and 1995. The Lutheran churches of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Lithu…


(91 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto
[German Version] In Catholic theology, “extrinsicism” refers to those definitions of the relationship between nature and grace that emphasize its external features ( extrinsece) and thus neglect the experience of grace. M. Blondel criticized the extrinsic elements of the Catholic natura pura concept; K. Rahner developed his fundamental theology in reaction to extrinsicism. In a theoretical sense, extrinsic can also characterize the relationship between the enterprise of fundamental theology and the content of faith (Intrinsic). Risto Saarinen Bibliography M. Seckler, “Zu …

Grace, Doctrine of

(1,126 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto
[German Version] I. History of the Problem – II. Systematic Theology I. History of the Problem Augustine's battle against the Pelagians (Pelagius) shaped the doctrine of grace for Western theology. While Greek patristics regarded God's act of grace as “part of the great doctrine of salvation” (Auer 987), the Fall became the central theological problem for Augustine which he treated in independent tractates such as De natura et gratia and De gratia Christi et peccato originali. Thus, the Augustine doctrine of grace explained how God deals with sinful humans and, conse…


(163 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto
[German Version] The Latin word causa is usually understood to denote the causal element of a cause and effect relationship (Causality: I). The Aristotelian system of four causes ( causa efficiens, causa finalis, causa formalis, and causa materialis; Arist. Metaph. I, 3; Phys. II, 3) profoundly influenced theological thought in Scholasticism and Lutheran orthodoxy (II, 2.a). Causa can also ¶ denote the necessary conditions ( causa sine qua non) for something to take place. – In the expressions causa sui and causa prima, causa functions as a term for God. As causa sui, God is his own ca…

Nature and Supernature

(847 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology As a result of classical cosmology and New Testament usage of the terms heavenly and earthly (e.g. 1 Cor 15:46–49; Eph 4:9–10), many early Christian writers used the expressions ὑπὲρ τὴν ϕύσιν/ hypér tḗn phýsin or super naturam to denote a reality transcending nature. Latin Scholasticism was familiar with the words supernaturaliter and supernaturalis from the works of (Pseudo-) Dionysius Areopagita and John Scotus Eriugena. In the Scholastic tradition, Thomas Aquinas called grace a supernatural reality (e.g. Summa theologiae II/I, q. 11…

Original Sin

(1,742 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto | Böttigheimer, Christoph
[German Version] I. Definition – II. Catholic Theology – III. Protestant Theology I. Definition The term original sin generally denotes the sinfulness or fault inherent in human beings prior to anything they do. In the Christian tradition, original sin can be understood as the source of all morally evil actions; it can also mean inherited guilt per se. As an inherent force, original sin differs from sinful acts. The distinction remains debatable, however, because without further qualification it calls into question the unitary characterization of sin …

Nature and Grace

(1,974 words)

Author(s): Saarinen, Risto | Meyer-Blanck, Michael
[German Version] I. Fundamental Theology The words nature and grace are used (primarily in Catholic theology) to explain the relationship between philosophical anthropology (I) and the reality of God’s salvation, conceived theologically. This discussion, peculiar to the West, normally involves only the nature of human beings, not that of other beings. The language of medieval Aristotelianism, especially that of Thomas Aquinas, decisively shaped the treatment of this topic by fundamental theology. According to Thomas, grace does not abolish nature but perfects it ( Summa theolo…

Scandinavia, Theology in

(5,232 words)

Author(s): Gregersen, Niels Henrik | Rasmusson, Arne | Bergmann, Sigurd | Saarinen, Risto
[German Version] I. Denmark With the coming of the Reformation in 1536, the University of Copenhagen, founded in 1478, gained new academic status. P. Palladius was among the first of many Danish theologians to receive a doctorate at Wittenberg. In his dual role as bishop of Zealand and professor of theology (a provision in place until 1830), he was well aware of his office as both ecclesiastical superintendent and royal official. Palladius energetically set about implementing the Reformation. Althou…


(9,133 words)

Author(s): Filoramo, Giovanni | Spiekermann, Hermann | Sänger, Dieter | Rieger, Reinhold | Saarinen, Risto | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Systematic Theology – VI. Law – VII. Judaism I. Religious Studies 1. The use of the term grace has been influenced strongly by the historically innovative Pauline conception. For Paul, grace is a gift, a unique fruit of God's salvific purpose and redemptive action. After the analogy of other redemptive religions, Paul employed this term to denote a fundamental aspect of the salvific action of the deity. In other religion…


(11,471 words)

Author(s): Gantke, Wolfgang | Waschke, Ernst-Joachim | Oppenheimer, Aharon | Dan, Joseph | Weder, Hans | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Examination of repentance from the perspective of religious studies must confront the problem that the term itself has no culturally neutral meaning. Many of the phenomena in other religions that Christians tend to call repentance appear in a different light when viewed in the context of different anthropological presuppositions, ¶ so that due weight must be given to the religious anthropology in question. Generally speaking, it is true to say that in almost all non-Christian religions the notion of repentance c…