Kolb, Robert & Charles P. Arand. The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.
Chapter 1, “Luther’s Anthropological Matrix” pp. 23-31.
“Every age brings with it a predominant set of beliefs about what it means to be human and how to live out that humanity. Each configuration of the human being also brings with it an analysis of the ailments that beset human life along with a proposal of the sort of cures that are needed” (Kolb & Arand 2008, 23). An analysis of these anthropological beliefs can lead to a clear and consistent view of human society. Because it is impossible for humans to distance themselves from these presuppositions, the Reformers valued illumination from outside themselves (Kolb & Arand 2008, 24). As part of this attempt to view the world rightly, the Reformers articulated a view of two kinds of righteousness in humans: one from our works (active righteousness) and one from God’s work in us (passive righteousness) (Kolb & arand 2008, 25). “The passive righteousness of faith provides the core identity of a person; the active righteousness of love flows from that core identity out into the world” (Kolb & Arand 2008, 26). Based on this conceptual framework, we can view all of life as somehow based first on a relationship with God and second on a relationship with others (Kolb & Arand 2008, 27). Our righteousness and, hence, our relationship with God, comes from God’s work. Human righteousness and relationships are related to how we interact with others in this world (Kolb & Arand 2008, 28). “Luther insisted that to affirm both dimensions of human existence, they must be kept distinct. But in distinguishing them, Luther also stressed that the two types of righteousness are not alternative forms of human existence” (Kolb & Arand 2008, 29). Both are entirely necessary.