Pastoral Two Kinds of Righteousness
I've been pretty to eager to start Jordan Cooper's Hands of Faith since it arrived. I got to pre-read a manuscript of this engagement with "two kinds of righteousness." There was a lot of important and enlightening material that needed more attention. I'm glad to be getting that time now.
Hands of Faith: A Historical and Theological Study of the Two Kinds of Righteousness in Lutheran Thought is a hard title to get through. Thankfully the material itself is more oriented towards laymen and practical outworks of "two kinds of righteousness" to refute common misconceptions of Lutheran ethics. As Joel Biermann states in his foreword:
"This is valuable work and further substantiates both the legitimacy and the remarkable usefulness of the recognition and distinction of two kinds of righteousness. It is no surprise that one who is currently serving God's people in a living parish so readily recognizes the gift that Luther has left his progeny by explicating and practicing the distinction between two kinds of righteousness. Accordingly, Cooper is acutely aware of the needs of parish pastors and so offers concrete and applicable insights into the immediate impact of the two kinds of righteousness on the task of gospel proclamation and the daily care of God's flock. A book that furthers such vital work deserves reading." (xi)
As a Presbyterian, some of the book's content is entirely outside the realm of my immediate concern. But it's main concern is a contemporary "unreasonable emphasis on the law-gospel schema" that distorts true Lutheran Orthodoxy. This "Radical Lutheranism" (as Cooper refers to it in the book) is a growing trend in Reformed communities as well. Unconsciously adopting this "Lutheran" view that Cooper proves is not orthodox can only but hurt Reformed communities. Instead, the Lutheran insights from two kinds of righteousness can provide a good point of engagement from the two traditions.
I will take a look at this "law-gospel reductionism" with my next post.