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Calvin: A Negative Boundary Marker In American Lutheran Self-Identity, 1871–1934

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns with the Lutheran view of John Calvin. It focuses on religious elites principally because it was they, and not common folk, who determined the story that was to be told about Calvin among confessional Lutherans in America. The chapter argues that, as confessional Lutherans in America abstracted him from his context and re-contextualized him into their Sitz im Leben, Calvin became among confessional Lutherans in America a symbol of their fears about the distortion of faith by Zwinglians and Enlightenment rationalists. It also argues that being anti-Calvin is of the essence of confessional Lutheranism as it has developed from the "American Lutheran" movement (Krauth) and as it immigrated to the United States from Saxony in the nineteenth century and developed in the Missouri Synod. The chapter surveys three significant mediators of confessional Lutheran theology in America, Charles Porterfield Krauth, C. F. W. Walther, and John Theodore Mueller.

Keywords: American Lutheran; anti-Calvin; John Calvin; Lutheran theology



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