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Justification by Faith Alone: Martin Luther among the Early Anglicans

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Chapter Summary

By 1522 Martin Luther had his own English disciples and enough writings in circulation in England to inspire a book burning in Cambridge. If it is relatively easy to specify how early Anglicans related to Luther's Eucharistic theology, it is somewhat more difficult to specify precisely how they related to Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone. Thomas Cranmer was more knowledgeable about Luther and Lutheranism than most English theologians of his generation. While the good works of Christians done in faith are acceptable to God, they are still flawed and imperfect, and cannot under any circumstances be offered to God as merits that will supplement the work of Christ. Justification by faith is therefore justification by faith alone or it is not justification at all. Trust and confidence are the words that come readily to Cranmer's lips when the subject is justifying faith.

Keywords: Christians; early Anglicans; Eucharistic theology; Martin Luther; Thomas Cranmer

10.1163/9789004258297_003
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