The Meaning of Protestant Theology

Luther, Augustine, and the Gospel That Gives Us Christ

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Grace, Gospel, and the Origin of Protestantism

This creative and illuminating discussion of Protestant theology helps readers rethink their own theology and its place in the larger story of Christian thought. Phillip Cary explains how Luther's theology arose from the Christian tradition, particularly from the spirituality of Augustine. Luther departed from the Augustinian tradition and inaugurated distinctively Protestant theology when he identified the Gospel that gives us Christ as its key concept. More than any other theologian, Luther succeeds in carrying out the Protestant intention of putting faith in the Gospel of Christ alone. Cary also explores the consequences of Luther's teachings as they unfold in the history of Protestantism.

"Cary gives a clear and concise definition of the meaning of Protestant theology. Luther's sacramental conception of the Gospel is the meaning of Protestant theology; even more, it is the essence of Christianity, the key to the right interpretation of the Bible, and the root of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. Cary has prepared a rich theological feast of many courses, serving consumers of various tastes with plenty to take away and digest."
--Carl E. Braaten, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (emeritus); founding director, Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology

"Years ago, Phillip Cary began to suspect that Augustine's inward turn was a false step, that what we sinners need is what Luther said we need--a grace that comes to us from outside of us. Here is the fruit of that suspicion, a fully realized account of the meaning of Protestant theology (and spirituality) centered on the Gospel as a sacramental word that gives us Christ. Cary's account of Protestantism is theological rather than merely sociological; polemical yet ecumenical; and, again and again, surprising. I know of nothing quite like it."
--Matt Jenson, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University


Phillip Cary, Author

Phillip Cary (PhD, Yale University) is scholar-in-residence at the Templeton Honors College and professor of philosophy at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He serves as editor-in-chief of Pro Ecclesia and is the author of Good News for Anxious Christians, Jonah in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series, and three critically acclaimed books on the life and thought of Augustine.

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