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date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses forensic justification and mysticism, from the Lutheran Book of Concord (1580) to Pietism and the Enlightenment. The views of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Martin Chemnitz, Johann Arndt, Johann Gerhard, Johann Friedrich König, August Hermann Francke, and Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf are highlighted. Special attention is paid to König’s analytical treatment of forensic justification and unio mystica; König’s view is regarded as the summary of Lutheran orthodoxy and a bridge to Pietism. The article argues that the Pietist emphasis on subjective involvement has its roots in the elaboration of forensic justification in Lutheran orthodoxy. This elaboration aims at replying to the Roman Catholic criticism that Protestants neglect the inner life or “hearts” of believers when they assume that justification is only by the goodwill of God. While faith is not a human work, justification by faith ascribes an “organic causality” to faith, enabling the believer’s personal involvement.

Keywords: Forensic justification, Lutheran mysticism, unio mystica, Pietism, sanctification

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