Abstract and Keywords
Beginning with the elasticity of the concept “sacrament,” which in Lutheran usage could accommodate more or fewer rites, this essay emphasizes how Lutheranism downplayed (while not wholly abandoning) the Augustinian “sign of a sacred thing” definition of sacrament in favor of an understanding of “means of salvation [or grace]” that emphasized certain rites as “bestowing instruments” (media dotika) of grace, particularly justification. Reformed incursions through the “Second Reformation” and the impact of Pietism caused private absolution and Eucharistic worship to move from the center to the periphery of Lutheran church life by the end of the time frame addressed here, while the internal development of Lutheran orthodoxy saw Luther’s understanding of the real presence replaced by Melanchthon’s quasi-Reformed view.
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