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Prof Insights: Faculty-Led Workshop 2021 – Professor Kolb Online


June 14, 2021
June 16, 2021


Continuing Education



Heretic, Outlaw and Free Indeed! Martin Luther’s Freedom of a Christian

As Martin Luther departed from Worms in 1521, he was headed for protective custody as an excommunicated heretic and he sensed that he would soon be declared an outlaw by the emperor as well. Yet he regarded himself as a truly liberated human being. Seven months before he stood before Emperor Charles V at Worms, Luther had published a treatise On Christian Freedom. What constituted freedom for Luther in his time and circumstances? This workshop will examine the significance of Luther’s claim that Christians are free, bound to no one and subject to nothing, and that we are bound to all people and subject to everything. The latter “bondage” or “bonding” constituted for him the freedom to be truly human again, not bound to sin and in subjection to death or to the condemnation of God’s Law and the divine wrath it earns. This freedom for exercising human righteousness in God’s world made the reformer joyful and content in threatening times. Luther’s concept of experiencing true liberation through justification by faith and the life of righteous, upright actions in the care of other creatures, human and nonhuman, effectively conveys the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many in our day. His insights into true human freedom provide help for preaching, teaching, witnessing and giving pastoral care to 21st century North Americans.

Dr. Robert Kolb

Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Dr. Robert Kolb joined the faculty at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1993 by which time he had established himself as one of the leading scholars today on the history and theology of the late 16th century. Since that time, Kolb has expanded his work to encompass Martin Luther’s theology in the first half of the 16th century and has written extensively on it. Kolb’s latest adventure in the 16th century brought him to a deeper study of Luther’s famous 1520 treatise, On Christian Freedom. Luther defined justification by faith as liberation from the most threatening of our enemies, our own sinfulness, death and God’s wrath. (The fruits of his engagement with that text and its history are available in Luther’s Treatise on Christian Freedom and Its Legacy [Lanham, MD: Fortress Academic/Lexington, 2019].) Join Kolb in exploring the similarities and differences between common North American definitions of freedom in our time and Luther’s concept of Christ’s liberation of us from sin and evil in order to set us free to be a truly human creature of our Creator by being bonded in service and concern to others whom God has placed within our reach.

Dr. Robert Kolb photo

Tentative schedule

One 10-11:45 a.m. Session One
11:45 a.m.-noon Q&A
2-3:45 p.m. Session Two
3:45-4 p.m. Q&A
Two 10-11:45 a.m. Session One
11:45 a.m.-noon Q&A
2-3:45 p.m. Session Two
3:45-4 p.m. Q&A
Three 10-11:45 a.m. Session Five
11:45 a.m.-noon Q&A
Registration cost: $100
Registration deadline: May 28, 2021
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Note: The schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the workshop presenters.