Dr. Vincent Evener
Instructor in Reformation and Luther Studies
We extend a warm welcome to this year's speaker, Dr. Vincent Evener. Dr. Vincent Evener joined the United Lutheran Seminary in fall 2015 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research examines how Martin Luther and other sixteenth-century reformers sought to bring about a transformation in the way Christians perceived their world and lived their lives. Dr. Evener’s presentation will get you thinking about how the past can be a resource for the present life of the church.
Luther, Mysticism, and the Social Order
Talk #1: Martin Luther and Medieval Mysticism
Martin Luther’s understanding and proclamation of Christian faith was shaped profoundly by his study of medieval mystical authors such as Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) and Johannes Tauler (d. 1361). This talk will explore Luther’s use and transformation of mystical teachings surrounding the soul’s experience of annihilation of the self and union with God. Luther and his allies did not seek a Reformation of doctrine alone; rather, they wanted to teach Christians how to experience God’s redemptive presence and to carry God’s love into the world.
Talk #2: Mysticism, the Reformation, and Lutheran Spirituality
Luther taught Christians to seek union with God through faith in Christ and to exercise this faith in service to others within the social order. But other views of union with God and of appropriate social action soon emerged. Radical reformers like Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt studied the same medieval mystical authors as Luther, but they drew different conclusions about how Christians should regard existing ecclesial, academic, and political structures. Luther’s clash with these radical reformers had enduring consequences for Lutheran spirituality—the use of mystical literature and concepts to describe faith remained both common and contested.