Eremeeva N.V. Heresy and Adiaphora in Lutheran Dogma


Natalya V. Eremeeva
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Lecturer, Department of Social and Humanitarian Disciplines, Mogilev Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Krupskoy St, 67, 212011 Mogilev, Republic of Belarus
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Abstract. This article is a historical, philosophical, and religious analysis of the reception of the concepts of "heresy" and "adiaphora" in Lutheran dogmatics. There is tension between the condemnation of heresies in Lutheran confessional books and the unconditional recognition of heresies as such by all Lutheran denominations. The problem of understanding the term "heresy" among Lutherans is considered, and a conclusion is made about the similarity of the terminological reception of the Reformation period with the era of the early church, when the lack of a clear definition of the concept of "heresy" did not prevent it from being used in a polemical sense, loading it with negative connotations in order to emphasize the unity of true Christian teaching. Such Lutheran confessional books as "Augsburg Confession", which is a sufficient basis for confessional self-determination and is recognized by all conservative and liberal Lutheran denominations, and the "Formula of Concord", which strictly defines the boundaries of Lutheran confessional identity, are studied. A number of historical examples of heresies mentioned and condemned by Lutheran theologians in the corpus of religious confessional writings are considered. The fact of the practical acceptance of church tradition by confessional Lutherans, in particular the results of the first ecumenical councils, the patristic tradition as evidence of faith and understanding of Holy Scripture, as well as a number of other significant aspects of church heritage, is emphasized. The change in the context of the use of the concept of "adiaphora" is analyzed, a conclusion is made about the preservation of the semantics of the term "adiaphora" in essence, and it is proved that the ethical context of its use among the Stoic philosophers and in the patristic tradition is transformed into a dogmatic one in Lutheranism. It is emphasized that this paradigm contributes to the formation of a tolerant attitude among Lutherans towards dissent and heterodoxy, which opens up opportunities for interreligious dialogue and the development of interchurch communication. A generalizing conclusion is made about the role of discussions of early Lutheranism in the formation of key tenets of Lutheran teaching and Lutheran confessional identity.
Key words: heresy, adiaphora, Lutheranism, Lutheran dogma, "Book of Concord", "Augsburg Confession", "Formula of Concord".

Citation. Eremeeva N.V. Heresy and Adiaphora in Lutheran Dogma. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 57-65. (in Russian). DOI:

Heresy and Adiaphora in Lutheran Dogma by Eremeeva N.V. is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International

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