Bonhoeffer, <i>status confessionis</i>, and the Lutheran tradition

  • Michael P DeJonge University of South Florida
Keywords: Bonhoeffer, status confessionis, Formula of Concord, adiaphora, resistance


It has frequently been suggested that Bonhoeffer’s resistance did not draw substantively from his own Lutheran theological tradition. Nonetheless, his reliance on the Lutheran tradition’s resistance resources is evident in his use of the phrase status confessionis. The phrase is a hallmark of the gnesio-Lutheran position in the sixteenth-century intra-Lutheran adiaphora controversy, the position authoritatively endorsed in the Formula of Concord. Bonhoeffer demonstrably knew this tradition of Lutheranism and in the early Church Struggle deployed the idea of status confessionis in a way that was faithful to it. Because status confessionis arguably more than any other term conveys the theological reasoning of his early resistance activity, this alone merits the conclusion that Bonhoeffer’s resistance drew substantively from the Lutheran tradition.
Articles • Artikels