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The doctrine of the church in Norway in the nineteenth century

Kaasa, Harris, E. (1960) The doctrine of the church in Norway in the nineteenth century. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The object of the thesis is to trace the doctrine of the Church in Norway during the 19th century, a period of unique Importance both in the thought and Church-life of the country. An attempt will be made to show that the problems Involved in the doctrine had a profound effect upon the whole current of Norwegian Church-life. On the basis of a theocentric approach and a dynamic, personal conception of Revelation, Martin Luther adopted a dialectical view of Christian doctrine as a whole and the doctrine of the Church In particular, and a functional concept of the Ministry. Through the re-Introduction of an Intellectualist conception of Revelation, however, these insights were lost in the later history of Lutheranism. The unity of the doctrine of the Church was broken, and a dualism of "Objectivism" and "Subjectivism" arose. Informed by an Idealist metaphyeic but virtually dependent upon an Empiricist epistemology, 19th century Norwegian theology was unable to overcome this dualism and to re-establish the dialectical view. It displayed a wide range of ecclesiologlcal positions, from Catholic Sacerdotalism (Krogh-Tonning) and Hegelian Erastianisra (Monrad) on the one hand, to Low-Church Orthodox-Pietism (Gisle Johnson) and Associational Independency (Sverdrup) on the other. The crisis in the doctrine of the Church was clearly reflected in the practical Church-life of the period, which was characterized by a gradual but definite trend In the Low-Church direction. The Grundtvigian party, seeking an objective authority, found it in the Church and its historic Creed. But the traditionalism and Sacramentallsm of this party were sharply opposed and finally overcome by the Orthodox-Pietists. The introduction of Revivalism, with its associational idea of the Church and charismatic concept of the Ministry, gave rise to the Inner Mission and Foreign Mission movements, and created tremendous tensions within the Church. After a protracted struggle, the "free organizations" and lay-preaching gained legal and ecclesiastical recognition. The Erastianlsm of the Church of Norway led to a reaction in the form of a vast movement for political reform. But failure to agree on a sound Lutheran doctrine of the Church within the movement and political pressure from without prevented the realization of Its objectives. The question of Church discipline within the national Church provided the occasion for several small separatist movements, which, although relatively Insignificant, illustrate the ecclesiological tensions. Thus, the unity of the Church In Norway was shattered during the 19th century. What was needed was a return to the dynamic conception of Revelation and dialectical view of Luther and the Confessions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1960
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 16:02

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