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“Luther’s In Depth Theology and Theological Therapy” by Peter Krey

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My Lecture for for Reformation Day 2008 at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg entitled “Luther’s In Depth Theology and Theological Therapy: (Using Self Psychology and a Little Jung)” has been published in that seminary’s journal, Seminary Ridge Review vol. 11 No. 1-2 (Autumn 2008-Spring 2009): 97-115.

I take a rather great risk by presenting Luther’s theology as in depth and I project that therapy can issue from it. In Luther’s day psychology and sociology had not yet separated from theology in an intellectual “division of labor.” We have always known the personal and psychological strength of Luther’s theology, but I go farther and try to work out an in depth personality theory and therapy from it. Instead of intra-psychic ego states like the super ego, ego, and id; I posit internal relational stances before God, others, oneself, and the world. I associated Luther’s continually placing opposites together with Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of opposites, which have to be transcended for growth. This theory also helped me analyze Luther’s episodes of spiritual conflict. I also correlate Self Psychology with Luther’s theology to bring out Luther’s depth dimension. Check out the rapturous ascent in faith and descent in love (falling in love). I would covet a critique of what I here distill out of Luther’s “Freedom of a Christian.”

My brother Philip also has a lecture in this issue and I recommend acquiring it. Write to

Seminary Ridge Review

Lutheran Theological Seminary

61 Seminary Ridge

Gettysburg, PA 17325-1795

Subscriptions are free. Extra copies cost $10 each plus postage and handling.

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Written by peterkrey

February 12, 2010 at 5:49 am

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  1. […] N.B.: When I work out the therapeutic value of the Psalms, I am not trying to reduce theology to psychology, but pointing out the psychological dimension of those rich prayers of lamentation and praise. When I gave the lecture for the Reformation Day Celebration at Gettysburg Seminary a few years ago, one minister said I was reducing theology to psychology. To work out theological therapy was my attempt to explore the rich psychological and therapeutic dimension of Luther’s theology, not to reduce it to psychology. For the latter lecture see: Luther’s In Depth Theology and Theological Therapy. […]


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