Rev. Dr. Paul Robinson

“Fooling Around with Councils and Fathers”:
Luther’s Critique of Authority and Late Medieval Ecclesiology

A Special Thank You To
David Werner and students from the Instructional Technolgy Center of Concordia University
for providing the video services for this event.

Luther took tradition, and especially the early church fathers, very seriously when he wrote about the church, but he did not imbue this tradition with any particular authority, leading to an ecclesiology that gives Christians freedom in ordering their life together. Instead, Luther humanized the fathers and used the stories of the early councils as examples of Christians following Scripture to the best of their ability in a particular time and place. With this approach, Luther departed from many in the church of his day and even from the reformers of the later Middle Ages, whose insights he deployed in his struggle with the papacy.
Robinson PaulDR. PAUL ROBINSON is professor of historical theology and the dean of the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.He has been on the faculty  since 1996. He also served as the faculty liaison to the Hispanic Institute of Theology from 1998 to 2006, chairman of the department of historical theology from 2003 to 2012 and the dean of ministerial formation from 2006 to 2008. He was named dean of the faculty in 2013.

Robinson’s areas of interest and expertise include the late medieval church, Martin Luther, and the history of preaching.

Prior to coming to the Seminary, Robinson served as pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Secor, Ill. (1990-92).

He received his Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Technology from Concordia Seminary (1989, 1994). He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, Chicago (1985), and a Ph.D. from University of Chicago (2001).

Robinson is editor of The Annotated Luther Volume 3: Church and Sacraments, to which he also contributed the selection “On the Councils and the Church.” (Augsburg). He is author of the biography Martin Luther: A Life Reformed (Pearson Longman). In addition to writing essays and articles for other publications and various journals, Robinson has presented at conferences around the country and internationally.