Anfechtung and the formation of theological habitus: implications for theological education

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Rutt, Douglas Lynn
70899945; Theology; seminaries; Training; Theological; Clergy; theology; teaching; Pastoral; Study
thesis / dissertation description
The purpose of this research was to develop a clearer understanding of the relationship between what Martin Luther called Anfechtung (or tentatio) and the formation of a habitus centered in the theology of the cross for those engaged in the Office of the Holy Ministry. The Biblical/Confessional literature portion of this study investigated Paul's experience of Anfechtung based upon his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and the role of Anfechtung as described in the Lutheran Confessions. Luther's description of the role of Anfechtung in theological formation, as well as contemporary literature dealing with the issue of formation in theological education were also treated. Central to this study was an examination of how active and experienced pastors view the role of Anfechtung in their own theological formation. The study was conducted in two phases. Semi-structured interview protocols were followed. In Phase One six retired pastors were asked to describe their experience of Anfechtung and its role in their theological formation. From the data gathered in Phase One, six research questions for Phase Two were developed: (1) What specific formative factors shaped the theological understanding of pastors prior to embarking upon their formal theological education? (2) How do pastors describe the experiences by which they have learned to assimilate the theology of the cross in ministry and/or personal life? (3) How do pastors describe the experience of Anfechtung as it has formed them into theologians of the cross? (4) In what forums was the theological reality of Anfechtung dealt with deliberately during the pastor1s theological studies at the seminary? (5) What forums outside of seminary do pastors identify as being helpful for the integration of Anfechtung in their formation as theologians of the cross? (6) What do pastors suggest as to how the formative role of Anfechtung might be accounted for in programs of theological education? This study has affirmed the formative role of the theological concept of Anfechtung. Additional significant findings relate to the variety of previous life-experiences of today's incoming theological students, how Anfechtung is understood as compared to Luther's plausibility structure, Anfechtung and the "Mutual Conversation and Consolation of the Brethren," and the pastors' observations and recommendations for theological education.