Martin Luther lived in a society in which malnourishment and hunger were widespread. Samuel Torvend estimates ""that at least fifty if not sixty-five percent of the population were living on the edge of subsistence, unsure each day as to where they would find an adequate supply of food to feed themselves and family members."" In the midst of astounding wealth, the present time also witnesses much hunger and malnourishment throughout the world. Torvend claims that Luther, usually considered a reformer of theology, was committed to the reform of society. His theological project issued forth in a social ethic that addressed the growing incidence of hunger and homelessness in his own time. Yet as Luther's fragmentary writings demonstrate, this theological and ethical project was, and continues to be, communicated through the practice of the reformed Mass. Torvend shows that Martin Luther was keenly aware of the needs of the poor. Along with all major interpreters, he too finds the center of Luther's theology in the concept of God's ""alien righteousness,"" the justification of the sinner by God's sheer grace through faith. But he demonstrates that this conviction had profound implications for Luther's understanding of the Christian life. The baptized were made free to live in this world as the ""sacrament"" of the living Christ, to engage this world as Christ had engaged the world of his time. ""Samuel Torvend's Luther and the Hungry Poor is a very well documented, elegantly written, and comprehensive presentation of Luther's social thought in relation to biblical texts and realities. The beauty of it is that it is not just intellectual information, but embedded in Luther's understanding of the sacraments and his view of the social, economic, and political reality of his time. As a matter of fact, the book can be regarded as a guide of how to relate the authentic Luther to today's realities."" --Prof. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow, Systematic Theology, University of Heidelberg Samuel Torvend is a member of the Department of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma. He is the author of Daily Bread, Holy Meal: Opening the Gifts of Holy Communion (2004).
About the Author
Samuel Torvend is a member of the Department of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma. He is the author of Daily Bread, Holy Meal: Opening the Gifts of Holy Communion (2004).