Free and Locked Up! Essays Delivered at the Lutheran Study Days 2020 Conference in Bergen, Norway
The theme of freedom is ever-present for those who inhabit the modern western world. To be free, most people assume, means to be free over and against the state and one's neighbor.
But Luther's conception of freedom is decidedly different from the usual story we tell about what it means to be a free human being. For Luther, to be free doesn't mean isolation from or opposition to one's neighbor, but freedom is the kind of liberty that empowers human beings to service of those around them.
True freedom comes only from the promise of free grace in Jesus Christ delivered through the preaching of the gospel and the delivery of the sacraments. To be free in Christ involves a rediscovery of God's creation: that God has made us vessels of his goodness for those he has placed into our lives.
It seems fitting that these essays, delivered at the virtual Lutheran Study Days, were read at the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic, in summer 2020, when we were all feeling that freedom seemed elusive.
About the Author
John W. Hoyum is a graduate of Bethel University (2015) and Luther Seminary (2018), both in St. Paul, Minnesota. He now resides back home in the Pacific Northwest, serving as the pastor of Denny Park Lutheran Church in Seattle. He is also a PhD student in systematic theology at the University of Aberdeen. He spends much of his time thinking about the Reformation, Christian dogmatics, and the relationship between philosophy and theology. He writes about these topics when he can.