Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Historical Theology

First Advisor

Ronald Feuerhahn

Scripture References in this Resource

Matthew 22: 42


Conkling, Martin E. "A. F. C. Vilmar: Theology of Church and Ministry." Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2007. 271 pp.

This historical study explores the theology of A. F. C. Vilmar.The theology of church and ministry championed by Vilmar received critical attention in his own day, and he remains a bright star in the constellation of nineteenth century Lutheran theologians who sought to restore Lutheranism to the strength of its confessional origins and to correct the cultural tendencies of thought gone wrong in revolutionary Europe. Little secondary literature exists on this "Theologian of Fact" in English, and virtually none of his extensive works have been translated for English-speaking theologians to profit from his insightful analysis of that age when the church became a question to itself. Literature on Vilmar can easily be classified pro or con as it assesses the content of his theology. What has so long been overlooked is the hermeneutical method he used to produce a view of the church that remains compelling and profound--even in our post-critical age. Vilmar's close up analysis, intimately intertwined with the issues facing the church, led others to label his world view as "metahistorical. "Today we might label this effort “metacritical" as he sought to correct errors of his time. The study of Vilmar from this historical vantage point opens a door for the reader to enter the tumultuous Western world where revolution arrived, according to the Theologian of Fact, "from above and from below. "Even more, Vilmar asked questions and proposed answers to the continuing problems of church and ministry that many will find compelling and even startling, since they were proposed by a man who lived so long ago.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.