“When the Spirit comes, he makes a pure, free, cheerful, glad and loving heart—a conscience made righteous by grace, seeking no reward, fearing no punishment, doing everything with joy.”
So observed Martin Luther in a sermon he preached in 1521. The Spirit was very much in the center of his thinking in those early years of the Reformation. He was not a systematic theologian. But what he intuited in this off-hand comment happens to fit three of the stages of faith development recognized in modern developmental psychology.
Luther described three kinds of conscience, which are three stages of faith development. A churchyard conscience concentrates on getting the external rules of church life right. A nave (pew section) conscience characterizes those who are living faithfully but out of guilt with no joy. Progressing forward, those who are living with a heart changed by the Spirit have a chancel conscience. “Conscience” in classical theology describes what I call motivation. The Latin would be affectus.Read More