Uuras Saarnivaara


Uuras Saarnivaara (1908-1998) was born in Finland, and he received his theological education at the University of Helsinki. After ten years in the parish ministry, he traveled to the United States to teach in the theological seminary of the Suomi Synod (a Finnish-American Lutheran body) in the years 1939-1954. He returned to Finland, where he served several evangelical organizations within the Lutheran Church of Finland in a teaching and preaching capacity. In the 1960s he taught in several seminaries in the Minneapolis MN area, continuing part-time for another decade while working in Finland.

Early on, Saarnivaara engaged in Luther studies. The dissertation for his PhD at the University of Chicago (1945), published under the title Luther Discovers the Gospel, dealt with Luther's reformation crisis and the dating of it. It received international attention. For a ThD degree from the University of Helsinki (1948) he produced a dissertation on Luther's doctrine of justification, followed by a treatise on Luther's understanding of sanctification. The two latter volumes were written in Finnish.

Saarnivaara was a prolific author, writing on a variety of topics of concern to conservative Lutherans. Most of his books were published in Finland. His English language books are: Scriptural Baptism and Luther Discovers the Gospel (these two were published in one volume in the Concordia Heritage Series); Hath God Said: Who is Right--God or the Liberals?; Armageddon--Before and After; The History of the Laestadian or Apostolic Lutheran Movement in America; The Power of the Keys; The Way the Truth and the Life: The Christian truths of the way of salvation and new life set forth in quotations from the Bible, The Lutheran Confession and Martin Luther: Can the Bible be Trusted? Some of Saarnivaara's books have also been translated into several other languages.

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