Continuing the Lutheran identity discussion. . . .I want to draw your attention to Kevin N’s comments on the ‘Not For Lutherans Anymore” post. He tells about growing up in a liberal ELCA church that was all confused about the gospel. He heard and grasped what it meant that Christ died for his sins through a Campus Crusade witness in college. He went through the “are you a Lutheran or are you a Christian” phase, but now has come up to appreciate Lutheranism again, though he is a member of an Evangelical Free church. He is seeing that Lutheran theology can resolve controversies between Calvinists and Arminians–for example, on the doctrine of predestination–that are afflicting his denomination. At the same time, he sees certain gaps that the Lutheran confessions do not really address. I’ll let him tell it:
I am now in the Evangelical Free Church, and am happy with where I am at. Over the past seven years or so I have had a growing appreciation for Lutheran theology (I suppose I am 90% Lutheran in my thinking), and can see that Lutherans could make a valuable contribution in the overall discussions that go on in evangelicalism, but they are either silent or ignored. For example, in my denomination, 80% of pastors are Calvinist and 20% are Arminian, but few of either are even aware of the distinct Lutheran approach to issues such as predestination. I also believe that Lutheran Christians have a better sense of heritage and history than do most of us evangelicals.
I do see great value in the Lutheran confessions, but also believe they don’t sufficiently address issues such as evangelism, missions, or eschatology.
To non-Lutherans, I ask, what elements of Lutheran theology could you take profitably into your own church or personal beliefs, without becoming whole-hog Lutheran? Or, to all, do you think Lutheran teachings are so interlocked with each other that a person has to go all the way to Wittenberg? And, to Lutherans, I ask what you think about Kevin’s contention that our confessions do not sufficiently cover evangelism, missions, and eschatology? No one ever said that our confessions address EVERYTHING of importance that might come up, though it is possible to extrapolate applications, as we did with the doctrine of Scripture. Are there things Lutherans learn from evangelicals (keeping in mind that Lutherans were the first to go by that Gospel-centered name)?
P.S.: I also hope somebody can rise to Kevin’s challenge of identifying the titles of my books that have been translated into Romanian, since I don’t know myself!