Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future?

Consider this document: A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future (AEF Call). So is this what being “post evangelical” is all about? Is this something a Lutheran could sign?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    I like a lot of what this document says, but I couldn’t sign it. One thing that has become very clear to me in reading the writings of the current Antichrist (Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI) is that you always have to pay close attention to broader context.

    In the case of Papa Ratzi, the context is the overall Roman take on Augustine. You might listen to a sermon by the Pope as a Lutheran an hear a lot that sounds very Lutheran and be edified by it, but if you were actually part of the Roman Catholic community he’s preaching to you’d hear all the terms in the modern Roman sense which would strip it bare of all the Gospel content you heard.

    The same goes for this document. There’s enough in it to make me believe that it’s not so innocent as it seems. It has an ecumenical agenda (a milder one than most, but still there) that goes for the lowest common denominator. I think it’s something that George Calixtus would have signed.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    I like a lot of what this document says, but I couldn’t sign it. One thing that has become very clear to me in reading the writings of the current Antichrist (Joseph Ratzinger, aka Benedict XVI) is that you always have to pay close attention to broader context.

    In the case of Papa Ratzi, the context is the overall Roman take on Augustine. You might listen to a sermon by the Pope as a Lutheran an hear a lot that sounds very Lutheran and be edified by it, but if you were actually part of the Roman Catholic community he’s preaching to you’d hear all the terms in the modern Roman sense which would strip it bare of all the Gospel content you heard.

    The same goes for this document. There’s enough in it to make me believe that it’s not so innocent as it seems. It has an ecumenical agenda (a milder one than most, but still there) that goes for the lowest common denominator. I think it’s something that George Calixtus would have signed.

  • deb C

    My first reading through it made me think maybe but the second caused concern first Jesus was only mentioned once and there was multiple mentions of tradition of various christian denomations. I am not waying in on any of them but I perfer to follow Christ not a tradition. Without a description of who they believe He is I cannot make a decision on their views so I would not sign the document as it stands.

  • deb C

    My first reading through it made me think maybe but the second caused concern first Jesus was only mentioned once and there was multiple mentions of tradition of various christian denomations. I am not waying in on any of them but I perfer to follow Christ not a tradition. Without a description of who they believe He is I cannot make a decision on their views so I would not sign the document as it stands.

  • kerner

    My first impression is that the language is kind of pretentious. I mean “We call for a cruciform holiness”?
    Or, “God’s redemptive work as recapitulated in Christ”? Huh?

  • kerner

    My first impression is that the language is kind of pretentious. I mean “We call for a cruciform holiness”?
    Or, “God’s redemptive work as recapitulated in Christ”? Huh?

  • Don S

    “Pretentious” is a good word for it. It is difficult to comprehend exactly what the “call” really is. It sounds very ecumenical, and, since the majority of early church history is Catholic, anti-protestant. Article 6 (the call for “Cruciform Holiness”) looks like it could have been written by Jim Wallis — liberal political activism, here we come!

    However, they tell us you can sign it even if you don’t agree with it (“This Call is issued in the spirit of sic et non; therefore those who affix their names to this Call need not agree with all its content”). In the spirit of “discussion”, of course!

  • Don S

    “Pretentious” is a good word for it. It is difficult to comprehend exactly what the “call” really is. It sounds very ecumenical, and, since the majority of early church history is Catholic, anti-protestant. Article 6 (the call for “Cruciform Holiness”) looks like it could have been written by Jim Wallis — liberal political activism, here we come!

    However, they tell us you can sign it even if you don’t agree with it (“This Call is issued in the spirit of sic et non; therefore those who affix their names to this Call need not agree with all its content”). In the spirit of “discussion”, of course!

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Things I noticed:

    1. milieu – any document with this word is suspect to me. It reminds me of graduate school. Ugh.

    2. I want to know what their definition of Evangelical and Evangelicalism is. It matters. It’s used predominantly 20+ times in the piece. I suspect it means a certain type of Christian.

    3. Overall tone suggests that the writers don’t actually believe God is in full control and that other voices are infringing on his territory. On one hand, I understand what they are protesting (…modern theological methods that reduce the gospel to mere propositions…from contemporary pastoral ministries so compatible with culture that they camouflage God’s story or empty it of its cosmic and redemptive meaning), but on the other hand are they REALLY not aware that there are many churches and denominations that have not fallen so fully to modern methods and modern ministry models? Again, the one major difference I see between Evangelicals and Lutherans (my perspective) is the way God and His power is viewed (“These failures have muted the voice of Christ to the world through his Church and detract from God’s story of the world”)

    In summary, could I sign it? Why? What is the point? It is designed for a church (Evangelicals) that LOST God’s word for a time (“we call Evangelicals to recover the conviction that God’s story shapes the mission of the Church to bear witness to God’s Kingdom”). I’d rather stay in a church that never lost the purpose of the gospel.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Things I noticed:

    1. milieu – any document with this word is suspect to me. It reminds me of graduate school. Ugh.

    2. I want to know what their definition of Evangelical and Evangelicalism is. It matters. It’s used predominantly 20+ times in the piece. I suspect it means a certain type of Christian.

    3. Overall tone suggests that the writers don’t actually believe God is in full control and that other voices are infringing on his territory. On one hand, I understand what they are protesting (…modern theological methods that reduce the gospel to mere propositions…from contemporary pastoral ministries so compatible with culture that they camouflage God’s story or empty it of its cosmic and redemptive meaning), but on the other hand are they REALLY not aware that there are many churches and denominations that have not fallen so fully to modern methods and modern ministry models? Again, the one major difference I see between Evangelicals and Lutherans (my perspective) is the way God and His power is viewed (“These failures have muted the voice of Christ to the world through his Church and detract from God’s story of the world”)

    In summary, could I sign it? Why? What is the point? It is designed for a church (Evangelicals) that LOST God’s word for a time (“we call Evangelicals to recover the conviction that God’s story shapes the mission of the Church to bear witness to God’s Kingdom”). I’d rather stay in a church that never lost the purpose of the gospel.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Amendment – Evangelicals didn’t ever LOSE God’s Word. Many did lose sight of it, but it remained a Christian denomination. My bad.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Amendment – Evangelicals didn’t ever LOSE God’s Word. Many did lose sight of it, but it remained a Christian denomination. My bad.

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    Hmm.

    Rule #1: Christians who talk a lot about “the narrative of Scripture,” are often more interested in talking about narrative theory than they are about the Bible’s actual narrative.

    To be sure, the world thinks more highly of you when you talk abstractly about “the narrative of Scripture” than when you talk concretely about sin, the cross, forgiveness and grace — words which do not appear in the statement.

    Still, I’ll bet I’d really enjoy myself, and perhaps learn a lot, if I sat down individually with any of the signers of the statement and chatted with them over a bottle of wine.

  • http://lutheranguest.blogspot.com/ Jim

    Hmm.

    Rule #1: Christians who talk a lot about “the narrative of Scripture,” are often more interested in talking about narrative theory than they are about the Bible’s actual narrative.

    To be sure, the world thinks more highly of you when you talk abstractly about “the narrative of Scripture” than when you talk concretely about sin, the cross, forgiveness and grace — words which do not appear in the statement.

    Still, I’ll bet I’d really enjoy myself, and perhaps learn a lot, if I sat down individually with any of the signers of the statement and chatted with them over a bottle of wine.

  • http://scottishlutheran.blogspot.com Mike Keith

    The wonderful journal Touchstone reviewed this document in an issue a year and a half ago (give or take). They exposed it for the post-modern vacuous fluff that it is.

  • http://scottishlutheran.blogspot.com Mike Keith

    The wonderful journal Touchstone reviewed this document in an issue a year and a half ago (give or take). They exposed it for the post-modern vacuous fluff that it is.

  • Anon

    I think that we have a great deal to teach them, but I don’t think that we could sign it.

    We should reach out to the evangelicals attracted to this – it is really us that they want, but don’t know it yet. But we cannot sign on to this existentialist/neo-orthodox/new liberal movement. IMHO>

  • Anon

    I think that we have a great deal to teach them, but I don’t think that we could sign it.

    We should reach out to the evangelicals attracted to this – it is really us that they want, but don’t know it yet. But we cannot sign on to this existentialist/neo-orthodox/new liberal movement. IMHO>

  • Carl Vehse

    Is this something a Lutheran could sign?

    No way!

    Maybe a LINO.

  • Carl Vehse

    Is this something a Lutheran could sign?

    No way!

    Maybe a LINO.

  • Nemo

    I believe that this is the article that Mike @8 referenced: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=19-09-022-o

  • Nemo

    I believe that this is the article that Mike @8 referenced: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=19-09-022-o

  • Brian

    Mr. Lehman. Sir, you are wrong.

  • Brian

    Mr. Lehman. Sir, you are wrong.

  • BKW

    The current antichrist? Are you being serious here or is this just name calling? I know that Luther also used this term in reference to the Pope, but is it really necessary?

  • BKW

    The current antichrist? Are you being serious here or is this just name calling? I know that Luther also used this term in reference to the Pope, but is it really necessary?

  • Anon

    Luther used the term to refer to the -office- of the papacy, that ‘office’ of selling forgiveness of sins. Not the physical office, and not every single dude to be bishop of Rome.

    Context, context, context.

  • Anon

    Luther used the term to refer to the -office- of the papacy, that ‘office’ of selling forgiveness of sins. Not the physical office, and not every single dude to be bishop of Rome.

    Context, context, context.

  • fw

    no.

    First the idea of the “authority of the canonical scriptures.” Lutherans accept the scriptures because Christ our Lord says they are trustworth and true and ALL are purposed about testifying about Him.

    In this document the scriptures, being canonical, are creations of the church. it is the church that decided which books were to be included as part of our current bible. Lutherans have never accepted this.

    so then it comes as no real suprise that the call to action here is to recover the authority of the churches message to the world at large. and it is no surprise at all that that message is not at all about christ crucified , risen and propitiation for the sins of the world.

    This is simply bad calvinism. calvinism several times removed from it´s start as a splintering from Lutheranism and the christocentric and moderating influence lutheranism once had on it.

  • fw

    no.

    First the idea of the “authority of the canonical scriptures.” Lutherans accept the scriptures because Christ our Lord says they are trustworth and true and ALL are purposed about testifying about Him.

    In this document the scriptures, being canonical, are creations of the church. it is the church that decided which books were to be included as part of our current bible. Lutherans have never accepted this.

    so then it comes as no real suprise that the call to action here is to recover the authority of the churches message to the world at large. and it is no surprise at all that that message is not at all about christ crucified , risen and propitiation for the sins of the world.

    This is simply bad calvinism. calvinism several times removed from it´s start as a splintering from Lutheranism and the christocentric and moderating influence lutheranism once had on it.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Possible side topic…do Lutherans imagine something different than non-Lutherans when the term anti-Christ is used? When I was an Evangelical, all sorts of movie images came to mind. As a Lutheran, I consider it as a descriptive term mean anything that denies Christ alone…not some kind of insult or character slur or Damian all grown up.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Possible side topic…do Lutherans imagine something different than non-Lutherans when the term anti-Christ is used? When I was an Evangelical, all sorts of movie images came to mind. As a Lutheran, I consider it as a descriptive term mean anything that denies Christ alone…not some kind of insult or character slur or Damian all grown up.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    Brian,

    Care to elaborate?

    Note the spelling of the name.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    Brian,

    Care to elaborate?

    Note the spelling of the name.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    The office of the papacy is the Antichrist and so is the one who holds it. He could easily cease to be the Antichrist if he would truly preach the Gospel and disavow the arrogations of his office, but he hasn’t shown any sign of wanting to do that.

    So, yes. Benedict XVI is the Antichrist.

    BTW… Where’s this idea that it’s only the office come from? I certainly don’t see that in the Smalcald Articles.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    The office of the papacy is the Antichrist and so is the one who holds it. He could easily cease to be the Antichrist if he would truly preach the Gospel and disavow the arrogations of his office, but he hasn’t shown any sign of wanting to do that.

    So, yes. Benedict XVI is the Antichrist.

    BTW… Where’s this idea that it’s only the office come from? I certainly don’t see that in the Smalcald Articles.

  • BKW

    Well, Theresa, Pr. Lehmann is calling the person of the Pope THE Antichrist in addition to calling his teachings anti Gospel.

  • BKW

    Well, Theresa, Pr. Lehmann is calling the person of the Pope THE Antichrist in addition to calling his teachings anti Gospel.

  • BKW

    Pr. Lehmann, I hope you don’t also adhere to Martin Luther’s beliefs about Jews…

  • BKW

    Pr. Lehmann, I hope you don’t also adhere to Martin Luther’s beliefs about Jews…

  • Theresa

    I can only say what I was taught in catechism five years ago: the office, not necessarily the person. I don’t think synods have anything to do with the interpretation; it may be more of an individual pastoral interpretation. However, as an ELSer, I concede that the more vigilant confessional Lutherans in the LCMS don’t think much of the ELS. I think highly of Charles, so I’m leaving it at that.

  • Theresa

    I can only say what I was taught in catechism five years ago: the office, not necessarily the person. I don’t think synods have anything to do with the interpretation; it may be more of an individual pastoral interpretation. However, as an ELSer, I concede that the more vigilant confessional Lutherans in the LCMS don’t think much of the ELS. I think highly of Charles, so I’m leaving it at that.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    BKW,

    I do adhere to Luther’s view of the Jews. He thought they were sinners in need of the Gospel. He went to far in a few of his late writings when he was dying and suffering from dementia, but I am not one of those who define everything he said about Jews by those documents, nor am I one who reads a few passages from those documents and ignores the context.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    BKW,

    I do adhere to Luther’s view of the Jews. He thought they were sinners in need of the Gospel. He went to far in a few of his late writings when he was dying and suffering from dementia, but I am not one of those who define everything he said about Jews by those documents, nor am I one who reads a few passages from those documents and ignores the context.

  • BKW

    “Context” – always a great way to justify.

  • BKW

    “Context” – always a great way to justify.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    I suppose that means that you’re not going to say anything of substance. Before I say something I regret, I’m going to bow out of this thread.

  • http://chaz-lehmann@yahoo.com Pr. Lehmann

    I suppose that means that you’re not going to say anything of substance. Before I say something I regret, I’m going to bow out of this thread.

  • B.Wink

    First time I’ve heard that he had dementia. Interesting.

  • B.Wink

    First time I’ve heard that he had dementia. Interesting.

  • kerner

    Saying that the office of the papacy is the anti-chirst, but the individual pope who holds that office is not, is a little like saying that the head of Al-Qaida is the enemy of America, but the individual leader who holds that office is not.

    The way it was explained to me is the papacy/pope is the anti-christ is because the papacy has set itself up as false mediator between man and God, thus denying (or at least obscuring) the Gospel. It seems to me, that if the individual pope believes that he is what the RC church teaches, the pope is elevating himself to a position only Christ can hold. Hence the term: anti-christ.

    This doesn’t mean individual popes can’t be well intended at times, or that Catholics can’t be Christians or anything like that. As somebody said earlier, nobody should be looking for a 666 birthmark on the pope’s scalp or for rotweilers to follow him around to protect him. People who are looking for an anti-christ like that watch too much tv.

    But when one person stands up and says that he leads the only true church and he is the person on earth who determines who is saved and who is not…well, you have to call him SOMETHING.

  • kerner

    Saying that the office of the papacy is the anti-chirst, but the individual pope who holds that office is not, is a little like saying that the head of Al-Qaida is the enemy of America, but the individual leader who holds that office is not.

    The way it was explained to me is the papacy/pope is the anti-christ is because the papacy has set itself up as false mediator between man and God, thus denying (or at least obscuring) the Gospel. It seems to me, that if the individual pope believes that he is what the RC church teaches, the pope is elevating himself to a position only Christ can hold. Hence the term: anti-christ.

    This doesn’t mean individual popes can’t be well intended at times, or that Catholics can’t be Christians or anything like that. As somebody said earlier, nobody should be looking for a 666 birthmark on the pope’s scalp or for rotweilers to follow him around to protect him. People who are looking for an anti-christ like that watch too much tv.

    But when one person stands up and says that he leads the only true church and he is the person on earth who determines who is saved and who is not…well, you have to call him SOMETHING.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I don’t know Kerner. I think it would be rather cool, and in keeping with his heritage if he had a couple rotweilers following him around. Very fitting if he did, I think he used to be considered the Pope’s Rotweiler.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I don’t know Kerner. I think it would be rather cool, and in keeping with his heritage if he had a couple rotweilers following him around. Very fitting if he did, I think he used to be considered the Pope’s Rotweiler.


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