More from Chaplain Mike on Lutheranism

Chaplain Mike over at the blog Internet Monk has more to say about his conversion to Lutheranism. He focuses here on how helpful he is finding the Christ-centeredness of Lutheranism and the distinction between Law and Gospel:  How the Lutheran Tradition Answers Many Post-Evangelical Concerns (2) | internetmonk.com.

Read the comments too.  Other evangelicals there are drawn to these teachings, though some of them are stumbling over major misconceptions.  Maybe some of you could help.

[The discussion yesterday focused nearly exclusively on how Chaplain Mike has ended up at an ELCA congregation rather than at a more conservative congregation, such as one affiliated with the LCMS. Perhaps now we could discuss his larger point, how he has found his "post-evangelical concerns" answered in the Lutheran tradition.]

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.

  • Tom Hering

    “In my experience in evangelical churches and in my own ministry as an evangelical pastor, I would say that the ethos of evangelicalism is more Bible-centered than Christ-centered.” – Chaplain Mike.

    Hmmm. I’d be careful about this. Yes, you can be Bible-centered without being Christ-centered, but you can’t be Christ-centered without being Bible-centered. We can’t know Christ apart from the the words of God, because faith in Christ is neither created nor preserved apart from them. (God’s supernatural power is hidden in an ordinary means.) If there’s a reason to be Lutheran, it’s because both Rome and Evangelicalism are preoccupied with the innovations of men, which obscure the Word, and thus Christ. Wasn’t obfuscation the very thing Luther battled? And wasn’t the Word the sword he used to do battle?

  • Tom Hering

    “In my experience in evangelical churches and in my own ministry as an evangelical pastor, I would say that the ethos of evangelicalism is more Bible-centered than Christ-centered.” – Chaplain Mike.

    Hmmm. I’d be careful about this. Yes, you can be Bible-centered without being Christ-centered, but you can’t be Christ-centered without being Bible-centered. We can’t know Christ apart from the the words of God, because faith in Christ is neither created nor preserved apart from them. (God’s supernatural power is hidden in an ordinary means.) If there’s a reason to be Lutheran, it’s because both Rome and Evangelicalism are preoccupied with the innovations of men, which obscure the Word, and thus Christ. Wasn’t obfuscation the very thing Luther battled? And wasn’t the Word the sword he used to do battle?

  • Tom Hering

    Oops. I meant obscuration, not obfuscation – though there’s that, too. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Oops. I meant obscuration, not obfuscation – though there’s that, too. :-D

  • larry

    I would give him some room to “maneuver” so to speak, having come from the “outside – in” myself. Because his joy is initially now discovering in relation to what he’s known, Christ FOR him afresh and new. That’s what he and many like him (like myself) starved for and so that “initial” refreshment of 200 proof Gospel is where he needs to stay focused. Put another way, and this will sound quite ironic coming from me, coming from the outside in Lutheran”ism” and all that it confesses can be like taking a drink from a fire hydrant with a straw. At first “just the milk please” Christ ‘pro me’, then one can learn and pick up on deeper aspects of the Gospel like during infant baptism why do we perform an exorcism, I had to learn that one due to my “Hollywood only grasp of that”.

    So while one might argue for a more conservative denomination, keep in mind the poor guy is coming from a sacramental-less, gospel-less waste land dying of thirst to at least somewhere where the Gospel has at least a vestige of “pro me” and sacraments to feast upon. I’d give him all the water and rest in the shade he needs for now, meat and potatoes with stronger wine can come later. He’s coming out of religious jail, so allow him time to kick up his feet and run a bit in the freedom of Christ he’s found. While ELCA may not be ideal in the long run those who have never actually been evangelicals (i.e. Baptist, Reformed, Methodist, etc…) and actually believed what they were taught and preached (i.e. there’s a difference in understanding it ‘in theory’ and being able to pen a paper on it Vs. having believed it and tried to live it for the actual gain of eternal life). Heterodoxy that has no vestige of the sacraments is barren of Christ and differs quite a bit where heterodoxy is in the present growing but not yet to the point of being barren of Christ. An example would be a Baptist moving from his works based “believers baptism” to the infant (covenant) baptism of the Reformed. From the Lutheran point of view it’s still empty, BUT from the person moving in such a fashion it is AT LEAST an improvement to learn that baptism is not a sign of MY faithfulness but AT LEAST a sign of God’s GOOD will toward me. One begins to look a little less inside at first.

    His points are generally focused about that evangelical starvation, and it is starvation, for the Jesus for me (pro me is the $50 term). That sets the baseline of what is really meant by ‘the centrality of Christ’. Because one has to be very careful there, ‘the centrality of Christ’, because in some Baptist circles they’d say, “Yea boy” and give high fives, but ‘the centrality of Christ’ means ‘Christ the central (preeminent) example to follow’ or some such. Here Christ is “central” but as a “new Moses”.

    That said, his first point is right on. We discovered that too, the cyclical year reproaching Christ into your earholes so that you hear and learn it all the time. Just like the catechism, its NOT just for the kids, it should be digested and chewed on all your life. It’s as if the church is “forming” the new kingdom, our Calendar, around us while we temporarily “flow through” the secular calendar. Preaching our kingdom (Christ’s) to us so that we develop our kingdom’s language, calendar, worship, etc…a ‘this is your heritage in Christ, your inheritance.

    His point on expository preaching is spot on. While in the Baptist realm one first often encounters more non-expository preaching which devolves into the preachers moral or ‘get busy’ church yard church list sermons over time. Usually some form of ‘get busy evangelizing’. So the discovery of at first of expository preaching is seemingly good as it at least ‘gets back into the word’, APPARENTLY ONLY! After a while one begins to note something, he calls it ‘missing the forest for the trees’. Which is exactly what we noted upon a similar discovery. More exactly expository preaching lends itself to the pastor/elder beginning to insert his own foolish reasoning against faith hearing the nude Word nakedly. And so one gets these excruciating expositors of scriptures like John MacArthur who via his foolish reason commenting and expositing Romans 6 as a “dry passage” having nothing to do with actual water baptism. The expositor begins to bring his foolish fallen religious ideas INTO the words and with a little “logical” hocus pocus makes a passage say something it does not (the institution of the LS follows this approach for the memorial/sign doctrines of the baptist/reformed on this – Zwingli “exposited it”). So, the “big picture” is lost for certain. One can “insert” false hellish doctrine in between the ‘cracks’ of the actual Words of Scripture: E.g. “This (represents) is My body” = expository preaching.

    The liturgical worship does reenact the Gospel drama and more, it GIVES it a fresh every Sunday, brings to bear in fact not rhetoric the kingdom of heaven upon us (Gospel). And its like catechism and Scripture is, or should be, constantly heard and learned for its richness, because it really IS rich Gospel. Thus, it begets in adults, before they get too sleepy eyed, and ESPECIALLY kids that most favored question, ‘what does this mean’.

    Salvation centered Vs. Gospel centered, again spot on the money. We just had a perfect example of this, it happens every year at our nieces birthday and I always hate and despair of the dinner prayer because of it. They are baptist, Calvinistic, and our niece is of course not baptized and has been told ‘we don’t know if we are elect or not…etc…ad nauseum”. The prayer always thanks God for this and that, our salvation, AND wait for it, ‘…we pray that you would save (name of child)…”. There is a battle there over children that extends to adults in which our children, Lutheran children are GIVEN the Gospel we SAY they are forgiven, they are absolved every Sunday, they sing the same songs like “Go My Children With My Blessing…never alone…always forgiven….” Etc…, they pray “OUR Father…”, are baptized and thus saved. Yet the Baptist children, of which this is an example, are not. And thus the focus is always on children and adults alike in “getting saved”, “Lord I hope you will save me” is where they go in hopes of finding a gracious God, not the Word (Gospel), not Sacraments (and Gospel). Thus, the differing religious center.

    Law and Gospel; again he’s right. The constant in evangelical churches, ESPECIALLY Baptist oriented, ESPECIALLY SB, is always on ferreting out who is “in” and who is “out” and it is by various versions of the evidence of the Law/Love in and about a person. These self-righteous flights come in upon the shoulders in “feather light language and disguise”, but as they lay upon the shoulders they become utterly and increasingly crushing weights and chains of hell. They come in as soft tones of “love” but are in reality heavy burdens on the people. They come in as ‘angels of light’ but reveal themselves as hisses of serpents, making two distinct groups the fooling themselves they are pulling it off self righteous and the despairing.

    His point of vocation is HUGE! While evangelical one slowly becomes a “monk” just without the bald head and smock. One’s “real” (spiritual pleasing to God only) job is usually some form of evangelism. Everyday work, kids, home, spouse, family, mowing the lawn, need for food and sleep are at length distractions from the “real spiritual work” of evangelism or some such. The relief the doctrine of vocation developed due to the 200 proof Gospel in Luther/Lutheranism (or at least as it should be) is just as much Gospel as anything. In fact I’d say the doctrine of vocation is very real testing point for “do you really mean FORGIVEN pro me, Gospel? If you do then you won’t mind me ‘just mowing the lawn today’. That in a way tests the confessions. It’s like a kid testing his parents forgiveness, “really, then you won’t mind if I do this”. “Nope, you are forgiven”. “What about this.” “Nope, you are forgiven.” Eventually this doctrine of vocation, once tested a little, reveals, “ You really DO mean I’m forgiven…WOW!”

  • larry

    I would give him some room to “maneuver” so to speak, having come from the “outside – in” myself. Because his joy is initially now discovering in relation to what he’s known, Christ FOR him afresh and new. That’s what he and many like him (like myself) starved for and so that “initial” refreshment of 200 proof Gospel is where he needs to stay focused. Put another way, and this will sound quite ironic coming from me, coming from the outside in Lutheran”ism” and all that it confesses can be like taking a drink from a fire hydrant with a straw. At first “just the milk please” Christ ‘pro me’, then one can learn and pick up on deeper aspects of the Gospel like during infant baptism why do we perform an exorcism, I had to learn that one due to my “Hollywood only grasp of that”.

    So while one might argue for a more conservative denomination, keep in mind the poor guy is coming from a sacramental-less, gospel-less waste land dying of thirst to at least somewhere where the Gospel has at least a vestige of “pro me” and sacraments to feast upon. I’d give him all the water and rest in the shade he needs for now, meat and potatoes with stronger wine can come later. He’s coming out of religious jail, so allow him time to kick up his feet and run a bit in the freedom of Christ he’s found. While ELCA may not be ideal in the long run those who have never actually been evangelicals (i.e. Baptist, Reformed, Methodist, etc…) and actually believed what they were taught and preached (i.e. there’s a difference in understanding it ‘in theory’ and being able to pen a paper on it Vs. having believed it and tried to live it for the actual gain of eternal life). Heterodoxy that has no vestige of the sacraments is barren of Christ and differs quite a bit where heterodoxy is in the present growing but not yet to the point of being barren of Christ. An example would be a Baptist moving from his works based “believers baptism” to the infant (covenant) baptism of the Reformed. From the Lutheran point of view it’s still empty, BUT from the person moving in such a fashion it is AT LEAST an improvement to learn that baptism is not a sign of MY faithfulness but AT LEAST a sign of God’s GOOD will toward me. One begins to look a little less inside at first.

    His points are generally focused about that evangelical starvation, and it is starvation, for the Jesus for me (pro me is the $50 term). That sets the baseline of what is really meant by ‘the centrality of Christ’. Because one has to be very careful there, ‘the centrality of Christ’, because in some Baptist circles they’d say, “Yea boy” and give high fives, but ‘the centrality of Christ’ means ‘Christ the central (preeminent) example to follow’ or some such. Here Christ is “central” but as a “new Moses”.

    That said, his first point is right on. We discovered that too, the cyclical year reproaching Christ into your earholes so that you hear and learn it all the time. Just like the catechism, its NOT just for the kids, it should be digested and chewed on all your life. It’s as if the church is “forming” the new kingdom, our Calendar, around us while we temporarily “flow through” the secular calendar. Preaching our kingdom (Christ’s) to us so that we develop our kingdom’s language, calendar, worship, etc…a ‘this is your heritage in Christ, your inheritance.

    His point on expository preaching is spot on. While in the Baptist realm one first often encounters more non-expository preaching which devolves into the preachers moral or ‘get busy’ church yard church list sermons over time. Usually some form of ‘get busy evangelizing’. So the discovery of at first of expository preaching is seemingly good as it at least ‘gets back into the word’, APPARENTLY ONLY! After a while one begins to note something, he calls it ‘missing the forest for the trees’. Which is exactly what we noted upon a similar discovery. More exactly expository preaching lends itself to the pastor/elder beginning to insert his own foolish reasoning against faith hearing the nude Word nakedly. And so one gets these excruciating expositors of scriptures like John MacArthur who via his foolish reason commenting and expositing Romans 6 as a “dry passage” having nothing to do with actual water baptism. The expositor begins to bring his foolish fallen religious ideas INTO the words and with a little “logical” hocus pocus makes a passage say something it does not (the institution of the LS follows this approach for the memorial/sign doctrines of the baptist/reformed on this – Zwingli “exposited it”). So, the “big picture” is lost for certain. One can “insert” false hellish doctrine in between the ‘cracks’ of the actual Words of Scripture: E.g. “This (represents) is My body” = expository preaching.

    The liturgical worship does reenact the Gospel drama and more, it GIVES it a fresh every Sunday, brings to bear in fact not rhetoric the kingdom of heaven upon us (Gospel). And its like catechism and Scripture is, or should be, constantly heard and learned for its richness, because it really IS rich Gospel. Thus, it begets in adults, before they get too sleepy eyed, and ESPECIALLY kids that most favored question, ‘what does this mean’.

    Salvation centered Vs. Gospel centered, again spot on the money. We just had a perfect example of this, it happens every year at our nieces birthday and I always hate and despair of the dinner prayer because of it. They are baptist, Calvinistic, and our niece is of course not baptized and has been told ‘we don’t know if we are elect or not…etc…ad nauseum”. The prayer always thanks God for this and that, our salvation, AND wait for it, ‘…we pray that you would save (name of child)…”. There is a battle there over children that extends to adults in which our children, Lutheran children are GIVEN the Gospel we SAY they are forgiven, they are absolved every Sunday, they sing the same songs like “Go My Children With My Blessing…never alone…always forgiven….” Etc…, they pray “OUR Father…”, are baptized and thus saved. Yet the Baptist children, of which this is an example, are not. And thus the focus is always on children and adults alike in “getting saved”, “Lord I hope you will save me” is where they go in hopes of finding a gracious God, not the Word (Gospel), not Sacraments (and Gospel). Thus, the differing religious center.

    Law and Gospel; again he’s right. The constant in evangelical churches, ESPECIALLY Baptist oriented, ESPECIALLY SB, is always on ferreting out who is “in” and who is “out” and it is by various versions of the evidence of the Law/Love in and about a person. These self-righteous flights come in upon the shoulders in “feather light language and disguise”, but as they lay upon the shoulders they become utterly and increasingly crushing weights and chains of hell. They come in as soft tones of “love” but are in reality heavy burdens on the people. They come in as ‘angels of light’ but reveal themselves as hisses of serpents, making two distinct groups the fooling themselves they are pulling it off self righteous and the despairing.

    His point of vocation is HUGE! While evangelical one slowly becomes a “monk” just without the bald head and smock. One’s “real” (spiritual pleasing to God only) job is usually some form of evangelism. Everyday work, kids, home, spouse, family, mowing the lawn, need for food and sleep are at length distractions from the “real spiritual work” of evangelism or some such. The relief the doctrine of vocation developed due to the 200 proof Gospel in Luther/Lutheranism (or at least as it should be) is just as much Gospel as anything. In fact I’d say the doctrine of vocation is very real testing point for “do you really mean FORGIVEN pro me, Gospel? If you do then you won’t mind me ‘just mowing the lawn today’. That in a way tests the confessions. It’s like a kid testing his parents forgiveness, “really, then you won’t mind if I do this”. “Nope, you are forgiven”. “What about this.” “Nope, you are forgiven.” Eventually this doctrine of vocation, once tested a little, reveals, “ You really DO mean I’m forgiven…WOW!”

  • Helen F

    Pray that he finds a truly confessional Lutheran church some day!

  • Helen F

    Pray that he finds a truly confessional Lutheran church some day!

  • Helen F

    as they are becoming more rare every day!

  • Helen F

    as they are becoming more rare every day!

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Helen F,

    Sad, but true. End times.

  • JunkerGeorg

    @Helen F,

    Sad, but true. End times.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Thanks, Larry. Good comment.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Thanks, Larry. Good comment.

  • http://www.thegiftoffaith.blogspot.com Miguel

    I don’t think confessional Lutheran churches are becoming more rare by the day. I think they are slowly gaining the upper hand. More and more post-evangelicals are looking for a deeper tradition and finding a home in Lutheranism every day. Chap Mike is just one of many who pass through the “post evangelical wilderness” to find a home in Wittenburg. I myself am a recent convert from the SBC to LCMS, largely due to the writing of Spencer and the Chap. Pietism will NOT ruin the LCMS, if for no other reason than most of our churches trying to be trendy can’t pull it off and end up looking pitiful. Lets not be like Presbyterians and split over every hair of doctrine: Our synod is exemplary in too many ways, and even though there are bad influences, it is worth fighting for.

  • http://www.thegiftoffaith.blogspot.com Miguel

    I don’t think confessional Lutheran churches are becoming more rare by the day. I think they are slowly gaining the upper hand. More and more post-evangelicals are looking for a deeper tradition and finding a home in Lutheranism every day. Chap Mike is just one of many who pass through the “post evangelical wilderness” to find a home in Wittenburg. I myself am a recent convert from the SBC to LCMS, largely due to the writing of Spencer and the Chap. Pietism will NOT ruin the LCMS, if for no other reason than most of our churches trying to be trendy can’t pull it off and end up looking pitiful. Lets not be like Presbyterians and split over every hair of doctrine: Our synod is exemplary in too many ways, and even though there are bad influences, it is worth fighting for.

  • fws

    the wierd feeling i get from the responders to this post, is that some think that baptist are closer to LCMS and confessional Lutheranism than is most of the ELCA.

    why is that?

  • fws

    the wierd feeling i get from the responders to this post, is that some think that baptist are closer to LCMS and confessional Lutheranism than is most of the ELCA.

    why is that?

  • kerner

    Miguel @8:
    I agree with that analysis. But, hey, I’ve always been kind of an optimist.

    fws@9:

    I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I think I may understand it. “Bible believing” Baptists at least try to be that which they claim to be. They start with Scripture as their “rule and norm” as it were. Therefore, however misguided they are, we share with them a starting point. Our dialogue therefore has a common foundation of authority. The ELCA is regarded by more Confessional Lutherans as having abandonned the “rule and norm” mandated by the SDFOC, not to mention having abandonned significant portions of the rest of the Lutheran Confessions. The “lutheranism” of the ELCA, then, is regarded as superficial, a mere name, meaningless without the doctrine that should support its use.

    That position may be unduly harsh in many instances, but the ELCA has gone out of its way to earn the skepticism with which Confessional Lutherans regard their denomination. We Confessional Lutherans gripe about LCMS aping pietist traditions, and often rightly so. But the ELCA is at least equally guilty of aping mainline American liberal protestantism. And I think, from a confessional stand point, that is even worse.

  • kerner

    Miguel @8:
    I agree with that analysis. But, hey, I’ve always been kind of an optimist.

    fws@9:

    I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I think I may understand it. “Bible believing” Baptists at least try to be that which they claim to be. They start with Scripture as their “rule and norm” as it were. Therefore, however misguided they are, we share with them a starting point. Our dialogue therefore has a common foundation of authority. The ELCA is regarded by more Confessional Lutherans as having abandonned the “rule and norm” mandated by the SDFOC, not to mention having abandonned significant portions of the rest of the Lutheran Confessions. The “lutheranism” of the ELCA, then, is regarded as superficial, a mere name, meaningless without the doctrine that should support its use.

    That position may be unduly harsh in many instances, but the ELCA has gone out of its way to earn the skepticism with which Confessional Lutherans regard their denomination. We Confessional Lutherans gripe about LCMS aping pietist traditions, and often rightly so. But the ELCA is at least equally guilty of aping mainline American liberal protestantism. And I think, from a confessional stand point, that is even worse.

  • larry

    Frank,

    I don’t know if you meant you are getting that ‘weird’ feeling from me or not, but if so NOTHING could be further from the truth and I had hoped that I’d made that very clear. In fact the context and frame of mind I wrote that in was directly the opposite of that. To wit: Give the guy a break at least he’s come into closer confessional Lutheranism THAN Baptist which is REALLY hell. That’s why I clearly identify the Christless, crossless, gospelless Baptist theology as such and at least now he’s in the place where a vestiage of confessional truth exists.

    I am ALWAYS stunned when confessional Lutherans “glad hand” conservative reformedish calvinish Baptist so much. I attribute it more to the concept “conservative” than doctrinal.

    Put another way, Joel Ostean/Rick Warren Vs. John MacArthur/John Piper (more associated with conservative) at the end of the day preach only mere variations of the same false heterical doctines sourced from hell. And that’s not rhetoric.

    Or another way, Arminius Vs. Calvin, six one way, half a dozen another heretics.

    So Chaplain’s move is a definite improvement. Unfortunately folks that never lived in those hellish doctrinal environments (generically called evangelical today) won’t see that so easily without walking a few miles in their shoes.

  • larry

    Frank,

    I don’t know if you meant you are getting that ‘weird’ feeling from me or not, but if so NOTHING could be further from the truth and I had hoped that I’d made that very clear. In fact the context and frame of mind I wrote that in was directly the opposite of that. To wit: Give the guy a break at least he’s come into closer confessional Lutheranism THAN Baptist which is REALLY hell. That’s why I clearly identify the Christless, crossless, gospelless Baptist theology as such and at least now he’s in the place where a vestiage of confessional truth exists.

    I am ALWAYS stunned when confessional Lutherans “glad hand” conservative reformedish calvinish Baptist so much. I attribute it more to the concept “conservative” than doctrinal.

    Put another way, Joel Ostean/Rick Warren Vs. John MacArthur/John Piper (more associated with conservative) at the end of the day preach only mere variations of the same false heterical doctines sourced from hell. And that’s not rhetoric.

    Or another way, Arminius Vs. Calvin, six one way, half a dozen another heretics.

    So Chaplain’s move is a definite improvement. Unfortunately folks that never lived in those hellish doctrinal environments (generically called evangelical today) won’t see that so easily without walking a few miles in their shoes.

  • fws

    Larry @ 11

    I am ALWAYS stunned when confessional Lutherans “glad hand” conservative reformedish calvinish Baptist so much. I attribute it more to the concept “conservative” than doctrinal.

    Hey Larry, I know you man. You came out of all that.

    I suspect you are right on the money here.

    And I am not so sure that those who have been described as “solid” Lutherans like Forde and especially Nestingen that are still in the ELCA orbit are so great. But they, like the evangelicals, are on “our” side of the homosexual question and some other related issues, and so we cozy up to them.

    So why isn’t it that Confessional Lutherans are working more on dialogs with Lutherans in the ELCA and leapfrogging them to dialog with Michael Spencer and others emerging from the Reformed/Arminians?

    I am not in any way minimizing the Errors of the ELCA that are legion , the degredation of the Baptismal Name and the Liturgy and , well … Yet we can appeal to their consciences based upon our Confessions. Yet we treat our Confessions as historical documents now. We claim we are confessional Lutherans. We betray the truth of that by what it is that we quote approvingly when we are dialoging on blogs for example.

  • fws

    Larry @ 11

    I am ALWAYS stunned when confessional Lutherans “glad hand” conservative reformedish calvinish Baptist so much. I attribute it more to the concept “conservative” than doctrinal.

    Hey Larry, I know you man. You came out of all that.

    I suspect you are right on the money here.

    And I am not so sure that those who have been described as “solid” Lutherans like Forde and especially Nestingen that are still in the ELCA orbit are so great. But they, like the evangelicals, are on “our” side of the homosexual question and some other related issues, and so we cozy up to them.

    So why isn’t it that Confessional Lutherans are working more on dialogs with Lutherans in the ELCA and leapfrogging them to dialog with Michael Spencer and others emerging from the Reformed/Arminians?

    I am not in any way minimizing the Errors of the ELCA that are legion , the degredation of the Baptismal Name and the Liturgy and , well … Yet we can appeal to their consciences based upon our Confessions. Yet we treat our Confessions as historical documents now. We claim we are confessional Lutherans. We betray the truth of that by what it is that we quote approvingly when we are dialoging on blogs for example.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Some multiple answers to be sure. How one dialogs “internally” with say ELCA Vs. another denomination of a wholly other confession is critical. I think one of the reasons one might not quote the confessions every time to an evangelical, say Baptist or Reformed, and might go to for example Luther’s HD or some such is that the non-Lutheran protestant language has “evolved” so much over the years one has to “reconnect” meanings of Words.

    Look at it this way, let’s go to a more universal creed like Nicene or some such that speaks so much to the nature of Christ and the Trinity. Let’s just set aside the sacraments, though connected for a moment. Now in theory Reformed quote this creed, though Calvin did not adhere to it himself, and many understand we must confess the two natures of Christ. Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, RC, Methodist, Anglican, etc… all in unity agree on the the two natures of Christ. However, why? Many today know that “that is the correct answer to the test question”. Right, two natures, one persons, not divided, separated, confused or mixed, etc… “Yes, you get an A in theology class 101 and a star on your paper”. Armed with this “right answer”, now, you can go out to say Utah and begin apologetics with the Mormons, and so you do, two natures in one person, etc… you tell them the right answer to the test question. But what happens when they ask you, “Well, why is it necessary to be so, why is it ESSENTIAL, why can’t we just all get along sans Nicene and agree where we agree on other things”. So, at first you answer in the opinion of the law, “Well the right answer to the test question is…”. You answer this way because in reality that is ALL YOU know about it too. And that’s about it. You see no Gospel answer. It’s like answer the doctrine of predestination/election on the one side close to Calvin where you answer it in the way of the law and predestination without a preacher, election without the preached God. But why is this important as to the two natures of Christ, and the communication of attributes. How does this relate with what Jesus did FOR ME, Gospel, how is it crucial. You get a taste of it maybe one day in your PCA SS class as I did when three of the elders teaching begin to say to you, “now God did not die on the Cross” (a Calvinistic separation of the two natures) and you see the panic set in around the laity room as they thought He did! You begin to need to learn why as to the Gospel, not the opinion of the law (the right answer only) why the two natures AND the communication of attributes are necessary in the one person Christ so that God really did suffer and die FOR YOU, really DID BECOME sin (Isa.), really did communicate TO HIMSELF YOUR sins, and communicate TO YOU HIS forgiveness (the communication of attributes of the two natures relates directly to communication of Christ’s forgiveness of sins that He Himself received as the sin bearer and sin its self (He made Him TO BE sin who knew no sin) as shown in proof of His resurrection, communicated substantially, for real, in time and space to/for you onto you in Word and Sacraments. See now the answer is not, “the test asked for the right answer” but the Gospel at its VERY heart.

    That’s why sometimes one has to pull some other language, or even put it together themselves, and quotes to match up with modern lingo of other denominations. That’s not knock on the confession at all, but you are correct it is viewed mostly historically because the dots are not reconnected and taught so that the confessional language explains such things against the ever evolving heterodox language. It’s a form of what Paul did when he noted that they ‘had worship for the unknown god’, he turned their own language into a way to communicate Christ to them, to the PREACHED and KNOWN in His Words God.

    When speaking more or less internally, Lutheran to Lutheran, the confession can be more used. But when speaking externally sometimes one needs to address in language that speaks as they do (e.g. the temple dedicated to unknown god via Paul).

    I’m very happy for Chaplain, if you read what he’s saying you glean immediately its ALL about that Gospel for me that is flourishing in his mind, soul and heart right now. Pouring cold water on it by getting into the LCMS Vs. ELCA (or WELS) issue is simply TOO SOON for him. He needs the milk first, room to kick up his heals in the freedom of Christ he now has, savor his baptism FOR HIM that heretofore he was stricken in despair over under the demonic doctrine of believers baptism, savor the Lord’s Supper that he use to think he had to foist up his memory powers to enjoy, savor the absolution that NEVER comes in Baptist or Reformed or Evangelical worship.

    I defend as best I can orthodoxy against heterodoxy (and I purposely do not sugar coat the language) and FOR the Gospel ultimately, but if folks are not too careful they are going to frighten away other evangelicals over the conservative LCMS Vs. ELCA because at first “infant” blow to a new evangelical coming in overjoyed by the Gospel he/she heretofore was starving for, THAT sounds like a return to Law.

    It’s kind of like the first Gentile converts in Apostolic church when they met at Jerusalem over issues. They did not lay a whole bunch on them right away, “just let them abstain from…”. They knew the delicate nature of loosing the Gospel there. Same here. Even Luther when the enthusiast uprising was occurring during his hiding and they were smashing pictures and icons and so forth came out of hiding, shaved his head again, donned his smock and EVEN administered the sacrament again under one kind (though he knew better) to re-establish ‘good order’ and protect the freshly uncovered Gospel from being buried under this enthusiasm. Same here.

    I hope that helps. Having walked the same mile(s) Chaplain has it’s a bit easier for me to see I suppose but I’m still only a few years into officially being Lutheran and I very easily recall my thoughts, emotions and such during those initial move over from baptist/reformed to Lutheran.

  • larry

    Frank,

    Some multiple answers to be sure. How one dialogs “internally” with say ELCA Vs. another denomination of a wholly other confession is critical. I think one of the reasons one might not quote the confessions every time to an evangelical, say Baptist or Reformed, and might go to for example Luther’s HD or some such is that the non-Lutheran protestant language has “evolved” so much over the years one has to “reconnect” meanings of Words.

    Look at it this way, let’s go to a more universal creed like Nicene or some such that speaks so much to the nature of Christ and the Trinity. Let’s just set aside the sacraments, though connected for a moment. Now in theory Reformed quote this creed, though Calvin did not adhere to it himself, and many understand we must confess the two natures of Christ. Baptist, Reformed, Lutheran, RC, Methodist, Anglican, etc… all in unity agree on the the two natures of Christ. However, why? Many today know that “that is the correct answer to the test question”. Right, two natures, one persons, not divided, separated, confused or mixed, etc… “Yes, you get an A in theology class 101 and a star on your paper”. Armed with this “right answer”, now, you can go out to say Utah and begin apologetics with the Mormons, and so you do, two natures in one person, etc… you tell them the right answer to the test question. But what happens when they ask you, “Well, why is it necessary to be so, why is it ESSENTIAL, why can’t we just all get along sans Nicene and agree where we agree on other things”. So, at first you answer in the opinion of the law, “Well the right answer to the test question is…”. You answer this way because in reality that is ALL YOU know about it too. And that’s about it. You see no Gospel answer. It’s like answer the doctrine of predestination/election on the one side close to Calvin where you answer it in the way of the law and predestination without a preacher, election without the preached God. But why is this important as to the two natures of Christ, and the communication of attributes. How does this relate with what Jesus did FOR ME, Gospel, how is it crucial. You get a taste of it maybe one day in your PCA SS class as I did when three of the elders teaching begin to say to you, “now God did not die on the Cross” (a Calvinistic separation of the two natures) and you see the panic set in around the laity room as they thought He did! You begin to need to learn why as to the Gospel, not the opinion of the law (the right answer only) why the two natures AND the communication of attributes are necessary in the one person Christ so that God really did suffer and die FOR YOU, really DID BECOME sin (Isa.), really did communicate TO HIMSELF YOUR sins, and communicate TO YOU HIS forgiveness (the communication of attributes of the two natures relates directly to communication of Christ’s forgiveness of sins that He Himself received as the sin bearer and sin its self (He made Him TO BE sin who knew no sin) as shown in proof of His resurrection, communicated substantially, for real, in time and space to/for you onto you in Word and Sacraments. See now the answer is not, “the test asked for the right answer” but the Gospel at its VERY heart.

    That’s why sometimes one has to pull some other language, or even put it together themselves, and quotes to match up with modern lingo of other denominations. That’s not knock on the confession at all, but you are correct it is viewed mostly historically because the dots are not reconnected and taught so that the confessional language explains such things against the ever evolving heterodox language. It’s a form of what Paul did when he noted that they ‘had worship for the unknown god’, he turned their own language into a way to communicate Christ to them, to the PREACHED and KNOWN in His Words God.

    When speaking more or less internally, Lutheran to Lutheran, the confession can be more used. But when speaking externally sometimes one needs to address in language that speaks as they do (e.g. the temple dedicated to unknown god via Paul).

    I’m very happy for Chaplain, if you read what he’s saying you glean immediately its ALL about that Gospel for me that is flourishing in his mind, soul and heart right now. Pouring cold water on it by getting into the LCMS Vs. ELCA (or WELS) issue is simply TOO SOON for him. He needs the milk first, room to kick up his heals in the freedom of Christ he now has, savor his baptism FOR HIM that heretofore he was stricken in despair over under the demonic doctrine of believers baptism, savor the Lord’s Supper that he use to think he had to foist up his memory powers to enjoy, savor the absolution that NEVER comes in Baptist or Reformed or Evangelical worship.

    I defend as best I can orthodoxy against heterodoxy (and I purposely do not sugar coat the language) and FOR the Gospel ultimately, but if folks are not too careful they are going to frighten away other evangelicals over the conservative LCMS Vs. ELCA because at first “infant” blow to a new evangelical coming in overjoyed by the Gospel he/she heretofore was starving for, THAT sounds like a return to Law.

    It’s kind of like the first Gentile converts in Apostolic church when they met at Jerusalem over issues. They did not lay a whole bunch on them right away, “just let them abstain from…”. They knew the delicate nature of loosing the Gospel there. Same here. Even Luther when the enthusiast uprising was occurring during his hiding and they were smashing pictures and icons and so forth came out of hiding, shaved his head again, donned his smock and EVEN administered the sacrament again under one kind (though he knew better) to re-establish ‘good order’ and protect the freshly uncovered Gospel from being buried under this enthusiasm. Same here.

    I hope that helps. Having walked the same mile(s) Chaplain has it’s a bit easier for me to see I suppose but I’m still only a few years into officially being Lutheran and I very easily recall my thoughts, emotions and such during those initial move over from baptist/reformed to Lutheran.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank -

    LCMS has tried to dialog with ELCA. But that appears to be done. I’m not aware of any official overtures to Calvinist/Reformed groups, but we are talking in a limited context with the Anglicans in ACNA.

    There are three videos, but here’s the link to the first:

  • SKPeterson

    Frank -

    LCMS has tried to dialog with ELCA. But that appears to be done. I’m not aware of any official overtures to Calvinist/Reformed groups, but we are talking in a limited context with the Anglicans in ACNA.

    There are three videos, but here’s the link to the first:

  • larry

    I think that’s where the confusion is, this event is not about denomination hand extension, but a personal story of a man coming over to Lutheran theology where the Gospel is richly given (or at least it should be).

    This gets confused all the time in doctrinal discussions where official confessions are condemned as false Vs. actual believers within. True believers exist in all denominations, I didn’t “just get saved” when I moved to Lutheran confessions officially. Nor does one move to Lutheran confessions, or they should not, just to “get the answers right”. Not at all, its a move to where the gifts Christ won for us are actually given and not withheld by false doctrines otherwise (e.g. believers baptism). THAT is what Chaplain is expressing.

    False doctrine in false churches is a different issue than particular folks within. The false doctrine is damning, but not because “you got it wrong” (the test question), but because it CREATES pharisees and despairing people. Words are not harmless. It eternally harms because it makes men not trust and know they are forgiven, saved, elected, etc…

    The reason there are true believers in false churches, heterodoxy, is BECAUSE of the Word of God INSPITE of the false doctrine. E.g. in as much as Calvinism or baptist doctrine is purely that, what distinguishes it AS SUCH as opposed to another, it is utterly false, sourced in hell, and damning. That people believe and are truly Christians amidst it, is attributed to the Word of God INSPITE of the other doctrine. I.e. It is attributed to John 3:16 IN SPITE of Calvinistic doctrine on that passage which wars against the Word of God in that setting, and therein lay the danger, the false doctrine is warring in one’s ears against the truth constantly…entertaining the “hath God really said”. The same with “this baptism saves you” and “this is My body…”.

    Thus, that there are true Christians in heterodoxy just like orthodoxy is for the same reason, the true Word of God but in spite of the existing heterodoxy. That a man like Chaplain, like of us converts over to Luther, sheds MUCH of the old heterodoxy for orthodoxy is wonderful news. It in no way opens the door for orthodoxy to “give in”, “love yields all” BUT “faith yields NOTHING” said Luther.

  • larry

    I think that’s where the confusion is, this event is not about denomination hand extension, but a personal story of a man coming over to Lutheran theology where the Gospel is richly given (or at least it should be).

    This gets confused all the time in doctrinal discussions where official confessions are condemned as false Vs. actual believers within. True believers exist in all denominations, I didn’t “just get saved” when I moved to Lutheran confessions officially. Nor does one move to Lutheran confessions, or they should not, just to “get the answers right”. Not at all, its a move to where the gifts Christ won for us are actually given and not withheld by false doctrines otherwise (e.g. believers baptism). THAT is what Chaplain is expressing.

    False doctrine in false churches is a different issue than particular folks within. The false doctrine is damning, but not because “you got it wrong” (the test question), but because it CREATES pharisees and despairing people. Words are not harmless. It eternally harms because it makes men not trust and know they are forgiven, saved, elected, etc…

    The reason there are true believers in false churches, heterodoxy, is BECAUSE of the Word of God INSPITE of the false doctrine. E.g. in as much as Calvinism or baptist doctrine is purely that, what distinguishes it AS SUCH as opposed to another, it is utterly false, sourced in hell, and damning. That people believe and are truly Christians amidst it, is attributed to the Word of God INSPITE of the other doctrine. I.e. It is attributed to John 3:16 IN SPITE of Calvinistic doctrine on that passage which wars against the Word of God in that setting, and therein lay the danger, the false doctrine is warring in one’s ears against the truth constantly…entertaining the “hath God really said”. The same with “this baptism saves you” and “this is My body…”.

    Thus, that there are true Christians in heterodoxy just like orthodoxy is for the same reason, the true Word of God but in spite of the existing heterodoxy. That a man like Chaplain, like of us converts over to Luther, sheds MUCH of the old heterodoxy for orthodoxy is wonderful news. It in no way opens the door for orthodoxy to “give in”, “love yields all” BUT “faith yields NOTHING” said Luther.

  • fws

    Larry @ 15

    What Larry says!

    I would ask you to all ponder that the Apology to our Confessions starts with the Baptismal Name, even though there was no controversy over it. It was still included as the lead article of the Apology.

    Why? It was THE basis for addressing and dialoging with the Roman Scholastics as fellow believers.

    Luther and Ap VII tells us that we are to address and talk to all the baptized as fellow believers, and as members of the “Holy Catholic Church” which is the earthly government that consists of both “true believers and hypocrites”. We are not to separate the wheat from the looks-identical-to-wheat.

    This means the following: we are to address those who are baptized, who favor legalized abortions, homosexuals to be received as full members of a church body, those with false doctrines, pharisees, legalists, libertines, antinomians…. as fellow members of the Holy Catholic Church.

    We do this as a being what love demands of us, not as an article of faith. This is why Luther always referred to the “turks” when he wanted to talk about unbelievers. All of europe was baptized, so he would never refer to a european as an “unbeliever”. Were there unbelievers and hypocrites there? Of course. We know that was and is a fact because Scripture informs us. But not by what we can see!

    I suggest the problem here is that we are not following what the Law demands of us here and how our own Confessions tell us we are to address other baptized who are in error.

  • fws

    Larry @ 15

    What Larry says!

    I would ask you to all ponder that the Apology to our Confessions starts with the Baptismal Name, even though there was no controversy over it. It was still included as the lead article of the Apology.

    Why? It was THE basis for addressing and dialoging with the Roman Scholastics as fellow believers.

    Luther and Ap VII tells us that we are to address and talk to all the baptized as fellow believers, and as members of the “Holy Catholic Church” which is the earthly government that consists of both “true believers and hypocrites”. We are not to separate the wheat from the looks-identical-to-wheat.

    This means the following: we are to address those who are baptized, who favor legalized abortions, homosexuals to be received as full members of a church body, those with false doctrines, pharisees, legalists, libertines, antinomians…. as fellow members of the Holy Catholic Church.

    We do this as a being what love demands of us, not as an article of faith. This is why Luther always referred to the “turks” when he wanted to talk about unbelievers. All of europe was baptized, so he would never refer to a european as an “unbeliever”. Were there unbelievers and hypocrites there? Of course. We know that was and is a fact because Scripture informs us. But not by what we can see!

    I suggest the problem here is that we are not following what the Law demands of us here and how our own Confessions tell us we are to address other baptized who are in error.

  • fws

    I live in Brasil where many, if not most Brasilian baptized practice ” syncretism” which is where someone combines various religions and holds to both christian beliefs and pagan ones side by side.

    The first question I ask then is “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes than I declare to that person “you are catholic or christian” then!

    And THEN I proceed to talk as though the Bible has authority over them. I speak as though I take that for granted. I speak to them as a FELLOW member of the Holy Catholic Church that consists of both “true believers and hypocrites” (Apology art VII) without the need for me to decide into which of those two categories that person falls.

    It would be good for our LCMS officials to , in a similar way, address their counterparts in the ELCA in a similar fraternal way, and as individuals, not as figureheads of some earthly government that proclaims error.

    The Gospel is always personal and about individuals. It addresses individuals and not groups as ” those ELCA Lutherans”, “those homosexuals” , “those favoring legalize abortions” , “those postmodernist” etc etc.

    We are to address individuals as individuals. If they are baptized, we are to address them as fellow members of the Holy Catholic Church unless they reject that, and even then….. because the Word of God NEVER returns void but does what it says it will do…….

    we speak to even those with the eyes of faith in the power of the Word of God to work the miracle of faith . This , after all, is the same miracle God has worked in the heart and mind of each of us!

    Think of how kind, gracious and generous the tone of our conversations must therefore be! And the Lord has not only given us permission to speak in this reverent way towards the other baptized, expecially those with minds darkened by error, but has in fact, commanded us to do that in his Law!

    the Lord has had mercy upon us!+

  • fws

    I live in Brasil where many, if not most Brasilian baptized practice ” syncretism” which is where someone combines various religions and holds to both christian beliefs and pagan ones side by side.

    The first question I ask then is “were you baptized?” If the answer is yes than I declare to that person “you are catholic or christian” then!

    And THEN I proceed to talk as though the Bible has authority over them. I speak as though I take that for granted. I speak to them as a FELLOW member of the Holy Catholic Church that consists of both “true believers and hypocrites” (Apology art VII) without the need for me to decide into which of those two categories that person falls.

    It would be good for our LCMS officials to , in a similar way, address their counterparts in the ELCA in a similar fraternal way, and as individuals, not as figureheads of some earthly government that proclaims error.

    The Gospel is always personal and about individuals. It addresses individuals and not groups as ” those ELCA Lutherans”, “those homosexuals” , “those favoring legalize abortions” , “those postmodernist” etc etc.

    We are to address individuals as individuals. If they are baptized, we are to address them as fellow members of the Holy Catholic Church unless they reject that, and even then….. because the Word of God NEVER returns void but does what it says it will do…….

    we speak to even those with the eyes of faith in the power of the Word of God to work the miracle of faith . This , after all, is the same miracle God has worked in the heart and mind of each of us!

    Think of how kind, gracious and generous the tone of our conversations must therefore be! And the Lord has not only given us permission to speak in this reverent way towards the other baptized, expecially those with minds darkened by error, but has in fact, commanded us to do that in his Law!

    the Lord has had mercy upon us!+

  • larry

    Frank,

    “Why? It was THE basis for addressing and dialoging with the Roman Scholastics as fellow believers…etc…ff”

    That is such a HUGE point to grasp. We come initially from the baptistic background, me as a late in life convert, my wife all her life and it is deeply entrained in her family as opposed to my own. And the constant, Calvinistic or arminian leaning, tone is on “who is truly a believer”. It harkens back to the baptistic “attempting to achieve a truly regenerate church here on earth thinking”. Baptism is NEVER the mark of the Christian, usually some form of law evidences or fruit, i.e. love. It always devolves into the local churches “list” and usually within a single congregation it further devolves into this ‘clicks’ Vs. that ‘clicks’ “list”. Then even within a click “the eye” that is ever trying to “see inwardly” through the things that have happened, it further devolves into those eyes comparing the members of the click to “my” personal list. And that’s how ‘christian/Christians defined by love/law’ works. When you move to say Reformed it gets the root basis for ‘christian/Christians defined by love/law’ is not the “regenerate church” concept but “who is really elect concept”, nonetheless it ends up devolving the same way. Though I suspect this is in sacramental churches, I have no feel for it personally never having been in one in my past, it is VERY strong in the non-sacramental churches (we call sacramentarian = Calvin/Arminian of all flavors).

    So that others are approached, others meaning say R. Catholics or Presby. Or generally infant baptized (among the Baptist) as not really being Christians and in need of “getting saved”. One does not “speak” to the baptized as if Christian based on baptism but almost as a heathen, the Word not binding on them so to speak. If Lutherans are not careful, we can fall into this most easily too because it’s the ‘natural gravity’ of the fallen Adam in ALL men.

    Thus, when we talk about points of doctrine, even calling a thing what it is, false/satanic/from hell/ etc…it presupposes the person is baptized and thus a Christian whereby a doctrine, say on the Lord’s Supper or baptism, has some binding on them AS A CHRISTIAN. E.g. when my wife addresses her sibling about the issue and an unbaptized child of theirs and says something like, “How do you then teach them the Lord’s Prayer that opens “Our Father” or that without being a Christian (not baptized) that they can even pray and be heard of God? How is it that you are giving them awards at Christian schools for ‘displaying the fruits of the spirit’, yet do not baptize them…” She’s not addressing them as a pagan heathen but a believer baptized and saying, “you should thus have your child baptized and this teaching should already be binding on you” and not some rank heathen/pagan not even baptized and Christian.
    Great point Frank, great point!

  • larry

    Frank,

    “Why? It was THE basis for addressing and dialoging with the Roman Scholastics as fellow believers…etc…ff”

    That is such a HUGE point to grasp. We come initially from the baptistic background, me as a late in life convert, my wife all her life and it is deeply entrained in her family as opposed to my own. And the constant, Calvinistic or arminian leaning, tone is on “who is truly a believer”. It harkens back to the baptistic “attempting to achieve a truly regenerate church here on earth thinking”. Baptism is NEVER the mark of the Christian, usually some form of law evidences or fruit, i.e. love. It always devolves into the local churches “list” and usually within a single congregation it further devolves into this ‘clicks’ Vs. that ‘clicks’ “list”. Then even within a click “the eye” that is ever trying to “see inwardly” through the things that have happened, it further devolves into those eyes comparing the members of the click to “my” personal list. And that’s how ‘christian/Christians defined by love/law’ works. When you move to say Reformed it gets the root basis for ‘christian/Christians defined by love/law’ is not the “regenerate church” concept but “who is really elect concept”, nonetheless it ends up devolving the same way. Though I suspect this is in sacramental churches, I have no feel for it personally never having been in one in my past, it is VERY strong in the non-sacramental churches (we call sacramentarian = Calvin/Arminian of all flavors).

    So that others are approached, others meaning say R. Catholics or Presby. Or generally infant baptized (among the Baptist) as not really being Christians and in need of “getting saved”. One does not “speak” to the baptized as if Christian based on baptism but almost as a heathen, the Word not binding on them so to speak. If Lutherans are not careful, we can fall into this most easily too because it’s the ‘natural gravity’ of the fallen Adam in ALL men.

    Thus, when we talk about points of doctrine, even calling a thing what it is, false/satanic/from hell/ etc…it presupposes the person is baptized and thus a Christian whereby a doctrine, say on the Lord’s Supper or baptism, has some binding on them AS A CHRISTIAN. E.g. when my wife addresses her sibling about the issue and an unbaptized child of theirs and says something like, “How do you then teach them the Lord’s Prayer that opens “Our Father” or that without being a Christian (not baptized) that they can even pray and be heard of God? How is it that you are giving them awards at Christian schools for ‘displaying the fruits of the spirit’, yet do not baptize them…” She’s not addressing them as a pagan heathen but a believer baptized and saying, “you should thus have your child baptized and this teaching should already be binding on you” and not some rank heathen/pagan not even baptized and Christian.
    Great point Frank, great point!

  • fws

    Larry @ 18

    The confessions, especially their densest and most difficult part called the Apology, contains stuff that is exactly pertinent and relevant to every issue we debate in the church today.

    In this case it is Apology art VII on the Church. This is where the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, aka Law and Gospel, is applied to how we are to perceive and deal with the church.

    I wish people would read them and digest them. It would make us look so much more catholic in the best and truest sense of the word.

  • fws

    Larry @ 18

    The confessions, especially their densest and most difficult part called the Apology, contains stuff that is exactly pertinent and relevant to every issue we debate in the church today.

    In this case it is Apology art VII on the Church. This is where the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, aka Law and Gospel, is applied to how we are to perceive and deal with the church.

    I wish people would read them and digest them. It would make us look so much more catholic in the best and truest sense of the word.

  • fws

    We Lutherans do not have any problem at all speaking to baptists and roman catholics and presbyterians etc all as baptized believers.

    That is a wonderful distinctive to have as Lutheran christians. I am sure this attracts, initially, others to us.

    But it so happens, here in the USA, that we then do a further sorting that falls along the culture war liberal/conservative fault line.

    And so those baptized who are homosexual, favor legalized abortions, favor ameliorating the Gen 3 curses upon women and men by granting women equality, a more-than-6-day creation, etc, are NOT christian!

    How COULD they be??!! They are “unrepentant” on some sins we believe the bible is so very clear about. They therefore do NOT believe that they are sinners. This is a logical gloss. And it is one most conservative christians would easily agree with.

    A christian must think exactly the way we do on moral issues. EVERY issue. Those who do not, we can CLEARLY identify as not christian by the fruit they bear! Why? A true christian must agree that EVERY thing is clear in the Bible as we read it, on moral issues that is…. doctrinal issues? Not so much.

    And so we make an exception for the moral failure that calvinists make in not believing the Word on Baptism and the Holy Supper. Those errors , after all, are not as dangerous and sinful as homosexuality or favoring the legalization of abortion or women pastors…..

  • fws

    We Lutherans do not have any problem at all speaking to baptists and roman catholics and presbyterians etc all as baptized believers.

    That is a wonderful distinctive to have as Lutheran christians. I am sure this attracts, initially, others to us.

    But it so happens, here in the USA, that we then do a further sorting that falls along the culture war liberal/conservative fault line.

    And so those baptized who are homosexual, favor legalized abortions, favor ameliorating the Gen 3 curses upon women and men by granting women equality, a more-than-6-day creation, etc, are NOT christian!

    How COULD they be??!! They are “unrepentant” on some sins we believe the bible is so very clear about. They therefore do NOT believe that they are sinners. This is a logical gloss. And it is one most conservative christians would easily agree with.

    A christian must think exactly the way we do on moral issues. EVERY issue. Those who do not, we can CLEARLY identify as not christian by the fruit they bear! Why? A true christian must agree that EVERY thing is clear in the Bible as we read it, on moral issues that is…. doctrinal issues? Not so much.

    And so we make an exception for the moral failure that calvinists make in not believing the Word on Baptism and the Holy Supper. Those errors , after all, are not as dangerous and sinful as homosexuality or favoring the legalization of abortion or women pastors…..

  • larry

    It’s funny you mention that. My wife upon making the move to Lutheran found the freedom to be able to speak to some of her RC AS Christians. Where before it was at best “questionable” and one more or less spoke to them as “needing to get saved”. She found it wonderfully freeing when religious discussions did open up to be able to think of her friends that way, rather than as “targets”.

  • larry

    It’s funny you mention that. My wife upon making the move to Lutheran found the freedom to be able to speak to some of her RC AS Christians. Where before it was at best “questionable” and one more or less spoke to them as “needing to get saved”. She found it wonderfully freeing when religious discussions did open up to be able to think of her friends that way, rather than as “targets”.

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