The ex-Lutheran Republican primary

Newt Gingrich grew up Lutheran!  So did Ron Paul.  So did Michele Bachmann.  And Jon Huntsman, though a Mormon, went to a Lutheran school in Los Angeles.

That Paul and Bachmann used to be Lutherans is common knowledge, but I did not know about Gingrich.  (The article, below, says that he grew up in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, which has three ELCA congregations, not that that body existed back then.  Paul also was raised in a non-LCMS congregation, as I recall, but perhaps someone else knows the details.  Bachmann was a lifelong member of the Wisconsin Synod until very recently, when she left that church body because her opponents were making much of its teaching that the pope is the antichrist.  Paul is now a Baptist.  Gingrich left Lutheranism in college to become a Baptist and recently converted to Roman Catholicism.  Huntsman, of course, was never a Lutheran, but in any Lutheran elementary school he would have studied the Small Catechism.)

I thank my friend Aaron Lewis for alerting me to these facts and for going to the trouble to find sources for the information (below).

So what are we to make of the fact that four of the seven Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have some sort of Lutheran backgrounds?

Aaron finds a common theme:  “It could be that their proclivity for constitutionalism could go back to the ad fontes mood of the Small Catechism.”

Maybe.  On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the prospect of voting for anyone who can not be trusted to keep his or her confirmation vows!  (“Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?”  That confession, by the way, is earlier defined in the rite as holding to the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God and as agreeing with the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as taught in the Small Catechism as being drawn from those Scriptures.)

Probably the ELCA doesn’t use that kind of vow anymore.  I don’t know what the different churches that merged to form that body in 1988 did in the old days.  Does WELS have that confirmation promise?  We Missouri Synod Lutherans do, as does the ELS.  We don’t need to discuss again whether requiring such a life-long promise is a good practice.  But surely if someone makes that commitment, it is a commitment!  To say it is “just a ritual” or “just something we make kids do” is to beg the question:  A promise is a promise, and it is wrong to take it lightly.)

Anyway, what do you make of all of this Lutheran background of the candidates?  (To me, this is not Lutheran triumphalism but rather the opposite!)

Do you see any trace of a Lutheran influence  in any of the candidates?  Are they testimonies of the need for better catechesis than they perhaps received?  Or does this just show that Lutheranism more or less lets people have whatever politics they want?

Newt Gingrich – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

New Gingrich’s Faith Journey

Jon Huntsman–Wikipedia

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.

  • WebMonk

    Frankly, if it’s just the leaving Lutheranism that we’re talking about, it gives them a minor positive since they left the false teachings of Lutheranism behind! Promising to always follow the false teachings of the Lutheran churches?? Far better to follow the truth of the Bible and break the promise!

    (yes, this is shameless tongue-in-cheek Lutheran-baiting :-D )

  • WebMonk

    Frankly, if it’s just the leaving Lutheranism that we’re talking about, it gives them a minor positive since they left the false teachings of Lutheranism behind! Promising to always follow the false teachings of the Lutheran churches?? Far better to follow the truth of the Bible and break the promise!

    (yes, this is shameless tongue-in-cheek Lutheran-baiting :-D )

  • #4 Kitty

    On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the prospect of voting for anyone who can not be trusted to keep his or her confirmation vows!
    You can’t be serious. These are vows made by coerced 14 year olds. They never had a choice in which religion (if any) to follow let alone whether or not they wanted to be confirmed. “Dismayed”??? LOL
    “We forced a religion on you since even before you could speak. We then compelled you take a life long oath while you were in junior high school and now we’re completely dismayed at your decisions once you’ve learned to think for yourself~ Dismayed I tell you!”

  • #4 Kitty

    On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the prospect of voting for anyone who can not be trusted to keep his or her confirmation vows!
    You can’t be serious. These are vows made by coerced 14 year olds. They never had a choice in which religion (if any) to follow let alone whether or not they wanted to be confirmed. “Dismayed”??? LOL
    “We forced a religion on you since even before you could speak. We then compelled you take a life long oath while you were in junior high school and now we’re completely dismayed at your decisions once you’ve learned to think for yourself~ Dismayed I tell you!”

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    How many kids know that’s what they’re doing at confirmation — taking a vow? Seriously? Most of us were going through the motions, doing what our parents wanted, taking the next step in our religious education so we could finally be done with the whole thing, frankly. They played with the confirmation age at my church because they were hoping that by pushing it back, they could retain teens’ loyalty. And that’s the problem. Why were so many confirmands suddenly leaving, never to darken a church door again except at a wedding or funeral? Because the Faith really didn’t mean anything to them. What if the church left Confirmation and First Communion until such time as the person could take that vow in full faith and knowledge of what they were promising to do, in short, when the faith became their own? What if that meant they were denied Holy Communion until their 20s or 30s (or later)? Does this smack too much of the decision-ism of the evangelicals? Lutherans don’t believe Confirmation is a sacrament because they don’t believe it “completes” baptism. Then what does it do? Admit the confirmand to Holy Communion, full membership in the church? But that’s a legal issue, no? If we are regenerated by the power of God at baptism, how can we not already be members of the church? If it’s merely a matter of education, well, my goodness, when does that education ever end? Is it because we must learn to recognize the Body and the Blood and so not profane the sacrament? At what age do we really come to “understand” what’s going on at the altar? At what age are we really “fit” to partake? The Reformed churches believe baptism is but a covenant sign, and so the church must wait until the individual comes to faith before admitting him or her to the Lord’s Table. It is not considered something that is inevitable, because not all who sit in church pews are the Elect. Perhaps Lutherans are far too complacent about faith and its inevitability. The Lutheran doctrine of baptism presumes faith. I think many leave the church for other churches because they can remember a time when they did not believe, did not know Christ, whether they made a vow at age 12 or 13 or 14 or not. When they finally come to faith, become “born again” by their lights, it’s easy to dismiss the Lutheran teaching about baptismal regeneration — and the rest of what the Lutheran tradition has to offer. And hence so many ex-Lutherans. Then throw in a lack of robust “activism,” whether this has anything to do with being a Christian or not, whether this is a form of legalism or not, but which seems to put legs under new Christians, and you have another reason why there are so many exes. Let’s face it: Lutheranism as practiced and presented to the faithful in the average church doesn’t ask a lot. “Just show up” was the only message I ever came away with. That’s what it means to be a good Christian, a good person — just show up. Be in the pew every Sunday. Don’t rock the boat. Be a good doobie. That’s it? The Law is nailed to the Cross, but discipleship is reduced to playing by the larger society’s rules about middle-class morality and being a “decent” citizen? There were a lot of disconnects, a lot of apparent contradictions there, at least for me, even if I couldn’t quite articulate them at the time. Lutheranism was presented as something really pretty easy, not too taxing — and so just as easy to let go of. But to truly grasp the paradoxes that are entailed in Luther’s construal of the Faith, in the Theology of the Cross, means having many of your expectations about life and God turned upside down. So maybe that’s a problem too — too many churches dumb down the Faith in order simply to hold on to their weekly attendance. Frederica Mathewes-Green once wrote that the reason the Orthodox Church has so many men at Divine Service every Sunday is because Orthodoxy is demanding and poses a challenge. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a solution — imposing all kinds of rules about fasting or other acts of ascetic discipline. But my goodness, if you have nothing else to say to a teenager who is bursting with energy and curiosity and contrarian opinion than “Just show up,” as if church attendance were some kind of magic, a good-luck practice, then don’t be surprised at how easily some dismiss that Confirmation vow — if they even remember making it. I think most see the end of their Lutheran commitment as more of an annulment than a divorce… (Apologies for the ludicrous length of this comment, but you know how I get…)

  • http://strangeherring.com Anthony Sacramone

    How many kids know that’s what they’re doing at confirmation — taking a vow? Seriously? Most of us were going through the motions, doing what our parents wanted, taking the next step in our religious education so we could finally be done with the whole thing, frankly. They played with the confirmation age at my church because they were hoping that by pushing it back, they could retain teens’ loyalty. And that’s the problem. Why were so many confirmands suddenly leaving, never to darken a church door again except at a wedding or funeral? Because the Faith really didn’t mean anything to them. What if the church left Confirmation and First Communion until such time as the person could take that vow in full faith and knowledge of what they were promising to do, in short, when the faith became their own? What if that meant they were denied Holy Communion until their 20s or 30s (or later)? Does this smack too much of the decision-ism of the evangelicals? Lutherans don’t believe Confirmation is a sacrament because they don’t believe it “completes” baptism. Then what does it do? Admit the confirmand to Holy Communion, full membership in the church? But that’s a legal issue, no? If we are regenerated by the power of God at baptism, how can we not already be members of the church? If it’s merely a matter of education, well, my goodness, when does that education ever end? Is it because we must learn to recognize the Body and the Blood and so not profane the sacrament? At what age do we really come to “understand” what’s going on at the altar? At what age are we really “fit” to partake? The Reformed churches believe baptism is but a covenant sign, and so the church must wait until the individual comes to faith before admitting him or her to the Lord’s Table. It is not considered something that is inevitable, because not all who sit in church pews are the Elect. Perhaps Lutherans are far too complacent about faith and its inevitability. The Lutheran doctrine of baptism presumes faith. I think many leave the church for other churches because they can remember a time when they did not believe, did not know Christ, whether they made a vow at age 12 or 13 or 14 or not. When they finally come to faith, become “born again” by their lights, it’s easy to dismiss the Lutheran teaching about baptismal regeneration — and the rest of what the Lutheran tradition has to offer. And hence so many ex-Lutherans. Then throw in a lack of robust “activism,” whether this has anything to do with being a Christian or not, whether this is a form of legalism or not, but which seems to put legs under new Christians, and you have another reason why there are so many exes. Let’s face it: Lutheranism as practiced and presented to the faithful in the average church doesn’t ask a lot. “Just show up” was the only message I ever came away with. That’s what it means to be a good Christian, a good person — just show up. Be in the pew every Sunday. Don’t rock the boat. Be a good doobie. That’s it? The Law is nailed to the Cross, but discipleship is reduced to playing by the larger society’s rules about middle-class morality and being a “decent” citizen? There were a lot of disconnects, a lot of apparent contradictions there, at least for me, even if I couldn’t quite articulate them at the time. Lutheranism was presented as something really pretty easy, not too taxing — and so just as easy to let go of. But to truly grasp the paradoxes that are entailed in Luther’s construal of the Faith, in the Theology of the Cross, means having many of your expectations about life and God turned upside down. So maybe that’s a problem too — too many churches dumb down the Faith in order simply to hold on to their weekly attendance. Frederica Mathewes-Green once wrote that the reason the Orthodox Church has so many men at Divine Service every Sunday is because Orthodoxy is demanding and poses a challenge. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a solution — imposing all kinds of rules about fasting or other acts of ascetic discipline. But my goodness, if you have nothing else to say to a teenager who is bursting with energy and curiosity and contrarian opinion than “Just show up,” as if church attendance were some kind of magic, a good-luck practice, then don’t be surprised at how easily some dismiss that Confirmation vow — if they even remember making it. I think most see the end of their Lutheran commitment as more of an annulment than a divorce… (Apologies for the ludicrous length of this comment, but you know how I get…)

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Well, if we’re going to be legalistic about it, since the vow says, “Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” It’s really more of a question than a vow.

    We have no reason to doubt that they gave an honest yes when they were asked–they did intend to at the time. Now, if we actually asked “Will you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” then they would have broken their vow. But throwing a present-tense “intend” really ruins it as an oath.

    Also, we sometimes forget that most of Lutheranism in American is old protestant liberalism. This doesn’t apply to Bachmann, but if Paul and Gingrich left churches that didn’t believe that Lutheranism or even Christianity are actually true in the first place, then good for them for leaving. They should obey God rather than the oaths of men.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Well, if we’re going to be legalistic about it, since the vow says, “Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” It’s really more of a question than a vow.

    We have no reason to doubt that they gave an honest yes when they were asked–they did intend to at the time. Now, if we actually asked “Will you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, and suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” then they would have broken their vow. But throwing a present-tense “intend” really ruins it as an oath.

    Also, we sometimes forget that most of Lutheranism in American is old protestant liberalism. This doesn’t apply to Bachmann, but if Paul and Gingrich left churches that didn’t believe that Lutheranism or even Christianity are actually true in the first place, then good for them for leaving. They should obey God rather than the oaths of men.

  • norman teigen

    At this point in the 2012 election race, the right-wing elements have been in the ascendancy. There is a tendency in this surge to blend conservative Christian belief with that of the political right. A real Lutheran, I contend, will not buy into this right wing baloney. Bachmann, Paul, Romney, Gingrich et al are not the best hope for the country, or for the Christian faith. Well meaning, but I fear gullible, Lutherans can fall for this sort of political garbage.

    That the candidates mentioned in the piece may have had Lutheran ties is of no concern to me. I am an American first and a Lutheran second. I want good leadership in my country and good theology in my church.

  • norman teigen

    At this point in the 2012 election race, the right-wing elements have been in the ascendancy. There is a tendency in this surge to blend conservative Christian belief with that of the political right. A real Lutheran, I contend, will not buy into this right wing baloney. Bachmann, Paul, Romney, Gingrich et al are not the best hope for the country, or for the Christian faith. Well meaning, but I fear gullible, Lutherans can fall for this sort of political garbage.

    That the candidates mentioned in the piece may have had Lutheran ties is of no concern to me. I am an American first and a Lutheran second. I want good leadership in my country and good theology in my church.

  • SKPeterson

    You’re a better American than me Norman. I identify as Christian first, Lutheran second, Peterson (and all that family names and connections connote) third, friend of a bunch of yahoos fourth, and somewhere around fifth or sixth, American, specifically United Statesian.

    As afar as I know, Paul left Lutheranism the old fashioned way – he married out of it (to the Episcopals, who apparently drove him into the arms of the Baptists). Paul’s brother, David, is an ELCA pastor in Grand Rapids. He’s probably “retired,” though that doesn’t really apply to pastors. Here’s an interview from 2007:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-treul/an-interview-with-ron-pau_b_71108.html

  • SKPeterson

    You’re a better American than me Norman. I identify as Christian first, Lutheran second, Peterson (and all that family names and connections connote) third, friend of a bunch of yahoos fourth, and somewhere around fifth or sixth, American, specifically United Statesian.

    As afar as I know, Paul left Lutheranism the old fashioned way – he married out of it (to the Episcopals, who apparently drove him into the arms of the Baptists). Paul’s brother, David, is an ELCA pastor in Grand Rapids. He’s probably “retired,” though that doesn’t really apply to pastors. Here’s an interview from 2007:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-treul/an-interview-with-ron-pau_b_71108.html

  • norman teigen

    Please refrain from running for public office, Mr. Peterson.

  • norman teigen

    Please refrain from running for public office, Mr. Peterson.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Anthony Sacramone, et al.,

    And yet, for me, and many others who did NOT grow up in the Lutheran church, Lutheranism is thrilling, demanding, rich, mysterious, complicated, fulfilling, and certainly counter-cultural (and counter-regular-American-religion).

    I guess the big mystery is how in the world so many Lutheran churches in their catechesis of young people can make it seem so boring!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Anthony Sacramone, et al.,

    And yet, for me, and many others who did NOT grow up in the Lutheran church, Lutheranism is thrilling, demanding, rich, mysterious, complicated, fulfilling, and certainly counter-cultural (and counter-regular-American-religion).

    I guess the big mystery is how in the world so many Lutheran churches in their catechesis of young people can make it seem so boring!

  • Tom Hering

    What’s the point of bringing up a candidate’s Lutheran background? If he’s not a Lutheran now? I mean, if a candidate’s Lutheran background isn’t informing his current Christian faith – the main thing his background should be informing – how can it be having any influence on his politics? Isn’t his rejection of the Lutheran faith, rather, an indication that the Lutheran faith doesn’t influence his politics?

  • Tom Hering

    What’s the point of bringing up a candidate’s Lutheran background? If he’s not a Lutheran now? I mean, if a candidate’s Lutheran background isn’t informing his current Christian faith – the main thing his background should be informing – how can it be having any influence on his politics? Isn’t his rejection of the Lutheran faith, rather, an indication that the Lutheran faith doesn’t influence his politics?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Well, Tom, it’s at least an interesting statistical anomaly. Here is another way of looking at it: Four of the seven candidates reject Lutheranism, since they were exposed to it at a formative age and then turned their backs on it. (The others probably know little about it, so they haven’t actually rejected it.)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Well, Tom, it’s at least an interesting statistical anomaly. Here is another way of looking at it: Four of the seven candidates reject Lutheranism, since they were exposed to it at a formative age and then turned their backs on it. (The others probably know little about it, so they haven’t actually rejected it.)

  • kerner

    Awhile back on the “Tim Tebow” thread, I wrote this:

    The decline of Christianity (and therefore, the Gospel) as a major influence in western culture has been a centuries long prcess, but until after WWII, all western cultures were at least nominally Christian. In the 1960′s all that changed. As a child and teenager, I saw our culture go from one in which preaching the Gospel was expected and encouraged by all our institutions, to a culture that has largely repudiated the Gospel and does not want to hear it. Average people used to accept the Gospel as true, even if they didn’t think about it very much.

    In the 60′s, the intelligensia (sp.?), who had been rejecting the Gospel en masse for decades, came out of the closet and deplored it. The result was that many average people who otherwise would have embraced the Gospel, followed their cultural leaders into unbelief. This was shocking to observe. People of my parents’ generation thought the world was ending.

    In Europe, there was little opposition to this. And today, Europe is a mostly atheistic place. But, in the United States, there was some resistance. The Gospel was preached in the face of all the secular humanism and average people were at least able to observe the opposing forces facing each other. The result has been that the Church is a much more viable force in the United States than it is in Europe.

    The somewhat convicting thing about all this, though, is that it was the American “evangelicals” who saw the danger first and reacted the most effectively. Face it. Anglicanism in the United States is in a mess. All mainline “liberal” protestant denominations have largely abandonned God’s Word in favor of post-modernist nonsense, at that includes a substantial group of Lutherans. Mainline liberal protestantism, along with Vatican II Catholicism, tried to join and follow the spirit of this post-modern age, instead of resisting it. Christians among them who wanted to preach the Gospel were unprepared for the changes their denominations were undertaking.

    The ones who quicky and forcefully stood up for God’s Word as a source of authority in those days were the predecessors of today’s evangelicals. They asserted that the Bible was true (even if they were wrong about what it says). In so doing, they converted many apparent unbelievers. Also, they poached a lot of weak mainliners. But this was because a whole lot of Lutheran kids, having been confirmed at age 13, put their catechisms on the shelf and started reading Timothy Leary, looking at Playboy Magazine, and listening to John Lennon, and otherwise attending to a million other cultural influences that either ignored or repudiated the Gospel.

    As much as I know what is wrong with evangelical theology, it is hard for me to be all that hard on the “culture warriors”. Because, without them, this continent would be just like Europe. I recognise that there are today Lutheran and Anglican voices that proclaim the Gospel effectively and in a purer form that our evangelical colleagues do. I also understand that the errors of the evangelicals need to be spoken against, as with all errors. But the irony of it is that one of the main reasons we are having this discussion is because the “culture warriors” fought for the Gospel when your denomination, and mine, were asleep on the rampart wall. If they had not done so, American Lutheranism might well be just like the State Church of Denmark.

    So, even though I know where they are wrong, I have to give our “culture warrior” friends a little credit where it is due…(end of old comment)

    …I became a Lutheran at age 16 (a junior in High School) after adult confirmation, largely because my parents, having attended numerous reformed or baptistic churches, read the Lutheran Confessions and decided that in those confessions was where God’s Word was best understood. In other words, my parents became Lutherans in their Middle age, much the same way Dr. Veith did. At that time, I was old enough (and had seen enough of various versions of Christianity) to take my confirmation vow seriously.

    But I understand the detour my friend Anthony @3 took in his younger days. I know a lot of Lutherans, and former Lutherans, who took similar detours. I believe that, without a generally Christian culture to keep Lutherans in the fold, the Lutheran system of “assuming” faith assumes too much. During the 1960s-1970s, Lutherans were pitifully unprepared for the assault on Christianity that the political left was launching and for the stark changes Western culture was undergoing. The utter unbeilief that is pounded down the throats of Americans today needs to be resisted by the Church (capital “C”), Lutherans included. Call that “culture warfare” if you want, but I still believe it.

  • kerner

    Awhile back on the “Tim Tebow” thread, I wrote this:

    The decline of Christianity (and therefore, the Gospel) as a major influence in western culture has been a centuries long prcess, but until after WWII, all western cultures were at least nominally Christian. In the 1960′s all that changed. As a child and teenager, I saw our culture go from one in which preaching the Gospel was expected and encouraged by all our institutions, to a culture that has largely repudiated the Gospel and does not want to hear it. Average people used to accept the Gospel as true, even if they didn’t think about it very much.

    In the 60′s, the intelligensia (sp.?), who had been rejecting the Gospel en masse for decades, came out of the closet and deplored it. The result was that many average people who otherwise would have embraced the Gospel, followed their cultural leaders into unbelief. This was shocking to observe. People of my parents’ generation thought the world was ending.

    In Europe, there was little opposition to this. And today, Europe is a mostly atheistic place. But, in the United States, there was some resistance. The Gospel was preached in the face of all the secular humanism and average people were at least able to observe the opposing forces facing each other. The result has been that the Church is a much more viable force in the United States than it is in Europe.

    The somewhat convicting thing about all this, though, is that it was the American “evangelicals” who saw the danger first and reacted the most effectively. Face it. Anglicanism in the United States is in a mess. All mainline “liberal” protestant denominations have largely abandonned God’s Word in favor of post-modernist nonsense, at that includes a substantial group of Lutherans. Mainline liberal protestantism, along with Vatican II Catholicism, tried to join and follow the spirit of this post-modern age, instead of resisting it. Christians among them who wanted to preach the Gospel were unprepared for the changes their denominations were undertaking.

    The ones who quicky and forcefully stood up for God’s Word as a source of authority in those days were the predecessors of today’s evangelicals. They asserted that the Bible was true (even if they were wrong about what it says). In so doing, they converted many apparent unbelievers. Also, they poached a lot of weak mainliners. But this was because a whole lot of Lutheran kids, having been confirmed at age 13, put their catechisms on the shelf and started reading Timothy Leary, looking at Playboy Magazine, and listening to John Lennon, and otherwise attending to a million other cultural influences that either ignored or repudiated the Gospel.

    As much as I know what is wrong with evangelical theology, it is hard for me to be all that hard on the “culture warriors”. Because, without them, this continent would be just like Europe. I recognise that there are today Lutheran and Anglican voices that proclaim the Gospel effectively and in a purer form that our evangelical colleagues do. I also understand that the errors of the evangelicals need to be spoken against, as with all errors. But the irony of it is that one of the main reasons we are having this discussion is because the “culture warriors” fought for the Gospel when your denomination, and mine, were asleep on the rampart wall. If they had not done so, American Lutheranism might well be just like the State Church of Denmark.

    So, even though I know where they are wrong, I have to give our “culture warrior” friends a little credit where it is due…(end of old comment)

    …I became a Lutheran at age 16 (a junior in High School) after adult confirmation, largely because my parents, having attended numerous reformed or baptistic churches, read the Lutheran Confessions and decided that in those confessions was where God’s Word was best understood. In other words, my parents became Lutherans in their Middle age, much the same way Dr. Veith did. At that time, I was old enough (and had seen enough of various versions of Christianity) to take my confirmation vow seriously.

    But I understand the detour my friend Anthony @3 took in his younger days. I know a lot of Lutherans, and former Lutherans, who took similar detours. I believe that, without a generally Christian culture to keep Lutherans in the fold, the Lutheran system of “assuming” faith assumes too much. During the 1960s-1970s, Lutherans were pitifully unprepared for the assault on Christianity that the political left was launching and for the stark changes Western culture was undergoing. The utter unbeilief that is pounded down the throats of Americans today needs to be resisted by the Church (capital “C”), Lutherans included. Call that “culture warfare” if you want, but I still believe it.

  • Tom Hering

    Dr. Veith, I re-read the questions you asked at the end of your post, and now chastise myself. :-D You’re right that this is anything but a triumph of Lutheranism. Not that any Lutheran would want such a thing. Running the world would leave us little time for pot-luck suppers. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Dr. Veith, I re-read the questions you asked at the end of your post, and now chastise myself. :-D You’re right that this is anything but a triumph of Lutheranism. Not that any Lutheran would want such a thing. Running the world would leave us little time for pot-luck suppers. :-D

  • Bob

    I’m a lot like Veith — I became a Lutheran after riding various seats in the low Protestant merry-go-round for 25+ years, and that after being raised in a mainline Prot. church.

    I don’t get why people leave Lutheranism, either. The only thing I’ve figured out is that Lutheran pastors need to do more mini-catchezing of their flocks — sometimes I think the faithful take the parts of the liturgy, etc. for granted.

    I do know that very few of us really “get it” when we”re of confirmation age — my main memory of mine (UCC) is taking extra-long breaks and heading downtown in our small town, and of shooting spitwads.

  • Bob

    I’m a lot like Veith — I became a Lutheran after riding various seats in the low Protestant merry-go-round for 25+ years, and that after being raised in a mainline Prot. church.

    I don’t get why people leave Lutheranism, either. The only thing I’ve figured out is that Lutheran pastors need to do more mini-catchezing of their flocks — sometimes I think the faithful take the parts of the liturgy, etc. for granted.

    I do know that very few of us really “get it” when we”re of confirmation age — my main memory of mine (UCC) is taking extra-long breaks and heading downtown in our small town, and of shooting spitwads.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Why were so many confirmands suddenly leaving, never to darken a church door again except at a wedding or funeral?”

    Because they followed in their parents’ footsteps?

    Parents’ fault pure and simple.
    I mean who stops taking their kids to church after confirmation? If the parents could make them go to confirmation class, they can make them go as long as they are at home. As long as they live under my roof and I feed them, they have to go. If they run to the devil after that, then that is not my fault.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Why were so many confirmands suddenly leaving, never to darken a church door again except at a wedding or funeral?”

    Because they followed in their parents’ footsteps?

    Parents’ fault pure and simple.
    I mean who stops taking their kids to church after confirmation? If the parents could make them go to confirmation class, they can make them go as long as they are at home. As long as they live under my roof and I feed them, they have to go. If they run to the devil after that, then that is not my fault.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I can’t blame anyone for leaving the ELCA. If the ELCA is not influencing them, GOOD! Leaving the ELCA in no way should be seen as running from good teaching or a sign of unfaithfulness to one’s confirmation vows. Heck, the ELCA broke its kids’ confirmation vows, too. I commend anyone who leaves the ELCA.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I can’t blame anyone for leaving the ELCA. If the ELCA is not influencing them, GOOD! Leaving the ELCA in no way should be seen as running from good teaching or a sign of unfaithfulness to one’s confirmation vows. Heck, the ELCA broke its kids’ confirmation vows, too. I commend anyone who leaves the ELCA.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Dr. Veith
    I left Orthodoxy and they treat me the same way people treat Lutherans who have left Lutheranism.

    Now that I am Lutheran, why is adult confirmation so short in comparison to youth confirmation?

    Was the early church (pre 13th century) right to practice infant communion and teach the meaning through confession and liturgy?

    Is it normal for other denominations to have a stark drop off in the teen years or is the phenomenon due to the seeming graduation of confirmation and often the teens have no further role in the church?

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Dr. Veith
    I left Orthodoxy and they treat me the same way people treat Lutherans who have left Lutheranism.

    Now that I am Lutheran, why is adult confirmation so short in comparison to youth confirmation?

    Was the early church (pre 13th century) right to practice infant communion and teach the meaning through confession and liturgy?

    Is it normal for other denominations to have a stark drop off in the teen years or is the phenomenon due to the seeming graduation of confirmation and often the teens have no further role in the church?

  • Jerry

    First, most lay people in Lutheran churches lack an understanding of Lutheranisms most basic underpinnings; it’s felt that if it’s not in Luther’s Small Catechism (originally written for the instruction of children), it’s not worth knowing. This may have been true up through the early 20th century. Fast forward to the 21st century and persons wanting more usually consult non-Lutheran resources. Is it any wonder that educated people might go elsewhere…

    Second, there is a Lutheran philosophy of life that can often be seen in places far removed from the church: all persons are equal because all are sinners and have been forgiven by God. We deserve nothing based on our own merits. You can see this in the opposition by some Republicans, specifically Cong. Bachmann, to the notions of “fairness” promoted by more progressive politicians.

  • Jerry

    First, most lay people in Lutheran churches lack an understanding of Lutheranisms most basic underpinnings; it’s felt that if it’s not in Luther’s Small Catechism (originally written for the instruction of children), it’s not worth knowing. This may have been true up through the early 20th century. Fast forward to the 21st century and persons wanting more usually consult non-Lutheran resources. Is it any wonder that educated people might go elsewhere…

    Second, there is a Lutheran philosophy of life that can often be seen in places far removed from the church: all persons are equal because all are sinners and have been forgiven by God. We deserve nothing based on our own merits. You can see this in the opposition by some Republicans, specifically Cong. Bachmann, to the notions of “fairness” promoted by more progressive politicians.

  • SKPeterson

    Don’t worry Norman, I believe most people are far too valuable to their neighbors to be wasted in “public office.” I love it when people say “Muslims think of themselves as Muslims first, and Americans second.” I can empathize. My relationship with God is far more important to who I am than is my relationship to some government somewhere. Or do you find that your American identity conditions your Christian identity? Who is your brother first – the atheist American down the street, or the Tanzanian Lutheran riding a bike 10 miles to church? Where do your ultimate loyalties lie? I expect that in the end they would be more in line with my initial list, than with the pure “America, Right or Wrong” attitude you suggest. Would you sell out your fellow congregation members if the American government declared them enemies of the state? Your wife? Your children? Your friends? If you were asked to renounce God in order to be a “good” American, you would ?Would you truly abandon them all so you could sleep easier as a good American?

    Maybe in order to be better Americans we shouldn’t put America first in our lives.

  • SKPeterson

    Don’t worry Norman, I believe most people are far too valuable to their neighbors to be wasted in “public office.” I love it when people say “Muslims think of themselves as Muslims first, and Americans second.” I can empathize. My relationship with God is far more important to who I am than is my relationship to some government somewhere. Or do you find that your American identity conditions your Christian identity? Who is your brother first – the atheist American down the street, or the Tanzanian Lutheran riding a bike 10 miles to church? Where do your ultimate loyalties lie? I expect that in the end they would be more in line with my initial list, than with the pure “America, Right or Wrong” attitude you suggest. Would you sell out your fellow congregation members if the American government declared them enemies of the state? Your wife? Your children? Your friends? If you were asked to renounce God in order to be a “good” American, you would ?Would you truly abandon them all so you could sleep easier as a good American?

    Maybe in order to be better Americans we shouldn’t put America first in our lives.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I would like to see a survey of the relationship between the divorce rate of parents and their children’s retention of the family’s faith.

    Back in the 70’s, the LC-MS took a lot of heat for clinging to the Bible even though it meant a split, how come we never get credit for our fidelity by outsiders the way Fundamentalists do?

    The LC-MS is like a small town in the Midwest, a place where a lot of people are from. Even people like Richard Neuhaus, etc.

    Part of me wants to say that we’re less popular because of our virtues rather than our vices. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” But a little voice says, “That’s just an excuse. If you were working hard enough, read the right church growth books, preached better, etc. then the church would be growing.” More and more, I’m disagreeing with the latter voice. (It’s the one with the heavy German accent.) I know that I and my fellow pastors have been doing whatever we can to further the Kingdom of God. Any visit to a Winkel will show you a lot of earnest, hardworking, men. So these days the Holy Spirit is getting most of the blame whenever attendance is lower that I’d like.

  • http://gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I would like to see a survey of the relationship between the divorce rate of parents and their children’s retention of the family’s faith.

    Back in the 70’s, the LC-MS took a lot of heat for clinging to the Bible even though it meant a split, how come we never get credit for our fidelity by outsiders the way Fundamentalists do?

    The LC-MS is like a small town in the Midwest, a place where a lot of people are from. Even people like Richard Neuhaus, etc.

    Part of me wants to say that we’re less popular because of our virtues rather than our vices. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” But a little voice says, “That’s just an excuse. If you were working hard enough, read the right church growth books, preached better, etc. then the church would be growing.” More and more, I’m disagreeing with the latter voice. (It’s the one with the heavy German accent.) I know that I and my fellow pastors have been doing whatever we can to further the Kingdom of God. Any visit to a Winkel will show you a lot of earnest, hardworking, men. So these days the Holy Spirit is getting most of the blame whenever attendance is lower that I’d like.

  • Bob

    I left Orthodoxy and they treat me the same way people treat Lutherans who have left Lutheranism.

    Andrew,

    Can you be more specific? ‘Cause I’m not sure how Lutherans who leave Lutheranism are treated. Do you mean they look down their nose at you?

    Also, my experience has been, in Protestant churches who do youth confirmation, that there is a drop-off after that. Not always, of course. My sons were blessed with making some great friendships through the LCMS “Higher Things” group. But I do think it’s fairly common. Often, the kids just get really involved with high school activities, the opposite sex all of a sudden becomes of interest. :)

  • Bob

    I left Orthodoxy and they treat me the same way people treat Lutherans who have left Lutheranism.

    Andrew,

    Can you be more specific? ‘Cause I’m not sure how Lutherans who leave Lutheranism are treated. Do you mean they look down their nose at you?

    Also, my experience has been, in Protestant churches who do youth confirmation, that there is a drop-off after that. Not always, of course. My sons were blessed with making some great friendships through the LCMS “Higher Things” group. But I do think it’s fairly common. Often, the kids just get really involved with high school activities, the opposite sex all of a sudden becomes of interest. :)

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith

    “Maybe. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the prospect of voting for anyone who can not be trusted to keep his or her confirmation vows!

    Children who are made to attend confirmation classes, then take a vow, cannot be held to “vows” that were forced upon them.

    Too often parents, be it Roman Catholic, Lutheran or other denominations demand that their children not only take classes, be it confirmation, Sunday School, but then take vows at young ages.

    A child in the seventh grade is about 12 years old, .. giving them a few years be it 15 or 17 …. is it right to demand by the parents that they make and keep “vows” ? I don’t believe its right.

    Jesus did not demand that chidren make “vows” at a certain age. He taught them, and wanted them to come unto HIM, but to my knowledge, no where in Scripture demands a child take a “vow”.

    .

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith

    “Maybe. On the other hand, I’m dismayed at the prospect of voting for anyone who can not be trusted to keep his or her confirmation vows!

    Children who are made to attend confirmation classes, then take a vow, cannot be held to “vows” that were forced upon them.

    Too often parents, be it Roman Catholic, Lutheran or other denominations demand that their children not only take classes, be it confirmation, Sunday School, but then take vows at young ages.

    A child in the seventh grade is about 12 years old, .. giving them a few years be it 15 or 17 …. is it right to demand by the parents that they make and keep “vows” ? I don’t believe its right.

    Jesus did not demand that chidren make “vows” at a certain age. He taught them, and wanted them to come unto HIM, but to my knowledge, no where in Scripture demands a child take a “vow”.

    .

  • norman teigen

    As a Lutheran I state that I am an American first and a Lutheran after that. The American principle, that we operate under the concept of ‘the consent of the governed’, makes it possible for me to practice my faith without fearing the dire consequences of Mr. Peterson’s list. I live in the United States of America and I am a member of the UNA SANCTA ECCLESIA. I am a member of a civic community and a spiritual community. If you are a Lutheran and don’t understand the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, I respectfully suggest that you make an appointment with your pastor and ask him to enlighten you.

  • norman teigen

    As a Lutheran I state that I am an American first and a Lutheran after that. The American principle, that we operate under the concept of ‘the consent of the governed’, makes it possible for me to practice my faith without fearing the dire consequences of Mr. Peterson’s list. I live in the United States of America and I am a member of the UNA SANCTA ECCLESIA. I am a member of a civic community and a spiritual community. If you are a Lutheran and don’t understand the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, I respectfully suggest that you make an appointment with your pastor and ask him to enlighten you.

  • Dust

    Doesn’t the vow thing and confirmation and all that stuff have some connection to the Jewish traditions of Bar mitzvah? And that somehow is associated with another rite of passage appropriate for that age group? Perhaps all that is outdated and belongs to a totally different kind of culture and social structures we just don’t find in today’s modern lifestyle? Not saying it’s right, just asking!

    Personally, am glad my folks “made us” go to Sunday school and confirmation, and consider that their greatest gift to me, one that will serve me well in this life and the next. And totally loved all the heavy duty memorization required of us, although many of my friends in other denominations thought of it as brain washing and rote repetition of empty phrases, totally devoid of spontaneity as well as the Holy Spirit. When they attended our services, they did not like to stand up, sit down, repeat this, repeat that, they found it stiff to say the least, and if not phoney baloney, if truth be told. But it didn’t bother me, and still enjoy those stiff, phony services :)

    However, was shocked when served as Chairman of our Board of Christian Education that the percentage of folks growing up in a conservative Lutheran background and staying with it as adults was at that time, around 10%. My suggestion was to take the money spent on Sunday School and move it to some other kind of ministry, at least something with a better return on our investment, ha! Well, we didn’t do that, but it is pretty disturbing that most of the Lutherans references to “famous” personalities mentioned on this blog, are to their “past” lives as Lutherans…but not really a surprise either. It’s not for everyone!

    The Bible says we are the salt of the earth, and so since it doesn’t take much salt to season a dish, and too much salt can easily ruin a dish, my take is, just by the small number of them nowadays, the Lutheran Church is looking more and more like the real deal. Ha, just kidding :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Doesn’t the vow thing and confirmation and all that stuff have some connection to the Jewish traditions of Bar mitzvah? And that somehow is associated with another rite of passage appropriate for that age group? Perhaps all that is outdated and belongs to a totally different kind of culture and social structures we just don’t find in today’s modern lifestyle? Not saying it’s right, just asking!

    Personally, am glad my folks “made us” go to Sunday school and confirmation, and consider that their greatest gift to me, one that will serve me well in this life and the next. And totally loved all the heavy duty memorization required of us, although many of my friends in other denominations thought of it as brain washing and rote repetition of empty phrases, totally devoid of spontaneity as well as the Holy Spirit. When they attended our services, they did not like to stand up, sit down, repeat this, repeat that, they found it stiff to say the least, and if not phoney baloney, if truth be told. But it didn’t bother me, and still enjoy those stiff, phony services :)

    However, was shocked when served as Chairman of our Board of Christian Education that the percentage of folks growing up in a conservative Lutheran background and staying with it as adults was at that time, around 10%. My suggestion was to take the money spent on Sunday School and move it to some other kind of ministry, at least something with a better return on our investment, ha! Well, we didn’t do that, but it is pretty disturbing that most of the Lutherans references to “famous” personalities mentioned on this blog, are to their “past” lives as Lutherans…but not really a surprise either. It’s not for everyone!

    The Bible says we are the salt of the earth, and so since it doesn’t take much salt to season a dish, and too much salt can easily ruin a dish, my take is, just by the small number of them nowadays, the Lutheran Church is looking more and more like the real deal. Ha, just kidding :)

    Cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually, Dust touches on something there that gets me, even when Gene does it: I really am not interested on which famous whatsisname was, is or is going to be a Lutheran or whatever. Really, the big names game sometimes makes me want to……..

    Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest, or out my stomach..

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Actually, Dust touches on something there that gets me, even when Gene does it: I really am not interested on which famous whatsisname was, is or is going to be a Lutheran or whatever. Really, the big names game sometimes makes me want to……..

    Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest, or out my stomach..

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m kind of astonished at everyone saying that children can’t or even don’t need to keep their promises. Doesn’t anyone teach children to keep their word anymore? Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.

    Again, we can say that the church shouldn’t have that practice in this context. I know some other churches get young people of this age, if not younger, to vow to not have sex before marriage. True, lots of them end up not being true to their word, but shouldn’t we honor that promise and hold young people to their word? Certainly, the Bible says a lot about making vows. It does warn us not to make them if we aren’t going to follow them, but that only underscores their significance. Of course, as the Lutheran confessions say, vows that violate God’s Word–such as some of the monastic vows–are not valid. Other vows, such as the promises of marriage and the oaths required in courts of law, are certainly binding.

    But where does anyone get the idea that children and adolescents are exempt from keeping promises?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m kind of astonished at everyone saying that children can’t or even don’t need to keep their promises. Doesn’t anyone teach children to keep their word anymore? Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.

    Again, we can say that the church shouldn’t have that practice in this context. I know some other churches get young people of this age, if not younger, to vow to not have sex before marriage. True, lots of them end up not being true to their word, but shouldn’t we honor that promise and hold young people to their word? Certainly, the Bible says a lot about making vows. It does warn us not to make them if we aren’t going to follow them, but that only underscores their significance. Of course, as the Lutheran confessions say, vows that violate God’s Word–such as some of the monastic vows–are not valid. Other vows, such as the promises of marriage and the oaths required in courts of law, are certainly binding.

    But where does anyone get the idea that children and adolescents are exempt from keeping promises?

  • Dust

    right on KK…if you really want to belong to a Church with a lot, and I mean a lot of famous and accomplished folks, then try the RCC, and they have lots and lots of truly great universities of which they (and then you) can be proud too!

    Don’t get me wrong, am not a critic (as maybe some others may be) of the RCC, that’s not my point, but if you are looking for some kind of assurance by association, then that’s the one for you.

    And oh, by the way, have been told, you just don’t walk into an RCC parish and simply sign a card and become a member, they make you memorize lots of stuff and then test you on it, sometimes in front of lots of other members, just like confirmation all over again :)

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    right on KK…if you really want to belong to a Church with a lot, and I mean a lot of famous and accomplished folks, then try the RCC, and they have lots and lots of truly great universities of which they (and then you) can be proud too!

    Don’t get me wrong, am not a critic (as maybe some others may be) of the RCC, that’s not my point, but if you are looking for some kind of assurance by association, then that’s the one for you.

    And oh, by the way, have been told, you just don’t walk into an RCC parish and simply sign a card and become a member, they make you memorize lots of stuff and then test you on it, sometimes in front of lots of other members, just like confirmation all over again :)

    Cheers!

  • Jonathan

    @24 KK, I heartily agree with you.

    The only thing that “gets me” more is this:

    A: Hey! Amos the schnook became a Lutheran.
    B: Great!
    A: Yep, He said he found God; he just joined the ELCA church down the block.
    B: No! The ELCA is apostate …. Amos most assuredly did not become a REAL Lutheran!
    ****
    A: Hey! Famous Amos is a Lutheran.
    B: Really?
    A: Yes. I read he’s ELCA.
    B: Oooh, that’s so cool. A Lutheran!

  • Jonathan

    @24 KK, I heartily agree with you.

    The only thing that “gets me” more is this:

    A: Hey! Amos the schnook became a Lutheran.
    B: Great!
    A: Yep, He said he found God; he just joined the ELCA church down the block.
    B: No! The ELCA is apostate …. Amos most assuredly did not become a REAL Lutheran!
    ****
    A: Hey! Famous Amos is a Lutheran.
    B: Really?
    A: Yes. I read he’s ELCA.
    B: Oooh, that’s so cool. A Lutheran!

  • Dust

    Dr. Veith…we live in the modern world that attempts to extend childhood all the way thru adulthood, if possible. That’s number one difference in the modern mind set. Number 2, have heard in Europe children can sue their parents for forcing them to go to Church, and have heard something like that may be coming to you at your local courtroom too. That is to say, going to Sunday School and all the rest is beginning to be viewed something like a forced indoctrination at a time when the person is most vulnerable to that sort of thing. You could be ruining the kid for life, and the state needs to come in and offer protection services?

    Am not saying all this is right, or even correct, as am prey to scandalous and incorrect information, but my guess is it’s close enough to the truth, to explain some of the lack of reaction you are getting on this topic?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Dr. Veith…we live in the modern world that attempts to extend childhood all the way thru adulthood, if possible. That’s number one difference in the modern mind set. Number 2, have heard in Europe children can sue their parents for forcing them to go to Church, and have heard something like that may be coming to you at your local courtroom too. That is to say, going to Sunday School and all the rest is beginning to be viewed something like a forced indoctrination at a time when the person is most vulnerable to that sort of thing. You could be ruining the kid for life, and the state needs to come in and offer protection services?

    Am not saying all this is right, or even correct, as am prey to scandalous and incorrect information, but my guess is it’s close enough to the truth, to explain some of the lack of reaction you are getting on this topic?

    Cheers!

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith @ 25

    “I’m kind of astonished at everyone saying that children can’t or even don’t need to keep their promises. Doesn’t anyone teach children to keep their word anymore? Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.”

    Dr. Veith, yes parents do teach their children to keep their word, but that doesn’t mean they will. “Vowing” to do something is much different, especially so, when it comes to “vowing” to and before God Almighty, that’s serious. I believe it should be done as an adult, not a child.

    “Again, we can say that the church shouldn’t have that practice in this context. I know some other churches get young people of this age, if not younger, to vow to not have sex before marriage. True, lots of them end up not being true to their word, but shouldn’t we honor that promise and hold young people to their word? Certainly, the Bible says a lot about making vows.”

    Again, “vowing” something such as not having sex before marriage, as in the popular ‘promise ring’ promise .. is, I believe unwise. If the young woman makes the mistake of having sex before marriage, the guilt is far more severe, and in some cases, it ends up to be almost tragic.

    Faith in Christ our Savior is “faith” it comes from our heart, it’s yielding ourselves to the risen LORD our Savior. We Believe in HIM.

    ” It does warn us not to make them if we aren’t going to follow them, but that only underscores their significance.”

    Your point is well taken. But a child making “vows” is much different than an adult, who knows what they are doing, the seriousness of “vows” – A child must grow and learn, guided by their parents, teaching them the Scriptures… that goes for the church as well.

    God help us, as we guide the young people in our families, as we pray for them.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith @ 25

    “I’m kind of astonished at everyone saying that children can’t or even don’t need to keep their promises. Doesn’t anyone teach children to keep their word anymore? Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.”

    Dr. Veith, yes parents do teach their children to keep their word, but that doesn’t mean they will. “Vowing” to do something is much different, especially so, when it comes to “vowing” to and before God Almighty, that’s serious. I believe it should be done as an adult, not a child.

    “Again, we can say that the church shouldn’t have that practice in this context. I know some other churches get young people of this age, if not younger, to vow to not have sex before marriage. True, lots of them end up not being true to their word, but shouldn’t we honor that promise and hold young people to their word? Certainly, the Bible says a lot about making vows.”

    Again, “vowing” something such as not having sex before marriage, as in the popular ‘promise ring’ promise .. is, I believe unwise. If the young woman makes the mistake of having sex before marriage, the guilt is far more severe, and in some cases, it ends up to be almost tragic.

    Faith in Christ our Savior is “faith” it comes from our heart, it’s yielding ourselves to the risen LORD our Savior. We Believe in HIM.

    ” It does warn us not to make them if we aren’t going to follow them, but that only underscores their significance.”

    Your point is well taken. But a child making “vows” is much different than an adult, who knows what they are doing, the seriousness of “vows” – A child must grow and learn, guided by their parents, teaching them the Scriptures… that goes for the church as well.

    God help us, as we guide the young people in our families, as we pray for them.

  • #4 Kitty

    But where does anyone get the idea that children and adolescents are exempt from keeping promises?
    The part that you do not understand is that they have no choice in the matter. It’s not like they can go “Mom and Dad I’ve decided not to join the church”~ And even if they were not coerced into this vow they still have no business making a life long vow because….THEY ARE CHILDREN.

    Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.
    How did Martin Luther do with his life long vows? I’m interested in hearing your excuses. Perhaps the answer is that breaking vows is a Lutheran tradition.

  • #4 Kitty

    But where does anyone get the idea that children and adolescents are exempt from keeping promises?
    The part that you do not understand is that they have no choice in the matter. It’s not like they can go “Mom and Dad I’ve decided not to join the church”~ And even if they were not coerced into this vow they still have no business making a life long vow because….THEY ARE CHILDREN.

    Actually, I don’t hear much about keeping promises at all, come to think of it.
    How did Martin Luther do with his life long vows? I’m interested in hearing your excuses. Perhaps the answer is that breaking vows is a Lutheran tradition.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Well, if children can’t make vows, then why do certain Christians, particularly of the Baptist faith, ask their children, at the “age of discretion”, to offer testimony before then receiving the “believer’s baptism”? (Or could Baptist posters here please explain it to us how it works in your church.) I wholeheartedly agree that children often do break their confirmation vows, in fact, in a sense every one does relative to our sinful nature. Nevertheless, I do agree with Dr. Veith on this matter of the importance of the vow and its keeping.

    As for the issue of the faith of a politician, in general I wouldn’t care what faith they are, as Luther once said, “I’d rather have a competent Turk than a bumbling Christian.” However, when their religion does mix the two kingdoms (ok, for those of us who hold that distinction), the only concern I have is how that would influence their domestic/foreign policy. For example, it is well-known that Pre-Millenial Dispensationalism can and does have an influence on how some politicians of Christian churches holding to that reading of Daniel/Revelation, view and craft foreign policy, especially in the current context of Israel and Iran (such as represented by such politcal pundits as “Joel Rosenberg” at joelrosenberg.com, who regularly appears on radio with Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc.). I’m especially concerned by how such MIGHT be influencing the thinking of candidates like Michelle Bachmann, and to a less obvious extent, Mitt Romney. (Yes, Mormonism has Dispensationalism too in its teachings). I really think Bachmann has bought into it all the way. Btw, she might have gotten her facts wrong on the Iranian threat in last night’s debate:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/23/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-says-iran-has-threatended-launch-/

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45694263

    MICHELE BACHMANN: “We have an IAEA report that just recently came out that said literally Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that (a nuclear) weapon.”

    RON PAUL: “There is no U.N. report that said that. It’s totally wrong, what you just said.”

    Bachmann: “It’s the IAEA report.”

    THE FACTS: As Paul said, the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency does not state that Iran is within months of having nuclear arms. The U.N. agency report does suggest that Iran conducted secret experiments whose sole purpose is the development of nuclear weapons but did not put a time frame on when Iran might succeed in building a bomb, and it made no final conclusion on Tehran’s intent.

    Bachmann also erred by arguing that Iran has “stated they will use it (a nuclear weapon) against the United States.”
    ——–

  • JunkerGeorg

    Well, if children can’t make vows, then why do certain Christians, particularly of the Baptist faith, ask their children, at the “age of discretion”, to offer testimony before then receiving the “believer’s baptism”? (Or could Baptist posters here please explain it to us how it works in your church.) I wholeheartedly agree that children often do break their confirmation vows, in fact, in a sense every one does relative to our sinful nature. Nevertheless, I do agree with Dr. Veith on this matter of the importance of the vow and its keeping.

    As for the issue of the faith of a politician, in general I wouldn’t care what faith they are, as Luther once said, “I’d rather have a competent Turk than a bumbling Christian.” However, when their religion does mix the two kingdoms (ok, for those of us who hold that distinction), the only concern I have is how that would influence their domestic/foreign policy. For example, it is well-known that Pre-Millenial Dispensationalism can and does have an influence on how some politicians of Christian churches holding to that reading of Daniel/Revelation, view and craft foreign policy, especially in the current context of Israel and Iran (such as represented by such politcal pundits as “Joel Rosenberg” at joelrosenberg.com, who regularly appears on radio with Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc.). I’m especially concerned by how such MIGHT be influencing the thinking of candidates like Michelle Bachmann, and to a less obvious extent, Mitt Romney. (Yes, Mormonism has Dispensationalism too in its teachings). I really think Bachmann has bought into it all the way. Btw, she might have gotten her facts wrong on the Iranian threat in last night’s debate:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/nov/23/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-says-iran-has-threatended-launch-/

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45694263

    MICHELE BACHMANN: “We have an IAEA report that just recently came out that said literally Iran is within just months of being able to obtain that (a nuclear) weapon.”

    RON PAUL: “There is no U.N. report that said that. It’s totally wrong, what you just said.”

    Bachmann: “It’s the IAEA report.”

    THE FACTS: As Paul said, the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency does not state that Iran is within months of having nuclear arms. The U.N. agency report does suggest that Iran conducted secret experiments whose sole purpose is the development of nuclear weapons but did not put a time frame on when Iran might succeed in building a bomb, and it made no final conclusion on Tehran’s intent.

    Bachmann also erred by arguing that Iran has “stated they will use it (a nuclear weapon) against the United States.”
    ——–

  • Grace

    norman teigen @ 22

    YOU WROTE: “As a Lutheran I state that I am an American first and a Lutheran after that.”

    I am a Christian Believer first, my first Allegiance is to the LORD Jesus Christ, not the denomination I am affiliated with.

    YOU WROTE: “The American principle, that we operate under the concept of ‘the consent of the governed’, makes it possible for me to practice my faith without fearing the dire consequences of Mr. Peterson’s list.”

    If the government ordered you to assist with abortions, you would do so, because it was ordered? The Bible doesn’t say we go against what God has ordained.

  • Grace

    norman teigen @ 22

    YOU WROTE: “As a Lutheran I state that I am an American first and a Lutheran after that.”

    I am a Christian Believer first, my first Allegiance is to the LORD Jesus Christ, not the denomination I am affiliated with.

    YOU WROTE: “The American principle, that we operate under the concept of ‘the consent of the governed’, makes it possible for me to practice my faith without fearing the dire consequences of Mr. Peterson’s list.”

    If the government ordered you to assist with abortions, you would do so, because it was ordered? The Bible doesn’t say we go against what God has ordained.

  • –helen

    Well, if we’re going to be legalistic about it, since the vow says, “Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, …

    Nice “out” but the other girls in my daughter’s confirmation class couldn’t wait for it to be over, because they ‘intended’ never to be in church again. Her response: “Why bother to be here now?”

    “Grandmothers, gifts, and a party!”

  • –helen

    Well, if we’re going to be legalistic about it, since the vow says, “Do you as members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, intend to continue steadfast in the confession of this Church, …

    Nice “out” but the other girls in my daughter’s confirmation class couldn’t wait for it to be over, because they ‘intended’ never to be in church again. Her response: “Why bother to be here now?”

    “Grandmothers, gifts, and a party!”

  • –helen

    I guess the big mystery is how in the world so many Lutheran churches in their catechesis of young people can make it seem so boring!

    A lot of them get very little catechesis, Dr. Veith, and even less of the liturgical, Scriptural traditions of Lutheranism. They can go from their Lutheran church to “methobapticostal” and never notice the difference, because there is very little.
    My cousin had three sons go through elca “confirmation” but she had never seen a catechism till she went through her Lutheran father’s things after his funeral. [She went to her mother's Baptist church. Lutheran in her own house was a compromise; her husband was raised Roman Catholic, post Vatican II]

    Those who appreciate Lutheranism most often are converts. :)
    They know the difference between it and what they’ve been.
    Those who appreciate it least are quite often preacher’s kids. :(

  • –helen

    I guess the big mystery is how in the world so many Lutheran churches in their catechesis of young people can make it seem so boring!

    A lot of them get very little catechesis, Dr. Veith, and even less of the liturgical, Scriptural traditions of Lutheranism. They can go from their Lutheran church to “methobapticostal” and never notice the difference, because there is very little.
    My cousin had three sons go through elca “confirmation” but she had never seen a catechism till she went through her Lutheran father’s things after his funeral. [She went to her mother's Baptist church. Lutheran in her own house was a compromise; her husband was raised Roman Catholic, post Vatican II]

    Those who appreciate Lutheranism most often are converts. :)
    They know the difference between it and what they’ve been.
    Those who appreciate it least are quite often preacher’s kids. :(

  • Grace

    – Helen A@ 33

    That is very sad.

    Having faith, believing and repenting comes from the heart, it doesn’t come from ‘vows.

  • Grace

    – Helen A@ 33

    That is very sad.

    Having faith, believing and repenting comes from the heart, it doesn’t come from ‘vows.

  • #4 Kitty

    @Helen #34

    Those who appreciate Lutheranism most often are converts. They know the difference between it and what they’ve been.

    Agreed!

  • #4 Kitty

    @Helen #34

    Those who appreciate Lutheranism most often are converts. They know the difference between it and what they’ve been.

    Agreed!

  • Norman Teigen

    Grace #32. I am not following you on this. Government orders abortion? What? It’s all about the consent of the governed. It’s all the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.

  • Norman Teigen

    Grace #32. I am not following you on this. Government orders abortion? What? It’s all about the consent of the governed. It’s all the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.

  • kerner

    Junker Georg asks a great question:

    “Well, if children can’t make vows, then why do certain Christians, particularly of the Baptist faith, ask their children, at the “age of discretion”, to offer testimony before then receiving the “believer’s baptism”? ”

    I dare say the parental pressure a 6-7 year old Baptist kid feels to “make a decision for Christ” is comparable to that which a 13-14 year old Lutheran kid feels to be confirmed. As I understand it, typocally, young Baptist children are catechized, and when they reach a certain age, their parents offer the opportunity to make their “decision”. Even the child of the most well meaning parent must sense which decision is the one the parents want to hear. And when they are baptized by their pastor, the pastor will ask them some questions that amount to a public testomony of, and a commitment to, the Christian faith.

    I wonder if there are statistics as to the per centage of Baptists who, having been baptized as preteens, grow up, stop going to church, and/or become involved in a sinful lifestyle. And, I wonder how those numbers compare to those of adolescents who are confirmed.

  • kerner

    Junker Georg asks a great question:

    “Well, if children can’t make vows, then why do certain Christians, particularly of the Baptist faith, ask their children, at the “age of discretion”, to offer testimony before then receiving the “believer’s baptism”? ”

    I dare say the parental pressure a 6-7 year old Baptist kid feels to “make a decision for Christ” is comparable to that which a 13-14 year old Lutheran kid feels to be confirmed. As I understand it, typocally, young Baptist children are catechized, and when they reach a certain age, their parents offer the opportunity to make their “decision”. Even the child of the most well meaning parent must sense which decision is the one the parents want to hear. And when they are baptized by their pastor, the pastor will ask them some questions that amount to a public testomony of, and a commitment to, the Christian faith.

    I wonder if there are statistics as to the per centage of Baptists who, having been baptized as preteens, grow up, stop going to church, and/or become involved in a sinful lifestyle. And, I wonder how those numbers compare to those of adolescents who are confirmed.

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

    I’m starting confirmation at third grade this next year. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed not to be communing them earlier, because the few kids I have in my congregation seem to know better than many of the adults what is going on at the altar.

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

    I’m starting confirmation at third grade this next year. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed not to be communing them earlier, because the few kids I have in my congregation seem to know better than many of the adults what is going on at the altar.

  • kerner

    Grace @32 nd Norm @37;

    The government is ordering you to assist with performing abortions right now by spending your tax dollars to pay for them. And every time you pay your taxes, you obey.

  • kerner

    Grace @32 nd Norm @37;

    The government is ordering you to assist with performing abortions right now by spending your tax dollars to pay for them. And every time you pay your taxes, you obey.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 38

    YOU WROTE: “I dare say the parental pressure a 6-7 year old Baptist kid feels to “make a decision for Christ” is comparable to that which a 13-14 year old Lutheran kid feels to be confirmed. “

    I have never witnessed “pressure” put on anyone to make a decision for Christ. I have visited, and attened a number of churches since leaving home, no one is “pressured” be it Baptist or anyone else. That is simply a misnormer.

    Those who attend church (parents) certainly make it clear that their children will attend until they have left home. They also are responsible for teaching their child about the LORD and the Gospel.

  • Grace

    Kerner @ 38

    YOU WROTE: “I dare say the parental pressure a 6-7 year old Baptist kid feels to “make a decision for Christ” is comparable to that which a 13-14 year old Lutheran kid feels to be confirmed. “

    I have never witnessed “pressure” put on anyone to make a decision for Christ. I have visited, and attened a number of churches since leaving home, no one is “pressured” be it Baptist or anyone else. That is simply a misnormer.

    Those who attend church (parents) certainly make it clear that their children will attend until they have left home. They also are responsible for teaching their child about the LORD and the Gospel.

  • Grace

    Kerner

    Taxes pay for many things I am against. However, that is not the same as a doctor being ‘made to perform an abortion, or a nurse to assist in such a procedure.

    Mixing it all together in a tax/religious malt isn’t applicable.

  • Grace

    Kerner

    Taxes pay for many things I am against. However, that is not the same as a doctor being ‘made to perform an abortion, or a nurse to assist in such a procedure.

    Mixing it all together in a tax/religious malt isn’t applicable.

  • Grace

    Bror @ 39

    YOU WROTE: “I’m starting confirmation at third grade this next year. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed not to be communing them earlier, because the few kids I have in my congregation seem to know better than many of the adults what is going on at the altar.”

    I remember very well taking the LORD’S Supper early in my life.

    My faith and belief in Jesus Christ was at 7 years old. I remember kneeling by the side of my bed, praying with my mother next to me. It was a very important time in my life. Taking communion was very serious, making sure that I had repented of my sins before ever taking it – I know as a child back then it was serious.

    I’m sure you will do well in teaching the little ones about our Savior.

  • Grace

    Bror @ 39

    YOU WROTE: “I’m starting confirmation at third grade this next year. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed not to be communing them earlier, because the few kids I have in my congregation seem to know better than many of the adults what is going on at the altar.”

    I remember very well taking the LORD’S Supper early in my life.

    My faith and belief in Jesus Christ was at 7 years old. I remember kneeling by the side of my bed, praying with my mother next to me. It was a very important time in my life. Taking communion was very serious, making sure that I had repented of my sins before ever taking it – I know as a child back then it was serious.

    I’m sure you will do well in teaching the little ones about our Savior.

  • kenneth

    This post is just what lcms lutherans needed!!! Thak you Grace for being such a right minded Christian.. God in Christ is always first and always true. Your protagonists above have some truths to say but they all seem to miss the mark, sometimes damnably.

    Politics will all pass away but the church will stand against hades and never be thwarted. As for presidential candidates they are all dead wrong. Blessed be the confessing lutheran both infant and old.+++

  • kenneth

    This post is just what lcms lutherans needed!!! Thak you Grace for being such a right minded Christian.. God in Christ is always first and always true. Your protagonists above have some truths to say but they all seem to miss the mark, sometimes damnably.

    Politics will all pass away but the church will stand against hades and never be thwarted. As for presidential candidates they are all dead wrong. Blessed be the confessing lutheran both infant and old.+++

  • truth unites… and divides

    Good post, good thread.

  • truth unites… and divides

    Good post, good thread.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    From Veith’s post:

    So what are we to make of the fact that four of the seven Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have some sort of Lutheran backgrounds? Aaron finds a common theme: “It could be that their proclivity for constitutionalism could go back to the ad fontes mood of the Small Catechism.”

    Sorry, but are you kidding me?

    Isn’t that sort of like suggesting that the common theme in a collection of Americans who converted to Islam and subsequently committed acts of terrorism against our country is that they were inspired by the philosophy of the Founding Fathers?

    I mean, we’re talking about people who rejected Lutheranism, so wouldn’t they be the people least likely to be influenced by Lutheranism? Or does their decision to leave the Lutheran church somehow also go back to the ad fontes mood of the Small Catechism?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    From Veith’s post:

    So what are we to make of the fact that four of the seven Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have some sort of Lutheran backgrounds? Aaron finds a common theme: “It could be that their proclivity for constitutionalism could go back to the ad fontes mood of the Small Catechism.”

    Sorry, but are you kidding me?

    Isn’t that sort of like suggesting that the common theme in a collection of Americans who converted to Islam and subsequently committed acts of terrorism against our country is that they were inspired by the philosophy of the Founding Fathers?

    I mean, we’re talking about people who rejected Lutheranism, so wouldn’t they be the people least likely to be influenced by Lutheranism? Or does their decision to leave the Lutheran church somehow also go back to the ad fontes mood of the Small Catechism?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the confirmation vow, I think it’s a good thing, but isn’t it essentially a vow to always obey God, to not sin? As such, while proper, isn’t it also unkeepable? Isn’t the point of such a vow, like the Law to which it ultimately points us, to remind us what we should be doing, precisely because we will frequently find ourselves not doing that?

    If so, I’m not so dismayed (as is Dr. Veith) by the idea of people who have broken their confirmation vows. No, I’m more dismayed that such people would not, by virtue of that same catechesis, have sought comfort in the pure Gospel in which they were trained.

    I mean, I’ve broken my confirmation vows, too. “Steadfast” hardly describes my church attendance during college. And an honest self-examination would reveal that I have not, in fact, always been steadfast in my confession, even now that my church attendance has picked up. I have been faithless, but God has been faithful. And I find comfort in the Gospel that Lutheran catechism so clearly teaches.

    Anyhow, it’s a bit silly to complain “But these are 14-year-olds! They can’t make decisions!” First of all, of course they can. Time was, people that old were making families (with marriages, which likely involved vows), not just decisions. So arguments that kids that age are incapable of making vows are, at best, culturally conditioned (and they certainly don’t speak highly of our culture).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to the confirmation vow, I think it’s a good thing, but isn’t it essentially a vow to always obey God, to not sin? As such, while proper, isn’t it also unkeepable? Isn’t the point of such a vow, like the Law to which it ultimately points us, to remind us what we should be doing, precisely because we will frequently find ourselves not doing that?

    If so, I’m not so dismayed (as is Dr. Veith) by the idea of people who have broken their confirmation vows. No, I’m more dismayed that such people would not, by virtue of that same catechesis, have sought comfort in the pure Gospel in which they were trained.

    I mean, I’ve broken my confirmation vows, too. “Steadfast” hardly describes my church attendance during college. And an honest self-examination would reveal that I have not, in fact, always been steadfast in my confession, even now that my church attendance has picked up. I have been faithless, but God has been faithful. And I find comfort in the Gospel that Lutheran catechism so clearly teaches.

    Anyhow, it’s a bit silly to complain “But these are 14-year-olds! They can’t make decisions!” First of all, of course they can. Time was, people that old were making families (with marriages, which likely involved vows), not just decisions. So arguments that kids that age are incapable of making vows are, at best, culturally conditioned (and they certainly don’t speak highly of our culture).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@29) said:

    “Vowing” to do something is much different, especially so, when it comes to “vowing” to and before God Almighty, that’s serious.

    Um, no. All vows are made before God.

    Regardless, arguing that it’s wrong to expect 14-year-olds to take a vow to uphold God’s Law is equivalent to arguing that it’s wrong to expect them to be held to God’s Law. If that’s so, then we’d better not call them out on any sins. Let’s wait until they’re 18 to do that? Because then they’ll be … older hypocrites? Because 14-year-olds just can’t understand sin?

    I mean, that’s what you’d have to believe, isn’t it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grace (@29) said:

    “Vowing” to do something is much different, especially so, when it comes to “vowing” to and before God Almighty, that’s serious.

    Um, no. All vows are made before God.

    Regardless, arguing that it’s wrong to expect 14-year-olds to take a vow to uphold God’s Law is equivalent to arguing that it’s wrong to expect them to be held to God’s Law. If that’s so, then we’d better not call them out on any sins. Let’s wait until they’re 18 to do that? Because then they’ll be … older hypocrites? Because 14-year-olds just can’t understand sin?

    I mean, that’s what you’d have to believe, isn’t it?

  • Grace

    Children who are urged to make “vows” sometimes even made to take them, do their children a disservice. Children need to learn, understand, as they are taught God’s Word. It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘culture, it has to do with one’s faith in Christ, believing, repenting and understanding.

    It also has nothing to do with 2000 plus years ago, when ‘girls married earlier. These ‘girls didn’t have a choice, of who they would marry, it was made for them by their parents.

    Being a parent of adult children is very different from looking at this when one has young children. When young parents expound on what can and cannot be done today, based on their childhood, they don’t know what they are talking about.

  • Grace

    Children who are urged to make “vows” sometimes even made to take them, do their children a disservice. Children need to learn, understand, as they are taught God’s Word. It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘culture, it has to do with one’s faith in Christ, believing, repenting and understanding.

    It also has nothing to do with 2000 plus years ago, when ‘girls married earlier. These ‘girls didn’t have a choice, of who they would marry, it was made for them by their parents.

    Being a parent of adult children is very different from looking at this when one has young children. When young parents expound on what can and cannot be done today, based on their childhood, they don’t know what they are talking about.

  • kenneth

    todd
    Say your wrong, constitutional vows are as serious as the 10 commandments. Break one and break them all as Jesus said, our one way to lawfullness, considered, is with the summary of the law. That way leads to the third use of the law. Say even the Reformed know that always. The right hand first and then the left. Just say’in+++

  • kenneth

    todd
    Say your wrong, constitutional vows are as serious as the 10 commandments. Break one and break them all as Jesus said, our one way to lawfullness, considered, is with the summary of the law. That way leads to the third use of the law. Say even the Reformed know that always. The right hand first and then the left. Just say’in+++

  • Grace

    “Regardless, arguing that it’s wrong to expect 14-year-olds to take a vow to uphold God’s Law is equivalent to arguing that it’s wrong to expect them to be held to God’s Law.”

    The two are not the same thing. If a chikl “vows” before God, not to have sex until they are married, and then does so.. it is serious. However, if there is no vow made, the girl still knows from her studies of God’s Word that it’s wrong, it’s sin…. but she has not made a vow that can be broken.

    Christ did not ordain, that we make vows as such. The reason is, we are sinful, we sometimes sin. Lying, envy, lust, you name it. To make a vow that one would never do such a thing, is dangerous.

    4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

    5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5

  • Grace

    “Regardless, arguing that it’s wrong to expect 14-year-olds to take a vow to uphold God’s Law is equivalent to arguing that it’s wrong to expect them to be held to God’s Law.”

    The two are not the same thing. If a chikl “vows” before God, not to have sex until they are married, and then does so.. it is serious. However, if there is no vow made, the girl still knows from her studies of God’s Word that it’s wrong, it’s sin…. but she has not made a vow that can be broken.

    Christ did not ordain, that we make vows as such. The reason is, we are sinful, we sometimes sin. Lying, envy, lust, you name it. To make a vow that one would never do such a thing, is dangerous.

    4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

    5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Ecclesiastes 5

  • Grace

    You can look back at vows which priests made in the Roman Catholic Church – many of them have/had broken those vows, they have left the church and married. Remember the vows they made to God regarding ‘celibacy?

    So one can break a ‘vow because they have decided it wasn’t a good ‘vow to make.

    Give that some thought!

  • Grace

    You can look back at vows which priests made in the Roman Catholic Church – many of them have/had broken those vows, they have left the church and married. Remember the vows they made to God regarding ‘celibacy?

    So one can break a ‘vow because they have decided it wasn’t a good ‘vow to make.

    Give that some thought!

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith asks: “Anyway, what do you make of all of this Lutheran background of the candidates? (To me, this is not Lutheran triumphalism but rather the opposite!)”

    It’s certainly noteworthy. Could it be more than coincidence? It’s really hard to say.

    “Do you see any trace of a Lutheran influence in any of the candidates?”

    I do see more than a trace of a WELS Lutheran influence in Representative Michelle Bachman. A good and positive WELS Lutheran influence.

    “Are they testimonies of the need for better catechesis than they perhaps received?”

    Considering that they are all former Lutherans, the question seems to answer itself.

    “Or does this just show that Lutheranism more or less lets people have whatever politics they want?”

    It seems to depend on which Lutheran denomination is being referred to.

    In general, my guess, ELCA Lutherans are politically liberal.

    In general, my guess, LCMS and WELS Lutherans are politically conservative.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    Lutheran Culture Warrior Dr. Gene Veith asks: “Anyway, what do you make of all of this Lutheran background of the candidates? (To me, this is not Lutheran triumphalism but rather the opposite!)”

    It’s certainly noteworthy. Could it be more than coincidence? It’s really hard to say.

    “Do you see any trace of a Lutheran influence in any of the candidates?”

    I do see more than a trace of a WELS Lutheran influence in Representative Michelle Bachman. A good and positive WELS Lutheran influence.

    “Are they testimonies of the need for better catechesis than they perhaps received?”

    Considering that they are all former Lutherans, the question seems to answer itself.

    “Or does this just show that Lutheranism more or less lets people have whatever politics they want?”

    It seems to depend on which Lutheran denomination is being referred to.

    In general, my guess, ELCA Lutherans are politically liberal.

    In general, my guess, LCMS and WELS Lutherans are politically conservative.

  • kenneth

    Excellent insight Helen,

    Jesus’ said, that your yes should be simply yes and your no also,simply no+++

    I think all denominations shoud be at gut level counterculural. We can do alot more with Luthers concept of the left hand working secular ends and the right hand one church catholic.

  • kenneth

    Excellent insight Helen,

    Jesus’ said, that your yes should be simply yes and your no also,simply no+++

    I think all denominations shoud be at gut level counterculural. We can do alot more with Luthers concept of the left hand working secular ends and the right hand one church catholic.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Odd coincidence.

    I find it uncomfortable speaking of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Republican Party (or Democrat Party) in the same breath.

    Sure both make truth claims but the claims of politics are odious to the claims of the catholic faith.

    It’s like talking about manure and chocolate in the same breath. Manure is good for agriculture but it’s not a preferred topic when eating fudge.

    I suppose my faith informs my politics in that it makes my politics humble. I don’t have the idealism about politics most Americans do. I view politics as a sort of corrupt marketplace of influence where money and votes are used by politicians for their benefit and used by powerful groups for protection and advantage.

    All I look for from politicians is ones who will do my people the least harm and be careful in applying the dangerous and unpredictable power of the state.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    Odd coincidence.

    I find it uncomfortable speaking of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Republican Party (or Democrat Party) in the same breath.

    Sure both make truth claims but the claims of politics are odious to the claims of the catholic faith.

    It’s like talking about manure and chocolate in the same breath. Manure is good for agriculture but it’s not a preferred topic when eating fudge.

    I suppose my faith informs my politics in that it makes my politics humble. I don’t have the idealism about politics most Americans do. I view politics as a sort of corrupt marketplace of influence where money and votes are used by politicians for their benefit and used by powerful groups for protection and advantage.

    All I look for from politicians is ones who will do my people the least harm and be careful in applying the dangerous and unpredictable power of the state.

  • steve

    Can one belong to a denomination that actually professes something and still run for office? For that matter, can one actually profess something themselves and still run for office? I don’t think so. Plausible deniability is the course of the day. If something can’t easily be backed out of it ought not be said.

  • steve

    Can one belong to a denomination that actually professes something and still run for office? For that matter, can one actually profess something themselves and still run for office? I don’t think so. Plausible deniability is the course of the day. If something can’t easily be backed out of it ought not be said.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Bob
    Since I broke my vows and became Lutheran, I am a little bit of an outcast. I am always welcome to come, but am also kept separate and urged to return for my soul’s salvation.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Bob
    Since I broke my vows and became Lutheran, I am a little bit of an outcast. I am always welcome to come, but am also kept separate and urged to return for my soul’s salvation.

  • J. Dettmann

    Newt was raised LCMS by his Lutheran mother, but became Baptist in high school.

  • J. Dettmann

    Newt was raised LCMS by his Lutheran mother, but became Baptist in high school.

  • J. Dettmann

    …of course now he’s a Catholic.

  • J. Dettmann

    …of course now he’s a Catholic.

  • http://www.coslcgrace.blogspot.com Dan

    One thing in common is they must have missed that month when they were learning about grace

  • http://www.coslcgrace.blogspot.com Dan

    One thing in common is they must have missed that month when they were learning about grace

  • dana

    Almost every discussion about ‘ex-anythingism’ is apriori. And facts seldom change the perception of any ‘ex.’ Sadly, in this age of ‘pluralism on steroids’ it takes very little to move ones position a whole lot. And, generally, these denominational moves are made more out of personal convenience or comfort than the result of a serious search for Biblical truth. And the argumentation is almost identical no matter from whence one comes or to whence one goes.

    At its 16th century core, Lutheran theology robs man of his glory and gives it alone to God. This will always be uncomfortable,even unacceptable, to those who seek the political glory of man or the spiritual credit for their own salvation. And for those who claim that Lutherans are boring . . . just what part of humility do you not understand? It has never been said better: “In the Cross of Christ I glory . . . towering o’er the wrecks of time.”

  • dana

    Almost every discussion about ‘ex-anythingism’ is apriori. And facts seldom change the perception of any ‘ex.’ Sadly, in this age of ‘pluralism on steroids’ it takes very little to move ones position a whole lot. And, generally, these denominational moves are made more out of personal convenience or comfort than the result of a serious search for Biblical truth. And the argumentation is almost identical no matter from whence one comes or to whence one goes.

    At its 16th century core, Lutheran theology robs man of his glory and gives it alone to God. This will always be uncomfortable,even unacceptable, to those who seek the political glory of man or the spiritual credit for their own salvation. And for those who claim that Lutherans are boring . . . just what part of humility do you not understand? It has never been said better: “In the Cross of Christ I glory . . . towering o’er the wrecks of time.”

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