A common liturgy for Catholics & Lutherans on Reformation Day

Catholics and LWF Lutherans have released a common liturgy to be used for joint services, with both a Catholic and a Lutheran celebrant, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517.  (Both conservative Lutherans and conservative Catholics will find unity in the response of being appalled.) [Read more...]

Trump on Christianity & Christians on Trump

Donald Trump addressed Liberty University, calling on Christians to “band together” and promising that “we’re going to protect Christianity.”

He also cited his favorite Bible verse: “Two Corinthians, 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame … is that the one you like?”  (“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”)

Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., said that Trump walks in Christ’s footstep.  “Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others, as Jesus taught in the New Testament,” Falwell said.

Meanwhile, in an interview last Sunday (excerpted after the jump), Trump doubled down on his earlier statement that he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness because he hasn’t done anything wrong.  He did, though, say that he has “a great relationship with God.”

I can see Christians voting for a non-Christian who promises to protect them.  I suppose the Children of Israel would have voted for Cyrus over Nebuchadnezzar.  Then again, do we need an earthly ruler to “protect Christianity”?  Isn’t that a violation of Psalm 146 (among other texts)?:

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.  (Psalm 146:3-4)

At any rate, does it make sense for an “evangelical” to present someone who, by his own admission, feels no need of the gospel and so lacks faith by nevertheless presenting him as a Christian because of his alleged good works?  Or is Trump’s claim, using evangelical language, to have a “great relationship with God” enough, despite his indifference to the gospel?

Don’t get me wrong:  Christians can certainly support whoever they want for secular reasons.  Doesn’t this show how ridiculous it can get to mingle religion and politics?

[Read more...]

Hating on Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to the service of the poor and the dying,  has become almost synonymous with goodness and saintliness, and, indeed, her canonization is imminent.  But some people have an almost fanatical hatred for her.  Why? The main reason is because she was pro-life. [Read more...]

How Americans protect themselves from Christianity

Another brilliant analysis of the challenges facing American Christianity by James R. Rogers, Texas A&M Political Science professor and an LCMS layman.  This time he focuses on how and why Americans “armor” themselves from Christianity.  He analyzes how relativism works and quotes Allan Bloom on Americans’ “easy-going nihilism” and “nihilism without the abyss.”  He surveys how churches are already responding to these factors without much success and opens a discussion about what might be more effective. [Read more...]

Liberals, conservatives, & Lutheran-Catholic dialogue

Mathew (one “t”) Block, the communications manager for the Lutheran Church Canada (with which the LCMS is in fellowship) has an interesting post at First Things on the 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue.  He does so from the perspective of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), the organization of conservative Lutherans, which has started a dialogue with Rome of its own, clarifying how the liberal Lutheran World Federation is not fully representing the Lutheran tradition in its own talks, and how ILC churches agree with Rome (and not the LWF) in not ordaining women and rejecting same-sex marriage.

Beyond the Lutheran/Catholic issues, the post sheds light on world Lutheranism in the relationship between the ILC and the LWF.  For example, I learned that not only Ethiopia’s 7.2 million member Mekane Yesus (“place of Jesus”) is pulling away from the LWF and is trying to get its theological act together with the help of the ILC, so is Tanzania’s 6.5 million member  Lutheran Church. [Read more...]

“This is the week the Anglican church might fall apart”

A major meeting of the world-wide Anglican Communion is taking place this week in Canterbury.  And it may result in the conservative churches of the old “mission fields” breaking fellowship with the liberals in the West.  Or, if any unity at all will be preserved, it will be in the form of a new “looser” arrangement.  (See this.)

Charles Moore has some trenchant things to say about this in a column in the London Telegraph entitled “This Is the Week the Anglican Church Might Fall Apart.”  He says, for example, that African Anglicans look upon the West’s embrace of same-sex marriage like the old missionaries looked at polygamy and cannibalism.  They consider the imposition of gay bishops and liberal theology as a sign of imperial oppression. [Read more...]