Caution: Intense Law & intense Gospel

Sunday was the commemoration of St. Matthew.  In the Gospel lesson, Matthew tells about how Jesus called him, tax collector though he was, and how the Pharisees thought about him:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesusreclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Our pastor took this text and played off of the indignation that people are feeling about NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.  He turned it into a powerful sermon.  Read it all at the link, but I give excerpts after the jump.  CAUTION:  INTENSE Law and INTENSE Gospel. [Read more…]

Even Billy Graham prefers liturgical worship

According to a new biography of Billy Graham–America’s Pastor by Grant Wacker (Harvard University Press)–the Southern Baptist evangelist has said that if he were starting all over again he would be “an evangelical Anglican” because he appreciates the “spiritual beauty in Anglican order.” [Read more…]

Theologically diverse churches?

One of the tenets of the “Revangelical” movement, which seeks to “renew, reform, and rethink” evangelicalism, is that churches today need to be “theologically diverse.”   I wonder what that means and if it’s possible.  And, according to both my experience and my convictions, I can’t see why it is desirable. [Read more…]

Finding the true Cross

Last Sunday was Holy Cross Day, an ancient celebration that originally commemorated St. Helena (Constantine’s mother) supposedly finding the “true Cross.”  You have got to see what our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite, does with this, taking the occasion to plunge into some of the deepest waters of Lutheran spirituality, the theology of the Cross. [Read more…]

“Revangelical”

Brandon Robertson is one of the spokesmen for the “Revangelical” movement, the prefix meaning, in his words, the effort to “rethink, reform, and renew my evangelical faith.”

He has posted the results of an informal survey he conducted that goes against the grain of conventional “church growth” assumptions.  For example, 51% prefer a “liturgical/contemplative” service, with only 4% preferring a “contemporary/seeker” service; 80% prefer a small-medium size church (60-300), with 19% preferring a “large/mega” church (300-2000).

These findings, he says, support his Revangelical emphases, which I post after the jump (after the statistics).  We Confessional Lutherans might applaud some of these, though the thrust of the movement is “progressive.”  I offer them for your reflection and feedback.  One tenet in particular I would like to scrutinize tomorrow. [Read more…]

“Can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”

As we’ve blogged about, Nadia Bolz-Weber has been getting a lot of attention as an ELCA “pastorix” who, for all of her tattoos, ministry to gays, and violation of “culture wars” stereotypes, preaches justification by grace through faith, Christ’s Atonement for sin, and the theology of the Cross.

Now a British journalist has written an article that asks the question, “can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”  (See excerpts after the jump, along with my thoughts.)  But I wonder if what people are so impressed with is just a matter of her “style” or if it isn’t even more so a reaction to her Lutheran theology, which comes across as new, mind-blowing, and just what people need to hear. [Read more…]