“Radical,” “missional” Christianity as the new legalism

The esteemed Anthony Bradley describes a “new legalism” stemming from the vogue of so-called “radical” and “missional” Christianity.  He decries the emphasis on spectacular works, emphasizing instead the role of  good works in the realm of the “ordinary.”  That is, the love of neighbor as carried out in [wait for it] VOCATION!  (See!  I told you, Anthony Sacramone!)  Dr. Bradley goes so far as to link to a talk I gave on that subject at the Evangelical Theological Society convention, which I didn’t even know was online. [Read more...]

On denying the sacrament for “political” reasons

Confessional Lutherans get excoriated for not admitting members of other churches to the Lord’s Supper, though I don’t hear many people complaining when that happens in Catholic or Orthodox churches, which likewise practiced “close communion.” Some Catholics are taking this to another level by refusing to commune politicians who favor abortion.  Some are considering refusing to commune regular laypeople who disagree with the church’s other moral teachings.  Is that a possibility for Lutheran parishes, or does our different understanding of the Lord’s Supper and church discipline preclude that? [Read more...]

Obama: “God bless” Planned Parenthood

Rev. Michael Schuermann calls out the president for confusing his office and for taking God’s name in vain:

President Obama spoke to Planned Parenthood this morning (Friday, April 26th). He said all sorts of things. Yet what was most galling, at least in my mind, is how he ended his speech. Here’s what he said:

“As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way,” said Obama. “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.”

[Read more...]

Can Christianity survive gay marriage?

Rod Dreher, a Christian writer of the Orthodox persuasion,  has written a provocative article for the American Conservative that is getting a lot of attention entitled Sex after Christianity.   He raises the question of whether Christianity can even survive once its assumptions about sexual morality are jettisoned.  The short answer is, of course Christianity will survive.  The gates of hell cannot prevail against it, let alone sexual transgressions.  Missing in this discussion is that Christianity is about Christ, the Gospel, and the forgiveness of sins, not establishing a particular kind of cultural influence.  Nevertheless, Dreher documents a “cosmological” shift that may well diminish the cultural presence of Christianity.  Still, read this article.  We’ve got to talk about it.  Read the whole article, but I’ll post excerpts after the jump.  (And see my thoughts at the end.) [Read more...]

Church vs. children’s sports

There was a time (I’m sounding old) when community activities were never planned on Sunday mornings.  There was never such a thing as a soccer or little league practice scheduled for the time when most families were in church.  That has changed.  Now children’s sporting events are routinely scheduled on Sunday mornings.  In fact, new research suggests that children’s sports contributes significantly to the decline in church attendance.

My question:  Why would Christian parents let their kids be in sports when that keeps them from going to church? [Read more...]

The German state church

Mathew Block, in the course of correcting a media error, explains that the Protestant state church of Germany is NOT Lutheran, but a federation of Protestant churches with a number of different theologies, including particularly the “Prussian Union,” which drove confessional Lutherans to Australia and America:

Two days ago, the Catholic Herald posted a story about Pope Francis meeting with Rev. Dr. Nikolaus Schneider. The article is entitled “Lutheran pastor meets Pope Francis in Rome,” and the text of the article also refers to Dr. Schneider as a Lutheran pastor. There’s just one problem, as the friend who brought this story to my attention noted: Dr. Schneider isn’t Lutheran.

You’d be forgiven for thinking so. He is, after all, President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. And surely the Evangelical Church in Germany is Lutheran, right?

It depends. The thing English speakers often miss is that the Evangelical Church in Germany (which formed in 1948) is actually a federation of separate church bodies in Germany rather than a unified denomination itself. [Read more...]


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