The essence of Protestantism?

Dale M. Coulter discusses H. Richard Niebuhr’s The Kingdom of God in America and the issue he raised of “constructive Protestantism.”  For Niebuhr, the essence of Protestantism is the unmediated relationship between the individual and God’s Word.  The issue then becomes how Protestantism can create or even support institutions.  Read the discussion.  What do you make of this? [Read more...]

When the church “doesn’t really stand for anything”

Newsweek has an article about how Protestantism is dwindling in the land of Luther.  It shows, I think, the futility of the liberal theology that the state church has embraced, the notion that in order to reach people you need to change your teachings so as to conform to the dominant culture.  That’s a formula for making the church irrelevant.

The article also credits the Lutheran churches of East Germany, under great persecution under Communism, for its role in the anti-communist protests that brought down the Berlin Wall.  This reminds us that NOT following the path conforming to the dominant culture can have great power and that the church is at its best in times of cultural conflict. [Read more...]

Luther quotes that Luther didn’t say

Justin Taylor has a useful post entitled 6 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say.  After the jump, see what they are.  (To be fair, some of them are close to what he said, as loose translations or summaries.  And what he attributes to me on the “wise Turk” quote actually comes from the regular  commenter here Carl Vehse, who has done quite a bit of work in tracing such apocryphal quotations.) [Read more...]

Luther and bowling?

Martin Luther’s influence goes far beyond the theology of the Lutheran Church.  His putting the Gospel and the Word of God at the center was the catalyst for all Protestantism.  But even his theological opponents have accepted his ideas like worship in the vernacular, congregational singing, and vernacular translations of the Bible.  Then there are his cultural contributions:  universal education, standardizing the German language, vocation.  But there are also things he is credited for that are questionable or uncertain, like inventing the Christmas tree.  And there are things that that he is credited for that are just wrong, like writing “Away in the Manger” and being the source of German anti-semitism.  Being a master of language, he is supremely quotable on all kinds of subjects.  But he is also cited as the source of things that he never really said (such as the “Wise Turk” quote).  I have recently learned that Luther is considered one of the inventors of bowling!  [Read more...]

Reformational Catholicism

Calvinist theologian Peter Leithhart is calling for “The End of Protestantism.”  It should be replaced, he says, by “Reformational Catholicism,” which he goes on to describe.  Much of what he is calling for sounds like Lutheranism.  Is it?  His essay and questions from me after the jump. [Read more...]

Justification by Faith Alone is Still the Issue

Back in the 1990s, I was asked to be on the council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, an organization dedicated to applying the solas of the Reformation to contemporary Christianity.  Organizations change, and I’m not a part of it anymore.  But I was recently asked to contribute a post for the group’s website  Place for Truth.  The topic?  Whether the Reformation is still relevant today.  I said, “yes.”  More specifically, I argued that the major issue in Christianity today is the same as it was in 1517, a notion that is currently under almost unprecedented attack, even by Protestants:  Justification by faith alone.

See my essay after the jump. [Read more...]


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