Pro-American vs. Anti-American conservatives

Political theorist Patrick J. Deneen notes two different and conflict schools among Roman Catholic conservatives:  one believes that Catholic Christianity is compatible with American democracy, with its ideals of freedom, individual rights, free markets, etc.  The other faction believes that all of these American ideals grow out of a philosophical liberalism that is incompatible with Catholic Christianity.

Read Prof. Deneen’s account, excerpted after the jump.  Can these arguments have resonance for non-Catholic Christians?  Or non-Christian conservatives?  Are American Christians too wedded to “Americanism”?  Or would the anti-American line of thought yield a political system that is far worse? [Read more...]

Are Lutherans boring?

Yet another definitive answer to the question, Why not Lutheranism?, has been written.  This one is by Anthony Sacramone and you simply must read all of it.  It is both humorous and profound.  He says that Lutherans are essentially boring, both in a bad and a good way.  He shows why Lutheranism doesn’t show up in pop culture–so therefore it doesn’t exist for many people, especially Millennials.  He cites other things that come across as boring, including the fact that Lutheran churches can’t seem to get their liturgical act together.

But then he concludes with a rousing case for Lutheranism and how to get people to try it.  I’ll give you a sample of that after the jump, but, please, read the whole thing, not just the happy ending.

[Read more...]

Lutheranism is not boring–vocation is

For me, growing up in perhaps the blandest version of mainline liberal Protestantism, Lutheranism, far from being boring, seemed wonderfully exotic.  All of that medieval-style chanting; people thinking they were eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood; having beer at church dinners.  On that last point, both the liberal Christianity I grew up with and the conservative Christianity of some of my friends tended to see smokin’ and drinkin’ as the prime example of sins.  But Lutheranism cared little for these little life-style issues (indeed, seeming actually pro-alcohol).  That blew my mind, as we said back then.

But I think I know why people might think Lutheranism is boring.  It’s the Lutheran doctrine of vocation.

[Read more...]

The Incarnation and the whole range of human life

God becoming man involved more than just His assumption of a human body, but his entry into all of the elements of human life.

So observed Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, the Executive Director of the Commission on Theology & Church Relations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, in a sermon I heard last week in the chapel at the church headquarters in St. Louis.  He was preaching about Jesus at the wedding at Cana.  That God became man meant that He went to weddings, that He had obligations to His mother, that He feasted and drank wine.  That got me thinking. . . [Read more...]

Demonic possession & exorcism in Indiana?

The Indianapolis Star reports on a case of apparent demon possession and successful exorcism in Gary, Indiana.  I don’t know what I think of all of this, but this case–complete with walking on a ceiling and many other seemingly supernatural manifestations–is unusually well-attested, with police witnesses, psychologists, the Department of Child Services,  and the Roman Catholic Church all weighing in.

Reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski has written a bit of journalism that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  But don’t read it late at night.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more...]

J. Gresham Machen on the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

J. Gresham Machen was one of the 20th century’s leading Reformed theologians, a Princeton faculty member who battled the rise of liberal theology.  Rod Rosenbladt sent me a copy of an article that Dr. Machen wrote on the “Ordination Pledge” in which he discusses his appreciation for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, including the personal support extended to him by Lutherans during his tumultuous controversies at Princeton.  Among other things, he appreciates how Lutherans cling to their theology as being true for everyone, just as he and his fellow Calvinists do with their theology, as opposed to those who try to make everyone agree through some vague doctrinal synthesis.  He says that he feels that he feels much closer to the LCMS than to the “indifferentists” or “interdenominationalists” of his own tradition. 

He is thus proposing an ecumenism based on acknowledging differences, rather than grasping for similarities; being open to debate rather than forcing agreements; respecting convictions rather than treating them as problems.  Read what he says after the jump. [Read more...]


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