Leaving a vocation

In yesterday’s post about some cardinals complaining about Pope Benedict XVI leaving his calling, I asked about when it’s permissible to leave one’s vocation.  We didn’t really talk about that much, but I think it deserves consideration.  Set aside the question of the pope and let’s discuss this as it relates to the various vocations that Christians hold.  At what point should we leave a vocation for another one, and how do we know that we should do that?  First, let me give some preliminary thoughts. [Read more...]

A milestone in the decline of liberal Protestantism

The much-diminished National Council of Churches is closing its headquarters in New York City, a building that also housed the offices of the other major ecumenical Protestant denominations.  Leaving the building once  hailed as the “Protestant Vatican” and the “God Box,” the NCC is moving to Washington, D.C., where it will share an office with the Methodists.  Mark Tooley, writing in the American Spectator, reports on the move and includes some trenchant analysis of why liberal Protestantism has declined.  This is especially noteworthy since some ostensible evangelicals want to adopt the same strategy. [Read more...]

There is no pope

Pope Benedict’s resignation goes into effect today.  So, until the cardinals get together to elect a new one, there is no pope in office.  Canon law used to require a conclave to meet within 20 days of a pope’s resignation, but the outgoing pope changed that so that the cardinals can set the date whenever they want, and no date has been set yet.  So if the church of Rome can exist without a pope for 20 days and even longer, with the bishops and priests still doing what they do, I’m curious in what sense the office of the papacy is considered to be necessary. [Read more...]

What pastors do

Last Sunday at church, in addition to receiving Holy Communion as we do every week, we baptized a child and sent off one of our members to seminary.  Our pastor gave a sermon on the readings for the day–Jeremiah 16, Luke 13,  and Philippians 3–and tied them into all of those events.  You should read the whole sermon, but what he said about the life and calling of a pastor deserves to become a classic. [Read more...]

Ethiopian Lutherans sever fellowship with ELCA

It’s not just Missouri Synod Lutherans!  Russell Saltzman reports:

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) has severed all ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), according to an ELCA press release.

The Mekane Yesus action came during their general convocation meeting in Addis Ababa January 27-February 2, ratifying a July 2012 initiative of the church council. While they were at it the Mekane Yesus included the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and, for good measure, other “churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.” The decision specifically bans Eucharistic hospitality. Mekane Yesus pastors may not receive Holy Communion from ELCA pastors, nor are they permitted to commune them. . . . [Read more...]

Fanaticism

The learned and wise John T. Pless, a professor at  Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, warns against fanaticism.  He is discussing the recent controversy over a pastor participating in an interfaith service, showing that some on both sides have slipped into fanaticism, as described by both Hermann Sasse (the anti-Nazi confessional Lutheran theologian) and Steven Paulson (the radically Lutheran ELCA theologian).  If you remain interested in that particular controversy, which seems to have run its course with the pastor’s apology followed by the synodical president’s apology, follow the link.

However, this is not a post about that, nor do I want that to be the subject of the discussion in the comments.  We have exhausted that topic.  I will instead excerpt what Prof. Pless says about fanaticism, a far broader and more applicable topic that deserves our reflection. [Read more...]


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