Lutherans have a confessional convention

Conservatives/confessionals feel very good about the triennial convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which concluded last week in Milwaukee.  They passed virtually all of their resolutions by big margins, elected virtually all of their candidates, and won some big victories.

The convention voted to ensure that everyone engaged in Word and Sacrament ministry be ordained.  (Lay ministers may still serve in various church functions, but not they may not function as pastors, preaching and administering the sacraments, as many have been doing.  The convention also approved a path for getting lay ministers ordained.)  This lines up the 2.5 million member synod with the Augsburg Confession, Article 14.  For other actions, go here.

After the jump, Aaron Wolf, an editor with Chronicles Magazine, rhapsodizes about the LCMS, of which he is a member, saying that with the convention, “the LCMS officially embraced a conservative ethos.” [Read more…]

Latvian Lutherans go back to male-only pastors

Last month, the Lutheran Church of Latvia–the main church body in that Baltic republic–reversed course and rescinded its policy allowing the ordaining of women.  But the church has not ordained women since 1993, with its confessional revival at the fall of Communism.  Now the church has formalized its doctrine that only men may be ordained as pastors.

The Lutheran World Federation, whose member churches ordain women, says that this decision may affect the Latvian church’s membership.  But the Latvian bishop says that this could lead to affiliation with the conservative International Lutheran Council and its member churches such as the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. [Read more…]

A psychiatrist who identifies demonic possession

Richard Gallagher is a board-certified New York psychiatrist who serves as a consultant for exorcists in distinguishing between mental illness and demonic possession.  He tells his story in the Washington Post, no less, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Donald Trump and Nietzsche

In a discussion of Donald Trump’s theology, Christian conservative Peter Wehner observes that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s worldview–with its emphasis on power, strength, and winning and its constant putdowns of the weak, the unattractive, and “losers”–is that of the anti-Christian philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

[Read more…]

Orthodox council ends

The last Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church was 1,200 years ago, and this one has been in the works for 70 years.  Despite boycotts by several church bodies, including the largest, the Russian Orthodox Church, the council met and finished its work.  As for what it accomplished, it doesn’t seem like much, falling short of the possibility that this would amount to Orthodoxy’s Vatican II.   (Orthodox readers, please help us out with what happened at the Council and its significance.)

The Council did, however, make a clear statement that marriage is intrinsically heterosexual.  It also forbade members of the Orthodox Church from being involved in same-sex unions and all other kinds of sexual cohabitation apart from marriage. [Read more…]

Did Donald Trump “accept Christ”?

Many evangelicals believe that a person becomes a Christian by making a “decision for Christ,” an act of the will, usually involving saying some version of “the sinner’s prayer,” in which the person “accepts Christ.”  We Lutherans certainly believe in conversion, though not construing that as an act of the will, as such, but rather as the Holy Spirit’s creation of faith by means of Baptism and the Word of God.  But some evangelicals treat the “decision for Christ” like Catholics treat Baptism, as being effective ex opere operatoapart from actual faith.

Anyway, lots of conservative Christians of every stripe have problems with Donald Trump.  But James Dobson, who once opposed Trump but now serves on his evangelical advisory board, said that he was told that Trump was “led to Christ” by the controversial prosperity gospel TV preacher Paula White.  That means that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate is a “baby Christian,” who doesn’t understand the language and practices of mature Christians, but who is a Christian nonetheless.  The implication is that Evangelicals should cut him some slack while still being able to vote for him in good conscience.

Read about this after the jump.  What do you think about it?   [Read more…]