Engaging vs. accommodating the culture

My longtime friend, the Rev. Harold Senkbeil, has an article in the latest Concordia Journal entitled “Engaging the Culture Faithfully.”  It is a scathing critique of how the Church as a whole has been accommodating the culture instead of truly engaging it.  At the same time, it offers a genuinely pastoral response.

The article isn’t online, but Pastor Matthew Dent has posted some piercing quotations at Steadfast Lutherans, which you can see after the jump. [Read more...]

Ancient heresies today

A study has found that whereas most American evangelicals believe in the Trinity, they often hold views about Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that correspond to ancient heresies. [Read more...]

“Can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”

As we’ve blogged about, Nadia Bolz-Weber has been getting a lot of attention as an ELCA “pastorix” who, for all of her tattoos, ministry to gays, and violation of “culture wars” stereotypes, preaches justification by grace through faith, Christ’s Atonement for sin, and the theology of the Cross.

Now a British journalist has written an article that asks the question, “can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”  (See excerpts after the jump, along with my thoughts.)  But I wonder if what people are so impressed with is just a matter of her “style” or if it isn’t even more so a reaction to her Lutheran theology, which comes across as new, mind-blowing, and just what people need to hear. [Read more...]

Should Christianity try to be “cool”?

Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity,  argues that there are intrinsic contradictions inherent in the various attempts to make Christianity “cool.”  See what he says after the jump, whereupon I offer some thoughts on my own on the efforts to adapt Christianity to one culture or another and offer a modest proposal. [Read more...]

The Nadia Bolz-Weber phenomenon

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a tattooed, non-conformist, cutting-edge kind of person.  She’s also a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, two strikes against her for us Missouri-Synod Lutherans.  But she has the ear of “progressive Christians.”  And the thing is, she preaches the Gospel.

For all of her ministry to gays, the poor, and other outcasts, she does not approve of the leftwing social gospel that dominates most mainline liberal churches.  She is supernaturalist.  She proclaims Jesus.  She focuses on the theology of the Cross, not theologies of glory.  She teaches salvation by grace through faith.  She quotes Martin Luther.  She is having an impact.

Can we bracket all of the ELCA things we disapprove of?  Can we refrain from simply attacking her?  How can you account for the Nadia Bolz-Weber phenomenon?  Her audience is mainly “progressive Christians” who haven’t heard this sort of thing in a long time.  Does she illustrate my thesis that Lutheranism is the true emergent Christianity?  That is, that the way to reach postmoderns is not to water down faith (which was the tactic, mostly unsuccessful, to reach modernists), but to emphasize faith as Lutheranism does, in a way that is different from much of contemporary Christianity? [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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