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…]