Was Luther a Calvinist?

Short answer:  NO!  But Calvinists often claim him for their own.  Douglas Sweeney,Trinity Evangelical Seminary church historian, takes up this question at the Gospel Coalition site, showing where Luther and Lutherans stand vis a vis the Five Points of Calvinism.  It’s a good discussion.

Prof. Sweeney stresses that the controversy between Calvinism and Arminianism, according to which Calvinists evaluate all theologies, is very much a disagreement among Reformed Christians, and isn’t easily applicable to separate theological traditions, such as the Lutherans, Anglicans, and Anabaptists.   What sets apart Lutheranism from the Reformed, of course, whether Calvinist or Arminian, is the issue of the Sacraments, which aren’t discussed here.  Still, read the analysis.  Is there anything missing? [Read more...]

The catholicity of Lutherans

Many evangelicals are trying to come to grips with the catholicity of the Church and are looking for ways to fit themselves into the historical universal Church.  Some are searching for ways to integrate the Protestant with the Catholic traditions.  Some are saying we should downplay denominational differences as a way to be more “catholic,” as the ecumenical movement did.

But the estimable Mathew Block, communications director for the Lutheran Church Canada, has written a thoughtful essay on this subject, focusing on the catholicity of Lutherans and how Lutherans already embody the kind of Evangelical Catholicism that many people are looking for.  The essay, which you should read completely,  is linked after the jump, but I give his conclusion. [Read more...]

Igniting a second Reformation

Check out this new website, which, in turn is a forum for a new ministry and resource group whose goal is nothing less than “igniting a second Reformation.”  It’s all about Lutheran apologetics–defending Christianity and specifically defending the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.  Not just defending, but promoting and evangelizing.  Lutherans often just talk with each other, but the idea here is getting the Word out into the world.

The initiative is called 1517 The Legacy Project.  After the jump, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt tells all about it. [Read more...]

Tullian Tchividjian expelled for crypto-Lutheranism?

Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian and the grandson of Billy Graham, was kicked out of the Gospel Coalition blogging community for what the GC folks are calling a doctrinal issue over sanctification.  Others claim other reasons, including Rev. Tchividijian’s criticism of how other GC members handled a sexual abuse scandal.  But I take the official statement from the Reformed organization seriously.

As we have posted, Rev. Tchividijian discovered the distinction between Law and Gospel in some Lutheran writers who helped him through a personal crisis in his ministry.  The complaints about “anti-nominanism,” being weak on sanctification,  and downplaying the role of moral improvement in salvation sound like common Calvinist misunderstandings of Lutheranism. [Read more...]

“Spiritual Communion”?

According to Roman Catholicism, you can receive “spiritual communion” even when you don’t take actual, physical communion.  That is, if you desire to receive the sacrament, that is almost as good as actually receiving it.  I learned this seeming bit of Gnosticism from a post by Nicholas Frankovich as part of the discussion about whether or not divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive the Sacrament.

Note too, in the excerpt after the jump, that whereas Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are given and received specifically for the forgiveness of sins, Roman Catholics believe that sinners must not receive them.  More evidence that Lutherans actually have a higher view of the Sacraments than Catholics do! [Read more...]

Lutheran tattoos

Members of the Cross in Mt. Dora, Florida, a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, are getting tattoos of their church’s logo:

Church tattoo [Read more...]


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