Ben Sasse is a “Lutero-Calvinist” 

Nebraska Senator and rising conservative star Ben Sasse describes himself as a “Lutero-Calvinist.”  Though he grew up and came to faith in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and says he is “in love with the Lutheran tradition,” he is now a member of a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) congregation.  He talks about his faith and his Reformed theology with World Magazine, excerpted and linked after the jump.  I then raise some questions. [Read more…]

Commemorating or undoing the Reformation?

On Reformation Day, October 31, the Pope will commemorate the Reformation in a common service with Lutherans in Sweden.

Michael Root, in The Christian Century, discusses the event, sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation, and gets into the difficulties it and related events scheduled for the 500th Anniversary of the 95 Theses have been posing for Catholics.  Nothing is said about the difficulties they might pose for Lutherans.

But such unionistic services raise the question:  Is the intention to celebrate (what Protestants are saying), commemorate (what Catholics are saying) or undo the Reformation (what would seem to be the ecumenical agenda)? [Read more…]

ELCA makes new accord with Catholics

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the theologically liberal Lutheran denomination) has arrived at a new accord with the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on church, ministry, and eucharist. Read the document here.

After giving all of the agreements that were found, the document gives the issues of disagreement that remain:  the papacy and women’s ordination (which ELCA practices).

That would sound like Missouri Synod Lutherans, who agree that only men may be ordained into the holy ministry, are even closer to Rome than the ELCA, disagreeing only on the authority of the pope!

To be sure, there would be quite a bit of agreement even with the LCMS on church, ministry, and eucharist–though also quite a lot of disagreements that have been papered over.  (Find them.)

If the ELCA wants to heal the breach with Rome, I would encourage them now to discuss abortion, gay marriage, and sexual morality.  The differences would be much greater, though perhaps in the name of ecumenism the ELCA would change its permissive teachings. [Read more…]

Conservative Swedish theologian made bishop in Latvia

The Baltic republics, geographically and culturally, are almost Scandinavian.  Now that a national Lutheran church–that of Latvia–has gone confessional, that affects its theologically liberal neighbors.

A Swedish theologians whom the state church refused to ordain because he doesn’t believe that women should be made pastors, has been made a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, which has come around to that same conviction.  His story, detailed after the jump, shows how various organizations–including one started by novelist Bo Giertz–are keeping orthodox Lutheranism alive in those northern climes. [Read more…]

Evangelical Catholics

Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence describes himself as an “evangelical Catholic.”  By which he means that he is a Catholic who attends an evangelical megachurch.  There are quite a few of those, including another presidential candidate, Marco Rubio.  (Megachurches don’t make such a big deal about “membership,” unlike other Protestant churches, so it would be easier to maintain both identities with the megachurch model.)

Catholic apologist George Weigel has called for an “evangelical Catholicism,” by which he means Catholics evangelizing non-Christians.

Political pundits are using the term to group together conservative Catholics who agree with evangelicals on moral and social issues.

But, historically, the term refers to LUTHERANS.  Read the two articles excerpted and linked to after the jump. [Read more…]

You’ve got to read “Being Lutheran”

There is a new book out from CPH that is very much worth reading:  Being Lutheran by A. Trevor Sutton, a young pastor in Michigan. In the vein of my Spirituality of the Cross, this book explains in an utterly fresh way not only what Lutherans believe but also what it feels like to “be” Lutheran.  This is a book for life-long Lutherans, confirmation drop-outs, “seekers,” interested fellow-travellers, non-Christians, millennials, and “nones” who are “spiritual but not religious.”   I wrote the foreword.  An excerpt from that, plus a link to Amazon, after the jump. [Read more…]