Michael Spencer ran the blog Internet Monk, which became an important forum for Christians struggling with a whole range of issues in the evangelical world. Spencer, a Baptist, found lots of help in Lutheran theology, especially in its understanding of the Gospel. Spencer died of cancer not too long ago. His blog, though, continues under his successor who goes by the handle “Chaplain Mike.”
Chaplain Mike has just announced that he has taken the step of becoming a Lutheran.
He has started a series of posts explaining how he sees Lutheranism as uniquely addressing the concerns of “post-evangelical” Christians. Here is the conclusion of his long post, which surveys aspects of contemporary evangelicalism that he has been struggling with:
Let me say, by way of concluding this overview, that I have been thrilled with what I have learned and experienced in the Lutheran tradition with regard to these three areas.
The Word and Table liturgy of the Lutheran church, rooted in the historic tradition of the church rather than the revivalist movement, restores the priority of worship in the local congregation.
Pastors are not CEO’s or program directors in the Lutheran church as they have become in much of evangelicalism. Rather, they represent Christ in distributing the means of grace through Word and Sacrament. Preaching is embedded in the liturgy so that worship does not revolve around the charisma of the preacher, but the Word Himself who meets us in the gathering of his people. Pastoral care and catechizing the congregation are essential components of his or her work.
The doctrine of vocation is one of the gifts the Lutheran tradition has given to the larger Church. Luther, himself a monk, came to appreciate the priesthood of all believers and the integrity of every calling, “sacred” or “secular,” as a means of showing Christ’s love to the world.
This is just a start in showing how the Lutheran tradition has answered some of my concerns with the system of evangelicalism dominant in America today.
More to come.
HT: Rod Rosenbladt