You can’t understand Bach apart from his Lutheranism

You can’t fully understand Bach’s music apart from its context in the Lutheran liturgy and its emotions in Lutheran piety.  So says Yale music historian Markus Rathey in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal. [Read more…]

Lutherans and Anglicans together

While liberal Lutherans and liberal Episcopalians have gone the way of mainline Protestantism in its anything-goes ecumenism, it is a different story with church bodies that still hold to their historical doctrines.  The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has broken away from the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), joining other global Anglicans in affirming a more conservative theology.

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church Canada has been in talks with the new American Anglican church, and the three church bodies have just released an Interim Report on their discussions.  The document is extremely interesting, especially in tracing the historical connections and parallels between Lutherans and Anglicans.  The report also details the doctrinal agreements (some of which you might find surprising), as well as the disagreements.

A sample and links to the report after the jump. [Read more…]

Pope to have joint service with Lutherans on Reformation Day

Pope Francis will join with the Lutheran World Federation in a joint worship service in Lund, Sweden, on October 31, 2016, to celebrate Reformation Day.

To underscore, once again, conservative Lutheran bodies do not approve of joint services with those of other confessions.  Neither do conservative Catholics.  So we do have that in common, along with closed Communion, male-only ordination, pro-life convictions, traditional morality, and belief in the historic creeds.  The LWF has gone wobbly on all of those issues, so I’m curious what unity the Pope hopes to find.  I guess “justice, peace, and reconciliation” is more important than theology for all liberals and that the current pontiff is in that camp.

But setting that aside for now, some Protestants have wondered if they should celebrate Reformation Day.  If the Pope celebrates it, they should too! [Read more…]

Sudanese Anglicans to become Lutheran?

The Anglican Church of South Sudan, a church body of some 1 million members that broke from the Episcopal Church of Sudan over global Anglicanism’s liberal theology, discovered Luther’s Small Catechism and is now considering becoming Lutheran.  In December, a delegation visited the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which is looking into providing theological education. [Read more…]

A common liturgy for Catholics & Lutherans on Reformation Day

Catholics and LWF Lutherans have released a common liturgy to be used for joint services, with both a Catholic and a Lutheran celebrant, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517.  (Both conservative Lutherans and conservative Catholics will find unity in the response of being appalled.) [Read more…]

Liberals, conservatives, & Lutheran-Catholic dialogue

Mathew (one “t”) Block, the communications manager for the Lutheran Church Canada (with which the LCMS is in fellowship) has an interesting post at First Things on the 50 years of Lutheran-Catholic dialogue.  He does so from the perspective of the International Lutheran Council (ILC), the organization of conservative Lutherans, which has started a dialogue with Rome of its own, clarifying how the liberal Lutheran World Federation is not fully representing the Lutheran tradition in its own talks, and how ILC churches agree with Rome (and not the LWF) in not ordaining women and rejecting same-sex marriage.

Beyond the Lutheran/Catholic issues, the post sheds light on world Lutheranism in the relationship between the ILC and the LWF.  For example, I learned that not only Ethiopia’s 7.2 million member Mekane Yesus (“place of Jesus”) is pulling away from the LWF and is trying to get its theological act together with the help of the ILC, so is Tanzania’s 6.5 million member  Lutheran Church. [Read more…]