J. Gresham Machen on the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

J. Gresham Machen was one of the 20th century’s leading Reformed theologians, a Princeton faculty member who battled the rise of liberal theology.  Rod Rosenbladt sent me a copy of an article that Dr. Machen wrote on the “Ordination Pledge” in which he discusses his appreciation for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, including the personal support extended to him by Lutherans during his tumultuous controversies at Princeton.  Among other things, he appreciates how Lutherans cling to their theology as being true for everyone, just as he and his fellow Calvinists do with their theology, as opposed to those who try to make everyone agree through some vague doctrinal synthesis.  He says that he feels that he feels much closer to the LCMS than to the “indifferentists” or “interdenominationalists” of his own tradition. 

He is thus proposing an ecumenism based on acknowledging differences, rather than grasping for similarities; being open to debate rather than forcing agreements; respecting convictions rather than treating them as problems.  Read what he says after the jump. [Read more...]

Lutherans, Catholics, & Orthodox

We may have solved, with the help of James R. Rogers, our perennial question of why evangelicals tend to be more likely to embrace Calvinism than Lutheranism.  But our other perennial question is why evangelicals, when they want something different–particularly, sacraments and liturgy–go the way of Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, rushing right past Lutheranism.  But, applying Prof. Rogers’ approach, I think I am starting to understand.

Again, to follow Prof. Rogers, one could cite external reasons–the difficulty of “finding” Lutheranism, the innate attractiveness of joining the biggest church that extends all over the world, the beauty of Orthodox liturgy, etc.–but, on a deeper level, there is much in Catholicism and Orthodoxy that already resonates with the mindset of many evangelicals. [Read more...]

More on Lutherans, Calvinists, & Evangelicals

James R. Rogers (a Lutheran) advances our perennial topic of why evangelicals tend to prefer Calvinism to Lutheranism in a post for First Things.  He begins with some practical issues–the difficulty of “finding” Lutheranism, the relative inaccessibility of Lutheran confessional documents (the Augsburg Confession being too difficult; the Small Catechism being too simple) as compared with the Calvinist equivalents.

But then he plunges into the deeper issues–evangelicals see salvation as coming from within, whereas Lutherans see salvation as coming from without–including an illuminating discussion of faith and baptism.  And the Lutheran emphasis will seem utterly alien to an evangelical sensibility, whereas Calvinism will fit it well. [Read more...]

What Tullian Tchividjian learned from Lutherans

Tullian Tchividjian is Billy Graham’s grandson and the successor to D. James Kennedy as the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  As we’ve been blogging about, Rev. Tchividjian has been studying Lutheranism and is bringing such concepts as the distinction between Law & Gospel, active and passive righteousness, and the Theology of the Cross vs. the Theology of Glory into evangelical circles.

Pastor Matt Richard has conducted a revealing interview with him for Steadfast Lutherans.  After the jump, links to the two part interview and some sample questions and answers. [Read more...]

Why not Lutheranism?

Mathew Block, communications director of the Lutheran Church Canada, posts about that article on the millennial generation yearning for liturgy and sacraments and joining “high church” congregations.  He asks,

Why don’t more of these young Christians looking for liturgy end up in Lutheran churches? As the article notes, most seem to go Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican. [Read more...]

Lutheranism FAQ

I stumbled across this Lutheranism FAQ put together by Steve Born, a convert to Lutheranism who bases it on the objections to Lutheranism and various  questions he received from his earlier Pentecostal co-religionists.  It includes topics often raised here, such as “how can Lutherans believe both in salvation by faith and in infant baptism?”  and the differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism.  My favorite objection:  “It’s a church 500 years out of date!”

After the jump are the Frequently Asked Questions.  At the site, you can click them and find some quite helpful answers. [Read more...]


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