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…]

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…]