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...]

Thrivent is fair and balanced about abortion

Thrivent is the made up name for the merger of two Lutheran institutions:  The  Aid Association for Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood.  These were “fraternal” organizations that sold life insurance, IRAs, and other financial services exclusively to Lutherans.  (There are equivalent groups for Catholics and, I believe, other churches.)  In return, the AAL and LB funded programs for congregations, did matching fund donations for various charities and ministries, and became staples of the Lutheran sub-culture.  (Every congregation had a chapter with annual meetings and fun activities.  Church dinners and pot-lucks nearly always had AAL or LB napkins and paper cups.)

A few years ago, the two competing organizations merged and gradually started going more corporate.  This past year, Thrivent members voted to drop its exclusively Lutheran identity, offering its services to all Christians.  That was controversial, but it passed.  Recently, the word got out that Planned Parenthood is one of the charities that Thrivent is willing to support for a major philanthropic program .  That sparked a furor among members of the pro-life Lutheran denominations (LCMS, WELS, ELS, and some smaller associations and independent congregations), though the fraternals have always been pan-Lutheran, with ELCA members as well, and Thrivent now must cater to “all Christians.”  But, being responsive to its constituents, Thrivent has just announced that it will no longer be willing to  funnel money to Planned Parenthood.  But it has also suspended funding for pro-life organizations as well! [Read more...]


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