Gradualism and the two senses of Grace

Roman Catholic theologian David Cloutier gives a lucid explanation of “gradualism,” that take on moral theology that allows for greater acceptance of same-sex and cohabiting couples without, supposedly, compromising traditional morality.  (This is the view that gave us the first report from the Vatican’s synod on the family, though not the final report.)  What do you think of this reasoning?  (I’ll offer some thoughts after the excerpt after the jump.) [Read more...]

“Can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”

As we’ve blogged about, Nadia Bolz-Weber has been getting a lot of attention as an ELCA “pastorix” who, for all of her tattoos, ministry to gays, and violation of “culture wars” stereotypes, preaches justification by grace through faith, Christ’s Atonement for sin, and the theology of the Cross.

Now a British journalist has written an article that asks the question, “can Nadia Bolz-Weber save evangelicalism?”  (See excerpts after the jump, along with my thoughts.)  But I wonder if what people are so impressed with is just a matter of her “style” or if it isn’t even more so a reaction to her Lutheran theology, which comes across as new, mind-blowing, and just what people need to hear. [Read more...]

Cheap Grace

We often hear references to Bonhoeffer’s term “cheap grace.”  In an essay defending Christians who are trying to separate themselves from the world–which I recommend that you read–Rod Dreher usefully quotes the entire passage and its context from The Cost of Discipleship dealing with “cheap grace.”

Read the passage after the jump, and then help me think about it. [Read more...]

Doug Wilson on Crypto-Lutherans

Douglas Wilson, who is associated with the “Federal Vision” movement, weighs in on the Crypto-Lutheran controversy within Calvinism.  Read his whole post, but I give an excerpt after the jump. [Read more...]

“It’s time to out the Lutherans among us”!

Back in the 19th century, Lutherans went through a “crypto-Calvinist” controversy.  But today, Calvinists are undergoing a “crypto-Lutheran” controversy.  It seems a number of Reformed pastors are realizing that the Bible teaches a higher doctrine of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper than is common among Calvinists and are introducing liturgical worship.  It appears that the controversy has something to do with the “Federal Vision” movement, which does emphasize Baptism but is far from Lutheran.  I suspect that some of those attracted to the Federal Vision are finding that Lutheranism gives them what they are looking for without falling into the problems of that newer Reformed theology.  Anyway, Calvinist firebrand Tim Bayly calls out the “neo-Lutherans” and sounds the alarm of our “sacramentalism,” which “has always been one of our Enemy’s principal tools of leading souls to Hell.”  Read what he says after the jump. [Read more...]

Lutherans in exile

Carl Trueman argues that Christianity is going into a kind of cultural exile, and he tries to make the case that the church tradition best equipped to endure what awaits us is Reformed theology.  Rod Dreher counters by making the case for why his own Eastern Orthodoxy is best equipped to carry Christianity through the exile.  Roman Catholics are arguing that Roman Catholicism is.

But Mr. Dreher also called for people of other persuasions to make the case for their theological tradition.  So, naturally, we Lutherans need to step up.

What about Lutheranism makes it best equipped to preserve historic Christianity through a time of cultural exile?  After the jump, Mr. Dreher’s rules for the conversation, and my first stab at it. [Read more...]