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  My favorite objection:  “It’s a church 500 years out of date!”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...]

Church growth for confessional Lutherans

OK, I’ve been kind of hard on the church growth movement lately (e.g., here and here), but I acknowledge its good intentions and practical advice.  My CCLE colleague Paul J. Cain (not to be confused with Paul McCain), is a confessional Lutheran pastor in Wyoming who has published a little book entitled  5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Congregation a Caring Church.

He knows that God grows the Church by means of the Word and Sacraments.  But there are are some kingdom-of-the-lefthand aspects that can help encourage people to come to receive them.   He talks about common-sense things like parking and the state of the building, greeters and ushers.  But he cuts quickly to a far more important factor that can make a congregation attractive in a good sense (or, if this is not present, send both visitors and members screaming away).  Namely, the ethos of the congregation.  Do people here care about one another?  Does the congregation care about anyone besides one another, showing compassion to people in need and to others outside the church?  If not, how can that change?

The book is short, extremely practical, and illustrated with Pastor Cain’s personal experiences.  After the jump, the product description from Amazon and a link to buy it.

Discussion topic:  What are some things confessional Lutherans–or orthodox, traditionalist congregations of other church bodies–might do to “grow their churches” that would not compromise their doctrines or practice?

[Read more...]

And now LINOS

In the political world, you will hear talk of RINOs, Republican In Name Only.  LCMS President Matt Harrison, an accomplished translator, posts his rendition of a letter by the Nazi-battling German theologian Hermann Sasse, who, in praising the Missouri Synod, gives us a useful concept:  Lutherans In Name Only (LINOS). [Read more...]


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