Tullian Tchividjian expelled for crypto-Lutheranism?

Tullian Tchividjian, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian and the grandson of Billy Graham, was kicked out of the Gospel Coalition blogging community for what the GC folks are calling a doctrinal issue over sanctification.  Others claim other reasons, including Rev. Tchividijian’s criticism of how other GC members handled a sexual abuse scandal.  But I take the official statement from the Reformed organization seriously.

As we have posted, Rev. Tchividijian discovered the distinction between Law and Gospel in some Lutheran writers who helped him through a personal crisis in his ministry.  The complaints about “anti-nominanism,” being weak on sanctification,  and downplaying the role of moral improvement in salvation sound like common Calvinist misunderstandings of Lutheranism. [Read more…]

“Spiritual Communion”?

According to Roman Catholicism, you can receive “spiritual communion” even when you don’t take actual, physical communion.  That is, if you desire to receive the sacrament, that is almost as good as actually receiving it.  I learned this seeming bit of Gnosticism from a post by Nicholas Frankovich as part of the discussion about whether or not divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive the Sacrament.

Note too, in the excerpt after the jump, that whereas Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are given and received specifically for the forgiveness of sins, Roman Catholics believe that sinners must not receive them.  More evidence that Lutherans actually have a higher view of the Sacraments than Catholics do! [Read more…]

Lutheran tattoos

Members of the Cross in Mt. Dora, Florida, a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, are getting tattoos of their church’s logo:

Church tattoo [Read more…]

Are Lutherans boring?

Yet another definitive answer to the question, Why not Lutheranism?, has been written.  This one is by Anthony Sacramone and you simply must read all of it.  It is both humorous and profound.  He says that Lutherans are essentially boring, both in a bad and a good way.  He shows why Lutheranism doesn’t show up in pop culture–so therefore it doesn’t exist for many people, especially Millennials.  He cites other things that come across as boring, including the fact that Lutheran churches can’t seem to get their liturgical act together.

But then he concludes with a rousing case for Lutheranism and how to get people to try it.  I’ll give you a sample of that after the jump, but, please, read the whole thing, not just the happy ending.

[Read more…]

Lutheranism is not boring–vocation is

For me, growing up in perhaps the blandest version of mainline liberal Protestantism, Lutheranism, far from being boring, seemed wonderfully exotic.  All of that medieval-style chanting; people thinking they were eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood; having beer at church dinners.  On that last point, both the liberal Christianity I grew up with and the conservative Christianity of some of my friends tended to see smokin’ and drinkin’ as the prime example of sins.  But Lutheranism cared little for these little life-style issues (indeed, seeming actually pro-alcohol).  That blew my mind, as we said back then.

But I think I know why people might think Lutheranism is boring.  It’s the Lutheran doctrine of vocation.

[Read more…]

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…]