“Common grace”? 

Steven Peterson sent me a link to an article by the Reformed theologian Richard J. Louw.  It deals with vocation and the Two Kingdoms, but he comes at it from a completely different perspective than Lutherans do.  He uses the concept of “common grace,” as well as Kuyper’s “sphere sovereignty.”

In the early days of my Lutheranism, I referred to “common grace” and was chastized for it by a colleague in Concordia’s theology department, who explained that Lutherans reserve “grace” to refer to God’s unmerited favor by which He justifies sinners.  For God’s blessings that He bestows on entire His creation, Lutherans use other terms, such as “God’s First Article gifts,” a term referring to the exposition of the Creation article of the creed in the Small Catechism.  (But aren’t those gifts unmerited, and thus proceeding from a kind of grace?)

Read the article by Prof. Louw, linked after the jump.  Does he arrive at the same place that Lutherans do, arriving at an objective truth from a different angle?  Or is there a difference, however subtle, between the Lutheran and the Reformed view on these issues, one that comes from their different approaches and terminology?

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Chaplains in the workplace

A number of companies in the United States and other countries are providing chaplains for their employees.

Is that an appropriate application of vocation, or a confusion of vocation?  I’m not sure myself!

Read about this phenomenon after the jump.

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Of Christian t-shirts and vocation

R. J. Grunewald offers a stimulating critique of Christian T-shirts, movies, and music on the basis of the doctrine of vocation. [Read more…]

Vocation of a fast food worker

Like a lot of people in this economy, my former student Stephen Williams is “underemployed” right now.  But he understands the doctrine of vocation.  Read his account of how working in a fast food joint is charged with spiritual significance and gives him occasion to love and serve his neighbors. [Read more…]

Making America great again through vocation

Mark Hemingway excoriates the left’s denigration of work and says that the lack of respect for the working class is what drives Donald Trump’s popularity.  And then he offers his proposal for making America great again:  Recover Luther’s doctrine of vocation!

Read what he says after the jump.  This will kick off a special series of posts on vocation this week (while I’m away in Denmark).  As someone* wrote me recently, “vocation has messed with me for the past several years.”  Let it mess with you this week!

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The vocation of a teenager

Vocation is in the here and now, and it’s something all Christians have.  It doesn’t mean just “job” but refers to the arenas God brings us to for love and service to our neighbor.  So teenagers aren’t just preparing for a vocation in the future; rather, they can love and serve now.

Scott Keith, at the Jagged Word (a multi-author blog you should keep up with, affiliated with 1517: The Legacy Project), has written a great piece about his daughter Autumn and her service (to which I have a personal connection), along with misunderstandings people have about a teenager’s vocation. [Read more…]


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