Are you now or have you ever been a Lutheran?

I’ve frequently discussed my dislike of religiously ignorant reporters playing theological “gotcha” with political candidates. Sometimes I will be sitting in church and listening to a sermon and just imagining how completely and thoroughly a reporter might miss the point, the context, the tradition, the nuance, the proper distinction of the Law and the Gospel, etc.

Almost always I’ve written about my dislike of reporters trying to understand the significance of some snippet of a sermon or a bulletin insert when it comes to President Barack Obama. But we have a doozie — and yes, you can all stop sending it in now — with Joshua Green’s piece in The Atlantic titled:

Michele Bachmann’s Church Says The Pope Is The Antichrist

I don’t know what it is about conservative women that makes some reporters lose their everliving minds, but Bachmann’s candidacy is this year’s Sarah Palin media meltdown, apparently.

In any case, Joshua Green is one of the more partisan folks at The Atlantic, and that harms his piece when it comes to stuff like facts, nuance and context.

For one thing, the headline is not true. It’s about the church body to which Bachmann once belonged, but not her current church. And let’s actually start there. I’m a confessional Lutheran. Ostensibly, Michele Bachmann was a member of a more conservative but also confessional Lutheran church body. And for years, whenever I heard her speak, she never sounded even mildly Lutheran to me. The “the Lord put it on my heart” type language. The “the Lord anointed me” stuff. This is not how Lutherans speak, although I won’t bore you with all of the why. Her other affiliations have always been more evangelical than Lutheran, going back decades.

You might keep that in mind when you’re thinking about what news value a hit-piece on the doctrinal views of a church that a presidential candidate no longer belongs to has.

Here’s the lede:

Michele Bachmann is practically synonymous with political controversy, and if the 2008 presidential election is any guide, the conservative Lutheran church she belonged to for many years is likely to add another chapter due to the nature of its beliefs–such as its assertion, explained and footnoted on this website, that the Roman Catholic Pope is the Antichrist.

Now, as anyone who knows anything about church history can tell you, the papacy is not a feature of Protestantism. And if you followed the Reformation or knew anything about the abuses of Pope Leo X or the anathemas of the Council of Trent, it’s not really newsworthy that the reformers looked at what Scripture says are the marks of the anti-Christ and basically said “yep — the papacy has those.” What makes the church to which Michele Bachman was once joined slightly different is that while most Lutheran church bodies will talk about the historical context into which they were made, the Wisconsin Synod says that basically they’re still Protestants who still don’t believe in the papacy and still think it sits in opposition to the Gospel of Christ.

And, again, if you don’t know that Catholics and Protestants have very strongly held different views on whether the papacy is on the whole a really good or really bad institution, you should repeat 8th grade or whatever.

But Joshua Green’s story is being featured in a way that lacks much of the background, familiarity and understanding needed to digest all this.

It’s not that the story itself is riddled with error. I mean, sure, the headline is completely wrong and the incendiary language throughout the piece is a bit overwrought.

But the problem is just the existence of the story to begin with. This article shows why The Atlantic needs some improvement in the religion reporting department and gentle nudge down (OK, maybe a kick down a few flights of stairs) on the partisan hackery department.

Literally the last line of the piece is:

That’s the theological basis for the WELS claim. It may be up to Bachmann to furnish a political one.

The justification for the hyperbolic story about 500-year-old history is that, we’re to believe, Michele Bachmann will have trouble getting the Catholic vote in light of the fact that she was once a member of a Protestant church that had Protestant views on Catholicism.

Yeah, right.

There is no political significance to what the article reports. Instead it serves only to alarm the casual observer over a non-issue. I mean, seriously, go to Minnesota and you can see for yourself that there is no 30 Years War breaking out among the large Catholic and Lutheran populations. That state has had tons of Catholic and Lutheran governors — many of whom held opposing views on the papacy. They somehow managed to get through it.

Or as one commenter to the Joshua Green piece wrote:

What an interesting headline. Bachmann has attributed to her the belief of a religious denomination from which, later and in much smaller type, it is acknowledged she has resigned.

This sort of preaching no doubt goes over well with the choir; but some of us out here in the pews are getting tired of it. There are some very good reasons to hope Michelle Bachmann never becomes President of the United States; and those who resort to these Are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been stories so reminiscent of Joe MCarthy are likely to find out what those who criticized Obama about Wright did: people start taking a second look. In the long run, Obama was as likely as not helped more than hurt by that episode.

I live in Minnesota, a state every bit as Lutheran and Catholic as Keillor’s monologues suggest. The fact is, whatever Luther said and whatever the Council of Trent replied, the adherents of each faith (I happen to follow neither) get along well with each other and do not consign each other to hell. I note nothing in the above story which would indicate that, in either her personal or political life, Bachmann has set out to specifically injure Catholics in any way.

This is right up there with those vintage 1959/1960 stories that since John F. Kennedy was Catholic, as President he would take orders from the Pope. Now as then, there are going to be those of us who start thinking: If they’re so desparate as to print that, this guy/gal deserves a closer look.

Michele Bachmann is not Lutheran now, even if she once was a member of a Lutheran church. But this is an unfair hit piece on her.

And that’s not to say that stories about the religious lives of candidates aren’t worthy and worthwhile. Or even that arcane doctrinal views can’t be discussed. But when they are, the posture of the partisan doesn’t usually lead to enlightened news gathering or discussion.

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  • Steve in Toronto

    I guess we should be grateful the article did not bring up Luther’s anti-Semitism. By the way I once heard Todd Wilkin say he wished that the LCMS had not deleted the reference to the Pope as antichrist from their official documents. I don’t know when the North American Presbyterians deleted it but the original Westminster Confession had a similar statement. This whole issue reminds me of the way we get so upset about McCarthyism. People forget that there was a time that papal authority (like Soviet Communism) was very clear and present danger to both the lives and the liberties of protestant christens of all varieties.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Steve in Toronto,

    The LCMS didn’t “delete” the reference but did make a statement decades ago contextualizing it. I’ve heard many people differ on whether that was a good idea. And I assume the more confessional Presbyterians retain unedited statements, too? I’m not sure.

  • Elijah

    I was going to point out that some Presbyterians still retain the unedited Westmister confession.

    We still talk about such things in my church; recently I heard a sermon on the difference between an anti-Christ and THE anit-Christ. Context is everything. Let’s face it: the Atlantic is more and more prone to sloppy jouranlism, hit pieces, and just plain foolishness.

    And I must confess: I was once a Lutheran. Your headline did make me chuckle – thanks.

  • http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com Hans

    This is strange. I don’t recall anyone asking John Kerry why any protestants should consider voting for him, when the Roman Catholic Church’s Council of Trent, in its Canons, declares that anyone who believes he is justified by faith alone is condemned.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    But that’s DIFFERENT!

  • Bram

    John Kerry was (in no particular order): a Democrat and a man.

    So, no need to sniff *his* panties.

  • Megan

    I remember reading a column in the New York Times a few years ago calling on Mitt Romney to refute the Mormon Church’s past doctrines against blacks. Why stop there? Shouldn’t Romney also be called upon to refute polygamy? Being half-Mormon by birth, I could note there is probably as much racism among older Mormons as there is among any older predominately white population. Still, to call Romney to task for a doctrine the LDS Church dropped decades ago seemed a stretch. I’m far more concerned about Romney’s past business practices than his religion’s past practices.

    With Michele Bachmann, too, I’m more concerned about her saying, “The Lord anointed me” today (which strikes me as presumptuous) than I am in connecting her to statements Martin Luther made five hundred years ago.

    As both a long-time Christian and a journalism student, I appreciate that reporters often speak from ignorance when it comes to religion. But I also see the other side of the coin: often religious leaders appear to expect journalists to function as a source of public relations for their churches, rather than an independent voice that serves the interests of the culture at large, and, yes, sometimes preaches to the choir.

  • Richard A

    Let me see if I understand this right:

    We should be wary of Michele Bachmann because she hates Catholics (well, not Catholics per se, but the pope (well, she may not, but her church does (well, not her church, but the one she used to be a member of))).

    If he’s like most mainstream liberal (is there any other kind?) journalists, Joshua Green hates the Catholic Church, and would think the Pope is the anti-Christ, if he believed in Christ.

    Kind of like the NYT telling us the Catholic Church is corrupt because her priests diddle with teenage boys, even though the NYT is in favor of men diddling with teenage boys.

  • Elijah

    Richard A., forgive me, but that made me laugh.

  • Bram

    Richard A.,

    What the NYT is most in favor of is two “smart” and “well-educated” “(col)lapsed Catholic” men, “married” to one another, but diddling … on the side, as part of a “committed” and “monogamous” “relationship.”

  • Alex

    Wow Protestants aren’t Catholics, big surprise. I do find it interesting though that some of the mainline Protestant communities still keep the “pope is the anti-Christ” language in their statements of faith. My first time in an Episcopal Church (my Catholic parish was holding a vespers service jointly with the ECUSA Cathedral)was reminder to me that although High-Church Protestants share a lot with Catholics, we are still different. They had in their hymnal the 39 Articles (I think it’s 39 someone can correct me) in all its Elizabethan glory. They also condemned the “Romish” and “Popish” doctrines of saints,purgatory and the like. Catholics since the Second Vatican Council have affirmed that the Catholic Church is THE Church and reiterated Trent, Vatican I and the rest of the councils, but opened the way for Ecumenical dialogue like never before. You will seldom, if ever, hear a priest condemning Protestants. The same cannot be said of Protestants. I guess it’s part of their identity, they are identified by their opposition to (or protest of) Catholicism. For historical reasons American Protestantism is decidedly Anti-Catholic (which is different from just disagreeing in doctrine). I wish that got more press time.

  • Julia

    There’s an interesting opinion piece on this subject in the Daily Caller political blog by a Catholic. He also read the Atlantic piece and didn’t think it was offensive.

    While I obviously disagree with the idea that the Pope is the Antichrist, I can’t say I find WELS’s teaching offensive. Protestants don’t like Papal infallibility — oh wow, I had no idea! Further, I have to say that I admire WELS’s chutzpah. The tendency among both Catholic and Protestant liberals has been to promote a phony kind of ecumenical “unity” by glossing over doctrine and dogma in favor of a lowest-common-denominator religion of niceness.

    [snip]

    Frank expressions of disagreement provide a more honest basis for discussion and eventual reconciliation than pretending everything is hunky-dory; it’s truly more ecumenical than any silly “ceremony of unity” that liberal ecumaniacs are so fond of. I’d prefer to have a religious discussion with someone who thinks that I’m wrong than with someone who doesn’t really believe that there’s a “wrong” in religion

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/07/14/catholics-shouldnt-fear-michele-bachmann/

    The writer, John Gerardi, without providing a source,then says something interesting that would be worth a follow-up:

    When the question of her association with this church was first discussed in 2006, she immediately tried to distance herself from any idea that the Pope is the Antichrist, claiming the pastor of her own church did not believe in the teaching either. She then formally requested to leave the denomination.

  • Greg

    The LCMS still does teach that the papacy is “anti-Christ.” Sure they like to back peddal and say things like, “Well, we don’t mean THIS holder of the office, e.g. Benedict XVI, or JPII, are THE anti-Christ, but the OFFICE of the papacy is “against the teachings of Christ.” It does sound better, but the fact of the matter is, historically they firmily believed that THE POPE, ANY and EVERY Pope was the latest personification of THE ANTI-CHRIST. And it is also true what Alex says, “American Protestantism is decidedly anti-Catholic.” And the author of the original article, Mollie, is also correct, and that is to say, so are most of the writers at The Atlantic.

  • http://www.abbottepub.com/tyndale21gospels.html Stephen A.

    I’m truly disgusted by this article. The fact that she is no longer a member of this denomination makes this story MOOT and, worse, a hit piece designed to smear the candidate for beliefs she may not even hold!

    And are candidates now responsible to defend denominations to which they no longer belong?

    And, as Alex said, gee, Protestants don’t like the Pope. STOP THE PRESSES! Expressing it as “the pope is the Anti-Christ” is a bit strong, but no stronger than any other denomination did, historically. Today, people are far less expressive in public about such things (well, some people are) but I bet in the halls of Protestant seminaries, some theologians and their students MAY have some strong words to say against the Pope, his teachings, and his claims to authority.

    And so what?

  • Hector_St_Clare

    Alex,

    Without intending to get into the Lutheran vs. Catholic food fight here, I’d just like to make a point (as an Episcopalian) about the 39 Articles. They’re _not_ mandatory articles of belief, and many of us accept them as historical documents which expressed what our church believed then, but not necessarily what we believe today. Anglican laity (and Anglican clergy outside England) are not required to assent to them in any way, shape or form. They’re far too Calvinist for me, and personally I do believe in purgatory, transubstantiation and so forth (as do many Anglicans). I don’t, obviously, believe in the papacy (which is why I’m not Catholic).

    The basic documents of our church are the creeds, not the 39 Articles.

    Re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Nine_Articles

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    But “historical” or not, the Reformed Episcopal Church felt compelled to revise them.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Megan said: “I remember reading a column in the New York Times a few years ago calling on Mitt Romney to refute the Mormon Church’s past doctrines against blacks. Why stop there? Shouldn’t Romney also be called upon to refute polygamy? Being half-Mormon by birth, I could note there is probably as much racism among older Mormons as there is among any older predominately white population. Still, to call Romney to task for a doctrine the LDS Church dropped decades ago seemed a stretch.”

    We should not forget that the Southern Baptist Convention was created when its member churches split from northern congregations over the issue of the Biblical sanction for slavery. Slavery was literally the defining issue. Yet when was Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee asked to defend, or even explain, the original Southern Baptist stance on slavery because of that history?

    We should also not forget that racial discrimination was institutionalized by government in America, not only in the former Confederate states, but also in many other states that tolerated racial discrimination by businesses like hotels and restaurants and real estate. Why should ANY “white” candidate be allowed to escape without explaining why Americans felt that was a proper way of treating racial minorities before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal?

    As to racial attitudes of Mormons, the first fact to note is that there are millions of Mormons who are not “white”: a million in Mexico, a million in Brazil (including people of African descent), a million in Asia (from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Mongolia to Malysia, Indonesia and the Philippines), many thousands in Polynesia (including one third of Tonga), a hundred thousand in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and a quarter million in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, etc.). Mormons speak some 96 languages and live in 150 countries, and the majority of the 14 million are NOT Americans. The Mormons have been recruiting American Indians since 1831, Polynesians since 1844, Japanese since 1901.

    And there have been African-American Mormons since the earliest days of the LDS Church. Some of them were in the congregation I grew up in in Salt Lake City in the 1950s. I helped baptize a black Army paratrooper in Colorado in 1974 (before the 1978 policy change on ordinations). And there were black families in my Maryland congregation in 1978.

    If you ever go to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii (the number 1 tourist attraction) you shaould take the side trip over to the campus of BYU-Hawaii, where Mormon students from all around the Pacific Rim are on the most ethnically diverse campus in the US.

    This should not be surprising. The original Mormons came from New York, Ohio and New England, and were regarded as abolitionists by the Missourians who told them to leave or be “exterminated”. The next big influx in Mormon numbers came from Britain, where slavery was banned. Joseph Smith ran for president of the US on a platform of abolition in 1844, way ahead of the Republicans. The Mormons backed the Union during the Civil War. Utah did not have racially segregated schools or churches.

    The change that opened priesthood ordination to African-descent men was the cause of universal joy among Mormons. Certainly a racist would have opposed that change, but instead it was greeted with relief, and a new effort to send missionaries into Africa. In Ghana and Nigeria there were already thousands of people who had been converted through their own reading of the Book of Mormon and became “instant Mormons”. The New York Times even did a story about them in 2008. The musical that ridicules Mormon missionaries in Uganda is false (and racist) in portraying the story of African conversion to the LDS Church.

    Remember this: Even the “white” Mormons in the US go serve 2 year missions living among the people of every country that will allow them in, learning their languages and cultures so they can help make them their brothers and sisters in Christ’s Gospel. One of my neighbors is a doctor who donated his service in Haiti after the earthquake. How can someone who has done that in Kenya, or Thailand, or Guatemala, be called “racist”? You who claim Mormons are “racist”, what have YOU done to demonstrate your embrace of people of every language and ethnicity?

    By the way, I am a native of Japan. During World War II, Utah became the place where Japanese Americans could live freely, and many of them were Mormon, including the president of the Japanese American Citizens League. Japanese Americans in Utah have been elected as county commissioners and district attorneys, and served as judges. During the US Occupation of Japan, Mormon soldiers put aside the enmity of the war years engendered by years of anti-Japanese racist propaganda and immediately began reestablishing missionary work among the Japanese, including my mother. There are not many Christians in Japan, but one tenth of them are Mormons.

  • Hector_St_Clare

    Will,

    You’ll get no argument from me, if it was up to me the Church of England would make a public statement that the 39 Articles are no longer normative. I’m just guarding against the implication that all Anglicans believe them, because we don’t.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    As a Catholic I don’t care about the roots of someone’s political stands. All I want to know is what is the person’s political record on issues over the years and where does he/she stand today.
    As far as conservative women like Palin and Bachmann being particular targets for liberal political and media vituperation, it probably boils down mostly to the pro-life issue.
    Among those who are fanatic about making sure unborn children have no rights and may be exterminated at will a woman who gave birth to a Down’s Syndrome baby and another woman who has a large biological family and 23 foster children virtually “drives some around the bend” because, not only did these women “talk the talk,” they “walked the walk.” Thus, above all others, they MUST be destroyed seems to be the media’s attitude.

  • Francis Beckwith

    As a Catholic, I fully understand why a Lutheran denomination would reaffirm what its founder believed. I’m not offended by that at all.

    What offends me is that some writer at the Atlantic would think I would be offended. By suggesting such, he assumes that Catholics are not thoughtful or smart enough to understand the full historical context and theological underpinnings of Luther’s judgment. In that case, the real anti-Catholic bigot is Mr. Green, not Congressman Bachmann.

  • Bram

    Given the choice they frequently face between a Republican who doesn’t believe in the Pope and a Democrat who doesn’t believe in God, I think most serious Roman Catholics are right to conclude that the latter – contra The Atlantic — is a greater theological stumbling-block.

  • Henry

    @Mollie

    And for years, whenever I heard her speak, she never sounded even mildly Lutheran to me. The “the Lord put it on my heart” type language. The “the Lord anointed me” stuff. This is not how Lutherans speak, although I won’t bore you with all of the why.

    I am curious and would be interested to hear the why. If you have time, could you post it somewhere or email it to me?

  • Ego Nemo

    You are certainly right — the Atlantic article is pretzel-shaped in its attempt to connect the candidate to what is presented to the reader as a despicable idea.

    But the piece above, while right on the journalism, makes an absolute hash of the history of anti-Catholicism in the United States, and particularly its position as a chief tool of campaigns and candidates since the start of the Republic.

    It’s this easy — one cannot dismiss anti-Catholicism because the idea is 500 years old and Lutherans and other Protestants no longer overtly persecute Catholics in public.

    The article above makes a good argument that the source of modern anti-Catholicism (the real kind, the kind that hates) is probably not your local Lutheran church. That has been a place, since the election of President Kennedy 1960, and with the ecumenical movements of the last 50 years, where the local parish priest and the Lutheran minister probably have weekly coffee before they head out before playing golf or tennis.

    But, real, virulent anti-Catholicism still exists in the country, as all forms of die-hard hate do. The Atlantic failed to do a real story and find out if any candidate running today seeks or receives support from actual anti-Catholic bigots.

    The article above failed by going a sneer to far, and in doing so whitewashed over America’s long history of anti-Catholicism and missed an opportunity to illuminate an unhealed but dismissed dimension of American life.

    Remember how some say that the ‘issue of race’ in America is a dead one just because Barack Obama got elected? Well, since 1960, the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy has been used as blanket proof that anti-Catholicism has vanished from the United States.

    If you’re smart enough and sensitive enough to see the factless stretching in Obama example, you should sense the same thing in the Kennedy one.

  • TeaPot562

    The MainStream Media (MSM) is not anti-Catholic as such; they are simply against any Catholics who take their religion seriously on such issues as Life vs. abortion.

    The MSM also strongly attacks any Bishops or senior clergy who take their religion seriously. They much prefer the Hunthausen or Weakland model.

    Note that believing protestants who make common cause with Mormons & Catholics on Life issues will also be attacked by the MSM as being “extremists”.

    So what else is new?

  • dalea

    Michelle Bachman’s speaking style does not sound Lutheran to me either. It does sound like Pietism, which used to be part of upper Midwest rural Scandinavian Lutheranism. When I was young, over 50 years ago, some very old Lutherans would speak that way. Younger ones would leave for the Evangelical Covenant or Evangelical Free Church. She and I both grew up in that world and I can associate it with Pietism.

  • Jimbo

    To the MSM, the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.

  • str

    There are two things to distinguish here:

    1. How relevant is it for the political debate that Mrs Bachman once belonged to a church that included this particular item among its tenets.

    2. The item itself. And I think it quite cheap to try to weasel out of it that some Lutherans believe the Pope to be the Antichrist. And no, the Reformers did not look “at what Scripture says are the marks of the anti-Christ”, the Reformers never simply looked at scripture or else they would never have come up with sola fide, sola scripture or even double predestination. They were haters of the Pope and would have hated him even if Leo X had been a Saint (as evidenced by their approach to later Popes without such abuses).

    It is simply false that “the papacy is not a feature of Protestantism”, as it features quite prominently in many branches of Protestantism, as a negative foil.

    Of course, Lutherans are free to retain their hatred.

    The interesting thing is that the media suddenly thinks this an issue, when the common approach to anti-Catholicisim is either ignoring it or approving of it.

  • Botolph

    As a Catholic I believe that this whole issue concerning Mrs Bachman is a (poor) political issue and not a real religious/ecumenical issue.

    I give this story as an analogy: during the recent visit of Pope Benedict to Great Britain many various groupings protested his visit, as is well known. The secular and atheist forces were the larger groups and most vehement. However one interesting encounter happened outside the Catholic Cathedral of Westminster (not Westminster Abbey folks). A real Protestant of some stripe held a sign protesting the visit of the Holy Father saying something like ‘the Pope is the anti-christ’. A Catholic priest entering the Cathedral smiled and went up to the protestor who I am sure thought he got the priest’s ire up. Instead the priest said something to the effect “Ahhh, a real protest from a brother Christian, thank you for being here”

  • Bram

    “To the MSM, the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic …”

    … and the only *really* good Catholic is a *lapsed* Catholic!

  • Steve in Toronto

    Just out of curiosity why so much hostility to my post?

  • Pr Chris

    As a Lutheran pastor of another Synod (branch) I agree with Mollie that Bachmann does not sound at all like a Lutheran. For one thing, key to Lutheran theology is belief in the sacramental nature of Baptism and Eucharist. For Lutherans, God acts in Baptism to claim the one baptized. That is what, for us, give us comfort in time of trial: I am baptized; it is not up to me what happens to me. I do not have to EARN my salvation; it is a true gift of God. Luther’s “meaning” to the Creed says: I believe that I cannot by my own reasoning or strength believe…but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, sanctified me…and keeps me, along with all others in faith, etc.

    For Lutherans who are raised in a Lutheran family, baptism is usually as an infant, and in middle school years, during Confirmation classes, we explain and reaffirm the meaning of our baptism so that the young people can claim that for themselves in public affirmation. Bachmann seems never to have been to confirmation classes, and doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of her baptism as THE beginning of a life of faith. She seems to want to think of salvation as something that is all about her. And that is not Lutheran.

    We buried my (nearly) 90 year old father this year; what gave him and the family peace, and what gives us confidence that my severely mentally retarded brother will eventually join us in the everlasting life that Christian faith proclaims, is our baptism. Like Martin Luther, when times are tough, we can say “I am baptized” Therefore, I am a Child of God, and HE is faithful…even when I cannot trust myself.”

    THAT’s what Bachmann doesn’t seem to know. Frankly, I am glad she is no longer identified with the Lutheran understanding of the gospel, because she seems to have lost the promises of God we trust in.

    Pr Chris

  • Jack

    A Lutheran minister once mentioned to me that the statement about the pope being antichrist was said in the days of Leo X, and that Luther himself would never say that about a John XXIII or John Paul II

  • str

    Jack,

    Luther speaking of Popes as antichrist was not even justified in the days of Leo X, Clement VII or Paul III – despite all their faults, even less with Hadrian VI.

    What such a volatile charater as Luther would say today can never be known.

  • http://arnobius-of-sicca.blogspot.com/ Arnobius of Sicca

    Well, I’m a Catholic and I don’t think it unreasonable for one who believes the teachings of their faith are true to be offended by a group who claims their beliefs are condemnable. Ultimately it’s a matter of what is true when it comes to the disputes between Catholic and Protestant, and the combox is not a good medium for hashing that out..

    Given however that Bachmann has apparently repudiated such a claim that this group of Lutherans hold, it seems to be unfair to try to tie her to a group she seems to have distanced herself from.

    I don’t know who I would favor against Obama in 2012, but I think this issue is irrelevant when it comes to considering her merits as a candidate.

  • http://trojanbadger.com Pr. Martin Diers

    There is an excellent article and discussion on the LCMS position on the Papacy and the Antichrist in regards to the Lutheran Confessions here.

  • Mary

    So if Michele Bachmann is no longer a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, what denomination of Christianity is she? Shouldn’t we be examining the teachings of her current denomination in assessing her fitness for President?

  • str

    Mary,

    no we shouldn’t! If interested, we should ask her in person what SHE thinks … about politics.


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