Removing Racist Monuments Doesn’t Destroy Culture, But Transforms It

Donald Trump thinks that the removal of confederate monuments is tantamount to destroying culture. Recently he tweeted: Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson—who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns, and parks will be greatly missed and never… Read more

Luther on Faith, that Great Destroyer of (Meritorious) Works

In Luther’s Freedom of a Christian, he explicates his view of the relation between faith and works. For Luther, good works are necessary–the natural outcome of (transformative) faith in Christ. But works are not meritorious for salvation, and should not be approached that way. Here’s what he says (as only he can): If works are sought after as a means to righteousness, are burdened with this perverse leviathan, and are done under the false impression that through them one is… Read more

“A Complicated Pregnancy” Now Available for Pre-Order

I’m happy to announce that a book I’ve been working on for the past two years or so is now available for pre-order. The official publication date is set for December 1, but I’m told it may be available before then. The process of researching and writing this book was a kind of milestone in my own theological development–this book unfolds that journey through stages–both theological/biblical and personal. I’m excited to share that journey with you.   The publisher’s description:… Read more

Why the Protestant Principle Might Outlast the Protestant Church (Theology of Protest, Part 2)

The following post is the first of a multi-post series called a “Theology of Protest: The Reformation and Paul Tillich’s ‘Protestant Principle’” by  Dr. Paul Capetz. The original essay was delivered at a conference at United Seminary of the Twin Cities devoted to the theme of the ongoing significance of the Reformation for Christianity. Dr. Capetz has given me permission to publish his lecture as a multi-part blog series. Capetz is Professor of Historical  and Systematic Theology at United. His… Read more

Notice: Upcoming Luther Conference in the Twin Cities

Check out this upcoming, free (!) conference, held at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I’m one of the presenters and yes–my title is the least intriguing of them all–which means I’ll have to make up for it in spicy content: To register, go here to the event’s Facebook page “Contemporary Perspectives on Luther” Do Luther’s reforming insights still speak? Come to hear and converse with theologians as they address how Luther’s reforming insights speak to—and are redefined by—a range… Read more

What Does It Mean to Be Protestant Today? (Theology of Protest, Part 1)

The following post is the first of a multi-post series called a “Theology of Protest: The Reformation and Paul Tillich’s ‘Protestant Principle’” by  Dr. Paul Capetz. The original essay was delivered at a conference at United Seminary of the Twin Cities devoted to the theme of the ongoing significance of the Reformation for Christianity. Dr. Capetz has given me permission to publish his lecture as a multi-part blog series. Capetz is Professor of Historical  and Systematic Theology at United. His… Read more

What is Postcolonial Theology? (The Reformation From the Margins)

If you’ve been following my blog in the past few weeks, you know I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Luther’s theology. Recently I picked up what looks to be an inspiring and timely book, Wittenberg Meets the World: Reimagining the Reformation at the Margins, by Alberto L. Garcia and John A. Nunes. The book offers something unique in Luther scholarship: it explores the theology of Luther and the impulses of the Reformation from the perspective of the “margins”–minority… Read more

The Mystical Luther That Time Forgot

Martin Luther is often thought of as advocating a type of “forensic justification,” a kind of legal (and objective) declaration that a sinner is “just” or “righteous,” completely irrespective of that sinner’s “works” or contribution to salvation. did or didn’t do. A forensic view of justification says that God “imputes” righteousness to sinners, declaring them to be perfect. What follows from justification is sanctification, which is the forgiven, redeemed person now working out their objective status subjectively. Justification and sanctification… Read more

Yes, Luther Believed in Predestination But That Doesn’t Mean You Should

When I co-taught a course on Luther’s theology last summer, we had a lively discussion regarding to what extent–Luther, the great Protestant reformer, affirmed the doctrine of predestination. That is, did Luther subscribe to the notion that God “predestines” (elects), from eternity past, those who will be saved–simply as a consequence of God’s own will or decision and apart from any causation or influence of human will or agreement? As one of my former Calvinist professors used to say: dead… Read more

Is Unity With God the Main Theme of All Religions?

“All major religions agree on one thing: the deepest desire of the human person is to get in contact and to live in union with his or her God.” And then, “The search for unity with God is undoubtedly the leading motif in religions.” Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, begins his book, One With God: Salvation as Deification and Justification, with these strong claims. The main theme in common with the major religions is the human desire for union with God. He goes… Read more

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