Reformation + 500

Next year marks the 500th anniversary of Luther’s “95 Theses,” the traditional starting point of the Protestant Reformation. Lutherans and Catholics and others are preparing for an ecumenical celebration, rooted in the supposed “consensus” on justification achieved in 1997 with the publication of the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” signed by the Lutheran…

ELCA Issues another Sexuality Statement

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality today. It’s the latest round of discussions that have taken place throughout the twenty years of the ELCA’s existence. Lutheran CORE responds. “There is a lot in the statement that can be affirmed, but there are some glaring theological errors here,”…

ELCA and Sexuality

The ELCA will be releasing its first draft of a statement on sexuality a couple of days before Holy Week, Pr. Zip announces. Why before Holy Week? A friend of his wrote to the powers that be to suggest they put it off a couple weeks, but was told, “the timeline that we have is…

Adventists and Lutherans

A weakness of last week’s QOD Conference at Andrews was that none of the presenters discussed (except in a footnote here or there) other ecumenical dialogues in which Adventists have participated. Example: Adventists and Lutherans in Conversation (1998). It has many interesting conclusions.

Muhlenberg’s Robe

Last night, the PBS series, History Detectives, looked at the legend of Peter Muhlenberg’s robe. The story goes that Lutheran pastor John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, son of American German Lutheran patriarch Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, stood in his pulpit one day at the beginning of the American Revolution and said, “There is a time to talk…

The Analogy of Being

What are the issues at the heart of the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism? We’ve looked at some issues here recently–satisfaction, indulgences, temporal punishment, sacrifice, purgatory. Karl Barth thought these all missed the point. He felt the major difference to be the understanding of the relationship between the Creator and his creation, summed up in…

Satisfaction

As noted in an earlier post, the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification made no mention of indulgences or of temporal punishment (neither did the explanatory Common Statement and Annex, which were also signed at the same time by the representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican). It should come as…

More Responses to CDF Statement

Seventh-day Adventist responses: Adventist Church leaders said the statement merely clarified the Catholic Church’s traditional position. “There’s nothing surprising here,” said Kwabena Donkor, associate director of the Adventist Church’s Biblical Research Institute. “Following Vatican II, the modernization meetings of the Catholic Church in the 1960s, some people had the impression that there were some significant…

Misunderstanding Indulgences

Let me give some personal reflections on the matter of indulgences and “temporal punishment,” which I began discussing in an earlier post. In today’s Catholic church, things are often not explained clearly by priests, lay catechists, and apologists. Rather than using the scholastic terminology, which requires some philosophical background to fully grasp, many often find…

Indulgences in Philadelphia

Philadelphia archdiocese celebrates its bicentennial by offering indulgences. Lutheran theologians are upset, and see this as incompatible with the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. John Reumann, a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, said last week that Catholics’ continued use of indulgences had “negative consequences” for the Joint Declaration on…

Lutheran Hermeneutics

Karl Donfried addressed the recent Word Alone Convention on the topic, “Scripture as the Real Presence of Christ,” asking questions about the ELCA’s hermeneutics, including, “What drives the non-Trinitarian, alien hermeneutic that empowers much of the ELCA’s secularist tendencies?” [Update: Donfriend responds to the report of his talk in The Lutheran]. Steven Paulson of the…

Eucharistic Adoration

Paul McCain (LCMS) links to a video featuring Fr. Stan Fortuna. My Catholic readers will love the video. Protestants will appreciate McCain’s question: “Is this what Christ intended we do with His Supper?” It’s a question rooted in Christ’s command: “Take and eat; this is my body. … Drink from it, all of you.” Lutherans…

Lutherans

It’s the season for ELCA synod assemblies. The New England Synod defeated a resolution that would have withdrawn a synod statement in favor of homosexual blessings, and defeated a resolution expressing concern about communing those who are not baptized. 07-08 (Resolution on the Distribution of Holy Communion) DEFEATED This resolution raised a concern about the…

Beckwith

Much has been said on Catholic and Protestant blogs alike about the reversion to Catholicism of former evangelical theologian Francis Beckwith. Now, some might suggest that there is something psychological rather than theological at work in the case of men in their mid-40s who return to the faith they had spurned as adolescents or young…

A Lutheran Altar

Paul McCain has a picture of the altar of St. Martin’s Church in Braunschweig, the parish of the “second Martin,” Martin Chemnitz.

Hier stehe Ich. Ich kann nicht anders.

Paul McCain remembers Luther’s stand at the Reichstag of Worms, April 18, 1521 (with pictures of Worms). [Dr. Ecken:] . . . Do you wish to defend the books which are recognized as your work? Or to retract anything contained in them? . . . [Luther:] Most Serene Lord Emperor, Most Illustrious Princes, Most Gracious…

“Lutheran Hymns and Espresso”

From Pastor Paul McCain: Lutheran hymns are to Christian hymnody what Espresso is to coffee. When you have y our first cup of really good Espresso you probably aren’t going to like it, but then you realize: wow, this is a lot better than ordinary coffee. And then, once you’ve acquired a taste for espresso,…

Justification

Paul McCain links to a post at Concordia blog about justification. He’s worried about things he hears within Lutheranism: I’ve been growing more and more concerned by articles and comments in Lutheran publications that wax on about the Incarnation but do not mention the Atonement, or articles that talk about “the real presence of Jesus”…