Issues relating to body and soul are being discussed throughout society and the church today. Questions about gender, identity, and sexuality are fiercely debated in various forums with wildly different conclusions. Of particular import in these discussions are the underlying presuppositions of anthropology.Read More
In any serious discussion on the power and purpose of the law in the Christian life after baptism, certain questions have always remained the same: What power does the law have in the Christian life? Does the law only accuse? Do the righteous even need the law? What is the law’s relationship to sanctification and holy living? Should preachers use the law to motivate Christians to good works? Or do good works happen spontaneously from the gospel?Read More
Current discussions in confessing Lutheranism involve the teachings of Gerhard Forde. In this article from the 2012 Epiphany Issue of LOGIA Journal, Dr. Kilcrease examines Forde's theology. He provides both a positive assertion of some elements of Forde's theology and a critique of his weaknesses.Read More
According to a quotation making the rounds recently, “Success without decency is a hollow victory”—or perhaps a “hollow triumph”? The articles in this issue provide valuable insights as to the nature of Lutheran triumphalism, its relative decency, and its contemporary relevance, especially in light of the forthcoming Reformation 500 observances.Read More
Some years ago in Bible class I led a discussion that as Christians we are simul iustus et peccator. Class members readily and heartily acknowledged that they were sinners. But the group struggled to see themselves as saints and declined to call themselves such. Saints, they reasoned, were holy, while they were sinful.Read More
—by Wade Johnston
This issue was edited as the rhetoric of the United States presidential election primary season came into full swing. Election seasons are often contentious and seldom pretty, but this year’s is vying for a spot in a class all its own. Perhaps as much as any other election, Christians have a vested interest in this one. Much has changed — and more quickly, perhaps than at any other time in the lifetimes of those reading this. The Bible has not changed, and the doctrine of the two kingdoms remains the same, but culturally and societally life for the American Christian, who holds dual citizenship in the temporal and spiritual kingdoms, has taken on a different sense and feel. It is a salutary thing, then, to review what Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions have to say in this regard and to wrestle with how we apply Lutheran principles to new circumstances.
A particular strength of this issue is that it helps the reader to see how Christians have wrestled with and applied two-kingdom theology not only in our contemporary American context but also across time and space. Seeing the church wrestle with the two kingdoms in various circumstances and settings helps us identify our own personal, cultural, and contemporary blind spots. Moreover, the experience of fellow Christians in the past and across the globe provides lessons for our own setting.
This issue begins with a call from Gene Veith to remember that God, while hidden in the temporal realm, is nevertheless active in that realm — active especially in his Christians, who need not, indeed dare not, neglect their citizenship in this realm. Through their vocations Christians serve for the benefit of their neighbor as masks of God, through engagement in the world and not withdrawal from it. The temporal kingdom is the realm of the law and reason, and yet the same gracious God who provides us with second- and third-article gifts in the spiritual kingdom graciously, mercifully, and undeservedly provides first-article gifts in the temporal kingdom.
Michael Berg unpacks the natural human desire for life, liberty, and happiness. From Aristotle to America’s fathers, the desire for happiness and the good life has been a driving force. To what extent people have control of the pursuit of the same and what exactly happiness is has been debated, but that happiness (whatever it may be) is something worth having and to be pursued in so far as we are able has been a given. As Berg reminds us, though, only the cross can provide true, meaningful, and lasting perspective, helping Christians to see meaning even in suffering, which is inescapable in this life and undermines all human ploys for the good life (summum bonum) and enduring temporal happiness.
My own article explores Luther’s doctrine of the two kingdoms and how he responded to the changing political atmosphere of his day. Challenged by a potential imperial invasion, Luther, Melanchthon, and the Wittenberg circle were faced with the very stark question of whether it was appropriate for Lutheran princes and imperial cities to mount a defense. Informed by the jurists of constitutional arguments — and yet, to the jurists’ occasional consternation, steadfast in their commitment to the Scripture’s teaching regarding obedience and just war — they carefully addressed the issue of resistance, which was later taken up by Magdeburg in its legendary opposition to the Augsburg Interim and Leipzig Proposal.
Voldemārs Lauciņš expands our horizons with lessons from Latvia in the previous century. While this may be new ground for many readers, they will find it fruitful. It is good to realize that the temporal realm is organized differently elsewhere and presents various challenges and opportunities throughout the world.
Jack Kilcrease provides valuable insight for Christians as they wrestle with the end of Christendom. His solution is delightfully unoriginal: law and gospel. This is a most welcome call not to lose sight of the church’s task and message in the light of new challenges. Moreover, Kilcrease reminds us that there are opportunities in the midst of contemporary tumult. After tracing how we got to where we find ourselves today, he notes that even persecution can serve for the benefit of the church, as it has in the past. This need not be an age of retreat and decline. What this age needs is nothing other than what sinners in every age have needed, whether the culture bore vestiges of a bygone realization of it or not: Christ.
Finally, changing gears and focus, Frederic W. Baue, like Lauciņš, expands our geographical horizons, this time to Ethiopia. Readers will be thankful that the gospel is being preached, taking root, and charting its course in Ethiopia. They will also, keenly aware of the challenges it faces here in America, not be surprised that it faces challenges abroad as well. We rejoice that confessional, liturgical Lutheranism is making inroads and we pray that the Lord will allow it to continue to do so in Ethiopia, America, and throughout the world.
We are excited to bring you these articles in print. We pray that you are edified by them, and we look forward to receiving correspondence. Life in two kingdoms is as complicated as ever and yet the Christian is blessed to live and love both God and neighbor in each. We are not the first to struggle with two-kingdom theology and, unless our Lord comes soon, we will not be the last. We are not alone; throughout the world Christians are struggling to live as citizens of two realms and to serve well in both. This issue strives to remind us of that and to inform our own thinking by casting a broad view geographically and temporally.
“For God so loved the world . . . ” LOGIA readers will recognize that passage from John’s Gospel; many of them have known it since their earliest days of devotions at home or Sunday School. Perhaps they have sung it in hymns or anthems. It is a foundational passage that shapes even the most carefully constructed statements on the Trinity, Christology, and justification.
John’s Gospel is different from the Synoptics. He presents the person and words of Jesus Christ in a manner that has inspired the church to represent him with the symbol of the eagle, soaring “close to the sun,” with an eye that sees with the greatest clarity. Luther, in his 1522 Preface to the New Testament, extols the Fourth Gospel:
If I had to do without one or the other—either the works or the preaching of Christ—I would rather do without the works than without his preaching. For the works do not help me, but his words give life, as he himself says (John 6:63). Now John writes very little about the works of Christ, but very much about his preaching, while the other evangelists write much about his works and little about his preaching. Therefore John’s Gospel is the one, fine, true, and chief gospel, and is far, far to be preferred over the other three and placed high above them. (LW 35:362)
In Eric Chafe’s study, J. S. Bach’s Johannine Theology: e St. John Passion and the Cantatas for Spring 1725, the author suggests that Luther may have been drawn to the qualities that lend this Gospel “a spiritual, meditative, even mystical quality, as opposed to the narrative character of the Synoptic Gospels” (p. 110). These qualities continue to engage the reader, and the reader’s imagination. Those who wrote by inspiration opened our eyes to eternal mysteries, but they did not write works that need a secret mystical key for our understanding. They used human words that can be understood by humanity, despite the passage of centuries. Still, we continue to ask, what do the words mean? What did Jesus mean? Why did John record it the way he did? What did John mean? How have others understood these words? Was Luther always correct in his interpretation? Does it matter?
These questions may seem to border on hermeneutic impertinence or impropriety, but they are increasingly a part of the current conversation when readers, preachers, and scholars en- counter the words of the Fourth Gospel. This issue is, finally, about words and their value and reliability in a time in which we are increasingly led to believe that all meaning is relative and conditioned by personal experience.
Below, Armand Boehme leads us through a study of John 6. Here we have an example of what has been called the “historical-grammatical” approach to exegesis. Boehme encourages the reader to look at the words using this Renaissance methodology, which has been the bedrock for the Lutheran understanding of Scripture for centuries.
Patrick James Bayens presents an overview of John based on the literary key of the concluding verses. In this essay the author suggests that the entire Gospel is best understood in light of John 20:30–31 and John 21:24–25. These verses, along with the Evangelist’s eyewitness testimony, John 19:34–35, are taken to indicate John’s desire to draw his readers into the present and abiding life offered by the risen Christ in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Eucharist.
In “Educational Horizons in Wilhelm Löhe” author Wolfhart Schlichting guides us through Löhe’s homiletical exegesis by an overview of the Epistle Sermons of 1858 and the 1866 sermons on Holy Communion. John 6 is the object of special attention, framed by Löhe’s concern for preaching that would create religious formation (Bildung) through personal application and inward experience. In his preaching Löhe suggests that Luther may have been mistaken in his understanding of the “Bread of Life” chapter, which, to some extent, impoverished Luther’s presentation of the benefits, the spiritual justifying power, of the sacramental eating and drinking.
Finally, “JDDJ and Its Official Discussion in the Finnish Lutheran Church: A Clarification or an Obscuration?” highlights the issues and challenges presented by the “limits” of language in contemporary theological discourse, especially when words are the pathstones towards “reconciled diversity” in Christian communities that have used the same words to describe differing theologies for generations. Simo Kiviranta and Timo Laato’s essay merits a careful read. How can we behold the glory of the Word made flesh if the syllables which bring that glory to our eyes are more quicksand than foundation stone?
This issue of LOGIA highlights aspects of that ongoing conversation about the strengths and limitations of human language. Perhaps the reader will consider again the importance of clarity and continuity in exegetical methods and our words about God, especially if we wish to fly on the wings of an eagle into the brilliant light of the Sun of Righteousness.
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What the world expects and what God has given to preach- ers to preach are at odds. The art of preaching involves, in part, a fundamental understanding of the distinction between the world governed by its prince, the devil, and the church, whose head is Christ. Yet there is tension. Why? Because preachers live in the world. That is how God set up the preaching office.Read More
Seven minutes. That’s it. That’s all a preacher gets nowadays. After that hands fidget, minds wander, and bodies are restless. Yes, 420 seconds is all that’s left of the average attention span. That means seven short minutes is all that the average person is willing to listen to a sermon.Read More
For a preview of this issue, please read Wade Johnston's preface:
God truly blessed the editors of LOGIA with a plethora of fine articles for this issue—more than we could fit within the covers. No doubt, we ought not be too surprised. As Luther so wonderfully put it, crux sola est nostra theologia. The cross is indeed never far from Jesus’ Christians—his cross and theirs. It brings us great joy, therefore, to publish an insightful and perspicuous assortment of studies on various aspects of the theology of the cross, suffering, and martyrdom.
Gregory Schulz and Jeffery Warner both wrestle with suffering in the life of the Christian. Schulz tackles suffering and pain in general and provides counsel and comfort for the afflicted and those who minister to them by laying the groundwork for a theology of lament. Warner’s work will surely capture the attention of parish pastors and any who serve the dying, as he sets aside the euphemisms and unbiblical assumptions that so often cloud our view of death and the dying and centers hospital ministry where all theology must find its center: in the cross of Christ and the promises of God.
Three articles shed light upon attitudes toward and teaching about the cross, martyrdom, and suffering from different ages in the history of the church militant. James Bushur sets forth in a highly accessible manner the theology of counsel and wisdom of Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Romans. C. Matthew Phillips distills and elucidates Luther’s theology of suffering and martyrdom while providing a roadmap for those who wish to study the matter further through his careful source work. Finally, Matthew Heise uses the open archives of the former Soviet Union to uncover an account of the life and martyrdom of two faithful Lutheran pastors and the challenges that faced the Lutheran Church of the Soviet Union. These martyrs take their place with all martyrs as an encouragement for those who labor in the Lord’s vineyard, particularly those who are threatened by harm of any sort.
Adam Koontz rounds out our exploration of suffering and the cross with an exegetical study. Examining apostolic suffering in 2 Corinthians, he brings to light key elements of Paul’s theology of the cross and demonstrates the letter’s lasting relevance for Christians enduring suffering in our own day.
Lastly, Scott Murray broadens the scope of the issue a bit with a fruitful, timely, and discerning overview of Lutheran Orthodoxy and Pietism. He rightly notes that Pietism is not simply a movement resting securely in the past, but remains a very real and active force within the Lutheran Church—one that neither the Lutheran pastor nor layperson does well to overlook or underestimate. Murray does more than sound a warning, however. He offers valuable instruction on how to avoid the pitfalls of a dead orthodoxy (without the unfortunate caricatures that too often attend such a discussion) or an enthusiastic piety.
The editors of LOGIA are pleased to bring these articles to print. It is our prayer that they focus your eyes upon the cross of Christ, buoy weak knees for episodes of suffering and cross-bearing, and deepen our readers’ understanding of a truly biblical, Lutheran theology of the cross.
The juxtaposition of “Luther, Wall Street, and Welfare” may disturb American church-goers, who, to paraphrase the old cliché about the Church of England, may often be dubbed “the Republican Party at prayer.”Read More
Reformation 2014: Volume 23, Number 4Read More
The editors of Logia hereby request manuscripts, book reviews, and forum material for the following issues and themes:Read More
The next issue of the journal is out; if you haven't received it yet, you should soon. Keep a special eye out for this edition of Logia. There’s a new cover design for this issue. We like it, and we hope you do too. Just to make sure you don't miss it, here's a preview.Read More
As seen in our current journal, Eastertide 2014, Holy Baptism, here is the entire review essay, The Reform of Baptism and Confirmation in American Lutheranism, by Dr. Armand Boehme.Read More
Baptism is not simply a once-and-done event of the past, much less a symbolic ritual act on the part of man for Martin Luther, and for Lutherans holding to the catechism.Read More
Blazer, Dan G. The Age of Melancholy, Major Depression and its Social Origins. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Brecht, Martin. Martin Luther, His Road to Reformation 1483-1521. James L. Schaaf, translator. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1981.
Brecht, Martin., Martin Luther, Shaping and Defining the Reformation 1521–1532. James L. Schaaf, translator. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990.
Clebsch, William A. and Charles R Jaekle. Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective. Northvale, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1983.
Foutz, Scott. “On the Life and Mystical Theology of Jean Gerson (1363-1429).” http://www.foutz.net/writings/foutz-gerson.html.
Gowland, Angus. “The Problem of Early Modern Melancholy.” Past & Present. No.191 (May 2006): 77–120.
Gritsch, Eric W. Martin, God’s Court Jester. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980.
Haile, H.G. Luther, A Biography. London: Sheldon, 1980.
Headley, Tony. “Luther on Depression.” Light and Life (July-August) 1999.
Hollon, Steven D. and Sona Dimidjian. “Cognative and Behavioral Treatment of Depression.” The Handbook of Depression. Second edition. Ian H. Gotlib and Consyance L. Hammen, editors. London, Guildford Press, 2009: 586–603.
Hummel, Leonard M. “Heinz Kohut and Empathy: A Perspective from a Theology of the Cross.” Word & World. Volume XXI, No.1 (Winter 2001): 64–74.
Hunter, R. Lanny and Victor L. Hunter. What Your Doctor and Your Pastor Want You to Know about Depression. St Louis: Chalice Press, 2004.
Jackson, Stanley. Melancholia and Depression: From Hippocratic Times to Modern Times. Yale University Press, 1990.
Kleinig, John W. Grace Upon Grace, Spirituality for Today. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2008.
Luthers Werke im WWW Weimarer Ausgabe. http://luther.chadwyck.co.uk/.
Luther’s Works (American Edition). 55 vols. Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut T. Lehman, editors. St Louis: Concordia Publishing House; Philadelphia: Muhlenburg Press, 1960–1975.
Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Briefwechsel. 18 vols. Weimar: Hermann Böhlau, 1930–1985.
Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Tischreden. 6 vols. Weimar: Hermann Böhlau, 1930–1985.
Midelfort, H.C. Erik. A History of Madness in Sixteenth Century Germany. Stanford University Press: 2000.
Oberman, Heiko A. Luther, Man between God and the Devil. Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart, translator. New York: Yale University Press, 1989.
———. “Teufelsdreck: Eschatology and Scatology in the ‘Old Luther.’” Sixteenth Century Journal. Vol. 20, No.3 (1988). http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/research/theology/ejournal/aejt_8/luther.htm.
Palmer, Parker J. “All The Way Down: Depression and the Spiritual Journey.” Weavings: A Journal of Christian Spiritual Life. Vol. 13, No. 5 (September-October 1998).
Pietsch, Stephen. “Depression and the Soul, A Cooks Tour.” Australian Lutheran College opening lecture, 2009. http://www.alc.edu.au/assets/education/about/academic-publications/opening-lecture/2010-depression-and-the-soul.pdf.
———. “Seelsorge—A Living Tradition in Pastoral Theology Practice.” Lutheran Theological Journal. Vol. 43, No.1 (May 2009): 49–62.
Posen, M., D.C. Clark, M. Harrow, J. Fawcett. “Guilt and conscience in major depressive disorders.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1983. Vol. 140: 839–844.
Radden, Jennifer. Moody Minds Distempered, Essays on Melancholy and Depression. Oxford University Press, 2009.
———. The Nature of Melancholy, From Aristotle to Kristeva. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Rowe, Dorothy. “Depression's punitive conscience: Robert Enke's tragic death stemmed from a need to self-punish familiar to anyone who's suffered depression.” The Guardian. November 12, 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/12/robert-enke-depression-suicide.
Stolt, Birgit. Die Sprachmischung in Luthers Tischreden: Studien zum Problem der Zweisprachigkeit. Uppsala: Almqvist and Wiksell, 1964.
Stone, Howard W. Depression and Hope, New Insights for Pastoral Counseling. Minneapolis: Augsburg-Fortress, 1998.
Swinton, John. Spirituality and Mental Health Care, Discovering a “Forgotten” Dimension. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishing, 2006.
Thompson, Mark D., “Luther on Despair.” The Consolations of Theology. Brian S. Rosner, editor. Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 2008.
Todd, M. John. Luther, A Life. New York: Crossroad, 1982.
Trader, Alexis. Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds. New York: Peter Lang, 2011.
Wengert, Timothy, editor. The Pastoral Luther, Essays on Martin Luther’s Practical Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 2009.
Wilson, Eric G. Against Happiness—In Praise of Melancholy. Farrar: Straus and Giroux, 2008.
Yahnke, Beverly K. “Prescriptions for the Soul: The Taxonomy of Despair.” Doxology Website: http://www.doxology.us/downloads/35_yahnke2.pdf.
Von Loewenich, Walther. Luther’s Theology of the Cross. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1976.
Epiphany 2014, Volume XXIII, Number 1Table of Contents
(A feature article from the journal: The Long Road to Lutheran Unity in Australia by Erich Renner)
It will be necessary to bear in mind that the following survey will be somewhat selective. Many of the rifts among Lutherans in Australia were of minor significance, the details of which are fully treated and documented in the histories produced by authors in the past. The major divisions and sticking points on the path to unity in congregations, synods, and churches in Australian Lutheranism will receive more concentrated attention. If we look at Lutheran disunity in Australia there were serious issues which, though insignificant in themselves, could not be solved for many years, leaving painful scars on the life of these churches.
Before we explore the Australian Lutheran scene more fully, it may also be useful to remind ourselves that as long as the church of Christ has existed on this earth there have often been deep-seated problems leading to schisms and heresies. For example, the New Testament does not cover up the painful difficulties facing the Apostle Paul in his Corinthian church, where there were Pauline, Petrine, and Apollonic factions and even a Christ fellowship developing and threatening harmony. A study of church history reveals a continuing story of the dissensions that often developed to the detriment of the church at large. Sometimes these divisions were necessary and justified. From a Lutheran perspective the churches of the sixteenth-century Reformation were not spared their share of deformation and division.
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A number of significant parallels exist between the garden of Eden and the tabernacle. The contour, substance, and meaning of the garden inform the tabernacle and its service. The reverse also is true; understanding the tabernacle helps one conceptualize the garden. The biblical texts provide a discourse between the two "sanctuaries."Read More
Holy Trinity 2013, Volume XXII, Number 3Table of Contents
(A feature article from the journal: Life in the Spirit of Christ: Models of Sanctification as Sacramental Pneumatology by Leopoldo A. Sanchez)
This essay argues that the Lutheran tradition offers a sacramental approach to the theology of the Holy Spirit that shapes its view of the sanctified life. The term sacramental is used in the broad sense to speak of the Spirit’s work in salvation history through means in creation — fundamentally, through the Son’s own human life and history. Because such a pneumatology is grounded in the identity of the incarnate Christ as the privileged locus of the Holy Spirit, as the bearer and giver of the Spirit of God, we may refer to this sacramental view of the Spirit as an incarnational pneumatology. The term sacramental is also used in the narrow sense in this essay to refer to God’s work through his instituted means of grace, namely, baptism and the Lord’s Supper.1 The Holy Spirit works through ordinary means or signs in creation (that is, water, bread, and wine) not only to deliver God’s word of forgiveness, life, and salvation to us now but also to shape our lives after Christ’s own life in the Spirit. If the forgiveness that God delivers through his means of grace points us to the benefit of the sacrament, the life in the Spirit of Christ that flows from receiving such gifts of salvation refers us to the daily use of the sacrament.
Our argument proceeds in three stages. First, we show that a Nicene approach to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, while interested in drawing the Third Person’s ontological distinction from us, ultimately points to his sanctifying works on our behalf as the basis for acknowledging and confessing his divine equality with the Father and the Son. In a creedal hermeneutic, an important shift is made from the immateriality to the materiality of the Spirit, from ontology to soteriology, which sets the stage for conceiving the Spirit’s work through means in creation to bring about God’s saving purposes.
Second, we argue that a material or incarnational view of the Holy Spirit finds its basis in the affirmation of the Spirit’s inseparable connection to Christ’s own flesh, the incarnate Word’s life and mission. Pneumatology does not only look for the Spirit who comes after Christ, but sees the Spirit already in Christ. In a prominent patristic reading of the Jordan event, Christ’s receiving of the Spirit for us in baptism paves the way in the Father’s plan of salvation for Christ’s giving of the Spirit to us in our baptism.2 There is a chain of salvation, a pneumatological link, between Christology and ecclesiology. We see that a sacramental pneumatology is finally grounded in a pneumatological Christology. In Lutheran theology, Luther’s affirmation of the Holy Spirit’s work through the external word is not merely a polemic move against enthusiasts but is an approach to pneumatology that assumes the Spirit’s inseparable connection to Christ and his words of life.
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