You, My People, Shall be Holy

You, My People, Shall be Holy: A Festschrift in Honour of John W. Kleinig. Edited by John R. Stephenson and Thomas M. Winger. St. Catharines, Ontario: Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, 2013. Hard cover, 336 pages. Click here.

The influence of Dr. John W. Kleinig (b. 1942) has extended far beyond the boundaries of his native Australia, as this well-deserved festschrift amply attests, including essays by colleagues not only from “down under” but by grateful co-workers in the United States, Canada, Finland and Germany. Even as Dr. Kleinig’s work has been multifaceted, engaging Old Testament exegesis, doctrinal theology, liturgical studies and pastoral care, so the essays in this handsomely executed volume testify to the depth and breadth of the honoree’s academic and churchly interest.

You, My People, Shall be Holy

You, My People, Shall be Holy

Years of teaching the book of Leviticus came to culmination in the publication of Dr. Kleinig’s commentary by Concordia Publishing House in 2003. In that work, he demonstrated the liturgical/sacramental dimensions of the Old Testament in general and Leviticus in particular. It is fitting, therefore, that this volume includes Chad Bird’s “The Tabernacle as a New Creation” and William Weinrich’s “Leviticus as a Christian Book: Patristic Instances.” Bird demonstrates how the Garden of Eden functioned as a prototype of the tabernacle, giving it both temporal and teleological significance in salvation history. Weinrich examines the use of Leviticus by patristic writers on Christological confession and ecclesial practice.

Several of the essays engage questions of church and office. Norman Nagel addresses ordination and authority in “Bestowing Hands and Potestas ordinis.” John Stephenson assesses the Reformer’s thoughts on the episcopal office in “Towards an Exegetical and Systematic Appraisal of Luther’s Scattered Thoughts on Episcopacy.” Thomas Winger takes a fresh look at the way in which the royal priesthood has often and wrongly been pitted against the office of the holy ministry, suggesting a more sure-footed and faithful path in confessing both as gifts from the Lord. Dr. Kleinig has faithfully and with significant suffering contended against those in his own Lutheran Church of Australia who would introduce to the church the novelty of women’s ordination. A telling essay, recounting how it was that women’s ordination was brought into European Lutheran churches, is provided by Gottfried Martens. Juhana Pohjola of Finland examines Luther’s understanding of the office in “Reflections on the Office of the Holy Ministry on the Basis of Martin Luther’s Genesis Commentary.”

Two essays echo Dr. Kleinig’s aversion to all forms of antinomianism, taking up the third use of the law, one by Kurt Marquart, “The Third Use of The Law as Confessed in the Formula of Concord,” and the other by David Scaer, “The Third Use of the Law: Resolving the Tension.”

Both in his classroom calling at Adelaide and in seminars and conversations around the world, Dr. Kleinig has surely demonstrated that he is a pastoral theologian par excellence. Themes of pastoral theology are expressed in essays by Ronald Feuerhahn, “Luther on Preaching the Word of God;” Andrew Pfeiffer, “Luther and the Pastor at Prayer;” and Harold Senkbeil, “Lead Us Not into Temptation: Acedia, the Pastoral Pandemic.”

Like his sainted teacher, Hermann Sasse, Dr. Kleinig has championed the place of the Lord’s Supper not only in the church’s doctrine but also in practice and in piety. Two essays are devoted to the Sacrament of the Altar. Pastor Brent Kuhlmann treats readers to Luther’s confession of Jesus’ body and blood in “Da er sagt. Solchs thut! Dr. Luther’s Confession Regarding the Consecration in His 1528 Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper.” Dr. Kleinig’s brother, Pastor Vernon Kleinig, surveys how the benefits of the Sacrament were confessed in Lutheran Orthodoxy in “The Benefits of the Lord’s Supper in Seventeenth-Century Lutheranism.”

Like Luther, Dr. Kleinig knows that God comes to us deeply in the flesh, in the things of creation. Scott Murray’s essay on the “Resurrection of the Flesh” and Roger J. Humann’s “John 2:1-11—Water into Wine: A Sign of the Messianic Kingdom” both demonstrate the anti-gnostic theme so dominant in Dr. Kleinig’s theology and spirituality. A theologically astute layman in the Lutheran Church of Australia, and a medical doctor, Ian Hamer has provided a very helpful critique of the tendency toward autonomy in contrast to holiness in “From Autonomy to Holiness.”

A former student, Adam G. Cooper, contributed a chapter on “Hierarchy, Humility, and Holiness: Ecclesial Rank in Dionysius the Areopagite.” Gregory P. Lockwood, a longtime friend and colleague of Dr. Kleinig on the faculty in Adelaide reflects on how peace is understood biblically in “Holiness and Wholeness: towards a Truly Holistic Understanding of ‘Peace’ in the Scriptures.”

A final feature of this festschrift is the inclusion of two hymns. “As Dear Children of the Father,” by Canadian pastor Kurt E. Reinhardt, reflects the evangelical nature of prayer from a baptismal perspective. A commemorative hymn commissioned by DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel was written by Stephen Starke and set to music composed by Phillip Magness, “You, My People, Shall be Holy,” demonstrates that the theology so eloquently taught and proclaimed by Dr. Kleinig is indeed doxological. Through the life and ministry of Dr. John W. Kleinig, the song of the church indeed goes on as God is invoked as our Father through His Son in the power of the Spirit. These hymns along with the essays in this Festschrift are a worthy tribute to a doctor of the church and confessor of Christ Jesus, whose patient and careful work in the Lord’s vineyard will continue to bear rich fruit in the years to come.

John T. Pless

Fort Wayne, In

Christ in Luther's Interpretation of the Old Testament

PROPTER CHRISTUM: Christ at the Center

A shift seems to be occurring within biblical interpretation. Some scholars have issued calls to reevaluate the historical-critical method of interpreting the Scriptures. Scholars have become fascinated with "pre-critical" interpretations of Scripture.

John A. Maxfield calls our attention to this shift, but he primarily encourages us to not lose sight of our Lutheran heritage. In this article, Maxfield presents a discussion of Luther's interpretation of the Scripture — particularly the Old Testament — and his thoroughly christological hermeneutic.

The entire essay can be found in the forthcoming festschrift in honor of Daniel Preus: Propter Christum: Christ at the Center. Visit LOGIA’s website to reserve your copy. It is available for pre-order and is scheduled to be released in November.

 

CHRIST AT THE CENTER IN LUTHER’S INTERPRETATION OF OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY AND NARRATIVES

—by John A. Maxfield

The last words of Bornkamm’s book convey both the problem for the modern reader of Luther’s Old Testament interpretation and its opportunity:

[Luther’s] work has Christianized the Old Testament thoroughly, as we have seen. We cannot use it with a clear conscience much longer if we cannot give clear and new reasons to justify such an interpretation. If we take this task just as seriously as we take the inviolable truthfulness of historical research, then we can let go of the “swaddling clothes” of Luther’s interpretation of the Old Testament and once again salvage the treasure in the manger.1

The late Professor Bornkamm might be surprised by the “clear and new reasons” used today instead to knock historical-critical analysis of the Old Testament off its hegemonic pedestal. In the burgeoning subdiscipline of the history of biblical exegesis in the fields of both biblical studies and church history (as well as historical study more widely cast), it appears that the keenest fascination has been with what might be named the “swaddling clothes” of the so-called “pre-critical” interpretation of the Bible. For example, in a widely-cited article that has functioned as a manifesto for the discipline of the history of pre-modern biblical interpretation, David Steinmetz takes aim at the sufficiency of exegesis that focuses narrowly on the intended historical-literal sense of the human author and asserts boldly:

The medieval theory of levels of meaning in the biblical text, with all its undoubted defects, flourished because it is true, while the modern theory of a single meaning, with all its demonstrable virtues, is false. Until the historical-critical method becomes critical of its own theoretical foundations and develops a hermeneutical theory adequate to the nature of the text it is interpreting, it will remain restricted—as it deserves to be—to the guild and the academy, where the question of truth can endlessly be deferred.2

A whole genre of studies of biblical interpretation in the early church, the Middle Ages, and the Reformation continues to be the fruit of such appeals to dethrone the sole focus of biblical studies on “the inviolable truthfulness of historical research” as conceived in post-Enlightenment historical criticism. I am reminded here, ninety years later, of Karl Barth’s scathing critique of liberal Protestantism in his preface to the second edition of his Epistle to the Romans, where he did not challenge historical criticism as a tool of the interpreter but asserted boldly that historical analysis is merely the prolegomena to the true task of theological interpretation of Paul’s text, which is in fact the word of God, the sole means (that is, the Bible as a whole) by which God, who is unknowable, reveals himself to man.3

But how fares the biblical interpretation of Luther in this revival of interest in pre-critical exegesis? The current romance of many confessional Lutherans with the early church fathers, often quite ignorant or dismissive of the critical and selective appropriation of patristic traditions in the Lutheran Reformation and its Confessions (and this is especially true in regard to patristic exegesis), suggests that Luther’s approach to the Old Testament in particular is in danger of being lost to a resurgence of allegorizing and typological interpretations, also among Lutherans. The days are apparently long over when John Calvin’s method of typological interpretation of messianic psalms, applying them first and foremost to David and only secondarily to Christ, is rejected by orthodox Lutherans as “Judaizing.”4 Indeed, Calvin’s methods of typological exegesis are frequently celebrated broadly as the vanguard of responsible Christian and yet historically sound exegesis of the Old Testament while Luther’s understanding is rejected on the ideological grounds of it being “supercessionist” (as is also much of the New Testament), and thus responsible for his highly offensive views of the Jews in many of his later writings.5

In contrast to what seem to be the prevailing views today, I view Luther’s distinctive approach to interpreting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture as both historically sound and most fruitful for the church’s theology and preaching. In the remainder of this essay in honor of Daniel Preus, who continues to devote his talents and energies to the theology and life of the Lutheran church throughout the world in its modern context, I would like to describe some of the rather traditional as well as the new ways that Luther kept Christ and the gospel at the center of his interpretation of the Old Testament, focusing especially on his lectures on Genesis. . . .6


  1. Heinrich Bornkamm, Luther and the Old Testament, trans. Eric W. and Ruth C. Gritsch, ed. Victor I. Gruhn (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969 [German orig. 1948]), 266. More recently, Siegfried Raeder also evaluates Luther’s Old Testament interpretation, describing for example Luther’s second psalms lectures (the Operationes in Psalmos, 1519–1521) as “‘evangelio-centric’ rather than christological,” that is, “more in regard to the Gospel of Christ than in regard to the person of Christ.” Luther thus stands in contrast to the psalms exegesis of the humanist Lefèvre d’Étaples, whose “strictly christological interpretation of the Psalter prevented Lefèvre from investigating the historical forms of faith, love and hope in the Old Testament.” Siegfried Raeder, “The Exegetical and Hermeneutical Work of Martin Luther,” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation, vol. 2, From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, ed. Magne Sæbø (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008), 377, 370.
  2. David Steinmetz, “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis,” Theology Today 37 (1980): 38. Likewise, Robert Louis Wilken takes up the mantle of Roman Catholic theologian Henri de Lubac and defends the use of allegory (among other meanings) in patristic and medieval spiritual interpretation: “If there is anything that is obvious, it is that the notion of a single sense does not carry us very far in the interpretation of great works of literature, or of the Bible.” “In Defense of Allegory,” Modern Theology 14, no. 2 (April 1998): 197. A significant portion of De Lubac’s magisterial study is now available in an English translation: Henri de Lubac, S. J., Medieval Exegesis: The Four Senses of Scripture, vol. 1, trans. Mark Sebanc (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans and Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998); vol. 2, trans. E. M. Macierowski (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans and Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000); vol. 3, trans. E. M. Macierowski (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans and Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2009).
  3. Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, trans. from the sixth edition by Edwyn C. Hoskyns (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), 2–15. Note Barth’s response to historical criticism: “I have been accused of being an ‘enemy of historical criticism.’…I have nothing whatever to say against historical criticism.…My complaint is that recent commentators confine themselves to an interpretation of the text which seems to me to be no commentary at all, but merely the first step towards a commentary.…Jülicher and Lietzmann know far better than I do how insecure all this historical reconstruction is, and upon what doubtful assumptions it often rests. Even such an elementary attempt at interpretation is not an exact science. Exact scientific knowledge…is limited to the deciphering of the manuscripts and the making of a concordance. Historians do not wish, and rightly do not wish, to be confined within such narrow limits,” 6.
  4. On the charge by the Lutheran orthodox dogmatician Aegidius Hunnius in his book Calvinus Iudiazans . . . (1593), see esp. G. Sujin Pak, The Judaizing Calvin: Sixteenth-Century Debates over the Messianic Psalms (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).
  5. See, for example, Eric W. Gritsch, Martin Luther’s Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment (Grand Rapid, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), esp. 33–46. Space does not allow an exploration of the significant problem of Luther’s Old Testament exegesis in relation to his so-called “anti-Jewish writings”; however, I would like to suggest that this problem (and it is a problem!) is most fruitfully analyzed not by rejecting Luther’s prophetic-christological and historical but gospel-centric interpretations of the Old Testament, as is often done, but by recognizing that Luther’s error in these later writings had to do with a failure to apply his own principle or overarching doctrine of the two kingdoms (or two realms of God’s governance in the world), and not with his critique of Judaism in relation to its legalism and in response to Jewish unbelief. The latter is, after all, also the critique of the New Testament.
  6. Some of what follows has appeared and is treated more extensively in terms of Luther’s vocation as Professor Reformer in John A. Maxfield, Luther’s Lectures on Genesis and the Formation of Evangelical Identity, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies 80 (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2008). Previously published material used with permission of the publisher.

Who Are Those Witnesses Again?

PROPTER CHRISTUM: Who is a witness?

Words take on different meanings with the passage of time. While this is well-known, it is sometimes surprising to discover one particular word whose meaning has changed without catching our attention. When this transition remains unnoticed, confusion and misunderstanding quickly follow. For such words, understanding what they formerly meant as opposed to what they mean now is crucial for understanding.

The word "witness" falls into this category. Below is an introduction to Rev. Alan Ludwig's careful study of the word and its meaning in Acts. As students of scripture, Lutherans do well to pay careful attention to the definition and use of words. Ludwig's study gives such attention to the word "witness."

The entire essay can be found in the forthcoming festschrift in honor of Daniel Preus: Propter Christum: Christ at the Center. Visit LOGIA's website to reserve your copy. It is being offered at a discounted introductory price of $29.99, and is scheduled to be released in November. Act now to take advantage of the savings!

 

WHO ARE THOSE WITNESSES AGAIN? Acts 1:8 in Context

— Alan Ludwig

Today it is commonplace, and not only in churches of the Baptist-Evangelical persuasion, to hear sermons that exhort the hearers to "go out and witness." Appeal for this is regularly made to Acts 1:8, which reads in part: "And you will be my witnesses, both in Judea and in Jerusalem and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth." How the preacher has made the move from the original disciples to the people in the pew, from those who received these words from the mouth of Jesus to those who hear them from the preacher's lips, seldom receives an explanation. That all Christians are witnesses is assumed as a self-evident truth that needs no apology.

And yet this easy application of Acts 1:8 to all Christians is a relative latecomer on the ecclesiastical scene. Is it warranted? To answer this question it is necessary to take a careful look at a text that we often take for granted. This study then will include a brief survey of the witness word group in the New Testament-the verb μαρτυρέω and its cognates-and after that examine more closely the peculiar Lukan use of these terms, with special regard to Acts 1:8.

Witness in the New Testament

The Witness words are μαρτυρέω, "to bear witness, testify"; μαρτυρία and μαρτύριον, "witness," "testimony"; and μάρτυς, "one who bears witness or testifies." Some of these words also have compound forms.1 For full information the reader is referred to the standard lexicons and theological wordbooks.

The Old Testament Background of Witness

In addition to its usual meaning in Greek, this witness word group is heavily flavored by Old Testament usage. There μάρτυς and its related words usually translate d[eand its Hebrew cognates, which have a firm setting in the legal sphere.2 The witness is generally one who has gained information firsthand through seeing or hearing, and he testifies to what he knows. God, man, and inanimate things may serve as witnesses. The Torah and its individual parts are also called "testimonies" because they provide written attestation to God's salvation and to the divine will.

Witness in General in the New Testament

Virtually all of the Old Testament uses carry over into the New Testament, though not in equal measure. Especially prominent is the Torah's requirement that every word be established at the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deut 19:15). This is not only a feature of Jewish life regulated by the Torah (Matt 26:59-61; John 8:17-18; Heb 10:28) but also extends to life in the church (Matt 18:16), even to the churches of the Gentile mission (2 Cor 13:1; 1 Tim 5:19; cf. 1 Cor 14:27, 29).

There are two essential characteristics of a witness (μάρτυς): he has gained information, usually by firsthand observation, and he conveys this information to others, often in a formal or legal setting. At the one end of the spectrum, the μάρτυς may be virtually a spectator who observes (Heb 12:1).3 At the other end, the act of testifying and the content of the testimony take precedence over how the testifier came by the information (Rev 12:11, 17). . . .

The Apostolic Witness to Christ

When Jesus tells his disciples that the Paraclete will bear witness concerning him, he goes on to say, "and you also bear witness, because you are with me from the beginning [ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς]" (John 15:26-27; cf. Luke 1:2). The disciples' testimony is the witness of those who have seen and heard firsthand, and it is through this testimony that the Spirit himself will bear witness of Christ (Acts 5:32), just as he has already witnessed to the Messiah through Moses and the Prophets. John states beautifully the role of these eyewitnesses in the opening words of his first epistle:

That which was from the beginning [ἀπ᾿ἀρχῆς],4 which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it [μαρτυροῦμεν] and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3 ESV)

The "we" here is surely John and his fellow apostles.5 The truth of their testimony is confirmed by their having been present with him "from the beginning" (John 15:27; Acts 1:21-22) and having heard, seen, and touched the Word of Life. . . .

 


  1. διαμαρτύρομαι, "to give solemn testimony, exhort, warn"; ἐπιμαρτυρέω, "to bear witness, attest"; καταμαρτυρέω, "to testify against"; προμαρτύρομαι, "to bear witness beforehand, predict"; συμμαρτυρέω, "to bear witness with," "support by testimony"; συνεπιμαρτυρέω, "to testify at the same time"; ψευδομαρτυρέω and its noun cognates, "to give false witness," "false witness, false testimony."
  2. ʿēd, "witness"; ʿēdâ, "testimony, witness"; ʿēdôt, "testimonies"; ʿēdût, "testimony"; tě‘ûdâ, "attestation"; and the denominative verb ʿwd, "to bear witness, testify." For a more comprehensive treatment, see C. van Leeuwen, "ēd witness," in Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, ed. Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann, trans. Mark E. Biddle (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), 2:838-46. Editor's note: For the actual Hebrew terms, please see the book.]
  3. More is involved in the use of μάρτυς in this passage than the righteous men and women of faith who have finished the course "witnessing" us as we run the race. See Harold W. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Hermeneia (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989), 354–55.
  4. This ἀπ᾿ἀρχῆς has been taken in various senses, including from the beginning of creation, from the time of the incarnation, or from the time of Jesus' revelation as Son of God at his baptism. If the last of these is right, then there is a link both with John 15:27 and Acts 1:21–22. For the various views and the arguments in favor of this, see Raymond E. Brown, The Epistles of John, Anchor Bible 30 (New York: Doubleday, 1982), 155–58.
  5. So, for example, Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistles of St. John (London: Macmillan, 1886), 4, 6, 9; and other traditional commentators. Modern scholars who attribute the authorship of the epistle to a "Johannine school" of course understand it differently (Brown, Epistles of John, 158–61).

Cultural and Theological Readjustments and the Survival of Lutheranism

PROPTER CHRISTUM: The Survival of Lutheranism

Recent years have seen a re-alignment of church bodies, Lutheran and otherwise, as fallout from decisions made regarding sexuality. Some new church bodies, Rev. David Scaer argues, are putting themselves in an untenable position. Their views on scripture and the ordination of women will lead to the same problems which they are currently fleeing. Scaer addresses this question in his contribution to Propter Christum: Christ at the Center, Luther Academy's forthcoming book. Below you will find some of Scaer's thoughts on the issue.

In order to reserve your copy of the rest of this essay, visit LOGIA's website and take advantage of the pre-order price of $24.99 (a savings of 30%) for Propter Christum: Christ at the Center. This offer will expire at the end of August, so order now!

The book, in honor of the retired director of Luther Academy, Daniel Preus, provides a confessional Lutheran perspective on today's world. Essays address women's ordination, church relations, global challenges to Lutheranism, and other contemporary issues. As such, the book is a great resource for understanding and interacting with the world we live in.

 

Cultural and Theological Readjustments and the Survival of Lutheranism

— David P. Scaer

Culture inevitably influences what people believe, even to the extent that a church may come to believe that its faith is indistinguishable from its culture. Some have recognized this cultural invasion and have left such churches to form new ones. At its August 2009 convention, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), swept along by prevailing cultural winds, accepted the ordination of practicing homosexuals as well as the blessing of same-sex alliances and marriages in states where these practices are allowed by law. This cultural accommodation has resulted in some leaving the ELCA to form the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) and the less ecclesiastically structured Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). Similar exoduses have taken place from mainline Episcopal, Reformed, and Presbyterian denominations.

These newly formed churches have a common interest in maintaining traditionally held beliefs. Other issues are reasons for separation, but the blessing of same-sex marriages and the ordination of practicing homosexuals are the most prominent. While these new churches are not debating the legitimacy of women's ordination, this is the real issue-and if it is not addressed, these churches will be little different from the ones they left. For Lutherans in America, the step towards ordaining practicing homosexuals came when the churches forming the ELCA adopted the ordination of women in the 1970s. Women's ordination long has been accepted in the mainline denominations and likely will continue in the new churches. Here is the dilemma for the newly formed churches: They want to establish themselves on a more solidly biblical basis in tune with ancient church practice, but ordaining women as ministers does not belong to the catholic tradition. Commitment to biblical inerrancy does not assure a positive outcome, since Evangelicals who hold to this commitment are divided on women's ordination and the baptism of infants. A prominent argument for Roman Catholics is that the ordination of women deviates from tradition. Paul uses the catholic argument in 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 when he says that in all the churches women are forbidden to preach. For those not up to sifting through the biblical objections to the practice, the catholic argument may be the most convincing. A church is not allowed to go off on its own or make its own rules for the ministry. With a keen ELCA interest in keeping relations with Rome intact (for example, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification), its dissidents now in the NALC have good reason to reevaluate retaining women clergy. Supporters of women's ordination in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) who favor closer alliances with Rome should also reconsider their position. . . .

A church's challenge is preaching the gospel in terms that can be understood by the people of that time, but it dare not allow it to be swallowed up by its culture. Bible translations are cultural adjustments that allow speaking in terms people can understand. Sermons take the task further in addressing the word of God to issues Christians face in their time, but the church dare not be overcome by the culture. The Old Testament contains the accounts of how Israel was often shaped by its surrounding polytheistic culture and engaged in pagan worship; succumbing to the worship of the neighborhood gods could be a subtitle for the Old Testament. Christians in Corinth did not entirely divest themselves of Greek philosophy, so some denied the resurrection of the dead. No church is immune from being overtaken by its surrounding the culture-not even professedly confessional churches. Recent events are nothing new. As mentioned, ELCA decisions on homosexuality mirrored first culture and then state laws recognizing same-sex marriages, but this was already happening in discussions about ordaining women. At the time this practice was adopted by Lutheran churches, the eventually failed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was making its way through state legislatures. . . .

 

Justification and the Pastor's Daily Work

Confessional Lutheran theology sets Lutherans apart from other theologies. What impact, if any, does this have on the parish pastor? How does Lutheran theology shape the daily work of the pastor? Particularly, what does justification have to do with parish practice? This question, Rev. Scott Murray suggests, could use some more attention. See below for an introduction to his thoughts on the matter.

Read More