Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Elephant in the Lutheran Room

In one of the 138+ comments on this post at Weedon's Blog, we see why Lutheranism is broken:

"No. I think that your interpretation of what is confessional is wrong." (comment here)

I have to admit that I appreciate Pr. Louderback's refreshingly frank and good-spirited comments. Were the other foxes in the hen house so open and honest...


  1. Benjamin Harju said...

    Pastor Hall (or anyone else who cares to answer),

    Of course, Pastor Louderback could just as easily see people like you as a fox in the hen house, too. ;-)

    How do you think this situation of "my interpretaion vs. your interpretation" could have been avoided in Lutheranism? Could it have? I don't mean this in regard to things previously not tested and agreed upon. I mean this in regard to the interpretation of what is supposed to be already agreed upon because it has already been tested and thus is now subscribed to by all.

    Example 1: The Church always has known the Blessed Virgin is the Mother of Jesus Christ, our God. However, her title, Theotokos (God-Bearer), entered into the realm of dogma in response to Nestorianism. I don't mean this kind of "my interpretation vs. your interpretation" that happened in the Nestorian conflict itself, and then resulted in a dogma (or agreement, if dogma is too strong for you).

    Example 2: The Book of Concord was written as the point of unity among Lutherans, formalizing what a Lutheran is over and against their opponents. It is a book of agreement and unity that is the result of conflict (similar to the term Theotokos, no?). Yet this defining agreement among Lutherans itself is subjected to a constant "my interpretation vs. your interpretation." And this is just in the LCMS (we'll leave out the other Lutheran groups). I do mean this kind of "my interpretation vs. your interpretation," which is what your post is talking about.

    Anyone have an opinion?

  2. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    I think some of this is because there are questions the Confessions simply don't address. Take the modern issue of "Contemporary Worship". The Confessions do work with an assumption that we aren't going to be anabaptists in our worship - but they do not give a specific definition of what worship must look like. To try and make the confessions say "You have to/You cannot" on this issue is folly, for it wasn't an issue that the Confessions discussed (just as the term "Theotokos" doesn't really speak to the topic of whether or not one can/must/shouldn't have voters' assemblies - wasn't the issue then).

    Instead of trying to prove ourselves as having the right position, pointing to the Confessions and say, "You can't do this" we would perhaps be better suited making arguments as to why a practice is foolish or dangerous. Teach rather than beat over the head with a stick.