Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Below is my first post over at


My friend Greg has recently posted this piece on Justification and Ecclesiology over at my blog. It's a good example of the kind of stuff we talk about, and an excellent sample of his writing.

I imagine more writing like this will find its way to the site. As you know, I'm an ELCA pastor. I may be unique (we all like to think we are) in being open to conversation with, and even valuing the commitments of, my LCMS and WELS brothers and sisters. As much as the ELCA may get accused of unionism from some quarters, there are some unions that would be anathema to many ELCAers. So, I sometimes catch hell for at least trying to lift up and explain the reasons behind behind certain confessional positions of the LCMS community (hope I don't totally distort them in the process).

Nevertheless, here I am posting on what is mostly an LCMS blog. I guess it is not a huge surprise, because I am a member of an inter-Lutheran organization, The Society of the Holy Trinity, that includes member pastors from many of our Lutheran denoms, and so am in frequent conversation with pastors from outside the ELCA. Nevertheless...

On the other other hand, my own blog began as midrash on the Lutheran Confessions (it actually began as reflections on my travels in Germany and then continued here stateside with Lutheran reflections on the confessions, culture, etc. It soon became a group blog, including myself, Greg, and another friend, Matt, who is a former ELCA layperson now confirmed in the RC and studying at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington D.C. (distance learning, cause he lives in Bratislava, Slovakia).

So the blog Lutheran Confessions became, in spite of or maybe because of its name, an inter-confessional blog. We spent some time at that, all of us got tired and buried in other writing projects, from which some of us have emerged earlier than others, and here I am now in a third incarnation of the blog trying to establish a conversation with Pastor-Theologians in the Center for Theological Inquiry's Pastor-Theologian program on the topic of soteriology. This will be an ecumenical conversation par excellance (in the way Princeton does ecumenism, eg. The Princeton Proposal), with pastors from most of the mainline denoms, and some from evangelical and catholic quarters (no orthodox yet).

Much has been made of the fact that I'm ELCA, at least here at this blog as you were deciding whether to invite me into the conversation. I'm ok with that. But remember that our confessions are also part of our history. Some of us were born into churches that we remain in and even love, in spite of their foibles and sins and veerings from the truth of Christ. I'm thankfully receptive of your criticisms of the ELCA and of my own reflections, so that we might together come to greater clarity on our Christian confession. Be as hardcore as you like.

I will do the same, because there are some things in my church that I will not let go of because I believe them to be the very gifts of God for the people of God. Nobody fights like brothers, right? Well, for better or for worse, the LCMS and the ELCA are brother/sister denominations, and our common life together will probably look like that.

So thanks for the meta-invite.

No comments:

Post a Comment