• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

Is Deification compatible with Lutheranism?

Discussion in 'Theologia Crucis - Lutherans' started by zippy2006, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    2 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +9,554
    United States
    Other Religion
    Legal Union (Other)
    US-Democrat
    I wouldn't exactly call it an error, but it's not a typical emphasis. Most ELCA pastors are more like Methodists or Presbyterians in terms of their emphasis.
     
  2. Newtheran

    Newtheran Well-Known Member

    785
    +556
    United States
    Lutheran
    Married
    US-Republican
    Most ELCA pastors are more like American United Methodists or PC-USA Presbyterians in terms of their emphasis.

    World methodism just gave those in the American church a rather significant rebuke which will probably lead to a split.
     
  3. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +9,554
    United States
    Other Religion
    Legal Union (Other)
    US-Democrat
    Discussion of religious differences doesn't have to devolve into what amounts to politics. Shuffling the deck chairs won't change the fact that they are Methodists in terms of their religious patrimony.
     
  4. Tigger45

    Tigger45 St Francis Supporter

    +7,544
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Constitution
    Finally decided to order a copy rather than piecemealing his works randomly.
     
  5. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    +15,919
    United States
    Lutheran
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    It's certainly true that Lutherans have a long tradition of emphasizing certain things over others; this is probably a lot to do with a worry that some things can be easily misunderstood.

    I think we have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to talking about things like sanctification and holiness (etc) because we are concerned about things such as misunderstanding the Third Use of the Law leading to error. And so we tend to emphasize more those things which we want to really cement deep.

    For example, it is true, in Lutheran thought, that we are in a process of being conformed and renewed in Christ, the "renewing of [our] mind" the Apostle speaks of for example. But even in saying this I can kind of feel part of me want to knee-jerk back to emphasizing that this life isn't glory, but cross; not because to say that we are being renewed, we are being transformed, that God's work is in process in us is wrong (because it is very much true and right) but because of how often I see (and in my own past experienced) how easy it can be to turn talk about our growing in the Lord into a system of performance and pursuit toward personal glory.

    My own experiences, when I was younger, where by the emphasis on my growing, becoming holier, should bear certain characteristics--I should be sinning less, I should be becoming more holy, I should find certain struggles less of a struggle, etc and yet I was constantly beset by struggle, I didn't find myself becoming better, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I prayed, no matter how many times I was literally laying prostrate on the floor of my room begging and pleading with God to help me. And that terror and despair I experienced is not something I want anyone else to ever experience. I want to preach the Gospel, I want to preach God's love and kindness toward us sinners in Christ. I want to preach faith and hope in Christ.

    So those are my biases, certainly. My knee-jerk reaction, out of concern to not let the conversation spiral out of control and give the impression that Christianity is about our "getting good", rather than God's good for us in Christ.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +9,554
    United States
    Other Religion
    Legal Union (Other)
    US-Democrat
    Have you encountered Br. David Stendahl-Rast? He's a very gentle person, he doesn't seem like a person into abusing himself or other people, yet his life has been filled with the appreciation of a more mystical approach to Christianity as a Benedictine monk.

    What you portray about religion can happen for some people, but sometimes facing our terrors is very necessary to grow as human beings. Avoiding that terror is simply a way of leaving unconscious wounds unacknowledged. And what is repressed is expressed, often through projection onto other people.

    Maybe part of the problem is the way religion has been used by the wider society to silence peoples aspirations towards greater liberty? Luther himself even backed away from the more liberating aspects of his message, for instance, his moral failure in the Peasants War, which left hundreds of thousands of people murdered. That's one reason I think liberation theology is an important counterpoint to a theology of personal guilt.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  7. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    +1,189
    United States
    Catholic
    Single
    I suppose Catholics do wrestle with issues of sanctification more than Lutherans, but at some level I don't see how you can avoid it. The question of whether you are growing seems like a very natural question to ask.
     
  8. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +9,554
    United States
    Other Religion
    Legal Union (Other)
    US-Democrat
    I think you'll find it addressed more in the ELCA than the LCMS, since the ELCA was shaped more by pietism. Even so, there are some ELCA Lutherans that aren't necessarily going to see it as something they are comfortable discussing. Most Lutherans collapse sanctification into vocation, without providing alot of guidance for either- that is sometimes why I have joked about "justification by banality" (whereas Anglicans often seem to believe in "justification by good taste").
     
  9. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    +1,189
    United States
    Catholic
    Single
    Ha, I have never heard that one before.

    I sometimes think about the way Christianity has become very focused on the afterlife, even sometimes to the point of denying the efficacy of grace in our earthly lives. ...But what is salvation, then? Too often it is described by the via negativa: "Not this, not that." "It's not prosperity, it's not emotional well-being, it's not peace, it's not happiness, it's not societal flourishing, it's not a cheapjack's wares." But then what is it? A future state that contains some of these characteristics? A relationship with God that is disdainful of any secondary motive or fruit?

    It seems like the seed and cornerstone of this whole theological current was Luther's concept of justification by faith alone. And to be frank, this concept of justification seems to be impotent by definition. Or if not impotent, then exclusively focused on a state of righteousness that transcends all earthly categories and is thus only capable of communicating a fact of future salvation in the afterlife. I do understand the focus on initial justification, but when that focus becomes exclusive the result is something altogether strange. The result is a radically disincarnate Christianity. I found Wagschal's article to be an interesting piece of evidence for that tension.

    (I also spoke about this problem in your recent thread, "Martyrs Madmen and Marauders: Six Ways Christian Missions Need to Change," but it seems to have gone off the map.")
     
  10. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    +15,919
    United States
    Lutheran
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    It's something we can be wary about because we want to avoid easy errors, like that if we aren't exhibiting certain characteristics, or aren't measuring up to certain performance tests, then that means our hope, our trust, in Jesus somehow amounts to nothing.

    That means that, yes, we should be bearing fruit, however, we don't get to be fruit inspectors. We can trust in Christ that we are being conformed, but we don't get to decide that our brother isn't "measuring up". Each of us is different, with our distinct struggles; the Christian life is not a ladder to be climbed up toward holiness, but a life to be borne out by the cross and suffering of Jesus.

    The Christian life is a cross, not glory.

    To that end real sanctification is never found by trying to reach that next rung of the ladder, or by figuring out where we are on such a ladder; but rather is found in the trenches of this life, as we are being laden with the cross.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  11. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    +1,189
    United States
    Catholic
    Single
    But isn't the whole point of fruit that it's visible and tangible? Why would Jesus tell us that a good tree bears good fruit if fruit is intrinsically invisible, or if we are not supposed to look at/for fruit?

    Sure, but that answer doesn't strike me as "don't inspect fruit" so much as "don't inspect fruit in that way." There must be some criteria for inspecting fruit, e.g. Galatians 5:22-23.
     
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +9,554
    United States
    Other Religion
    Legal Union (Other)
    US-Democrat
    I'm now concerned about the approach that Wagschal presents (and that is represented in some of the ELCA). I do think Roman Catholicism (and Orthodoxy) has a history of unjustifiable authoritarianism, but the Lutheran perspective has pitfalls of its own. There's so little to interact with in such a self-referential religious perspective that I'm not sure how it can be expected to engage with a post-Christian society, if all that can be offered are things that are largely incomprehensible in the modern world.
     
  13. Tigger45

    Tigger45 St Francis Supporter

    +7,544
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Constitution
  14. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

    +1,189
    United States
    Catholic
    Single
    Right. It is also worth remembering that nature abhors a vacuum. Churches that do not continue to develop doctrinally create vacuums that must inevitably be filled by outside forces. This is perhaps seen most acutely in the case of the modern Evangelical who holds to outdated and scientifically untenable doctrines of inspiration, particularly with respect to the creation accounts. Such a case creates a scientific-rational vacuum in the modern consciousness and breeds instability in the person's religious life.

    While even something as simple as laziness could cause a lack of development, health, and maturity in an ecclesial body, fideism seems to be a prime accelerator of that process. When fideistic tendencies cause denominations to eschew rational pursuits such as science and philosophy they unintentionally create a sort of vacuum or hunger within their own worldview that will result in eventual collapse or else a symbiotic wedding that restores balance. Some of these weddings have been fortuitous and some have been disastrous.
     
Loading...