Thursday, 14 May 2009

The catholicity of the Lutheran Reformation

Well may you ask, dear reader (and as far as I know that is singular, as I only have one reader!), why, on a blog titled 'Evangelical Lutheran', there are so often posts relating to or quoting non-Lutheran sources, e.g. Bunyan and Schmemann? One of the aims of this blog will be, in a modest way,to collate and publish quotes testifying to the catholicity of the Lutheran Reformation.

By 'catholicity' I mean that the doctrinal emphases of the Lutheran Reformation were and are not innovations, previously unknown either in scripture or history, but that their antiquity and truthfulness can be attested to with quotations from the history of Christian thought. That is not to say that the Lutheran Reformation and the subsequent period of Lutheran orthodoxy were not the occasion for the development of deeper understandings and more powerful applications of ancient and scriptural doctrines, but only that such developments were entirely consistent with and organically related to the original doctrines of the Gospel.

As I mentioned above, this aim will be attempted in a modest way, and is as much for the purpose of recording such quotations for myself as for the benefit of others. I suppose the original thought to do this occurred to me some years ago when a colleague at seminary, who has subsequently "swum the Tiber" and defected to Rome, challenged me to prove the catholicity of Lutheranism.

It might be objected by some that to quote Bunyan, for example, when we know he was influenced by Luther, is anachronistic, but I rather think that the appeal of Lutheran doctrine to those outside our confession of faith in any age is testimony to the essential scripturalness and genuine catholicity of those doctrines.

And so I introduce a new label: Lutheran Catholicity!


Mercurius Aulicus said...

You have at least two readers Pastor.

Acroamaticus said...

Ah...fame beckons! Well, the least I can do in return is add your excellent blog to my blog list, Mild Colonial Boy, especially since it has often brought mirth into an otherwise dreary day.

PW said...

Now you have three readers...I'm learning about Lutheranism. I'm now following you on blogger. I'll be back to read more. I'm a searching Christian from a mix of backgrounds. more on future posts on my blog.

Acroamaticus said...

Welcome, PW.
My blog is fairly idiosyncratic, and so may not be the ideal place to learn about the Lutheran Faith & Church. However, there are some links at the bottom you may wish to follow up, and it is worth visiting some of the official church websites. Of course, there are many good books available too, and I would be happy to recommend Gene Veith's "Spirituality of the Cross" as a good starting point.
Meantime, I shall check out your blog.
Every blessing!