Why my Lutheresque Slant to my thinkology

For those that do not know me. My name is Jon. I have been part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Christian Reformed Church, and now The Evangelical Church.   As you can see I have a large emphasis on the “essence” of Martin Luther  on my BLOG.

About 15 years ago my LCMS Pastor did a study on differences between denominations. He contrasted Calvinistic and Arminian Churches. I spent multiple years contrasting the two. I actually read down the Arminian side of things as if it was true realizing if I came in with a slant as if its not true then I would not be giving it a fair shake. This took me several yaers to complete as I read Arminian authors and Calvinistic authors and compared.   I actually learned great respect for both sides… realizing they really are not all that different in many regards but they definitely do have different starting points.

After going round and round on the arguments for and against calvinism and arminianism and comparing the bible passages each side used to present their defense of their truth, my LCMS Pastor,  Jim H., asked me to separately contrast the Lutheran stance because it is different from the other two. Now, if you are aware of the ELCA issues today, you will probably not give me much credit. Believe me the “essence” of Martin Luther 500 years ago is very different from the ELCA today.

Through this multi year effort of contrasting Calvinism and Arminianism I actually became more Lutheresque than I ever was before. I do not consider myself Lutheran anymore but I do consider myself very Lutheresque. Why? Because Martin Luther  kept Christ and the Cross central to his thinkology; whereas if you contrast Martin Luther with many denominations today they seem to have just a high opinion of the Cross but yet it is not central to their thinkology and the cross is not central to how they interpret scripture.  Many reading this would say “My CHurch holds the cross central” but in my opinion most Churches hold a high opinion of the Cross but few keep Jesus and Cross central to their “thinkology”.  That is why this BLOG is called centrality of the Gospel — to keep Christ and the Cross central to my thinkology.

Jesus and the Cross are not just another truth amongst a great number of other truths in the Bible. Jesus is the truth and the righteousness (Rom 1:16-17),

Some today would say Martin Luther maintained a theology of the Cross. Whereas if you would contrast to the other reformer, John Calvin (was he really a reformer?) you would say John Calvin has a theology of Glory centered around Gods sovereignty.  I have great respect for both sides of this discussion but my core is a Luthersque theology of the Cross and keeping the Cross central to my thinkology.

Calvinism prides themselves in an educated “Systematic Theology”…. but what I have seen is that quite often calvinistic churches and churches that are trying to do Church with any kind of “system” quite often unknowingly make the system central to how they approach truth rather than keeping the the central truth of the  gospel, cross, and Jesus in how they present themselves to a lost and hurting world. By being a little to the right or left of the Gospel means, as Paul said to Peter,  that you are not living in line with the truth of the Gospel. (Galatians).

Today, there is being brought back by some a Lutheresque stance to the calvinistic Church. I am thankful for that and I think its long overdue.  I love Tim Keller and his ministry as he does this.  I also have high regards for Arminian Pastors who have a high Christology. To me this high Christology is how I choose a Church… because I dont want just a Church with a high opinion of the Cross but one that keeps it Central to how we think and how we do life until we get to heaven.

I hope that explains me a little more.

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5 thoughts on “Why my Lutheresque Slant to my thinkology

  1. Matthew Campbell

    This is a great post!

    “Many reading this would say “My CHurch holds the cross central” but in my opinion most Churches hold a high opinion of the Cross but few keep Jesus and Cross central to their “thinkology”.”

    You described perfectly what I’ve always felt in my heart about most preachers and teachers I’ve listened to. They indeed as you have said, have a high view of the Cross, but they no longer preach it. Instead, they insist on teaching their bias.

    I have a personal belief that I refuse to debate about with anyone who desires to contradict it. I don’t consider myself Calvinist or Arminianist. I will simply say that Romans chapter 9 couldn’t be clearer to me.

    But the mistake comes when we neglect the Cross in order to preach Calvinism or Arminianism. When we neglect to preach the Gospel because we’re too concerned with preaching whether or not people can choose to believe it.

    I don’t agree much with Pastor Mark Driscoll, but he once said something that I really agreed with: “If you want to find out who the elect are, preach the Gospel.”

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Thanks Matthew! I recommend Tim Keller as a Cross-centred, Centrality of the Gospel, Lutheresque Pastor.

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Matthew,

    Most people dont want to read Romans 9 and let it stand as is. The start with a slant they want to prove going into it. They mold it around their already pre-conceived bias and no matter how hard once the bias is there its always there.

  4. theoldadam

    Jon,

    It does go against our nature to want to let God be God, and not some cosmic errand boy.

    Luther understood this.

    That the gospel is ultimately about freedom (and not religion) is the crux of the issue.

    God’s freedom to be God, and save whom He will save, and our freedom, from all the demands that others would lay on us to be right with God.

    I think you have a great grasp of these issues, and I pray that you will be able to help others understand as well.

    Thanks!

  5. centralityofthegospel Post author

    I like it …. “cosmic errand boy”.

    I pray that the essence of Christ and the the essence of Luther, who understood the base dynamic and issues between man and God, never gets lost in the religiosity of the people.

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