Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by ww, Aug 22, 2008.

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  1. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    I'm trying to get some feedback regarding Lutheran Theology and Confessional Lutherans in general. From my experience Lutheran Theology strikes of Synergism in the fact that although one cannot choose Christ and Faith is truly a Gift of God one can fall away after receiving the Faith if he chooses to reject his Baptism. I read alot about the fact that Lutheran was in the Monergistic vein and Melancthon was the Synergist.

    How do we approach our Lutheran brethren with the right hand of Fellowship when they (Strong Confessional Lutherans) condemn Calvin and feel that he may even be in Hell and that if one doesn't give up Calvinism and the "Theology of the Glory" he/she is damning their own soul? Men like Paul McCain and other Lutherans are so adamant that Calvinism is the downfall of American Protestantism and is the root of Baptist, Pentecostal, and all other "Theology of Glory" religions.

    Can anyone offer some perspective from a Reformed point of view? Thank You in Advance!
  2. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    :gpl: Sounds like an interesting topic to me.
  3. P.F.

    P.F. Puritan Board Freshman

    Presumably we would treat them similarly to Wesleyans. I'm not sure that helps, though.
  4. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Well that is an interesting thought!

    Because of the fact that Luther hammered the Reformation into full swing and clearly embraced Justification by Faith Alone and denounced the Synergism of Rome we see Lutherans as our "cousins" or as Reformation Family of sorts. The problem is that the legacy left behind by Melancthon and the fruits of that Legacy found in Lutheranism today smacks of Synergism itself. And Confessional Lutherans are so convinced of the errors of Calvin that they speak of him and his legacy with disdain so in essence I'm not sure if I disagree at all with your statement. :think:
  5. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    Please define "Confessional Lutheran". I'm not sure I understand what you mean by it. Thanks!
  6. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior


    A Confessional Lutheran is one who strictly adheres to the Book of Concord of 1580 in its entirety. Many Confessional Lutherans are found in the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod) and WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod).

    Hope that helps.
  7. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    So if I had to choose between ELCA and LCMS and WELS, I would choose one of the latter two. In other words,, they are much more conservative.
  8. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior


    That would be 100% Accurate!
  9. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    The LCMS is like the PCA of the Lutheran world. The WELS is more like the RPCNA.
  10. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    If some Lutherans think Calvinism is a "theology of glory" rather than "theology of the cross" they are as ignorant of that with which they disagree as those they resent for misrepresentations of Lutheranism.

    Lutherans of a certain stripe tend to see themselves as occupying the "perfect middle ground" of Christendom. Rome is off to the right, with the Anglicans a little closer and the EO a bit farther off, in varying degrees of rigidity and ossification. And the rest of the Christian world is off to the left. All of us are simply lumped together into a mishmash of errors, a "swarm" of incoherence.

    Which is a pity. Calvinism is an easy target, because it actually has coherence. It is a solid form against a background of confusion when looking leftward from Lutheranism. Therefore, the rest of the madness they perceive is "traceable" through the nexus of Calvinism.

    We have our own serious critiques of Lutheranism, but we need to be careful not to adopt their same error of undifferentiated and incautious lumping-together of views we do not well understand. Confessional Lutherans are solidly Protestant, and not Roman on the most vital matters of religion. They may not be Reformed, but they are a faithful church.
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Just realize that WELS can be so conservative that if you don't agree with them right down the line, they tend to keep you at arms length or more. They tend to be the most openly hostile to Calvinists.

    Jawyman (on the board) was once in that church.
  12. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks Bruce for the insight and I completely empathize with in essence "taking the high road" when dealing with our Lutheran brethren. I have no plans of telling them to repent of their heretical doctrines of Melancthon and embrace the Truth of Reformed Christianity as several of them have with me and my commitment to Reformed Theology.
  13. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    I was wondering because we have a former LCMS man in our church. He and his family joined with us because there are no LCMS or WELS churches in our area. He still holds to some of his Lutheran ways, but I have never heard him speak negatively about Calvin or Calvinism. And I consider him to be my brother in Christ worthy of fellowship despite his Lutheran holdouts.

    I think that in response to your original question/thought, I'd say that it would need to be judged by whether the Lutheran in question hold first to his Lutheran Doctrine first to God's Word. If we tremble before God's Word and judge things by that standard then we can have fellowship with anyone who does the same, i.e. trembles at God's Word -- Isaiah 66:2. I would say this would be true of any Christian denomination, but obviously not of cults, pagans, or infidels. :2cents:
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