Saturday, May 31, 2008

Decision Theology At Its Worst

I just read an extremely sad post on Beliefnet's Baptist forum (which I read for the same reason that I occasionally check in with Rod Dreher's blog): The author has an autistic nephew who "can't accept Jesus as his personal Savior in any meaningful way," and is worried about the state of the child's salvation.

It was with a particular sense of responsibility and urgency that I decided to completely ignore the forum protocol restricting posts to other coreligionists and proclaim the Gospel -- that it's not about what we do or think or feel, but what God, in Christ, has done and does and will do for us, out of love. I encouraged the poster to replace an image of God as an angry, perpetually dissatisfied God just waiting to damn people with a God of redeeming, reconciling love and compassion, in whose embrace this child already lives.

This is Exhibit A of what Lutheran Christians can bring to the table of American Christianity, if they only speak up -- a strong proclamation of God's grace and liberation. Just the other day I encountered an online other who tried to argue with me that the "Gospel" message was "Repent or perish." Ach, mein Gott.

As Kelly Fryer says...the world needs what we have.


P.S. an after-thought said...

I'm glad you "spoke up." The old pastor of my husband's home Lutheran church, a denomination even more conserevative than your previouse one, wrote a cathechism especially for those people not able to understand in any depth, ie those who are "slow."

Yes, God made them and loves them too. Besides, if we have to "understand" salvation, can we really understand it at all? There are so many verses that state that God's mind is greater than ours. God Bless you for speaking up.

Diane said...

me too. I'm so glad you spoke up. The world DOES need what we have.

Ivy said...

Absolutely right! We have these Lutheran distinctives that can set people free with God's abundant, amazing grace. Peace.

Rev Scott said...

You could have told your online other, "No, it's repent AND perish - God drowns us in baptism and raises us to new life in Christ!"

Glad you're out there and giving the world what we have to give.

Crimson Rambler said...

YOU GO GIRL!!! Bless you!!!

Anonymous said...

Let a Methodist add:

Come, sinners, to the gospel feast;
let every soul be Jesus' guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
for God hath bid all humankind.

Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
the invitation is to all.
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.

Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,
ye restless wanderers after rest;
ye poor, and maimed, and halt, and blind,
in Christ a hearty welcome find.

Charles Wesley

Full hymn at:


John Welch
"Friend" of Our Savior's Atonement ELCA, NYC

Anonymous said...

I'm sometimes surprised by how little Lutheran theology surfaces in theological discussion in American Christianity.

It's not like there's really a shortage of Lutherans or Lutheran theologians.

I know you Luther people write books, I've read a couple.

I think Lutheranism has a LOT to bring to the theological table, I think the very face of American Christianity would look really different if a distinctively Lutheran voice could be heard amongst the yelling and screaming.

It was Lutheranism that ultimately reformed (yes, pun intended) my own faith and how I thought and dealt with my faith. There have been other influences, but it was going out and listening to Lutheran voices that have had probably the most dynamic influence and impact on me.

The Theology of the Cross is so desperately needed. There's such an overabundance of Theology of Glory out there that sometimes I get a headache just from wincing so often.

I say this after having just watched a youtube video talking about "the end of the world" and the rapture and all that ScheiƟ.