What’s Up with the Evangelicals and Reformed?
Last June, an Evangelical/Reformed blogger, Kevin DeYoung, wrote an article on his blog asking what’s up with the Lutherans? In it he expressed concern that Lutherans don’t seem to be very active or present in his blogging and theological circles. I think Kevin was attempting to offer a gentle criticism and somewhat laying the blame for this on Lutherans.
The response to his post by a number of pretty well known blogging Lutherans was very vigorous and positive, with offers to be more involved in whatever forum, or conferences, or gatherings, or organizations Evangelicals have where they would welcome Lutheran input.
Despite some polite expressions of thanks for this offer, including even an interview with yours truly featured on Kevin’s blog, the response now sounds like chirping crickets, for, you see, I honestly do not believe Evangelicals or Calvinists or Reformed, or whatever term they wish to use to describe themselves, actually really do want Lutheran input nor are they really interested in the Lutheran Church. What they actually like is Martin Luther, or, frankly, the version of Luther that Evangelicals/Reformed/Calvinists have created, a Luther that does not challenge many of the core presuppositions about things like the nature of original sin, the nature of grace, faith, the sacraments. Reading many Evangelical/Reformed blogs out there I remain convince there is a deep amnesia in these circles about Church History and a very low view of and understanding of the Church as being, one, holy, catholic and apostolic.
This reality is no different than the one Hermann Sasse experienced in his many contacts across Christendom, both East and West, Reformed or Roman. He termed the path of the Lutheran Church to be the “lonely way” precisely because in spite of polite expressions of interest, and expressions of love for Martin Luther, the reality is that Lutheranism is not compatible with, nor supportive of, Calvinism and all its various offshoots, up to and including various forms of Evangelicalism.
But, of course, this does not mean we Lutherans won’t stop doing our best to be a positive influence in Evangelical and Calvinist circles, but we will still keep being Lutheran. And that’s probably going to continue to be a problem for those who wonder where the Lutherans are. We are right where we have always been, and we will continue to be here and eager to contribute to your conversations. We are still waiting and asking ourselves “What’s up with the Evangelicals?”