HERE WE STAND….still — A Response to FIRST THINGS
FIRST THINGS, the very decidedly pro-Roman Catholic journal, enjoys posting editorials, by Lutherans, around Reformation Day. When they did this last year, the Lutheran pastor who wrote the piece was whining and wringing his hands that there was a Reformation. And guess what? I’ve learned that he left his Lutheran congregation and accepted a position at a Roman Catholic seminary directing their Lay Ministry program. Go figure. See note below for details.
Well, imagine my disappointment when my friend Russ Saltzmann was roped into this kind of Reformation Day nonsense by FIRST THINGS and wrote an article whining that he can’t receive the Lord’s Supper in the Roman communion. His “justification” for why he should (yes, pun intended) begins with a list of areas of agreement and, yup, sure enough, he asserts that Rome and Lutheranism now agree on justification by grace. Russ should know better. Of course we agree on justification “by grace” but what he leaves out is precisely the point of disagreement “through faith alone.” And that was the whole point of the Reformation, Russ, et al.
He cites Carl Braaten, the man whose dogmatics text has been used for many years in ELCA seminaries to fill hearts and minds with the detritus of liberal Lutheran theology. He asserts that nothing should prevent full communion since a closed altar post-JDDJ “has insufficient theological warrant from Scripture.” What a load of … baloney.
I posted this response to the FIRST THINGS site, which may, or may not, have gone through their system.
My friend, Russ, bless his heart, is just so very wrong from the very start when he begins his checklist of agreement by asserting that Lutherans and Rome have agreed on justification by grace.
Rome knows this is not true, which is why it was quick to issue a “clarification” after the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was announced, making clear that it had not retracted any of its positions on this issue, as set in stone at the Council of Trent.
Further, the Lutheran World Federation “spun” the event to make it seem as though most/many Lutherans agreed, but that “spin” was flatly a lie. Many LWF member churches never signed on to the agreement.
Further, most of the most prominent Lutheran scholars in Germany and other countries issued a public statement saying, “Wait a minute….” and explained why the JDDJ was not some sort of marvelous break through.
And of course, those Lutheran church in the world that self-identify as Confessional Lutheran Churches, those that, unlike the ELCA and its sister churches in Scandinavia and elsewhere, still actually insists that Lutherans should confession that is in the Lutheran Confessions (I know, crazy, huh?) came out very loudly, clearly and publically asserting all the reasons why the JDDJ was not a breakthrough, but merely and only a liberal mainline Lutheran sell out, as usual, on this, the key teaching of Holy Scripture.
I’m sad to see that my friend Russ played right into the hands of the First Thing pro-Roman agenda by offering this piece around Reformation Day. I recall a year ago we had another such anemic effort by a young man wringing his hands over the fact that the Church was reformed. No surprise that the young man has left the Lutheran Church and “Poped.”
So, let the record show that the assertion that Rome and Lutheranism are in agreement on the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone is simply not true. NOT. TRUE.
Happy Reformation Day!!
Here we stand, still.
[Note: The author of the other FIRST THINGS blog post to which I refer is Rev. Joshua Genig. He is listed on the roster of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as a pastor but has accepted the position of Director of Lay Ministry at St. Cyril and St. Methodius Roman Catholic Seminary in Detroit. I have no idea how this is possible, and have sought further information from Rev. Genig. Here is what I asked: “How can this be? If you are a Lutheran pastor how can you in good conscience serve as a director of Lay Ministry at a Roman Catholic seminary? Can you please explain?” He has not responded. Some have told me that RC institutions do not require their professors to be RC. I am well aware of that, but mind you: this is a seminary, and he is director of a program preparing people to be lay ministers in Roman Catholic parish settings. Quite a big difference there, folks.]