What [Reformation thought] meant in practice is that the “spiritual disciplines” moved out of the monastery into secular life. Celibacy became faithfulness in marriage. Poverty became thrift and hard work. Obedience became submission to the law. Most important, prayer, meditation, and worship – while still central to every Christian’s vocation in the Church – also moved into the family and the workplace.
What does the Church require to reclaim lost ground in the 21st Century? How can we answer postmodernism? What can unite the countless feuding – and dissolving – denominational groups into a force for reclaiming the culture? We do not lack for books offering answers to those questions. My friend Gene Edward Veith, along with co-author A. Trevor Sutton, maintains in Authentic Christianity that the perfect solution is one already in place – Lutheran theology. (I did not receive a review copy, for the record.)
The “star” of the book is a Lutheran philosopher of whom (I have to admit) I’d never heard – Johann Georg Hamann (1730-88). Goethe, we’re told, called Hamann “the brightest mind of his day.” A convert from Enlightenment thinking, Hamann deconstructed rationalism and insisted that reason was useless and destructive when separated from faith. According to the authors, he anticipated postmodernism in his critique of autonomous reason. He may, they suggest, have been the father of that linguistic analysis which so dominates modern philosophy. But for him this line of thought led, not to absurdity and despair, but to trust in Jesus Christ, His Word, and His Church.
Veith and Sutton go on to analyze the (self-destructive) thinking of the modern world, and they explain how Lutheran theology answers the inherent questions of our time and fills basic human spiritual needs.
The book works itself out as a systematic apologetic for Lutheranism, aimed at modern readers. If you’re looking for a stable church home, you could do far worse than reading this fresh and interesting book. Recommended.
In my mind, it’s a great big crisis; high drama.
What it is, is that I agreed long ago to go along with my neighbor on a mutually beneficial property improvement project. And yesterday I signed the contract and cut a check, and the work will probably start this weekend.
My neighbor has been as amiable as he could be. I’ll be slightly in debt for a few months, but I saved a big chunk of money by scheduling at this time of year, so that’s OK.
Everything’s fine. And I feel like retiring to my fainting couch.
Is this what it’s like to be a grown-up?
And now, this:
Gene Edward Veith shared this “open letter” today, taken from a comment on his blog. It’s a letter to the next church shooter, inviting him to consider the writer’s own church.
And the whole “death” thing raises a very important point. Ours is a Christian church and death is a particular interest of ours. We think we have it figured out. As you enter our sanctuary, you won’t be able to help noticing that the most prominent feature displayed there is a large cross – an ancient Roman instrument of execution. It’s our teaching that it was a death, the death of God’s Son on a cross like that, that frees us from the fear of our own death. Don’t misunderstand – we’re not seeking death, but we’re not fearing it, either. Jesus demonstrated that if we followed Him through our own death, we would then follow Him into resurrection and eternal life. He demonstrated this for us and that demonstration was remarkably well-documented both in the Book He left for us and in the lives of His closest friends and followers, most of whom died rather than deny that Jesus’ resurrection had happened. Which to our way of thinking is a very strong endorsement.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2017/11/dear-next-mass-church-murderer/#Mu5vrWCFBfEv2QZ3.99
Gene Edward Veith at Cranach links to an article by Chad Bird on how fiction brought him to Christian faith.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, however, something else was happening. The God against whom I had rebelled, and from whom I was fleeing, began to use these very works of fiction to beckon me home. As it turned out, the novels in which I had sought escape, became part of the means whereby the Lord rescued me from my own death.