Author: Dennis Bielfeldt

Dennis Bielfeldt is Professor of Philosophy and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Institute of Lutheran Theology.

Lazareth Reviewed: A Review of Christians in Society: Luther, the Bible and Social Ethics

[1] Over the past four decades, William Lazareth has shown himself to be one of the most able and articulate of the American Lutheran voices doing theological ethics. In print, lecture, sermon, and ecumenical discussion, he has sought to unpack the ethical implications of the gift of the gospel. In this volume, Lazareth draws upon […]

Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation by Oswald Bayer, reviewed by Dennis Bielfeldt

[1] Bayer’s “contemporary interpretation” of Luther’s theology is must reading for anyone interested in Luther and Lutheran theology generally. In this ably translated book deriving originally from 30 hours of lectures from a general studies course at the University of Tübingen in 2002, Bayer compares his approach to Luther to a documentary that draws upon […]

The Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality: How Not to Derive “ought” from “Is”

Introduction [1] Since the time of David Hume (1711-76), philosophers have been struggling with the question of whether “ought” can be inferred from “is.” Famously, Hume held that it “seems altogether inconceivable how this new relation [ought] can be a deduction of others [is] which are entirely different from it.[1] For Hume, propositions of how […]

The Enduring Legacy of Roe v. Wade

1] The big story in this year’s election, we know by now, is that at a time when Americans were asked to consider a host of important issues ranging from Iraq to health care to the economy to terrorism, 22% of voters accorded priority in their deliberations to a nebulous thing like “moral values.” The […]

Sex and “Church”

[1] We now know the recommendations of the task force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality: Retain “Vision and Expectations,” but enforce it using “pastoral discretion.” This presents a problem: What criteria should we use to adjudicate enforcement? It would be decidedly un-Lutheran (“enthusiastic”) to locate such discretion in the immediate activity of the Holy Spirit. […]

Journeying Together and Faithfully?

[1] An evaluation of “Journey Together Faithfully: The Church and Homosexuality” (ELCA Studies on Sexuality, Part II) must answer these questions: 1) Does the document fairly and accurately represent the relevant positions? 2) Does it help people clarify their own views? 3) Is the document substantial enough to guide the process of ELCA deliberation on […]