Author: John R. Stumme

Dr. John R. Stumme is a retired ELCA Pastor. When he wrote this piece, he was Professor of Systematic Theology at the Instituto Superior Evangélico de Estudios Teológicos in Buenos Aires and Vice-President of the Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Unida in Argentina. After ten years in Argentina, he worked for almost two decades with the ELCA’s Church in Society unit as Associate Director and Director for its Department for Studies.

Historical Document: Some Thoughts on the Ordination of Women and the Lutheran Confessions

In 1981, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Argentina was debating women’s ordination and Stumme wrote this paper arguing in favor. He argued that the Confessions are not the law when it comes to women’s ordination. Instead we should look to the Gospel, lifting up Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

When Government Defines “Religious” (Church): An Historical Example

[1] An agency of the federal government issues new regulations that include a definition of a “religious” organization, and critics charge that the definition restricts religious freedom. Sounds like a reference to recent events, and so it is. Yet it is also a summary of events in the late 1970s. The particulars differ but the […]

“Conscience-bound Beliefs” Rule and the “Conscience-bound-belief” Rule

[1] What is striking about the ELCA’s August 2009 decisions about sexuality is that they changed policy without giving a scriptural account for the change. The policy change allows persons in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to be ordained, yet the change is not supported in any official church document on the basis of […]

Historical Document: Some Thoughts on the Ordination of Women and the Lutheran Confessions

In October 1981 the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana Unida, IELU) in Argentina voted to permit the ordination of women. IELU took up the issue because there were for the first time women in the seminary preparing to be pastors. While there was opposition to allowing women into the church’s ordained ministry, […]

Lutheran Sermons on Lincoln’s Assassination: Part 2

Sermons on a National Day of Prayer [1] When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Lutheran ministers preached about him and the events of the time. Five long-forgotten sermons tell us what people heard from some Lutheran pulpits following his death. Attention to these published sermons is one way to remember Lincoln during this year that marks […]

A Lutheran Resolution on the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s Response to a Lutheran Delegation

[1] The General Synod met in May 1862 for the first time since the beginning of the Civil War and adopted a resolution on “the State of the Country” prepared by a committee headed by W.A. Passavant. By this time ecclesiastical ties between the Southern synods and the Northern synods were broken, and no delegates […]

Lutheran Sermons on Lincoln’s Assassination: Part 1

The Creation of Lincoln’s Image [1] Those who knew Abraham Lincoln personally or at a distance, those who lived with him through the trials of the Civil War, those who experienced the shock at his sudden and violent death enjoyed a privileged position in accessing the sixteenth President. What such people said publicly about Lincoln […]

The Neuhaus Legacy and Lutherans

[1] Richard John Neuhaus was a Lutheran for most of his 72 years. He was a Lutheran pastor longer than he was a Roman Catholic priest. He wrote his most widely discussed book while he was a Lutheran. After becoming a Roman Catholic in 1990, the piety and theology he absorbed as a Lutheran continued […]

Review of Gilbert Meilaender’s The Way that Leads There: Augustinian Reflections on the Christian Life

[1] Gilbert Meilaender begins his engaging reflections on The Way that Leads There by quoting a child’s grave marker: Dear Jesus You know that I love you Take me to yourself (1). With these simple words Meilaender leads readers into a profound discussion of the moral life. The marker, he notes, expresses a human neediness […]

Lutherans on Religion and the 1960 Presidential Election

[1] Perhaps few times, if ever, in the history of the United States have questions about the religion of a candidate for President been more prominent than in the 1960 election. Citizens vigorously debated and many cast their votes on how they answered this question: Does the Roman Catholicism of John F. Kennedy disqualify him […]

Introduction to the Symposium, “What does the United States owe Iraq?”

[1] Journal of Lutheran Ethics asked persons who had written earlier in JLE on Iraq to write once again in light of current circumstances. JLE asked them to address the question: “What does the United States owe Iraq? What obligations does the U.S. have toward Iraq?” [2] Six writers take up the challenge. They all […]

Introduction to Reflections on Deus Caritas Est

[1] Journal of Lutheran Ethics continues its series on Pope Benedict’s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “God is love.” This month five more authors join the four from the August issue to offer their reflections on the pope’s letter. Three of the authors focus on theoretical themes arising from the letter and two draw out […]

Introduction to Lutherans on Deus Caritas Est

[1] Love, we know, stands at the heart of both Christian doctrine and ethics: The gospel tells of God’s love for the world in Jesus Christ, and faith in the gospel gives arise to a life active in love for neighbor. The message is clear and simple, yet it leads us into the most basic […]

The Church as a Community of Moral Deliberation—A Time of Testing

[1] The church is about speaking and listening. For those who believe the church has responsibility in and for society, it follows quite naturally that Christians should talk together about the relationship of the faith to their responsibilities. Christians have done so for centuries in a variety of ways, and in a democratic society with […]

Inhabiting the Christian Narrative: An Example of the Relationship Between Religion and the Moral Life

The following paper was presented at an International Symposium on “Religions, Morality and Social Concerns” at Fudan University, Shanghai, China in April 2003. The university’s newly established Institute of Religious Studies brought together Christians (Protestant and Catholic), Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Marxists and others from China, other Asian countries, Europe and the United States. According to […]

Still, A “Lutheran Accent”: A Response to the Reviews

[1] I thank Editor Peters for this dialog symposium on The Promise of Lutheran Ethics (PLE). In our initial plan for the book, Karen Bloomquist and I envisioned a second part in which pastors, other ethicists, and an historian would comment on the original essays. For practical reasons we had to drop the idea. This […]

An Interview with George Forell: September 6, 2001

[1] JLE: Why don’t you begin by telling us about your own involvement with Luther and Luther studies. [2] Forell: I could start by saying that I wasn’t really aware that I was a Lutheran when I transferred from Germany to Austria, because I was “evangelisch.” “Evangelisch” meant Lutheran where I came from, because we […]

Beginning in a Time of Anguish and Crisis

[1] We begin Journal of Lutheran Ethics (JLE) in the shadow of the horrendous and shattering events of September 11, 2001. As we planned and prepared for this journal, little did we anticipate the critical historical moment that is now upon us all. Little did we imagine that people everywhere would be struggling through the […]