Christian Living, Discipleship, and/or Spirituality

Am I Righteous or What? I Drive a Honda Civic That Gets 40 MPG!

[1] After filling up on a recent trip from Ohio, I had my wife calculate the gasoline consumption of our spiffy new Honda Civic. “You’re going to like this,” she said, “It comes out to 45 miles per gallon.” Though aided by a strong tailwind, I was still enthused. But not enthused as I was […]

The Authority of the Church in the World: A New Testament Perspective

Authority in General [1] The term “authority” has many possible meanings.1 In regard to our topic here, however, the list of possibilities is relatively short. When a person speaks of the authority of the church in the world (as distinct from the church’s authority among its own members), he or she is likely to be […]

Ethics and the Promise of God: Moral Authority and the Church’s Witness

We have lost our moral compass… The ethical consensus of our society has been steadily eroding… The church urgently needs to speak clearly and forthrightly to this situation of growing moral anarchy…. [1] Such concerns and convictions are common today. Moreover they have been a perennial complaint in virtually all societies. Within the church, however, […]

God and Justice: The Word and the Mask

[1] The so-called “Two Kingdoms Doctrine” is the label under which a particular framing of the relationship between God’s grace and everyday life in the midst of its institutional realities has been presented in 20th century Lutheranism. For over half a century it has been the way Lutherans framed the relationship between justification and justice. […]

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 […]

Luther’s Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in the Context of his Theology

Heinrich Bornkamm 12/01/2002 ​​ In this essay, the distinguished church historian of Heidelberg University gives us a guided tour through one of the most complex and controversial problems in the interpretation of Christian ethics. Luther’s “two kingdoms” doctrine has been variously praised and damned in recent theology. Thinkers such as Nygren, Althaus, and Ebeling have […]

Puckering up for Postmodern Kissing: Civil Society and the Lutheran Entwinement of Just Peace/Just War

[1] Post-September 11, 2001 Lutherans can faithfully participate in the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence by examining once again our own just war teaching. As a sign of the times 9/11 implores us to consider earnestly the deep connections between just war and just peacekeeping and peacemaking. [2] I say “once again” […]

Facing Iraq With Christian Courage

[1] I had an illuminating conversation the other day about the impending war with Iraq, which ultimately caused me to reflect on the relationship between Christianity and courage. I had written a piece that expresses skepticism about our government’s current foreign policy (a link to the article can be found on this page), and a […]

Infinite Forgiveness for a Culture Based on Peace

[1] In his second address to the nation after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, the United States President, George Bush, called the military operation scheduled against Afghanistan “Operation Infinite Justice.” The bombing got started days later and continues today, October 2001. White House and Pentagon spokesmen insist that American people, as well as […]

Giving Moral Guidance in the Congregation: One Pastor’s Point of View

[1] I serve as pastor of a wonderfully diverse, small (but growing) downtown congregation in Jersey City, New Jersey. Jersey City, for those who may be unaware of our location, is right across the river from lower Manhattan. The magnificence of the World Trade Center had been the primary view from our side of the […]