Lutheran denominational history (includes ELCA, predecessor, and international ELC bodies)

Review: Changing World, Changeless Christ: The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 1914–2014

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (“ALPB” or “the Bureau”) is one of those rare institutions that spans major North American Lutheran denominations, (or at least some camps thereof). Hoping to make the Lutheran church better known in America, its early founders (then, primarily from the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) set in motion a publishing body whose publications have provided a forum for ethical reflection, social engagement and denominational dispute across the decades. Although not a church body, the ALPB has focused on issues facing American Lutherans — from its outspoken voice against racism in the 1940s, to war and peace, abortion, sexuality and other social concerns.

Distilling Dignity: Our (ELCA) Emerging Definition

We often talk about inherent human “dignity”–but what does that mean? Does the ELCA have a consistent definition? Suehr examines each of the ELCA social statements to thoroughly analyze how often they use the term and concept of dignity and what they mean by it. This piece is particularly timely as it comes during the draft period for the upcoming social statement on women and justice.

Historical Document: Some Thoughts on the Ordination of Women and the Lutheran Confessions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

Ordaining Women Goes to the Heart of the Gospel

Addressing a group from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon, Bloomquist outlines the reasons why Lutheran church bodies often choose not to ordain women. Looking at Christian history and scripture, she explicates how women’s ordination is grounded in the heart of the gospel, while also utilizing real life examples of the value of women’s ordained ministry and the ability of people to grow in their understanding of culture and taboos when it comes to spiritual life.

May 17th, 2015 Commencement Speech by Archbishop Antje Jackelén at Lutheran School of Theology Chicago

Archbishop Antje Jackelén addressed the Class of 2015 at the Lutheran Schol of Theology Chicago at their commencment. She notes that when Jesus prayed for the apostles to unite and protect them as they are out in the world. Jesus would not take us away from the world: we are invited into it to share the joy we have in Christ. Climate change will test our ability to hope and to care for our neighbor. Faith leaders need to be at the forefront of this movement that spans all borders.

Review of Burkee’s Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod: A Conflict that Changed American Christianity.

[1] The story of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod begins in reaction to encroaching theological liberalism. In 1839, Martin Stephan brought about 700 Saxons to Missouri to flee the liberal and rationalist developments in Saxony and nearby Prussia. One hundred and thirty years later, these Lutherans were up against the same enemy—this time from within, and […]

The Americanization of American Lutheranism: Democratization of Authority and the Ordination of Women, Part I

See Part II of this article by Susan Wilds McArver Copyright 2011 Lutheran University Press. This essay will be published by Lutheran University Press in a book entitled Sources of Authority in the Church. [1] The decision by American Lutheran churches to ordain women, made in stages through joint study and church convention, used modern […]

Sources of Authority in the Lutheran Tradition: Back to the Future

Copyright 2011 Lutheran University Press. This essay will be published by Lutheran University Press in a book entitled Sources of Authority in the Church. [1] Let me begin by saying that I am not an historian; I am a theologian who works within a confessional tradition, frequently drawing on historical sources for constructive purposes. Reflecting […]

Sources of Authority according to the Lutheran Confessions

Copyright 2011 Lutheran University Press. This essay will be published by Lutheran University Press in a book entitled Sources of Authority in the Church. [1] A lot of our talks have been focusing on the issue of authority as power and process. I am going to focus on the issue of authority as truth, with […]

German Lutherans and Assimilation: Lessons in the Current Atmosphere of Islamophobia

[1] One of our great American patriots and public servants has always been a staunch advocate of the need for immigrant communities to assimilate into traditional American culture, adopting the English language and the values of its national heritage. So, it is not a surprise that he has also been critical of immigrants coming to […]