Issue: October/November 2022: What Does It Mean To Be Church Now?

Volume 22 Number 5

Editor’s Introduction: October/November 2022 What Does It Mean To Be Church Now?

[1] I remember sitting with tens of thousands of Luther Leaguers in San Antonio in 1988 at the National Lutheran Youth Gathering as we all sang together “The church is not a building where people come to pray, it’s not made out of sticks and stones, it’s not made out of clay.  We are the […]

Transformative Theologizing

Theologizing is an ongoing, transforming process in the world.. [1] In the 1970s, I decided to work on a Ph.D. in Theology, even though my interests were pulling me into Ethics. Back then, Lutheran Ethics was seen by many as an oxymoron; Lutherans believe “God does it all; we don’t.” Because I wanted to be […]

The Church’s Faithful Responses to Conspiracy Theories – The Modern Gnosticism

[1] Over 20 years ago I worked on Capitol Hill for a Member of Congress.  We would receive letters, phone calls, and emails about an assortment of issues.  And we were required to send a response to every correspondence we received.  Most of the time, those responses contained information or a constituent’s opinions about up-coming […]

To be Online or Not To Be Online: Uncovering the Roots of the Debates Concerning Online Worship  

[1] “The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.”[1] Like the novel as a whole, this statement from Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a portal into opacity. Joseph K., the novel’s protagonist, finds himself lost in an endless debate governed by nontransparent logic. He […]

Church Growth and Construction Rebound

[1] During the pandemic, there was a predictable slowdown in church construction. Many churches that had scheduled renovation or new building projects put them on hold. Others that had begun to consider launching such projects decided to put the subject on the back burner for a year or two, until they could be certain the […]

‘Covenant’ as a Biblical Anchor: Some thoughts for the upcoming Social Statement on Government and Civic Obligation

Currently, the Task Force on Government and Civic Engagement is beginning the process of creating a social statement on faith and civic life.   The Journal of Lutheran Ethics has invited short pieces from ethicists on this subject for the December 2022 issue.  To start this process, Stewart Herman has offered the following which also fits […]

For Congregational Discussion: October/November 2022

[1] This issue of Journal of Lutheran Ethics focuses on the question of What the Church is, can be, and ought to be.   The following activities can be done in small groups in church communities and are meant to foster both discussion and action on the topics at hand.   Activity 1: The Church as […]

Book Review Introduction: October/November 2022

[1] The two books reviewed in this issue are academic works focused on Luther scholarship. Christine Helmer’s, How Luther Became the Reformer brings a critical lens to the image of Luther as “instigator of modernity.” Critiquing scholarship of the German Luther Renaissance, Helmer argues for a historical perspective that grounds Luther more solidly in late […]

Book Review: How Luther Became the Reformer by Christine Helmer

[1] Christine Helmer’s book How Luther Became the Reformer is not a typical history of Martin Luther. At its core, the book is an examination of historical interpretations of Luther. [2] Helmer is a professor of the Humanities and German at Northwestern University. Her areas of study include Martin Luther, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and the Luther […]

Book Review: Trinitarian Grace in Martin Luther’s The Bondage of the Will by Miikka Roukanen

[1] Miikka Roukanen, professor at Nanjing Theological Seminary, argues that Luther’s account of God’s creation of faith in the believer, and subsequent justification and sanctification, is fully Trinitarian in nature.  I want to be clear from the outset that this review cannot do justice to the carefully grounded, and intricate arguments made in the book. […]