A Jagged Contention: Doctrinalism

Blue Curve - Ray Collins

“To be sure, there are elements within the LCMS that show evidence of enclosure. The ELCA’s problem has been its left wing; Missouri’s challenge has come from its right, which pounces on suggestions of variance as proof positive of corruption, to be dealt with coercively, tar and feathers. It is as though the Eighth Commandment has been suspended for theological discussion.  The outsider becomes an enemy to be overcome rather than a neighbor to be engaged.”

– James Arne Nestingen, “Decline in American Lutheranism: A Study,” 2015. Given at the Dedication of the dedication of the LC-MS International Lutheran Center in Wittenberg Germany.


Questions given by Dr. Nestingen himself.

“Thus there are questions that remain.  Given the course of the ELCA, can LCMS exercise the theological leadership that Lutherans in America and across the globe so desperately need?  Can it be faithful to both its own theological heritage and the cultures in which is serves without falling into a separatism that would isolate it?  Can it actually be close without becoming closed?  Can it maintain sound doctrine without falling into a doctrinalism in which the doctrine displaces Christ Jesus as the agent of justification?”

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