3.18.2012

Lutheran Question: Salvation

For those in the know: is there room in Lutheran (ELCA) doctrine for salvation theologies OTHER than substitutionary atonement?

9 comments:

  1. Well, I don't know about Lutherans specifically, but in (Presby but open to all) seminary we were taught something like 12 or 15 theologies of salvation. Only very briefly, sad to say, but it was enough of a few lectures to enable me to breathe a huge sigh of relief that I did not have to adopt substitutionary atonement, which is of course based on medieval feudalism in Europe, as my MO.

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  2. Thanks, Robin. My UCC seminary is good that way, too, but as I try to sort out denominational discernment, I'm trying to figure out what works in the ELCA.

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  3. Yes there is room, but you'll find plenty of people clinging to that bloody, old, rugged cross school of theology. I suspect you'll find more people open to other salvation theologies in seminary than you will out in the parish. I've always been shocked by how Lutherans in my congregation seem more shaped by Baptist theology or Catholic adoration of the cross theology (on Good Friday, we do an adoration of the cross part of the service--it still doesn't feel right to me).

    In good conscience, however, as part of your discernment, I suppose I really should encourage you to read your Luther and what he said, and I'd need to reread it to be sure of what you'd find there. He's very medieval in his views, even as he's somewhat more forward looking than his contemporaries. What you would expect, of course, from someone who lived centuries ago.

    I find the ELCA to be a very elastic organization, especially in the last few years. Some would say that's a sign of weakness, but I see it as a strength. There's room for you in the ELCA!

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  4. Hi Di, great answers and I'll chime in how interesting it is that in all these centuries the Eastern Churches never have discerned substitutionary atonement out of those same texts. I agreed, read Luther, please read LOTS of Luther, which is a fun trip in itself! And remember, he never left his late medieval mindset and worldview. Leah, commenting as river song

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  5. OOOOOOHHHHH, yes. I don't believe in substitutionary atonement and haven't for years. In my lifelong experience with the ELCA, as Kristin said above, we are not big on mandating stuff. There are a wide range of theologies (which is good and bad, sometimes).

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  6. I remembered this ? and came back over here to see the answers. I suspected as much, but definitely interested.

    hugs

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  7. From my year worshipping at an ELCA parish--definitely! The hymns in the wonderful new red book present a very diverse theological picture and that is a pretty definitive theological teaching source. Lex orandi, lex credendi. I'd also suggest looking elsewhere in the book, especially at the Eucharistic Prayers there for light on this question and would love to hear what you discover. There are about 10, I think, and some are pretty cool. Not sure exactly how many though, and haven't studied them in depth, as one of the only problems with our fantastic liturgy is that G. omits most of them. It's a pretty schizophrenic pattern: Preface Dialogue, full preface (often sung), Sanctus (always sung), then institution narrative, doxology, amen, and Prayer of Jesus. I was just agreeing with the AIM that if his concern is service length he needs to cut a minute or two from his good but looong sermons and/or announcements to make room for those which have much higher priority IMHO! Discernment prayers continue and I owe you snailmail...

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  8. Most of them in the sense of never doing a full Eucharistic prayer, i.e. most of each--not only using a few.

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  9. This is all such great stuff-- thank you! Thanks to the commenting Lutherans, and also to Laura, for the brilliant reminder of lex orandi, lex credendi.

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