Thursday, January 4, 2007

What does Lutheranism mean?

aka Lutheranism by the Bloggers

Throughout the world, there are many different sorts of Lutherans, with many different views of what it means to be a Lutheran. An encyclopedia can present you with a neutral, unbiased view of what Lutheranism is -- or you can talk to actual Lutherans to discover what they actually believe.

After searching high and low, scouring the blog-o-sphere, I am pleased to present these blog posts about what it means to be a Lutheran. You will find here much agreement on the general principles of faith. But you will also find many differences of theology, emphasis, and tone. Some of these authors would be described as liberal, some as conservative -- but all describe themselves as Lutheran. And so, without furhter ado, I invite you to find out what it means to be a Lutheran:

  • Pastor Paul McCain writes a passionate explanation of why he is a Lutheran in the post I Love Jesus that's why I love Lutheranism! on the Cyberbrethren blog. Pastor McCain also offers his answer to the question "Does Being a Lutheran Matter?" on the St. James the Hoosier blog.

  • Andy at Sinning Boldly enters into a dialogue about the Confessions in his What is Lutheranism? post, and also offers a more light-hearted Hitchhiker's Guide to Lutheranism and this post "On Lutheranism."

  • Pastor Snyder of Ask the Pastor answers the question "What do Lutherans Believe?" (and also links to his many other postings about Lutheranism).

  • Lee at Verbum Ipsum writes about the Lutheran ability to balance all aspects of our tradition in the Why Lutheran? post.

  • The LutherPunk takes his stuggles with his denominational identity public in Should I Stay or Should I Go? and again here.

  • A recent college graduate offers her take on What is means to be a Lutheran on her blog, Brett's Discernment.

  • In attempt to respond to a prof's question, Nate produced this post on the Peter's Tent blog.

  • Michael Borg describes What Lutherans Believe on the This is Most Certainly True blog.

  • Yours truly has an on-going series about what it means to be a Lutheran, you can read part 1, part 2, and part 3 on my blog, postings from prairie hill.

  • Enjoy! I discovered a number of blogs that I wasn't familiar with while doing this, and think you might enjoy some of them as well.
    I know that this is certainly not all ... If you have a post on what it means to be a Lutheran, or if you have come across one you really enjoyed, leave me a comment to this post and I will add it.

    Friday, December 29, 2006

    An Update Coming

    Due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, this blog has been somewhat neglected over the past few weeks. I am on it, and there should be a new post shortly after the new year. This next post will be from links to blog postings about Lutheranism. If you have stumbled across, or written, a helpful summary of Lutheranism, please leave me a comment and I will check it out.

    A blessed Christmas and a Happy New year to all of you.

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Call For Links

    The last post was about websites with articles/info about Lutheranism - but not blogs. I would now like to compile a list of blog posts that answer the question "What is Lutheranism?" Have you written a post about basic Lutheranism? Or maybe read a great post about Lutheranism? Then leave a note here in my comments. I need your help on this one; I just don't have the time (or patience) to comb through people's archives to find good articles on Lutheranism.

    Lutheranism: Websites

    When it comes to finding online information, blogs have been very helpful. But, traditional websites still tend to have more in-depth, permanent information, provided in a less polemical manner. Thus, this first post of Lutheranism links is all about the traditional website article. What is Lutheranism? Well, it depends who you ask.

  • A great starting place is the Wikipedia article on Lutheranism. The article on Wikipedia is constantly being edited by persons from all points of view, and so represents a "neutral" definition of Lutheranism. One distinct advantage of the Wikipedia article, is that through the links you can find info about all different aspects of Lutheran theology, history, and churches.

  • Shorter encyclopedia style entries can be found on the Christian Cyclopedia, the online version of the earlier Lutheran Cyclopedia, hosted & updated by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Especially of interest are the entries for Lutheran, and Lutheran Reformation.

  • One more long, encyclopedia-style article comes from the on-line version of the Catholic Encylopedia. If you can take into account that the article is quite dated and has a very clear bias, there is some good information there as well. If nothing else, it isn't a bad read for people who are already Lutherans, as it provides an insight into how people outside of our tradition see us.

  • The homepage of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provides two articles on Lutheranism: What ELCA Lutherans Believe and the ELCA Confession of Faith.

  • The LC-MS provides a longish article in pdf format here. Of particular interest is the section entitled "What do Lutherans Believe?" on pages 3-7.

  • A website entitled "Believe" has three essays on Lutheranism, written by George Wolfgang Forell, J F Johnson, and Martin Marty.

  • ReligionFacts has a nice write-up on Lutheranism, including links and a helpful bibliography.

  • Walter Snyder, a pastor in the LC-MS and host of the Xysostom website, and offers this "Comparison of Lutheranism with other Churches."

  • If you have another useful link about what it means to be a Lutheran, leave me a note in the comments (note that I have avoided articles about Lutheran history, a topic for another time). Please leave a comment if a link goes dead.

    Monday, December 4, 2006

    Why Not Wiki?

    A number of people have pointed out that one of the best resources on Lutheranism is the "Lutheranism" article on wikipedia. Others have suggested that this project become its own wiki.

    There are a couple of reasons that I am not doing that at this time:
    1) Wikipedia provides full, encyclopedic entries. I am only providing minimum content on this site. Lutheranism 101 is primarily about linking to the best content on-line about Lutheranism.

    2) Wikipedia strives to present a neutral point of view. That is great, and everything you would expect from an encyclopedia. But what is missing is the passion that people have for Lutheranism - and that can only be conveyed with a very definite point of view. I try to present links as even-handedly as possible, but the sites I link to here have a point of view, and the information and perspective they provide would not work as a Wiki.

    Sunday, December 3, 2006

    Blogging Lutherans

    This week's Blogging Lutherans Sunday Special comes from a fellow ELCA pastor.

    Idle Ramblings of the LutherPunk is this week's Sunday Special. Stop by and support LutherPunk, and let him know the Blogging Lutherans sent you.

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Writings of Martin Luther

    There is much written on the web about Martin Luther and contemporary Lutherans. But sometimes it is helpful to return to the sources -- to let brother Martin speak for himself. As it happens -- for those of us who can't shell out to by the 55 volume American edition of Luther's works -- there are a number of websites that have Martin Luther's writings. So grab your cup of coffee (or your pint), kick back, and enjoy reading.

  • Project Wittenberg is probably the most extensive and well-known on-line collection of Luther's writings.

  • Some of the Project Wittenberg Material is mirrored on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) page for Martin Luther, which also has a few additional writings.

  • has a large collection of Luther's sermons and other writings -- I think from an older English translation of Luther's Works that has passed into public domain.

  • The Internet Sacred Texts Collection has a small collection of Luther's writings, anchored by 9 sermons.

  • Of course, found within the Book of Concord you find some of Luther's best loved writings: the Smaller and Larger Catechism, and the Schmalkald Articles.

  • One of the more interesting collections of Luther material is that of Bible Researcher. Here you will find an assortment of Luther's quotes about Scripture, his Preface to Romans and Letter on Translating, as well as an interesting article about Luther's Bible.

  • Did I miss a site with a nice collection of Luther's works? Leave me a note in the comments and I will check it out (please, not sites that just link to these sites).