Thursday, January 28, 2010

an interesting read on 'Legalism and License' in Lutheran theology

This is one of the important topics for Lutherans. Follow the link

The two ideas are not listed in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

A traditional example from the Missouri Synod is that attempts to ban drinking are legalistic. I will read the essay by Mr. Wilkin with great interest.

Later in the day I posted my response:

The author uses a common rhetorical device of comparing and contrasting the two categories, liberty and license, with great persuasion. Repentance is the key.

I felt that as I read along that both conditions could be applied to myself. I was then reminded of the great Lutheran truth that I am simultaneously a sinner and a saint.

Another way to look at this timely and worthwhile topic, is to apply it to organized churches. As I understand it, the Missouri Synod, did not condemn slavery as sin during the Civil War. Old Walther himself, if I have this straight, thought that the institution of slavery was not specifically condemned in the Bible. He thought, again I hope that I have this straight, that the problems of the day were caused by the abolitionists in northern states.

The idea was, and I am guessing, that the human institution of slavery could not be condemned because people of good will on both sides of the issue could not agree. If there is no human agreement, then there would be no moral condemnation.

And so it was with prohibition. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is not a sin in itself, and so it is legalistic to say that it is. Some say it is sinful and some say that isn’t. If there is not a consensus on a human issue, then no one dare say that it is sinful.

How then, in our time, fares abortion? Abortion, in the traditional Old Synodical Conference view, is regarded as a sin. In other faith communities it is not a sin. How then do the Old Synodical Conference churches, state that abortion is a sin while slavery and alcohol consumption are not?

Is it not legalistic for a synod to condemn abortion as sinful?

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