Rogers on Lutheran Piety

From at James Rogers at First Things, on Lutheran Evangelicals, or why the young, restless and reformed aren’t attracted to Lutheranism.

The rationalism and nominalism inherent in Zwinglian sacramental theology is the very air that American Evangelicalism inhales. The shift from an Evangelical church to a Lutheran church is therefore not simply one of amending a few abstract theological affirmations, it represents a cultural shift for the person as well as a shift in how one conceives of and expresses one’s piety and spirituality, both individually and as part of an ecclesiastical community.


One thought on “Rogers on Lutheran Piety”

  1. While there can be no denying that Zwingli’s view on the sacraments is better-suited to the post-Enlightenment era, I don’t buy that such a low view is a deciding factor for young, post-Evangelicals.

    Such a view fails to take seriously the trend of Millennials to move towards other liturgical/sacramental forms of faith. The Anglican churches (both those in and out of communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury) are also doing quite well in terms of reaching out to the new generation of adult Christians — and I believe specifically because the high/low debate was fully resolved in 1979 (at least, in the Episcopal Church). Weekly celebration of the Eucharist is the norm, not the exception. This debate, however, is still very much alive in the ELCA. If we take seriously “lex orandi, lex credendi” and the power of worship to shape our worldview, then how is it that the archaic liturgical theology of Anglicanism has been more successful in reaching out to those fleeing Evangelicalism? Many Millennial Christians are actively seeking the more ancient beliefs of the Church and are willing to do the required reading. It is precisely the anti-Zwinglian view that is attracting my generational cohort to the Episcopal Church. If there is to be any hope for the ELCA in years to come, it will be because the Pietist parishes begin rediscovering high church Lutheranism.


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