Entries by Mark Ellingsen

How Do You Best Love Those Who Don’t Fulfill Expectations? Can Methodists Endorse the Lutheran Answer as Appropriate?

     I was tempted to sing the Paul Simon hit again about the mother and child reunion in response to this fine piece of Methodist theologizing.  After all it is well known that John Wesley had his famed Aldersgate Experience while reading the work of Martin Luther on justification by grace through faith (Journals, May […]

Perhaps the Mother and Child Reunion is Only a Couple Clarifications Away

  To paraphrase the 1972 Paul Simon hit:   Now I would not give you false hope,  on these great and mournful [Lenten] days.  But the mother [Lutheran] and child [Pietist] re-u-ni-on  is just a couple of [theological] clarifications away.       Can we grant that Lutheranism is the mother of Pietism?  This relationship is readily apparent when […]

Can Born-Again, Repentant, Freedom-Loving Lutherans Be Regarded As Companions On a Baptist Way To Jesus?  

     Lutherans tend to have innate suspicions of Baptists, second only to our historic hang-ups with Pentecostals.  Of course this is a function of Luther’s bad experience with Anabaptists, and perhaps that makes his critique irrelevant to Lutheran-Baptist relations today.  Alas, many modern Lutherans have this stereotype that Baptists are legalists, creeping Pelagians.  But all […]

Doesn’t Grace Compel Us to Traverse the Reformed Path of Following Jesus?

     When a Lutheran like me dialogues with a Reformed theologian like Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, at least to this Lutheran it feels like a conversation among kin.  In no other part of Christendom do Lutherans find the celebration of God’s grace more strongly and compellingly articulated than among the heirs of Calvin.  How wonderful to live […]

The Joys of Being Found by Jesus in Liturgy and Heritage: A Lutheran – Episcopal Celebration

     Randall Balmer’s compelling story of finding Jesus in the cadences of the historic liturgy and the Presence of Christ in the Church’s Sacramental life was a sweet song in my Lutheran ears.  How wonderful to be worshipping the same way Christians have for 1500 or more years, to be worshipping with all the faithful who have […]

Can Lutheran Dialectical Thinking and Living Counter-Culturally be Considered an Appropriate Gospel Witness by Anabaptists?

      What led me to fall in love with God, Christian faith, and the church of my youth was the awareness that ours is a faith for rebels, for people who are committed to living counter-culturally – going against the grain of what society expects.  My high-school years in Pennsylvania led me to sense that Mennonites and the […]

Is Spontaneity and Freedom from the Law a Legitimate Option in the Church Catholic?

IS SPONTANEITY AND FREEDOM FROM THE LAW A LEGITIMATE OPTION IN THE CHURCH CATHOLIC?         I really appreciated the dialogue with all my partners (the new friends I’m making), and my  personal responses to each which you can read will indicate in more depth my appreciation and thoughts about your insightful reflections.  I am struck by how two elements […]

Lutheranism: An Evangelical Catholic Way to Follow Jesus

      In order to articulate Lutheranism’s approach to following Jesus, we need to sort out the Lutheran self-image (at least its historical image) and appreciate the diversity within the Lutheran family.  Of course it is well known that Lutherans did not originally name themselves  Lutheran.  That title is a function of their critics naming them, rather like […]