. . . is Luther turning over in his grave . . .
Well, what difference does doctrine make to the ELCA these days? It’s already in full communion with TEC, which starting taking a blue pencil to the Thirty-nine Articles before the confession’s ink was dry, and with the Reformed Church in America, whose theology is a typical American hodge-podge of evangelical minimalism and mainline reductionism. (A Belgic Confession to the average RCA pew-sitter is something that happens under duress before the European Parliament in Brussels.)
So the discrepancies in the traditional understanding of the sacraments—real presence vs. real absence, baptismal regeneration vs. covenant sign vs. church membership—much ado about nothing? Forget about the old synergism vs. monergism debate: The mainline verges on universalism, so the distinction is meaningless.
Why not merge the churches and be done with it—they’re already bleeding more members than a convention of mohelim. One great pan-Protestant denomination—First Church of the Grand High Exalted Mystic Vague—where all are welcome, because all are one, and between self and nonself exists only an unpaid student loan. The gospel, like Gaul, will be divided into three parts: The Law, the Gospel, and the Adorable Huggables. And the only moral theology will consist of being overdrawn on your carbon credits . . .
I will let Herr Luther have the last word: “But Christ tells you and me something far different. He says: My church is where my Word is preached purely and is unadulterated and kept. Therefore St. Paul warns that we should flee and avoid those who would lead us away from God’s Word, for if anyone defiles God’s temple, which we are, God will destroy him (1 Cor. 3:17). And St. Peter also says: Take heed, if you are going to preach, then you should preach nothing but God’s Word (1 Pet. 4:11), otherwise you will defile God’s church.”