Cut the Hooey! The Liberals Are Not Killing the ELCA!

A few months ago I wrote a post challenging the notion that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is going to hell in a liberal hand basket (well, that’s not exactly the content of the post, but that’s the jist).  I think such a notion is hooey.

For more hooey check out the most recent edition of the online Journal of Lutheran Ethics, in which Robert Benne of Roanoke College writes an article asking, "Will There Be a Lutheran Theological Ethic in the Next Generation?"  He pessimistically suggests that the next generation will not have a Lutheran theological ethic, owing in large part to the ELCA’s radical liberal agenda.  Give me a break.


I wrote a response to Dr. Benne’s article and sent it off to the Journal of Lutheran Ethics.  I posted it here last evening, but have since taken it down.  The Journal may publish it, but would like to work with me on a few edits.  If and when it gets posted to the Journal, I’ll link to it here.

In the meantime, let me say in response to Dr. Benne that liberalism is not killing our unique Lutheran voice.  Masculine language to describe God is alive and well (just look at our new worship book!), our churches are more likely to be accused of being staid places of inaction than of centers for radical liberal activity, and the largest threat to a unique Lutheran theological ethic and lens is not liberalism but a generic conservative American protestantism.  I think he is pretty off base in his critique.  More later, I promise . . .


Published by Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. Veteran. Jedi. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

6 thoughts on “Cut the Hooey! The Liberals Are Not Killing the ELCA!

  1. The vast majority of ELCA (reminder, this stands for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) churches: (1) are not Evangelical in construct, practice or theology; (2) are only marginally Lutheran due to a reverse bell curve effect on both ends of the “conservative – liberal theology” spectrum; (3) rarely see their role as being a part of the “big C” Church beyond the ELCA through embracing diversity in its beautiful God-created mosaic and showing sibling love to non-mainline Christian bodies; and (4) just happen by virtue of geography and God’s will be located in the United States.
    I guess 1 for 4 could get you a decent salary in major league baseball, but it isn’t up to snuff as the Body of Christ.
    Until we stop squabbling about politics and start acting like the Bride of Christ, we’ll never reach our Holy Spirit inspired potential in the world.
    Let’s get back to work, the fields are awaiting …

  2. Darn…you took it down. I had linked it from my page. I was hoping it would generate some discussion.
    Let us all know if JLE does in fact publish it.

  3. LP,
    Sorry I took it down, but since they wrote back and said they were interested in publishing my response I wanted to let them be the first or primary place it appears online. Sorry for the confusion. I’m pretty passionate about this issue and look forward to discussing it as soon they publish the article (and if they don’t, then I’ll re-post it here).

  4. Well I certainly do hope they publish it. It is a worthwhile piece. The mere publication of the Benne piece in the JLE seems to me to refute his central assertion.
    Keep us posted, and good work!

  5. I read the first posting. I think either of you could prove your point by taking a survey of a variety of ELCA members. Ask who their synod bishop is, who the head bishop is, what each has said or written, then ask who Billy Graham, Warren, Campolo, etc. etc. is and what they have written. Maybe also ask about various people in American culture.
    BTW, for Look Upward, what definition are you using for Evangelical, the traditional one or the one used by many American Christian groups? I looked up the definition one time and saw that there are at least two definitions.

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