Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brothers and Sisters in the Faith

As (ELCA) Lutherans, we believe that basically anybody who believes in Jesus Christ is part of The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, per Article VIII of the Augsburg Confession.
...the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers...
This would include Baptists, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Calvinists, Methodists, Anglicans, and so on...Presumably, anyway, given the way we handle ecumenical affairs...

And yet, we also say, per Article VII,
The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.
But, as Lutherans, we would say that all of the above do not, in fact, teach the Gospel or administer the Sacraments rightly.  So are Baptists, Catholics, EOs, Calvinists, Methodists, Anglicans, and on and on part of the Church, or not?  Are some people in those denominations "secret Lutherans," perhaps unawares, and thus part of the Church?  Which Karl was it - Rahner or Barth - who had the "secret Christian" theory? 

It's late, so maybe I'm seeing a contradiction that really isn't there.  But given the intellectually rigorous nature of seminary studies these days...hahaha...I'm gonna need someone to explain this to me.

1 comment:

Kevin Haug said...

Ah, but does this beg the question as to whether or not the Gospel is rightly preached in our own denomination? ...or the LCMS? ...or the WELS? ...or in one particular congregation and not another? Or because of our sin, is the gospel ever rightly preached? The sacraments, of course, are always rightly administered: Satan himself could preside over the sacrament, and it would still be efficacious. Or, is God's grace sufficient enough even in the midst of our failure to preach the gospel rightly?

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