I find it interesting that so many of the people posting on my blog are not Lutherans. Did you know that?
Most of my fellow postulants at Wycliffe Hall would say, "John Zahl is a Lutheran". But they are wrong. I am an Episcopalian, if anything. It's not cool or impressive.
Tom Becker raised the question: "Why aren't you guys Lutherans?" Well, the answer has to do with the fact that the Gospel is not bound to Luther (at all!). He just got it, and expressed it clearly, which most Christians do not. So we appeal to him as a kind of ally, a pal, a guy who understood the main thrust of Bible's emphasis on Jesus and how that plays out.
Here's the thing: Luther did not discover or invent the Gospel. He just read Paul, and realized that ecclesiology is always trumped by anthropology. If you read Paul's letters as dealing predominantly with ecclesiological issues, then, naturally, you posit ecclesiological solutions to life problems. Those of us who don't do that, but are still "conservative" come out sounding very "Lutheran" by those standards, but don't kid yourselves.
A perfect example of this is found in my friend Art VonLehe's comments in on the earlier post, "Some Thoughts on Action/Consequence". Read them. Art sounds like a Lutheran, but he is not. I asked him point-blank: "How much Luther have you ever read, Art?" His answer: "Well, I read the Introduction to Bondage of the Will -- I don't know if that counts -- and I read about the first 10 pages of that book, ...and that's it." I asked him if he realized how Lutheran he sounded in his post and he said, "I thought what I said was just Paul?" I knew it!
For those of you who don't know, and have been reading my blog comment-threads of recent, please note: only two of the people posting are/were actual Lutherans: Tom Becker, and Mattie. Most of the people you've been reading (including me, JZ) dig heavily on the enabling word of the Gospel as summarized in the teaching of Justification by Faith, in light of their rather dark earthly estimations of human character as tinged thoroughly with sin, but, importantly, would also consider ourselves to have charismatic leanings. Many of my readers actually pray in tongues!
Do keep this in mind.
Best (In Him), JAZ Psalm 34:6