"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Lutheranism and Calvinism

Link: Kim Riddlebarger on Issues, Etc.

The Reformation gave birth to two major streams of theological tradition: Lutheranism and Calvinism (the Reformed faith). The two streams share much common doctrine: justification by faith alone (sola fide), the active and passive obedience of Christ, the Law-Gospel hermeneutic, monergism, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Confessionalist definition of the church, etc.

They also have their differences. Sometimes the differences can be highlighted in unhelpful and angry discussions. However, the link above is a great, friendly and intellectually stretching conversation on a Lutheran talk show between a Lutheran and a Calvinist (Kim Riddlebarger) on what are the differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism. It is encouraging and exciting to hear such a conversation occur between two people who are confident enough in their beliefs that in hearing the other side they often look for common ground before highlighting the differences, all the time not compromising their doctrine.

Topics Covered:
Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistable Grace
Perseverance of the Saints
The Eucharist
The Covenant


Matthew Lush said...

Sounds like it may be interesting Jared, I quite enjoy Kim Riddlebarger. I have found him to be very sympathetic to differing theologies in the few books I have read by him. One that is sitting on my desk as we speak is A Case for Amillennialism. Are you familiar with his blog at all?

I hope to listen to this later. Nice post!

Andrew said...

They are probably two of the most similar denominations, though of course, Luther himself was a "Calvinist" - I know the terms can't historically be applied that way, but He seemed to agree with Calvin on everything except the real presence (consubstantiation vs. 'spiritual' real presence)... and other than the comment about not being a brother in Christ, I think Calvin and Luther were very similar.

Of course the later Lutherans hated Calvinism, hence the lack of union between the Lutheran and Anglican churches (Anglicans were said to be 'too calvinistic') and until the Lutherans rooted out the crypto-calvinists and killed them for heresy.... ya.... But still, they are very similar- at least when considering modern protestant denominations like the Assemblies of God or Mennonites or Free Methodists.

steve martin said...

This Lutheran has many Calvinist friends.

That double predestination idea bothers me and the focus on the self in one's performance or obedience. I think when you do that you can end up with self-righteousness, or phoniness, or despair. Sort of a dour existence... like Calvin's Geneva.

We are close, but I'm glad I'm a Lutheran.

And I do also believe that God can be in two places at once. (in Heaven and in the bread and wine of the supper)


Andrew said...

I'm glad you're a happy Lutheran, I love the Lutheran church. I'm a vaguely disappointed Roman Catholic myself, but in the midst of our potential disagreements, I agree with you that omnipresence, being one of God's characteristics, I don't think it's difficult for him to be in two places.

Hurray for the 'real' real presence!

Jared Nelson said...

I, too, celebrate Go'd Omnipresence and believe it is manifest in Christ in his divine nature in the supper. If the spiritual presence is not a real presence, then God is not real, because God is spirit.

steve martin said...

Andrew, Jared,

You guys are alright!

Bt the way, I'm one Lutheran who isn'r all that crazy with the Lutheran Church.

However, I do love Luther's theology!


steve martin said...

PS - Two fingered typing doesn't lend itself very well to speed.

Matthew Lush said...

Jared, Amen. I agree wholly with what you said in regard to the divine nature of Christ.

Good post.