Thursday, November 17, 2011

E-nklings Cloud of Witnesses: Internet Monk

In a new segment here at E-nklings - Cloud of Witnesses - I am happy to share a little something passed along from some mutual friends at New Reformation Press. If haven't read anything by the now sainted Michael Spencer, the original Internet Monk, you should. You can check out the archive under the following link. But the work continues thankfully. And the following quotation is but the conclusion of a very succinct overview of modern evangelicalism and some of its influences and consequences on the clear preaching of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments (not all of which are good). Thankfully the author has included some of his own insights that have resulted from an exploration into Lutheran doctrine. If you have any suggestions for future guests, please let me know. So, without further adieu, enjoy the guest appearance by Chaplain Mike, the author of this fantastic three-part series.

1. Part one of the full length article can be found here. And you can enjoy some highlights below.

In May 2010, after Michael’s sad passing, I wrote a series of posts called, “My Issues with Evangelicalism.” In those pieces, I identified three main areas of disillusionment with the culture of American evangelicalism: (1) Worship, (2) Pastoral Ministry, (3) Missional living.
Let me say, by way of concluding this overview, that I have been thrilled with what I have learned and experienced in the Lutheran tradition with regard to these three areas.

  • The Word and Table liturgy of the Lutheran church, rooted in the historic tradition of the church rather than the revivalist movement, restores the priority of worship in the local congregation.

  • Pastors are not CEO’s or program directors in the Lutheran church as they have become in much of evangelicalism. Rather, they represent Christ in distributing the means of grace through Word and Sacrament. Preaching is embedded in the liturgy so that worship does not revolve around the charisma of the preacher, but the Word Himself who meets us in the gathering of his people. Pastoral care and catechizing the congregation are essential components of his or her work.

  • The doctrine of vocation is one of the gifts the Lutheran tradition has given to the larger Church. Luther, himself a monk, came to appreciate the priesthood of all believers and the integrity of every calling, “sacred” or “secular,” as a means of showing Christ’s love to the world.
This is just a start in showing how the Lutheran tradition has answered some of my concerns with the system of evangelicalism dominant in America today.
More to come.

2. For part two, click here.

3. And for part three, click here.

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