Much of our congregation’s focus for this year has been on the Reformation, as this coming October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses. It has been a healthy exercise for us to re-examine our identity and heritage as Lutheran Christians.But nagging questions persist pertaining to the question of Lutheran identity.
Does Lutheranism still matter? Is all this focus on the Reformation just an exercise in history, with little impact or relevance to today? We live in a culture that is increasingly indifferent to matters of the faith. Denominational identity is even less of a concern. Surely, I’m not the only one who regularly encounters those Christians who not only say, but even boast of being in a non-denominational church.
To be clear, it is more important that one be a Christian. Denominations are merely adjectives that describe the important part, the noun “Christian.” Yet we know that the main factor when people choose a church is not who the pastor is or the type of music. Instead, the main factor is what the church believes and teaches*.
So later this month we will begin a sermon series, called “Reclaiming Lutheranism,” that seeks to articulate why Lutheranism still matters. Instead of being a discussion of history full of dates from the 1500s and a lot of terms in Latin, my goal is to apply Lutheran principles to today’s church. The schedule is below.
o August 20 – In Defense of Dogma
o August 27 – A Confession: Jesus is Lord
o September 3 – Everyone is Welcome
o September 10 – Love Changes People
o September 17 – Everyone has Something to Offer
o September 24 – The World Needs Jesus
The basis for this series is a great little book called RECLAIMING the “L” WORD by Kelly Fryer. I invite you to get a copy and read it, the perfect accompaniment to the series.
My hope for the series is that together we will gain an appreciation for what we believe and why, and even more importantly, how such principles are expressed in our lives today, both as individuals and collectively as Christ’s church.
See You in Worship, Pastor Jason Talsness
* SEE: American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Putnam and Campbell