The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Rediscover empowering tradition

The right idea
I truly appreciated the cover story on tradition (April, page 16). For too long many congregations have been bombarded by worship wars. In a day where liturgical forms have been downplayed, it’s refreshing to know that many of our Lutheran congregations are recovering their more-catholic roots. After all, Martin Luther was not intent on being “Protestant,” but more on being a liturgical and confessional movement of the one holy, catholic and apostolic church. Liturgy with the rituals listed can be a wonderful empowerment toward the mission of witness and justice to which Christ calls us.

Stephen Bull
Toledo, Ohio


Column hits home
I rarely get to do more than glance through The Lutheran and not often when it first arrives. I decided to take the time to read Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton’s column in April (page 50). It started in such a way that I did not expect it to end where it did. It was wonderful. It brought a tear to my eye, which rarely happens. I loved the reminder that God’s grace is sufficient. Thank you, Bishop, I needed that.

The Rev. Marsha Adams
Arnold, Pa.


Run away
In her April column the presiding bishop mentions German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I am currently reading my fourth book on Bonhoeffer, his Letters from Prison. If Bonhoeffer were alive today, I think he would question the ELCA and the direction taken by our beloved church during the past 20 years. In fact, he would flee in the opposite direction.

Ober J. Anderson
Ankeny, Iowa


Not a science book
Peter W. Marty makes an excellent point in his “Science and faith” column (April, page 3). The 66 volumes contained within the Bible are intended to reflect the faith of the community that believes in the God of creation, not a science book in the modern empirical sense of the term. Marty’s column might be a good summary for explaining how Lutherans understand the first article of the Apostles’ Creed.

The Rev. David Coffin
Deshler, Ohio


Accept Jesus
I was dismayed to read Marty’s column in March (page 3), which appeared to embrace universal salvation. Christ did, indeed, die for everyone. However, an individual must accept Christ as savior to receive the gift of eternal life. I was born into a Jewish family, circumstances over which I had no control. Although I love my heritage, I was not saved and assured of heaven until I accepted Jesus as the messiah 35 years ago. This is a scriptural fact, not an “exclusive club” mentality.

Barbara Summers
Rolla, Mo.


On target
Marty’s columns are always outstanding, but the one in March was a huge breath of fresh air. He put a stamp of approval on what many of us want to believe, but Marty expressed it with such biblical validity.  

Audrey Bentz
Lyle, Wash.


Wrong denomination
Marty tells us in January (page 3) that God does not answer our prayers, and in March that Christians have no special place with God over any other religion. In between, Erik Heen tells us in “Predestination” (February, page 14) that all will be saved. These articles would be more appropriate in a Unitarian magazine. They do not seem Lutheran to me.

Richard N. Bergesen
West Chester, Pa.


Faith is a journey
Columns like Marty’s give me hope for the future of the church and people of God. Faith, like all of life, is a journey that requires examination and growth in understanding or it shrivels and becomes mean-spirited. Man’s ego loves to believe he knows all the answers and knows all about God and that he alone and only those who think just like him are the only ones who are right. From this dim and unloving view much grief has happened in the world for centuries.

Sue Kaestner


In a word, grace
We have a big God, who not only rains on the just and the unjust but graces us all with his presence. To read that someone believes Marty has gone astray with his March column leaves me with a sad heart. I read the same with joy and thanksgiving for a voice of grace and acknowledgement of a God bigger than our understanding of God in human terms. Thank you, Pastor Marty — I was slow in voicing this appreciation. In this Easter season we say together: Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Thanks be to God for the word of grace.

Barbara Birkeland
Choteau, Mont.


No more on pope
I can scarcely believe the lack of understanding with which the article on Pope Francis (March, page 40) was published. The Roman Catholic Church is the first and continuing separator of people who try to be believers from the truth in God. I must pray that you do not burden your Lutheran readers anymore with such spiritual sloppiness.

Kevin R. Johnson
Butte, Mont.


Liked it
Thank you for your article on the pope — very interesting and very appropriate.

Inez Schrader
New Auburn, Wis.


Good work
It is safe to say I have enjoyed reading The Lutheran most of my life.  However, I realized that the March issue was particularly meaningful. I enjoyed every part of it. It is appropriate when I become aware of the quality of this publication that I thank you, so I am saying, “Thank you.” And blessings for all your work. 

Ann Siqueland

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February issue


Embracing diversity