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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Lutheran identity takes time, discipline

Five years ago, voting members at synod assemblies suggested priorities for the ELCA in coming years. The second most frequent priority mentioned was that this church should tend to Lutheran identity and denominational issues.

It is important to claim the uniqueness of who we are as Lutherans. However, is not the greater challenge to think of Lutheran identity in the context of our relatedness? What does it mean to be the ELCA in relationship with other Lutherans throughout the world? What does it mean to be Lutheran Christians within the one holy catholic and apostolic church? What does it mean to be Christian in this world of many faiths? What does it mean to be human, sharing with other life forms the rich diversity but increasingly threatened existence of God’s creation?

I am absolutely convinced that there are rich treasures of the ongoing Lutheran Reformation that we must continue to mine and share. They include, but are not limited to, justification by grace through faith; the theology of the cross; law and gospel; the means of grace; Simul justus et peccator (at once justified and sinner); vocation and the priesthood of all believers; and the freedom of the Christian.


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