The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'No longer Jew or Greek'

Multiculturalism in ELCA has Pauline roots

The Pauline roots of Lutheran theology are as strong as they are well-known. Most Lutherans have heard innumerable times: “For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ...” (Romans 3:22-24). Lutherans love the emphasis on grace.

Anne Lalsingh worships at Advent Lutheran
Anne Lalsingh worships at Advent Lutheran Church, Manhattan, which also has a strong young adult population. Read more about Advent in "Reflecting the neighborhood."
Paul’s emphasis on God’s grace came out of a specific context. A few years after Jesus’ death, Paul was already trying to make God’s church multicultural. Many biblical passages reflect the first-century multicultural context. Take Pentecost: “And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” (Acts 2:8). And Jesus’ command to his disciples: Go make disciples “of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Because Jesus’ disciples obeyed his command, we are now Christians. If not, we probably would be pagans.

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