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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Religion and modernity

Engage current thinking to remain relevant

Martin Luther doubted. His skepticism ranged from disillusionment with his efforts to earn justification, to his lack of confidence with the training of local priests, to his dissatisfaction with some books in the Roman Catholic canon, to his belief that selling indulgences was neither appropriate nor scripturally sound.

As a result of the skepticism of Reformation-era religious leaders, church polity underwent unsettling and significant changes. This coincided with challenges to church perspectives from science and enlightened thought.

The ELCA needs to engage, once again, in vigorous dialogue about modern thinking and religion. Conversations with church colleagues suggest that, for many of us, postmodern thinking challenges notions of unscientific religious dogma. Specific religious doctrines and practices seem increasingly irrelevant to many of our educationally sophisticated, technologically advanced young people. Declining attendance implies disengagement from the church.


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