Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Book on the Differences Between Lutheran and Reformed Theology




Once I compile that which I have written on my blog into articles dealing with different issues, I am hoping to get a book published. This will be a book dealing with the theological differences between the Reformed and Lutheran churches on numerous issues, and giving an exegetical and theological defense of Lutheranism.

The chapters I have done work on thus far are dealing with the following topics:

Part 1: Election and Free Will

Predestination
The Extent of the Atonement
Apostasy and Perseverance
Distinguishing Mild and Strict Augustinianism

Part 2: Worship

The Eucharist
Baptism
The Worship Service

Part 3: Soteriology

Justification
Sanctification

Is there anything else I should be dealing with that I have neglected? I would appreciate advice and recommendations.

21 comments:

Nick said...

One of the clinchers for me as I was moving from Calvinism to Lutheranism was the means of grace in general. I think it is important that Calvinists understand that within their system, the word itself is not a means of grace. They have effectively divorced the word from the work of the spirit. The Spirit works alongside the word, yes, but it is the immediate work of the Spirit on the individual which does everything. I think it would be helpful to treat the means of grace in general before moving on to the Lord's supper and baptism. It is only within that framework, and in relation to how the word works in general, that a Reformed person can even begin to understand what we are talking about in the sacraments.

Josh Brisby said...

I think there are some major differences in Christology as well. We Reformed do not embrace the genus majesticum because we see it as a violation of Christ's humanity. It would be helpful, I think, to interact there as well.

Dave Ketter said...

Ecclesiology.

Jordan Cooper said...

Thanks Josh. A large part of my chapter on the Supper deals with the two natures issue.

Jordan Cooper said...

Ecclesiology is very important. It is somewhat hard to deal with since Lutherans don't have a specific ecclesiastical structure that we all adhere to. Personally I would like to see Lutherans adopt an Episcopal system.

Josh Brisby said...

On ecclesiology, you could deal with the differences in the views of the constitution of the church. For example, as you know, we Reformed embrace covenantally an external/internal distinction of the covenant, and we see the local church as the visible expression of the external covenant, containing both believers and unbelievers. Invisibly, we see that as the complete number of the elect. Lutherans see all the baptized as regenerate, and that touches upon their view of the visible church. It would be good, I think, to highlight and interact with differences here.

Martin Yee said...

Hi Jordan,

Great project! I like your precision and concisiveness in writing.

How about church and state?

Regards,
Martin

brianbechtel said...

Vocation and the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.

The Lutheran treatment of these doctrines is much more robust, living, and vital than it is among the Reformed, the precious few exceptions notwithstanding.

Jordan Cooper said...

Josh- Good observation. Those are some important things to point out.

Martin- Yes, I should do something about Two Kingdoms and the distinction between church and state. The only issue is that there is no unified Reformed view to dialogue with.

Brian- I will be dealing with vocation in my chapter on sanctification.

brianbechtel said...

Jordan,

I thought you might say you were treating vocation under sanctification.

As for there not being a unified Reformed view of the Two Kingdoms and the distinction between church and state, all the better. There is a fairly clear spectrum of belief in the Reformed thought, and that could make a nice foil for the more well defined Lutheran view.

Also, you might be dealing with this under worship, but I am going to add the very real and important differences between the two views on the ordained ministry.

inga said...

I was wondering Jordan, if your book will be for the specialists or the general audience.

All the other comments pointed to clear lutheran distinctives (gems):theology of vocation, church&state/two kingdoms.

Coming from a baptist (arminian) background, I apprecaited the IssueEtc. interviews and comparisons with Reformed theology, CPH.org theology books on above mentioned topics.

If you will write the book for the general audience, I recommend checking out the style of Gene Veith "The Spirituality of the Cross: the Way of the First Evangelicals". It seems to be very appealing to the masses, and easy to digest.

inga said...

I was wondering Jordan, if your book will be for the specialists or the general audience.

All the other comments pointed to clear lutheran distinctives (gems):theology of vocation, church&state/two kingdoms.

Coming from a baptist (arminian) background, I apprecaited the IssueEtc. interviews and comparisons with Reformed theology, CPH.org theology books on above mentioned topics.

If you will write the book for the general audience, I recommend checking out the style of Gene Veith "The Spirituality of the Cross: the Way of the First Evangelicals". It seems to be very appealing to the masses, and easy to digest.

Gabriel

Martin Yee said...

Hi Jordan,

Wondering if you will be touching on the difference in their basic hermeneutical and homiletical approach? Reformed often fail to distinguish properly between Law & Gospel. It seems they often mix and confuse Law & Gospel. Example they may think Gospel contains Law or Law is an extension or part of the Gospel etc. Lutherans uses Law & Gospel distinction in preaching but Reformed normally do not. Is there also a difference in understanding what is covenant? Reformed has covenantal theology which Lutherans do not?

Regards,
Martin

Jordan Cooper said...

Gabriel- I hope that the book will be both scholarly and accessible. It assumes a basic knowledge of theological concepts, but most in-depth doctrine and theological terminology will be explained.

Martin- Thanks, these are some things to consider.

Protoprotestant said...

I agree there's no unified position in the Reformed camp on either the Law-Gospel issue or regarding Church and State.

The Two Kingdoms position being advocated by some in Reformed circles is not the same as what Luther or his successors held.

On predestination I would assume you will make a distincion between Luther and the Lutherans as well as the Lutherans vis-a-vis the Reformed?

I think Vocation is probably different too. The post-Kuyper understanding (at least among the Neo-Calvinist wing and their successors) is a bit different.

Interesting topic.

Martin Yee said...

Probably you may have covered this - for the Reformed the overarching theological theme is the sovereignty of God. For the Lutheran it is justification by faith alone. Not that both sides do not think the other's main theme is not important, just that it is not the core for them.

Also choosing a good title for your book is important. Titles like "Spirituality of the Cross", "Love wins" contributed to their popularity.

Joe said...

The differences in the understandings of sola Scriptura

Tom Neal said...

Keep up the great work! I assume you might interact with the Reformed doctrine on The Decree of God - especially (lapsarianism) via Predestination in your book. There seems to be an almost infinitude of Reformed writings from Calvin and his successors in this area of doctrine, where as the Lutheran Reformation keeps to a doctrine of God that is Christocentric and realted to his creation and Church. I would love to read about the interaction of these topics mediated by your guidance, but perhaps that might take another book.

Godspeed,

Tom N.

Jordan Cooper said...

Tom,

That will be dealt with in my chapter on predestination. Thanks for the input.

Daniel Casey said...

One thing I remember from my Reformed past is the great emphasis on God's Sovereignty. If someone were a present-day Reformed, but considering Lutheranism, what do they do with God's Sovereignty?

For me, once I started to move beyond the theo-centric emphasis of the Reformed towards a more christo-centric of the Lutherans, I kinda forgot all about that whole sovereignty thing.

Jordan Cooper said...

We certainly confess God's sovereignty. It is especially emphasized in Luther's "Bondage of the Will." However, it is not that much of a focus for us. Scripture does not talk much about God's abstract sovereignty but about how his providence works for the benefit of his children.