Other Traditions

Below are some resources and background for understanding and appreciating other theological traditions within the historic orthodox church.

Spiritual Setups–Presuppositions about God and Us

A user-friendly five-page multiple choice exercise to assist with identifying alternate views from different approaches to Christian spiritualties and theological traditions.   Good for generating discussion and engagement without disparaging differing ideas, yet useful for distinguishing a number of Lutheran emphases.


Six Spiritual Profiles

A brief introduction (18 pages) to six perspectives on spirituality that are common in the church today.  The profiles do not rely on the usual “textbook” denominational differences.  Instead, each profile includes a summary of the typical theological concepts we hear from thoughtful “ordinary saints”–an expression from Robert Benne in his book, Ordinary Saints, about ordinary Christians and their vocations.  This set of six concludes with a profile on Christian liberty, a key Gospel insight from the Wittenberg Reformation and the Lutheran tradition.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: a third way of Christian social engagement

This article provides a brief introduction to three basic theological paradigms or heuristic devices of social engagement employed by evangelical Christians in secular society. First, two popular models are discussed: the Neo-Calvinist (Abraham Kuyper) and the Neo-Anabaptist (Stanley Hauerwas). The first is characterised by its extravert movement and the second by its introvert movement. The third paradigm, that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, will be proposed as a kind of via media. It is commonly described as an illuminating interpretation of Martin Luther’s ‘Two Kingdoms Theory’ that is highly relevant for our secular and postmodern setting. Bonhoeffer’s christocentric ethic of responsibility keeps the delicate balance between the unique role of the church and the role of the Christian disciple in a secular world.  Bonhoeffer’s approach gives sound theological grounding for an evangelical social ethic as it combines Christology and spirituality with social activism.

Law, Grace, Legalism, Antinominanism, and Assurance

This review and introduction to Sinclair Ferguson’s book, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance, helps the reader sort out these key Bible themes that have confused many and confounded the church at various times.  It can be used to quickly acquaint students in the classroom and congregation with how different traditions address faith and life and why these themes differ among those traditions.

An Integration (Rather Than Intersection) Perspective

Marc Clausen at Cedarville University (Baptist) offers this summary approach to an integration view of faith and curriculum in his essay, “Integration of Faith and Knowledge in the University.” The reader can compare and contrast this approach with the Lutheran two-kingdoms intersection view articulated in several documents here on the Two Kingdoms Network site.

Why Denominations No Longer Matter

Of course, denominations are important.  We cannot be responsibly informed about Christianity and the church without some knowledge and appreciation of the history and nature of the various church bodies.  But today many (most?) folks, both inside and outside the church are not much interested in such differences.  The OH transparency linked here offers some discussion (not talking) points for the opportunity and challenge this condition presents for us.

Exploring Evangelicalism

Ed Stetzer at LifeWay Research offers this series of overviews / interviews on selected movements within American evangelicalism and their varying ideas about the Holy Spirit, baptism, ordinances, soteriology, worship styles, and all sorts of other aspects of church life.  This link takes you to one profile at which you can link to his articles on other church bodies.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Religious Difference

Sacks is Chief Rabbi emeritus of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth and now teaches Jewish thought at NYU, King’s College London, and Yeshiva University as and Orthodox Jew.  In this one hour interview with Krista Tippett at On Being, he offers ideas and observations about sustaining the particularity of one’s tradition while listening and learning the differences of other traditions.  Lutherans will find some resonance and some dissonance.