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Theological and Biblical Papers


Theological and Biblical Papers

A variety of sources provide the items that we have found and are finding of help in our deliberations and thought.

Some of these have been presentations made at Free Conferences or at the study sessions of various Church Conventions attended. A number of the papers were presentations made at the early conventions of the Lutheran Ministerium & Synod - USA when the founding members of ELCM were involved in the start up of that effort. Clicking the topics of the The Links for those items should take you to the LMS-USA Web site directory. The Paper or publication that we list here can then be found by going to their "Conferences" or "Publications" headings. Other items have appeared in parish newsletters (our own as well as those of others).

Clearly this portion of our archive will be an expanding area as we deliberate on the wide variety of matters confronting Christians in these latter days.

In addition to our own materials we have listed and hyper-linked to the excellent resources provided by the Wittenberg Project developed by Pastor Robert Smith as well as the resources in Lutheran Studies offered by others. Please let us know of sources that relate to these or to yet unlisted areas and we will be glad to post the links to those from this page.

 

Holy Scripture/ Doctrine of The Word

Principles of Biblical Interpretation 
by Pastor Donald Thorson 
(go to the LMS-USA annual Conference or Publications button found on the menu bar at bottom of their web site page)

This paper by Pastor Thorson, a founding pastor of the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) takes a meticulous look and examination of the principles used historically by Confessional Lutherans in the task of interpreting Holy Scripture. Pastor Thorson provides us here with a very clear and helpful look at Biblical interpretation. He was one of the initiators of a movement arising in protest to an excessive "Charismatic" direction by the AALC. This movement ultimately led to the formation of the "Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA (LMS-USA) but with the modification of Charismatic excess within the AALC Pastor Thorson and his congregation remained as members of the AALC.
Luther and Scripture 
by John Warwick Montgomery

This is a very informative presentation by a very noted contemporary Lutheran Scholar which is of interest and help in the ongoing discussion of whether to use the words "Inerrant and Infallible" in reference to Scripture or to use the word "Immutable".
The Doctrine of Holy Scripture in the Lutheran Confessions 
by Pastor David Jay Webber, Rector of St. Sophia Lutheran Seminary, Ukrainian Lutheran Church.

Pastor Webber hails from the same early Colonial American strand of New York Hudson Valley Palatine Lutherans from which the ELCM President also comes. Pastor Webber graduated from the LC-MS Fort Wayne Seminary and is a rostered pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (Little Norwegian Synod). ELS Mission efforts have been a very strong support for Eastern European Lutheran Churches that are struggling to rebuild and replant following the aftermath of Communism.

This paper by Pastor Webber is also very relevant to ongoing discussions regarding the words used in the ELCM constitution in reference to Holy Scripture as God's Word.

Two kinds of Authority: One abiding Purpose 
by Pastor Thomas Aadland 
(go to the LMS-USA annual Conference or Publications button found on the menu bar at bottom of their web site page)

Pastor Aadland is the former Presiding Pastor of The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC). He has a clear and abiding concern to encourage the Lutheran churches to hold to a solid grounding in Holy Scripture and in the Lutheran Confessions as the true exposition of Scripture.

 

Comparison, Lutheran Church positions on Scripture:  Historical and Present.

1995 Indianapolis Statement on the Word, Annotated   this was a basic doctrinal statement of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA that some of us were involved in helping to develop (go to the LMS-USA annual Conference presentations area). We have come to view it as a bit too narrow in definition and feel that there needs to be provision for a range of views within the inerrant and infallible (immutable) understanding.

The LMS-USA began with the notion that it would allow for a spectrum range between Moderate Conservative and Middle Conservative. But as this statement will make obvious the movement was clearly toward a very narrow "Middle Conservative only" view. The failure of this statement to truly allow for a bit wider spectrum of understandings is in our view its major shortcoming. Those in the Middle conservative stance would of course see this as its major strength.

Go to the LMS-USA annual Conference or Publications button found on the menu bar at bottom of their web site page and Look for LMS-USA Positional documents.

C.H. Little essay on Scriptural Inspiration.  C.H. Little was a Theologian of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) with a very long period of tenure at the Seminary at Waterloo, Ontario Canada. He is a clear example that not all in the ULCA, the LCA which followed, and the current ELCA were of a Gospel Reductionist orientation.

 

The Reformers & The Lutheran Confessions

"Critical Analysis of Dr. Philip Melanchthon" 
(STM study paper) by ELCM Pastor, The Rev. Mark D. Isaacs.

Pastor Isaacs prepared this presentation critiquing and assessing the contributions and impact of Luther's friend and co-worker, Philip as an assignment connected with STM degree studies at LTS, Philadelphia Pa. concurrently with his PhD candidacy work at Trinity Seminary.

 

Church History

Conservative elements within Eastern Lutheranism holding to Biblical Inerrancy/ Infallibility/ Confessional Positions 
by Pastor Roy A. Steward, Jr. (Former Chairman of the LMS-USA Synod and present President of ELCM).

This paper was a general survey of a strand of Confessional Faith and Confessional praxis existing from the very first Lutheran presence in Eastern America down to the present. Conservative principles of Biblical and Confessional understanding seemed to be winning the day in Eastern Lutheranism as witnessed by the significant victory in defeating the S.S. Schmucker efforts but the anti Scriptural - anti Confessional factions simply went underground and slowly began a take over of the increasingly centralizing governance of Eastern Lutheranism. Nonetheless Conservative Biblical/ Confessional remnants are still in existence.

Matthias Flacius Biography 
by Dr. Oliver Olson Volume I - Matthias Flacius and the survival of Luther's Reform.

 

Doctrine

Christian Confessions
Doctrine, Liturgy, Confessions: They can be divisive - So why do we need them? 
by ELCM Pastor, Rev. Roy A. Steward

This is a paper presented at an LMS-USA Convention by our current ELCM President pointing out the importance of Doctrine, Liturgy, and Confessions. He emphasizes that what we believe is more important thanstrivingg for a unity which is not grounded on basic agreement in Doctrine, Liturgy, and Confessions.

History of Christian Thought
"Readings in Theology Critique of A History of Christian Thought: From Its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism,
by Paul Tillich

A PhD Study paper by ELCM Pastor, The Rev. Mark D. Isaacs. This is a very thoughtful examination of the Theology of Paul Tillich and the impact which it had upon contemporary Lutheran thinking.

Justification
Sanctification
Baptism
Means of Grace
The Holy Spirit and His Gifts: The Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace 
by Pastor Roy A. Steward.

This paper was presented at an LMS-USA Convention by our ELCM President when he served as Vice President of the LMS-USA Ministerium and as Chairman of the LMS-USA Synod. It focuses upon Communion, Baptism, and the Word as the only means in which we know for sure the Holy Spirit of God is at work.

Holy Communion
The Office of Holy Ministry
The Office of Ministry/ Ordained Ministry in the Church. 
Presentation by The Rev. Dr. Henry Eyster Jacobs 
(former General Council and ULCA Professor of Theology at Philadelphia Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)
The Priesthood of all believers and The Pastors Call. 
Brief Paper prepared by The Rev. Dr. Oliver K. Olson 
former Professor of Lutheran Confessions at LTS Philadelphia as hand picked chosen successor to Theodore Tappert.
Ecclesiology
Missiology
Liturgy & Evangelism in Service of the Mysteria Dei.

Discusses the contrast between a Confessional Lutheran understanding of Worship and the contemporary Church Growth understandings. The Paper is written by Rev. John T. Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions and Director of Field Education at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, a seminary of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

A full range of Doctrines
Disputed Doctrines 
by C. H. Little
Excerpts from Charles Porterfield Krauth. 
Dr. Krauth was a professor of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and was one of the founders as well as a chief Theological spokesman of the General Council which separated itself from the General Synod.

 

Worship

Liturgy & Evangelism in Service of the Mysteria Dei.

Discusses the contrast between a Confessional Lutheran understanding of Worship and the contemporary Church Growth understandings. The Paper is written by a Pr. Pless of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

"Luther's Catholic Minimum" 
by Dr. Oliver Olson.

This is a paper which Dr. Olson presented in opposition to the Liturgical proposals of the ILCW which led to the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW). Dr. Olson points to trends that were present in the Service Book and Hymnal (SBH) as early as 1958.

 

Ecumenism & Christian Unity/ Fellowship

Doctrine, Liturgy, Confessions: They can be divisive - So why do we need them? 
by Pastor Roy A. Steward

This is a paper presented at an LMS-USA Convention by our current ELCM President pointing out the importance of Doctrine, Liturgy, and Confessions. He emphasizes that what we believe is more important than striving for a unity which is not grounded on basic agreement in Doctrine, Liturgy, and Confessions.

 

Indulgences revisited

Commentary & Critique of the 1999 Papal Bull on Jubilee Year Indulgences 
by ELCM President, The Rev. Roy A. Steward.

The Ink was hardly dry on the documents jointly signed at Augsburg Germany by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation (spearheaded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church when Pope John Paul II proclaimed his Jubilee year Papal Bull on Indulgences.

The Spin was begun that indulgences when rightly understood are not contrary to Lutheran Confessional understandings relating to Justification.

The ELCM President critiques and comments on many of the portions of the Papal Bull in this article.

 

Church Missions/ Evangelism

Liturgy & Evangelism in Service of the Mysteria Dei.

Discusses Evangelism as focused upon the Worship style of a congregation. The clear contrast between a Confessional Lutheran understanding and the contemporary Church Growth understandings is set forth. The Paper is written by a Pr. Pless of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

 

Church Growth Movement & Charismatic Emphases

The Charismatic Movement in The Lutheran Church 
by Pastor Julius V. Kimpel

This little work by Pastor Kimpel, a pastor (now deceased) of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, is an excellent study resource for use by small groups and classes in a congregation. While he was still living Pastor Kimpel gave permission to Pastor Steward to reprint the publication. Pastor Steward was then serving as the Vice President Pastor of the LMS-USA Ministerium and as the Chairman of the LMS-USA Synod and wrote a forward in the study guide.

The Holy Spirit and His Gifts 
by Pastor Donald Thorson 
(go to the LMS-USA annual Conference presentations area)

This Paper by Pastor Thorson of the AALC arose out of deep concern for the emphasis adopted by many in the AALC that appeared to make gifts such as "Speaking in tongues", "Healing", etc. into a means of distinguishing between levels of Christian faith in the church. In this paper, Pastor Thorson examines these and related areas.

The Holy Spirit and His Gifts: The Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace 
by Pastor Roy A. Steward.

This paper was presented at an LMS-USA Convention by our current ELCM President when he served as Vice President of the Ministerium and as Chairman of the Synod. It focuses upon Communion, Baptism, and the Word as the only means in which we know for sure the Holy Spirit of God is at work.

Liturgy & Evangelism in Service of the Mysteria Dei.

Discusses the contrast between a Confessional Lutheran understanding of Worship and the contemporary Church Growth understandings. The Paper is written by a Pr. Pless of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

 

ELCM Triennial General Conference/Synod Presentations
September 20-22, 2002 Triennial General Conference

"Three Score and Ten years ago" 
Presented by The Rev. Dr. Carl Heinrich Schmutzler, Pastor of Old Zion Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA.

A Church History presentation that looks at the roots of the various problems afflicting Lutheranism in America in 2002. Published in the October/November 2002 issue of ELCM Quarterly. 

Luther's Catholic Minimum" 
by Dr. Oliver Olson.

This is a paper which Dr. Olson presented in opposition to the Liturgical proposals of the ILCW which led to the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW).  Dr. Olson points to trends that were present in the Service Book and Hymnal (SBH) as early as 1958.  This paper by Dr. Olson formed the basis for an earlier presentation made in Springfield, Oregon to the Augsburg Lutheran District Convention of 2002 entitled: "Liturgy: The Achilles heel" by The Rev. Dr. Oliver Olson, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Augustana Catechism, officially approved by the September 20-22, 2002 Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium of North America Triennial General Conference/Synod as a recommended Teaching Catechism for member congregations and pastors.


Lutheran Pietism

Hasidic Judaism compared to Lutheran Pietism 
by the Rev. Mark Isaacs, Pastor of ST. Paul (Wurtemburg) Lutheran Church (ELCM), Rhinebeck, New York. 
Published in the October/November 2002 issue of ELCM Quarterly.

 

Church Polity & Church Relations Papers

A Church Polity Comparison of the Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium of North America, Inc. with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, Inc. (LCMC)

This is a comparison from the perspective of ELCM. Pertinent sections of the original constitutions of the two bodies are compared side by side with each section followed by commentary sections prepared by the President of ELCM. The document was prepared for use by congregations that are in the process of deciding which body to affiliate with.