Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lutheran versus Reformed?

Do you know what I think the main difference between Lutheran and Reformed is? 

Sacraments?  No.  But that's true -they do view the sacraments differently. 

Still, I think it is this...  The Reformed emphasis, aside from being on the sovereignty of God, is similar to many other branches of Christianity -it is on us loving God.  We need to love God.  We search our hearts for what we love more than God (idols).  We confess how much we don't love Him as we ought.  We hear sermons about loving God for who He is rather than for what He gives us.  And sometimes we even try to make it Christ-centered by emphasizing the active and passive work of Christ in loving God perfectly as our substitute and dying for our failure to do so.  And that is all good.

But the Lutheran emphasis is different.  It has a different flavor.  It is mainly on God loving us.  The classical Lutheran tradition emphasizes God's love for us and how our biggest problem is in accepting that, in truly being open to that, in truly putting down our hands that want to do so much, to prove so much, to work so much, and to actually rest in His love, to allow Him to embrace us.  Rather than emphasizing our pursuit of Him, the classical Lutheran emphasis is on His pursuit of us, almost exclusively. 

You may be a Reformed person and disagree.  "Hey, we emphasize that, too."  Some do, sure, but that is not the predominant personality in my experience. 

But the Lutheran personality is something I appreciate more than I can explain in words in this brief post.  That sentiment, that paradigm, reflects my greatest area of poverty.  My greatest area of poverty is not in my religious zeal but in my inability to shut up and let God love me, my inability to allow Him to pursue me on His terms rather than constantly insisting on mine.

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