Lutheran Bishops and an Empty ****?

Juicy Ecumenism | 7/23/2019 | Jeffrey Walton
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**** is empty and we should have no concern about our eternal fate, according to a recently elected Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) bishop.

Bishop-elect Paul Egensteiner of the ELCA’s Metropolitan New York Synod authored an account earlier this month of his visit to the New York City LGBT Pride Parade:

Man - Hand - Something - Noises - Voice

“A young man shook my hand and said something to me that, amidst the joyful noises around us, I didn’t catch. ‘Could you say that again?’ I asked. In a quiet, tentative voice he repeated, ‘You mean I’m not going to ****?’ I was stunned. ‘No,’ I said. (Along with Bishop Eaton, I believe there is a **** but it is empty, by the grace of the Father and the love of Jesus.)”

A tip of the hat to Lutheran blogger Dan Skogen, who highlighted this exchange. The church historically teaches – and most Christians today would reiterate – that God loves everyone and seeks their best interest. But does that love mean that **** is, as Egensteiner asserted, empty?

Mainline - Protestant - Luminaries - Doctrine - ****

Even among many liberal mainline Protestant luminaries, the doctrine of **** is taken seriously today more so than in the past two generations. In 2008, the liberal Christian Century hosted a symposium on ****. As IRD’s Mark Tooley reported somewhat surprisingly, most of the respondents seemed to believe in it. This stands in stark contrast to early and mid-20th Century liberal Protestants who rejected the existence of **** outright.

This old Protestant liberalism was embodied by Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. Tooley notes that Spong gained celebrity in the 1980s writing books denying supernatural Christianity and insisting rationalism was the old way to “save” the faith for younger people. Meanwhile, his Episcopal Diocese of Newark lost nearly half its members under his watch, and the seminars he taught...
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