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What’s Going on Among the Lutherans? - A Comparison of Beliefs

By Patsy A. Leppien & J. Kincaid Smith

A house may look good on the outside, with beautiful siding, nice windows, and a solid roof. But if the house has termites, there are real problems. In the book, What’s Going on Among the Lutherans? Patsy Leppien and J. Kincaid Smith give objective proof that many denominations, primarily the ELCA, may look good on the outside, but the theology taught and practiced is destroying those churches from the inside.

Leppien and Smith show the damaging effects of a method of interpreting the Bible known as the Historical-Critical Method. This method of interpretation seeks to reconcile Scripture and science. The result is quite shocking. As Leppien and Smith document, from primary source material, no teaching of Scripture remains uncorrupted and Christianity is reduced to an empty religion that only focuses on improving the human condition.

Smith is a former LCA (Lutheran Church in America, now ELCA) pastor who went through Hamma School of Theology (now called Trinity Lutheran Seminary) at Columbus, Ohio, in the early 1970s.

In 1973 when I graduated from an LCA seminary in Ohio, I did not believe in the Virgin Birth nor, for that matter, in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and neither did any of my fellow graduates, and certainly none of our professors. We had been systematically led to reject any element in Scripture which could not be explained by natural science. What an empty Christmas I knew in those days, what an empty faith! We did not realize, or could not face, that in letting go of all the miraculous things in the Scriptures, the very faith itself had slipped away.

As a former liberal who held and defended the Historical-Critical method (the non-inspired view of the Bible), I can tell you this: that the difference between historic Lutheranism and the “new thinking” is not some minor insignificant difference. They are 180 degrees apart—totally opposed. In the liberal position I lost my faith in Christ. The knowledge that the Bible is truth, as historic Lutheranism teaches, restored my faith and continues to support it. A real puzzle to me now is to understand, how back then, I actually considered myself a Christian. (What’s Going on Among the Lutherans? pg. 42-43).

Unfortunately, the use of the Higher-Critical Method is not unique to denominations within Lutheranism. Nearly all mainline denominations (United Methodists, United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church–USA, the Episcopalians, the American Baptists) have allowed this method to make inroads into their churches.

In the Bible, St. Jude writes: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

This book goes a long way in arming Christians as they contend for Biblical Christianity.