To the Cross – A new Lutheran site is born

Here is a guest article by Peter Slayton of Ad Crucem. Peter’s passion is helping people discover and develop their God-given gifts so that they consistently confess Christ to a world that desperately needs the Good News. He loves theology, technology, music and social media. He is a member at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Illinois.


Did you know you can find Steadfast Lutherans just about anywhere? Even in Scandinavian pietistic circles!! I’m excited to announce the launch of a new confessional Lutheran online community called Ad Crucem (latin for “To the Cross”). As our “About” page says:

Ad Crucem is a fellowship of like-minded pastors and laypeople dedicated to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners. Most of us come from a Scandinavian Lutheran background, but our community is much broader than that.

Our goal is to encourage Lutheran pastors and laypeople to learn more about their confessional roots, but we aim for a much wider audience as well – American Evangelicals. We will be trying very hard to strike a tone that is both winsome and doctrinally uncompromising as we learn to speak “Lutheran” with an American accent. Our hope is that American Evangelicals and others who desire to learn more about Lutherans find our site and are able to easily understand what we are saying and why we as Lutherans care about the doctrines we care about. I find that many times as I’m discussing important doctrinal issues that I speak of them in such a way that only “insiders” can really understand me. One of the things I have loved about BJS is the move in the last year or so to teach more doctrine and become more accessible to the non-trained lay-person. We hope to continue in that vein but to draw in a new audience while we do it.

To this end, we’ll be launching multiple platforms today. By the time you read this, our first article on our website will have gone live. I really hope you go read it. It’s written by one of our founding members, Ben Baker, and explains very well why we chose our name and what we hope to do. You can find that article here. We also have a Facebook Fan page here, a Twitter handle (@AdCrucem) and, what we hope will become one of our best outreach tools, a Youtube channel. We are particularly excited about the Youtube channel. Our current plans are to host monthly roundtables/interviews/discussions via Google Hangout and broadcast them live on our Youtube channel. Viewers will be able to comment and ask questions live during the broadcast and then each video will be posted on the channel and website for further discussion afterwards. Our first topic of discussion, which will be broadcast in mid-November, will be on the efficacy of the Word or “How does the Word work?” We’re hoping it will be a good one for people just encountering Lutheranism who might have some questions about our view of salvation and God’s Word, topics that can be major theological hurdles for those with non-Lutheran backgrounds, but which can be wonderful gateways into confessional theology when properly understood.

I hope you come and contribute to the conversation as we strive to spread our doctrine and theology, especially the pure Gospel of Christ crucified for sinners, to a new audience.


To the Cross – A new Lutheran site is born — 21 Comments

  1. Great idea…..but why use a name that is not immediately identifiable by those unfamiliar with the content? Our fixation on Latin, Greek, German, etc. in public discussion is unnecessarily distractive.

    I look forward to visiting the site.

  2. Rich, I can see your point. The name came into being over a year ago when we first started discussing our group. The name existed before the website did and before we even started anything official. I’ll take the blame, since I came up with it, but we all did like it. Immediately identifiable is nice, but there’s also something to be said for digging and learning. :-) And personally, I think it just sounds cool!! We didn’t want “Lutheran” in our name cause that can be an immediate turn-off for our audience. And “confessional” doesn’t necessarily mean anything to them either, or it means something negative. But we are all about the Cross and wanted a name that put that in the front and center. There aren’t many ways to do that in English and none of us are really German, so that wasn’t an option! And Greek is even more obscure than Latin, so Latin it is!! That may not make you like the name, but at least you know a bit more about how we came up with it.

  3. send these to the site-2.5 mil, 6000 pastors and vineyards,the renowned 35, 2 sems, 10 Concordias-and we just may have a 21st century Reformation-just maybe!

  4. I agree with Rich. Using an obscure name that 99.9% of the of the people surfing the web won’t understand isn’t the best way to reach the Evangelicals, even though you think it’s cool. Now is the time to change it while it is still early. Use something reasonable like “Theology of the Cross.”

  5. @Luth. Layman #4
    I guess my only reply, since the name is apparently not popular, is that we are relying more on the content to draw people in. Not the name. We’re not worried about obscurity or ignorance. We Lutherans use plenty of words Evangelicals don’t understand or have a different understanding of. That doesn’t stop us from using them. What it should do is encourage us to do a better job of teaching and explaining. If anything, our name is part of that teaching and explaining.

  6. Well, I, for one, like the name Peter! I know if I was searching the web and this popped up, the name would intrigue me to go to your site just to see what it was about! God bless your endeavor and let’s hope it gets many, many hits and followers!

  7. @J. Dean #8
    I agree, and I think the American Evangelical aversion to doctrinal/theological education is part of the problem. We’d rather put our cards on the table right away, rather than surprise someone down the road with hard topics or high expectations of learning…if that makes sense. Sometimes things sound better in my head than when I write them down!!

  8. I like the name, it has a solid, scholarly sound to it. It wouldn’t hurt to teach the heathen, *ahem* excuse me, I mean evangelicals, that the roots of the church go back farther than last week, which is when their “pastor” dreamt up their doctrine, and I think that using the Latin might do that. Also, I hope that I wasn’t the only one who saw the word “cross” in the word “Crucem,” that made me wonder what the site was about and go check it out.

    Fill the site with solid material! We need all the resources we can get.

  9. I would just like to challenge you to claim the word “Evangelical” for Lutherans or in some way related to Lutherans. This is the traditional use of the word (now for almost 500 years), and is only used in American English to mean sectarians of spiritualistic, direct revelation, neopentecostal proclivities. When I read the word Evangelical as a type of christian group, I think Lutherans. Don’t let the ignorance-of-religion news reporters take this word away from us. When you mean sectarians, say sectarians.

    And to be technically correct, only Lutherans and Zwinglians are Protestants, since only they “protested” at the Reichtag of Speyer. Just saying, English has been a bad deal for Lutherans. It’s time we insisted on our on usages and making them English usages.

  10. When I read the word Evangelical as a type of christian group, I think Lutherans.

    And when you read Catholic you think of Lutherans?
    When you read queer you think of puzzlements and eccentrics?
    And gay makes you think of happy, shiny people?

    Language changes over time and I’m afraid we’ve already lost those words. I see we are now losing the word “partner” to the homosexual lobby…

  11. @Pastor Ted Crandall #14
    I read a lot of history and religion, and I read a lot on European sites. This “loss” of the word Evangelical is an American phenomenon. Ask Uwe, he winters in the south of France. And, the first time I saw the word misused in an American source, it was a newspaper, so I thought it was just a reporter who had no religious knowledge. The non-Lutheran Evangelical churches in America are immigrants who accepted the Prussian Union and German Empire/State union churches. I have not yet seen any non Lutheran/German Union churches name themselves Evangelical.

    When I see the 42nd Street Evangelical Baptist Church or the Evangelical Holiness Church, then I’ll suspect that this isn’t a popular media driven misuse because they really have no idea what to call them as a group. We’ve always had these enthusiasts in America, what did we used to call them? Holiness Spiritual Churches? Sectarians? But it is not for Lutherans to give away the word or name, Evangelical. You will cut us off from our history and the rest of the world if you let the sectarians take your name. Yes, newpaper reporters do affect the language, but people like Molly Hemmingway are doing their best to educate them.

    I responded here becasue I saw Lutherans misusing the name of Evangelical to mean enthusiastic, non-catholic christians. No, I won’t have it from Lutherans! And, your examples are about groups of people who are winning their word wars. They made us change and add other meaning to those words. I happen to believe two of your samples are temporary and will not last out this century. On catholic, ask yourself, what is the difference between catholic christians and non-catholic christians. Then maybe you’ll find us the perfect word for the non-catholic christians. How about Freedom Christians who walk alone.

    At the last name change, the Missouri Synod dropped Evangelical from its name. I think it’s time to put it back. We are a synod of Evangelical Lutherans Churches (congregations in our theology) historically known round the world as the Missouri Synod. Are we the only synod that doesn’t currently have Evangelical in our name? No, but most do. We are in fact the Missouri Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and a name just like that is very informative of what we really are. LC-MS is not a church (LC-MS particular doctrine on what is church). So our current name does not reflect our doctrine well or at all. But, now I’ve gone to meddling.

    And yet I seem to have half an memory in the back of my brain that these enthusiasts used to be called “Gospel Christians.” So-n-so Gospel Church. They have throughly trashed the name Gospel. We would never say the Gospel Lutheran Synod. And yet we do, only we use and have an almost 500 year history of using the Greek word for gospel, a.k.a., The Evangelical Lutheran Synod. So, the enthusiasts have thoroughly trashed the English word, Gospel, so that now they want to use the Greek form too. They will also end up thoroughly trashing the Greek word Evangelical because of their excesses, strange doctrines (dispensationalism), and their Left Behinds. We will be doing the English language a favor if we draw this line in the sand. Evangelical as a word and as a name is taken, you Gospel enthusiasts go find some other nice word to trash.

  12. @Joanne #15: “At the last name change, the Missouri Synod dropped Evangelical from its name. I think it’s time to put it back. We are a synod of Evangelical Lutherans Churches (congregations in our theology) historically known round the world as the Missouri Synod. Are we the only synod that doesn’t currently have Evangelical in our name?”

    How about Die Evangelische Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Texas, und anderen Amerikanische Staaten (DELS)?

  13. @Joanne #15
    Thank you, Joanne! I’m encouraged now to stay in the fight. I fought to have “Evangelical” in the name of our little mission, but I need to educate my members more — they keep fighting to drop the word, because “it confuses the neighbors about who we are.”

    On a more positive front of the Word War: although I seldom refer to the Missouri Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (I like it!) as “Catholic,” I do make it a point to always say “ROMAN Catholic,” when that is what I mean. :)

  14. @Joanne #17: “Get outta here. I saw you added Texas in there.”

    I’ll get back to you Nov. 7 on whether Ohio should be included to the title. 😉

  15. @Pastor Ted Crandall #18 It couldn’t hurt if the rest of your church’s name sounds solidly catholic such as St. John or St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The current habit of using little snippets of bible passages was interesting at first until it became the only names used now. I liked “Prince of Peace” when I first saw the name way back in the early 1960s. Now, Crown of Life, Lamb of God, Pass the Peace, etc., they’re all just a jumble in my head now and we seem to have stopped using saints’ names, or any name without a lilt in it, a TAH-dee-dah sound to it. If you’ve named your mission Jehovah Evangelical Lutheran Church, I can see the problem. But if your missiion is St. Thomas, or Gloria Dei, or St. Peter’s, etc, then your neighbors are pulling your leg.

    Again, if in large letters incised into the main door lintel you put, St. Thomas Church, then in smaller letters just below you finish with Evangelical Lutheran, U.A.C. it might could help with the casual misidentifications that derive from the word evangelical. Then you put the icing on with an LC-MS official sign out by the street with it’s instantly identifiable layered cross-like symbol on it. And put this somewhere seeable, “We preach Christ crucified.” I wonder if any recently named church has been named with that bible snippit. Nah, couldn’t be. “Christ Crucified Evangelical Lutheran Church, Little Rock, Ark.” Who knows?

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