Lutheranism in the local paper

Well, my local paper, at least. I was interviewed by a reporter for the Washington Examiner for their “Credo” section. Each Sunday, a different local is interviewed and asked about their faith and life. If you’re interested, here’s my interview.

And here are the two first questions:

Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?

Yes, I’m a confessional Lutheran and a member of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation. We’re known for emphasizing the sacraments, having Christendom’s best hymns and congregations that love to sing them, clear preaching of God’s Word, and not being as influenced by the changing tides of pop culture. I most appreciate that we are upfront about the fact that everyone is a sinner in need of forgiveness. While the culture may downplay sin, we know it’s real and that God’s grace and forgiveness is the only remedy. Through the sacraments we receive this forgiveness and a strengthening of our faith.

Did anyone or any event especially influence your faith?

The most important event in my life was when my parents brought me to the baptismal font. I was three weeks old. Lutherans believe that baptism works forgiveness of sins and gives eternal salvation to those who believe God’s word. We believe that our baptism should be remembered every day and that we should daily repent of our sins, dying to our old life, and daily rise to walk in new righteousness. Our daily prayers and liturgy are built around this central event in each of our lives.


Lutheranism in the local paper — 30 Comments

  1. Mollie –

    What a great representation of Lutheran Theology and our distinctives.

    Now we need to get you on the Larry King show. Does anyone else notice that Larry King and others always seem to have dumb Christians like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren on?

    They never, ever seem to have on an intelligent, thinking Christian!

  2. I wasn’t quite sure if Larry King was still on or not. I watch more Fox news. That is why I said others.

    But, when I have seen Larry interview a Christian, it was never a Lutheran theologian or someone let’s say from a program like the White Horse Inn.

  3. This discussion has hit a nerve for me as well. Why is it that a confessional Lutheran never gets interviewed when there is a discussion on Right to Life, Salvation, justification, the second coming, Sacraments, etc. I hear so much bad theology from educated people who should know better, but they don’t. Then you have the one hour programs on the history channel about Bible stories, etc. Most times I just turn it off as they are just trying to sensationalize the story not tell the truth.

    I am so tired of these miniature nut cases expounding on things they know so little about I watch nothing like this on TV any longer. It is like a stroll through the local “Christian” Book store, your faith is under attack.

    Anyway, good job Mollie, keep it up.

  4. Sorry to say, but most of the media wants to portray Christians as being hoodwinked and not too bright.

    Lutherans are usually thought of as more of the intellectual Christians. The media prefers to lump Christians into a catagory that would watch TBN, listen to the likes of Chuck Mistler, and having the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other while waiting for the anti-Christ before the rapture.

    Lutherans, on the other hand have the teachings of the brilliant Dr. Martin Luther, a well thought out theology that isn’t empty-headed and silly.

    In other words, Lutheran theology is not going to get T.V. ratings like the rapture stuff.

  5. Confessional Conservative Lutherans are too vanilla for the mainstream media. I mean where’s the “story” in Mollie’s statements? Now if she expressed her desire to be a pastor, or stated that she had decided Lutheranism was a bunch of bunk–now that’s news!

    Nice witness. Who knows where that will go and where it will take you?


  6. Lutheran theology is boring. Vegetables like vocation, where we’re supposed to do the mundane duties God has given us? We want cotton-candy like a purpose-driven life or “radical Christianity”!

    Great witness. Nice to see someone intelligent AND religious talk to the media, so that less people think there’s a dichotomy between the two.

  7. @Rev. Don Kirchner #9
    “At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?

    I believe, with the Apostles, that Jesus Christ is the God-man …

    Thanks for posting the link to the whole article, Pr. Kirchner.
    I was wondering how Mollie could answer something like “Credo” w/o mentioning Jesus!

  8. Ha! i linked the full piece, too!

    And for what it’s worth, during the interview, that last question was second. …

  9. Mollie,

    I appreciate your concise and excellent confession of faith in this interview. I read many of your articles at Get Religion. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    Rev. Michael Erickson

  10. One can compare the answers Mollie Hemingway gives Leah Fabel to the answers Fabel gets from her 2009 Credo interview of Richard Graham, Bishop of the DC Synod in the ???A.

    In 2010 Fabel had a Credo interview with Gene Veith, Lutheran author and Provost at Patrick Henry College.

  11. Mollie gives a good confession, but it’s very difficult to communicate to the public in general. I doubt that many readers of the Washington Examiner would understand what she means by “confessional” Lutheran, “Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod,” “sacraments,” “sinner,” “grace,” “new righteousness,” or “liturgy.”

  12. What I just wrote is no criticism, but simply an observation as to the difficult of speaking in theological terms to the public at learge.

  13. @Nathan92 #10 “Lutheran theology is boring.” I came from a Reformed background. The thing that attracted me to Lutheranism was the truth of the Scriptures.

    After I discovered the truth of the Scriptures, I soon discovered the richness of Lutheran theology. The views on the Sacraments, the church year that we follow, etc. Our tradition is not only Biblical, but, it is very colorful and downright exciting.

    Lutheran theology is so simple that a five year old can understand it. It is so theologically rich that a theologian can study it his whole life, and still not learn it all.

  14. @Larry Kleinschmidt #15

    “foolishness to the Greeks” But similar to a couple of other recent threads, God’s still sends us out to talk the Gospel of Jesus. Thank you, Mollie, so much for being a light a speaking the truth, even if many hardened hearts will reject the message. I would think God is pleased with speaking clearly, and not try to ape the world’s condition and word usage. And, Larry, your words can ground us so we do not seek emotional highs of self fulfillment, seeking responses that may never come. May we all stay steadfast in our vocations.

  15. @Lloyd I. Cadle #17
    Note to self: facetiousness does not communicate well online. I actually do find Lutheran theology incredible. I was trying to echo the apparent public attitude towards it, though.

  16. @Jason #18 The choice of words has nothing to do with “foolishness to the Greeks,” unless of course you really are talking to Greek people and they don’t understand English. It has to do with using technical terms that the general public doesn’t understand.

  17. Yahoo that was Good!

    It’s going in my permanent file….my file on what to say when the microphone is shoved in my face. All Christians… pastors especially need to be ready for such occasions.

    Thanks for this

  18. @Larry Kleinschmidt #21

    Not all theological terms are that heavy. An educated laity (like many here) can pick up on a number of terms. It’s just that Christians, at least some still, have a particular vocabulary because they are faithfully in the Word. A large section of the general public will be clueless because they know not God. As we discuss with them, we will need to spend time explained our words, and unpacking our thoughts. In a way, school them to bring them up to speed. All vocations (jobs, careers) have a certain set of vocabulary words. Even Christians. So I don’t think it will always be easy, and many times hard, when we start talking with words that we may take for granted. I hope we can have patience and perservere to still tell others about Jesus and not get so easily discouraged.

  19. Molly,

    Thanks for posting your interview with the WASHINGTON EXAMINER. Your witness in the public forum continues to be an encouragement.

  20. This Sunday’s epistle lesson has been fulfilled in your speaking. May it be fulfilled in all who hear it as they are “…prepared to give a defense to any who ask them to give reason for the hope that is in them…” that hope which is ours in Christ who saves us through baptism. His blessings!

  21. Sometimes “technical terms” are the best to use, because a resort to anything less will not truly capture the full vim and vitality of what we believe. For example, I suppose one can speak of God’s “kindness” instead of “grace” … some Bible translations do … but there is something richer, more encompassing and more staggering about the latter. Staggering, that is to say, as in the sacrificial via Dolorosa. The unbeliever is probably familiar with “kindness,” but then Lord Christ Himself noted that the pagan knows how to treat his buddies and his kids reasonably well. Grace is something the unbeliever won’t comprehend, without the reprobate experiencing it firsthand and in the full. In this case, talk is cheap, and so one may as well speak of “grace.”

    And if the unbeliever is stumped by a term or phrase? There is nothing improper about leaving the hint that our Christian/Lutheran lives entail growth, and that we fully admit to chowing down on meat, as well as milk. If the Lord’s Sacraments truly embrace the transcendant, we will in fact be as speechless, at times, as St. Paul encountering the third heaven. Best to go with the tried and true, and reserve our brains for adoring.

    The “technical” has a rich history behind it, and for a reason.

    The Washingtonians … striving to be seen as inside the loop, or at least inside the Beltway … may be so moved by the testimony, so as to learn more learn more about that exotic “cross talk.”

  22. I’d be interested to know: What is your routine for daily remembering your baptism, dying to your old life and rising to new righteousness?

    When I read “should” to me that means “Law”. How is it that baptism, which frees us from the Law, further obligate us to engage a particular daily devotional exercise?

  23. @Bob Gruener #29

    “What does such baptizing with water signify?

    It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

     – Luthers Small Catechism

    Also, we are encouraged to frequently make the sign of the holy cross in remembrance of our baptism.

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