Later Conservative Lutheran Theology

How did Lutheranism go so far off the rails?

In the course of my research, I discovered that this wasn’t due to Martin Luther or his immediate successors who formulated and institutionalized the Lutheran Confessions. It was a development the earliest stirrings of which began several centuries later in the 18th and 19th centuries. Liberalism arrived from the time of Voltaire at the court of Frederick the Great, Immanuel Kant in Königsberg and especially in the early 19th century in the wake of Napoleon and the Grande Armée which swept across Central Europe and occupied what is now Germany.

Before we dive into all that and explore how Lutheranism was influenced by all these lesser known figures in the late 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, I want to recommend Adolf von Harless and his fascinating book A System of Christian Ethics.

The following excerpt comes from Eric W. Gritsch’s book A History of Lutheranism:

“Conservative Lutheran theology was represented by the Erlangen school. John K. Hoffmann (1810-1877) defended the traditional medieval and Reformation notion of “salvation history” (Heilgeschichte), asserting the biblical process of promise and fulfillment, a modern way of teaching old truths. Adolf von Harless (1806-1879) was the most prominent Erlangen theologian, defending the biblical truth he found summarized in the Lutheran Confessions; this truth was grounded in the church, not in individual insight. Harless distinguished between a divinely established saving order and a historically conditioned legal, institutional order. He is credited with the systematic exposition of the notion of the “orders of creation” (Schöpfungsordnungen) consisting of marriage, family, nation, race, economy and other “orders,” commanded by God for a moral Christian life.”

The following excerpt comes from Eric W. Gritsch’s book Toxic Spirituality: Four Enduring Temptations of Christian Faith:

“Some nineteenth-century German theologians, led by Adolf von Harless (1806-1879), taught a controversial doctrine of “orders of creation.” (Schöpfungsordnungen), asserting that Christians, like all other human beings, must abide by specific, unchanging ways of life, ordered by God before, and independent of, the revelation and salvation of , the revelation and salvation in Christ proclaimed by the Gospel. Nation, state, race, marriage, and economics are principal orders that cannot be changed. Such assertions caused debate, especially regarding specific views on sexuality (no homosexuality), war (no pacifism), and race (no mixing).”

Gritsch isn’t a fan of Adolf von Harless.

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15 Comments

    • If he’s LCMS, I would hope he does. “How did Lutheranism go so far off the rails?” HW, it’s because of his training. The Orthodox say, ‘Rome was the first Protestant.” As much as the RC’s want to disown Bergoglio, he IS the logical outcome of Vatican Ewww, and the Romish cult’s desire to ‘go it alone.’

        • – And the study of Hebrew IS detrimental to one’s soul (first video @ 5:11) because the Church already had the LXX and the GREEK NT, complete! And the later MT, devised by the Jews AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem, and the council of Jamnia [AD 130], excised all verses that could be taken as Messianic- ergo, detrimental to a Christian’s salvation. The Jews were/are LIARS, and ANTICHRISTS. They are also imposters, and ANYTHING that is ‘theirs’ including the false HEBE translation of the O.T. is as valid to a Christian, as the Book of Mormon, today.

          The Modern Protestant (and RC) theologian’s penchant for even THINKING that the Jews have ANYTHING to teach us, is satanic to the core.

          Denise hates the Jews for their racial mongrelization, alone.
          I hate them far worse, because of their lies, their scripture twisting, their false, blasphemous worship, their idiotic desire to resurrect the Temple and the animal sacrifices, and their denial of Christ as the ONLY sacrifice to YHWH. You have no idea.

          St. John Chrysostom should be mandatory reading for every White Man out there….

          • By the time of Irenaus, Bishop of Lugdunum Christianity was more or less fully Hellenized. He claimed to be a disciple of Polycarp!

  1. Hunter,
    If you have not read it I urge you to do so.
    It was an incredible eye opener for me.

    APOSTATE: The Men Who Destroyed The Christian West
    by Kevin Swanson

    Available on Kindle, and perhaps other ways.

    You will not be disappointed.

    • Mr. Haney (How’re things in Hooterville? Sorry, just had to….). The book promises much, but about halfway through it, the myopia of reductionistic protestant-schism became too much for me. I found the book useless, either for an Adult Ed class, or to recommend to people.

  2. What is the economic order he believes ordained by God? If a nation is not be changed, are borders to never be altered? Or is a nation limited by the particular ethnic group within certain boundaries?

  3. “And let us not underestimate the calamity which crept out of Christianity into politics. Today nobody has the courage any longer for privileges, for masters’ rights, for a sense of respect for oneself and one’s peers- for a pathos of distance. Our politics is sick from this lack of courage” – Nietzsche

  4. HW, most historians believe that it was Melancthon that was the reason for later Lutheranism departing from Luther’s initial greatness.

  5. Brad, in Germany the Lutheran Church is called the “Evangelische Kirche” which is a term coined by Martin Luther. The word Evangelische in modern common usage is like the English term Protestant, and refers to the Evangelists and the Gospel.

    The Scandinavian countries all have Lutheran/Protestant Churches, and the great Lutheran hero of the North, who came close to driving the Catholics back over the Alps into Italy, was Gustav Adolphus.

  6. But, as an added thought- Here is Dr. Farrell’s premise for his magnum opus, “God, History, and Dialectic.

    “Thus the thesis of this work is quite simple: the Two Europes worship different Gods. This may seem a surprising, perhaps even an irreverent, assertion, until one recalls why the doctrine of God is so significant. It is the doctrine of the Trinity which is at the core of the Church’s belief and the ultimate basis of Her cultural influences. The differences in the theological formulation of that doctrine therefore reflect, illuminate, and cause the difference of the Two Europes. Once the profundity of Augustine’s dialectical formulation of the Trinity is grasped, we shall come much closer to the fundamental influences driving much, if not most, of the intellectual development of the Second Europe.” – https://payhip.com/GHD

  7. Fr John+,

    I’ve read a sample from GH&D. Very interesting but too weighty, lengthy and expensive for the avg person. Someone ought to write a shorter work.

    You are so right about the LXX. Can’t understand how the Scripture of Jesus and the Apostles was thrown over for the Jew-approved MT.

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