Describe: Dr. Bartelt gave a lecture as a tribute to the 500th year since the reformation. The lecture: “Does Lutheranism Still Matter?” was about how Lutheranism is still relevant in this developing and ever-changing society we live in.
Integrate: Dr. Bartelt started his lecture with the statement “Our religious life is directly related to where we are in history”, which he then used to transition into the thesis. His argument during the lecture was the idea that Lutheranism doesn’t have to be lost because of socio-cultural change in the contemporary and developing world we live in. Bartelt’s claimbegs the question: What does Lutheranism look like today? Is the heart of Lutheranism in it’s doctrine, which should not be changed over time? Or is it in spreading the Gospel and fulfilling the mission Christ put before us? Bartelt goes on to say that is it a balance between the two, having its own “niche” and “role” by being between the Catholics and the Evangelicals and in doing so links the past to the future. Although Lutheranism very much values traditions and rituals, it should still be adaptable and compatible with the next generations.
Evaluate: Overall I enjoyed the lecture, although I did disagree with several components. I realize that this lecture was catered to Lutherans specifically, but for me personally it was hard to apply his ideas to my own life since I don’t identify as a Lutheran. Bartelt targeted millennials a few times during the lecture- mostly about how they are fierce advocates for change and base much of what they belief on “proven” scientific fact. While that may be disappointing to many Lutherans, I think it is a great opportunity. It opens up a different area of study: looking to documents other than the Bible to learn about Jesus’s existence and events that occurred in the Bible. Of course, being a Christian requires faith, that is its very foundation. But, I think during this time of change and new developments in science, we need to (as Christians) use these new technologies to spread the Word. Bartelt mentioned that Lutherans should be flexible and adaptable to the new generation, but I think we can take it a step further and dive into this new culture and fulfill our mission. Bartelt referenced the quote “You can only sharpen your pencil for so long- you gotta pick it up and write!” which to me directly relates to us going out into the world and spreading love, and maybe putting a little less priority on doctrine.
Another point I disagreed with was Bartelt’s argument that “Theology doesn’t change, even if social context does”. I disagree with this statement mainly because I think that theology, like any other study, is constantly growing and expanding and, sometimes, changing. Luther’s own legacy was that he changed theology during a time when religious leaders were opposed to change. In order for something to be a foundation it doesn’t always have to be unchanging. I think that this new generation has a lot to bring to the table in terms of theology, and some might not follow “Lutheran Theology” completely, and that is okay. The Gospel makes it clear that faith in Christ is what matters, the specifics (theology, certain laws, etc.) are going to vary domination to domination and culture to culture. Our foundation should be in our faith, which is what should remain unchanged even while social context changes.