OK, here’s the second of the threads on which I’m inviting discussion in my absence over the next few days. (I will be able to read people’s posts, but probably won’t be able to contribute myself.)
One of my passions on this site is promoting Augsburg evangelicalism. As I explain on my “about” page, this is a slightly tongue-in-cheek term for “certain key teachings which lie at the heart of the Lutheran understanding of the Christian faith”, as distinct from the wider Lutheran tradition and culture. What we might call “the five points of Augsburg evangelicalism” were summarised by CPA as follows:
- Justification by faith alone.
- Baptismal regeneration.
- The real and substantial presence of Christ’s body and blood in
Holy Communionthe elements of the Lord’s Supper.
- The relative indifference of polity as defining the being of the church.
- Scripture as the only binding norm of faith and practice.
As CPA went on to point out, it is not immediately obvious why those five points should be enough to define not only Augsburg evangelicalism, but also Lutheranism. In other words, why it should be that, in practice:
…every congregation which affirms these five also affirms the whole kit and kaboodle of the Lutheran tradition, from the Book of Concord to Law and Gospel sermons to Waltherian congregationalism to Reformation Sundays to Concordia Press to beer.
It’s not immediately obvious to me either why this should be the case, and if I have any “apologetical” aims for this site then it is not to “convert” people to Lutheranism as such, but to promote those aspects of Lutheran theology, such as the “five points”, which can be appropriated with benefit by people of any tradition (just as I benefited greatly from teachings such as law/gospel, the theology of the cross, the doctrine of vocation and so on long before becoming a Lutheran, and as I continue to benefit from the insights of Christians from other traditions today). I described this in more detail in my post, From Augsburg with love.
So what I’m inviting in this thread is contributions from non-Lutheran readers in particular. Just as some Reformed Christians will talk about being “five-point” or “four-point” (or even “seven-point”!) Calvinists, how many of the five points of Augsburg evangelicalism do you find yourself able to agree with, and which are they? In other words, are you a one-, two-, three-, four- or five-point Augsburg evangelical? 🙂
Update: Early responses have pointed out the potential ambiguity of some of the “points”, in particular #3. So I’ve amended this slightly in order to clarify what is meant by it: namely, what Fr Kimel would call the real identification, not what Calvinists mean by “real presence”. To put it another way, both #2 and #3 are to be understood in the sense in which they are expounded in the Small Catechism, not in the sense in which they could be understood in the Heidelberg Catechism.
I’ve done this not as an exercise in “team sports” or (as Fr Spike put it) playing a “vapid” game of saying “I believe the words of institution more than you do!”, but simply for the purposes of identification, clarity and usefulness of terminology. We can argue about the depth and importance of the difference between the two positions another time; for now the question is just which of those positions (if any) people would identify themselves with.
Those who’ve already responded: feel free to amend your answers as necessary!