Are Lutherans Antinomian?

4 November 2010 by Wes Bredenhof

Interesting post (and following discussion) on this subject over at Paul McCain’s blog, Cyberbrethren.  I found this comment from McCain especially helpful:

At issue is the unfortunate penchant of some who claim to be “confessional Lutherans” for avoiding any mention of the Christian life in their sermons. This stands in utter contradiction of Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and all the orthodox Lutheran theologians, preachers and teachers from the Reformation through the age of Orthodoxy.

It would seem that any antinomian tendencies in Lutheranism are inconsistent with confessional Lutheranism.  Similarly, there are tendencies or phenomena in Calvinism that are inconsistent with confessional Calvinism (e.g. immediate regeneration).

3 responses to “Are Lutherans Antinomian?”

  1. Stephen Francis says:

    Wes, I think your conclusion is correct. The Lutheran confessions, while for obvious reasons majoring on justification, do not ignore the reality of the renewed life and the necessity of good works. It would seem that in more recent history antinomian tendencies have arisen in reaction to Pietism as well as to Reformed teaching.

    Out of interest, apart from immediate regeneration, what other phenomena would you identify as inconsistent with the Calvinist tradition?

    • Hi Stephen,

      As other examples: forms of baptismal regeneration, justification by faithfulness/adherence to covenant obligations, denials or neglect of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, and denials or neglect of the law/gospel distinction with regards to justification. But one of the most insidious and pervasive is institutional, familial, cultural, and personal pride.

  2. Stephen Francis says:

    Thanks Wes, that’s helpful.

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