Issue 3| May 2022
CORE Voice Newsletter, Issue 3, May 2022
In This Issue

  • Did "Empire" Kill Jesus?
  • Working Out Differences Could Have Saved Millions
  • Biblically Sound Answers to LGBTQ+ Questions
  • Inviting Criticism
  • New Video Book Review for May
  • Pro Ecclesia Conference Update

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Did Jesus Die For Our Sins?
by Pr. Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

I am very grateful for all the people who expressed deep concern over the movement I described in my April letter from the director to “cancel” the Gospel of John and remove John 18-19 from the lectionary readings for Holy Week, because of the claim that they foster anti-Semitism. A link to that letter can be found here.
In that same article I mentioned an even deeper concern – a movement not just to cancel the passion narrative in John, but to “cancel” the passion. There are many within the ELCA and other liberal/progressive, mainline denominations who reject the teaching that Jesus died for our sins. Instead they make Good Friday into the supreme example of Jesus’ bold political protest against the Roman empire, even unto death. And they believe that now we need to join in the work of dismantling empires and all other oppressive, political and social power structures. 
One pastor wrote, “Empire killed Jesus for being a good rabbi, telling the truth, and therefore was a threat to the power structure.” Unfortunately, many agree.  […]
What's Next for the Pro-Life Movement?
by Pr. Steve Shipman, Former Director of Lutheran CORE and Dean of the Atlantic Mission Region of the NALC

Pro-life folks are celebrating the strong probability that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, which as even the late Justice Ginsburg acknowledged was too far-reaching and too sweeping. While she and I disagree on the outcome we desire, I affirm with her that any reforms to abortion regulations (and they were needed in 1973) should have involved legislative processes along with judicial ones (I would say legislative instead of judicial decrees).

But before we party too heartily, this is far from the end of debates over issues of abortion (or other matters regarding the sanctity of life). As Churchill said after the Battle of El Alamein, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will not end abortions in this country, but it will create hundreds of new challenges as the debates move where I believe they should always have been, to the Congress and the legislatures of the various states. And my sense is that most of us are not equipped to accomplish what is needed — to change hearts and minds of those who genuinely believe the debate is about “women’s rights” or “women’s health care.”

The reality is that over the past 50 years, the same arguments have been repeated (ad nauseam, I might add), by those on both sides. Some folks are persuaded by one set of arguments and some by the other. But there is no attempt to find a reasonable place most of us can move beyond our slogans to look for common ground. […]
The Trials, Tribulations and Challenges Facing Pastors in 2022
by Dr. Don Brandt, Director, Congregations in Transition for Lutheran CORE

I have been a subscriber to Christianity Today since the early 1980’s. I have always appreciated the quality and Biblical orthodoxy of its articles. Recently both the CT magazine May/June issue, and its quarterly supplement “CT Pastors”, focused on the current challenges facing congregational pastors in the U.S. These challenges include both increased internal congregational conflict and decreasing worship attendance. One result of these challenges has been a great many “burned out”, discouraged clergy.
Regarding internal conflict within the Body of Christ, the “CT Pastors” editor, Kelli Trujillo, quoted Clement’s letter to the church of Corinth in 96 AD. “Have we reached such a height of madness as to forget that we are members of one another?” Well in some U.S. congregations, especially since early 2020, the answer is apparently an emphatic “yes”. […]
Resources for Ministry to LGBTQ+ Identified Persons
by Pr. Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

In the January 2022 issue of CORE Voice and the February 2022 letter from the director I had a two-part article entitled, “How Did It Happen?”, in which I explained how groups such as ReconcilingWorks have made use of the principles of community organizing so that they have been able to completely take over the ELCA with their LGBTQ+ values, priorities, and agenda. A link to the article in the newsletter can be found here. A link to the letter from the director can be found here
At the end of the second part I described the need for resources for parents, church leaders, and LGBTQ+ identified persons which are Biblically sound, scientifically based, and compassionate in their approach to matters pertaining to same-sex attraction and gender identity, and more broadly relating to sexuality and gender.  
Next month – June – the LGBTQ+ community will be celebrating Pride Month. In anticipation of that event Lutheran CORE has gathered a list of resources that will provide Biblically sound and compassionate answers to such questions as, “What do I do if I am gay?” and “What should I do now that my child or friend has come out as gay?” 
We began the task of developing this list with the clear understanding that the Bible does not allow for same-sex sexual activity and/or misrepresenting one’s biological sex.  [...]
Weekly Bible Studies on the Lectionary Readings
by Pr. Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

A new resource that is now available is a Bible study that I am doing each week based upon the lectionary readings for the following Sunday. The resource includes a twenty-five-to-thirty-minute video and a two-page study guide. A new one is available each Tuesday and is dated on Wednesday, because that is when the church where they are recorded posts them.

Many thanks to Living Water, an ELCA congregation in Scottsdale, Arizona, where my wife and I are members and where the studies are recorded. Many thanks also to Shepherd of the Hills, an LCMC congregation in Fountain Hills, Arizona, for permission to provide a link to their website where the videos and study guides are posted. […]
Video Book Reviews - "Martin Luther's Theology of Beauty"

May 2022
by Pastor Dennis D. Nelson, Lutheran CORE Executive Director

Lutheran CORE continues to provide monthly video reviews of books of interest and importance. Many thanks to Maurice Lee, NALC pastor and theologian, for doing a review of Mark Mattes’ book, Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal. Dr. Mattes is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Grand View University in Des Moines.
Dr. Lee begins by referring to Dr. Mattes’ “astonishingly prolific and insightful scholarship over many years.” He then goes on to mention how Luther would have come to a conclusion similar to that of the philosophical tradition — that truth, goodness, and beauty are closely interconnected — but only on the basis of his rigorously Christological perspective, in that we can rightly see truth, goodness, and beauty only in the light of Christ crucified and risen.

 Luther and the Lutheran tradition did not remove [...]
Pro Ecclesia Conference
Mixed Blessings: The Theologians Who Shaped Us

This year a group of ecumenical scholars will reflect on the Christian figures from past times who have most greatly influenced them in a positive way and ask the question, "What did these teachers get wrong in the light of what they got right?"

Confirmed speakers
  • Frederick Bauerschmidt, Loyola University Maryland, on “The Dumb Ox in the Room: Reckoning with Aquinas’s Legacy”
  • Phillip Cary, Eastern University, on “Not Quite What Any of Us Want Him to Be: On Augustine
  • Carolyn Chau, King’s University College at Western University, on "Between Form and Norm: Assessing the Evangelizing Potential of Balthasar's Theology"
  • David Luy, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, on “The Place of Christology in Dogmatic Theology: A Critical Engagement with Wolfhart Pannenberg
  • Charles Raith, Ascension Health, on “How My Mind Changed on Infant Baptism”
  • Amy Schifrin, North American Lutheran Seminary/Trinity School for Ministry, “On Luther.”

The conference will again be at Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore, and will begin in the evening of Monday, June 6, 2022, and end before lunchtime on Wednesday, June 8.

You can find full information regarding the speakers and the link to register on our website (click here).

Our annual banquet will be held on Tuesday night; we will ask for an additional voluntary donation for the cost of the meal.

We encourage you to register and to share this link with others who might be interested. You can register online by credit card, or print out the form and mail us a check. Please contact me if you have any questions.

CCET Executive Director
Coming Events

  • Pro Ecclesia Conference - Baltimore, MD - June 6-8, 2022. Click here.
  • The NEXUS Institute - Des Moines, IA - June 12-18, 2022. Click here to register.
  • LCMC Youth Event - Des Moines, IA - July 19-22. Click here.
  • 2022 NALC Annual Convocation - August 5-6. (Online). Click here.
  • ELCA Churchwide Assembly - August 8-13, 2022. Click here.
  • LCMC 22nd Annual Gathering & Convention - Lakeville, MN - October 2-5, 2022. Click here.
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Lutheran CORE's mission:
  • A Network for Confessing Lutherans
  • A Voice for Biblical Truth

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