Erik Samuelson Yesterday’s post was about professor emeritus James Nestingen’s negativity regarding the ELCA, past and present.  This morning, a blog post from Pastor Erik Samuelson offers another view of Nestingen. 

Pastor Erik is of Norwegian ancestry, and his roots are in the old American Lutheran Church (ALC), which was one of the major partners in the ELCA merger twenty some years ago.  Professor Nestingen has the same background, and Pastor Erik suggests that Nestingen still resents the merger and the diminished influence of conservative, Norwegian Lutherans in the merged church.

Dr. Nestingen gets to the heart of it: The #ELCA was a bad idea all along. Three cheers for the Old ALC! Hmm…

What I found as I analyzed the way he uses the documents [Lutheran Confessions] is that he often intersperses American political philosophy and highly preferences one particular historical branch of Lutheranism which my family shares with him. It’s a straight line from the German Reformation to it’s adoption in Norway (subscribing to the Augsburg Confession and Catechisms) to the United States via the Norwegian Synod (and some Haugean pietists thrown in from time to time) that kept Norwegian [language] in worship long into the 20th Century, who formed the core of the ALC and had their stronghold in Luther Seminary (and St. Olaf and PLU). Nestingen again and again seems to refer to this as the “true Lutheran” heritage. This works great for Norwegian American Lutherans (who held a great deal of power in the ALC and less since the merger in 1988), but I just don’t see how he can claim this as the predominant form of Lutheranism, or the mainstream of Christianity.

Pastor Erik’s blog also offers a detailed rebuttal to Nestingen’s assertion that the ELCA violates the letter of the Confessions.  Check out his post if interested in the esoteric minutiae of Lutheran orthodoxy.