Lutheranism has its own radical “Lutheran” orthodoxy. It aims to be truly and genuinely Lutheran in spirit and essence. It seeks to not be “fundamentalist,” which is a throw-away term in most religious conversion for “inflexible” and “steadfast.” Moderates tfrom he ELCA (and especially those who have recently left for the newer break-aways like the NALC and LCMC) have been forerunners in this “radical” approach with is actually very moderate soft, and mushy. But semi-conservative and tradition-loving Lutherans have also embraced this sort of camp, ethos, and style. They don’t want to take hard biblical stances on every issue—fighting for the truth. They wish to appear authentic, appealing, and irenic—but end up long on style and weak on substance. Evidently, Tullian Tchvidjian has done the same in the Reformed camp.
God’s Word is not a style or spirit or image—it is divine teaching from Scripture. All doctrine is related. To capture the essence of the truth without nailing down the details and caring about everything the Holy Spirit has revealed in Scripture is to not follow Christ faithfully. All doctrine is related and interconnects—in Christ, who is the truth.
New “radicalisms” are not really that radical to the wordly peace-loving who do not want to fight over controverted and contentious issues. It is actually mild. To avoid the fight where God’s Word is attacked is weak, satanic, and foolish, despite however much style, verve, and verbiage is use.
This approach is to do religion by appearance, not power. The fact that a false religious organization and cult is mimicking what some so-called Lutherans are attempting shows that this approach is not of God. The truth is not ours to massage or make more palatable. There is no bare essence to distill, apart from the actual words revealed in Scripture. Preaching is not an advertising campaign. The truth is not ours, but God’s. It requires making firm stands and rejecting error. There no “spirit” separable from the fully-detailed content laid out plainly in Scripture.
Modern Lutherans often want to avoid the topics that cause dissension and discomfort—like clearly defined male/female roles in church and the world, homosexuality, abortion, the inspiration of Scripture and its historicity. Concern for traditional things that Christ did not command may replace them. They may not deny what they Bible says, but the “radicals” are embarrassed at the hub-bub caused by them, so they meekly recede into the background. They bodly deal with ideas, themes, and doctrines as man-made building blocks, but are unable to firmly convict, proclaim, or speak with “thus saith the Lord” on very much at all. Due to shame over the simplicity of literally submitting to every Word of God and fear of offending modern, sinful sensibilities, the Law is dulled, which means the Gospel is also.
To be radical is not the follow the world in getting along with sin and error—it is to be like Christ. Speak and live according to the truth, then gird your loins to be persecuted, rejected, and possibly killed. The prophets and apostles did not play nice with error—they pushed on the pressure-points and spoke the truth no matter the consequences. “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51) —ed.