To make a long story short, an artist I listen to who goes by the name FLAME recently released an album highlighting many of his new doctrinal stances stemming from Lutheranism as he has recently ‘converted’ during/after seminary at Concordia. (Prior to this he was reformed, though I’m not sure which denomination -if any- he ascribed to).
He began posting videos alongside Doctor/Pastor Jordan Cooper whom he learned much of his newfound theology from. I had previously had absolutely zero exposure to Lutheranism, the Lutheran Church, or anything with Luther in it aside from basic knowledge about Martin Luther himself and his role in the reformation. That being said, I became curious as to their beliefs and figured I may as well educate myself to see what they’re about.
After watching several videos of Dr. Cooper and doing a small bit of reading I think I’m beginning to grasp some of the major differences between the Lutheran Church and mainstream (non liturgical) Protestantism but still have some questions/fuzzy areas I was hoping some of you can address.
I know Lutherans do not believe Baptism is merely a sign/symbol but that it is a means of grace and has actual efficacy to cleanse sins (so I guess they believe it is salvific?) but do they also believe that if a man or woman professes Christ, repents & believes upon Him to forgive their sins but is not baptized for w/e reason before they die (even if its several years later unlike the thief on the cross) that they are not saved?
I also know that they believe that the real presence of Christ is in the bread and wine. And that like baptism, it is not merely a symbol as most protestants believe. Although I still don’t know how exactly this differs that much from the Catholic view of transubstantiation which says the bread is the literal body and the wine the literal blood.
Every explanation I’ve listened to as to why they do not believe it is symbolic as most of Protestantism does is because they are simply taking scripture at face value. So when Jesus says, “This is my body broken for you…” They take it literally rather than metaphorically and that other protestants are sort of ignoring what the scripture really says. My question here is, Jesus often spoke parabolically, he even makes statements such as, “I am the door” but nobody actually believes Jesus means to say he is a literal door so why do Lutherans not allow for metaphoric usage of language in dealing with the Eucharist?
I learned that Lutherans do not believe in ‘once saved, always saved’ or as some refer to it, the doctrine of ‘perseverance of the saints.’ They believe that you can legitimately ‘fall away’ and they cite several texts to support this view. My questions on this are as follows (because I haven’t heard counter verses dealt with yet):
—How do they handle texts such as Jesus saying he will not lose any of his sheep, or the concept of salvation linked to being ‘born again’ (can you then go back to being un-born-again? If you’re made a ‘new creation’ how do you then un-make this new creation? Does the holy spirit vacate the believer all of a sudden… is there any precedent for this in scripture?), or eternal life beginning at conversion… how is it able to be called ‘eternal’ if you can then forfeit it later on?
—I always thought that the idea of never losing your salvation was the more historical position held by the church but it turns out I was wrong? Dr. Cooper states that most of the church fathers’ writings make it clear that they believed one could walk away from the faith after having been genuine believers (as opposed to the reformed view that if someone walks away they were never really saved to begin with). How did the majority view then switch to the belief that one cannot lose their salvation today (at least it seems that way to me) ?
4.) View of other Protestants
Given the above 3 points and the fact that it seems to me at least that Lutherans believe their belief about the sacraments to be essential to the Christian faith. Do they believe other protestants such as non-liturgical Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Non-Denominational, etc are genuine Christians who are saved but just ‘missing out on some of the means of grace’ or do they believe them to be heretics who are not saved?
These are genuine questions I am posing as someone who is trying to challenge some of my doctrinal beliefs, learn more about God, and understand the positions of my other brothers and sisters and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read and respond to this