Systematic Theology, including dogmatics or doctrinal theology, involves the study of symbolic or confessional books, moral philosophy and ethics, and apologetics (defending the faith) and polemics (attacking the positions held by others for doctrinal reasons). It also includes inter-church relations and ecumenical endeavors.
Doctrinal writings and confessional studies, whether old or new, are proper additions to this category.
While contemporary understanding of an apology is that of expressing sorrow over something done wrong, in Christian theology it involves the traditional meaning of a defense, specifically against the attacks of non-believers. The "apology" is normally a rationally constructed, fairly detailed statement. Thus, Apologetics is often considered a "scientific" vindication of Christian truth against unbelief. While Lutheran theology does not allow for an absolute proof of God, it can and does argue contra other beliefs, and tries to do so through rational application of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. As Apologetics guards the door to the outside, Polemics looks within. It is the discipline which addresses error inside Christendom. In Lutheranism, this is sometimes directed toward different churches and at other times toward those within Lutheran circles who are perceived by other Lutherans as being in doctrinal error. Related in some minds is what is known as Comparative Religion, which involves a side-by-side look at different belief systems. Some think of it as the science of religion, others place it between the history and the philosophy of religion. It is not a traditional part of Lutheran theology, however, since it often tends to be value-neutral in its comparisons, while Apologetics and Polemics are, by nature, biased toward what is believed to be the best or the only true belief.
Please submit sites which deal with theological (sytematic, exegetical, liturgical, or practical) contrasts and conflicts between the Christian Church and non-Christian bodies from a Lutheran perspective. Intra-Church and intra-Lutheran contrasts and conflicts are part of Polemics and should be submitted to that category.
Holy Baptism is the rite of initiation into the Christian Faith. Lutherans teach that it is regenerative, creating a new person by God's Word and work of the Holy Ghost.
Sites should focus on Lutheran baptismal theology and practice or critiques of other churches'' understanding and use of Baptism.
This field of Systematic Theology deals specifically with the person, nature, and work of Jesus Christ. While many Lutherans argue from the hermeneutic of justification that "all theology is Christology," it nevertheless holds its own among other branches of Christian knowledge and discussion.
Submissions should deal as directly as possible with discussion of Christ and with Christological heresies and unique or controverted teachings.
Confession and Absolution is the acknowledgement of sin by an individual and the bestowal of forgiveness by the confessor, usually the parish pastor. In classic Lutheran theology, confession, or, more properly Holy Absolution is sometimes called the Third Sacrament.
Submit sites dealing with the theological understanding of the bestowal and appropriation of the forgiveness of sins in Lutheranism. Links may include both corporate and individual, or private, confession and also examination of absolution granted by the laity.
This category deals with the Lutheran understanding of the beginning of the universe, the origin of life, and related matters. Since there is no unanimity among Lutherans, various sites may espouse traditional six day creation, extended creation, theistic evolution, or a more general concept of evolution.
Submit sites dealing with a Lutheran understanding of origin issues.
The Lutheran Church is a confessional church, affirming and subscribing to formal statements of belief as well as to the Holy Scriptures. Most Lutherans accept as a minimum confessional standard subscription to the Holy Bible, the Augsburg Confession, the Nicene, Athanasian, and Apostles' Creeds, and the Small and Large Catechisms by Martin Luther. These are part of Concordia (the Book of Concord of 1580). Other major confessions in the Book of Concord are the Apology (Defense) of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalkald Articles, Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, and the Formula of Concord.
Submissions to this category should be 1) online copies of the Book of Concord or portions thereof, 2) studies of it or its parts, or 3) Lutheran expositions of the Ecumenical Creeds.
Ecumenical relations involve reconciling the differences that divide different churches and religions.
Submissions should involve primary sources or commentary upon past or current intra- or inter-Lutheran ecumenical endeavors.
Sites dealing with Lutheran response to moral and ethical questions in the Church and in society at large. Topics may include, but are not restricted to, abortion, euthansia, physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual abuse, marriage and divorce, sexuality, infertility treatments, genetic engineering, crime and punishment, and gambling.
Submit sites that correspond to the category description. Note that if the link is to a social agency that responds to some of these ethical concerns, it should be submitted to the Social Activism or Social Services categories.
Lutheran theology explains these as the two great, yet diametrically opposed teachings of Scripture. The Law is taught as God's unwavering word of command and a condemnation of all that is sinful. The Gospel is taught as God's gracious word of promise, bringing forgiveness and reconciliation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Centered especially in the Pauline corpus, it was detailed in many writings by Martin Luther and summarized by American theologian C. F. W. Walther.
Please submit sites dealing with the Lutheran understanding of these teachings or sites that offer challenges specifically to the Lutheran interpretation.
The Lutheran Church teaches that Holy Communion is the eating and drinking the very body and blood of Christ under the bread and wine. Its celebration is, along with the reading and preaching of the Word, the focus of Lutheran liturgical life. The liturgy is crafted to remind the communicant that participation on earth is also participation in the heavenly banquet. Yet while practiced throughout Christendom, it begets some of the greatest controversies in the Christian Church.
As Apologetics guards the door to the outside, Polemics looks within. It is the discipline which addresses error inside Christendom. In Lutheranism, this is sometimes directed toward different churches and at other times toward those within Lutheran circles who are perceived by other Lutherans as being in doctrinal error.
Please submit sites which deal with theological (sytematic, exegetical, liturgical, or practical) contrasts and conflicts within the Christian Church from a Lutheran perspective, especially differences between Lutheranism and other confessions and intra-Lutheran disputes. Apologetics sites, those dealing with Christian (Lutheran) and non-Christian differences, should be submitted to that category.
This part of theology deals with God's desire to save, how people are called to salvation, whether there are terms and conditions, and with faith and "saving" faith, especially whether true faith can be lost. It is closely connected with the doctrine of Justification and the Atonement of Christ.
Sites dealing with the Lutheran understanding or with critiques by non-Lutherans are welcome for submission.