“Imagine a church that is both evangelical – proclaiming the free forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ – and sacramental, centering its spiritual life in the regenerating waters of baptism and the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion.
“Imagine further a church that is strongly grounded on Scripture, but yet avoids the solipsism of individual interpretation in favor of a comprehensive, intellectually rigorous and imminently orthodox theological system.
“Imagine a worship service that features both strong preaching and the historic liturgy.
“Imagine that this is a historical church with a rich spiritual tradition, but without legalism.
“Imagine, in short, a church that has some of the best parts of Protestantism and the best parts of Catholicism.
“Finally, imagine that this church body is not some little made-up sect, but one of the largest bodies of Christians in the world.
“Such a church might seem like what many Christians, disaffected by both the vacuity of liberal theology and the shallowness of American evangelicalism, are dreaming of. Such a church exists. It goes by the admittedly inadequate name Lutheran.”
Gene Edward Veith, Jr., The Spirituality of the Cross (p. 114)
WHERE CAN YOU FIND AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY THESE DAYS?
“Imagine if it were possible for churches today to engage people with a real and powerful Christianity that is not predicated on new gimmicks, cultural conformity, or downplaying doctrine. What if churches could offer a robust spirituality that is not a mile wide and an inch deep? What would it look like if churches had a framework for engaging burned-out and disaffected believers while still remaining faithful?
This framework would have to be authentically Christian. The nearness of God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ is authentically Christian. Divine justification leading to an existence that is affirmed by God is authentically Christian. Vocation bringing together the secular and spiritual realms is authentically Christian. These notions were not concocted by sociologists or some Seattle-based baristas; they are historically rooted truths of the Christian faith. They are based in and flow out of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather than being a protean blob that morphs with the culture, this framework would be a uniquely Christian expression. Instead of being a product of the ever-changing zeitgeist, this framework would be authentically Christian at its core.
Imagine a Christianity of Christianities. . . It would draw together many different paradoxes from across the panoply of Christian traditions. . . and yet, rather than being an ecumenical lowest common denominator, it would have its own distinctives that directly address the needs and issues of the day.
The framework would be markedly better than the Church Growth or Emerging Church Movements. Stronger than a double shot of espresso, this framework would hold together the strengths of many different Christian traditions. Clearer than any high-resolution screen, this framework would convey the eternal truth of Christian faith. Louder than any praise band, this different approach would speak to burned out and disaffected believers trying to make sense of a secular, postmodern world.
There is, in fact, a theology at hand that could help us build this framework. It is called Lutheran Christianity.”
(The above is an excerpt from “Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World”, p. 40, by Gene Edward Veith Jr. and A. Trevor Sutton. Concordia Publishing House, 2017. I heartily encourage anyone concerned with proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to read this timely book!)
Bringing authentic Christianity to the university and Bloomington communities is the primary focus of our ministry located where both connect at the corner of 7th and Fess Streets, just across from Dunn Meadow and the landmark Indiana Memorial Union. University Lutheran Church is a genuine Christian community for all ages: small children, Indiana University undergraduate and graduate students, couples, internationals, young professionals, and a few retired people!
We come together weekly in fellowship around God’s Word and Sacrament to receive His gifts of life, salvation, and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ our Savior. We learn from God’s Word how to interpret the world as a member of God’s household, recognizing both the joy of living as His forgiven children in the midst God’s beautiful creation, and the pitfalls we face serving in our vocations in a secular postmodern world. We enjoy getting together for things throughout the week, whether it’s “The Best Meal You’ll Have All Week” for students, a weeknight Bible study, or packaging over 11,000 meals for local schoolchildren at our Generosity Feeds event.
At University Lutheran Church we foster a connection to Christ, to each other, and to all who confess Christ throughout the whole Christian Church on earth for all time. This connection brings true peace and joy, because Christ is Peace and is the head of His body, the Church.
Looking for authentic Christianity? We imperfect people gathered at the corner of 7th and Fess invite you to receive forgiveness and life with us, given by our perfect Savior Jesus Christ.
Rev. Richard Woelmer
University Lutheran Church