Full Text for The Lutheran Ethic. The Impact Of Religion On Laymen And Clergy: A Review Article (Text)

THE SPRINGFIELDER June 1971 Volume 35, Number 1 The Lutheran Ethic. The Impact Of Religion On Laymen And Clergy il RE'C71E\\' ARTICLE ?'he Method 1-11s B001i 1'URPORTS to be a study of the impact of religion T on Inymcn a11d clergy in every day life. Four Lutheran American church groups were selected and attention n-as focusccl on the dis- tincti~c characteristics of their cler~ and laity to see how their religious ideology functioned in the coniniunity and countrv in ivhich t hcsC pcoplc I iircd. In this iol~~rnc the rcadcr will find a report of thc findings of a sociological study of religion ~vhich had the support of four major Lutheran churc.1~ bodies located in southern Rlichigan. Oiver n periotl of four years an in-depth analysis of members of Lutheran congregi~tions, inclutling clcrgy and laity, was undertaken with the finallcia1 support of the Rlichigan District of the American Lutheran Church; the Social 11ction and Research Commission of thc American L~~thcran Church; the Board for Alissions, the Lutheran Church- Alissouri Synod; the Rlichigail Synod of the Lutheran Church in America; the Uctroit congregations of the \\Tisconsin Evangelical Luthcran Synocrl; and the Lutheran Council in the United States of America. Thc primary data utilized in this sociological research was of three kintls. 'I'he first type of data used was furnished by interviews of 886 laymen in three countics of Metropolitan Detroit. Random sampling \ifas taken by the selection of names from the membership roles of various congregations of the four participating Lutheran churches. The sccond kind of data consisted of questionnaires rvl~icll rr7ere ans\vered hv 241 Lutheran clergymen from the four participating groups 1oc;lted in the greater Detroit area. Thc third type of information was furnished by 1,095 students of all faiths attentling Eastern Alichigan University, who responded to question- naires that were mailed to them. The purpose of the latter sampling was to make a con~parison between the religious and non-religious views of these students as conlpared with those expressecl by Luther- ans on the same topics and issues. Thus in Dr. Kersten's study one finds involved the four largest branchcs of American Lutheranism : The LVisconsin Evangelical TIIE LU.THERAN ETHIC:. THE 1hlp~c-r OF RELIGION ON LAYMEN AND CLERGY BY Lawrence L. h'csrc 11c.1~1 I>\ 1-utherans. 'Tlic roIc of the sociologist is scientific- all\. to giltlic~r cl;~t;~, c1cscril)e \,\.hat he finds and draw \~ilicl conclusions. 14': sl~o~~lcl not l~rcs~~iiic to prescribe \\hiit o~lght to be the results. /{tr.\ic, 1 ~rtlrcrnt~ 7-'heologi~,al Teachings Tl~c "I 11thcr;in ethic" teaches that man was sinless prior to the F;111 ;IS rccorclccl ill Genesis 3. ilftcr the Fall man became :I totally corrupt being. ,Idam's offspring n.crc born with inlieriteel sin. In spiritu;11 niattcrs man is unable to l3crforlr1 that which is acceptable to God for sal\ ation. This contrasts strongly with Romanism which holcls that :~lrho~lgl~ inan is born with sin, he is not totally corrupt and that lic may ovcrconlc liis sinful state by the performance of gootl \\,arks. Iicrstcn cluotcs from The 13ook of Co~zcor~l which clearly tc:~cl~~s tliat man is horn with original sin which has affected his cntirc. nat~irc; thc po\vers of 11;s ~nind, heart and .trlill. AIartin 1.uthcr in 7lre il~ji~dqe of the Will is also cited by the author to show that there can be IIO "frec-will" in man or in any other creature. The Ijool:, of (loll(-ot-tE, ho\vever, does point out that man has some free M i I1 ill "C'X~C~II~I'' or "11011spiritual matters,') and declares that man can choost. among thc nrords and things which reason itself can grasp. ilgain the samc Confession states that lnen are found to "obey their c\,il inilli~lses more often than their sound judgment, while the de\,il, ~.ho as I'aul says (Eph. 2: 2) is at work in the ungwlly, never stops inciting this feeble nature to various offenses. For these reasons c.i7cn ci\.il righteousness is rare among men." The Detroit Study showed that little uniformity exists on the part of: clergy and laity of the four major hranchcs of Lutheranism. C)nc of the significant results of that study revealed the absence of a unificd T,utheran philosophy of life. It is, therefore, considered improper to speak about a "Lutheran)' view on any subject that might be under discussion. 011 the basis of data collcctcd, according to Kersten, the IYis- collsin and Alissouri Synods are thc most theologically conservative Lutheran Church bodies that approach the theological position set forth in the Lutheran Confessions. The ALC and the LC'A arc more liberally-oriented from a theological viecvpoin t, the LC:(\ bc'ing thc most liberal. A conser\fative theologfcal position, licrstcn cl:irnis, njll also influence the attitude on religious :incl social issues. Thus hc wrote: "A conserv:itivc theological st;~ncc rclntc'\ to ;I consc.r\ ,]ti\ c position on both religio~~s and secular questio~~s. The theologicall~ conservative respondents are also more pessimistic than optimist~c about the po7entials of man in this world and sec man's free will as severely restricted, both in this world and in thc ncxt" (p. 33). Liberally oriented Lutherans rejecting basic teachings of I2ut1~cr~inism are moving in the direction of bclicfs ant1 attiti~des of othcr m;iior Protestant bodies in the United States. According to the "Lutheran ethic" s;~l\.ation is at gift of Got1 111~1tlc possible by the vicarious tlcath of Christ upon Cal\r,lry's cross. JI;III cannot earn his sal~~ation. Salvation is 11v grace alone (solrr gr ot10). iVhile Roman Catholicism i~tlheres to a (loctrinc' of gracc, it \trc'\scs the mediation of grace througl~ the church hierarcl~v, religiol~< rituals and cvorl rc\.crsc was true, the laity being more conservative than the clergy (cf. pp. 33-34). On the stateinent "The Bible is God's \\rord nncl all it says is true." only 10 per cent of the clergy in thc I_C:rl ails\\,crccl this affirmatively, 19 per cent in the ALC, 74 per ccnt in the >IS, niltl 100 per cent in the LVS. Iiersten observes: "The. 90 per ccnt clif'fcrencc between the LCA and the L\'S clergvn~en secms almost inconcci\~able within the single denonlination of Luther- anism" (13. 3 -+). I,a\men did not approach the same extremes: LCrl hacl 29 per cciit, ALC 35 per cent, hllS 62 per ccnt, and \\IS - - / / 1x.r ccnt, that ga\?c the traclitional answer. rl seconcl cjuestion dealt with the historicity of Adam and Eve and of thc 1:all as recorded in Genesis 3. The range ainoilg the lait). of those 11 I10 bcllic\,e it was from 48 per cent in the LCA to 83 per cent in the \\IS. Thc third st;itement on the Religious Belief Index read that "only those who bclie\lc in Jesus Christ as their Savior can go to hca\.cn." 111 the LC;A 56 per cent of the layinen indicated such a hclicf is necessary, 58 per cent in the ALC, 75 pcr cent in the RIS, and 84 per ccnt in the \\7S. Of the LCA clergy only 43 per cent held to this fui~damcntal New Testament teaching, 52 per cent in the :ZI,C, 84 per ccnt in the R4S and 100 per cent in the \\TS. 'The fourth statement on the Religious Belief Index was: "A chile1 is already sinful at birth." This involves the important doctrine of original sin'n,hicli, as Kersten points out, is "a key elelllent in the 1,uthcran ctl~ic" (13. 35). The laity in the Lutheran congregations in\,ol\.ccl in this study indicated a more optiinistic attitude thin did the clcrg);. ilnswering the question in the traditional Lutheran way, rc~spoiisc 111 the 1_CA was 45 per cent of thc laity, 67 per cent of the clcrgy; in thc. All: 58 per ccnt of the laitv as over against 74 per ccnt of the clcrgv; in the RIS 77 per ccnt of the laymen and 99 per cent of the clergy, and in the \VS 79 per ccnt of the laity and 100 per cent of the clergy. T'hesc statistics apjll\. (JII~\. to tlle 1.r1l:ion studied. Ho\ve\.er, \\,hen these figures arc compilrctl \[.it11 ;\I o otller studies they assume significailcc. jcfl'crcv Ji. H;~(lcli~n in '['Izc Gatheril~g Sturnr irl tllc GI111r~lrt's: 'l'he \i7irieriirrg f,'et;~.~lc~~ Clergy nl~d Layt~le~z 11indc a sanil~lc stud\. of clcrg\'men from sis major denominatioi~s which included ~niii~stcrs from the :\I_(' ant1 >(IS. Similar cluestions \\.crc askctl b\, I-Iaddcn on his 1:cligious Belief Indcs. The bclids of L,uthcran ;lerg!mcn n;\tio~lallv shoivetl markecl similarities \\:ith the ans\\.ers of pastors of tlic 1)r'trc;it St~ltl!.. Dr. Kersten claims that thcsc studies SLII)I~-t "thc Ii\~l~othcsis that the clergymen from \.arious hranchcs of i.uthcr;lnish lioltl 1)c~licf s!.stelns cn~phasi~ctl cluri~lg their scnlin;~r\. cduc;~tio~l, \\ llich \\.it11 minor regional variations, the\- retain I)(.) 'mattc>~- \\11;\1 1~1rt i)f the countr!? thcv arc callctl to scr\~c" (p. 39). Rodney Stark ant1 Charles Y. Glock ill :\r~lr/.ic,iilr I'ict~: l'lir !Y~tllrc of I)IeIigjolls ~:OI~IIII~~I~~C?~~ 11l;ldc ;I s~LI~!. 01' rc:Iigio~ls 1)C;Iic'f's of Lutheran 13\111c11 ill thc northern C'aliforni;~ 31-ca. 'Tllis stucl!. sho\\.cd a similarity in ;~ns\\-ers gi\.cn to \\.hat tri1tlition;rl I,~ithi~~-a~i tllcolog! woultl consitlcr basic clucstions. Thc I)ctroit sl~r\.c!. cssciltiall\. is in agreenient \\.ith tlic Stark ant1 Glock rcscarcl~. Sociologists ha\.c pointed out that \.ariablcs in research sti~clics are causcd b!, factors such as age, sex, soci;ll class and ~lirtionalit\.. lo difference appcars bet\\,een the la!~iicn's ;igcb and their rankilig on thc 13eligious Index Scale. F-Io\ve\~cr, somc significant tlif-fi-rcnccs :tppcar regarding thc age of the clergy in the llctroit St~~cl!.. Younger clergvme~l . . more often rank as liberal ant1 older clcrg\.mc~l as con- scrvati\.e. Dr. Kcrstcn claims: "If the ).oLingcr clerg\.nlcn 11laint;lin their liberal thco1ogic:il beliefs through thc vc;rrs, tllc>i~ clri~illatic changes in Lutlicmn belief patterns likclv nrill ckcur (1,. 40) ." '111~ beliefs of clerg\,mcn arc indcpentlcnt of thc sociill c,lilss of their con- gregations, aIthough tllc Stud\. rc\~~~lcd that lil\.~iicn from :\ higher social class tend to bc. morc ' liberally incliiictl'. Intli\~itluals t~orn outside of the Enitcil States are thcologicall\. morc liberal tlia~i those born in the Unitetl States. -Those intli;itlunls \\.llo :~ttc~~dc(l a parochial school \\ere morc conser\~ativcly-oricntatcbtl than those \\ ho n-erc graduates of public schools. Pcoplc \\,I10 \\.crc raiscd in a rurnl area Iver-c morc conscr\.i~ti\,c than tliosc coilling from urban pli~ccs. 'The largest number of people ranking high on the llcligious Incles were those who had enjoyed religious training from earl!, childhood. Church attendance is I~igl~cst on n \veclil!~ basis in tlic \\S and hlS churches ~vith the latter having the higlicst pcrce~itngc of the four Lutheran bodies. The Associiltion In\.ol\.en~ent Inclcs sl~o\\.ctl that there is more institutional invol\.crnent in the \\'S ;~iitl 315 than in the more liberally incIined riLCi and liC'ii churches. The Detroit Stud>, shows that tlicre arc 110 great cliffcrcnccs regarding associational involvement in the four I,~~tIlcr:rn boil ies. Kersten states, hon.e\w-, that large diffcrcnccs exist in the iircil of persona1 religious practices. Conscrvati\.ely-orit>~itcd la)~n~n pril\cd much ~iiorc 0ftc11 to God to ascertain Idis \\;ill for their li\:es than did 1 Iici i~cli~cl 11ii Saying grace at the table, the Study rc\,ealccl i1 lo\v of 1 H pc; c,ent for the LCA and a high of 45 per ce1lt for thc XIS. '1'0 thc' rlucstio~i: "1Ia1.c you tried to convert an ul~be- lie\-cr?" thc range \\.as ;IS follo\i.s: 26 per ccnt in the I,CA tried, 34 pcr ce~it in tllc ;iI.C', 44 per ccnt in the h.%S, and 48 per cent in the \I'S. Iieligiot~ and 1'olitic.s Chapter 111 of 'f'Ile I.zithcra~~ Ethic deals ivitli "Religion and Politics." Itimistic vie\\r of hu~nan nature. In the hcroaftcr all inc~cl~~iilitic's in this lifc \\.ill be rectified. Is such a st:~~~cc~ \.iable in tn.cntict11 century Amcrica? Those I_i~thc~-ar~s \vl~o ilrc colnmittecl to tlie "Lutheran ethic" reflect this in their :ittiti~dcs ton-art1 politics. T11c survey sho\\;ed that theologically consc~r\.;iti\.c~ clcrg\.mcn Inore often fa\.or the Republican party and \.ate for Iatriarcl~al-agr;1ri:111 stl-~lctul-c, which was based on scrfdom and slave- r!.. TIIC "l_i~tl~~ran ethic" emphasi7ed the spiritual ccluality of all men I)ut rc~coglli/ctl inccli1alitics among rilces and social classes. It consitlcrctl a11 calJi~igs ;IS \-ocations from God ancl hcncc honorable. r 7 lhc cssistilig orrlcl-s ivcrc, thcrcforc, in harmony \\.it11 the 11-ill of (.;od ant1 \\.crcl not to bc changecl by human revolution. It \\.as also a part of I2iltl1crall l~clief, according to Kerstcn, that Luthcrarlism \\.as the onc "tr~~c" rcligion \\.hich ;~llegeclly fostcrs a spirit of intoler- ance to\\.i~rd Jc.\\-s, Roman Catl~olics i111~1 atheists. Tlic' Detroit St~~dy re\sCals that consistent ivit11 thc traclitional "l~.i~thc~ran clthic" tl~c.ologicallv more conservative clcrg!.~uel~ express i~tti ti~(lcs suggcstin(r. 1. grcnti'r prcjudicc toivsrd Ncgrocs; 2. a higlrcr 7' clcgrcc of anti-Scmltism; 3. greatcr concern about Catholic power in this tsountry; 4. strong tlistrilst of atheism. On thcsc matters the clergy arc morc tolerant tlliln the lilymen participating in this study. I.lrtlzcm~t Ethic n~td iIlo~-olit~, Chill~tcr \' dc;lls ~vith "Ileligion and hlorality." In this chapter li\.ing thc Christian lifc is discussed. According to the "T,utllerall ethic" the Ten Cominandmcnts \\:ere gi\,cn to ])ring about ~-cpo~~t;l~lcc in the unconverted sinner, ancl for the chile1 of Gocl to sct i'orth a moral standard to follolv in living a Got1 l~lcasing life. 13!, t I-! iilg to keep the Decalogue man is unable to merit s;il\::~tion. Ih\lsically dainaging. Thc stud>' slio\vs that scsi~;il hclia\.iol: is ;I matter of great concern for Luthcraiis. The\ tlo 11ot I~c~lic.\.c, Ilo\\-c\c~1-. that the Church as an organization shoulcl ill\-ol\.c itself ill ~lio~-al ;111(1 social issucs except on an intlividual basis. On the subject of di\.orcc the "Lutliera~l ctliic" is strongl!' opposed to the breaking do\vn of thc homc or Ca~liil~ rc1;itioiisllil~s. Theologically morc liberal clergy, ho\\:c\w-, arc inclirlcd to accept divorce as a solution to marital problcnis and they inclicatc. ;I \\.ill- ingness to marr!I di\'orced indi\riduals. The cllanging role of \\:oman in Americ.an culture is one of tlic areas where a conflict occurs bet\\.ecn the tradi tio~lal I-u t licr;i~~ con- ception of the \life in socictv ancl the \\'omen's 1,ibc~ratioii I\lo\-cincn t. In thc 315: clcrg\. 48 pcr cent, 13 per ce\nt ill thc \\S, 42 13c1- cc11t in the AIL<: and'39 per cent in tlicl 12Cr\ clcarl! \\.ere not in C;i\,or of a mother-wife engaging in a full time cnrccr. 'The. morc conscr\-at i\.c Lutheran clerg!. do not belieire that the \\life should liavc as ini~cll to say as the husband in clccision making rcgardi~ig farnil! nliittcl-s. The "Luthcl-an cthic" accepts the 13iblicill tcacliing t.liat "\\lie- soever takes the s\vortl shall perish by the s\vortl." TIalf 01' thc laymen believe that murtlers should suffer the tlciith l~c~iiilt\~. 'l-'l~c clergy ranked on this matter according to their thcologic-a1 orientat ion : in the liberal LCA 17 per cent and ALC 13 per ccwt f'n\.orcd dc;~tl~ for offenders, \vhilc 100 per cent ill the \1'S irotccl ill its fa\,or. 111 the RIS 79 pel- cent \\.ere in favor of capital punisli~licnt. The more liberally inclined clergy take a more Icnicnt ;ittitii(lc tonlard homosexuals and all types of sex deviation. The new moralitv has bccomc a major concern for all clii~rc-Jlcls. The tendency for J,i~tlieran clergy and laity is to o11posc~ thc 11c.\\. morality a1 though those inclined toivard lihcralisnl \\'ill also pcrl~~i t the adoption of new moral jrie\vs. Only a small pc~rccnt:igc of la).- men believe that pre-niiirital sex is pcrmissihlc. A majorit\, of the liberal Lutheran clcrg)~ contend that extra-marital rclatio~~s' Gin be justified in some instances. In Chapter 171 "The Institution of 12cligion" thc importirnt topic of the purpose and function of the chiire11 is discussctl. r\ccortli~ig 'The Ltitjzcran Ethic 9 to thu "Luther:i~l cthic" the duty of thc church is to preach the gospel and tllc primat-). task of the I,uthc.ran clergy is to proclaim the lnes- sage of haI\.i~tion. Tllc concern of the minister is to save men's souls for ctci-nit). Social reform and thc building of the kingdo~n of God on c'1rt11 :IS conceived bv libcri~l Lutheran clergy never \\.as the goaI of I_uthcrall church \vorl<. Lilthcr 11c.ltl to thc itlca of the existence of t\vo kingdoms and that religion as an jnst itution should function separately fro111 the secular \\.orltl. All institutions were God ordained and each had its specific function. Luther encouraged obedience to the authorities that Got1 had given. C\CII tyrants were to be tolerated; civil dis- obeclicnce had the \l7ittcnberg Jlcformer's disapyrovnl. Kersten cl;ii171s tllat '(the L~~thcran cthic princil~le of nonresistance is reflected in the strollg opposition among laymen to civil disobedience (p. 11) Li~thcran 1a)rnc.n lcmk upon religion as a pcrsonal matter; a Christian should seek his personal sal\,ation and takc seriously church attcndanc*c, pra!cr, Scripture reading ant1 attct~dance at thc I>orcl's Suppcr. Tlic Iletroit Stutly sllo\vs that the laity want thcir pastors to kccp the t\\o kingdoms separate. The 1a)men are opposed to their spirituiil leatlers beco~ning invol\?ed in secular affairs and a consicler- al~lc. number of the laity have indicatetl that thcy \\.ill only continue thcir tinancial support of the church if thcir pastors agrce to discon- tin~rc their invol\-cment in social ant1 secular issucs. The nlore conscr\~ati\~e.ly inclined laymcn regard Lutheranism as the one true rcIigioil and consitlcr change of its structiire and purposes not to be toleratccl. T'hc more liberaliy inclined 1,utheran clergy are strong for sociiil ;iction \zl~ich is not the case among the conser\lative clergy. Thc Icss indoctrinated the laity is, the niorc it is in favor of stressing social action as a major purpose of the church. The most dramatic difference among the Lutheran clergy sur- vevetl \\as the role of \yomen in the church. Nearlv 100 per cent of'the LCr\ and ALC: clergy \\ere in favor of giving women an equal \oicc in thc nlanagement of the church, while only 47 per cent in the AIS zinc1 none in the 'CYS were inclined to grant women leadership in thc ch~~rch. On the question of woman ordination for the ofice of the holy ministry, 98 per cent of the LCA clergy are in favor of the female pastorate, 30 per cent in the ALC, 8 per cent ill the hlS and none in the 'CVS. I11 Chapter VII Dr. Kersten investigated the images that Lutherans had concerning man, God, and religion. In earlier chapters sollle of thesc nlatters have been alluded to and will again appear in the concluding chapter. 017 the question of whether God determines a person's life or whether man is in control of his life, received varying answers from the clergy and laitv which indicate the lack of a unified Lutheran position. The issuc of God's will versus man's free will determines whcthcr a Lutheran belie\rcs that he is saved solely by grace or whether he can sn1.c himsclf by gml works. Less thall onc. in fi\e Lutherans of the LC,A and ALC, and about oilc: in tcn in thc \\'S il~ld RilS believe that man is sa\:cd by works. Traditional I2uthcr;ln tcaching holds that man cuntribi~tcs nothing toward his sal\,ation. 'I'llis study still reflects tllc olcl con- troversy between on on erg ism and synergisnl. Onl! il smiill majority of 1,utheran Iaynie~l accept thc idca that the! c;inrlot co~ltrjbutc :111).- thing toward their salvation. Thc laity oftcn rcflcct \\.hat thcy 11;lvc been taught by thcir pastors or at other tiines \\.hat sc:c.nls rc;lsonahlc to them. Sevent!.-eight pcr ccnt of thc I_C1\ clcrg!., 67 pcr ccnt of the ALC clergy, 27 per cent of the ills anti 7 per cent of the \\'S niinisters do not acccpt thc total inability of man to l,nrticij>atc ill his sal\iation. A s!mergistic vie\\! also rclatcs to tl~cb co~l\.iction expressed by both lait!. and clergy that sal\.ation ma!, bc ;ichic\~ctl by kceping the Ten C:on~manclnlents. The Luthcran vie\\- concerning God and miin Ilas i~llplications also for the socialization of children. 12a\'mcn from thcologic;illy conscrvatire bodies strcss obediencc, \\;hilt those fro111 lihcrally oriented churches cmphasizc teaching the chiltl to thinlc iintl to cxcrcise incielwndcncc. Children tliat are taught obedience arc also found to be children \vho are taught to accept tlic Riblc's teaching on creation as opyosecl to the vie\\r 011 evolution. 1,zithernlls Co))zllnred 117ith OtJlcr Faiths In Chapter VIII Dr. Ikrstcn compares social attit~~dcs and rclioious ideologies of major denominations as rcflcctcd by collcgc stucTents nith those rcrealcd in thc Dctroit Study. Studcn ts from the follo\vii~g churclies and denominations participated in this stud! : Jelvish, United Church of Christ, LJnited Jlcthodist, k:piscopal, Prcsbytcrian, Roman Catholic, Baptist, LCA, '41-C, hlS ant1 \\'S Lutherans. The study showed that college studcnts arc morc liheral in their beliefs and practices than those young lwople not attending a college or uni\~ersit>. Lutheran college students were morcl libcral in their attitudcs than laymen of the Detroit Studv. 1-argc diffcr- ences exist among the Lutheran st~ideilts of tlid four I.uthcran denominations attending Eastern Alichigan Uni\.ersit\r. Tllc Ilcligi- ous Reliefs Index reveals tliat religious beliefs are strongr among Lutherans and Baptists than among other Protestants. Dr. lracticc. Ilcgarding thC function of religion, a greater tendency is to stress tliis-worltl c11aractc.r of religion in opposition to the other-world nature. Lutheran st~ldcnts believe that religion should bring about reforms in socict!.. Yet most stucIents do not believe that tlie church should makc prolioi~nccments on major social issues. Jlcmbcrs of all wligious groups, except the Baptists and son~e of tlic four Lutlicran groups, belicve that a person is saved by n~orks. <~o~ic~l~~sio~rs Based on Detroit Stlcdy Chaptcr IX presents the conclusions of the Study. In this chapter Dr. Kcrsten delineated trends evident in 1,uthcranism. 'T'he Detroit Study shows that Lutherans in some respects share siiililar beliefs with other religious groups, yet significant differences on many issucs distinguish clergy from the laity. The differences among Lutherans that once characterized earlier twentieth century Luther- allisnl still exist. Dr. I{ersten concludes: "In addition to largc-scale clisagrcelnents on basic Christian beliefs, Lutherans show differences on such fundan~entals as the role, nature, purpose, and function of thc institution of religion (p. 201)." Lutheran laymen favor open communion. The clergy of the I,CA and ALC and half of the R4S favor inter-Lutheran coinnlunion and 98 pcr cent of the LCA and ALC clergy favor pulpit exchange as compared with the \\'S which opposes it. A deep split in MS exists on this issue. Two other matters that are keeping Lutherans apart are tlie issues of biological evolution and inembership in secret societies. The \t7S and many in the RIS reject biological evolution as conflicting with a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3. Conservative Lutherans believe that the religion of secret so- cieties with its secret rituals, sets forth a philosophy of work righteous- ness which is in direct conflict with Pauline teachings. La men in Y the \ITS and R1lS do not oppose the lodge as much as do their c ergy. - - - On the matter of ecunlenical involvement, 8 1 per cent of the LCA clergv would like to see all Lutherans merge into one body; 70 per cent of the ALC and 46 per cent of the MS would favor mergcr; 60 per cent of the LCA clergy consider "all American Protestant religions as equally good." Liberal Lutherans favor join- ing other Protestants in church work, The Detroit Study indicates that in l,utller:-lnisni tlierc. is (7 trend away from sz,iyerrzatziralis~~z to a rcligior~ rlollrir~nterl 11). rz llrr iilrrrr- istic orieiztatio~z to~rard life (p. 208) (Italics are r~\~icwer's). Kinetv per cent of the ALC clcrgy do not consider tlie llible e~ltircly truc; only five per cent in the ALC accepts thc coiiiplcte trutlifulnrw and reliability of the Scriptures. Alorc than 75 pcr cent of thc Z.CA clergy do not accept the 17irgin Birth as a necesnry dt~trinc. Scarly 33 per cent of thc LCA clergy do not bclievc that faith in lcslls Christ is necessary for salvation. Xearly h~ilf of thc ~iiinisters of the IXA, ALC and hlS liolci that correct concluct is liiorc import;i~it than religious beliefs. Concerning this doctrinal c1i;ingc reflcctetl in the Detroit Study, Dr. I tlofc~i(lcrs of '7 the fi~ith, is \,cry sign~fic;lnt f'or -the f'irture of I_uthcl-;~nisrn ('13. 20Sl." The beliefs of laymen :uid clcrgy of the AI-C are son~eivliat more conservative than those of the LCA but closc cooperati011 bct\vc.cn thcse two bodies has resulted in the former l~cco~ning niorc liberal than it was some years ago. Thc LCA has bccii in\.ol\,c(l ill iion- Lutheran Protestant com~nitments for many years. Tlic ;iT,C: is heading in the same direction, thus favoring cstcnsi\.c ecu~iic~~ical in\~olvenlents. A theology of social reform antl hunianisni is replacing the traditional purpose of saving people for the next lifc. Although at present the Lutheran MS church is still strongly conservati\~e, the younger clergy show trends that rcflcct a liberal and hunianistic attitude to\vard religioil and ethics. Dr. Ii~rstcii predicts (p. 21 1) that within twenty years tlicre will bc n mcrgcr of thc >IS church with the liberal churches of Lutheranism. The \\'isconsin Synod which is comparati\rcly much snlaller than the other thrce Lutheran groups is strongly conscr~~ntive and shows that Biblical orthodoxy is not dead. There is no il~dication in this church body that laity and clcrgy arc changing in their religious attitudes. The 11's church is characterized by three features: 1. Its leaders knon- what the goals of the church should be; 2. Comparcd with tlie other Lutheran bodies the laity has a greater conscnsi~s 011 beliefs and practiccs; antl 3. tlic clergy are unanimous in their theological beliefs. Dr. Kersten envisions a split in the AlS and a realignnlcnt of conservative Lutherans which will be opposed by a numerically niucli larger group of liberal Lutherans where thc differences in thcology and action will be so great as to be apparent to any intclligcnt person. The Michigan professor claims that liberal theological beliefs result in a general erosion of all forms of religious conimitment. The liberal LCA and ALC ine~nbers are less inclined to beconie invol\rcd with church programs. In thc exercise of individual religious prac- tices, liberally-minded laymen ranked lower and were lcss informed about Biblical teachings than conservative nle~libers of the hlS and WS Lutherans. Indi\~iduals belongiilg to the 1VS and AIS churchcs contributed more to thc financial support of the church than LCA and i5LC n~enll)ers. It is Dr. Iierstcn's contention that as a result of the growth of theological Ijberalisln, the Luthcran Churches in America niap face some \cr! serious problems in years ahead. As modernism takes over, tmditional far~ils of rclipious cominitnlent are being surrendered. Attending church, norking for missions, participating in evangelistic efforts iintl bccomilig involved in programs of religious education will bc considered unimportant. As a result of this diminishing interest in these matters, the financial support of the church and its programs will suffer seriouslr.. The very existence of the church as an institu- tion !rill be cnd;injicrcd as humanisn~ increases and religion becomes mt.rel! :ui indi~idual concern. It is quite possible that in America thcrc ma! bc. a duplic;~tion of the situation obtaining in Europe where only about 10 per cent of the peol~lc have any institutional church invol\~elncnt. SC'IIISIIL I~et~c~ee~l Clergy and Lnitl. l'hcl Detroit Study shows great digerenccs between theological lihcrnl ancl conscrvati\-c Lutheran pastors. Liberalism is greater among the clcrg!. than among the laity in the four church groups. The goaI of thc lihcr~11 theology is the reformation of society, both by ctircct ancl indirect Ineans. hlany liberal theologians have relin- quishetl the iclca that the main reason for the existence of the church is thc sal\.ntion of the mcmbcrs of socict):. The new liberal I_utheran thcolog! is not gi\-ing comfort and consolation to its lay church membcrs. I.,ibt.rr~ll!. oriented clergy also take a more liberal stance on social issues thm tlo the conservative clergy. 7'11~ Ilel~ie~rer's Ohserl~ntiotr s 'The rc\ ici~cr has prcscnted the findings and infcrences of Dr. Iierstcn. The cl'ita of this stud) \frill be differently received and interpreted. Sonlc of tl~c assumptions that Dr. Icerstcn hiis adoptecl \\ill bc chaIlcngcd by renders of his book. For instance, thc fact that conser\ati\c Luthcrdlls do not accept theistic or atheistic biological e\olution docs not nlcnn that Christians \~l10 accept the Biblical account of creation are oplmsecl to science. Therc is a difference between true science and the speculations of scientists. The very fact that ci-olutioll is called a thcorv indicates that it has not been scientifically provcn. Dr. Kersten has made some assuniptions as to llorr religion l>roprl) and effectivcl~ functions in society and ~vhiit, accunl~ng to his \Fay of thinking, establishes standards by which to judge ccrtain ;ispects of Luthcranisni. Dr. Kerstcn has correctly pointed out major and significant differences bctn-een theological liberalism and a religious ideology that ( I) accepts thc cntire Bible as God's inspired IVord; (2) bclievcs in the intcr~.ention of God in history; (3) holds that nothing happens without God's aljareness or permission; (4) does not reject the super- natural; (5) portrays faith in Christ Jesus necessary for salvation; (6) believes in the rcality and culpability of sin; (7) teaches that all men are responsible for their actions and that there \sill bi1 a final judgment; and, (8) there is a hereafter, \\.it11 peoplc c~tlicr spending eternity in fcllowshiy with the Triunc Chxl or b,inislic