There is, in the Missouri Synod, a growing movement that contends that Law and Gospel is merely one paradigm among others for approaching scripture, rather than the means through which God speaks to us in His Word. The solution proffered, that we replace Law and Gospel with a Platonic Stoicism (known theologically as “Methodism”), in my estimation, not only fails to address the challenges the church faces, but is a distinct move toward a non-Lutheran theology.
I spent a good portion of the summer trying to figure out how best to respond to this new movement. An in-depth book review, a series of blog posts, perhaps even convention resolutions all floated through my mind. Unfortunately, all of these responses are 1) Negative, and 2) Reactive. I wanted a positive and proactive solution.
It seemed to me that, instead of abandoning Law and Gospel, or relegating it to a second-tier status behind the author’s own preconceptions, what was needed was a book that presented a philosophical and ethical structure that exists and fits within the framework of Law and Gospel.
Sadly, 1) I am not trained as a philosopher and so am not fluent enough in the various different strains to write an entire book, and 2) I am in the middle of writing a different book.
But all is not lost!
Back in my college days, I took a class from Dr. William Lehmann called, “The Ethics of Jesus.” He wrote the textbook, but it was never published, beyond the campus print shop. It turns out that he had worked with an editor back then, and had made significant progress toward publication, before the publisher cancelled the project. This meant that, a quick scan, a bit of proofreading, and some formatting, and the book would be ready to go.
It was not quite that simple. And this fall was one of my busiest on record. But now, the book is almost ready. A few more technical details to work out, and it will be released.
Soon, Dr. Lehmann’s book will be available for the first time since his retirement. And this time it won’t be available at only one college bookstore, it will be offered worldwide through the Kindle store and through Smashwords. Printed copies will be available through Create-space (Amazon’s on-demand publisher) and Lulu.
Right now, we are in pre-release. But soon, and very soon, Footwashers: Following the Jesus Way will be available. I think that this book will be a blessing to the church. It is grounded, not in abstract philosophical discussions among scholars, but in the clear and certain word of Holy Scripture. Stay tuned…