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The Trouble with Tradition

The Trouble with Tradition

Chapter:
(p.20) Chapter 2 The Trouble with Tradition
Source:
The Megachurch and the Mainline
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226204925.003.0002

According to John Lincoln, the senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, his congregation has been struggling to preserve the essentials of the Lutheran tradition while searching for a language, style of worship, and theology that transcend Lutheranism and resonate with an increasing number of members and potential members for whom the Lutheran tradition is inaccessible or irrelevant. In his discussion of church growth, Pastor Lincoln underscores the tension within the denomination and in many congregations about the legitimacy of using religious practices, ideas, and resources from non-Lutheran sources. The tensions within congregations over tradition were grounded in questions about authority, legitimacy, relevance, and ultimately power—power to define what the tradition is and is not. This chapter argues that religious traditions are in a constant state of change, and that our existing explanations of the change process need to be retooled to help us grapple with the normalcy of change.

Keywords:   John Lincoln, religious traditions, Lutheranism, theology, worship, congregations, authority, legitimacy, power, relevance

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