Like many Americans, my family will celebrate July 4 by sharing a picnic with friends. After the usual greetings, jokes, and anecdotes about our children, we’ll no doubt find time for a political discussion. And since most of us are Democrats living in a very Republican county, my husband and I won’t have much trouble triggering a good argument with strong opinions.
When Martin Luther asked “Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved,” he was struggling to find a theologically defensible balance between two competing demands. As he penned the 1526 essay, he was feeling the force of the New Testament’s condemnation of violence and Christ’s exhortation to nonresistance of evil. But Luther also faced the demands of political reality.
No theological perspective has a commanding place or an especially impressive following these days. Various theologies compete for attention in a highly pluralized field, and no theology has made much of a public impact.