What is it for? As Lutherans, we believe that salvation is wholly an act of God, from the moment of conversion to the first resurrection (which is baptism) to the second resurrection in Glory (the Second Coming). To use the $20 word: we are monergists. We bear some similarities to Calvinists, in that we insist that salvation is not the result of any action on part. That is, never in all of history has there ever been a person who "made a decision for Jesus." Never happened. Never will. In the Person and work of Christ, God made a decision for us, and for us. That is, God is both the decision maker, and the bestower of Grace. No prayer, no Hail Mary, no decision, no walk down the aisle to endless repititions of "Just as I am" has done ONE. SINGLE. THING.
So, if God makes all the decisions, why doesn't everyone go to heaven? Contra the Calvinists, the Lutherans agree with Scripture which places the blame squarely on the shoulders of humanity. Some will rightly observe that this creates a conundrum: why are some saved and not others? Lutherans do not answer that question, because the Scriptures do not answer that question. If you start trying to answer that question, you'll end up and Arminian or a Calvinist.
But also, some ask, if God makes all the decisions, why bother evangelizing? What use is apologetics?
Let's leave aside for the moment the fact that we're told to evangelize.
Lutherans believe that God delivers His promises to us through means, i.e., through physical things. His Spirit comes to us in our Baptisms, and we are made one body through partaking in the Lord's Supper, where we receive Christ's True body and blood. God has a long history of working "through" physical things to accomplish his purposes. He brought water forth from a rock, he healed people through a snake on a stick, spoke through a burning bush, resided in a big golden box…
And just so, Lutherans believe that dead souls are converted and brought to new life in Christ by the preaching of the Word. They are not converted by responding to the Word. They are converted by the Holy Spirit through the Word.
Well, that solves the “why evangelize?” question: the Good News doesn’t travel through a vacuum. But what about apologetics? Clearly, the Lutheran position rules out any part that human reason may play in conversion, right?
So, should we or shouldn’t we?
Related post over at John H's blog.
You scored as Evidentialist.
You are an evidentialist! Apologetics primarily consists in showing the good reasons one has to believe the claims of Christianity. You consistently confound unbelievers with your knowledge of history, science, and Bayesian computation that you learned from John Warwick Montgomery, Gary Habermas, and Richard Swinburne.
70% -- Evidentialist
57% -- Fideist
53% -- Reformed/Presuppositional Apologist
40% -- Classical Apologist
7% --- Atheist