Lutheran Gene Edward Vieth in responding to Gary Gutting.
Read them both and reflect upon the positions. I especially like Vieth's affirmation:
"God does not need our good works," Luther taught. "But our neighbor
does." Our relationship with God is established solely by his grace in
the atoning work of Jesus Christ. But then he sends us out into the
world to live out our Christian faith in love and service to our
Furthermore, God himself, in his providential care for his whole
creation, is working through our human vocations. God gives us our daily
bread by means of the farmer, the miller, and the baker. He protects us
by means of lawful magistrates. He creates and cares for new human
beings by means of fathers and mothers. He proclaims his Word and
administers his sacraments by means of pastors. He creates beauty by
means of artists and musicians.
The economy can indeed be a dog-eat-dog, Darwinistic, self-obsessed
struggle, which we yearn to escape---whether on a weekend, a vacation,
or retirement. But even the leisure, bought at such a cost, may still
keep us trapped within ourselves. The doctrine of vocation, properly
understood, frees us from our sinful selves through the gospel as our
love for God overflows into love for our neighbors. Our very work
becomes transformed not in its substance---Christian workers mostly
perform the same tasks as non-Christian workers---but in its meaning and
in its value.