The Minnesota Lutheran
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Must it always be "Lutheran only?" Of course!
Today I was asked by a local pastor in our community (of a different denomination) if I would be interested in getting together with his congregation for a joint worship service later this summer.
Some people might think to themselves, "What a great idea!" It sounds like it would be great for our congregation's visibility in the community. It sounds like it would be a wonderful chance to come together with other Christians. It sounds like it would be a chance to get together on opening the doors to the unchurched in the area.
You probably know where this is going. I politely thanked the pastor for the offer, but said I would have to decline.
Yes, it is true that I would be attacked by other pastors in our denomination for such participation--but truth be told, I would expect them to take me to task.
"But why?" you say. "Why is there all this insistence on doctrine and purity?" "Why do we have to be so full of ourselves?" I once heard the church compared to a painting, and every denomination has a brush with which the picture is painted. In fact, if the church were the painting, God would be the artist--and we would do nothing. Other churches outside the Evangelical Lutheran Church are sadly defacing the artwork of God.
How could a preacher give his people hope on Sunday morning without being able to share the wonderful news of their Baptism? There are denominations who cut out that beautiful section of the canvas. How could a preacher speak of the wonders of faith, when faith is all about your commitment? Rather, the beauty of the Church is the object of faith, Christ, which receive only as a gift of the Holy Spirit. How could a preacher promise to feed God's sheep, when bread and wine is merely bread and wine? In fact, the church is painted in the very real blood of Christ, which we drink as we eat his body in the Lord's Supper.
If we start to look for the ways that we intersect with other denominations, and cast aside the rest as leftovers, then we diminish the beauty of the Church and empty it of its gifts. In other words, as the title of this post asks, "Must it always be Lutheran?" My answer: Why would we ever not want it to be Lutheran!
Posted by RevRuesch at 6/28/2007 07:55:00 PM
Pastor Rance said...
Good post, Matt. It's one of the issues that other denominations (and some Lutherans) don't understand. I get really tired of hearing how we need Lutheranism to be "relevant" for today's world (which really means to compromise our doctrine for the sake of adding numbers). What could be more relevant than the truth of Word and Sacrament? Keep 'holding the line', brother!
10:11 AM, July 02, 2007
Pastor, you really hit the nail on the head. This is my pet peeve that it's important to even many Lutheran churches these days to leave 'Lutheran' out of the name. Note the increasing 'community', or 'this or that Ministries, or even just plain ol' Christain in leu of EV. LUTHERAN. You may read the website of one of these churches and have to dig deep before you may find something like.. they are 'affiliated' with such and such synod. As a member of WELS, I see the same thing in our synod as well. I encourage you to continue fighting the good fight, Pastor. More people appreciate it than will ever say it.
10:05 AM, September 30, 2007
GJ - Oh my, all the tall-tales I heard from WELS leaders about fellowship principles. I guess they are best viewed from a distance. District Pope Mueller explained, without laughing out loud, that WELS taught these to ELCA leaders, who said, "We could use some of those." That was at the conference where WELS Synodical Pope Mischke posed with Bohlmann and ELCA Archbishop Herb Chilstrom.
In the Wisconsin sect I heard five years of explanations - why every variety of unionism was good, proper, healthy, and Ev-an-gel-i-cal. That word is stretched out in WELS to make it more efficacious. The stretch version means - "Do whatever you want, boys." And they did.
But the Church of the Lutherean Confession (sic) was better? No, far worse. The other Tiefel, Paul, cousin of James, wet his pants in excitement, every time he praised someone Deformed, Roman Catholic, or worse. His double, Dave Koenig, was worse. The CLC (sic) protected them, excused their boorish behavior, and rewarded them in every possible way. The CLC layman Dave Menton declared it was a mortal sin to write for Herman Otten, until he wrote for Herman Otten. Then he posed for pictures with Otten. Anyone who knows the sect would say, "That is so-CLC."
This blogger wrote well about the central issue. Worshiping with non-Lutherans is the same as despising the Promises of the Gospel.
Young Church Growther --> Old Atheist.
Young Church-and-Changer-->Old Atheist.
The Glory Has Departed