Lutheran writing today is completely frustrating for faithful pastors and laity. Many can detect the political game-playing and legalistic nonsense paraded about as discussion. The solution for this is simple, basic, and undeniable.
There are two foundational truths upon which all of Christian doctrine rests. If one or the other is denied, everything else will be in error. Those truths are:
- The efficacy of the Word alone.
- The Means of Grace.
The Lutheran Reformers did not like to use the plural word - doctrines. That suggests a group teachings where an individual can select this or that from the cafeteria display. There is a single revealed, clear, harmonious and unified truth - one Christian doctrine. Variations are errors, and they stem from denying the efficacy of the Word alone and the Means of Grace. The Scriptures clearly teach these truths and the Book of Concord confesses them.
The Holy Spirit works only through the Word of God and never apart from the Word of God. As Isaiah 55:8-11 clearly teaches, the effect of the Word is inevitable, never without result, never failing, never lacking in God's will. This truth shows us why God was able to fashion the universe out of nothing in six 24-hour days. The Son of God is that creating Word, John 1:1ff. That Word declares us forgiven through faith.
Enthusiasts of all stripes deny the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit through the Word - openly, blatantly, shamelessly. And Lutherans run to these religious whores to be taught by them - Leonard Sweet, Mark Driscoll, Craig Groeschel, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, and many more. When Lutherans study under these false teachers and ask them to be featured speakers at Lutheran conferences, they are saying, "We join you in denying the efficacy of the Word alone."
When we think that faithful preaching and administering the Means of Grace result in failure because our membership does not climb, our parking lots do not shine black in the sun, and our coffers do not fill up, we are still denying the efficacy of the Word, even if we have a token allegiance to that truth.
God prepared us for the Means of Grace throughout the Old Testament, giving mankind physical signs of His power and grace, from the rainbow in the sky to the Burning Bush. The Gospel comes to us in the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Absolution is also a sacrament of forgiveness, often categorized under Holy Baptism. These instruments are the only way in which God grants us forgiveness of our sin, but they are generously bestowed.
Running to Baptists for training in evangelism is a clear, bold denial of the Means of Grace. Peter only denied Jesus three times, and he repented. The Lutherans trained by Andy Stanley, Ed Stetzer, and Rick Warren deny Jesus many times - without repenting. Those Lutherans mock infant faith, mock the efficacy of the Word in creating faith in a baby's heart, and mock the forgiveness freely given believers by the visible Gospel.
Studying under non-Lutherans is subtle way to undermine, deny, and repudiate the Real Presence in Holy Communion. How can someone consecrate the elements with the efficacious Word and offer them to communicants while sitting down with scofffers (Psalm 1)?
No one has to doubt where this has led. So-called Lutheran congregations hide their confession of faith, their baptismal font, and their communion service. They replace the Scriptural liturgy with bad rock music and ditch the sermon for a mix of law salesmanship and amateur entertainment.
As long as their bellies are full and their pensions are funded, these conservative Lutheran leaders continue to lead everyone to and fro in a religious farce. The last act of this bawdy comedy climaxes forcing bad Biblical translations on a trusting public. "We know Greek and you do not! We know Hebrew and you do not! So you must go along with us as we take away the Means of Grace and the efficacy of the Word."