The Martin Luther College "sermon" brought a flurry of responses, but I also saw a Facebook notice about a church sign. "Do all you can and leave the rest to God." That was LCMS, St. Peter in St. Louis.
The quick answer is, "Flogging people with the Law is the easiest approach. It requires little thought."
Those who know neither Luther nor the Concordists are ignorant of the Gospel. They are like the legendary blind men who encountered an elephant and perceived a wall, a rope, a snake, and a tree trunk - based on feeling it. Naturally, they argued fiercely about their findings.
I noticed from an official write-up that Ft. Wayne had more discoveries about justification by faith. By all means, introduce new variants to add confusion to the poorly educated. Debate. Write papers. Stand up and say, "I found your presentation helpful."
Here is a simple solution.
- Use the Men in Black light and erase all memory of seminary notes and lectures, current books, and patriarchs of the ancient sect (which may reach back 170 years).
- Yea, even Lenski, for a time. One thing leads to another. Next you will want other crutches.
- Work through the early parts of the Augsburg Confession.
- Read all of the Large Catechism, which is not that long.
- Study the Formula of Concord, one little part at a time.
- Read out loud one Luther sermon per week.
- Avoid all meetings, especially synodical hot air contests.
- Visit members and prospects each day.
- Take one day off per week with no parish work, just to be with the family.
That should break the endless loop of grabbing for fads, motivational talks, gimmicks, and other time-wasters.
I have come to the conclusion that the Olde Synodical seminaries should be closed or turned into combined five-year angel factories. Face the demographics. Many schools are going to close in the near future and student debt is already a catastrophe. Boomers wrecked what benefited them, so they should admit their self-centeredness and fix the problem.
One Lutheran told me today they pay $18,000 a year for medical insurance, more for disability and pension, plus a salary, plus a car allowance. That is in a church with 60 attending, one pastor. Does anyone think that budget can be maintained? Add school loans, false teaching leaders, and it is an expensive disaster.
ELCA has been working with the Olde Synodical Conference using fads and business models. They deserve the fate that awaits those with no faith. However, with the Gospel, with faith, they would receive the benefits promised - and the cross.