Post-Evangelical

Frequent commenter on this blog, Internetmonk, a.k.a. Michael Spencer, has a fascinating discussion of what sounds like a growing phenomenon: Post-evangelicalism. He defines it this way:

Post-evangelicalism is a way of relating to the present seriously compromised, perhaps terminal, condition of evangelicalism by accessing the resources of the broader, deeper, more ancient Christian traditions that contemporary evangelicalism, in its pragmatic idolatry, has largely abandoned as sources and influences.

Some of the post-evangelicals are flirting with Rome. And some of them seem to be involved with the misguided experimentation of the “emerging church” (someone correct me if I’m wrong). But they are trying to rediscover historical Christianity, usually including liturgy and sacraments.

I’m glad to see that this quest often includes drawing from Lutheranism. As key thinkers in this movement, Internetmonk/Spencer cites the recently-deceased Robert Webber (call him a high-church evangelical, a professor at Wheaton who received his doctorate at Concordia Seminary), and, from the Reformed camp, Michael Horton (sometimes accused of being a crypto-Lutheran). Internetmonk/Spencer himself says how Luther has helped him in his own theology.

As a Lutheran, so much of what other Christians are yearning for and rediscovering I already have. (Though, ironically, many in our church are wanting to imitate evangelicals at the very time evangelicals are trying to find a way to be post-evangelical, a quest that would be fulfilled in confessional Lutheranism, which, let it not be forgotten, was the first movement to go by the accurate name “evangelical.”) Sadly, many post-evangelicals come to a local Lutheran church that they find, to their dismay, is just like the megachurch they are trying to go beyond.

But let me just say to the post-evangelicals that you do not have to choose, as some of you seem to be doing, between the Gospel and Liturgy, between the Bible and the Sacraments. Properly understood, those two are not dichotomies but go together. One can have the best of Protestantism and the best of Catholicism (without the worst of each). Lutheranism proves that. (If you don’t believe me, read my book The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • iMonk

    Thanks for the mention.

    Two things:

    1) The closest LCMS church to me is over 2 hours away. Missions and church planting please!

    2) Many post evangelicals are credobaptists and will remain so.

    God bless you and your work.

    Michael Spencer

  • iMonk

    Thanks for the mention.

    Two things:

    1) The closest LCMS church to me is over 2 hours away. Missions and church planting please!

    2) Many post evangelicals are credobaptists and will remain so.

    God bless you and your work.

    Michael Spencer

  • http://triablogue.blogspot.com CryptoProt

    There are also a few too many areas in which I would have to choose between the Bible and Lutheranism. Paedobaptism being a smaller one of several.

  • http://triablogue.blogspot.com CryptoProt

    There are also a few too many areas in which I would have to choose between the Bible and Lutheranism. Paedobaptism being a smaller one of several.

  • Brian

    The problem with confessional Lutheranism, at least its LCMS manifestation in America, is that it usually turns into a type of Lutheran fundamentalism. And along with that you have its quirky law-gospel hermeneutic and its borderline sectarianism, among other things.

  • Brian

    The problem with confessional Lutheranism, at least its LCMS manifestation in America, is that it usually turns into a type of Lutheran fundamentalism. And along with that you have its quirky law-gospel hermeneutic and its borderline sectarianism, among other things.

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    Thanks for this discussion. I flirt with Rome, too, but haven’t crossed the Tiber, so to say. I came to the Lutheran church out of generic American Evangelicalism for precisely the reasons discussed here. Sadly, I haven’t found what I was looking for in the Lutheran church, either. The ELCA is wacked and likes to copy church growth crap. The LCMS- if I can find one around here- tends to be sectarian and fundamentalist, as Brian has observed, with little community. In the blogosphere, I have met some incredible LCMS-variety Lutherans and I wish we could all be a part of a congregation together. Reality is, I haven’t found that here. Even Dr. V drives quite a distance to get to his parish.

    Sorry if I sound so pessimistic. I have been having a hard time with church stuff for a long time. On paper, the Lutheran church was going to be great. Alas, it is filled with sinners, among which I am great.

    I still go, but it hasn’t been with joy lately :-(

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    Thanks for this discussion. I flirt with Rome, too, but haven’t crossed the Tiber, so to say. I came to the Lutheran church out of generic American Evangelicalism for precisely the reasons discussed here. Sadly, I haven’t found what I was looking for in the Lutheran church, either. The ELCA is wacked and likes to copy church growth crap. The LCMS- if I can find one around here- tends to be sectarian and fundamentalist, as Brian has observed, with little community. In the blogosphere, I have met some incredible LCMS-variety Lutherans and I wish we could all be a part of a congregation together. Reality is, I haven’t found that here. Even Dr. V drives quite a distance to get to his parish.

    Sorry if I sound so pessimistic. I have been having a hard time with church stuff for a long time. On paper, the Lutheran church was going to be great. Alas, it is filled with sinners, among which I am great.

    I still go, but it hasn’t been with joy lately :-(

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    That is the reason I’ve ended up in the Lutheran Camp too – but not from vanilla-evagelicalism directly, but from sectarian versions of that via Calvinism. Of course, one should not expect a pefect church – ever. I’m happy so far in the LCC congregation I attend here in Saskatoon – very Lutheran, quite “high-church” ie no evangelical immitations, but not sectarian. Close, not closed communion. If I’m ever tempted to move again, it will be further east, not to Rome – the papacy as it has become, and its inventions, form too much of an obstacle.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    That is the reason I’ve ended up in the Lutheran Camp too – but not from vanilla-evagelicalism directly, but from sectarian versions of that via Calvinism. Of course, one should not expect a pefect church – ever. I’m happy so far in the LCC congregation I attend here in Saskatoon – very Lutheran, quite “high-church” ie no evangelical immitations, but not sectarian. Close, not closed communion. If I’m ever tempted to move again, it will be further east, not to Rome – the papacy as it has become, and its inventions, form too much of an obstacle.

  • WebMonk

    Repent and be Baptist for all have fallen short of the Assemblies of God!

    Sorry if everyone has heard that before. I heard that for the first time last night so it still has some humor for me. Anyway, I’ve heard the thought process that comes to the conclusion that the Lutheran church, LCMS splinter, has everything right, and I’m not arguing that here.

    That said, I don’t think that movements in post-Evangelicalism (PE) is drawing much from Lutheran theology or practice. There are certainly areas in which there is overlap, such as the increased interest in a traditional liturgy, but I’ve seen that coming more from an RCC source. There are some pretty striking gaps in between PEs and Lutherans that probably wouldn’t be there if there was a significant input from the Lutheran church. Real Presence (Lutheran style), Paedobaptism, Lutheran baptism distinctives, and the Law-Gospel hermeneutic are some areas that I would expect to see more evident in PE thought if it were drawing on Lutheran thought.

    I don’t really see those much in PE right now, so I’m not sure I see “that this quest often includes drawing from Lutheranism”. Drawing more from Lutheranism would be nice, but I just don’t see it.

  • WebMonk

    Repent and be Baptist for all have fallen short of the Assemblies of God!

    Sorry if everyone has heard that before. I heard that for the first time last night so it still has some humor for me. Anyway, I’ve heard the thought process that comes to the conclusion that the Lutheran church, LCMS splinter, has everything right, and I’m not arguing that here.

    That said, I don’t think that movements in post-Evangelicalism (PE) is drawing much from Lutheran theology or practice. There are certainly areas in which there is overlap, such as the increased interest in a traditional liturgy, but I’ve seen that coming more from an RCC source. There are some pretty striking gaps in between PEs and Lutherans that probably wouldn’t be there if there was a significant input from the Lutheran church. Real Presence (Lutheran style), Paedobaptism, Lutheran baptism distinctives, and the Law-Gospel hermeneutic are some areas that I would expect to see more evident in PE thought if it were drawing on Lutheran thought.

    I don’t really see those much in PE right now, so I’m not sure I see “that this quest often includes drawing from Lutheranism”. Drawing more from Lutheranism would be nice, but I just don’t see it.

  • CRB

    Sarah, I can’t tell exactly what you’re experiencing in the church (LCMS?) you do attend, but it you do attend a confessional Lutheran church would not your joy be found in the purely preached Gospel and rightly administered sacrament? IOW, in having your sins forgiven?!

  • CRB

    Sarah, I can’t tell exactly what you’re experiencing in the church (LCMS?) you do attend, but it you do attend a confessional Lutheran church would not your joy be found in the purely preached Gospel and rightly administered sacrament? IOW, in having your sins forgiven?!

  • Rose

    Sarah–”Church growth crap” —is only part of ELCA’s problem. In the 1978 hymnal, the Confession of Sins was made ‘optional’ in the liturgy.
    Dr. Veith, I think LCMS would do well to advertise:
    “Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes:
    1. Abortion is wrong . We preach this from the pulpit
    2. The Pastorate is a male profession b/c it is a warrior profession. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’
    It seems to me that as soon as women are admitted to the clergy, the denomination winks at abortion. And at confrontation with the culture in general.
    Let’s advertise our strengths.

  • Rose

    Sarah–”Church growth crap” —is only part of ELCA’s problem. In the 1978 hymnal, the Confession of Sins was made ‘optional’ in the liturgy.
    Dr. Veith, I think LCMS would do well to advertise:
    “Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod believes:
    1. Abortion is wrong . We preach this from the pulpit
    2. The Pastorate is a male profession b/c it is a warrior profession. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’
    It seems to me that as soon as women are admitted to the clergy, the denomination winks at abortion. And at confrontation with the culture in general.
    Let’s advertise our strengths.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    So how is the LCMS sectarian and fundamentalist? In our rhetoric we are always denouncing such things, but it’s interesting that this is how Missouri Synod Lutherans are perceived. (LCMSers, take note of this discussion. We can learn some things about how we come across.)

    Webmonk, thanks for instructing us about all of this. Post Evangelicals will have a hard time appropriating the church of the past, while still rejecting the baptism of children and all that it implies about the nature of the sacraments and faith as a gift God bestows, since baptizing children was practically universal in the ancient church.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    So how is the LCMS sectarian and fundamentalist? In our rhetoric we are always denouncing such things, but it’s interesting that this is how Missouri Synod Lutherans are perceived. (LCMSers, take note of this discussion. We can learn some things about how we come across.)

    Webmonk, thanks for instructing us about all of this. Post Evangelicals will have a hard time appropriating the church of the past, while still rejecting the baptism of children and all that it implies about the nature of the sacraments and faith as a gift God bestows, since baptizing children was practically universal in the ancient church.

  • http://Bror0122@hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    Sometimes I wonder how post the post evangelical movement is. I think Webmonk may be a little more correct than I wish, with his notion that the PEs are not really drawing much on Lutheran sources. However, some are using the valuable resources that Lutheranism has to offer. For instance, visit either of the two blogs Michael Spencer operates, and you will see Dr. Rosenbladts face placarded with an advertisement for “The Gospel for those Broken by The Church.” Something that many could benefit from.
    I think many see us as sectarian, primarily because we don’t allow them to the communion table until the have been instructed in our doctrine. But also because we have a strong belief that we are infact right, and they are wrong where we differ. However, one never has to choose between the Bible and Lutheranism. It is telling that our church was the first to rally cry, scripture alone. You may not agree with our interpretation of scripture but if you investigate it you will find it to be intensely Biblical. It is the witness of the Bible that leads us to disagree with much of Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, etc. If we didn’t believe our position to be Biblical we would gladly cede it.

  • http://Bror0122@hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    Sometimes I wonder how post the post evangelical movement is. I think Webmonk may be a little more correct than I wish, with his notion that the PEs are not really drawing much on Lutheran sources. However, some are using the valuable resources that Lutheranism has to offer. For instance, visit either of the two blogs Michael Spencer operates, and you will see Dr. Rosenbladts face placarded with an advertisement for “The Gospel for those Broken by The Church.” Something that many could benefit from.
    I think many see us as sectarian, primarily because we don’t allow them to the communion table until the have been instructed in our doctrine. But also because we have a strong belief that we are infact right, and they are wrong where we differ. However, one never has to choose between the Bible and Lutheranism. It is telling that our church was the first to rally cry, scripture alone. You may not agree with our interpretation of scripture but if you investigate it you will find it to be intensely Biblical. It is the witness of the Bible that leads us to disagree with much of Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, etc. If we didn’t believe our position to be Biblical we would gladly cede it.

  • Anon

    What I have seen of post-evangelicalism is a -rejection- of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, not an insistence on it over and against the false evangelicals of today (such as “Evangelical Outpost.”

    In the Book of Concord we find that evangelicalism that we used to know – but taking the historical part of grammatical-historical more seriously. (most evangelicals have been taught that infant baptism was invented after the Church became part of Roman government, and was a citizenship thing. They don’t realize how early it shows up, and that there is no evidence of a prior different position)

    In the LCMS, of *course* we are fundamentalist – if by that you mean that we believe in the three ecumenical creeds and the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. If you disagree with that, you are looking for ELCA not the LCMS. If you mean ‘fundamentalism’ in terms of the American Revivalist subculture, I think you are mistaken.

    The seeker-sensitive oriented LCMSers have their hearts in the right place – they want to obey God and fulfill the Great Commission. They haven’t apparently picked up on the unintended consequences of the seeker-sensitive movement.

    They have allied with the liberals – the Seminex-sympathizers that never had the good graces to leave the Concordia university system or the LCMS in general back in ’73. They are driven into those apostate arms by the sectarians who think themselves faithful to the Lutheran confessions (this can be disputed) and yet behave in unChristlike ways (to be kind) This is a severe mistake, and the Adversary is apparently using it to great effect to destroy the LCMS. Just as we are warned in 1 Corinthians 1 and John 17, so the Adversary effectively wars against the Church. All we have to do is disobey in a ‘little’ thing, rationalizing it, and the Enemy has a foothold.

    Yes, we *should* put Christ first, but that means doing what He says, and taking His word seriously. “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, yet will not do the things that I say?”. Being God the Son, His word is the Bible. And I think that the Book of Concord is an accurate summary of those matters it addresses (it doesn’t talk about -everything-, it isn’t a replacement for the Bible, but it -is- Biblical). If someone comes to disagree with the BoC, they should serve in a different ecclesial community, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve ceased to be fellow Christians, and therefore rightfully loved. (Of course it can mean just that, as in the case of those who reject the authority of the Bible in the first place, as ELCA does in its hierarchy).

  • Anon

    What I have seen of post-evangelicalism is a -rejection- of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, not an insistence on it over and against the false evangelicals of today (such as “Evangelical Outpost.”

    In the Book of Concord we find that evangelicalism that we used to know – but taking the historical part of grammatical-historical more seriously. (most evangelicals have been taught that infant baptism was invented after the Church became part of Roman government, and was a citizenship thing. They don’t realize how early it shows up, and that there is no evidence of a prior different position)

    In the LCMS, of *course* we are fundamentalist – if by that you mean that we believe in the three ecumenical creeds and the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. If you disagree with that, you are looking for ELCA not the LCMS. If you mean ‘fundamentalism’ in terms of the American Revivalist subculture, I think you are mistaken.

    The seeker-sensitive oriented LCMSers have their hearts in the right place – they want to obey God and fulfill the Great Commission. They haven’t apparently picked up on the unintended consequences of the seeker-sensitive movement.

    They have allied with the liberals – the Seminex-sympathizers that never had the good graces to leave the Concordia university system or the LCMS in general back in ’73. They are driven into those apostate arms by the sectarians who think themselves faithful to the Lutheran confessions (this can be disputed) and yet behave in unChristlike ways (to be kind) This is a severe mistake, and the Adversary is apparently using it to great effect to destroy the LCMS. Just as we are warned in 1 Corinthians 1 and John 17, so the Adversary effectively wars against the Church. All we have to do is disobey in a ‘little’ thing, rationalizing it, and the Enemy has a foothold.

    Yes, we *should* put Christ first, but that means doing what He says, and taking His word seriously. “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, yet will not do the things that I say?”. Being God the Son, His word is the Bible. And I think that the Book of Concord is an accurate summary of those matters it addresses (it doesn’t talk about -everything-, it isn’t a replacement for the Bible, but it -is- Biblical). If someone comes to disagree with the BoC, they should serve in a different ecclesial community, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve ceased to be fellow Christians, and therefore rightfully loved. (Of course it can mean just that, as in the case of those who reject the authority of the Bible in the first place, as ELCA does in its hierarchy).

  • WebMonk

    I guess that’s the part that people disagree on – “if you investigate it [Lutheranism] you will find it to be intensely Biblical”. (I assume you intend to mean that it is Biblically accurate as well as intense.)

    I’m not sure anyone would disagree with Lutheranism being focused very strongly on Jesus and the Bible. (At least historically. Anon sounds like he might say that the church has wandered.)

    What people disagree on is whether or not Lutheranism got things right.

  • WebMonk

    I guess that’s the part that people disagree on – “if you investigate it [Lutheranism] you will find it to be intensely Biblical”. (I assume you intend to mean that it is Biblically accurate as well as intense.)

    I’m not sure anyone would disagree with Lutheranism being focused very strongly on Jesus and the Bible. (At least historically. Anon sounds like he might say that the church has wandered.)

    What people disagree on is whether or not Lutheranism got things right.

  • http://Bror0122@hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    And I answer, don’t just tell me Lutheanism is wrong, show me where. Show me how Lutheranism ins wrong.

  • http://Bror0122@hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    And I answer, don’t just tell me Lutheanism is wrong, show me where. Show me how Lutheranism ins wrong.

  • WebMonk

    We’ve gone ’round and ’round a few times on a couple aspects. Let’s leave this post relatively on-topic.

  • WebMonk

    We’ve gone ’round and ’round a few times on a couple aspects. Let’s leave this post relatively on-topic.

  • Nemo

    Veith @ 9
    “So how is the LCMS sectarian and fundamentalist? In our rhetoric we are always denouncing such things,”

    You are? I don’t mean to be rude, but I just don’t see it. Where is the Lutheran church (and where are the Lutherans on this blog) seeking to looking for points of agreement with other Christians? All I keep seeing is the reoccurring “no doctrinal agreement, no fellowship” and the “I really don’t see how the Baptist has any real claim on the cross” rhetoric as demonstrated on the picking a church discussions and the “bunker mentality” admitted to on the atheist thread (start reading around post 100 or so). It’s all about the “distinctives.” Reading this thread reminded me of this article (addressed to Calvinists, but applicable in this case as well). http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/934_be_a_kinder_calvinist/.

    Where is the LCMS involvement in efforts such as “Together for the Gospel” and the “Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals” (Dr. Veith, I know you are part of the latter, but are there any others?)

    WebMonk @ 12 & 14
    Amen.

  • Nemo

    Veith @ 9
    “So how is the LCMS sectarian and fundamentalist? In our rhetoric we are always denouncing such things,”

    You are? I don’t mean to be rude, but I just don’t see it. Where is the Lutheran church (and where are the Lutherans on this blog) seeking to looking for points of agreement with other Christians? All I keep seeing is the reoccurring “no doctrinal agreement, no fellowship” and the “I really don’t see how the Baptist has any real claim on the cross” rhetoric as demonstrated on the picking a church discussions and the “bunker mentality” admitted to on the atheist thread (start reading around post 100 or so). It’s all about the “distinctives.” Reading this thread reminded me of this article (addressed to Calvinists, but applicable in this case as well). http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/934_be_a_kinder_calvinist/.

    Where is the LCMS involvement in efforts such as “Together for the Gospel” and the “Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals” (Dr. Veith, I know you are part of the latter, but are there any others?)

    WebMonk @ 12 & 14
    Amen.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I agree lets stay on topic here. I just want to know how we are sectarian for tenaciously holding to the word of God, and denouncing false doctrine as we are commanded to do by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Webmonk,
    I agree lets stay on topic here. I just want to know how we are sectarian for tenaciously holding to the word of God, and denouncing false doctrine as we are commanded to do by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Nemo,
    I suppose we aren’t looking for points of agreement, because though we rejoice in those those aren’t what separate us, and they aren’t what bother us. We aren’t “looking” for points of disagreement either, those points are jumping out at us, and can no more be ignored by us than one can ignore a thumb smashed by a hammer. We are concerned about those points. Paul admonishes the church saying:1 Cor. 1:10 (ESV)
    I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
    We cannot be united in the same mind and same judgment by ignoring those points where we have profound disagreement. We do no one any favor by ignoring false doctrine.
    So if holding fast to the word of God, and denouncing false doctrine is sectarian. So be it. That was and is Romes charge against us either. But I guess if I didn’t think doctrine mattered, I’d be Roman Catholic for the sake of unity. If you really don’t believe these points of doctrine matter, why aren’t you Roman Catholic?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Nemo,
    I suppose we aren’t looking for points of agreement, because though we rejoice in those those aren’t what separate us, and they aren’t what bother us. We aren’t “looking” for points of disagreement either, those points are jumping out at us, and can no more be ignored by us than one can ignore a thumb smashed by a hammer. We are concerned about those points. Paul admonishes the church saying:1 Cor. 1:10 (ESV)
    I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
    We cannot be united in the same mind and same judgment by ignoring those points where we have profound disagreement. We do no one any favor by ignoring false doctrine.
    So if holding fast to the word of God, and denouncing false doctrine is sectarian. So be it. That was and is Romes charge against us either. But I guess if I didn’t think doctrine mattered, I’d be Roman Catholic for the sake of unity. If you really don’t believe these points of doctrine matter, why aren’t you Roman Catholic?

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    CRB, I find joy in God my Saviour, but not in my community at this time. He calls us to a Body and to have unity. Right now, the folks that I have unity with are generally not in my close geographical area. God hears the cries of my heart, though, and He will lead me there. :-)

    Lutherans do have good theology, I must say. I am still a little torn on the Baptism issue myself. I grew up with a credobaptist outlook and was baptized at 15. It was an enormously powerful experience for me and I am thankful for the memory of it. Personally, I don’t see that the Bible is clear either way. I say, don’t deny children baptism, but if you want to get baptized as an adult go ahead. I’m just happy to see people being baptized! (I hope I don’t sound too unorthodox. It’s just that Baptists have good reasons, too.)

    Sadly, in how many years I’ve been at our church I’ve yet to witness an adult baptism. :-(

    There is an LCMS church in one of the small towns outside of my city that is gowing through a lot of struggle right now. They had a pastor retire and are working through that transition. I ought to give them another shot!

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    CRB, I find joy in God my Saviour, but not in my community at this time. He calls us to a Body and to have unity. Right now, the folks that I have unity with are generally not in my close geographical area. God hears the cries of my heart, though, and He will lead me there. :-)

    Lutherans do have good theology, I must say. I am still a little torn on the Baptism issue myself. I grew up with a credobaptist outlook and was baptized at 15. It was an enormously powerful experience for me and I am thankful for the memory of it. Personally, I don’t see that the Bible is clear either way. I say, don’t deny children baptism, but if you want to get baptized as an adult go ahead. I’m just happy to see people being baptized! (I hope I don’t sound too unorthodox. It’s just that Baptists have good reasons, too.)

    Sadly, in how many years I’ve been at our church I’ve yet to witness an adult baptism. :-(

    There is an LCMS church in one of the small towns outside of my city that is gowing through a lot of struggle right now. They had a pastor retire and are working through that transition. I ought to give them another shot!

  • CRB

    Sure, why not give them another shot?! I’m kind of envious about the pastor who retired there, as I’m looking forward to my retirement, probably not for another year, though. For now, guess I will be serving my 2 congs. until the Lord says otherwise.
    Think I’ll go to Caribou now and have an iced coffee; maybe I’ll have them throw in a shot of expresso too! :)

  • CRB

    Sure, why not give them another shot?! I’m kind of envious about the pastor who retired there, as I’m looking forward to my retirement, probably not for another year, though. For now, guess I will be serving my 2 congs. until the Lord says otherwise.
    Think I’ll go to Caribou now and have an iced coffee; maybe I’ll have them throw in a shot of expresso too! :)

  • Don S

    I’ve got to second Nemo @ 15 on this one. What I find on this site is an over-reliance on “Lutheran” doctrine, rather than “Christian” doctrine. When making a theological point, the first reference is always to the Confessions and the writings of Luther, rather than Scripture. It makes me wonder if the writer is “of Luther” or “of Christ”. In any event, it’s hard to argue, based on this blog, that LCMS adherents are not strongly sectarian.

    As for fundamentalism, we have Bror labeling conventional evangelical doctrine (faith alone in Christ alone) as “false doctrine”, because of a disagreement concerning the Lutheran view on infant baptism and the sacraments. Enough said.

    As for the statement “baptizing children was practically universal in the ancient church” (Veith @9), that probably overstates the evidence a bit. I’m not aware of any evidence as to first century Christians baptizing infants. Scriptural references are open to interpretation, to say the least. Ireneous (spelling?) wrote of it in about AD 190 (the earliest extra-Biblical reference I am aware of), and as the Catholic Church gained prominence in the latter stages of the Roman Empire there certainly was a prevalence of Catholic practices, including infant baptism, priest intercession, etc.

    If Lutheranism is “scripture alone”, as Bror insists, then why are the great majority of the references on this blog to Luther instead of to Scripture?

  • Don S

    I’ve got to second Nemo @ 15 on this one. What I find on this site is an over-reliance on “Lutheran” doctrine, rather than “Christian” doctrine. When making a theological point, the first reference is always to the Confessions and the writings of Luther, rather than Scripture. It makes me wonder if the writer is “of Luther” or “of Christ”. In any event, it’s hard to argue, based on this blog, that LCMS adherents are not strongly sectarian.

    As for fundamentalism, we have Bror labeling conventional evangelical doctrine (faith alone in Christ alone) as “false doctrine”, because of a disagreement concerning the Lutheran view on infant baptism and the sacraments. Enough said.

    As for the statement “baptizing children was practically universal in the ancient church” (Veith @9), that probably overstates the evidence a bit. I’m not aware of any evidence as to first century Christians baptizing infants. Scriptural references are open to interpretation, to say the least. Ireneous (spelling?) wrote of it in about AD 190 (the earliest extra-Biblical reference I am aware of), and as the Catholic Church gained prominence in the latter stages of the Roman Empire there certainly was a prevalence of Catholic practices, including infant baptism, priest intercession, etc.

    If Lutheranism is “scripture alone”, as Bror insists, then why are the great majority of the references on this blog to Luther instead of to Scripture?

  • Anon

    We probably need a definition of ‘sectarianism’ if we are going to follow that thread.

  • Anon

    We probably need a definition of ‘sectarianism’ if we are going to follow that thread.

  • CRB

    Being a “sectarian” is departing from the Word, that is,
    from those doctrines that the church has always taught
    as set forth in the Lutheran Confessions.

  • CRB

    Being a “sectarian” is departing from the Word, that is,
    from those doctrines that the church has always taught
    as set forth in the Lutheran Confessions.

  • WebMonk

    ROTFLMAO!!!! CRB, that was absolutely priceless! You’re a genius!

    Ok, for a more serious definition how’s about these (I trimmed out the “relating to a sect” parts):

    American Heritage Dictionary
    sec·tar·i·an
    adj.
    2. Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
    3. Narrow-minded; parochial.
    noun. One characterized by bigoted adherence to a factional viewpoint.

    Websters Revised
    noun. bigotedly attached to the tenets and interests of a denomination; as, sectarian principles or prejudices.

    Merriam-Webster
    adj. limited in character or scope
    noun. a narrow or bigoted person

    CRB, that really was genius! I’m still chuckling about that. If you’re ever in the DC area and you want a beer, let me know. Anyone who can come up with brilliant parody/irony like that deserves a beer.

  • WebMonk

    ROTFLMAO!!!! CRB, that was absolutely priceless! You’re a genius!

    Ok, for a more serious definition how’s about these (I trimmed out the “relating to a sect” parts):

    American Heritage Dictionary
    sec·tar·i·an
    adj.
    2. Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
    3. Narrow-minded; parochial.
    noun. One characterized by bigoted adherence to a factional viewpoint.

    Websters Revised
    noun. bigotedly attached to the tenets and interests of a denomination; as, sectarian principles or prejudices.

    Merriam-Webster
    adj. limited in character or scope
    noun. a narrow or bigoted person

    CRB, that really was genius! I’m still chuckling about that. If you’re ever in the DC area and you want a beer, let me know. Anyone who can come up with brilliant parody/irony like that deserves a beer.

  • Bruce

    Don #20: The starting point for most of the discussions started on this blog are the Lutheran Confessions. Get used to it. That is the orientation of the blog owner. He believes and is convinced that Lutheran doctrine is Christian doctrine.
    At the same time, I don’t see Veith picking fights with anyone outside of Lutheran circles (He may pick a few fights with those INSIDE Lutheran circles, but what of that?) but rather is very accomodating of those of other, er, traditions.

    Not that I am so presumptuous as to speak for the owner of the blog, mind you! :)

  • Bruce

    Don #20: The starting point for most of the discussions started on this blog are the Lutheran Confessions. Get used to it. That is the orientation of the blog owner. He believes and is convinced that Lutheran doctrine is Christian doctrine.
    At the same time, I don’t see Veith picking fights with anyone outside of Lutheran circles (He may pick a few fights with those INSIDE Lutheran circles, but what of that?) but rather is very accomodating of those of other, er, traditions.

    Not that I am so presumptuous as to speak for the owner of the blog, mind you! :)

  • kerner

    AARRGGHH!!!

    Nemo, (@15), baby! You wound me! I was the guy who used the phrase “bunker mentality”. What I meant then, as now, is that Lutherans have been very defensive of what we regard as true Biblical doctrine (e.g. paedobaptism, baptismal regeneration, real presence in Holy Communion, election, the nature of the universal Church, and the list goes on). Trying to keep Biblical doctrine from being morphed into something else to comply with the latest American protestant fad is not a vice.

    On the other hand, we probably have let our belief in the Scriptural foundation of our doctrine (which, alas, means that we believe that some of your doctrine is NOT Scriptural) and our concern that the pressures of the culture will drive us away from the Bible, make us too defensive.

    On yet another hand, Cryptoprot @2 said that he feels the same way about our doctrine as we feel about his. So I guess there’s enough sectarianism to go around.

    So, you non-Lutherans tell me (if you can spare the time): How do YOU think Lutherans could be better united with other Christians without compromising our Bible based principles?

  • kerner

    AARRGGHH!!!

    Nemo, (@15), baby! You wound me! I was the guy who used the phrase “bunker mentality”. What I meant then, as now, is that Lutherans have been very defensive of what we regard as true Biblical doctrine (e.g. paedobaptism, baptismal regeneration, real presence in Holy Communion, election, the nature of the universal Church, and the list goes on). Trying to keep Biblical doctrine from being morphed into something else to comply with the latest American protestant fad is not a vice.

    On the other hand, we probably have let our belief in the Scriptural foundation of our doctrine (which, alas, means that we believe that some of your doctrine is NOT Scriptural) and our concern that the pressures of the culture will drive us away from the Bible, make us too defensive.

    On yet another hand, Cryptoprot @2 said that he feels the same way about our doctrine as we feel about his. So I guess there’s enough sectarianism to go around.

    So, you non-Lutherans tell me (if you can spare the time): How do YOU think Lutherans could be better united with other Christians without compromising our Bible based principles?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes Don S,
    Because if you agreed with me on what Grace is, and what faith is you would baptize babies. Enough said.
    Let me ask, when did your ten year old come to have faith. Did he really live in your house for ten years without faith?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes Don S,
    Because if you agreed with me on what Grace is, and what faith is you would baptize babies. Enough said.
    Let me ask, when did your ten year old come to have faith. Did he really live in your house for ten years without faith?

  • Patrick Kyle

    Earlier in the thread, issue was taken with the idea that Lutheranism had affected Post Evangelicalism. I believe Dr. Veith was paraphrasing Imonk who says in one of his latest blog posts that Luther and Lutheranism have influenced his journey into PE.

    Yeah, I would agree that we (Lutherans) have not done the greatest job on a number of fronts in relation to other believers and churches. Things are changing , however. Many folks on this blog (myself included) are converts to Lutheran Christianity from evangelicalism, and are involved in joining the conversation amongst the church at large. We are by nature an insular group, and these things take time to change. Issues Etc., Pirate Christian Radio, and New Reformation Press are efforts to project a distinctly Lutheran voice into a conversation that we have for too long not been a part of.

    And yes, our church is messed up and many congregations have lost their way, but this in no way invalidates the biblical and doctrinal treasures that modern day Lutherans are heir to.

    Several of the commenters here doubt the Biblical validity of Lutheran doctrine and practice. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I used to think that the Lutheran Reformers were a bunch of beer -swilling, chicken leg scarfing, half reformed papists propagating Catholic Dogma Lite. Then I studied the doctrine and talked to a few folks well versed in this theology, and was basically taken to the Biblical Theology wood shed for a good a$$ kicking. Take a hard look at the teaching before you dismiss it. You may not end up agreeing with it, but you will walk away respecting the position, and the magnificent insight of the Lutheran Reformers.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Earlier in the thread, issue was taken with the idea that Lutheranism had affected Post Evangelicalism. I believe Dr. Veith was paraphrasing Imonk who says in one of his latest blog posts that Luther and Lutheranism have influenced his journey into PE.

    Yeah, I would agree that we (Lutherans) have not done the greatest job on a number of fronts in relation to other believers and churches. Things are changing , however. Many folks on this blog (myself included) are converts to Lutheran Christianity from evangelicalism, and are involved in joining the conversation amongst the church at large. We are by nature an insular group, and these things take time to change. Issues Etc., Pirate Christian Radio, and New Reformation Press are efforts to project a distinctly Lutheran voice into a conversation that we have for too long not been a part of.

    And yes, our church is messed up and many congregations have lost their way, but this in no way invalidates the biblical and doctrinal treasures that modern day Lutherans are heir to.

    Several of the commenters here doubt the Biblical validity of Lutheran doctrine and practice. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I used to think that the Lutheran Reformers were a bunch of beer -swilling, chicken leg scarfing, half reformed papists propagating Catholic Dogma Lite. Then I studied the doctrine and talked to a few folks well versed in this theology, and was basically taken to the Biblical Theology wood shed for a good a$$ kicking. Take a hard look at the teaching before you dismiss it. You may not end up agreeing with it, but you will walk away respecting the position, and the magnificent insight of the Lutheran Reformers.

  • LAJ

    Many good things written above! Another convert to Lutheranism from evangelicalism is Craig Parton, a lawyer from California who has written a book called “In Defense of the Gospel.” Excellent book. He tried an LCMS church but found them departing from what had attracted him at first. He is now a member of a WELS church. I don’t know if there is an Evangelical Lutheran Synod church near you Sarah from Maryland, but we are another option for people searching for confessional Lutheranism! :)

  • LAJ

    Many good things written above! Another convert to Lutheranism from evangelicalism is Craig Parton, a lawyer from California who has written a book called “In Defense of the Gospel.” Excellent book. He tried an LCMS church but found them departing from what had attracted him at first. He is now a member of a WELS church. I don’t know if there is an Evangelical Lutheran Synod church near you Sarah from Maryland, but we are another option for people searching for confessional Lutheranism! :)

  • CRB

    #23 Webmonk, can’t argue with the dictionary defs. Our
    Lutheran Confessions, however, applied this term to the
    Anabaptists!
    Would love to take you up on your beer offer, but that
    would quite a drive! :)

  • CRB

    #23 Webmonk, can’t argue with the dictionary defs. Our
    Lutheran Confessions, however, applied this term to the
    Anabaptists!
    Would love to take you up on your beer offer, but that
    would quite a drive! :)

  • Gulliver

    The true unity of the Christian Church is not something that man creates, it is a unity Christ gives to all those who believe on Him as God and Savior. Eph 2:19 does not say “You must become fellow citizens” but “You are…fellow citizens with the saints” (NKJV). 1 Peter 2:9 declares the same thing: “You ARE a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” This is the biblical teaching about the Holy Christian Church. True unity is a gift from God to all who believe. But it exists as a spiritual unity, not necessarily a visible one.
    While on earth, Christians are urged on the basis of love for God, love for His truth, and love of the purity of the Gospel to “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you…” (1 Cor 1:10). Jesus prays, “Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth” (John 17:17), indicating that only God’s word is truth and only this truth can sanctify. Jesus told His Church on earth to make disciples by baptizing and by “teaching them to observe all things that I have comanded you” (Mat 28:19-20).
    God’s Word about unity is also tempered by Jesus’ warnings to beware of false prophets (Matt 24:24), St. John’s instruction to “test the spirits [false teachers]” (1 John 4:1), and St. Paul’s command to “avoid them,” that is, “those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned.”
    Believers operate with both injunctions—to fellowship in one mind under the truth of God’s Word and to beware of false teachings and teachers. One cannot uphold one set of injunctions to unity of faith without upholding the other set to avoid false teachings. Obedience to God’s Word and the Gospel is to take priority over any earthly desires for outward unity.
    An historical observation: those church bodies which seem most interested in reaching out to other denominations and working together in various associations and organizations are the vary ones that are in the process of losing (or have already lost) their past confession.

  • Gulliver

    The true unity of the Christian Church is not something that man creates, it is a unity Christ gives to all those who believe on Him as God and Savior. Eph 2:19 does not say “You must become fellow citizens” but “You are…fellow citizens with the saints” (NKJV). 1 Peter 2:9 declares the same thing: “You ARE a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” This is the biblical teaching about the Holy Christian Church. True unity is a gift from God to all who believe. But it exists as a spiritual unity, not necessarily a visible one.
    While on earth, Christians are urged on the basis of love for God, love for His truth, and love of the purity of the Gospel to “speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you…” (1 Cor 1:10). Jesus prays, “Sanctify them by your truth, Your word is truth” (John 17:17), indicating that only God’s word is truth and only this truth can sanctify. Jesus told His Church on earth to make disciples by baptizing and by “teaching them to observe all things that I have comanded you” (Mat 28:19-20).
    God’s Word about unity is also tempered by Jesus’ warnings to beware of false prophets (Matt 24:24), St. John’s instruction to “test the spirits [false teachers]” (1 John 4:1), and St. Paul’s command to “avoid them,” that is, “those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned.”
    Believers operate with both injunctions—to fellowship in one mind under the truth of God’s Word and to beware of false teachings and teachers. One cannot uphold one set of injunctions to unity of faith without upholding the other set to avoid false teachings. Obedience to God’s Word and the Gospel is to take priority over any earthly desires for outward unity.
    An historical observation: those church bodies which seem most interested in reaching out to other denominations and working together in various associations and organizations are the vary ones that are in the process of losing (or have already lost) their past confession.

  • Don S

    Bruce @ 24: I understand that, and my main point was merely, in response to Dr. Veith’s post @ 9, that LCMS as represented on this blog is clearly sectarian (not necessarily a value judgment, mind you, but just an observation). It brings to mind a question, however. Evangelical Christians, at least those of a fundamentalist bent, believe the canonical Scriptures to be the inerrant Word of God and source of all spiritual truth. Do Lutherans agree with that, or are the Confessions in essence an adjunct to Scripture?

  • Don S

    Bruce @ 24: I understand that, and my main point was merely, in response to Dr. Veith’s post @ 9, that LCMS as represented on this blog is clearly sectarian (not necessarily a value judgment, mind you, but just an observation). It brings to mind a question, however. Evangelical Christians, at least those of a fundamentalist bent, believe the canonical Scriptures to be the inerrant Word of God and source of all spiritual truth. Do Lutherans agree with that, or are the Confessions in essence an adjunct to Scripture?

  • Don S

    Bror @ 26: We already had this discussion on another thread. It’s off topic now, because we are not debating theology, but rather discussing whether or not LCMS adherents tend to be sectarian and fundamentalist. I think we agree that they do.

  • Don S

    Bror @ 26: We already had this discussion on another thread. It’s off topic now, because we are not debating theology, but rather discussing whether or not LCMS adherents tend to be sectarian and fundamentalist. I think we agree that they do.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Don S, Lutherans indeed see the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and source of all truth. We do NOT see our confessions as an addition to that. Rather, they simply set forth what is taught in Scripture. (We also believe that the Word of God is an actual means of grace, the way the Holy Spirit reaches us.)

    We also believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone in the person and the work of Christ. Our view of Baptism by no means contradicts that! Baptism, again, is a means of grace. We believe that salvation is something we receive from God. We further believe that baptized infants possess saving faith. A baby believes in–knows, loves, trusts–his earthly parents. Why can’t that baby know, love, and trust his earthly Father and Jesus Christ, who lifted up the faith of a child as the model for the faith of adults?

    If by sectarian, you mean that we are not ecumenical, that is certainly correct, but a “sect” usually refers to a group set apart from the historical church, which we are not. Part of the reason we reject the ecumenical movement for church unity is that we insist we are ALREADY united in the invisible church.

    As for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, it’s not only me but Rod Rosenbladt and Jack Preuss who used to be on the board. The late, great Robert Preuss loomed behind the formation of the group. And there are others: Read “Modern Reformation” and you’ll find lots of Lutherans contributing.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Don S, Lutherans indeed see the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and source of all truth. We do NOT see our confessions as an addition to that. Rather, they simply set forth what is taught in Scripture. (We also believe that the Word of God is an actual means of grace, the way the Holy Spirit reaches us.)

    We also believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone in the person and the work of Christ. Our view of Baptism by no means contradicts that! Baptism, again, is a means of grace. We believe that salvation is something we receive from God. We further believe that baptized infants possess saving faith. A baby believes in–knows, loves, trusts–his earthly parents. Why can’t that baby know, love, and trust his earthly Father and Jesus Christ, who lifted up the faith of a child as the model for the faith of adults?

    If by sectarian, you mean that we are not ecumenical, that is certainly correct, but a “sect” usually refers to a group set apart from the historical church, which we are not. Part of the reason we reject the ecumenical movement for church unity is that we insist we are ALREADY united in the invisible church.

    As for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, it’s not only me but Rod Rosenbladt and Jack Preuss who used to be on the board. The late, great Robert Preuss loomed behind the formation of the group. And there are others: Read “Modern Reformation” and you’ll find lots of Lutherans contributing.

  • WebMonk

    What would be ‘sectarian’ sorts of behavior? (I’ll try to avoid anything that might compromise Lutheran doctrine or practice, whether it be right or wrong.)

    One way is refusing to interact with other churches/denominations, even if those interactions don’t involve any sort of compromise of scripture. CHECK.

    “Interact” can cover a lot of things, but would involve things like joint mission activities, even the small ones like joining together to gather and distribute food baskets to poor families in the community on Thanksgiving. Prison outreaches. Just plain old interactions with other pastors like a breakfast meeting of the local pastors once a month.

    I realize that it’s hard to ‘prove’ something like that because I don’t know of any studies that have looked at that sort of thing. I can only go with my personal experience and what I’ve heard of others about Lutherans. I realize those are just anecdotes and I’m sure people can mention anecdotes of Lutherans actually interacting, but bear with me for a second. (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds odd – “Lutherans interacting”?)

    I’m going off the general mentions I’ve heard from others in real life and online. I hear complaints about most all denominations being pushy or demanding or overbearing at times, but it’s a mixed bag of good and bad descriptions, and at least there are interactions. I don’t hear much about Lutherans, but everything I do hear is very definitely non-interactive. There’s nothing negative about their interactions because there are none. Literally, I’ve never heard of Lutheran interactions. I’ve heard quite a few stories of people being rejected (probably very kindly) when approaching Lutherans for different sorts of group activities, but I’ve never heard of a Lutheran church accepting.

    I look at it sort of like sampling – even though my sampling of experiences is very limited, there are enough of them that I think I would have heard of SOMETHING.

    So while it’s certainly not an exhaustive proof, I think it does serve as an example of what the wider experience is among Christians – Lutheran churches sit in their corner and don’t talk with anyone else. That’s a very “sectarian” sort of behavior in this context. At a party it might be attributed to shyness, but in a church organization, that’s sectarianism.

    (I’m hoping I managed to avoid implying any defect in Lutheran theology there.)

  • WebMonk

    What would be ‘sectarian’ sorts of behavior? (I’ll try to avoid anything that might compromise Lutheran doctrine or practice, whether it be right or wrong.)

    One way is refusing to interact with other churches/denominations, even if those interactions don’t involve any sort of compromise of scripture. CHECK.

    “Interact” can cover a lot of things, but would involve things like joint mission activities, even the small ones like joining together to gather and distribute food baskets to poor families in the community on Thanksgiving. Prison outreaches. Just plain old interactions with other pastors like a breakfast meeting of the local pastors once a month.

    I realize that it’s hard to ‘prove’ something like that because I don’t know of any studies that have looked at that sort of thing. I can only go with my personal experience and what I’ve heard of others about Lutherans. I realize those are just anecdotes and I’m sure people can mention anecdotes of Lutherans actually interacting, but bear with me for a second. (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds odd – “Lutherans interacting”?)

    I’m going off the general mentions I’ve heard from others in real life and online. I hear complaints about most all denominations being pushy or demanding or overbearing at times, but it’s a mixed bag of good and bad descriptions, and at least there are interactions. I don’t hear much about Lutherans, but everything I do hear is very definitely non-interactive. There’s nothing negative about their interactions because there are none. Literally, I’ve never heard of Lutheran interactions. I’ve heard quite a few stories of people being rejected (probably very kindly) when approaching Lutherans for different sorts of group activities, but I’ve never heard of a Lutheran church accepting.

    I look at it sort of like sampling – even though my sampling of experiences is very limited, there are enough of them that I think I would have heard of SOMETHING.

    So while it’s certainly not an exhaustive proof, I think it does serve as an example of what the wider experience is among Christians – Lutheran churches sit in their corner and don’t talk with anyone else. That’s a very “sectarian” sort of behavior in this context. At a party it might be attributed to shyness, but in a church organization, that’s sectarianism.

    (I’m hoping I managed to avoid implying any defect in Lutheran theology there.)

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    LAJ- There are about a hundred ELCA churches in my area and one LCMS. No other Lutherans that I am aware of.

    WEBMONK- Are you the same as the Internet Monk? If so, *I* want to have a beer with you in DC- he he he

    Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Cranach pub fellowship in real life? How many are near DC/Baltimore?

  • http://www.HempelStudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    LAJ- There are about a hundred ELCA churches in my area and one LCMS. No other Lutherans that I am aware of.

    WEBMONK- Are you the same as the Internet Monk? If so, *I* want to have a beer with you in DC- he he he

    Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Cranach pub fellowship in real life? How many are near DC/Baltimore?

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I’m late to this discussion, but I’d like to mention how CRUCIAL the internet was in my search for something more than the fundamentalist/evangelical mess I had allowed myself to become buried in. I HAD NO IDEA that there were people who were openly and publicly questioning their Evangelical practices (or lack there of). I should also mention that my first contact with a Confessional Lutheran body was through a local ELS dayschool that annually hosts a mite basketball Super Saturday event. They purposed had teachers on hand to greet visitors, offer tours and answer questions about the school. That was my own first contact – it was a beautiful day that opened my eyes and heart. It was at that point I employed the internet to learn more about this little church and what it believed. Yes, I could have just asked the pastor, but that would take me a year to get my nerve up! And my first question to that pastor? “If I join your church, am I still allowed to listen to contemporary Christian music?” To this day, I don’t know how he kept from bursting into laughter! I think he sensed my utter depression and frustration at the evangelical world. Five years later, I’m still at his church…and still checking in with Confessional Lutherans worldwide for occasional cyber-fellowship.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I’m late to this discussion, but I’d like to mention how CRUCIAL the internet was in my search for something more than the fundamentalist/evangelical mess I had allowed myself to become buried in. I HAD NO IDEA that there were people who were openly and publicly questioning their Evangelical practices (or lack there of). I should also mention that my first contact with a Confessional Lutheran body was through a local ELS dayschool that annually hosts a mite basketball Super Saturday event. They purposed had teachers on hand to greet visitors, offer tours and answer questions about the school. That was my own first contact – it was a beautiful day that opened my eyes and heart. It was at that point I employed the internet to learn more about this little church and what it believed. Yes, I could have just asked the pastor, but that would take me a year to get my nerve up! And my first question to that pastor? “If I join your church, am I still allowed to listen to contemporary Christian music?” To this day, I don’t know how he kept from bursting into laughter! I think he sensed my utter depression and frustration at the evangelical world. Five years later, I’m still at his church…and still checking in with Confessional Lutherans worldwide for occasional cyber-fellowship.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Sarah, there are several WELS churches in the Maryland area.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Sarah, there are several WELS churches in the Maryland area.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    WebMonk wrote: “One way is refusing to interact with other churches/denominations, even if those interactions don’t involve any sort of compromise of scripture.”

    From my own observations in my area, I see my fellow ELS’ers HEAVILY involved in the community in a huge variety of programs. Do they stay away from programs that espouse scriptural views they don’t want to be associated with? Yes! Are they friends, neighbors and coworkers of Christians of all stripes? Yes! Do they find other ways to remain very involved in the community? Yes! After 30 years of being with Evangelical Christians who embrace anyone and anything merely claiming to be the “Christian” way , I find it very reassuring and refreshing that there are Christians who at least attempt to keep doctrine for themselves and their families. Should local pastors meet for coffee regardless of their denominational slants? Sure, why not. Is it necessary? Probably not.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    WebMonk wrote: “One way is refusing to interact with other churches/denominations, even if those interactions don’t involve any sort of compromise of scripture.”

    From my own observations in my area, I see my fellow ELS’ers HEAVILY involved in the community in a huge variety of programs. Do they stay away from programs that espouse scriptural views they don’t want to be associated with? Yes! Are they friends, neighbors and coworkers of Christians of all stripes? Yes! Do they find other ways to remain very involved in the community? Yes! After 30 years of being with Evangelical Christians who embrace anyone and anything merely claiming to be the “Christian” way , I find it very reassuring and refreshing that there are Christians who at least attempt to keep doctrine for themselves and their families. Should local pastors meet for coffee regardless of their denominational slants? Sure, why not. Is it necessary? Probably not.

  • Booklover

    Patrick Kyle # 27

    We are still a bunch of beer -swilling, chicken leg scarfing Christians. You were right about that. :-) :-)
    Don’t forget potluck-partaking.

  • Booklover

    Patrick Kyle # 27

    We are still a bunch of beer -swilling, chicken leg scarfing Christians. You were right about that. :-) :-)
    Don’t forget potluck-partaking.

  • Nemo

    Kerner,

    On second thought, I should not have included your “bunker mentality” reference with the other two without at least some further explanation. It does not do justice to the very helpful conversation we were having on the other thread.

    In my experience, I would have to agree with you though (WebMonk @ 34 laid this out quite well). In many ways, the Lutheran church reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the talants (Matthew 25:14-30). It appears more afraid of losing what it has been given than actually putting it to use.

    Lurking under this entire discussion is the issue of doctrinal differences, and I don’t want to get into that at the moment. I know we disagree about baptism (among other things), but does that need to be the defining point of our relationship? Are we not still both part of the body of Christ? Do we not preach the same gospel (saved by grace alone through faith alone, etc. etc. etc.)? Mark 9:38-41

    As for your last question, what I see the non-Lutherans objecting to is primarily an attitude of superiority. There is a perception of Lutherans (again, a nod to WebMonk @ 34) that may or may not be actually true. But regardless of whether you intend to be viewed that way, you are (see the article I linked above). Now the rest of the invisible church may be off their rocker on this one, or they might actually be on to something.

    Bror
    “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 6:1-2)

    Veith @ 33
    I don’t see anyone denying that you are part of the universal church. I see annoyance at the implications that non-Lutheran’s aren’t.

    Patrick and Theresa,
    I have actually gone the other way.

  • Nemo

    Kerner,

    On second thought, I should not have included your “bunker mentality” reference with the other two without at least some further explanation. It does not do justice to the very helpful conversation we were having on the other thread.

    In my experience, I would have to agree with you though (WebMonk @ 34 laid this out quite well). In many ways, the Lutheran church reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the talants (Matthew 25:14-30). It appears more afraid of losing what it has been given than actually putting it to use.

    Lurking under this entire discussion is the issue of doctrinal differences, and I don’t want to get into that at the moment. I know we disagree about baptism (among other things), but does that need to be the defining point of our relationship? Are we not still both part of the body of Christ? Do we not preach the same gospel (saved by grace alone through faith alone, etc. etc. etc.)? Mark 9:38-41

    As for your last question, what I see the non-Lutherans objecting to is primarily an attitude of superiority. There is a perception of Lutherans (again, a nod to WebMonk @ 34) that may or may not be actually true. But regardless of whether you intend to be viewed that way, you are (see the article I linked above). Now the rest of the invisible church may be off their rocker on this one, or they might actually be on to something.

    Bror
    “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 6:1-2)

    Veith @ 33
    I don’t see anyone denying that you are part of the universal church. I see annoyance at the implications that non-Lutheran’s aren’t.

    Patrick and Theresa,
    I have actually gone the other way.

  • Van

    I wish I had time to insert comments during these conversations. There’s just too much to reply to and say when you’re this far down. But I always have so much to comment on when you all have these trans-denominational (whatever that means!) discussions.

    I was baptized in the Episcopal church as an infant. My family left and became Presbyterian USA, until the congregation actually rented true voting booths so there would be NO doubts when the vote was to withdraw form USA and become EPC (no women pastors and much more conservative.) In college and throughout marriage I have been a Baptist or non-denom by title (about 20 years.) Until I was invited to come to a bible study at a LCMS church that was taught by a woman who had recently given up her life-time membership in the Baptist church.

    I had always longed for a deeper worship experience. Not emotionally, but spiritually. I never quite fit in to any of the other denominations. Something always seemed to be missing in worship.

    I have been blown away by the Christ-centeredness (Gospel driven) worship in the LCMS. What Christ does for us and now what we do for him. Never before in my 43 years, 7 denominations and/or congregations have I experienced a less man-centered worship. I never remember a time in my life where God wasn’t very important to me and the driving force in most every decision I made so I have always observed and paid close attention, yes even as a very young child, to all the aspects of worship. About 43 years.
    Although the Presbyterian church my family still attends is conservative and as close to liturgical as you can be without being liturgical it is painfully obvious that the worship is still about what we offer Christ rather than what he offers us.
    My husband (lifetime baptist) and I have attended a LCMS church for 3 years, my kids (7 and 10) were baptized last year.
    Now he has taken us back to the Baptist church. He claims he is a reformed baptist.
    I am starving and very sad.
    Sarah @ 4….Cling to Christ and be thankful for the service you are given every Sunday in word and sacrament.
    van

  • Van

    I wish I had time to insert comments during these conversations. There’s just too much to reply to and say when you’re this far down. But I always have so much to comment on when you all have these trans-denominational (whatever that means!) discussions.

    I was baptized in the Episcopal church as an infant. My family left and became Presbyterian USA, until the congregation actually rented true voting booths so there would be NO doubts when the vote was to withdraw form USA and become EPC (no women pastors and much more conservative.) In college and throughout marriage I have been a Baptist or non-denom by title (about 20 years.) Until I was invited to come to a bible study at a LCMS church that was taught by a woman who had recently given up her life-time membership in the Baptist church.

    I had always longed for a deeper worship experience. Not emotionally, but spiritually. I never quite fit in to any of the other denominations. Something always seemed to be missing in worship.

    I have been blown away by the Christ-centeredness (Gospel driven) worship in the LCMS. What Christ does for us and now what we do for him. Never before in my 43 years, 7 denominations and/or congregations have I experienced a less man-centered worship. I never remember a time in my life where God wasn’t very important to me and the driving force in most every decision I made so I have always observed and paid close attention, yes even as a very young child, to all the aspects of worship. About 43 years.
    Although the Presbyterian church my family still attends is conservative and as close to liturgical as you can be without being liturgical it is painfully obvious that the worship is still about what we offer Christ rather than what he offers us.
    My husband (lifetime baptist) and I have attended a LCMS church for 3 years, my kids (7 and 10) were baptized last year.
    Now he has taken us back to the Baptist church. He claims he is a reformed baptist.
    I am starving and very sad.
    Sarah @ 4….Cling to Christ and be thankful for the service you are given every Sunday in word and sacrament.
    van

  • Van

    oops. correction.

    “I have been blown away by the Christ-centeredness (Gospel driven) worship in the LCMS. What Christ does for us and NOT what we do for him. “

  • Van

    oops. correction.

    “I have been blown away by the Christ-centeredness (Gospel driven) worship in the LCMS. What Christ does for us and NOT what we do for him. “

  • WebMonk

    Sarah in Maryland – no I am not the iMonk of InternetMonk fame. I am not worthy to be trod upon by him. He is ‘da bomb! (jn)

    TheresaK #38
    ELS is definitely distinct from LCMS. Even in your description, it sounded like your church might not be interacting with other churches, just the community. I agree with the standard of not compromising your own doctrine, but if a church is declining to work with other churches in food/clothing distribution, or home-building projects, or, or, or, then there’s a problem with sectarianism.

    Working with the general community while refusing to associate with Christians who don’t have correct doctrine (not talking about to the level of denying Christ) is sectarian.

    Theresa, I’m not saying your particular church does that, but just describing how a church can be active in the community while still being very sectarian.

  • WebMonk

    Sarah in Maryland – no I am not the iMonk of InternetMonk fame. I am not worthy to be trod upon by him. He is ‘da bomb! (jn)

    TheresaK #38
    ELS is definitely distinct from LCMS. Even in your description, it sounded like your church might not be interacting with other churches, just the community. I agree with the standard of not compromising your own doctrine, but if a church is declining to work with other churches in food/clothing distribution, or home-building projects, or, or, or, then there’s a problem with sectarianism.

    Working with the general community while refusing to associate with Christians who don’t have correct doctrine (not talking about to the level of denying Christ) is sectarian.

    Theresa, I’m not saying your particular church does that, but just describing how a church can be active in the community while still being very sectarian.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Nemo wrote: “I know we disagree about baptism (among other things), but does that need to be the defining point of our relationship? ”

    We don’t disagree about baptism; we disagree about what Christ taught and commanded about baptism. Does what Christ taught (aka doctrine) define my relationship with others? No. Does what Christ taught define where I go to church? Yes.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Nemo wrote: “I know we disagree about baptism (among other things), but does that need to be the defining point of our relationship? ”

    We don’t disagree about baptism; we disagree about what Christ taught and commanded about baptism. Does what Christ taught (aka doctrine) define my relationship with others? No. Does what Christ taught define where I go to church? Yes.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and Theresa #38, I’ll make a guess, but I’ll posit that the ELS is much more active outside their own churches than the LCMS, at least on average.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and Theresa #38, I’ll make a guess, but I’ll posit that the ELS is much more active outside their own churches than the LCMS, at least on average.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    WebMonk, if a church is declining to work jointly with other churches in food/clothing distribution, or home-building projects, but works side by side with similar community-based organizations doing the exact same thing, are they still sectarian? I don’t think that practice diminishes the gospel at all. In fact, I think it opens more opportunities for the gospel to be proclaimed. For example, if I participate in a distinctly denominational operation, I am part of a proclamation of the beliefs of that church beyond just the act of help. If I go to my neighbor’s to help rake leaves or get to know my neighborhood in a watch night, I am establishing a relationship with people that will provide a much richer soil for the proclamation of the gospel.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    WebMonk, if a church is declining to work jointly with other churches in food/clothing distribution, or home-building projects, but works side by side with similar community-based organizations doing the exact same thing, are they still sectarian? I don’t think that practice diminishes the gospel at all. In fact, I think it opens more opportunities for the gospel to be proclaimed. For example, if I participate in a distinctly denominational operation, I am part of a proclamation of the beliefs of that church beyond just the act of help. If I go to my neighbor’s to help rake leaves or get to know my neighborhood in a watch night, I am establishing a relationship with people that will provide a much richer soil for the proclamation of the gospel.

  • WebMonk

    Theresa K #44, that’s the thing though. As a church, the disagreements over doctrines like Baptism and Communion are defining relationships with others.

    Perhaps your church does work with other churches with which it disagrees, but at least the perception (and I think it’s an accurate one) is that Lutheran churches let their doctrinal differences define their relationships with other churches to the point that they won’t associate with other churches even in things that don’t involve a compromise of doctrine.

    Of course differences in doctrine define relationships between churches, but when it gets to the point of refusing to associate with any other church, it becomes sectarianism.

  • WebMonk

    Theresa K #44, that’s the thing though. As a church, the disagreements over doctrines like Baptism and Communion are defining relationships with others.

    Perhaps your church does work with other churches with which it disagrees, but at least the perception (and I think it’s an accurate one) is that Lutheran churches let their doctrinal differences define their relationships with other churches to the point that they won’t associate with other churches even in things that don’t involve a compromise of doctrine.

    Of course differences in doctrine define relationships between churches, but when it gets to the point of refusing to associate with any other church, it becomes sectarianism.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Well, I can only speak for my own church, of course. It is also filled with sinners, but yes, they are quite active in the community. We get many new members that way!

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Well, I can only speak for my own church, of course. It is also filled with sinners, but yes, they are quite active in the community. We get many new members that way!

  • WebMonk

    Theresa K #46, our electrons are passing each other in the fibers! :^)

    I’m not talking about giving up community activities of one’s own church. Absolutely, a church should have its own definite impact in the community, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t also participate with other churches.

    That’s what is happening though – there is a general refusal to work with other churches AT ALL.

    Yes, there are reasons that may come up that might keep a church from joining in on joint projects with others – too busy, already have something similar, don’t have the resources, etc, etc. No problem. I understand, and I’m not talking about that.

    The perception of sectarianism is coming from a general refusal to work with any other churches, ever. Why? If it were only some of the time, that would be one thing, but when it happens over and over and over, the suspicion is that Lutheran churches just don’t want to associate with other churches PERIOD.

    A church can say that other churches are brothers and sisters in Christ, but when it refuses to act that way in even the smallest instances, it puts doubt to their words in the mind of other churches. And don’t think that it isn’t apparent to people outside the church. It’s sort of like trying to hide arguments from your kids – you’re never as successful as you think.

  • WebMonk

    Theresa K #46, our electrons are passing each other in the fibers! :^)

    I’m not talking about giving up community activities of one’s own church. Absolutely, a church should have its own definite impact in the community, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t also participate with other churches.

    That’s what is happening though – there is a general refusal to work with other churches AT ALL.

    Yes, there are reasons that may come up that might keep a church from joining in on joint projects with others – too busy, already have something similar, don’t have the resources, etc, etc. No problem. I understand, and I’m not talking about that.

    The perception of sectarianism is coming from a general refusal to work with any other churches, ever. Why? If it were only some of the time, that would be one thing, but when it happens over and over and over, the suspicion is that Lutheran churches just don’t want to associate with other churches PERIOD.

    A church can say that other churches are brothers and sisters in Christ, but when it refuses to act that way in even the smallest instances, it puts doubt to their words in the mind of other churches. And don’t think that it isn’t apparent to people outside the church. It’s sort of like trying to hide arguments from your kids – you’re never as successful as you think.

  • Don S

    Dr. Veith @ 33:

    Thank you for your response. I have been truly blessed to have the opportunity to participate on your blog and to learn about and better appreciate the Lutheran faith.

    From Merriam-Webster : “Sect” — Main Entry: sect
    Pronunciation: ˈsekt
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English secte, from Anglo-French & Late Latin & Latin; Anglo-French, group, faction, from Late Latin secta organized ecclesiastical body, from Latin, course of action, way of life, probably from sectari to pursue, frequentative of sequi to follow — more at sue
    Date: 14th century
    1 a: a dissenting or schismatic religious body; especially : one regarded as extreme or heretical b: a religious denomination
    2archaic : sex 1
    3 a: a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader b: party c: faction

    I think part of the issue in this discussion is the definition of “sect” or “sectarian”. You are applying definition 1a, meaning that a sect is more or less heretical in some respect. Clearly, though, no one on this blog is arguing that Lutherans are set apart from the historical church. In the 1500′s, that may have been true, but Lutheranism now has to be considered part of the historical church, and an important and valued part. Rather, I think of “sect” in the context of our discussion as being more applicable to definition 1b or perhaps 3a. And, for reasons eloquently expressed by Webmonk and Nemo, among others, it seems clear that Lutherans are sectarian in that, not only do they worship according to their own denominational faith tenets and practices, but they actively teach that other believing Christians not holding to those same tenets are wrong. Bror goes so far as to label Baptist doctrine “false teaching”.

    I think this active teaching against the beliefs of other genuine brothers and sisters in Christ is distinctive to Lutherans. I don’t think Baptists tend to do that concerning LCMS Lutherans, for example. They acknowledge the differences in theology, but don’t label Lutheranism as “false teaching”. At least, not in my experience, and not in the lay community (I expect they do, to some extent, in the world of seminary).

  • Don S

    Dr. Veith @ 33:

    Thank you for your response. I have been truly blessed to have the opportunity to participate on your blog and to learn about and better appreciate the Lutheran faith.

    From Merriam-Webster : “Sect” — Main Entry: sect
    Pronunciation: ˈsekt
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English secte, from Anglo-French & Late Latin & Latin; Anglo-French, group, faction, from Late Latin secta organized ecclesiastical body, from Latin, course of action, way of life, probably from sectari to pursue, frequentative of sequi to follow — more at sue
    Date: 14th century
    1 a: a dissenting or schismatic religious body; especially : one regarded as extreme or heretical b: a religious denomination
    2archaic : sex 1
    3 a: a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader b: party c: faction

    I think part of the issue in this discussion is the definition of “sect” or “sectarian”. You are applying definition 1a, meaning that a sect is more or less heretical in some respect. Clearly, though, no one on this blog is arguing that Lutherans are set apart from the historical church. In the 1500′s, that may have been true, but Lutheranism now has to be considered part of the historical church, and an important and valued part. Rather, I think of “sect” in the context of our discussion as being more applicable to definition 1b or perhaps 3a. And, for reasons eloquently expressed by Webmonk and Nemo, among others, it seems clear that Lutherans are sectarian in that, not only do they worship according to their own denominational faith tenets and practices, but they actively teach that other believing Christians not holding to those same tenets are wrong. Bror goes so far as to label Baptist doctrine “false teaching”.

    I think this active teaching against the beliefs of other genuine brothers and sisters in Christ is distinctive to Lutherans. I don’t think Baptists tend to do that concerning LCMS Lutherans, for example. They acknowledge the differences in theology, but don’t label Lutheranism as “false teaching”. At least, not in my experience, and not in the lay community (I expect they do, to some extent, in the world of seminary).

  • Anon

    A more serious definition of sectarian, not relying upon the non-scholarly dictionaries, would be something along the lines of someone who thinks that there are no or few Christians outside of the confessional boundaries of one’s sect. Or one who is not catholic in the low-c sense that Lutherans are by definition supposed to be. Or who have their own equivalent of “another testament of Jesus Christ” – a document held to with equal or greater authority than the Holy Bible, that is not a shared document with the whole of Christendom the way the three ecumenical creeds are.

    By that definition, some confessional Lutherans are sectarian, and others are not, it is more a matter of attitude than belief among us. In other groups, it may be an actual matter of belief, such as Feeneyite heretics in the Catholic Church, or SSPX, separatist baptists, WELS and so forth.

    Kerner, the very early history of the LCMS shows that it -is- substantially an American Protestant fad (combined with ethnic separatism). A cult of personality descended into personality conflicts and faction fights willing to change doctrine of ecclesiology in pursuit of political goals. Fortunately we have the Bible and the Book of Concord, and they are -not-. That was well over 150 years ago, and we ought to have gotten over that by now ;-) But find me a perfect denomination or synod. I don’t think they exist. Not if you look closely enough. Have I read inaccurate histories of the denomination?

    WebMonk, one example of sectarian behavior that was related to me was of a WELS pastor refusing to sing hymns at a funeral of a close relative because it was in an ALC church building. This was deeply offensive to the rest of the family, and was not a matter of taking communion, but of refusing to sing together with his family at a family funeral.

    Another example I have personally encountered is the insistence that the regula fide is not Scripture interpreting Scripture, but confessional documents (in this case Dordt, Belgic and Westminster) interpreting Scripture as the “contextual universe” by which the Bible must be understood, even if it means that one has to take on faith that ‘all’ does not mean ‘all’ and ‘is’ does not mean ‘is.’

    The opposite would be the Rev. Dr. Kieschnick’s written desire (in a Jesus First newsletter someone handed to me a while back – as I remember it) that the LCMS enter into full pulpit and altar fellowship with ELCA. As I recall reading it. I don’t have it, so I can’t prove it. If I am mistaken, the concept is certainly one that I think we would mostly agree is very wrong.

    Loving, including in observable ways, all believers, including the ones one knows, even outside of the LCMS/AALC or WELS and ELS, yet not including pulpit and altar fellowship, is, I think, mandated by Christ Jesus Himself, and to not do so is to walk in disobedience to Him, and thus potentially a turning of one’s back upon one’s baptism, if those doing so had read John 17 and 1 Corinthians 1, and so knew the truth.

    Theresa, I have a fairly positive view of ELS, though the worship wars and the ongoing family feud involving the Preus family that is entangled with the split between the LCMS and WELSm is taking place there, too. No synod is perfect, at least, I don’t think there is such a thing.

    Don, most baptists I know -do- think that Lutherans are non-Christian. They think that we believe that a little dab of mere water saves us. I’ve had some baptist friends cut off their friendship with me over my becoming Lutheran. I lost a potential wife that way, too. Some Catholics are willing to accept us (B16, for instance) yet most, don’t. Presbyterians likewise tend to reject us for the same reason the baptists tend to. Yet, I think we are the true via media; not the erastian mess that the former Anglican communion was, but a principled one, based upon Scripture. Not an attempt to form a protestant denomination based upon an ideology, but an attempt to reform the Catholic Church back to what is Biblical, back to before the Great Schism. We are in fact, the Evangelical Catholics. My pastor is very insistent on this, though he tends to go to the sectarian extreme of saying that we *are* the One True Catholic Church.

    I don’t think that it is sectarian to teach that differing teachings are mistaken. It -is- sectarian to say that they aren’t Christians because of any difference at all, and I believe that it is sectarian to attribute false motives to any disagreement between denominations. People are sincerely mistaken all the time!

  • Anon

    A more serious definition of sectarian, not relying upon the non-scholarly dictionaries, would be something along the lines of someone who thinks that there are no or few Christians outside of the confessional boundaries of one’s sect. Or one who is not catholic in the low-c sense that Lutherans are by definition supposed to be. Or who have their own equivalent of “another testament of Jesus Christ” – a document held to with equal or greater authority than the Holy Bible, that is not a shared document with the whole of Christendom the way the three ecumenical creeds are.

    By that definition, some confessional Lutherans are sectarian, and others are not, it is more a matter of attitude than belief among us. In other groups, it may be an actual matter of belief, such as Feeneyite heretics in the Catholic Church, or SSPX, separatist baptists, WELS and so forth.

    Kerner, the very early history of the LCMS shows that it -is- substantially an American Protestant fad (combined with ethnic separatism). A cult of personality descended into personality conflicts and faction fights willing to change doctrine of ecclesiology in pursuit of political goals. Fortunately we have the Bible and the Book of Concord, and they are -not-. That was well over 150 years ago, and we ought to have gotten over that by now ;-) But find me a perfect denomination or synod. I don’t think they exist. Not if you look closely enough. Have I read inaccurate histories of the denomination?

    WebMonk, one example of sectarian behavior that was related to me was of a WELS pastor refusing to sing hymns at a funeral of a close relative because it was in an ALC church building. This was deeply offensive to the rest of the family, and was not a matter of taking communion, but of refusing to sing together with his family at a family funeral.

    Another example I have personally encountered is the insistence that the regula fide is not Scripture interpreting Scripture, but confessional documents (in this case Dordt, Belgic and Westminster) interpreting Scripture as the “contextual universe” by which the Bible must be understood, even if it means that one has to take on faith that ‘all’ does not mean ‘all’ and ‘is’ does not mean ‘is.’

    The opposite would be the Rev. Dr. Kieschnick’s written desire (in a Jesus First newsletter someone handed to me a while back – as I remember it) that the LCMS enter into full pulpit and altar fellowship with ELCA. As I recall reading it. I don’t have it, so I can’t prove it. If I am mistaken, the concept is certainly one that I think we would mostly agree is very wrong.

    Loving, including in observable ways, all believers, including the ones one knows, even outside of the LCMS/AALC or WELS and ELS, yet not including pulpit and altar fellowship, is, I think, mandated by Christ Jesus Himself, and to not do so is to walk in disobedience to Him, and thus potentially a turning of one’s back upon one’s baptism, if those doing so had read John 17 and 1 Corinthians 1, and so knew the truth.

    Theresa, I have a fairly positive view of ELS, though the worship wars and the ongoing family feud involving the Preus family that is entangled with the split between the LCMS and WELSm is taking place there, too. No synod is perfect, at least, I don’t think there is such a thing.

    Don, most baptists I know -do- think that Lutherans are non-Christian. They think that we believe that a little dab of mere water saves us. I’ve had some baptist friends cut off their friendship with me over my becoming Lutheran. I lost a potential wife that way, too. Some Catholics are willing to accept us (B16, for instance) yet most, don’t. Presbyterians likewise tend to reject us for the same reason the baptists tend to. Yet, I think we are the true via media; not the erastian mess that the former Anglican communion was, but a principled one, based upon Scripture. Not an attempt to form a protestant denomination based upon an ideology, but an attempt to reform the Catholic Church back to what is Biblical, back to before the Great Schism. We are in fact, the Evangelical Catholics. My pastor is very insistent on this, though he tends to go to the sectarian extreme of saying that we *are* the One True Catholic Church.

    I don’t think that it is sectarian to teach that differing teachings are mistaken. It -is- sectarian to say that they aren’t Christians because of any difference at all, and I believe that it is sectarian to attribute false motives to any disagreement between denominations. People are sincerely mistaken all the time!

  • CRB

    Can everyone accept the definition that confessional Lutherans have adherred to since the Reformation:
    One is a sectarian who departs from the truth of Scripture.
    That is a strictly theological definition, I know, but it is helpful for those who may think that being “sectarian” has little or nothing to do with God’s Word.

  • CRB

    Can everyone accept the definition that confessional Lutherans have adherred to since the Reformation:
    One is a sectarian who departs from the truth of Scripture.
    That is a strictly theological definition, I know, but it is helpful for those who may think that being “sectarian” has little or nothing to do with God’s Word.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S. wrote: “but they actively teach that other believing Christians not holding to those same tenets are wrong.” The ELS also takes a very strong stance against so-called “sheep stealing”, so I don’t know how you can say that the synod advocates calling other churches false. Our church considers their mission field the unchurched. I admit that individual Lutherans sometimes accuse other churches, at times, of false teachings. If memory serves, that happens in other denominations!

    From the ELS website: “We confess that Scripture requires that church fellowship be recognized and practiced where there is a mutual confession of and commitment to the pure Marks of the Church, the Word and Sacraments. Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church, and He governs and teaches it by His Word, but deviation from the teaching of God’s Word is not to be tolerated in the church. We therefore reject unionism, that is, church fellowship with adherents of false doctrine, and ecumenical endeavors which compromise the pure doctrine of God’s Word. We also reject participation or membership in religious organizations which have features that are in conflict with the Christian faith, such as the Masonic Lodge and similar organizations. At the same time we also condemn separatism, i.e., the refusal to acknowledge and practice fellowship when there is agreement in doctrine. See John 8:31-32, 1 Cor. 1:10, Eph. 2:19-20, Matt. 7:15-20, Rom. 16:17, Gal. 1:6-9, 2 John 9-11, Matt. 23:8, 1 Pet. 4:11, 2 Cor. 6:14-18.”

    I hadn’t noticed the last sentence before. It is wrong to refuse fellowship when there is an agreement in what Christ commands and teaches. It is also wrong to acknowledge fellowship when it doesn’t actually exist. Nowhere in the statement does it say that the synod considers itself pure. It strives for purity, but readily admits that won’t happen on this earth.

    Anon – please make up a name for yourself. Anonymous is a cop-out. “Anon” doesn’t count as a name! ;)

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S. wrote: “but they actively teach that other believing Christians not holding to those same tenets are wrong.” The ELS also takes a very strong stance against so-called “sheep stealing”, so I don’t know how you can say that the synod advocates calling other churches false. Our church considers their mission field the unchurched. I admit that individual Lutherans sometimes accuse other churches, at times, of false teachings. If memory serves, that happens in other denominations!

    From the ELS website: “We confess that Scripture requires that church fellowship be recognized and practiced where there is a mutual confession of and commitment to the pure Marks of the Church, the Word and Sacraments. Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church, and He governs and teaches it by His Word, but deviation from the teaching of God’s Word is not to be tolerated in the church. We therefore reject unionism, that is, church fellowship with adherents of false doctrine, and ecumenical endeavors which compromise the pure doctrine of God’s Word. We also reject participation or membership in religious organizations which have features that are in conflict with the Christian faith, such as the Masonic Lodge and similar organizations. At the same time we also condemn separatism, i.e., the refusal to acknowledge and practice fellowship when there is agreement in doctrine. See John 8:31-32, 1 Cor. 1:10, Eph. 2:19-20, Matt. 7:15-20, Rom. 16:17, Gal. 1:6-9, 2 John 9-11, Matt. 23:8, 1 Pet. 4:11, 2 Cor. 6:14-18.”

    I hadn’t noticed the last sentence before. It is wrong to refuse fellowship when there is an agreement in what Christ commands and teaches. It is also wrong to acknowledge fellowship when it doesn’t actually exist. Nowhere in the statement does it say that the synod considers itself pure. It strives for purity, but readily admits that won’t happen on this earth.

    Anon – please make up a name for yourself. Anonymous is a cop-out. “Anon” doesn’t count as a name! ;)

  • WebMonk

    CRB – in that case everyone is sectarian and the word loses its meaning. ELS disagree with WELS disagree with ELCA disagree with LCMS, etc. Everyone is sectarian to everyone else.

    Words can have different connotations and meanings, and the “one who departs from Scripture” meaning of sectarian is only one of them, and it’s not the usage that most people intend when they think of a denomination as “sectarian”. (though it could be PART of what they intend to communicate by using the term)

    While I think the Lutheran church has some wrong interpretations of scripture, I would not call them sectarian just because of that. If I did use the word in that sense I would also have to apply it to Baptists, Presbyterians, RCCs, AGs, Methodists, etc,etc. It loses its meaning.

    What I mean when I use the word ‘sectarian’ (and I think this is the more standard intent) is a church that believes or behaves as if all other churches aren’t Christian or are perhaps dhalit-class Christians with whom they shouldn’t interact.

    As applied to the Lutheran church (LCMS splinter), I realize that the official stance is that Presbyterians and Baptists (just to use examples) are fellow Christians, but with incorrect theology and practice. Fine and excellent. However, in practice and custom, Lutheran churches (Theresa K’s not included!) behave as if the other churches are lepers of Christianity. Stay away! Unclean!

    I realize that’s an exaggeration, but not much of one on the church-organization level. The Lutherans I know in person don’t treat other Christians that way, but the Lutheran church as an organizational body does seem to behave that way. (At least in my personal experience, in the experiences of others I know personally, and the experiences of those I’ve read on the Internet. I haven’t heard differently here either.)

  • WebMonk

    CRB – in that case everyone is sectarian and the word loses its meaning. ELS disagree with WELS disagree with ELCA disagree with LCMS, etc. Everyone is sectarian to everyone else.

    Words can have different connotations and meanings, and the “one who departs from Scripture” meaning of sectarian is only one of them, and it’s not the usage that most people intend when they think of a denomination as “sectarian”. (though it could be PART of what they intend to communicate by using the term)

    While I think the Lutheran church has some wrong interpretations of scripture, I would not call them sectarian just because of that. If I did use the word in that sense I would also have to apply it to Baptists, Presbyterians, RCCs, AGs, Methodists, etc,etc. It loses its meaning.

    What I mean when I use the word ‘sectarian’ (and I think this is the more standard intent) is a church that believes or behaves as if all other churches aren’t Christian or are perhaps dhalit-class Christians with whom they shouldn’t interact.

    As applied to the Lutheran church (LCMS splinter), I realize that the official stance is that Presbyterians and Baptists (just to use examples) are fellow Christians, but with incorrect theology and practice. Fine and excellent. However, in practice and custom, Lutheran churches (Theresa K’s not included!) behave as if the other churches are lepers of Christianity. Stay away! Unclean!

    I realize that’s an exaggeration, but not much of one on the church-organization level. The Lutherans I know in person don’t treat other Christians that way, but the Lutheran church as an organizational body does seem to behave that way. (At least in my personal experience, in the experiences of others I know personally, and the experiences of those I’ve read on the Internet. I haven’t heard differently here either.)

  • jim claybourn

    Some of the non-Lutheran comments directed toward Lutherans sound eerily similar to charges leveled by society at large against Christianity. Reminds me of the Oprah show clip on you-tube: “How dare you say that you have the truth and that yours is the only way to heaven.”

    Those on the “outside” looking in probably see it as “sectarian”. Those on the “inside” see it as “confidence”.

  • jim claybourn

    Some of the non-Lutheran comments directed toward Lutherans sound eerily similar to charges leveled by society at large against Christianity. Reminds me of the Oprah show clip on you-tube: “How dare you say that you have the truth and that yours is the only way to heaven.”

    Those on the “outside” looking in probably see it as “sectarian”. Those on the “inside” see it as “confidence”.

  • Don S

    Jim @ 55: I disagree vehemently. They are not similar at all. When you are talking about the charges leveled by society at large against Christianity, you are talking about calls for universalism. This is a sheep and goats issue.

    On the other hand, the discussion on this blog is between different flocks of sheep and whether it is ever appropriate for them to intermingle and serve together in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    Apples and oranges, my friend.

  • Don S

    Jim @ 55: I disagree vehemently. They are not similar at all. When you are talking about the charges leveled by society at large against Christianity, you are talking about calls for universalism. This is a sheep and goats issue.

    On the other hand, the discussion on this blog is between different flocks of sheep and whether it is ever appropriate for them to intermingle and serve together in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    Apples and oranges, my friend.

  • WebMonk

    I don’t think there’s been any charges of “how dare you think you have the truth” and if so I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. (I think I’ve specifically said I’m not making any claims like that.)

    Even if the Lutheran churches really did have a completely accurate interpretation of scripture, the things we’re talking about would still be true.

  • WebMonk

    I don’t think there’s been any charges of “how dare you think you have the truth” and if so I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. (I think I’ve specifically said I’m not making any claims like that.)

    Even if the Lutheran churches really did have a completely accurate interpretation of scripture, the things we’re talking about would still be true.

  • WebMonk

    Whoops, Don beat me.

    *note to self – type faster!*

  • WebMonk

    Whoops, Don beat me.

    *note to self – type faster!*

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I have not observed the anti-everybody-else spirit in the LCC, which is in communion with the LCMS – neither in the church, or in the people that go there. But anti-everybody individuals/groups are found in every single denomination/denominational class. So that does not constitue an argument, really.

    But in my opinion, post-evangelical/emergent/many others is something people do when they balk at swimming the Rhine/Tiber/Bhosporus! ;)

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogspot.com The Scylding

    I have not observed the anti-everybody-else spirit in the LCC, which is in communion with the LCMS – neither in the church, or in the people that go there. But anti-everybody individuals/groups are found in every single denomination/denominational class. So that does not constitue an argument, really.

    But in my opinion, post-evangelical/emergent/many others is something people do when they balk at swimming the Rhine/Tiber/Bhosporus! ;)

  • Nemo

    Jim @ 55

    I have done my best to phrase my thoughts carefully enough to not lead to that conclusion. My apologies if I have said anything that sounds like that that, it was not my intent. Don and WebMonk have already addressed the substance, so I won’t go there.

  • Nemo

    Jim @ 55

    I have done my best to phrase my thoughts carefully enough to not lead to that conclusion. My apologies if I have said anything that sounds like that that, it was not my intent. Don and WebMonk have already addressed the substance, so I won’t go there.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don you write,
    “Bror @ 26: We already had this discussion on another thread. It’s off topic now, because we are not debating theology, but rather discussing whether or not LCMS adherents tend to be sectarian and fundamentalist. I think we agree that they do.”
    You see that is exactly it. From my understanding of sectarian, a definition CRB, put out beautifully. I do not agree at all that we are sectarian, or fundamentalist. We share some points with historic fundamentalists, but we are quite different from that. My point is we do actually disagree on the gospel. We use the same terminology, but we don’t agree on it. That disagreement shows itself in regards to the sacraments.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don you write,
    “Bror @ 26: We already had this discussion on another thread. It’s off topic now, because we are not debating theology, but rather discussing whether or not LCMS adherents tend to be sectarian and fundamentalist. I think we agree that they do.”
    You see that is exactly it. From my understanding of sectarian, a definition CRB, put out beautifully. I do not agree at all that we are sectarian, or fundamentalist. We share some points with historic fundamentalists, but we are quite different from that. My point is we do actually disagree on the gospel. We use the same terminology, but we don’t agree on it. That disagreement shows itself in regards to the sacraments.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Over night I was thinking about Imonks comment that he would have to travel two hours to go to an LCMS Church. And rightly admonished us to do more church planting. The thought I had as I as a pastor would be more than willing to travel two hours or more to catechize families in the Lutheran faith, preach the gospel and administer the sacraments, in short to do a mission plant among those who are willing to hear.
    I don’t think I am alone in that. I think many LCMS pastors would be tickled pink to do the same if they knew where there were people so inclined. So I ask if you are interested in the Lutheran faith, contact the nearest pastor. Call him on the phone, or visit him one Sunday and ask if he would be willing to do that.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Over night I was thinking about Imonks comment that he would have to travel two hours to go to an LCMS Church. And rightly admonished us to do more church planting. The thought I had as I as a pastor would be more than willing to travel two hours or more to catechize families in the Lutheran faith, preach the gospel and administer the sacraments, in short to do a mission plant among those who are willing to hear.
    I don’t think I am alone in that. I think many LCMS pastors would be tickled pink to do the same if they knew where there were people so inclined. So I ask if you are interested in the Lutheran faith, contact the nearest pastor. Call him on the phone, or visit him one Sunday and ask if he would be willing to do that.

  • kerner

    Don S.:

    I have to disagree with you about your statement that labelling the doctrines of other denominations as “false teaching” being distinctive to Lutherans, or that Baptists would never do such a thing.

    I’ll see if I can find time to do some internet research on this point, but if you will settle for my anecdotal examples for the moment, I’m telling you that Baptists often regard Lutherans as unsaved, and in my experience have been happy to share that opinion with me on short notice.

    I live in Milwaukee, where Lutherans are pretty entrenched, but where Baptists and Charismatics are expanding and kind of fighting for turf. I have talked to many Baptists, or Charismatics, or “non-denominational” Christians who have been very willing to tell me that Lutheran doctrine is false, or relies on works, in very strident terms. Some have gotten particularly angry when I have tried to defend Lutheran doctrine from the Bible, as though Lutherans never read it.

    My mother in law became a Charismatic in the 80′s, and I attended services at her church plenty of times. The pastor knew that there were Lutherans who liked his livelier services, and regularly called our order of service “the lethargy” during his sermons. Another thing I got out of my visits to the Charismatics was their doctrine about the “gifts of the Spirit”. While I was there, I was at least considering that these gifts of the Spirit might be ligitimate ways God moves among His people in these present times. My problem was that admitting that speaking in tongues was ok was never good enough. If I wasn’t speaking in tongues myself, then my faith was not developing appropriately; or, I was not “baptized with the Holy Spirit; like I was a second-class Christian or something.

    The Baptists were the same way. I am in a minority among Lutherans in that I can remember a time when I was not a Christian. But the Baptists’ fixation on “making a decision and asking Jesus into your heart” has been expressed to me in hostile terms. I have been told many times by Baptists or doctrinally similar non-denominationals that: if I haven’t made such a decision, then I’m not a Christian.

    There is a Lutheran pastors wife who, on her blog, tells a story of how she attended a Baptist church for a long time, and how at the end of each service that church had an altar call. It was a small congregation and everybody there usualy knew everybody else. Yet the pastor seemed to wait a long time to see if anybody would come forward to be saved, and this young Lutheran woman couldn’t figure out why the pastor would linger so long in a congregation full of professing Christians…until it dawned on her that the pastor was waiting for HER! I think there are a great many baptists that, if a Lutheran tells them that the Lutheran was baptized as a baby, and has always believed that Christ died for the Lutheran’s sins, but that the Lutheran has never prayed any special prayer asking God to come into his heart (and, perhaps the Lutheran regularly has beer or two, or smokes a cigar), will doubt the Lutheran’s Christianity.

    Lutherans may have sectarian tendencies, Don, but don’t try to tell us we invented sectarianism. As I said before, there’s plenty to go around.

  • kerner

    Don S.:

    I have to disagree with you about your statement that labelling the doctrines of other denominations as “false teaching” being distinctive to Lutherans, or that Baptists would never do such a thing.

    I’ll see if I can find time to do some internet research on this point, but if you will settle for my anecdotal examples for the moment, I’m telling you that Baptists often regard Lutherans as unsaved, and in my experience have been happy to share that opinion with me on short notice.

    I live in Milwaukee, where Lutherans are pretty entrenched, but where Baptists and Charismatics are expanding and kind of fighting for turf. I have talked to many Baptists, or Charismatics, or “non-denominational” Christians who have been very willing to tell me that Lutheran doctrine is false, or relies on works, in very strident terms. Some have gotten particularly angry when I have tried to defend Lutheran doctrine from the Bible, as though Lutherans never read it.

    My mother in law became a Charismatic in the 80′s, and I attended services at her church plenty of times. The pastor knew that there were Lutherans who liked his livelier services, and regularly called our order of service “the lethargy” during his sermons. Another thing I got out of my visits to the Charismatics was their doctrine about the “gifts of the Spirit”. While I was there, I was at least considering that these gifts of the Spirit might be ligitimate ways God moves among His people in these present times. My problem was that admitting that speaking in tongues was ok was never good enough. If I wasn’t speaking in tongues myself, then my faith was not developing appropriately; or, I was not “baptized with the Holy Spirit; like I was a second-class Christian or something.

    The Baptists were the same way. I am in a minority among Lutherans in that I can remember a time when I was not a Christian. But the Baptists’ fixation on “making a decision and asking Jesus into your heart” has been expressed to me in hostile terms. I have been told many times by Baptists or doctrinally similar non-denominationals that: if I haven’t made such a decision, then I’m not a Christian.

    There is a Lutheran pastors wife who, on her blog, tells a story of how she attended a Baptist church for a long time, and how at the end of each service that church had an altar call. It was a small congregation and everybody there usualy knew everybody else. Yet the pastor seemed to wait a long time to see if anybody would come forward to be saved, and this young Lutheran woman couldn’t figure out why the pastor would linger so long in a congregation full of professing Christians…until it dawned on her that the pastor was waiting for HER! I think there are a great many baptists that, if a Lutheran tells them that the Lutheran was baptized as a baby, and has always believed that Christ died for the Lutheran’s sins, but that the Lutheran has never prayed any special prayer asking God to come into his heart (and, perhaps the Lutheran regularly has beer or two, or smokes a cigar), will doubt the Lutheran’s Christianity.

    Lutherans may have sectarian tendencies, Don, but don’t try to tell us we invented sectarianism. As I said before, there’s plenty to go around.

  • Don S

    Anon @ 51, CRB @ 52, Bror @ 61: I recognize that Merriam-Webster is not “scholarly”, but it seems a little self-serving to use a Lutheran definition of “sectarian” to demonstrate that Lutherans are not sectarian. :)

    Seriously, if you choose such a narrow definition of the term, I would have to agree with you, but that is certainly not the definition that Sarah in Maryland was considering when she kicked off this discussion in post #4.

  • Don S

    Anon @ 51, CRB @ 52, Bror @ 61: I recognize that Merriam-Webster is not “scholarly”, but it seems a little self-serving to use a Lutheran definition of “sectarian” to demonstrate that Lutherans are not sectarian. :)

    Seriously, if you choose such a narrow definition of the term, I would have to agree with you, but that is certainly not the definition that Sarah in Maryland was considering when she kicked off this discussion in post #4.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well Don,
    That is the definition I have been raised with, it is the one I hear. It may be self serving to use it in defense of who we are, but then it is what it is.
    You define it differently, thats o.k. I really don’t care if you think me sectarian. I care about being faithful to God’s word. That is it. For it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. Show me where I am not being faithful to God’s word and I’ll repent. Call me sectarian for not joining hands with you and singing Kumbaya, while turning a blind eye to the fact that you deny children the Grace of God in baptism, and I rejoice.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Well Don,
    That is the definition I have been raised with, it is the one I hear. It may be self serving to use it in defense of who we are, but then it is what it is.
    You define it differently, thats o.k. I really don’t care if you think me sectarian. I care about being faithful to God’s word. That is it. For it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. Show me where I am not being faithful to God’s word and I’ll repent. Call me sectarian for not joining hands with you and singing Kumbaya, while turning a blind eye to the fact that you deny children the Grace of God in baptism, and I rejoice.

  • kerner

    Bror:

    Aw c’mon buddy. If all we’re gonna do is sing kumbaya, and maybe roast some marshmallows, I don’t mind making s’mores with Don. I don’t want his pastor in your pulpit preaching, but kumbaya and a few shared s’mores won’t be so bad. I think one point of this discussion is that the Church has enough external enemies in this day and age such that we in the Body of Christ have to close ranks against the world once in awhile. Thankfully, we have guys like you to make sure we Lutherans don’t forget what God’s Word says.

  • kerner

    Bror:

    Aw c’mon buddy. If all we’re gonna do is sing kumbaya, and maybe roast some marshmallows, I don’t mind making s’mores with Don. I don’t want his pastor in your pulpit preaching, but kumbaya and a few shared s’mores won’t be so bad. I think one point of this discussion is that the Church has enough external enemies in this day and age such that we in the Body of Christ have to close ranks against the world once in awhile. Thankfully, we have guys like you to make sure we Lutherans don’t forget what God’s Word says.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I just don’t like singing Kumbaya. I would share a beer with Don. But I wouldn’t sing Kumbaya with my son.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I just don’t like singing Kumbaya. I would share a beer with Don. But I wouldn’t sing Kumbaya with my son.

  • Booklover

    Oh kerner #63–a hundred million dittoes. DITTODITTODITTODITTODITTODITTO

  • Booklover

    Oh kerner #63–a hundred million dittoes. DITTODITTODITTODITTODITTODITTO

  • Patrick Kyle

    Evidence of Baptist abhorrance for our doctrine is their insistence that those who join their ranks that were baptized as infants must be re-baptized. All of Christendom accepts your baptism if it was in the name of the Trinity and performed in a church group known to not be heretical. Except the anabaptists and their evangelical heirs. I think there is enough “spiritual pride” and party spirit to go around so I would caution against leveling charges of “sectarianism” Maybe rudeness, maybe some “team pride” but lets try and keep it civil.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Evidence of Baptist abhorrance for our doctrine is their insistence that those who join their ranks that were baptized as infants must be re-baptized. All of Christendom accepts your baptism if it was in the name of the Trinity and performed in a church group known to not be heretical. Except the anabaptists and their evangelical heirs. I think there is enough “spiritual pride” and party spirit to go around so I would caution against leveling charges of “sectarianism” Maybe rudeness, maybe some “team pride” but lets try and keep it civil.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Its hard to do “things” or cooperate with churches which have a different confession of the Christian faith. Its hard to do the same things with churches that say they share everything with you! Its hard to hear all this beating up on the LCMS much of which I think is unjustified and certainly is not putting the best construction on many faithful congregations who are trying to do the best they can within a Confession which is being assaulted from within and without, but I realize we’re talking about perceptions other Christians have of the LCMS. Those perceptions are real and it is good to grow in understanding. LCMSers and LCCers and WELSers should be very sensitive, I think, to the average Christian’s reaction to a confident Lutheran orthodoxy. Personally, I have lately had a real longing for more contact with some of my brothers and sisters outside my own sphere (of the LCMS) if only to see if my perceptions are on or off and whether I might be surprised at a new friend. I would like to interact more with other church leaders sometimes, but I find that many Christian leaders get frustrated with faithful Lutherans when we begin to try to have a real conversation about things that matter to us in clarifying what we can and cannot do together out of respect for our differing confessions. Most Christians don’t have the energy for this I have found, many get offended and turn what is only meant to bring clarity into an argument (especially when many of us Lutherans have been raised to love a good argument! :). Among all our other responsibilities, when we have opportunity, we must still try to interact with others in ways that do not try to cause the other to stumble according to their conscience. It is hard and i encourage you who have such high expectations (which is good) to be charitable toward the intentions of your very likely, very busy pastor. Christ have mercy.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Its hard to do “things” or cooperate with churches which have a different confession of the Christian faith. Its hard to do the same things with churches that say they share everything with you! Its hard to hear all this beating up on the LCMS much of which I think is unjustified and certainly is not putting the best construction on many faithful congregations who are trying to do the best they can within a Confession which is being assaulted from within and without, but I realize we’re talking about perceptions other Christians have of the LCMS. Those perceptions are real and it is good to grow in understanding. LCMSers and LCCers and WELSers should be very sensitive, I think, to the average Christian’s reaction to a confident Lutheran orthodoxy. Personally, I have lately had a real longing for more contact with some of my brothers and sisters outside my own sphere (of the LCMS) if only to see if my perceptions are on or off and whether I might be surprised at a new friend. I would like to interact more with other church leaders sometimes, but I find that many Christian leaders get frustrated with faithful Lutherans when we begin to try to have a real conversation about things that matter to us in clarifying what we can and cannot do together out of respect for our differing confessions. Most Christians don’t have the energy for this I have found, many get offended and turn what is only meant to bring clarity into an argument (especially when many of us Lutherans have been raised to love a good argument! :). Among all our other responsibilities, when we have opportunity, we must still try to interact with others in ways that do not try to cause the other to stumble according to their conscience. It is hard and i encourage you who have such high expectations (which is good) to be charitable toward the intentions of your very likely, very busy pastor. Christ have mercy.

  • WebMonk

    Well Bror,
    “That is the definition I have been raised with, it is the one I hear.” Your definition of the word isn’t what the other 99% of the population mean by the word. So get off the word choice and get with the idea that they’re trying to get across.

    So maybe sectarian isn’t the word you want to use. Use whatever word you want, but it needs to get across the idea that Lutherans churches act toward other churches like those churches are so horribly apostate that Lutheran churches can’t even do something like joint food basket projects, ever. Never join in house-building projects. Never join with other churches in a community car wash to raise money for a family who’s house burnt. Never join in with churches to provide some games at the town festival.

    Use whatever word you want to express that Lutheran churches treat all the other churches like untouchables. If “sectarian” doesn’t float your boat try “separationist”, “holier-than-thou”, “waspish”, “disagreeable”, “discourteous”, “haughty”, “unsociable”, “sequestered”. Among those words is the concept that people are trying to get across.

    Most people use the word “sectarian” to sum up those concepts when speaking of churches. Maybe you don’t use that word. Whatever! It’s the concept that is the important part here, not the specific word used.

    Bryan touches on the fact that there is the perception, but attributes it to Lutherans’ “confident orthodoxy”. In person to person interactions that might make a difference. In churches working with other churches to bless the community, the Lutheran pastor saying “No thanks” every time ANYTHING comes up, it has nothing to do with “confident orthodoxy”.

    If you want “confident orthodoxy” sort of attitude, frankly Lutherans fall WAY short of a strongly Calvanistic church. You can’t do ANYTHING with those people without the discussion turning to theology where they will passionately and heatedly argue with you at the drop of at hat. (they can be pretty obnoxious at times) In my experience, those churches are just barely behind Baptist churches in being willing to work with other churches in the sort of outreaches I’ve mentioned. They’ll not budge an inch theologically, but while they’re calling you an moron for not agreeing with the mighty TULIP, they’re still right next to you filling bags with food on Thanksgiving eve.

  • WebMonk

    Well Bror,
    “That is the definition I have been raised with, it is the one I hear.” Your definition of the word isn’t what the other 99% of the population mean by the word. So get off the word choice and get with the idea that they’re trying to get across.

    So maybe sectarian isn’t the word you want to use. Use whatever word you want, but it needs to get across the idea that Lutherans churches act toward other churches like those churches are so horribly apostate that Lutheran churches can’t even do something like joint food basket projects, ever. Never join in house-building projects. Never join with other churches in a community car wash to raise money for a family who’s house burnt. Never join in with churches to provide some games at the town festival.

    Use whatever word you want to express that Lutheran churches treat all the other churches like untouchables. If “sectarian” doesn’t float your boat try “separationist”, “holier-than-thou”, “waspish”, “disagreeable”, “discourteous”, “haughty”, “unsociable”, “sequestered”. Among those words is the concept that people are trying to get across.

    Most people use the word “sectarian” to sum up those concepts when speaking of churches. Maybe you don’t use that word. Whatever! It’s the concept that is the important part here, not the specific word used.

    Bryan touches on the fact that there is the perception, but attributes it to Lutherans’ “confident orthodoxy”. In person to person interactions that might make a difference. In churches working with other churches to bless the community, the Lutheran pastor saying “No thanks” every time ANYTHING comes up, it has nothing to do with “confident orthodoxy”.

    If you want “confident orthodoxy” sort of attitude, frankly Lutherans fall WAY short of a strongly Calvanistic church. You can’t do ANYTHING with those people without the discussion turning to theology where they will passionately and heatedly argue with you at the drop of at hat. (they can be pretty obnoxious at times) In my experience, those churches are just barely behind Baptist churches in being willing to work with other churches in the sort of outreaches I’ve mentioned. They’ll not budge an inch theologically, but while they’re calling you an moron for not agreeing with the mighty TULIP, they’re still right next to you filling bags with food on Thanksgiving eve.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk. With your complaints against Lutherans not being involved in their community of “Christian” organizations trying to help the disadvantaged and down and out there must be some real dead beat Lutherans out there. While we do hang back at times compared to other organizations and churches – I believe I’m justifiably and fairly proud (am I allowed to say that) of my congregation’s (as a group and especially as individuals) willingness to work with the community and be open to new relationships while backing their pastor up when I draw the line at something I believe may lean us toward giving Christians a sense of unity where it really does not exist. Frankly, I am not afraid of appearing at least a little sectarian compared to the churches all around us downtown here where everything gets a free pass (literally). Webmonk, sorry Lutherans in your neck of the woods are such lazy SOBs.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Webmonk. With your complaints against Lutherans not being involved in their community of “Christian” organizations trying to help the disadvantaged and down and out there must be some real dead beat Lutherans out there. While we do hang back at times compared to other organizations and churches – I believe I’m justifiably and fairly proud (am I allowed to say that) of my congregation’s (as a group and especially as individuals) willingness to work with the community and be open to new relationships while backing their pastor up when I draw the line at something I believe may lean us toward giving Christians a sense of unity where it really does not exist. Frankly, I am not afraid of appearing at least a little sectarian compared to the churches all around us downtown here where everything gets a free pass (literally). Webmonk, sorry Lutherans in your neck of the woods are such lazy SOBs.

  • Don S

    Patrick @ 69 — that’s not what we’re talking about on this thread. I don’t think anyone here is saying that each denomination isn’t entitled to their theological distinctives with respect to membership, worship, etc. in the local church body. If you are a former Lutheran desiring to join a Baptist church, you are going to have to be re-baptized. That’s what Baptists believe. That doesn’t mean they “abhor” Lutheran doctrine, they just disagree with it. Similarly, if I, as a non-denominational “Baptistic” Christian were to worship in a local Lutheran congregation on a particular Sunday, I would not expect to take Communion. I recognize that Communion is closed, or at least close, in a Lutheran service, and I respect that Lutherans disagree with my doctrinal view on that particular Sacrament.

    What we are talking about, since we all apparently believe that we, as Christians in different denominations, are part of the larger Body of Christ, is whether it is ever appropriate for us to celebrate together our salvation from sin because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. For example, the evangelical churches of many communities often join forces to offer a community Easter Sunrise service, and then later have their own services in their respective churches. Would Lutherans ever do that? Is it ever appropriate for us to join forces and minister side-by-side to the unsaved community around us, as Webmonk has suggested, at a rescue mission or food bank, for example? Or how about a youth missions trip to Mexico, with a community of churches?

  • Don S

    Patrick @ 69 — that’s not what we’re talking about on this thread. I don’t think anyone here is saying that each denomination isn’t entitled to their theological distinctives with respect to membership, worship, etc. in the local church body. If you are a former Lutheran desiring to join a Baptist church, you are going to have to be re-baptized. That’s what Baptists believe. That doesn’t mean they “abhor” Lutheran doctrine, they just disagree with it. Similarly, if I, as a non-denominational “Baptistic” Christian were to worship in a local Lutheran congregation on a particular Sunday, I would not expect to take Communion. I recognize that Communion is closed, or at least close, in a Lutheran service, and I respect that Lutherans disagree with my doctrinal view on that particular Sacrament.

    What we are talking about, since we all apparently believe that we, as Christians in different denominations, are part of the larger Body of Christ, is whether it is ever appropriate for us to celebrate together our salvation from sin because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. For example, the evangelical churches of many communities often join forces to offer a community Easter Sunrise service, and then later have their own services in their respective churches. Would Lutherans ever do that? Is it ever appropriate for us to join forces and minister side-by-side to the unsaved community around us, as Webmonk has suggested, at a rescue mission or food bank, for example? Or how about a youth missions trip to Mexico, with a community of churches?

  • Don S

    Anon @ 51 and Kerner @ 63: I wanted to address the issue of whether some evangelical Christians believe Lutherans aren’t saved because they never had a “moment” where they “accepted Christ”. This is a real concern, and you are right to bring it up. At its heart, evangelical Protestant theology holds that one is saved based upon simple belief in Christ’s blood sacrifice and resurrection, alone. That’s it. That is what the Bible teaches. Where things get confusing for some is the “decisional” part. One way to be saved, according to this theology, is to “make a decision” for Christ, i.e. to receive the saving faith offered by the Holy Spirit, the free gift of salvation. It’s not the only way. Not even every evangelical can point to a moment in his/her life where they became saved. They just know they are, because they know they are not relying on their own works, but rather placing their trust for eternal life entirely on the saving work of Christ.

    So, what I am trying to say is, those Baptists, or charismatics, or whatever, who say that a Lutheran is not saved because they never “accepted Christ” is typically guilty of a poor understanding of their own church’s/denomination’s theology. Their individual doctrine is faulty, often because of a poor education by their spiritual leaders. The Lutheran is saved for the same reason the Baptist is saved. He/she has faith in Christ alone for salvation.

    I grew up Baptist. We always considered LCMS to be saved. They were the “good Lutherans”. Not so much the ELS (as a denomination, not individual Christians or churches which may be in that apostate denomination). If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and absolute truth, it is hard to have saving faith. What do you have that faith in?

  • Don S

    Anon @ 51 and Kerner @ 63: I wanted to address the issue of whether some evangelical Christians believe Lutherans aren’t saved because they never had a “moment” where they “accepted Christ”. This is a real concern, and you are right to bring it up. At its heart, evangelical Protestant theology holds that one is saved based upon simple belief in Christ’s blood sacrifice and resurrection, alone. That’s it. That is what the Bible teaches. Where things get confusing for some is the “decisional” part. One way to be saved, according to this theology, is to “make a decision” for Christ, i.e. to receive the saving faith offered by the Holy Spirit, the free gift of salvation. It’s not the only way. Not even every evangelical can point to a moment in his/her life where they became saved. They just know they are, because they know they are not relying on their own works, but rather placing their trust for eternal life entirely on the saving work of Christ.

    So, what I am trying to say is, those Baptists, or charismatics, or whatever, who say that a Lutheran is not saved because they never “accepted Christ” is typically guilty of a poor understanding of their own church’s/denomination’s theology. Their individual doctrine is faulty, often because of a poor education by their spiritual leaders. The Lutheran is saved for the same reason the Baptist is saved. He/she has faith in Christ alone for salvation.

    I grew up Baptist. We always considered LCMS to be saved. They were the “good Lutherans”. Not so much the ELS (as a denomination, not individual Christians or churches which may be in that apostate denomination). If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and absolute truth, it is hard to have saving faith. What do you have that faith in?

  • Alex

    Just a note for those drowning in alphabet soup:
    ELCA= the more ‘liberal’ Lutheran synod
    ELS= a small confessional synod with Norwegian roots
    WELS and ELS are in fellowship with each other, but not with LCMS or ELCA.

  • Alex

    Just a note for those drowning in alphabet soup:
    ELCA= the more ‘liberal’ Lutheran synod
    ELS= a small confessional synod with Norwegian roots
    WELS and ELS are in fellowship with each other, but not with LCMS or ELCA.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You see I would not participate in a service with clergy of other denominations who, question the resurrection of Christ, or who teach that baptism is nothing more than an act of obediance, and who would therefore call into question my baptism, or the baptism of my members who were baptized as infants.
    The problem with joint services, and sometimes, though usually to a lesser extent with joint social projects, is they give the false impression that we are all of the same mind and judgement. If we were that then why are we in separate denominations? What is the purpose of separating from those we supposedly have no doctrinal disagreement with, or at least no doctrinal disagreements that matter. But we are not of the same mind and judgement, and I will refrain from doing things that give that false impression. When people get burned out by the law, I want them to know there is another Church that disagreed with their former Church for good reason, and may have something better to offer, namely the Gospel of the free forgiveness of sins. I want people to know that baptism and the Lord’s supper are about the forgiveness of sins, and not just following arbitrary ordinances or commands of Christ. I want them to know Christ is giving them something through those means, life and salvation. So I don’t want them to get me confused with more of the same they got from their Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, or Calvary Chapel (oh I already mentioned baptist) church. I want them to know something more than my excellent delivery of sermons and cult of personality distinguishes me from their pastor. That would be the teaching of Christ concerning the forgiveness of all sins, and both justification and sanctification by grace alone.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    You see I would not participate in a service with clergy of other denominations who, question the resurrection of Christ, or who teach that baptism is nothing more than an act of obediance, and who would therefore call into question my baptism, or the baptism of my members who were baptized as infants.
    The problem with joint services, and sometimes, though usually to a lesser extent with joint social projects, is they give the false impression that we are all of the same mind and judgement. If we were that then why are we in separate denominations? What is the purpose of separating from those we supposedly have no doctrinal disagreement with, or at least no doctrinal disagreements that matter. But we are not of the same mind and judgement, and I will refrain from doing things that give that false impression. When people get burned out by the law, I want them to know there is another Church that disagreed with their former Church for good reason, and may have something better to offer, namely the Gospel of the free forgiveness of sins. I want people to know that baptism and the Lord’s supper are about the forgiveness of sins, and not just following arbitrary ordinances or commands of Christ. I want them to know Christ is giving them something through those means, life and salvation. So I don’t want them to get me confused with more of the same they got from their Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, or Calvary Chapel (oh I already mentioned baptist) church. I want them to know something more than my excellent delivery of sermons and cult of personality distinguishes me from their pastor. That would be the teaching of Christ concerning the forgiveness of all sins, and both justification and sanctification by grace alone.

  • Anon

    Kerner, re:#63 are you saying that you haven’t been confirmed? ;-) That you are apathetic towards Christ? Methinks not.

    What of Chrysostom’s Dictum? We can be so specific on having to agree with every arcane point of doctrine that to be consistent, we could not have communion with anyone else in our own congregations. Is that not the opposite error to having communion with those who don’t believe the basics (and in the case of the Eucharist, in the Real Presence). Is there not good sense in Chrysostom’s Dictum?

  • Anon

    Kerner, re:#63 are you saying that you haven’t been confirmed? ;-) That you are apathetic towards Christ? Methinks not.

    What of Chrysostom’s Dictum? We can be so specific on having to agree with every arcane point of doctrine that to be consistent, we could not have communion with anyone else in our own congregations. Is that not the opposite error to having communion with those who don’t believe the basics (and in the case of the Eucharist, in the Real Presence). Is there not good sense in Chrysostom’s Dictum?

  • kerner

    Don. S.:

    Thank you for your comments @74. I appreciate that you, and many Baptists (or Baptistic non-denominationals) do not question the salvation of Lutherans. I also appreciate your efforts to get the whole Body of Christ on the same page for our common good as much as possible, because we are too fractured. And in these troubled times the members of the Body of Christ needs to stand together as much as they can.

    I suspect that the divided and subdivided state the Church finds itself in is a function of a different era. There was a time when western civilization was presumed to be western CHRISTIAN civilization. When everyone was professing to be a Christian, we were more prone to intramural debates, which could become very, um, spirited. But I would like to bring up a couple of things.

    The first is that I still don’t think the fact that many Baptists doubt the salvation of Lutherans is merely the misunderstanding of a few misguided individuals. I think the spirited debates of days gone by have produced in Baptist doctrine tenets that help to produce this sort of thing.

    Take for example of the Baptist doctrine of “Saved Membership”, which is described as a “Baptist Distinctive” (i.e. a criterion that identifies Baptists from other religious groups) here:

    http://www.rrcnet.org/~baptistj/docs/baptist_distinctives.htm

    The idea as I understand it is that one of the things that sets Baptists off from the rest of us is that to be a member of a Baptist Church, you have to be a Christian, whereas to be a member of a Lutheran church, you DON’T have to be a Christian. To me this implies that:

    a. non-Baptist churches are merely clubs that are composed of non-Christians (with maybe some Christians included), or

    b. Baptists are so much better than other denominations at determining who is saved and who isn’t that they can claim that their congregations are 100% Christian, whereas Lutheran or other Non-Baptist congregations are pretty hit and miss.

    I mean for goodness sake, Don; don’t you think we believe that anyone on OUR membership rolls ought to be a Christian? And don’t you think that we take some steps to identify the hypocrites among us as best we can and separate them from our fellowships? And for that matter, don’t you think that ALL Christian denominations (and even individual congregations of any size) have some spiritually weak members, and probably at least a few unsaved hypocrites? Even Baptists have this problem (tares among the wheat), don’t you?

    Maybe I’m putting this a little strongly, but you know what I mean. This is a major point of Baptist belief and doctrine that is, well, pretty sectarian, isn’t it?

    The thing is, I know that you personally don’t think of it that way. You probably just think that it is basic to Christianity that all members of a Christian congregation ought to be Christians. But there are a lot of Baptists out there that need to know that WE ALL think so too, and that this is hardly a Baptist distinctive.

    Returning to your original criticism of Lutherans, I will now climb down off my high horse and admit you are right. Lutherans ARE too insular. I’m the guy that admits Lutherans have a “bunker mentality”, and as much as I understand why we have it, I wish we had less of it than we do. I truly wish there was more that Lutheran congregations and synods did to unite with the rest of the body of Christ to do His work. Here in Milwaukee, Lutherans have participated in many pro-life events in concert with other denominations, and I hope that trend continues. My own congregation sent a mission to Mexico this summer in connection with Casas por Christo to build a house for a Mexican family. The mission team stayed in a non-Lutheran church and worked and prayed with a lot of non-Lutherans while doing this. This is exactly the kind of thing that Christians can do in concert, and I pray that Lutherans do more of it. It is the first time my own congregation participated in this mission, and I agree it was long overdue.

  • kerner

    Don. S.:

    Thank you for your comments @74. I appreciate that you, and many Baptists (or Baptistic non-denominationals) do not question the salvation of Lutherans. I also appreciate your efforts to get the whole Body of Christ on the same page for our common good as much as possible, because we are too fractured. And in these troubled times the members of the Body of Christ needs to stand together as much as they can.

    I suspect that the divided and subdivided state the Church finds itself in is a function of a different era. There was a time when western civilization was presumed to be western CHRISTIAN civilization. When everyone was professing to be a Christian, we were more prone to intramural debates, which could become very, um, spirited. But I would like to bring up a couple of things.

    The first is that I still don’t think the fact that many Baptists doubt the salvation of Lutherans is merely the misunderstanding of a few misguided individuals. I think the spirited debates of days gone by have produced in Baptist doctrine tenets that help to produce this sort of thing.

    Take for example of the Baptist doctrine of “Saved Membership”, which is described as a “Baptist Distinctive” (i.e. a criterion that identifies Baptists from other religious groups) here:

    http://www.rrcnet.org/~baptistj/docs/baptist_distinctives.htm

    The idea as I understand it is that one of the things that sets Baptists off from the rest of us is that to be a member of a Baptist Church, you have to be a Christian, whereas to be a member of a Lutheran church, you DON’T have to be a Christian. To me this implies that:

    a. non-Baptist churches are merely clubs that are composed of non-Christians (with maybe some Christians included), or

    b. Baptists are so much better than other denominations at determining who is saved and who isn’t that they can claim that their congregations are 100% Christian, whereas Lutheran or other Non-Baptist congregations are pretty hit and miss.

    I mean for goodness sake, Don; don’t you think we believe that anyone on OUR membership rolls ought to be a Christian? And don’t you think that we take some steps to identify the hypocrites among us as best we can and separate them from our fellowships? And for that matter, don’t you think that ALL Christian denominations (and even individual congregations of any size) have some spiritually weak members, and probably at least a few unsaved hypocrites? Even Baptists have this problem (tares among the wheat), don’t you?

    Maybe I’m putting this a little strongly, but you know what I mean. This is a major point of Baptist belief and doctrine that is, well, pretty sectarian, isn’t it?

    The thing is, I know that you personally don’t think of it that way. You probably just think that it is basic to Christianity that all members of a Christian congregation ought to be Christians. But there are a lot of Baptists out there that need to know that WE ALL think so too, and that this is hardly a Baptist distinctive.

    Returning to your original criticism of Lutherans, I will now climb down off my high horse and admit you are right. Lutherans ARE too insular. I’m the guy that admits Lutherans have a “bunker mentality”, and as much as I understand why we have it, I wish we had less of it than we do. I truly wish there was more that Lutheran congregations and synods did to unite with the rest of the body of Christ to do His work. Here in Milwaukee, Lutherans have participated in many pro-life events in concert with other denominations, and I hope that trend continues. My own congregation sent a mission to Mexico this summer in connection with Casas por Christo to build a house for a Mexican family. The mission team stayed in a non-Lutheran church and worked and prayed with a lot of non-Lutherans while doing this. This is exactly the kind of thing that Christians can do in concert, and I pray that Lutherans do more of it. It is the first time my own congregation participated in this mission, and I agree it was long overdue.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Pastor Bill Cwirla wrote a blog post that really addresses the subject of Lutheran insularity. Its a great post and worth 5 minutes of your time.

    http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/article/3757.html#comment8200

  • Patrick Kyle

    Pastor Bill Cwirla wrote a blog post that really addresses the subject of Lutheran insularity. Its a great post and worth 5 minutes of your time.

    http://blog.higherthings.org/wcwirla/article/3757.html#comment8200

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S., did you just say that the ELS is an apostate denomination? What in the world could you possibly be mean by that? Please clarify…

    Don S. wrote: “I grew up Baptist. We always considered LCMS to be saved. They were the “good Lutherans”. Not so much the ELS (as a denomination, not individual Christians or churches which may be in that apostate denomination). If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and absolute truth, it is hard to have saving faith. What do you have that faith in?”

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S., did you just say that the ELS is an apostate denomination? What in the world could you possibly be mean by that? Please clarify…

    Don S. wrote: “I grew up Baptist. We always considered LCMS to be saved. They were the “good Lutherans”. Not so much the ELS (as a denomination, not individual Christians or churches which may be in that apostate denomination). If you don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and absolute truth, it is hard to have saving faith. What do you have that faith in?”

  • Another Kerner

    Theresa K.

    Alas………Sometimes our brothers and sisters in the household of faith get us Confessional Lutheran types and our Synods mixed up.
    Easy enough to do if one is not Lutheran, no?

    I think perhaps Don S. meant to refer to the ELCA and not the ELS.

    When Christians meet providentially in the ordinary circumstances of day to day life, we usually try to “identify” one another in conversation.

    When ascertaining that we may have met another Christian, we typically probe slightly further with a bland enough question:

    “Where do you fellowship?”

    If a Lutheran discovers another Lutheran in the afore mentioned exchange, there is almost always a follow up question.

    “Oh, a Lutheran, eh. What Synod are you?”

    Well, an “ELCA” response could sometimes bring a frown to my face: conversely, the ELCA person could start frowning back at me when I respond “WELS”.

    And sometimes the Lutheran frowning back at me is in my own family because he is in the LC-MS. :-)

    A LC-MS, WELS, and/or ELS answer usually gets a smile from me: that is, depending on the answers to a few more simple follow-up questions.

    So, Don S., isn’t it possible that Baptists or possibly Presbyterians carry on similar discourses amongst themselves?

    Lutherans don’t usually need to ask one another if they are Post-Millennial, Pre-Millennial, or Amillennial.

    Don’t Baptists differ on their Eschatology? Aren’t there Dispensational pre-tribulation Rapture Baptists and Reformed Amillennial Baptists?

    Aren’t there Post-Millennial Presbyterians and Amillennial Presbyterians?

    Sometimes it’s difficult and can get a bit snarled up when we remind outselves that we can sometimes strain at a gnat and swallow a camel…..and when we begin to wonder at which and what point a separation becomes necessary.

    Lutherans gather around the BoC, Presbyterians around the Westminster Confession, etc….. but the ground keeps shifting.

    Individuals and congregations wander away or become misdirected; they stray from their doctrinal moorings in every denomination.

    Then we regroup, no?

    And ptograms and publications like the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the White Horse Inn spring up.
    A confessional Lutheran writes for World Magazine and/or Table Talk and we are all blessed.

    I have loved reading this exchange between Christians.

    “Iron sharpeneth iron: so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

  • Another Kerner

    Theresa K.

    Alas………Sometimes our brothers and sisters in the household of faith get us Confessional Lutheran types and our Synods mixed up.
    Easy enough to do if one is not Lutheran, no?

    I think perhaps Don S. meant to refer to the ELCA and not the ELS.

    When Christians meet providentially in the ordinary circumstances of day to day life, we usually try to “identify” one another in conversation.

    When ascertaining that we may have met another Christian, we typically probe slightly further with a bland enough question:

    “Where do you fellowship?”

    If a Lutheran discovers another Lutheran in the afore mentioned exchange, there is almost always a follow up question.

    “Oh, a Lutheran, eh. What Synod are you?”

    Well, an “ELCA” response could sometimes bring a frown to my face: conversely, the ELCA person could start frowning back at me when I respond “WELS”.

    And sometimes the Lutheran frowning back at me is in my own family because he is in the LC-MS. :-)

    A LC-MS, WELS, and/or ELS answer usually gets a smile from me: that is, depending on the answers to a few more simple follow-up questions.

    So, Don S., isn’t it possible that Baptists or possibly Presbyterians carry on similar discourses amongst themselves?

    Lutherans don’t usually need to ask one another if they are Post-Millennial, Pre-Millennial, or Amillennial.

    Don’t Baptists differ on their Eschatology? Aren’t there Dispensational pre-tribulation Rapture Baptists and Reformed Amillennial Baptists?

    Aren’t there Post-Millennial Presbyterians and Amillennial Presbyterians?

    Sometimes it’s difficult and can get a bit snarled up when we remind outselves that we can sometimes strain at a gnat and swallow a camel…..and when we begin to wonder at which and what point a separation becomes necessary.

    Lutherans gather around the BoC, Presbyterians around the Westminster Confession, etc….. but the ground keeps shifting.

    Individuals and congregations wander away or become misdirected; they stray from their doctrinal moorings in every denomination.

    Then we regroup, no?

    And ptograms and publications like the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the White Horse Inn spring up.
    A confessional Lutheran writes for World Magazine and/or Table Talk and we are all blessed.

    I have loved reading this exchange between Christians.

    “Iron sharpeneth iron: so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

  • Another Kerner

    PS Bror Erickson # 67.

    I don’t sing Kumbaya with my son either. ;-)

  • Another Kerner

    PS Bror Erickson # 67.

    I don’t sing Kumbaya with my son either. ;-)

  • Don S

    My apologies for my error. I did mean ELCA, not ELS.

    Baptists have the same issues, by the way. ABC (American Baptist Convention) is a terribly liberal denomination. SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is a mixed bag. The denomination is conservative, but many affiliated churches are not. Many Baptist churches (including the one I grew up in) are completely independent of denominational affiliation.

  • Don S

    My apologies for my error. I did mean ELCA, not ELS.

    Baptists have the same issues, by the way. ABC (American Baptist Convention) is a terribly liberal denomination. SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is a mixed bag. The denomination is conservative, but many affiliated churches are not. Many Baptist churches (including the one I grew up in) are completely independent of denominational affiliation.

  • Don S

    Kerner @ 78: Thank you also for your thoughtful comments.

    The “Baptist Distinctives” page that you linked to is interesting, but it appears to be the handiwork of one Christian school in Minnesota? It was difficult for me to trace the link to its source actually. Quite frankly, I doubt you can find one source of so-called “Baptist” doctrine. Baptist churches tend to be governed at the congregational level, and each local church develops its own doctrinal statement. The one you linked to is silly, in what it terms “Baptist Distinctives”. Identifying the Bible as the Word of God and our source of faith and practice is hardly a Baptist distinctive. Nor it the practice of only admitting professing Christians into membership.

  • Don S

    Kerner @ 78: Thank you also for your thoughtful comments.

    The “Baptist Distinctives” page that you linked to is interesting, but it appears to be the handiwork of one Christian school in Minnesota? It was difficult for me to trace the link to its source actually. Quite frankly, I doubt you can find one source of so-called “Baptist” doctrine. Baptist churches tend to be governed at the congregational level, and each local church develops its own doctrinal statement. The one you linked to is silly, in what it terms “Baptist Distinctives”. Identifying the Bible as the Word of God and our source of faith and practice is hardly a Baptist distinctive. Nor it the practice of only admitting professing Christians into membership.

  • Don S

    Another Kerner @ 81: I really enjoyed your thoughtful comment, and, yes, you are right that Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists all have different offshoots, denominations, etc., having different doctrinal views. “Reformed Baptist” seems to be a relatively new and interesting twist on traditional Baptist doctrine. There are Primitive Methodists (these are theologically conservative churches, relative to the mainline United Methodists), Reformed Presbyterian (conservative relative to PCUSA), Wesleyans (broke off from Methodists in 1800′s), etc. Eschatologically, Reformed Baptists are not pre-trib., most other conservative Baptists are. Most Baptists are dispensational, but many evangelical churches which have Baptistic roots are not. Bror enjoys equating Calvary Chapel churches with Baptist churches, but a significant doctrinal difference between the two is in the area of dispensationalism.

  • Don S

    Another Kerner @ 81: I really enjoyed your thoughtful comment, and, yes, you are right that Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists all have different offshoots, denominations, etc., having different doctrinal views. “Reformed Baptist” seems to be a relatively new and interesting twist on traditional Baptist doctrine. There are Primitive Methodists (these are theologically conservative churches, relative to the mainline United Methodists), Reformed Presbyterian (conservative relative to PCUSA), Wesleyans (broke off from Methodists in 1800′s), etc. Eschatologically, Reformed Baptists are not pre-trib., most other conservative Baptists are. Most Baptists are dispensational, but many evangelical churches which have Baptistic roots are not. Bror enjoys equating Calvary Chapel churches with Baptist churches, but a significant doctrinal difference between the two is in the area of dispensationalism.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    I tend to think of any church that doesn’t baptize infants, as baptist. I don’t label a person baptist for their eschatological beliefs. I’ve run into Lutheran dispensationalists for that matter. (Totally against the B.O.C, but they read the “Left Behind” series and maybe weren’t well catechized to begin with.) In anycase I know there are different baptists that believe differing things, but what makes them baptist is there unwillingness to baptize infants.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don S,
    I tend to think of any church that doesn’t baptize infants, as baptist. I don’t label a person baptist for their eschatological beliefs. I’ve run into Lutheran dispensationalists for that matter. (Totally against the B.O.C, but they read the “Left Behind” series and maybe weren’t well catechized to begin with.) In anycase I know there are different baptists that believe differing things, but what makes them baptist is there unwillingness to baptize infants.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S., I’m relieved! I can get ready for church now. ;) Still, I’d be careful labeling any denomnation apostate. As you said, there are many individuals and churches within the ELCA that cling to faith in Christ. I was one of them! In the ELCA, what the synod headquarters does is often of little concern to the individual or church. I’ve seen the website of many a church (usually belonging to the Word Alone network) that make literally NO mention of the ELCA anywhere. My sister and her family belong to a church like that – very conservative, yet not at all confessional, and for one year she had NO idea it was an ELCA church. She had asked her former ELS pastor to jointly officiate at her wedding and was surprised when he declined. I think that many of us that frequent here forget that many of our fellow Christians simply do not think often about synods and confessions. They just show up to church. I’m not claiming superiority; sometimes I wonder if my life would be simpler if I didn’t care so much what goes on in the larger scope of things. But once I started caring, it is impossible to not. It’s why I left the ELCA.

    Another Kerner wrote: “…an “ELCA” response could sometimes bring a frown to my face: conversely, the ELCA person could start frowning back at me when I respond “WELS”. ”

    I often get, from ELCA’ers, “Oh.”, as in “You’re one of those.” Followed by, “They don’t ordain women, right?.” or “They don’t allow scouting, right?.” Ugh, where do I go from that high point? Conversely, our K-8 school attracts very conservative Reformed families who try to “live” with our strange thoughts on baptism and communion because we get everything else right.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    Don S., I’m relieved! I can get ready for church now. ;) Still, I’d be careful labeling any denomnation apostate. As you said, there are many individuals and churches within the ELCA that cling to faith in Christ. I was one of them! In the ELCA, what the synod headquarters does is often of little concern to the individual or church. I’ve seen the website of many a church (usually belonging to the Word Alone network) that make literally NO mention of the ELCA anywhere. My sister and her family belong to a church like that – very conservative, yet not at all confessional, and for one year she had NO idea it was an ELCA church. She had asked her former ELS pastor to jointly officiate at her wedding and was surprised when he declined. I think that many of us that frequent here forget that many of our fellow Christians simply do not think often about synods and confessions. They just show up to church. I’m not claiming superiority; sometimes I wonder if my life would be simpler if I didn’t care so much what goes on in the larger scope of things. But once I started caring, it is impossible to not. It’s why I left the ELCA.

    Another Kerner wrote: “…an “ELCA” response could sometimes bring a frown to my face: conversely, the ELCA person could start frowning back at me when I respond “WELS”. ”

    I often get, from ELCA’ers, “Oh.”, as in “You’re one of those.” Followed by, “They don’t ordain women, right?.” or “They don’t allow scouting, right?.” Ugh, where do I go from that high point? Conversely, our K-8 school attracts very conservative Reformed families who try to “live” with our strange thoughts on baptism and communion because we get everything else right.

  • BKW

    I attended an LCMS church for about a year – received catechetical instruction, and very much appreciated the distinction between the law and the gospel. (I had come out of an evangelical church and was confused on some points – so my instruction was helping to sort things out for me). During my instruction, I joined a bible study at this church. The teacher of the bible study taught in direct opposition to what the Pastor of the church was teaching me. (Examples: Pastor – We receive faith in our baptism. Bible study – Frequent references to “accepting Christ”, making a “decision” for Christ. Pastor: Lutherans don’t believe in the idea of the rapture as set forth in the Left Behind series, or the views of millenialism. Bible study: The rapture will be a real occurrence and is taught in the bible in Thessalonians; there will be a literal thousand year reign. Pastor: Communion will be received after proper doctrinal instruction. Bible study: Communion should be “open” to all who profess faith in Christ). When I approached the Pastor with this, he stated that this was a long time member/supporter of the church who led this bible study, and that if I had questions as to the teaching I should ask him to clarify for me. He didn’t change the situation at the bible study, just opted to help me if I was confused. Sadly, I don’t attend this church any longer – what I thought was clear doctrine became rather muddied for me once again.

    I just wanted to give this example and ask, what should I do now?

  • BKW

    I attended an LCMS church for about a year – received catechetical instruction, and very much appreciated the distinction between the law and the gospel. (I had come out of an evangelical church and was confused on some points – so my instruction was helping to sort things out for me). During my instruction, I joined a bible study at this church. The teacher of the bible study taught in direct opposition to what the Pastor of the church was teaching me. (Examples: Pastor – We receive faith in our baptism. Bible study – Frequent references to “accepting Christ”, making a “decision” for Christ. Pastor: Lutherans don’t believe in the idea of the rapture as set forth in the Left Behind series, or the views of millenialism. Bible study: The rapture will be a real occurrence and is taught in the bible in Thessalonians; there will be a literal thousand year reign. Pastor: Communion will be received after proper doctrinal instruction. Bible study: Communion should be “open” to all who profess faith in Christ). When I approached the Pastor with this, he stated that this was a long time member/supporter of the church who led this bible study, and that if I had questions as to the teaching I should ask him to clarify for me. He didn’t change the situation at the bible study, just opted to help me if I was confused. Sadly, I don’t attend this church any longer – what I thought was clear doctrine became rather muddied for me once again.

    I just wanted to give this example and ask, what should I do now?

  • Another Kerner

    Don S. at #85.

    MayI respectfully draw your attention to the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689…….
    Reformed Baptists are not really a “new” wrinkle on the scene.
    I believe Charles Haddon Spurgeon and John Bunyan were Reformed Baptists.

    More current Reformed Baptists are Pastor Al Martin and Pastor Ken Jones of The White Horse Inn.

    Just do an internet search on Reformed Baptist Churches and doctrinal stance they take.

    I find it easier to speak of those Christians who need so much water to Baptize as “Baptistic” in doctrine.

    Yikes, I hope I didn’t coin a word.

    But, as I may have mentioned before, I prefer to speak of Christ’s cousin who baptized Him as……… John The Lutheran. :-)

    So, it appears that we have identified some challenges here.

    Bror indicates that he has found Lutherans who are Dispensationalists, or at least they appear to accept what books like The Late Great Planet Earth and the “Left Behind” series proposes pertinent to Eschatology.

    (Aside to Christians who adhere to the “Rapture”: Try to consider the possibilities that when the final “trump” blows, it really *is* the Last Trump…..and not the
    Second Last Trump.)

    Yes, finding a confessional congregation is always a challenge.

    Yes, our congregation’s grade school has children of Reformed families attending also, for all the obvious reasons pertinent to Christian education.

    Sometimes I wish the Cranach gang could sit in a room together and talk, simply because sometimes email is not the best medium for this kind of exchange.

    Bror can bring the beer and kerner can bring the s’mores.
    No Kumbaya singing allowed.

  • Another Kerner

    Don S. at #85.

    MayI respectfully draw your attention to the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689…….
    Reformed Baptists are not really a “new” wrinkle on the scene.
    I believe Charles Haddon Spurgeon and John Bunyan were Reformed Baptists.

    More current Reformed Baptists are Pastor Al Martin and Pastor Ken Jones of The White Horse Inn.

    Just do an internet search on Reformed Baptist Churches and doctrinal stance they take.

    I find it easier to speak of those Christians who need so much water to Baptize as “Baptistic” in doctrine.

    Yikes, I hope I didn’t coin a word.

    But, as I may have mentioned before, I prefer to speak of Christ’s cousin who baptized Him as……… John The Lutheran. :-)

    So, it appears that we have identified some challenges here.

    Bror indicates that he has found Lutherans who are Dispensationalists, or at least they appear to accept what books like The Late Great Planet Earth and the “Left Behind” series proposes pertinent to Eschatology.

    (Aside to Christians who adhere to the “Rapture”: Try to consider the possibilities that when the final “trump” blows, it really *is* the Last Trump…..and not the
    Second Last Trump.)

    Yes, finding a confessional congregation is always a challenge.

    Yes, our congregation’s grade school has children of Reformed families attending also, for all the obvious reasons pertinent to Christian education.

    Sometimes I wish the Cranach gang could sit in a room together and talk, simply because sometimes email is not the best medium for this kind of exchange.

    Bror can bring the beer and kerner can bring the s’mores.
    No Kumbaya singing allowed.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    BKW – Re: “When I approached the Pastor with this, he stated that this was a long time member/supporter of the church who led this bible study, and that if I had questions as to the teaching I should ask him to clarify for me. He didn’t change the situation at the bible study, just opted to help me if I was confused.”

    The pastor should have been the one to talk to the bible study leader. Sounds like there are issues between the pastor and the elders. No church is perfect, though. I sure hope you can find another confessional church. Or consider meeting again with the pastor. Maybe he is looking for someone to encourage others to help him turn the congregation back around (you). Maybe he’s looking for a new Bible Study leader (you). ;)

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    BKW – Re: “When I approached the Pastor with this, he stated that this was a long time member/supporter of the church who led this bible study, and that if I had questions as to the teaching I should ask him to clarify for me. He didn’t change the situation at the bible study, just opted to help me if I was confused.”

    The pastor should have been the one to talk to the bible study leader. Sounds like there are issues between the pastor and the elders. No church is perfect, though. I sure hope you can find another confessional church. Or consider meeting again with the pastor. Maybe he is looking for someone to encourage others to help him turn the congregation back around (you). Maybe he’s looking for a new Bible Study leader (you). ;)

  • BKW

    Theresa K. – thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I did speak to the Pastor multiple times about this – to no avail. (At least while I attended the church). I agree – no church is perfect – but I would like to find one whose doctrine is taught consistently across the board.

    I’m pretty sure there are some Pastors who frequent this blog – any comments/advice from you all?

  • BKW

    Theresa K. – thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I did speak to the Pastor multiple times about this – to no avail. (At least while I attended the church). I agree – no church is perfect – but I would like to find one whose doctrine is taught consistently across the board.

    I’m pretty sure there are some Pastors who frequent this blog – any comments/advice from you all?

  • Nemo

    “I find it easier to speak of those Christians who need so much water to Baptize as “Baptistic” in doctrine.”

    You mean people like Luther?

    From what I understand, he preferred immersion.

    “64] Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies, and why God has ordained just such external sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65] But the act or ceremony is this, that we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterwards are drawn out again.” -The Large Catechism, Holy Baptism

  • Nemo

    “I find it easier to speak of those Christians who need so much water to Baptize as “Baptistic” in doctrine.”

    You mean people like Luther?

    From what I understand, he preferred immersion.

    “64] Lastly, we must also know what Baptism signifies, and why God has ordained just such external sign and ceremony for the Sacrament by which we are first received into the Christian Church. 65] But the act or ceremony is this, that we are sunk under the water, which passes over us, and afterwards are drawn out again.” -The Large Catechism, Holy Baptism

  • CRB

    #87 Theresa K,
    For an excellent sermon titled, “Why Are You Like That?” go to this webpage, click on sermon, scroll down to yesterdays. You will be enlightened and perhaps can help others understand, if you care to pass it on.
    http://stpaulbluepoint.org/index.html

  • CRB

    #87 Theresa K,
    For an excellent sermon titled, “Why Are You Like That?” go to this webpage, click on sermon, scroll down to yesterdays. You will be enlightened and perhaps can help others understand, if you care to pass it on.
    http://stpaulbluepoint.org/index.html

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    BKW,
    There was a time when I went to an LCMS church Sunday after Sunday for over a year, even though the Bible studies were terrible, (I was told to shut up as I was reading the Bible in answer to a question ) and the pastor was liberal. I had a ride to that church, and….
    It is hard to say to any one person one way or another what they should do. You could find another LCMS church, you could find another church all together. Though it seems you like the Lutheran doctrine and are mad your church doesn’t teach it. That is something worth being upset by. You might go to the pastor’s Bible Study, offer to teach your own, or just attend divine service, and coffee. You might also try to befriend the lay bible study leader and persuade him. Or if you want move to Utah and join my congregation :)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    BKW,
    There was a time when I went to an LCMS church Sunday after Sunday for over a year, even though the Bible studies were terrible, (I was told to shut up as I was reading the Bible in answer to a question ) and the pastor was liberal. I had a ride to that church, and….
    It is hard to say to any one person one way or another what they should do. You could find another LCMS church, you could find another church all together. Though it seems you like the Lutheran doctrine and are mad your church doesn’t teach it. That is something worth being upset by. You might go to the pastor’s Bible Study, offer to teach your own, or just attend divine service, and coffee. You might also try to befriend the lay bible study leader and persuade him. Or if you want move to Utah and join my congregation :)

  • fw

    a church that does not believe that to it´s part rightfully should belong the whole, loses it´s moral right to exist independently of other churches.

    webmonk. If you do not believe that your church stands correctly on the scripture and that lutherans and other churches are therefore (by necessary logic) in error, you should join yourself to another church.

  • fw

    a church that does not believe that to it´s part rightfully should belong the whole, loses it´s moral right to exist independently of other churches.

    webmonk. If you do not believe that your church stands correctly on the scripture and that lutherans and other churches are therefore (by necessary logic) in error, you should join yourself to another church.

  • BKW

    Thanks, Bror. I know that you can’t tell anyone what to do, but I appreciate your advice.

    I guess my question to you as a Pastor would then be, would you allow this to happen in your congregation? (Is it “normal” for this to happen in LCMS churches?)

  • BKW

    Thanks, Bror. I know that you can’t tell anyone what to do, but I appreciate your advice.

    I guess my question to you as a Pastor would then be, would you allow this to happen in your congregation? (Is it “normal” for this to happen in LCMS churches?)

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  • saddler

    Don:
    “So, what I am trying to say is, those Baptists, or charismatics, or whatever, who say that a Lutheran is not saved because they never “accepted Christ” is typically guilty of a poor understanding of their own church’s/denomination’s theology. Their individual doctrine is faulty, often because of a poor education by their spiritual leaders.”

    Just to add my two cents worth here. I am a life long Lutheran who has attended (as a guest) numerous other denominations starting when I was in college thirty years ago. The evangelical ones I attended almost always made effort to rescue me from the Lutheran church. This effort often came directly from the pastor/worship leader. I don’t remember how many times I was asked when I was saved. My ability to answer this question to their satisfaction was critical to how they then viewed my salvation. I was a bewildered LCMS Lutheran whose family ties to Lutheranism could well go back to the time of Luther. Yet I never was taught to question the salvation of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc.

  • saddler

    Don:
    “So, what I am trying to say is, those Baptists, or charismatics, or whatever, who say that a Lutheran is not saved because they never “accepted Christ” is typically guilty of a poor understanding of their own church’s/denomination’s theology. Their individual doctrine is faulty, often because of a poor education by their spiritual leaders.”

    Just to add my two cents worth here. I am a life long Lutheran who has attended (as a guest) numerous other denominations starting when I was in college thirty years ago. The evangelical ones I attended almost always made effort to rescue me from the Lutheran church. This effort often came directly from the pastor/worship leader. I don’t remember how many times I was asked when I was saved. My ability to answer this question to their satisfaction was critical to how they then viewed my salvation. I was a bewildered LCMS Lutheran whose family ties to Lutheranism could well go back to the time of Luther. Yet I never was taught to question the salvation of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc.

  • kerner

    I guess my link on Baptist Distinctives WAS pretty obscure. But you can Yahoo search (baptist “saved membership”) or “baptist distinctives” and get lots of hits. Maybe these links are more mainstream.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Distinctives

    hppt://www.allaboutbaptists.com/distinctives_Church_Membership.html

    One other Baptist distinctive appears to be autonomy of the local church, so I suppose all Baptists don’t have to accept all 8 of these. On the other hand, these “distinctives” are an acrostic that spells out B-A-P-T-I-S-T-S. Does anybody know where they came from?

  • kerner

    I guess my link on Baptist Distinctives WAS pretty obscure. But you can Yahoo search (baptist “saved membership”) or “baptist distinctives” and get lots of hits. Maybe these links are more mainstream.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Distinctives

    hppt://www.allaboutbaptists.com/distinctives_Church_Membership.html

    One other Baptist distinctive appears to be autonomy of the local church, so I suppose all Baptists don’t have to accept all 8 of these. On the other hand, these “distinctives” are an acrostic that spells out B-A-P-T-I-S-T-S. Does anybody know where they came from?

  • kerner
  • kerner
  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    BKW,
    That this happens at all in LCMS churches is quite horrible. My guess is that it happens more than I care to know. At my church I have a hard enough time getting the people to come to Bibles Study, so I don’t have anyone else teaching it. Though I am told that before I got here there was a woman leading the Bible Study, and she did a very good job convincing people of baptist theology. Once I arrived I took over and we went in another direction. I myself would thoroughly vet a person before I allowed them to teach a Bible Study on Sunday morning. Can’t do much about what happens at a home during the week.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    BKW,
    That this happens at all in LCMS churches is quite horrible. My guess is that it happens more than I care to know. At my church I have a hard enough time getting the people to come to Bibles Study, so I don’t have anyone else teaching it. Though I am told that before I got here there was a woman leading the Bible Study, and she did a very good job convincing people of baptist theology. Once I arrived I took over and we went in another direction. I myself would thoroughly vet a person before I allowed them to teach a Bible Study on Sunday morning. Can’t do much about what happens at a home during the week.

  • Booklover

    The problems described in these posts with Baptists and others asking Lutherans if they are really “saved,” and if so, when, are extremely bothersome. Doctrine is thrown out the window and all that matters is a recited sentence and a walk down an aisle. In other words, what Jesus has done does not matter, only the DECISION that I have made. I think this is the biggest problem in the church today. Half of our country’s church population thinks that “born again” means a former Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Catholic who has now decided to pray a prayer or get re-baptized; and they spend all their time trying to convert otherly-named Christians while the pagans run wild. I absolutely do not believe this is the biblical definition of “born again.” I was brainwashed to believe that I was not a Christian because I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran. I always wondered, “What God was I worshipping, what Lord was I loving and following,” if I was not a Christian??

    As I watch the local mega-church growing, I notice that it is made up entirely of former Christians from other denominations. (And the small local churches are dying.) Good news, though, their coffee house is open 15 hours a day.

    I now attend a Baptist church with my husband and it is better than most. But still I hear lots of stories of re-baptisms, etc. I often say to them, “Maybe it ‘took’ the first time. After all, it was God doing the work.”

    I think another huge problem in the evangelical church of today is their displacement of worship with evangelism, even, and especially, on Sunday mornings. If you worship God rightly on Sunday, you tend to live for him rightly and think rightly during the week. If you only evangelize on Sunday, you stay stuck on infant Christianity, as well as stuck on yourself (navel-gazing.)

    I’m done ranting. I get depressed every time I go off on this topic.

  • Booklover

    The problems described in these posts with Baptists and others asking Lutherans if they are really “saved,” and if so, when, are extremely bothersome. Doctrine is thrown out the window and all that matters is a recited sentence and a walk down an aisle. In other words, what Jesus has done does not matter, only the DECISION that I have made. I think this is the biggest problem in the church today. Half of our country’s church population thinks that “born again” means a former Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Catholic who has now decided to pray a prayer or get re-baptized; and they spend all their time trying to convert otherly-named Christians while the pagans run wild. I absolutely do not believe this is the biblical definition of “born again.” I was brainwashed to believe that I was not a Christian because I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran. I always wondered, “What God was I worshipping, what Lord was I loving and following,” if I was not a Christian??

    As I watch the local mega-church growing, I notice that it is made up entirely of former Christians from other denominations. (And the small local churches are dying.) Good news, though, their coffee house is open 15 hours a day.

    I now attend a Baptist church with my husband and it is better than most. But still I hear lots of stories of re-baptisms, etc. I often say to them, “Maybe it ‘took’ the first time. After all, it was God doing the work.”

    I think another huge problem in the evangelical church of today is their displacement of worship with evangelism, even, and especially, on Sunday mornings. If you worship God rightly on Sunday, you tend to live for him rightly and think rightly during the week. If you only evangelize on Sunday, you stay stuck on infant Christianity, as well as stuck on yourself (navel-gazing.)

    I’m done ranting. I get depressed every time I go off on this topic.

  • BKW

    Bror, if I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’ll come visit your church…

    And the bible study to which I refer did take place at the church.

  • BKW

    Bror, if I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’ll come visit your church…

    And the bible study to which I refer did take place at the church.

  • Sharon

    My goodness, your thoughts here reflect my own. I, too have been in a local LCMS congregation in Maryland but have not had as much loy lately. I also "Flirt with Rome" and am forever comparing/contrasting Roman Catholicism with the LCMS. I went to our Easter Service with my children today and felt something was hugely missing! I don't know what the answer is but its nice too know there are others out there who feel the same way. (I came to the LCMS after being raised a Southern Baptist)

  • Sharon

    My goodness, your thoughts here reflect my own. I, too have been in a local LCMS congregation in Maryland but have not had as much loy lately. I also "Flirt with Rome" and am forever comparing/contrasting Roman Catholicism with the LCMS. I went to our Easter Service with my children today and felt something was hugely missing! I don't know what the answer is but its nice too know there are others out there who feel the same way. (I came to the LCMS after being raised a Southern Baptist)

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Exile

    Much to my surprise, we've found a lovely little LCMS church nearby! There is a real joy in the hearts of the people there. I think that's what I've seen missing in other LCMS churches I've been to. (I am not saying that Lutherans lack joy, but many of the services I've been to there was a stagnation in the air that I cannot put my finger on.) Here, I see a genuine love that the folks at this church have for one another and have for the lost. It's really beautiful. :-)

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Exile

    Much to my surprise, we've found a lovely little LCMS church nearby! There is a real joy in the hearts of the people there. I think that's what I've seen missing in other LCMS churches I've been to. (I am not saying that Lutherans lack joy, but many of the services I've been to there was a stagnation in the air that I cannot put my finger on.) Here, I see a genuine love that the folks at this church have for one another and have for the lost. It's really beautiful. :-)

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