The beam in our Missouri Synod eyes

Friends, you should read the comments on Chaplain Mike’s sacrament post at Internet monk, linked above.  It’s touching how some of his evangelical readers are responding to what he is saying.

I have to say, though, that I’m kind of ashamed that some of these potential Lutherans have come to THIS blog, which Chaplain Mike links to, and are marveling about how all we Missouri Synod Lutherans can say about his joy in discovering Lutheran theology  is to castigate him for joining the ELCA!  There are comments to the effect that, I’m staying away from those LCMS types, but I might investigate the ELCA.   Thus our polemics against the ELCA turn people away from us and make the ELCA more attractive!  That’s not very effective argumentation, to make people agree more with your opponent than with you!

But there is something else that we Missouri Synod Lutherans need to face up to.  Say you are a disaffected “post-evangelical” who hears about Lutheranism.  It sounds like the kind of Christianity you are yearning for.  You are especially fed up with what passes for worship where you are now, and the sacramental spirituality that you are reading about in Lutheranism is more than compelling.  So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation.   Isn’t it true that it is extremely likely that you will walk into a contemporary worship service with a pastor that is trying to out-evangelical the evangelicals?  You will go into an LCMS congregation looking for Lutheranism, but it may well be that you won’t find it!

I don’t know how many times I have heard about this happening, including from people who read my book Spirituality of the Cross:  The Way of the First Evangelicals.  (In fact, I know that this happened with some of you regular readers and commenters on this blog.)  So if someone finds Lutheranism in another synod–WELS, ELS, even ELCA–do we have the standing to complain?

What percentage of LCMS congregations do you think follow the historical Lutheran liturgy?  Half?  Less than half?  In some areas of the country, far less than that?   I have been in lots of Lutheran services and heard lots of sermons, not all of which distinguished Law & Gospel or even preached the Gospel.  Some of them were as therapeutic and as “theology of glory” and as “power of positive thinking” oriented as Joel Osteen.

I know these congregations all pledge allegiance to the same doctrinal standards, to the Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions.   But do they really hold them in actuality?  Perhaps someone could explain to me, humble layman that I am, why, if we demand doctrinal agreement for pulpit and altar fellowship, we can commune with a congregation that exhibits no visible Lutheranism in its public teaching but simply is on the same LCMS roster.

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m as supportive of the LCMS and as critical of liberal theology as anyone can be.  But to say that Chaplain Mike, in joining the ELCA, is just joining mainline liberal Protestantism is manifestly not true.  What he is finding in his congregation that he is responding to so gladly is not leftwing politics or feminism or gay marriages.  Rather, as he says, he is finding the centrality of Christ, Law & Gospel, vocation, worship, the sacraments, and the other things he is discussing in his three posts.

Now the problem with the ELCA is that many of their congregations do not concentrate on those Lutheran teachings and that our hypothetical seeker-after-Lutheranism may well not find them there either.  I would go so far as to say that he or she would be more likely to find them in the LCMS, for all of our problems, or in WELS or ELS or another conservative synod.  The problem in American Lutheranism has always been the temptation to conform to some variety of American Protestantism–whether mainline liberal (the ELCA’s temptation) or generic evangelicalism (the LCMS’s temptation)–rather than just being Lutheran.   Chaplain Mike will doubtless find that out.  In the meantime, we Lutherans need to welcome him into our tradition.  We might also think how we might welcome more like him, rather than scaring them away.

 

 

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.

  • Jikkiyu

    Yes

  • Jikkiyu

    Yes

  • Jikkiyu

    That being said, I feel as if I have visited an ELCA congregation at least one time that seemed to me, for the most part, inoffensive. It was liturgical and seemed to affirm all the major tenants of the historic christian faith/lutheranism. But this brings me to ask an old nagging question. Is there a substantial “conservative” branch in the ELCA much as there is in some other “liberal” denominations, such as the Episcopal church?

  • Jikkiyu

    That being said, I feel as if I have visited an ELCA congregation at least one time that seemed to me, for the most part, inoffensive. It was liturgical and seemed to affirm all the major tenants of the historic christian faith/lutheranism. But this brings me to ask an old nagging question. Is there a substantial “conservative” branch in the ELCA much as there is in some other “liberal” denominations, such as the Episcopal church?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Its a tough thing all the way around Veith. I know missouri has its problems. I’ve said that. And for as many problems as the ELCA has, I know some great pastors and friends there. I’m glad chaplain mike has found a good congregation, and hope that he is able to do some good there as a pastor. I hope the sheep who reveive him as their pastor are thankful to receive such a caring shepherd.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com bror erickson

    Its a tough thing all the way around Veith. I know missouri has its problems. I’ve said that. And for as many problems as the ELCA has, I know some great pastors and friends there. I’m glad chaplain mike has found a good congregation, and hope that he is able to do some good there as a pastor. I hope the sheep who reveive him as their pastor are thankful to receive such a caring shepherd.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    I’m Anglican, but I assure you it came after walking into too many Lutheran churches that were engaged in precisely this practice!

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    I’m Anglican, but I assure you it came after walking into too many Lutheran churches that were engaged in precisely this practice!

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Dr. Veith, I certainly share your concerns; however, I would have to disagree with you that the ELCA is not mainline protestantism, for it surely it. As I’ve said elsewhere, I am happy Mike has found his home in Lutheranism, but that he is now seeking ordination as a pastor in the ELCA is an entirely other issue. He has yet to sort through the sort of relativism and individualism which is such a strong part of Evangelicalism, by which a person can disassociate himself from a church body’s doctrinal and moral positions. This is what he is trying to do. And he has found a happy home in a relatively conservative ELCA congregation, at least one that has a conservative pastor for now.

    But he is seeking formal ministerial credentials in a national church body that has surrendered, compromised and openly denied the core confession of what it is to be a Lutheran, and here I’m talking only about doctrine. Many take more notice when the ELCA takes yet another left turn into moral positions that are typical of the mainline, but those are all merely symptoms of the greater problem.

    I certainly do with somebody would, or somebody could, have been a good friend to Mike to help him see his way through these issues more carefully and avoid the error he is now making in seeking to be a pastor in the ELCA.

    It is a very, very grave error and I think anyone who appreciates Mike and loves him as a brother in Christ, as we all do, would want to help him gain better clarity.

    Right now, based on his remarks, I do think that Mike is compartmentalizing reality in a harmful way.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Dr. Veith, I certainly share your concerns; however, I would have to disagree with you that the ELCA is not mainline protestantism, for it surely it. As I’ve said elsewhere, I am happy Mike has found his home in Lutheranism, but that he is now seeking ordination as a pastor in the ELCA is an entirely other issue. He has yet to sort through the sort of relativism and individualism which is such a strong part of Evangelicalism, by which a person can disassociate himself from a church body’s doctrinal and moral positions. This is what he is trying to do. And he has found a happy home in a relatively conservative ELCA congregation, at least one that has a conservative pastor for now.

    But he is seeking formal ministerial credentials in a national church body that has surrendered, compromised and openly denied the core confession of what it is to be a Lutheran, and here I’m talking only about doctrine. Many take more notice when the ELCA takes yet another left turn into moral positions that are typical of the mainline, but those are all merely symptoms of the greater problem.

    I certainly do with somebody would, or somebody could, have been a good friend to Mike to help him see his way through these issues more carefully and avoid the error he is now making in seeking to be a pastor in the ELCA.

    It is a very, very grave error and I think anyone who appreciates Mike and loves him as a brother in Christ, as we all do, would want to help him gain better clarity.

    Right now, based on his remarks, I do think that Mike is compartmentalizing reality in a harmful way.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Sorry for the typos above!

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Sorry for the typos above!

  • Sapulding

    A few years ago we were looking for a different LCMS church in our area. It was impossible to find one that didn’t do a contemporary service at all in our area. Several had both but the 8 AM service doesn’t work for us. I am convinced putting the contemporary service at the late service is because the later service is more popular. Since they want to prove to self that the congregation wants it the contemporary service becomes the late service to make it so more people will be there. Also by doing that it creates a divided congregation which can cause problems at voters assemblies etc.

  • Sapulding

    A few years ago we were looking for a different LCMS church in our area. It was impossible to find one that didn’t do a contemporary service at all in our area. Several had both but the 8 AM service doesn’t work for us. I am convinced putting the contemporary service at the late service is because the later service is more popular. Since they want to prove to self that the congregation wants it the contemporary service becomes the late service to make it so more people will be there. Also by doing that it creates a divided congregation which can cause problems at voters assemblies etc.

  • helen

    There are a dozen ‘LCMS’ churches in this city but if there are more than two which are traditional liturgical Lutheran at all services, I have not met anyone yet to confirm it. I’ve heard from “ear witnesses” about other practices!
    The “Praise me” churches are insuring that as their final outcome by raising their youth groups on it.
    As the older people die off or give up in disgust, they will have the church. From all I read, most District Presidents are on this “glory now” agenda.
    Why?

  • helen

    There are a dozen ‘LCMS’ churches in this city but if there are more than two which are traditional liturgical Lutheran at all services, I have not met anyone yet to confirm it. I’ve heard from “ear witnesses” about other practices!
    The “Praise me” churches are insuring that as their final outcome by raising their youth groups on it.
    As the older people die off or give up in disgust, they will have the church. From all I read, most District Presidents are on this “glory now” agenda.
    Why?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Paul, I’m not saying that the ELCA isn’t mainline Protestantism! My point was that Chaplain Mike’s isn’t embracing the theology of mainline Protestantism (as, yes, much of the ELCA including its hierarchy is embracing instead of Lutheranism). He is embracing the theology of Lutheranism. I would like the rest of the ELCA to do likewise. I would like the entire LCMS to do likewise.

    I see your point about his now seeking ordination in the ELCA. That will give him temptations and, hopefully, conflicts. In general, though, new converts from outside help bolster the orthodoxy of a church body. New pastors who appreciate Lutheranism could do the ELCA a lot of good. (Notice the revitalization of the once moribund and culture-bound Eastern Orthodox churches after all of those evangelicals converted and entered the priesthood.)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Paul, I’m not saying that the ELCA isn’t mainline Protestantism! My point was that Chaplain Mike’s isn’t embracing the theology of mainline Protestantism (as, yes, much of the ELCA including its hierarchy is embracing instead of Lutheranism). He is embracing the theology of Lutheranism. I would like the rest of the ELCA to do likewise. I would like the entire LCMS to do likewise.

    I see your point about his now seeking ordination in the ELCA. That will give him temptations and, hopefully, conflicts. In general, though, new converts from outside help bolster the orthodoxy of a church body. New pastors who appreciate Lutheranism could do the ELCA a lot of good. (Notice the revitalization of the once moribund and culture-bound Eastern Orthodox churches after all of those evangelicals converted and entered the priesthood.)

  • Tom Hering

    “So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation. Isn’t it true that it is extremely likely that you will walk into a contemporary worship service with a pastor that is trying to out-evangelical the evangelicals?”

    Not at my Missouri church. The sign out front clearly states “Hearts On Fire” and “Gather 2 Go.”

    Oh wait.

  • Tom Hering

    “So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation. Isn’t it true that it is extremely likely that you will walk into a contemporary worship service with a pastor that is trying to out-evangelical the evangelicals?”

    Not at my Missouri church. The sign out front clearly states “Hearts On Fire” and “Gather 2 Go.”

    Oh wait.

  • Sapulding

    I am with Dr. Veith I have always in leadership wanted to make sure that my congregation remains distinctly Lutheran and not try to compete with the mega churches. So far have been successful but who knows for how long. (am a member of an independent Lutheran church)

  • Sapulding

    I am with Dr. Veith I have always in leadership wanted to make sure that my congregation remains distinctly Lutheran and not try to compete with the mega churches. So far have been successful but who knows for how long. (am a member of an independent Lutheran church)

  • helen

    Rev. McCain,
    All too many LCMS churches are “compartmentalizing reality” , assuming they can have general protestant, (or just plain non Christian) activities, shoving their altars in a corner for the band, and not develop a disdain for the Lutheran value of the Sacraments which “Chaplain Mike” has found in an elca congregation!
    If you have ever commented on these aberrant activities widespread in the LCMS, I haven’t read it.

    I rejoice with a new Lutheran who came to us via Marcus Zill’s campus ministry at Wyoming, even as I have to grieve that an equally Lutheran presence is being destroyed on the University of Minnesota campus, by the district president and board of directors there.

    Observing that, I really wonder what we expect non-LCMS Lutherans to think!

  • helen

    Rev. McCain,
    All too many LCMS churches are “compartmentalizing reality” , assuming they can have general protestant, (or just plain non Christian) activities, shoving their altars in a corner for the band, and not develop a disdain for the Lutheran value of the Sacraments which “Chaplain Mike” has found in an elca congregation!
    If you have ever commented on these aberrant activities widespread in the LCMS, I haven’t read it.

    I rejoice with a new Lutheran who came to us via Marcus Zill’s campus ministry at Wyoming, even as I have to grieve that an equally Lutheran presence is being destroyed on the University of Minnesota campus, by the district president and board of directors there.

    Observing that, I really wonder what we expect non-LCMS Lutherans to think!

  • SKPeterson

    Coming from the ELCA I can attest to the fact that adhering to a formal traditional liturgy does not guarantee and adherence to traditional theology. Many ELCA congregations have spot-on beautiful worship services. The problem lies with the theology expressed in the pulpits which conforms more to contemporary, worldly norms rather than Scripture. For the ELCA, culture is the norma normans for Scripture, not Scripture as the norma normans. This was why I left the ELCA.

    Missouri is not perfect. My own congregation has two traditional services and an atrocity know as contemporary worship. Yet, for all the weaknesses in my congregation it is still authentically Lutheran.

    My concern for Missouri is that Chaplain Mike is not unique in contemporary Evangelicalism. While Pr. McCain expresses very real concerns about his move to the ELCA and the attendant rush of the ELCA into undifferentiated mainline liberal Protestantism, I am just as concerned with many Missouri congregations that seem to be trying to position themselves as just another Evangelical congregation with praise bands, skimping on liturgical forms, and a “lite” liturgy at best. You can’t even readily identify the pastor – they won’t wear a collar, so they look like any other undifferentiated Evangelical preacher. If they’re traditional they look like Baptists, if they’re “cutting edge” they look like Perry Noble or Steven Furtick. Sadly, these Missouri congregations are desperately trying to look just like the churches the Evangelicals are fleeing, while trying to cover up looking and behaving like the alternatives to modern Evangelicalism these refugees are equally desperately seeking.

  • SKPeterson

    Coming from the ELCA I can attest to the fact that adhering to a formal traditional liturgy does not guarantee and adherence to traditional theology. Many ELCA congregations have spot-on beautiful worship services. The problem lies with the theology expressed in the pulpits which conforms more to contemporary, worldly norms rather than Scripture. For the ELCA, culture is the norma normans for Scripture, not Scripture as the norma normans. This was why I left the ELCA.

    Missouri is not perfect. My own congregation has two traditional services and an atrocity know as contemporary worship. Yet, for all the weaknesses in my congregation it is still authentically Lutheran.

    My concern for Missouri is that Chaplain Mike is not unique in contemporary Evangelicalism. While Pr. McCain expresses very real concerns about his move to the ELCA and the attendant rush of the ELCA into undifferentiated mainline liberal Protestantism, I am just as concerned with many Missouri congregations that seem to be trying to position themselves as just another Evangelical congregation with praise bands, skimping on liturgical forms, and a “lite” liturgy at best. You can’t even readily identify the pastor – they won’t wear a collar, so they look like any other undifferentiated Evangelical preacher. If they’re traditional they look like Baptists, if they’re “cutting edge” they look like Perry Noble or Steven Furtick. Sadly, these Missouri congregations are desperately trying to look just like the churches the Evangelicals are fleeing, while trying to cover up looking and behaving like the alternatives to modern Evangelicalism these refugees are equally desperately seeking.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    We believe in having a traditional Lutheran liturgy in our congregation that is exploring ways to leave the ELCA.

    But, for us, what comes out of the pastor’s mouth is even more important.

    We don’t ascribe to an inerrant text (an inerrant Word, we do ascribe to). Nor any “3rd use” which will let the fox back into the hen house. And we’d rather err on the side of God’s grace when it comes to putting fences up (closed communion) around the gospel for baptized believers who trust in the real presence. We can’t stand the fact that the ELCA has thrown God’s Word overboard for more generous and more “inclusive” (don’t mention Jesus or you might offend someone) words. And we love handing over Christ. This is what animates us, and not defending (primarily) a “perfect doctrine”.

    This places us in the center of Lutheranism, we believe.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    We believe in having a traditional Lutheran liturgy in our congregation that is exploring ways to leave the ELCA.

    But, for us, what comes out of the pastor’s mouth is even more important.

    We don’t ascribe to an inerrant text (an inerrant Word, we do ascribe to). Nor any “3rd use” which will let the fox back into the hen house. And we’d rather err on the side of God’s grace when it comes to putting fences up (closed communion) around the gospel for baptized believers who trust in the real presence. We can’t stand the fact that the ELCA has thrown God’s Word overboard for more generous and more “inclusive” (don’t mention Jesus or you might offend someone) words. And we love handing over Christ. This is what animates us, and not defending (primarily) a “perfect doctrine”.

    This places us in the center of Lutheranism, we believe.

  • Tom Hering

    helen @ 12, from what I’ve seen, it’s not just the District that turns a Lutheran church into a Lutherangelical church. Much of the push comes from members of the congregation, and the various boards, who want the same music in church that they hear on Christian radio, and the same messages in church that they find on the shelves at Christian bookstores. They’ve been catechized by the Evangelicals’ cultural ministries. Good Lutheran pastors are sometimes caught between the District and their own congregations.

  • Tom Hering

    helen @ 12, from what I’ve seen, it’s not just the District that turns a Lutheran church into a Lutherangelical church. Much of the push comes from members of the congregation, and the various boards, who want the same music in church that they hear on Christian radio, and the same messages in church that they find on the shelves at Christian bookstores. They’ve been catechized by the Evangelicals’ cultural ministries. Good Lutheran pastors are sometimes caught between the District and their own congregations.

  • bmw

    It saddens me that we are a synod in decline, as the population is rapidly growing, and this has turned into a contemporary vs traditional argument. I think we both know it is a much bigger and deeper issue than traditional vs contemporary.

    Unbelievable :(

  • bmw

    It saddens me that we are a synod in decline, as the population is rapidly growing, and this has turned into a contemporary vs traditional argument. I think we both know it is a much bigger and deeper issue than traditional vs contemporary.

    Unbelievable :(

  • Michael B.

    “I know these congregations all pledge allegiance to the same doctrinal standards, to the Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions. But do they really hold them in actuality? Perhaps someone could explain to me, humble layman that I am, why, if we demand doctrinal agreement for pulpit and altar fellowship, we can commune with a congregation that exhibits no visible Lutheranism in its public teaching but simply is on the same LCMS roster.”

    The situation you are referring to is what fundamentalists sometimes call “file cabinet orthodoxy” and what agnostics sometimes call “Sunday truths”. Basically, there a set of written statements on which people must say “I agree”, but the beliefs don’t really go beyond that.

    One author used the analogy of the beliefs being something like a software license, in which a user quickly clicks the “I agree” button on his computer without really understanding what it says or even caring what is says; he has something else in mind.

    Unlike these kind of “Sunday truths” or “file cabinet orthodoxy”, beliefs are strong. Consider the statement: “Your spouse is cheating on you”. It’s nothing but a string of words on your computer screen. But imagine if you were to suddenly really believe it. It would be as if a lever were pulled, and it completely takes over your thinking and mind. It’s not something that could be easily confined.

  • Michael B.

    “I know these congregations all pledge allegiance to the same doctrinal standards, to the Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions. But do they really hold them in actuality? Perhaps someone could explain to me, humble layman that I am, why, if we demand doctrinal agreement for pulpit and altar fellowship, we can commune with a congregation that exhibits no visible Lutheranism in its public teaching but simply is on the same LCMS roster.”

    The situation you are referring to is what fundamentalists sometimes call “file cabinet orthodoxy” and what agnostics sometimes call “Sunday truths”. Basically, there a set of written statements on which people must say “I agree”, but the beliefs don’t really go beyond that.

    One author used the analogy of the beliefs being something like a software license, in which a user quickly clicks the “I agree” button on his computer without really understanding what it says or even caring what is says; he has something else in mind.

    Unlike these kind of “Sunday truths” or “file cabinet orthodoxy”, beliefs are strong. Consider the statement: “Your spouse is cheating on you”. It’s nothing but a string of words on your computer screen. But imagine if you were to suddenly really believe it. It would be as if a lever were pulled, and it completely takes over your thinking and mind. It’s not something that could be easily confined.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    Frankly, Rev. McCain, it’s precisely that kind of argumentation, the kind that denies any validity of a remnant theology within mainline denominations, that pushes the right kind of people and opportunities for mutual service away. To reiterate Dr. Veith’s good point: “. . . new converts from outside help bolster the orthodoxy of a church body.”

    What if Christ had followed your thinking? He wouldn’t have bothered to cleanse the temple, much less gone to the cross. He would’ve camped out at Qumran.

  • http://growinggrace-full.blogspot.com/ Chris Donato

    Frankly, Rev. McCain, it’s precisely that kind of argumentation, the kind that denies any validity of a remnant theology within mainline denominations, that pushes the right kind of people and opportunities for mutual service away. To reiterate Dr. Veith’s good point: “. . . new converts from outside help bolster the orthodoxy of a church body.”

    What if Christ had followed your thinking? He wouldn’t have bothered to cleanse the temple, much less gone to the cross. He would’ve camped out at Qumran.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Helen, you should read my blog more often.

    : )

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Helen, you should read my blog more often.

    : )

  • David T.

    For an interesting and insightful explanation on how one of the synods you refer to (ELS) has recently dealt with the worship controversy, see http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/CEW-Report19Sept2011.pdf. Pastors at their General Pastoral Conference have been discussing it for several years and this document attempts to tackle “which order of service and why?” Though it is order-of-worship specific, it relies on the Confessions and therefore has application for orders of service beneficial to all confessional Lutherans.

  • David T.

    For an interesting and insightful explanation on how one of the synods you refer to (ELS) has recently dealt with the worship controversy, see http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/djw/CEW-Report19Sept2011.pdf. Pastors at their General Pastoral Conference have been discussing it for several years and this document attempts to tackle “which order of service and why?” Though it is order-of-worship specific, it relies on the Confessions and therefore has application for orders of service beneficial to all confessional Lutherans.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The “Praise me” churches are insuring that as their final outcome by raising their youth groups on it.

    Exactly.

    Even if there is a traditional service, the youth are pushed to attend the contemporary service and the youth are immersed in the contemporary styles in VBS, at youth events and even chapel services. Why oh why do we deprive our own kids of their wonderful heritage? We know better.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The “Praise me” churches are insuring that as their final outcome by raising their youth groups on it.

    Exactly.

    Even if there is a traditional service, the youth are pushed to attend the contemporary service and the youth are immersed in the contemporary styles in VBS, at youth events and even chapel services. Why oh why do we deprive our own kids of their wonderful heritage? We know better.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I just want to add that these churches who don’t believe the Bible (ELCA, I am looking at you) are teaching their youth that the Bible is just a bunch of fables and leave them twisting in the wind. They ultimately have no foundation.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I just want to add that these churches who don’t believe the Bible (ELCA, I am looking at you) are teaching their youth that the Bible is just a bunch of fables and leave them twisting in the wind. They ultimately have no foundation.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I posted this comment on the first thread about Chaplain Mike, but think it belongs here as well.

    I don’t presume to speak for Chaplain Mike, and have not spoken with him recently, but there are several reasons he might not have chosen the LCMS. ( And may be too polite to mention.)
    The first and foremost in my mind is our reputation for treating poorly those who wish to join our ranks. In this area our reputation sucks, and we are known as mean spirited and and spiritually prideful.
    I know of an ELCA congregation in southern California that petitioned the PSW District of the LCMS to join our synod. One of our stipulations was that they sign over their church building and property to the Synod so that in the event the congregation disbanded or tried to leave the Synod their property would belong to the LCMS. Nice… That’s a total non starter for anyone with half a brain. Now this congregation is forced to pick between their second and third tier choices for church affiliation.

    I also know two men with excellent educations and substantial ministry experience. One wanted to be a pastor, the other a professor. Both have an outstanding grasp of Lutheran theology.

    To colloquize in they were required to attend our seminary for two years, then go out on a vicarage. The pastor had no children, so he did it, but remarked to me that only about six of his classes really helped him. The other man had a family and tried it for awhile but eventually was forced to quit school and go to work to feed his family.
    After years of experience and seminary, maybe Chaplain Mike doesn’t have the luxury of jumping through our hoops for three years. Maybe the ELCA has an easier ‘on ramp’ to join up.

    Another friend was asked to speak at one of our schools and accepted the invitation. When he flew into town, there was no one there to greet him. He had to find his own way to the hotel. He had to get to the school himself. No one contacted him. When he arrived at the school the administration was unaware that he was coming. They pointed him to the right classroom. He gave his lecture and was thanked by the prof, then was left to his own devices to get back to the airport. His comment to me was ‘Pat, what the hell is wrong with these people?”

    I could multiply these anecdotes many times over, but have chosen a few that come to mind immediately, and chosen incidents that don’t expose those involved to uncomfortable situations. If you think it is my personal opinion, wander back over to Internetmonk and check out the comment thread.
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/how-the-lutheran-tradition-answers-many-post-evangelical-concerns-3

    Yes, we have great theology, but often lack the grace, humility, and
    common courtesy to make joining with us an appealing option.
    I am not saying for sure that this is why Chap. Mike is reticent to throw in his lot with us, but I’m sure its one of the things he considered.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I posted this comment on the first thread about Chaplain Mike, but think it belongs here as well.

    I don’t presume to speak for Chaplain Mike, and have not spoken with him recently, but there are several reasons he might not have chosen the LCMS. ( And may be too polite to mention.)
    The first and foremost in my mind is our reputation for treating poorly those who wish to join our ranks. In this area our reputation sucks, and we are known as mean spirited and and spiritually prideful.
    I know of an ELCA congregation in southern California that petitioned the PSW District of the LCMS to join our synod. One of our stipulations was that they sign over their church building and property to the Synod so that in the event the congregation disbanded or tried to leave the Synod their property would belong to the LCMS. Nice… That’s a total non starter for anyone with half a brain. Now this congregation is forced to pick between their second and third tier choices for church affiliation.

    I also know two men with excellent educations and substantial ministry experience. One wanted to be a pastor, the other a professor. Both have an outstanding grasp of Lutheran theology.

    To colloquize in they were required to attend our seminary for two years, then go out on a vicarage. The pastor had no children, so he did it, but remarked to me that only about six of his classes really helped him. The other man had a family and tried it for awhile but eventually was forced to quit school and go to work to feed his family.
    After years of experience and seminary, maybe Chaplain Mike doesn’t have the luxury of jumping through our hoops for three years. Maybe the ELCA has an easier ‘on ramp’ to join up.

    Another friend was asked to speak at one of our schools and accepted the invitation. When he flew into town, there was no one there to greet him. He had to find his own way to the hotel. He had to get to the school himself. No one contacted him. When he arrived at the school the administration was unaware that he was coming. They pointed him to the right classroom. He gave his lecture and was thanked by the prof, then was left to his own devices to get back to the airport. His comment to me was ‘Pat, what the hell is wrong with these people?”

    I could multiply these anecdotes many times over, but have chosen a few that come to mind immediately, and chosen incidents that don’t expose those involved to uncomfortable situations. If you think it is my personal opinion, wander back over to Internetmonk and check out the comment thread.
    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/how-the-lutheran-tradition-answers-many-post-evangelical-concerns-3

    Yes, we have great theology, but often lack the grace, humility, and
    common courtesy to make joining with us an appealing option.
    I am not saying for sure that this is why Chap. Mike is reticent to throw in his lot with us, but I’m sure its one of the things he considered.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously Dr. Vieth, you cannot claim that the historic liturgy is a mark of anything beyond a surface relationship. The Anglicans claim union via the Book of Common Prayer, but are still incredibly diverse in theology. What makes Lutherans different isn’t the Liturgy but that which it proclaims. So, I do take issue with the contemporary v liturgical implications.

    On the other hand, I too am saddened by the number of my friends who think Mark Driscoll is the bomb and talk about how awesome the worship service was at Mars Hill, promote him to their parishioners, never mind he denies the Gospel in the Sacraments.

    It bugs me that I have trouble getting people to use CPH materials because they have a preconceived notion that CPH is too theological and boring. Now I am ranting, but now I am getting to the point I think is key.

    Preconceived notion, we are dealing with an issue of preconceived notions. We have people who have a preconceived notion that because they found liturgical worship boring, seekers will also find it boring. We have people who have a preconceived notion that only liturgical nazi’s do liturgy and they those do not care about reaching the lost only in maintaining liturgical purity. In their preconceived notions they have sought out people who say the same thing and thinking they have been inoculated against false theology have unwittingly contaminated themselves for they didn’t think it through that theology affects everything. We adopted their youth ministry practices never thinking about the theological underpinnings. We adopted worship practices never thinking about the theological underpinnings. And, when you couple that with a laity who’s only concern is “is it Christian?” and now you have a problem.

    But I have hope, there are those who fall into neither side, but who are asking the good Formula question, “How does this affect the Gospel?”

    It occurs to me, CPH, needs somebody who writes as simply and story like as Max Lucado, but with better theology. I think it may be the bridge needed because sadly, I am finding most laity have never made it past Lucado level thinking.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Seriously Dr. Vieth, you cannot claim that the historic liturgy is a mark of anything beyond a surface relationship. The Anglicans claim union via the Book of Common Prayer, but are still incredibly diverse in theology. What makes Lutherans different isn’t the Liturgy but that which it proclaims. So, I do take issue with the contemporary v liturgical implications.

    On the other hand, I too am saddened by the number of my friends who think Mark Driscoll is the bomb and talk about how awesome the worship service was at Mars Hill, promote him to their parishioners, never mind he denies the Gospel in the Sacraments.

    It bugs me that I have trouble getting people to use CPH materials because they have a preconceived notion that CPH is too theological and boring. Now I am ranting, but now I am getting to the point I think is key.

    Preconceived notion, we are dealing with an issue of preconceived notions. We have people who have a preconceived notion that because they found liturgical worship boring, seekers will also find it boring. We have people who have a preconceived notion that only liturgical nazi’s do liturgy and they those do not care about reaching the lost only in maintaining liturgical purity. In their preconceived notions they have sought out people who say the same thing and thinking they have been inoculated against false theology have unwittingly contaminated themselves for they didn’t think it through that theology affects everything. We adopted their youth ministry practices never thinking about the theological underpinnings. We adopted worship practices never thinking about the theological underpinnings. And, when you couple that with a laity who’s only concern is “is it Christian?” and now you have a problem.

    But I have hope, there are those who fall into neither side, but who are asking the good Formula question, “How does this affect the Gospel?”

    It occurs to me, CPH, needs somebody who writes as simply and story like as Max Lucado, but with better theology. I think it may be the bridge needed because sadly, I am finding most laity have never made it past Lucado level thinking.

  • rlewer

    Both our Sunday morning services are liturgical from LSB. Most youth and children go to the liturgical services. Baby boomers go to the Saturday evening “contemporary” service. Except the music, even our Saturday evening service is “liturgical.”

    In spite of what District Presidents try to tell us, liturgical churches are growing.

  • rlewer

    Both our Sunday morning services are liturgical from LSB. Most youth and children go to the liturgical services. Baby boomers go to the Saturday evening “contemporary” service. Except the music, even our Saturday evening service is “liturgical.”

    In spite of what District Presidents try to tell us, liturgical churches are growing.

  • HistoryProfBrad

    As someone who is investigating the Lutheran Confessions myself and finding so much to love and embrace, the LCMS vs. ELCA issue puzzles me. I understand the doctrinal issues (some of them of extreme importance) and am more amused than alarmed by the “worship style” issues. I do share Dr. Veith’s concerns, however. As one who is becoming more and more convinced of the validity of Lutheran arguments, I am blown away that instead of rejoicing at someone who, like me, is finding the tremendous treasures available within the Lutheran tradition, he is being lambasted for joining the wrong branch. As someone raised Baptist who took the non-denom and Reformed route to Rome (a move I am now questioning), I say good luck on finding a pure group. Where I live, there is an ELCA congregation and an LCMS congregation. From what I have witnessed, the ELCA congregation is much more traditional and much more in line with the Confessions than is the LCMS body…but both are solid, confessional Lutheran congregations. Do I avoid the ELCA group simply because it is ELCA??? I am sorry. I just don’t fully get that line of thinking, but that is just me. I understand defending cardinal truths, but where is the line between defending the faith and embracing a label? I seriously don’t know.

    To lighten the mood a bit, I would like to share a great joke by comedian Emo Philips that, in my opinion, sums it up pretty well for me. God bless….

    “Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.”
    :-)

  • HistoryProfBrad

    As someone who is investigating the Lutheran Confessions myself and finding so much to love and embrace, the LCMS vs. ELCA issue puzzles me. I understand the doctrinal issues (some of them of extreme importance) and am more amused than alarmed by the “worship style” issues. I do share Dr. Veith’s concerns, however. As one who is becoming more and more convinced of the validity of Lutheran arguments, I am blown away that instead of rejoicing at someone who, like me, is finding the tremendous treasures available within the Lutheran tradition, he is being lambasted for joining the wrong branch. As someone raised Baptist who took the non-denom and Reformed route to Rome (a move I am now questioning), I say good luck on finding a pure group. Where I live, there is an ELCA congregation and an LCMS congregation. From what I have witnessed, the ELCA congregation is much more traditional and much more in line with the Confessions than is the LCMS body…but both are solid, confessional Lutheran congregations. Do I avoid the ELCA group simply because it is ELCA??? I am sorry. I just don’t fully get that line of thinking, but that is just me. I understand defending cardinal truths, but where is the line between defending the faith and embracing a label? I seriously don’t know.

    To lighten the mood a bit, I would like to share a great joke by comedian Emo Philips that, in my opinion, sums it up pretty well for me. God bless….

    “Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

    He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.”
    :-)

  • Bob

    I agree with what Dr. Veith said. Well put, Dr. Veith!

  • Bob

    I agree with what Dr. Veith said. Well put, Dr. Veith!

  • SKPeterson

    Brad @26 – That Emo Phillips routine was hilarious! Thanks for reminding me.

    As to ELCA or LCMS. I’m tempted to say go with the ELCA, BUT the issue is that I doubt it will be traditional in another 10 years or so. The congregation may be traditional, the pastor may be traditional, but they are increasingly isolated islands in the ocean. Once the pastor leaves or retires, the congregation is at the mercy of the local synod bishop. He (or she) will be a huge factor in the future of the congregation by providing a list of “ideal” candidates, recommending “good” interim pastors, and generally doing everything they can to steer the congregation into a more acceptable theological stance. Never had a woman pastor? Now’s well past the time. Here’s a list. Uncomfortable with homosexuality and gay pastors? Try having a gay-affirming pastor as a start. Here’s a list. Want a conservative, traditional pastor willing to communicate the grace of God in Word and Sacrament? Why would you want to be so dated? We are responding to new moves of the Spirit. Besides, we don’t have anyone like that on our fully vetted call list in this synod for you to choose from. Sorry, take what we give, or you’re on your own.

  • SKPeterson

    Brad @26 – That Emo Phillips routine was hilarious! Thanks for reminding me.

    As to ELCA or LCMS. I’m tempted to say go with the ELCA, BUT the issue is that I doubt it will be traditional in another 10 years or so. The congregation may be traditional, the pastor may be traditional, but they are increasingly isolated islands in the ocean. Once the pastor leaves or retires, the congregation is at the mercy of the local synod bishop. He (or she) will be a huge factor in the future of the congregation by providing a list of “ideal” candidates, recommending “good” interim pastors, and generally doing everything they can to steer the congregation into a more acceptable theological stance. Never had a woman pastor? Now’s well past the time. Here’s a list. Uncomfortable with homosexuality and gay pastors? Try having a gay-affirming pastor as a start. Here’s a list. Want a conservative, traditional pastor willing to communicate the grace of God in Word and Sacrament? Why would you want to be so dated? We are responding to new moves of the Spirit. Besides, we don’t have anyone like that on our fully vetted call list in this synod for you to choose from. Sorry, take what we give, or you’re on your own.

  • michael henry

    “… something else that we Missouri Synod Lutherans need to face up to. Say you are a disaffected “post-evangelical”….. It sounds like the kind of Christianity you are yearning for. ….. the sacramental spirituality that you are reading about in Lutheranism is more than compelling. So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation. ….pastor that is trying to out-evangelical the evangelicals? ”

    I edited the portion above for brevity. But it applies to me , and as I am not unique to humankind, I suppose millions of others. The LCMS I walked into was for the most part much more reverent. However, when the sermon started, it was based on and infected by Henry Blackaby theology. That was enough for me, I didn’t return. And in this God hating part of the country, Washington State, LCMS churches are very few, and very far apart.

  • michael henry

    “… something else that we Missouri Synod Lutherans need to face up to. Say you are a disaffected “post-evangelical”….. It sounds like the kind of Christianity you are yearning for. ….. the sacramental spirituality that you are reading about in Lutheranism is more than compelling. So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation. ….pastor that is trying to out-evangelical the evangelicals? ”

    I edited the portion above for brevity. But it applies to me , and as I am not unique to humankind, I suppose millions of others. The LCMS I walked into was for the most part much more reverent. However, when the sermon started, it was based on and infected by Henry Blackaby theology. That was enough for me, I didn’t return. And in this God hating part of the country, Washington State, LCMS churches are very few, and very far apart.

  • Jerry

    Forty years ago when I was between things I attended, but never joined what was then an ALC congregation. The pastor gave me three books to read, Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Giertz’s The Hammer of God, and Forde’s Where God Meets Man. I know they are out there, but I have never encountered a LCMS church that would offer you a similar foundation. Instead we’re offered that classy Lutheranism 101.

  • Jerry

    Forty years ago when I was between things I attended, but never joined what was then an ALC congregation. The pastor gave me three books to read, Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Giertz’s The Hammer of God, and Forde’s Where God Meets Man. I know they are out there, but I have never encountered a LCMS church that would offer you a similar foundation. Instead we’re offered that classy Lutheranism 101.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What if Chap Mike is ordained in the ELCA but is too traditional and none of the bishops will help him get a call? I mean when there are gays and priestesses who don’t have calls, he may find himself at the bottom of the list and never get a call.

    Just saying.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What if Chap Mike is ordained in the ELCA but is too traditional and none of the bishops will help him get a call? I mean when there are gays and priestesses who don’t have calls, he may find himself at the bottom of the list and never get a call.

    Just saying.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What will Chap Mike find at the ELCA seminaries?

    He won’t be required to believe the Bible or subscribe to the Lutheran confessions, but will he have to absolutely affirm female ordination and gay unions? I mean, priorities, you know.

    They can’t have pastors dissenting from their core heresies, I mean beliefs.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What will Chap Mike find at the ELCA seminaries?

    He won’t be required to believe the Bible or subscribe to the Lutheran confessions, but will he have to absolutely affirm female ordination and gay unions? I mean, priorities, you know.

    They can’t have pastors dissenting from their core heresies, I mean beliefs.

  • fws

    i asked Dr V to delete my post @ 31

    It was unloving , lacked charity, and a blog is not the place to make such a comment. I ask for the forgiveness of all here.

    Thanks.

    I need to take my brain outta park and put my Old Adam on a muzzle before hitting that send key… sigh.

  • fws

    i asked Dr V to delete my post @ 31

    It was unloving , lacked charity, and a blog is not the place to make such a comment. I ask for the forgiveness of all here.

    Thanks.

    I need to take my brain outta park and put my Old Adam on a muzzle before hitting that send key… sigh.

  • larry

    That Lutheran (i.e. true orthodox Christian) confession/doctrine/theology finds itself and its churches battles for the truth is nothing new to true Christian churches. The letters to the churches in Revelation show the variation of doctrinal battles that go on that Satan launches against the true church, and that some potentially do fall away (loose the lamp stand) is at least threatened. This is entirely different than true open confession heterodoxy or false churches (e.g. Reformed, Baptist, etc…), who are churches more akin to the Gnostic and Nicolatian congregations for they no longer have the Word and Sacraments truly given/proclaimed in various ways. They are not true witnesses to the Christian faith but “tolerated” by God as Pieper puts it and those within, their souls, are truly in danger (this is overlooked a LOT because we don’t see the real danger of false doctrine, yet just think of all the unbaptized babies in believers baptism churches where they are taught explicitly or implicitly they are NOT Christians).

    Chaplain has made a move, theologically and doctrinally, from the later (i.e. true heterodoxy & false churches) to the former and that is a great thing. It need not diminish an explicit and un-sugar coated defense of orthodoxy. His move is in the right direction. Keep in mind before hand he suffered the despair of baptism being his work, his faithfulness and not God’s saving, forgiving and giving of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind beforehand he ate only mere bread and wine (likely grape juice) and now he receives the true flesh and blood of Christ Himself FOR the forgiveness of his sins. Keep in mind before hand he mostly rededicated himself again and again at some altar call or similar, where now he receives God’s own voice forgiving him personally. Keep in mind he has moved from where a false confession of faith was at least penned to a true confession of the Christian faith, at least where he may find it physically housed.

    Yes within the household of orthodoxy there is a CONSTANT battle for the truth as Revelation shows, and yes some within that household will fall away, otherwise there would be no apostasy in fact only theory. This is to be expected, scripture predicts this to be so. Or to quote a Baptist minister, because even a broken clock is correct twice a day, Charles H. Spurgeon concerning spiritual warfare within a church, (paraphrased from memory) “…where there is a church in which there is no battle going on, one can be sure who holds the keys to its doors…(the devil)”. The devil does not stroke the feathers of his birds in the wrong direction.

  • larry

    That Lutheran (i.e. true orthodox Christian) confession/doctrine/theology finds itself and its churches battles for the truth is nothing new to true Christian churches. The letters to the churches in Revelation show the variation of doctrinal battles that go on that Satan launches against the true church, and that some potentially do fall away (loose the lamp stand) is at least threatened. This is entirely different than true open confession heterodoxy or false churches (e.g. Reformed, Baptist, etc…), who are churches more akin to the Gnostic and Nicolatian congregations for they no longer have the Word and Sacraments truly given/proclaimed in various ways. They are not true witnesses to the Christian faith but “tolerated” by God as Pieper puts it and those within, their souls, are truly in danger (this is overlooked a LOT because we don’t see the real danger of false doctrine, yet just think of all the unbaptized babies in believers baptism churches where they are taught explicitly or implicitly they are NOT Christians).

    Chaplain has made a move, theologically and doctrinally, from the later (i.e. true heterodoxy & false churches) to the former and that is a great thing. It need not diminish an explicit and un-sugar coated defense of orthodoxy. His move is in the right direction. Keep in mind before hand he suffered the despair of baptism being his work, his faithfulness and not God’s saving, forgiving and giving of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind beforehand he ate only mere bread and wine (likely grape juice) and now he receives the true flesh and blood of Christ Himself FOR the forgiveness of his sins. Keep in mind before hand he mostly rededicated himself again and again at some altar call or similar, where now he receives God’s own voice forgiving him personally. Keep in mind he has moved from where a false confession of faith was at least penned to a true confession of the Christian faith, at least where he may find it physically housed.

    Yes within the household of orthodoxy there is a CONSTANT battle for the truth as Revelation shows, and yes some within that household will fall away, otherwise there would be no apostasy in fact only theory. This is to be expected, scripture predicts this to be so. Or to quote a Baptist minister, because even a broken clock is correct twice a day, Charles H. Spurgeon concerning spiritual warfare within a church, (paraphrased from memory) “…where there is a church in which there is no battle going on, one can be sure who holds the keys to its doors…(the devil)”. The devil does not stroke the feathers of his birds in the wrong direction.

  • SKPeterson

    Hey Frank. It happens. :) I often have two or three logs in my own eyes.

  • SKPeterson

    Hey Frank. It happens. :) I often have two or three logs in my own eyes.

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel, quote from lecture on Thesis XX:
    “…the Word of God is not rightly divided when a person’s salvation is made to depend on his association with the visible orthodox church and when salvation is denied to every person who errs in any article of faith.”

    “It is…an awful mistake to claim that men can be saved only in the Lutheran Church. No one must be induced to join the Lutheran Church because he thinks that only in that way he can get into the Church of God. There are still Christians in the Reformed Church, among the Methodists, yea, among the papists. We have this precious promise in Is. 55, 11: ‘My Word shall not return unto Me void.” Wherever the Word of God is proclaimed and confessed or even recited during the service, the Lord is gathering a people for Himself. The Roman Church, for instance, still confesses that Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to redeem the world. That is truth sufficient to bring a man to the knowledge of salvation. Whoever denies this fact is forced to deny also that there are Christians in some Lutheran communities in which errors have cropped out. But there are always some children of God in these communities because they have the Word of God, which is always bearing fruit in converting some souls to God.”

  • http://concordiaandkoinonia.wordpress.com/ Rev. Mark Schroeder

    C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel, quote from lecture on Thesis XX:
    “…the Word of God is not rightly divided when a person’s salvation is made to depend on his association with the visible orthodox church and when salvation is denied to every person who errs in any article of faith.”

    “It is…an awful mistake to claim that men can be saved only in the Lutheran Church. No one must be induced to join the Lutheran Church because he thinks that only in that way he can get into the Church of God. There are still Christians in the Reformed Church, among the Methodists, yea, among the papists. We have this precious promise in Is. 55, 11: ‘My Word shall not return unto Me void.” Wherever the Word of God is proclaimed and confessed or even recited during the service, the Lord is gathering a people for Himself. The Roman Church, for instance, still confesses that Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to redeem the world. That is truth sufficient to bring a man to the knowledge of salvation. Whoever denies this fact is forced to deny also that there are Christians in some Lutheran communities in which errors have cropped out. But there are always some children of God in these communities because they have the Word of God, which is always bearing fruit in converting some souls to God.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @37 :D Bravo

    Teaching kids the true doctrines of the church, however definitely seems like loving one’s neighbor. Teaching false doctrine while perhaps not damning, certainly isn’t helpful and should be stridently opposed.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @37 :D Bravo

    Teaching kids the true doctrines of the church, however definitely seems like loving one’s neighbor. Teaching false doctrine while perhaps not damning, certainly isn’t helpful and should be stridently opposed.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    “I am blown away that instead of rejoicing at someone who, like me, is finding the tremendous treasures available within the Lutheran tradition, he is being lambasted for joining the wrong branch”

    Lambasted, by some, perhaps. That’s unfortunate.

    As for me, I’m expressing sincere and deep concern that precisely because he wants the treasures of Lutheranism he is now moving into fellowship and even seeking ordination in a church body that has abandoned those treasures in a comprehensive fashion, in what can only be described as a disaster for Lutheranism, and I’m not talking here about mere quibbles, but the most fundamental of doctrinal errors that go to the very heart and soul of what it means to be, and remain, a confessing Lutheran Christian.

    Justification has been compromised with Rome.
    The Real Presence with the Reformed.
    The office of ministry with the Anglicans.

    And add that to the ELCA’s full embrace of all the liberal tenets and dogmas of mainline Protestantism. What does this mean? That every assertion in the most fundamental creeds of the Church are left open to doubt, speculation and outright denial, with the Bible’s authority cast aside and replaced with relativism and liberal indifference and apathy about the very foundations of Christianity.

    Then, to top it all off, the ELCA, as a church body, has fully embraced homosexuality and abortion, on demand, even paying for abortions, without any stipulations or cause, through its official health plans.

    If you love Mike, and regard him as your brother in Christ, I think he deserves better than merely congratulating him that he is now embracing Lutheranism. He deserves our heartfelt expression of concern.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    “I am blown away that instead of rejoicing at someone who, like me, is finding the tremendous treasures available within the Lutheran tradition, he is being lambasted for joining the wrong branch”

    Lambasted, by some, perhaps. That’s unfortunate.

    As for me, I’m expressing sincere and deep concern that precisely because he wants the treasures of Lutheranism he is now moving into fellowship and even seeking ordination in a church body that has abandoned those treasures in a comprehensive fashion, in what can only be described as a disaster for Lutheranism, and I’m not talking here about mere quibbles, but the most fundamental of doctrinal errors that go to the very heart and soul of what it means to be, and remain, a confessing Lutheran Christian.

    Justification has been compromised with Rome.
    The Real Presence with the Reformed.
    The office of ministry with the Anglicans.

    And add that to the ELCA’s full embrace of all the liberal tenets and dogmas of mainline Protestantism. What does this mean? That every assertion in the most fundamental creeds of the Church are left open to doubt, speculation and outright denial, with the Bible’s authority cast aside and replaced with relativism and liberal indifference and apathy about the very foundations of Christianity.

    Then, to top it all off, the ELCA, as a church body, has fully embraced homosexuality and abortion, on demand, even paying for abortions, without any stipulations or cause, through its official health plans.

    If you love Mike, and regard him as your brother in Christ, I think he deserves better than merely congratulating him that he is now embracing Lutheranism. He deserves our heartfelt expression of concern.

  • Joe

    The fundamental problem with this issue is that the ELCA – as a national body – is not Lutheran. Of course there are local congregations that have maintained orthodox Lutheranism and of course their are members of the “invisible church” in the ELCA pews. So, when I see that Chaplin Mike is seeking ordination in the ELCA, the leap of joy my heart took upon learning that he found the truth of the Gospel in Lutheranism, ended with a face plant.

    I speak with some personal experience in this issue. I grew up in the ELCA. My church was traditional, liturgical and as best as a kid can tell solid in its beliefs. As junior high aged kid, I watched my congregation vote to follow its Synod into the new ELCA. As I grew up, the doctrine of the church changed (or perhaps I got old enough to see the problems). I married a Pentecostal who informed me that there was no way she would join the ELCA. I wanted to keep my family in Lutheranism, I began to research. At first my goal was to prove my wife wrong – to prove that the ELCA was a solid Lutheran church. Instead, I proved myself wrong and after reading the some of materials used at the ELCA’s seminaries, reading the information on their website, looking at whom they are in Alter and Pulpit fellowship with it became clear that the ELCA had gone off the rails. It is no longer a Lutheran Body. Its level of adherence to the Book of Concord could be confessed by any Reformed pastor. Its use of Luther is historic only and its recent perversion of “bound conscious” is completely at odds with Sola Scriptura. Around the same time I was doing my research, the congregation I grew up in called a female priestess. I would attend when I was home visiting and the services became essentially meaningless. Not meaningless TO ME but completely devoid of substance and meaning. There was a sister congregation that was actually closer to home and we went there a couple of times with my folks too. It was no better, it could not really be better because I now knew what the national body confessed (or perhaps more accurately, did not confess).

    My wife and I settled in the LCMS – I knew there were issues, but the WELS and ELS view of the Office of Holy Ministry was a bridge too far.

    After that, I spent the next 10 years of my life, fighting, pleading, praying, etc. trying to convince my father to lead the rest of my family out of the ELCA. After a decade, he did. He lead them to the WELS. This decade was the darkest period of my relationship with my father – it almost ended it. Church was a huge part of who we were as a family, in many ways it was our identity. The congregation that we left was the center of life for my family since the day my great-grandparents and their neighbors built the church in 1888. When they got of the boat from Norway they built the barn first, the church second and their home third.

    So, while I am glad that evangelicals are finding the Gospel in Lutheran doctrine, I am sad that they are joining a national church body that has rejected it. Do we in Missouri have issues – yes of course. Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!!!!! (I’m Norwegian :) ). But I am perplexed at how someone searching for the Truth could seek to be a pastor in a church body that uses as its seminary text, Christian Dogmatics, by Braaten/Jensen. That text contains some flat out denials of Christ and His redemptive work. For example:

    ““Finally, the history and phenomenology of religions have called our attention to the mythic character of the incarnation. The notion of the preexistent Son of God becoming a human being in the womb of a virgin and then returning to heavenly home is bound up with the mythological picture of the world that clashes with our modern scientific world view.”

    “But what is the import of this tradition put in its most crass form, this view would hold that Jesus’ death is a sacrifice in which he is a substitute for us who pays the divine justice what is due for human sin and /or appeases the divine wrath. As we shall see, there is a long tradition, especially among Western conservative Christians, which has taken this line. There seems to be a virtual consensus among contemporary biblical scholars, however, that this tradition finds little support in the Scriptures, either in the Old or New Testament.”

  • Joe

    The fundamental problem with this issue is that the ELCA – as a national body – is not Lutheran. Of course there are local congregations that have maintained orthodox Lutheranism and of course their are members of the “invisible church” in the ELCA pews. So, when I see that Chaplin Mike is seeking ordination in the ELCA, the leap of joy my heart took upon learning that he found the truth of the Gospel in Lutheranism, ended with a face plant.

    I speak with some personal experience in this issue. I grew up in the ELCA. My church was traditional, liturgical and as best as a kid can tell solid in its beliefs. As junior high aged kid, I watched my congregation vote to follow its Synod into the new ELCA. As I grew up, the doctrine of the church changed (or perhaps I got old enough to see the problems). I married a Pentecostal who informed me that there was no way she would join the ELCA. I wanted to keep my family in Lutheranism, I began to research. At first my goal was to prove my wife wrong – to prove that the ELCA was a solid Lutheran church. Instead, I proved myself wrong and after reading the some of materials used at the ELCA’s seminaries, reading the information on their website, looking at whom they are in Alter and Pulpit fellowship with it became clear that the ELCA had gone off the rails. It is no longer a Lutheran Body. Its level of adherence to the Book of Concord could be confessed by any Reformed pastor. Its use of Luther is historic only and its recent perversion of “bound conscious” is completely at odds with Sola Scriptura. Around the same time I was doing my research, the congregation I grew up in called a female priestess. I would attend when I was home visiting and the services became essentially meaningless. Not meaningless TO ME but completely devoid of substance and meaning. There was a sister congregation that was actually closer to home and we went there a couple of times with my folks too. It was no better, it could not really be better because I now knew what the national body confessed (or perhaps more accurately, did not confess).

    My wife and I settled in the LCMS – I knew there were issues, but the WELS and ELS view of the Office of Holy Ministry was a bridge too far.

    After that, I spent the next 10 years of my life, fighting, pleading, praying, etc. trying to convince my father to lead the rest of my family out of the ELCA. After a decade, he did. He lead them to the WELS. This decade was the darkest period of my relationship with my father – it almost ended it. Church was a huge part of who we were as a family, in many ways it was our identity. The congregation that we left was the center of life for my family since the day my great-grandparents and their neighbors built the church in 1888. When they got of the boat from Norway they built the barn first, the church second and their home third.

    So, while I am glad that evangelicals are finding the Gospel in Lutheran doctrine, I am sad that they are joining a national church body that has rejected it. Do we in Missouri have issues – yes of course. Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!!!!! (I’m Norwegian :) ). But I am perplexed at how someone searching for the Truth could seek to be a pastor in a church body that uses as its seminary text, Christian Dogmatics, by Braaten/Jensen. That text contains some flat out denials of Christ and His redemptive work. For example:

    ““Finally, the history and phenomenology of religions have called our attention to the mythic character of the incarnation. The notion of the preexistent Son of God becoming a human being in the womb of a virgin and then returning to heavenly home is bound up with the mythological picture of the world that clashes with our modern scientific world view.”

    “But what is the import of this tradition put in its most crass form, this view would hold that Jesus’ death is a sacrifice in which he is a substitute for us who pays the divine justice what is due for human sin and /or appeases the divine wrath. As we shall see, there is a long tradition, especially among Western conservative Christians, which has taken this line. There seems to be a virtual consensus among contemporary biblical scholars, however, that this tradition finds little support in the Scriptures, either in the Old or New Testament.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Joe, your story sounds so much like my husband’s. He has just started working on his mother. She is 82. Now that our older son is confirmed, we no longer go to her ELCA church when we visit her. She comes with us to an LCMS church near her house.

    “Do we in Missouri have issues – yes of course. Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!”

    There is a grain of truth here. The first time I went to my husband’s ELCA church 25 years ago, no one said hello to me, nor did they say anything else. I was stunned. I was a 19 year old girl. I was used to everyone being friendly to me, especially coming from a baptist background in the South.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Joe, your story sounds so much like my husband’s. He has just started working on his mother. She is 82. Now that our older son is confirmed, we no longer go to her ELCA church when we visit her. She comes with us to an LCMS church near her house.

    “Do we in Missouri have issues – yes of course. Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!”

    There is a grain of truth here. The first time I went to my husband’s ELCA church 25 years ago, no one said hello to me, nor did they say anything else. I was stunned. I was a 19 year old girl. I was used to everyone being friendly to me, especially coming from a baptist background in the South.

  • Dan

    Rev. McCain, I thank you for “speaking truth in love” to Chap. Mike. I haven’t found anything you’ve said to be rude or mean-spirited.

    Joe, I thank you as well for your insightful comments.

  • Dan

    Rev. McCain, I thank you for “speaking truth in love” to Chap. Mike. I haven’t found anything you’ve said to be rude or mean-spirited.

    Joe, I thank you as well for your insightful comments.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Presently, it seems increasingly difficult to mount a non-hypocritcal argument against Chaplain Mike joining the ELCA when the LCMS itself permits one of itsrecognized service organizations in Illinois to faciliate the adoption of children into same-sex couple contexts.

    Open communion, divorced clergy, etc., not withstanding.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Presently, it seems increasingly difficult to mount a non-hypocritcal argument against Chaplain Mike joining the ELCA when the LCMS itself permits one of itsrecognized service organizations in Illinois to faciliate the adoption of children into same-sex couple contexts.

    Open communion, divorced clergy, etc., not withstanding.

  • –helen

    SK @ 28
    Want a conservative, traditional pastor willing to communicate the grace of God in Word and Sacrament? Why would you want to be so dated? We are responding to new moves of the Spirit. Besides, we don’t have anyone like that on our fully vetted call list in this synod for you to choose from. Sorry, take what we give, or you’re on your own.

    We have that problem in LCMS, too. If the congregation wants a confessional Pastor, it needs to know some Pastors who can help it make an end run around that District “list”. They can’t make you use the “list”, you know, (but they’ll try).

    [BTW, for the person who commented on "good liturgy; bad pulpit theology", if I say "traditional liturgical service" I mean that I expect to hear law and Gospel, rightly divided, from the pulpit, too.]

    Pr. McCain, I seem to be seeing you often on Google [Plus]
    Maybe I’ll come across that topic one day?

  • –helen

    SK @ 28
    Want a conservative, traditional pastor willing to communicate the grace of God in Word and Sacrament? Why would you want to be so dated? We are responding to new moves of the Spirit. Besides, we don’t have anyone like that on our fully vetted call list in this synod for you to choose from. Sorry, take what we give, or you’re on your own.

    We have that problem in LCMS, too. If the congregation wants a confessional Pastor, it needs to know some Pastors who can help it make an end run around that District “list”. They can’t make you use the “list”, you know, (but they’ll try).

    [BTW, for the person who commented on "good liturgy; bad pulpit theology", if I say "traditional liturgical service" I mean that I expect to hear law and Gospel, rightly divided, from the pulpit, too.]

    Pr. McCain, I seem to be seeing you often on Google [Plus]
    Maybe I’ll come across that topic one day?

  • Tom Hering

    Something we haven’t considered. That it’s God who’s calling Chaplain Mike to be a pastor to an ELCA congregation. Or is that impossible because it’s the ELCA? Doesn’t some congregation somewhere need a solidly Lutheran pastor? Which I’m presuming Chaplain Mike will be, based on the good evidence of his current IM series.

  • Tom Hering

    Something we haven’t considered. That it’s God who’s calling Chaplain Mike to be a pastor to an ELCA congregation. Or is that impossible because it’s the ELCA? Doesn’t some congregation somewhere need a solidly Lutheran pastor? Which I’m presuming Chaplain Mike will be, based on the good evidence of his current IM series.

  • Joe

    Tom – you raise a good point. But I guess my response would be, to ask if God would call a man into the ELCA if that meant the man would have to confess what the ELCA confesses (or doesn’t confess). I don’t know how to begin to answer that question, but it seems kind of analogous to the women who are convinced that they are called into the pastoral office. We know they believe it, but we also know it ain’t God whose calling ….

  • Joe

    Tom – you raise a good point. But I guess my response would be, to ask if God would call a man into the ELCA if that meant the man would have to confess what the ELCA confesses (or doesn’t confess). I don’t know how to begin to answer that question, but it seems kind of analogous to the women who are convinced that they are called into the pastoral office. We know they believe it, but we also know it ain’t God whose calling ….

  • WebMonk

    Robert 42,

    Presently, it seems increasingly difficult to mount a non-hypocritcal argument against Chaplain Mike joining the ELCA when the LCMS itself permits one of its recognized service organizations in Illinois to faciliate the adoption of children into same-sex couple contexts.

    Nonsense Robert! Just repeat after me:
    “I thank you God that I’m not as bad as the ELCA.”
    :-D

  • WebMonk

    Robert 42,

    Presently, it seems increasingly difficult to mount a non-hypocritcal argument against Chaplain Mike joining the ELCA when the LCMS itself permits one of its recognized service organizations in Illinois to faciliate the adoption of children into same-sex couple contexts.

    Nonsense Robert! Just repeat after me:
    “I thank you God that I’m not as bad as the ELCA.”
    :-D

  • SKPeterson

    Robert @42/WM @46: Remember – the beam in your eye makes a very convenient stick with which to beat your opponents into submission!

  • SKPeterson

    Robert @42/WM @46: Remember – the beam in your eye makes a very convenient stick with which to beat your opponents into submission!

  • Grace

    When the ELCA officially approved of homosexual clergy, it crossed a line that doesn’t come close to aligning itself with the HOLY Scriptures. This by itself would prohibit anyone from joining their ranks, be it a congregant, OR a pastor —- IF he knew and understood Scripture. Homosexuality is not compatible with even the slightest stench of agreeing to such a sin, either in membership, and most shocking a pastor.

    What I’m reading is – Hooray that Chaplain Mike as joined the ranks of the Lutheran Church, even if it allows a sinful practice, either in the congregants, or the pulpit.

    As was stated earlier by Dr. Veith ……… “Some of them were as therapeutic and as “theology of glory” and as “power of positive thinking” oriented as Joel Osteen.”

    What’s the difference? – he preaches a false gospel, no different than a church (by whatever name) preaches that homosexuality can stand behind the pulpit, and those who are homosexual can join their church.

    Sin creeps into the churches, be it in a sly way, or right out in the open as the ELCA, ….. and anyone of you think its just grand, just because the church has the name Lutheran on the front?

    I say, it is better to be for-warned and for-armed, in this day of APOSTASY!

  • Grace

    When the ELCA officially approved of homosexual clergy, it crossed a line that doesn’t come close to aligning itself with the HOLY Scriptures. This by itself would prohibit anyone from joining their ranks, be it a congregant, OR a pastor —- IF he knew and understood Scripture. Homosexuality is not compatible with even the slightest stench of agreeing to such a sin, either in membership, and most shocking a pastor.

    What I’m reading is – Hooray that Chaplain Mike as joined the ranks of the Lutheran Church, even if it allows a sinful practice, either in the congregants, or the pulpit.

    As was stated earlier by Dr. Veith ……… “Some of them were as therapeutic and as “theology of glory” and as “power of positive thinking” oriented as Joel Osteen.”

    What’s the difference? – he preaches a false gospel, no different than a church (by whatever name) preaches that homosexuality can stand behind the pulpit, and those who are homosexual can join their church.

    Sin creeps into the churches, be it in a sly way, or right out in the open as the ELCA, ….. and anyone of you think its just grand, just because the church has the name Lutheran on the front?

    I say, it is better to be for-warned and for-armed, in this day of APOSTASY!

  • Grace

    Webmonk @ 46

    YOU WROTE: Nonsense Robert! Just repeat after me:
    “I thank you God that I’m not as bad as the ELCA.

    Nonsense – we are to call out false teaching, Robert was doing just that, and you make fun of him? – because he has the backbone to stand up against sinful practices?

  • Grace

    Webmonk @ 46

    YOU WROTE: Nonsense Robert! Just repeat after me:
    “I thank you God that I’m not as bad as the ELCA.

    Nonsense – we are to call out false teaching, Robert was doing just that, and you make fun of him? – because he has the backbone to stand up against sinful practices?

  • Jon

    It’ll be interesting to read Mike’s explanation for his point of entry.

    I wonder if it also has to do with other LCMS stances on Biblical inerrancy and, specifically, the creation account wherein we affirm creation of the universe and everything in it in 6 solar days.

    I remember some IM posts where Mike shows he is not of that mind.

  • Jon

    It’ll be interesting to read Mike’s explanation for his point of entry.

    I wonder if it also has to do with other LCMS stances on Biblical inerrancy and, specifically, the creation account wherein we affirm creation of the universe and everything in it in 6 solar days.

    I remember some IM posts where Mike shows he is not of that mind.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Grace @49: Perhaps Webmonk’s irony escaped you, or has yours escaped me? :-)

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Grace @49: Perhaps Webmonk’s irony escaped you, or has yours escaped me? :-)

  • Grace

    Robert @ 51

    YOU WROTE: “Grace @49: Perhaps Webmonk’s irony escaped you, or has yours escaped me?”

    Nothing escaped me Robert. The style that was employed by Webmonk was not humorous, nor did have any rhetorical effective sense – the subject at hand is too important to throw a passage from Scripture as a defense or used, as sarcastic trimmings.

  • Grace

    Robert @ 51

    YOU WROTE: “Grace @49: Perhaps Webmonk’s irony escaped you, or has yours escaped me?”

    Nothing escaped me Robert. The style that was employed by Webmonk was not humorous, nor did have any rhetorical effective sense – the subject at hand is too important to throw a passage from Scripture as a defense or used, as sarcastic trimmings.

  • Jonathan

    Jon’s observations @50 agree with mine.
    C. Mike’s postings at IM indicate he does not agree that Genesis 1 must be read to describe a literal, 6-day account, and he does not object to women in the pastorate. Such views appear to be deal-breakers in the LCMS, though I don’t presume to represent them as Mike’s only concerns about what some call “the Misery synod.”

  • Jonathan

    Jon’s observations @50 agree with mine.
    C. Mike’s postings at IM indicate he does not agree that Genesis 1 must be read to describe a literal, 6-day account, and he does not object to women in the pastorate. Such views appear to be deal-breakers in the LCMS, though I don’t presume to represent them as Mike’s only concerns about what some call “the Misery synod.”

  • Mike

    I visit this blog regularly to see the views of a Lutheran brother (I discovered Veith through Tabletalk magazine). I may be wrong, but I feel that what is being said is that traditional Lutheran liturgy is more important than being Biblical (on issues like the role of women and homosexuality). I am very sad at the state of the church today. I’ve often been discouraged by the political comments made here by people I assumed were believers, but this post has completely pushed me away. I doubt I’ll be back.

  • Mike

    I visit this blog regularly to see the views of a Lutheran brother (I discovered Veith through Tabletalk magazine). I may be wrong, but I feel that what is being said is that traditional Lutheran liturgy is more important than being Biblical (on issues like the role of women and homosexuality). I am very sad at the state of the church today. I’ve often been discouraged by the political comments made here by people I assumed were believers, but this post has completely pushed me away. I doubt I’ll be back.

  • Tom Hering

    “… [would God] call a man into the ELCA if that meant the man would have to confess what the ELCA confesses (or doesn’t confess).” – @ 45.

    Joe, keep in mind the sort of church and confession that God called Luther to. Some of us would have tried to talk the young man out of it; but God’s ways aren’t our ways. The Gospel is still present in the ELCA, as it was in Rome, and the right men are needed to proclaim it – even if it doesn’t result in a heterodox church being reformed (as it didn’t in Luther’s case, and probably won’t in Chaplain Mike’s case).

    “… he does not agree that Genesis 1 must be read to describe a literal, 6-day account, and he does not object to women in the pastorate.” – @ 53.

    Jonathan, that’s why the ELCA would be a better fit for him. Why should he make himself miserable by choosing Missouri? Or make us in the LCMS more miserable with his views on these issues? :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “… [would God] call a man into the ELCA if that meant the man would have to confess what the ELCA confesses (or doesn’t confess).” – @ 45.

    Joe, keep in mind the sort of church and confession that God called Luther to. Some of us would have tried to talk the young man out of it; but God’s ways aren’t our ways. The Gospel is still present in the ELCA, as it was in Rome, and the right men are needed to proclaim it – even if it doesn’t result in a heterodox church being reformed (as it didn’t in Luther’s case, and probably won’t in Chaplain Mike’s case).

    “… he does not agree that Genesis 1 must be read to describe a literal, 6-day account, and he does not object to women in the pastorate.” – @ 53.

    Jonathan, that’s why the ELCA would be a better fit for him. Why should he make himself miserable by choosing Missouri? Or make us in the LCMS more miserable with his views on these issues? :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Mike @ 54, I doubt there’s ever been a day when the state of the Church wasn’t discouraging. Starting from day one. Or that there will ever be a day when it isn’t discouraging. Until the last day.

  • Tom Hering

    Mike @ 54, I doubt there’s ever been a day when the state of the Church wasn’t discouraging. Starting from day one. Or that there will ever be a day when it isn’t discouraging. Until the last day.

  • Joe

    Thanks Tom – your response adds much. I wonder if there is a difference? For Luther, any call was going to be into the RC as it was the only game in town. Luther himself either did not acknowledge or know of the errors until his study of Romans and trip to Rome. Nothing is unknown re: the ELCA and the ELCA is not the only Lutheran option. Just thinking aloud ….

  • Joe

    Thanks Tom – your response adds much. I wonder if there is a difference? For Luther, any call was going to be into the RC as it was the only game in town. Luther himself either did not acknowledge or know of the errors until his study of Romans and trip to Rome. Nothing is unknown re: the ELCA and the ELCA is not the only Lutheran option. Just thinking aloud ….

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, I agree there are options now that didn’t exist back then, but the point is the Gospel. It needs men to proclaim it, wherever it can be proclaimed. From the evidence, that’s what I think Chaplain Mike is going to be all about when he becomes an ELCA pastor.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, I agree there are options now that didn’t exist back then, but the point is the Gospel. It needs men to proclaim it, wherever it can be proclaimed. From the evidence, that’s what I think Chaplain Mike is going to be all about when he becomes an ELCA pastor.

  • Grace

    Mike @ 54

    “I may be wrong, but I feel that what is being said is that traditional Lutheran liturgy is more important than being Biblical (on issues like the role of women and homosexuality). I am very sad at the state of the church today.”

    I too am saddened by many churches today, who have taken a stance which is not Biblical, but rather dependent upon their “liturgy” and ‘extra books, along side the Word of God, add to that, outright acceptance of sinful practices in defiance of God’s Word.

    One can point to the Joel Osteen’s of this world, which are glaring, but deny what is in their own midst which is contrary to Scripture – embracing it, as a friendly gesture, when in fact it is the APOSTASY that is spoken of in Scripture.

  • Grace

    Mike @ 54

    “I may be wrong, but I feel that what is being said is that traditional Lutheran liturgy is more important than being Biblical (on issues like the role of women and homosexuality). I am very sad at the state of the church today.”

    I too am saddened by many churches today, who have taken a stance which is not Biblical, but rather dependent upon their “liturgy” and ‘extra books, along side the Word of God, add to that, outright acceptance of sinful practices in defiance of God’s Word.

    One can point to the Joel Osteen’s of this world, which are glaring, but deny what is in their own midst which is contrary to Scripture – embracing it, as a friendly gesture, when in fact it is the APOSTASY that is spoken of in Scripture.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Mike @54, for some “confessional Lutherans” (not real ones, of course), the touchstone of orthodoxy indeed has been reduced to liturgical conformity. Which is how they get away with denying the substitutionary atonement of Christ, biblical inerrancy, the third use of the law, and so on.

  • http://www.bioethike.com Robert

    Mike @54, for some “confessional Lutherans” (not real ones, of course), the touchstone of orthodoxy indeed has been reduced to liturgical conformity. Which is how they get away with denying the substitutionary atonement of Christ, biblical inerrancy, the third use of the law, and so on.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Ok, I’m very confused. We are expected to rejoice when someone joins a denomination that thinks it’s ok to murder babies in mother’s wombs?? Just bc they take the sacrament properly?? Which we don’t even believe the elca takes the sacrament properly.
    I’m not being sarcastic here, but please tell me why this is a moment of celebration?

  • Purple Koolaid

    Ok, I’m very confused. We are expected to rejoice when someone joins a denomination that thinks it’s ok to murder babies in mother’s wombs?? Just bc they take the sacrament properly?? Which we don’t even believe the elca takes the sacrament properly.
    I’m not being sarcastic here, but please tell me why this is a moment of celebration?

  • Tom Hering

    “… please tell me why this is a moment of celebration?”- @ 61.

    PK, because Chaplain Mike now knows what the Gospel is and isn’t, and is going to proclaim it as a pastor someday.

  • Tom Hering

    “… please tell me why this is a moment of celebration?”- @ 61.

    PK, because Chaplain Mike now knows what the Gospel is and isn’t, and is going to proclaim it as a pastor someday.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 62

    You wrote: “PK, because Chaplain Mike now knows what the Gospel is and isn’t, and is going to proclaim it as a pastor someday.”

    IF, Chaplain Mike knew what the Gospel is, what it says, then he would not enter into a church that agrees that homosexual pastors, and female pastors are Scriptural, and accepts them as such. The point being he doesn’t know what the Bible states.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 62

    You wrote: “PK, because Chaplain Mike now knows what the Gospel is and isn’t, and is going to proclaim it as a pastor someday.”

    IF, Chaplain Mike knew what the Gospel is, what it says, then he would not enter into a church that agrees that homosexual pastors, and female pastors are Scriptural, and accepts them as such. The point being he doesn’t know what the Bible states.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, I take your argument to be that Chaplain Mike can’t possibly grasp the Gospel if he doesn’t take certain stands on certain issues. Or that he can’t possibly proclaim the Gospel if he also promotes certain errors. This is flat-out wrong, though I’m more likely to agree with you on these issues than I am with someone in the ELCA.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, I take your argument to be that Chaplain Mike can’t possibly grasp the Gospel if he doesn’t take certain stands on certain issues. Or that he can’t possibly proclaim the Gospel if he also promotes certain errors. This is flat-out wrong, though I’m more likely to agree with you on these issues than I am with someone in the ELCA.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 64

    YOU WROTE: “Grace, I take your argument to be that Chaplain Mike can’t possibly grasp the Gospel if he doesn’t take certain stands on certain issues. Or that he can’t possibly proclaim the Gospel if he also promotes certain errors. “

    You hit the point right on top. No one, after careful study can agree with homosexuality, worse yet, homosexual pastors in the pulpit of their chosen church, after studying the Scriptures. IF THEY DO, they are no different than Osteen, and the Emergent group.

    Chaplain Mike has a very skewed idea of the Gospel, joining hands with a Lutheran group which accepts homosexual pastors, in the pulpit.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 64

    YOU WROTE: “Grace, I take your argument to be that Chaplain Mike can’t possibly grasp the Gospel if he doesn’t take certain stands on certain issues. Or that he can’t possibly proclaim the Gospel if he also promotes certain errors. “

    You hit the point right on top. No one, after careful study can agree with homosexuality, worse yet, homosexual pastors in the pulpit of their chosen church, after studying the Scriptures. IF THEY DO, they are no different than Osteen, and the Emergent group.

    Chaplain Mike has a very skewed idea of the Gospel, joining hands with a Lutheran group which accepts homosexual pastors, in the pulpit.

  • Jonathan

    Odd that, when a person denies that Christ in the sacraments, he’s still a Christian, but when he shows indifferences toward whether a pastor is a man or woman, he doesn’t know the gospel.

  • Jonathan

    Odd that, when a person denies that Christ in the sacraments, he’s still a Christian, but when he shows indifferences toward whether a pastor is a man or woman, he doesn’t know the gospel.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, no, Chaplain Mike has a very good grasp of the Gospel now (judging from his posts at IM). But then you – being Evangelical (Calvary Chapel) – don’t understand “gospel” the same way a Lutheran does. So we’re going to be talking past each other on this one. As usual. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, no, Chaplain Mike has a very good grasp of the Gospel now (judging from his posts at IM). But then you – being Evangelical (Calvary Chapel) – don’t understand “gospel” the same way a Lutheran does. So we’re going to be talking past each other on this one. As usual. :-D

  • Grace

    Tom @ 67

    You don’t understand Calvary Chapel, except for what you read on Google, that’s your main problem.

    The Gospel is written within the pages of the Word of God – I understand what it says, anyone can study the Word for themselves, but many opt out in favor of books written by men, accepting what they say. Liturgy then becomes more important than the Bible, God’s inerrant Word. It’s a shame, but true.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 67

    You don’t understand Calvary Chapel, except for what you read on Google, that’s your main problem.

    The Gospel is written within the pages of the Word of God – I understand what it says, anyone can study the Word for themselves, but many opt out in favor of books written by men, accepting what they say. Liturgy then becomes more important than the Bible, God’s inerrant Word. It’s a shame, but true.

  • Grace

    Jonathan @66

    Who denies that Christ is not in the sacraments?

  • Grace

    Jonathan @66

    Who denies that Christ is not in the sacraments?

  • Tom Hering

    Grace @ 68, you have no idea what my main problem is. I could be a lycanthrope for all you know. But why are you trying to make this about some Christians placing liturgy above the Gospel? Who does that? How do they do it? Especially when the liturgy is all about the Gospel? Again, I think your different definition of “gospel” is causing you to miss what we’re actually discussing here. When we say we’re happy Chaplain Mike has turned to Lutheranism, we’re just saying we’re happy he’s grasped the Gospel. As Lutherans understand it. Which is the right way. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Grace @ 68, you have no idea what my main problem is. I could be a lycanthrope for all you know. But why are you trying to make this about some Christians placing liturgy above the Gospel? Who does that? How do they do it? Especially when the liturgy is all about the Gospel? Again, I think your different definition of “gospel” is causing you to miss what we’re actually discussing here. When we say we’re happy Chaplain Mike has turned to Lutheranism, we’re just saying we’re happy he’s grasped the Gospel. As Lutherans understand it. Which is the right way. :-D

  • Grace

    Tom

    YOU WROTE: “When we say we’re happy Chaplain Mike has turned to Lutheranism, we’re just saying we’re happy he’s grasped the Gospel. As Lutherans understand it. Which is the right way”

    What’s right about homosexual pastors, or evolution? So that’s OK, Chaplain Mike has not ‘GOT IT …. but ‘GOT IT WRONG!

    The ELCA doesn’t have it right, it’s no different than the PCUSA, they are traveling the same path.

    YOU WROTE: “But why are you trying to make this about some Christians placing liturgy above the Gospel? Who does that? How do they do it?

    Read below:

    Dr. Veith wrote: “What percentage of LCMS congregations do you think follow the historical Lutheran liturgy? Half? Less than half? In some areas of the country, far less than that? “

    NOTICE: the Word of God is not mentioned, but “historical Lutheran liturgy” is. That’s what is referred to above, not the Bible.

  • Grace

    Tom

    YOU WROTE: “When we say we’re happy Chaplain Mike has turned to Lutheranism, we’re just saying we’re happy he’s grasped the Gospel. As Lutherans understand it. Which is the right way”

    What’s right about homosexual pastors, or evolution? So that’s OK, Chaplain Mike has not ‘GOT IT …. but ‘GOT IT WRONG!

    The ELCA doesn’t have it right, it’s no different than the PCUSA, they are traveling the same path.

    YOU WROTE: “But why are you trying to make this about some Christians placing liturgy above the Gospel? Who does that? How do they do it?

    Read below:

    Dr. Veith wrote: “What percentage of LCMS congregations do you think follow the historical Lutheran liturgy? Half? Less than half? In some areas of the country, far less than that? “

    NOTICE: the Word of God is not mentioned, but “historical Lutheran liturgy” is. That’s what is referred to above, not the Bible.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, the Gospel isn’t about evolution or homosexuality. It’s about God freely forgiving sins by grace through faith in Christ alone. Period.

    I think you still fail to understand that the traditional Lutheran liturgy is all about the Gospel, because it’s all about Christ, as he’s revealed in Scripture. How then can the traditional Lutheran liturgy be in opposition to the Bible, or placed above it? It’s entirely dependent on the Bible.

  • Tom Hering

    Grace, the Gospel isn’t about evolution or homosexuality. It’s about God freely forgiving sins by grace through faith in Christ alone. Period.

    I think you still fail to understand that the traditional Lutheran liturgy is all about the Gospel, because it’s all about Christ, as he’s revealed in Scripture. How then can the traditional Lutheran liturgy be in opposition to the Bible, or placed above it? It’s entirely dependent on the Bible.

  • Tom Hering

    The traditional Lutheran liturgy tells the same story the Bible tells. Proclaims the same truths the Bible proclaims.

  • Tom Hering

    The traditional Lutheran liturgy tells the same story the Bible tells. Proclaims the same truths the Bible proclaims.

  • Joe

    Grace – I think I am seeing why you and Tom are not getting each other. You seem to think that the Word of God and the Gospel are the same thing. When in actually, the Gospel is part of the Word of God. The Word of God also contains the Law, which is by definition not the Gospel. So understanding this you can see how one might understand the Gospel but still not correctly understand or believe the entirety of the Word.

  • Joe

    Grace – I think I am seeing why you and Tom are not getting each other. You seem to think that the Word of God and the Gospel are the same thing. When in actually, the Gospel is part of the Word of God. The Word of God also contains the Law, which is by definition not the Gospel. So understanding this you can see how one might understand the Gospel but still not correctly understand or believe the entirety of the Word.

  • Tom Hering

    Spot on, Joe. Thanks. The whole of the Law doesn’t convict all at once. In anyone’s case.

  • Tom Hering

    Spot on, Joe. Thanks. The whole of the Law doesn’t convict all at once. In anyone’s case.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Tom, so now that he has the gospel right, shouldn’t we take him to a denomination that gets loving his neighbor right??

    I find nothing more unconscienable, in modern times, than the murder of baby boys and girls, safe in their mother’s wombs.

    Pro-abortion denominations, no matter how good the rest of their theology, liturgy, youthgroups, tapestries can be, are a major TURN-OFF to prolife evangelicals. I’m just sayin’.

  • Purple Koolaid

    Tom, so now that he has the gospel right, shouldn’t we take him to a denomination that gets loving his neighbor right??

    I find nothing more unconscienable, in modern times, than the murder of baby boys and girls, safe in their mother’s wombs.

    Pro-abortion denominations, no matter how good the rest of their theology, liturgy, youthgroups, tapestries can be, are a major TURN-OFF to prolife evangelicals. I’m just sayin’.

  • Purple Koolaid

    unconscionable, that is.

  • Purple Koolaid

    unconscionable, that is.

  • Helen K.

    following….

  • Helen K.

    following….

  • Tom Hering

    PK @ 76, see my comment @ 75. These things take time, and require that we be patient. That’s loving your neighbor, too.

  • Tom Hering

    PK @ 76, see my comment @ 75. These things take time, and require that we be patient. That’s loving your neighbor, too.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 72

    Maybe you will never understand.

    As Dr. Veith wrote: “The problem in American Lutheranism has always been the temptation to conform to some variety of American Protestantism–whether mainline liberal (the ELCA’s temptation) or generic evangelicalism (the LCMS’s temptation)–rather than just being Lutheran.

    “Just being Lutheran” is not key, the label is not respectful, because the LORD Jesus offered Himself on the Cross, we are Christians, Believers – I label myself as a “Born Again Christian” as Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3, or a Christian Believer, not after the name of a man. Isn’t Christ worthy of bearing HIS Name as our Label?

    Liturgy is defined as:

    A prescribed form or set of forms for public religious worship.

    YOU WROTE: “How then can the traditional Lutheran liturgy be in opposition to the Bible, or placed above it? It’s entirely dependent on the Bible.”

    Why not read the Scriptures? instead of a pre-ordained liturgy? Did Christ ever speak of anything such as a ‘liturgy when assembling ourselves together to Worship HIM? The LORD had much to say about Worship, but HE never gave us a set of forms to follow.

  • Grace

    Tom @ 72

    Maybe you will never understand.

    As Dr. Veith wrote: “The problem in American Lutheranism has always been the temptation to conform to some variety of American Protestantism–whether mainline liberal (the ELCA’s temptation) or generic evangelicalism (the LCMS’s temptation)–rather than just being Lutheran.

    “Just being Lutheran” is not key, the label is not respectful, because the LORD Jesus offered Himself on the Cross, we are Christians, Believers – I label myself as a “Born Again Christian” as Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3, or a Christian Believer, not after the name of a man. Isn’t Christ worthy of bearing HIS Name as our Label?

    Liturgy is defined as:

    A prescribed form or set of forms for public religious worship.

    YOU WROTE: “How then can the traditional Lutheran liturgy be in opposition to the Bible, or placed above it? It’s entirely dependent on the Bible.”

    Why not read the Scriptures? instead of a pre-ordained liturgy? Did Christ ever speak of anything such as a ‘liturgy when assembling ourselves together to Worship HIM? The LORD had much to say about Worship, but HE never gave us a set of forms to follow.

  • Tom Hering

    Oy.

  • Tom Hering

    Oy.

  • SKPeterson

    And doble vey.

  • SKPeterson

    And doble vey.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why not read the Scriptures? instead of a pre-ordained liturgy?

    liturgy is scripture.

    I mean no church service can read the whole Bible, so you have to pick some, and some verses and passages get used very often. The liturgy is just more orderly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why not read the Scriptures? instead of a pre-ordained liturgy?

    liturgy is scripture.

    I mean no church service can read the whole Bible, so you have to pick some, and some verses and passages get used very often. The liturgy is just more orderly.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @80 When Paul wrote concerning orderly worship. The word he used was liturgia. All liturgy is is an orderly proclamation of God’s work and giving of His gifts.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @80 When Paul wrote concerning orderly worship. The word he used was liturgia. All liturgy is is an orderly proclamation of God’s work and giving of His gifts.

  • Grace

    21st Century @ 84

    Are you speaking of 1 Corinthians 14? If you are, this is about gifts, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc.

  • Grace

    21st Century @ 84

    Are you speaking of 1 Corinthians 14? If you are, this is about gifts, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc.

  • Booklover

    “Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!!!!!”

    Hey, being 100% German and raised LCMS, that was totally funny as well as true.

    We didn’t have a “Meet and Greet,” but we poured the food on the table during fellowships. We seldom hugged, but we lavished the family of the deceased with food and farm help. We didn’t evangelize with words overmuch; but if a Sunday School visitor came, he was welcomed with a Bible story telling of the centrality of Jesus the Saviour along with lovely artwork by Frances Hook. For Communion, we served biblical liquor in a chalice, not juice in a cup. Now that’s welcoming. The liturgy was biblical, true, orderly, and God-centered, even when the Pastor felt particularly bumbleheaded that morning.

  • Booklover

    “Can we be unfriendly – sure most of these guys are German!!!!!!!”

    Hey, being 100% German and raised LCMS, that was totally funny as well as true.

    We didn’t have a “Meet and Greet,” but we poured the food on the table during fellowships. We seldom hugged, but we lavished the family of the deceased with food and farm help. We didn’t evangelize with words overmuch; but if a Sunday School visitor came, he was welcomed with a Bible story telling of the centrality of Jesus the Saviour along with lovely artwork by Frances Hook. For Communion, we served biblical liquor in a chalice, not juice in a cup. Now that’s welcoming. The liturgy was biblical, true, orderly, and God-centered, even when the Pastor felt particularly bumbleheaded that morning.

  • Dust

    Booklover at 86….right on and love it, thank you! Can also totally relate being 100% German too, and raised LCMS in the boonies of wheat land farm country! Simple and good people, quiet and plain, but full of love for the Lord and their neighbors, not in fancy or sophisticated ways, but as clean and pure as their winter snow! It’s wonderful to take a moment and remember those old, kind, modest and humble Lutherans….they don’t make them like that anymore, do they?

    Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out? It’s also supposed to be funny too :)

  • Dust

    Booklover at 86….right on and love it, thank you! Can also totally relate being 100% German too, and raised LCMS in the boonies of wheat land farm country! Simple and good people, quiet and plain, but full of love for the Lord and their neighbors, not in fancy or sophisticated ways, but as clean and pure as their winter snow! It’s wonderful to take a moment and remember those old, kind, modest and humble Lutherans….they don’t make them like that anymore, do they?

    Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out? It’s also supposed to be funny too :)

  • Grace

    Dust @ 87

    YOU WROTE: ~~ “Booklover at 86….right on and love it, thank you! Can also totally relate being 100% German too, and raised LCMS in the boonies of wheat land farm country! Simple and good people, quiet and plain, but full of love for the Lord and their neighbors, not in fancy or sophisticated ways, but as clean and pure as their winter snow! It’s wonderful to take a moment and remember those old, kind, modest and humble Lutherans….they don’t make them like that anymore, do they?” ~~

    Do you believe that God stopped making people good? – I didn’t know there was anyone who was sinless, this is news to me. What’s German have to do with being modest and humble, then throw in Lutherans — is this how you perceive yourselves, above the rest. Have you taken a trek back through history less than 70 years ago?

    Being German does not make anyone “but as clean and pure as their winter snow!” – no matter what ethnic group you are from, we are all the same, all sinners, all needing a Savior.

    God creates many different kinds of people, Lutherans are most certainly not more modest, or humble than anyone else. If you want proof of that, read all the rants of those on this blog, and check out ‘history – that should change the temperature you’re working from.

    YOU WROTE: “Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out? It’s also supposed to be funny too”

    I doubt you’ll get a laugh or even a pass from many in the U.S. with your last remark. You see Dust, you’re showing broad screen what you actually think and feel in your heart – it isn’t funny, not to those who have suffered under such pain and sorrow.

  • Grace

    Dust @ 87

    YOU WROTE: ~~ “Booklover at 86….right on and love it, thank you! Can also totally relate being 100% German too, and raised LCMS in the boonies of wheat land farm country! Simple and good people, quiet and plain, but full of love for the Lord and their neighbors, not in fancy or sophisticated ways, but as clean and pure as their winter snow! It’s wonderful to take a moment and remember those old, kind, modest and humble Lutherans….they don’t make them like that anymore, do they?” ~~

    Do you believe that God stopped making people good? – I didn’t know there was anyone who was sinless, this is news to me. What’s German have to do with being modest and humble, then throw in Lutherans — is this how you perceive yourselves, above the rest. Have you taken a trek back through history less than 70 years ago?

    Being German does not make anyone “but as clean and pure as their winter snow!” – no matter what ethnic group you are from, we are all the same, all sinners, all needing a Savior.

    God creates many different kinds of people, Lutherans are most certainly not more modest, or humble than anyone else. If you want proof of that, read all the rants of those on this blog, and check out ‘history – that should change the temperature you’re working from.

    YOU WROTE: “Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out? It’s also supposed to be funny too”

    I doubt you’ll get a laugh or even a pass from many in the U.S. with your last remark. You see Dust, you’re showing broad screen what you actually think and feel in your heart – it isn’t funny, not to those who have suffered under such pain and sorrow.

  • Dust

    Grace….don’t you live in Orange County? That’s a long way from Kansas, if you get my drift :)

  • Dust

    Grace….don’t you live in Orange County? That’s a long way from Kansas, if you get my drift :)

  • Grace

    Dust,

    YOU WROTE: “Grace….don’t you live in Orange County? That’s a long way from Kansas, if you get my drift”

    No I don’t – I’ve traveled extensively, throughout this country, and below the southern border, and the northern border of the U.S, not to mention abroad. Your “drift” appears to be self made, and most certainly not as you alluded to “as clean and pure as their winter snow!” — where an individual is born, has nothing to do with their heart, it is all about their trust in Christ as Savior, HE is the only one that can make them ‘clean – it isn’t where one is raised, it’s who they believe in for Salvation.

    I have family from and born in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Penn, Chicago, New Jersey and many areas of Europe.

    I have lived on the coast of California all my life, from the wine country, San francisco, all down through the entire state almost to the border.

    It’s not where you’re born, or how humble you think you are, it’s our Savior who died on the Cross, and belief in HIM as our redeemer.

  • Grace

    Dust,

    YOU WROTE: “Grace….don’t you live in Orange County? That’s a long way from Kansas, if you get my drift”

    No I don’t – I’ve traveled extensively, throughout this country, and below the southern border, and the northern border of the U.S, not to mention abroad. Your “drift” appears to be self made, and most certainly not as you alluded to “as clean and pure as their winter snow!” — where an individual is born, has nothing to do with their heart, it is all about their trust in Christ as Savior, HE is the only one that can make them ‘clean – it isn’t where one is raised, it’s who they believe in for Salvation.

    I have family from and born in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Penn, Chicago, New Jersey and many areas of Europe.

    I have lived on the coast of California all my life, from the wine country, San francisco, all down through the entire state almost to the border.

    It’s not where you’re born, or how humble you think you are, it’s our Savior who died on the Cross, and belief in HIM as our redeemer.

  • Dust

    Grace…back to comment 88:

    “Do you believe that God stopped making people good? ”

    Answer: Well besides the fact that all people are born sinful and so no one does good, no not one…if you read my statement again, you’ll see the word “good” was not even used in it?

    “I didn’t know there was anyone who was sinless, this is news to me. ”

    Comment: Who said anyone was sinless?

    “What’s German have to do with being modest and humble,”

    Answer: Who said it did? My comment used the word “Lutheran” not German. The German connection was to Booklover’s comment and really had to do with the perception of Germans as unfriendly, distant, unemotional, etc. etc. which is, of course, a stereotype and generalization and most likely contains a smidgeon of truth. In any case, these qualities was applying to simple, hard working farmers actually.

    “then throw in Lutherans — is this how you perceive yourselves, above the rest”

    Answer: My question about “they don’t make them like that anymore” is more of a complement to a past generation, and indeed, most people in our modern culture have very little in common with their ancestors, in my humble opinion. But no matter, no one ever said anyone considered themselves above the rest. Am not sure how one can get that out of my comment since it isn’t said any where in them?

    “Being German does not make anyone “but as clean and pure as their winter snow”

    Comment: Where or where do you see the connection between German and being pure, etc.? It was really more about being simple farmers that made them this way.

    And could go on…..

    In general, it bothers me to have my comments interpreted in the worst possible way, or have things read into them that are not there, at least not in my opinion.

    But guess on a blog that can happen and should expect it….but am not going to explain anything anymore when it seems clear to me the other person appears to be reading into my comments things that just are not there.

    Ever heard the expression, to a hammer everything looks like a nail?

  • Dust

    Grace…back to comment 88:

    “Do you believe that God stopped making people good? ”

    Answer: Well besides the fact that all people are born sinful and so no one does good, no not one…if you read my statement again, you’ll see the word “good” was not even used in it?

    “I didn’t know there was anyone who was sinless, this is news to me. ”

    Comment: Who said anyone was sinless?

    “What’s German have to do with being modest and humble,”

    Answer: Who said it did? My comment used the word “Lutheran” not German. The German connection was to Booklover’s comment and really had to do with the perception of Germans as unfriendly, distant, unemotional, etc. etc. which is, of course, a stereotype and generalization and most likely contains a smidgeon of truth. In any case, these qualities was applying to simple, hard working farmers actually.

    “then throw in Lutherans — is this how you perceive yourselves, above the rest”

    Answer: My question about “they don’t make them like that anymore” is more of a complement to a past generation, and indeed, most people in our modern culture have very little in common with their ancestors, in my humble opinion. But no matter, no one ever said anyone considered themselves above the rest. Am not sure how one can get that out of my comment since it isn’t said any where in them?

    “Being German does not make anyone “but as clean and pure as their winter snow”

    Comment: Where or where do you see the connection between German and being pure, etc.? It was really more about being simple farmers that made them this way.

    And could go on…..

    In general, it bothers me to have my comments interpreted in the worst possible way, or have things read into them that are not there, at least not in my opinion.

    But guess on a blog that can happen and should expect it….but am not going to explain anything anymore when it seems clear to me the other person appears to be reading into my comments things that just are not there.

    Ever heard the expression, to a hammer everything looks like a nail?

  • Tom Hering

    “What a revolting development THIS is!” – Daffy Duck

  • Tom Hering

    “What a revolting development THIS is!” – Daffy Duck

  • Joe

    “Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out?”

    Were I come from its about Swedes being a Norwegian with his brains bashed out. Then I married a women who is part Swedish. When my father found out he said, “I’m not sure the family is ready for a mixed marriage.” And, this from a man who took a Ukrainian (or as well call them, Vikings who went East) as his wife …

  • Joe

    “Did you ever hear the expression that a Norwegian is just a German with their brains bashed out?”

    Were I come from its about Swedes being a Norwegian with his brains bashed out. Then I married a women who is part Swedish. When my father found out he said, “I’m not sure the family is ready for a mixed marriage.” And, this from a man who took a Ukrainian (or as well call them, Vikings who went East) as his wife …

  • bkw

    “Say you are a disaffected “post-evangelical” who hears about Lutheranism. It sounds like the kind of Christianity you are yearning for…. So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation….. You will go into an LCMS congregation looking for Lutheranism, but it may well be that you won’t find it!”

    Yep, that’s me. Here is what I found in my experience of the LCMS church. We were required to complete the Formation of Faith class in order to become confirmed members of the church and receive the sacrament of communion. So we started the class. At the same time, I attended a bible study at this church where the teachings about salvation and the sacraments were in opposition to the teachings in the Formation of Faith class. (The bible study was a study by a prominent protestant evangelical). Of course I brought it up to the Pastor thinking that he would surely want to know in order to rectify the situation. Instead, I was was surprisingly told by him that the bible study leader was a “generous contributor to the church” and, therefore, was allowed to teach without correction. Hmmm. Guess how long we lasted?

  • bkw

    “Say you are a disaffected “post-evangelical” who hears about Lutheranism. It sounds like the kind of Christianity you are yearning for…. So you visit the local Missouri Synod congregation….. You will go into an LCMS congregation looking for Lutheranism, but it may well be that you won’t find it!”

    Yep, that’s me. Here is what I found in my experience of the LCMS church. We were required to complete the Formation of Faith class in order to become confirmed members of the church and receive the sacrament of communion. So we started the class. At the same time, I attended a bible study at this church where the teachings about salvation and the sacraments were in opposition to the teachings in the Formation of Faith class. (The bible study was a study by a prominent protestant evangelical). Of course I brought it up to the Pastor thinking that he would surely want to know in order to rectify the situation. Instead, I was was surprisingly told by him that the bible study leader was a “generous contributor to the church” and, therefore, was allowed to teach without correction. Hmmm. Guess how long we lasted?

  • fws

    bkw @ 94

    I am so very sorry that you had that experience. It is very common. Here in Brasil I attend a small church that is the mother church of Rio De Janeiro. the church body it belongs to used to be a full district of the LCMS along with the Canadian affiliate.

    Our new pastor of 3 months has yet to preach the Gospel in a sermon. Instead the sermons are full of that part of Sanctification that is all about the Law and what we are supposed to do.

    And the liturgy is really the lightest version you can do and still follow the outline of the liturgy. Fortunately communion is offered every sunday. That is the one bright spot I can identify so far.

    So what to do? At least in a Lutheran Church I can , gently and meekly, object to some of this and not be a disobedient member challenging the authority of the pastor . Or better, I can roll up my sleeves and support the work that is close to the hearts of these members, join the choir, the building maint group, make a generous offering, and so become friends and exert an influence over some good time. With a very unhidden agenda behind all of that.

    I could not do that in a church of any other confessions.

    This is the advantage to being in a Lutheran church whether it be ELCA , wels, lcms or whatever. We can ask the pastor to be faithful to his ordination vows and prick his conscience, and we can do this, if we are respectful, without unlawfully challenging the authority God has given him over his flock.

  • fws

    bkw @ 94

    I am so very sorry that you had that experience. It is very common. Here in Brasil I attend a small church that is the mother church of Rio De Janeiro. the church body it belongs to used to be a full district of the LCMS along with the Canadian affiliate.

    Our new pastor of 3 months has yet to preach the Gospel in a sermon. Instead the sermons are full of that part of Sanctification that is all about the Law and what we are supposed to do.

    And the liturgy is really the lightest version you can do and still follow the outline of the liturgy. Fortunately communion is offered every sunday. That is the one bright spot I can identify so far.

    So what to do? At least in a Lutheran Church I can , gently and meekly, object to some of this and not be a disobedient member challenging the authority of the pastor . Or better, I can roll up my sleeves and support the work that is close to the hearts of these members, join the choir, the building maint group, make a generous offering, and so become friends and exert an influence over some good time. With a very unhidden agenda behind all of that.

    I could not do that in a church of any other confessions.

    This is the advantage to being in a Lutheran church whether it be ELCA , wels, lcms or whatever. We can ask the pastor to be faithful to his ordination vows and prick his conscience, and we can do this, if we are respectful, without unlawfully challenging the authority God has given him over his flock.

  • Tom Hering

    Remember that American Lutherans are Americans. Who is the pastor to tell us what we should and shouldn’t believe? Didn’t we give him a job? Don’t we pay him? Who’s the boss here?

  • Tom Hering

    Remember that American Lutherans are Americans. Who is the pastor to tell us what we should and shouldn’t believe? Didn’t we give him a job? Don’t we pay him? Who’s the boss here?

  • bkw

    Thanks fws. It was just so very confusing for us. We weren’t sure which doctrinal position was held there by the time we left that particular church. The Pastor seemed to be supporting both. (One example was salvation by grace through faith alone versus salvation by “accepting” Christ. And, unfortunately, it was not clarified for us).

  • bkw

    Thanks fws. It was just so very confusing for us. We weren’t sure which doctrinal position was held there by the time we left that particular church. The Pastor seemed to be supporting both. (One example was salvation by grace through faith alone versus salvation by “accepting” Christ. And, unfortunately, it was not clarified for us).

  • Grace

    91 Dust November 18, 2011 at 3:40 am

    WOW, :lol: checking the time on that post, perhaps that’s how you mixed everything together.

  • Grace

    91 Dust November 18, 2011 at 3:40 am

    WOW, :lol: checking the time on that post, perhaps that’s how you mixed everything together.

  • fws

    bkw @ 97

    I was at an lcms church briefly where the pastor used a congregationalist hymnbook in the service and the sermons were full of therapeutic suggestions. and then… in his bible studies he was wonderfully Lutheran and gospel oriented….

    he felt that was the way to grow his church….. it too was disorienting.

  • fws

    bkw @ 97

    I was at an lcms church briefly where the pastor used a congregationalist hymnbook in the service and the sermons were full of therapeutic suggestions. and then… in his bible studies he was wonderfully Lutheran and gospel oriented….

    he felt that was the way to grow his church….. it too was disorienting.

  • SKPeterson

    But, Frank, if we try to correct such practices, or if we talk about them on the internet, we are just being hateful people who are always picking on people and putting them down to the detriment of growing the LCMS.

  • SKPeterson

    But, Frank, if we try to correct such practices, or if we talk about them on the internet, we are just being hateful people who are always picking on people and putting them down to the detriment of growing the LCMS.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @96

    Brilliant!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @96

    Brilliant!!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @98 How do you make that smiley?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @98 How do you make that smiley?

  • Grace

    sg,

    ANSWER: you laugh out loud!

  • Grace

    sg,

    ANSWER: you laugh out loud!

  • fws

    sk @ 100

    We are talking about us. We are talking about the death of Old Adam that our Baptism not only signifies, but also will finally accomplish for good. Come quickly Lord!

    This is a preachment, and exactly so, of our Lord’s great “Church UNgrowth sermon. All left him but a few. “Lord where shall we go” they said. “You alone have the Word of Life.”

    Those of us who remain are not there for any other reason than that contrition (latin meaning to grind down) has turned us into the dogs willing to eat any crumb that falls from the Master’s table.

    This is not about criticizing our church or it’s leaders, or their work. We pray for them, obey them and honor them seeing that Jewel that is the Word of God crowning their heads.

    This is about inviting others to get down on the floor with us and receive that Manna that comes down from heaven that alone can save us and give comfort to a troubled conscience.

    The Lutheran Confessions, witnessing to Holy Scriptures, tell us that the Gospel can only take hold in a conscience that has been terrified at ALL it can see and do.

    Because only then will that conscience know to hide even it’s righeousness in the Works of Another.

    Saint James therefore promises us that if we confess our sins to one another, we will be healed.

  • fws

    sk @ 100

    We are talking about us. We are talking about the death of Old Adam that our Baptism not only signifies, but also will finally accomplish for good. Come quickly Lord!

    This is a preachment, and exactly so, of our Lord’s great “Church UNgrowth sermon. All left him but a few. “Lord where shall we go” they said. “You alone have the Word of Life.”

    Those of us who remain are not there for any other reason than that contrition (latin meaning to grind down) has turned us into the dogs willing to eat any crumb that falls from the Master’s table.

    This is not about criticizing our church or it’s leaders, or their work. We pray for them, obey them and honor them seeing that Jewel that is the Word of God crowning their heads.

    This is about inviting others to get down on the floor with us and receive that Manna that comes down from heaven that alone can save us and give comfort to a troubled conscience.

    The Lutheran Confessions, witnessing to Holy Scriptures, tell us that the Gospel can only take hold in a conscience that has been terrified at ALL it can see and do.

    Because only then will that conscience know to hide even it’s righeousness in the Works of Another.

    Saint James therefore promises us that if we confess our sins to one another, we will be healed.

  • SKPeterson

    See Frank, you’re being a hater. ;)

  • SKPeterson

    See Frank, you’re being a hater. ;)

  • Purple Koolaid

    Tom 75-I agree, the whole of law doesn’t convict all at once, but the murder of baby boys and girls????

  • Purple Koolaid

    Tom 75-I agree, the whole of law doesn’t convict all at once, but the murder of baby boys and girls????

  • Purple Koolaid

    PK @ 76, see my comment @ 75. These things take time, and require that we be patient. That’s loving your neighbor, too.

    Me: Ok, Tom, so what about “Rebuke your brother kindly so you don’t share in his sin??
    And then you say he’s proclaiming the gospel?? What about the murdered baby boys and girls he doesn’t get to share the gospel with bc he belongs to a church that condones it and according to Rev McCain pays for it??
    I see some bizarre scenario where a ss guarding Auschwitz becomes a believer and he doesn’t want to quit murdering Jews and you say something like, “We’re being patient with him.” Try to sell that to the murdered.

  • Purple Koolaid

    PK @ 76, see my comment @ 75. These things take time, and require that we be patient. That’s loving your neighbor, too.

    Me: Ok, Tom, so what about “Rebuke your brother kindly so you don’t share in his sin??
    And then you say he’s proclaiming the gospel?? What about the murdered baby boys and girls he doesn’t get to share the gospel with bc he belongs to a church that condones it and according to Rev McCain pays for it??
    I see some bizarre scenario where a ss guarding Auschwitz becomes a believer and he doesn’t want to quit murdering Jews and you say something like, “We’re being patient with him.” Try to sell that to the murdered.

  • Tom Hering

    PK, do we know what Chaplain Mike’s position on abortion is? I don’t. I’m not going to assume he supports the ELCA’s abortion policy, because I don’t assume that everyone in the ELCA agrees with everything the ELCA says and does. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Chaplain Mike is pro-choice. We, then, ought to appeal to his conscience, and not treat him as a tool of his denomination.

    Not suggesting I’d have been a Nazi-hugger would also be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Tom Hering

    PK, do we know what Chaplain Mike’s position on abortion is? I don’t. I’m not going to assume he supports the ELCA’s abortion policy, because I don’t assume that everyone in the ELCA agrees with everything the ELCA says and does. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Chaplain Mike is pro-choice. We, then, ought to appeal to his conscience, and not treat him as a tool of his denomination.

    Not suggesting I’d have been a Nazi-hugger would also be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Trey

    I see Veith’s point initially regarding joining a Word alone ELCA church, but seeking to become a Pastor is a whole other subject. The ELCA is a whole teaches false doctrine and leads sinners away from the Savior. Followed consistently will destroy faith in Christ. Plus, the ELCA is not Lutheran based upon their demeaning of the Law, which strikes at the heart of the Gospel.

  • Trey

    I see Veith’s point initially regarding joining a Word alone ELCA church, but seeking to become a Pastor is a whole other subject. The ELCA is a whole teaches false doctrine and leads sinners away from the Savior. Followed consistently will destroy faith in Christ. Plus, the ELCA is not Lutheran based upon their demeaning of the Law, which strikes at the heart of the Gospel.

  • fws

    Trey @ 109

    Trey, there are many in the WELS and ELS who would say this very thing about the LCMS. In the 70′s it indeed was anyone’s guess whether or not the LCMS would go the way of the ELCA.

    And now the WELS is suffering deeply from church growth. Since there is not alot of open debate or room for self criticism in that organization, it is going to be hard to overcome all that.

    I agree with everything you are saying. And at the same time, in many many districts of the LCMS, one would be hard pressed to direct someone newly interested in Lutheranism where to find an LCMS congregation also interested in Lutheranism.

    Often congregations are not aberant in the ELCA sense, but there is NO Christ in the sermons at all. Lots of moralism. And it is not even GOOD Law or moralism!

    Just to illustrate my point here:

    I attended a congregation in Aberdeen, SD and the sermon was dominated by talk of the gay agenda for example. I looked around at a congregation mostly of blue haired ladies, and wondered which of the lesbians there he was directing his comments to. If you get my point. here.

    And communion? Once a month. So…. what is it that would make this congregation a good choice over the ELCA congregation in the same area.

    Let’s say, just for hypothetical fun, that they have a gay lesbian pastor at that SD ELCA church next door. And let’s say that her conscience has driven her to preach some very good Law and Gospel to her congretation. (see Luke 18 and the story of the Lawless Judge to see how God makes that happen every day….). Let’s say that theologically, she preaches against abortion that has happened in her flock . She is celebate and against gay marriage. So her one public and unrepentant error is that she is female and a pastor. Ok. Got that memo.

    And then down the street there is another , lets say baptist church, that preaches the Law and Gospel pretty well, and also the pastor gets the right teaching of the Holy Supper and actually teaches that and is starting to baptize babies for all the right reasons. Thank God! Where would you send someone? Why?

  • fws

    Trey @ 109

    Trey, there are many in the WELS and ELS who would say this very thing about the LCMS. In the 70′s it indeed was anyone’s guess whether or not the LCMS would go the way of the ELCA.

    And now the WELS is suffering deeply from church growth. Since there is not alot of open debate or room for self criticism in that organization, it is going to be hard to overcome all that.

    I agree with everything you are saying. And at the same time, in many many districts of the LCMS, one would be hard pressed to direct someone newly interested in Lutheranism where to find an LCMS congregation also interested in Lutheranism.

    Often congregations are not aberant in the ELCA sense, but there is NO Christ in the sermons at all. Lots of moralism. And it is not even GOOD Law or moralism!

    Just to illustrate my point here:

    I attended a congregation in Aberdeen, SD and the sermon was dominated by talk of the gay agenda for example. I looked around at a congregation mostly of blue haired ladies, and wondered which of the lesbians there he was directing his comments to. If you get my point. here.

    And communion? Once a month. So…. what is it that would make this congregation a good choice over the ELCA congregation in the same area.

    Let’s say, just for hypothetical fun, that they have a gay lesbian pastor at that SD ELCA church next door. And let’s say that her conscience has driven her to preach some very good Law and Gospel to her congretation. (see Luke 18 and the story of the Lawless Judge to see how God makes that happen every day….). Let’s say that theologically, she preaches against abortion that has happened in her flock . She is celebate and against gay marriage. So her one public and unrepentant error is that she is female and a pastor. Ok. Got that memo.

    And then down the street there is another , lets say baptist church, that preaches the Law and Gospel pretty well, and also the pastor gets the right teaching of the Holy Supper and actually teaches that and is starting to baptize babies for all the right reasons. Thank God! Where would you send someone? Why?

  • SKPeterson

    Frank,

    From your examples it’s obvious that Aberdeen, SD is going straight to Hell. Must be that left-liberal university influence spilling over from Brookings. Or, the unscrupulous ways of the big city leaking out from Sioux Falls.

    All of South Dakota, except maybe Yankton, should immediately fall on their knees and repent.

    I kid, I kid.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank,

    From your examples it’s obvious that Aberdeen, SD is going straight to Hell. Must be that left-liberal university influence spilling over from Brookings. Or, the unscrupulous ways of the big city leaking out from Sioux Falls.

    All of South Dakota, except maybe Yankton, should immediately fall on their knees and repent.

    I kid, I kid.

  • fws

    skpeterson @111

    That was my analysis too SK. Yankton has succumbed to godless postmodernism as well, I suspect. Of course, without the casting of any aspersions on the Yankton rotary club.

    I would suggest a small town, one without any churches at all. There are lots of those in the Dakotas. So there is lots of choice there.

    That would resolve even the potential for mischief.

  • fws

    skpeterson @111

    That was my analysis too SK. Yankton has succumbed to godless postmodernism as well, I suspect. Of course, without the casting of any aspersions on the Yankton rotary club.

    I would suggest a small town, one without any churches at all. There are lots of those in the Dakotas. So there is lots of choice there.

    That would resolve even the potential for mischief.

  • fws

    sk @111

    or… maybe someone called the pastor of that LCMS congretation in aberdeen, SD , giving him advance notice that I would be attending, and he was happy to be able to finally use that sermon…..

  • fws

    sk @111

    or… maybe someone called the pastor of that LCMS congretation in aberdeen, SD , giving him advance notice that I would be attending, and he was happy to be able to finally use that sermon…..

  • Ray

    The problem with the Theology of the Cross and traditional Lutheranism is that it is diametrically opposed to American culture – which is narcissistic , anti-intellectual and consumerist. Everyone wants to be courted, entertained and continually stimulated. The LCMS church I visited last week were taking up Bible study with a discussion of what kind of music to present in the Liturgy – ‘praise’ or traditional. The pastor believed it should be whatever attracts visitors – and that to me raised a red flag.

  • Ray

    The problem with the Theology of the Cross and traditional Lutheranism is that it is diametrically opposed to American culture – which is narcissistic , anti-intellectual and consumerist. Everyone wants to be courted, entertained and continually stimulated. The LCMS church I visited last week were taking up Bible study with a discussion of what kind of music to present in the Liturgy – ‘praise’ or traditional. The pastor believed it should be whatever attracts visitors – and that to me raised a red flag.