In the political world, you will hear talk of RINOs, Republican In Name Only. LCMS President Matt Harrison, an accomplished translator, posts his rendition of a letter by the Nazi-battling German theologian Hermann Sasse, who, in praising the Missouri Synod, gives us a useful concept: Lutherans In Name Only (LINOS).
The Missouri Synod Lutheran cannot understand that a properly called but heterodox pastor, Lutheran in name only, is permitted to lead a whole congregation, a whole generation of the flock that has been entrusted to him, into misbelief and even unbelief, while the ecclesiastical authorities keep silence and even maintain that the congregation is still Lutheran, because the Lutheran doctrine alone has standing, is publica doctrina, there. . . .
The Lutheran Church does not exist merely to preserve the religious home of those people who by historical chance and by the manner in which they were led bear the confessional stamp “Lutheran.” Rather, it is her task to preach to all men she can reach the Gospel as it was rediscovered during the Reformation and attested to in the Lutheran Confessions. This is being done today in a particularly effective and impressive way in the all but worldwide radio mission of The Lutheran Hour. Sasse, Letter 20 (soon to appears in Letters to Lutheran Pastors II)
Just for fun and departing from the topic of the letter, what would be some other “in name only” terms could we coin? A pro-life Democrat who opposes gay marriage might be described as a DINO. A pro-abortion Catholic might be called a CINO. Now you do it.
HT: Norm Fisher