Messianic Lutherans attack

messiahmasthead7I love reading Marc Ambinder and the rest of the folks over at the Atlantic, but one of his latest posts is just unbelievably wrong. I’ll go ahead and post the whole thing:

RNC Accidentally Mocks Messianic Lutherans

SPRINGFIELD, MO — The RNC has modified a page from their “Barack Book” mock social networking site because the church they associated Obama with — the Messiah Lutheran Church — turned out to be a real denomination affiliated with the Missouri Synod.

The site, styled after Facebook, included a link to a real Facebook page, and next to an entry for “employer,” the RNC wrote in “Messiah Lutheran Church.”

No subtlety there.

But there really are Messianic Lutherans. Most of them live in Missouri. The church has branches in California and Nebraska.

Since disaffiliating from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, McCain Obama has not formally affiliated with any other denomination.

This is a small point and a small mistake, but it’s something that will make some McCain allies cringe. Here in Missouri, the political climate is poor for Republicans and McCain can’t afford to alienate any evangelical group. His campaign can’t afford the perception that they use evangelicals to mock Obama.

Being a member of a Missouri Synod Lutheran congregation, I was surprised to find out we were in fellowship with a group I’d never heard of — Messianic Lutherans. So I went to that link that Ambinder provides for Messianic Lutherans and realized he’d done a Google link to congregations named Messiah Lutheran Church. One of my good friends is a pastor of a Messiah Lutheran Church in Wisconsin.

Naming your church Messiah Lutheran, or Immanuel Lutheran, or St. John’s Lutheran, or Martini Lutheran doesn’t make you part of a denomination called Messianic Lutherans, Immanuelite Lutherans, Juanite Lutherans or Martini Lutherans! It just means you’ve named your congregation. All of these congregations are Missouri Synod Lutheran congregations. Just like every other Christian church in the world, they have their own name.

Oy vey!

So just to recap, there is no “real denomination” of Messianic Lutherans associated with the Missouri Synod. It doesn’t have branches in California and Nebraska. Most of them aren’t in Missouri. And we tend to self-identify as confessional Lutherans rather than as evangelical Christians.

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  • Trierr

    Does this imply that there are Lutherans who are not Messianic? Okay, don’t answer that.

  • rmd

    Does this mean that I’m not really a “First Baptist”? Bummer.

  • gfe

    That’s hilarious.

  • Steve

    This is unbelievably poor reporting. To say that Ambinder doesn’t “get religion” appears to be like saying kindergarterners don’t “get calculus.” This one should go in your book.

  • http://hucbald.blogspot.com/ Hucbald

    LOL!

    Oh sure, pick on us LCMS Lutherans. You can count on no push-back because it’s summer time, and with only two days left until the weekend, we’re going to be thinking about beer and bratwurst anyway.

  • Jerry

    there is no “real denomination” of Messianic Lutherans associated with the Missouri Synod. It doesn’t have branches in California and Nebraska. Most of them aren’t in Missouri. And we tend to self-identify as confessional Lutherans rather than as evangelical Christians.

    My head is spinning trying to follow that formulation.

    But there is also an interesting political observations about how the “Maverick” McCain is following in Rove’s footsteps and is yet another illustration of how religion is being used in service of politics.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    I think the page was done by the RNC rather than McCain, for what it’s worth.

  • GhaleonQ

    Steve’s right on. It’s tougher to mock or feel indignant about than it is to just shake my head at it, bemused. “Awww… Wook at the widdwe reporter! You know, they’re so cute when they’re trying so hard.”

  • Darel

    Let’s step back a moment.

    It seems pretty clear that the wise-cracker writing on “Barack Book” was trying to suggest that Obama himself, or at least his followers, think that Obama is the Messiah. For those familiar with Slate’s Obama Messiah Watch or the blog Is Barack Obama the Messiah? will recognize this immediately. Why this person thought of Lutherans rather than some other Christian tradition is unknown, but the rest is pretty unremarkable.

    Is this really going to “alienate” evangelicals? Will they even notice? Will LCMS members care? Will ELCA members (since many “Messiah Lutheran Church”es are in this mainline denomination rather than with the LCMS or WELS)? Will Ambinder continue to shoot from the hip and ask questions later?

  • rw

    Molly: “Juanite Lutherans”

    We prefer the term “Johannic,” except for those south of the border.

    Oh, and since we’re only a few decades off conducting our services in German, that’s pronounced “YO-hahn-nick”

  • Martha

    Yeah, sure, Mollie: all this is only a cover-up for the Messianic Lutherans holed up in their compounds with their guns and ammunition, waiting to implement the Grand Plan to hasten the Day of Judgement – we know the score ;-)

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  • Jerry

    I think the page was done by the RNC rather than McCain, for what it’s worth.

    If it were reversed and the DNC did something similar versus the Obama campaign, I think the assumption is that the Obama campaign had approved of it at the very least.

  • Stephen A.

    I went to the Martini Lutheran site, perhaps HOPING that its name happened to have something to do with after dinner drinks. I was trying to help this reporter out with his next big scoop!

    But instead, on the FAQ page, I found this explanation: “CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE CONTENT GOES HERE…” (it actually goes on for about 30 more “content goes here’s.”)

    Lesson: Update your Website, and explain your name. BTW, I’m assuming it has to do with MARTIN Luther, since they mention him but don’t make the connection.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Stephen,

    It’s just a Latinized Martin Luther reference . . .

    But it’s sort of my favorite Lutheran congregation name.

  • Alfred Wallace

    Check out this page:

    “Rev. Kevin Parviz is the Director of Apple of His Eye–Missouri and Pastor of Congregation Chai v’Shalom, a Messianic-Lutheran congregation of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).”

    Maybe there’s something to Messianic Lutheranism after all.

    http://www.chaivshalom.com/pastor.htm

  • Alfred Wallace

    Here’s a link to “Apple of His Eye,” which is a larger Jews-for-Luther kind of organization:

    http://www.appleofhiseye.org/

    …which is official:

    http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=13371

    Here are some Finns who started a M-L congregation in Russia (scroll down to “Work Among Jews):

    http://www.flom.fi/index.php?/english

  • David Ernst

    There also is a St. Martini Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI, which, since both are LCMS, is in fellowship with Mount Olive.


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