Saturday, April 12, 2008

Equal Opportunity Offenders

From the inaugural post on this site (a.k.a. the Angry Lutherans’ Mission Statement): “The Lutheran church has much to offer, yet, in many places in the United States, it has sold out to Enthusiasm to the point where a good number of Lutherans do not know or care what their church officially teaches. This is truly sad.” And this is what makes us angry. When pastors, lay leaders, bureaucrats, and synod officials speak or write contrary to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions or are unclear and vague, Lutherans are driven farther from what the Lutheran Church confesses. All pastors in the LCMS and the WELS gave a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions on their ordination days. Yet, some of these same pastors will vigorously argue against what the Lutheran Confessions say, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes willfully. If you are a Lutheran pastor, you should be reasonably expected to teach the Lutheran faith. While no church body in this country has ever been entirely pure in all of the teaching done by all of its pastors, this is still a praiseworthy goal. Not just pastors, but all others who have the task of speaking on behalf of a Lutheran church body should be held to the same standard.

We are not angry with any particular church body or organization. Actually, if you are angry with the LCMS, the WELS, or any other organized body, you may have crossed the line from Angry Lutheran to Crazy Lutheran. Like most others, we have friends and relatives in many different Christian denominations, sects, cults, and non-Christian religions. The Lutheran Church stands in stark contrast to all others. We believe that the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from Scripture, is faithful and true. We are deeply concerned when this doctrine is not clearly proclaimed, for the Lutheran doctrine is Christ and Him crucified as the only Way of salvation.

We do not believe that either the WELS or the LCMS is the Only True Visible Synod on Earth. We are not proselytizing. We have no interest in playing musical Lutherans by urging people to join another Lutheran synod or one of the new smaller Lutheran church bodies. Because those of our little committee are involved in the LCMS and the WELS, these are the two church bodies discussed here. Both the LCMS and the WELS had conventions this past summer in which divisions within each synod were noticed by anyone honestly paying attention. These divides are over more than just style or adiaphora. They are theological, and they run deep. Because the Lutheran confession is so precious, we continue to be angry whenever anyone who claims to be Lutheran contradicts or muddies it, especially when these things are almost constantly sent to us through official channels or by acquaintances. We certainly hope that all Lutherans, especially pastors and synod leaders, will learn what the Lutheran Church has, treasure it, and clearly communicate it with others. However, in our advancing age and crotchetiness, we will continue to be annoyed by practices and statements that should be Lutheran but are not, regardless of where they originate.

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