There are rumors of spies in the offices of Lutheran synods who keep tabs on what is written about their particular synod on blogs and in discussion groups. Is this true? We don’t know, but the rumors lead us to wonder, ”Why?” Why would a synod official order a subordinate to spy on what members of said synod’s congregations and the synod’s pastors are writing about the synod? If the officials of a synod are confident in and believe what they have done and said publicly, they shouldn’t be nervous if anyone questions or challenges their public statements, should they? Any such challenge could just be met with a strong backing of Lutheran theology that reinforces whatever was questioned, right?
Insubordination among pastors and laity can be a serious offense. However, when pastors and lay people are asking why certain statements were made or challenging that what was said was not in keeping with Lutheran doctrine, they are not being insubordinate but are obeying “God rather than men”. Pastors and synod spokesmen should be happy when people are acting like the Bereans and testing what they say against Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. It shows people are paying attention and helps to sharpen the pastors and synod-types who will need to give answers to those bringing questions.
Such spying shows either doubt about whether what you as an official of a Lutheran church body have said or written is correct, or something of a Narcissistic personality disorder that gets its knickers in a twist when faced with the reality that not everyone is going to agree with you, admire you, or accept your word as absolute truth. If you know what you are doing, what you are writing, and stand behind what you write and speak for the public, you can have the confidence to ignore such challenges if they have no merit.
Are there spies? Who knows? If there are it shows a sad cowardice on the part of those who should first of all know Lutheran theology, and secondly proclaim Lutheran theology, not spend their time scouring the internet for dissenting voices.