The question and answer portion of the
Why is this important? These questions and answers can serve as a barometer of
Some of the answers are well done like the first example below, even if the seminary professor forgot to spell check (which seems to happen regularly; could those of you who have some clout over at 2929 look into that? Thank you.):
Q:I often wonder why our synod prefers to call ourselves Lutherans. While I agree that Martin Luther did many good things, I feel our synod places too much emphasis on him. Why do we spend so much time memorizing his words during confirmation? Instead we should focus our energy on God's Word and memorizing that. When people begin calling themselves, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Calvinists, etc. I really feel this is dividing the church. Did Paul not warn the Corinthians that we should avoid quarreling and divisions in the church? The Corinthian church had people saying they follow Apollo, while others followed Paul, but Paul correctly rebuked them and said we are all one in Christ. Is not saying, we follow Luther, or we follow Wesley, etc, very similar to the Corinthians. I know the
A:First of all, I do not think the Lutherans, Calvininst (sic), Baptists, or Methodists named themselves that. These names began as the accusations of others, as did the name Christians or Nazarenes.
Luther did not want a church named Lutheran, but the name Lutheran came to stand for something--the the (sic) church that believes by grace alone, by faith alone, by Scripture alone; the church that gives full value to the sacraments. Why would you not want to be known for that?
What divides Lutherans from the other churches you mention is not a name but such differences of doctrine as rejection of infant baptism, rejection of the real presence of Christ body and blood, predestination to damnation, etc, etc.. If you want a church which will not baptize your children, you can easily find one. It will be labeled Baptist. If you want a church that rejects the real presence and believes in predestination to damnation, you can find one. It will be labeled Calvinist. If you want a church that teaches that salvation is by faith and works, you can find one. It is labeled Catholic. These are not just names. They identify the teachings of that church.
It does not matter whether these labels have a person's name in them (Lutheran, Calvinist) or if they do not (Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian). These labels identify a position.
People are beginning to adopt a position that ignores the meaning of those labels, but this has not led to a clearer, biblical position but to just the opposite, to a muddle that treats doctrine with indifference.
Not bad. Not bad at all. But then there are also many answers that cause us to become, well,… Angry. Here’s one we like to call:
"So, Nadab and Abihu were Roman Catholics?"
You're correct that many Lutherans would consider these customs to be "Catholic." One might be able to debate with them that these customs had wide usage already in Bible times and in the New Testament Church before the formation of the Roman Church; one could even demonstrate that some of these customs were accepted and used in the
To dip one's hand into the water of a baptismal font as one passes it on the way into worship and to make the sign of the cross could be a wonderful reminder of baptism and is certainly a worthy custom. The use of oil as a symbol for joy and purity is another fine tradition. I know of no
“One might be able to debate”? Yeah, ONE who read the Bible and had a passing familiarity with church history or had ever cracked open a copy of the Book of Concord “might be able to debate” “that these customs had wide usage already in Bible times and in the New Testament Church” and in the Lutheran Church.
So, it’s ok to be suspicious of customs that appear Roman but there’s no need to question praise bands, testimonials, and reading of lightly edited Reformed sermons from