Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Public Confessions

I am not seeking a “perfect church.” It does not exist this side of heaven, and to seek a perfect church in this world is utter foolishness. What I seek is a church that seeks God. Sadly, that is a rarity anymore in the LC-MS. To paraphrase a saying I have heard, ‘you worship as you believe’. This is why I was led to question some of the actions of the LC-MS.

One of the questionable actions is the LC-MS affiliation with the AALC, which has an official “closed communion” policy like the LC-MS, but is known for its open communion practice. LC-MS as a Church Body has allowed itself to be yoked with another body that does not hold in practice to closed communion. This weakens the Synod’s official stance on Communion and its “conservative” status. The Synod’s public, outward acts are its public confession. This is how anyone is known. LC-MS is also known by who they associate with, which makes the poor doctrine of some daughter churches, members and affiliations detriments to the confession of Scripture. This is spoken of in the Formula of Concord, Section X (about adopting adiaphora and its dangers) and in a “Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod” (adopted 1932), Section 28 and 29. I quote 29 as it is directly applicable to the question of public confession.

29. The orthodox character of a church is established not by its mere name nor by its outward acceptance of, and subscription to, an orthodox creed, but by the doctrine which is actually taught in its pulpits, in its theological seminaries, and in its publications. On the other hand, a church does not forfeit its orthodox character through the casual intrusion of errors, provided these are combated and eventually removed by means of doctrinal discipline, Acts 20:30; 1 Tim. 1:3.

Poorly chosen affiliations and a lack of Christian Church Discipline against church growth movement/contemporary services have all eroded the position of the LC-MS as a church body. I am quite concerned that these all affect and decrease the use of Scriptures in the church, provide confusion and a lack of consistency, and will ultimately drive the faithful to other denominations or away altogether. I know of several LC-MS congregations and members who have left (including going to non-Lutheran denominations). I also have a deep concern for my children, who would figure out the divisions and wonder why they exist in the Synod. They will have poor understanding while young and in the early stages of doctrinal understanding, but that will provide an inlet for Satan to sow doubt and unbelief. Since I must give an account, I could not remain silent on these issues (nor should any Christian in the Synod). I am seeking God and His Truth, not a perfect church or happy Synod. Because of the issues, I sought a way to have an orthodox doctrine, confessional church in our area. But anyone who reads this blog knows how that turned out.

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