A bit of an “editor’s note” –
The following piece, written by a living testimony to the efficaciousness of a traditional LCMS education, is posted without any comment of my own. It doesn’t need my commentary – it stands firmly on its own for what it says. It is posted with full permission. It directly addresses this particular piece at Jagged Word – a piece which thoroughly deserves her words! jb
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I will first ask, please forgive me if I offend anyone.
Good satire usually makes me laugh. I’m sorry to say, I did not laugh at this attempt. I could see the point. I understand this is a young person writing this. So I’m hoping he will learn a lot more about what the church is in his future years yet to come.
I hardly know how to speak to this without writing a book. But I will try to be concise.
#1. I react negatively to bashing the LCMS. I don’t think we’re perfect by any means. I am not trained through one of our Concordia schools. I have no degree. Except that I was raised and taught at a great church and parochial school through the 8th grade. I am just a lay woman. I have read a small library worth of Christian books. I have a lot of experience in the good churches where I was raised and where I have attended during my life. I appreciate all the good Pastors that I have had.
#2. I have attended churches/Bible studies/seminars/… outside of the LCMS. I live in Calvin-land.
#3 I have attended, at length, cowo churches.
#4 My husband was raised Eastern Orthodox. I read, and keep in touch, with those churches.
I say all that only to show that I have a experienced a broad range of teachings and worship practices both inside and outside of the LCMS.
And yet, I am still an LCMSer.
Why? Because my church has always been good to me. I am a sinner and came from a sinful place. My church communicated the truth of Christ’s love and forgiveness to me. My Pastors communicated Christ’s real forgiveness to me personally as well. I know it is in vogue to condemn the ‘confessionals’ in our midst. But you know what? They are the ones who have communicated forgiveness to me in the clearest way. It is thought that they are all grim touters of the Law. I have never found that.
When I needed forgiveness at the deepest level of my soul, it was given to me in my Lutheran church through worship and study and personal confession and absolution. I came to believe in this forgiveness because of the very foundational things we are taught. Repetition is necessary as well.
I constantly sought this knowledge of real forgiveness in all those places I listed above. It eluded me for most of my whole life. It was before me the whole time. But it was muddied up with all the sinfulness of all the constant complaining over this and that and all the division that exists among all of us in the whole Christian Church on earth.
I have seen churches drop so many parts of our (used to be) normal liturgy. I have heard of a teacher who only “teaches the 2nd article” of the Creed. I doubt very much this would be sanctioned by Rod Rosenbladt who taught the “Two Natures of Christ” so well. In all our attempts to change worship in our own man-made attempts to attract, each man makes up his own rules for that church which usually ends up with compromising doctrine of some sort or other.
Points of doctrine get left out until they virtually vanish from sight. And this smacks to me of a Pentecostal “Oneness” kind of church. Where everything is “Jesus Only” – refuted in John 10 and 14 = the Holy Trinity is diminished. I know of a Pentecostal church that bought a dead Lutheran church. The first things to be removed from the property were the Altar, the Communion rail, and the Crosses — because Communion is only symbolic. They had to make room for the Praise Band. Good Friday only comes around — on Good Friday.
I read things like this all the time… “Everyone is trying to attract new people and hold on to them and make them disciples. But, today, people are seekers and shoppers looking for a temporary experience of worship, not a long-term commitment” … http://religionnews.com/2015/12/02/megachurch-evangelical-christians/
Experientially, this is true. The saddest thing said there is ‘not a long-term commitment.’ Are they talking about a ‘church’ or to Jesus? I read recently that all of the copious amounts of church activity are failing at teaching people to be actual disciples of Jesus. How is this happening? One good answer is here … “Dear Church: The World Needs a Cross Not a Pacifier” … http://www.chadbird.com/blog/2016/6/30/dear-church-the-world-needs-a-cross-not-a-pacifier
I attend 2 Eastern Orthodox church occasionally. As I was sitting there and looking around I thought, “Well here are all the Millenials.” The churches have a healthy view of “Ageism” — they don’t practice it. The church is filled with old, middle, young, and children. All participate together in social functions. It is a community of believers. The Divine Service? Plenty of Scripture, Old and New. The Creeds and the Lord’s Prayer — usually repeated about 2 to 3 times each during the service. Constant reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — One God. “Old” music. Not a fake smoke machine, but real incense (which is shown all through Scripture even to the end). Plenty of reference to Jesus and His saving work. And the Real Sacraments. This is not a show. It is real worship. And it can last between 2-3 hours. And no one complains. (Not even the babies — they just fall asleep in daddy’s arms.)
I love my Lutheran church. I don’t believe it is going to die. Yes, we have faults. Some places might close. But that happens in all churches. If I have to go to church with ‘old’ people to get the simple message of the Gospel and receive the Real Sacrament, so be it. I want the basics and the true truth. I appreciate the historical elements in the services — being there, and not left out. I want to be connected to the ancient historical church.
Here is a snippet of a description of the LCMS by a sister Concordia. To me, it is very sad to read. I know I will always be able to find a true church. I am sad for others who will not know enough to be able to do that.
There’s a lot more to it, but the bottom line is that Lutherans are 37 percent less terrible than Roman Catholics—though all Lutherans are not created equal. For example, Concordia was founded by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod who seem less sensible than their more liberal sister organization, the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Missouri Synod believes in biblical inerrancy—or that the bible is without error. Usually that’s bad news for our LGBT friends and neighbors… however, I’ve been informed by several students on campus as well as the administration that Concordia has a healthy LGBT community, and the school works hard to create an environment of support for all of their students—regardless of sexual orientation, religion, or what have you. (Sometimes it’s best to regard the founders of your school like a crazy, homophobic grandparent. Just sigh heavily and roll your eyes.) http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/concordia-university/Content?oid=10317708
Would we not be better off to hold on tight to the true things? Would we not be better off if everyone would be proud of our beliefs and bold to share them with our neighbors? Would we not be better off to practice the Great Commission? Wouldn’t it be better to hold our head up high and preach and give Christ instead of hold our head down in supposed shame for all of our idiosyncrasies?
If we believe we have the truth, would this not be a better witness of it to the world?
There is no perfect church on earth. All have faults and misinterpretations. All are guilty. All are run by sinful men. But there is a true Church. Christ says so. It is His Body. And I believe we are part of it.
God bless you all,