Monday, May 19, 2008

Why This Will Work - Part 2

Despite the obvious division in our synod, there are still bastions of confessional Lutheranism in every city that I have visited. Such a statement of good news does not make for a popular blog post, but it is the truth. If one wants to find a confessional church, they are readily available in every city of every state that I have visited this year. These lighthouses of truth shine light out into the theological darkness of American Protestantism. Even in those places where progressive theology has all but replaced sound doctrine, stalwart churches stand against the tide of error and unionism.

If you visit a Mecca of works-righteous Christianity like Houston, you can still find dedicated Lutheran pastors saying things like:

"In order to fulfill this Great Commission, to baptize and make disciples, you--yourself--must be a disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A disciple by definition is a person who follows a particular teacher....To be a disciple, you must believe that what your teacher is teaching is the Truth; not just truth, but the Truth."

As the humanly invented programs and business models gain high praise here on earth, the angels in heaven continue to rejoice over the thankless grunt work that the good and faithful servants are doing every day. Despite what you may be told by the hot-heads on both sides, there are many churches who love sound doctrine and seek to walk with a spirit of peaceful mercy toward one another. They do not have the time to bicker and seek public glory for their many accomplishments. They are too busy following the New Testament model for the church: faith, love, good order, peace, unity, and righteousness. They are too busy lifting each other up, teaching their young children the Athanasian Creed, holding regular prayer services during the week, and helping the poor in their community.

In the last year, I have visited over a dozen faithful churches that you have probably never heard of or seen. Their humble spirits prevent them from attempting to draw attention their way. The various factions in the synod are so occupied with the task of tilting at windmills that they fail give these congregations a moment's notice. Do not lose sight of the fact that they do exist. Do not forget that there are places where the systems are working, the gospel is being taught in its purity, and the sacraments are being properly administered.

Church growth is not a popularity contest. The Body of Christ is not a place for division and discord. It is not a place for finger-pointers, doom-sayers, and credit-seekers. In all things we are a people of faith, hope, and love. I pray that God will cause this fruit to grow in all of us.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

-James 3:13-18

1 comment:

Christopher D. Hall said...

Get busy, Mike! I'm almost finished with my Part III :)