Q&A — Finding a Church

This question came in regarding locating a good liturgical church when planning to move to a new area. We do recommend the website LutheranLiturgy.org for finding churches while vacationing or moving, but obviously that doesn’t list every excellent church. (Pastors, please add your church to that website).

 

I’m facing a potential move to Boone, NC, due to a potential job offer. I’ve been browsing this site, the LCMS site and the IssuesEtc site trying to find a good solid confessional Lutheran church in that area, but I’m not coming up with much. I’m willing to drive farther to get to work in order to live close enough to drive to a good church on Sunday or during the week, but I don’t know how to identify a good church, especially if they don’t have a decent website. Can anyone here help me out? What are the closest confessional Lutheran churches to that town? I have been attending an excellent confessional Lutheran church in the Chicago area for a while and would love to have a church like that, or one like Wolfmueller’s church in Aurora, CO, which I visited this past week while on vacation.

Obviously we can’t post every area that people are asking about, but below is “A Guide to Church Shopping” by Pastor Cwirla which might help others who are in this situation.

 

Found on A Guide to Church Shopping on blog.higherthings.org:

 

I’m going to give you a few things to think about on your shopping trip – twelve in case you’re counting. And then twelve dos and don’ts. Why twelve? No particular reason except that 12 happens to be one of those biblical “lucky numbers” like 3, 7, 10, and 40. Twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, twelve foundations under heavenly Jerusalem. It’s better than six.

The first four are the really big ones. Tie them to your foreheads and bind them on your wrists next to your WWJD bracelet. The other eight are there to round out the list and give you some things to think about while you’re sipping your latte at Starbucks on Sunday morning and pondering where to go to church. So here goes.

1. Is the church Christ-centered?

A spoked wheel without a hub can’t spin. It can be missing a spoke or two, or even be slightly out of round, but without the hub at the center, the wheel won’t work.

Without the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of the sinner and the life of the world firmly in the middle of a church’s teaching, preaching, and practice, it’s hold on Christianity will be tenuous at best. Being “biblical” isn’t enough. Some churches like to say they’re “Bible-believing” churches. That sounds good, but the Bible wasn’t nailed to a cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Christian churches are “Christ-believing,” and you can’t get more biblical than that.

It’s all about Jesus, or it isn’t particularly Christian. It’s not about how much I love Jesus, but how Jesus loves me (and you) to death. It’s not about what would Jesus do (WWJD) but what did Jesus do for you (and for the world) (WDJD4U).

2. Is the church confessional and creedal?

A creed is a formal statement of belief, a church’s public confession of what it believes, teaches, and confesses.

“Doctrine divides” and “Deeds not creeds” you say. Yeah, I read the bumper stickers too. It’s all nonsense of the first order! The Christian faith is not something you make up as you go along. And it doesn’t come through private one-on-one conversations with God while driving on the freeway. The Ethiopian had the company of Philip along with the Scriptures in his chariot (Acts 8:26-40). And he wasn’t driving the chariot!

The Christian faith is “the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). In other words, what we believe is what Christians have always believed since Pentecost. Look and listen for things like the Apostles’ creed, which goes all the way back to the 2nd century. Or the Nicene creed (AD 325). Or even the Athanasian creed (5th century). Lutherans have a whole book called the Book of Concord which was pulled together in 1580. It’s our public statement of what we believe and don’t believe. Now that’s confessional!

You say, “But that’s a bunch of old stuff written by dead guys. What about today?” I say, “Look. The church has been around longer than Billy Graham, Dwight Moody and the last crusade at Anaheim Stadium”. We’re talking almost 2000 years of history here. As the old saying goes, “Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat its errors.” The old creeds keep us from reinventing the faith and praying to our “Father-Mother in heaven” or whatever other paganism is in style these days.

If a church can’t put down in writing what it believes and teaches, maybe it doesn’t believe anything at all.

3. Is the church sacramental?

Isn’t that the capital of California? No, that’s Sacramento, which, though it shares a verbal connection, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the sacraments. Believe me; I live in California.

“Sacraments” are rituals established by God in which God reveals Himself to be gracious to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Don’t be surprised that God works through rituals. He’s always worked through rituals. Even in the Garden, there was a ritual. Don’t eat from a certain tree in the middle. Eat from any other tree, including the Tree of Life, but not that tree. An action and a word – ritual. In the old testament, God worked through the ritual blood sacrifices of the temple and the ritual of circumcision. In the new testament, He works through Baptism, the preached Word, and the Lord’s Supper.

God is sacramental; so are we. That’s how He wants to deal with us. Deal with it.

As long as we’re talking sacraments, let’s talk baby baptism, shall we? Sacramental churches baptize their babies. This isn’t some kind of weird medieval magic or religious superstition. It’s simply the recognition God promises to work through Baptism to make Jesus’ death and resurrection personally our own. In Baptism, we are individually and personally buried with Jesus in His death (Romans 6:4). It’s our washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). The cross says, “Jesus died for all.” Baptism says, “Jesus died for you.”

Baby baptism has been around since Jesus commanded His disciples to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19-20) and the first households were baptized (Acts 2:29). Anyone who says, “The Bible doesn’t say to baptize babies,” is arguing from a vacuum of silence. The Bible doesn’t say not to baptize babies, either. And the Bible doesn’t say to “dedicate” them, so I’ll see you, raise you, and call the hand. Only occasionally in the early centuries did anyone challenge baby baptism, but they were challenging the status quo not a novelty. It wasn’t until the 16th century and the Reformation that some fringe types starting baptizing the already baptized because they didn’t like Roman Catholics; hence the name “Anabaptists” (ana = again, baptizo = to baptize, anabaptist = to baptize again). The Anabaptists were the theological forerunners of many protestant Christians in America today.

What a church says about baby baptism tells you a lot about what it believes concerning salvation. If salvation is a transaction in which God does His part and we in turn do our part, then baby baptism makes no sense at all. Better to wait until the kid is old enough to decide and seal the deal for himself.

But if salvation is entirely God’s doing, accomplished in dead Jesus on the cross and given to us freely, gratis, by grace, without our works or decisions, while we are still spiritually stone cold dead (Ephesians 2:4), then baby baptism makes all the sense in the world. The kid does nothing except get wet and kick a little bit; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do it all. “By grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesian 2:8-9). Let’s not throw the baby out of the baptismal bath water.

As long as I’m tooting the sacramental horn, a few words for the wise about the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper consists of bread and wine (yes, Virginia, that’s bread and wine, not crackers and grape juice or whatever else someone might serve up on the Sunday menu) together with the words of Jesus spoken on the night He was betrayed: “This is my body given for you.” “This is my blood shed for you.” You heard Him right. The bread is Jesus body, and the wine is Jesus blood. Not represents, symbolizes, signifies, stand for, or any other clever way of ducking the word “is.” Don’t ask me how, I don’t know; I just work here. It just is. “Is” still means “is” in sacramental churches.

Sacramental churches tend to have the Lord’s Supper frequently, usually weekly or even more. That’s because they actually believe you receive something important, namely, the body and the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. If all you get is bread and wine and a fond memory of Jesus, three or four times a year is enough. You may as well go to brunch. The bread and wine are usually better at brunch than in church anyway.

Sacramental churches usually tend to practice some form of “closed communion.” It tends to come with the confessional territory. Some congregations are fairly open, others are tight as a drum. Some ask that you speak with the pastor before you approach the altar, others want you to take 100 hours of classroom instruction and a driving test. The point is that the Lord’s Supper is not a “y’all come down if the Spirit moves you” kind of meal. Neither was the Passover that came before it.

A word of warning, and I mean this seriously. The Lord’s Supper can kill you, and I’m not talking about catching some nasty germs by drinking from a common cup. It happened to some folks in Corinth who were elbowing the poor out of the food line at the church’s potluck and coming to the altar as though they were bellying up to a bar in Vegas. They got sick and died for the way they communed! (1 Corinthians. 11:27-32). So don’t get bent out of shape if the pastor says he doesn’t think you ought to commune that day. He probably has your health and well-being at heart. You ought to thank him.

I recommend that church shoppers refrain from communing until they settle in at a place. The Lord’s Supper is more than your little personal time with Jesus. It’s a deeply communal form of worship, where believers are visibly united with each other in the one Body of Christ. “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Corinthians. 10:17). That kind of unity suggest a certain sense of commitment, don’t you think?

If you desire to receive the Lord’s Supper as a guest in a congregation, please be so kind as to introduce yourself to the pastor beforehand and be prepared for some meaningful conversation. It will save you potential embarrassment later, and it’s the polite thing to do. Imagine sitting down to dinner, and all of a sudden, a total stranger comes through the door, sits down at your table, and asks you to pass the mashed potatoes. I think you’d at least want to know his name, wouldn’t you? Enough said.

4. Is the church liturgical?

Smells and bells versus praise bands and projection screens. Everything from Gregorian chant to Jesus-palooza 2003. Welcome to Worship Wars!

I refuse to take up arms. Call me old fashioned, but I stick with the tried and true vintages, straight from the church’s cellar. Liturgical churches use a fixed order of service that’s more or less repeated from Sunday to Sunday. The repetition has been going on now for almost 2000 years, so it has a pretty good head of liturgical steam, if not smoke, behind it. Liturgical churches tend to use a book or some kind of printed order of service that wasn’t made up from scratch on Friday. Projection screens belong in movie theaters, in my less than humble opinion. Don’t we stare at screens enough every day?

Though it’s often called “traditional worship” by those who engage in “contemporary worship,” that’s really only half the truth. Liturgical worship is historic worship, the way Christians have been worshipping for nearly 2000 years. Some of the phrases of the liturgy go all the way back to the new testament. Liturgical worship is also biblical worship, not in the sense that the Bible demands we worship this way, but that nearly every word of the liturgy is a quotation from Scripture. Liturgical worship is also Christocentric worship, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness and life of the sinner right in the middle of everything. That’s the important one, remember?

Liturgical services are usually two part affairs. There’s the service of the Word, which consists of readings from Scripture and a sermon on one or more of the readings. And there’s the service of the Sacrament, or Lord’s Supper. Hymns and psalms are sprinkled in, along with the creed and a few other things like the offering. It can be a bit confusing to the newcomer. Historic liturgy, like decent red wine, is an acquired taste, especially for us brain damaged Americans whose fingers are always on the remote. But hang with it long enough, and you too can learn the age old new song of salvation along with the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.

“Do you have to worship this way,” people always ask me. “Not necessarily,” I say with a Gospel smile. “We don’t necessarily have to do anything. But what else would you do?” OK, so I’m biased. String me up by my stoles and chasuble. Some people don’t mind lurching around in a liturgical Yugo. For my money, the historic liturgy is a classic Bentley, which I try to keep in good running order and up to contemporary emission standards.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).

OK, there you have it. The top four things to think about as you’re shopping around for a church. If you haven’t written me off as some kind of closet Catholic who’s sniffed a little too much incense in his college days, then let’s quickly move through the other eight in no particular order.

5. What does the church teach concerning the Bible?

Let’s be clear. The Bible is the Word of God. Period. It doesn’t just contain the Word of God or become the Word of God when you believe it. It is the Word of God, apparent warts and all. The Scriptures are inspired (literally breathed out) from God (2 Timothy 3:14-16). They’re not intended to make you healthy or wealthy but wise to your salvation through faith in Jesus. The Scriptures are useful for doctrine, for rebuking (and we all need a little rebukin’ now and then), for correction and for training. Watch how a church uses the Bible, especially those uncomfortable passages. If they’re picking and choosing, they’re probably making things up on the fly.

6. Does the congregation believe, teach, and confess the Triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – three Persons in one divine Being, as the only true God?

Basic, but it needs to be said. Many so-called “mainline” churches pray to a “Father-Mother” god or a Creator-Redeemer-Sanctifier god in the interest of inclusivity and political correctness. This is more than a matter of words. If a church can’t say “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” something has gone terribly wrong. The historic creeds and liturgy, if they are taken seriously, will help keep things in line.

7. Does the congregation believe, teach and confess that all people are by nature sinful in the eyes of God?

Yes, I know that all that “poor, miserable sinner” stuff can be a real blow to the self-esteem, but denial doesn’t change the truth. Churches that deny we are sinners to the core tend to push for self improvement as the way to salvation, as though you have within you the power to change and improve. Remember, we’re not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.

8. Does the congregation teach that sinners are justified (declared righteous) by God’s grace (His undeserved favor) through faith (trust) for the sake of Jesus (on the basis of His sacrificial death)?

Sounds amazing, but it’s true. We’re innocent in God’s eyes all thanks to dead and risen Jesus. This is the central teaching of Christianity. Without it, a church can’t really be called “Christian,” no matter how religious it might otherwise appear. You may hear many religious and even inspiring things during the course of a service, but did you hear that Jesus Christ died on a cross, rose from the dead, and reigns at the right hand of God for the forgiveness of your sins and for His sake, pardon, peace, forgiveness, and eternal life are yours in His name? If you didn’t hear something like that, then what you heard wasn’t distinctively Christian.

9. Does the congregation distinguish God’s commands, threats, and punishments from His promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Jesus Christ?

Ever read the Bible and wonder whether God is talking out of two sides of His mouth? Or even if He has two mouths? We call that the Law and the Gospel. The Law is what God demands from us – absolute perfection, not just a good try. The Law is a mirror, reflecting how bad things really are with us. It also instructs and guides us, and serves to curb some truly bad behavior. But the Law is always going to accuse you and make you feel bad about yourself. That’s probably why people don’t like to see the Ten Commandments in public places.

But don’t despair! The Law is not God’s last Word. You’re a sinner, that’s true. And Jesus is the Savior of sinners! That’s even truer. The Gospel is “good news.” (That’s what the word “gospel” means – good news.) The good news is that Jesus bore your sin in His body on the cross. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it in His death (John 3:16-17). There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, and there is nothing we need to do. Jesus has already done it all – for you and for all. He said so when He died. “It is finished” (John 19:30). He calls you to believe that, trust Him, take Him at His Word and live in His freedom.

What about good works? Don’t we have to do something to please God? Well, yes and no. We don’t do good works in order to please God. We can’t. But we want to do good works because we believe we are already pleasing to God on account of Jesus. Works always follow faith. When we believe that God is at peace with us in the death of Jesus, we’re free to do what pleases Him. The Christian life is not about trying to become pleasing to God, but serving God who is pleased with us in His Son Jesus. It’s not like the Army slogan, “Be all that you can be.” It’s more like, “Be all that you already are in Jesus.”

10. What opportunities for teaching does the congregation have? Disciples are made by baptizing in the triune Name and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20). Not one or the other, and not in any particular order. Baptism occurs once in a lifetime; teaching takes a whole lifetime. You don’t need a weekly calendar crammed full of targeted small group Bible studies (“The Soccer Mom’s Bible Study”), but a steady diet of Scripture and doctrine for young and old alike is a good sign.

11. Does the church have any practices that encourage people to behave in a strange or abnormal manner?

Major red flag here! Barking, babbling, uncontrolled laughter, fainting, fits, and convulsions are most assuredly NOT signs of the Holy Spirit’s presence. They may be the sign of unclean spirits, in which case you don’t want anything to do with this. If this is happening, leave that place immediately, do not pass Go and by all means do not collect $200 (or contribute it). God is not a God of disorder but of peace who does things in a decent and orderly way (1 Corinthians. 14:33,38).

12. Is the congregation in fellowship with other Christian congregations or does it stand alone?

Watch out for the “Lone Rangers” of religion, especially if they claim some “new revelation” or special teaching that no one else has. A new teaching is probably an old heresy recycled. The prophet Elijah once thought he was the only true believer left in the land of Israel. He was off by 6,999 (1 Kings 19:18).

 

TWELVE DOS AND DON’TS FOR CHURCH SHOPPERS

  1. Do shop for churches “concentrically.” Start with the congregations closest to where you live. The closer you live, the more you can be involved in its life. Can’t find a decent church within a reasonable distance? Perhaps your living room might be the start of a new congregation in the area. That’s how many churches got started. But don’t start there.
  2. Do be so kind as to leave your name, address, and phone number so that the church can contact you if they want. Don’t feel compelled to leave an offering, unless you truly desire to make one. (Don’t let my budget committee see this one!)
  3. Do attend more than one service before moving on. Don’t let your first impression be your only one. Churches, like people, have bad hair days too.
  4. Do make arrangements to speak with the pastor of the congregation as soon as possible.
  5. Do introduce yourself to congregation members and talk with them. You’ll learn a lot. Don’t sit on the fringes. Christianity is not a spectator sport.
  6. Don’t get sucked in by programs and music. Remember, this is worship, not entertainment. Music can be manipulative.
  7. Don’t lead with your heart; use your head. Christianity is about the objective fact of salvation in Jesus Christ, not feelings.
  8. Don’t be put off if the service seems out of touch with the culture. The Church is supposed to be the embassy of a kingdom not of this world.
  9. Don’t expect any congregation or pastor to be perfect in practice.
  10. Do plan on joining. Church shopping should be a temporary phase, not a way of life.
  11. Do look and listen for Jesus Christ crucified in the middle of everything.
  12. Do pray that God would lead you to a faithful, Christ-centered, sacramental, liturgical congregation that proclaims the faith of Christ crucified and risen for your salvation.

By the way, if your church shopping brings you in the neighborhood of Hacienda Heights (CA), drop in at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on Newton Street and introduce yourself. We’ll leave a light on for you.

The Rev. William M. Cwirla The Feast of the Holy Cross, 2003

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He’s responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


Comments

Q&A — Finding a Church — 18 Comments

  1. Every LCMS parish should be Christ-centered and
    offer liturgical worship from LSB and proclaim law
    and gospel from the pulpit. Perhaps we are not
    expecting too much for this to be the case in every
    LCMS congregation.

    If this is not true in every parish, then we need to
    expedite the “Koinonia Project” of President Harrison.
    I realize that with 6000 congregations, there will be
    different pastors who carry out their ministry with
    the gifts God has given them. However, every parish
    should be Christ-centered, liturgical and have the
    law/gospel dynamic in the pulpit.

  2. Whoa…There is a bit older book called The Lutheran Hymnal that some put to use in Church and School…at the corner of Park and Grant in Brookfield, Illinois.

  3. My newest member retired to South Carolina. Before deciding exactly where to look to buy her new home, she first selected a Lutheran church — a real one — and then bought her house within easy driving distance. Her old pastor did a good job teaching her!

  4. @Dave Likeness #1 The LCMS is like a box of chocolates. Gone are the days when our liturgies were truly synodical (walking together) so is an alignment with our confessions and practices. The Koinonia project is a badly conceived administrative move designed to avoid what really needs to be done. A parish either complies with our confessions or it does not and those that don’t should be removed from our roles. We can start with a long list of documented offenders that have been allowed to do it “their” way for years. This requires deep love for His church and a willingness to do the tough leadership we seem not to have.

  5. Suggestions for churches in that area would be greatly appreciated since, as Pr Crandall said, this might be a dealbreaker. The question above did imply that a confessional church in the area was an essential.

  6. @mames #4
    Many people whom you would say are not in alignment with our confessions and practices actually think that they, in fact, are. Many of our doxological progressives believe the BoC gives a broad tent approval to their innovations. The problem is not an open rejection of the confessions, which would necessitate disciplinary action. The problem, IMO, is an inadequate understanding of them. A person who thinks a charismatic liturgy with pietistic singing and a Christless message is compatible with the Lutheran confessions is 1. not reading them carefully enough, and 2. most likely to quote soteriological utilitarianism in their defense. The solution to ignorance is education, not beating. That’s why it’s so important for us confessionalists to continue to have a strong, vocal presence. If you think the LCMS is beyond redemption, you need to go spend some time in other denominations. We have it good. Plenty of room for improvement, but ahead of the curve, IMO.

  7. While I wish this would describe every LCMS congregation, is it possible that this could also describe non-LCMS, or even non-Lutheran congregations? Is there a point where given a choice between an LCMS congregation in the Willow Creek Association or a confessional PCA or ACNA church, the latter might actually be the better option? I nearly had to face this dilemma once.

  8. “No one can doubt the Good Shepherd’s missionary zeal and compassion for his sheep. Yet he draws them with a quiet dignity that is entirely free of that breathless pestering and pandering which is mere salesmanship. When multitudes turn from him in fickle disenchantment, he does not run after them, shouting, ‘Wait! Just a moment! You’ve misunderstood my words about flesh and blood. All this can be put differently, too! Let me make it clear to you in cultural forms you will find more congenial!’ None of that. Sadly but serenely he turns to his disciples: ‘You do not want to leave, too, do you?’ Peter replies for them and for the church of all ages, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ (John 6:67-68).” > Marquart, Kurt, “Corporate Worship of the Church,” in Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, 72.

  9. A very good piece. I particularly agree about the “no movie screens in church” point; more often than not, when I’ve seen them they’ve turned into more of a distraction than a supplement to worship. Watch what happens to a congregation when the wrong lyrics or Scripture verses are put up on the screen, or when the pastor puts his sermon notes up and the congregation is waiting while the power point is being fixed because of a word being left out or the remote changer goes dead and he has to stop his sermon with “Hey, guys in the booth! Next slide please!” Or worse yet, go to a church that becomes dependent upon playing film clips of one sort or another on Sundays and conditions the congregation into being more like the audience in a movie theatre (the Nazarene church I used to attend did this).

    When my family and I started doing our church shopping and we found churches playing great hymns on organs, my young children reacted quite favorably, as did my wife and me! There is a myth out there that kids won’t take to hymns and prefer “Jesus-palooza” as noted above-not true. My kids spent time in a contemporary worship church, and I spent time playing bass guitar in that same (Nazarene) church. One day, I stopped and looked around, and realized that what I was doing was more akin to a concert for entertainment than a worship service. I soon afterward quit. I had a talk with my wife and kids about it and found out (pleasantly!) that they were feeling the same thing: empty worship with “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs that were theologically shallow and little more than top forty chord charts for construction (with the exception of the choir pieces, which were sometimes better) all structured to effect mindless emotional response and confuse that emotionalism for the Holy Spirit.

    As long as God is willing, we won’t go back to the empty gaudiness of contemporary worship. Ever.

  10. @Miguel #7 So they are incompetent then as they are trained Synodical MDivs and yet seem unable to discern properly? Either way they do not belong in the Synod. I am aware Harrison is unlikely to take a stand such as this because he appears to lack the courage to do so. We have no Luthers willing to confront and confess “here I stand……”

  11. If Rev Harrison attempted to remove people in my opinion he would not be president long. I’m sure the non confessionals have someone in mind now to try and get him out..

  12. @Michael #15

    What you say may very well be true, but we should not avoid doing the right thing only because it might cost us too much. (Maybe It’s Time, maybe it’s not.)

    Not every Marine throws himself on a grenade to save his platoon, but those who have a chance to do that and don’t, usually end up suffering the consequences with the rest of the platoon. I’m afraid that might describe such a time as this. If confessionals continue to refuse to put their careers on the line, we will remain together in a synod that is less and less Lutheran — one that makes a hero out of the likes of President Benke and allows abuse of the faithful, not just the sinful firing of Pastor Schulz, but also the district convention giving the congregation at ULC $2 million — of hush money as they allowed the theft of the chapel and the eviction of the congregation.

    Esther had similar concerns about the heroic (and deadly) consequences she might suffer in doing the right thing. Here’s the answer she got:

    “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
    (Esther 4:14b)

  13. @Pastor Ted Crandall #16 The oath taken by confirmands as well as Pastors is to defend His Word to the death if necessary. We often say those words not fully realizing what they could mean. Today some Pastors who put it on the line in a strident and respectful manner may feel the wrath of the faux Lutheran leaders among us but it is more than worth it, says our Lord. I would rather be in an independent Orthodox and Confessional church than be part of a Synod who stands on or for nothing, not even its stated and formalized positions and finds it non PC to remove the willfully errant from our walk together. As distasteful and sad as it may be we have reached that time where we must remove and shake the dust from our feet. Once again there are plenty of well known candidates ready for removal; this “fruit” hangs so low it almost touches the ground. God help us.

  14. @John Rixe #9
    John-
    that old stuff? I highly doubt that is attractive to the millennials, or the Gen X’ers now having their one trophy kid. With creative worship you might drag in a stray boomer or two, but they won’t be Lutheran, nor become one with that. You need to find a missions guy to tell you about emergent stuff, oops, that is already going the way of the dodo. Such “resources” do not assist in the assaults of the evil one or the flesh. Creativity is not the foundation of Lutheran theology or the Divine Service. You probably have heard that before.
    Peace, Pr. Ball+

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