District President May does the right thing and confesses the faith rather than going “interfaith”.

InterfaithFrom the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

This quote describes the event:

A responsive reading of a prayer for the Earth from Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment will highlight an interfaith gathering Aug. 30 in Fort Wayne.

Miami Indian sacred drumming, traditional Hindu dancing and prayers by local Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs and members of other religions also will be featured at the third annual Prayers for the City event.

Here is how the paper describes District President May’s response:

However, officials of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod again will not participate, said the Rev. Daniel May, president of the Indiana district of the LCMS based in Fort Wayne.

Missouri Synod Lutherans take Jesus seriously when he says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me,” May said. “The reason we are not comfortable with that kind of event is that … it gives the impression that there are lots of gods out there and Christianity is one of many ways (to God).”

About 40 congregations and 30,000 Missouri Synod Lutherans live in the greater Fort Wayne area, May said.

 

Thank you President May.

 

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO.

Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


Comments

District President May does the right thing and confesses the faith rather than going “interfaith”. — 39 Comments

  1. Indeed– good stuff!

    We should be able to tell any community in which we live that we pray for them regularly. But we should also be able to say why, as President May did, we will not participate in the worship of other gods under any circumstances… ever.

  2. Hmmm… this reminds of a Bible story.

    “Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship…”

  3. Kudos from a sheep (Just read ‘The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds’ a sermon by C.F.W. Walther). Thanks for the example. Love of Christ

  4. That’s an unfortunate choice. How can we share the love of Jesus if we don’t go to those who do not know Him?

  5. In my opinion, Pr May shares the love and truth of Jesus through this newspaper statement far more effectively than by participating in a heathen joint worship.

    @Rick

  6. His quote in the paper shared the truth about the love of Jesus to all who read the paper. It made a clearer statement than dancing with the Hindus or agreeing with the “death to the infidels” Moslems. Have the local Moslems denounced the teaching of their religion from the Quran?

  7. @Rick #5

    I’m so glad you asked! Lutherans are finding so many ways to share the love of Jesus and proclaim the good news of His victory over sin, death and the devil for sinners, His blood shed to propitiate God’s just wrath against sin on our behalf as a gift, due to His mercy, which we receive by faith.

    There are first and foremost faithful pastors preaching, teaching and proclaiming the law and the gospel, remaining steadfast amidst much opposition.

    There are congregations hearing, receiving, learning and then as they go, in their vocations, daily interactions with family, friends and sometimes strangers, confess what they have learned and what they believe. Where do these folks send those that receive the good news? See above.

    Today, we have so many ways to share what we confess. There are pastors and laymen on radio and the internet sharing Lutheran theology, current events, discerning false teaching and using that as a way to introduce those who are under such teaching to hear sound teaching and question what road they’re on. There are sermons, classes, lectures. Any one of these points to other resources, as well as help folks find a church preaching and teaching law and gospel, sin and grace, Christ, and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.

    What I don’t see in Scripture is any instruction to share the love of Jesus by means of a joint prayer event with the worshipers of Zeus. Do you know of anywhere Jesus instructed us to do this?

  8. Jesus prayed with others both in public and private. The feeding of the 5000 was probably the most public. Whether or not those in attendance worshipped Zeus I can’t say. But they surely didn’t know who Jesus was at that time.

  9. @Rick #10

    Does the Biblical text teach that other faiths were given equal standing? Our very confessions teach that even on Sunday morning there are likely unbelievers in the pews. Preaching and Teaching unbelievers or idolaters is not the same as praying/worshipping/etc. with them on an equal level, letting their false prayers and evil teachings be aired for all to hear.

    When I see a unionist and syncretist of the LCMS actually do what Jesus does by speaking actual applicable and stern Law AND sweet Gospel in the face of idolaters, I will be content to let them do things in these interfaith gatherings. But, by rebuking their idolatry and possibly calling them names like serpents, vipers, white washed tombs, etc. they may not be invited back to the next interfaith gathering (or possibly run out of the community like Paul was on a few occasions).

  10. > How can we share the love of Jesus … ?

    Question for you Rick. Can you share the love of Jesus without also proclaiming the judgement of Jesus?

    Second question, if we get past the first one: What’s the judgement of Jesus on those other teachings?

    Third question, if you are still here: How do you think it would go over to pronounce God’s judgement on those teachings, at that event?

  11. @Rick #10

    Serious question: Where specifically does Scripture say Jesus prayed with others?

    He taught the disciples to pray.

    He probably did pray with others when attending synagogue as Luke tells us it was His custom. And those people certainly wouldn’t have publicly confessed belief in Zeus.

    At the feeding of the 5000 he blessed the bread, but I don’t remember a public prayer with the people. After the feeding He went to pray by Himself.

    I think many people misunderstand the rebellion of ancient Israel. It’s not that they turned completely away from the one true God. But they mixed worship of God with a little of this god and a sprinkle of that god, a dash of this god and a pinch of that god. They were syncretistic. They allowed many into the marriage bed that only belonged to Yahweh. Hence, God called their idolatry, adultery. Why would we even flirt with letting other gods into the union between Christ and His Church?

    We go to those who don’t know Christ, but that doesn’t mean we need to worship with them. Unbelievers are all over the place.

    Honestly it’s a self-defeating act! What good would it do to worship with somebody at an interfaith service and then proceed to tell them that Jesus is the Way? It would be a case where actions speak louder than words.

  12. We are called to make disciples of all nations, to Baptize them, and to teach them what Christ commanded. I just don’t see how we can do that if we keep those who believe differently at arms length.

  13. @Rick #14

    Rick,
    I get what your saying, but this is a very different kind of event. In participating, we would be saying, we agree with what you believe, teach, and preach. Christians, can’t do that. Who would do that? These events, are basically, saying we are all one & all God’s lead to “a” Heaven or Resurrection, we know, know, they don’t.
    Remember your Bible Stories, from when you were small? Remember Solomon? He did that, and look what happened. Jesus did spend time w/all, yet He never worshiped along side them. He taught them & this, is so not that opportunity.
    Just read about Solomon, what God said about it, and what it actually caused, to occur.
    We worship the Triune God, not the earth, and the environment. We worship the One, who made it.

  14. How can we share the love of Jesus if we don’t go to those who do not know Him?

    I think the difference is that today, especially in North America, people do know who Jesus is, have heard the Gospel and have rejected it in favor of their own religious beliefs. Some of them would like nothing better than to have the Christian join them in an interfaith gathering to validate their respective religion. The world would see Christianity cooperating with, and therefore legitimizing, all the participants long before it would get the message that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, exclusively.

  15. > keep those who believe differently at arms length.

    You are using a cliche to mischaracterize a specific thing. You seem to have an abstraction in your mind that does not apply to the situation. You are not answering the questions. I don’t think you are going to. Bye.

  16. @Rick #14

    We go out to the unbelieving world every time we step away from the Altar, and back into our lives of vocation. We not only speak God’s saving Word to our families and friends, but as occasion permits, into all the byways and highways of life.

    Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples of every nation, does not abrogate the 1st Commandment, that we must have no other gods before Him. In the Hebrew, the first commandment is quite clear. It’s not a general philosophical sense of order or priority… it is literally “before My face.” For a Christian to worship alongside other gods and their various ministers, is to bring other gods before His face… and as noted above, King Solomon found out just how devastatingly dangerous it is to do so.

    Conversely, the Prophet Elijah had a more appropriate response to worshiping alongside the priests of Baal…

  17. Three cheers for DP Bishop May, the Roman Catholic Church has always had syncretism present in her Church but what we are observing now is very disturbing and if the syncretism increases there could be schism in the Roman Church. Are we seeing in the Roman Church the beginning of St. Paul’s prophetic message in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12? There is present among people and governments to bring all religions together in peace. Will the man of sin the son of perdition promise to bring all religions together with the ultimate purpose being the worship of the man of sin?

  18. Jesus did not have any Baal worshippers or Zeus worshippers preach at the feeding of the five thousand. No worshippers of Baal or Zeus did the praying. “No one comes to the Father but by Me.” Jesus’ words and Presidents May’s words. These words are a great and needed testimony to today’s people.

  19. I question the premise that “participating, we would be saying, we agree with what you believe, teach, and preach.”

  20. @Mark G. Woodworth #22

    Could you explain?

    Unless it’s the scenario pr. Scheer presented above, I can’t wrap my head around how it wouldn’t publicly confess agreement.

    Participants are literally praying with participants of other religions.

    Or are they pretending to pray with the other participants? My oh my, what fake worldly love and tolerance that would be! Why wouldn’t they celebrate one another if they really want to be tolerant?

    Is it just separate prayer services that happen to be occurring at the same time and location? If that’s the case what’s the point? At the very least it causes confusion. And if Jesus is not exclusively proclaimed you can double the confusion.

  21. @Mark G. Woodworth #22
    Mark,
    Not sure I understand, how it could not be. You have leaders of many faiths involved, reading the article, how would it not be?
    This is an Earth & Environment “joint” faith opportunity.
    Those “joint” faiths, worship the created & creation, rather than the One, who created, all of it.
    How could an LCMS Pastor, knowingly & with intent, throw over, what he teaches, preaches, & believes?
    How could any of us, ask, let alone want them to?

  22. @Mark G. Woodworth #22

    Mark,

    I think the question resolves in defining the object of “participating.” Simply being in the same place with worshipers of other gods and their various clergy is not problematic (the Church, and every individual Christian, live this way every day.) But an event in which multiple faiths and multiple gods are showcased is in fact very problematic. The event itself, by its definition, is oriented toward an objective, and includes assumptions about the participants toward that objective.

    Even if one could strain to understand the objective and assumptions of such a syncretistic event in the best possible light (I’m not exactly sure what that would be, but I’ll leave room for the possibility that it may exist,) participation by a Christian church– clergy or laity– would almost certainly cause scandal and confusion as to the Church’s confession of One True God, and hence the one and only path to salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. The probability of that confusion and scandal should be enough to keep any Christian from participating in any such syncretistic event even in the best of possible scenarios– let alone in the greater likelihood of a much more sinister scenario condemned in absolute terms by our God in the very first words of the Decalogue.

  23. President May is right in his response, and I commend him for it. And the reason he gives for not participating is the reason that David Benke and Jerry Kieschnick were so very wrong in their participation in and approval and cover-up of the interfaith prayer service, “A Prayer for America.”

  24. @Charles Henrickson #27

    Pastor,
    Boy do I remember that.
    Isn’t this different though? This is based on Pope Francis’s Encyclical, which, if memory serves (forgive me if I’m in err), Pope Benedict, still declared Luther, as a heretic. I don’t remember Pope Francis, did he rescinding that Papal declaration? So where would that put us, LCMS? Person non gratis, heretic yet Christian? That doesn’t work.
    That would be another reason, not such a good idea. Or am I wrong?

  25. @Dutch #28

    It doesn’t matter if the interfaith prayer service has to do with the environment or terrorism or a papal encyclical. It is still an interfaith prayer service, meaning, it will be a prayer service led by clergy from various religions. Our clergy should not participate in such services, because of the message that very participation sends, as President May says. And that is reason enough. If there other reasons for not participating–e.g., the cause is a dumb liberal idea–that only adds on as to why not to do it.

  26. @Dutch #28

    You are correct, Dutch, we are not in fellowship with Rome. So not only should our clergy not participate in leading services with representatives of non-Christian religions (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc.), we also do not participate in officiating joint services with heterodox Christian church bodies (Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, ELCA, non-denoms, etc.).

  27. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Many thanks to our Lord for providing us with church leaders, like Indiana District President Dan May, who do the right thing and confess with their actions what they speak with their lips! They are sterling examples for all of us to follow!

    Here is the question of the day: With all of the fine conservative Lutheran church bodies in the 19th century, who pledged allegiance to the Scriptures and the Confessions, why did only the LC-MS and the WELS continue steadfast in that faith into the 21st century? (The ELS was founded in the 20th century).

    Two reasons: 1) Only the LC-MS and the WELS affirmed the truthfulness and perennial applicability of all the canonical Scriptures, i.e., what I have called the “plenary authority of Scriptures”; 2) Only the LC-MS and the WELS had clauses in their constitution and official doctrinal statements that forbid official participation, by ministers of the church, in the worship services and sacramental rites of heterodox assemblies.

    The first reason is why the LC-MS and the WELS were able to resist the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s. The second reason is why the LC-MS and the WELS were able to resist the ecumenical movement and the “corrosive effects of American religious pluralism.” See Mark Granquist’s new history of Lutheranism in America for evidence and analysis to prove these points: Mark Granquist, Lutherans in America: A New History (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015).

    Those who demean the LC-MS and WELS for those churches’ adherence to Scriptures and avoidance of syncretistic behavior know neither church history, the Lutheran confessions, nor the Scriptures.

    Yours in Chirst, Martin R. Noland

  28. DP May’s response is to be commended. “The world bears the Gospel a grudge because the Gospel condemns the religious wisdom of the world.” — Martin Luther (Commentary on Galatians)

  29. There needs to be a division in the MO synod right now between folks who think one of our pastors participating in this event is ok / and those who don’t.

  30. I pity pastormay at the next COP meeting. He will get the evil eye from so many liberal district presidents like his neighbors to the east.

  31. @Tileman hesshusius #34

    Sure he will, but certain others will have his back.

    From what I have seen, I think the bigger issue will be the DP Forke (Montana), acting at the behest of his district, formally charged Prof. Matthew Becker, and force DP Linnemann (Northwest) to suspend him. And how many of these liberals with cast a disparaging eye at Pres. Harrison for ‘orchestrating’ Becker’s removal.

    Interesting times ahead.

  32. Look, flipping back & forth between movies, I saw Rick Santorum, on some Bill Maher show.
    Maher told Santorum, as they were discussing the Pope’s Encyclical, that Maher liked the Pope more than Santorum, who is Catholic.
    Santorum, stated that if the Pope intended, what it’s turned into, he would have addressed abortion or the sanctity of marriage, first.

    Which, I think a few have stated here, this is an opportunity for, well lack of better term, having public “face time”, for what I have no clue. If Roman Catholics, disagree with how this has been handled, I think, not attending (so many ways indeed)this event was right, good, and true, a decision, by our D.P.

  33. @Martin R. Noland #31

    Only the LC-MS and the WELS had clauses in their constitution and official doctrinal statements that forbid official participation, by ministers of the church, in the worship services and sacramental rites of heterodox assemblies.

    Unless, of course, those heterodox assemblies bear the same name and contribute financially to the same parent entity.

  34. Friends,

    The matter of unionism/syncretism has been the issue within the LCMS for a very long time which is a bit ironic since we are a church body founded, in part, because of a forced union in Europe. Unionism was behind the Statement of the 44 in 1945. It has been behind the Church Growth Movement foolishness in order to make congregations more “welcoming”, “tolerant”, and “diverse” especially with respect to practicing several forms of open communion. It continues to be the issue behind the most recent post of the “Statement of the 83” posted by DayStar. Thus, the occasional voice of orthodoxy regarding this central issue within Missouri comes as a breath of fresh air from President May. The tragedy is that it IS a breath of fresh air in a Synod that should simply know better than to engage in unionism! Yet, we still have an unresolved Yankee Stadium issue and again with Rev. Fred Neidner and even with Dale Meyer. We are simply not the Synod we once were and it would seem that we simply do not have the will to bring about correction to this on-going issue within Missouri.

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