Lutheran Identity Theft – A Newspaper Article Submitted by Rev. Joshua Scheer

(This is an article that Rev. Scheer is submitting to his local newspaper in Minnesota.)

Identity Theft: “Lutheran”
By Rev. Joshua Scheer

There it was, the headline read “Lutherans to vote on sexually active gay clergy” on Being a member of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), the second largest Lutheran church body in America, I am fairly used to having things that “Lutherans” do in the news not mean the LCMS. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the largest Lutheran church body in the United States, so when the news reports things “Lutheran”, it often goes for statements from ELCA theologians, pastors, or members. My synod is not usually contacted. Being a sinful human being, I first thought of myself and the troubles this will create for me and my congregation. After that I realized my own holy disgust for how the Word of God is being ignored and manipulated on the matter, but then I thought for a second about my neighbors in the ELCA.

One day later, I have just read the news that the ELCA report on Human Sexuality has been approved by a vote of 676-338. This report allows for the belief that same gender relationships are tolerable in the church and indeed should even be supported. From the report: “It [the church] has called upon congregations and members to welcome, care for, and support same-gender couples and their families, and to advocate for their legal protection.”[i] This is in direct opposition to the Word of God, which asks us to lovingly call our neighbors out of sinful behavior and apply the forgiveness of God to enable them to do so. What if the prophet Nathan had told David that it was alright for him to have Bathsheba in a loving, committed relationship? Instead, God sent Nathan to rebuke the King and took away the son that was the product of David and Bathsheba’s sin.[ii] What did our Lord Himself tell the woman caught in adultery? “Go and sin no more.”[iii] He did not seek to “welcome, care for, and support” the woman in her sin. Instead He lovingly called her out of it. Being stuck in sin is deadly to the soul, that is why our Lord so graciously sought out our first parents Adam and Eve to point out their sin and give them the promise of forgiveness in Jesus Christ, the Promised Seed.[iv]

One of the arguments for the position is that there are people who are conscience bound to their view. Again from the report: “On the basis of conscience-bound belief, some are convinced that the scriptural witness does not address the context of sexual orientation and lifelong loving and committed relationships that we experience today.”[v] Conscience is a device that tells us whether our actions or plans of action are right or wrong based upon information we have on hand. For the Christian, we seek to have our consciences informed by the Word of God. It is impossible with the sinful nature clinging so tight to maintain a perfectly informed conscience. A seared conscience can be the result of a bad base of information, or in regularly going against the good information. It is precisely for that reason that we sinful creatures with often ill-informed consciences are put into relationship with our neighbors. We are to admonish and rebuke one another with the Word of God. Ironically, even the “Frequently Asked Questions on Bound Conscience”[vi] found on the ELCA website gives the example of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason. I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God” It is ironic because the Word of God is cited by Luther as useful for and having the power to change the bound conscience, where the ELCA report encourages toleration of the falsely bound conscience. We are to warn a brother or sister in the faith when we see them going astray. After all, their conscience may be ill-informed and they may be being misled. This means we look out for one another. The ELCA report basically says that we shouldn’t look out for one another, but instead tolerate whatever each person’s conscience says, regardless of whether it is Scriptural or not.

Many of the readers of this article have been in the ELCA since its formation, and many have been a part of the LCA or ALC prior to that. Who could have seen this coming? How far can a church body go away from its own members? How can the simple words of Scripture be so misused? How can the name “Lutheran” be attached to such abominable beliefs? These are all good questions, to which I am sure many ELCA members will now have to consider. I know as a member of LCMS I now have a lot of questions also. How did I not serve to lovingly warn my neighbors in the ELCA about this? Where have I kept silent when I should have spoken? How can I now act in love as so many are hurting and feeling left behind? How has it gotten to the point that when I tell others that I am a Lutheran that I have to qualify it as not being the type that supports homosexuality? How will I be a pastor to my own parishioners, who no doubt have friends, family, and neighbors that are affected by these sad actions of the ELCA assembly? Sad times cause many questions to be asked, and let’s all be honest – there is much repentance to be had on all sides, amongst all Lutherans. May God grant true repentance to all of those who still brandish the name “Lutheran”.

I sympathize with all of those lifelong Lutherans who have just now been lumped into a group that no longer believes as the Bible teaches in regards to homosexuality. It is a case of identity theft on a grand scale. An entire church body and all those bearing the “Lutheran” name will be greatly affected by this report’s false teachings.

Rev. Joshua V. Scheer
Pastor, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
Bagley, MN

1 “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust” hereby referred to as HSGT, page 17, lines 615-616.
The document can be found here.
2 See 2 Samuel 11, 12.
3 See John 8:11.
4 See Genesis 3:15.
5 HSGT, page 18, lines 652-654
6 See here.

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.


Lutheran Identity Theft – A Newspaper Article Submitted by Rev. Joshua Scheer — 29 Comments

  1. Very well put. In the past I have been confronted by friends and family concerning things we “Lutherans” do, only to find out they are referring to information pertaining to the ELCA. The identity theft confuses and ultimately hinders those who are earnestly researching true Christianity. What should I have said? What haven’t I done to aid in the snuffing of this departure from the Word of God?

  2. I believe that there is a quote of Luther saying that the only way he would oonsent to the use of his name as an apellation for his church is if that name bespeaks of Orthodoxy. It is clear now that from a worlwide perspective that the title “Lutheran” does not pass that test.
    Thus those who would honor his request should remove that name form their midst. But of course that begs the question as to why this tradition named after this lone man is culminating in the very vice that he despised in the monasteries of his day.

  3. I know of an LCMS pastor who a decade ago who registered that name on a web domain. He saw the handwriting on the wall. I wonder if he still owns the rights to it?

  4. This is a great article, but have you considered submitting this to a national publication for greater exposure? Might even get on Fox News!

  5. As to all, thank you for the compliments. I have not considered submitting it to anything more national for greater exposure. I have no idea about how to do that. If anyone has a tip on that and thinks it would be helpful to the larger community, let me know how I might do something like that.

    As far as a name change goes, it may have to be a name that does not involve the word “Lutheran” now…

    “Lutheran” just seems a bit dirty now… Lord have mercy.

  6. First, LCMS would have to be “orthodox lutheran”
    and perhaps lower case would avoid confusion of another sort?

  7. It is very sad what has transpired and the ramifications that it will have on all church bodies and their members. But it comes as no surprise based upon the path that the ELCA began to go down several years ago. May we in the LCMS learn a very important lesson from this and the consequences of when you compromise on the Word of God.

  8. “Orthodox Lutheran Denomination” might work–uh-oh–no it wouldn’t. “OLD” wouldn’t be too cool, now would it. No matter–as Helen observes, first we’d have to BE orthodox.

    Rev. Scheer, may I suggest National Review On Line, or National Review the magazine. I’m sure they would be very interested. ought to get you there. Go to “contact us” and you’ll see a heading entitled “Pitch an article” under “Email.” Altho RC in outlook and flavor, I’d be willing to be they’d be receptive.

    I wish you every success. Your piece should receive a wide audience.

  9. For many years the ‘L’ in “ELCA” has stood for ‘Lufauxran’, or ‘Liberal’ or ‘Leftist’ or ‘Laodicean’ or ‘Licentious’ or ‘Lying’, but not, even in the remotest sense, Lutheran.

    I have no idea what the “C” in “ELCA” would stand for.

    As for the LCMS, if it could return to being the “Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States”, that would be a God-send. The Synod is not a church, but a synod of pastors and churches belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

  10. Can the LCMS truthfully say it is orthodox? Or are the LCMS FOUNDATIONS ORTHODOX? Has the LCMS not engaged Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, and Dan Kimball? Do we know whom they partner,encourage,support & what they teach when not in our in our midst? Did not a number of churches tout the benefits of the Purpose Driven Life & Rick Warren? LCMS allows district presidents to turn a blind eye to churches allowing open communion, ELCA/LCMS partner speakers for Bible studies etc., allowing congregations to engage in centering/contemplative prayer, proxy partnering with Lutherans Concerned, the list is so very long, but just as vile as what has happened this past weekend in the ELCA, just in a different, albeit, obtuse & hidden way.

    For a very long time, LCMS has concentrated on the outward appearance & outward actions. Do not thoughts & intents count just as much? “We have sinned in THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED, FOR WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND WHAT WE HAVE LEFT UNDONE”, isn’t that what we say in Divine Service? Is that meant, simply the individual or the LCMS as a whole? Can it truly set itself apart from that? Synod verbally condemns but silently condones, can we truly say, we are more orthodox? No, we just are not as far down Apostasy Road, but never the less, we are still on it.

    The term “Christian” was hijacked decades ago, long before the term “Lutheran” was this past weekend. But, in good faith & truthful understanding, can we really say the LCMS isn’t doing the same, just in a different way? A little leaven, leavens the whole lump, many ways to leaven, how fast & far is the leaven/pollution in the LCMS growing?
    Before we cast a cold eye at the splinter in our brother’s eye, we had better, wisely, take a long hard look at our own.

    The term “Lutheran” may well have been hijacked, but we are not hostages nor captives. We were made, bought and purchased, and are OWNED BY THE AUTHOR OF OUR FAITH, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD, AND THE GATES OF HELL CANNOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT, “IT” is the Church, not simply the LCMS. If we don’t choose wisely now, and return to what was our first love, and for go the neither hot nor cold ideals, we will, in our turn, suffer the same fate as the ELCA. We WILL be the Church of Laodicea.

    They hijacked a term, not the One we follow!

  11. On the matter of renaming the Synod… The name “Lutheran” is now the problem. The word “Church” just adds further confusion. How about something like the Associated Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession? (ACUAC)? Synod of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession (SUAC)? Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession (CUAC) – we could put something like a duck as the symbol cuac, cuac…? Congregations of the Book of Concord (CBC) – my guess is that this acronym is used already by the Baptists. They do not have the same ring as German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other states…

    #11 Johannes – thanks for the suggestion, I may email it to them.

  12. #12 – Dutch, your call for Synod-wide repentance is a good one. We could very easily be in the same fix as the ELCA in not too long. Your use of Revelation 3 is a good one, as that is how our Lord rebukes us and calls us back into His Truth (our first love). May each congregation’s lampstand stay in its God appointed place… Lord have mercy.

  13. Rev. Scheer–if you do email NR Online, be sure and follow the instructions. If I read them correctly, they don’t want the whole article–just the request, and, I imagine, a bit of a “teaser” so they get the drift. It’s a bit unclear.

    Very sad that “Lutheran” doesn’t stand for much anymore. We don’t know who we are. Sigh……

  14. Rev. Scheer,
    Amen & I thank you. I was really frightened to write what I wrote, so I do thank you for your kind words, and for article! You should post this or send this to FOX or anyone else who would have or print it!!!! May all things that come to pass, be to His Glory and His Will, they have, are and always will be!!!!
    May we all, be found,(were ere we may be) steadfast & true to our Lord. Rev. 3, the letters to the churches, are a loving, merciful, & GRACE FILLED self check, to each of us personally, as congregations, and as denominations. Our Heavenly Father knows His own, and holds us all by His Right Hand! OH, that we could think & remember that, when we will ever learn of & trust our Lord?

    Money doesn’t = meaning or mission
    numbers don’t = success or impact
    unity doesn’t = Biblical fellowship
    power doesn’t = impact or prestige
    counting what does not belong to us, is futile & psaltry at best. May those, who are faithful & true to their Lord and Savior be preserved in the dread days to come!

  15. Take heart, not all is gloom in this situation.
    One of the best things that this whole situation has brought up is an opportunity to teach about Lutheranism, primarily the proper way to sit underneath the Scriptures.

    O little flock fear not the foe who madly seeks your overthrow; Dread not his rage and pow’r. And though you courage sometimes faints, his seeming triumph o’er God’s saints last but a little hour.
    Be of good cheer; your cause belongs to Him who can avenge your wrongs; Leave it to Him, our Lord. Though hidden yet from mortal eyes, His Gideon shall for you arise, uphold you and His Word.
    As true as God’s own Word is true, not earth nor hell’s satanic crew against us shall prevail. Their might? A joke, a mere facade! God is with us and we with God – our victory cannot fail.
    Amen, Lord Jesus grant our prayer; Great Captain now Thine arm make bare, fight for us once again! So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise a mighty chorus to Thy praise forevermore. Amen.
    LSB 666 (I love it that this hymn got such a superstitious numberr).

  16. As for submitting it for more national exposure, you might want to contact Mollie Hemingway for guidance. She’s had a lot of her stuff published in The Wall Street Journal & she knows the insides & outs of the news biz.

  17. Good article Joshua

    Brothers and sisters. Be not ashamed of the name Lutheran. Luther never advocated such wickedness. And you don’t either. By the way, the word orthodox is already taken by another really large group… There’s still a lot of “brand recognition” in the name Missouri, as in respect. Maybe it should just be called Missouri Synod Lutheran.


  18. With all the money, office space, typewriters and people power in the LCMS International Center – the budgets for PR, the countless salaried editors, writers and the like, why does a small website and a lone Pastor have to even talk about “contacting fox news” to gain air space and clear up the confusion? Kieschnick should have his face all over the No Spin Zone. How, with all the consultants, the geniuses, the savvy young church growthers and the like all working together has no one seen that this is the single biggest PR opportunity the LCMS has had since Seminex?

    Dunno. Maybe they tried. Maybe they got turned down. But I would think Fox News would kill to have some collared President from the 2nd biggest Lutheran body which is 3x larger than the Episcopal mess sitting on a couch and saying – this is wrong, this is bad for our country.

    Silly me.

  19. Someone should also let Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity know most other Lutheran bodies do not sanction the ELCA’s actions.

  20. Matt – thank you – could you update your article to change the name to Joshua Scheer instead of Michael – I know that Michael is an LCMS pastor – but I am not sure he wants to be connected to the article…

    Thanks again for the further spread of the article…

  21. #12 by Carl Vehse – I have heard that ELCA stands for “Every Lunacy Cordially Accepted.” More and more their actions, pronouncements and decisions seem to fit this title.

  22. This article speaks very much to me. I confess I am not Lutheran of any sort, and was actually raised in a non-denominational church. I find this issue however is becoming crucial to all those that call themselves Christian. The temptation to say you can interpret the Bible however you may, or that you can even throw out parts you don’t like, is a very slippery slop. In doing so we proclaim that we can rewrite who God is in whatever way we like! This is not right! This is very dangerous. We attempt to make God in our own likeness, to put Him in a box that we are comfortable with. It is frightening. I thank God that He gave me a mother who taught me to always go back to the Word of God and make sure that what others are saying lines up with it. I’ve always felt free to respectfully disagree with any teaching I found did not hit the mark of Scripture. I pray for all of my brothers and sisters in my faith, that God can save them from this deception that has taken over their hearts.

  23. I love my Lord. I love my church. We as a church have spent years, praying, reading scripture and asking for the Holy Spirit to guide us. You may not agree with the decisions made in Minneapolis, and trust me many people in the ELCA do not agree with the decisions, but we are trying our best to move forward. Some of what I read here is hateful. My heart is breaking, regardless of the vote, our church was going to be broken. I have known this for years. I suspect that Jesus himself is heartbroken at the hurt within our church right now. Would you please not attack us right now, could you please give us the time and PRAYERS we need to get through this. We may not agree theologically– but in the end, it is about my relationship with OUR LORD and Savior and no one can judge that except for Jesus. So please, stop bashing the ELCA. Its not about you, really, it not.

  24. Michele,

    It is not about us you are right. It is about Jesus and his word. Jesus says “If you abide in my word you are truly my disiciple.” We are trying to uphold Jesus word here. If you do not want to be hurt then separate yourself from a church that has chosen to deny God’s word but please do not command us to keep silent on God’s word.


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