The President’s emphasis for the church

Well this is cool. Via Paul McCain, I found President Matthew Harrison’s three-fold emphases for our work together as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod: Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

 

Witness, Mercy, Life Together

 

Each sphere — witness, mercy and life together – overlaps. Where that Venn Diagram overlaps is the cross of Christ.

I’m sure we’ll learn more about this message in the days to come but this is a nice preview.


Comments

The President’s emphasis for the church — 68 Comments

  1. @Mark QL Louderback #47

    > Where were you the past ten years then?

    He noted the unfortunate but necessary practice of not taking communion at some synodical services. Did you see that?

    Some churches have had to enter a state of confessional protest against synodical false doctrine.

    Did you notice that?

  2. @Andrew Strickland #46

    Hi Andrew. Life within a fractured Synod truly is complicated for many people. There are people right now who are wrestling with what they should do in regard to such things as Communion and other similar sorts of thorny issues. These questions are difficult to answer and are often gray areas where there may not be one absolute answer. Your example of the called teacher is a good one. People find themselves in such situations, although sometimes those situations are of our own making. That’s why it’s important to select your church with care, and to accept a call with care. Making a poor choice can complicate things in unimaginable ways.

  3. @Mark QL Louderback #47

    Pastor Louderback,

    I would appreciate it if you would quit saying “hmm.” It’s annoying.

    Where was I for the past ten years? For 7 1/2 of those years I was a typical LCMS layman who knew nothing about the synod in which I was a member and had no interest in finding out, because I was a member of a confessional congregation. So I saw no differences. When Issues, Etc. was canceled all of that changed. For the last 2 1/2 years I’ve been doing something about those differences, because those differences are not the life I want to live. Those differences cause life apart, not life together.

    You say in comment #49 “And, look, already Scott is redefining Life Together so that it means exactly the opposite: Life Together (just not together with you).” First, I did not say “just not together with you;” that is your own mischaracterization. What I said was “Right now only the Lord knows how many and who they are – my prayer is that it will be a God-pleasing expulsion and that it will need to be few in number.” Second, why is it that yours is the correct definition of “life together” while mine is faulty? Do you disagree with the Scriptures I quoted in comment #45? St. Paul warns us over and over to be on our guard: “And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:12-14 ESV). What is your solution for those who preach and teach contrary to our confession? Life together?

    No, I did not leave the synod. Why not? Because I am not the one in error. It is those in doctrinal error who should be leaving. The purpose of the synod is to be in doctrinal fellowship, not to cave in and redefine “life together” as “you do what you want and I’ll do what I want, and we’ll call it good.” Luther stood his ground and they threw him out. Walther said to do the same thing. Sometimes life together means slamming nails into the church door. Those theses weren’t about adiaphora, and oftentimes what we’re talking about here isn’t either.

  4. @Scott Diekmann #52
    Good insight and a good reminder. I have taken two calls since becoming a teacher ten years ago and never even considered the situations in the church. My first call I definitely did not consider it and I was not aware that there could be a problem. My naivety became a true eye opener, which led to a quite negative view of liberal and confessional LCMS members that I am still struggling to overcome. My second call, that I accepted, was to a school and church. I knew the pastor, but again I did not even consider whether or not the church was confessional. (thankfully, there is not a problem) I have had several interviews and several calls, but never once in an interview was I asked where I stood on Scripture and the confessions. Interesting.

  5. mbw :@Johannes #41
    I still think you should go to seminary!
    SMP? (ducking)

    Thank you for the ultimate compliment. I do go to the seminary, as CTSFW is only a couple of hours away, and we visit there often–it is our second home. However, if I were to start today and carried a full load, after vicarge, I would be someplace just south of 80 (not I-80), and probably not in hopes of receiving a call, let alone becoming vested in the Concordia retirement plan As I was not a supporter of SMP, and still am not, that’s not an option, even tho the seminaries supported it (misguidedly, in my opinion). You do well to duck. It’s fun to sit in on the occasional class, listen to Dr. Scaer sound forth and only he can do, or absorb what little Greek Dr. Gieschen can pour into my brain. Chapel never disappoints, either. It’s a synod treasure.

    johannes

  6. Johannes, I’m a little envious, actually very envious, of your ability to attend classes at CTSFW. I wonder if it’s worth moving there after I retire? I’m not that keen on midwest weather, although at least they’ve got seasons, unlike Seattle. Just south of 80? No big deal. Look at Abraham. We’re not talking about having a kid here, just a little extra Greek and some pastoral formation classes and you’re there! Plus, and I’m guessing you already know this, there’s a seminarian right now at CTSFW that’s in his 70’s, just like you. God uses all sorts of people! Although I know somebody else whom people often suggest that he should become a seminarian, and it’s definitely not for everybody.

  7. Scott,

    I would appreciate it if you would quit saying “hmm.” It’s annoying.

    Why?

    For the last 2 1/2 years I’ve been doing something about those differences, because those differences are not the life I want to live. Those differences cause life apart, not life together.

    But you didn’t leave. You stayed and lived a life together with those that you disagreed with. How did that work?

    We can roll around this for a few more posts, Scott, but the fact of the matter is that at some point you are going to have to say “I stayed and did not leave,” and I’m going to say “I’m staying, I’m not leaving” and the question is, How do we live life together then.

    PLUS, in addition to this, we are looking at life together fairly narrowly–that is, we are looking at life together as regards being in the LCMS. What about Life Together as Christians? Even if I or you left, we would still have to live a life together. How exactly would that work?

    First, I did not say “just not together with you;”

    Do you mean, you did not use those exact words? Yes. Do you mean that you did not express that sentiment? Really?

    What I said was “Right now only the Lord knows how many and who they are – my prayer is that it will be a God-pleasing expulsion and that it will need to be few in number.”

    Yeah….I stand by my comments. Life Together, for you, does not mean Life Together. It means that those who disagree with your Life Together leave.

    That is Life Apart, not Life Together.

    Second, why is it that yours is the correct definition of “life together” while mine is faulty?

    Oh, hey, all of this is just my opinion. I have no claim to truth.

    But the fact is, we have this new theme brought out, and one of the main points is “Life Together”. But if all that means is “We rid those who disagree with us” that hardly seems Life Together-ish to me. So, this is all just my opinion.

    Why do I say this? As I said: Life Together is living together with those that you disagree with. From any number of standpoints.

    What is your solution for those who preach and teach contrary to our confession? Life together?

    Well, A. Who, in our Synod, preaches a different Jesus? I mean, when Paul speaks about this, he is not talking about disagreements of having CoWo versus not having CoWo. He’s not talking about anything that divides our Synod.

    Who in our Synod is proclaiming another Gospel? (I accidentally wrote the word I would not say at this point—but I caught myself in time!)

    So, Paul is not talking about the issues that divide us.

    And B. I think I’m happy with just one A, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Wait—you asked about my solution. I believe that Life Together with those that you disagree with must begin with the idea of proper understanding. What exactly am I saying? What exactly are you saying? Once we have a full understanding of the positions, then I think that we deal with love and concern. The Corinthian church was pretty divided, but Paul only told a few that they would need to leave.

    I don’t think our Synod needs to get smaller to purify itself.

    And the fact of the matter is, nor will it. There is not going to be some large or even small exodus. You will be stuck with me for a bit, because I like you, think I am right.

    In the meantime, I point to my words to Tim as a way of living together.

    No, I did not leave the synod. Why not? Because I am not the one in error. It is those in doctrinal error who should be leaving.

    You stayed. How did you live a life together during that time then? What did you find was most helpful? How did you treat those who disagreed with you? How did they treat you? What would you pass on from that time?

    Luther stood his ground and they threw him out.

    Luther was not talking about the issues that divide us either, was he? Let’s not get carried away as to what the division consists of.

  8. Pastor Louderback,

    I’ll try to address the majority of your comments in order.

    Saying “hmm” is annoying because it is belittling.

    Staying in the LCMS and coexisting with those whom I disagree worked very poorly.

    In one sense “life together” with people of other fellowships works about like how Luther put it to Zwingli – you and I are of a different spirit. Not to say that we shouldn’t be kind to Christians of other denominations (or others in the LCMS who really aren’t Lutheran) and pray for them, but I’m generally inclined to discuss Lutheranism with them in the hope that they might be blessed with the real meaning of the Sacraments and the power of the Word, rather than to be left clinging to their own experience for certainty.

    I think you do indeed, at least partly, understand what I’m saying. There should be no life together for those of differing confessions, at least not as it entails membership in the same synod. The standard of one LCMS pastor I know regarding the use of worship and study materials was that as long as the material didn’t cause someone to lose their faith, the material was suitable. He wanted to make the parishioners the ministers while he tended to administrative duties. These concepts are in direct contradiction to our confession. This is the type of shepherd I disdain and don’t want to have fellowship with. He agreed to uphold the teachings found in our confession and then didn’t do it. Fie.

    Another Gospel is preached every time a sermon is preached that is about Jesus as your life coach. Another Gospel is preached every time the sermon ends with an admonition of the Law rather than the sweetness of the Gospel. Another Gospel is preached when it is taught that the Spirit comes without the Word.

    I agree with your statement “Once we have a full understanding of the positions, then I think that we deal with love and concern.” It appears that that is what President Harrison intends to do. Love and concern will mean admonishing some people. Maybe those who don’t now hold to our confession will repent and be brought back to the fold, in which case the synod won’t shrink. In light of the size of our synod, I think it likely that there will be people too in love with the teachings of men to surrender those teachings. Some of those people may be asked to leave. Or possibly due to our own inability to discipline people, they’ll be given a free pass, and they will continue to deceive their flocks to the detriment of themselves, their flock, and the synod. I pray that won’t happen.

    I find being in the same synod with people who don’t uphold our confession to be very distasteful, stressful, and bothersome at times. I get tired of wrestling with these issues. There are times when we should yield to the other person where adiaphora is concerned. There are other times when we must not yield. The fine art comes in differentiating which is which. A good first step in the differentiation process is admitting that there really are times when a doctrinal line has been crossed. Not everything is adiaphora. One rule of thumb which I sometimes fail to keep is to criticize people’s ideas, not the person themselves. “Life together,” as you call it, goes along better when we stick to this rule, although sometimes people fail to discern the difference.

    The conclusion of Article XI of the Solid Declaration is a good place to close:

    “From our explanation, friends and enemies and, therefore, everyone, may clearly see that we have no intention of yielding any part of God’s eternal, immutable truth for the sake of temporal peace, tranquility, and unity (which is not in our power to do anyway). Such peace and unity would have no permanence, since it is devised against the truth and for its suppression. We are even less willing to adorn and conceal a corruption of the pure doctrine and clear, condemned errors. We do yearn with heartfelt pleasure and love for unity. On our part, we are sincerely willing and anxious to advance that unity (according to our utmost power) by which God’s glory remains unharmed. We willingly advance unity where nothing of the divine truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to the least error, and poor sinners are brought to true, genuine repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience, and justified and eternally saved alone through the sole merit of Christ.”

  9. Scott D,

    Another Gospel is preached every time a sermon is preached that is about Jesus as your life coach. Another Gospel is preached every time the sermon ends with an admonition of the Law rather than the sweetness of the Gospel. Another Gospel is preached when it is taught that the Spirit comes without the Word.

    This, my friend, is wrong. Plain and simple. Wrong as in “not Scriptural.” But I do feel it is a common position so I am glad that you brought it to the open. We ought to put this to rest.

    It is not legitimate to take teachings that we disagree with and lump them into “another Gospel.” Paul is clear about that: with another Gospel there is no salvation. This is the distinction between Heaven and Hell.

    If I proclaim Jesus Christ and then tell people to act a certain way, that is not another Gospel. The Gospel is there, in its sweetness and salvation. The person who hears that, even if they are prone to legalism, is still a Christian.

    If a person hears the Gospel and then hears that the Spirit teaches and speaks to them directly, that is not another Gospel. Or, do you believe that no person who believes that the Holy Spirit speaks to them directly can be a Christian? I do not.

    If a person preaches that Jesus is a life coach and no more than that, then yes, THAT would be another Gospel. A person who preaches that Jesus is our Savior AND a life coach, is not preaching another Gospel.

    We throw around Luther’s words to Zwingli with all the subtly of a surgeon with a chainsaw. It is illegitimate to do so.

    So no, these are not examples of another Gospel. Another Gospel is seen with the Mormon church. That is why they are Mormons and not Christians. To point at other Christians—and especially egregious, to point at other Lutherans, other LCMS Lutherans—and claim this is another Gospel is to miss the point of what the Gospel is.

  10. Beg your pardon – just false doctrine, and why would we quibble about a little thing like that? It sounds a bit like LCMS exceptionalism – 2 Corinthians 11:12-14 applies to everybody but we in the LCMS.

  11. Quoting Robert D. Preus:

    Elsewhere Luther insists that purity of doctrine (Reinigheit der Lehre) must be held and “true religious worship (Gottesdienste) must be taught.” Worship is the practice of doctrine. Luther maintains that idolatrous forms of worship, which embrace false doctrine, are examples of the most pernicious sinful life.” Luther makes it very clear that true doctrine is a greater concern to the church than life, and false doctrine does more harm to the church than evil life, for false teaching, the “most pernicious thing on earth,” leads souls to hell. “Whether you are good or bad does not concern me. But I will attack your poisonous lying teaching which goes against the Word of God. And with God’s help I will oppose it with vigor. To Luther the vast difference between doctrine and life is this: doctrine is based upon God’s Word alone and is God’s truth alone, whereas life is partly our own doing. Thus, doctrine must remain entirely pure. God will have patience with men’s sins and imperfections and forgive them. But He “cannot, will not, and shall not tolerate a man’s altering and abolishing doctrine itself.” For doctrine involves the exalted divine majesty of God. In the sphere of doctrine, therefore, forgiveness and patience are simply not to be allowed?’ To Luther, if the doctrine is not right (wo die Lehre nicht recht ist), then it is impossible for the life to be right and good (recht urzd gut), for life must be prepared (anrichten) by doctrine.

    Quoting Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller:

    Unity of Doctrine in the Lord’s Church
    Back, then, to the original question: “Do you really think that the church has unity of doctrine?” Let’s take that question to the Scriptures.
    Over and over in the Bible the church is commanded to be of “one mind.”
    1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
    This “one mind” is a unity of faith and love.
    Philippians 2:1-4 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
    Jesus prays for us, His church, that we would be one. This unity is manifest in the Lord’s Word.
    John 17:11,17 [Jesus prays,] “And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. … 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
    This unity is agreement in doctrine, in teaching, in the Lord’s Word. It is “the faith” of which Jude speaks.
    Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
    St Paul gives the same instruction to St Timothy, who, as a young pastor, was to be very careful with His teaching and doctrine, not to stray from the sound word and teaching of the Scriptures.
    1 Timothy 4:6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
    1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
    2 Timothy 1:13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
    Timothy is to stick to the Lord’s Word because it is the Word of salvation. This is why the Lord constantly warns us about false prophets who would bring a different teaching into the church.
    Jeremiah 23:16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.
    When the Scriptures use the word “Beware”, they are most often warning us to beware of false teachers.
    Matthew 7:15 [Jesus says,] “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
    Matthew 16:6,12 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” … 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
    Philippians 3:2 Look out for [Beware of] the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.
    Colossians 2:8 See to it [Beware] that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
    2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care [Beware] that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
    False teachers are dangerous because they bring false teaching. False teaching is dangerous because it draws us away from Jesus; it pulls us away from the Gospel of our salvation. St Paul has the harshest words for those who would turn us away from the Lord’s Gospel with false teaching.
    Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    Never is St Paul more forceful, never more severe. He knows the danger of false teaching, the sound of the devil’s lies, the taste of his poison. The true Gospel brings Jesus with the forgiveness of sins, life and eternal salvation; false teaching brings death and hell.
    The church that has lost this understanding and no longer cares for the truth and clarity of the Gospel, the church that has lost this zeal for the truth and this unity of doctrine is a church that has lost her love for Christ and the salvation of mans souls. Concern for the unity of doctrine is concern for the Lord’s saving Word, and it is concern for all sinners who have life only in that word.
    Divisions
    False teaching breaks fellowship. False teaching causes divisions.
    We are so worried about the church dividing, splitting, that we are willing to endure error in the church to keep things together. But this is a sham unity; a false fellowship. The one-mind of the church has already been broken.
    1 Corinthians 1:10-17 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
    What would the Lord have us do with those who cause divisions? St Paul answers the question:
    Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
    This text is very important. False teaching causes divisions. The Lord’s church is to watch out for those who would cause divisions and avoid them. “Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” This teaching is clear.
    If a church is so sick that false teaching does not cause division, but that truth and falsehood live together under the same roof, then something is very wrong. As long as the liver is working the body can filter out toxins and poisons, but if the liver shuts down the toxins build up and the body dies. So it is with false teaching in the church. The devil will always breathe the putrid air of his damning false doctrine into the church. The danger comes when this teaching is not exposed and rejected.
    This is the purpose for which the Lord uses false doctrine.
    1 Corinthians 11:19 …for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.
    The Lord would have the truth of His Word and the simplicity of Christ to be recognized and manifest. This unity of teaching is commanded, expected, and, praise God, given. It is the mind of Christ, that is, the teaching of the Gospel.
    1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
    Philippians 2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
    Far from being the achievement of men, an accomplishment that we achieve, the unity of faith is the gift of God. Far from a cause for pride, unity of doctrine comes to the humble faith which simply receives the Lord’s Word.
    This unity of teaching is the “fellowship” which the Spirit gives to the “one, holy, Christian and apostolic church.”
    Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
    Every thing good comes from God. This is especially true of the unity of doctrine that the Lord gives to His church. We give Him thanks that He has brought us into fellowship with Himself, His Son and the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel, and we pray that He would keep us in the same until we reach the new heaven and the new earth where no false teaching will threaten to divide us from Him. Amen.

  12. Back to the original point of this post: The “Life Together” sphere contains a chalice, symbolizing Holy Communion. Scripture calls us to life together united in one common doctrine. At the Communion rail we receive Christ’s body and blood, and confess together our one common doctrine.

    The conclusion of Article XI of the Solid Declaration is still a good place to close:

    “From our explanation, friends and enemies and, therefore, everyone, may clearly see that we have no intention of yielding any part of God’s eternal, immutable truth for the sake of temporal peace, tranquility, and unity (which is not in our power to do anyway). Such peace and unity would have no permanence, since it is devised against the truth and for its suppression. We are even less willing to adorn and conceal a corruption of the pure doctrine and clear, condemned errors. We do yearn with heartfelt pleasure and love for unity. On our part, we are sincerely willing and anxious to advance that unity (according to our utmost power) by which God’s glory remains unharmed. We willingly advance unity where nothing of the divine truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to the least error, and poor sinners are brought to true, genuine repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience, and justified and eternally saved alone through the sole merit of Christ.”

  13. Quoted from Pastor Daniel Preus’s paper “Lord, Have Mercy”:

    “Every attack upon the doctrine of Scripture is also an attack upon the certainty of our salvation. It is a great irony that Gospel reductionists, and there seem to be many among us these days, never see this. In their great fervor to devote themselves only to the very core of what they consider to be Christian, they fail to see that every attack Satan brings against God’s truth is in truth an attack against that which they consider most precious. They just can’t see that to preserve the Gospel, we must have a love for the truth, all of it.”

  14. @Scott Diekmann #63
    Thank you. You have been able to put into words what many of us “know”. Pastor Louderback really does think that since he is a “member” of Synod that therefore he espouses the same doctrine as all the rest. He is wrong. Scott, Again, thank you for your effort.

  15. @STEVEN BOBB #64

    I’ll have to pass the credit along to Pastor Daniel Preus and a long line of Lutheran theologians stretching all the way back to the apostles for clearly pointing out the primacy of doctrine and the relationship between doctrine and certainty, and how life together is dependent on getting all the articles of faith right.

    Luther: “One word of God is all the words of God; one article is all the articles and all are one, and when one article is lost, then by the loss of that one all are lost eventually. For all the articles belong together in one common chain.”

    President Harrison in his paper “It’s Time” quoting Wyneken: “Therefore neither can we let go of the most insignificant portion of the confession, because the entire series of the individual teachings of the faith are for us one chain. This chain not only binds our understanding in the truth, it binds our consciences and lives. The loss of an individual part of the same would break this chain, and we would be torn loose from Christ, tumbling again into the abyss of anxiety, doubt and eternal death. Therefore we hold fast to our confession, as to our very life.”

  16. Scott,

    (shrug) Another Gospel is not the same as false doctrine. It is not. Or at least, Paul does not treat it as such. We can pretend otherwise, but Scripture is fairly clear.

    If this is your actual belief, then I cannot for the life of me understand why you remained in a false church for two years. If I thought the LCMS were preaching a false gospel, I’d be gone that day.

    You claim to care about the truth, but once again, but your actions suggest otherwise.

    Which is it Scott? Are we preaching a false Gospel in the LCMS and you stayed as a part of that non-church body? Or is error in doctrine simply not the same as preaching a false Gospel?

    Which is it?

  17. @Mark QL Louderback #66

    You can call it false doctrine or false Gospel, if it’s being preached from the pulpit of the congregation that I’m a member of I’m out of there. I did leave the church down the road. There they taught another Gospel in the form of Rick Warren’s A Purpose-Driven Life. I’m sure you’ll argue that that’s not another Gospel. I’ll argue that it is. But why is it that by your way of thinking I should leave? Arguments can be made for either action, staying or leaving. If I am convicted of robbing a bank, do they put me in prison to protect society, or do they isolate me by putting everyone else in prison? If I am found guilty of breach of contract, who is punished, me or the other party? What did Walther say about it? So in answer to your question, no, we aren’t preaching a false Gospel in the LCMS, but some of us are.

    Isn’t this thread supposed to be about fellowship / unity / life together? What does that entail? President Harrison answered that question on his blog a while back when he posted this from Francis Pieper:

    “The presenter made the following remarks by way of introduction: It is generally granted that there should be unity in the Christian Church. The lament over the divisions of the Church is universal. There have always been efforts to create unity, particularly in recent times. We would rejoice over these efforts and regard our era as particularly blessed in this regard if a closer examination did not show that most efforts toward unity completely lack the understanding of what the essence of Christian unity is. The devil has succeeded in creating general confusion on this issue. All forms of unity are sought except the correct unity willed by God. Therefore, in spite of all the effort, the goal is not achieved, and those who seek the correct, true unity are declared enemies of all unity, while the proper destroyers of correct unity are praised as true advocates of the same.

    By God’s grace, we understand the correct, Christian unity desired by God, the unity in the faith. It is the purpose of the following theses to remind us of this and to enliven us toward this unity. The theses are as follows:

    I. By “unity in the faith,” we understand the agreement in all articles of Christian doctrine
    that is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

    II. This unity in the faith is possible, because all articles of Christian doctrine are clearly
    revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

    III. This unity in the faith is willed by God, because God commands the complete acceptance of His entire revelation and strictly forbids every departure from the same.

    IV. The necessary external testimony to this unity in the faith consists in that those who
    stand in the unity of the faith confess one another as brothers in the faith.

    V. Those who enjoy this unity of the faith should diligently seek to care for and guard this
    unity as a glorious gift granted freely by the grace of God.”

    It’s now past midnight and I should have been in bed a long while ago. I’ve got other vocations that take precedence over this conversation. If you’d like to ask another set of questions designed to box me in go right ahead and then just declare yourself the victor when I don’t answer. It won’t bother me that you think that my actions suggest that I don’t care about the truth. I’m not swayed by the court of public opinion.

  18. Scott Diekmann,

    You can call it false doctrine or false Gospel, if it’s being preached from the pulpit of the congregation that I’m a member of I’m out of there.

    So, is there a difference between the Mormon church and the methodist church or are they both just the same?

    . I’m sure you’ll argue that that’s not another Gospel.

    Yes, because that is what SCRIPTURE says, not because it is my opinion.

    If there is no distinction to false doctrine and a false Gospel, then why does Paul act so differently towards the Galatians than he does the Corinthians? You just see again and again how attacks on the Gospel are not the same as error in Christian teaching.

    The fact that this continues to be brought up again and again in our Synod simply saddens me. It really does. And it gives me insight into your opinion as well. I fully understand how you would not want to be in fellowship with those proclaiming another Gospel. Unfortunately, your public confession of this will merely confuse the issue as to what the Gospel truly is.

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