The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) President, Mark Schroeder, dropped a fun little comment on our site this week. He said:
I suggested to President-elect Harrison that, if I brush up on my guitar, the two presidents could tape a YouTube video entitled, “Dueling Confessional Banjos.” (see comment #5 on this post by Norm)
We are very honored to have President Schroeder visit our site. His work and leadership in the WELS is consistent with what we are doing here at BJS to uphold Biblical, traditional, historic, liturgical Confessional Lutheranism. President Schroeder has been no stranger to the BJS site. (Use the search mechanism on the right hand sidebar and under “WELS, Schroeder” you will find six posts on the WELS here on BJS. Here is the shortcut to the list.)
Issues, Etc. host Todd Wilken has hosted President Schroeder on the show and has done Lutheranism a big favor by providing a means for confessionalism in the LCMS and the WELS to hear each other. Schroeder’s Banjo/guitar gesture suggests that there will be a healthy interaction on the highest administrative levels between the two orthodox Lutheran bodies.
The LCMS is a two-million member denomination head-quartered in St. Louis and is the largest Lutheran denomination in America. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the largest Lutheran body by name but with their recent votes against the Bible’s teaching on sexuality it is accurate to say that they bring shame to the name of our beloved church father Martin and ought not to be considered Lutheran. The WELS asserts on their website that they are the third largest Lutheran body in America but by our count, dismissing the ELCA as Lutheran, our buddy, President Schroeder can consider the WELS to be the second largest Lutheran body on the continent with nearly 400,000 baptized members.
But of course the Lord does not focus on numbers. He focusses on faithfulness and so the real question to ask is this: “Is your denomination faithful to the Scriptures and the Confessions?” For the most part the WELS and LCMS are faithful and so are other smaller bodies such as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), Lutheran Church – Canada (LC-C), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, the Church of the Lutheran Confessions (CLC), the United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA), ELDONA, etc.
Surfing the WELS website I was reminded that both the WELS and the LCMS have large parochial school systems. Our Concordias have certainly done their fair share of turning out undesirable “church growth” church workers but overall, our schools have contributed to confessional strength in Lutheranism and ought to be supported.
In true Lutheran fashion I have taken a fun gesture and turned it into a serious discussion of church and theology. In an attempt to return to the fun I’ll close with a challenge to our readers. Let’s help the two presidents out by providing some ground rules for the Lutheran Banj0 Diplomacy Summit (LBDS). I’ll open the bidding with the following:
Rule #1 – No riffs on “Pass it On.” We might allow “The Lamb” but under no circumstances shall there be any “fires lit by any sparks.”
(Comments on other points above are also welcome.)