Good grief! I don’t know about the rest of the faithful readers of BJS, but if you have had your eye on any societal media in the past 2 years there is a noticeable trend that is undeniable and disheartening: Intolerance is intolerable. But it seems that the one thing that society is the most intolerant against is the Gospel. This makes it increasingly difficult to live in our society (the common “good”) and have a true confession of Christian ideals, ethics, and proclamation of basic Christian truths. At least the world sees it this way. Our society is engaging in all forms of attacks against the Church and its saints with a mere whimper of, “you hurt my feelings,” and many Christians are cowering and collapsing under the pressure of this fluctuating phrase. Give me a break. There is no substance for society and certainly not for the soul in remaining unrepentant or even proud of the sins that society offers as, “your rights.” If Christians are not catechized and actively confessing the true faith then society becomes nothing more than a “jackass rubbing a jackass,” as the saying goes. Then society ends up wallowing in degradation and calls it, “freedom.”
But all this is nothing new. Watered down Christianity and Lutheranism has been the lucid “backbone” for societal bullying well before America was established. Germany had the same problems with poor catechesis and the issues it caused when attempting to proclaim the faith in society. This leads us to Luther’s preface to the Small Catechism,
“The deplorable, miserable condition which I discovered lately when I, too, was a visitor, has forced and urged me to prepare this Catechism, or Christian doctrine, in this small, plain, simple form. Mercy! Good God! What manifold misery I beheld! The common people, especially in the villages, have no knowledge whatever of Christian doctrine, and, alas! many pastors are altogether incapable and incompetent to teach [so much so, that one is ashamed to speak of it]. Nevertheless, all maintain that they are Christians, have been baptized and receive the holy Sacraments. Yet they cannot recite either the Lord’s Prayer, or the Creed, or the Ten Commandments; they live like dumb brutes and irrational hogs; and yet, now that the Gospel has come, they have nicely learned to abuse all liberty like experts.”
Let us not, “abuse liberty like experts.” Thank God for His Holy Word and thank God for the Lutheran Confessions! This is how we stand boldly in the face of a crumbling society. Fear not little lambs for Christ and His Holy Church stands firm even in the midst of our society in His faithful congregations as He gives to us freely the means of grace. The cross must be proclaimed in the midst of muck and mire for even as the ashes of society fall all around us there will still stand the truth and the central focus of our faith: Christ was crucified for you! For this reason I offer here at Brothers of John the Steadfast the category: Steadfast in Society. May we boldly and assuredly confess Christ crucified in the midst of society. To Christ alone be all glory and honor now and forever.
Associate Editor’s Note: With this post we introduce Pastor Gaven Mize to the regular writers here at BJS. Pastor Mize will be writing about Lutherans and culture/society among other things. Here is a little more about Pr. Mize:
Pastor Mize was born in Hickory, North Carolina on June 30th 1983. He was a Baptized and Communicant member of Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville, NC until his Divine Call to Divine Savior Lutheran Church in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
Pastor Mize graduated from South Rowan High School in Landis, North Carolina in 2001. After High School he attended Concordia University of Wisconsin. While at Concordia University of Wisconsin Pastor Mize enrolled and was accepted in the Pre-Seminary Association. During his tenure at Concordia University he went on multiple mission trips, including four to Juarez, Mexico where they built houses with Casas Por Cristos. Pastor Mize graduated in 2007 majoring in Pastoral Ministry and Minoring in Theological Languages.
Directly after College Pastor Mize applied and was accepted to Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. While at CTS Pastor Mize went aboard and studied Church History at Lutheran Theological Seminary – Tshwane in Tshwane, South Africa. After returning to Fort Wayne he continued studying at CTS until his third year. In his third year Pastor Mize was sent on his vicarage at Zion Lutheran Church in Clark, New Jersey, in the SELC District. After vicarage Pastor Mize went back to Concordia Theological Seminary for his final year.
During his final year, Pastor Mize was certified for a Divine Call by Concordia Theological Seminary and received his Divine Call from Divine Savior Lutheran Church. He then finished his graduate studies with a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary. Pastor Mize was ordained on June 12th 2011 at Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville, NC by Rev. Ray R. Ohlendorf, Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church.
Pastor Mize is the son of Mr. Roscoe and Beth Mize of China Grove, NC and the brother of Mr. Joshua Mize who lives with his wife Tuesday Mize in Charlotte, NC. Pastor Mize lives with his wife Christine in Hillview, KY.