In the Town, but Not of the World

Here in the commonwealth of Virginia, we moved Concordia Lutheran Mission from Lexington to Buena Vista because we were led to find a great rental property.  We have now worshipped in our new location three Sundays, including today.  One of our members told me about going to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Sale store in Buena Vista and some of his finds for the Mission, but he also told me something else. Our brother was talking with the clerk and he told the clerk that he was looking for stuff for our new mission.  The  clerk responded by saying that you are the new mission which is against gays and women and won’t let them serve in church.  Our brother responded by saying, we’re not against homosexuals but homosexuality is against the Bible. The clerk responded by saying that he would not be able to help him.

In a small town, our reputation has preceded us without preaching against homosexuality or stating anything about  the Scriptures in the public square.  Yet, the reputation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod precedes and I am glad for that. Since I was nine years the ELCA pastor in Lexington, my reputation also precedes.  As I was told someone by another pastor  in town that one of my former members characterized me as a fundamentalist.  I asked our brother this morning to tell the congregation what happened, all 8 of us.  A fearful army indeed!  I then talked with the congregation after our brother told his story and we all had a chance to say something.    You can not be for the marriage of man and woman, or a pastorate of called men, without incurring the mistrust and even wrath and being labeled “homophobic” or “sexist” these days.  Then I thought of this passage and said we should all memorize this and take this Scripture to heart:

 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians  6)

The Law of God is plain in verses 9-11 and the Gospel begins with the word “And such were some of you.” Baptism is our washing and regeneration in Christ, made holy, justified.  My wife reminded me that the Lord came not to justify ungodliness but the ungodly.  It is the Word of Law and Promise that the world and the devil does not want to be heard because the Lord changes and saves us by His grace alone: And such were some of you. 

As I was about to leave the parking lot with our VMI ‘rat’ to go home, retired Pastor, Art Henne, came over to the car.  I opened the car door (the window doesn’t work!), and Art said to me, “You know, Mark, maybe this is the reason we are here.”

A blessed Lord’s Day to you and your pastor and your congregation!


In the Town, but Not of the World — 7 Comments

  1. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
    Matthew 5

  2. Yes, that is a good reputation to have, and finally we are known for standing up to the world, which many Lutheran Pastors are reluctant to speak on Abortion or Same Sex marriage, or other evils in the world. Good for you guys!

  3. So, I cannot be part of the congregation or a pastor if I am a homosexual; but if I am greedy or drunkard, that is okay for membership or to be a pastor.
    Why is there any distinction on types of sin where some are prohibited and some are allowed?
    Does the LCMS practice Mortal and venial sins without using the words?

  4. Jim, your post begs the question, “When are LCMS congregations going to practice church discipline?” If there are any who actually do so, then they can ignore the question.
    But, for those who don’t…?

  5. @jim #4
    So, I cannot be part of the congregation or a pastor if I am a homosexual; but if I am greedy or drunkard, that is okay for membership or to be a pastor.

    Where did you get that idea?
    “Greedy or drunkard” are not in list of the desirable qualifications for a pastor; in fact they are disqualifications. [To be sure, I’ve met both; pastors are sinners like everyone else.] Like everyone else, they should be repentant and desiring to do better.

    Likewise, homosexual inclinations are a sin if acted upon, and should be repented … hard to do, if you are claiming that there is no sin in it! [Abstaining, they would be like the alcoholic who knows his problem and does not drink alcohol. Not easy, but possible.]

  6. From The Smalcald Articles:
    “42] On the other hand, if certain sectarists would arise, some of whom are perhaps already extant, and in the time of the insurrection [of the peasants] came to my own view, holding that all those who had once received the Spirit or the forgiveness of sins, or had become believers, even though they should afterwards sin, would still remain in the faith, and such sin would not harm them, and [hence] crying thus: “Do whatever you please; if you believe, it all amounts to nothing; faith blots out all sins,” etc.—they say, besides, that if any one sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith: I have had before me [seen and heard] many such insane men, and I fear that in some such a devil is still remaining [hiding and dwelling].

    43] It is, accordingly, necessary to know and to teach that when holy men, still having and feeling original sin, also daily repenting of and striving with it, happen to fall into manifest sins, as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy, that then faith and the Holy Ghost has departed from them [they cast out faith and the Holy Ghost]. For the Holy Ghost does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so as to be accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it must not do what it wishes. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Ghost and faith are [certainly] not present. For St. John says, 1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, … and he cannot sin. And yet it is also the truth when the same St. John says, 1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

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