Matthew Becker is Progressive; 5/2 is Progressive; Confessional Lutherans are also Progressive, by Pr. Rossow

Progress is not the sole property of free-thinkers unteathered to Scripture like Matthew Becker or out of the traitional/liturgical box church planners like the 5/2 group. Confessional Lutherans are also progressive and I have proof. My own parish and the other parishes I describe below have no problem thinking outside of the box, we just don’t leave the box of confessional theology and practice.

I love the LCMS. I do not love it like I love the Una Sancta but I do indeed love it and so these are tough days given its now clear lean towards heterodoxy. It is also sad because I am a fourth generation Missouri Synod Lutheran, that is if you don’t skip my paternal grandfather’s generation who left the LCMS to go help form Evangelical Lutherans in Mission (one of the groups spawned by the liberals of seminex).

This fourth generation LCMS’er should have undaunted joy this weekend because we are dedicating our new million dollar music rehearsal and youth building here at Bethany Lutheran Church and School, Naperville, Illinois. (I shall now add with great fatherly pride that it is entirely paid off even before we enter it for the first day tomorrow.) I take “LCMS pride” in all that I do as a pastor. Every brick of this new building, every phrase of every sermon I have ever preached and every hand that I have stroked at the bedside of the dying has my LCMS pride in it.

But now I look at the wonderful new facility, and my LCMS pride is tainted because this synod is such a doctrinal mess. Do I want this to be an LCMS building? LCMS means pure doctrine. Is there an LCMS anymore? We can’t stick our head in the sand. Speaking of bricks, the bricks of the International Center in Kirkwood have an ugly rusty goo running down the side of them called unchecked false doctrine.

In the face of the arrogant human progressivism of the likes of Matthew Becker and the 5/2 church-growthers, I submit that confessional Lutherans can also be progressive but in the right way.

In my work with Wittenberg Church Consultants and with the view of the synod from my neck of the woods, I see all sorts of confessional parishes taking progressive leaps of faith, including my own parish. Here are some of the other “progressive” churches, all of which are confessional and liturgical.

Hope Lutheran Church – DeWitt, Michigan – A few years ago this perennial BJS supporting parish raised enough money to build a new fellowship hall and education wing. (Pastor Tony Sikora)

Peace Lutheran Church – Hastings, Nebraska – Brand new sanctuary, drop off area and large welcoming narthex. (Pastor Marcus Mackay)

Immanuel Lutheran Church – Alexandria, Virginia – Multi-million dollar day school addition and church renovation. This is the premier Lutheran Classical Education school in the country. (Pastor Christopher Esget)

St. John Lutheran Church – Wheaton, Illinois – This is the most impressive sanctuary in the LCMS and even more importantly serves the liturgy more effectively than any I have seen. (Pastor Scott Bruzeck)

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church – Lincoln, Nebraska – Good Shepherd has one of the nicest facilities in the synod for a mid-sized parish. They have a large debt but this year took the bold step to pay the debt down to free up money for other important work such as the new radio station they just started. (Pastor Clint Poppe)

St. John Lutheran Church -Niles, Illinois – They recently pledged more than their annual offerings to rejuvenate their unused day school in order to start a day care to serve the neighborhood. (Pastor Matt Gunia)

Lutherans in Africa (LIA) – Nairobi, Kenya – This is the mission group chosen for support by the Brothers of John the Steadfast because of their emphasis on teaching the faith to the poorly catechized Lutheran pastors and evangelists of Africa. LIA supporters have already raised over $300,000 toward the million dollar goal of building a new Lutheran Center for Africa. The land will be purchased and work begun in the next few weeks. (Reverend James May)

River of Life Lutheran Church – Chanahon, Illinois – Pastor Hans Fiene was called to a difficult situation, a former mission church in a strip mall that was pretty much stalled out. After a couple of years the congregation took the leap to buy a local church building and are now flourishing. Our parish took an interest in this congregation and is giving $10,000 a year for three years to help them through their move. We became interested in part because a “happy-clappy church” was planted just a couple miles away from River of Life by a local parish while the district stood by and did nothing

Immanuel Lutheran Church – Lincoln, Nebraska – Took the first steps and pledged a few hundred thousand dollars toward a new welcoming narthex and some much needed church renovation. (Pastor Jeff Bloom)

This is by no means a comprehensive list but it is an impressive one. If you know of a “progressive” confessional and liturgical church be sure to share the story in the comment section below.

These parishes make it clear that “progress” is not just the property of the so-called courageous churches that dangerously think out of the liturgical and traditional box. The confessional progressive congregations listed above are the kind of progress we need in the LCMS and not the progressive thinking of Matthew Becker and the 5/2 group.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

Matthew Becker is Progressive; 5/2 is Progressive; Confessional Lutherans are also Progressive, by Pr. Rossow — 34 Comments

  1. So you are saying that it’s possible to be both “missional” and traditional in practice?

    By missional I mean reaching out into the community, doing mercy work, showing God’s love and Gospel in real and practical ways. Or even by hoping that non-Christians come to your church?

    I think it’s possible.

  2. Yes David you are right!

    I would put some restraint on the mercy work though. The Bible is clear that the mercy work of the church is to take care of widows and orphans from the parish. Each Christian should love his neighbor but broad based mercy efforts are not the church’s work. Besides, they all have pretty much failed over the years. As I always like to point out Lutheran Hospital Chicago does more abortions than any one else in town. How’s that mercy work working out for ya?

    Let me repeat, each Christian is to be doing mercy work needed that he finds at the end of his nose. The church is to do the mercy work of caring for its widows and orphans. There is plenty for us to do there.

    When we found the LCMS we did not do so to send missionaries (to preach and teach), educate pastors and do corporate mercy work. The third one was not a part of the equation but in our post modern world it has actually the tail that is starting to wag the dog.

    Look at our own synod. We can stand before congress and yell and scream about abortion but we did not lift a finger to abort the poison of Matthew Becker’s false teaching.

    OK, point well made David. I tempted everyone to get off track on the mercy thing. Sorry. Let’s get back to the Progressive discussion. Again thanks David for getting the point.

  3. Pastor Rossow, what do you mean by “broad based mercy efforts” or “corporate mercy work?”

    Yeah, not continue to go off on the tangent of “mercy work,” but I will, I guess what I had in mind was things like soup kitchens, food pantries, a weekly or monthly event to feed and clothe the hungry and naked, helping or starting ministries to help addicts or counseling ministries in general; in short, just doing things to help our neighbors where they need help. Each community is different and although some needs are constant, some communities have different needs/priorities than others.
    In certain times or places that may include medical clinics or hospitals, but when it comes to laws that may require abortions or other things, such as placing foster children with homosexual couples, we must obey God’s Word and not men. There may still be room for care and mercy work outside of official sanction, however.

    Not that we do these things to make disciples, we do these things because we as Christians care for those around us and the world God has given to us. If we help others outside of the left side of our mouths and preach out of the right side I think people will look through us. They will take the charity, or not, and disregard the rest.
    However, I truly believe that God uses our good works to spread the Gospel and His Kingdom. I just also think that if we start a mission to the community with the idea of “X number of families have to join within 2 months to make it worthwhile” we have the wrong focus in mind.

    I recently read a book on witnessing to Muslims, and one story came from Indonesia, where a man’s daughter received blood from the Christian congregation, and the man was distraught that he had to go all the way to the Christian congregation for help when his fellow Muslims wouldn’t help. I think of that, when I think of “mercy work” or witnessing for Christ in a world that is set against the Gospel, when you know conversion is unlikely.

    I know there is more to be said on this question. I’ll begin to wrap up with this; a few weeks ago I watched a documentary called “When God Left the Building.” One congregation was featured where the Word was not central to the congregation. So when the congregation did volunteer work one guy compared it to the Rotary Club. Another congregation was featured, and they seemed to feed everyone with the Word, but one member in particular, a police officer, wondered if the congregation was not engaging people outside of church to save souls. I think both are needed. Faithful preaching and teaching, and a mindset that as “salt and light” we are to impact our communities more than they change us.
    (BTW, the documentary was interesting but it is NOT from a Lutheran theological viewpoint, and did not talk at all about the work of the Spirit, which I think would have benefitted it.)

    I think the primary point of contact has to be the local congregation, but synodical help and expertise for disaster relief can also be welcome and useful, if we also want to consider that “mercy work.”

    I’m not trying to argue, but just trying to figure some things out.
    I’m just glad that churches with a “traditional” setting and service are not content with standing still.
    And sorry for hijacking this thread onto a tangent. I appreciate the thoughtful response.
    (And sorry for the way too long comment!)

  4. David,

    I know you are not trying to argue. These are good questions.

    That mercy work is to be done on a corporate level by the denomination is something that the modern church has come to take as the Gospel truth (the full meaning of that phrase intended) but of course it is not the Gospel. Because of the pervasiveness of this wrong mindset it is near impossible to argue with. It would totally impossible to argue against if it were not opposed to church history and Scripture.

    About ten years ago I read through the entire Scriptures looking for mercy stuff. I encourage you to do the same. What I found was astounding. The command of Scripture is for each person to love his neighbor as himself and to look after the widows and orphans in the church and that with a further caveat – only those who do not have family members to take care of them.

    In my congregation we spend up to $25,000 a year on mercy without giving a penny to any large corporate church program. Instead, we take care of needy widows in our parish paying their rent. We know where every penny goes and when abused, we stop the help. So I just want to be clear that I am totally in favor of mercy care but I practice it as the Bible teaches.

    Be sure and check those mercy passages that come to your mind and test with me with them if you don’t have time to read the entire Bible.

    (continued in next post)

  5. History is also on the side I present.

    First, as I mentioned above, it just plain does not work. I was born in a Lutheran hospital that was in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, Years ago it became a secular hospital. I had cousins live in my home for several years placed there by a Lutheran adoption agency. That same agency now places children in the homes of homosexual couples. It just doesn’t work.

    And why doesn’t it work? It doesn’t work because it is not what the church is given to do. The Lutheran Confessions say that it is given to the church to preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments.

    History also teaches that it is the liberal churches that started this craze. They started it because they gave up on the blood atonement and they needed some cause for the church so they invented the social Gospel.

    History is also on my side because the LCMS was formed for the sake of having seminaries and sending missionaries.

    (continued in the next post)

  6. Speaking of missionaries, we spend millions of dollars in the LCMS on mercy that could be going to the Gospel. As missionary James May said to me last week when I was in Africa with him, why do you Americans give eye glasses to the Africans when what they need is the Gospel so they can see Jesus and live for eternity rather than just see a little better with their eyes for a few years on earth.

    Speaking of Africa, I saw how most of the clothes donated to Africa get stolen by the customs agents and sold in the market place. The village markets are packed with wood huts selling all the used clothes donated by Americans to make themselves feel better about themselves.

    Much of the money given by the LCMS to the ELCK is taken by Presiding Bishop Obare and used for his own personal gain. (I will be writing about this on BJS soon.)

    Why do we think that we in the church can fix an entire economy in a culture? Why do we think we can solve malaria? I travelled in Africa for three weeks and never saw a single malaria net nor met anyone who had.

    A wise pastor once told me “I do not donate to the Hurricane Katrina victims. I use whatever money I give to charity to fund missionaries so people can know the Gospel adn live for eternity.”

    Let me review the Scripture argument again. I do not see anywhere in Scripture, and I have scoured it from top to bottom and side to side, and nowhere have I found any Scripture that commands the church to care for the mercy needs of the world.

  7. @Pastor Tim Rossow #6
    Yes and amen! Thank you for saying what needs to be said regarding mercy work from the church. Of course, if you “just” care for widows and orphans, as well as preach the Truth and administer the Sacraments faithfully, you may never get your face on the cover of a district or synodical publication. :/

  8. @LadyM #9
    Do you mean that we should each care for the neighbor as an individual but not as a church? That makes sense, I’m just trying to understand. It’s kind of hard for me to feed the hungry and visit prisoners on my own, but I can do it as part of an organization.

  9. Luke 10: 29-37 But Pr. Rossow explains it better than I ever could, and his job is to teach. Therefore, I will humbly bow out.

  10. @Pastor Tim Rossow #6

    Don’t forget that Christian missions have historically believed in giving aid to the people such as food and medicine, in addition to presenting the Gospel. These Christian missions didn’t turn away the recipients of food and medicine who rejected the Gospel, either.

    Christian charity has historically been about “loving thy neighbor” and giving to the poor as Christ commanded. It is not with the expectation that through our charity that we will somehow be able to altogether “abolish” poverty in this world. Some modern Christians may have lost sight of this last point though.

    It has been the project of the modern Socialist movement to attempt to abolish poverty altogether. But because Socialism always fails in its stated goals, and doesn’t even succeed in alleviating any poverty, I and all sensible people reject that philosophy.

    The Christian doctrine and practice of Charity should not be confused with or likened to modern “Social Justice” ideology (a mere rebranding of Socialism). Charity is also not performed in an attempt to earn our salvation or justification, as opposed to much Roman Catholic thinking on this matter.

    Of course we should take care not to donate to fraudulent charities or any such thing. But the comments concerning eyeglasses and Katrina seem to advocate a rejection of the practice of charity. This reminds me of when the most recent tsunami caused by earthquakes hit Japan, the Baptist fundamentalist Bob Jones University collected money for a “relief” package which turned out to consist only of gospel tracts. No food or any other material aid for the people temporarily displaced by that disaster, just gospel tracts.

    This is not the historic Christian approach, nor does it square with the teachings of Christ taken as a whole. As it has often been said, if we don’t take care of people’s basic material needs, why should they listen to us concerning eternal things?

  11. @LadyM #8

    Indeed, there are plenty of poor in our own midst, even in our own churches, but a lot more emphasis tends to be placed on foreign aid in such publications. As ordinary people, we much better equipped to give help to windows and orphans in our own midst.

    I have looked into “sponsor a child” programs like Christian Children’s Fund and World Vision online, and in each case find criticism of these orgs saying that the actual sponsored children are not receiving any actual financial support from these groups.

  12. One of the boldest things that a confessional church has done in a long time is ULCMN’s decision to build a church at the doorstep of the campus of the University of Minnesota.

    After their own campus chapel was sold out from under them and demolished, they were awarded some funds by their district convention. They were given enough money to rebuild IF they moved a significant distance from the campus, where property was cheaper. Or they could have purchased an existing church, also a significant distance from the campus. And they would have been set.

    But instead, they decided to go out on a limb and purchase property near campus. Because property is so expensive in that prime location, the purchase of a student house and another lot, neither with an existing church building, exhausted their funds. They are worshiping in rented space off campus, and counting on us to contribute to their ongoing efforts to amass enough money to be able to build a church on their property. This is because they have historically served right there, on campus, as arguably the flagship confessional campus ministry of the Synod, and rather than abandoning that mission, they have sacrificed their financial security to continue it.

    We can all be “progressive confessionals” and help them to rebuild, and sooner rather than later.

    http://buildulc.org/

  13. My parent’s church in little Morristown, TN, Our Savior Lurtheran Church, average attendance on a good Sunday, 55, is a confessional, liturgical based congregation. When I visit Mom and Dad and worship at Our Savior, I could be worshiping at Bethany. They are shephered by the Rev. Gordon Smith, an ex-Navy career man, who felt the call to enter the ministry after retiring from the service. Through his leadership and the congregants, they planted a sister church in even smaller Harrogate, TN, up by Cumberland Gap. Christ of the Cumberlands (the name of the surrounding mountains) averages 8-14 on a Sunday. Our Savior was progressive in not letting their small numbers detract from planting a sister church to serve others and contribute to futhering the Gospel in n.e. TN.

  14. Lifelong,

    What does that passage say about corporate programs by the church to stamp out malaria?

    Each Christian should be kind and loving in his own sphere where he meets Jesus for sure but that is not a church program. Nowhere does Scripture say that it is the church’s job to do these things. As a matter of fact, that verse cannot be used to defend an intentional program since the sheep do not even remember doing these things.

  15. ???

    For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor* of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.
    Exodus 23:10-11

    *who are widows or orphans and do not have family members to take care of them–otherwise let them alone because either they or the family needs to learn a lesson

    ???

  16. Lifelong,

    Glad you are trying to make sense of it all.

    You do not need a program to do these things. That is Jesus point. The church does its job of giving you word and sacrament and that in turn fills you up with faith and when you are filled up with faith its starts to overflow as care for your brother wherever he is, that is, at the end of your nose.

    Dr. Scaer who wrote a commentary on Matthew, makes a big deal of the word “brother” in this passage. He says it is referring to pastors who have been persecuted and thrown in prison. If that is true, this is not about setting up prison ministry programs as the Calvinists do in order to fulfill Jesus’ command.

    Even if it is not brother as in minister (which is how it is used in Matthew Scaer argues) it still points us back to fellow believers and thus, as Paul makes clear, the charge is to care for the widows and orphans in your congregation.

  17. Nicolas,

    Please show me those teachings of Scripture as a whole.

    Also, I am not the one who is confusing christian charity with socialism, it is the Christians who have done this. They are the ones who invented the social Gospel.

    I am OK if a missionary has a few bucks on him for extreme cases. BTW – are you a pastor? I live in an upper middle class suburb and when I first came here the “needy” would come around to the church on a regular basis looking for a handout. Once I stopped giving them their few bucks (which typically was used on a bottle) they stopped coming around. That is not Christian charity.

    So let’s look at a bigger program. When the pastor goes into a mission field where there is hunger, should he set up a mess hall? How many meals will he need to give? One a week? Is that going to solve the problem of hunger? He would need to do three a day. And how many people should he feed? The Calvinists will only feed you after you go their chapel service. Hah! And if you start feeding, how many will come? Way more that you can handle because the hunger problem is a systemic problem in the entire country. There will be no end to the feeding and again I simply point out that it is the church’s responsibility to feed the people the word. Wouldn’t an additional missionary to forgive sins do more for eternity than one missionary and feeding less than 1% of the local population?

    This is not a simple matter I realize. I am not saying there should be no charity. I am the guy who gives out 25k a year to our widows in our congregation and I could do more for our widows which is why I turn the beggars away. I tell them that I can barely provide for our own widows.

    You can speak till you are blue in the face about what the church has done historically and I will tell you that in the end it just does not work. The Lutheran hospitals are not Lutheran anymore nor are the Lutheran homes nor are the adoption agencies and so on and so forth.

    I do not doubt for one minute that all those places were charitable although if I am not mistaken I think my parents paid full price for my birth at Trinity Lutheran Hospital in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (See how unloving I turned out to be they should have gotten a discount.) But there is nowhere in Scripture that it says it is the church’s duty to care for the sick.

    Go to my other post and read duty three of Walther’s duties for the church. That “uncaring bastard” says that charity means that we are to provide a decent living for the pastor. He must have read Scaer.

  18. Gregjrose,

    Two things about your Exodus verse.

    First, note that these gifts are for their brothers and sisters in the faith, i.e. “the poor of your people.”

    Secondly, Old Testament Israel was a theocracy.

  19. Pastor Tim Rossow :
    Nicolas,
    Also, I am not the one who is confusing christian charity with socialism, it is the Christians who have done this. They are the ones who invented the social Gospel.

    You’re right about that. And it certainly isn’t charity to give people money that they will use for evil or wasteful things. I think we’re more in agreement than disagreement.

    I’m just a layman.

  20. @Pastor Tim Rossow #6

    Never mind. You answered my question. Darn you… 😀

    (BTW, for the record, Pastor R., I tend to agree with you personally on this point, and I also believe it’s a way for the “good” to become a distraction from the “best”. It’s just frustrating when people turn around and say “You don’t care!” when this pseudo-social justice stance comes up).

  21. St. John Lutheran Church in Germantown IA gives 40% of its budget to its Lutheran school. Want church growth, keep our kids Lutheran. In this day that is progressive.

  22. Mike :
    St. John Lutheran Church in Germantown IA gives 40% of its budget to its Lutheran school. Want church growth, keep our kids Lutheran. In this day that is progressive.

    Amen. Cannot say this any better.

  23. Dear Pastor,
    I’m not sure that the term “Progressive” is worth fighting for. I do not believe that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition, or that every day and every way we are getting better and better. I do not have a single progressive bone in my body. I’m just fine with being a backwards-looking reactionary, and boldly asserting that: “When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” (Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, 1641) What is the value of the term “progressive” that we would want to get any of it on us?

    Perhaps I’m too cynical, but on the Dr. Becker mess, I don’t see as it changed much. Before the result was announced I already knew that:
    1) There were heterodox clergy and congregations in Synod
    2) There were Confessionals in Synod that would oppose heterodoxy using the tools at hand (DRP.)
    3) The NoW DP was heterodox, and would use his political power to defend heterodoxy.
    4) The DRP is a poor tool for enforcing orthodoxy.

    The important question is “what happens next?” I am praying that the confessionals in synod prove themselves willing to defend orthodoxy w/in the synod (even if it tears it apart) but totally unwilling to hand the synod intact to the Schwärmeri.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  24. Rose :Lutheran World Relief forbids church quilters from stitching a cross in the corner of a quilt.

    Not surprised about that. LWR is an independent agency that has heavy ELCA/”mainline” involvement. The CEO of LWR is a man named John Nunes.

    While Nunes is an LCMS member, he is also a liberal. He celebrated the election of Antje Jackelen as Archbishop of the Church of Sweden: https://twitter.com/NunesValpo/status/394605593614630912

    Nunes calls her election “historic and magnanimous” because she is the first woman elected as Archbishop of the liberal state Church of Sweden. However, Antje Jakelen openly denies the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ and considers it to be “mythical.” She also endorses same-sex “marriage.”

    In the above tweet, Nunes also proudly reveals that he is a former student of Jakelen.

    According to Pr. Matt Thompson, Jakelen herself is a former Seminex professor: https://twitter.com/dakotapastor/status/393729811929001986

    Also, take a good look at the individuals that Nunes is following on twitter. He even retweets stuff from people like Rachel Held Evans.

  25. @Nicholas #29

    And if that information about John Nunes isn’t troubling enough, note that President Matt Harrison considers Nunes to be a “good friend”: http://wmltblog.org/2011/01/a-quick-greeting-from-matt-harrison-and-john-nunes-from-baltimore/movie-on-2011-01-25-at-08-59/

    http://wmltblog.org/files/2011/01/Movie-on-2011-01-25-at-08.59.mov

    Obviously, Rev. Harrison is solidly Confessional and his theology is nothing like that of Nunes. But it is still troubling that a liberal like Nunes has such a close connection to our Synodical President.

  26. You are very kind to name my beloved parochial school as the premier classical Lutheran school in the country. However, we are simply following in the train of what others were doing long before us. This honor needs to go to Memorial in Houston, Faith in Plano, and the various schools led by Pr. Joel Brondos. And much praise and honor is due to the faithful schools in Wyoming who do so much with far less resources than we have.

  27. Sigh-

    After years as an Evangelical, worried about whether I “believed in Jesus in my heart or just in my head”, followed by twelve years in the ELCA, where I got sick of the denials of the Virgin Birth, Atonement and Resurrection of Christ, not to mention the universalism, elective abortion and endorsement of the sin of homosexuality, it was time to go somewhere else.

    Convincing my family to transfer to the LCMS brought great blessings, as my pastor brought me more Scriptural insights in a year than 12 years in the ELCA could. Sadly, he has the church in the Willow Creek Association (one of four in Illinois), and is a huge fan of Woolsley’s Five Two, both of which are syncretistic, Enthusiast and chock full of heresy, despite any orthodox-appearing statements of faith. When the big screen TV replaced the hymnal, we left.

    Okay, our new church has a seemingly doctrinally orthodox pastor who only uses liturgical worship. But when our NID voted to call Becker, Linneman et al to the proverbial carpet, my pastor was going ballistic over it, since Becker had been (falsely) exonerated. Pastor’s son went to Valpo; perhaps there is some connection there. And, surprise, surprise. The liturgy used is from the ELCA, complete with gender-neutered Psalms, which shred the Messianic prophecies within them.

    Really wanting to put the best construction on everything, I am nonetheless frustrated at the state of our Synod. I’ve determined to stay at my current LCMS parish, come what may. I realize now that every heresy found in the ELCA or apostasizing Evangelicalism now also exists within the LCMS that I took so long to finally reach.

    In all honesty, I believe that Confessional Lutheranism is the closest we can come to the belief and practice of the Apostolic church. It is truly a treasure, and I thank the good Lord that “Steadfast Lutherans” are still fighting for the faith once delivered to the saints. Thanks to all who endeavor by the Holy Spirit’s power to keep us steadfast in the Word and Sacraments of our Lord Jesus. And I am glad to see Confessional LCMS parishes in my NID and elsewhere, which are growing and prospering without abandoning the Bible, the Liturgy or the Confessions.

    In the 25 or so years I have left in this life, I hope that I will not see the LCMS dissolve into the ELCA or the Emergent apostasy. But I trust that there will be a Confessional Lutheran remnant left to continue in Word and Sacrament, Law and Gospel, until our Lord’s return. No premillennial dispensationalist I, but as I judge the state of the visible Church of the 21st Century, I wonder… Might this be the beginning of the Great Apostasy of which the Apostles prophesied? Not my call. Pray, my Confessional brothers and sisters in Christ. Fight the good fight!

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