Has fidelity to the institution become more important than doctrine in the Missouri Synod?
There are deep doctrinal divisions in the Missouri Synod today, divisions which are particularly evident in worship practices.
Pr. Winter is correct: we do not agree on the authority of the word of God, the power of that word to do what it promises, the place and nature of the sacraments in the life of the church, the role of male and female in the church and world, the nature of humanity itself, the doctrine of original sin, etc. Rather than acknowledge these breach in our fellowship, Missouri appears content to continue in her dialogueolatry.
How can we exclude anyone from the Sacrament when we are in fellowship with those who openly promote syncretism? Or those who promote the ordination of women, homosexuality, the errancy of the Bible, the historical-critical method, open communion, communion with the Reformed, evolution, and more?
The Church has been blessed with countless martyrs who gladly shed their blood rather than compromise their confession in the smallest matter. What sort of witness are we giving to the world by our lack of concord in Missouri? Will doctrinal concord ever become important enough again in Missouri that we are willing to break fellowship over it? Tolerated error ruins our witness. Will pastors or congregations ever be removed from the Synod for teaching false doctrine, or do we only do that for sins of the flesh? Is doctrine really decisive for church fellowship in Missouri, or is it about alignment with the right institution?
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:14-22)