The Southeastern District (SED) of the LCMS has a reputation for Liberalism. As if to underscore the deservedness of that reputation, the SED has published an oddball litany for 9 August 2015 in support of its “Sunday for City” event which has unionistic perils.
The SED litany is an abuse of Philippians 4:4-8, but a secularist’s dream as it brims over with social justice bromides and hollows out Lutheran doctrines. Strangely, it has a crushing amount of law rather than the gospel reductionism one might expect from the long tail of Seminex that continues to haunt us, especially in the saltwater districts.
This is the closing responsive prayer:
People: Give us the courage, O God, to face the fear and insecurity of our sinful nature which too readily builds walls and barricades between ourselves and others. Give us the wisdom to admit that people rarely fit into our preconceptions. Give us a double measure of patience to work at understanding the people with whom you surround us, so that we can appreciate them as they really are. Let our words and actions incarnate your love. Amen and amen!
When the author says, “Let our words and actions incarnate your love” he is clearly not talking about preaching, baptism and the Lord’s supper. It is the sort of self-justifying litany and prayer that the ELCA or Unitarians would be only too happy to have.
Sunday for the City is organized by the SED and LINC Baltimore. Whilst the SED litany plucks at Unitarian heartstrings, the event itself has unionistic overtones:
- Sunday for the City will bring together communities of believers
- All are invited to join in a ministry
- New Bethlehem Baptist Church… will be joining us for the event.
The wording is clearly cautious to avoid appearing to be in fellowship. Yet the implications of the marketing are clear — if you believe in something, participate. It does not say that you have to be a believer in Jesus in the sense of Matthew 16:15. In fact the promotion does not mention Jesus at all, although the Sunday for the City Facebook page is at least more explicit.
Critics will point out that as long as there is no partaking of the sacraments, then a charge of unionism is false. However, for Baptists, prayer is a sacrament in the sense that it is the power to change the will of man to accept Christ. So, when Sunday for the City is prayer walking with mixed faiths, what is being proclaimed? If a blended Lutheran-Baptist group encounters someone during the prayer walk who says, “what must I do to be saved?”, who will give the answer and by what authority?
Once again, Lutherans are guilty of giving the wrong impression, and being strongly suggestive that the holy Christian Church does not require the maintenance of Word and Sacrament ministry in whole.