Vision for Five Two
by Rev. Brian Flamme of Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, Colorado
We have been learning a lot from Bill Woolsey lately. Who knew that you could write vision statements for other organizations (PDF file of archived FiveTwo page that is no longer available)? For the sake of relevance and to keep up with this exciting new trend of ecumenism, here’s Hope Lutheran Church’s vision for Five Two.
Fifty years ago, the LCMS was nothing more than what it was at its founding or what it is supposed to be today. A collection of churches that have agreed to preach and teach a common confession of scriptural doctrine. What if we actually held our pastors and member congregations to the confession they promised to uphold? What if we desired to remain faithful to doctrine that Jesus entrusted to us through his Word, even if the LCMS were to disappear tomorrow?
What if we honored rather than despised the preaching office that Christ instituted and gave to his Church? What if Christ’s Word and Sacrament remain the same no matter how the world’s culture and false worship shifts and morphs to the whims of the demons?
What if we stop trying to find God’s presence in creation, where he does not promise to be found with his grace and mercy, and instead teach people to cling in faith to what they hear in faithful pulpits and altars, that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, that God placed his name on them in Christian Baptism, that Christ’s gracious presence is bound to his promise, “This is my body. This is my blood”?
What if our congregations were taught not to feel guilty for the success they’re not having, but to pray in thanksgiving and joy for the gifts that Christ has always kept before them for their life and salvation?
What if congregations were taught their place in life according to the Ten Commandments? What if we stop conforming our charity to fit the world’s standards of good works, and instead submitted our good works to be ordered and governed by God’s Word?
What if congregations were taught that their pastors weren’t evil overlords but hand-picked servants of God himself to preach, teach, and administer the sacraments. What if congregations could find the joy of not striving after serving God, but in resting as God serves them with grace and mercy?
What if our Lutheran identity were actually bound to the Book of Concord as a faithful and true exposition of Scripture’s doctrine? What if we continued to use them as Lutherans have for centuries, to foster the true unity of the Church through the unchanging confession of Christ’s name?
What if preaching and hearing Law and Gospel never had to change? What if Christ’s ministry will last till the Lord comes in glory and remains effective despite the devil’s temptations to fear the Church is dying?
We at Hope Lutheran Church believe that the way forward, in reality, is a way back to teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Below are Three Helpful Suggestions which we hope that people associated with Five Two will read for their rebuke and comfort.
Three Helpful Suggestions
- Repeat to yourself, “If the LCMS and Five Two were to disappear tomorrow, Christ’s Church would remain victorious over her enemies because Jesus has already obtained the victory through his blood and resurrection and promised that the gates of hell will not overcome his Bride.”
- Be assured that the pastoral care of Christ’s saints, young and old alike, with the ministry of the Word is a holy and precious work in the sight of God and that it doesn’t need to be amplified by inventing novel works for the laity that distract them from their Christian vocations which are also holy and precious in God’s sight. We don’t need another monasticism.
- If you trust more in the visions of your leader than the unchanging Word of God and the theology of our Confessions, it’s likely that you don’t really want to belong to the LCMS. The promises that pastors and congregations make to be a part of this organization are pretty narrow, so you could save yourself a lot of time and energy by not trying to make the LCMS something that it was never designed to be. If you desire to remain “Lutheran,” that’s wonderful. Trust not in princes, they are but mortal. Go to church. Hear the preaching of Christ crucified. Repent of your sins and believe in Christ’s timeless promises. Resting in the faith of Christ’s comfort and peace is the best place to be.
Editor’s Note – If you want God’s vision for the LCMS, go to our hip and trendy site for it: visionforthelcms.org