This is the Missouri Synod?

The following article was written by Rev. Dr. Kristian Kincaid, and was published in the April 2016 Lutheran Clarion, a publication of The Lutheran Concerns Association. Reprinted with permission.

Lutheran Clarion

This is the Missouri Synod?

“We should know what to expect in the Missouri Synod.” This comment was made to me by one of my members who had traveled and located a sister congregation of our Synod. Much to her chagrin and dismay, that which she rightly expected was not to be found. No hymnal, but screens. No hymns, but theologically void praise songs. No vestments, but collared shirt and khaki pants. No liturgy, no Law and Gospel, no lectern, no pulpit, no historic Creed, no Christ, no order of worship but disorder. Those gathered in that particular sanctuary heard a “how to” sermon that could only lead to pride or pessimism. A rare occurrence? Sadly, no. As she left the service my member pondered, “This is the Missouri Synod?”

We have come to expect the unexpected in our Missouri Synod. This should not be. You enter a McDonald’s fully knowing what to expect. How much more so the House of God! We are not walking as one in doctrine and practice. I challenge you to visit various congregations in the Synod. A plethora of worship styles and practices will be readily evident. We are fragmented. “What works” is the end all in far too many parishes, instead of “what is right.” Open communion, “how to” sermons devoid of Christ, clips of movies shown in sanctuaries, meaningless ditties, and entertainment driven anthropocentric services among others leads me to lament also… “This is the Missouri Synod?”

This IS the state of our Missouri Synod. While on vacation, my family and I have witnessed these things first hand. One of my sons, after a “drama service” said to me, “Dad, why? Why would they do that?” “We heard nothing of Jesus.” We are told that “successful congregations” are growing. They have a mixed bag approach that draws people in. Stagnant congregations are encouraged to adopt similar strategies so that they will increase numerically too. Why would they do that? Far too many Pastors do whatever is right in their own eyes, acquiescing to societal norms and various strategies. Why would they do that? Pastors are called to be faithful, not successful. The right proclamation of the Word and administration of the Holy sacraments may mean fewer members, not more. Faithful Pastors suffer for rightly scorning the acclamation of men and leaving canned programs in their shiny wrappers. The right doctrine leads to the right practice; the right practice reflects the right doctrine.

The truth be told: our Synod has problems. We must dismiss the glowing propaganda of the Reporter. Laxity and dishonesty only deepens problems. District Presidents should visit their congregations as should Circuit Visitors to encourage faithfulness. Our convention should call for the faithfulness of each Pastor and congregation, each District President, each Circuit Visitor. There is a dangerous timidity in our Synod that mirrors the deadly political correctness of the wicked world. The unwritten rule wafting through Synodical air: do not be critical of any other congregation or Pastor you might be sued. You dare not say anything. How dare we not!

I have heard of the desire to have a harmonious Synodical convention in Milwaukee. Why would they do that? I pray for contention. May unabashed honesty mark our Synod’s convention and not disingenuous harmony. One thing is certain: if we fail to address these issues the days of knowing what to expect in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod are forever gone. We stood silently while chaos reigned. Why would they do that?

Rev. Dr. Kristian Kincaid
Senior Pastor, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Dubuque, IA

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.

Comments

This is the Missouri Synod? — 88 Comments

  1. I also have witnessed the above problems, especially since retiring and having the opportunity to travel and visit LCMS congregations throughout the country. I attended a Lutheran High School in the 1960’s (Lutheran High East, Harper Woods, Michigan). One of my teachers was a WWII veteran. I forget what his particular duties were during the war, but they involved extensive travel throughout the U.S. He was a young man who was away from home for the first time in his life. He said that one of his comforts during his travels was that no matter where he went in the U.S. he could go any LCMS congregation on Sunday’s and experience the same liturgy and hear the same Law/Gospel message. Of course (for those of my era), things were beginning to change during the radical 1960’s. Although most congregations still used the page 5/15 TLH liturgies, liturgical innovation was beginning; and with it the diminishing of the Law/Gospel message. All that being said, I don’t have an answer to the current problem; just an echo of the “chagrin and dismay” of the visitor referenced above.

  2. “District Presidents should visit their congregations as should Circuit Visitors to encourage faithfulness.” I agree but when the district president is the chief purveyor of CW, etc., then he might enforce the new measures, as opposed to confessional theology and worship.

    Second: One woman, not Lutheran, who had been attending a Presbyterian Church, then a Baptist Church told me she liked the later because they were so welcoming, but she added both ministers gave “warm, beautiful messages”. I have wondered what is it about these messages that people are so attracted? Answer: These ministers do not preach law and Gospel. Then they preach new law that can be kept. Christ messes that all up and gladly so! But the old Adam loves this, well, stuff. So does the devil.

    The solution? Different answers:

    1. Fight. Fight the good fight of faith. We tried that in the ELCA. As far as human perception can see, it did not work.
    2. Schism. This has been discussed in the LCMS. It happened in the LCMS in the 70s. It worked but the devil found another way.
    3. Fight and wait. Maybe, fight and wait…and pray. If the prevailing winds of church growth fail, this will fall under it’s own hubris. And we do not what may happen. When St. Augustine and the Church, a time of orthodoxy in midst of rampant heterodoxy, the Roman Empire was collapsing. Given our times, economic collapse, Islamic terrorist nuclear attacks, atheist/secularist ideologies on the rise, etc. will be the proverbial game changer. We can only do what the Lord has so clearly called us to do: “We obey God rather than men”. Rather than men and all of our strategies to ‘save the Church’.

  3. No accountability and no discipline against DP that promote CO worship. I see this first hand in the eastern district

  4. I am not clear on the argument of this letter. What is Dr. Kincaid’s ultimately concern? It is difficult for me to tell if he is more worried about the lack of proclamation in churches or the lack of proper church attire. Certainly these are not the same thing.

    It is undoubtedly the case that the church fails if it does not proclaim the Word of God. The culture is inundated with false messages of hope, and congregants need to hear the Word of God, as Law and Gospel, proclaimed at Church. The church stands or falls on its ability to convey justification.

    However, one can proclaim the good news of justification in khakis and without a pulpit (not every church is wealthy enough to afford one Dr. Kincaid!). The Lutheran Churches in Africa, where the church is growing, lack a number of these liturgical elements, but they are faithfully proclaiming the Gospel to people who need to hear the word. Are you willing to say that without proper lecterns, liturgy, pulpit, or European order of worship, they are not praising God?

    If a church lacks the proper vestments, but proclaims the Word of God and properly administers the sacraments, it is the Church. Jesus did not say “wherever two or three are gathered with the proper liturgical order, dress, and hymns I will be there.” Nor did Jesus say, “I come to the well dressed and properly mannered.” Jesus comes to the least, the lost, and the lowly, to the sick, not the healthy.

    I love the liturgy and only choose to worship at churches with high liturgies. I am not willing to say, however, that the Spirit only works through these. Perhaps Dr. Kincaid and I disagree about the work of the Spirit?

  5. and, it appears that this disunity is OK w/ those in ‘power’ – from top to bottom. Would someone tell me of anything done in the past decade re. the rampant Open Communion scandalizing faithful pastors as unloving… ? please….

  6. @Dr. Timothy Hiller #5
    Dr. Kincaid said “no Law and Gospel,” “no Christ.” That is the significant end result. Churches that avoid the Creed and the liturgy have likely wed themselves to non-Lutheran theology, or they wouldn’t have done what they did. The khakis may be a symptom of the bigger problem, although that’s certainly not an absolute. You’re talking about Africa. The post wasn’t about Africa, it was about the LCMS. Having been a member of an LCMS church where the pastor was in khakis (on a good Sunday – on a bad Sunday he was wearing his biking gear), the enthusiasm was palpable. The Lord “laid it on his heart” to ditch his prepared “sermon” to give us a little extra Law and tell us we had to obey him. The songs we sang preached the Christian instead of the Christ. That isn’t Lutheran, it’s a sect. Nobody is willing to say that the Spirit works only through the churches with “high liturgies” – read AC VII. But we’re willing to say that the Spirit doesn’t work through false theology. I’m glad you attend churches that use the liturgy Dr. Hiller. If you check out the churches that don’t use the liturgy, you’ll come across some of those in the LCMS who fit Dr. Kincaid’s description. Your eternal debtor in Christ, Scott Diekmann

  7. Prior to my 2015 vacation trip to one of our infamous “Saltwater Districts,” I did a little research on LCMS congregations in the area. There was one, a little over 30 miles from where I was staying. I checked out their web site, which indicated nothing out of the ordinary, and emailed them to inform them of my intention to worship and commune. I received a gracious response welcoming me and informing me that services were at 9 and 11:30, with communion being offered at the later service. I decided that because of the traffic problem in the area, I would attend the earlier service.

    After driving for nearly an hour on Sunday morning, I arrived at the church a few minutes before the service was scheduled to begin. The first thing I noticed was a guy dressed like a beach bum carrying a guitar. I went in and signed the visitors’ book, then sat down to read the bulletin. Although it was the earlier service, the elements were on the altar. The liturgy, which was printed in the bulletin, had been cobbled together and abridged. The communion statement was one of those “If you believe this, y’all come” affairs. There had been not one word about the so-called “blended service” on the church web site. When I discovered that they dismissed the children to Sunday school following the “children’s message,” I decided to leave rather than sit there for an hour and fume.

    This experience did not sadden me as it normally would; rather, it made me extremely angry. I felt as though I was deprived of an opportunity for worship. It was bait-and-switch all the way, seemingly designed to attract all comers under the banner of the LCMS. I will have no part of it. Go ahead and pronounce judgment upon me if you wish: “But, brother, you didn’t stay to hear the Word of God!” I really don’t care. As I have said before, I will not express fellowship with anyone who has adopted decidedly un-Lutheran worship practices. If you want to worship like your non-denom friends do, fine. If you want a praise band playing the crap you hear on K-LUV 101, great. If you want to evict the kiddies from the Divine Service, go ahead. But at least have the cojones to stop polluting the LCMS with these practices and go somewhere else. If you do these things, you are not Lutheran. I don’t care what the name plate over your church door says.

    BTW, I DID hear the Word of God that Sunday morning. I listened to a podcast of my pastor’s weekly radio program (see my web site link) on my way to K-Mart.

    #We’reScrewed.
    Tom W.

    P.S. Would anyone care to defend the practice of dismissing the children during the DS?

    P.P.S. Any recommendations on a confessional congregation in the Virginia Beach area? I would really like to go to church when I’m on vacation this summer.

  8. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 ESV

  9. I’m not a rhetorician but I know a red herring when I see one. Scott is right in keeping the scope of this post where it belongs. Don’t drag the third world into this, those who “can’t afford” all the accoutrements and trappings of high church. This is about those who can afford them and choose not to because they think all that stuff is Romish hocus pocus, a stumbling block to getting more butts in the pew seats. Try to stay focused! I blame the DPs. Are they not cognizant of the disunity their Friday-casual approach to church has caused the faithful? Don’t they know of the alienation and estrangement that is taking place among the LCMS? Father forgive them, for they know well what they do and frankly don’t give a damn. John 13:35, indeed!

  10. “In order to preserve pure teaching and fundamental, lasting, God-pleasing unity in the church, it is necessary not only to present the pure, beneficial teaching correctly, but also to censure those who contradict it and teach other doctrines. For, as Luther states, true shepherds are to do both: pasture or feed the sheep and ward off the wolves, so that they may flee from other voices and ‘separate the precious from the vile.’ Thus, we have come to fundamental, clear agreement that we must steadfastly maintain the distinction between unnecessary, useless quarrels and disputes that are necessary. The former should not be permitted to confuse the church since they tear down rather than edify. The latter, when they occur, concern the articles of faith or the chief parts of Christian teaching; to preserve the truth, false teaching, which is contrary to these articles, must be repudiated.” FC SD R&N 14-15

    “Therefore judge for yourselves: Would it therefore be love if we Lutherans would now cease contending for the pure teaching of our Church which has been ‘delivered’ to us, that is, committed to us for faithful stewardship? Would it be love if we, in order to make men our friends and to be regarded as love-filled and peace-loving men, were to cast it away? No, this would not be brotherly love or love of our neighbor, much less love of God, but love of self. It would not be faithful stewardship of the great treasure entrusted to us by God, but rather disgraceful breach of trust, yes, before God nothing other than robbery and theft.” C.F.W. Walther

    “Our opponents record the same complaints about us. They put us down as contentious, ill-tempered faultfinders. But these are the crafty passes of the devil, with which he seeks to overthrow our faith. We answer with Paul: ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.’ ” Dr. Martin Luther

  11. Well, folks, I, too, have been visiting LCMS churches all over the U.S. and I’ve got news for you: 4 out of 5 of them have about 15-40 total members who are over 65 and have no interest whatsoever in evangelism. Happy to be their own little club and criticize the “big box” churches for being “all about numbers” and many of the other remarks I’ve read above. So many generalizations and rationalizations to enable themselves to bury their heads in their hymnals and let their churches die! Well, I’m here to tell you, Jesus didn’t preach to the FIVE people on the Mount, He preached to the FIVE THOUSAND! There’s a “mega church” for you! And He did all kinds of unconventional things to bring people into His Kingdom & hung out with all kinds of people. And He didn’t wear special robes and He didn’t have set liturgies! He was ALL about numbers!
    You don’t have to wear vestments and only use the liturgy to preach the Gospel. You CAN be relevant to young people without forsaking the doctrine. It’s called CHANGE – something many LCMS members loathe, but if you don’t wake up soon, the LCMS is going to die.
    Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations”, not “close your doors and ears, so you can “do it the way it’s always been done.” And, by the way, He gave communion to JUDAS!

  12. Jesus preached to 5000, but in the end he had 11 faithful members.
    And He didn’t tell them that they were worthless because they were a small church. [The average for LCMS is larger than your number, BTW.]
    Those small traditional churches are the place you are most likely to hear about Christ and His saving grace. They are most likely, in the LCMS, to be Lutheran. [But I’ve got news for you! The existence of Christ’s church does not depend on whether the LCMS lives or dies.]

    The “mega’s”? They grow on a man’s popularity… and then they fall.
    Ask San Antonio. Ask Mars Hill. Ask the Willow Creek where Tchividjian hung out.

    You’re taking a very short view, Olive.

    [I’ve read arguments against Christ’s having given communion to Judas; if that’s your excuse for “open” communion, you’re on shaky ground. Judas went to Hell.]

  13. Jesus is recorded as having gone to the synagogue on the Sabbath. While there He participated in the established liturgies and customs. He did not change anything there.

    Jesus did engage the world outside…from the first day of the week to the sixth. And we are to do likewise; it’s called ‘vocation’.

  14. Olive, I’m glad you have an interest in evangelism. We at BJS share that same interest. Here is a list of some of the evangelism articles on BJS. I hope you’ll read them and share them with your friends. Blessings on your day. – Scott Diekmann

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2016/03/espamgelism/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2016/01/an-evangelism-idea/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/11/the-no-name-evangelistic-association-or-how-the-faith-came-to-my-grandchildren/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/09/the-sin-of-niceness/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/08/living-catechisms/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/event/clcc-2nd-annual-mens-conference-evangelism-outreach-and-affirmation/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/01/suffering-as-the-key-to-evangelism/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/10/steadfast-media-pick-of-the-week-apologetics-and-evangelism/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/10/market-style-evangelism-is-enthusiasm/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/01/what-is-truth-an-evangelism-conference-unlike-any-other/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/07/i-will-show-you-my-evangelism-by-my-word-sacrament-ministry/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2011/06/law-based-evangelism-and-missional-righteousness/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2010/02/good-stuff-found-on-the-web-kurt-marquart-interview-on-issues-etc-on-evangelism/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2011/05/best-work-on-evangelism-in-a-long-while-are-you-a-functional-arminian/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2009/07/what-exactly-is-evangelism-and-is-that-the-proper-name-for-it-a-response-to-the-recent-steadfast-quarterly-by-pr-dean-kavouras/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2009/04/evangelism-101-dont-i-have-to-be-dynamic-to-do-that-by-pastor-mark-elliott/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2009/01/what-does-evangelize-mean-in-the-bible-and-is-david-vaughn-on-target-with-his-understanding-of-evangelism-by-pr-klemet-preus/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2009/01/has-world-evangelism-failed-in-the-lc-ms-before-the-ablaze-movement-by-pr-klemet-preus/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/08/living-catechisms/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/02/sermon-pr-tony-sikora-the-word-of-glory-in-our-midst/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/05/sermon-pr-tony-sikora-the-ascension-of-our-lord/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/02/snatched-scorched-strangled-or-high-fructose-hymns-and-liturgical-saccharine-a-sermon-for-sexagesima-on-st-luke-84-15/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/10/on-the-dangers-of-contextualization/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/10/then-youll-have-a-clean-room/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/03/building-up-the-body-of-christ-by-rebuilding-the-laity-core-guest-article-by-gene-white-of-the-clcc/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/12/from-fire-to-frolic-homily-for-advent-2/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/07/great-stuff-book-review-great-commission-great-confusion-or-great-confession/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2014/06/the-challenges-of-church-growth-and-decline/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/06/engaging-families-with-jesus-els-convention-essay/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/06/5-simple-ways-every-christian-is-an-evangelist/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/05/confronting-those-angry-at-christianity/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/05/pastoral-care-something-to-talk-about/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/05/pastoral-care-something-to-talk-about/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/04/witness-worship-and-2-cor-614-18/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/03/great-stuff-would-paul-want-pastors-to-preach-and-teach-about-good-works/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2013/02/are-you-missional-enough/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2012/12/the-ripple-effect-of-christmas-sermon-on-luke-215-20-by-pr-charles-henrickson/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2012/07/whats-wrong-with-lcms-congregations/

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/2012/08/great-stuff-the-plague-of-measuring-the-church/

  15. The LCMS is no longer the church of Walther and Pieper, as clearly shown in the video “If not now, when?”. Their LCMS was united in one belief. They would have left the present LCMS if they should live today because of the heresies which are tolerated. The LCMS is pluralistic, tolerating different doctrines. If you are searching for the “old LCMS”, you must search elsewhere.

    Pr Schroeder, #2, you write We can only do what the Lord has so clearly called us to do: “We obey God rather than men”. I agree. That’s the confessional way to put the question and therefore say: “What is right and in accordance with the word of God?” Even the conservatives in the LCMS are pragmatic instead of principal here. They are striving for a reasonal way instead of the right one.

  16. @Olive Noeth #12: “And, by the way, He gave communion to JUDAS!”

    The accounts of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26:19-30 and Mark 14:10-26, taken along with the account in John 13:1-30, suggest that Judas left immediately after giving Judas the morsel of bread dipped into the charoseth (v. 30), and before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The account in Luke 22:1-23 appears in conflict, but only if Luke’s account is taken chronologically, rather than topically, as Luke did elsewhere in his gospel. There is no specific text that clearly states Judas did or did not commune at the Lord’s Supper.

  17. “All that the Church does is based on the firm faith that the Word is efficient and that without the Word there is no salvation for this suffering world, since it does not know God. Nothing but God’s word and sacrament can make a person a Christian. If the Word does not have any effect on her, nothing else will help. In times of decline, when the crowds are thinning seriously, the Church must only ask herself if she has rightly administered the sacraments and if she has proclaimed the Word purely and clearly and lovingly. If she has done that, then she has also done all that is in her power and all that God has commanded her to do for the conversion of man. He who hardens himself before God’s word rightly proclaimed has therewith said no to God Himself. Our heavenly Father must again and again experience that grief. The Church too must live with that grief, in prayer and patient waiting, without giving up hope, without getting weary in deeds of love, and without ceasing to proclaim the Word just as purely and clearly and lovingly as always. But woe to her if she thinks that adding human means will do it, where God’s word was rejected, and sevenfold woe to her if she, fearing to lose also her last hearers, attempts to keep them with human ties but neglects to preach the Word for judgment and grace, purely and clearly and lovingly! It can be very tempting to do such a thing. When people are not coming to church, God’s word is being diluted with lots of other things that are attractive to sinful human nature. The methods vary according to the taste of the people that one is eager to reach. But the consequences are just as disastrous in every case. One gets a public instead of a congregation. One substitutes religious interest for faith. One connects the people to activities, projects and entertaining events, but not to Christ. Of course, it is quite possible to get a lot of people to come together! Captivating speakers and popular musicians will often attract large audiences. Hundreds of examples of the entertainment offered by the churches are frequently advertised in the newspapers, on community bulletin boards, and on bill boards along our highways. This is the way that churches go, when they no longer dare to trust only and solely in God’s word and sacrament.”

    Bo Giertz, Christ’s Church (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2010), 106-107. Quote taken from Pasor Timothy Winterstein’s blog North Prarie Pastor, https://northprairiepastor.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/giertz-on-the-church/.

  18. Dear BJS,
    Yes, the Synod and its members have problems, we all agree, and sin is a kicker in all this. Yet, the LCMS and the doctrines we preserve are the most solid and worth fighting for.
    God has spoken through His Word and we will continue to preach it and administer it, and fight against false practice.
    Now as a CV for my Circuit, I will do my best to assist and do battle as able.

  19. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #16

    The LCMS is pluralistic, tolerating different doctrines. If you are searching for the “old LCMS”, you must search elsewhere.

    Please again list the current orthodox “old LCMS” elsewhere type synods in the US to which we should retreat.  Thanks.

  20. @John Rixe #21
    Dear John,
    Yes, sometimes I get tired of the complainers all the time. The LCMS “ain’t what is used to be”, but God STILL IS. We have to deal with a hostile culture, and stay true to our doctrine and call out false doctrine, all while we spread the Good News.
    Yes, time for “big boy (girl) pants” to be pulled on and get to work.
    No where to go, unless things totally fall apart; and by then, the Good Lord is hopefully coming back anyway (perhaps).

  21. Action counts more than talk, and in the LCMS, there is too much talk and not enough action. I’ll humbly suggest a few actions. If the service is offensive and promotes false doctrine, walk out in the middle of the service I’ve done this and make no apologies for it.

    If someone has a church that is obvious in its false teaching, you could refuse to commune their members, should they visit, until they are properly instructed and agree with LCMS doctrine and practice. I know a pastor from one the St. Louis classes in the mid 70’s that does this, and again, makes no apologies for it.

    If churches want to run it like a business, then treat it as such. The best way to get the attention of a business which is not running to your satisfaction is vote with your feet.

  22. @Scott Diekmann #11

    “They put us down as contentious, ill-tempered faultfinders. But these are the crafty passes of the devil…” — Martin Luther

    I’m an LCMS Lutheran. Let’s be honest: Some of us are indeed contentious, ill-tempered faultfinders.

  23. @T-rav #24

    “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2

    “Another major duty of a Synod that wants to be and remain an Evangelical Lutheran Synod is that it not seek its own glory, but only the glory of God, being intent not so much on its own growth, but rather on the growth of Christ’s kingdom and the salvation of souls. You see, dear brethren, we are assembled here not for our own sake. We are in the faith, and by this faith we hope to be saved! But there are still many millions who have no faith!  This is why we are here—so that we might bring salvation to as many people as we possibly can, so that the sad situation in Christendom and the corruption of the poor, blind heathen might be remedied. Only for this reason does our gracious God allow Christians to live on earth, that they might bring others to the saving faith. Otherwise God would immediately take a Christian to heaven as soon as he is converted.”  
    CFW Walther
    Essays for the Church
    CPH: 1992
    II:262

  24. @John Rixe #26

    The quoted paragraph referenced from Essays for the Church, C.F.W. Walter, Volume II, 1877-1886 (CPH: 1992, p. 262) can be found on several Lutheran websites. However, it is not found as a single paragraph in Essays for the Church, especially on p. 262. Instead the quote is a composite of [boldfaced added] words from several separate paragraphs in the book from C.F.W. Walther’s “Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod” (First Iowa District Convention, St. Paul’s Church, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Beginning Aug. 20, 1879):

    p. 60 –
    Thesis VI
    A sixth major duty is that it not seek its own glory but only the glory of God, being intent not so much on its own growth but rather on the growth of Christ’s kingdom and the salvation of souls

    pp. 60-61 –
    You see, dear brethren, that should be our mindset too. We are assembled here not for our own sake. We are in the faith, and by this faith we hope to be saved! But there are still many millions who have no faith! That is why we are here and have established a District/Synod, so that we might bring salvation to as many people as we possibly can, so that the sad situation in Christendom and the corruption of the poor, blind heathen world might be remedied. And if we don’t do that, if we don’t seek the glory of Christ and the salvation of souls, then, says Luther, he fears that our loving God (der liebe Gott) might assemble a council of angels to execute judgment on us.

    p. 62 –
    It is just as our Luther says: Only for this reason does our gracious God allow Christians to live on earth, that they might bring others to the saving faith. Otherwise God would immediately take a Christian to heaven as soon as he is converted. For everyone who has faith is ready to enter heaven. But God says, “You must finish your earthly task of leading others to eternal life.”

  25. @John Rixe #26

    That’s not the same thing as being “all about numbers.” Jesus cares more about faithfulness than numbers. If He solely cared about numbers, the Bible would teach pure universalism.

    “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Matthew 7:13

    In our zealousness for evangelism we are tempted to forget that we’re supposed to teach everything He commanded and water things down, call it relevance, and try to sell it to a world dead in trespasses and sins.

    Jesus no where does this. In fact, His message is unappealing to many people. Paul says its foolishness to those who are perishing. John 6 is a perfect example:

    “And [Jesus] said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”” “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?””
    ‭‭John‬ ‭6:65-67‬

    I’m not saying that evangelism is not important by any means, it most certainly is very important. Doing things that put butts in seats, but do not convict people of their sins or proclaim the most relevant thing there could possibly be in the Gospel is not evangelism.

    I about had a heart attack when I heard Chris Rosebrough air a sermon in which the “pastor” said the Gospel is “love God.” If the pastor regularly preaches THAT and the people believe THAT, the church may be a mega church doing all kinds of things to be relevant and draw a crowd into their church, but sadly it’s a church filled with people on the wide road to destruction.

    May we, by the power of the Spirit, cling to the pure fountain of God’s Word and unashamedly proclaim this same Word to a world terminally ill.

  26. Providing a definition of “accuracy” is being snarky?!? How easily politically correct panties seem to get in a wad around here.

    Among the various websites on which the composited and misreferenced paragraph has appeared are four BJS pages from 7/9/12, 6/10/14, 3/18/15, and the most recent 4/4/16.

    The point of “accuracy” is to provide the correct reference and context of the actual words, and to provide the earliest found source for the composited and misreferenced paragraph.

  27. Rev. Dr. Kristian Kincaid: “Our convention should call for the faithfulness of each Pastor and congregation, each District President, each Circuit Visitor. There is a dangerous timidity in our Synod that mirrors the deadly political correctness of the wicked world. The unwritten rule wafting through Synodical air: do not be critical of any other congregation or Pastor you might be sued. You dare not say anything. How dare we not!”

    While Walther’s quoted paragraph is not found on page 262, but composited from other paragraphs in an earlier essay in the book, Essays for the Church, Vol. II, page 262 is part of C.F.W. Walther’s essay, “Earthly Authorities – I” (which deals with ecclesiastical and other authority practiced in the Church) presented to the 25th Western District Convention, Trinity Church, Altenburg, Mo., beginning Oct. 10, 1883, pp. 245-269). And what is said in that essay is also applicable to Rev. Kincaid’s statement above.

  28. @John Rixe #21
    Well, there is no church body in the US sharing all the beliefs of the old LCMS of Walther and Pieper, I would say. Not yet!
    The confessional lutheran church bodies in the US which I’ve found are (by confessional is meant that they all hold to the same doctrine and don’t tolerate any deviations) in chronological order:

    Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, WELS (Could be disputed to have them on the list.)
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod, ELS
    Concordia Lutheran Conference, CLC
    Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, LCR
    Church of the Lutheran Confession, CLC
    Illinois Lutheran Conference, ILC
    The Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship, LCCF
    The Reformation Lutheran Conference, RLC
    The Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America, ELDoNA
    The Orthodox Lutheran Confessional Conference, OLCC
    Association of Confessional Lutheran Churches, ACLC

  29. @Carl Vehse #39

    Yes, providing the reference for “accuracy” is being snarky. Then trying to throw it back in someone else’s face is also being snarky. It was difficult to tell from your original post if you were merely correcting the reference, or inferring that the meaning of the original quote was somehow twisted, etc. A little more explanation at the beginning of the comment on the purpose of the comment would be helpful. You understood what your purpose was, but at least two of the rest of us were left wondering. I appreciate your corrections, but there’s no need to belittle someone in the process.

  30. @Scott Diekmann #42: “It was difficult to tell from your original post if you were merely correcting the reference, or inferring that the meaning of the original quote was somehow twisted, etc.”

    How difficult was it that one could somehow infer from what was said in #28 that the meaning of the original quote was somehow twisted? Did I not provide the original texts placed in the actual excerpts from where they came? And did I anywhere in that post, or in a subsequent post, imply that the statements meant something different or were twisted in their composited form compared to the texts presented in their original locations?

    When I stated “the quote is a composite of [boldfaced added] words from several separate paragraphs in the book from C.F.W. Walther’s “Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Synod,” instead of page 262, was that not understandable as a point being made?

    Later when I wrote “the earliest reference found that contains Walther’s composited single paragraph is from a March 5, 2001, archive of LCMS President A.L. Barry’s webpage,” was that not understandable as a point being made?

  31. @Carl Vehse #43

    Carl, When you’ve got regular font, bold font, italics, and brackets, it is confusing. An author’s meaning is always clear to the author, but not necessarily clear to the reader, especially if the reader doesn’t have the referenced text in front of them. It would certainly have been helpful if whomever had conflated the original quotes had used ellipses! I would appreciate it if we could return to the discussion of Dr. Kincaid’s article.

  32. @ Pr Prentice #45
    I’m honestly happy for your zeal to defend the Lutheran doctrine, pastor Prentice.
    But, to be confessional “on paper” is of very little value compared to be confessional in reality (as the churches on my list are). If any. Even Church of Sweden is confessional “on paper”! (A bishop of theirs recently promoted reincarnation.) Isn’t it the truth that the attempts to call LCMS confessional is an attempt to hide that the LCMS is heterodox (=tolerating false doctrine)?

  33. @Rev Jakob Fjellander #46
    Dear Pastor Fjellander,
    In reality, all I can do is defend the doctrine, which we agree “on paper” is the most confessional. Yes, I can then direct my efforts, time permitting to calling out error.
    I attended a recent Winkel where some “bad practice” was affirmed ongoing and called it out, awaiting the result.
    You do not run from a battle, you engage it.

  34. @Pastor Prentice #47

    “Yes, I can then direct my efforts, time permitting to calling out error.” Wow, sounds to me like you’re starting to understand the purposes of the ACELC! Maybe we’ll see you in Nashville the end of this month? 🙂

  35. @Rev. Jakob Fjellander #49

    I have a friend who is a member of a Bible believing ELCA congregation which has chosen to stay in witness (and battle) in the local neighborhood and local synod.  Isn’t this also an honorable path?

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