Confessional Lutheran pastors cause strife and conflict everywhere they go. They cause trouble in their parishes by calling sinners to repentance and excluding impenitent sinners from the Lord’s Altar. They cause trouble in their circuits and districts by desiring that all pastors teach and practice what they have voluntarily agreed to teach and practice by joining the synod and in their ordination vows. They won’t even commune at synodical gatherings. For goodness sake’s they criticize cute “ministry” dogs and say it’s a sin to despise God’s blessing of children.
Why can’t Confessional Lutherans just get along with the rest of Lutheranism? Why do they have to create division everywhere they go?
This is begging the question, of course. Confessional Lutherans are not creating division. Division already exists in our synods because pastors and congregations have departed from the standard of teaching to which they were committed (Rom. 6:17). Division already exists because we are not united in doctrine and we don’t have concord in rites and ceremonies. Division already exists because we do not agree concerning the teaching of the Gospel or the administration of the sacraments (AC VII).
Not communing together is not divisive. Pointing out false doctrine and errant practice in our midst is not divisive. Pointing out that division exists is not divisive. The division already exists. Pretending that it does not exist doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t help the situation. It doesn’t create unity. Saying that someone who rejects God’s created order of male and female should not be teaching our children does not create division. The division is already there because we have someone in our supposed circle of fellowship who rejects God’s design of male and female.
Pastors are called by God to reprove, rebuke, and exhort so that we would be united in the truth. Those who persist in sin are to be rebuked publicly so that others would stand in holy fear of sin and its consequences (I Tim. 5:20).
Do not be deceived. Pretending that there are no divisions does not make the divisions go away. Practicing fellowship with errorists is unscriptural and is sin (Rom. 16:17; Ti. 3:10). We need to stop pretending that tolerating bad doctrine and practice is a virtue or a gift of the Spirit.
Those who have wandered from the standard of teaching to which they were committed and are introducing novelties and following society instead of Scripture are the ones who are causing division. Those who are following the fads of the day instead of the unchanging Word of Scripture are the ones causing division.
This division can only be healed by returning to the truth. A return to the truth is possible only through repentance. Repentance is only possible by the errors being brought to light through Scripture.
Yes, exposing error creates strife and conflict. Calling sinners to repentance causes trouble in parishes and circuits, in districts and synods. That conflict is necessary and unavoidable if we actually love our brothers who are in error and desire their repentance, as God desires their repentance. Strife and contention will always be part of speaking God’s Word on every issue in which our flesh has followed the devil and the world instead of Holy Scripture.
Finally, we should remember that unity can only be in the truth. Apart from truth, we have only division, no matter how much we pretend to be united or in fellowship. We should all humble ourselves under God’s Word and accept rebuke and correction where we have erred. May God grant us repentance where we have sinned and strengthen our faith through the forgiveness of sins.