Giving Up on Lutherans
I sometimes prefer the descriptor “Evangelical Catholic” to “Lutheran,” but I do consider them to mean the same thing; and although I was raised in the Missouri Synod, my family roots (of which I am quite proud), are in the Wisconsin Synod; and although I became a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America when I moved to New York, I no longer worship in a church of that synod. However, I do keep track of the goings on in the Lutheran communities of which I am quite fond…and with which I am quite frustrated. So I’ve given up on Lutherans, at least for the rest of Lent.
This does not mean that I’ve given up on the Confessions, or catholic tradition. This does not mean that I will not be posting any more “Music In Lent?” posts. It does mean that I will not be visiting or seeking out other blogs, or posts that are by or for or even related to Lutherans. I came to this decision due to my interactions with three blogs: The Brothers of John the Steadfast, or as I sometimes call them, Steadfast Lutherans (they are also known in my household as the Lutheran Taliban), Lutheran Confessions and tapfotoreflections. The problem with them all is that I simply love them all too much.
Tapfotoreflections is probably the most gentle of the trio. I respect that he wants to advocate for Gay people in the Lutheran church in Australia, but in his earnestness he often forgets just what it is to be Lutheran, confessional, and believing in the creeds. His exegesis is often lacking in substance, but his passion is burning for justice. I just can’t continue to engage him, even by reading his posts, although I pray that his faith is strengthened and he continues with his “here I stand.”
Lutheran Confessions is much more difficult for me. It embodies just why I left the ELCA: an abandonment of the “Lutheran Confessions.” Posts like 2020: The Year the ELCA Has a Baby, The People Formerly Known as the Audience, and even Introducing Easter Vigil make me fear for the future of the ELCA. Although I’ve not crossed over any body of water (Bosporus, Tiber, or Thames) I know how Jaroslav Pelikan must have felt when he said “When the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became Baptist, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America became Methodist, I became Orthodox.” It just feels like there are ELCA pastors who are playing at church; looking to create new traditions out of pieces of old (or Roman) hand-me-downs, or creating a new emergent church based on a business model. (I’ve written about the folly of the business model in my post Without Forme, and Voyd.)
It’s possibly surprising that I say I love the Steadfast Lutherans, but I do. If I love the ELCA for being socially liberal, I love the LCMS, and the Brothers of John the Steadfast, for being Liturgically and even doctrinally conservative. With them, I know where I stand. I understand their desire to keep a pure doctrine, and a pure practice. I understand their stance when it comes to syncretistic and unionistic worship, although that stone could be thrown at me as I worship in an Anglo-Catholic congregation. I can even respectfully disagree with their stance on Gay marriage, but I cannot understand the flap over a faithful LCMS man doing his civil job. As a result he and his family are being denied communion. They posted LCMS legislator votes for homosexual “marriage”; DP opposes bill (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) and a rather lengthy discussion ensued, to which I contributed: