Giving Up on Lutherans

Ottmar Hoerl photo by Peter Endig 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.

LITTLEGIRLeditJAN WOITASTapfotoreflections 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:

I must admit that I’ve not read all of the comments, but I do have some questions and I hope that they have not already been asked and answered.

It basically comes down to where in scripture or the confessions does it say that a democracy or a republic are the sort of government of which God approves?

If we live in a country ruled by the people rather than a monarch with divine right, a godless form of government, is it the representative of the people’s duty to vote in a way that protects all people’s rights?

Quoting myself From my last remark on another post here:

“I do think that the civil authorities should not call any of the contracts uniting two people marriage. That word should no longer be included in the books of the state. Civil Unions for all! If all were equal in the civil arena, there could be no problem. The Church could then define marriage as it saw fit. The church does not get sued for Baptisms or communion. How could it be sued for marriage when a marriage would not a civil union make, and a civil union would not a marriage make.

Our government (USA) is a godless institution, developed out of Enlightenment philosophy. It is concerned with rights, not responsibility. Let the people, the government, have their rights. Let the church be responsible for preserving marriage.”

It is terrible that a man and his family should be run out of his church for doing his job as a politician in a godless arena.

Luther WittenbergI did not expect my contribution to be received with open arms like the prodigal son, and it was not. I considered my response to the questions of “If you don’t believe he sinned, then I question why you are a member of the LCMS,” and, “Just because the US was founded without an official religion, doesn’t mean it was founded to be “godless” as you describe it,” as well as, “Their form of government is not godless, in that it recognizes the Triune God and permits the free exercise of the Christian religion (as well as heathen religions).” That last one really got me as it smacks of some sort of political-religious blend of syncretism and unionism. I did not respond.

So, I’m off the Lutheran blogs for a while. I love them. I hate them. I acknowledge them as equally saint and sinner. Perhaps it’s a proper Lenten discipline to examine the log in my own eye for a bit before I return to take the speck out of someone else’s eye with the first stone I can find.

The images used here are of the installation Here I Stand by Ottmar Hoerl The photography is by Peter Endig, Jan Woitas, and EPA.

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One thought on “Giving Up on Lutherans

  1. Pingback: An Other New Year Has Begun | Uncle Frog

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