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What Luther Says

Lutheran By Conviction

I am a Lutheran by conviction.

What does that mean exactly? I'll attempt to answer that and I pray that God will use this humble forum to guide us and lead us into all truth.

John 8:31-32 (ESV) 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

I recently came across a commentary by Pastor Clint Poppe that had some powerful words for us to prayerfully consider on this very subject.

Conviction; a fixed or firm belief, convinced, without doubt. What does it mean to be “Lutheran by conviction?” The phrase has stuck with me through the years and has caused me to dig deep into the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions when I have a question or doubt about a particular teaching or practice. I have discovered that we can take nothing for granted in the church, and each generation must teach and contend for the Truth or the sad words of Judges 2:10 will apply to us, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.”

CFW Walther in “The Motives and Qualifications of a Genuine Church Member” teaches us well what being Lutheran by conviction means:

What has been said holds true also in the case of those who unite with a truly Evangelical Lutheran congregation. And this step is a good deed only if they wish to join such a congregation in preference to a congregation of another denomination because they are convinced that only the Evangelical Lutheran Church teaches the pure, unadulterated doctrine of God’s Word. Were someone, however, to seek voting membership in a Lutheran congregation simply because he was born and reared in its midst, or to please his parents, or because his friends are members of that congregation, or because the location of its church makes it convenient to attend its services, he would not perform a good deed, even though God may have led him into that church for the purpose of making him a true Lutheran, in other words, an orthodox Christian.
He also adds:
A member of a Lutheran congregation should be able to distinguish pure doctrine from false doctrines. Only spineless Lutherans can say: “What do I care about doctrinal controversies! They do not concern me in the least. I’ll let those who are more learned than I am bother their heads about such matters.” They may even be offended when they observe that religious leaders engage in doctrinal disputes. A genuine Lutheran will not forget that in the Epistle of Jude also lay Christians are admonished “earnestly to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” What is more, Christ warns all Christians: “Beware of false prophets.” And St. John writes in his first epistle: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” It is a settled fact that whoever is indifferent to false doctrine is indifferent also to pure doctrine and his soul’s salvation, and has no right to bear the name Lutheran and the name of Christ.

Sound Biblical doctrine not only should be taught, but also adhered to with deep conviction (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Timothy 4:2-4; Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 5:17).

We need to stand firm with conviction when it comes to the faithful teaching and defending of Scripture, which encourages godliness and confronts sin and error (those who contradict).

In layman's terms, when we deal with doctrine (pure and false), our "soul’s salvation" is at stake (Galatians 5:9).


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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