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What Luther Says

Who Hijacked His Church!?!

"Who hijacked His Church!?!" That's the question I've been asking myself lately.

Regardless of the answer(s) and the culprit(s), the truth is both comforting and glorious!

Matthew 16:18 (ESV) And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Peter' rock-like confession of faith was the solid foundation on which Christ would build His Church (Matthew 7:24-27; Ephesians 2:19-22).

"Certainly the Church has has not been built upon the authority of a man. Rather, it has been built upon the ministry of the confession Peter made, in which he proclaims that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God"
[TR 25]

"Christ is therefore the foundation by whom primarily and in whom primarily the holy catholic church is founded, and faith is the foundation with which it is founded -- that faith which works through love"
*- Jan Hus [The Church, p 73]

The Church is the assembly, or gathering, of all believers. Christ is the builder of the Church, because it's His not ours, and each living member is a living stone (1 Peter 2:5).

The above text from Matthew 16:18 and Matthew 18:17 are the only times that "church" is used in the Gospels. It's also interesting to note what Bede said about the "gates of hell" we read about in this passage.

"The gates of Hell are wicked doctrines, which seduce men ad bring them to Hell."
*- VB, p. 154

This is a legitimate threat and we must all learn to be more discerning, especially in church (Acts 17:11). The "bad news" is that the Scriptures testify to the reality of "goats" and "tares" (Matthew 25:33; Matthew 13), but the "good news" is that death will not overcome the Church because it rests on the living Son of God (1 Timothy 3:15).

So, rest in Christ Jesus, and trust His Word despite the fact that His Church may appear to have been hijacked from within with no hope of ever being restored. Be a pillar of truth wherever He has placed you to be one.

Still, I believe a few words should be said about why it's important for us to acknowledge the issue instead of acting like it doesn't exist, or thinking that it's someone else's problem to deal with.

"These facts raise what constitutes the real question of the life and death for Missouri as it has for every other Lutheran Church. It is not the question concerning the strength of the eternal organization, the constitution, the growth of the congregation, or the school system. Nor is it the question with respect to the position of the Confession as the basis for the message and work of the church. Rather it is the question concerning the strength of the Lutheran faith in the sense of the genuine deep faith of the heart in the saving Gospel, which the Holy Spirit alone can give. It is the question whether, and to what extent this strongest confessional church of Lutheranism is a truly confessing church, a church in which the Lutheran Confession is not merely held in honor as the confession of the fathers and therefore in force and untouchable, it is the question whether the Confession is the confession of a living faith of the congregation, and therefore the formative life-principle of the church. It is the question which Missouri, even as every other church, must ask herself in humility and must answer before the face of God: Are we still Lutheran?"

*- Hermann Sasse [Letters to Lutheran Pastors, No. 20]

For anyone who is an ex-Evangelical turned Confessional Lutheran like me, your initial joy in response to finding a true proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through faithful preaching of His Word and the administering of His Holy Sacraments within the LCMS Church may soon subside once you discover that all the things you left behind when you escaped from American Evangelicalism are all the things the church's leadership and laity think they need to "grow the church" and "serve God" properly as His disciples.

Boy, how I wish someone would've told me this ahead of time, which is why I'm making whatever small contribution that I can to give others a head's up to the reality that many LCMS churches (at least the ones in my local area that I know about after checking them out over the course of the past 2 years) are implementing the philosophies and teachings of the "Church Growth Movement," the "Emergent Church," and the "Purpose Driven Church" all in an attempt to become "Missional" they say.

I'm certainly not the first person to write about this and I won't be the last either. I don't think we can ever talk about this topic too much though. I've found comfort in learning that my current situation is not unlike that of other brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before me.

The Saga of A Return To The LCMS Only To Find it Hijacked - Part 1

The Saga of A Return To The LCMS Only To Find it Hijacked - Part 2

The opening paragraph to this 2-part series tells you all you need to know.

Here is the saga of my recent experience in a LCMS church. I was the victim of a "bait and switch" in the Northern Illinois District. I thought I was joining a LCMS church and I ended up in a Willow Creek style clone church. Thank you for the opportunity to warn or alert other unsuspecting Lutherans.

Sadly, you could probably substitute the name your own District and chances are this statement will still be accurate. That's tragic, but to be expected in this day and age. However, that doesn't mean that we should ever lose hope in Christ or the power of His Word and Sacraments to restore His Church.

What I want to emphasize is that the author's heart was where our hearts need to be if we find ourselves in similar situations -- looking out for His unsuspecting sheep even if the under-shepherds who have been called to feed and protect them won't (Jude 1:22-23).

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, stand firm on the Rock of our shared faith by contending for and defending the truth when and where you can for His glory, His honor, and His praise.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


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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