Steadfast In Doctrine, Steadfast In Love

Last night before bed, I read a post published by Vanessa from Hearts On Guard about discernment. I believe many of you are familiar with it, especially since it was featured on a recent edition of Fighting For The Faith.

I must say that it was a welcomed comfort as I had just remarked to my wife earlier in the day how I was beginning to doubt myself and some of the doctrinal stands I have taken recently with family and friends as I continue to navigate my way through understanding the Lutheran faith (a.k.a. orthodox Christianity).

As Pastor Matt Richard has done a superb job documenting, it can be quite a jarring and lonely experience transitioning from one faith to another (especially when other Lutherans avoid you like the plague too).

Back to that piece on discernment from Hearts On Guard. She's absolutely right though when it comes to her assessment of the current state of Christianity and the importance of applying discernment and taking a bold stand for the truth.


As I've grown in my understanding of scripture and Lutheran doctrine, I've found myself becoming more wary when approaching the Christian writing of others, whether in blog posts, books or even simple tweets. A red flag automatically raises when words initiate a warm-fuzzy feeling, especially if those words include nothing about Jesus, His death or His resurrection.

Thing is a lot of what is passed around as Christian encouragement these days seems to be little more than happy platitudes with little-if-any biblical truth behind them. They may be too vague, and don't rightly point to law and gospel, or perhaps they are syrup-y sweet, or maybe even downright false.

Yet they get shared, retweeted and lauded because they make us feel good.

It would be easier to simply read these words, assume the good intentions of those behind them, and do our best to "take the good, and leave the rest". But false teaching is like the thorns choking out true faith. (Matthew 13:18-23) While faith can exist among false teaching, danger still exists.

Yes, discernment is tiring and being on guard for false teaching can be exhausting. But it's worth the alternative of being led astray by eloquent wolves with sweet words and seemingly innocent intentions.


Consequently, my late night wasn't over just yet.

First, I stumbled upon this article from Pastor Jordan Cooper...



Shipwrecked Faith: A Lutheran Approach To Apostasy And Perseverance


Finally, I was delighted to have found this bit of preaching from Rev. Hans Fiene who I had never heard of until last night.

This sermon was preached during the Vespers service, on February 15th, 2013, at the Brothers of John The Steadfast Conference at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL.

It's only a mere 11 minutes long, but it is so rich for it contains everything that makes Lutheran preaching so comforting and unique these days -- a proper distinction of Law and Gospel truths with a Christ-centered focus.

Just listen closely to each word and prayerfully consider it all for God's glory and your sanctification. It underscores the importance of being discerning in this day and age, but also does a great job of reminding us to be sure to always speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) since repentance and restoration should be our desired end. But this message goes much deeper than that when I think about it.

In fact, as the description states, "Pr. Hans Fiene preaches stern Law and sweet Gospel to the hearers -- how we fail in our steadfastness in doctrine and in love, but how Christ never fails in doctrine or love, but is really in the end, the Steadfast One."


Steadfast In Doctrine, Steadfast In Love - Rev. Hans Fiene


Beautiful, isn't it?

And just what I needed to hear too since "I have spent more time carving wounds in my brother's back than meditating on the wounds of Christ..." Thankfully, it's because of Christ's very wounds that I am forgiven for that.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, yes, always be on guard and pray that you will remain steadfast in doctrine (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 4:2-5), but always be on guard and pray that the Lord in His grace and mercy will help you to remain steadfast in love too since we are to speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) at all times because "you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness" (Galatians 6:1).

[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!]

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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 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 sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 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 mature spiritually (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!