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What Luther Says

'I Don't Care About Doctrine! Just Give Me Love!'

I have this friend.

He's not a Lutheran like me, but he's a Christian nonetheless. He has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and is selfless way more than he's selfish. He sincerely wants to be a vessel of truth for the Lord and to share that truth with others.

The problem? Sincerity and good intentions does not guarantee a good handle of Gospel truths. In addition, he believes that becoming a Christian means we will reach a state of 'sinless perfection' in this life and that the ability to have spiritual dreams, healings, and visions is 'evidence of the fruit of such a state' having been achieved. Oh, and did I mention that he has discovered a "new way" (a.k.a. the "true way") of understanding God's Word before it was corrupted by man or by the church and all the denominations? 

Sadly,, this is the case with this friend of mine. Ironically, however, despite the fact that he constantly claims that "doctrine divides" Christians, he has consistently failed to realize that he is guilty of the very thing he despises more than anything -- creating his own doctrine using God's Word to try to support such beliefs.

For the last year, we have met once a month (or every other month) to hang out, be guys, and to talk about the Bible, God, Jesus, and our faith amongst other things. Yet, during that entire time, he has repeatedly expressed his disdain for doctrine.

Again, "doctrine divides!" he often says, which, ironically, is what the Lord intended for it to do in the first place (1 Corinthians 11:19). I mean, let's not forget what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34 too.

Worse, whenever me and my Lutheran counterpart try to reign him in and anchor him to the truth of God's Word, he resists. And I mean he flatly and stubbornly resists.

In fact, he believes that 200+ years of church tradition is severely flawed and that he (and I'm assuming those who he regularly fellowships with at the various Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, and House Churches he visits from week to week) has "discovered" a different, fresh, and new understanding of "what God really meant" in the holy Scriptures.

I guess it's no surprise then to hear him talk about the numerous mass healings, miracles, prophecies, tongues, and visions he's either experienced, performed, or witnessed each and every single week.

For him, experience and feelings trump Sola Scriptura.

But aside from all of that, the one thing he repeats over and over again is love, love, love. It's this whole Rob Bell-esque "Love Wins" mentality that L-O-V-E is the most important thing in the Christian life, and if it's not, then you might not actually be an authentic Christian.

Unfortunately, I'm finding that the other Lutheran friend of mine is now flirting dangerously close to becoming non-Denominational all the way since Lutherans like me are "too rigid and uptight" when it comes to the faith.

The not so subtle general consensus is that I'm the problem because I don't want to just keep my mouth shut to keep the peace between two brothers in Christ. It's not that I go looking for a fight or to have a debate either.

I'm sorry, but if someone is going to sit there and flat out suggest that "people don't need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they just need to be loved!" then, no, I'm not going to keep my mouth shut, and if that costs me a friendship or two because that's me being "offensive" and "uncaring" then so be it.

Look, I view the opportunities to sit down with this friend of mine as a chance to preach the pure Gospel with Isaiah 55:11 in my sights, but it's becoming more and more difficult each time, especially as my conscience begins to burn with the thought that I may have to consider separating from this individual who constantly rejects the truth time and time again.

I mean, this whole "We Can Agree To Disagree" approach to confessing the faith that's so common these days is not Biblical one bit -- at least, not when we're talking about the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

Either we're both wrong, or only one of us is right, because we both can't be right at the same time. Plus, am I really doing him any good by resigning myself to the fact that we'll never see eye-to-eye whenever these topics come up for discussion? Don't I have a responsibility before God to confess the Gospel accurately and clearly while trusting the Holy Spirit to do His work? It's from that mindset that I write this today.

Here's something he posted on his Facebook page recently in response to one of our usual discussions...

If unity in the global church is based on common theology then we will inevitably have division in the church body which will lead to exclusivity and resentment, however if unity is based on our common identity as sons and daughters of God and our shared need for Jesus then we can have unity as a church body under one head and we can embrace our diversity and allow our differences to compliment and uplift each other rather than tear each other down. (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 10:11, Hebrews 3:13). It's our sin nature to exclude and look down upon those who do not share our same theology...but these differences are meant to compliment not cause strife. The greatest of these is not theology....it's love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Do you see how subtle this deception really is? I think the subtle serpent himself would be proud too (Genesis 3:1). Once again, we see the 11th Commandment of "Thou Shall Not Offend" rearing its ugly head here.

In case the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God isn't enough for you, then perhaps this will help. Here's a 20-minute sound byte from Chris Rosebrough from Fighting For The Faith on this very subject and why it's an important one.

Yeah, that just about sums up my feelings regarding this whole sad state of affairs.

It's also why I could relate to a recent post titled "Cutting Ties And Moving On" by Vanessa. The Lord knows I'm by no means perfect, and that I take my share of the blame whenever I'm unable to overlook another brother's sins (1 Peter 4:8), but He also knows that I will not just sit by quietly when false doctrine is being spewed over and over again as though it were Gospel truth.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, doctrine does matter -- it matters a whole lot -- and we demonstrate our love for God, His Word, and His people by our desire for understanding and upholding pure doctrine (Jude 1:3; Galatians 2:4-5).

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 our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. 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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