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What Luther Says

Passing The Poison: The Danger Of Non-Lutheran Bible Studies At Lutheran Churches

Now that the cat's out of the bag so-to-speak, I haven't attended the church where I'm still officially a member for the last several weeks (although I've certainly made sure that I listen to sermons online each week until I can find a more faithful church to call home).

Unfortunately, bringing up your concerns about false doctrine being peddled as Lutheran let alone pure Biblical truth for the umpteenth time only to have one of the more "influential" members of the church you belong to tell you flat out, "Well, maybe it is best if you find another church then..." will cause that to happen I suppose.

Even so, I still find myself caring and being deeply concerned about my brothers and sisters at my former congregation. How crazy is that? I mean, I thought us "doctrine matters" types were so "unkind" and "unloving" or something. Imagine that.

So, that means that I still keep an ear to the ground and will occasionally visit the church's website to stay informed about what's going on even if I'm no longer there.

After all, my kids still attend the Lutheran Day School that's affiliated with and next to the church, and my wife serves as a Teacher's Aide and PTO President there.

I know as well as you do that it doesn't take much for the false doctrine from one to infect the other and it's easy for the wolves in sheep's clothing to wander in through the front doors, especially when they're left wide open, unguarded, or when they are even enticed to come right in by an open invitation.

Of course, this isn't much of a shock to us (or at least it shouldn't be).

Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

1 Timothy 4:1 (ESV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

1 Timothy 6:3-7 (ESV) Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.

Matthew 7:15 (ESV) Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

2 Corinthians 11:4 (ESV) For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

2 Peter 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Jude 1:3 (ESV) Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

2 Timothy 1:13-14 (ESV) 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV) 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

I thought about those passages from Scripture recently.

Today, I learned about a new, multi-week Small Group Bible Study being led by a layman (see Article XIV) who also happens to be a newer member of the church (see 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Timothy 1:3-7) that takes place each and every Sunday morning between the Traditional Worship Service and the Contemporary Worship Service.

Not surprisingly, it's Rick Warren's "God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions (Living With Purpose)" which we all know is rank heresy.

If you're shocked at my labeling Rick Warren a false teacher, then please listen to this 2007 episode of Fighting For The Faith in which Chris Rosebrough interviews Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller on Rick Warren's false teaching regarding sanctification and how it imposes strings and conditions on Christian salvation. This is a hard hitting episode that exposes Rick Warren's "purpose driven" religion of works righteousness and how it's become a different and false gospel despite its popularity (and will help you to learn why Lutherans should flee from such teachings).

Anyway, this latest news forced me, once again, to find comfort in His Word, and in doing so I came across an excellent lecture delivered by Rev. Anthony Voltattorni to a Higher Things Youth Group gathering titled "The Danger Of Non-Lutheran Bible Studies" that beautifully articulates the problems with such a pragmatic practice in our churches today as well as the problems with allowing false doctrine to remain uncontested alongside true doctrine.

I've included here for your edification.

The biggest takeaway from that 60-minute presentation was from the first 5 minutes: "Just because Jesus' name was mentioned does not mean that a particular false doctrine isn't dangerous."

See, this is why I'm so incredibly grateful for faithful Confessional Lutheran Pastors and ministries that are willing to take a bold and unpopular stand by speaking "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) so that people like me can be encouraged and remain hopeful that all is not lost (Matthew 16:18).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I hope it's now crystal clear why we need to refrain from passing the poison if you will, because there's a real danger in conducting non-Lutheran Bible studies at Lutheran churches; a spiritual danger with eternal implications (Matthew 7:15-28).

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 aren't that 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 commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, 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.

1 comment

  1. My sincere apologies! Apparently, the link to that discussion between Chris Rosebrough and Bryan Wolfmueller that I mentioned is no longer available. Here are a couple of links that should work instead of a discussion between Chris Rosebrough and Todd Wilken on Issues, Etc. ...

    PART 1:

    PART 2:

    Grace And Peace,


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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