[In Case You Missed It...][6]

ACELC
Apologetics
Bible Study
Bo Giertz
Book Reviews
C.F.W. Walther
Current Events
Daniel Preus
Documentaries
Dog Days
Dr. John Kleinig
Eschatology
Evangelizing Evangelicals
Facebook Theology
False Teachers
Friedrich Carl Wyneken
Germans Like Latin
Herman Sasse
Holidays
Holy Sacraments
Luther's Commentaries
Lutheran Doctrine
Lutheran Podcasts
Lutherandom Musings
Lutheranism 101
Martin Chemnitz
Martin Luther
Matthew C. Harrison
Prayer Requests
Rock N Blogroll
Salomon Deyling
Sermons
Twitter Patter Five
What Luther Says
Zitat

Being A Lutheran By Conviction: The Motives And Qualifications Of A Genuine LCMS Member

After reading (and loving!) "Self-Identifying As A Lutheran Means Jack" earlier today, I began thinking to myself: What does it mean to be a Lutheran by conviction?

We've already addressed why a person's confession of faith matters, but what can we say to add to the important and necessary discussion started by Vanessa and her commentary?

I think John 8:31-32 gives us the quick and easy answer, but I also discovered some things that C.F.W. Walther had to say about this very same issue that's certainly worth our prayerful consideration as we try to navigate through the narthex full of wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15).

In his "The Motives And Qualifications of A Genuine Church Member," Walther presents "three factors that are essential in the make-up of a genuine member of a Lutheran congregation" that I'd like to share with you.


 
"The Motives And Qualifications of A Genuine Church Member" 
1. A genuine member of a Lutheran congregation must have a thorough understanding of pure Lutheran doctrine or at least must desire to grow in the knowledge of it. Such a one will imitate the Bereans in searching the Scriptures daily, he will not lay aside his Catechism when he has completed his elementary school training, but throughout his life continue to review it in order that he may understand it better and become more thoroughly grounded in it. He will read other good orthodox books and periodicals to become ever more firmly established in the pure doctrine. In Hebrews 5 those Christians who are neglectful in this point are censured. We read: "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food." 
2. A member of a Lutheran congregation must be able to defend his faith and to prove its correctness from God's Word. St. Peter writes, I Peter 3:15: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." A sad state of affairs is revealed when members of a Lutheran congregation, asked about their faith, say, "You will have to ask my pastor about that." 
3. 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."


Pretty straightforward stuff, huh?

His third point is the one that speaks quite loudly and clearly to the many problems our Synod is facing today (see our recent entry on the Pollyannas and Peter Pans in the LCMS).

Now, if you're anything like me, then I'm sure your Old Adam had the same knee-jerk reaction to the title of that letter from Walther. However, before you go assuming that it's some legalistic, pious, and self-righteous attempt to burden His sheep with the Law think again!

This is also referred to as "Walther's Words of Welcome To New Members" too. So, it's not so much a "Heretic Hunting Instructions" document as it is a friendly and loving reminder or a "Call To Action" of sorts that reinforces each member's identity in Christ as well as their calling as a member of that particular local LCMS congregation (of which they are now an official member).

You can read the rest of Walther's short letter, but I also recommend reading Rev. Clint Poppe's articles published over the years since he's on the front lines in this war against spiritual amnesia within the Lutheran Church.

How so? Rev Poppe is the current Chairman for the ACELC. Even though our "politically correct" -influenced Synod, Districts, Churches, and individual Christians will surely protest because they don't like it one bit, there is an abundance of Scripture that supports Walther's assertions that we can and we must familiarize ourselves with the motives and qualifications of a genuine church member within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Finally, let's recall the line that Walther ends his letter with since it beautifully communicates the reason why so many of us even attempt t speak "the truth in love" whenever we decide to point out false teaching: "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."

I can only imagine the people who cringed when they read that, but it's the truth.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, the Word of God is crystal clear.


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."

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."

Jude 1:22-23 (ESV) "22 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."

Ephesians 4:15 (ESV) "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,"

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (ESV) "18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized."

Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV) "5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."

Jude 1:23 (ESV) "save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."

Romans 16:17-18 (ESV) "17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

2 John 1:9-11 (ESV) "9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

Share|

About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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!

Start typing and press Enter to search