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What Luther Says

It's The #YearOfHatingBadTheology #YOHBT Even Though I'm Told It Violates The 11th Commandment Of 'Thou Shall Not Offend'

So a new acquaintance of mine pointed out back at the start of the New Year how he truly believes that 2015 will be known as the "Year of Hating Bad Theology" ("YOHBT") in response to all the half-truths and outright lies masquerading as "Biblical truth" these days, especially within historically orthodox churches.

I took it with a grain of salt at the time, but now I agree with him 100%...and it's only the beginning of February 2015!

In fact, even bloggers who are much more well-respected than little old, left-handed, red-headed me have taken notice and are not just jumping on the #YOHBT Bandwagon -- they're willing to drive occasionally too!

Today, though, I'm letting the snark loose a bit, because as Ryan from Twitter has declared -- this is the #YOHBT. Or, the Year of Hating Bad Theology (and if I screwed up that acronym, I apologize). Regardless, this is the year of no more pussy-footing around the tulips or daisies or what-have-you. 
Bad theology sucks, and it's, well, bad. So why do we just shrug and ignore it while so many of our brothers and sisters are duped by it and held hostage to it? Now, before you go clicking away from this page, because I'm insulting you...stop. Hear me out. Bear with me for a sec, and please know I do this because I love you, and I'm tired of seeing people suffering under this false teaching. 
Still with me? Good. Let's go. 
I might sound mean and harsh, but it's not a harshness for you. It's an anger I have for this bad theology and false teaching -- a teaching I've seen break some and inflate others. If you've been taught this all your life, I urge you to take a step back. Read the scripture... 
*- Vanessa / Bible, Beer And Babies

Yes, please stick with this for just a few moments and hear me out, because I mean you no harm.

Man, when I think back to the days when I fell for the same kinds of deception and false teachings that I'm now trying to expose (and the way they caused me to treat other loved ones)...Lord, please forgive me!

That's why I'm so passionate about pointing out the false teachers and their false doctrine I think, because I know better than anyone else the real damage it can cause not just to ourselves, but to our neighbors too (and it impacts not only the here-and-now, but it could have eternal consequences as well!).

How so, you ask?

And then at some point… after the prayer has been said so often, our hearts dedicated over and over… yet the sinning remains and our life is still hard and we’re not healed and we’re still struggling…….. we decide this God thing, this Jesus guy must not be real, and it’s all a bunch of bull… and we walk away from the faith. And we think, if Jesus lets me walk away, then He must not actually exist — or He must hate me — or I’m just not elect. Or whatever. 
The point? Our faith is damaged, ruined, perhaps even broken and destroyed. 

I think it was Aristotle who said, "To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."

I know it was Jesus who said, "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).

Of course, this is all based on the silly notion that Lutherans have about the Word of God and how it actually means what it says plainly when it tells us things like, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I kid, but this is really no laughing matter, folks. And yet, nowadays, merely quoting Scripture -- to another fellow believer in Christ is says they share the same confession of faith that you do -- is somehow akin to "spiritual verbal abuse" when it should be viewed as a truly loving gesture, especially if you quote Scripture and just leave it at that without resorting to throwing in your own ad hominem attacks to dress the Biblical text up a bit (now that wouldn't be the "loving" thing to do at all, would it?).

Anyway, here are a few recent reflections of mine that didn't make this blog over the past couple of weeks because they found their way to Twitter instead...

Those were in response to general controversies infecting Christ's Church today.

Unfortunately, things took an ugly turn when the topic became much more specific.

Without revisiting the whole sordid affair, here's a glimpse via a tweet from a Lutheran Seminary Student who nails it...

In the past week, I've been called "angry," "argumentative," "crazy," "confrontational," "divisive," "holier-than-thou," "a hypocrite," "a jerk," "judgmental," "a Pharisee," "pious," "self-righteous" and even "unloving" by my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Why? What caused such venomous personal attacks from them? It was all because I simply had the "audacity" to point out the false doctrine being taught and/or tolerated by false teachers and those within Christ's Church who are sympathetic to them.

It made no difference that I backed up my actions by citing numerous passages of Scripture. And when I asked my dear brothers and sisters in Christ -- including several called and ordained ministers of God's Word and Sacraments who are much more educated and trained than I am -- to please address such passages if not refute them using the "Scripture Interprets Scripture" form of exegesis that I thought we all agreed upon, the silence was deafening.

Instead, I kept hearing a lot of Genesis 3:1 types of things ("Did God really say...?") coming from those who disagreed with me. The ones that didn't go that route used their serpentine cynicism to "play devil's advocate" (how nice) and suggest that I was getting upset over nothing.

Nothing!?! Seriously? Seriously.

See, to them, all that really mattered was that I had violated the 11th Commandment of "Thou Shall Not Offend" and, by doing so, any merit or substance to my arguments were automatically ignored and rejected.

First of all, let me be crystal clear that it's not ME they don't agree with, but GOD HIMSELF. That's what happens when you just quote Scripture and ask people to comment on it (i.e., explain how their beliefs reconcile with what the text plainly says) or present more Scripture that would refute the portion just mentioned and support their stance.

It's funny (tragic, actually) because those who constantly beat people like me over the head with Matthew 18 (those from the "You-Need-To-Sit-Down-And-Discuss-This-With-The-Person-One-On-One-So-That-You-Can-Bring-Up-Your-Concerns-And-Then-Go-Through-The-Bible-Together-To-Resolve-Things-Or-Else-You-Need-To-Just-Be-Quiet-Because-You're-Breaking-The-8th-Commandment!") seem to ignore their own advice.

I mean, if someone like me comes to you armed with the Word of God, that "sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:17) that we are instructed to use (2 Timothy 3:16-17 "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.") since "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12), then you need to take your own advice and be prepared to either refute my Scriptural evidence with your own or submit to the authority of God's Word even though it might not agree with your current entrenched position(s).

Nowadays, it's like Christians can't engage in a serious discussion about any subject pertaining to our shared and cherished faith, because that's considered "off limits" for some strange reason.

Maybe it's because Christianity has assimilated this popular secular notion that "What's True For You Is True For You, And What's True For Me Is True For Me" instead of relying on the Confessions that it claims to subscribe to.

All I know is that the past few weeks (and particularly this past weekend alone) revealed to me that the problem is actually much worse than I thought it was.

I'm not complaining about the personal costs involved (although they can be extremely depressing and hurtful), because I know what my Lord told me (Matthew 5:11; John 13:16), but I am going to pray that He helps me remain bold, courageous, faithful, and steadfast even if it means I will be ostracized by those I love enough to have these challenging discussions with.

I'm a saint and a sinner who has taken the log out of his own eye (Matthew 7:3-5) before trying to explain "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) to others who I'd hate to see destroyed by those same sins (Jude 1:21-23) that almost destroyed my own faith in Christ (1 Timothy 1:19).

So, I won't just refrain from being concerned about false teachers and the sin of false teaching, shut my mouth, and pray for the Lord to change your heart and mind about it all. How will you know you're in error unless someone cares enough to sit down with you to point out the area(s) where your beliefs conflict with God's Word?

For what it's worth, I will continue to "mark and avoid" (Romans 16:17) those "wolves" in "sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15) since that's what we're told to do, and because I actually do love others enough to speak up and say something when nobody else will.

To remain silent? We should know what our Lord already thinks about that (Matthew 10:32-33; Galatians 1:6-10).

To remain silent? How truly "unloving" that would be of me, wouldn't it?

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and to quote Ryan who started this hashtag trend, "drive out the wolves and save the sheep!" since this is the #YearOfHatingBadTheology #YOHBT .

Hate me all you want, but I have to bow my knee to the Lord someday and give an account, which is why I will follow His lead so I can hope to hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Who's with me?  

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!


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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