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VIDEO: 'Despite What You’ve Heard, The LCMS Is Not A Lost Cause'

I recently mentioned the impact that the "When Heterodoxy Hits Home" Conference had on me personally (and I wasn't even there!) once I realized the presence of sin in my heart whenever I attempted to combat such heterodoxy in the church today.

Now that the video versions of each presentation are available, I want to look at each lecture one-at-a-time and simply note some of the key highlights for you as they convicted me when I first listened to them.

Pastor Todd Wilken: "Despite What You’ve Heard, The LCMS Is Not A Lost Cause"

*- Personally, I thought that was a phenomenally fitting way to wrap up the entire conference

*- I've written a lot about how hurt I've been to have lost close friends and acquaintances over my faith, but I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose a "best friend" like Pastor Wilken says he did!

*- His entire lecture could've easily been a Part 2 to the one we looked at only a couple of weeks ago titled "What's So Special About Being Lutheran?" that he delivered back in late 2013  

*- Listening to this one, I was struck again by the thought that I just want to be in the company of those with a common confession (at least part of the time) and when I can't count on that (not even on Sundays!), then that's a big problem

*- Praying for patience right now is key -- especially for me! Praying for boldness and courage to act Biblically every step of the way is also essential

*- I hope we recall Pastor Wilken's words from his own blog: "A unity that cannot be questioned cannot be real. A unity that cannot be questioned is an assumed unity."

*- Such a pastoral, sober-minded presentation for us to prayerfully consider!

You might recall that we already had a few things to say about this presentation several posts ago. What really surprised me was his point that while we should never become apathetic about false doctrine, we also shouldn't assume that things will change so dramatically for the better in our own lifetimes.

Wow! That was an initial shock to me when I first heard it, but he's right, isn't he? I mean, much like the "Missionalists" are always making things sound so "urgent" all the time, "Confessionalists" like me have been guilty of the same thing in some respects.

I've been so focused on the immediate, short-term results rather than the delayed, long-term ones. To put it another way, any time I've tried to make a bold confession of faith in the church and public arena, I've treated the whole cause as though it were a sprint instead of a marathon.

When I didn't see other people immediately respond to what seemed so simple and straightforward to me, then I lost patience and my love for the truth (and for them) quickly turned to bitterness and frustration.

I suppose it's similar to the type of thing that Pastors go through when they are called to serve a new congregation only to find that it takes several years (maybe even decades!) of God-given faithfulness, patience, and perseverance to truly change that congregation's doctrine and practice to where it needs to be. Even then, it's not really them who's doing the changin', but the Holy Spirit.

Bottom line, we find that Rev. Wilken's statements echo Rev. Harrison's when he once wrote, "To act pastorally means that change takes time and teaching." That's why I think that the better approach, from now on, is to be much more realistic about things like Pastor Wilken said and encouraged us to be (Matthew 5:11; John 13:16; John 15:20).

Maybe then I won't get so hung up on "hurt feelings" all the time, which can lead to a pity party of self-loathing and, if I'm not careful, self-righteousness too.

Yes, while we are the "Church Militant" right now, there has to be a better and more Biblical way for me to process what I'm going through if not also a better and more Biblical way to respond to it all.

The series of lectures all from this same conference that we've highlighted here this week have, hopefully, helped you (as they've certainly helped me) in that regard, and that's why I think we should plan to watch them more than once if not regularly.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, while the LCMS is not a lost cause, let's put our faith, hope, and trust in the Lord and Savior and not a mere institution that proclaims His name.

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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