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What Luther Says

The 'Missional' Mindset Lacks A Confessional Foundation

God willing, I have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of time here this week on the so-called "Missional Movement" within Christianity and particularly within the Lutheran church.

I found this from a 2012 piece published over at a blog called Rev's Ramblings written by a "Rev.Doc.Tex" or a Lutheran Pastor in Texas...

Perhaps we should look at what Scripture says concerning being confessional and/or being missional. One example might be God’s command to the Children of Israel when they entered the promised land. God did not tell them to be missional but to be confessional. God did not tell them to share the message of salvation but to wipe out the heathen people in the land. Certainly we understand this as God’s divine judgement against those in the land. 
But what about Elijah and the prophets of Baal? God did not have Elijah create a house of prayer with the prophets of Baal. No, He had Elijah challenge them to an altar contest. Elijah even made fun of them and laughed at them. And finally, God had the prophets of Baal killed as well. 
Why all this killing of the heathen and Baal worshipers? Because God knew what would happen if the confession of His name and Word were compromised by those outside the faith. And we see throughout the Old Testament what happened when the Children of Israel compromised their confession of faith. 
But what about the New Testament? In the Gospel of John we have the account of Jesus speaking hard words so that some took offense and left Him (John 6:51-69). Jesus was not concerned about being relevant, nor offensive, rather He was interested in keeping His Word faithful and true. In the Gospel of Matthew we have God’s Great Commission as it is called. Although that is the topic of another article, let us just say that rather than being a great commission, the words of Jesus are the great giving of authority and God’s promise to always be with His people. Although we are encouraged to bear witness of our faith through our daily vocations as priests in the priesthood of all believers, again another article, there is no real statement from God in Holy Scripture as a command being missional. There are many passages which speak of confessing sound doctrine. The following is a partial listing: “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” Romans 16:17 (ESV). “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, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” 1 Timothy 6:3-4b (ESV). “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” Titus 1:9 (ESV). “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” Titus 2:1 (ESV). 
Although Scripture shows quite clearly that God is more interested in a true confession of doctrine, it never puts doctrine and practice, or as we speak in this article, confession and missional in opposition. Scripture speaks clearly of the importance of pure doctrine for the purpose of giving a true witness of faith, a true missional emphasis. Martin Luther, C.F.W. Walther, Alvin Barry all understood this and spoke of the importance making sure our doctrine is pure so that we might bear witness of that doctrine, of getting the message straight and getting the message out. 
But, let us get back to the question, “Can a person be confessional without being missional?” The accusation is that if a person is spending all their time guarding the message, then the message is simply kept out of reach of others. The fallacy of this accusation is the very fact that as a person studies, learns, and learns to defend what they have learned, they cannot help but want to tell others of what they have learned. Remember as a child in first grade, learning to read, you wanted to show everyone you could read. 
Can a person be missional without being confessional? Here again the suggestion is that for the church to survive we must get the message out. But how can one share what one does not have or how can one share that about which they know nothing. In other words, unless I know what I am sharing, what do I have to share? 
My conclusion is that a person cannot be confessional without being missional because being missional simply flows out of being confessional. On the other hand, a person can be missional according to their own definition of being missional without being confessional; however, as we have seen, without a confession to be missional about this lack of a confession simply means they truly are neither confessional nor missional. 

I think that's spot on accurate.

As the brief description from that blog states, we are, "Chosen by God, Lutheran by choice."

In a Lutheran layman's terms, simply put, the "Missional" mindset lacks a Confessional foundation.

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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