Ok, but what is it to actually BE a Lutheran? What is it to be a Confessional Lutheran? What does that mean in the most black-and-white terms? Why does it even matter?
Some people will take those key questions to their logical end by asking: "Aren't we all Christians?"; "Who cares if you're a Lutheran or not as long as you believe in Jesus Christ?"; "Aren't you always putting a denomination and man-made religion over and above Law and Gospel and Christ's Church every time you go on-and-on about 'Lutheran this' and 'Lutheran that' too?"
I know we keep asking these same questions, and at the risk of boring you all with repetition, I still firmly believe that we cannot (we must not) stop bringing this topic up for discussion and prayerful consideration.
So What Is It To Be A Lutheran?
Being a Lutheran is being a person who believes the truths of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, as they are correctly explained and taught in the Book of Concord. To do so is to confess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Genuine ‘Lutherans’, confessional Lutherans, dare to insist that ‘All’ doctrines should conform to the standards [the Lutheran Confessions] set forth above. Whatever is contrary to them should be rejected and condemned as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith” (FC Ep. RN, 6).
Such a statement may strike some as boastful. But it is not; rather, it is an expression of the Spirit-led confidence that moves us to speak of our faith before the world.
To be a confessional Lutheran is to be one who honors the Word of God. That word makes it clear that it is God’s desire for His church to be in agreement about doctrine, and to be of one mind, living at peace with one another (1 Corinthians 1:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11). It is for that reason that we so treasure the precious confession of Christian truth that we have in the Book of Concord. For confessional Lutherans, there is no other collection of documents, or statements or books that so clearly, accurately and comfortingly presents the teachings of God’s Word and reveals the Biblical Gospel as does our Book of Concord.
Hand-in-hand with our commitment to pure teaching and confession of the faith, is, and always must be, our equally strong commitment to reaching out boldly with the Gospel and speaking God’s truth to the world. That is what “confession” of the faith is all about, in the final analysis. Indeed, “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak’ (2 Corinthians 4:13). This is what it means to be a Lutheran.
*- Dr. A. L. Barry, 10th President, 1992-2001
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
It's really that simple, and yet, our Old Adam is constantly trying to get us to complicate things!
In a Lutheran layman's terms, being a Lutheran means being Biblical (Jude 1:3).
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!