Give Me A Church...

This week, my family and I will be out of town visiting family in another state.

As usual, this will present a problem for us when it comes to attending church on Sunday.

If the Eastern District-LCMS is any barometer, then the challenge will be finding a truly faithful (and confessional) Lutheran church where we're going so that we can worship there in good conscience this coming Sunday.

That got me thinking about the importance of finding a local church that adheres to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) because it understands that "there is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).




In a world where our life could end in death at any moment, give me a church that is interested in my soul.

In a world where I'm beaten up daily by the devil, society all around me, and my own fallen, sinful flesh that constantly wars with the Spirit, give me a church that preaches the forgiveness of my sins from week-to-week.

In a world where nothing is sacred and where we are all too smart for our own good, give me a church that offers me the fullness of the mystery of God's presence through His Word and Sacraments, which delivers to me the free gifts of His forgiveness and grace.

In a world where we are entertaining ourselves to death, give me a church where I know what to expect and can look forward to the traditional Divine Liturgy and the ritualistic nature of the service from week to week.

In a world where Christianity has sold out to culture and political correctness, give me a church that faithfully and properly distinguishes between Law and Gospel on a regular basis regardless of how popular it might be to modern man's ears.

Yes, I realize that there is no "perfect" church, but give me one that offers me all those things rather than a constant message that proclaims "10 Steps To A Better FILL IN THE BLANK" and "Do! Do! Do!" as opposed to "Done! Done! Done!" through preaching about a formula for how to obtain health, wealth, and happiness all the time, and that will instantly become the church that me and my family will attend.

Give me a church that's like that and it would be viewed as both a hospital for this sick sinner and a sanctuary for this redeemed saint. ‪

Jesus at the center and cross focused -- Christ died and resurrected for me, for you, and for the sins of all mankind! Give me a church that preaches that on a weekly basis.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, give me a church that is exactly the kind of church that Christ intended for all His churches to be.



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, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 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/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) 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 I 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 footnotes 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 under-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 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!

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2 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I don't know if you're aware, but there's an online resource which can help you: lutheranliturgy.org. This is a list of churches in our synod which maintain the historic liturgy. We have used it successfully in recommending churches to people in other states.
    As far as I'm aware, all the churches listed meet the rigid criteria required to be listed.
    There are two caveats:
    1. It is perhaps possible that not every church which upholds the historic liturgy is going to maintain a confessional stance in other areas (sermon, Bible study, etc.), although I'd like to think this doesn't happen often!
    2. Not every confessional, liturgical church in our synod is listed on the website. My current church, which I transferred to looking for confessional Lutheranism, was not, but after sharing it with my new pastor, we were added.

    In summary, if a church IS listed on the site, chances are you're in good shape. But some churches may also be good but not listed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jwskud! It's funny b/c I actually have a link to that website on the right hand side of this blog, but completely forgot to check it out. It didn't matter though since we were kindly invited by two separate people who go to the same church in Baltimore so that was nice. Sadly, however, we never made it there as we had hoped for (next year, God willing, there will be no "ands, ifs, or buts about it!" though). I think your assessment of that helpful website is SPOT ON too (at least it's been in my limited experience with it when I first discovered it). Thanks for chiming in!

      Grace And Peace,
      JKR

      Delete

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 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 sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 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 mature spiritually (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!