The 'New Lutherans'

I just happened to discover a new Lutheran blog (and podcast!) called "In Layman's Terms" by another Lutheran layman that seems pretty darn good based on the little bit that I've seen and heard.

That's why I just added the website to the Blogroll to the right of this page.

Anyway, the person responsible for the content there, Matthew Garnett, shared this excellent commentary on Facebook the other day, which beautifully expresses exactly how I've been feeling for the past few years now when it comes to my own personal escape from American Evangelicalism to Confessional Lutheranism (including my passionate pleas about it to my family members and friends from our old LCMS church).



 
The "New Lutherans" 
As a former evangelical, I often lament the fact that I wasn't raised Lutheran or at least wasn't brought to faith via the Lutheran church. 
However, I've come to realize that this is faulty thinking. 
I'm not sure what the "trend" is say over the past 10 or 15 years among confessional Lutherans, but it seems like there's quite an influx of us former evangelicals. And with that, I see a couple of things happening. 
1. We former Evangelicals *thirst* for the company and fellowship of you lifelong Lutherans. I personally love to hear about how you were baptized as a baby and still cling as tightly as ever to the Confessions. You have no idea how comforting to an evangelical this is. 
Most of us are used to an ever changing and thus *never dependable* faith. As an evangelical, you could never be quite sure your practice of the Christian religion would carry you through life. Indeed, it was always made quite clear to us that the Church wasn't for us believers. That if we wanted to not only keep our faith but deepen it, well, that was on us. 
The Church was strictly for evangelizing unbelievers. 
What a relief it is to hear from you lifelong Lutherans how our faith has carried you safe thus far and how confident you are that it will lead you home. It gives me such hope and causes me to shout over to my good friends who are still evangelicals, "Hey! Here! Hope is here!" 
2. I see us former Evangelicals sounding the alarm to you lifelong Lutherans who somehow think that we should become Evangelicals. Or rather that we should cease being confessional Lutherans and adopt the practices of Evangelicalism. 
I hear some of you saying, "We should do like the Evangelicals." Or "We want to be Evangelicals." 
And I want to scream (and sometimes do), "*No you don't!!!* You may *think* you want that, but trust me when I tell you, you don't wanna try it!" 
Name one Evangelical practice to me from contemporary worship music to the self help sermons and I can show you *first hand* how that will a) bring in *tons* of people to your parish and then will b) bring sure and certain death and continued unbelief to that ton of people and even c) how this will move you toward losing your faith. 
At any rate we "new Lutherans" love you guys *just as you are*! And you'll quickly annoy us if you try to be anything but Lutherans. 
I hope you as well love us new Lutherans as we seek to dive headlong into our historic and orthodox faith. And I hope you're encouraged that we want *so badly* for you to continue to be Lutherans. 
That is after all why we became Lutherans..... 
We didn't become Lutherans so we could watch you try to become Evangelicals. We became Lutherans because there is so much life and light and hope in our faith and we're looking to you cats to teach us more about it. 
And I for one look forward to more of it!


This is most certainly true.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, we New Lutherans became Lutherans by the sheer grace of God and we will continue to trust in the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) to continue to teach us the truth about Him, His Word, His Sacraments, and His one holy and apostolic Church or "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) regardless of any attempts by some who want to become more Evangelical by distancing themselves from and redefining any of it.  



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. Hello, I have found absolute beauty, and truth in just reading yours and various LCMS tweets and blogs. Coming from a non Christian background, being invited to a "non denominational church," attended for years, worked at an LCMS school, all left me GREATLY confused.

    Sadly, in the Lutheran church school, it did not seem people were interested in Lutheranism. I was, but did not know even how to ask questions. In my women bible study in the "non denominational" church, there were many women from the LCMS who had been abused by spouses/raised, and refused to return. Talk about confusing.

    My head always told me "something was just not right" in the non denominational churches. I stopped completely going to church. 10 years, no church.

    Then came Twitter. I found Lutherans. I read, and I read, and I read. I absolutely love Lutheran theology.

    Hence, my next question: Are all LCMS churches "confessional?"

    Thank you for listening!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know it's by God's grace, but welcome home! Your experience is actually more common than you'd think. Confusing and frustrating for sure, but typical. That's similar to how it happened for me -- I discovered the truth about the Lutheran confession of Christianity despite having been baptized, confirmed, and married in LCMS churches and NEVER having heard the truth before! So, to answer your question, NO, unfortunately, all LCMS churches are not "Confessional" though they're supposed to be. I'm sure you're start to discover that for yourself as you continue to explore Lutheran theology. In any event, thanks for stopping by and for commenting, and please feel free to do so in the future!

    Grace And Peace,
    JKR

    ReplyDelete

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!