You know what makes me ornery? Pastors and life-long Christians who so easily and so quickly are willing to roll over and jettison their "cherished" faith for the sake of "love, peace, and unity!" as well as a seat in the front row during worship at the Altar of Love, Political Correctness, & Tolerance.
I know this is nothing new, but it's a new development in my little world.
Lately, it's as if I have no respite from any of it no matter where I turn (not even at home)!
So, here are a few thoughts while I'm in this ornery state-of-mind today...
If I were to strangle someone's father and mother, wife and child, and try to choke him too, and then say "Keep the peace, dear friend, we wish to love one another, the matter is not so important that we should be divided over it," what would he say to me? This is what the fanatics do to Christ, the Lord, and God, the Father, and to mother church and the brethren with their rejection of God's Word while at the same time claiming it for themselves.
-- Martin Luther
This is most certainly true.
Sadly, this is what happens when "unity in love" trumps "unity in faith" because of the erroneous belief that it's about "deeds not creeds" or that "doctrine divides" (like that's a "bad" thing somehow) and is "unloving" when it should be precisely what leads us to unity in the Body of Christ.
St. Paul wrote these divinely inspired words for us to prayerfully consider and then make our own...
Ephesians 4:1-7 (ESV) I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
"One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all."
Yes, doctrine matters! Why?
The church does not depend on power, social prestige, rhetorical manipulation, or human-designed programs. All it has are the Word and Sacraments, which, though they seem weak to the world and to all theologies of glory, in fact carry the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit.
-- Gene Edward Veith, Jr. (The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, p. 103)
Yes, faithfulness to doctrine matters!
Otherwise, we run the risk of putting our tails between our legs, feeding our bellies, and scratching our itching ears when we should eating, drinking, and hearing the Lord's gifts and Means of Grace for us in this life.
So, let us pray that Pastors (and God's people), as they are found in their various God-given vocations, would remain steadfast and true to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) no matter what.
The dog is a picture of the preacher in whom there is watchfulness and faithfulness. He is on guard by day and night, watching and barking. A dog is a faithful animal.
-- Martin Luther
Pastors, please be a dog that is faithful to your calling and loyal to your Master, and not the type of dog that sins by playing all day, sleeping all night, and returning to his vomit in between (Proverbs 26:11).
In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's become quite obvious to me that we need more dogs in the church rather than so many pussy cats and wolves!
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!