Once upon a time, there was a family. They built a house together. It was a fine house: sturdy, with an excellent foundation. But the family had enemies. Sometimes it was enemies from the outside. Sometimes, sad to say, it was rogue family members. Regardless of who the enemy was, the tactic was always the same. They would light the house on fire. In the early days, the family was vigilant. They would constantly check to make sure the house was not burning. If it was, when someone called “Fire in the parlor!” or “Fire in the Back Room!”, the entire family would rush to that room and put out the fire.
Once, there was an evil branch of the family that was very dedicated to destroying the house. They managed to light lots of little fires at the same time. When the cry went up, “Fire in the East Wing!” the rest of the family put out the fire, but it was too late to save some of the rooms. An entire wing of the house was destroyed. But the family dutifully rebuilt as best they could.
This time though, something had changed. The family was tired of fighting fires. Now, when a fire was lit, the family was not quite so quick to respond. The urgency was gone. “But we fought a major fire and won. So, fire is not really a danger anymore.”
This time when the cry was heard, “Fire in the kitchen!” some in the family responded, “You always say there is a fire in the kitchen. But what about the Dining Room? There is smoke there as well. If you will not also acknowledge the smoke in the Dining Room, then you should not complain about the fire in the kitchen.” And others responded, “Sure our kitchen is on fire, but the neighbor’s entire house is aflame. Why can’t you focus on the good we have, instead of the problems? It could be worse.” Some said, “Until you have spoken privately to whomever lit the fire, you can not even cry ‘Fire'”. And still others said, “If you are complaining about a fire in the kitchen, what does that say about the rooms near it? Why are you complaining about those rooms?” And some even said, “You know, if you don’t like this house the way it is, fire and all, you can just leave.”
And those who called attention to the fire were puzzled. In the past, those same people would stand shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm, as they fought the fire together. But now, it seemed that it was more important to justify all the places that were not on fire, rather than fighting against the places that were on fire. It’s not that their beloved family members were lighting fires. They were not trying to destroy the house. But they got mad at those who pointed out new fires.
And so, fewer and fewer family members were willing to call out “Fire.” Until finally, everyone just sat in the living room, watching the great old house burn down around them, and discussing how well crafted the falling timbers had been.
This is most certainly true. Sad, but true.
It also reminds me of this video I created a few years ago when I first launched this blog.
As Rev. Lincoln Winter wrote in the above commentary, "And so, fewer and fewer family members were willing to call out 'Fire.'" I hate that he's right about that, but here we are.
How did it ever come to this? What are we doing fooling around with sin as if it's ever been no big deal? Everywhere I look, lately, all I see is apathy! Worse, an increasing number of Christians (unfortunately, many Lutherans I know and love) never want to hear a word of warning against the power and temptation of sin either!
"Ignorance Is Bliss!" right? I think Romans 6:23, James 4:4, Galatians 1:10, and 1 John 1:8-10 would all have something powerful to say about that.
I'm sorry, but I personally need to hear Law and Gospel REGULARLY to prevent me from giving in to lawlessness, self-righteousness, pride, and despair.
If that means that another dear brother or sister in Christ sometimes needs to be the one to have a difficult and uncomfortable conversation with me in an attempt to call me to repentance, then so be it! I certainly wouldn't criticize or hate them for loving me enough to do precisely what the Word of God encourages them to do in such cases.
I think it's time for some Christians to finally admit that they're wrong about picking-and-choosing the parts of the Bible they will believe, teach, and confess while ignoring-and-rejecting the parts that they dislike and hate.
Otherwise, they might want to re-read Matthew 25:33 that says rather plainly, "And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left."
In a Lutheran layman's terms, keep playing with fire and you'll likely get burned, but repent of playing with fire by putting it out with the waters of your Baptism, and simply remembering what that means for you as a believer in Christ Jesus!
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!