A letter to the Lutheran Church

The seal of Martin Luther. Also used as the lo...

The seal of Martin Luther. Also used as the logo for the LCC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time to talk to my fellow Lutherans. Have you noticed lately that there is no cachet to being an Lutheran. Just another protestant looking for a social club, they say. That, in itself, is unimportant, the important thing is to be a good Christian. But being a good Christian has its own cachet,  and it is never mentioned in regard to us anymore. Why is that?

But maybe we need a definition of a good Christian.

  • First and foremost a good Christian follows the Christ, and him crucified. That is the mark. Do we? Do we even know what Christ taught anymore? And even more to the point, do we care? And still more to the point, Are we ready to emulate Him? It’s not something we have to go looking for but, it is part of our faith. At Augsburg, Martin Luther believed he would be burned at the stake, probably within two weeks. He was in far more danger here than he was later, at Worms. That my friends, is the standard, not whether we have a modern service, or how good the coffee is at the coffee hour. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with those things, although I have a lot of doubts concerning modern services following a proper liturgy i.e. Worshiping God. Worship is not a membership tool, although I suspect if we went back to the traditional Lutheranism, we would gain members even as the traditionalists in the Catholic church are. We need to remember that we are there to worship God. It’s not about us.

If you take a glance at the category in my blogroll called “The Christians” you will find two Catholic sites and two Anglican sites and not a single Lutheran site. (I need to update soon but, there won’t be Lutheran site afterwords, either.) Why is that? All of these sites are run by serious Christians, who understand that the faith requires things from us, of great sacrifice. At all of these sites, I am active, and I believe, respected, not because I am a Lutheran but because I am trying to be a Christian, and because I know something of Lutheran history and theology. These are serous sites, they are not feel good Christianity, at them you will learn the history and theology that binds us, as well as how to be Christian in these times.

A couple of points to remember. We are schismatics, we broke away from the Catholic church. Actually, if you ask an Orthodox Christian, we did twice, once when we went with Rome and then again at the Reformation. And here is something to think about, our forbearers cared so much about shepherding the church that they not only founded a church that became the established church for about half of Europe, and fought the Thirty Years War for those beliefs, but we caused the Counter-reformation that purged many of the corruptions from the Catholic church as well.

We are the senior Protestant church, second in membership only to the Catholic Church but, it seems we have lost our way. Where are the statements from our bishops on the HHS mandate? Our doctrine on abortions is nearly word for word with the Roman Catholic doctrine (my home ELCA does permit contraception but not abortions, which is maybe defensible). Again, where are the Bishops, where are the Pastors? Why are we leaving this battle to the Roman Catholic Church? Don’t we care about the murder of children?

I’m a proud Lutheran, proud of my church, and proud of its history. I should not have to get spiritual guidance from the Catholic Church. But that is the situation I’m in. Apparently the Lutheran hierarchy is so afraid of offending their political friends that they are willing to let us all literally go to hell for a little comfort from the government, or tax-exempt status, or something.

Membership is, I will admit, important, but define a member. Is it someone who shows up when they haven’t anything better to do and likes to sing, and drink coffee, or is it someone who is serious about saving their immortal soul. Again, I look at the Catholic Church, which parts are gaining membership the fastest? The conservative ones, the ones who preach the hard gospel, not the liberals who go along to get along, they are dying, just like us and the Episcopalians. For an example, look at the diocese of Lincoln, it is thriving because it is conservative. Others, that are not, like our church, are dying of hypocrisy.

I have said many times that there are many paths to the foot of the Cross, and it is true, but none of them are the easy path of going along to get along. Christianity is a religion of the oppressed, always has been, always will be, we have gotten complacent, and have recognized not threats to us. But there are, they are real and they are formidable. What will you do?

Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him.

Exodus 32:26

Is my church on the Lord’s side, or is it a sycophant of Caesar? Because, in truth, much as I love the Lutheran Church and have since I joined 25 or so years ago, the time is coming when I will likely as not be a Catholic, because my church has lost sight of its mission.

Right now the Lutheran Church in America is little more than a coffee shop full of do-gooders, and that is not what Christianity is.

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

11 Responses to A letter to the Lutheran Church

  1. Hi, you used two citations from our online catalog. Our church is alive and Lutheran at http://www.calvary-lutheran.org/ including podcasts as we offer the kind of spiritual life you seem to be seeking. Don’t think we’re near you (you’re in Nebraska?), but maybe online you will still find a Lutheran church that helps in your Christian life. We tell people to come as they really are…that can include online!

    • Hey thanks, I’ll be checking you out. I knew I couldn’t be the only one thinking this way.

  2. You have not been watching or listening to what the LCMS president has said and done. There are faithful Lutheran Christians who do believe in freedom of religion in this country and know the threats the present president is putting before us
    .

    • You’re right, I haven’t. I don’t have a good channel into LCMS. Why? No good reason, I need to look closer at LCMS anyway.

      I’m glad he’s getting and speaking (for a lot of us, as well) though.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. There are evangelicals in AZ who teach their children Catholics are not Christians.

    • kathleen says:

      I would question whether these ‘evangelicals’ in AZ are Christians themselves if they say such things as this.

      • I question it as well Kathleen but, it is nor particularly uncommon, and not only in AZ, I heard their reasoning once, it was pretty horrendous.

  4. kathleen says:

    I have not met many Lutherans. Most Protestants in UK seem to be either Anglicans (in their majority), Methodists or Baptists. But my husband and I do have a couple of very nice Lutheran friends. The wife is Swiss and her husband (a former agnostic) converted to Lutherism. We have interesting conversations all together about Christianity and (so far ;-)) have never had an argument. This is because so much of our way of thinking is identical!! And where we cannot agree, we just agree to disagree (as I mentioned once before.)
    Now you NEO, the third Lutheran I know, are also a great guy…… and so my opinion on Lutherans is pretty good! :-) “By their fruits thou shalt know them.”

    • Aw, shucks, Kathleen, in a lot of ways I’m more the product of a specific secular culture, where complete personal responsibility is common, it was my Dad’s and is not uncommon in his generation. My Lutheranism, has usually been in the more liberal branches, although there may be some doubt of my fit. Strangely, till I came here 25 or so years ago I had never run across any Anglican. Where I grew up was very German choices were Catholic/Lutheran/ and semi mennonite.

  5. Neo, interesting conversation. I don’t have much knowledge of Lutheran Doctrine other than what I know about Martin Luther. BTW, I lived in Augsburg once for a few years. Such a beautiful place. I believe all churches are facing exactly what you are talking about. It’s hard to grasp and get past the fact that the Church is all of Christ’s people and not the place, and those people are to adhere to God’s word. Where we get confused is in the method of bringing new people to Christ, as we are commissioned to do.

  6. Thanks, Maggie. Lutheran doctrine, is in reality, if my Catholic friends will pardon me, pretty close to Catholic doctrine, in some cases even to the veneration of Mary.

    But in truth, you are exactly correct, I have been on evangelism committees and never heard a word about our beliefs, if anybody but the pastor knew, anyway. The only thing anybody seemed concerned about was bodies in the pews. That’s important, of course, but it’s not the most important part of Christianity.

    A close friend is an Anglican (in England) and they seem to have even more trouble than most of our churches do with this.

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