Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LCMS on Facebook

I noticed a group on Facebook:

"LCMS Lutherans for compassion and change"

Uh-oh, I thought. Red flags here.

Here's the group description:

a group of LCMS Lutherans who are seeking for the compassion of Jesus (not the dogma of Walther) to be the main characteristic of the synod. We're a group of disciples of Jesus who wonder what would happen if we acted more in trust and blessing, and less in fear and control....more in unity of the essentials and less in uniformity of everything. We welcome anyone to join in the conversation!

My thoughts:
1. I am tired of seeing the false alternative of Compassion vs. Doctrine, or Mission vs. Doctrine, or Love vs. Doctrine, or Dogma, or Theology. There is no reason we can't strive for both. You NEVER hear anyone saying that we should eschew compassion in order to pursue doctrine. (See "Maintenence vs. Mission")

1a. What's wrong with the "dogma of Walther"? I find that when people choose the word "dogma" instead of "doctrine" or "teaching", they often seek to stigmatize it.

2. What does it mean to "act more in trust and blessing, and less in fear and control"? To me, this is law-talk. Of course we should all be nicer, kinder, more loving. But isn't being Lutheran primarily about the Gospel? Isn't it the love of Christ that motivates our love and compassion, and not the scolding of fellow Christians in our fellowship?

3. "Unity in essentials" is pitted against the straw-man of "Unity in everything". While I know the traditional/confessional/conservative wing of the LCMS places more emphasis on unity, they do not, in my experience, seek to legislate unity, but instead they encourage it. They do not seek "unity in everything", as if that were possible, but they do decry the "every-man-for-himself" mentality in which each congregation is a rule to itself. That's part of "walking together".

What exactly is "Unity in essentials", anyway? It seems a rather squishy kind of unity. Whose definition of "essential"? What would that be? Shouldn't we, couldn't we strive for more?

Suggesting some are in favor of an absolute uniformity in the LCMS is, however, dishonest at worst and mistaken at best. But what we have now is very far from the unity we could have (and once did have).

4. Reading through some of the discussions, I started to become VERY concerned about the denegration of doctrine, by layperson and clergy alike. Some disturbing stuff there. Is this how people in the LCMS really think?

4 comments:

elephantschild said...

41 members. Hot group.

I'm good with dogma,
-Jenny

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

"more in unity of the essentials and less in uniformity of everything"

Ah, but what are the essentials, in their view?

Michael Paul 白霈德牧師 said...

I happened to hear Rev. Matthew Harrison speak today (at "German Days" at CSL). Several times he spoke very clearly that we need to take a clear stand for and make a clear confession of doctrine...was very nice.

Vicar Josh Osbun said...

There is an LCMS pastor on there from New York who claims that ordaining women is okay and that the Word of God is not inerrant or infallible.