I've begun a study of the LCMS (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) with our Sunday morning Bible class.
One of the topics we will be covering is what outside, non-Lutheran influences have affected thinking and practice in our church body. Certainly American culture is a major one. However, another major influence of late has been "Evangelicalism".
Dr. David Adams makes this very case in his assessment of what divides the LCMS today, a view which I find to be very insightful.
Disclaimer: Not everything in Evangelicalism is necessarily bad. We Lutherans do have points of commonality as well as important differences. I'd just like to see an increased awareness of what those are.
Most of us in the LCMS have been influenced, somehow or another, by modern American Evangelicalism. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, I put together the beginnings of a list... feel free to tack on your own comments. If they're really good I will even include them in the post.
YOU MIGHT BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF EVANGELICALISM IF:
You believe it's important to be “Christian First, Lutheran Second”
You would rather have lunch with James Dobson than C.F.W. Walther
You believe the Great Commission is the central point of Christian teaching
You think that many Lutherans are too concerned about Doctrine
You've ever called someone a pharisee for defending a point of biblical teaching
You think that different Christian teachings needlessly offend people
You prefer to say “close” rather than “closed” communion
Your idea of close communion means that Christians from other denominations are probably “close enough”
You say things like, “we've just gotta get the young people involved at church”
You don't see why an organ is more appropriate in church than a drum set
You prefer Group Publishing to CPH
You prefer Youth Specialties to Higher Things
You prefer Focus on the Family over Issues, Etc.
You think churches that are shrinking in size MUST be doing something very wrong
You think churches that are growing in size MUST be doing something very right
You think Lutherans believe “pretty much the same” as non-Lutherans
You think crucifixes and private confession are “too Catholic”
Your prayers contain the phrase, “Lord, we just...”
You repeat the mantra, “everything happens for a reason”
You think congregations should be “mission outposts” not “maintenance stations”
You believe the “marks of the church” include: stewardship, servanthood, and political activism
You think Confirmation is as important, or almost as important, as Holy Baptism
You believe that Holy Communion is between you and God, but has nothing to do with your neighbor
Feel free to add to my list here...