21 July 2011

Talking to a friend today...

...about how the Lutheran Confession will NEVER be mainstream America - we can hang that up.  Our doctrine of original sin and our rejection of freedom of the will in the unbeliever already signs our death warrant.  Add to that our belief in the Sacraments - you know, like Baptism actually saving and the Eucharist being Christ's true body and blood for our forgiveness, and the word of our pastor absolving us from all sin, and well, most Americans will simply think we're nuts.  Our clinging to the liturgy (in confidence that God's Word bears fruit), our hymns filled with doctrinal content, our insistence that words actually convey meaning (thanks, Pr. Speckhard) and that we walk our Christian pilgrimage both as saints (wholly absolved and perfect in Christ) and as sinners (struggling against hereditary sin until our last breath), all these mark us as "strangers in an alien land."  That's NOT a bad thing.  It's only a bad thing for those whose hearts are set on capturing America for our Church.  I suspect we'll always be a minority here, but as long as we are true to our Confession of the faith, that's hardly a problem.  The Lord will indeed draw His children and we'll happily continue to bear a witness that is neither welcomed nor appreciated.

8 comments:

Scotty said...

Great post... question for anyone reading it...please provide me some examples of those people or peoples whose hearts are set on capturing America for the Church...Thanks

Sage said...

I wondered why it seemed so clear to me and so muddled to the people I spoke with about becoming a Lutheran. My husband said last night he could agree with everything except the Eucharist being the real thing.

I've found that Catholics and Orthodox have more in common with us than anyone else. They only ask why not move down the line to them. They are comfortable with most points except they think we can become better Christians by doing good.

What was comforting was that the things my husband noted were the changes he saw in me, nothing I said or did. He wanted to know how I managed to have such peace in my life. That, in the end, will be the "draw" if you will to those outside the church. We don't work to produce our fruits, we allow Christ to work through us; while the majority of Christians burn themselves up and out seeking to obey the law and be good Christians. Peace is a wonderful gift.

But, I agree with the post in that it's a hard pill to swallow for a ocuntry that prides itself on self-sufficiency.

Terijs Heizi said...

Amen. Right on target.

David Garner said...

Sage,

I cannot speak for Catholics, but I can say with a fair degree of confidence that Orthodox do not believe "we can become better Christians by doing good." We do believe that "doing good" is ultimately good for us, not God, and so like eating our vegetables and drinking lots of water and exercising, we do so because God has told us we should do so for our own spiritual health. I suppose if we define "better spiritual health" as "better Christian," perhaps that's one way to look at it. What I would say is there is not a measuring stick, where God judges us against our neighbor or even against His Son to see if we measure up. And we certainly do not do such measuring ourselves. As an example, it is a common thing in Orthodoxy to find that Saints, on their deathbeds, were oblivious to the fact they were Saints. They say such things as "I have not even begun to repent," etc. Which is to say, Saints in history tend to see their own sin far clearer than we seem to see ours. This indicates that humility rather than being "better" is the idea at work.

In any event, I absolutely agree with Pastor Weedon's post here. The world will never accept the Church. Not really. It will accept some facsimile of her, but so long as the Church holds fast to the Sacramental life and the Scriptures and the Church's historic teachings, she will be rejected by those who just cannot bear her existence. Which, sadly, is most people.

William Weedon said...

Scotty, this for instance...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51MhplShvEM

christl242 said...

I've found that Catholics and Orthodox have more in common with us than anyone else. They only ask why not move down the line to them. They are comfortable with most points except they think we can become better Christians by doing good.

Sage, for the sake of clarity not only do Catholics and Orthodox differ with Lutherans on the very important matters of salvation through faith alone, through grace alone, through Christ alone but they differ with each other on some very important points as well.

Just ask an Orthodox Christian what he/she thinks about the papacy, the Immaculate Conception, purgatory and other Catholic doctrines. Nor are all Orthodox on board with Roman Catholic holy orders.

Gott hilf mir, it pains me to see how easily Lutherans fall for this. The fact that we all believe in Baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence are indeed common points but even there Lutherans do not subscribe to transubstantiation nor would the Orthodox describe the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ that way.

Please keep one very important factor in mind. When the Catholic church speaks of "ecumenism" it is always with the view to the "separated brethren" coming home. It is quite a misnomer to call it "dialogue."

From one who's been there and done that.

David Garner said...

Scotty, allow me to add this to Pastor Weedon's fine example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP5CTnuY5m4&feature=player_embedded

J.G.F. said...

Ditto on the great post comments.... I've linked it to my blog.