Friday, October 1, 2010

A Synod Named Sue

God bless Johnny Cash.  There's a lot to learn from the man in black.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

That's right.  We (the Church, especially the LC-MS) need to learn how to fight and not in a Stewie vs. Brian kind of way but in a Nicholas slapping the Arian teachers (the heretics not the Hitler...ics) manner.  Time to talk a little inside baseball.  Like it or not, there are real, substantive, doctrinal divisions in the MO Synod.  Covering them up and ignoring them has done no good.  We can no longer be fooled by silly diabolic, Jedi mind tricks: "There are no doctrinal divisions; we don't need to see any Biblical or Confessional identification; these aren't the errors you're looking for; go about your business."  We need to wake up and smell the incense (or mocha-java-cafe-latte-with-soy, if you're one of those coffee shop churches).

Sure there are, women and song; isn't that right?  Oh, and don't forget article XIV either.  Inability to deal with diversity in such issues as admission to Holy Communion, worship substance and style, the Office of the Public Ministry and the role of laity, and the service of women in the church is not the real problem.  The problems have been cloaked and shielded (maybe even transported) with the language of "a lack of civil behavior towards each other, politicized culture in the church,  lack of communication and spotty accountability (although there is something to be said for lack of church discipline in the old school way of things).  These - and the red herring that the real doctrinal issues are primarily a clergy problem - are not the problem.

We do have divisions on such issues as admission to Holy Communion, worship substance and style, the Office of the Public Ministry and the role of laity, and the service of women in the church, just to name a few.  However the problem isn't difficulty handling diversity with these issues.  Think about that for a minute.  What does that even mean?  "I'm tolerant of everything, except your intolerance." Should the church tolerate diversity in doctrine and practice at the expense of true, Scriptural, Confessional doctrine?  In our post-modern age, diversity has really come to mean, "you can do whatever you want as long as you agree with me and please don't say anything negative or insensitive."  It's time to learn how to fight again.  We, especially the pastors of the church, have become so effeminate in the way we argue.  "You don't agree with me?  Fine, you've hurt my feelings, or the ultimate trump card: you've broken the 8th commandment."  But the 8th commandment cannot be kept at the expense of the 1st or the 2nd for that matter.  Where false doctrine and practice persist, the church must address it.  Must call it like it is.  We need an immune system again in the church.  Too long have we sat in the shadows (or is it gray, I dunno, what does it look like to you?) of post-modernism. 

This is what happened in Acts 15.  Real men.  Real doctrinal problems.  Real fight.  Real Biblical solution.  We would do well to follow suit.  And it appears from Rev. Harrison's "prelude" to the Convention ( that he seeks to go about addressing these very real doctrinal issues in a similar manner.  But before we can discuss the issues, we need to reclaim the categories of "True" and "False," of "This we believe, teach and confess" and "This we condemn."  We need the damnamus.  It's important.  A wise man once said, "The church that cannot curse cannot bless."  And the church that cannot fight can never find unity.  So, let's drop the gloves; learn to fight and argue like men and contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) for good of the Church and the salvation of many.

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." - 1 Timothy 4:16

That's all I've got to say about that...for now.

Overtime...Thanks to Pastor Jeremy Rhode of Faith Lutheran, Capistrano Beach for wisdom to teach our circuit winkel about these things.

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