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A Sincere Question for My FiveTwo Brethren

02 Oct

(For context, see “An Appeal to My FiveTwo Brethren”, posted two days ago ; the latest post is here)

Before I get to the question – which I hope will do a little bit to build understanding among us – let me say that I was happy to see that so many persons took a look at what I wrote (not sure what “side of the fence” most of them were on though!) and that so far I have received one very thoughtful comment.

Further, if you resonate with FiveTwo, I would like to point out that there are many persons keen to identify themselves as confessional Lutherans who share your zeal for the lost and are deeply saddened and disturbed by the decreasing amounts of overall missionary activity in our Synod (compared to the past, sustained efforts, still bearing fruit today).

For example, Wallace Schulz, the former Lutheran Hour speaker and producer of the excellent teaching tool Good News magazine, has spoken very frankly about this:

“Like all churches, we not only could do a little better, we need to do much better in reaching out to the lost and bringing them in. This is the will of God (1 Timothy 2:4)”

Of course there are many Confessional Lutherans who are deeply involved in mission work – often reaching out to disenfranchised Christians as well (see Rod Rosendbladt’s “The Gospel for those Broken by the Church”, for example). In fact, Pastor Matt Richards, a convert from evangelicalism, recently did a study through Concordia seminary in St. Louis where he explored the reasons why, among other things, so many evangelicals had or were in the process of becoming Lutherans (mostly Confessional ones). He got 700 respondents to participate!

Of course many of these folks coming into the LC-MS (and other Confessional Lutheran bodies) from evangelicalism did just this because they appreciated what was distinct about the Lutheran heritage – our confessions, our liturgies, our emphasis on the continuity of the Church in history, etc. (see here for an example)

I promise I am getting to the question – one more thing…

I always find it very interesting that those Swedes who started the [highly successful and influential] Evangelical Free Churches, for example, eventually decided that dropping the name “Lutheran” not only from their church signs but in their hearts as well was a good idea.  One also thinks about that Schmucker guy (listen to this great show from a wonderful Calvinist convert to Lutheranism if that doesn’t ring bells)

That finally brings me to the question I have for my FiveTwo brethren:

  • Why is it that you want to be a Lutheran? Why not become more like a Presbyterian, for example? Or a Baptist? Or a non-denominational church?

Please note, this is not a trick question: I do not deny that in your heart there is a desire to be Lutheran. Help me and others to better understand that desire. The briefer and more concise you can be, the better.

If you would, please comment here – and speak from your heart. In the comments section below I will only publish persons who explicitly state or give the impression that they resonate with FiveTwo but desire to be Lutheran.

For those who do not resonate with FiveTwo (aside from the fact that you probably will utter a hearty “Amen!” to Schulz’s comment), I will not publish your comments here. If there are some responses here, I will start another thread where you can respond: there you may talk not only about what you appreciated, but challenge, pushback, critique and even criticize (though I will not publish criticism that does not seem constructive at all). I ask as a courtesy that no one blogs (or “Facebooks” or “tweets”) about person’s comments here elsewhere – if you would, please give persons who are willing to speak a chance to express themselves and let their words marinate for a while before setting out to respond.  I will reserve the right to ask clarifying questions on this thread. If, in the event that I get responses and there are clarifying questions you would like to suggest that I ask, please email me @ NRinneatgmaildotcom.

One more word before we get started….

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (I Thes. 2:13)

 

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4 Comments

Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

4 responses to “A Sincere Question for My FiveTwo Brethren

  1. Perry Sukstorf

    October 2, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    While it may not be a trick question it is more complex than you think. You assume that my view of Lutheranism is the not same as your Lutheranism. I would dare say we ARE BOTH LUTHERAN. We both believe in a God of Love who brings the forgiving grace of Jesus to the world through his Word and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. However, those of us who resonate with the fife-two approach seek to bring Lutheran theology to a culture in the language it knows and understands. Old language, music, and ritual are an acquired taste–hearty, even–and definitely not baby formula. I’m afraid that most of those who pan the five-two crowd assume we hate liturgy, hymns, etc. That’s not true at all! In fact, for many of us, we LOVE traditional worship styles. But when we see so many turning away from it or unable to embrace this man-made form we want to try other forms which might convey the same Gospel in a way they can hear it and appropriate it. We don’t seek to cast away the old, we simply want to try the new and hope that by our faithful proclamation of Law and Gospel in real-world settings and familiar forms, some might be saved. We are NOT anti-liturgy, we simply seek to modernize it so that its teaching power is not lost. Will it look the same. No. Will Jesus be proclaimed as the only Savior? Yes. Will lives be saved? I pray they would.

    So, I have a question for you? Why do you assume we don’t want to be Lutheran?

     
  2. infanttheology

    October 2, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Perry,

    Thanks much for commenting. I want to keep focus here if possible… I am really looking for why you want to be a Lutheran specifically – your reasons, so to speak. You have given me your reasons for why you reach out the way you do (or why you feel you must do it this way – I have heard from some missional pastors how they prefer the more traditional liturgy and even feel it is more edifying but do not feel like they are in a position to be able to do it).

    Would you be kind enough to say some more?

    +Nathan

    UPDATE: Perry, I apologize – I should have been more careful in my reading and responding. You did say “We both believe in a God of Love who brings the forgiving grace of Jesus to the world through his Word and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.” That would seem to be an answer to my question – i.e. that is why you want to be Lutheran particularly. Still, I would like to hear you expound on that more, if you are willing. Thank you.

     
  3. infanttheology

    October 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    I am posting this comment that I got to my personal email anonymously, with the person’s permission:

    “Why would they want to be Lutheran? Easy, because Luther is right….however, even among Lutherans, there is not unity on what that means….ELS, WELS, LCMS, ELCA…do I need to say more?

    Even the Pastor I served with thought I was non-Lutheran because I mentioned the word “sanctification”…he suggested on several occasions that I was more Reformed than Lutheran….
    so I really don’t know what you are going to find out, but I am interested in the results….”

     
  4. infanttheology

    October 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Perry,

    Re: the question you had for me, I am not trying to avoid it, but perhaps some might feel I did. My question does not presume that any person who resonates with FiveTwo does not want to be Lutheran. It simply asks persons for the sincere reasons they have for wanting to be Lutheran.

    +Nathan

     

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