(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)