Sunday, December 5, 2010

Untitled

Having moved to a new state, we recently began looking for a new church home. There have been some struggles we have faced - both personally and through family members - that encouraged us to consider other synods instead of choosing to continue attending an LCMS church, as we have been for a lifetime. Lutheran churches are in short supply here in Mississippi, but we were fortunate enough to find a church just down to road to visit today.

A rundown of today's service at
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
in Biloxi, MS:
  • Divine Service setting 3 - one of our favorites, we were enthused
  • Hymns: On Jordan's Banks(344); Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People(374); How Great Thou Art(801); When Peace Like a River(763); Precious Lord, Take My Hand(739); I Am Jesus Little Lamb(740) - Mostly weak, although nothing objectionable     Hymn numbers refer to LSB
  • Elder read the lessons - no problems there
  • Elder (maybe DCE?) gave a Children's sermon - not something we're very familiar with, but not alarming
So far, so good ... it was a new church, so we weren't completely comfortable, but we were looking forward to attending their mid-week Advent service ... until we got to the sermon, which included the following definitions:
  • Sin = strain on relationships, not the refusal of fun like your grandparents thought (!)
  • Repentance = when you realize that you've put a strain on a relationship, so you stop (!!)
  • Forgiveness = a gift from God, which is nothing but an idea until you accept it (!!!) "Like a beautifully wrapped present, which is useless until you unwrap it." Yes, that's a quote from the pastor.
Whoa, wait a minute! There's something very wrong with those statements. The LCMS churches I've attended my whole life taught that there is nothing I need to [or even can] do for my salvation - it is Jesus' death and resurrection that forgive me of my sins [which include anything that goes against God's laws]and earn forgiveness for me - no acceptance necessary.

After our experiences today, we are more solid in our belief that we can no longer commune in any LCMS church, since we would be communing with them all - including this false-doctrine ridden place in which we found ourselves this morning. While we are saddened to leave the synod in which we grew up - where we were baptized, confirmed, and married - we are more saddened by the state of the synod and the great lengths to which the faithful will have to go in order to preserve and/or restore any of the principles on which it was built.

Would Luther be rolling over in his grave at the thought of what is being taught in the church named for him and his reformative teaching? I think yes.

5 comments:

  1. Wow.... Yes, I believe he would be rolling over! I can't believe it! Since when are we sinners able to do anything to gain salvation?! All I can say is wow. Keep me updated on what you decide to do... it seems that some lcms churches are more out there than others.... Anyway, good for you for standing up to the church!

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  2. Just be glad you guys aren't half-married (so to speak) to a church with female deacons, lay readers, women serving communion while their husbands are sitting in the pews, etc. We honestly can't wait for a call out. And it's not like I can refuse to go, either.

    I would honestly talk to the pastor at that church and see what he means, and even give it another chance. It's much better to be attending than not, especially now that you have kids. I know it's tough, but you can always refuse to commune but still attend worship and receive some of God's gifts.

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  3. Being that this in not our first run-in with non-Biblical teachings in LCMS churches, we're seriously considering moving to ELS or WELS. While no synod is perfect, we see more agreement with their doctrines where we differ.
    I agree that it's better to be attending than not, which is why we're planning to make the hour-ish drive to Mobile, AL for the nearest WELS church. We're prayerful that we'll fine a faithful congregation in a more faithful synod.

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  4. I can completely understand your frustration, and it must be so tough living in places with so few LCMS choices, and none of them are ideal.

    I know that you know there are Biblically sound LCMS churches and pastors. I just get a little worried about those wanting to leave the synod based (what sounds like) more on the fallible people in it, and there are so many stinky pastors in our synod, than on the actual doctrinal stances of the synod. LCMS is still probably one of the best Lutheran synods on paper. We have fabulous seminary professors, and there are some great pastors throughout the synod.

    I'm sure I would leave the synod if they took some more screwy official positions, but I would lean more toward ELS. The WELS has a more liberal view of the Divine Call, and they don't like to even pray with non WELS. My mom had an interesting run-in with a WELS homeschool group back in the '90s which resulted in her joining the Baptist group, because the WELS group told her to find something within her own religion.

    I know you and Matt have been dealing with and thinking about this for a long time. I just wanted you to know that I love you and am concerned about your situation. :)

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  5. Becky,
    Thank you for your kind words and concern. I assure you that we have prayed heavily on this issue, and about much more than the fallible people. Have no fear, no rash decisions are being made - but we are talking with a faithful ELS pastor friend whose information has been incredibly enlightening.
    Adam is one of the few left in the LCMS who uphold the 'old ways', and I'm so grateful that you have him. If only there were more like him in the synod ...

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