Here‘s the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the protest against the removal of “Issues, Etc.” I don’t know what, if anything, was accomplished, but perhaps it will show that this “issue” will not go away. Pastoral Conferences are sending overtures to their district conventions, and, presumably, some of those will be sent on to the Synodical Convention. We shall see.
My favorite part of the story is this: ” On Sunday, 200 ‘Issues, Etc.’ supporters gathered at Emmaus Lutheran Church in St. Louis to pray and eat bratwurst.” These guys are Norwegian, right?
Then, there’s this:
[David] Strand would not say whether the church was considering a sale of its stations. He pointed out that the 7,000 signatures make up one-third of 1 percent of the church body.
In the vacated time slot, the church has launched a new program called “The Afternoon Show,” with topics Strand said should have a broader appeal.
7,000? That’s nothing. Negligible, apparently. My question is, what number would make up a large enough percentage of the Missouri Synod’s congregational membership to merit action? “Broader appeal.” Yeah, like the congregations taking every distinctly Lutheran aspect out in order to appeal more broadly. Like downplaying the power of the Gospel and the Sacraments in favor of watered-down Law and absent Gospel. Like giving us only feel-good ephemerality rather than the substantial theology of the Church in general and the Lutheran Confessions in particular. Well, Mr. Strand is correct. Watering it all down will have a broader appeal. People have itching ears and the more we can scratch them satisfactorily, the more they’ll come back. The Truth has a disconcerting habit of not only uniting those who hear the Good Shepherd’s voice (everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice), but also dividing inevitably those who refuse to hear the truth. That’s just the way it is. The only question to be asked is whether we, as a church body, are selling a product or proclaiming the Gospel. All the talk about bottom lines and finances has me leaning toward an unsavory conclusion. When it comes to evangelism, are we all ablaze! with talk, or will we actually support those endeavors where the Gospel is preached? The fact that the question occurs to me probably provides its own answer.
2 thoughts on “The Post-Dispatch on the Protest at the International Center”
Timotheos, you pass over a point that has been hashed multiple times in various places, but it’s one that has been finding me in conversations of late. Pray tell, what do you consider to be the truly “distinctly Lutheran aspect[s]” of a congregation’s life? Forgive me if the question has become trite; I ask with sincerity.
That’s a good question.
I would say (with good Confessional evidence, I think) that what makes a congregation Lutheran is primarily this: the preaching of the full, condemning, absolute Law of God and the full, forgiving, pure and free Gospel. Along with that, the Sacraments will be emphasized often and in their multiform glory, and not just given lip-service with cliched talk of “Word-and-Sacrament.”
I suppose it would be theoretically possible to do those things without the liturgy as it has been handed down to us, but I am doubtful whether it has been done. So I would include the liturgy as something distinctly Lutheran. Whenever I’ve seen it given up for whatever new worship fad is coming out of the American church, Lutheran theology suffers.
Those four things (which are interrelated and overlapping) I would say are necessary to remain Lutheran: Law and Gospel (which can only be rightly retained within a framework of the two kinds of righteousness); the Sacraments; and the liturgy.
Others may differ, and add other things, but I’m not sure one can be Lutheran without them.