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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Lutheran Difference - Explaining Doctrinal Consistency

I am Lutheran because of the consistency of the teachings of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) throughout the church body as a whole. Having said that, I would confess that today this consistency is not quite as strong as it has been over years past for the simple fact that, as congregations have changed their practices, they have also adopted new doctrines which are not as consistent with all congregations. Although there are differences in doctrine and practice in LCMS congregations, there is the same underlining doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, as well as a proper distinction between Law and Gospel and a right administration and understanding of the sacraments.

I am fascinated with the inconsistency of the churches of my evangelical friends (those of Calvinest, Reformed, Anabaptist, “non-denominational” backgrounds) who have no trouble moving from church to church, following one pastor or another, changing their doctrines according to the whims of the pastor, or those who simply change pastors and then follow whatever doctrinal changes the pastor wants to make. How in the world do you believe anything if what you believe is constantly in flux and changing? One pastor says that dancing is a sin. He leaves, and the next pastor says dancing is okay. The pastor I like relocates, and so I relocate with him. What is the foundation of my belief? Should my company move me to another location, how do I go about finding a church home? I guess I go to one that makes me feel comfortable. What about being as the Bereans? And to what do we hold the pastor accountable if there is no standard of teaching?

For the most part, those of the Roman, Orthodox, Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, etc. denominations have a set of unmovable, unshaken doctrine. This unmovable, unshaken doctrine is the standard by which one can rightly “examine the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11b). If there is no standard, how can one be sure if what is said is so?

In the LCMS church if a pastor takes a call, then the congregation calling a pastor can rest assured that the pastor they call has subscribed, that is has made a confession of faith, to the Lutheran confessions so that they know he will teach the same doctrine as the man who was before him. They do not need to be concerned about whether or not something that was sin is now not sin or something that was not sin is now sin. And should one move from one LCMS church to another LCMS church, they can be sure that the same doctrine will continue to be taught in their new congregation.

As many have certainly heard, “you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” While many churches of many denominations do not publish what they stand for, their core confessions or statement of faith, the LCMS Church boldly presents our confessions for others to read and hear. Indeed, they are all posted on the lcms.org website for all to read.

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