The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) is like a Big Mansion
While attending a Confessional Lutheran conference a few years back, I heard one presenter give the analogy that the LCMS is like an old mansion (The LCMS is the Synod that our congregation is a member of). The mansion is beautiful, old, and big from the outside. Once you go in, you might open a closed door to one room and find it clean and everything in order. You might open another door and find it trashed and chaotic. Meanwhile, there is a fire in the kitchen threatening the whole mansion and the staff that leads the mansion is telling everyone that there is no real danger and to carry on in whichever room you find yourself (If I messed up any details, I apologize to the originator of this analogy as this is from memory).
What this means is that some congregations, like ours, Faith in Plano, Immanuel in Fairview, etc. have the pure doctrine and practice of Scripture and our houses are in order. Yet, down the hall, there might be another congregation in the LCMS whose doctrine and practice aren’t faithful. Sadly, in the LCMS you find many pastors and congregations doing their own thing (contrary to Scripture). You can attend one LCMS congregation and find it in order and similar to ours—and then visit another one and wonder if it is LCMS, ELCA, Baptist, or even Christian at all. And, I don’t just mean rock bands playing secular and not sacred music—I mean pastors and congregation practicing open communion, promoting women’s ordination, teaching evolution, praying with Muslims, and firing their pastor without Biblical reasons to just mention a few. Yes, there is a fire in our LCMS kitchen friends and it didn’t end after the Battle for the Bible in the 1970’s. (See Also) You know this to be true through your visiting other LCMS congregations. And, if you would like to read documentation of such errors that I mention above, you can read so via the website of the Association of Confessing Evangelical Congregations (ACELC). https://www.acelc.net/ (The ACELC is not a Synod in a Synod or a group looking to leave the mansion. It is concerned congregations like ours that simply want to hold God’s Word up for the whole Synod and world to hear.) The ACELC have documented many of these errors in our Synod and I could give you several more that have observed first hand as an LCMS pastor for 15 years.
My question to you in this: Is there more that we could or should be doing for the sake of the LCMS mansion and for our brothers and sisters in other rooms that are teaching and practicing contrary to Scripture? For example, when a pastor sent and Called by God is kicked out by his congregation for faithfully practicing closed communion, teaching that living together outside of marriage is adultery, or that Christians attend church—should/could we somehow open the door to our closed and nice orderly room to help in some way? Could/should we do more to speak the truth in love to and for those congregations who are living in sin by removing their pastor with insufficient Biblical reasons, practicing open communion, etc.? I honestly don’t have clean answers to these questions I struggle with.
Where am I going with all of this? I am asking you to struggle with these questions also, or at least to be more acutely aware of the fire that is burning in the LCMS so you don’t get burned if one day we must leave this old mansion or perish. I pray it won’t be the case, but I won’t be surprises if our Synod gets swept away, like many other church bodies have, to conform to the progressive world—many churches and pastors among us already have. I don’t want us to keep our door closed thinking the mansion is in order, only to find ourselves surrounded by fire. This is what happened to some in the ELCA and Methodist Church, who were surprised when their church started ordaining homosexuals. The fire was burning long before, but they felt safe and fine in their own more ‘conservative’ congregation. My ordination vows and your confirmation vows are to God’s Word and how we confess it in our Lutheran Confessions, and not to any manmade synod. Synods come and go, but the Word of the Lord remains forever. VDMA https://lutheranreformation.org/history/the-motto-of-the-reformation/
In the meantime, is there more that we can do to throw water on the fire out of love for our fellow synod members? Our water is that we teach and preach against the errors in our nice orderly room at St. John, Frisco, like other confessional churches do also. As a member of Synod, I and churches I’ve served, like others, have sent in overtures to the LCMS convention, though most get burned up in the kitchen fire and never even made it for discussion. But, what else could/should we do? I don’t know. I suppose, as we have opportunity, let’s not stay in our orderly room with the door closed to the mansion, but speak God’s unchanging truth for the sake of our Synod and for the sake of the dying world. This is easier said than done. It’s hard when we don’t see the results we want. It’s hard for me to rebuke erring pastors and for them to continue in their error. I want results! But the answer is not frustration leading to apathy. By God’s grace, let us speak His Word and leave the repentance and results to Him where they belong.
(The fire, as I would define it, is the denial of God’s Word. This is the slippery slope.)
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