Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lunchroom Lutherans: The buffet line is closed. Accept what is on your plate, or find another kitchen.

Reverend Matthew Harrison

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, and the only Redeemer of the world. To Him do we cling for truth, love, and mercy. Amen.

Surely many LCMS Lutherans who read online Lutheran magazines or browse Facebook often have read the following statement from our beloved Synod President: 

When a public teacher on the roster of Synod can without consequence publicly advocate the ordination of women (even participate vested in the installation of an ELCA clergy person), homosexuality, the errancy of the Bible, the historical-critical method, open communion, communion with the Reformed, evolution, and more, then the public confession of the Synod is meaningless. I am saying that if my Synod does not change its inability to call such a person to repentance and remove such a teacher where there is no repentance, then we are liars and our confession is meaningless. I do not want to belong to such a synod, much less lead it. I have no  intention of walking away from my vocation. I shall rather use it and, by the grace of God, use all the energy I have to call this Synod to fidelity to correct this situation.
Matt Harrison
While Pastor Harrison was discreet enough to not mention the "teacher's" name, this "teacher" was not discreet enough in defaming about our President in his blog. Just look at the links below to realize what I am talking about. Now everyone with a brain knows the false prophet Pastor Harrison is referring to.
My patience with these matters is wearing thinner and thinner. I have seen too many people who have called themselves Lutherans--even pastors--who openly discuss things that go against LCMS doctrine--and hence Scripture. I have known an LCMS female church leader who boasted about being pro-choice. I have known a pastor, the same one who ended the friendship for being unmoved in my defense of biblical marriage, who used foul language around me and even showed me a movie with a graphic scene of two naked men having sex. Yes, he is an ordained LCMS "pastor." Such people I have given two names: Elcite (a member or benefactor of ELCA) and Lunchroom Lutheran (derived from Cafeteria Catholic).
There are those who say that what a pastor or an Christian says or does in their private life outside of church does not matter. Wrong. I learned the hard way to be careful of what I post that pertains to church life. Also, when you as a church leader speak to anyone outside of the immediate family, how you conduct yourself will reflect on you in your office. 
There are also those who say that there is nothing wrong with playing the devil's advocate and inviting discourse. To this, I say that those who are not careful with playing the devil's advocate eventually becomes the devil's mouthpiece. This is especially true when it comes to a pastor. If a pastor has doubts, he should express them, in private, to another pastor or to his district president. He should not use his blog or his classroom to contradict official LCMS teachings. This is not only a defamation of LCMS' image; it is a defilement of his own vestments and ordination. Worst of all, it is a great contributor to "scattering the flock." This constant questioning and open rebuke is the main reason why strong churches are split apart and decimated. Just look at what happened to the Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and ELCA churches. Look at what is happening to the Methodist Church. Rabble-rousers who feel that God's will is subservient to our personal opinions and priorities disrupted the peace and ruined unity. People like the "teacher" are doing the same thing.
The worst culprit, dare I say, is not the "teacher." It is the district leaders who refused to listen to our President and bring discipline to him have the greater sin. A Christian leader's job is to counsel the person who erred to repentance and, if he refuses, separate him from communion until he repents. This is not meant to be "mean" but to correct him and to keep him from spreading more lies that put unity and strong faith in jeopardy. The First Book of Corinthians, chapter 5 explains the need for church discipline more in detail. As the fifth chapter of James warns us, to not discipline a sinner is to open the gates of Hell for him. 
I have explained the morality at stake in this matter. Now, let's consider the more practical approach. A church or a denomination is like a club. A club has rules, procedures, and traditions. When you join a club, you accept the rules and agree to obey them--even if you do not agree with them. If you break a rule, expect there to be consequences. If you openly mock the rules--especially with those not in the club--your loyalty and your place in said club are brought to question. As this "teacher" has been given many opportunities to repent and rejected them all, he does not belong in the LCMS; his place is ELCA. As for the leaders who refused to discipline him and remove him from the roster, and I say this with all respect to Lutheran pastors and synod leaders, I wonder where their true loyalty lies.
In case anyone has doubts, let me list all of the official teachings of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod that have been debated by the Lunchroom Lutherans for too long:
  • The world was created in 6 24-hour days. Yes, God has that power. Hence, evolution is not true.
  • The Holy Bible is the true and sole source of divine truth and church doctrine. The Bible, through Jesus Christ, is the final authority in all spiritual and moral matters.
  • As God ordained men to be the spiritual leaders in the household, the only people who are allowed to become LCMS pastors are men (I'll admit, I used to disagree with this, but now I submit myself to this teaching.)
  • While we are to love and pray for gay people, Scripture, the Word of God, tells us that sexual relations between people of the same sex are unclean, and the only marriage that God recognizes is that of one man and one woman. 
  • Life begins at conception, and abortion is murdering a human being.
  • We are only in full communion with churches that teach the basic principles of our denomination and are in line with Scripture. Hence, non-LCMS Lutherans may not preach sermons from our pulpits or serve us communion in our churches. Along those lines, LCMS pastors may not do the same in non-LCMS churches.
 These are some of many LCMS standpoints. Some of them may not seem fair, but God is not fair either. If He were fair, He would not have sent Jesus to die for us. If He were fair, there is no hope for us, and we are all hellbound. If He were fair, He would let us have every selfish, unhealthy desire we wished for, and we would destroy ourselves much faster than we are now. We should get on our knees that praise God for loving us enough to be the opposite of fair. But I digress. If an official standpoint is deemed by anyone to be unfair, they should remember that, with their confirmation, affirmation, or ordination, they agreed to be subject and accepting of such standpoints. If they are still struggling, they should, again, seek the counsel of a trusted, knowledgeable leader. However, if they insist on openly speaking against and living lives contradictory to our rules, they should then be honest with themselves; they do not belong in the LCMS, and they should be removed immediately--either by release, by removal from pastoral rosters, or by, God forbid, excommunication. They should do this for the peace and the faith of all concerned and to prevent the milk-fed Christians from losing faith and heart. Am I being too tough? Sometimes tough love is the best medicine.
"Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16. 

For Part II of this whole megillah, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. God is Holy and Just. There is no room for being fair.