Wisconsin Synod Forward in Christ magazine wondered why Lutherans do not generally cross themselves (a pretty good question, actually) and the answer was, well, less than salutary. In addition to resisting the questioner, the answer pointed out that this practice is so fraught with problems that it is not good.
Crossing oneself brings with it potential problems too. It may promote superstition or become a thoughtless gesture. Yes, you heard it from the WELS... crossing yourself can lead you to become a Wiccan! Run, run, and run even faster from this terrible practice lest you do not give in to superstition or become a thoughtless Christian!
The only problem with this statement is that Luther says just the opposite in the Small Catechism when he bids us prepare for morning and evening prayers with the invocation and the sign of the cross -- suggesting that this is a most salutary remembrance of our baptism into that name. Well, I guess there is reason for that. Luther lived at a time when the confusion of this practice with Rome was not so pervasive as now... WHA????
But be cautious. Historical developments have shaped our culture, and we
shouldn't recklessly ignore them. Over the centuries making the sign of
the cross fell into disuse among the majority of Lutherans in western
Europe and North America, while among Roman Catholics it thrived. We
cannot list all factors, but we can acknowledge the reality.
Furthermore, crossing oneself is more than simply a pervasive custom for
Catholics. It is a sacrament that earns indulgences.
Extra indulgences are earned if holy water is used. The simple gesture
is linked to horrible doctrines like the treasury of the merits and
Apparently the answer man (probably not a woman in WELS) is smoking something funny. Rome has seven sacraments but crossing oneself with or without holy water is not among them. Crossing oneself is linked to the horrible doctrines like the treasury of merits and Mariolatry?!?! It is??? I guess Luther was somehow so oblivious to the terrible ties that bind this practice to the devil's doctrines that he screwed up here. Ya think???
Forest Bivens (now that is a name) has advice for those contemplating the practice of crossing yourself: Let love be the main player in this drama. Don't be quick to find fault.
Cherish your freedom and protect the freedom of others. Explain your
choices and listen when others explain theirs. Keep Christ and the cause
of truth at the heart of all talk about making the sign of the cross.Hmmmm I would think that keeping Christ and the truth at the heart of it all is exactly what making the sign of the cross is all about...
But then what do I know.... I guess I would never make it pass doctrinal review in WELS!