Monday, September 16, 2013
Those who have left. . .
The truth is I know no one who has left because they did not care. The people who left cared deeply about the faith Lutherans have and do confess and the liturgical shape of that faith. That said, they are gone. We cannot and should not be preoccupied by their decisions to leave and neither should we ignore that causes that left them to make this choice. If we listen to them, we will find from them still an encouragement for us to be real Lutherans and not the generic kind of Protestants (or evangelicals) we are sorely tempted to be. If there is a bland and tasteless Lutheranism, it will appeal to no one and will certainly die. The better Lutheranism is that which is full bodied and faithful. Where we find this, you will almost always find a vigorous community of people gathered around the Word and Table of the Lord. If we learn anything from those who have left it should be that a Lutheran lite version is the last thing the world needs. Both in terms of congregational identity and practice and the ecumenical endeavor, we need real Lutherans. Not those who are embarrassed or ashamed of what it means to be Lutheran but those who are convinced despite the current shape they see in practice that Lutheranism is catholic, apostolic, and thoroughly evangelical. No, if their leaving matters to us at all, we will not spend our time proving they were wrong but proving that we are truly Lutheran in confession and in practice. What a breath of fresh air that might be for all Lutheran jurisdictions!!