Monday, April 15, 2019
You could be wrong. . .
You see the Church does not have authority nor do her ministers possess the freedom to impose what they think upon the Word of the Lord that endures forever nor do they possess the right to deviate from the sacred deposit. Though this might seem curious coming from a son of the Reformation, that battle was not over a change in the teaching of the Church but over the changes that did not have the authority of Scripture nor the uniform witness of the ancient Church. Such things as purgatory and the treasury of merits or indulgences were challenged precisely because they did not have standing in Scripture and developed over time more from reason than any revelation. Surely Lutherans have imperfectly practiced this but we have faithfully confessed this in our Symbols. So it is especially egregious to Lutherans when some of those who claim to be heirs of this conservative reform back to sources insist that it is a proper conclusion to the Reformation to ordain women or change the definition of family or accept as normal any sexuality except that ordered by God in creation. We are not only betraying the Word of God but even the legacy of Luther and the Reformers bequeathed to us. This remains our biggest issue with Rome and yet it is an issue without substance when people who claim to wear the name Lutheran do what Rome has done and invent practices.
Yes, I suppose it is possible we could be wrong but if that were a possibility, how better to be wrong? Deviating from the catholic doctrine and practice or maintaining it? Who better to betray? The times in which we live and to stand apart from them or the God who has given us His Word and bond and disown that? This seems to be one of the most pivotal issues in all of Christianity and it is where orthodoxy is being most tested today. Will we risk being misunderstood or rejected or even persecuted to stand with the Lord and with those who went before us OR will we cave in out of fear to go with the flow of modernity-- wherever that might lead? It would seem to me that those who insist the Church must change to survive have already given up on the Word and promise of God that His Church will continue to exist and hell shall not prevail against her. So they may think themselves the saviors who will rescue the Church from being judged out of step or irrelevant but in reality they are the ones who are killing what God has made and doing this from within. While it is true we might have much to fear from forces against Christianity, it is also clear from history that we have much to fear from those who insist that we must depart from Scripture and the catholic doctrine and practice that have accompanied that Word in order to make sure that the Church survives.
Some might think that if you depart and die God will simply say "what were you thinking?" and shrug His shoulders and tell them to come on it and take their seat at the table of eternity. Maybe so. That is God's domain and not mine. But it also could be true that God will say "I know you not because you knew Me not; depart from me." We do not maintain faithfulness and continuity with Scripture because we are afraid of God but because we trust Him. We do not keep to the Word and its catholic teaching and practice because we fear change but because we fear and love God. We do not put much stock in thinking when that thinking leads us away from God and our fathers in the faith or when it attempts to reason us to depart from this sacred deposit because it is possible we could be wrong. Jesus Christ yesterday, today, and forever. The Word of God that endures forever. These are the pillars that hold up God's house. Without them we build on shifting sand.