Friday, February 13, 2015

Our Church ought to be proud and humbled. . .

Having spent a couple of days at both seminaries of our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod interviewing candidates for Associate Pastor at my parish, my two lay leaders and I were consistently impressed with the caliber, high calling, and faithful men we spoke with.  We spoke to ten candidates and were amazed that all ten were so dedicated, well-spoken, polished, and dedicated men of faith.  We know that any one of them would be a credit to the Lord, to the schools in which they were formed for the pastoral ministry, and our congregation.  All this is despite the fact that our Synod has chosen to finance the cost of pastoral education on the backs of seminary administrations and students.  I have written about the fact that this model is completely untenable and that something will have to change and soon in this regard.  That said, it has not in any way diminished the character and dedication of those with whom we spoke.

There are problems in seminary education.  There are problems with the SMP program.  There are problems with lay people (so-called deacons) who are authorized for Word and Sacrament ministry in our church body.  There are problems with a fear of Lutheran worship that practices on Sunday morning Lutheran theology confessed in our Concordia.  There are problems with doctrinal integrity and unity in our Synod.  Yes, we all know about these and should rightly be concerned.  What we may not realize is that hidden in all of this are faithful, talented, dedicated men and their families who have heard the Lord's call, who have paid the price of residential seminary education in move and money, and who have shown themselves to honor both the Lord and his church by their commitment. 

God bless them!  God bless the seminaries that formed them for the pastoral office.  God bless the congregations that will call them.  God bless the placement process that will put them into the right locale.  God bless their work when the stole is laid upon them and they are charged to be faithful over the flocks which the Lord has entrusted to their care.

1 comment:

John Joseph Flanagan said...

The future of the LCMS, the direction of the synod, is in God's hands, but it seems to me that one must look closely at the times in which we live today, and the kind of thinking and views potential pastors and students hold. Is the Bible center, the Confessions essential, and saving people through the preaching of God's word as the Holy Spirit leads....are these things critical? As Pastors lead their congregations, will they remain faithful, or will the progressive ideas of liberal theology draw them away from orthodoxy to a place alien to Holy Writ. One can find polished and dedicated Pastors, men who claim to love and follow Jesus, in other churches, yet what they teach their congregations is a mix of philosophy, pop psychology, liberal theology, and a bit of the Bible thrown in. I honestly pray the LCMS is going to face the future soberly and faithfully, because the days are evil, and the times precarious.