Monday, December 18, 2023

The most dangerous person is. . .

A long time ago I suggested that the most dangerous person in the world is the orthodox Christian who listens to the Word of God, confesses the faith of the creed, holds to the catholic doctrine and practice, and who teaches the same.  Now Pope Francis has proven me correct.  He has intervened to remove a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church for being too Roman Catholic.  Oddly enough, this is one more exercise of the current Pope's authoritarian style while promoting a folksy image of kindliness that is a smokescreen for his absolute control and his penchant for punishing those who disagree with him.  Now, I agree, I have no dog in this fight but it is descriptive of what is happening all across Christendom.

Francis is not the only one to suggest that the most dangerous people (and clergy) are those who listen to the Word of God, confess the faith of the creed, hold to catholic doctrine and practice, and insist upon teaching the same.  In nearly every mainline Protestant denomination, refusing to ordain women or welcome with open arms the LGBTQ+ folk to the ministerium or congregation is grounds for discipline.  On the other hand, you can deny nearly every line of the creed and pray to goddesses of your choice and dance with witches and you are good to go.  Just don't be orthodox.  The same is true for evangelicalism.  The big names who once insisted that while their practices diverted their Baptist and other churchly roots but their faith did not -- they have succumbed over and over again to the sex wars.  Thus they have proven that it does matter what you do on Sunday morning to what you believe Monday through Saturday.

Lutherans are in the same boat.  God forbid that anyone in some Lutheran bodies might raise a question about the use of sparkle creeds or tattoos as liturgical decorations or vulgarity from the pulpit or pagan rites and rituals within the liturgy.  That is grounds for the most serious discipline -- like using the wrong pronouns.  The orthodox Christian believer and pastor is easily the most dangerous one in the whole church body.  Even on the conservative end of things, it is easier to challenge orthodoxy than to adhere to it unfailingly.  We have had our own struggles finding the courage to say that online communion is just plain wrong.  We have had our own struggles holding the apostolic faith and practice on everything from clergy divorce to congregations with open tables.  The reality is that if you break the rules but are nice about it, you can seem to get away with anything while if you adhere to the faith and to faithful practice you get labeled with all sorts of nasty names.  Those who ditch the liturgy in favor of the current evangelical wannabe entertainment worship are left alone but if you so much as pop the top of an incense container or bend the knee at the creed or consecration, you must be a closet Roman.  That is the state of affairs in our circles.

If you want to be a radical, be orthodox.  You will soon grow weary of trying to get ahead of churches on the sex and gender front and you cannot out apostate the apostates on the doctrinal front.  Give it up.  Be a real radical and join the most dangerous group in every denomination -- become an orthodox Christian who adheres to what is catholic in doctrine and practice.  Lutherans should have a handle on this market since that is the claim of our Confession but we would be glad to share the limelight with any who will join the cause.  But be warned.  You will be the most avant-garde soul in your church and church body but you will be marked as dangerous, met with suspicion, and perhaps even be treated with contempt.  

Now, don't get me wrong.  There are plenty of folks who claim orthodoxy but who use it as a facade for the same tired old isms that were rightly condemned and remain rightly condemned.  I am not talking about being racist or misogynistic or phobic.  I am talking about holding fast to the sacred deposit, guarding the sacred tradition once delivered, and passing it on faithfully and incorruptibly.  Speak the truth in the bonds of love but do not shy from speaking it.  It is not a matter of being better than others but being as faithful as you can be. 

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

The most dangerous person is. . ."

In the Missouri Synod one such person would be the Rev. Dr. Gregory Schulz, who on Sunday, has been under suspension by Concordia University-Wisconsin for 666 days and who as been in "ecclesiastical supervision" purgatory for almost as long.

In his Woke Dysphoria at Concordia", Prof. Schulz warned:

"The lynchpin issue is this: The Woke agenda (DIE, for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity) is utterly opposed to texts and to textual authority. In theory (such as it is) and in practice, the Woke agenda being championed by our BoR committees is literally an illiterate philosophy of education that has no place for authoritative texts."