Friday, March 11, 2005

Pax Domini — An Introduction to the Lutheran Faith

I was directed to Pax Domini by ____________. In the post, Why Lutheran?, Tom Johnson writes:

Baptized and confirmed in a conservative Presbyterian church, I was taught that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is why I didn't go to a liberal Presbyterian seminary. Dallas Theological Seminary had the best reputation among those I knew and respected. And, to this day, I am very thankful for my education there and the rigorous commitment to Bible knowledge and the biblical languages. But it was during my time there that I began to ask a question I never thought I would ask: What is the Gospel? One professor taught that the Gospel cannot be summed up by a "formula" or a creed. The Gospel is one's understanding that leads to salvation. Whatever moves the human will is Gospel—and what moves some may not move others. This teaching disturbed me and forced me to search deeper into the Bible...

He goes on to write about the difficulties a starting a church within the PCA. Church planters gave him advise that had nothing to do with preaching the gospel:

Several of them recommended that I stop using a bulletin and "liturgy." They told me I should stop using the piano in worship and start using a guitar. They advised that I wear a golf-shirt instead of a suit and tie. They recommended "praise songs" instead of traditional hymns. They were telling me that I needed to give the people in El Paso "a worship experience" that would lead to successful numerical growth. I was shocked. I felt as if I was hearing the same teaching I had heard years earlier: a person's understanding or experience is more important than the objective truth of the Gospel.

Thankfully, those in El Paso supported my conviction that if God wanted a church, He would build it by His Word and Sacraments. And two years later, our church did become a self-governing church and financially sound. Throughout this time, I enjoyed the support and counsel of a friend in Austin, Texas. He was the chief musician at a Presbyterian church there and had helped me with music and liturgy. I was floored when he told me he was going to seminary to become a Lutheran pastor. He recommended that I read Spirituality of the Cross and helped introduce me to Lutheranism.

Be sure to read the whole article, espeically the ending paragaph that begins:

"Why did I become Lutheran? By the grace of God. In Lutheranism, my mind is now free to marvel at God's truth... My faith has been set free to believe that God is doing extraordinary things through otherwise ordinary things—the spoken word, water, bread and wine."

I could have written that! What a great testimony Tom Johnson gives us.

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