Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On choosing a redeemer...

I read a quote today that will compel me to read a book:

“…’I mean–I mean that I have given Him my heart.’ The older man’s face became suddenly as solemn as the grave. ‘Do you consider that something to give Him?’ … ‘But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.’ ‘You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy, … it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give Him one’s heart and commit oneself to Him, and that He now accepts one into His little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on Him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed! But a wonderful Lord passes by, and has mercy on the wretched tin can, sticks His walking cane through it and rescues it from the junk pile and takes it home with Him. That is how it is.’ … ‘And now you must understand that these two ways of believing are like two different religions, they have nothing whatever to do with each other.’”
~The Hammer of God, by Bo Giertz

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Differences among synods

The latest battle in the Missouri synod has people searching on the internet for alternatives. My blog's search statistics show that. It is my own opinion that most confessional Lutherans refuse to look at other synods seriously because of a long list of mis perceptions and hearsay. I know the pain of switching synods; I did so myself about five years ago. The only thing I can offer is that once you do make the switch with a whole heart, the pain goes away. The things that I thought might bother me, i.e. the role of women in ministry and close communion, were not issues for me once I was sold on the ELS' ability to preach the gospel.

I would never encourage anyone to leave their synod or church, but if you feel that it is what you are being called to do then I hope you consider the ELS. I have been (mostly) very happy there. The ELS, though not perfect, is remaining faithful. We are small, manageable and pretty transparent. If I wanted to I could make an appointment with our president and ask him any question. There is no division among pastors, beyond the usual human divisions (style, age, personality, which football team they cheer for, etc). Do your research from there. I can also tell you that the ELS is not the same as WELS, yet we are in fellowship with WELS. A WELS pastor writes:

If you find differences, then, it is more likely to be in the area of culture or ways of doing things aside from Bible doctrine and practice. Norwegian and German people (and their descendants to a degree) don't always reflect the same personality traits or enjoy the same food or entertainment. And many ELS churches use different editions of catechisms and hymnals than most WELS churches do. Welcome to America and cultural diversity. But especially give thanks that these two church bodies enjoy confessional fellowship centered in Christ and his Word.

Are you looking for another confessional Lutheran synod? Ask others. Pray. I found this opinion at WELS.net Q & A feature very interesting...

...the majority of truly conservative or orthodox pastors and congregations have already left the LCMS or have chosen to hunker down to protect their own parish as long as they can. And they will die or retire before they do much else.