It's long been a 'pet peeve' with me, so let me vent a moment, after I show you what got me going. In the "letters" section of the recent Lutheran Witness, a man from Oklahoma wrote in response to an article in a previous issue celebrating our Lutheran faith and heritage: "As I read, I got the distinct impression it was much more important to be Lutheran first and then Christian. How sad that the emphasis wasn't on being Christian first."
This really doesn't have to involve a long response. In fact, it begs a simple question which all Lutherans should be able to answer: Is being Lutheran different than being Christian? What part of being Lutheran is different than being Christian? And why does one have to come first? (thus, the "chicken and egg" title to this post)? No one seems to want to answer this.
My theory is that people seem to believe that each church possesses a basic Christian identity that is common to all, and that Lutherans add to that a body of teachings that are adiophora. I hope I'm wrong, but what other explanation is there? To say you are a "Christian first" implies at the outset that being Lutheran is secondary, and therefore not entirely essential to being Christian. And if that is true, which part of our Lutheran faith do we want to declare 'sub Christian'?
O.k., that's all the rant I'm going to make for now....