Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Far Apart We Really Are

Over at the Crossings web site of Ed Schroeder an article is posted that demonstrates so well the differences between the ELCA and LCMS today. In "In Washington, Missouri too -- It's a Time for Confessing," Robin Morgan responds to an ad placed in a local newspaper by LCMS clergy wishing to clarrify the differences between the two denominations, especially in light of the recent decisions at their national assembly. The Missouri pastors specifically enumerate the doctrines they wish to confess, while the ELCA pastor wishes to counter with an "actions speak louder than words" approach by elevating their work among the poor and disadvantaged. Not once does she address the core issues that truly separate these two large Lutheran denominations. In fact, she even defends the "open communion" practice so prevelent in the ELCA. It is as is she says, "Those issues (such as gay clergy, abortion, higher critical approach to the scriptures, etc.) are incidental. They don't matter as much as what we do on the streets for those in need. We are are welcoming church. You simply close doors." How sad that she doesn't really understand the need to clearly confess as well as to care. One goes with the other. They are not mutually exclusive. Also, one can care for the poor and still end up denying the Word and jepordizing the eternal welfare of people in the process. How sad she cannot see this.


Jeff said...

Oops. Where have I heard that before "We want to have a more welcoming church"? Oh yeah, it was at our last congregational meeting. Oops. Had a member say last week that he hopes our next pastor is more inclusive. Translation, bring back open communion. Oops. Another feels anyone should be allowed to attend Elder meetings. Oops. On the plus side, I also talked to a member this week who wants to be certain we do not stray from our doctrinal beliefs.

Don Engebretson said...

Your situation does not sound so very different from my own. I think that this struggle goes on in more parishes among more confessional pastors than any are aware of. The public statement by this ELCA pastor resonates with people because it 'sounds' so sensitive, seemingly putting people first. But it is never in people's best interest to water down the confession, as that last member you mentioned indicated. Many of our people want a clear confession. They need a clear confession, and even more in our increasingly confused and conflicted world.

Thank you for your comment and observations!

Jeff said...

I was baptized a Methodist and confirmed a Congregationalist. In order to be confirmed I had to be on the softball team. Everyone got Communion in the pews and received grape juice. This is probably why Closed Communion is such a hot button issue.

Liberals got abortion laws into the books one step at a time. If we start allowing variance from Lutheran doctrine, the same could end up happening to our synod, and they already have a foot in the door.