Thursday, April 21, 2011

Regarding the Survival of the Lutheran Church

In response to the posed question: Will there be a Lutheran church in the 21st century?
"When Hermann Sasse tried to wake his slumbering fellow-Lutherans with the question about the very survival of the Lutheran church, he had in mind something else [than the presence of a Lutheran church in the future].  What is the meaning of this question?  For one thing it cannot mean a glib recipe for success, like the popular sacrilege of 'goal-setting,' with the goal of Lutheran survival assured by keeping abreast of the most up-to-date trends with a Pandora's box full of clever methods and techniques.  What will 'survive' in this way may well call itself 'Lutheran,' but it will have nothing to do with the Lutheran confession, which on the contrary will be happily-clappily trampled underfoot to the soft seduction or the raucous savagery of 'Christian music.'  Or course, 'right doctrine and church' will survive - it is built on the Rock and cannot fail.  The question is, will we?  With us or without us, through us or despite us, God will see His 'right doctrine and church' through.  Shall we, by God's grace, have a part in this survival?  Will our long-suffering Synod and seminaries?  The answers to these questions lie hidden in the inscrutable counsels of God.  But as the mystery of the election of grace is meant not to paralyze us into inert passivity, but rather to nerve and steel us for the bedlam of the fray (Rom. 8:30, 31), so too the mystery of the church."

From: Dr. Kurt Marquart, "The Church In the Twenty-First Century: Will There Be a Lutheran One?" All Theology Is Christology: Essays in Honor of David P. Scaer, 2000, pages 181-182.

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