Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The "Only Thing Left" in the LCMS?

In the Summer 2008 (Vol. 25, no. 4) issue of Focus on Concordia Seminary, a magazine written for alumni and donors, President Dale A. Meyer dedicates his column on the Synod's restructuring proposals.

In the course of the article he allows that the situation today is vastly different than it was in 1847 when the Synod was founded. He offers that congregations themselves are not as important to people today, and loyalty to a church body is not as significant as finding a congregation that "fits what they like." It's probably true, and he makes pains to say that he's simply describing what people seem to do.

But he concludes:

That's why, I believe, we want a Synod also in the 21st Century, not a restructuring to perpetuate an institution but a restructuring that really joins us and keeps us accountable to one another for the only thing really left, a theological enterprise centered in the Scriptures of Jesus Christ.
Is this what we're in? A "theological enterprise"? Is this the "only thing left"? How sad. How very sad that the Church--the Body of Christ which has spanned every place and every age since Pentecost is reduced to being a "theological enterprise."

I don't want an enterprise. I'm not sure I even like this theology.

I've understood for a long time that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is not Church. It is a non-profit organization. But to describe the bonds of unity that we are supposed to have as a "theological enterprise" is either only an inelegant, crass statement we should ignore, or a clanging fire bell to wake us up.


  1. Father Hollywood said...

    In the LCMS, postmodernism has already won. If we, who value the liturgy, the ministry, and the confessional articulation of the Gospel of our "grandfather's church" have to realize that in order to remain in the LCMS, we will have to accept that we are simply "one way" (and according to our pragmatic bureaucrats, not even the "best" way) to "do church."

    The seminaries have capitulated (note their acceptance of Ablaze, of the SMP program, of vicars being sent to "consecrate," the institutional acceptance of insipid worship), and the placing of "emergent" methodologies on the (lucrative) pedestal across the board in our districts.

    At best, we are tolerated as relics and dinosaurs who need to be re-educated.

    We need to make sure we all have our parachutes ready. I have no idea what the source of Klemet Preus's optimism is (according to his recent rosy analysis of where the synod is headed). We are moving entirely in the wrong direction, and are institutionalizing very serious doctrinal errors and practices that will simply move us further away from the Lutheran confessions and catholic tradition.

  2. Paul said...

    Father Hollywood nailed it. In my way of thinking, the Confessions bind us to the Ecumenical Creeds of the undivided church, to the Word and the many visible words that still bring the Holy Spirit with His gifts. Anything that "emerges" or "restructures" will either point with greater clarity to that unchangeable foundation or be swept away like a house built on sand.

  3. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    If that's the only thing left. . . then none of all this falling apart is a tragedy, I guess.