This is a response to Pastor Michael Brockman’s October letter regarding distrust in the Missouri Synod.
Over the years, I consistently told the people in my congregation that one of the great things about the Missouri Synod is that regardless of where they worshiped, they will never hear false teaching from an LCMS pulpit. Therein lies trust.
In my opinion, the examples given in the letter are not grounds for distrust. Teaching on things that negate grace, faith, and Scripture alone would be.
I know of no congregations that practice “open communion.” I do know of many who practice “close communion,” opening the Lord’s Table to those who are baptized, repentant, and who believe that the body and blood of Christ are truly present in, with, and under the bread and wine.
I have the compassionate sense that having an ELCA (or even another Christian) pastor who is the nephew of the deceased participate in a funeral service under the direction of the presiding LCMS pastor is the loving thing to do. The same would be true for the uncle of the groom at a wedding.
Working pastorally with members who are (seriously) in common-law marriages rather than excluding them from fellowship ought not to cause distrust. One cannot judge another pastor’s concern.
Secular love songs at a wedding? I never allowed it, but it is hardly a matter of distrust.
I trust the pastors and congregations of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. I don’t agree with everything that is done in every place, but I do know they are all dedicated to living out Jesus’ instruction to love and forgive, and sharing the Gospel.
John Krueger, D. Min.
In a letter in the October Lutheran Witness, Pastor Brockman identified a key source of distrust in the LCMS, though not in the way he intended. Trust is not built on consistent practice, at home or at church, though it can help. Trust is built on the much tougher practice of grace, forgiveness, and understanding. Our unity does not come with this kind of uniformity, as desirous as it may be. Our unity remains this: one Lord, one faith, one Baptism … one God and Father of us all. Better targets as workers of disharmony in the LCMS, in my view, would be our continuing flirtation with American evangelicalism, American consumerism, and American exceptionalism.
Dr. Tom Wolbrecht
Trust will come when we respect the integrity of fellow pastors and congregations and honor Article 7 of Synod’s Constitution, that Synod is advisory, and the local congregation, which is autonomous, may practice what best suits its situation and setting, faithful to the Lutheran Confessions, in the service of the Gospel. If we all have to be in lockstep and do things the same way before we can trust one another, it’s not going to happen. People who have differences, and different practices, certainly can trust one another. It happens in families, in communities, and it can happen in the Church. When it comes to the best practices, one size doesn’t fit it all. Diversity is healthy and dynamic under the cross, especially when in the service of being and sharing the Gospel.
Rev. Ty Miles
Zion Lutheran Church
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