For those who have been reading this blog, you may have noticed a trend. That I am writing through a Lutheran lens. Confessional Lutheranism is fairly new to me. I have been doing a lot of reading and listening to various podcasts within Lutheran circles over the past 5 months or so. I have been reading through Luther's Small Catechism, the Book of Concord (the Lutheran confessions), The Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel by CFW Walther, On Being a Theologian of the Cross by Gerhard Forde, and various confessional Lutheran blogs. The podcasts I have been listening to are The God Whisperers (Pastors Bill Cwirla and Craig Donofrio), Issues, Etc. (Todd Wilken), and Fighting For The Faith (Chris Rosebrough). All are really good resources.
Me and my family have been attending an LCMS church (Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod), Our Savior Lutheran near downtown Raleigh, over the past couple of months. My wife and I are really enjoying it! There is a huge difference in what we are experiencing in a Lutheran service compared to the other types of church services we have attended throughout our lives up until now. We have lived in evangelicalism pretty much all our lives. There is certainly a culture shock, but so far, we have really enjoyed this change. This change has been great.
There’s nothing more special, in my estimation, than God’s grace and mercy through Christ. Although I don’t deserve it, God has called me to faith by the Holy Spirit and calls me His beloved child! It’s such a comfort to me that although I am a sinner, in God’s eyes I am also a saint at the same time, because of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross. The Lutheran emphasis on Word and Sacrament is powerful; daily my sins are forgiven and I am renewed. Through God’s Word and Sacraments I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to live as one of God’s children.
Two of the things I have discovered about the confessional Lutheran church that I love are:
1) The ancient Christian liturgy, free from emotionalism, sentimentality, and sappiness. Pop-evangelicalism is saturated with this stuff. The sole purpose in many evangelical churches is to engage in one's subjective feelings and to scratch itching ears, so to speak.
2) The emphasis on Christ's death and resurrection. How He has done it all. I am completely hopeless on my own in regards to my salvation AND sanctification. If I could do any of it on my own, the cross was pointless and was a fool's errand. The Good News: It wasn't a fool's errand.
For those who read this blog, this Lutheran talk may sound completely strange. But for me, it has truly been life giving. That is not to say that now that I feeling I becoming Lutheran, that all others have it wrong. Lutherans rule, Baptists drool. Nothing like that at all. It is in Christ that life is found. Not Luther. But I have found that confessional Lutheranism speaks to Christ and His work much more than any other evangelical church I have been a part of.
If anyone, who after reading any my meager writing, wants to know about Lutheranism, I have ordered two copies of a recently published book entitled Lutheranism 101. One is for me to read and keep for reference. But I bought a second one to hand out. If anyone is interested at all, please leave a comment on this post. I will pick randomly from anyone who posts with a question or comment regarding Lutheranism. This is a weak attempt at trying to get a civil dialogue regarding Lutheranism, modern evangelicalism, and theology, in general. I will make a decision regarding the winner of the book by this Sunday (October 9, 2010). If anyone else is interested in this book, follow the link above. Concordia Publishing currently has it on sale for $14.99 through October 31, 2010. I have not read the book yet. I am waiting for its delivery. But every review I have read makes it out to be a good resource and reference for Lutheran history and theology.
Please feel free to comment on this post or any others I have written earlier.