Friday, May 28, 2010

Toward true confessional Lutheran unity in the WELS

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor. 1:10).

We enjoy an uncommon unity in the WELS, a unity around the Word of God, and around the Lutheran Confessions as faithful witnesses to the Word of God. But as the Word of God forewarned and the experience of the Church has proven, a unity assumed is a unity in jeopardy.

Many of us see our common enemy, the devil, threatening our unity as a synod, mainly through the backdoor of our practice. We sing and preach about unity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that there lurks among us a spirit of disunity. It is certainly not everywhere; but it is there. Let us acknowledge where the devil is mounting his assault so that, by God’s power and might, we may defeat him: worship practices that are inconsistent with confessional Lutheran theology; Church Growth theology and methodology; paying lip service to the Means of Grace while mimicking the practices of the churches that deny the efficacy of the Means of Grace; forfeiting our confessional Lutheran identity, either by neglect or by choice.

Many would like to simply agree to disagree on these matters rather than disturb the Church over them. That would be understandable if the issues revolved around personal preference. But the issues are theological, not personal. True spiritual unity is not preserved by ignoring theology.

What we are advocating is an open theological discussion with solid theological conclusions. If we are misunderstanding one another, let us make things clear. If arguments have been built upon logical fallacies, let them be exposed. If any have strayed from confessional Lutheran doctrine or practice, let them take note and return.

For our part, we have made a small beginning at such a discussion by creating this blog where we will be posting articles that promote and encourage confessional Lutheranism. If you agree with the principles we have stated, we ask you to stand with us and be counted among us. Contribute what you can to the discussion. If you disagree with any of the principles we state, we invite you to engage openly in the debate.

What we ask you not to do, dear brother, is absent yourself from the discussion as if there were nothing to discuss, as if it didn’t apply to you, as if you could close your eyes and shut your ears and pretend you have no responsibility to defend the synod you call your home from the devil’s divisive schemes.

This is only a beginning, a first step (not to imply that we are the first or the best to speak about these issues). What we seek is unity – true confessional Lutheran unity within the WELS, a goal that only the Holy Spirit can bring about. Stand with us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Orange canons shoot down prayer as a Means of Grace

I believe it can be seen clearly how far from historic Christianity some are, when they seem to rely on feelings, emotions, and even prayer as a means by which to bring lost souls into the Kingdom of Christ. Note Canons 3 & 4 of the Council of Orange (A.D. 529)

"CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13)."

Thus, worship services that are intended to "lift spirits," "be exciting and entertaining," and so forth, are simply creating fertile ground for heresy.

Fr. Spence

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stand With Us

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you” (Phil. 1:27-28a).

United in agreement under the Lutheran Book of Concord of 1580, and fully confident in this confession, we Lutherans stand, without fear, to face the issues which threaten our unity. We stand publicly. We stand, as members of WELS, in our own name. We stand to address divisive issues, and contend for the truth of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. And we invite you, dear brother, to stand with us.

In what do we invite you to join “with intrepid heart, willing to appear before the judgment seat of Christ?” To what do we ask you, with great consent, to subscribe your name? To the Biblical and Confessional contents of What We Believe. We are not asking you to subscribe to the contents of every post and comment that will appear on this blog.

Who is included in your consent and subscription? Only you. Not your family. Not your congregation. Not your calling body. By subscribing you only represent yourself, as an individual member of the WELS, and in no way represent any other individual or group of individuals.

What do we require of you, to seal your subscription? Your name, title, city and state of residence, and an email address at which we can contact you in an effort to verify your identity. Only your name, title, city and state will be added to the public list of subscribers.

Are you an Intrepid Lutheran? Then join us, and stand with us, for true confessional Lutheran unity in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Stand With Us

Contact Us

Greetings, Dear Visitor!

Do you have a desire contact us? You may do so at the link, below. Your comment will be delivered to us, but will not be posted publicly. We would ask, however, that you please restrict such communication via this utility to issues, questions or concerns outside of those being directly and publicly addressed in current blog articles. If you do have a comment, question, or concern relating to such issues, we invite you to engage the discussion publicly within the comment section of those respective blog posts.

Otherwise, please feel free to contact us with your general comments, questions and concerns, or with helpful information, by including your full name and email address, and we will contact you directly via email if appropriate. We will not respond to anonymous communication requests or consider communication that does not include a means of verifying your identity and of returning communication via email.

Intrepid Lutherans

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License