Monday, June 06, 2005

A Bishop Prepares His Synod for Disaster by Calling It "Pruning"

"Our Lutheran identity is a crucial antidote to the moralistic,
therapeutic, biblically literalistic religious culture in which we are
embedded. We Lutherans do things differently and (if I may say)
better. But we have not had the courage of our convictions. In our
difficult discussions about human sexuality and the roles of gay and
lesbian persons in our church, we have too often thought, behaved and decided as if the Bible were a 'paper Pope.' For us Lutherans this is
not what sola scriptura means! And this points to the fact that we
have not effectively preached and taught the distinctives of our
Lutheran heritage: evangelical freedom, justification by grace, law
and gospel, the two kingdoms doctrine, that our Lord Jesus Christ is
living and present in our lives and churches, not lifelessly entombed
in the pages of a book, even a book like the Bible. I am convinced
that if we are true to our heritage, the Holy Spirit will prune our
branches, perhaps even growing smaller statistically in order to grow
more powerfully spiritually. For our stock in trade is not self-help,
pop-psychology nor moral certitude. It is, instead, the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the power and the wisdom of God. This is the source
of our life, our love and our faith. How can we become comfortable
with our Lutheran distinctiveness? So comfortable that we can give
ourselves permission to grow smaller because of our distinctiveness
and yet comfortable enough to invite others, with us, to taste and see
that the Lord is good?"

Sounds good. Can't wait.

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The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...