Critical reviews (by Lutheran pastors and church musicians) of books and other resources for Christian worship, preaching, and church music from a perspective rooted in Holy Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions and good common sense. LHP Quarterly Book Review asks, "Is it worth the money to buy, the time to read, the shelf space to store, and the effort to teach?"
Feed: Confessional Gadfly Posted on: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:25 AM Author: Rev. Eric J Brown Subject: Listen to the Converts
First, let me address two realities here:
1. Lutherans will never live in isolation. We will always be surrounded by culture, by other theologies, and these will impact us - and in many ways we will want them to impact us, we will want to emulate them. 2. The Law of Unintended Consequences applies to things theological. Even though you see something that X does well, if you just try to adopt it, while you might have the result you want, there will always be unintended consequences.
So, what does this mean? We can be very frustrated with the state of the Church, with the state of the people there in. And, instead of simply seeking to preach the Word of God faithfully, of applying Law and Gospel to the people in our care, we can be tempted to "fix" things - and we can see what other denominations do, and want to adopt their practices and adapt them to Lutheranism.
This happens with adopting Evangelical worship styles (or even high liturgical styles), or with trying to engage social issues and make good Christians like the Evangelicals, or to express more freedom like the mainline folks - adopting a new polity (because having bishops would fix things, or going even more congregational).
Before you go with your scheme to fix the Church, pause, and do something very simple.
Talk to a convert from that religion you want Lutheranism to look more like and see what they think of your plans.
Seriously - you want to have happy, awesome worship - talk to a convert (and not an "Well, my wife was Lutheran so I had to come here" convert, but a legit person who has for simple reasons of faith converted) and see what they think. And then, you may see the unintended consequences of the changes you want to make.
I am told of what one of my dear widow's husband used to say when he was alive (before my time). He would routinely lambaste people when tomfoolery was suggested, saying, "You Lutherans don't know what you have." Listen to the people who know what you have - lest you exchange the Baby for your neighbors bathwater which you happen to think is cleaner than yours.