Among the “joys” of being a Lutheran pastor are those moments (which happen with greater and greater frequency) when others who share the title of Lutheran pastor try to goad you into repenting of Lutheran doctrine.

After a long and protracted discussion last night, it has become my task to defend my (read: Lutheran) stance on the Office of the Holy Ministry and celebration of the Lord’s Supper with special emphasis on why I (read: Lutherans) do not agree that lay persons, certified as deacons or not, ought not to preside over the celebration of the sacrament. Citing the Lutheran Confessions is not acceptable, and it’s been made clear to me that the applicable Scripture passages are open to debate as well.

I seriously want to take that job at Wal-Mart right about now.

There are days when I simply want to slip out the back door and never return. I will never understand how the thinking works. Pastors in the Lutheran church who denegrate and disagree with Lutheran doctrine, practice, and identity make as much sense as pacifist soldiers, fatalist suicide counselors, or overeating weight-loss specialists. If you don’t believe what you say you’re about, find something else!

It’s not like there aren’t a million and one denominations within the milieu of American Christianity. Do like everyone else does: find the one that lines up with your own personal faith and join it. You’re obviously not willing to be shaped by the external Word of God. You want to keep tweaking it to meet with your approval, to fit your private understanding of God and self. There may be places for that, but the Lutheran Church is not that place.

Understand, I have all kinds of room and tolerance for the asking of appropriate questions and the seeking of their answers. But I have no patience with browbeating and argumentation for the sake of a more enlightened read on Scripture that dismisses the Lutheran Confessions as a nice bit of history, when such browbeating and arguing comes from those who have publicly confessed these as their confession. That simply indicates a lack of honesty, integrity, and class.


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