In the last few years, our family has been attending a Lutheran Church. My wife and I like many things about the church, but there are times that I just want to scream. Last night was one of those times.
Before getting into the details of my complaint, let me preface a few things. Within the Protestant churches that take the Bible as the Word of God, there are two traditions that are polar opposites when it comes to doctrine and worship.
On the one hand are folks like the Baptists and Presbyterians. While you won’t often see these two groups lumped together, they do have one thing in common; namely, expository preaching. They vary widely on doctrine but during the sermon, neither group is afraid to take a deep dive into their understanding of the Bible. In their worship, the sermon is the focal point of the worship and Communion is like the cherry on top or caboose of the train, nice but not necessary.
On the other hand are folks like the Anglicans and Lutherans. Their focus in worship is very different. Anglican and Lutheran sermons are shallow by comparison and rarely expository in nature. In these churches, the deep dive into theology is outside of worship, usually Sunday school or small group Bible study. In their services, Communion is the focus of worship and the sermon is typically a meditation on a passage of Scripture appointed to be read on that Sunday. In the Anglican world, depending on the Lectionary, the Scripture reading many have been selected for that Sunday several hundred years ago.
In a typical Anglican or Lutheran service, you will get a 12 to 20 minute sermon whereas the Baptist or Presbyterian sermon will be 30 to 50 minutes. Anglicans and Lutherans practice frequent, often weekly, Communion. Again, the former group tends to be much more focused on the individual and less on the corporate body while the latter group is the opposite. During their sermons, Baptists and Presbyterians expose everyone to the more difficult theological issues while in Anglican and Lutheran circles, individuals desiring more need to seek it outside of the weekly service. The difference is that some folks are stuck in the shallow end of the pool and the Baptist and Presbyterian folks expect everyone to swim. The irony in my experience is that the most scholarly people are the Anglicans. Their command of Church history and doctrine is better than any other group, you just don’t get that from their sermons because of the difference in focus.
Last Night’s Gathering
Twice a month, the men of the church which I attend, meet at a local watering hole to discuss some aspect of the faith. Since the Reformation started in Germany, beer is often associated with church gatherings. Trust me, Martin Luther was a big fan of beer. As a recovering Baptist, beer is something I can only tolerate in very small doses.
Anyway, last night was such a gathering. In attendance were a cross-section of men from the Lutheran church and perhaps a visitor or two as well. It started with one of the pastors talking about reconciliation especially as it concerns forgiveness and reconciliation to our fellow man. As we talked, people brought up relationships between husbands and wives and parents and children. A comment was made that single folks can’t really appreciate the depth of love that a parent has for a child. One guy said that he didn’t realize what this was like until he because a father. At this point in the conversation, a young, single man made a comment that sounded right out of the OAC camp. He said that he can’t imagine bringing a child into this world because of all the acrimony in our society and then invoked climate change and overpopulation as reasons not to be a parent.
Folks, I about hurled my meager dinner when I heard him say this. I was literally seated next to this guy and stunned. (I whispered to him that global warming was nonsense but I don’t think others heard me.) Instead of disagreeing with his comment, another guy chimed-in about larger families in the past and another about people in poor countries having larger families. A third comment was about the Bible not addressing what our lives and families are like today because it was written for an agricultural society. A fourth guy said that sometimes other people have large families for religious reasons—the way he said it implied that the people who believe this were not present at this table. I waited for the pastor to jump in but he never forthrightly corrected the comments.
I had many things rush thru my mind but knew that if these guys agreed with the first comment, then they were incapable of understanding what I was thinking. It was clear that many at this gathering were comfortable in the shallow end of the theological pool. It occurred to me that I had to say something brief because a multitude of words would be casting pearls. I pointed out that our faith is based on having many children. Thankfully, I had a few others agree with me.
Folks, I’m really angry and alarmed about the extent to which people in the Church have been deceived by the lies propagated by our culture. No wonder we aren’t salt and light to our world. When we don’t know what the Bible says about families, and worse yet, don’t think it speaks to the nonsense that passes for knowledge these days!!! Lord have mercy.
This is the second time this week that I’ve crossed paths with supposedly Christian people that are embracing this environmental wacko crap without realizing that they are following a false religion that is the antithesis of Biblical Christianity.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were both shocked that a different pastor that we know prayed during the service for God to put out the forest fires in the Amazon—again more environmental hysteria which was nothing but propaganda.
Folks, the modern environmental movement is easy to understand. Here is the logic.
- There is a crisis
- The crisis is too big for you to solve
- The only one big enough to impact the crisis is government
- Therefore you need to yield more control of your life to government because only it can save you.
The environmental movement is really that simple.
The Bible has the answers to real environmental issues. In part, it begins with a principle that is so simple you should have learned this as a child but again, common sense these days is uncommon. In essence, if you make a mess, clean it up. Don’t throw your trash over your neighbor’s fence and call it good, clean up your own mess.
Case in point is China. 30 percent of the plastic pollution in the ocean is from China. If you don’t like the garbage patch in the Pacific, evangelize China and most of the problem will go away. In addition, the United States needs to quit sending our trash to China because we don’t want it in our landfills, we need to deal with our own refuse, not dump it in our neighbor’s back yard.
Lastly, the Church needs to counter false doctrines and teachings instead of allowing them to be accepted by her congregations because her leaders are silent. God is in control of the creation and we are to exercise dominion over the creation. He’s told us what to do. We are to bring every thought into captivity and weigh everything on the basis of His Word.
Some of men from last night’s gathering have clearly never received proper biblical instruction. Christianity is a way of living not just something you do for an hour on Sunday mornings. Our faith must be applied to every area of our lives, our families, and our communities. Jesus is Lord of all; now, not at some distant date in the future. Until we start living that way, we will be blown about by every wind of doctrine no matter how ridiculous; including the myth of climate change.