Thursday, April 10, 2008

Acting Confessional vs. Sounding Confessional

Of the distinctions that I think it is important for the Confessional Pastor to bear in mind, this is one that is sort of the hardest to pin down precisely. As Lutherans, especially Confessional Lutherans, we are used to thinking in terms of speaking - we confess, we speak. That is fine and good. However, there is more to being a confessional Lutheran than just words.

Our Confessions contain the true exposition of Christian Doctrine. We also speak truly about Good Works in those confessions. As such, we should remember that we ourselves ought to strive to act properly and in accordance with God's Word. To be a Confessional Lutheran doesn't mean that you just speak things that are right, but you demonstrate that love in your actions.

Too often we will hide behind our confession - well, sure, he shouldn't do that, but he's solid doctrinally. We will use the fact that someone sounds nice to excuse poor behavior, or bullheadedness, or even as a shield to be a bully. And this is folly of the highest magnitude! Why?

If you don't like a person, you don't listen to them. It doesn't matter if they are right, you write them off. This is problematic for Confessional Lutherans, because your actions can reflect negatively on the Confessions. Now, this isn't a call to be suddenly touchy feelie, or that you need to sing Kum-by-ya with folks - but rather this. You need to act like a decent human being and treat others with respect. You know, that whole love your neighbor, not just in word but in deed.

Knowing the Confessions, knowing solid Doctrine is not carte blanch to be a jerk. We would do well to remember that sometimes.

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