Monday, June 23, 2008

Swimming the Thames? Or the Jordan?

For context, you may look at,23599,23906579-23109,00.html for the article on the meeting of Conservative Anglicans in Jerusalem as they consider breaking from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

People will always leave Lutheranism. It's a hard row to hoe. We focus on grace being free - and yet also have an incredibly harsh view of the commandments and teach a strong moralism. Our pastors are placed out on an island with Scripture and the Confessions - and the hope that there isn't anyone who wants to torpedo them. And it is tiring to be Lutheran - and some people will always become fed up - and some will always leave.

So here is the question I have. How come we don't hear about many folks becoming Anglican? I suppose there are some Lutherans who head that way - but most often it is a matter of swimming the Tiber to Rome or swimming the Bosphorous to the East. And yet, you might think that English speaking Lutherans might jump to Anglicanism.

Of course, in the US, the Episcopalians are rather liberal. . . but perhaps in the future will we see people swimming. . . well, not quite the Thames but maybe the Jordan - or maybe the Niger river. If there is a split in the Anglican communion and there is a conservative, scriptural focused Anglican communion - might that be a place where some disgruntled Lutherans go?

This is the thought I have been pondering (not because I am thinking about leaving - simply because I've been watching people who have). It would be an easy, friendly place to go. There is definitely a Lutheran connection there. Plus, you would have all the nice bishop based support that a lot of folks crave after some hard years in the parish. And if there is a split, the Conservative Anglican group would be seeking to grow in America - and if you use the common service, it wouldn't be a big jump over.


This all assumes one simple thing. It's better anywhere else. While you might have support, while you might have a fine structure - in the moment it is still you and the Word before the council. Don't worry about how you will handle - fear not those who can kill the body - and don't worry whom God will use to pick up the pieces.

Everywhere is messed up. Always has been. Old and New Testament. Jerusalem is the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. The New Testament is full of Martyrs, and exile for the faithful, and banishment. Athanasius and Chysostom are both exiled, Augustine is in a backwater - Patrick and Columba, oigh. The Church on earth is always messed up - open up an Epistle and see if there is any golden age - and there isn't.

There is no river to swim to a perfect land - and there's no confession better than the Concordia. It's always nice to remember that.


Pastor D said...

The grass is always "greener" but you still have to mow it. Here's a new idea...embrace who you are!

There are only four things needed...Be faithful to the Savior, faithful to the Word and confessions, love the people, and don't be stupid!

Blessings on your week!

Rev. Gregory W. Brown said...

Are you saying that we Lutherans teach moralism?

Anonymous said...

I know of a couple that has discussed the possibility of returning to the wife's childhood church - an Episcopal one - from their current LCMS one. The priest at the Episcopal church is fantastic and passionate about his Calling, the Episcopal congregation is loving and welcoming. The Episcopal church is growing and bringing in young, active families. The current LCMS church - notsomuch. So what's this couple's hang up? The fact that the Episcopal church, as a whole, has wishy-washy doctrine. No matter THIS particular Episcpal church's beliefs, teachings, or practices, the couple can't get past the division and room for interpretation that the rest of the Episcopalian denomination allows.
Now - if this church were to become an Anglican church....

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

We don't teach moralism - but we have a strong sense of what is moral - we teach stern law.

Thursday's Child said...

I love being a Lutheran and have no desire to be anything else. However, when you live without Lutheran churches and you want Christian fellowship you look at what's available.

In Kuwait we belong to an Anglican church. I love it! Not because it's Anglican but because the priest is terrific, we have members from every continent on the planet, and it feels like home to someone who loves the liturgy.

(Here in Lebanon we're going to attend a completely different kind of church. Let's just say my 4 year-olds find it "entertaining". There's a lot of hand-waving and hallelujahs. I enjoyed it and even got used to having someone translate in my ear. Then I came home and read your sermon for today. :) )

No matter what church I may find myself attending to worship God, I'll always want my good Lutheran teaching and will find a way to get it.