Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mission vs. Doctrine?

One of the false distinctions people will make is between mission and doctrine. Some will say that if you focus too much on doctrine, you cut mission, because really mission is just getting the Word about Jesus out there. However, does not the doctrine of the Lutheran Church teach about Christ? Our position on the Lord's Supper teaches about Christ (in fact, if you understand the Real Presence, you understand Christology). Our position on Baptism teaches Christ. Closed Communion teaches about the unique relationship of Christ and His Church. These things all teach Christ.

And we as Lutherans above all should know that doctrines teach about Christ. The great example of this is the Catechism - we always are asking the question "what does this mean?" We move into doctrine so that we can learn and grow. To say that doctrine harms mission is the tantamount to looking at the Catechism and saying, "How dare you teach the meanings to the Commandments, they are just getting in the way. Just teach the Commandments." That's precisely what the meanings do.

Likewise, the doctrines of the Church teach us about and show us who Christ is and how He does things. How people fail to see the connection is beyond me. You cannot proclaim Christ if you are ashamed or embarrassed of the doctrines that are Christ's and teach Christ.

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