Having a Lutheran identity is a great thing. Really, it is. I am completely proud of being Lutheran -- but what is that? What does it mean to be "Lutheran"?
I ask the question, because so often the word will be bandied about on the internet - we will see that this or that is the "Lutheran Way" to do something, approach something - whatever. And you know what - half the time, I can't recognize it. Actually, more than half.
So, what makes something Lutheran? What makes an approach Lutheran? Well, I would point here to our confirmation for a start - do you confess the teachings of the evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from the Scriptures, as you have learned them from the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true.
See - two spots. The Scriptures and the Catechism (and you can expand this out to the other confessions). To be Lutheran, it must be an argument based upon Scripture -- and an argument from Scripture in line with the Catechism (in other words if I misread Scripture to argue that Jesus isn't God, that's just out of bounds).
So, riddle me this. Why when people discuss the "Lutheran" way... do their arguments so often start neither from the Scriptures nor the Confessions? Why do they so often seem to be derived more along the lines of:
A. I am a Lutheran.
B. I, in my wisdom and observation of the world, think this approach is good.
C. Therefore, this is now the LUTHERAN way.
More Lutheran than Lutheran. And yet, utterly not Lutheran at all.
Sasse is right - to be Lutheran is to speak where the Scriptures speak and to be silent where the Scriptures are silent - for as Lord has warned through Jeremiah:
I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds. (Jeremiah 23:21-22)
If they are not preaching the Word, if they are giving the visions of thoughts of their own heart, their own wisdom -- it's not Lutheran, no matter how "Lutheran" the person talking is.