Wednesday, July 19, 2017

An "Error" or Obscuring Christ?

We LCMS Lutherans are known for our focus upon pure doctrine.  It's often considered our thing - that we want all our ducks to be in a row.  We know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, a little bit of error ruins the whole thing!


I ask this not to denigrate pure doctrine or anything like that.  Rather, I wonder if we remember and *why* we fight for pure doctrine and what the limits of what we will fight over are.

It's not merely a desire to be right.
It's not a desire to do what is best.
It's not just a desire to separate ourselves from "them".

At least it shouldn't be.  Error isn't to be tolerated if and when it obscures Christ.  Specifically, when there is a teaching that obscures Christ Crucified for you, a sinner - then we must oppose it.  Anything that undercuts the teaching of the Gospel is opposed and shown to undercut the Gospel.

This is also why we admit that there is plenty of adiaphora - things that are indifferent - that are tangential to the message of the Gospel.  They might be wise or foolish - but we can let them be because they do not necessarily obscure Christ.

Of course, the exception to that is when someone insists that you *must* do a specific adiaphora to be a Christian, because by making something a requirement of salvation or a condition of being in the Church, you are in fact obscuring Christ.

So then - as we are now in the age where on social media platforms we will quickly point out every quibble we have with anything anyone else is doing, here is what I would suggest.  Instead of just saying, "This is wrong - I don't like this!" perhaps we ought to consider this question: Does what they say obscure Christ?

Does what this person over there teach obscure, cloud, get in the way of the Gospel?  Does it take the pure sweetness of Christ Crucified for sinners and add some man-made vinegar of our own desires or wants or whims into the message?

What does it say about Jesus?  And more to the point, what does it say WRONG about Jesus?

Don't just give me an argument about how something bad, or it will lead to this, or everything is terrible - tell me how it undercuts the Gospel.  Then I will know that it actually is a true error and not just something you happen to not like.

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