top of page

Three Confessional Lutheran Perspective on Bridging Divides

I pray for unity in the LCMS. 





I pray for brotherly charity between pastors and lay leaders in diverse contexts, united around our common Lutheran Confessions grounded in the confession, “Jesus is Lord!”


I pray for the spirit of division, fueled by the god of this age, to give way to the tidal wave of love given by the Word and Holy Spirit for you in the Sacraments. 


I pray for the LCMS to hold our teachings with an open hand to bring unity to the One, Holy, Christian, and Apostolic Church on Earth and in heaven. 


I pray for what happened at the recent Doxology retreat with Reformed theologian Dr. Carl Trueman to occur in many settings. Here is a summary of his blog. 


Dr. Trueman prays for confessional Protestants (Lutherans and Reformed), despite our sacramental differences, to unite around an “ethos that binds,” especially in light of the Catholic divisions and evangelicals “tearing themselves apart over attitudes to the current political malaise that has enveloped American public life.”


Uh, yeah. Confessing Christianity’s role, especially in America in 2024, should look and sound different. Our Lutheran theology can guide the way.


Here are the three points of Lutheran doctrine Trueman believes should be highlighted in these divisive days. 


  • We focus the Christian mind upon “the great truths of the Christian faith.” 


We stick to the story of Scripture, especially highlighting the story of Jesus Christ. This is the power of the church calendar. 

We tell the Christian story in our weekly liturgy (whether traditional or modern). 


We are grounded in our confessional documents. We’re not “making this stuff up.” We preach the full counsel of God found in Holy Scripture and ratified by our Lutheran Confessions. We’re tethered to something bigger, grander, above, Holy. 


We go about our mission of bringing the Gospel to the world through Word and Sacrament. This is one of our gifts to the wider Christian church. 


Trueman emphasized another attribute.    


  • The Lutheran distinction of the two kingdoms (echoing Augustine).


This is especially necessary in 2024. The left-hand kingdom (government) is given to us by God. We pray for good government, fair elections, voting citizens, and good governmental leaders. 


The right-hand kingdom is the kingdom of God’s grace in Christ. God rules over both kingdoms, but He wants to continually remind us His “kingdom is not of this world.” Presidents, parties, and politicians cannot save you. Only God can and will. How? His written, spoken and heard Word penetrates the heart to convict us of sin and point us to our profound need for a Savior. 


King Jesus is our hope. He is coming to make all things new. Do not put your trust in anyone or anything else. 


The wider evangelical church needs confessing Lutherans to continually remind them, in love, of this profound biblical truth. 


Finally, Trueman gives his last Lutheran characteristic that he prays we live into. 


  • The theology of the cross. 



I’ll admit. I was surprised and delighted to see Trueman highlight this teaching. 


Yes–the power of God is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12). 


Yes–the cross is foolish to those who are perishing, but to us who believe it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18). “The faithful finds his strength in weakness.” 


Yes–we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope, which does not disappoint (Romans 5:1). 


Life is suffering in two dimensions, according to Trueman. 


  • Personal: Life will include suffering due to sin, which leads to death. We need the risen Jesus. 


  • Corporate: The Church should expect suffering and marginalization. The world has and always will be, in some sense, hostile to the upside-down Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is counterintuitive. Joy in suffering? Gain in loss? It sounds ridiculous. 


Yet, it is the way of our Jesus. 

It is the way of the Christian. 

It is the way of the cross. 


I could list other “gifts” of confessional Lutheranism to the wider church. I would probably highlight our Law/Gospel distinctive, the teaching of the two kinds of righteousness. I could go on. 


Yet, this blog by Trueman highlighted the fact that the wider church is watching to see how well we live out our teachings. How well do we cling to the truth of God’s Word, mirroring the truth that first clings to us in Christ? 


This reading left me curious to think: If we’ve humbly sought out the teachings of Catholics through Charismatics, not looking to compromise our teaching but humbly observing, what could we discover from their faith expressions? 


We might just learn something.


I pray for confessing Lutherans to play a role in uniting the bride of Christ to Himself with a spirit of humility.


I pray you share that prayer.



 



146 views2 comments
bottom of page