Sunday, March 16, 2008

One flock, one shepherd, many sheep

It's difficult to keep track of the battles ongoing among Lutherans--never mind all the other Christians. And don't think for a moment just because they give allegiance to one church, that Roman Catholics don't have great diversity among their parishes and orders. I may never live long enough to understand how we are all Christians.

The other day I was reading an advice column from WELS--Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. A woman, who apparently attends an ELCA congregation (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) somewhat reluctantly, was asking if it was proper to once a year attend a Mennonite service out of respect and in memory of her dear saintly mother, who was a Mennonite. Her concern was apparently worship participation with those Christians who were not confessional Lutherans. The e-pastor gently but firmly chided her for worrying about 1/365 of the year, when the 364 other days she was subjecting her mind and spirit to the teachings of the ELCA!

Then today I came across the webpage of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, which is even more exclusionary than WELS. It will not fellowship with a number of Lutheran bodies because of "unionism," which is not labor unions, but churches which keep their own polity, adhere to the Lutheran confessions, but cooperate with each other in some form. Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) from which the CLC evolved in the 1930s is beyond the pale because although they don't ordain women, women are allowed a voice in the church by voting, and LCMS fellowships with WELS in some areas, which taints WELS, for CLC.

At the other end of the spectrum, I looked at a webpage of an ELCA pastor who attended our congregation when he was in seminary here in Columbus--don't remember the year, but probably late 80s. They were a wonderful family and contributed so much to our small group Bible study which they joined. Both husband and wife were gifted Bible teachers--although his English was better (both foreign born). The seminary in Columbus is very liberal, but he was able to get by with his strong Biblical views because they needed minority students. Looking at the various things he's involved in, he seems to now be a gay pastor supporting the marriage of gays, lesbians and transgendered. The web page of his church and the organizations where I found his photo and name do not seem Biblical to me. So at that end of Lutheranism, I would seem as narrow as the CLC decrying women being allowed to vote as unbiblical.

Fortunately, Jesus will sort this all out when he returns.

No comments: