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128 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think I can use the death of Billy Graham to shed light on the Lutheran view against unionism.

    Contrary to what Michael may be seeing on his social media about BG going to hell, I have seen at least 50 well wishes posts from Lutheran individuals and organizations – all praising his life and his works – and if I may say this is how we feel about all fellow Christians.
    However, he would still be considered a Christian brother in error – and different Christian brothers have different errors so I do not need to list them.

    So, Billy Graham, great man, great Christian who we all should applaud – but we cannot share in the area of public worship. BG would not be invited into a Lutheran pulpit or to a Lutheran altar and (and here I am guessing because I obviously do not know decisions individual pastors have made) – Lutherans would not participate in a Crusade event – again, all for the sake of the differences.

    It is all fair and good – we can wish well, respect his work etc and outside of public worship we could come together. I am sure BG could speak at some type of Lutheran conference group as an invited guest.

    Hank Hannegraff and Scott Klusendorf are speakingt this summer at the Issues etc Making the Case Conference and neither is Lutheran.

    I hope that helps 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    I find the doctrine utterly loathsome.
    It assumes that Lutheranism is the last word on doctrine and practice and focuses on what separates the Body instead of what unites it.
    It freezes the revelation of God in time and denigrates the rest of Christendom.
    “Brothers in error”… right…

    I could not in Christian conscience affirm it in any way.

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    or, perhaps it is to keep you from soiling yourself around our false doctrines and practices. 😉

    As I have said many times in the past (and I will use a reference you can appreciate) what if we called for a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins – and each showed up to play their game – the Vikes in helmets and pads and the Twins with bat, ball and gloves. How is a game to take place — but this is what you would try to force in public worship.

  4. Michael says:


    Here’s the difference.
    We’re playing the same game.

    I have no problem with most Lutheran doctrine or practice.
    I may not agree with it, but I wouldn’t even call it error.
    I’d call it a different and wholly acceptable way of orthodox Christian expression.

    You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But you are telling me my doctrine is wrong.

  6. Michael says:


    I can’t even express how wrong I think that doctrine is.
    I don’t think there’s any way it can be biblically defended.

    However, I think the bulk of Lutheran doctrine is wholly orthodox…and no one is compelling me to be a Lutheran.

    If a stray Lutheran showed up at my church I’d still commune them with joy if they so desired to receive it.

  7. bob1 says:



    As predictable as rain.

    How can a BG Crusade be construed as “worship,” anyway? Would it be the Cliff
    Barrows-led songs? Geo. Bev Shea croaking out a few hymns? The message
    from BG? What?

    I think these kind of Lutherans are the ones in error here. Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church to be manifest!

    The Lutheran “fighting fundy” spirit.

    Just as sectarian and divisive as the Independent Baptists, “Sword of the Lord,” etc.

    And for what purpose?

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hmm, and here I thought I was being nice calling Billy Graham a fine Christian and pointing out all of the Lutherans that I have seen say the same.
    Because most here do not understand unionism (and you don’t or are participants of it) I tried to explain our “side” – but obviously failed.

    So I will ask this of all and any – does any Christian get your pulpit? Do you participate in any and all crusade or conference events regardless which “brother” it may involve?

    bob1 – “I think these kind of Lutherans are the ones in error here. Jesus prayed for the unity of the Church to be manifest!” – so unite with us Lutherans 😉

  9. bob1 says:

    Oh, so when Jesus said those words, he was referring to conservative Lutherans?

    Thanks for the excellent laugh! Good one, indeed. Made my day. 🙂

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    no, but I guess you don’t value unity as much as you think.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – “How can a BG Crusade be construed as “worship,” anyway?”

    So what do you consider it – a business meeting?

  12. Jean says:

    The 4th Commandment:

    “Honor your father and your mother….”

    In a previous thread, Steve asked about any differences between Luther’s “2 kingdoms” theology and Augustine’s “2 cities theology.” What is sometimes overlooked in Luther’s 2 kingdoms theology is his exposition of the 4th Commandment. It is an integral component, and therefore I am quoting some of it below. (I don’t know how this lines up with Augustine, but perhaps Duane may wish to comment.)

    “To this estate of fatherhood and motherhood God has given the special distinction above all estates that are beneath it that He not simply commands us to love our parents, but to honor them. For with respect to brothers, sisters, and our neighbors in general He commands nothing higher than that we love them, so that He separates and distinguishes father and mother above all other persons upon earth, and places them at His side.” [105]

    “In this commandment belongs a further statement regarding all kinds of obedience to persons in authority who have to command and to govern. For all authority flows and is propagated from the authority of parents. For where a father is unable alone to educate his [rebellious and irritable] child, he employs a schoolmaster to instruct him; if he be too weak, he enlists the aid of his friends and neighbors; if he departs this life, he delegates and confers his authority and government upon others who are appointed for the purpose. Likewise, he must have domestics, man-servants and maid-servants, under himself for the management of the household, so that all whom we call masters are in the place of parents and must derive their power and authority to govern from them.” [141, 142]

    “The same also is to be said of obedience to civil government, which (as we have said) is all embraced in the estate of fatherhood and extends farthest of all relations. For here the father is not one of a single family, but of as many people as he has tenants, citizens, or subjects. For through them, as through our parents, God gives to us food, house and home, protection and security. Therefore, since they bear such name and title with all honor as their highest dignity, it is our duty to honor them and to esteem them great as the dearest treasure and the most precious jewel upon earth.” [150]

    “Thus we have two kinds of fathers presented in this commandment, fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country. Besides these there are yet spiritual fathers; not like those in the Papacy, who have indeed had themselves called thus, but have performed no function of the paternal office. For those only are called spiritual fathers who govern and guide us by the Word of God; as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood [cit. omit.], where he says: In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Now, since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others. But here it is bestowed least; for the way which the world knows for honoring them is to drive them out of the country and to grudge them a piece of bread, and, in short, they must be (as says St. Paul, [cit. omit.]) as the filth of the world and everybody’s refuse and footrag.” [158-160]

    – Luther, Large Catechism

  13. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’ve seen an influential young lady saying the most vile things about Billy Graham on social media. About 3/4 of the 1,000’s of responders are saying she is out of line. The other 1/4 are taking her lead and going a step farther.

    That 1/4 have almost convinced me to completely disengage online.

    This world is not my home…indeed.

  14. Michael says:


    I have to really fight these days against the temptation to completely disengage.
    It’s a cesspool out there…

  15. Jean says:

    Regarding Billy Graham,

    I mourn the loss of a good human being. Regarding his legacy, my thought is that historians will write his biography (but not the week of his death), and we can all read his biography and assess his legacy in the years to come. I disapprove of the rush to judgment on social media.

  16. Michael says:

    “So I will ask this of all and any – does any Christian get your pulpit? Do you participate in any and all crusade or conference events regardless which “brother” it may involve?”

    I would have no problem sharing the pulpit with representatives of any orthodox sect that wasn’t sharing aberrant doctrine.

    I think most crusades and conferences are pointless,but not because they’re ecumenical…i would work with the brethren in the community at a close level, however.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, I tried to say nice things about the dearly departed brother BG.
    I guess Lutherans, the EO and RCC stand alone in limiting pulpit and altar fellowship.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    Negative gets clicks, and its fun to be popular for a while.

    But the tidal wave of negativity we are putting out may have unintended consequences.

  19. bob1 says:

    An evangelistic crusade event is not a pulpit. It’s what it says it is — an evangelistic

  20. Josh the Baptist says:

    I didn’t think you said anything bad MLD, maybe ab awkward occasion to teach Lutheran practice, but whatever.

    I will not even type the things this young lady said.

  21. Jean says:


    I will share with you one of the elements of unionism, which makes it abhorrent to Lutherans. Please don’t turn around what I’m about to say, as though I’m saying that anyone else is either not concerned or is falling in the error. I’m simply stating a Lutheran concern.

    Lutherans are total committed to the proclamation of the Gospel through means of grace. Unionism dilutes and undercuts a core Lutheran teaching.

    We are already targeted by other traditions for “conversion,” and Lutherans in general already are bombarded by other traditions on radio, television and on book shelves. These other traditions, which are prominent in America directly oppose what we teach.

    The last thing any responsible Lutheran pastor would do is expose his flock to a joint worship service with other traditions which oppose the Lutheran understanding of the Gospel and the means of grace. It would give a public inference that either way is salutary, or there are different ways God reaches people, etc. And in our tradition, that just isn’t the case. We are a minority within the Church and stewards of our tradition.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    1.) he does indeed stand at a pulpit
    2.) he does preach the gospel
    3.) there are probably 50 believers to each non believer at any of these events.
    4.) there is prayer
    5.) there is worship music.

    Again, I see the broad gap between us as we cannot even agree what a worship service is.

  23. Jean says:

    In a Lutheran service the climax is the Sacrament of the Altar. The Sacraments and delivery of the Spirit through means are Lutheran essentials. I suspect that most evangelical traditions in the US would want nothing to do with joining a Lutheran service. Let’s be honest about our differences, while praising God for saving any of us.

  24. bob1 says:


    In your tradition, isn’t “Word and Sacrament” at the heart of what makes a gathering a worship service? Prayer and worship music aren’t at the heart of that.

    An evangelistic event features one, though it’s not interchangeable to the Word going forth
    at an evangelistic meeting.

    So my point stands.

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “We are already targeted by other traditions for “conversion,”

    I remember once walking through an airport with a Lutheran friend and one of these born againers came up to make his evangelistic spiel, when I told him we were Lutherans thank you and started to walk away when he said to my buddy “are you sure you are saved?”
    I grabbed the guy, walked him back to the wall, put my face into his and said “don’t you ever make a Christian question his faith” – and we walked away.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – Lutherans have worship services without the sacrament – they are called Matins.

    But your point still stands that you do not think a crusade is a worship service – how about Harvest … they have skateboard competitions – that should qualify as “worship”

  27. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I grabbed the guy, walked him back to the wall, put my face into his and said “don’t you ever make a Christian question his faith” – and we walked away.”

    You’ve made me question my faith like 87 times.

  28. bob1 says:

    I grabbed the guy, walked him back to the wall, put my face into his and said “don’t you ever make a Christian question his faith” – and we walked away.

    Wow, MLD. You’re, like, a Christian hero.

    I worship in a church with a liturgical tradition. I’ve had similar encounters with
    evangelicals. Big deal.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    Coulda just said “yep” and kept walking.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    bob1 – I didn’t make the big deal – you did. I was bragging on BG – you have been making the case that the crusades are like an extension of a business transaction between God and man.

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “You’ve made me question my faith like 87 times.”

    Never, but I have tried to get you to reconsider some variant doctrines. Not once have I said “are you sure you are a Christian?”

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, you really have. I don’t mind because I have assurance in my salvation. But it’s true.

  33. bob1 says:

    You’ve put words in my mouth. I never said anything about a “crusade” being
    a business transaction — that’s what you seemed to accuse me of (#11). I never responded
    because I think that’s quite pejorative and binary. I’ll say it again (sigh) — an evangelistic meeting is an evangelistic meeting.

    And regarding the encounter with the born againner — did it ever occur to you that he was concerned about your friend’s soul? Maybe what he said was misguided, but you don’t know what his motives were.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Motives count for nothing in a bad situation. In the case of the airport evangelist do you think it is ever acceptable to get someone to question their faith?

    This is the problem with these crusades – the biggest response comes from the already saved as they have been made to doubt their faith, so for the fifth time in 5 years they go forward again.
    But this is the legacy of decision theology.

  35. bob1 says:

    “do you think it is ever acceptable to get someone to question their faith?”

    Gosh — did you already forget what Josh the Baptist said (#87)?

    “But this is the legacy of decision theology.”

    What about the legacy of the millions baptized as children but who completely abandon the faith?

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – that’s right – could have just not cared what damage this guy did to Christians.

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    @36 – You’ll have to internalize that if you mean it.

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    and you guys still want to come and worship along side me although we have disagreed on absolutely everything on this page.
    Oh wait – we can’t even agree on what worship is.

    bob1 – “What about the legacy of the millions baptized as children but who completely abandon the faith?” How do you know they have abandoned their faith?

  39. Josh the Baptist says:

    Mostly by their own testimony.

  40. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t want to worship with you, MLD, if that makes you feel better.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh, when you tell someone to internalize something – is that New Age talk?

  42. Josh the Baptist says:

    By New Age, don’t you mean “not saved”?

  43. Jean says:

    And Jesus said:

    “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”

    There is a big difference between the one who is tempted and the one by who the temptation comes.

    Most, if not all, Christians experience crises of faith at one time or another. That is not abnormal. The devil, the world and our flesh conspire against the Spirit.

    But, why would a Christian place himself or a friend in harms way? Why expose someone to a preacher who insists that his way, and not your way, is the best or only way? MLD was loving his neighbor, by confronting a person who would question the faith of a complete stranger who is a self-confessed Christian.

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I just don’t know what internalize means in a Christian sense.

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – it meas that you point a finger and say “Don’t make others doubt their salvation”, but that is basically what you do everyday.

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Why expose someone to a preacher who insists that his way, and not your way, is the best or only way?”

    Again, this sounds like a description of Jean and MLD.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – just because you are insecure, don’t put it on me and try to quash any form of debate. We have discussions here.

    Hey, I think I will leave it at that – I said nice things about BG, I posted about many Lutherans posting nice things about BG – apparently many evangelicals have tremendous issues with BG and his final place in eternity — I can’t do anything about that.

  48. bob1 says:

    apparently many evangelicals have tremendous issues with BG and his final place in eternity

    That’s bullroar. Maybe you don’t think he has a final place in eternity — BG was and
    is beloved by millions of believers.

    A few years ago, a historian and expert on evangelicalism was asked, “How do you
    define an evangelical?”

    He replied, “They like Billy Graham.”

    Pretty well sums it up.

  49. Josh the Baptist says:

    “apparently many evangelicals have tremendous issues with BG and his final place in eternity ”

    I don’t know if they would consider themselves evangelical, but the Pulpit and Pen guys made sure to let it be known where they think BG is right now. Hint: It’s probably hot.

    Ans to answer the rest, I’ll just quote myself:

    “I don’t mind because I have assurance in my salvation. But it’s true.”

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – I don’t read Pulpit and Pen – perhaps you shouldn’t either.

  51. Josh the Baptist says:

    Yeah, it’s the worst.

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    #2 Michael

    “I find the doctrine utterly loathsome.”


    Not only because of what the doctrine states, but also because of the theological premise which undergirds it…

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Calling someone’s doctrine “loathsome” doesn’t sound Anglican as you guys have tried to peddle Anglicanism this past year.
    Sounds like you guys are just as dogmatic as I am – but I like that 🙂

  54. John 20:29 says:

    Long thread and i havent read all the comments yet… G Bev Shea’s “croaking?” I can think of a couple songs ” How Great Thou Art” and “Going Home,” that id rather listen to that man ” croak”. ? than anyone else…
    The table at the wedding supper? Do our Lutherans anticipate a seat at the grown up table with Martin Luther and the Apostles while the rest of us are seated at the kiddie tables in an adjoining room? LOL … All i want is to see my place card – i’ll happily sit wherever
    Now ill go back and read the wiser, erudite Phx peeps here

  55. Michael says:


    It is a strong word and probably one that I should have tempered.
    I do have a strong, negative, almost visceral reaction to it when I read of it here or elsewhere.

    It’s antithetical to my beliefs about the Christian faith…but I probably don’t need to be quite as obvious in my reactions.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em – I think there is only one table.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, “It’s antithetical to my beliefs about the Christian faith..”

    Once again an interesting choice of words. So are you saying we have a different Christian faith – my beliefs about the Christian faith are different from your? (remember, you said our beliefs were antithetical)

    I think I like your thoughts here better than before. 🙂 You are like me – drawing that line.

  58. Jean says:

    When the distinction between law and gospel is lost, the law of love becomes the gospel of love.

  59. Michael says:

    I said it’s antithetical to my beliefs about the faith.

    The faith described in the Bible is familial, based on relationship with God and then with the other children of the same God.

    Christ’s work was grounded in that familial love and desire for unity among the brethren.

    Because of our fallen nature some disagreement and schism is inevitable.

    To encode it as part of a confession is …well…antithetical to the beliefs stated above.

  60. Duane Arnold says:

    “The Ev. Lutheran Church rejects all fraternal and churchly fellowship with those who reject its Confessions in whole or in part . . .The Ev. Lutheran Church has thus all the essential marks of the true visible Church of God on earth as they are found in no other known communion, and therefore it needs no reformation in doctrine.”

    CFW Walther

    I simply find this to be wrong… wrong in posture, wrong in action and wrong in its assertions and claims.

  61. Jean says:


    Did you forget to mention that Walther has no confessional weight whatsoever?

    You are being intentionally less than honest and divisive.

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – I find it good that you bring this up – the full frontal assault on the Lutheran doctrines and confessions – which is fine.
    This is what I have been fighting against this past year is your insistence that as long as we confess the creeds we couldn’t say others were wrong. I guess you have reached the tipping point with the Lutherans – we confess the creeds, but we are loathsome, antithetical and just wrong!
    Now that is moxie.

  63. Duane Arnold says:

    #61 Jean

    Ah, twice president of LCMS… founded, I believe, CTS and still quoted and referenced extensively in LCMS documents… but, no, he did not live at the time the confessions were written.

  64. Michael says:

    “Duane – I find it good that you bring this up – the full frontal assault on the Lutheran doctrines and confessions – which is fine.”

    Strong objections to one part of an large confession is hardly a ‘full frontal assault”…give me a break.

  65. JoelG says:

    I understand the importance of correct teachings and doctrine when it comes the the Gospel. It is important so we don’t despair. I also believe, based on God’s Goodness and Mercy found in the Bible and in my own life, that He just might want to save His Creation regardless of correct doctrine. How one melds these two ideas together, I don’t know.

  66. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel – no one said anyone is not saved. That is a narrative that some here want to keep alive against Lutherans. Go back and read my comments about Billy Graham and the Lutheran reaction.

  67. Michael says:

    “This is what I have been fighting against this past year is your insistence that as long as we confess the creeds we couldn’t say others were wrong. I guess you have reached the tipping point with the Lutherans – we confess the creeds, but we are loathsome, antithetical and just wrong!”

    That is not even close to anything I’ve said.

    I loathe one part of your confession.
    I fully affirm that Lutherans are family…

  68. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I fully affirm that Lutherans are family…

    Have we said anything to the contrary? However, we recognize that we do not invite all family over for Thanksgiving dinner – we send a card.

  69. JoelG says:

    I get it MLD. And I appreciate what you did as you described in your #25. I have no problem now with those who fence off the Table because teachings matter. All I’m trying to ask is how does one maintain “pure doctrine” while acknowledging Christ condescends to all who turn toward Him regardless of “pure doctrine”?

  70. Duane Arnold says:

    No, we are simply considered by LCMS to be heterodox… and, oh yeah, we teach false doctrine as well.

    “The LCMS recognizes all Trinitarian church bodies as Christian churches (in contrast to “cults,” which typically reject the doctrine of the Trinity and thus cannot be recognized as Christian). In fact, a primary “objective” listed in the Synod’s Constitution (Article III) is to “work through its official structure toward fellowship with other Christian church bodies” — which explicitly assumes that these “other church bodies” are “Christian” in nature. That does not lessen the Synod’s concern for the false doctrine taught and confessed by these churches, but it does highlight the Synod’s recognition that wherever the “marks of the church” (the Gospel and Sacraments) are present—even where “mixed” with error—there the Christian church is present. Such a church is a heterodox church, that is, a church that teaches false doctrine.”

    LCMS Official

  71. John 20:29 says:

    I think its been a long winter and some folk here show signs of cabin fever. … ?

    Since its open blog i will share a diversion, a dog story… We have (not my choice) a foster dog found near death from starvation in a field in Calif. It must be confined to a pen, a large, comfortable one and taken out for potty breaks… My daughter came home at 12:30 this morning after putting in a 16 hr. day at the hospital… the poor dog couldnt hold it and had carefully deposited #2, all of it, in her food pan. Only a nurse could laugh at that scene… Anyone need a good dog?

  72. JoelG says:

    “(The LCMS) does highlight the Synod’s recognition that wherever the “marks of the church” (the Gospel and Sacraments) are present—even where “mixed” with error—there the Christian church is present.”

    That sounds somewhat ecumenical. 🙂

    Em, your daughter is a saint….

  73. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, why do you find that statement odd? You don’t think that church bodies that teach false doctrines have an issue to where the church needs to be warned or at least separate in fellowship until it may be resolved?

    Oh, I forgot, if a church body confesses the creeds then anything else that they may teach wrongly is not false doctrine but boo boo doctrine.I can say flatly that I hold the word faith movement to be purveyors of false doctrine and heterodox – so sue me. Perhaps you find them to be brothers in full fellowship – I don’t know any longer.

    Again, BG fine man, did great work for the Lord. I am sure he never grumbled or groveled to be included in Lutheran mass.

  74. Jean says:

    Duane #70,

    What exactly do you want by posting those kinds of statements? Do you want me to apologize for my synod’s teaching? Do you want me to quit the synod? Do you want other readers to dislike Lutherans? Why do you bring this up repeatedly?

    That statement is relatively moderate. The majority of Christians worldwide have organizational statements that are similar or more strict.

    Churches which have wide open fellowship are dying a lot faster than churches which have conservative doctrinal statements. But the liberal, wide open fellowship, is a myth as well. Because in the liberal churches, if you don’t affirm someone, then you’re called a hater anyway. So even the liberal churches have their dogmatism.

  75. JoelG says:

    I inserted “The LCMS” in the wrong spot in the quote I pulled from the LCMS statement. Blogging at work is never a good idea….

  76. filbertz says:

    whereas Michael usually ends his TGIF with “make your own application,” Open Blogging should have the tag “your mileage may vary.”

  77. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It’s funny – if I quoted some NT Wright tales as Anglican cornerstones And he has some doozies. 😉

  78. Eric says:

    Different Christians will draw their circles in different places. And there are multiple circles. Do we count these as Christians? Can we work together on X? Can we worship together?

    Lutherans are integral participants in some of the inter-church work here. We work together in the name of Jesus. Together we serve our community, eat, sing, pray, hear from the bible and have fun. We don’t celebrate communion, that happens in local churches.

  79. Chris Long says:

    Michael @ 59: Right on!

    MLD @ 68: I know I shall regret addressing you 😉 but you said “However, we recognize that we do not invite all family over for Thanksgiving dinner – we send a card.” I understand what you do, but if I had a physical brother or sister who said to me: “We are family, but I can’t celebrate Thanksgiving with you because you hold to a different belief on something”, I wouldn’t think they were much family or cared very much for me… In Jesus, it’s supposed to be even more of a bond because we are bound not by human physical blood, but by the precious blood of Christ that we have been bought with. For you or any believer to tell me as another member of the same family bought with that same precious blood, that you cannot worship our in-common Heavenly Father with me or cannot partake the elements with me, that to me is a rather serious error and I’m comfortable saying is probably quite odious and a major affront to God. Jesus calls us to love our fellow brethren. I gotta tell ya, when I read the kind of position you put forth, and that I myself personally have experienced in some Lutheran circles, I didn’t feel much love or value as a member of Christ’s body, but rather someone to be shunned. The Jesus that I know is grieved by that, not applauding it.

  80. JoelG says:

    I feel a reference to John 6:66 coming….

  81. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, it’s not a Lutheran thing. I doubt that the EO or RCC share pulpits with non EO or non RCC and neither will commune them either. I know that the RCC refers to us as separated brethren and I think the EO speaks of folks as Christian but in error.
    It has nothing to do with love but has much to do with order. I think it is out of love one keeps order.

  82. John 20:29 says:

    Here’s what I think…

    1- I think that MLD (#25) should be careful about bracing a fellow Christian up against a wall – i know card carrying sons of God who’d lay him out flat for that (some live in Oregon… not the host here)

    2- i think janitors, cooks, teachers with guns are okay. IF they are qualified (some educators with guns would be very scary ? ) AND the school has a well thought out plan and then i listened to a Sandy Hook parent describe their new, but still gun free, plan and it sounded good, also…

    3- It seems so simple to me (but i am simple minded)… The Federal Government could pass a law requiring each State to mandate every school district to vote on one of the two approaches and then do it… or else

    Now im done thinking for the week… God keep all close

  83. SMH says:

    No one busted it out so
    “…This is a difficult teaching”.
    By difficult I mean boring.


  84. Chris Long says:

    MLD @ 81: I know and agree that it’s not just Lutherans. But since you opened up with it coming from the Lutheran point of view in your post #1, that’s where the focus was. As to, “It has nothing to do with love but has much to do with order.” I would say BALONEY 🙂 Lovingly of course. 🙂 It has EVERYTHING to do with love or lack thereof shown towards fellow family members. Your group’s desire for “order” doesn’t give your group a pass to treat other kids of God’s as second-rate citizens, or worse not as citizens at all. I have no problem with any group rallying around their specific interpretation on things. When those beliefs prevent even basic fellowship and ability to worship with other kids of God that differ on certain points, that is where the problem is. When one lets prideful adherence to doctrine get in the way of the ability to stand beside a fellow believer and worship Jesus and eat the supper He commanded ALL His kids to do, there’s a HUGE problem IMO. I’m NOT saying you need to allow other pastors from other streams into the pulpit; I am saying that being able to worship alongside other believers isn’t something that we should be hindering.

    And a sidenote, but related, which I’ve said before: Whenever I see someone that’s really gung-ho on their specific tribe’s label and defending their tribe’s theology etc, it makes me wonder if the label of the tribe is more valuable to the person than the label of Christ follower or Christian. I’m not saying that about you specifically as much as just a general statement. That goes for Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, CC, whatever. We all settle in different tribes and might even move around over the years as we learn and grow and change. But when I identify first and foremost as a Baptist or a Lutheran before I identify as a Christian, that’s where I think I’m getting into very shaky territory – pride can be a real stumbling block. IMHO.

  85. Duane Arnold says:


    “I doubt that the EO or RCC share pulpits with non EO or non RCC…”

    I have preached in both…

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, because individual priests or churches break ranks says nothing about the validity of the teaching.
    David Benke participated in the 911 Yankee stadium prayer service – so?

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Chris, think about what you are saying. If Lutherans don’t “do church” the way you suggest, Lutherans are wrong and you are right. How does that make you any different than what you accuse me?

  88. Duane Arnold says:

    It has happened numerous times over the past four decades, often with hierarchy in attendance…

  89. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – it’s your experience so I cannot question it. The fact that some sectarian branches of the RCC may have more liberal “understandings” of open pulpit and altar fellowship does not invalidate the teaching.
    Heck, look within worldwide Lutheranism such as the ELCA – they don’t care who enters their pulpit as they have no message to promote as it is.

  90. Duane Arnold says:

    I would hardly call Cardinal O’Conner, a Russian Metropolitan or a Jesuit Provincial “some sectarian branch”… As you say, it is beyond your experience…

  91. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    If you are going to tell me that you led a divine worship service in EO & RCC churches, who am I to dispute?
    I have never heard that either had open and shared altar and pulpit fellowship with the Anglican church.
    I guess I will need to do some reading in this area.

  92. Jean says:


    Just because exceptions have been made for you (or you have been made an honorary member of the RCC and EO), does not modify the established doctrines of the RCC and EO churches. They practice closed communion in their official teachings. You know that as well as MLD.

    “Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion.” – USCCB

    “From this perspective, “open communion”—the welcoming of non-Orthodox to share in the Eucharistic celebration—is simply not possible without undermining the very meaning of the sacrament.” – OCA

  93. Jean says:

    In a worship service, where the Gospel is proclaimed and Sacraments are administered, something is happening, something objective, something from God to (and into) the hearer, from the outside, through the shepherd of the congregation.

    I wonder if people who believe in things like unionism or open communion implicitly believe that what is happening in worship originates in the hearer’s mind. It’s as if each individual administers his own word and sacraments/memorials. This then allows people to affirm each other, because everyone orders his own meal and dines on his favorite delicacies without judgment to what other people order or dine on. For people who have an independent spirit, this second approach might work well for them.

  94. Duane Arnold says:


    Once again, you twist and invent… What I said (as you well know) was “I have preached in both…” in response to your sharing pulpits comment.

    Might want to invest in some new glasses…

  95. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean, please read my remark to MLD and deal with facts rather than self-invented fantasies.

  96. Jean says:

    Duane, if I have misconstrued you, I apologize.

    If someone says “I have preached in both…” I assume it is in worship services, where preaching usually occurs. But common definitions are essential for fruitful conversation, so I probably should have clarified with you first.

    But, could you clarify something for me: Did you ever preach in a Divine Service/Mass of a RCC or EO congregation? And if so, were you communed? If either of those things happened, would you admit that those would be exceptions and not the rule in those church bodies?

  97. Duane Arnold says:

    #96 Jean

    Yes I have, but I presented myself at the altar with crossed arms out of respect for their traditions. I might say, I have done this even when specifically offered participation in communion by the celebrant.

  98. Xenia says:

    MLD wrote to Duane:

    “If you are going to tell me that you led a divine worship service in EO & RCC churches, who am I to dispute?”

    Giving a homily at an Orthodox Church is not the same as leading the divine worship service.

  99. Xenia says:

    I won’t be sucked further into this horrible thread but I did feel I had to correct this error.

  100. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The question remains, does the EO have open and shared pulpit fellowship with the Anglican church or others, where the priests & preachers swap pulpits with each other?
    I can’t imagine Rick Warren in a Sunday morning EO pulpit.
    But as I said, the ELCA has transgender pastors.

  101. Xenia says:

    Ha! Many Orthodox Churches don’t even have pulpits so the phrase “pulpit fellowship” doesn’t apply.

    The homily does not have the same prominence in EO churches as it does elsewhere. It’s sometimes given after the Liturgy has officially ended, along with the announcements. I once gave an extended announcement and the priest declared it was good enough to be the day’s homily.

    But in Duane’s case, he is a patristics scholar and has content to deliver that would be edifying and of great interest to an Orthodox congregation. That there was a bishop present on several occasions indicates that the EO hierarchy was on the alert in case Duane tried to sneak in some Anglican apologetics, which he never would have done
    anyway because Duane respects Eastern Orthodoxy, which is why he was invited to speak in the first place, I imagine.

    Now lets see how MLD extrapolates what I just said into some crazy thing I never said.

  102. Duane Arnold says:

    It is on the basis of invitation.

    I’m not sure what “transgender pastors” has to do with this discussion, apart from you wanting to set up another straw man…

  103. Jean says:

    “I once gave an extended announcement and the priest declared it was good enough to be the day’s homily.”

    If it began with “He has risen,” that would make for a fine announcement.:-)

  104. Duane Arnold says:

    101 Xenia

    Thank you and, yes, that is the way it happens. I have often been invited behind the iconostasis as well… I think they knew that I’d behave myself 🙂

  105. Xenia says:

    Jean, if it had been Pascha I would have begun my announcement with “He is risen” because that is how the Orthodox greet each other in the Pascha (Easter) season.

  106. Jean says:

    I would like to restart this thread this morning by wishing everyone a blessed day and weekend.

  107. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well I guess if it’s after the Liturgy that’s fine. my adult Sunday School classes were always after the Liturgy. If I had a guest in to share something that would be fine, but I’m talking about as far as a part liturgy.
    Trust me, I would never, and let me repeat never restrict anything another church does.
    I just wish folks didn’t condemn the Lutherans for what we do. All I have said through this is, we can’t do these few things with other Christians and we are called antithetical to the faith, divisive, unloving and just plain wrong. (You will find all of those listed in this thread alone) – which I find funny as I started with all nice things to say about Billy G and all the great Lutheran tributes on Facebook – not like many of the hateful evangelical posts condemning BG to help – but because we have a particular doctrine against unionism, we become the bad guys.
    So be it, amen.

  108. Xenia says:

    Many priests give their homilies directly after the Gospel reading, so not always after the Liturgy.

  109. Duane Arnold says:


    When I was in Russia, I was also taught how to give an Orthodox blessing into the cupped hands of the women who would often be at the door of the church or on the grounds. They taught me not because of who I was but out of concern for the women. I had a beard, I was wearing a cassock and an Archpriest’s Cross (a gift from the Metropolitan) and if I had not given the women a blessing they would have been hurt or offended. I found a remarkable sense of humanity in this small gesture…

  110. Duane Arnold says:

    #108 Xenia

    My experience has been giving a homily after the Gospel…

  111. Xenia says:

    Stuff happens.

    A few years ago a Calvary Chapel pastor of my acquaintance visited the LCMS in town and took communion there. I think he grabbed the cup before the minister knew what was happening and of course, the CC pastor was unaware of the doctrine of closed communion. Yet even so I do not extrapolate from this episode the notion that the LCMS communes evangelicals, I say Stuff Happens.

    To engage is a little distasteful triumphalism, this would not have happened in my parish because:

    1. The Bread and Wine are delivered on a spoon from the priest’s hand so he has control over the situation, not from little plastic cups on a tray.

    2. My priest would have known this CC pastor (who I proclaim innocent of any wrong; he didn’t know any better) was not Orthodox and…

    3. …. that he had not been to confession recently.

    So these are traditions that the Orthodox have put into place to prevent mishaps.

  112. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Xenia – the methods of your church are very commendable, but you need to understand the flow of this conversation – if the EO will not commune a saintly guy like Billy G, well the issues lies with your church.

  113. bob1 says:

    Now lets see how MLD extrapolates what I just said into some crazy thing I never said.

    In 5,4,3,2,1…

  114. Xenia says:

    I think what is called “closed communions” was the Christian standard throughout the ages?

    When did the practice of “If you love Jesus you can take communion here” become popular? Because I do not think this was the practice of even Protestant groups until fairly recently? I remember discussions at the Baptist church of my youth about who could and couldn’t take communion. And the Landmark Baptists to this day practice a very strict form of closed communion, limiting it to church members only.

  115. Michael says:

    “but because we have a particular doctrine against unionism, we become the bad guys.”

    No one has said that.
    Some of us think that’s a really bad doctrine.
    That’s as far as I have taken it.

  116. EricL says:

    I’m just not attracted to Christian traditions that are so concerned about who is “in” and who is “out” when it comes to fellowship, communion, and having the correct personal associations.

    I follow someone accused of associating with tax-collectors and notorious sinners. I follow Him willingly and with great love and joy.

    His love is so lavish, so expansive, so over-abundant that He actually loves everyone. Isn’t that awe-inspiring?

  117. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – I didn’t say just you.- it’s not worth the re reading of the thread but everything I quoted was said above.
    But you need to understand that our stance against unionism is much more than just a standalone doctrine – it is a by product of many doctrinal disagreements we we have. and has now taken on the manifestation of anti unionism.

    An example, and since you are no longer a Calvinist I can bring it up 🙂 – we have different views on the doctrine of Christology which in one case directly plays into the supper. How can we commune with others (unionism) when we disagree on such a major doctrine of Christology? and this was the very reason that what later became the LCMS hopped on boats to cross the Atlantic so they would not be forced to continue joint worship with the Calvinists. All I can say is that the differences were so great that folks left home and risked their lives to worship the way were scripturally directed.

  118. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    EricL – LOL, Jesus was the most exclusive church leader in history – follow me or go to hell.

  119. EricL says:

    MLD, where you see exclusivity I see an open invitation. To me it is not about toeing-the-line, but throwing the doors open and inviting any and all to come on in and join the celebration. Not all will enter, but that is their self-exclusion and not His spurning.

    Free Will is wondrous as well as frightening.

  120. Xenia says:

    I find this type of conversation so ironic.

    When I was an evangelical (Baptist/ CC) seldom a Sunday passed that we were not informed of the evils of so-called “churches” that preached you were saved by ‘eating a little cracker” and that these people were LOST and needed to convert to true Christianity (evangelicalism) and we had better send missionaries to Russia and Ukraine to save their idolatrous souls. Yet people are offended that we have the temerity to withhold “our little cracker” from them.

    Yes, I know no one here has said exactly what I have just said but I have certainly heard it in real life.

  121. John 20:29 says:

    #117. “…it’s not worth the re rereading the thread…”. You got that right. ?
    at least for us pew sitters…

  122. EricL says:

    If I have come across that way to you, I apologize. My mother-in-law, although Evangelical, is from an EO background (Slovakian) and has found much comfort re-connecting to many of those traditions in recent years. My mother is LCMS and is lovingly ministered to by that congregation even in these last years of her life- I regularly talked to her pastor about her health and needs.

    Being a Charismatic Evangelical, I am not attracted to such Christian traditions but I would not mock them either. That would be foolish, for those traditions have a long and rich history. We are told to love one another, not wag fingers at each others’ differences. I try to do so, though I still have far to go.

  123. Xenia says:

    Hi Eric, no, I didn’t have you in mind. I didn’t really have anyone in particular in mind, just commenting on things I’ve noticed over the decades.

    This group here on the PhxP hasn’t mocked the sacraments the way I’ve heard them mocked from evangelical pulpits and on other discussion boards.

    You have a good attitude towards these things, thank you.

  124. JoelG says:

    I actually enjoy these conversations. They make me think. The problem I’ve experienced in “evangelical” life and churches is the wide range of theologies put porth by different Preachers and authors of books found within said churches. If one is paying attention one will notice various nuances that tend to make a big difference in how we relate to God and how He relates to us. This is why I’ve been drawn to the Lutheran Church and it’s very clear, excludive Christ-centered teaching. It’s so exclusive that Christ does everything for us… EVERYTHING. For someone that struggles with doubts and anxieties this is a beautiful thing, especially amidst the evangelical culture of “are you doing enough for Jesus” and “are you really REALLY saved”?

    At the same time I believe that the very exclusive Christ is drawing all to Himself in a way that appears inclusive. I believe God is doing His thing despite the mess the Church appears to be in.

  125. JoelG says:

    Interesting talk from Dr. James K.A. Smith about encountering God in worship.

  126. Chris Long says:

    MLD @ 87: “If Lutherans don’t ‘do church’ the way you suggest, Lutherans are wrong and you are right. How does that make you any different than what you accuse me?”

    Because I’m right and you are wrong. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  127. David H says:

    Children die in a school and the certain folks only concern themselves with a piece of metal and plastic that was used to carry it out. They are more worried about a tool than human beings. I teach kids every day, I don’t want them to die. God help us.

  128. Timothy says:

    Let’s face it, every Christian denomination, whether secretly or not, thinks that it is the best. They may or may not say it but they all think it. Granted, there are times when we do need to distance ourselves from a false group who claims the name of Christ (such as the Mormons), but Paul warned against dividing ourselves and all we did was add to the list… I am of Menno Simons, I am of John Calvin, I am of Martin Luther, etc.

    Imagine if 22,000 groups of Buddhists showed up at your door, one by one, each one telling you that they are the most accurate and best. What a joke that would be.

    We do the same.

    There is one body and thankfully, it doesn’t belong to any man. God doesn’t join our man-made denominations and to even think in our heart that He somehow identifies as one of us can only be summed up in one word … pride.

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