DR. ROSENBLADT’S RESPONSE TO ‘AN OPEN LETTER FROM ONE OF THOSE MILLENNIALS’
A quick response to your “spot-on” rant. And my thanks for taking the time to lay it all down for anyone interested to read!
There is a church you’ve probably never heard of that, at least in principle, has said “No” to most of what you describe: the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Not that we don’t have a lot of pastors and congregations who have followed Barna’s “modern counsels for success.” Unfortunately, we do. But not by any means all. And the cleavage is not along the lines of age, either. We have older ministers who have “signed on” and younger ones who have not and will not.
What you’d want to try is one of our congregations in which our [really pretty good] hymnal and services are followed each and every Sunday by a pastor who knows/believes in his psyche that this old liturgy is deeply “good, right, and salutary.” And we still have a lot of those. If we have a weakness, it is almost always a weakness in our pulpits. (Even our “conservatives” can be sloppy in the pulpit. Why that is, I don’t know. But it’s undeniable.)
What you should be able to expect is a worship service designed very well along the lines of a confession of sin (real sin—not “mistakes” or imaginary sins), real focus on Christ’s dying for all sinners, and real absolution. For us, in all of our training, we should—not just in the liturgy but also from the pulpit—be placarding Christ in His saving office: dying for sinners. And in every way possible telling people that Christianity is about the doctrine of justification, about free rescue (Rom 5:8) for all sinners propter Christum. I’d counsel finding one of our congregations that has these things “front-and-center” in such an obvious way that nobody could miss it. If you find one of our congregations that does not do this, “…shake the dust from your feet” and leave, look for another one. And I’d love to hear what you actually find!
There is a reason that many evangelicals see Lutherans as “one trick ponies” (said differently, “They are Unitarians of the Second Person of the Trinity”). I’ll take that critique anytime, anywhere, see it as a “badge of honor” rather than as a criticism. If we LCMS pastors are doing what we were trained to do, our Sunday service, our educational programs, our everything-in-our-congregations should be about Christ and His dying and the free forgiveness of sin. I’d hope that that would be what you found, should you try us out. We’re not good at much else (with the exception of “works of mercy”), but nobody beats our Book of Concord and pastors on the question, “What is Christianity, and how does it work?”
Under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness,