Friday, April 27, 2007

Where was the Gospel?

Representatives of four religions made remarks at the Virginia Tech convocation, the day after the shootings that killed 33 people there. Those who spoke on behalf of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism delivered words in keeping with their faith. But the Christian speaker - an ELCA Lutheran pastor - said nothing distinctly Christian. Read about it in Frank Pastore's devastating Town Hall article - and be sure to read both pages!

This takes me right back to September 23, 2001, and the disgraceful performance by one of the Missouri Synod's District Presidents at the Yankee Stadium "Prayer for America" in the aftermath of 9-11. It is leaders like this who seem to be telling the Lutheran Church that we must set aside our hair-splitting doctrinal quibbles and be embracing, accepting, and inviting if we are going to make an impact on the "unreached" world. But I believe that, if Lutheranism cannot steel itself to confess its faith when the world is listening, it will neither "reach" anyone, nor grow, nor survive. Nor will it deserve to do so.

And before you call this a rash assertion, let me mention a certain man I know of, journeying from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism, who heard Rev. King's words at Virginia Tech, and who was so offended by the Lutheran church's poor response to this tragedy that, for all I know, his journey may lead him elsewhere now. As a Lutheran minister, I am sickened and ashamed.

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