There is no doubt that this generation has seen a Confessional “awakening” (dare I use that word), particularly in the LC-MS. It’s hard to know who to credit for this, but I would say that much credit must go to the Fort Wayne seminary and Dr. Robert Preus and co. in the 1980s. The fruits of this confessional awakening can be seen most in the election of Confessional men to positions of authority in our church, at the District and Synodical level.
There is something that is still missing though, in my opinion. I have read many papers, sat and listened to many presentations at conferences, etc, and read CTCR documents. Many of them have been good and even thought-provoking. What they often lack, however, is a sort of “Thus saith the Lord” nature to them. It’s like everyone is so afraid to be wrong and thus to be challenged, and everyone else is so afraid to challenge their friends, that it ends up just being a big “back-slapping” party, or some such thing.
What I long to see is a paper or presentation that is not just so much gobbledeegook. Get up there and tell us what you think is right and wrong, and let us either praise or censure you. Write a CTCR document that doesn’t just say, “Here are five ways of understanding this issue, you take your pick which one you will follow” but that actually takes a stand and says, “This is what the Word of God says, and if you don’t agree with it, then you are outside of the Word.” And then let the Church take its pot shots and tell you if you are right or wrong.
There is so much fear out there still–fear to say the wrong thing. Fear to offend, or to take a position that is not popular, or to offend this group or that group of friends. If we are really going to take this confessional awakening into the end zone, then I think this is the key. We have to be willing to stand up and take a stand on things, and not just give “thought-provoking” papers, or write “provocative” essays, but to actually bring the Word of God to bear.
My district president, Rev. Brian Saunders, made a similar point on Monday of Symposia week in a presentation at Redeemer Lutheran Church (yes, the one on RUDISILL), when he said that if he is wrong, then tell him where he is wrong. He said we can’t be so afraid to put our necks out and be wrong. If we are convinced about something, then let us convince others. If we are not convinced, then let others convince us. I think our church has seen something like this at one time, when men could politely disagree with each other, and earnestly attempted to correct one another. This should happen at the Circuit level especially, but also at the District and Synod levels too. We are all our brother’s keeper. That is the point. Agree? Disagree?