Is Lutheran- Missouri Synod church a good church to recommend?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Andres, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is my situation: my sister and brother-in-law are in need of a home church. Currently they don't go anywhere. Neither of them know much about doctrine/theology, etc. They recently had a baby so that has made my sister realize the importance of being a part of a good church family. She wants her son to be raised in a Christian home soooo....naturally I told my sister that her and my bro-in-law needed to get in church. Well long story short my sister visited my church, but unfortunately she did not like it. She is not used to the RPW and also didn't like that there were not a lot of young couples/families. Of course I am praying for them and I am trying to explain to her what is important in a church and why we do the things we do, but at this point she is not going to regularly attend my small OPC church. So rather than have them just sit home on Sunday, I am trying to find them an alternative that they might actually go to. Sadly, my search is turning up nothing. I can't find any reformed baptist congregations or anything in our city that I would feel comfortable with recommending.

    I did recently come across this church - Zion Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I think this church is reformed, but I am not sure how much. What can you tell me about Lutheran churches, specifically Missouri Synod? Do you think this would be a good church to recommend to my sister and her family? Any other advice you have for me in this situation would be greatly appreciated and certainly prayers for my sis, bro-law, & precious nephew.
     
  2. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The Missouri Synod in general is a very confessional church (the Lutheran confessions) and the historic Lutheran confessions are monergistic. That is a plus. The worship will probably be high church, if you're comfortable recommending that. On the whole, I like the Missouri Synod, although I would say good doctrine should be higher on their priority list than having young couples around. But either way, I'd recommend a strong, Bible-believing Missouri Synod Lutheran church over a mainline, Pentecostal, or Arminian church most any day.
     
  3. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  4. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Austin, thank you for your input. Yes, i agree completely that solid doctrine should be their first priority, but my sister and bro-in-law are what you might call, "baby Christians". My sis and I were raised in Catholic church, so we have never had a good foundation of doctrine growing up. By the grace of God, He revealed the doctrines of grace to me, but my sis is still very unlearned and unchurched. She loves God though, or at least she wants to. That is why it is such a burden for me that she find a church. I am trying to find something to recommend to my sis that has decent doctrine and that's why I am asking about the Lutheran church. All the other churches I have come across thus far have poor doctrine.
     
  5. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    It has been my experience that MO Synod churches produce mature Christians that love God's Word. (FWIW)
     
  6. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I understand what you mean. I guess you will need to decide whether it is worth it to spend more energy trying to convince them just to "endure" your church. If you think that would be unfruitful, then recommending the Lutheran church might be the best option, so they have a church body. It depends also on how much certain aspects of Lutheran theology and worship bother you. Some LCMS churches will be more evangelical and the pastor will preach the Bible well; others will be more about high church traditions and very little doctrine. It also depends on how much things like baptismal regeneration or denial of perseverance of the saints bother you. Ultimately, I would recommend it, if it is a church where the pastor cares about the Bible. You're right, they need a church body.
     
  7. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I have read some on their beliefs from the local church's website. One thing that concerns me is some of their views on baptism. Here are some quotes from their website's statement of faith:

    What do you all make of this?

    EDIT: I posted this before I read Austin's last post regarding baptismal regeneration, which is precisely what I understood these above quotes to be pertaining to. Does this not contradict justification by faith alone?
     
  8. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    They treat it as a paradox. "The Bible says justification by faith alone. It also says baptism saves. I may not understand it, but I believe what it says." That is the basic logic. It's not the same as the RCC view. I disagree with it, but I don't think it's the worst thing in the world. The early church held similar views.
     
  9. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not sure that many in the LCMS would consider themselves monergistic. The WELS lutheran church are, I believe the most conservative branch of the luheran churches. While I agree I'd much rather recommend a good LCMS than a Pentecostal church, LCMS even in their orthodox stand for the essentials of the gospel of Christ and the infallibility of the scriptures, still hold on to the arminian error of their view of man, sin and God.

    Take a look a their beliefs and practices on this matter in particular and I think you will find, that although they sound monergistic up front (just like many arminians say that it is by God's grace alone we are saved) ultimately they miss the crux of the magnitude of sin's effects to render many radically depraved.

    So again, if that is the only church in the area... or it's between that and a oneness pentecostal church or something, I'd tell that couple to run not walk to the LCMS church :lol:, perhaps particular churhes are more reformed leaning, but it is a misunderstanding to say that the LCMS as a whole is reformed, a closer look at their confession/statement of faith suggests otherwise. :2cents: :)
     
  10. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The Lutheran confessions that all LCMS pastors must subscribe to are unapologetically monergistic. This does not mean that all Lutheran pastors emphasize it in their preaching or even necessarily believe it, but it is what the denomination confesses.
     
  11. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    Austin,

    Well reading points 37 and 38 in their confession on election of grace leads me to believe otherwise...They seem more to walk the fence on the issue and seem to believe man can resist the power of God to draw men to salvation.

    The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Of the Election of Grace

    37. But as earnestly as we maintain that there is an election of grace, or a predestination to salvation, so decidedly do we teach, on the other hand, that there is no election of wrath, or predestination to damnation. Scripture plainly reveals the truth that the love of God for the world of lost sinners is universal, that is, that it embraces all men without exception, that Christ has fully reconciled all men unto God, and that God earnestly desires to bring all men to faith, to preserve them therein, and thus to save them, as Scripture testifies, 1 Tim. 2:4: "God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." No man is lost because God has predestined him to eternal damnation. -- Eternal election is a cause why the elect are brought to faith in time, Acts 13:48; but election is not a cause why men remain unbelievers when they hear the Word of God. The reason assigned by Scripture for this sad fact is that these men judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life, putting the Word of God from them and obstinately resisting the Holy Ghost, whose earnest will it is to bring also them to repentance and faith by means of the Word, Act 13:46; 7:51; Matt. 23:37.

    38. To be sure, it is necessary to observe the Scriptural distinction between the election of grace and the universal will of grace. This universal gracious will of God embraces all men; the election of grace, however, does not embrace all, but only a definite number, whom "God hath from the beginning chosen to salvation," 2 Thess. 2:13, the "remnant," the "seed" which "the Lord left," Rom. 9:27- 29, the "election," Rom. 11:7; and while the universal will of grace is frustrated in the case of most men, Matt. 22:14; Luke 7:30, the election of grace attains its end with all whom it embraces, Rom. 8:28-30. Scripture, however, while distinguishing between the universal will of grace and the election of grace, does not place the two in opposition to each other. On the contrary, it teaches that the grace dealing with those who are lost is altogether earnest and fully efficacious for conversion. Blind reason indeed declares these two truths to be contradictory; but we impose silence on our reason. The seeming disharmony will disappear in the light of heaven, 1 Cor. 13:12.
     
  12. Simply_Nikki

    Simply_Nikki Puritan Board Junior

    I just realized, perhaps monergism wasn't the right word I wished to use =) lol my apologies. I still would not say they are reformed though. =)
     
  13. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I agree that "Reformed" is not a correct word for the Lutheran position. Regarding the quotes you provided, this subject also they treat as a paradox. They teach single predestination rather than double (which hardly makes sense, but there ya go ;)). "Paradox" is a very important word in Lutheran theology. Their confessions are monergistic, though. My roommate is thinking about becoming a pastor in the Association of Free Lutheran Churches some day, and he is very strong on the sovereignty of God and election, and he has told me he would preach it.
     
  14. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My wife was a Missouri-Synod Lutheran before she was saved. She grew up hearing that she was a child of God, already in the family of faith, and no one ever taught her to personally own her faith and to personally place her trust in Christ.


    And her family still are Missouri-Synod Lutherans and unregenerate, although they have all gone through confirmation and were baptized.

    I am positive that in Abilene you can find something better.




    This might be a possibility; they hold to the 1689 at least.


    Victory Baptist Church
    5843 Hwy 83
    Abilene/Ovalo, TX 79541
    Phone: 325-695-8202
    Church affiliation: Independent
    Church confession: 2nd London Baptist Confession (1689)
    Contact: Trevor Hammack, Pastor
    Victory Baptist Church is an independent church focusing on the verse-by-verse teaching of God's word. We are committed to teaching Doctrine and Church History. We would love for anyone interested to ...
     
  15. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Moderator Staff Member

    My assistant is married to an LCMS pastor. As a rule, the LCMS is thoroughly orthodox, confessional, biblical, conservative, but not "Reformed." After Luther, Melanchthon and the "Lutherans" moved away from Luther's strong predestinarian interpretation in the Bondage of the Will. But, if you want a group that believes in inerrancy, takes confessions seriously, holds "biblical" stands on social issues, etc., the LCMS is your group. They are conservative without being "fundy." If you frequent the White Horse Inn radio show, you will note that Dr. Rod Rosenblatt is ordained by the LCMS.

    Listening to Horton and Riddlebarger interact with Rod on the White Horse Inn, you will notice that there is a great deal of Reformation consensus that is shared by both wings of the Reformation, Reformed and Lutheran. I disagree with their view of the sacraments, the relationship between Law and Gospel, etc. However, in the context of broad evangelicalism, LCMS is a Godsend!!!

    They are, however, experiencing some of the same tensions as the PCA and other of the Reformed groups: younger pastors are sorely tempted to adjust to more user friendly patterns of broad evangelical practice in order to attract the unchurched.
     
  16. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    Lutherans believe that the word of God is combined with water to make baptism. They believe that baptism is God's work, not man's work. They do not believe that the water itself has the power to regenerate. They believe that the word of God working through the water is what actually causes the regeneration. It sounds like they believe that baptism is a conduit that brings the word of God to people so that they can be regenerated by the word of God. I disagree with this. I don't believe that God uses baptism in this way.
     
  17. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    Plus, if they were raised catholic, they will feel at home in an LCMS church, esp if they employ the "high church" worship.

    I give thumbs up to LCMS, with the exceptions noted above.
     
  18. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    I was in a situation not too long ago while traveling being in a town that apparently had no reformed church so went to a family member's church that was broadly evangelical, Baptist, fundamental.

    We had good fellowship, gave there, and would likely go back in the same situation, not given a biblical reformed alternative.

    It's was interesting, in the ordinary course of introductions and conversation, they became aware of my denomination and a couple of our distinctives, and we had good discussion. The second time they recognized us and we were warmly greeted, even introduced as "Presbyterians."

    Knowing what I now know, I would first seek a biblical reformed church before an alternative.

    Not only for the order of worship, but to support and encourage them.

    Time is too precious a commodity in God's Kingdom to waste, it is too important.

    Granted, we can't know everything about a remote church and we are at the providence of circumstance.

    But spend the time, do due diligence among the NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council) denominations and research:

    Member churches

    These are not all the biblical reformed denominations, only a list of many of them- and any church in them very generally, would be biblical and reformed.

    Perhaps you will get some other links here for other biblical reformed churches not in NAPARC as well.

    But, I would try to get them started out right, pray for them, and trust God to lead them providentially right into a solid foundation.

    If there is none, this denomination holds the gospel, and has many fine attributes.
     
  19. KaphLamedh

    KaphLamedh Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, most of Finns are Luhteran and in every town and village have Lutheran church, but how ever none of them can be called as reformed church, but inside Lutheran church are Lutheran movements that somehow are close to reformed church and people who are reformed/calvinists...
    I don´t know how things are in USA...At least you can find calvinists in Lutheran church. I have heard that Missouri Synod is really good, although I don´t know details.
     
  20. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Perg, could you tell me where you found that info? I would be interested in learning more about this one.
     
  21. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you so much for everyone's input so far. I think based upon some of the comments that the Lutheran church here could be kind of hit or miss. I have looked on the website and they have two services on Sunday morning - a traditional one at 8:30 and a contemporary one at 10:45. Although my sister will prefer the contemporary one, I will try to go visit the traditional one this coming Sunday. (i can go to the early one and still be finished in time to go to my church). I will see what kind of sermon the pastor delivers and if time permits, I might even speak with him briefly.

    It would be wonderful if I could just get my sister and her family to attend our OPC church. Please pray for this situation that God would be glorified and my sis would end up in a solid, biblical church.
     
  22. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    The LCMS several times larger than all the NAPARC churches combined. As such it's much more diverse than NAPARC. The leadership of the LCMS has beens strongly influenced by broad-evangelicalism. There are still some liberals in the LCMS and yet there are many confessional Lutherans such as Rod Rosenbladt.

    Confessional Lutheranism confesses something approaching total depravity and they certainly confess unconditional election but they deny reprobation and they deny the irresistibility of grace and definite atonement. In a good, confessional Lutheran congregation the law and the gospel will be clearly distinguished and the gospel will be preached clearly. Sermons tend to be a little shorter than in Reformed congregations. In a confessional LCMS Reformed people and other non-Lutherans will not be admitted to the table.

    Here's a recent HB post on this topic:

    Differences Between Lutheran and Reformed Orthodoxy Heidelblog
     
  23. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I have never understood how the conservative Lutheran view of fencing the table is anything less than sectarian.

    That, along with their view flawed views on sacramental efficacy, would prevent me from ever recommending even a conservative Lutheran congregation to a family, were there to be anything else available, such as a Reformed Baptist congregation.

    External similarities in baptismal mode and subject cannot overcome their seriously problematic theology of baptismal regeneration.
     
  24. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm glad you are going to visit. I really think that's necessary before you can recommend it, since, as Dr. Scott said, it's a diverse denomination. You will find strong, evangelical, gospel-preaching LCMS churches and you will find others that are either too broadly evangelical or else wrapped up in high church traditionalism and watered-down preaching. I'll pray they end up in a good church, whether it's yours or the Reformed Baptist one or the LCMS one.
     
  25. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    I should have said that there maybe some Anglo-Catholic liturgical congregations in the LCMS. I've not seen any in the LCMS but I have seen some in the ELCA. I don't know what it means but I've noticed a fair number of LCMS pastors wearing the Roman tab-collar as distinct from the more recognizably Protestant so-called (I didn't make this up) "dog collar" (white all-round). I asked a Lutheran sem student about it several years ago and he said that it didn't mean anything, that the Roman collar is more comfortable.
     
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    There are several net directories of calvinistic and baptistic churches out there. Here is a list:


    Northwoods Baptist Church - Churches - Rhinelander Wisconsin - USA Church
    International Reformed Baptist Church Directory, Ohio (needs Pastor Moore's email address removed or updated (this one does not work))
    Baptist411.com - Baptist Church Directory and Missionary Listings
    Baptist-Directory.org
    Reformed Baptist Church Directory
    http://www.onlinebaptist.com/searchengine/Church_Directory/
    GraceChurch Directory
    List of Calvinistic Baptist churches in the United States
    Sound of Grace
    Church Directory
    DIRECTORY OF SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCHES
    Founders Ministries | Founders-Friendly Churches
    9Marks Church Search - Disclaimer
     
  27. KaphLamedh

    KaphLamedh Puritan Board Freshman

    One thing has wondered me. Nearly always calvinists speak with respect about Luther, but often luhterans (specially conservative lutherans) speak without any single tone of respect on Calvin. Why? I think that reformed people know much more about Luther and his writings while lutherans do not know hardly anything about Calvin or his works. Last supper and baptism are maybe the biggest differences between reformed theology and lutheran theology. On issues of baptism and last supper I agree Calvin. Still I don´t want think like Calvin vs. Luther, but rather Calvin and Luther and don´t pay attention so much in their few differences, but more things they agree.
     
  28. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Adam said and I agree. "I have never understood how the conservative Lutheran view of fencing the table is anything less than sectarian.

    That, along with their view flawed views on sacramental efficacy, would prevent me from ever recommending even a conservative Lutheran congregation to a family, were there to be anything else available, such as a Reformed Baptist congregation.

    External similarities in baptismal mode and subject cannot overcome their seriously problematic theology of baptismal regeneration."
    Adam J. Myer

    After I left the Roman catholic church and before I became a Presbyterian in 2007 I explored several Lutheran churches and also a Missouri Synod church. While I found the Missouri synod church very biblically based with good preaching I found its teachings on sacrament still very Roman catholic. I now like Zwigli completely deny the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine, the Roman Catholic's call that transubstantiation. I also while denying that teaching do now believe as a Presbyterian that Christ makes himself present to us in His Supper spiritually because of our faith alone, sola fide. Roman Catholicism's salvation is by grace but declares that the church alone can dispense that grace and the only real church is the Roman Catholic church. ‘No Salvation Outside Roman Catholicism’ and Roman Catholic salvation is also an installment plan, where one must continue to receive the “sacraments,” go to weekly mass, and continue receiving the Jesus wafer from a priest as well as confessing your sins to the Roman priest.

    I was an Episcopalian for a while after leaving the Roman catholic church, I also explored other Protestant denominations during my first year as a Protestant after leaving Roman Catholicism. I did not become a Lutheran for the same reasons Zwigli renounced Luther's teaching on the sacrament. I did attend services with a Methodist congregation for a brief period while exploring Protestantism. I was invited to the Lords Supper with them on one occasion, they open their table to all believers even if not yet officially a member of the Methodist church. I did like and think their position and teaching while very Protestant theologically on the Lords Supper that it is primarily a memorial, and not a sacrifice anew as Roman Catholicism teaches, the service of the Lords supper is a re-representation of the one and only needed sacrifice of Christ on Calvary for all who accept him in faith. I also believe that is a fine view for Protestants to take even Reformed Protestants, as long as we see it as symbolic of Christ's sacrifice and not the sacrifice which Rome claims and which I now and Reformed Protestants and Presbyterians reject. I found the Lutheran position on consubstantiation to be very similar to the Roman catholic teaching. a main reason I did not become a Lutheran. I do not see the need for a “sacramental union” in the Lords Supper.

    I believe the sacraments serve as a public testimony of a previous grace. Therefore, the sacrament is “a sign of a sacred thing, i.e. of a grace that has been given.” to me, the idea that the sacraments carry any salvific efficacy in themselves is a return to Judaism’s ceremonial washings that lead to the purchase of salvation.
    Luther's teaching still stems from the same misguided teaching of Roman Catholic sacramentalism. That is the major objection I have to the Lutheran Protestants. I believe Communion bears witness to something already accomplished, as does also Baptism.

    In faith,
    Dudley
     
  29. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    I would recommend it if they are not willing to attend a solidly Reformed church.

    I do think very highly of the LCMS even though it does have its share of warts.

    I was married this past summer in an LCMS church by an LCMS minister who also did our premarital counseling (I was very Presbyterian at the time, but circumstances forced us to select a non-Reformed church to be married in).
    The pastor and members of the congregation all seemed to be mature Christians.
    It also appeared that the LCMS does a good job of teaching doctrine and places family very high on its list of priorities.

    But remember my caveat, I recommend LCMS because as you said in the OP she is not willing to go to a Reformed church.
     
  30. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

    My family and I were members of a LCMS church for a while. We were "reformed" ourselves but to be honest with you didn't care for the two "new" reformed church plants in our city. One was a CREC (Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches) and the other a URCNA (United Reformed Church in North America). Out of the two we preferred the URCNA, but it is no longer in existence. I think we made the right decision. Anyway, they are moderately reformed, confessional, and evangelical. If you don't have many choices it is not a bad pic. While we were there, it was nice to be a part of a confessional, established, Bible-believing group but the preaching was not expository at all. The last sermon I heard preach there was from the new associate who preached on Romans 12:2 and used clips from the movie "Transformers" as props that God was our great Transformer. It was probably one of the worst sermons I had ever heard preached and literally made me sick. This is only one church out of many. Most of them at least preach the gospel.
     
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