Monday, December 14, 2009

Lutheran Vintage Church

What is the church? Is the church Synod, inc or the congregation? Is it two guys talking about Jesus or is it only Sunday worship? Is it the least sinful of people Sunday or the sinners? How do the Sacraments play a part?

Mark Driscoll offers a relatively simple thought to the visible church in his book, "Vintage Church":

1) Regenerated believers in Christ (I Corinthians 14:22-25)
2) Qualified Leadership (Acts 2:42, Acts 14:23, 20:28)(Mainly qualified men)
3) Preaching and worship (Acts 2:42-47)
4) Rightly administered sacraments of Baptism and Lord's Supper
5) Spirit unity (united by the Holy Spirit in Christ)
6) Holiness (When sin ocurs, repentance is next and discipline is administered).
7) Great Commandment to love
8) The Great Commission to evangelize

Driscoll comes from a Reformed background and it shows in the way he speaks of regenerated believers (made outside of Baptism) and Holiness (as if we have a chance). However, I would say the rest has proof according to Scripture. Yet, I do think that the church can be even more simplified. I propose a simple, Lutheran understanding of church can be in this order:

(AC=Augsburg Confession and SC=Small Catechism)
1) Baptized believers who are deeply sinful and need Jesus (AC VIII)
2) The Gospel purely proclaimed (AC VII) and people who hear the words of Jesus (Luther)
3) Sacraments administered by God's command (they do something and regenerate hearts)(AC VII)
4) Repentance is called for (AC XII) and forgiveness is pronounced ALL the time (SC, Confession)
5) Acts of Mercy are a part of the work of the church in response to the Gospel (AC VI)

This understanding points us to our sinfulness and the MERCY of Christ, not only to his Sovereignty.

Man, it is disgustingly simple. I am appalled as an American, but as a Christian, it really is that simple. Be baptized, hear the words of Jesus, repent, and be forgiven. PERIOD.

As Lutherans we might not have the biggest churches or the most amazing programs. But first and foremost, what we do have is Christ and Him crucified. The one whom we follow humbly and let Him do the work.

Lord have mercy

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