Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What makes a Lutheran Cross Eyed?

During my years of college, I remember going to a number of Christian gatherings that brought many people from different denominations together for Bible Study and singing Christian songs. While going to these gatherings, I noticed many differences with people from other churches from what I had learned and believed as a Lutheran. Many people talked, acted, and worshipped in a different way. And one time, a person approached me and asked, “What really is the difference of you Lutherans with the rest of us?” My response was not real strong, because in all reality, I had no idea. It was not until I entered Seminary that I was able to learn what makes us as Lutherans distinct from other denominations and also some concerns we have with what other churches believe.

For the next six posts, I will be posting , “What makes a Lutheran?” What we teach and preach as Lutherans will be different than other churches and will come from a distinctively Lutheran point of view. It is important for us to learn what it means to be Lutheran because there are churches in our community that are teaching things that we could argue are contrary to the Word of God. And as we are all searching for the truth, it is vital that we search His Word for the truth that He has given.

In this article we are going to talk about what makes a Lutheran "cross-eyed." Of course, I am not talking about something that is going to make us stare at our noses all the time. No, I am talking about what it is that keeps our eyes always focused on the cross. Our whole theology, our whole make-up, our whole existence as Lutherans is cross-eyed.

Many people these days claim that there are many ways of knowing God. They say that we can know God by experiencing him in nature, in the trees or in the mountains, or in their home watching a football game (then the question comes is God a Viking or Packer fan?). Others claim that you can only know God through some sort of religious experience, feeling, or being able to speak in unique languages.

Not so with Lutherans. We say that there is only one place to really truly know and experience God, and that is in the cross of Jesus Christ. We cannot truly know God unless we know him revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of our Messiah. The entire Bible, from the creation of the earth to the prophecies of the end times, point to the cross. If we claim to know God apart from his life, death, and resurrection for us then we do not know the true living God. For without the cross, we have no life, no forgiveness, no salvation, no hope, and no Messiah Lutheran Church.

For us Lutherans, this is the main thrust of all ministry. If we gather as a congregation and do not proclaim the message of the cross of Christ on Sunday morning, we may as well stay home. If the ministries we do on a weekly basis do not emphasize the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we are no different than a YMCA. And if we do not live our lives cross-eyed in everything, we lose what it means to be a Church.

So let us live out our lives cross-eyed, focused on Christ on the cross, and celebrating that we as Lutherans focus our lives on a God who has given us all things!

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