A friendly comment was added to my post earlier this morning, which asked:
"Which group of Christians has public confession more faithful to the Word of God than the LCMS?"
OK, I'm going to challenge that.
The LCMS has a public (that is, formal) confession. The question is not whether the LCMS has a proper formal confession, but whether that confession is a reality in the LCMS.
I cite the LCMS' own confession, in the Brief Statement of 1932:
"The orthodox character of a church is established not by its mere name nor by its outward acceptance of, and subscription to, an orthodox creed, but by the doctrine which is actually taught in its pulpits, in its theological seminaries, and in its publications."
This is how the LCMS itself says we are to determine the orthodox nature of a church body: by both outward acceptance of an orthodox creed, and also by the doctrine which is actually taught. By this -- a standard which the LCMS has set forth -- is the LCMS faithful to the word of God?
When all varieties of services -- including "clown ministry,", "contemporary worship," and self-written liturgies -- are extant within the LCMS, is the LCMS an orthodox church body?
When virtually anything (including -- in my personal experience -- unitarianism) can be taught with impunity in LCMS pulpits, is the LCMS an orthodox church body?
When self-composed creeds are used in LCMS congregation services, is the LCMS an orthodox church body?
The question isn't whether the LCMS is the "most orthodox." Orthodoxy isn't a relative thing; one is, or one isn't.
Again, from the Brief Statement:
"Since God ordained that His Word only,
without the admixture of human doctrine, be taught and believed in
the Christian Church, 1 Pet. 4:11; John 8:31, 32; 1 Tim. 6: 3, 4, all
Christians are required by God to discriminate between orthodox
and heterodox church-bodies, Matt. 7:15, to have church-fellowship
only with orthodox church-bodies, and, in case they have strayed
into heterodox church-bodies, to leave them, Rom. 16:17."
The reality is that the LCMS -- like many others -- is a heterodox church body. The further problem is that the LCMS is not teachable, not changeable, and that the more heterodox faction has been -- 3 times -- confirmed as the dominant faction in the LCMS.
Those who want to remain and fight within the LCMS are welcome to do so. But they should do asking themselves these questions:
1. Has any church body ever been "turned around"?
2. And if they can't think of one, why is the LCMS different? What makes us think the LCMS is going to turn around?
3. Do the votes in LCMS conventions in 2001, 2004, and 2007 indicate that the orthodox Lutherans are somehow the "real" LCMS?
4. Finally, by "staying and fighting" are we going against the explicit command of Romans 16.17?