Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Confession

Serously, Call Jerry Goetz
His Mission is truly worthy!

I cannot tell you why it is.  Not yet. But it troubles me to my soul when I see my brother pastors, retired men I truly respect, seeking opportunities to preach the Gospel in emails and Facebook, and such.

I understand their zeal.  I share it.  I just feel like they quit too early.

I have the same sorrow about those who left the Missouri Synod for solid confessional reasons.,  Obviously I don't share their decisions, but I understand their reasons and I support them.  I love these brothers and sister of mine (see, Ste. Em, I respect and admire you also).  But I don't share their decisions.  I have chosen a different path, a path they have rejected and disclaimed.  Their condemnations rest heavy on my soul, but I believe they are in error.  Not the error of making the wrong choice, of course, but the error of condemning  the differing confession --- or path.

Some of my brothers, toward whom I would look for support in my struggle, have condemned me for not abandoning my call and the first church body that I took my oath of ordination within.  They leave me to doubt whether my confession, shared with them, is honored by them or disdained by them.

Take note, fellow pastors, and deaconesses, that your swift condemnations are brutal and difficult to bear.  I have counted you as my brothers and sisters, and now your words have condemned me for not being as swift as you to abandon my first confession.  I rejoice that you can, with such facility, deny that to which you have proclaimed life-long fidelity.  I cannot.  I serve a body of believers (my congregation)  who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the confession of the faith.  I cannot deny them, and I will not move on without their agreement and confession. But you call me coward and unfaithful for not following your sudden change of commitment.  but let us leave that issue behind.

The issue I began with are those pastors who retired, and now are seeking "preaching engagements".  If you are retired, then honor your theology, and await a call.  Let the Lord call you to speak.

You know, I observed the pitiful practice of the "Reformation Lands Tour".  Pastors, or those who once held that highest office in the church, seeking laymen to pay inflated prices to facilitate their travel to the holy land, or somewhere in Europe.  It is an abuse of the laity to trick them into paying your way to the Holy Land.

Anyhow,  those brothers of mine, and I do still call them brothers, who call out for preaching opportunities:  listen to your theology, and not to the spirit of our age.  When the Lord calls you, He calls you.  Do not advertise.  Advertise the mission, but not your desire to preach.  Ask for the Lord's blessing, but not for the preaching date.  There is something truly creepy and unfaithful about seeing those who were faithful messengers of the Gospel peddling the message and seeking opportunities to preach.  I cannot tell you what it is -- someone will, doubtless, write a gripping and astute theological piece about it some day, but there is something truly  wrong and sick about such seeking.  The verse that comes to mind is something about casting one's pearls before swine.

I confess.  I often find my unease with what is happening is correct while it precedes my understanding of the theological problem.  I can only say with certainty that something is amiss.  If you want to preach, serve a parish.  If you want to be "retired", sit down, and shut up.  Or at least, join a parish and participate as a member.

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