The November 2012 edition of Lutheran Witness addressing “The Lord’s Office” was lacking a perspective that plagues the church. What are congregations to do with a pastor that sinfully does “lord it over” the people? Unfortunately, too many pastors of congregations in conflict wield their “authority” without grace, a servant heart, patience or tact. Emblematically, one article used the word authority three times more often than the word serve/service.
Our seminaries skillfully train pastors to spot false doctrine and confessionally inadequate practices from a mile away, yet too many pastors simply do not heed the lessons of discernment. In a society that is quickly moving away from biblical foundations, we need pastors who will correct with firm gentleness, teach with care, rebuke with love and train with hope.
Rev. Wes “Bo” Baumeister
In the otherwise helpful article “Set Free” (November 2012), I was disturbed by the response to criticism of his preaching by a pastor who said, “How can I presume to tell other Christians how to live?” St. Paul tells the Ephesian elders that he proclaimed to them “the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27).
Besides the stinging rebuke of the Law and the grace-filled comfort of the Gospel, our preaching needs to include the implications of the Gospel for the faith and life of the hearers (Third Use of the Law). This is Paul’s instruction to Pastor Timothy (2 Tim. 3:1617), as well as his pattern in Ephesians and Romans, where chapters of Law and Gospel are followed by chapters of instruction and exhortation. Our redeemed and sanctified hearers deserve a Scripture-focused response to their common cry, “How then shall we live?”
Dr. Gil Duchow
I was very disappointed in the “Hiding Behind Christ” article in the November Lutheran Witness because of the not-so-subtle insinuation that pastors who wear clerical collars are somehow more humble or more orthodox in their theology. I stopped wearing the collar a number of years ago for a variety of reasons. I can assure you that I am still acutely aware of both my sinfulness and my calling to preach the Word. Whatever happened to, “It is not necessary for the true unity of the church that ceremonies, instituted by men, should be observed uniformly in all places?” Lets stop judging each other based on what kind of shirt were wearing!
Rev. Scott Christenson
4th Vice-President, Northern Illinois District
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