Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Something every Lutheran or Catholic Hears…

“I know this Lutheran or Catholic who was baptized and confirmed but went to the bar drinking every Friday night.”

Well, I know an Evangelical who asked Jesus in his heart and committed adultery. I was told I should be more forgiving of fellow Christians.

There are two issues in the previous statements. One is a definition and the other is the major, fundamental difference between Evangelicalism and orthodoxy-with-a-small-o (as opposed to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is Orthodox-with-a-big-O).

The first issue is the definition of sin, or rather is one sin worse then another. The heart of the issue is who are we, sinners all, to sit in judgment of another? And, Evangelicals make no distinction between having a beer with some friends and getting drunk. But, let’s, of course, assume the worst here and that the offending Lutheran/Catholic did indeed get drunk. In the eyes of God, all sin is deserving of eternal damnation in Hell, as such the adulterous Evangelical is just as bad as the drinking Lutheran/Catholic.

The second issue is most important. What is the proper initiation into the Christian faith? The implication of the Evangelical who mentioned whatever offending Lutheran/Catholic was that the offending Lutheran/Catholic was not a Christian. The implication of my retort is that perhaps the act of asking Jesus into ones heart/dedicating ones life to Jesus/asking Jesus to be Lord of my life/whatever you call reciting the sinners prayer these days is not initiation into the Christian faith.

I believe the Bible clearly teaches Baptism is the initiation to the Christian faith, as such, I will have my children Baptized. Repentance is an act required of Christians in the process of sanctification. As such, when I am in sin, I should repent of my sin and receive absolution. And I will teach my children to repent of their sins.

The issue an Evangelical brings up, which, I tell you, had me stumped until recently, is “what about assurance of salvation?” They mean Lutherans don’t have a moment where they can say, “I asked Jesus into my heart on such and such a date, therefore I know I am saved.” In Liturgy, the assurance of salvation is the absolution the Pastor proclaims after confession. It is no more then, “The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, forgiveness, and remission of all your sins.” I am reassured my salvation every time I receive absolution.

Then you really get into an argument with an Evangelical… “Well, what if they don’t mean their confession or intend on repenting?” This is usually asked by the same people who say, “I don’t say the Lords Prayer because people tend to say it and not mean it.” I will say, “Whatever, you’re just being argumentative.”

When asked my testimony, I’ve decided to quit saying, “I asked Jesus into my heart at…” and start saying one of the following, “I was baptized on…” (problem: I know month and year, but not day.) Or, “I am becoming a disciple of Christ. I am not where I want to be, but it’s not over until He calls me home.” It’s a journey. Away I go.

(By the way, if Paul could not decide for himself to follow Jesus, who am I to say I can decide for myself?)


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