Monday, May 16, 2011

Lutherans and Crossroads

A few moments ago I read what someone I know as a musician (Rachel Kurtz) writes about Lutherans on her blog (click here to read it).   

It makes me wonder what you all think...  What's unique about Lutherans?  Can you say the same things about other church groups?  Do you love Lutheran theology?  Why or why not?

Here's part of what Rachel writes:
"I was baptized Catholic as a baby (Thank you Grandma Kurtz for your influence there). I was raised mainly in the New Life Assembly of God church in my home town of Cokato, MN. I had Lutheran friends growing up and remember especially my friends Andrea and Leah going to a national youth gathering and local ones too. If you would have asked us in high school if it were more likely for them to become Pentecostal or me, Lutheran, we would have agreed I would not be a Lutheran. God had other plans. I went to AFLBS (The Association Free Lutheran Bible School) and finally really started hearing about grace in a way I hadn’t understood before. For instance, I can not do anything to make God love me more. I can not in any way earn my salvation with good behaviour, service or otherwise and I can not make God love me any less. Should I sin all the more that grace may abound, may it never be!!

"Through my years as a camp staffer and youth director, I worked in various Lutheran settings, and now I am hooked. I love the Lutherans and the Lutheran theology and I am proud to consider myself a Lutheran (with the Holy Ghost :) "
Most of you that have read my blog over a period of time have come to know that I was the pastor of an ELCA Lutheran church in Cokato.  Through a series of events that even today are difficult for me to understand, I found it necessary to resign from that position in August of 2010.  Now I am pastor of a non-denominational church with a Lutheran flavor.  It's called "Crossroads Community Church" and it's also in Cokato.

So many of my key values align with what Rachel says in her blog.  See the chart at this link for more about Lutheran theology as compared to other common protestant varieties.  Like she says, I long to welcome ALL so that ALL can come to faith in Jesus.  I don't want anything to keep people away.

So does this mean I need to be part of an officially Lutheran church?  I recently said yes to rostering myself with the LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) but find myself drawn to the Alliance of Renewal Churches which "embraces a convergence of the evangelical, charismatic, and sacramental streams of the Christian faith" and "appreciates a shared Lutheran heritage."

The very first meeting of the new Crossroads Community Church of Cokato was held yesterday after worship.  We elected a seven member "transitional team" that will be presenting some official documents for the church to approve soon, hopefully on June 12.  We need to get this together quickly so we can move on to putting plans in place for this fall, especially in regard to children and youth and education.  The transitional team will also be looking at connecting or "affiliating" ourselves with a denomination.

How "Lutheran" should Crossroads be?  The Word of God must rule--that's where many of us have had challenges remaining within the ELCA.  Grace must be free and clearly connected with what Jesus has done for us in his suffering, death and resurrection from the dead.  Faith remains a gift of the Holy Spirit, not any achievement, nothing we do to get it.  As we hold firm to these things, will we be Lutheran? 

Let me know what you think, or share your thoughts with the transition team at Crossroads.

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