Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

Location: Moscow, Idaho

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Church Growth Movement and the Doctrine of Election

A question concerning election for all the church growthers out there... Will any of the elect be lost in the end? Will any of the elect find themselves in hell because of our negligence when it comes to evangelism?

This question was posed to me by my good friend and mentor, Rev. Eric Lange, pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Gresham, Oregon. He contends that the battle over doctrine/practice that currently plagues our Synod is just the election controversy all over again. He's right.

Here's the thing... All the elect will be saved. Without exception. We can't do anything to change that. So enough with the Synodical guilt trips about all the people going to hell because of my unfaithfulness. When I am unfaithful, woe to me! I must repent! But the elect will be saved in spite of me. They are saved by Christ alone, not by me.

I'm not saying we shouldn't do mission. Anyone who knows me knows I'm all for evangelism and missions. It is a primary task of the Church. But there are two truths of Scripture at play here, as Pr. Lange points out. 1. The Great Commission (Mt. 28:19-20)... our Lord commands us to do mission. He even tells us how. Baptize and teach. 2. The elect will be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit. The question is whether we will be privileged to be the Holy Spirit's instrument, as He would have us be.

Perhaps what our beloved Synod needs now more than ever is some good preaching and teaching on the doctrine of election. Go do mission, and as you do so, be faithful to the Holy Spirit's doctrine, recognizing that He will always accomplish what He wills. Part of being Lutheran is confessing that: the Holy Spirit "works faith, when and where he pleases, in those who hear the Gospel" (AC V [Tappert, p. 31]).


Blogger Jim Roemke said...

Very excellent point, brother Jon. I have heard too many sermons (one of this type is far too many!) by synodical higher ups saying that people are going to hell because WE don't save them. I even heard one retired DP say that had the witnesses of the Resurrection not said anything about it, Christianity would have died out then and there. WHAT?!? You've got to be kidding, I thought, but, unfortunately, he was dead serious. And this is just a foretaste of the feast some of our synodical leaders are preparing.
Lord, have mercy!!

2:44 PM  
Blogger L P Cruz said...

All the elect will be saved. Without exception. We can't do anything to change that.

I am just wondering, this sounds more Calvinistic (since I was once one) rationale than Lutheran as the latter emphasizes the means of grace. However, there is nothing wrong with that rationale either as it is a true statement.

But woe is me if I do not preach/proclaim the Gospel, right? Obviously if I have to preach it I can not preach it to trees or empty pews, there must be ears to receive and hear it.

I am not LC_MS, but seems to me, what is more important is that my people (if I were pastor) is hearing that Gospel that I can not live but speak out. In so doing, my people should have the hunger too to tell others of this Gospel. They can not help but be excited about their sins being forgiven, in theory I think that is what should happen. They would go out not because they have to but because they want to, noh?

There is no point going out if the people in your care are starving, that would be my philosophy.


2:23 AM  
Blogger Pastor Krenz said...


You are right. Christians in all walks of life should be confessing the Gospel in their daily vocations. The Church must do evangelism and missions. Our Lord bids us as the Church to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching.

On the other hand (and you have to understand, this is a great mystery, and part of the inscrutable will of God), the elect will all be saved. Lutherans have always confessed election to salvation. Where we depart with Calvin is that we don't confess election to damnation. We do not confess double predestination, the Calvinist doctrine that God predestines some for salvation and some for damnation. Lutherans rather confess the mystery that if one is saved, God gets all the credit, and if one is damned, it is his own fault. It is impossible to reconcile this rationally in our finite minds, but it is a truth to be believed, even though not understood.

So my point in all of this is that it is faulty thinking for some of our Synodical leaders and pastors to contend that people are going to hell because of our unfaithfulness. We should certainly repent of our unfaithfulness and we should certainly do evangelism, but we have to remember that God can get the job done with or without us.

Thanks for your comment. The Lord be with you.

9:41 AM  

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