October 1, 2017 - Some Lutherans Don't Believe In The Holy Spirit




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Some Lutherans don't Believe in the Holy Spirit

I was once a Professor at a Concordia System university. I am colloquized and I have a document which state that my call (yes, that sort of call) to teach mathematics is "from the Holy Spirit." And I have two stories to tell about my experience at Concordia.

At the beginning of an academic year some time ago, we were installing the new faculty. The District President was presiding over the rites, but got mixed up at one point. A young Roman Catholic lady, hired as a "contract" (uncalled) worker to teach Spanish, was asked, before the assembly, whether she subscribed to the doctrines of the Lutheran Church and swore to uphold them even unto death. This was the ritual for called workers, not for her. There was short silence. Then she spoke up and said, "I will with the help of God." We then went on with the service as if nothing odd at all had happened. No one in the sanctuary bothered to point out that the young lady had just been pressured into joining the District President in a lie, and worse, to involve the Holy Spirit in it, as well. Everyone but the DP knew what had happened. Apparently nobody cared.

The second story is this: I walked away from my call. In the intervening decade, no one from the university system, from the district, from the circuit, or from the synod ever came around to inquire as to why I was no longer teaching mathematics at Concordia. According to the document mentioned above, all involved parties have agreed that the Holy Spirit's will was being violated, but no one seemed to think that really mattered. If my call was not really from the Holy Spirit (as I believe) then the district blasphemed by handing me that document in the first place. If my call was really from the Holy Spirit, then why was I not drowned in communication from district wanting to know why I wasn’t fulfilling the terms of my call? Shouldn’t that be an important question? Then why does nobody care?

So here's what I think. I think there's a type of Lutheran that doesn't really believe in the Holy Spirit, no matter how many times he's repeated the Nicene Creed – and I think there are probably quite a few of them. The reason I think this is because there are around 6,000 congregations within the LC-MS, and multiple times in every single one of them have prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the process of calling a new pastor. Every single one of them; every single time. And yet, there are dozens or hundreds of cases of pastors being forcibly removed from their parishes for expressly non-Biblical reasons even though they have a valid call.

These congregations asked the Holy Spirit for a pastor. The Holy Spirit graciously supplied them with one. But later they “discovered” that the pastor the Holy Spirit sent them wasn’t the people-person they wanted (or perhaps he had the nerve to excommunicate that nice guy from the congregation who joined the Lodge – or perhaps he wouldn’t implement the latest church growth principles that will surely pack those pews full of new donors). After that the elders and the district representatives joined forces to force him to move on. Really? These people don't want the pastor whom the Holy Spirit placed in their pulpit? Really?! This is the Holy Spirit, we're talking about. And if the other LC-MS congregations in the district really believed in the Holy Spirit, the outcry over some of these unBiblical removals would have the DP's shaking in their boots. But they are not. Nobody cares.

Is it any wonder that the kids in these congregations are leaving the Church en masse? With their contempt of the Holy Spirit, the adults have taught them very effectively that there is no God; that none of this church stuff really matters.

For more information about this subject, please see the ACELC error document VII which deals with the UnBiblical Removal of Pastors.

Bart Goddard
Former Director of Technology & Media

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