On page 64 of Lutheranism 101 it says "…We do not say, 'God laid it on my heart to do this….'” Well, yeah, actually we do say that. I heard one Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastor say it straight from the pulpit. While there are a few pastors in the LCMS that fit a Pentecostal profile that might say what this pastor said, I don't think he fit that mold. No, he harbored a more missional motivation. If you're willing to abandon the liturgy, proper catechesis, and our confession, for a lifestyle of contemporary worship, "how to" sermons, and visioning, claiming that God is speaking directly to you is the logical next step. Once you've committed to the concept of seeker sensitivity, you have to reorder your thinking - the old Lutheran and the new Evangelical can't coexist. There is a fundamental difference.
By altering the worship service to attract “seekers,” you have entered the world of Evangelicalism – a shadowy world of emotion where the Holy Spirit working through the Word is forgotten in favor of an environment carefully crafted to sway the feelings of the seeker so that they “come to the light.” Converting the seeker to Christ-follower becomes dependent on our efforts, and we’re gonna bait the hook with something tasty. Of course, stodgy old Lutherans will have none of this. They realize that God’s promises are external to themselves and aren’t based on emotions. Cue the pastor’s “heart.” What better way to kill the old Lutheran than with a message straight from God through the pastor’s heart to you. It’s darn hard to argue with God now isn’t it? Except of course, the stodgy Lutheran knows that his message isn’t from God.
If your pastor is telling you God laid something on his heart, you need to lay a little Lutheran theology on him, reminding him that we aren’t enthusiasts. If he won’t listen to you, and others, it may be time to explore other avenues. After all, Lutherans know the way to a sinner’s heart is through their ear.
Lutheranism 101, ed. Scot A. Kinnaman (St. Louis: CPH, 2010) 64.
photo credit: Amarand Agasi