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We believe, teach, and confess. . .

30August2011

I love words.  I love words that show up in repetition to make a salient point even more obvious.  There’s a certain poetry to it that catches and keeps my normally fleeting attention. It helps it to “stick” in my mind and heart and I like things to stick in my mind and heart, as long as they are good and edifying.  I like the “What does this mean?” of Luther’s Small Catechism and the “This is most certainly true” as well. (Okay, I’m a Lutheran Geek, I admit it!)

My new favorite repetitive phrase has become this one from the Epitome of the Formula of Concord, “We believe, teach, and confess. . .”  It has a certain certainty to it and in a world of uncertainty, I like that.  I also like it when people can say with some definitiveness what they believe, teach and confess; and tell you why.  I have worked hard to be able to do that as well.  I’m open to change, of course, but for me it’s about that Bowen Family Systems Theory “differentiation of self” thing.  It’s about the “Here I Stand” boldness of Luther.  It’s not about an anxious knee-jerk response or about black and white polarized, stuck thinking.  It’s about spending time studying, praying, reading, reflecting, and thinking about what I really believe, teach and confess.  It’s about the hard work of definition- self definition. The second generation of reformers did this as well, in the face of schism amongst themselves, they defined their position and they put it in writing. They did it clearly, mostly in a concise manner, and most importantly (not just for the sake of putting it out there but ) for the edification of the Body of Christ that they sought to serve and equip.

Today I thought I’d create a list of a few of those things that I believe, teach and confess, as a matter of differentiation of self, which means you don’t have to agree with me for us to get along!  😊

Maybe you want to join me in this endeavor. . . it’s kind of freeing to put it in writing, you can always change your mind later if God reveals something to you in prayer. . .or you find something in your study of scripture or the confessions that leads to further define your position. So here goes:

I believe, teach and confess that God revealed himself to humanity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that to rename God with names such as Mother Sophia, Goddess, or Mother Who Lives Within Us is problematic and excludes more than it includes.  Metaphors are powerful things but names are not to be messed with, they are sacred- just think of your own name and how it’s used.

I believe, teach and confess that God loves all people and desires that all persons would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord (number one in our lives) and Savior (the one who frees us from the deadly, dreadful power of sin, death and the devil). I further believe, teach and confess that the power of the adversary is real and active and wants to divert faithful Christians from following Jesus and wants to tear the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to shreds.

I believe, teach and confess that Christ is truly present in/with/under the bread and wine which is fully his body and blood shed for all believers for the forgiveness of sin, which is the most incredible gift we have been given.  I think we should have the Eucharist in worship every Sunday and even give it to children because they are hungry for it too.  I further believe that Christ is fully present with us in faith down to our DNA, and I love that!

I believe, teach and confess that our worship has become more about us than about Christ, our churches have become more about us than about Christ and even our furniture/paint/carpet/shingles/furnaces/pipe organs have become more about us than about Christ.  I think it’s time we crash the idols that we have erected in our own image and get back to true worship of the living God.

I believe, teach and confess that I think as pastors we have not done a good enough job teaching the faith, the traditions and theology of our Lutheran heritage that is so rich, but mostly we have failed to disciple people and have robbed them of the opportunity to use their gifts for the kingdom of God.  It’s time we get serious about making disciples of all nations and that means starting with the ones who, by the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, show up in our parishes every Sunday.  It’s time for us to get real and dig deeper and grow in our spiritual maturity (with the help of the Holy Spirit of course).

Okay, well I could go on and on but you get the idea.  Now it’s your turn: What do you believe, teach and confess?  

ACL@CCD

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ronald A Orovitz permalink
    30August2011 08:01

    Awesome, thought provoking reflection. I am going to have to think about my response for a while. Thankyou for a “keeper.” May it be shared with proper credit?

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