Reflections of Our Savior
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever."
And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:23-25NIV84)
Dear Members and Friends of Our Savior:
We are living in changing times. That’s true enough, of course. (But haven’t the times always been changing?)
I’ve heard it said that the church must change to keep up with the changing times. Is that true? Hmmm...I think that the best way to answer that is, “It depends.” It depends upon what we mean by “change.” While we can agree that the Scriptures do not lay out a blueprint for how a church must operate, or how it is to be administered, or even how it is to worship, Scripture leaves no doubt as to why, or for what purpose, the church exists. The church...our church...any church exists to proclaim the unchanging Word of God.
As churches around us struggle to recreate themselves according to cultural shifts in attitude and custom, our church remains the same. We are grounded in solid, historic Lutheran doctrine and practice. To say that we are “conservative” or “confessional” Lutherans does not mean that we are old-fashioned or stuck in the past. It means, among other things, that we recognize and accept that since God’s Word doesn’t change, we must not change, we must not change it either to meet changes in society and culture. As other church bodies and denominations are today struggling to re-establish themselves, or are struggling with divisions and controversies, we are not. We need not. We do not have these divisions and controversies. We teach and practice the same things that our forefathers did. We have been consistent over time. The same doctrine and practice that your grandparents passed on to your parents is the same doctrine and practice that you are passing on to your children and that they, God willing, will pass on to their children. God’s Word stands forever. By standing firm in God’s Word, we too will stand the test of time.
This is a good thing to remember as we observe this year the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation. It is always a good thing to remember that we do not pass on to the next generation a way of doing things, but we pass on a doctrine, or teaching. This doctrine, or teaching, must not change because it is the very doctrine and teaching of God in His unchangeable Word.
May God continue to preserve among us the desire to remain in the Word that, as Peter writes, “was preached to you.”