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  • A Letter to My Lutheran Friends

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Those memorable years that I’ve spent in the Lutheran Church were full of good times. Whatever fellowship we had was enjoyable. Together, we enjoyed God-honoring conversation, studied together, and even ate with one another. Each Sunday was something I always looked forward to. From what I remember, our traditions were very beautiful and so was our music. There was always something for me to learn. Next to the Bible, my favorite book was Luther’s Small Catechism and I studied it intently.
    Times have changed and I must move on. What I mean is that I can no longer be a part of the Lutheran Church, yet I will continue to keep my faith in Christ.
    “Why the sudden farewell?” you may ask.
    I will explain why I have found myself drifting away from the Lutheran Church:


    It all started when I delved into such Bible verses as John 3:5, which says, “Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” and Acts 2:38 which tells us, “Repent and be baptized every one of you...for the forgiveness of your sins.”

    Luther’s Small Catechism says that baptism “works forgiveness of sins, delivers from the death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this,” but then Ephesians 2:8,9 says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
    I wondered “How can baptism give eternal salvation to us, if our salvation is not achieved by works?”


    For hours, I argued with myself about these verses and Luther’s teachings.
    “What is this ‘water’ that I read about in John 3:5?” I wondered. The Lord revealed to me that this water is not baptismal water like we’ve always been taught that it was. Uh oh!
    He told me that this water is the same water that filled our mother’s wombs, which is the natural birth (as in “My water broke!”). Wow! And to think that each and every one of us was floating in some kind of liquid prior to birth (the adult human body is about 60% water). Henceforth, natural birth is being born of the water (amniotic fluid).
    Being born of the spirit is when we choose to put our faith in Jesus Christ alone, repenting from our sins, and allowing Him to cleanse us from our unrighteousness. Then, and only then, can we be born again, which brings me to Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized...”
    Remember, I did not make up any of this. In fact, I thought I was losing my mind, when I first received this revelation. But, you can’t win an argument with God.
    I have often wondered why it is that our ministers would often baptize babies, even if Acts 2:38 does NOT say “Be baptized and repent”? The Lord has shown me that He put this verse in that particular order for a special reason, and it was to teach us that repentance comes before baptism. Acts 2:41 says “…they that gladly received his word were baptized.” Water baptism always followed repentance, throughout the New Testament. I couldn’t argue with God about that. By the way, I even asked myself “How can a little baby say ‘I wee-pent’ if the Bible puts repentance before baptism, and if a baby doesn’t even know the definition of ‘sin’ and ‘baptism’?”
    “Repent (first) and be baptized (second), for the forgiveness of your sins.”
    For the forgiveness of my sins?
    Do I have to get baptized to have my sins forgiven? By no means! Baptism is for people whose sins are forgiven.
    How do I know that??
    The Greek word for the word “for”, in this verse, is “eis.” “Eis” does not mean “in order to get,” but it means “for the reason that” or “because of.” So, in other words, I have learned that we must be baptized for the reason that Jesus has forgiven our sins. The sacrament of baptism is symbolic of Christ’ death and resurrection. Baptism, in Greek, is “bautizo” which means “immerse (dip)” not “sprinkle.” Besides that, I just had to ask myself why Jesus got baptized as an adult, and never as an infant. And if Jesus did it that way, doesn’t it mean we should do likewise? I think so.
    Luther’s Large Catechism tells us that baptism "overcomes and takes away sin."
    On the other hand, Revelation 1:5 says, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
    Now, I am not knocking Martin Luther, but I beg to differ from what his Large Catechism says. Never have I found a verse in the Bible that says anything about Jesus washing us in a baptismal font. Only the baptism in the blood of Jesus, not in any kind of water, can take away our sins. (Revelations 1:5)
    Again, I’m not making any of this up. God has shown me all of this, as much as I was unwilling to accept it at first.
    Besides, whose opinions matter the most?
    God’s or Luther’s?
    Oh, and even a well-educated man like Martin Luther can make a doctrinal error or two.
    It happens. I mean, nobody’s perfect, which is why we need to study the Bible very carefully, and with so much prayer. Even our pastors, wise and intelligent as they are, must seek guidance from the Holy Spirit, before preaching every sermon (John 14:26).
    In Luther’s Small Catechism, I also read that we are to confess our sins and “receive absolution and forgiveness from the confessor as from God himself.”
    Sure, we are commanded to forgive (not stay angry at) our debtors, but do any of us have the power to cleanse people from their sins? I mean, “who can forgive (cleanse people from) sins but God only?” as it says in Mark 2:7.
    God only warned us against unforgiveness, because it can damage us spiritually and open the door for evil to come upon the person we hate or hold anger against (see Matthew 5:22 & 1st John 3:15).
    If it is true that we have to confess our sins to the pastor, then why can’t we just go directly to God and say “Be merciful to me a sinner” like the publican we read about in Luke 18:13. It’ll save me a trip to the pastor’s office.


    My point is that God never gave us the power to take away other people’s sins, or else the blood of Jesus would lose its value and the cross would be made of none effect
    (1 Corinthians 1:17).


    This is another reason why I found myself in disagreement with some of Martin Luther’s teaching. Therefore, I cannot be a Lutheran, while disagreeing with any Lutheran doctrine.
    My place in the Lutheran Church is lost, therefore I am not even worthy of partaking in the Holy Eucharist, at any Lutheran parish.
    I just can’t see how the bread and wine are not just symbols of Christ’ body and blood.


    Have you ever seen this old commercial that goes “This is your brain (you see an egg), this is drugs (you see butter in a frying pan), this is your brain on drugs (you see the egg being fried in the butter). Any questions?”

    I find that Holy Communion is no more of an analogy than this commercial. Yet, I still believe that these emblems must only be received by those who know its profound meaning.
    At any rate, it was a pleasure to worship with all of you on those eagerly-awaited Sunday mornings. The Lord has called me to move on to a different kind of church. One where they follow the doctrines of Christ and not of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or any other man
    (1 Corinthians 1:11-17).
    And now, my Lutheran friends and neighbors, I bid you a fond farewell. And peace to you.


    With the Love of Christ,
    Bro. Oscar Anthony

  • #2
    Interesting first post. Are you under the impression that this is a Lutheran message board?
    II Timothy 2:15
    Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    Read My Testimony sigpic Visit Our Website

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Studyin'2Show View Post
      Interesting first post. Are you under the impression that this is a Lutheran message board?
      This is a message board for Christians of all denominations.

      Comment


      • #4
        Okay, I was wondering since your post is to Lutherans when the majority of those here are not Lutheran. I guess this was something you needed to get off your chest. However, this is the Apologetics and Evangelism forum. Did you want this thread to discuss the apologetics against Lutheran doctrine? By the way, welcome to the boards. You may want to post in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you and vice-versa.

        God Bless!
        II Timothy 2:15
        Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
        Read My Testimony sigpic Visit Our Website

        Comment


        • #5
          You're loosing me on a couple of points. Could you state more clearly the objections?

          I think I get you don't like infant baptism.
          Not sure if you don't like baptism by sprinkling instead of full immersion.
          Anything else with baptism?

          You feel the pastor has power to forgive?

          And something with communion?

          Thx.
          In Christ,

          -- Rev

          “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

          Comment


          • #6
            Brother Anthony,

            Welcome. I've been a member here for some time, and have seen few fellow Lutherans come through here. Always felt a little like the odd (wo)man out. It's ironic to me that after not having been here in quite some time, one of the first posts I saw when I checked in tonight was yours.

            It can be a very emotional thing to let go of beliefs you once held. But it's freeing, too, when you realize that no denomination holds the monopoly on truth and it is okay to question the teachings you grew up with. God is big enough to handle our questions and our searching.

            Obviously, for a time in your life, being part of a Lutheran congregation was a blessing to your faith. If you feel God is calling you to move on from that association, I don't bid you "farewell". The communion of the saints is not dependent upon denominational affiliation or physical proximity, but on the Spirit that dwells in each of us and brings us into communion with God and with each other. Peace, brother, and blessings.
            Our destiny is to find our identity within the circumference of His identity--to express His nature, character, etc. ever revealing more of Him. ~ R&D Prinzing

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Studyin'2Show View Post
              Okay, I was wondering since your post is to Lutherans when the majority of those here are not Lutheran. I guess this was something you needed to get off your chest. However, this is the Apologetics and Evangelism forum. Did you want this thread to discuss the apologetics against Lutheran doctrine? By the way, welcome to the boards. You may want to post in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you and vice-versa.

              God Bless!
              I didn't know where else to put this thread. I mean, doesn't "Apologetics" mean that we get to talk about doctrines? School me if I'm misinterpreteing the meaning of this word.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by OscarAnthony View Post
                I didn't know where else to put this thread. I mean, doesn't "Apologetics" mean that we get to talk about doctrines? School me if I'm misinterpreteing the meaning of this word.
                Usually someone asks a question or begins with a statement about a specific question that has to do with how to answer difficult questions we may face when evangelizing. Your post seemed more personal, almost like a testimony. Also, if you want to discuss doctrinal issues based on scripture, you may want to take a look at the Bible Chat forum.

                God Bless!
                II Timothy 2:15
                Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
                Read My Testimony sigpic Visit Our Website

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by OscarAnthony View Post
                  ...And now, my Lutheran friends and neighbors, I bid you a fond farewell. And peace to you.

                  With the Love of Christ,
                  Bro. Oscar Anthony


                  As someone who left the Lutheran church (LCMS) after my first 24 years of life, some of the thoughts in your post were eerily familiar to me.

                  If you would care to tolerate my opinions, I would be more than happy to discuss with you why I had to leave the Lutheran church myself. But only if you are up to it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Revolvr View Post
                    You're loosing me on a couple of points. Could you state more clearly the objections?

                    I think I get you don't like infant baptism.
                    Not sure if you don't like baptism by sprinkling instead of full immersion.
                    Anything else with baptism?

                    You feel the pastor has power to forgive?

                    And something with communion?

                    Thx.
                    My friend, it is not that I dislike infant baptism. I think it's a very beautiful tradition. But, in the Bible, I never found any accounts of people being baptized as babies. Even Jesus (our prime Example) was presented in the Temple, as an infant, then water baptized (immersed) when He got much older.
                    The pastor of the non-denominational church that I visited is a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led man of God who preached all about baptism by immersion, after a baby was being dedicated that day. He even said "I'm not the one who says these things about baptism. It is God who says it."
                    That was when I was convinced that baptism by immersion is actually the proper way to do it, and that God doesn't really want us to baptise our children until they start to understand the meaning of baptism.

                    People (not even pastors) cannot remove anyone's sins, no matter what authority God has given them. "I forgive you" (said by us) = "I won't hold any grudge against you." We cannot forgive (take away, atone for) anybody's sins, not even our own. (Leviticus 17:11)

                    Communion is a symbol. If the bread and wine were literally flesh and blood, wouldn't that be a bit cannibalistic?

                    Well, my friend, I hope that answers everything for you.
                    God bless. And stay strong.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by IBWatching View Post

                      As someone who left the Lutheran church (LCMS) after my first 24 years of life, some of the thoughts in your post were eerily familiar to me.

                      If you would care to tolerate my opinions, I would be more than happy to discuss with you why I had to leave the Lutheran church myself. But only if you are up to it.
                      Sure, my friend, please tell me all about it. It will be a blessing to share experiences with someone who's gone down the same road.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Studyin'2Show View Post
                        Usually someone asks a question or begins with a statement about a specific question that has to do with how to answer difficult questions we may face when evangelizing. Your post seemed more personal, almost like a testimony. Also, if you want to discuss doctrinal issues based on scripture, you may want to take a look at the Bible Chat forum.

                        God Bless!
                        Thanks for the tip. I'll look into that.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Infant Baptism

                          Originally posted by OscarAnthony View Post
                          My friend, it is not that I dislike infant baptism. I think it's a very beautiful tradition. But, in the Bible, I never found any accounts of people being baptized as babies. Even Jesus (our prime Example) was presented in the Temple, as an infant, then water baptized (immersed) when He got much older.
                          The pastor of the non-denominational church that I visited is a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led man of God who preached all about baptism by immersion, after a baby was being dedicated that day. He even said "I'm not the one who says these things about baptism. It is God who says it."
                          That was when I was convinced that baptism by immersion is actually the proper way to do it, and that God doesn't really want us to baptise our children until they start to understand the meaning of baptism.
                          Many denominations accept infant baptism. I can tell you the Biblical rationale for doing this. According to the Bible, if one person is saved in a household, the entire household is baptized and saved. Look at the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. In 19:9 Jesus says his whole household is saved because of Zacchaeus faith.

                          More specifically, in Acts there are several cases where entire households were baptized because one person was saved, saving the whole household. There is no reason to assume the households would not have children. In Acts 10 the household of Cornelius is baptized. Acts 16:15 another household is baptized. Again in 16:31. The jailer's household in 16:33. The Crispus household in 18:8.

                          The message is if one person in a household is saved, baptize them all and they're all saved.
                          In Christ,

                          -- Rev

                          “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by OscarAnthony View Post

                            Communion is a symbol. If the bread and wine were literally flesh and blood, wouldn't that be a bit cannibalistic?
                            Is this what Lutherans actually believe, that the bread and wine actually turn into real blood and flesh as you eat it? Are you sure?

                            I have heard that some fundamental sects say this, but it was told to me by a very liberal Christian who very much disliked any kind of fundamentalism.
                            In Christ,

                            -- Rev

                            “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OscarAnthony View Post
                              That was when I was convinced that baptism by immersion is actually the proper way to do it
                              I am sure everyone agrees immersion is the method used in the bible. But quite a few denominations do sprinkling, not just Lutherans, and I don't think it's that big a deal. I know some Christians believe that if one is baptized by sprinkling they will go to hell. But that's false. Sprinkling works just as well.
                              Last edited by RevLogos; Mar 28th 2008, 01:57 PM. Reason: typo
                              In Christ,

                              -- Rev

                              “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

                              Comment

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