The Real Question Facing Us
Does being Lutheran still matter? Yes, and in saying that we immediately are driven to our knees in prayer to the Lord of the Church that He preserve pure doctrine among us. Simply asserting, "We all agree on doctrine, we just have some differences in practice" is unhelpful. The facts of our situation today in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are what constitute, as Hermann Sasse noted, years ago:
The real question of life and death for the Missouri Synod as they have for every other Lutheran Church. It is not the question concerning the strength of the external organization, the constitution and bylaws, the growth of the congregation, or the school system. Nor is it a question about the position of the Confessions as the basis for the message and work of the church. Rather, it is the question concerning the strength of the Lutheran faith in the sense of the genuine, deep faith of the heart in the saving Gospel, which the Holy Spirit alone can give. It is the question whether, and to what extent the Missouri Synod is a truly confessing church, a church in which the Lutheran Confession is not merely held in honor as the confession of the fathers and therefore [simply assumed]. It is the question whether the Confession is the confession of a living faith of the congregation, and therefore the formative life-principle of the church. It is the question that the Missouri Synod, as every other church, must always ask herself in deep humility and repentance: Are we still Lutheran?
Hermann Sasse, "Confession and Theology in the Missouri Synod" in Scripture and the Church: Selected Essays of Hermann Sasse, Edited by Jeffrey J. Kloha and Ronald R. Feuerhahn (Saint Louis: Concordia Seminary Monograph Series, Number 2, 1995), p. 202.