The Little Lutheran Church that Wasn’t

  The following is a letter I sent to The Lutheran Witness in reference to an article in their February 2008 edition.  I don’t think it will see the light of day, so I thought I would give it some here.

Dear Editor;

The article “The Little Church That Could”  tells the story of Living Water Community Church, Richardson, Texas.  This February 2008 article is based on an article in the March 2007 Texas Messenger edition of The Lutheran Witness entitled “Little church, big heart.”

Although you use several direct quotes from the Texas Messenger article, it’s telling what was left out.  Your article says, “Pastor Gerald Nichols admits that the word ‘Community’ isn’t just the church’s middle name – it’s the reason the congregation was founded: to serve the community with the love of Christ.”  You did not include this quote from Pastor Nichols, “‘It’s not that we didn’t want to be known as a Lutheran church,’ says Nichols.  ‘We just felt that it was more important to be known as a church that is dedicated to its community'” (Texas Messenger, p. k).

What would our forefathers say about it being more important to be known as a community church rather than a Lutheran church? What does our own Synodical resolution says about this?  The 1995 Resolution 3-13A, “To use the Name Lutheran” says impart this:  “Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations in our Synod boldly profess in their official title and/or name that they are ‘Lutheran’; and be it further Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations of our Synod state in their materials (bulletins, newsletters, etc,) that they belong to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; and be it finally Resolved, That all LCMS congregations gladly proclaim our great doctrinal heritage to a world that needs the clear proclamation of the truth.”

Our “great doctrinal heritage” is not that we are dedicated to “community” but to God’s Word and Luther’s doctrine pure.  This and not all the community service in the world is what will make the difference in the world without end.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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