Higher Things Crucified

Don’t blame me for the title.  That was of Higher Thing’s choosing.  This article is not.

I was asked by a former member what I thought of it this year. I said, “I thought the sessions were good, but now that the organization is officially sanctioned by Synod it has lost its edge and it promotes the LCMS, and that is a loss in my mind. Also, in 2010 the presenters came out in Hawaiian shirts and hockey shirts over clericals.  I said at the time that I wish they would choose one or the other.  They chose the former not the later. I was most disturbed by their having a pastor from the AALC, the Synod that doesn’t practice closed Communion with whom we are in “fellowship,” preach.”

That pretty well sums it up.  I was bothered that the Concordias sponsored the t-shirts and that their ads were throughout the sectional books.  From their standpoint, I understand why. It’s golden chance to reach about 2,000 seriously Lutheran kids and parents.  I noted that Concordia, Austin which awarded the most pro-abortion Texas senator the outstanding Christian leader award and Concordia, Portland which has an outspoken evolutionist and feminist on their faculty were curiously absent.

I know that wearing a clerical is no guarantor of orthodoxy, but something is changing when an organization goes from presenters in clericals, to presenters with clericals covered, to no clericals.  It’s fine if you don’t believe me.  Thirty years ago an older pastor told me something had changed when the Lutheran Annual instead of beginning with the ordained clergy roster began with congregations. I didn’t believe him. I was wrong. Not only words matter, but so does the order of things and so does dress.  It may not guarantee anything but it does say something.

What about the AALC pastor preaching?  You wouldn’t know he was AALC if you didn’t know of him. They didn’t list him as such. First, his sermon was fine, confessional, Gospel centered. Second, I know him by phone to be an exceptional individual. Third, I would not want to preach in such a venue, so this is not about sour grapes.  It’s about respecting the fact that an entire district of the LCMS memorialized Synod to break fellowship with the AALC.  Why put center stage a man who has been a pastor for less than two years and is in a synod which has a doctrine of Communion different than ours?

More about the mythical fellowship we have with the AALC in another post. For now let me close “Higher Things Crucified” by saying that the organization as I knew it is finished. It’s time for another youth organization not only to dare to be Lutheran but to take the double-dog dare and dare to be outside the Synod.

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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