Faithless in Big, but Faithful in Little?

The LCMS, Inc. or some such entity connected with this behemoth wants to do for your church’s finances what LCMS, Inc. has already done to your doctrine. Don’t let them.

Evidently this move is predicated on the opposite of what Jesus said. Though they have not been faithful in the big thing of public doctrine, they will certainly be faithful in the little thing of handling your payroll services. Don’t let them.

Don’t you see? The first wrong turn we made was down the road of retirement and health plans. This was foolish because we originally said the Synod only existed, only was a reality, in convention.  Health and retirement – we later got into banking too – need daily minding. Thus the beast was born.

Now, they want you to enter further into the institutional machine by having them be your payroll services company.  Of the four reasons for founding a synod, not a one had to with the health, retirement, or banking. Now they have us so thoroughly dependent on them for these that the thought of endangering these causes us to endanger our conscience. Much more than the camel’s nose has been in your church for some time. Now they want even more to be. Don’t let them.

I have to admit that LCMS, Inc. does far better with the physical side of church than they do with the spiritual.  On the spiritual side, we have a corpus of public doctrine as conflicting, meandering, and meaningless as Cannon Law is to all but those who wish to use its doctrinal resolutions and statements to beat others over the head.

Those doing the beating, the leaders and bureaucrats of LCMS, Inc. are a very limited number of men, and they do in fact change. But when the change happens we experience a change in politics but not in position over against the corporation. The Prime Directive remains inviolate. LCMS, Inc. must survive; all must be done to protect the bricks, the mortar, the retirement and health plans, and the Lutheran Church Extension Fund.

So, I suppose it is little wonder that such an institution would be better at the things of this life for these are what sustain her here.  Doctrine in a fallen world, on the other hand, can only divide an institution as careless about doctrine as LCMS, Inc. has been since the 40s. St. Paul, not this Paul, says that. He says there must be divisions so that those who are approved may stand out. We stand out from each other doctrinally but materially we’re joined at the hip certainly by health and retirement plans and may be by investments, loans, and savings.

LCMS, Inc. tolerates standing out from their Public Doctrine, but they get gritchy when you stand out from their forms, their plans, their programs. Doing so pokes them in their institutional eye. I use the singular on purpose. In a land stone-cold blind to doctrine, the LCMS, Inc. isn’t totally blind. She has one eye, clouded by the cataract of material matters, but you know what that one half-blind eye makes her in the land of the blind, and why she is so protective of that eye.

Anyway, the LCMS, Inc. wants to fold your local church ever more tightly into their bureaucracy. Don’t let them. It’s time to wake up Neo and use your own two eyes.

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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