“I Support Rick Sawyer”

            That’s the title I saved this under in 2011. I think this is the writing of his I am referencing https://steadfastlutherans.org/2011/03/acelc-conference-the-divine-service-and-daily-offices-by-rev-rick-sawyer/ . As always from the original Seelsorger of the web, good stuff.

            Having followed the discussion at the Steadfast site, I say thanks be to God for Rev. Rick Sawyer’s faithfulness, patience, and boldness.  I also say that it looks like ACELC does have a place at the table in the current configuration of LCMS, INC.  It’s on the table.  They’re having us for lunch!

            We have, as we are duty bound to do, called our brothers and sisters in Christ to repentance, and we are being answered with, “If you can do better, do it.”  Yes, that’s how I respond when someone calls me to repent, and I accept that answer from those I must confront in the parish. I say, “You’re living in fornication.” And he says, “If you can do better, do it.” Then I’m rebuked, silenced; he has won.

            And it turns out I’ve been misunderstanding Paul for decades. It’s not required for a steward to be found faithful but successful. I’ve done the same with Jesus’ words. The kingdom of heaven is as a man who plants his field, and he does know how it grows.  I’ve misunderstood Peter too. He didn’t say that we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ but in numbers, in giving, in church plants.

            Dear brothers I’ve seen many a grown pastor cowed by someone playing the “numbers” card. Thanks be to God our Lord speaks of two or three gathered in His name and not two or three hundred. Thanks be to God that when we gather though we gather with more than a handful of sinners, we gather with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. Thanks be to God that we don’t go to Divine Service to worship people, many or few, but to be served by Divinity, gracious and merciful.

            The argument over numbers will never be won by the faithful in any generation.  The numbers weren’t with Noah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul, or Jesus. As Jesus focused on the one not the 99, the widow and her mite not the rich and their riches, the one worshipping leper not the 9 who didn’t, so He focuses today on the one parish pastor struggling to get into the pulpit each Sunday to preach the Gospel not the four district and eight Synodical officials rubbing his face in the poor return his preaching of the Gospel brings.

            So to those who would have us for lunch for all that we aren’t (numerical successes) but really it’s for all that we are (defenders of the truth the Synod at one time confessed), let us say bon appetite!

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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