I have been bombarded in the last two years with LCMS pastors seeking funding for their mission field. My response is “Send me the Book of Romans.”
What I mean by this is as Paul didn’t ask the Romans to fund his missionary trip to Spain without first setting forth his Gospel in the Book of Romans, don’t solicit funds from me or my church without setting forth the Gospel you preach and teach.
I have said, “Send me some sermons you actually are preaching in the field and if it’s what we believe teach and confess, I will bring it to my people.” Not a one has sent a single sermon.
They all assume you not only will comply with their request to meet with you, teach a Bible class, or preach a sermon but that you should. Most have the air about them that what they are doing is the work of an evangelists what you are doing is not or at least it’s second rate.
They all assume the moniker, logo, slogan LCMS means we all believe, teach, and confess the same things. Only a fool or the Who’s “Pinball Wizard” would assume this. And this is where John comes in.
2 John 7-11:”7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
Granted Luther said this condemned the Sacramentarians who didn’t believe that Christ came in the flesh in Holy Communion, but it applies to more than just them. Anyone who doesn’t abide in any teaching of Christ, in so far as they do that, they don’t have Christ. To support a pastor practicing open Communion, or turning a blind eye to polygamy, fornication (even under the sweet-sounding phrase ‘living together’), or one praying with pagans is to participate in his evil deeds.
The real problem is that the Synod sends her missionaries out to sing for their supper when they should be cutting the vittles for their bureaucrats. How much money could be saved by eliminating positions from the bloated bureaucracies in Districts and Synod? I suspect there would be more than enough to fund all our missionaries.
Of course, that being said, we still have the Romans and John problem. We simply don’t all believe, teach, and confess the same thing, and the bigger problem is that we don’t care enough about this divide to a) admit it and b) address it, and I don’t mean by some bureaucratic-driven meet and greet which is designed to not let us talk to each other; which is designed to stop me from giving you my Romans and giving you the opportunity to respond according to John.