One Parish’s Doctrinal Statement as published in the July 2018 (Lutheran) Forum Letter

From the (Lutheran) Forum Letter, July 2018 issue. www.alpb.org

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau is a historically independent Lutheran publisher of the Lutheran Forum magazine, Forum Letter, and various books and tracts including the four-volume “For All the Saints” breviary.

Pastor Peter Speckhard, nephew of the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, is the Forum Letter’s associate editor and an LCMS pastor at a congregation in Munster IN that includes a parochial school. In the current issue, he shares information from their parish’s parent handbook:

“St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School teaches in accord with the Scriptures, Lutheran Confessions, and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on all matters of doctrine including doctrines related to the definitions of human life, marriage, sex, gender, and family. These doctrines include but are not necessarily limited to our belief that:

 Human life begins at conception
 Our lives belong to God
 Sexual relations are reserved for marriage
 We are to honor God with our bodies
 Marriage is a permanent union of one man and one woman
 Every person is either male or female
 A person’s sex is an objective biological fact

We believe that these doctrines reflect God’s design of humanity, marriage, family, and society, and that teaching them is part of our mission as a church and school.

We also believe that in this fallen world people who are loved by God experience difficulties and brokenness for themselves and their families when God’s good designs do not seem to work or apply properly in their lives, and we seek to have nothing but compassion for people in those circumstances. As fellow sinners we recognize that our church and school communities are filled with people whose individual and family lives do not and cannot perfectly reflect God’s will or design, and we preach full and free forgiveness for Christ’s sake to all who repent and trust in Him for salvation. While we struggle to apply them, the doctrines and designs themselves remain good and true.

Advocating against or deliberately contradicting these doctrines in a way that interferes with or significantly undermines the mission of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School may be grounds for removal from St. Paul’s Church and School community at the discretion of the senior pastor, principal, school board, and board of deacons.”

[Pr. Zumwalt’s comment: There was a time not that long ago when there would have been no argument about this from the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church, the major predecessors of the ELCA. The Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions and the ELCA’s Confession of Faith at their plainest reading are supportive of the doctrinal positions stated by Pr. Speckhard. Notice the pastoral nature of the document as both Law and Gospel. All sin. All fall short of God’s glory. Just because Christians fall short of God’s good and gracious will does not place them beyond God’s mercy in Jesus Christ. The Law always accuses. The Gospel offers grace, mercy, and peace to those who confess those sins that, hearing God’s Law, have troubled their consciences and who, then, flee to God’s mercy in Jesus Christ.]

St Matthew's Pastor Sam Zumwalt

szumwalt

The Rev. Dr. Samuel Zumwalt has worked in churches for 42 years and in May 2018 celebrated the 37th anniversary of his ordination to the holy ministry. He is a member of the Society of the Holy Trinity (www.societyholytrinity.org). In 2004, Pr. Zumwalt moved with his family to Wilmington from Texas, where he served for 23 years as pastor of small, midsize, and large congregations.