The Lutherans and the Liberals

By Larry Ray Haflay


Well, I see in Time Magazine, April 29, 1974, that “The 2.8 million member Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod continues to be racked by dissension between moderates and conservatives over a cluster of issues involving among other matters, literal biblical interpretations.” One cannot read about the “Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod” in the Bible, so he must keep abreast of it from the news magazines. Being a lowly member of the church of Christ (heavenly Jerusalem synod), I do not find it disturbing to hear that the Lutherans are being “racked” up. It is not that I am low on compassion, but some “conservative” souls enmeshed in “a cluster of issues” may decide to pick up the New Testament and find their way out of their “dissension” torn denominational dress. Who is to say that there are not a few honest, earnest truth seekers amongst “The 2.8 million member Lutheran Church?” Stranger things have happened.


Did someone remark that the devil must be behind the “dissension between moderates and conservatives?” I think not. Why would the devil want to stir up a good thing? He would rather have the Lutherans quiet and content in their peaceful human creeds and ceremonies. Now, some moderate-conservative, or possibly even a conservative-moderate, is liable to literally interpret his way out of the Synod bound religion into that of the New Testament order. If the devil ever finds out which one- of his imps instigated the dissension, he will convict him of sin, digression and iniquity and attempt to have him banished to heaven!


Which brings me to my subject of the liberal, institutional church of Christ (Abilene-Nashville Synod), which “continues to be racked by dissension. . .over a cluster of issues involving among other matters, literal biblical interpretations.” The conservatives among the liberals are on their hind legs seeking to slap down their modernistic children. Some of the “where-there-is-no-pattern” brethren of the 50’s and 60’s are the “give us Bible authority or give us death” patriots of the 70’s. The ultra-liberals will give them death. (Just ask W. L. Totty, a case in point.) Bible authority is something the youthful sages were bred and raised to avoid and evade concerning church support of human organizations, sponsoring church agencies, and church supported entertainment and recreation. Guy N. Woods, W. L. Totty, B. C. Goodpasture, and other pathetic first-generation-liberals are now the “antis” to their offspring.


For a time, at least, the old liberals will eloquently defend their cause against innovations of their innovations. Challenges for debate will be hurled by the older generation. Some will agree to meet the old, liberal war horses in conflict. And they will be skinned and hung out to dry. But time is on the side of the forces of error. The tide is coming in. It cannot be detained and restrained. It will further wreck the ship and erode the shore. It took. twenty-five years for the liberals to grow their crop. That crop is nigh unto doing some plowing and planting of its own. Their seeds are pious and popular. They will bear wild fruit. As the Missionary Society bore its children who in turn begat the Christian Church, the Father of the present day “Disciples,” so the Benevolent Society has borne its children. The children of this new age will also father further apostasy. Give them twenty-five years, and you will see; unless, of course, you are blinded by tears over what has happened-again.


Truth Magazine XVIII: 2, p. 29
November 14, 1974