I can’t remember if I asked you this before, but I saw the short
segment on the RC church not being able to admit fault in doctrine.
Wouldn’t this also be true of the LCMS? Particularly with respect to
the Brief Statement of 1932? Or Pieper? Of course this question is
not “Are those things wrong,” it is “Would we be capable of admitting
they are wrong if they were?”
Within the LCMS one needs to make a distinction between the LCMS itself and certain people within it. The LCMS has switched positions often enough — there used to be no women’s voters, now they are permitted. It used to be that having life or health insurance was viewed as a lack of trust in God — now it’s part of a Synodically provided package. And there’s nothing in our doctrine or statements that claims that the Synod in Convention is incapable of making a wrong decision or crafting a wrong statement.
Now, would folks admit they are wrong — that’s another kettle of fish. I find that too often clergy hold to a sense of personal infallibility – the “I could never be wrong” — I myself can slide into this. So would folks touting their LCMS bona fides admit the LCMS was wrong… some might not. Who knows? That’s a matter of personality, and I do think that often folks in the LCMS have more ego than is good for us.
But the whole idea of not being able to admit fault in doctrine isn’t a statement about personalities or even history — it’s about where certainty is located. We place certainty in the Word of God. Can we err in using the infallible Scriptures — sure… but the Scriptures themselves are solid. When push comes to shove, Rome will place that certainty within the organization, whether it be in a council or whether it be in an ex cathedra statement of the Pope.
Even consider the Lutheran approach to the Confessions — we don’t claim that we must abide by them because they are infallible. Rather, we claim that they are faithful to the Scriptures — always our movement is to the Scriptures. That’s where Truth lies — always in the Word.
Hope this helps,
Rev. Eric J. Brown
Zion Lutheran Church – Lahoma, OK