The Prodigal Lutheran

My journey into Confessional Lutheranism.

INTRODUCTION

Lutheranism came like a breath of fresh air to my weary soul. 

I was blessed by God to be in Germany during the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, in October 2017.  It started with a conversation. I was a volunteer Civil Air Patrol chaplain at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany. I absolutely loved it! I was working in the chaplain’s office. At the time (2018-2019), all of the chaplains and chaplain assistants were wearing U.S. Army uniforms. I remember meeting Sergeant First Class (SFC) Retired, Aaron Tisdale, who was unapologetically, unashamedly Lutheran, of the Missouri Synod persuasion! I thought he was smug at first, and thought Lutherans were crazy! My heart was hardened to the idea that Lutheranism had anything to offer me. I was in my mid-thirties at the time (I am 38 now, turning 39 on 11 March, 2022). In the past, I had several run-ins with Calvinist “missionaries,” who sought to convert me to Calvinism, though I was already Christian!  Although I enjoyed a lot of what Reformed theology had to offer, I could never embrace Calvin’s views on election and predestination. I also assumed that Lutheranism was essentially the same as Calvinism, and since I was turned off by Calvinism, I didn’t make any room in my heart or mind for Lutheranism. I thought, it’s the same thing, they’re the same. Boy, was I wrong!

One day, as fate would have it, SFC Tisdale was discussing the wonders of Lutheranism again. And I was rolling my eyes, yet again!! But this time…he mentioned the fact that Lutherans and Calvinists disagree vehemently on how to interpret biblical passages that discuss predestination, election, and just who exactly the elect are.  And, SFC Tisdale also stated that Lutherans believed that Christ died for the sins of the whole world, which was at least one point that Lutherans could agree with most evangelicals on. Slowly, I began to pray, and read books, and the Spirit began to work in me. And now, several years later, I have arrived at the destination I’m currently at–seeking to be colloquized into the clergy roster of the Association of American Lutheran Churches. Just six years ago, I never would’ve imagined that I’d be a self-titled “Lutheran” in 2022!! While I love the richness of the history and doctrines of Lutheranism, their strongest appeal to me was the sense of community I now have. Now, I want to begin by discussing my relationship to God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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