|Lutheranism is a strong force in South Carolina. The Columbia area, alone, is represented by churches from every major Lutheran synod, as well as a Lutheran seminary.
The question is sure to arise -- how are these groups different?
Lutherans, like most religious organizations, can be placed into three general groups
The Liberal, or Progressive Lutherans believe that it is important that the church changes with the times in order to continue attracting members. Progressive Lutherans proclaim that God's Word is no longer relevant to today's believer and allow people to decide for themselves what is or isn't God-pleasing. (Are these words blasphemous? Click to read a letter from a reader).
- Liberal or Progressive, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) - visit website
- Moderate, such as the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) - visit website
- Confessional, such as the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) - visit website
The Confessional Lutherans follow the Lord's command to "speak My Word faithfully" (Jer. 23:28) and teach the world "all things which I [Jesus] have commanded you" (Matt. 28:28). Confessional Lutherans realize that although God's Will isn't always the most exciting option to our sinful nature, it is definitely what people need at this time of moral decline. Confessional Lutherans teach that people are sinful, and without Christ's redemptive work we would have no hope of eternal life. These scriptural truths were confessed by most Lutherans up until the breakup of the Lutheran Synodical Conference in the early 1960s.
The Moderate Lutherans are torn between following the confession of their Lutheran ancestors and relinquishing God's teachings to make their churches more palatable to current and potential members. They therefore publicly confess that they follow God's Word, but in practice allow their pastors and people to decide for themselves which teachings they want to follow, and which they want to ignore.
Both the Progressive and Moderate Lutherans are currently finding themselves in danger of alienating many of their members. Although the synodical leaders and many of the pastors are comfortable ignoring (or even denying) many of the teachings of the Bible, the people in the pew remember the catechetical training of their youth which taught them that the entire Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), and that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). These concerned Christians realize that the "cafeteria" approach to God's Word (take what you want, leave what you don't). is not God pleasing and is dangerious to their eternity.
It doesn't take much research online to see the deep schisms dividing these organizations. Many members of these organizations (pastors and laypeople alike) are standing up and speaking against the erroring pastors and the synodical leaders. Many pastors, however, afraid to bring the controversies to their congregations, remain quiet - hoping that their members will not find out about the cancer which is slowly destroying their "beloved" church body. Many members, knowing about the error being taught by other pastors in their organization and supported by the synodical leadership turn a blind eye -- thinking that as long as their pastor teaches the truth they don't have to worry about what is happening in their sister churches.
What is the purpose of this website?
My hope, through this website, is to encourage many of the Liberal and Moderate Lutherans to pull their heads out of the proverbial "ostrich hole". It does not work to ignore the error taught by fellow pastors and supported by synodical leaders. Pretending that error isn't there doesn't make it go away. Saying that those errors don't represent you or that you don't support those errors is negated by your membership in that organization. These errors are a direct affront to our God who showed His love for us by sacrificing His Son for our eternal salvation.
I hope through this website to encourage members of the erring church bodies to get up from their slumbers and stand up for Jesus. Are there any real men in these churches who will stand with Joshua and say “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” and then leave the “house” of error in order to obey and keep their Savior’s word?
Is the error in these church bodies really that bad?
Don't take my word for it. Listen to many of the pastors and laypeople within these church bodies who are beginning to realize the distance their synod has fallen from the truth. Dozens of websites have been created by individuals within these organizations decrying the error being taught by many pastors and supported by synodical leadership. I list several of them above and at the bottom of this website.
The errorists defend their teachings by saying their actions come from love. Such fine sounding words are in complete contradiction to what Lutheran have always believed - love the sinner but hate the sin.
Denying even one small truth portrayed in Scripture raises the concern that we can therefore trust nothing in Scripture - even Christ's sacrifice for our sins - so the error in these church bodies IS really that bad!
What got me interested in developing this website?
This website will be a document in progress. It was started late January 2005 after I was approached by several families concerned about the error within their church body. Although they felt their pastor still taught true Scripture as confessed by the Lutheran Confessions - they could no longer allow themselves to show support for their erring church body through their membership.
What about the CLC?
I've spent some time discussing the Liberal and Moderate branches of Lutheranism. I guess it is to be expected that as a member of the CLC (Church of the Lutheran Confession) I would speak favorably of it - and I do!
You will not find dozens of dissenting views by CLC pastors and members on the Internet. I challenge you to find any. Although we do occasionally find ourselves in conflict over one or more doctrines in the Bible, our differences are resolved on the basis of Scripture -- "What does God say?" Never do we allow ourselves the luxury of saying "Let's agree to disagree".
We consider ourselves to be true confessional Lutherans - still believing and teaching the Scriptural truths as taught and confessed by Martin Luther and by the many confessional Lutherans unknowingly trapped in their erring church bodies. We are blessed to have the fellowship of which the Apostle Paul speaks in I Cor 1:10, speaking the same thing without divisions among us. A wonderful benefit of this fellowship is our confidence that we will hear the same teachings from all our pastors, whether they be in South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, the Dakotas, California or overseas. VISIT CLC WEBSITE
Some information about me...
I am Glenn Oster, a retired pastor of the CLC (Church of the Lutheran Confession). I live in West Columbia, South Carolina and am a member of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church - CLC in West Columbia (see website). I left the full-time ministry several years ago to pursue secular interests but still assist CLC congregations where needed -- I am currently serving a congregation in the Fairfax, Virginia area on a monthly basis. I work full-time as a business analyst for NCR Corporation and own an Internet Hosting Company.
If you have questions about what I believe, or would like to have a "sounding board" for your concerns, please feel free to contact me at goster@CLClutheran.com or 803-361-2739. or visit the CLC's website.