Insistence on Independence Ceases to be a Virtue
JHC Fritz’s Pastoral Theology remains a valuable resource for the Missouri Synod Pastor. The following is from his section on the “Affiliation of Churches”. Heading into a Synod Convention next month his words should be taken to heart.
A congregation which has of its own free will united with other churches in a synodical organization and has agreed to certain work together with other Christian congregations and through its representatives at synodical meetings decides upon the details of such work, is by the law of Christian love in duty bound to join its forces, if at all possible, to those of others in carrying out such resolutions for the promotion of the common interests of the Church of Christ. “If however, some wilfully opopose it, “ as Luther says (he is speaking of the visitation of the churches), “and without good reason get their own way, as indeed, there are some uncontrollable heads who out of sheer malice will not join in a good cause, but rather delight in being different from other people and in opposing them, we must let them separate themselves from us as the chaff is separated from the threshing-floor…May God, the Father of all mercy, however, give unto us through Christ Jesus, His Son, the Spirit of unity and the power to do His will!” St. L. X, 1634.
A Christian pastor should arouse, and keep alive, the interest of his congregation for the work of the Church at large: mission-work at home and abroad, Bible distribution, establishing and maintaining institutions for the training of pastors and teachers and procuring boys of an outstanding Christian character and having the necessary mental and physical qualifications for these institutions, also establishing and maintaining institutions of charity (orphanages, homes for old people, hospitals, home-finding societies, etc.), circulating of church-papers, putting religious books into homes, and the like.
Uniformity in the order of service and the ministerial forms of churches belonging to the same body is very desirable, especially in these days, when many people move about from one place to another and travel and visit much; they can then not only readily take part in the service, but will also at once feel at home. Insistence on independence ceases to be a virtue when it tends to disorder and lack of cooperation.
JHC Fritz, Pastoral Theology. Concordia Publishing House, 1932, p.323.