…this past Wednesday and Thursday, Nov 9-10, held on the campus of Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. The conference was just half an hour up the road from me, and I figured I owed it to myself and my people to attend and keep current with what’s going on. It was an edifying and enjoyable gathering. I caught two of the four papers, and discussion only after the second one I heard. I heard Dr. David Scaer read his paper, “Lutheranism as Catholic and Evangelical,” and Dr. John Brug (a former professor of mine) read a paper on Luther’s doctrine of the Word.

I find it encouraging that Lutherans are willing to gather in public and discuss doctrine in a fraternal, cordial, and respectful way. Too often Lutherans fall into the trap of savaging anyone who crosses their path that isn’t Lutheran — or as Lutheran as they are. (Aye, there’s the rub….) Gatherings like this one demonstrate that yes, Lutherans really are concerned about the true unity of the church, the best and only kind there is — unity in doctrine, which can only come from a shared faith and confession of the divine Word. Conferences like this one are a concrete expression of the wish that Jesus’ prayer from John 17:21 be fulfilled: “that they may all be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Who knows what the future holds for the Lutheran church, among us and around the world?

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