What Does An American Evangelical Journeying Into Confessional Lutheran Thought Look Like?

What does an American Evangelical journeying into Confessional Lutheran thought look like?  How long is the journey and what are the challenges?

Below is a conclusive summary of an American Evangelical journeying into Confessional Lutheran thought.  The summary is taken from approximately 700 plus surveys from former and journeying Evangelicals, as well as my theoretical and theological studies on this subject.  The surveys and research is for a Major Applied Research Project that I have been working on for the last two years.  Enjoy the conclusive summary.  

The journey for American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought is a 1-4 year journey that is difficult due Evangelicals moving out of 15-30 years of Evangelicalism and away from approximately four different theological movements. The journey begins when American Evangelicals have a crisis of faith typically due to despair over works righteousness. While the crisis of faith gives them instability within Evangelicalism, they are influenced to examine Confessional Lutheranism by either coming across Lutheran media or being directed to Lutheranism by family and friends. Thus, the daunting journey begins as American Evangelicals separate themselves from popular top ten authors and begin to explore the writings of dead theologians, many who are unheard of and unfamiliar. While reading these new authors and wrestling with the Scriptures, they begin to understand the Bible with new categories such as Law and Gospel. This new understanding of Law and Gospel drastically changes how they view the Bible, how they view themselves, and the Christian faith in general. They see themselves as great sinners, but they also see that they have a greater Savior, Jesus Christ. They learn that the sin problem is not resolved by yielding more, surrendering more, or trying harder by their work. They learn that absolution for their sins is not found in decision based means of grace such as the altar call. Rather they learn and travel to what they once believed to be powerless, God’s powerful and efficacious Word and Sacraments. As they are interacting with these new sources and experiencing changes in how they view reality, their language begins to change as well. The biggest change is their emphasis of words and sentences. Instead of talking about themselves as the subject of sentences doing all the verbs, they begin talking about God as the subject of the sentencing doing all the verbs to them. They also tend to abandon certain words and then are faced with the task of learning new words. Finally, there are emotional concerns that are raised as well. For those that tend to join a Confessional Lutheran church early on, they experience a degree of fear due to the unknown, but overall they have a pleasant journey. However, those who are unable to join a Confessional Lutheran church and stay in an Evangelical churches as they process Lutheran thought, will experience anger and will experience a negative decline in their journey. This negative dip will typically occur after two years of wrestling with Confessional Lutheran thought and will be primarily due to them being either stuck in Evangelicalism or having a difficult time letting go. Alas, the letting go is not only a letting go of American Evangelicalism’s theology and practice but for many it is a loss of family and friends coupled with subtle persecution. However, there is a bright side. Even though many of these former American Evangelicals lament the lost time that they spent in synergistic theology, they feel an overwhelming peace, freedom, comfort, and assurance as they come to understand the objective Christ-centered Gospel and Sacraments within Lutheranism.  
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© 2013 Matthew R. Richard     All intellectual material in this post, unless otherwise stated, is the property of Matthew R. Richard.  Copyright and other intellectual property laws protect these materials.