A Response to Synodical Questions About Girl Acolytes

No one ever got thrown out of the Ministry over girl acolytes, individual cups, or hymnody. What happens is that sinners hate Law/Gospel preaching and Confessional Lutheranism. But they can’t argue against it. So they attack the flanks. They look for things to dislike and to discredit you by. When congregations throw pastors out a district official is dispatched for the postmortem. When he asks them what happened they invariably tell him that the pastor was mean and changed their practices. For instance, he legalistically banned girl acolytes, something that has always been very important to the faith of that particular place. The district official then complains that the seminary is training pastors to be legalistic and if they would just stop and teach the students more cliches like “Don’t be a bull in a china shop,” “Love your people,” “You have to be winsome to win some,” and “They have to know how much you care before they care how much you know” then everything would be fixed.

This has resulted in the reality that LCMS officialdom wants to know your opinion on any number of peripheral questions. You have to answer them. But don’t be confused by the chaff. You have to be gentle and careful, but remember what this is all about. Answer the question but remember that this is not about girl acolytes. The problem is sin. The answer is grace. Our fallen flesh always wants to strain out gnats for the sake of swallowing camels. What you want to demonstrate in your answer is that you are gentle and compassionate, careful to not unduly give offense, but that practice matters.

Know this also: No matter how much you are advised to, you can’t choose your battles. You are not the general. But you can at least attempt to recognize land mines and try to avoid them. The poor guy who steps on a land mine won’t much care that the opposing general was trying to deny his enemy a piece of ground and doesn’t really care about how it is done or individual mine placement. That guy will only care about what he has lost. Still, many a good soldier, well-trained and loyal, through no fault of his own is removed from the battle by such unfeeling contraptions hidden in the sand. The violence of war is often random. Skill and knowledge never stop bullets. Thus if you get hit by a stray girl acolyte round or step on the individual cup land mine do not think that it is all your fault and was avoidable. Crossing a minefield is tricky and sometimes you get pushed or trip.

Through all of this, remember what we are really fighting for, for whom, and who it is that we are fighting against. Girl acolytes are just one land mine, a weapon of the enemy. They can do a lot of damage, but don’t let the wisdom of this world convince you that is the cause of our battle. Don’t believe the opinions of fools far removed from the battle. They seek to belittle every casualty as self-inflicted, otherwise they might be somehow responsible.