Why We Contend for the Faith

While our weekly meditations are usually based on the appointed readings, I’m moving beyond the lectionary this week to consider Jude verses three through four: 

[3] Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. [4] For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 

As District President I’m asked from time to time why our churches are served exclusively by pastors from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Surely, I’m told, there are faithful and competent Christian ministers who are not part of our denomination. Such clergy would bring a diversity of experience and insights that could prove helpful to us. 

Passages such as Jude three through four explain why we are served by pastors who are trained and ordained in the LCMS. 

As a denomination we are very concerned about the spiritual welfare of our congregational members and church workers. The last thing we want is spiritual leaders who “pervert the grace of our God” and “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” At the least, such teaching could cause members to doubt their faith. At worst, it could cause disbelief in Christ. 

Such errors get multiplied. We pass onto others what we have learned. False teaching can spread from church to church and community to community as members relocate. Hence Jude reminds us that we are to contend for the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” There is no new teaching about God, only what our Lord has already revealed in Scripture. 

I realize that, to some ears, this sounds like an overreaction. Without a doubt there are godly preachers who faithfully proclaim the core of the Gospel message outside our church family. However, to ensure the whole counsel of God is faithfully taught among us, and for protection from false teaching, we will maintain our practice.

(This devotion was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)

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