I often think that this is a place where we come together in great fellowship, without giving away our store of belief, and I think that may be true for many of us. It makes for a valuable resource, in my opinion. Obviously none of us are likely to give way in any of our core beliefs, which is at it should be, but fellowship with like minded people is still helpful to us all.
Nothing new about this, of course, back in the early twentieth century one of the great Reformed theologian said some things about the support he received from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. His name was Dr. J. Gresham Machen. I found this in an article at Cranach by Gene Veith, there is quite a lot more and a further link there.
Does that mean that we cannot have Christian fellowship with our Methodist or our Lutheran brethren? It means nothing of the kind. On the contrary, we can have very precious Christian fellowship with them.
At that point I want to utter a word of personal testimony. I just want to say that in these struggles of the last few years against blatant unbelief in the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A., one of the most precious gifts that God has given me––and I have no doubt but that many of those with whom I have been associated would say the same thing- has been the Christian fellowship that I have enjoyed with many of my Lutheran brethren, especially those of the “Missouri Synod.” How often, when I have felt tempted to be discouraged, has some message come to me from them bidding me be of good courage and remember that the battle is the Lord’s! How often have I in turn rejoiced when I have thought of the way in which that noble Church [I mean the Missouri Synod] cultivating Christian learning at its great Concordia Seminary and bringing up its people truly in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, has stood firmly against the unbelief and indifferentism of the day! (italics mine [Dr. Rosenbladt’s]––not Dr. Machen’s)
Will those brethren be offended if they read what I have written regarding my devotion to the Reformed Faith and my belief that it is the system of doctrine taught in God’s Word?
I feel rather sure that they will not. You see, one of the things that unite me so closely to them is that they are not indifferentists or interdenominationalists, but are profoundly convinced that it is necessary to hold with all our souls to whatever system of doctrine God’s Word teaches.
I wish indeed that they were adherents of the Reformed Faith, as they no doubt wish that I were a Lutheran. But I stand far closer to them than I should stand if they held the differences between the Reformed and the Lutheran system to be matters of no moment, so that we could proceed at once to form an “organic union” based upon some vague common measure between the two great historic branches of the Protestant Church.
No, my brethren, we do not risk losing our Christian fellowship with our true brethren in other communions if we hold honestly to our ordination pledge. Let us hold to it honestly; and let us not abandon, in the interests of any vague inter-denominationalism or anti-denominationalism, that great system of revealed truth which is taught in Holy Scripture and is so gloriously summarized in the Standards of our Church.