Christianity comes under criticism in our modern world, sometimes rightfully so, very often though, due to misconceptions. Below are some of these commons criticisms, and a Christian response.
Christians are hypercritical, judgmental, and insincere.
Yes, unfortunately, we are! Lutherans believe that all people are sinners and saints. As Paul, one of the leaders of the early church wrote, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). Thankfully, God loves us humans in spite of our failings, loves us enough to give his son Jesus to die for the whole world. Rejoicing in that gift, we also believe that we can do good without being good or perfect.
Christians are focused on rules, especially in matters of sexuality and marriage.
Lutherans seek to live by trust and not by certainty. Not knowing if our actions will produce the best results, we boldly act and then boldly trust God’s forgiveness if we are wrong. We live in ambiguity. (Daniel Erlander)
God’s purpose is to connect us to one another and to all of creation. Following Jesus’ example, we seek to see each other as individuals that God loves, not as categories. God is not intent on doing us or our enemies in. Once you know someone’s story, you can see them as a person God loves. We welcome LBTG people as members and leaders of our congregations.
Religion is partly true, but not completely true.
Lutherans like to keep the claims about “truth” to a minimum. Luther wrote that the “The Bible is the Cradle therein Christ is laid”. We believe this to mean that not all parts of the Bible have equal weight. We hold a wide distribution of views and are constantly in discussion about the nature of what it means to be human.
Religious leaders are after money and power, not truth.
The Lutheran church was created when Martin Luther began to criticize the church of his day for these very abuses. If you find us like this now, we need more reformation! Our church budget, including the pastor’s salary, is always available to the congregation for review and a yearly vote of approval. We strive for transparency about how gifts are used. We believe that faith is not about becoming rich or successful, but about freeing us to serve and to share with others.
Religious people reject science in favor of superstition.
We treat the Bible seriously, but it is not inherent and we worship God, not the Bible itself. We do not ask people to check their brain at the door. Science awes and amazes us as we give thanks for the complex, interdependent world God made.
St. Stephen is a vibrant, involved congregation. As we go on life’s journey, we seek to follow Christ’s example as we welcome, worship, serve, and grow. We may be smaller in size, but we have a big heart for our community and our world. We enthusiastically support ministries near and far.
We also welcome newcomers as we strengthen existing relationships. We’d love to have you join us for worship, for family game night, or for serving a meal to those at St. Paul Community center in downtown Toledo.
Learn more about our community.