In the past, I have taught that if you are visiting another Lutheran church and see Arminian Worship, Open Communion, etc., you should run away. I confess now, I did not follow my own advice.
This past weekend we were on vacation on the west coast. We took an Uber to Local Lutheran Church. It was a beautiful building – fine Gothic altar, stunning stained glass. We had missed the “traditional” service, but heard the praise band gearing up for the next one. I looked at the bulletins to see how bad it would be. No liturgy at all. The announcement made clear that communion was open. Grape juice would be offered. And then, as I looked at the front of the church in horror, a movie screen descended from the rafters – entirely covering the beautiful rose window in the front. I had already paid money to get there, and I didn’t want to waste it. We did not run away.
We walked. Calmly, collectedly, all the way back to our Air-BnB. Then we went through the readings from the Treasury of Daily Prayer on the Android App, followed by a good discussion of the readings. It’s not how I wanted to spend Oculi Sunday. But it was better than nothing, and far better than the offense of the service at Local Lutheran Church. On the walk out, we had a good discussion about what worship should be, and why the Arminian style is not for use in Lutheran Churches. So, it worked out, in its own way.
But I have changed my advice. If you find a Lutheran church that is not Lutheran, you do not need to run. You can walk to the nearest exit. And just keep walking.