Adiaphora in the Lutheran Confessions


An excellent article from Rev. Mark Bestul. 

Christian freedom voluntarily binds itself to serve good order, peace, patience for fellow Christians (and sister congregations!), and the like. We can’t decide adiaphora based on our genuine, heartfelt desire for “conversion” or “missions” because adiaphora do not convert and therefore ought not be added or discarded to attract the unconverted. To do this would be to declare that customs bring salvation and are no longer adiaphora. Instead, the discussion of adiaphora centers on Christian freedom serving good order, peace, confession within our beloved synod and reminding us of our connection to the church of all generations.

Though the term “adiaphora” can sometimes bring heated discussion, the two extremes can be answered with true Lutheran joy. If someone says you must follow tradition, simply ask, “Will it gain me heaven?” That should quiet the legalism. However, if someone says, “Tradition and church custom? – matters of indifference!”, then say, “The Lutheran Confessions and five hundred years of Reformation practice have a bit to say on that.”