A few days ago, First Things released an interesting article by Robert Benne entitled “Lutherans in Search of a Church.” Benne does a good job of discussing the crisis which August’s Chuch-Wide Assembly vote in the ELCA has caused the denomination. And he gives a very informative look at LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) and the forthcoming NALC (North American Lutheran Church).

The article has some problems – perhaps most significantly its last paragraph:

Whatever comes of these ventures remains to be seen. If the Holy Spirit blesses them they will flourish and provide new beginnings for Lutheranism in America. For many they are the last, great efforts to live out the promise of Lutheranism as a church on this continent. If they fail, the only remaining option may be a bracing swim across the Tiber.

Now, I can understand that these new denominations could well be “new beginnings for Lutheranism in America.” But to suggest that they are the only options for orthodox Lutherans and that, if they fail, the “only remaining option” for orthodox Lutherans might be that of joining the Roman Catholic Church is a little much. Surely Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, or any of the other dozens of Lutheran denominations operating in the United States would be options for Lutherans wishing to remain Lutheran? Rome is hardly the only option (or, for that matter, an option at all) for orthodox Lutherans.