Of course the answer to the question in my title is Jesus Christ, for he is the way and the truth and the life. Naturally we can't just leave it at that though. No we start asking all sorts of questions and trying figure out "what does this mean?"
In my last post I quoted a Lutheran pastor who was explaining that Lutherans are less tolerant of "heresy" than Anglicans, especially when it comes to those who publicly teach or preach. As a layman I imagine I could quietly sit back and not speak out about the things I believe that are condemned in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, or even speak about them in an unofficial manner, and I wouldn't be tossed out on my ear for the heretical notions I hold :-)
I stumbled across the story of Matthew Becker the other day in my reading on line as I sought to clarify my thinking on the reasons I don't really fit in with the LCMS. Of course, as I stated before, if I didn't live so far from Messiah Danville I would most likely have just kept my thoughts to myself and stayed put, after all it is a place where you will hear the Gospel preached, Christ and Him crucified for us, and where the sacraments are administered properly and where the liturgy is reverent and follows the pattern of the ancient church... but they are part of the LCMS and that organization has added things to the gospel that are not essential, and have made them markers of a "true Christian." Witness Matthew Becker, tossed out of the LCMS for teaching things that I believe to be true. Oops.
Here is a quote from a blog post of his called Less Room in the LCMS that neatly summarizes what I'm about here:
Just to be clear:
(1) I hold that "inerrancy" is not a helpful category for understanding the nature of biblical authority. Even Martin Luther, back in the sixteenth century, acknowledged that there are "errors" in Scripture.
(2) I am convinced that the Scriptures do not clearly prohibit women from serving in the pastoral office today.
(3) I do not reject predictive prophecy. The biblical prophets made prophetic-predictive statements about the future, including the future age of the Messiah, but this fact does not mean that the prophets saw directly and clearly to Jesus of Nazareth and made their predictions based on that vision. Direct prophecies are rare in the OT. More common are typical prophecies. These have an immediate meaning for their own day and an ultimate meaning that points toward the Messianic Age. God always has a way of surpassing biblical prophecies in unexpected ways.
(4) The genres in the early chapters of Genesis do not fit with the literary form of "historical report." The literal contradictions between the two creation accounts in Gen 1-3 are sufficient to push us in a different direction. The history of the exegesis of these chapters--beyond American Protestant Fundamentalism and its inroads in the LCMS--also helps to steer us away from interpretive dead ends. Finally, basic data discovered within the disciplines of the natural sciences also helps us to avoid literalistic, simplistic interpretations that are just plain wrong-headed and theologically unfruitful.
If I were a teacher or preacher in the LCMS I'd have been out on my ear along with Matthew Becker. Though at one time I agreed women ought not to be pastors when I read the actual bible verses that are used to teach that I've never found them convincing, and only tradition remained to "forbid" such a thing. Of course taking Genesis literally I have spoken of before, if you are suspected of not being a real Christian because you actually dare to believe your own eyes and the evidence of the world right there in front of you as opposed to buying into a patently ridiculous 19th century reinterpretation of Genesis... well so be it :-)