Lutherans/Apostolic Pentecostal Dating Lutheran LCMS Girl
I'm an Apostolic Pentecostal that is dating a Lutheran, specifically LCMS, and she is the pastor's daughter.
As an Apostolic Pentecostal, we believe:
-Oneness of the Godhead
-Repentance is essential
-Water Baptism in Jesus' Name is required
-Holy Ghost with required evidence of speaking in tongues
We are more of the 'old order' for Apostolics, having the English victorian look: we believe skirts to the ankles is holiness, girls must wear hose or hell, no high heels, must wear long sleeves, no halter-tops, long un-cut hair, no jewelry, no make-up.
My girlfriend is Lutheran, she is the pastor's daughter. They are LCMS Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Being Apostolic, we are forbidden to attend any Trinitarian church. Lately, these last weeks, I've been able to attend the Lutheran church with my girlfriend.
Of course, the girl who is Lutheran does not have the "Apostolic standards of holiness". She wears miniskirts, goes bare-legged without hose, and wears high heels to church. When she wears a miniskirt, I think she looks pretty. When she goes bare-legged, I think she looks pretty without the "standards" without the legalism. Her mom and her have been telling me: Ephesians 2:8-9 We are saved by grace through faith without works and without legalism...
The girl and the mother want me to drop the standards/rules.
The dad says that if I switch to Lutheran, I will not have to be rebaptized.
At first, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to change over. We got done at the Lutheran church last Sunday. My Lutheran girlfriend got into the car with me, she was wearing a denim miniskirt, was bare-legged, had on high heels, and she kept on pulling down her hemline. I gave up. I had to have this. I asked, how do you conversion in the LUtheran Church? She said, Romans 10:13: For whosoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. When you have the Holy Spirit, you will call on the name of the Lord. I never called on the name of the Lord as an Apostolic Pentecostal but claim to have the only way to have the Holy Spirit. Yet, my Lutheran girlfriend revealed to me that I may not have it or have salvation or have conversion because I do not have the fruits of calling on the name of the Lord and doing it without water baptism, works, legalism, and without the dress code?
How do Lutherans take Romans 10:13?
How about all this?
I think I may be able to offer somewhat of a unique perspective to your very interesting question, because I have personally dealt with some of these issues.
Generally speaking, Missouri Synod pastors are orthodox in their beliefs, which is to say, they believe the doctrines as taught in the historic creeds (which are also described in somewhat different but equal wording in various formulations of cardinal doctrines.) These comprise the doctrinal understanding that distinguishes a Christian denomination from one that is not Christian. For this reason, I will have to disagree with the pastor about baptism. I think you do have to be re-baptized, as I shall explain.
I also am somewhat familiar with your denomination. It explicitly rejects the Trinity. This is the reason why re-baptism would be necessary. The wording for baptism was given in Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19. "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." So for your baptism to be valid, it must be done in the name of each of the Persons of the Trinity. The Trinity is not something we can fully grasp in this life. I have somewhat of an understanding of it, having been a Lutheran for more than 70 years. But I recognize that I do not fully understand it. That part of it that I do not understand, I must take on faith. I must simply accept that it is an accurate (insofar as is possible) description of the nature of God.
Incidentally, there are accounts of people being baptized in the name of Jesus in the book of Acts. It's the rejection of the Trinity that is behind the practice of baptizing in the name of Jesus only that is a problem.
Because your denomination rejects the Trinity, it would not be regarded as a Christian denomination. I would further observe that holiness of living is the result of the Holy Spirit working in the life of the believer. For this reason, Lutherans do not stress the details of holy living. Lutherans are not antinomians (rejecting the law). For us, the law has the purpose of defining what is sin, and showing us, as a mirror, that we are sinners. The law condemns. As long as you try to live a holy life and hope to be saved, even in part, as a result of holy living, you are under the law. Furthermore, a woman can wear a long dress and still have a wicked heart. I do not consider a miniskirt in church to be appropriate, but not for reasons of holiness. Wearing such clothing can cause a visual reaction in a man, so it serves as a temptation to lust. The result is that the minds of both of them are taken off their purpose for being there: to worship God. I think it is respect for God to be modestly dressed, but this is NOT a requirement that every inch of a woman's body must be covered. But for you to drop your belief in the law of your denomination is not an element of salvation, nor an indicator of whether or not you are saved. The mother and daughter are looking at something which is quite superficial and can lead to errors in judgment.
As for speaking in tongues, this is defined in the account of the meeting in Pentecost, where there were many people of different nations present, with different languages. The Apostles spoke in known human languages, of the people present. They did not speak in a tongue that nobody could understand. They did this so that every person would hear the Gospel in his own language and could understand it. In I Corinthians 13, we are told that these signs shall pass away, which happens when that which is perfect (the Bible) is complete. The Bible IS complete. Further, speaking in tongues was a sign to the Jews. For the sign to be valid, there had to be Jews present. The tongues were validation of the message of Jesus. Some modern-day tongue speaking is demonic in nature, so all tongue speaking must be tested. If they had to teach you to speak in tongues, it is not the New Testament gift. Now this is not a central issue of the Christian faith, but I did want to clarify that point. Speaking in tongues is NOT a reliable indicator that a person has the Holy Ghost, and in fact, lots of people who do not speak in tongues DO have Him.
As for Romans 10:13, it is necessary to know what is meant by calling on the Lord. I have known people who call on the Lord for healing, but they do not have saving faith. The essential issue is ACCEPTANCE of Jesus' life and sacrifice as TOTAL PAYMENT for sin. To the extent that anything you do in the name of holy living is said to add anything, you do not have that acceptance. To accept, you must confess you are a sinner, incapable of saving yourself or adding to your own salvation. If you truly understand the basic requirement, you will have no problem rejecting various behaviors in the name of holiness as having any meaning. So many of these are the commandments of men, which are condemned. They are not included in the Ten Commandments. During Old Testament times, Jews were given an additional 613 ordinances (I believe the number is correct) that they were expected to observe. These were sacrificed with Jesus on the cross and are no longer binding. They were instituted by God so that the Jews would be set apart and preserved to give a lineage for the birth of Jesus, and again to show that we cannot rid ourselves of sin and become wholly sanctified in this life. This is why Jews observe Yom Kippur, which is a day of repentance and atonement (Jesus' sacrifice being the atonement which is presaged here.)
If one person (in this case, your girlfriend) is a believer, having fully accepted Jesus' sacrifice, marries someone who does not, she is unequally yoked. This causes extra burdens on a marriage that can be significant. The pitfall is not being able to discern whether your motivation is to embrace and believe the truth, and accept Jesus' sacrifice, or to be able to marry the young woman. It is surprisingly easy for a young man to THINK he is really trying to embrace and believe the truth, but in reality, getting the young woman is the real motivation. It is a very difficult issue. I recommend you back off and seriously examine your motives. If you are persuaded that your denomination is in error, and you want to embrace the truth, study, and then when you know the meaning of the creeds, confess them, confess your sins, and repent. Baptism need not wait until you have done this, because the Holy Spirit does come to a person in baptism and does help with understanding. You CANNOT embrace the sacrifice of Christ WITHOUT the Holy Spirit. But it is likely you will be required to confess before you are re-baptized.
This statement you made is particularly telling: "My Lutheran girlfriend got into the car with me, she was wearing a denim miniskirt, was bare-legged, had on high heels, and she kept on pulling down her hemline. I gave up. I had to have this." You seem to have decided you want to become a Lutheran so you can marry the young lady. I can tell you from experience that will NOT work well. She will bear the brunt of the burden.
If you back off and examine yourself, ask yourself if you will want to become a Lutheran even if the young woman decides not to marry you. Do you understand Lutheran doctrine enough to know whether or not you agree with it? Have you been instructed?
One more thing: once you marry, you will be designated as the spiritual head of the household. Are you prepared to teach these doctrines to your children without reservation? If she has to carry the burden, it will be much harder on the children. There are plenty of reasons why this is more difficult for the mother in many cases.
Lutherans are not particularly strong on the question of defining how you determine if another person has saving faith. We ran into this in our own lives. Lutherans tend to think that if you confess the historic creeds, hopefully you are confessing them because you agree with them, and then you believe what is necessary. The creeds cover the basis of salvation. This is not sufficient. Since we cannot know the heart, we cannot completely know whether or not another person is saved. However, it troubles me that the pastor, mother, and daughter seem to be looking at things that are not central. But this is typical of a Lutheran outlook.
When our children married, I did not feel that I could actually oppose their marrying the person they chose. I am sure her parents feel the same. I supported each of them. One of them DID decide to marry a Seventh-day Adventist. They are also legalistic, highly so. I told him when I met her that he may have to bring her out of the Adventist church. She was actually drifting away at the time, but he dragged her back into it. What followed was years of turmoil in his life, and a failed marriage. He got his head on straight eventually, but not without much anguish in the meantime.
You probably have a gazillion more questions, and I don't think I have covered things adequately. Feel free to ask anything additional you want. May God bless you and her, and her parents, with discernment, so that you make the right decisions. And may God bless your lives.