It's not always good to point out the flaws in your mother--especially when those flaws are rather ugly. However, it is not only good but necessary to urge your mother to seek medical attention when she exhibits the symptoms of deadly cancer. And to urge her sometimes means to point out ugly lesions and tumors.
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, in which I was nutured in the Faith, exhibits the symptoms of deadly cancer. And they get uglier, and more noticeable, all the time. Take, for instance, the answer given to a very important question in the Q&A section of the February 2006 Lutheran Witness (the official periodical of the LCMS).
The question (which doesn't appear in the online version) asks "who is allowed to bless the wafers and wine for distribution at Communion." It occurs because, since 1989, the LCMS has officially permitted lay presidency; i.e., that the unordained may celebrate the sacraments and serve as a "lay minister." The questioner mistakenly believes that this lay celebration occurs only in small rural churches so that "if the church is located in, say, ... Detroit ..., only an ordained minister has this privilege" of being the celebrant.
It is my understanding that the answers provided in this regular column are always vetted through the LCMS Commission on Theology & Church Relations. This one begins with laying to rest the misconception of the double standard (to which I add my attestation; for the nearest LCMS parish to my own in inner-city Detroit is served by an unordained man). The answer then goes on to defend this heretical and ungodly practice--and in the most disingenuous way.
In the first place, the answer quite simply (and most deliberately, I suggest) ignores Augustana XIV which forthrightly confesses that no one may preach or teach or administer the Sacraments in an Evangelical-Lutheran Church unless he is called according to the rite (i.e., ordained).
Because of this, the answerer decidedly forgets the history of congregations (or scattered faithful men and women) in remote locations who refused to take it upon themselves to exercise the pastoral office, but rather yearned for and rejoiced at the arrival of a pastor riding his "circuit" who would then perform baptisms, weddings, and administer communion for that remote band.
Worse of all, however, is the common gnostic error of supposing one can have the Word of God apart the Lord's ministry; which is carried further by the lie that the Lord never really instituted a ministry. The defense for such heresy is a refusal to distinguish between the unworthy (i.e., impious or immoral) priest from the false prophet. Following the only sensible reading of Scripture (i.e., the Tradition), Apology VII/VIII takes great pains to state that one must flee the false teacher while one may continue to receive Holy Communion from the man whose personal sanctity is in question. In short, immorality does not equal heresy.
Based on this gnostic logic, the unordained are not seen as false or heretical but merely as no different or better than the impious and immoral. Or, truth be told, such is not even considered. For a disincarnate, disembodied Word--regardless of where it sounds--is the final trump card. Hence the argument that "it is the Word of God's promise attached to the elements that grants these great blessings to those who believe."
Such gnostic logic urges one uncharitably to speculate that someone has considered--or is considering--offering the sacraments via a weblink. For, after all, if the "word" is all that matters, then why have a person present at all--especially when many have already adopted the habit of distributing communion by merely passing around the plate.
And so the tumor grows, and the lesion worsens.