I have done a lot of reading the last few weeks as I stumbled across this site and then branched out to read the many others with related themes. I've read most all of Wacky Jackson and his tripe. I've read the issuesinwels folks site, the motley magpie, combed through all the comments on these blogs. I've had many things cross my mind that I'd love to say about various issues and even started some comments of my own ...only to stop and decide there would be no point arguing here...much like the protester in Tienamen Square.
Ultimately though I think if those who sit around here postulating would actually go out and knock on people's doors and witness Christ to their neighbors and actually go out into the world and find unbelievers they can share the Gospel with that most of this discussion would disappear. I would like to see some of the people here reaching out to my non-temple going jewish lesbian neighbors with the Augsburg confession or maybe the book of Concord. Perhaps a thorough discourse of the history of the synodical conference and the changes to synods and worship practices in a post-modern age would get them to consider coming to a bible study group at our house?
The point being in almost all of the discussion I have seen at all these sites they only address keeping Lutheran churches Lutheran as if that was our only goal. They criticize churches and/or individuals that actually get out and try to reach the unbelievers. I mean alleluia, praise the Lord you have a church with pure doctrine in Word and Sacrament and fine traditional methods of pointing churchgoers to Christ. But hardly even once in any site has anyone addressed personal evangelism. I also believe that the Holy spirit does all the work on an unbelieving heart when the Word is presented but it seems that in this venue that is often used as an excuse to not be personally responsible for getting out there and presenting the Word on a personal level. Perhaps the great commission does not apply to some. Perhaps some think that since the Holy Spirit does it all that the Holy Spirit will knock on the doors and present the Word himself. Imagine a church that had a "program" that taught people how to be better evangelists. Clearly since it is a program it is "church growth" and learning to evangelize with those around you should be avoided.
I guess I belong to a new mission "Church Growth" church. We have blended services with A/V and a band. Half of our budget is spent on evangelism. We have events nearly every month that get our members into the community or invites the community in so that we can build personal relationships and share the Gospel.
I think it is ironic that in these blogs and such it would appear that the WELS is just repleat with all this liberalism in CG and all you need to do is talk to someone who is involved in it whole heartedly and I can tell you. The WELS is 99% full of nothing but crusty old traditionalist boogers who sit on their hands, can't handle change, and won't evangelize...like the many here who only believe in the Holy Confessions that were verbally inspired by Martin Luther...the true Lutheran god. We are criticized by most of the traditional WELS congregations all around us (except our mother congregation of course) and seldom find anyone in the synod who is like the people you describe. We look for guidance and assistance and all we can look to is Crossroads, Crosswalk, St.Marcus, Christ the Rock, etc..and try to form a home grown network of support in true personal ministry. Personally I would love to find all this WELS support for "CG" practices because we ain't feelin' it. I would venture to say that WELS leadership has very little experience and will to try and support alternative missions such as ours. Thats why our core WELS group is still relatively small and the growth we have is 60% new believers and unchurched. Most WELS folks stay away as they don't have the guts to reach out and evangelize and try new things to build those relationships with the unbelievers in our community.
I thank you all though for the opportunity to get a glimpse inside an interesting "theological" perspective.
Victory of the Lamb Lutheran Church