Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crusaders unite

October 26, 2008 7:42 AM
Anonymous said...
As a WELS pastor, what I'm afraid of is printing my name on your blog and others, and then getting my reputation crucified on a public forum. I have heard the charges and insinuations of your blog and others; but when I talk to the men you have demonized, I realize they are Scriptural, orthodox teachers and preachers of the Word. They may feel there is nothing wrong with blended worship services--they may even utilize contemporary worship forms. They may even (gasp!) administer the Lord's Supper separate from the regular worship service. If you have ever lived outside the friendly confines of the Midwest, you know visitors can get very put out with the practice of closed communion. The early believers celebrated it privately among themselves. All of these things do not make them heterodox. These men have a love for the Word and a love for people, and they want to see their people in heaven someday. I have never attended a Church and Change conference, but there have been several presentations over the years I would have loved to sat in on. C and C offers a great deal when it comes to the nuts and bolts of practical every-day ministry. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! And no, I will not give you my name!
October 26, 2008 6:53 PM


Mr. WELS pastor,

I wonder if Luther had the same fear as you do. I have talked to the men I have listed on my blog (yes I have). How have I demonized these men? I could say you are breaking the 8th commandment. I have listed what is happening at their churches. These are things that I have witnessed. You might have me confused with another blogger..?..?

If you were to talk to Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, and Ed Stetzer you might also find them to be loving and caring men. But misguided and certainly not Lutheran. I have lived almost half my life outside of the friendly confines of the midwest so you can't use that argument. That is one of the reasons I know well what is happening in the far flung regions of the WELS too. Gasp..hiding communion. Does this privilege and treasure need to be hidden? Did the early church do this? Do you want to sit at the feet of Ed Stetzer? Will you? Several of your fellow WELS pastors did and do. So Mr. WELS pastor if I came to you as a member with my concerns about C&C, I take it you would tell me to hit the road.

I guess I am, as Mr. Tim has characterized me, a confessional crusader. As we approach the Reformation hour I wonder what I shall do next. I have used this blog to spark discussion and open some eyes. I will continue to hold the cross high.

P.S.

Some of you have wondered about the recent conference that was held (where I heard BW got some notice). I will say that I have contacted the Oktoberfest organizer and have not yet been given consent to post their writings. I hope that they can stand tall and share their thoughts.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous wels pastor...

i'm sorry that some outsiders might be a bit 'put out' by our church's practice of closed communion. it's our church and it's okay. maybe it would spark an interest in them to inquire as to what we're doing, why they cannot participate, what they can do to become members, etc. you could use it as a tool to teach them.
that is why it's prudent to have members announce for communion so that the pastor is aware of who is coming. my father is a wels pastor and i remember as a kid, the phone would ring off the hook all day saturday with people calling to announce for communion. i would think that outsiders and visitors would benefit from watching our sacrament take place. all you have to do is make the announcement to the congregation that those who have signed up and announced their intentions, are welcome at the Lord's table. what could possbily be offensive about that?

Anonymous said...

"I will say that I have contacted the Oktoberfest organizer and have not yet been given consent to post their writings. I hope that they can stand tall and share their thoughts."

Two of them wrote for the Motley Magpie, you could read that.

Anonymous said...

WELS pastor said,

"As a WELS pastor, what I'm afraid of..."

Some guy said,

"Here I stand...."

Anonymous said...

"These men have a love for the Word and a love for people, and they want to see their people in heaven someday."

Aww, look at these cute wolves in sheep's clothing! Their wool is so nice and warm and cuddly. Never mind the ferocious soul destroying teeth under all that cuteness.

California on my mind said...

Can you read all of these responses to "WELS pastor"? Should it be a surprise he doesn't want to reveal his name?

Anonymous said...

>>Aww, look at these cute wolves in sheep's clothing! Their wool is so nice and warm and cuddly. Never mind the ferocious soul destroying teeth under all that cuteness.<<

Ouch! Is this comment constructive? Is this comment speaking in love? Is this comment not bearing false witness against someone? If this is a pastor who posted this comment, he is not a man who should be preaching from our pulpits.

Speaking of anonymity - which seems to be the foundation of this blog - who is John anyway? Of all the persons who should be posting their name, shouldn't the author of the blog be first and foremost? If John isn't willing to identify himself and his credentials, how credible is he?

And, while blogging does not require the same guidelines of ethical journalism, an honorable and reputable blog will take care to do so anyway - that means a named author and proof/sources for information posted. Heresay does not constitute factual proof, by the way.

So John, just who are you? Which congregation are you from? Are you a pastor? Lay person? What education have you had? What exactly qualifies you to post the information you do? And when you do make a statement, why do you not include names, dates, when, where...you know, some actual substance to your claims?

Just out of curiosity....

Anonymous said...

"Should it be a surprise he doesn't want to reveal his name?"

Cluck, cluck.

Freddy said...

Years ago, I read an essay by Dr. P.E. Kretzmann: Fundamental and Non-fundamental Doctrines — and Church Fellowship. In this article, Dr. Kretzmann quotes from Dr. C.P. Krauth regarding the "Course of Error in the Church." It was this quote that inspired me to find a copy of Krauth's Conservative Reformation and it's Theology, and read it (this was before CPH started reprinting it). This is the quote:

"When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages in its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: 'You need not be afraid of us; we are few and weak; let us alone, we shall not disturb the faith of others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions.' Indulged in for this time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the Church. Truth and error are two coordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their repudiation is that they repudiate that faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it. (p. 195 f.)."

This is wise insight from a man who witnessed the decline of Lutheranism first hand, who had the courage to publicly fight against the error which was causing it, and to work toward unity. His effort not only made him a celebrated figure of his time, but a largely credible one as well.

Making application to our own time, Rev. Paul Kelm and company were asking for toleration two decades ago, and, using much the same “gee, they're so full of evangelical zeal, and such good Christian men” reasoning displayed by “WELS Pastor,” they were granted it. Some in our midst are still asking for toleration. Strident agents of "change," such as "WELS Pastor," it seems, are long past asking for toleration, however. They are demanding equivalency. It's obvious they intend to run a parallel church before moving to Krauth's final step of asserting supremacy. This is, after all, the objective of “change.”

But, while Krauth was addressing doctrine, are we not, in our case, looking at Lutheran practice? Yes and no. We are rightly concerned with practice as it is a reflection of what we Confess, and we see evidence of doctrinal error in the practice of the C&C crowd. When those who confess doctrinal unity with us engage in practice that is confusing or offensive, we have every right to demand of them an explanation, and they have every obligation to render one. Drawing the C&C or CG crowd into explanation of their practice, more and more, it seems, exposes their divergence from us and their disregard for anything more then rhetorical unity. So, while we take our queue from confusing and offensive practices endorsed by the C&C church-growthers, our concern is Confessional integrity.

As I continue to read and study, I am growing convinced that earlier discussions on this point are correct: WELS is facing a Confessional crisis.

My thoughts,
Freddy Finkelstein

John said...

Mr. Anonymous,

You ask: "What exactly qualifies you to post the information you do?"

I guess I didn't realize that I had to have certain credentials to post on Lutheran concerns. So maybe you can disqualify me. Please share your blog with me too and your church affiliation.

I am not a pastor. Never have been and never will be. I am a layperson. Through my business ventures I travel often. I have lived in various parts of the USA and have been a member of 6 different WELS churches. Some confessionally true and others not so much as evident by my anecdotal stories.

For the moment I will leave my current congregational membership on the side. I do have lengthy discussions with my pastor and participate in church governance and have been to several synod conventions.

I'm not sure why you are interested in my education (unless you are mr. grammarian again). I did graduate from a public university.

I hope this helps...

Anonymous said...

"'Aww, look at these cute wolves in sheep's clothing! Their wool is so nice and warm and cuddly. Never mind the ferocious soul destroying teeth under all that cuteness.'

Ouch! Is this comment constructive? Is this comment speaking in love? Is this comment not bearing false witness against someone? If this is a pastor who posted this comment, he is not a man who should be preaching from our pulpits."

Well, if you don't want him preaching from your pulpit then you wouldn't want Jesus preaching from your pulpit either. Jesus is the one who said it first (Matthew 10:16).

I'm sorry if it isn't politically-correct enough for you or if it offends you. Jesus was famous for being politically incorrect and offending people.

Those who teach Church Growth theology are false teachers. Those who support them are supporting wolves in sheep's clothing.

So, yes, warning people about false teachers is very, very constructive and loving.

anonymous 1138 said...

"Well, if you don't want him preaching from your pulpit then you wouldn't want Jesus preaching from your pulpit either. Jesus is the one who said it first (Matthew 10:16)."
Funny. There's also something about men entertaining angels and not knowing it.
As a well-bruised LCMS confessional layperson (who hasn't paid much attention to WELS in about ten years, but who now incredulously sees confessional WELS people fleeing to the LCMS...), I like to choose my fights so I blog a lot anonymously, and save my real name for selective fights.
My confessional pseudonym is Anonymous 1138, sometimes found on Brothers of John the Steadfast.

Seeking Truth, not Hysteria said...

I’m new to this blog and also to the whole C&C argument. I’m trying to differentiate people’s opinions from fact, which I must say, is pretty hard. So, to combat this, in my efforts to examine both sides, I’m reading other things as well.

Anyways, I have some questions. Please don’t answer my questions by saying I’m falling from my faith. Or they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. I received such non-answer answers when I attended WELS preparatory high school, which at the time left me totally unprepared to go out into the world and explain my faith. Please give me specific answers to my questions. Please answer WHAT, WHY or HOW.

What exactly does C&C stand for? Why is it wrong? How is it leading our WELS churches astray? Can you give me specific examples, such as names, places and occurances?

I ask these questions because when I check out their website I don’t find anything doctrinally wrong. http://www.churchandchange.org/?nc=1203367869010.24 On their Purpose Page, they quote the 1 Corinthians 9:23 passage “I have become all things to all men…” So, yes, I can see they are looking to change things within our church as they reach out to all people.

Yet on the same page, they also state “Church and Change folk are committed to Lutheran Theology as explained in the Lutheran Confessions.” I’m led to believe they’re not changing in their doctrinal beliefs, only ways in which they deliver it. What, specifically, is wrong with this?

What, exactly, was so offensive about the C&C conference? What is doctrinally in error?
I checked out their conference program at
http://churchandchange.org/site/cpage.asp?cpage_id=10155&sec_id=2384

I don’t see any topics that are against Bible teachings. The speakers are all WELS pastors, teachers or affiliated, with the exception of two ELS. The keynote speaker is WELS, although relatively new – but certainly there’s no error in that. His topic synopsis states he believes WELS teaches the truth of God’s Word but feels we aren’t necessarily good at connecting with and engaging people in today’s world. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In fact, I feel that’s quite true.

Did something occur in this conference, or was something said that is doctrinally incorrect? If so, what? Who said it? No conjecture, please. Please be specific.

Reading further beyond
People keep bashing Ed Stetzer. They say C&C is chumming with him. How is there an association with Ed Stetzer and for what reason? Does C&C adhere to his doctrinal beliefs? Or are they simply interested in ways his methodology can be applied to ours? Is there anything wrong with applying a method – or style – of doing something to our doctrinal practices? And if so, what?

I don’t know who the guy is so I looked him up. I read parts of his blog, though certainly not all. I realize he doesn’t share our doctrinal beliefs so I read with care and concern.

Here is a posting I did find interesting and relevant: http://www.missionalnetworkweb.com/blogs/ed_stetzers_blog/default.aspx

While one needs to read the whole post before judging the context, here are two interesting quotes.

He says: “The scriptures are relevant to this and every culture. They do not need updating, correcting, or revisioning. On the contrary, what needs revisioning is our understanding and obedience to God's word as we live out His mission in context.”

He also says: “The reason ministry models have to change is because they have an unchanging message that must be conveyed in a changing world. That message is Christ, the gospel, and the Scriptures.”

To me, this idea is similar to C&C’s statement above. I agree with this statement. Yet I may not agree with Stetzer’s doctrinal belief. That certainly doesn’t make me a wolf in sheep’s clothing, does it?

Please don’t tear into me for asking legitimate questions. The overall manner of this blog is very critical, yet it doesn’t fully examine what it is criticizing. If I am to be a crusader and unite in your cause, I need to fully understand how C&C is non-Confessional and why the organization is wrong. I need specifics.

Anonymous said...

Another wolf defender dressed as Switzerland. Sneaky Welsbot, sneaky indeed.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA You will never get answers like that here. I came here once new and naive about the "crisis". I was interested to hear there even was one and what might be behind it but you will never get an answer. Here is what will never be defined:

1.) What is THE definition of confessional Lutheran? Even here the crowd will differ a bit and argue about things like the OHM and liturgical practice (how close to Rome should we go). From what I've devined it is roughly all the Lutheran confessions, as well as traditional Lutheran practice. This confessionalism is fixed in time and not subject to change....particularly in practice.

I would submit that if this site would first and foremost state their definition of confessionalism it would clarify the entire crusade. (I of course use crusade in its historical context of well-meaning causes run by the elite, paid for by the poor and uneducated, that were often pointless, damaging, life threatening, and ultimately never needed to be waged in the first place)

2) Based on #1 then,if any person, group, or entity that would deviate from historic Lutheran practice exists, it automatically is outside of Lutheranism. There will be no picking it apart and evaluating its doctrinal statements to determine whether it is Lutheran in doctrine. That is not good enough based on the rules around Lutheran practice. So far I'm batting 0.0000 on finding any practice outside of historic Lutheranism that can be Lutheran in doctrine but contemporary (already defined as non-Lutheran) or any other thing.

3.) all non-Lutheran practice is lumped almost unequivocally under the banner of CG. Hence C&C is all about CG no matter whether it was gained by "spoiling the egyptians" or even homegrown in our own churches. I am batting 0.0000 yet again on determining whether we could use that little thing called discernment in applying Lutheran Doctrine to non-Lutheran practice. Can you make something a new Lutheran practice? The answer here would be "no". Lex orandi lex credendi apparently has such power that nothing can be made Lutheran unless it was prescribed 450 years ago.

As a little experiment it would be interesting to take some crusaders and put them in properly defined church. Then do a complete traditional service straight out of the hymnal. Then do it a second time but substitute a piano instead of an organ. Then a third time but with a guitar backing up the piano. Then add a bass fiddle etc.. Take away the pastor's robe.. Give each of them a panic button to press for when they thought the church left Lutheranism. It would be interesting to see how far they could go.

4.) The argument that Lutheran practice could possibly be flexible while Lutheran doctrine is not, is not even in the realm of possibility. This is always the dividing line here. Christian Freedom hardly exists here and more aptly this is the place to go to limit your Christian Freedom. Legalism and offense run rampant. The only cure would be Bible study but that is rarely done here. There is no need for a Bible here. If you have your cliff notes handy all the answers are there (Triglotta).

5.) No one has proven from the Bible that the WELS methods of contemporary, C&C. or the various things they lump into a massive CG bin are in violation of scripture or at least scripture that was not taken out of context. The violation is against Lutheran Practice...which as mentioned before is tantamount to scripture here.

Since these previously mentioned hangups will probably not be surmounted, it is pointless to wait for answers to those questions. Get a definitive answer from this group on these questions and you might have a place to even begin otherwise you will be apples and oranges forever.

What is THE BW definition of Lutheran Confessionalism?
What is the BW limit of Christian freedom as it pertains to Lutheran Practice?
Can you retain Lutheran Doctrine and Lutheranism without all elements of BW Lutheran Practice?

I think if you can get a clear manifesto on these topics then you can worry about the other questions. No sense beating your head against a wall as I have. Their unit concept is too blinding to expand into the world (although at times risky world) of Christian Freedom.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim and like-minded friends, why do you desire to use the Lutheran brand name if you don't know what it means to be Lutheran? (Desire to use it but discard it as unnecessary for mission churches as it were). Relativism doesn't fit within Lutheranism like it does within other aspects of our culture.

If you have not read the Book of Concord, why should we waste our time with your epic inquiries and polemics? The answers you seek lie within the BOC. Take a few months (or years) and read it. Then see how it aligns with your church growth methods. If you find it in agreement, why waste your time on a blog like this? The BOC will give you much better answers than the inadequate and subjective interpretations of people like me responding within a blog.

If you're not really interested in learning what it means to be Lutheran, or if you think you have such a grasp already on what it means, I ask again, why waste your time on a blog such as this? Could it be seeking validation for your already-formed beliefs as opposed to honest inquiry?

Rob

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Oh I don't expect answers here about Lutheranism. Thats like asking a politician about honesty. I have most all the books you quote and use right here. However, often when I read up on the quotes you mention and yet I still find your explanations and particularly your applications completely bewildering.

Indeed the question is often asked here, "Why do you want to be WELS...Why do you want to be Lutheran? Your belief is that I don't understand Lutheranism. However, probably the large part of why I at least hang out to peruse is because I feel that the positions here are the ones that are truly not Lutheran. Oh there is no doubt that those here have a handle on the mechanics of Lutheranism but certainly not in the aplication of it. There are so many comparisons to pharisees. Legalists who had all the right books and confessions, they had customs and laws and rules and regulations. They had everything under control in the church, yet they lost everything in the application of the Gospel message. They relied on the faith of their fathers and their rituals and works.

So why waste time on a blog? Why not? are they not for presenting ideas, stirring debate,challenging the beliefs of others? Good natured ribbing, venting and what not? Thats why I come. Its good sport. If the purpose of this blog is not to present ideas and express a clear goal and direction for what is being advocated then what is it for? no one wants to bother answering epic tomes of questions? only confessional elitists should be here? Perhaps.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"Lex orandi lex credendi apparently has such power that nothing can be made Lutheran unless it was prescribed 450 years ago."

Shouldn't we go back to services in German then?

Anonymous said...

Tim, I think you sound like a nice guy. Really. I welcome your opposing views and your support of CG and C&C. I've enjoyed the labels you've given - confessional crusader and now, confessional elitist. I wish were. I'm very new to the Lutheran faith.

For many of us, though, the search for, and defense of, truth is not mere sport. We see the real dangers of what you are proposing and don't take it lightly. We use this blog as a means of education and discussion. For this we earn your condemnation as legalists and Pharisees. And such is always the charge from your side.

Lutheranism is more than just using terminology like law/gospel, word and sacrament and two kingdoms as cliches. What you're really marketing is the theology of glory - and that is false teaching and dangerous. Good intentions and a "love for the lost" do not excuse its promotion.

You have access to pure truth. For your sake, and for the sake of those with whom you "share the gospel," please make sure you're correct. Most religions preach evangelism and mission work. But with false beliefs come severe consequences. Zeal is great. You certainly express it here. But if it is misguided...

I'm not interested in your subjective definition of Lutheranism because it has been defined for us in BOC. I can handle your contempt. But, as a cyber-brother, I urge you to be sure of what you are believing and preaching.

Rob

Freddy said...

Mr. “Seeking Truth, not Hysteria”

Perhaps I am being naive, but I will assume that your post is genuine, and try to honestly answer some of your questions from my perspective.

First, understand that C&C is only the latest version of nearly two decades of Church Growth innovation, that has, over the years, been cynically foisted on WELS Lutherans as the only right way, because it is somehow the only relevant way. Yes, the only relevant way, in spite of the condescending nods they seem to offer in the direction “dying traditionalists” who “irrationally cling” to Confessional and catholic (that's small “c” catholic) practices. As CG methods are overtly non-Lutheran, making a joke out of our claim of catholicity, C&C church growth zealots unapologetically express their intent to carry our church practice away from anything (a) recognizably Lutheran, that (b), being recognizably Lutheran, also functions in a way that uniquely supports our doctrine.

Although the names involved seem to be the same, they are almost irrelevant at this point (apart from their continued appointment to positions of centralized leadership). What many of us have observed, especially those of us in a position to observe trends as we travel across the U.S. for business purposes, is the broad impact of CG on Lutheran Practice today, after decades of toleration. Such impact includes crass rejection of the Western Rite (the “Mass” which the Confessions tell us is not to be abolished), the adoption of openly and unavoidably anthropocentric “contemporary” forms in the Divine Service (in an effort to titillate the weak and the unregenerate, over against “traditional” Lutheran and Christocentric practices that may “bore” them), and practices which overtly despise the Sacraments, hiding the Marks of the Church rather than heralding them, for fear that the unregenerate may take offense! Yes, for fear that they may stumble at the Stumbling Stone! CG ideas have been propagated and absorbed by the weak among us, as they jealously look toward pop-church Evangelicals with a longing for their “relevant” "contemporary" practice. Never mind that today, Evangelicalism is virtually in a state of collapse, and that former standard bearers of CG, like Barna Research, are largely pointing at CG as the cause.

Second, understand that if C&C posted anything provocative or directly suggestive of a challenge to Confessional Lutheranism, the principals of this organization would be officially chastised and/or drummed out of the Synod with little ceremony. They know this. Further, the principals of this organization are not young ideologues. They are well-healed and mostly aged CG advocates who have managed to survive decades of fierce polemic from the likes of Dr. Greg Jackson. They are calloused from experience, and have learned from their mistakes -- they know the magic phrases, and can easily thread the needle of doctrinal rhetoric to avoid direct criticism. Looking to the material they post for evidence of manifest unorthodoxy is a waste of time. The proof in is the field, not so much in the naked words themselves; it is in the manifest and growing results of their influence.

To insist that C&C church-growthers mean well and ought to be interminably tolerated is like saying Phillip Jakob Spener meant well (which he did), and ought to have been tolerated (which he was for awhile, at first). Granting that he insisted he wanted to be orthodox, even granting that he tried to remain so, the impact of his teaching grew far beyond his ability to effectively influence it, and even though his ideas were eventually rejected, and he was separated from the Orthodox Lutherans, he had been tolerated by them for too long. The innovations of practice introduced by Spener, in the end, eviscerated orthodox Confessional Lutheranism and left the world and the Church vulnerable to the attacks of the Enlightenment.

WELS has long been infected with CG. This is acknowledged practically everywhere. But it is not just the small list of congregations which have been completely given-over to the methods of failing Evangelicalism, rather, it's a little here and a little there, practically everywhere. Those of us who travel, see it – it sticks out like a sore thumb. To the extent that these unnecessary and unhealthy CG innovations leach into our practice, these non-Lutheran practices are given unfettered access to preach the non-Lutheran doctrines from which they spring. Yes, that's lex orandi, lex credendi, and yes, these uninformed and ill-advised practices are active spreading false doctrine among us, especially regarding Church and Ministry and the Means of Grace, and are obliterating our Confessionalism, particularly among the laity.

Much has been written on this blog, especially in recent months, on these specific topics. Some of it is good, some, perhaps, not so good. Rather than repeat it all in one place, take a read for yourself, if you haven't already.

Freddy Finkelstein

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Well said. In many ways I couldn't agree more.

Labels are interesting, huh. They are used liberally around here. I mean we have true and pure Lutheranism and we have CG. It illustrates the problems here very well though. The devil is always in the details. We both know the dangers of stereotypes and how in fact they do not represent the uniqueness of the group they are applied to. But this goes both ways.

Everything is CG apparently based on labels. Probably one of the main things I want to disprove or at a minimum let's label certain activities, groups, doctrines, and methods with a CG Content Index or something.

What I do is not CG. It makes a difference probably that my experience is from a church, although a contemporary mission, still uses the Lutheran name, uses the liturgy, offers the sacraments with pride, uses our hymns, offers numerous bible studies..just like any traditional church. what I really want is for people to come and examine the particulars and tell me those points that are CG and can prove that. and then note the elements that are not Lutheran. When they do, it will be based on elements like multimedia, musical stylings, and worship atmosphere. So those things should be hammered out and proven that they are not Lutheran or that there is some element of CG. There could be a review board to establish a CG Content Index for the Synod and they could list it on the WELS locator.

Everyone knows that I would not be too concerned whether elements (by this I mean the particulars of worship not Bibilical Doctrine) are or are not "Lutheran" as prescribed in the BOC. My main concern is that they are true to the Bible.

You are correct in that Lutheranism is not just terminology. It is doctrine. It is the doctrine we/I follow and subscribe too and you will not find anything of the theology of glory in my personal realm. I do not speak for or against the other churches oft cited. I wouldn't do that without researching and examining the particulars.

CG is not very well defined here and I'm pretty sure most don't know specifically what it is because so much is thrown into the CG bucket. If you used the perceived definition of CG around here it would be anything new or anything outside of Lutheranism. My quick and dirty definition: CG is anything designed to evoke an emotional decision for Christ(therefore racks up the numbers). CG is the tool used to accomplish decision theology. It combines decision theology, pop psychology, testamonials, pentacostalism, and social doctrine, etc. to accomplish this goal.

Thats why this bog should answer the questions and save off that which has been decided. That way people can come here. See the definitions of the issues and know what is actually being debated. It would be a good norm to measure the new little issues that come up against. If its not too much trouble people should come up with the bible studies that go along with each issue to defend the positions. I would enjoy a group where we did this kind of thing, at least the education part of it would be positive.

Tim

anonymous 1138 said...

Guitar? Piano? Organ?
If a congregation has strong theology, strong music is absolutely appropriate. Organ is the king of instruments and wins.
Light-weight music like guitar works pretty good with campfire theology.
Why confuse weak with strong when we can be clear and unashamed? Amy Grant vs JSBach? No contest. Try Thy Strong Word with a guitar or a kazoo.
If we are ashamed of strong theology, we are not lutheran.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
Just a curious question (and I am keeping an open mind as I ask this) - How did it come about that the Ladies Bible Study in your congregation is called "Bible Babes?" Is there a particular reason it is not called Bible Study?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Guitar? Weak? Try plugging it in an amp (maybe even add an electric bass). Have you ever heard "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" wailed out on an electric Fender Strat? Did I just hear a loud groan? Sorry - just generations apart from this crowd I see!

Tim Niedfeldt said...

instruments = theology interesting. Amy grant? nooo. Again a misconception that contemporary means CCM top 40. Thy Strong Word by a band? Done it. Anything in the hymnal can be done in a band. Thats why the entire hymnal is available with guitar chordings for every Hymn and the liturgy. You can buy it as a binder or a CD.

As to Bible Babes...It's what the women chose for themselves. Can't say as I got very involved in that one. I suspect it is a name chosen to arouse curiosity. It is held in the public room of the Library and there are numerous curious lingerers around including a large number of hindu women there with their children. It doesn't change that its a women's bible study group. Its make up is about half ages 45+ and half ages 30 and below. Demographically there are not a lot of people from 30 to 45ish in the church.

The Men's Breakfast Bible study is starting. I'm guessing we won't work so hard on finding a name.

Tim

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised the music of CW is available for guitars as WELS has had church growth groups in its midst for years. But why not? I can see J.C. leading a band on vocals and/or guitar - front and center so the focus remains on him. Maybe rip a few stanzas of lyrics from TLH and set them to a recognizable Jimmy Buffet, 50 Cent or Metallica tune. Whatever involves the people in our modern era and makes them feel more comfortable so we can "share Christ" with them. The theology would still be the same of course. Just like the confessions and stuff. It's what Marty L. would have done if he lived in the 21st Century.

Rob

Anonymous 1138 said...

Thy Strong Word with a band? sounds good to me actually, but it would be a compromise. The problem with pseudo-lutherans that I've run into...they claim that they still have substance with a different style, but they're really not interested. Does the band go on the choir loft way in back, where they belong in the scheme of the liturgy, or do they demand front, center spotlight? Style must serve the Substance. Instrumental must serve the Spoken Word. Otherwise, we have a Theology of Glory and a false gospel proceeds.
Word and Sacrament must be rightly proclaimed and administered.
The 30's and 40ish crowd? Like Craig Parton says, many are tired of evangelicalism and are looking for real substance. If Lutherans are ashamed of being Lutherans, real substance is going to be very difficult to find. If a Lutheran wants to be an evangelical, they better not stick around, otherwise they actively screw-up the lives of the entire world with false gospels and even an absence of Christ.