News From the CLCC (Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission)

(by Pr. Rob Jarvis, Zion Lutheran Church, Morris, Minnesota)

 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

 

A major accusation made against Lutherans who are concerned about doctrine and truth is that they are not concerned about outreach. The accusers, on the other hand, consider themselves experts on outreach. They see themselves as the keepers of the above passage. If only they thought about what it said. We would be charitable if we were to say they get it wrong half way into it. They don’t even get that far.

 

Stop and consider Christ’s words, His mission to the Church. “Go therefore and make disciples…” To put it simply, our church body, the LCMS, has forgotten the real mission. It starts with the wrong definition of a key word, “disciple.” Our English translations say “make disciples,” and we have taken this to mean “make evangelists.” Here’s a quick word study. A disciple is a student, a learner, not an evangelist. A student learns; an evangelist preaches. Our leadership has failed to encourage us to do what Jesus wanted–to be students and learn.

 

The result? Our church body has become extremely weak. We have ignored our Lord’s words. We have not been learning what we should. We know less of what we confess, and yet we are told to speak of it as often as possible. The irony of all this: we have been encouraged to tell less–more often.

 

We would like to introduce you to a new organization, The Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission, the CLCC, which has been developed to help Lutherans understand the implications of Christ’s Commission.

 

Isaiah speaks about a promise of blessing to the Lord’s people. “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” (Is 54:2) The enlarging of the tent is clearly to accommodate more people. Although “lengthening your cords” allows for growth, “strengthening your stakes” isn’t directly involved in the expansion. One thing we must remember: You can’t “lengthen your cords” until you “strengthen your stakes.” Without it, the tent will fall. CLCC aims to strengthen the stakes. If God should choose to lengthen the cords, praise Him for it.

 

CLCC is not a political organization. It simply seeks to help Lutherans know the faith. The Lutheran Church located in the U.S. has many wonderful confessional organizations that produce much excellent material. Lots of people use these resources, but we haven’t been very good about getting them into others’ hands. In other words, too often we seem to be “preaching to the choir.”

 

The CLCC aims to improve that distribution by getting laymen directly involved. What if we were to encourage laymen to look around themselves in their congregations and circuits? What if they were to take note of others who might take an interest in discovering what it is to be a Lutheran? As you know, that is a major problem in much of Lutheranism. Very few laymen know what it is to be Lutheran, and see little reason to know. They would happily sell their birthright for a little stew like Esau had done. Also as you know, with much of the laity, a layman telling another it’s important they know what they have as Lutherans can be more effective than a pastor saying it.

 

The CLCC would encourage people to reach out first–not to the unchurched–but to the people in their own congregation, circuit and region. Find those who want to be disciples. Find those who want to know the faith. Then they would help provide resources so these people can see what they already have. God willing then, these people won’t be able to help but tell others, reaching beyond themselves, to those who would also be what Jesus wanted–disciples.

Posted in CLCC permalink

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Administrative Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, Illinois. He is the founder of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. He is also a partner in Wittenberg Church Consultants. He enjoys watercolor painting, gardening, and watching college football and basketball. He has an M Div from Concordia, St. Louis, an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a Doctorate of Ministry from Concordia, Ft. Wayne.

Comments

News From the CLCC (Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission) — 10 Comments

  1. This sounds like the same thing that BJS is attempting to
    foster… If so, it seems like a duplication of effort.

  2. There are some similarities but as soon as the folks from CLCC heard of what we were doing they contacted us so that we could make sure that we are not duplicating our efforts. One of the things that will set the two groups apart is that the CLCC will be sponsoring weekend workshops around the country.

    We will stay in contact with the CLCC to make sure that there is no wasteful duplication.

    Another thing to kep in mind is that the confessional efforts in the LCMS have often been scattered and inconsistent. Who knows which group will be around in another 10 years. BJS? CLCC? Neither? Both? We believe it is good to have both groups (and others) going at this time and see what results. It is also good that groups are taking us up on our offer to publish material by them on this website. It helps to bring a little unity to the efforts.

    Pastor Rossow

  3. Is it “Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Confession” as noted in the title, or “Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission” as stated in the article?

  4. Efforts that are not duplicated might be parallel too. While I’m still hoping to catch the Issues, Etc Day 2 broadcasts On-Demand, the links to http://www.layman.org is sad but familiar. It’s about the PCUSA’s plight. There are similar battles in other Church bodies, with the administrations all appearing to be using the same playbooks.
    It’s kind of interesting to look over the fence to learn how other laity are dealing with problems. If we have not yet seen their problems, I am sure that we will soon.
    I hope that my good friends in the PCA will one day see the light and turn from their erroneous doctrines and become Lutheran. Until then, we find that as long as we keep strong convictions, sound reasoning and to the Scriptures; keep recognizing that we belong to different communions; and keep braving scratches; we can sharpen each other. Iron sharpens iron. Unionistic spineless types sharpen nothing.

  5. Of the more interesting items that I see over the fence in the PCUSA’s plight are:
    (1) How many of the congregations are voting to secede from their synod to other synods or to form new ones.
    (2) How many of the congregations are settling property ownership issues. Also how their synod is padlocking the properties from certain congregations.
    (3) Some of the Scriptural arguments to convince their brethren to flee wicked congregations, etc.

  6. It’s Confessional Lutherans for Christ’s Commission. CLCC

    We’ll have get the title changeD

  7. I’d like to hear more, and to know where to go to find out more. That’s somewhat the tack I took as chair of our church’s evangelism committee: that we needed to evangelize our own members. Not just get them ‘involved’ in activities, but get them to church and Bible study; get them learning, and regularly.
    Oddly enough, it has been treated like a foreign concept from day one. Aren’t evangelism committees supposed to ring doorbells and come up with neat programs to entice the un-churched? Well, if we can’t get our own members to regularly attend and learn, what are we going to offer the rest of the world? A good time? We have to know what we offer, before we dare to offer it.

  8. Pastor Jarvis has succinctly touched on not only one of the two purposes of CLCC (the other being building confessional unity) but also the major focus of our teaching activities. Not surprisingly, our very first packaged seminar is titled Evangelism/Outreach/Assimilation and is now available for use. It puts the correct focus on these topics and applies common sense to the “disciple” issue so we can re-learn and recapture what has been lost. Contact me via the CLCC Website for more information.

  9. The CLCC sounds great. I think it is important that we ‘make disciples’ and that starts at home. Strengthening the tent stakes is the right approach, as most in my congregation at least do not attend Bible study even once per month.

    We have many a practice in our church that is contrary to the Word, and we tend to steer clear of sound teaching on the doctrine that goes hand in hand with the practice, but I say let us teach on these controversial subjects. I bet the classes will be better attended if it is known that the practice will change to match doctrine.

    Otherwise our doctrine will start matching our practice.

  10. Susan and others,

    Thank you for your positive comments.

    Yes, Susan, that is the appropriate tack. The standard view of the Evangelism committee is that these are the people who lead the way with reaching out to prospects. If these people are leading the way, then they must have people following, but how do you get people to follow, talking about what they don’t know or for which they have no passion? They must know what they have. But they will never learn it through the programs that simply tell them to get out there and tell others about Jesus.

    A salesman will do well at getting his customers to promote his products and service by providing good products and service. On the other hand, he is wasting his breath if he were to simply harangue them about telling their friends. If our people know what they have been given in their baptism, they would be more inclined to speak to others about it–and that would include people in the pew next to them.

    To do this, BJS is starting up confessional reading groups, but most people will find they will have to create interest for one in their congregation. In most congregations, it won’t be a case, “If you build it, they will come.” This will happen, one by one. In other words, if a person wants to start a group in his congregation, he will need to find another person who is a prospect for it, and work with him; get him to see what he has been given as a Christian; get him to see what is at stake if it is removed. To do this, I would recommend Good News magazine or maybe Higher Things; one of the groups on Wittenberg Trail or even BJS. You might also want to check out Vox Visuals at http://www.VoxVisuals.com for DVD’s, which capture in a few minutes of film, the heart of Lutheranism. Become familiar with the resources confessional Lutherans have (can’t forget Issues Etc.) and then hook them into some of these.

    While you are slowly building up a group of Christians who are passionate about the faith, you might look at the seminars and powerpoint presentations which will be available through CCLC. One of them was described earlier by Gene White, the author. It is about outreach and assimilation, covering some basic but easily missed considerations. You can present this as alternative to Ablaze, and the congregation who elected you will see that you are doing what you have been elected to do. As you would expect, the church’s liturgy because it delivers the means of grace is presented as playing a prominent role in outreach. CCLC’s site is http://www.theclcc.org. Before long, CCLC should also have more material on its site to help people build up this base for a reading group.

    I would also like to address an objection I saw raised by someone saying that it looks like CLCC is duplicating the efforts of BJS. As we can see, BJS is taking off, starting up confessional reading groups (Soli Deo Gloria!), but as I said we need people to be thinking about expanding their influence in their congregation and circuit. People who are on this site and others are on the right track. They are already in “the choir,” but they need to be looking to “expand the choir.” That is one of the things CLCC is hoping to get others to recognize.

    Neither BJS nor CLCC is in competition with each other, but both, like all the organizations, want to make sure the gaps are filled. CLCC’s hopes when it started to form–shortly after the last convention–are being realized in BJS. Maybe it could help BJS see into blind spots; maybe it could help in some other area. Maybe BJS will fill those spots and CLCC may not be needed anymore. What matters is that the laity of our synod are waking up–and for that I rejoice!

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