Fun with Collects – What Would Liberals and Church Growthers do with Lent 3A Collect? by Pr. Rossow

March 30th, 2011 Post by

One of the things that struck me about the collect this last Sunday, for those of you doing the three years series, was the wonderful use of the word “steadfast.” (The cantor and I sometimes have contests to see how many times we can count the word “steadfast” in the Divine Service. BJS’ers like that word “steadfast.”) Also refreshing was the clear reference to the verbal inspiration of God’s word. It is unchangeably true.

Thanks to the editors of the LSB for giving us collects for each of the three pericopal years. Here is the collect I am referring to from last Sunday.

THE SALUTATION AND COLLECT

P:         The Lord be with you.

C:        And also with you.

P:         Let us pray. (silence is kept) O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:        Amen.

With all the fuss over the rewriting of the LCMS saga of defending the verbal inspiration of God’s word in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I thought it might be interesting (and fun) to invite our readers to rewrite the collect above so that liberal churches could make use of it without being embarrassed by the reference to the truth of God’s word. While you are at it, let’s see a few renditions of a church growth version of this collect. I know that many of them consider themselves fundamentalists who reject woman’s ordination and higher criticism but their need to add to the Gospel gives away their latent disbelief in its unchangeable truth and power to accomplish God’s purposes. So, have at it. I look forward to your rewrites.






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  1. Dutch
    April 1st, 2011 at 13:24 | #1

    John #48,
    Oooo, that’s a great idea!!!! I’m sure that Confirmand has a very different idea of Lutheran Prayer, than what’s in that book!!!!

    Thanks so much for the idea, I just knew at least one person would have a great answer for me!!!

    Blessings John!

  2. April 1st, 2011 at 13:51 | #2

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #49
    That’s the first time I’ve heard that Luther gave the Catechism because of the limited authority of fathers. I thought it was more because they were slackers who wouldn’t do much without help. But I am open to being shown differently. Hopefully the authority is not smaller than the responsibility. Where can we find the limits on responsibility, that temper God’s command to teach one’s own children?

  3. April 1st, 2011 at 13:57 | #3

    T. R.

    I was not clear. I am not claiming the catechisms were given because of limited authority. What I am getting at is the difference between teaching the catechism to your child and preaching the Gospel. They are not the same thing. A father teaching the faith to his child is a much simpler thing than a pastor writing a sermon. (BTW – niether is higher than the other, but one is certainly simpler.) The catechism is given so that fathers have a simple, straight-forward book of theology to memorize and read to their children. Hope that helps.

    TR (“TR the Lesser”)

  4. April 1st, 2011 at 14:29 | #4

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #53
    Thanks for the prompt and cordial clarification. I was hoping it would be something like that. Some other time when it is more topical, I will explain why the duty and enjoyment of fathers to teach their children is quite an item with me.

  5. April 1st, 2011 at 18:49 | #5

    @Cheryl #47

    And if it’s not understood as satire, but instead comes off as mean spirited? And better than that, the satirist now has learned how to right funny prayers and say, “this is what THEY would pray”… I don’t think prayers should ever be “funny” in that way. Ever. Just because someone out there writes messed up prayers doesn’t mean 1) you should read it and, 2) you should produce more of it.

  6. David Rosenkoetter
    April 1st, 2011 at 19:39 | #6

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #49

    Pr. Rossow.

    Good illustration of the point. BTW.: I very much have appreciated your comments over the months on small groups and their effects in the church.

    As a matter of fatherhood and pastorate, there’s at least two vocations given here. I admire those pastors who care for families because you all have a very humble role in both gifts of service—in the home and the Church.

  7. David Rosenkoetter
    April 1st, 2011 at 20:17 | #7

    @#4 Kitty #42
    Pr. Rossow and Tim Schenks spoke much of my reply already.

    You know, I do appreciate your thoughts and concerns. However, we do well to be very discerning as far as Word and Sacrament ministry in the Church is concerned. There are times where lay teaching under the close supervision of a pastor is done, a true exception. I think of the proper teaching role in schools of a deaconess or when a pastor may ask an elder or other layman, well-trained in Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, to occasionally lead Bible class.

    Often, small groups tend to be a way folks like to promote an entry point for nonbelievers into the Church. However, purely taught doctrine and practice norm the Church in mission/evangelism, not vice versaq. I myself am thankful to serve in doing outreach to the blind and visually impaired people of Kansas City, however, my desire is to do, write, and teach nothing beyond the guidance of my pastors. They are rightly called and ordained,; I am not. And when our congregation holds our free monthly meals for our city’s blind and visually impaired, our normative practice is for one of my congregation’s pastors to lead Bible study.

  8. Johannes
    April 1st, 2011 at 22:37 | #8

    @Cheryl #47

    I don’t see how satire of a collect is appropriate. Using “Christ”, “Jesus”, “Lord” etc. in a satire, especially of a Christian prayer is over the top by any standards, and borders on taking His name in vain. Making fun of others, and satirizing them doesn’t need to be done using Christian prayer. Why not a satire of a CG version of Baptism, or Liberal Communion, then?

    As far as BJS’ “Best Foot”, Rev. Anderson (#37), of course BJS has “best feet.” But this isn’t one of them. The contributors here can do a lot better and have often done so.

    The people that catechized my generation taught us how to use God’s name properly, and warned us about using it carelessly or lightly. That instruction stuck. I understand why the Hebrews used “Adonai” as a substitute for JHWH. They had something there.

    Johannes

  9. April 1st, 2011 at 22:54 | #9

    Johannes,

    You truly are a curmudgeon. (I still have my membership card somewhere.) You are way off base. By your standard, we could not share examples of liberal theology in the classroom, in newsletters, or here on the internet for fear of breaking the first commandment. I think that is silly.

    Last Sunday, as I was praying the collect, I was moved by the fact that we have a prayer that extols the unchangeableness of God’s word. It struck me that other denominations and even some Lutherans could not pray that in good conscience. To illustrate that I invited our readers to give examples of prayers that reflect the various poor theologies floating around out there. That is instructive. It is similar to all the bad theology I had to read at the seminary and in graduate school to better appreciate true theology. I am not mocking prayer. I am seeking to keep it pure. I wish you could see that my friend.

    TR

  10. James
    April 1st, 2011 at 23:37 | #10

    Dutch :
    James,
    It’s really tough to have that fellowship w/o small group now…but it didn’t used to be. (I’m only 41, & I miss it dearly) What Willowcreek partner churches offer, is a flimsy & superficial shadow, which I don’t think is what your looking for, am I right?
    Ya first have to really ask yourself why & what you are really looking for, James.
    When I was growing up, there was no such thing, as a small group (things that make ya say oi). A group of people got together socially, to do social things. Study, was for Sundays, at Church w/Pastor or a learned elder. If you wanted fellowship, you got into a group that suited or asked Pastor if it was okay to start one up. If you desired learning, you asked Pastor. Pastors did things alot different then, some still do, really.
    Neither of which, will you find at a Willowcreek partner, they try to blend them w/obligation & manipulation, or a sense of, as you mentioned by your adjectives, in your post. I know, I was a member at a WCPC for a blink of an eye, once. Caught it then, too.
    As you’ve asked after BJS having suggestions, BJS DOES!!!! Right above the article you read!!!
    On the above menu at BJS, they do give suggestions, you can find them under Confessional Growth. Just have a care, if you’re at a WCPC, it may be a bit difficult to start one, but there are ones online you can join. But ask, it never hurts to ask!
    A humble & blest Lent to you James.

    BINGO! People are STARVING for fellowship. They would prefer fellowship at a church than solid doctrine. Why else do so many people at the non-denominational churches not care to delve too deeply into what their church bodies believe – or not believe. The non-denominational churches are exploding in membership numbers. My only guess is that Lutherans don’t “do” fellowship, or they do it poorly.

    No one has dared tackle my concern: “How can the LCMS “sell” itself to generic protestants. How can it do this while still preserving the integrity of LCMS doctrine. I admire what Willow Creek is trying to do. But I do not understand why ignoring traditional Lutheran doctrine is viewed as an essential part of missions? My guess is that Lutherans don’t “do” outreach, or they do it poorly. How should it be done?

    Has anyone wondered whether or not CGM within the LCMS has the unintended consequence of serving as a unofficial feeder program for future membership in a non-denominational church? No wonder so many Lutherans are starting to think: “Hey, we are all the Christians, right? I might as well leave the LCMS and join a non-denominational church that does the whole Rick Warren stuff better.”

    BINGO! Yes, I am looking for something deeper than what Willow Creek offers. We are currently reading The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels. Most of the content in the study guide prods group members to reveal personal information and to state how they feel. It was torture – especially for the men in the group. How many of Hybels’ assertions can be referenced in the Bible? Lot’s of fluff, but where’s the meat? So yes – Small group sessions can be a disaster if the materials are not extremely structured and based 100% on the Bible.

    In a traditional bible study, AFTER we would examine stories from the Bible of individuals, of their struggles, and of the lessons they learned, we would be invited to apply those lessons to our personal lives. Church Growth theology has it all backwards. It asks us ad nauseum about our personal feelings and experiences, and then it asks us to open our bibles to search for short passages and try to shoehorn them to those experiences. Should an LCMS pastor promote Willow Creek Association books, which are loosely based on Rick Warren’s theology.

    Pastor Rossow: Thanks for allowing me to post challenging questions on your website. I deeply respect that you can disagree with others without being disagreeable (unlike the administrator at Cyber********). *Ahem.* You could have been nasty and short with me and with other posters, but you were not. Thank you!

    For those of you who have recommended book/dvd/podcast resources to me, thank you. I will forward your recommendations to our small group leader, who will in turn consult with our LCMS pastor. In our book-aversive culture, DVDs with corresponding study guides work best.

    I have noticed that I am not the first person to beg WorlviewEverlasting.com to organize the jumble of Pastor Fisk’s questions/responses into topical themes, and then package them into a DVD/study guide set. If done right, they would sell like hotcakes.

    I have always wondered why Church Growth Movement promoters within the LCMS intentionally avoid materials from CPH. Is the selection from CPH really too limited, and are the materials really too dry? How can the writings of the early church fathers be marketed to a 21st century audience without abandoning traditional Lutheran doctrine?
    @ Pastor Baker (post #31): It doesn’t bode well for the LCMS that its own pastors avoid CPH. Your thoughts?

    Please note that in asking about materials, I am in no way advocating that any layman hijack the role of the pastor as the shepherd over us sheep. Laymen should not become enmeshed in the debate over the existence of small groups within LCMS churches. That issue should be quietly addressed by LCMS pastors only. Lock all the theologians in a padded room and let them debate. Perhaps someone could add that issue to the Koinonia Project.

    The LCMS has the theological steak, but no marketing sizzle. The non-denominational seeker-churches have all the sizzle, but no steak. How to achieve the best of both worlds while preserving doctrinal integrity?

  11. Johannes
    April 2nd, 2011 at 07:53 | #11

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #59
    “You truly are a curmudgeon. ” Thank you–I take that as a compliment. And I wear the badge of curmudgeonship proudly and with a smile.

    “You are way off base. By your standard, we could not share examples of liberal theology in the classroom, in newsletters, or here on the internet for fear of breaking the first commandment. I think that is silly.”
    1. You miss my point entirely.
    2 “Examples of liberal theology” are not the same as a satirical re-writing of a prayer, using God’s name. I gave plenty of examples of liberal theology (all that came from Lutheran pastors) that I quoted directly in the thread re: Burkee’s book on seminex. I challenge you or anyone to show how I used God’s name in vain by quoting them.
    Examples of liberal theology abound and should be pointed out for our instruction–either simply quote them directly or linking them. That is not silly.

    “I invited our readers to give examples of prayers that reflect the various poor theologies floating around out there. That is instructive.” That is not what you invited the readers to do–here’s what you said: “I thought it might be interesting (and fun) to invite our readers to rewrite the collect above.” That’s not the same as giving examples. Some contributors provided links to actual heterodox prayers (#34, for instance). Re-writing a collect as a parody or satirem, using God’s name, is not the same as quoting examples or providing links.

    “It is similar to all the bad theology I had to read at the seminary and in graduate school to better appreciate true theology.” Reading the bad theology at Seminary is instructive and is necessary. Too many LCMS folks don’t want to deal with all the bad theology that’s out there (“out here”) and accuse us BJS-ers as being judmental. I would wholeheartedly endosre a reading of bad theology and links to same here on BJS.

    “I am not mocking prayer. I am seeking to keep it pure,” I did not imply that you were mocking prayer. But I fail to see how writing a parody using God’s name is keeping it pure, either.

    I can write satire and parody with anyone, my most recent attempt being the Historical/critical analysis of “2 + 2 = 4″ on the Burkee thread, which apparently wasn’t all that funny. I have both volumes of the collected writings of St. Hereticus in my library, and with a couple of exceptions, they are very very funny. (At the risk of thread-jacking, I’ll give a couple of examples later). I just don’t like using God’s name in what I see as a cavalier manner.

    I hope you can see my point, Pastor.

    Johannes (I guess I’m going to write an instruction manual for Curmudgeons)

  12. April 2nd, 2011 at 08:52 | #12

    @Johannes #61

    “But I fail to see how writing a parody using God’s name is keeping it pure, either.”

    Johannes, I’m wondering if that is the point Pastor Rossow is trying to make? That his parody, as well as some of the real-life examples, are so twisted that they no longer have God’s name in them? In that case–if they do not truly call upon His name but instead attempt to call attention to those who would water it down–could they be said to be taking His name in vain? Especially when the ultimate goal is to call people back to the upholding of that name?

  13. Johannes
    April 2nd, 2011 at 09:17 | #13

    @Cheryl #62
    “That his parody, as well as some of the real-life examples, are so twisted that they no longer have God’s name in them?”

    The real-life examples are just that–direct quotes. But why go out of our way to include God’s name in a parody that we write. I just don’t want to be the one to bring dishonor to God’s name myself by deliberately writing something. I recently heard Todd Wilken quote Pr. Wright’s “G–D America” rant verbatim–that’s not the same as writing your own rant/prayer, even in jest or satire. I enjoy Jan Karon’s stuff and Tom Raabe’s, too, but I get uneasy when they use the Lord’s name loosely. I’d rather not go there. And you make a good point–the real life examples do dishonor God’s name–no doubt about it.

    Johannes (Call me a “curmudgeonly prude” if you wish)

  14. April 2nd, 2011 at 10:14 | #14

    @Johannes #63 I second, although I still reiterate my original point. If you spend your time writing parody prayers you run the risk of tainting your own prayers. Why would you want to dwell on garbage?

    You’re caught in a catch 22 Pastor Rossow. By trying to show people what theologies to avoid, you’re asking them to participate in their creation, which is counter productive. Why don’t you have them rewrite the catechism while your at it? Make it arminian? Why not rewrite the Formula of Concord so that Lordship Salvation is what we believe, teach and confess?

  15. Dutch
    April 2nd, 2011 at 11:05 | #15

    James,
    Marketing & sales are something I know quite a bit about. I also know quite a bit about how to rate job preformance & management, respectfully, in the left hand kingdom. So, just so we are on the same page, a few questions please.

    What is the commodity or product? Who developed the product? Who owns the company/rights & who are the governing board? How did the founders market & sell the product or commodity, when the company was first formed? Who are those they are trying to sell to & what is it they demand?
    If one is trying to market a product the masses do not feel they need, want, desire, and frankly detest, how did the founder sell him or her? What was the success rate of the first employees?

    See how ludicrous this all sounds, when talking about the Trinity? How ridiculous this appears when regarding the Church? Christ is not a commodity to sell or market, He said & spoke quite a bit about how to teach & preach about Him. He didn’t do marketing studies, He didn’t change his message to cross sell, and yes, He was “sold”, once…for 30 pieces of silver.

  16. April 2nd, 2011 at 11:57 | #16

    @Matthew Pancake #64 You’re caught in a catch 22 Pastor Rossow. By trying to show people what theologies to avoid, you’re asking them to participate in their creation, which is counter productive.

    Matthew,

    Interesting point. I was talking with one of the vicars who has served my congregation and we spoke about a class he had taken. In that class one of the projects the students worked on was to see how well one could argue Baptist theology, or Pentecostal theology, etc. etc., against our Confession. This is a good thing. I think it is instructive to be able to frame arguments from our opponents in such a way that even they would be convinced by them, and then to dismantle those arguments and point to the truth of the Scriptures.

    The point here is that I think you are being a bit hard on Pr. Rossow.

  17. April 2nd, 2011 at 13:41 | #17

    @Johannes #63

    “I’d rather not go there.”

    I understand, Johannes. And for what it’s worth, I have a soft spot for curmudgeons. At my core I think I’m one, too. This side of heaven, what else is there to be?

  18. Johannes
    April 2nd, 2011 at 17:54 | #18

    Cheryl :@Johannes #63
    “I’d rather not go there.”
    I understand, Johannes. And for what it’s worth, I have a soft spot for curmudgeons. At my core I think I’m one, too. This side of heaven, what else is there to be?

    Well, I guess you qualify as a Her-mudgeon. We could probably come up with a few more.’

    Johannes (SJC)

  19. Dutch
    April 2nd, 2011 at 19:52 | #19

    Johannes,
    My friendly curmudgeon, you nailed the fine line of parody-in too many posts to list!

    The Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, are represented/spoken on in that liturgy. I can parody w/the best of them, but in this “no-go”. Jesus 1st, did that to the last, did they not?

    It degrades the Holiness/Reverence of& to the Trinity, the Oculi, the Church seasons, and the Liturgy. I believe, there is so, way more than enough, of that to go around.
    I agree, with almost every thread you’ve posted, Johannes. My flak jacket may have seen better days, mind you, but I think it still works & is intact. It had better be, w/this one!!

    Curmudgeon Club wanna be,
    Dutch

  20. James
    April 2nd, 2011 at 23:18 | #20

    @ Dutch (post #65)

    Marketing has nothing to do with quality.

    Misconceptions about the LCMS abound – especially among generic protestants. What is the appeal of non-denominational mega churches, and what are the reasons why so many people abandon traditional churches for them. I provided what I thought were a couple of reasons, but are there other reasons. What are the best ways to reach those people.

    The LCMS could use some good PR. Assuming that the general public should automatically understand what a traditional church should look and feel like is a fatal error in our modern age. What is so unique about the LCMS. Why should I join it instead of a different denomination?

  21. John
    April 3rd, 2011 at 06:53 | #21

    Tim – I am curious to know how one person could earnestly pray that prayer while simultaneously thinking that the prayer has already been completely answered in his own life.

  22. Dutch
    April 4th, 2011 at 09:24 | #22

    James,
    It appears we are at an impass here.
    Blest & Humble Lent to you.
    Dutch

  23. Johannes
    April 4th, 2011 at 09:38 | #23

    @James #70
    The LCMS could use some good PR. Assuming that the general public should automatically understand what a traditional church should look and feel like is a fatal error in our modern age. What is so unique about the LCMS. Why should I join it instead of a different denomination?

    Why join the LCMS? If for no other reason than the central article–Justification by Grace thru Faith. I think that should be the central message of our PR. That it is not is a great misfortune.

    You note above (#60) “The non-denominational churches are exploding in membership numbers.” That is not quite true. They are exploding in attendance, but not in membership. Once the attenders (and many members) realize that they are getting clubbed with the Law, and nothing but Self-improvement and feel-good theology, they go elsewhere. Problem is that when they fail at all the self-improvement they don’t feel so good, so they leave. The temptation to resort to man’s religion (salvation by works) is very great, and the non-denoms have fallen for it. They are flirting with Rome, but don’t know it.

    There’s a lot more to it than this, and you have raised some interesting points. Thanks.

    Johannes

  24. Dutch
    April 4th, 2011 at 10:15 | #24

    James,
    One of the honors & blessings of membership in a Congregation…is having the honor, privilige, & duty, of Malachi 3:8-11. One of the only times we are ever, allowed, to test, the Lord God.
    How many Willow Creek partners honor & acknowlege these verses? It is where every denom, gathers their defintion of tithe.

    You exact, those verse, which are still fully, in play…see how many of attendees vs members remain. They won’t, you made a demand, as to much is given, much is expected.
    Not in the studies, you’ve seen or you will….being where you are.

  25. April 4th, 2011 at 12:33 | #25

    This thread has given me lots to think about.

    What Cheryl and Pr. Rossow have said about the use of satire is true, in general. In general, we have the freedom to use satire, as we have the freedom to use lots of things in the world. Scriptural authors, Luther, and others we respect used satire.

    That’s in general. Then there are specific passages of Scripture that bear upon the use in this context. Besides the commandment about the use of the Lord’s Name, there is the petition of prayer, “Hallowed be Thy Name.” While the use of satire in general is okay, does the use in this context run afoul of such passages?

    No doubt, Pr. Rossow and others intended the Lord’s Name to become more hallowed among us by this exercise. A point about the holiness of his Name is being made by the satire.

    I suspect that we will continue to disagree with one another about this. For my part, I’ve decided that I would not be able to do it. The specific texts arouse a scruple within me that prevents it. In my heart, the general freedom is limited by the specific texts. The Lord, not I, knows what freedom is. If I use only the texts that tell me about my general freedom, and if after that all I apply is the notion of general freedom, then the notion might run away with me. I have to let specific texts inform me more particularly where the Lord has given me freedom and where He has not. He knows whether, in this particular context, the freedeom we generally have to use satire really will hallow his Name or not. This is not a judgment of intentions, but a knowledge of the actual outcomes that can be realistically expected.

    I thank Cheryl and Johannes especially for giving me so much to think about.

  26. James
    April 4th, 2011 at 13:30 | #26

    @Johannes #71

    So the whole “Church Growth Movement” is short-lived? Has anyone informed the leaders of the LCMS (“Hey Moe, look!). Interesting how LCMS is trying hard to become like the non-denominational churches. Would they believe you and rethink how they are reaching out to people, or would they write you off as a missions-hostile old kook who prefers to sit alone in a moldy basement reading Piepkorn?

    Church Growth Movement Theology is failing the non-denoms, but due to the constant shuffle of visitors/members in an out of the mega-church, no one seems to notice. The generic mega-church reminds me of a horrible employer that has a reputation for high turnover. At what point would it cycle through every potential warm body in town before it becomes universally shunned by most of the locals? Regarding the mega-churches, is attendance starting to level off in some metro areas?

    No one knows what the LCMS has. “Boring” writings from the ancient LCMS church fathers could be re-packaged in an attractive medium for the laypeople – without watering down doctrine, of course. Too bad the selection of confessional Lutheran DVDs/study guides at CPH is allegedly paltry. i guess that is why many choose to buy from Willow Creek. Look at the slick websites of Willow Creek, and of the generic megachurches. At least they know how to use the new media to reach people in our increasingly book-hostile society. Contrast that to the LCMS. When I visit the LCMS web page, I might as well be visiting IBM.

  27. Caleb
    April 4th, 2011 at 15:56 | #27

    …and thanks to pointless exercises in mean-spiritedness like this, BJS has lost my financial support. Way to go, used to be a great site, guys.

  28. Johannes
    April 4th, 2011 at 16:37 | #28

    @James #75

    I’m confused. Are you responding to me? I didn’t say that CG is short-lived.

    Help!

    Thanks!

    Johannes!

    P.S. !!!!

  29. Mrs. Hume
    April 4th, 2011 at 18:54 | #29

    “No one knows what the LCMS has. “Boring” writings from the ancient LCMS church fathers could be re-packaged in an attractive medium for the laypeople – without watering down doctrine, of course.”

    Not boring!!!

    Refreshing!!!

    I had never heard of CFW Walther before last summer when a pastor read from a book of his short writings. Man, I was like, wow, who is that guy? I have to have that book! What a breath of fresh air after all the lame contemporary pop Christian books I have tried to read but never actually managed to get through because they were hedging on practically every point. Even my 13 year old liked Walther better than the contemporary cool (allegedly) stuff for “youth”.

  30. James
    April 5th, 2011 at 14:22 | #30

    Johannes :
    @James #75
    I’m confused. Are you responding to me? I didn’t say that CG is short-lived.
    Help!
    Thanks!
    Johannes!
    P.S. !!!!

    I took your quote at face value when you wrote: “Once the attenders (and many members) realize that they are getting clubbed with the Law, and nothing but Self-improvement and feel-good theology, they go elsewhere. Problem is that when they fail at all the self-improvement they don’t feel so good, so they leave.”

    Increasing numbers of people in the seeker churches would wake up to the fraudulent theology and leave. Therefore, with fewer people to deceive, the Church Growth Movement would eventually lose steam. If I misinterpreted your quote, I am sorry.

    @Mrs. Hume (post #79)

    I keep hearing the “boring” mantra regarding the writings and traditions of Lutheran theologians dating 100+ years ago. I have heard of the “Walther League” (whatever that was). I never knew who Walther was until I visited this website. (Thanks, Pastor Rossow!) It would be ideal to learn from BJS WHY long forgotten theologians such as Walther are relevant today.

    What is unique about the LCMS that anyone should want to leave a non-denominational church and join it?

    I have found answers to some of my Church Growth questions here:

    http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/2011/03/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html

  31. Johannes
    April 5th, 2011 at 19:03 | #31

    @James #80
    “Increasing numbers of people in the seeker churches would wake up to the fraudulent theology and leave. Therefore, with fewer people to deceive, the Church Growth Movement would eventually lose steam. If I misinterpreted your quote, I am sorry.”

    Not at all–we were ships passing in the night. CG has been around a long time and many have been sucked into it. So from a macro–perpective, it has not been short-lived. On the other hand lots of churches are using it, and many do leave after they see thru it. But the darned program is like kudzu, and sometimes its years before the victims see thru it. So I’d have to say it’s not short-lived. But I understand your point–understandable that you would have misunderstood me.

    Thanks for your respone–we are on the same page.

    J

  32. James
    April 6th, 2011 at 09:08 | #32

    @Johannes #81

    Kudzu?!?! Do you mean that once one Church Growth Movement author is discredited, another steps up to the soap box and takes his/her place?

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/03/16/we-have-seen-all-this-before-rob-bell-and-the-reemergence-of-liberal-theology/

    Let’s see how long it takes for LCMS churches to quietly remove Bell’s earlier material……

  33. Johannes
    April 6th, 2011 at 09:47 | #33

    “Kudzu?!?! Do you mean that once one Church Growth Movement author is discredited, another steps up to the soap box and takes his/her place?”

    Yes, Kudzu!!. I first heard CG described as Kudzu by Scott Diekmann in his devastating critique of TCN (another CG mutation). I’m not sure any of those CG gurus get discredited–they have great staying power–they just hang around and hang around. But new mutations of the CG virus keep popping up, while the old ones continue to leaven the church. The fact that they don’t work is immaterial–that is ignored, while we are treated to this new program that “works.”

    Rob Bell is hardly a CG advocate as such. As Mohler has correctly diagnosed his stuff, it’s simply Protestant Liberalism in drag.

    Johannes

  34. Berean
    April 6th, 2011 at 11:20 | #34

    http://www.faithtroy.org/mp3s/Mar_27_2011.mp3
    I don’t know if this is what you would consider CG but it is a message from a large LCMS Church preached by a newly ordained SMP Pastor.
    Go to the link above, click on the and listen to the message from March 27th where the pastor talks about hearing from God “Audibly”. He said, “Can God speak to us? Sure he can. And if you were to say that God has spoken audibly to you, I’m not going to argue about that with you. I just know that He hasn’t spoken that way to me.”
    Where in the Lutheran Confessions or the Bible say that God can speak to us audibly?

  35. April 6th, 2011 at 12:03 | #35

    @Berean #84

    The thing is, even if we DID hear an audible voice claiming to be God, or the voice of God, where would we go to check the truth of those words? We would test the words heard against the Holy Scriptures, since we wouldn’t expect God to tell us anything audibly that is contrary to His Holy Word. In which case, it seems somewhat odd to attribute an audible voice to God if we are confirming what we have heard is truth against His written word.

  36. Berean
    April 6th, 2011 at 13:58 | #36

    @Jim Pierce #85
    He did say that we have God’s Word and other correct statements but where does it leave the congregation or anyone listening to the audio or video on the churches web site?What do you do about his statements saying that yes, God can speak to us audibly and he won’t argue with you if you’ve said you have heard audibly?
    If you go to the logical end of his statements, does that mean you have to be a super Christian to hear from God? Or pray and listen the correct way to hear audibly from God?
    If you haven’t listened to his message you’ll have to listen to get the full scope of what all he is saying.

  37. April 6th, 2011 at 14:14 | #37

    @Berean #86

    Good questions! I would also ask what his position is on sola scriptura, because if God is speaking to us audibly, then how can we say those words we “hear” are wrong? So definitely such an idea is contrary to the Scriptures and our Lutheran confession which tell us that God deals with us only through His Word and Sacraments. If we start giving authority to voices we hear, then how do we get out of that when the “voice of God” tells us to do something contrary to Scriptures? This is a huge problem amongst charismatics and Pentecostals practicing all sorts of wackiness because they “heard God” and give that voice authority over the Scriptures.

    If we are talking about possibilities, then surely all things are possible for God and He could speak to us immediately, but as the Scriptures and our Lutheran confessions point out, God has chosen to deal with us through specific means of grace. So the question of bare possibilities is really irrelevant. What is to be considered is how God has chosen to speak to us, and not how He could possibly speak to us.

  38. James
    April 6th, 2011 at 15:03 | #38

    @Johannes #83

    Too bad Scott Diekmann does not write anymore. He published some pretty good stuff.

    You wrote:

    “Rob Bell is hardly a CG advocate as such. As Mohler has correctly diagnosed his stuff, it’s simply Protestant Liberalism in drag.”

    But it is the Church Growth Movement advocates within the LCMS that are promoting Bell.

    More fun here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Quyslu5P0k&feature=related

    and here:

    http://www.extremetheology.com/2010/02/the-druckerites-must-issue-a-safety-recall-of-their-emerging-church-product-line.html

    @Jim Pierce #87

    The pastor is basing his sermon on the book “Whispers” by Willow Creek Association pastor and author Bill Hybels, who in turn borrows many ideas from Rick Warren:

    http://billhybels.com/resources.asp

    http://vimeo.com/2407642

  39. James
    April 6th, 2011 at 16:00 | #39

    The Church is Changing, What is Emerging?

    Part 1 of 4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Quyslu5P0k&feature=related

    Part 2 of 4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aikpqKEgPEw&feature=related

    Part 3 of 4

    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=Y6GLNNNX

    Part 4 of 4

    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=Y6G7NNNX

    Perhaps Issues, Etc. should interview Dr. Gilley for an update. Good stuff!

  40. David Rosenkoetter
    April 7th, 2011 at 01:43 | #40

    @Jim Pierce #87

    And, when we speak, of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions as norming us, we do so both 1. In the way of the Law as a curb and 2. In the way of Gospel as God’s gift. Since Christ Jesus has fulfilled all true prophecy in Himself, there is no need for extra revelation.

    It astounds me to hear certain preachers get all giddy about literally hearing “the voice of God.” Some of the most striking statements of the New Testament are when people trembled or were afraid at hearing the voice of God—either as Christ Jesus spoke or angel spoke (as in Revelation 1, etc.) The apostles, along with the prophets and patriarchs before them, discerned which visions or dreams or speaking was from God and what was not.
    Furthermore, the Lutheran Confessions show us Holy Scripture as the lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105) (FC SD Source and Norm, 1-3). And, from St. Peter’s second letter, we know that God gives no prophecy or word to anyone privately. Rather, it was always confirmed, as men spoke from God in writing the Holy Scriptures for us. (2 Peter 1:21)

    I’ll probably grit and bear it as I listen to the linked sermon (for first hand knowledge only). But, I’ll be mighty careful with anyone’s words when they say they heard God’s voice audibly. After all, Christ has already baptized us and given us the full benefits of His death and resurrection.

    And, when we speak, of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions as norming us, we do so both 1. In the way of the Law as a curb and 2. In the way of Gospel as God’s gift. Since Christ Jesus has fulfilled all true prophecy in Himself, there is no need for extra revelation.

    It astounds me to hear certain preachers get all giddy about literally hearing “the voice of God.” Some of the most striking statements of the New Testament are when people trembled or were afraid at hearing the voice of God—either as Christ Jesus spoke or angel spoke (as in Revelation 1, etc.) The apostles, along with the prophets and patriarchs before them, discerned which visions or dreams or speaking was from God and what was not.
    Furthermore, the Lutheran Confessions show us Holy Scripture as the lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105) (FC SD Source and Norm, 1-3). And, from St. Peter’s second letter, we know that God gives no prophecy or word to anyone privately. Rather, it was always confirmed, as men spoke from God in writing the Holy Scriptures for us. (2 Peter 1:21)

    I’ll probably grit and bear it as I listen to the linked sermon (for first hand knowledge only). But, I’ll be mighty careful with anyone’s words when they say they heard God’s voice audibly. After all, Christ has already baptized us and given us the full benefits of His death and resurrection.

  41. Johannes
    April 7th, 2011 at 07:30 | #41

    @David Rosenkoetter #90

    Speaking so cavalierly about “hearing the voice of God” seems to me evidence that God somehow has been “dumbed down” or brought down to our level. But that’s what much of the evangelical mindset has done–He’s just “Good old God,” or something like that. It also tends to promote a certain one-upsmanship attitude, don’t you think?

    J

  42. James
    April 7th, 2011 at 16:04 | #42

    How would a confessional LCMS’er define an individual’s personal relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. How does this compare to how an evangelical defines it.

  43. April 10th, 2011 at 15:06 | #43

    @James #92

    James,

    When I was a Pentecostal living under the weight of the Wesleyan Holiness movement, we talked about the “born again experience” and a “personal relationship with God” as opposed to the experience of the “nominal Christian” i.e. Christians who weren’t “alive in the Spirit” such as Lutherans. Now that I am a Lutheran and understand a bit more clearly justification and the means of grace, I understand that my connection with God can’t get any more personal than partaking of His flesh and blood and receiving the forgiveness of sins that He freely gives to me. When I was a Pentecostal my “experiences with God” defined my relationship with Him. That is what made it “personal.” Today it is our Lord who defines my relationship with Him through His promises and not my experiences and feelings. He tells me through the preaching of His Word that I am a sinner in need of grace, mercy, and forgiveness and He grants me the faith by the working of the Holy Spirit through His Word to receive the forgiveness of sins by the objective means He provides (Word and Sacraments). It doesn’t get anymore “personal” than that. And thank the Lord, too! I don’t have to worry about whether or not I “feel forgiven” like I used to. I don’t even talk about a “personal relationship” with Christ, because I don’t know any other kind of relationship with Him other than what I have through His Word and the Sacraments. He says I am His and am forgiven and that settles it. :)

    I hope what I write above is helpful.

  44. James
    April 10th, 2011 at 21:12 | #44

    @Jim Pierce #93

    You wrote:

    “I don’t have to worry about whether or not I “feel forgiven” like I used to.”

    When I was a kid, a pastor from a local Baptist church would knock on all of the doors in our neighborhood as if he were a vacuum cleaner salesman. During the initial sales pitch, the pastor would ask eerily: “Do you know whether or not you are saved.” I recall my mom (an LCMS Lutheran, like me) replying with a calm and resolute “Yes, I know I am saved.” The pastor was befuddled and did not know what to say. That was NOT the expected answer! The sales pitch to induce fear, uncertainty and doubt was ruined!

    You wrote:

    “When I was a Pentecostal my “experiences with God” defined my relationship with Him. That is what made it “personal.” Today it is our Lord who defines my relationship with Him through His promises and not my experiences and feelings.”

    This is *powerful* testimony. I DO wonder how many Evangelicals would become Lutheran if they understood that they could be freed from the oppressive chains of striving constantly for the “right” experiences and feelings. Free at last! The LCMS should market this aspect of Lutheranism heavily.

    Jim, I find it fascinating that the promoters of the Church Growth Movement within the LCMS don’t know what to do with recovering Evangelicals like you. People like you are not supposed to exist! Your very existence ruins their sales pitch. The “Willow Creek Lutherans” strive so hard to be evangelical, and you strive to be confessional!!!

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