Good enough is not good enough (Mollie)

I don’t quite know why I was traveling in the dark part of the internet where I found this, but find it I did. It’s a blog post at an LCMS church named, for the ages, Epic.

I stole the title for this blog post from a blog post at the Epic Velocity site. I figured it was going to be about how all our “righteousnesses are like filthy rags,” which would be a very Lutheran topic for a blog post. But that’s not what the post was about. It was about how church workers should do better:

Excellence honors God and inspires others. God is worthy of nothing less than our most excellent effort. Non-Christians assume that things will be shoddily done. Non-Christians assume we will have low standards. Non-Christians expect us Christians to give less than our best. They think everything we are doing is a big charade. But when we value excellence, it makes a statement about the kind of God we worship. It makes a statement about the commitment we have to our excellent God. In response to his holiness, greatness and his ultimate sacrifice for us, our attitude should be to give God our best. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

There is much to agree with here, but I thought this Epic post was a great example of what is lacking in so much of this trendy emergent contemporary schlock. And that would be the Gospel. One of the links on the sidebar of this Epic Velocity (a name which induces giggles in me each time I read it) site is to an “online confession” site where people may confess their sins into the ether and receive anything but absolution.

The latest posts, incidentally, include one where the pastor says he was brainstorming ideas for “message series”* for the coming year and was inspired by a message given by, coincidentally, one of my neighbors here in DC. That neighbor is a pastor of an Assembly of God church that meets in my local movie theater and is affiliated with the Willow Creek Association. Call me crazy, but isn’t this precisely why the historic lectionary was developed? So that people wouldn’t be seeking inspiration from my neighbors?

The next post is a poem from Mitch Albom that uses the first person singular about as much as most contemporary worshipers do.

Is this what we’ll get with more churches Ablaze! Is there something — anything — about this church that makes it Lutheran? Do let me know.

*Apparently this pastor frequently has trouble coming up with message series ideas, which led him to purchase a sermon series called “Pure Sex” from another (non-Lutheran, obvs.) church. Even without the lectionary, my pastor would never sink so low. Still, it’s yet another good argument for using the historic lectionary.


Comments

Good enough is not good enough (Mollie) — 15 Comments

  1. I’ve not been to Epic, but I know the pastor. He used to be a pastor at my old church. He introduced the small group phenomenon to “Faith Lutheran” in Troy, MI. Faith is a megachurch and anything but Lutheran. They do the sermon-series thing and ignore the lectionary. They don’t have hymnals. There is no liturgy. They have a stage with a worship concert. There are no vestments, paraments or rubrics. I was a member there for 12 years and communed without ever undergoing catechism or the Rite of Confirmation. Epic is a split off that pathetic nonsense that is Lutheran in name only.

  2. Let’s see. Law, Law, & more Law. And the worst sort of Law, too. Not the kind that breaks our pride & arrogance & humbles us before the Lord. No, the kind that just keeps beating on us to do it better. There’s not much hope of finding any Gospel where this sort of Law is preached.

  3. 18. And a ruler asker him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19. And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

    What Epic church is promoting is works righteousness. If one takes the time and effort to trace their theology, you’ll not end up with the Lutheran Confessions. Their theology is grounded in Willow Creek and the emerging church. Jesus was making the point that our “good” is never good enough – and our “enough” falls far short of the glory of God. Kyrie Eleison!

    We can be thankful Epic church does not identify itself as LCMS; determining a Lutheran heritage is itself a difficult task (see Tim Kade – graduate of Concordia Seminary). A quote from the Epic webpage (their highlight of a CandG newsreport) tells all one needs to know.

    Pastor Tim Kade said, “Far too often the church tells us to confess our sins, but doesn’t provide any real life advice or help in dealing with them. We’re here to change that way of thinking.”

    Unfortunately, Pastor Tim must have been ill on the day when seminary covered absolution. For me and my household, we choose the Divine Service in LSB; all five setting begin with Confession and Absolution. Lord have mercy on the poor sinners who seek “real life advice” from Pastor Tim to “help in dealing” with their sins. Where is the much needed doctrinal supervision in our Synod?

  4. Perhaps you’ve heard of Robinwood Church in Huntington Beach, CA? If you dig deep enough on their web site, you’ll discover that they’re affiliated with the ELCA. They appear to be Emergent to the max, and a Google search reveals that they are a daughter church of Grace Lutheran in Huntington Beach (home church of Gretchen Passantino and her late husband Bob). The pastor eschews the lectionary in favor of “preaching through” individual books of the Bible. Undoubtedly they are sincere laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. But I’m troubled by them, thanks to the way I discovered their existence: I was perusing one of my favorite Catholic blogs (yes, I’m a Catholic) when I noticed a Google ad that read “Informal Rock Mass. Experience a Change of Pace. Informal Church, We Love Catholics” It must be a locally targeted ad, since I reside only a few miles from Robinwood. What do you think of this?

  5. “Epic”

    Epic would be Christ and His Cross.

    Me and my best efforts? Hardly epic.

    Pathetic is more like it.

    TW

  6. Take out this completely false sentence:

    “But when we value excellence, it makes a statement about the kind of God we worship.”

    and this has a chance at being a bible-based message, though it would have to be re-written from the viewpoint of Christ–not us–as the center.

    “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Th 4:11-12)

    “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (Col 4:5)

  7. Another “dark” item on the Epic site–the link in the upper right hand corner to “mysecret.org” where one can “confess” all kinds of sins online. You have to be over 18 years of age to enter. I wonder, does one get an “email of absolution back?” This “church” is truly frightening. It only gets worse.
    Also, there are “love” poems on this blog that the congregation’s couples (including the pastor) have written. Here is an excerpt of one of the poems written by Pastor Kade itself. I find it truly repulsive:

    Pastor KADE: “Tonight as an icebreaker in our LIFE Group each couple drew two unrelated words and had to write a romantic poem. It was a contest, so Kathy and I brought our A Game. “Beauty” and “Ear Wax” were our words…here’s our poem titled “Hidden Treasures”

    You know I reach the max,
    When you pull out that sexy ear wax.
    Oh that beauty from your ear
    Makes me want to have you near.
    So Pull Baby Pull
    That sexy nugget from your ear.

  8. It sounds like this pastor and congregation are living under the weight of a lot of law. Pray that Jesus will lift this weight from them by having His Gospel proclaimed among them.

  9. Veering off topic here, I’m commenting on Jacqueline’s comment. As far as I know, the Passantinos were never members of an ELCA church. When I first met them, they were members of an LCMS church, though I don’t know which one. They later joined Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Costa Mesa. Even though I didn’t know the Passantinos very well, I did go to Bob’s funeral and noticed that neither the church nor the service seemed very Lutheran (e.g., there were eulogies during the service, including one by Hank Hannegraaf) Also, the signs said Prince of Peace Church, without the word Lutheran. The pastor was not vested and there were no paraments, etc. The pastor said he became Lutheran when he married a member of the congregation.

    Prince of Peace is still listed as being affiliated with the Association of American Lutheran Churches and that is one of the reasons I opposed the LCMS declaration of fellowship with the AALC.

    There are two LCMS churches in Huntington Beach. Rod Rosenbladt served as a vacancy pastor at Redeemer some time ago and continued teaching a Wednesday night Bible study for some years after that. It’s still a good, confessional, LCMS congregation. The other LCMS congregation in Huntington Beach, Faith, is so liberal that the choir director left and joined a conservative ELCA congregation (Reformation in Westminster). I have been told that most of the choir followed her.

    Gretchen and her husband, Pat Coburn, are members of Christ Our King Lutheran Church in Costa Mesa (though exactly where, I do not know). I don’t know where in Costa Mesa it is located. This is probably the only non-LCMS church that is supporting “Issues, Etc.” They are apparently affiliated with something called the Conservative Lutheran Association.

  10. They are apparently affiliated with something called the Conservative Lutheran Association.

    It means that the church owns its own property, but may have ‘blended’ worship or once-per-month Communion, etc.

    Words mean things.

    People change what words mean.

    Often, they do not tell us that they have done so.

    EJG

  11. I posted a comment on Epic “church’s” blog, questioning HOW God was speaking to Pastor Kade. Whether it was through the Bible or his thoughts. He kept my first comment and replied that I needed to check my sarcastic arrogant attitude. I then posted two clear questions that I wanted him to answer. They deleted my questions. And when I tried to comment again, I found I was blocked.

    I have to say I’m really shocked with how Pastor Kade is “controlling” his blog and distorting things. I thought he would try to at least defend his beliefs (even though they are wrong). Not so.

    Would this site ever block anyone or not respond to them in effort to clarify or help out? Would you keep a lively discussion going or can it?

  12. Danna,

    You are safe here, even if you disagree with us.

    We do not block comments unless they have filthy language or unless I, the computer moron, accidentally deletes twenty comments. (See the post last night in the editor’s blog.)

    If you read back through the history of the comments on this site you will notice that when I or another blogger ask specific questions to be addressed by the critics they rarely will do so. We welcome critical comments and desire meaningufl dialoge but it rarely happens.

    Pastor Rossow

  13. This was one of the 20 comments accidently deleted

    anything but Lutheran. They do the sermon-series thing and ignore the lectionary. They don’t have hymnals. There is no liturgy. They have a stage with a worship concert. There are no vestments, paraments or rubrics.

    religion run amuck leads to ritualism…style over substance. I thought Lutheranism had to do with biblical theology…

  14. This post from “Epic” “Church” seems to be drawn almost word-for-word from Joel Osteen’s travesty, “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.” He has a section in there on “excellence” and “integrity,” and relates an episode in which he impressed a couple by picking up trash in a windy parking lot. Through Joel Osteen’s selfless devotion to eliminating litter, that couple was led to believe in Jesus. Or at least to believe in God. Or at least to believe that God expects excellence… Now I reckon they’re both working very hard at being excellent, so that they too can please this “excellent” God. So did Pastor Kade get this from Joel Osteen, or did both men get it from a common source? It makes me sick to hear Joel Osteen’s “theology” preached by a man who claims (when it suits him) to be Lutheran.

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