(The following letter was sent to the “church” that Mollie pointed us to in her blog yesterday. Elaine Gavin is a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, Naperville, Illinois and one of the editors of the Steadfast Quarterly. She is one more example of the growth of Confessional Lutheranism amongst the laity.)
Dear Epic Church,
I happened across your church’s website. Some of the many questions that came to mind after looking around it are: When do you serve the members some meat after the marshmallow fluff and candy corn that appears to be the steady diet at your “church”? When do the congregants learn that we are dead in our sins and condemned to eternal desolation if not for the love of God in His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a tiny baby, true God and true man, to take the sins of the world to the cross and die there? When are the worshipers assured that because Christ died, we died to sin? That because Christ rose, we will live with him in Paradise? That He comes to us in His Word, in His very Body and Blood in the Holy Supper, and in the words of the called and ordained servant of the Word in the absolution, offering forgiveness of sins, life and salvation?I am frankly appalled that you call yourself a Lutheran church (albeit reluctantly buried in your website). Nearly everything “you will find at Epic” is trivial (“Life is too short to be bored; ” “Why bother making breakfast?”), irreverent (“Don’t dress up, we don’t;” “You can take (gourmet coffee) with you into the service”), stupid and/or insulting (“The music rocks and sounds like what you listen to on the radio”) and, worst of all, doctrinally unsound (“You’ll find a place where you can discover God”; “The Biblical message will apply to your everyday life”).
I believe people crave a time and place set apart, holy and reverent, to be in church to hear God’s Word of forgiveness from the lips of the called and ordained pastor (whom they can recognize as such, because he is NOT dressed like the rest of us), to hear Law and Gospel properly divided–and when is God’s Word NOT relevant to one’s everyday life? After all, we daily sin and need forgiveness. People crave God’s Word, praying and singing it in the hymns and liturgy–not what they can hear on the radio!–and to be fed and nourished by the Body and Blood of their Lord, not gourmet coffee and donuts. Finally, church is the place where God comes down to us (or “discovers” us, if you insist) in the Divine Service.
Please love the unchurched–and your members–enough to teach them the TRUTH of God’s Word.
In His Holy name,
(Editor’s Note: I suggest you click this link just so that you can have the shock of seeing that this church is indeed an LCMS church. This is the page on the LCMS congregation directory where you find information about Epic Church. Notice, their website is not listed there. For that click here.)