(Editor’s Note: This is part five in a five part series based on insider David Vaughn’s unique critique of the Ablaze program.)
In a recent article entitled, “A Policy analysis of the Ablaze! Movement,” written by David Vaughn, the author claims that “What has been done in the LC-MS toward the work of evangelizing the world pre-Ablaze has failed.” This statement reflects a type of hubris which, frankly, makes me be a bit angry.
It’s like saying, “OK. We all know that previous leaders and previous administrators have failed. But everything is going to be alright. We are here. The current leadership will make everything OK. We have new thinking, a new paradigm, a new movement. Don’t you worry your little heads about it. Everything will be OK.” I don’t know about you but I really don’t like to be spoken to this way and I don’t like to speak this way myself.
I was in the kitchen cooking the other week. I’m not a bad cook so it’s not like my actions were leading up to terrible meal. Someone else in the kitchen came up to me and said, “You know, I think I have a better way of doing that. Why don’t you sit down? I think you will appreciate what I am doing more than your way. Hey everyone, wouldn’t you rather have me do the cooking?” I smiled and sat down. But I was not smiling inside. I was a bit angry at the arrogance of the new kitchen workers.
I like to cook because I like good food. So how did I feel about the meal which was being prepared while I sat? Part of me wanted the meal to be fabulous. I wanted to eat some great food. Who wouldn’t? But part of me – maybe it was the old flesh – part of me wanted the food to taste bad.
I didn’t like that feeling so I just went into the other room and forgot about it. If it is a good meal, fine. If it’s a bad meal, that’s OK I guess. I’m not involved.
So when Ablaze! came along and distanced itself from previous mission and evangelism efforts many old veterans of the church smiled and sat down. But they were not smiling inside. They became a bit angry but instead of feeling peeved they just disengaged.
Now I will make a confession. I have at times almost had to stop myself from wishing that Ablaze! would fail. It’s not like I want more people in hell and it’s not like I think that 2000 new congregations wouldn’t be a wonderful thing. I certainly believe that talking to 100,000,000 people about Jesus would be totally cool. It’s just that I so thoroughly dislike the hubris of Ablaze! I’m just looking forward to the promoters of Ablaze! to finish their time in the kitchen.
I’m sitting on the sidelines watching. If Ablaze! works – fine. If not – that’s OK too. I’m not involved. But I am still working.
I’m going to keep telling people about Jesus. I will support the start of new churches. I’ll support all sorts of mission endeavors. So should you. But what I do will probably have little to do with Ablaze!! God bless their efforts and God bless mine. I just don’t like working with people who think that they are the only people who know what they are doing.