Layman, Military Man, Stationed in Iraq and Adding Insights to the BJS Discussion on Worship, by Pr. Rossow

One of our regular readers and commenters is a gentleman by the name of Matthew Mills. He is a layman, in the military, currently viewing the BJS site from Iraq and is quite the accomplished lay theologian. If I am not mistaken, I believe he is an officer in the Air Force. I have had some brief personal e-mail correspondence with him in the past months but that is the extent of his  biography that I know.

Those of you who follow the comments section of this website know that Matthew always provides spot-on commentary on the issues. He and others have had a lengthy exchange on contemporary worship (CW) that grew out of a post we put up a week ago by another bright layman, Brian Yamabe. The latest comment from Matthew Mills is particularly insightful and in true officer form, is clear, concise and pulls no punches. Here is the comment. (Thank you Matthew for your contributions to this website and thank you for your service to this country in defending  the freedoms with which we have been blessed.)

#85 by Matthew Mills — July 30, 2009 @ 12:48 am

Pastor Lauderback,

I am not criticizing you for “Proclaiming the Gospel,” but for changing the proclamation of the Gospel to appeal to the cultural mindset of visitors whom you yourself referred to as “heathens.” (You can of course retract the “heathens” word, but that would make your foray into CW look like “sheep-stealing” rather than Evangelism.)

I hope I don’t need to prove “recent.” One obvious part of what you are doing that qualifies as anthropocentric, anti-scriptural and heretical is the implicit belief that Word, and Sacrament PLUS something else creates faith. The belief that; were you leading Worship in accordance with the Biblical and Christo-centric Western Liturgy (and your public Confessional subscription) there would somehow be fewer souls saved, because our historical Western Liturgy presents a cultural stumbling block that keeps the 21st century Southern Americans (elected by God Himself to be His sons and daughters) away from His life-giving Word and Sacraments. That is anthropocentric in itself even if your self-chosen style were not (and it certainly is.) Anti-scriptural and heretical follow any attempt to make God’s Salvation dependant on the proper style or cultural spin being added to Christ’s Grace in Word and Sacrament.

AC XV requires of you that you observe the usages in the Church ” which may be observed without sin, and which are profitable unto tranquility and good order in the Church, as particular holy days, festivals, and the like.” The Apology adds “in this very assembly we have shown sufficiently that for love’s sake we do not refuse to observe adiaphora with others, even though they should have some disadvantage; but we have judged that such public harmony as could indeed be produced without offense to consciences ought to be preferred to all other advantages.” What are you using to trump “the usages of the church,” and “public harmony” if not the apparent effectiveness of CW to fill pews in the South Pastor?

Pax Christi+,

-Matt Mills

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