Interesting Quote from President Kieschnick’s First Book Which has Now Hit the Shelves, by Pr. Rossow

I got a call today from some friends in St. Louis who have purchased President Kieschnick’s new book. They had not read enough to offer a critique but Pastor Thomas Messer, from Alma, Michigan dropped in a quote from the book over on the post from Pastor Wilken this morning.

Click here for information on the book from the CPH website.

Due to preparations for the BJS conference and parish duties I do not have time to pursue this topic much further at this point. Hopefully our readers, can provide some more quotes and commentary.

Here is the quote Pastor Messer posted:

“Many congregations in the LCMS offer a variety of worship experiences, including especially those with multiple worship opportunities each week. In quite a few cases, the ‘blended’ or ‘contemporary’ services may vary widely. Most involve musicians who play guitar, drums, violin, keyboard, and other instruments, along with a ‘praise team’ of congregational members who lead the congregation in contemporary songs of worship . . . Many pastors have testified that members of their congregations are much more likely to invite non-churched friends and family members to the more informal services rather than traditional services. When asked why this is so, they reply that the non-traditional services generally tend to be more informal, thus providing natural opportunity for visitors to feel more comfortable than is often the case in a formal, more liturgical service. They also indicate that the overwhelming majority of new members are first introduced to the congregation through the informal, blended, or contemporary services rather than through the traditional, formal services of worship.” (Gerald Kieschnick, “Waking the Sleeping Giant,” CPH 2009, p. 61)

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

Interesting Quote from President Kieschnick’s First Book Which has Now Hit the Shelves, by Pr. Rossow — 35 Comments

  1. “Many”, “quite a few”, “most”, “many”, “tend”, “indicate”. A ringing endorsement for CW and blended worship. With all respect for President Kieschnick, and the office he holds, this is clearly an apologetic for these forms of worship. I hope that we will find a similar apologetic for “the more formal” or “more liturgical” forms of worship, as well.

    As far as the “overwhelming majority of new members” introduced through “informal, etc” worship services is concerned, we need more information. For instance, what times are the services scheduled. It’s not unusual for the “formal traditional” service to be scheduled at 8 or so, and the ‘non-traditional” service to be scheduled in late morning. Might this be a factor?

    Let’s not be too hasty to pan the book–we need a review of the whole book before we can make an informed judgment.

    johannes, the CW-challenged

  2. I just want to know where “violin” came from. (“Most involve musicians who play guitar, drums, violin, keyboard, and other instruments….”) I’m sure they are out there, but in all my travels I have yet to see a fiddle in a “praise team.” Is it that he just not care about worship music, and so is just very unobservant in his travels, or is this a clever insertion of a classical instrument in a feeble effort to make the “praise team” concept more palatable to the unitiated?

    The best construction is that he just is unobservant. Generally, pastors who support CW are less musical and care little for congregational song. It is often a burden to them which they gladly offload onto others. And so they are on unfamiliar terrain when they have to talk or write about church music.

    Given the importance of music in Lutheran worship practice, one would hope a synodical president would do better.

  3. I just had a discussion this past week with the pastor at my currrent church. We have the multitude of opportunities mentioned in the quote.

    We went from a sermon on Sunday to a message on Sunday. That matched the terminology used on Saturday. Our ‘not liturgical’ opportunity is on Saturday night. And it is well attended. We have a school associated with our church and a significant number of families attend on Saturday night. One assumes they are familiar with Lutheran theology. Makes me go ‘hmmmm.’ I think we have 2 congregations at the same church with the same pastors.

    Not a good sign for me. The pastor at my current church must have read an advanced copy of this book — I could almost quote him by using this quote.

  4. It’s difficult to judge based on one paragraph. But I would note one thing from this sample.

    President Kieschnick portrays the different worship practices as different music styles and instruments. Certainly he knows there’s more to it than that. The Pentecostal and revivalistic worship forms of many LCMS congregations represent different texts, liturgies and definitions of worship –in many cases different theologies altogether.

    TW

  5. IF EVERYONE ELSE JUMPED OFF THE ROOF WOULD YOU TOO? Such errant logic and non specific defense is not worthy of a synodical president. And to think that he had time to think about this, then write it, edit it, rewrite it and he STILL published it. With all due respect, ( don’t you hate saying that when you really have no respect) our president is demonstrably a mental midget and immature Christian.

  6. @mames #5
    I disagree–PK has a point of view, and he’s advocating it. I’ve heard (read) bloggers on this website who make similar claims for “traditional formal” worship. If you want to see this technique taken to another level, check out the TCN website, or read almost any CG book. It’s the pragmatic approach–whatever “works.” Notice the confusion of ends and means. Standard stuff. We don’t have to like it, but that doesn’t make PK either a mental midget (he is not), or an immature Christian (don’t go there).

    Johannes, CW-challenged

  7. Mary Ellen, you wrote: “Makes me go ‘hmmmm.’ I think we have 2 congregations at the same church.” would you or others agree with my concern that such a trend also promotes the notion that these two “congregations” in the same church express two different reasons for being drawn to worship.
    1. In the case of the CW group, it’s to “charge the troops” with the same “excitement” that appeals to the seekers felt needs for coming to worship– a.k.a. mood creation. It’s advertised as being “vibrant,” “uplifting,” and of course “Spirit-led.”
    2. Such same churches often use words that seem more in-house or not-so-emotive to “advertise” the liturgical worship where people “gather” to hear God’s Word. The best they can do is describe it as “traditional”.
    From a marketing and media standpoint, it concerns me that the “contemporary” service is often put at the more “convenient time,” a.k.a. 10:45 or 11:30 in the morning on Sundays. That leaves the 8:00 “slot” to be almost an afterthought or “second place” for the less-promoted liturgical service of the Word.
    My other critique of how CW gets advertised or promted in books and billboards alike is a deemphasis on what true worship really is. It is Christ-centered, forgiveness-of-sins focused, service of God to us.
    I may read Dr. Kieschnick’s book out of curiosity so I can be aware of what he writes. However, its title alone causes me concern. “Awaking” from what to what? And calling the Church–the body of Christ–a “sleeping” giant?” How does Christ’s body sleep when our Lord Jesus Christ draws us to
    Where He locates Himself? in His very body and blood for our forgiveness?

  8. Johannes (6) wrote: “PK has a point of view, and he’s advocating it.”
    That is true. We do well enough constraining ourselves to critiquing CW for what it is and is not. It does strike me strange from a marketing point of view, though, that CG books and billboards do not extend such cordiality when comparing CW vs. liturgical, Christ-centered worship. Only at such times as Christmas and Easter or at the funeral of a prominent leader like the late Pres. Reagan does reverent, liturgical worship get much positive portrayal in the press.

    Oh, well, so goes our life in the shadow of the cross! The Word does everything, even using our voice and human care for others to invite people to the services of His house.

  9. Todd,

    Yes, President Kieschnick does know that there’s more to it than that. The portion of the quote I excluded with the ellipsis reads:

    “. . . The pastor might or might not be robed and leads an order of worship consisting primarily of singing, Scripture reading, homily, and prayer. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is sometimes, but not always, offered. The confession and absolution, ecumenical creed, and Lord’s Prayer are often, but not always, a part of the service. Casual, even informal attire is often worn by worshipers, who include people of all ages.”

    What President Kieschnick does NOT realize is that there is a different theology of worship at work among congregations that employ these Pentecostal and revivalistic worship forms. That fact is simply lost on him, which is no surprise, since he has been endorsing and promoting these sorts of congregations for years.

    Interestingly, in the paragraphs immediately following the referenced quote above, President Kieschnick goes out of his way to defend the right of congregations to use non-Lutheran worship resources. After acknowledging that there is disagreement in our synod on this matter, he quotes Article VI of our Constitution (“Exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda, hymnbook, and catechisms in church and school”), but follows this with, “Strictly speaking, this condition of membership does not limit members and congregations of the Synod to use only materials published by or under the auspices of the Synod, since materials published by other sources might also very well be doctrinally pure; for example, songs or hymns consisting exclusively of direct quotations from Holy Scripture” (p. 62).

    It is obvious to the reader what President Kieschnick is getting at here, namely that it is perfectly acceptable for congregations in our Synod to determine for themselves how they will worship and what resources they will use. For Kieschnick, as long as these non-Lutheran resources contain direct quotations from Scripture, they’re good enough. He is really like a fish out of water when he tries to discuss this matter and it is clear that he has no idea what our Lutheran theology of worship is.

    Having read his book from start to finish, there are two ways I would describe President Kieschnick: 1) At Home in the House of McGavran; 2) At Home in the House of Our Bylaws. He is definitely NOT At Home in the House of [Our] Fathers (but, I know someone who is).

  10. Mames,

    I suspect President Kieschnick knows exactly what he’s doing and saying. He may be no theologian (he’s admitted as much), but that doesn’t mean he’s stupid.

    As do all advocates of non-Lutheran worship in the LCMS, President Kieschnick is portraying the abandonment of Lutheran worship as innocuous changes in style and music.

    And, as do all advocates of non-Lutheran worship in the LCMS, President Kieschnick is portraying these changes as motivated by zeal for evangelism.

    It is ingenious. Dishonest, but ingenious.

    TW

  11. @Rev. Thomas C. Messer #9

    Pr. Messer,

    I’m curious. Having read the book, what would you say is its overall purpose?

    Is this President Kieschnick “vision” for the LCMS? If so, what is it?

    Does he address the deepening division, distrust, numerical decline and financial shortfalls during his eight years in office?

    Does he address the obvious split in the LCMS between those who hold a quia and quatenus subscription to the Confessions?

    Does he address the failure of doctrinal oversight and discipline in virtually every corner of the synod?

    TW

  12. “Many”, “quite a few”, “most”, “many”, “tend”, “indicate”.

    Where is the data to back up these assertions? Perhaps this is just the summary paragraph and these assertions are fleshed out elsewhere in the book. Otherwise, these assertions are nothing more than anecdotal cognitive dissonances which hold no more validity than “it nearly always rains when I forget my umbrella.” The longer I am a pastor in the LCMS, the less credibility I give to the perception of anecdotal cognitive dissonances, not only by the leadership but also my own.

    Case in point: in 1999 the Name Change Task Force surveyed district/national leaders and congregational leaders in two distinct groups. 78% of district/national leaders perceived that a name change for the Synod would “somewhat” or “greatly” improve our ability to reach the unchurched (i.e. for congregations to do what they do). In marked contrast, 58% of the congregational leaders indicated that a name change would have no effect on their ability to reach the unchurched. (The source that I have does not detail the additional responses of those who indicated that such a name change would have little impact or a negative impact.) Now, if you were to ask district/national leaders, they would tell you “nearly everyone thinks a name change would help,” but that is anecdotal, very limited in their sampling, and not demonstrated by broader, objective sampling.

    The PPPadre

  13. @Todd Wilken #10
    You say, “And, as do all advocates of non-Lutheran worship in the LCMS, President Kieschnick is portraying these changes as motivated by zeal for evangelism.

    It is ingenious. Dishonest, but ingenious.”

    I disagree. I’m not ready to call PK dishonest. It’s simply a typical CG proposition: CW is good for evangelism. Mr. Gepke’s several posts on Scott Diekmann’s latest blog evidence that.
    Standard CG stuff–the end justifies the means, “whatever works”, “pragmatism,” etc.
    I would suggest, rather, that PK is, along with Kent Hunter, a “Church Growth Enthusiast.”
    He’s said as much. He’s just being himself. He honestly believes the CG paradigm will grow the church, and CW is part and parcel of CG. Why do you think TCN is such a big deal?

    I’m not sure we’ve ever come to terms with that aspect of his ecclesiology–based on what he’s said, and the programs he’s pushed, the Great Commission HAS replaced A.C. IV in his thinking. Now there’s something for us to think about!

    Johannes, Curmudgeon

  14. Pr. Messer,
    You wrote, “Having read his book from start to finish, there are two ways I would describe President
    Kieschnick: 1) At Home in the House of McGavran; 2) At Home in the House of Our Bylaws.”
    Well, then again, we wonder about his understanding of articles I and II. Pres. Kieschnick is promoting CW and casual worship as nonchalantly as he defended Dr. Benke after 9-11.He’s being consistent, but consistently apart from our Synod’s foundation on the purity of doctrine in all its articles and the right administration of the Sacraments.

  15. @PPPadre #12

    What’s objectivity got to do with it? “Many”, etc are simply those whom the writer has talked to, or with whom he agrees. For instance, I could say with a straight face, “Many in the LCMS have tried CW and found it wanting. They have returned to liturgical worship.” It’s perfectly true. It’s not “cooking the data.” I have talked to and agree with many people who have tried CW and didn’t like it. I just haven’t put that assertion in a book yet.

    Johannes, Statistics-Suspicious

  16. A word on consistency: http://www.despair.com/consistency.html

    If I may be allowed to draw a parallel. As a public school band & choir director, I’ve been reorganizing our music library’s band and choral music holdings. I can quickly assess the values of previous directors by the kinds of music purchased during certain time periods. The size of the library ballooned in the ’70s and early ’80s since we have a lot of music from that time period – most of which would have been very timely and trendy, but very few pieces from that time are still performed or are even relevant to today’s ensembles. High schoolers who land in my class don’t want to play the Mickey Mouse March or the theme from “Magnum: P.I.” They want to learn music. What I’m finding in our stacks is about as trendy as “Jesus Is a Friend of Mine.” Because of this, I end up questioning the values of my predecessors and then cleaning up their mess.

    What messes will GK’s values leave for his predecessors to clean up?

  17. Consider the following song lyrics based poetically on Israel’s Exodus from Egypt:

    “Slaves,
    Hebrews born to serve, to the pharaoh
    Heed
    To his every word, live in fear
    Faith
    Of the unknown one, the deliverer
    Wait
    Something must be done, four hundred years

    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    I’m sent here by the chosen one
    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    To kill the first born pharaoh’s son
    I’m creeping death

    Now
    Let my people go, land of Goshen
    Go
    I will be with thee, bush of fire
    Blood
    Running red and strong down the Nile
    Plague
    Darkness three days long, hail to fire

    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    I’m sent here by the chosen one
    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    To kill the first born pharaoh’s son
    I’m creeping death

    Die by my hand
    I creep across the land
    Killing first-born man
    Die by my hand
    I creep across the land
    Killing first-born man

    I
    Rule the midnight air, the destroyer
    Hark
    I shall soon be there, deadly mass
    I
    Creep the steps and floor, final darkness
    Blood
    Lambs blood painted door, I shall pass

    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    I’m sent here by the chosen one
    So let it be written
    So let it be done
    To kill the first born pharaoh’s son
    I’m creeping death”

    These are the lyrics to Metallica’s song “Creeping Death”. Now leaving out the fact that this song belongs to a famous heavy metal band, I wonder if our SP would consider there to be enough Scriptural truths and or elements for this song to be sung in a CW service? Obviously this is an extreme example, but if singing Scripture or songs that poetically mirror Scripture as a sole/limited basis for using contemporary songs (outside of any official doctrinal review process) in a CW service, then I might suggest that this song and many others might meet the SP’s limited criteria. I in no way endorse this philosophy myself. Just a thought, but I could be misinterpreting the criteria he sets forth. I look forward to reading the book. Maybe Amazon will be selling used copies in the not too distant future. Pax

  18. 4th and Goal,

    I think “Creeping Death” must qualify as “doctrinally pure” music, fit for use in LCMS churches, based on President Kieschnick’s criteria.

    He certainly couldn’t refuse it based on its lyrics. There’s nothing unbiblical in there.

    He couldn’t refuse it because it’s heavy metal; that’s just another neutral musical style and choice of instruments.

    He couldn’t refuse it because it fails to mention Christ; that would disqualify 80-90% of CCM used in LCMS churches of which he already approves.

    He couldn’t refuse it because it fails to appeal to the masses; Metallica is THE most commercially successful metal band in the world, has 9 Grammys, and has sold over 100 million records (that’s better than Ablaze!).

    TW

  19. The other fallacious proposition of Church Growth that is at work here is something like this: “More people in worship means evangelism is working”. While more people in worship means more people in worship, it doesn’t mean we are making more Lutherans. Quantity does not equal quality.

    So we use the new measures of CW (means) to justify getting more people (end) – an end that isn’t even what we should be aiming for.

    A Lutheran’s “end” isn’t numbers. A Lutheran’s “end” IS the means… of grace.

  20. “Many pastors have testified that members of their congregations are much more likely to invite non-churched friends and family members to the more informal services rather than traditional services. When asked why this is so, they reply that the non-traditional services generally tend to be more informal, thus providing natural opportunity for visitors to feel more comfortable than is often the case in a formal, more liturgical service.”

    Let’s see if I understand the argument being made here: Many pastors say that their members are “much more likely to invite non-churched friends and family members to the more informal [non-traditional] services ” because [as such pastors replied] “the non-traditional services generally tend to be more informal.

    One wonders if this observation is based on formal traditional surveys obtained by these many individual pastors from their congregational members or just some informal anecdotes.

    Also, being “much more likely to invite” is not equivalent to “actually did invite and bring“.

    Curiously, the use of “generally” in the quote suggests that there are some non-traditional services that are more formal that traditional services. What would those be?

  21. @Todd Wilken #11
    Pr. Wilken,

    I posted a preliminary review of PK’s book on my blog, At Home in the House of McGavran, and plan on posting more there soon.

    I’m curious. Having read the book, what would you say is its overall purpose?

    I included a quotation from PK, which states his purpose, in the blog post referenced above. To expand on what I wrote there, I would say that his overall purpose is to appeal to those in the middle within our synod by convincing them that our synod has the potential to be the “giant” it was meant to be, if only we would realize a) how united we are on the “essential” doctrines of the Church, b) that our differences and infighting cause us to slumber and make us an embarrassment, c) that the church of our grandfathers has changed because the world around us has changed, d) that “creative thinking” and “cultural sensitivity” need to drive our ministry and mission, and e) that we need to abide by our “covenants of love” (doctrinal resolutions passed in Convention), agreeing to disagree on issues that could potentially hold us back from proclaiming the Gospel to the lost.

    In short, PK doesn’t really give us anything new in his book. His overall purpose is to get more and more people to buy into what he has been selling all along, namely that “this is not your grandfather’s church,” and “we do not have time for incessant, internal purification when so many out there are being lost.”

    Is this President Kieschnick “vision” for the LCMS? If so, what is it?

    Yes, I think it is fair to say that this book does present PK’s vision for the LCMS. He speaks of “vision” often, and even includes a whole chapter on this topic. Not surprisingly, PK’s vision is shaped by non-Lutheran church and leadership “consultants.” If you’ve ever read books written by John Maxwell, you can understand PK’s vision. Within the chapter on vision, PK includes a lengthy quote from Greg Morris of Leadership Development, which basically observes that tradition is okay, but traditionalism is deadly. It is obvious why PK includes this quote. He believes that many of us who defend the traditions of our fathers in matters of doctrine and practice are guilty of becoming Pharisaical, falling into the pit of traditionalism. In his “vision,” we must be flexible enough to allow our traditions to embrace new ways of putting our doctrine into practice, ways that involve creative thinking and cultural sensitivity, ways that put the “felt needs” of those around us in this “non-churched” culture ahead of our desire to hang on too tightly to our traditions.

    Anyone who has studied the Church Growth Movement can easily see just how influenced by it PK has been. He simply cannot avoid using CGM vocabulary and argumentation in his writing, precisely because he is a product and proponent of the same.

    Does he address the deepening division, distrust, numerical decline and financial shortfalls during his eight years in office?

    He does address all these things, but not in relation to his service in office. In fact, what came screaming through to me as I read the book was PK’s belief that, under his leadership, our synod has been addressing, and will continue to address, these problems. I think it is safe to say that PK is proud of what he believes he has accomplished during his time as our president, and that we would be wise to retain him as our president, so that he can continue to lead us in the right direction. He is very careful to avoid any blame for the problems we face in our synod. He includes a plethora of quotations, charts, and stats which give the reader the impression that our problems pre-date his service, and that he, as president, has fervently been about the business of re-unifying us, rebuilding trust, and addressing the numerical and financial shortfalls (which have been felt throughout Christendom). If we would but jump on his coattails and follow his vision, he will lead us to the Promised Land.

    Does he address the obvious split in the LCMS between those who hold a quia and quatenus subscription to the Confessions?

    Not at all. How can PK address this split when he himself obviously holds a quatenus subscription, while thinking that he holds a quia subscription? You’re getting way too theological, Todd. This stuff is way over Jerry’s head.

    Our Lutheran Confessions are decidedly absent in PK’s book. The only quotations from our Confessions in the book occur in Appendix A, which is Rev Samuel Nafzger’s “An Introduction to The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.” PK mentions our Confessions, but never quotes from them, at least not that I can recall. Instead, he fills his book with statements he has made, references to our Constitution and Bylaws, and quotations of many doctrinal resolutions and CTCR statements, along with lengthy quotations from others.

    Here is a quote from PK I found interesting and revealing:

    In sum, the strength of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod is directly connected to its biblical foundation. While sincerely endeavoring to preach and teach the truths of Holy Scripture, informed by the Lutheran Confessions, our Synod is simultaneously engaged in intentional mission work in many parts of the world” (p. 33).

    What I find interesting is the phrase, “informed by the Lutheran Confessions.” I’m probably being a little too nit-picky, but this is just plain weak, and seems like our Confessions were thrown in just to pay them lip service. Indeed, lip service is all that our Confessions get throughout the book. Our Confessions are just not all that important to the president. He says he swears by them and that his doctrine is shaped by them, but he all but ignores them. Reading PK feels more like reading a Fundamentalist than a confessional Lutheran.

    Does he address the failure of doctrinal oversight and discipline in virtually every corner of the synod?

    No, this never comes up in his book. The only part of the book that comes close to this is the section in which he discusses the “Yankee Stadium” event with Benke (pp. 138-149). He goes out of his way to defend his actions as Benke’s “ecclesiastical supervisor.” Interesting reading, but nothing we haven’t already heard.

    In sum, the crux of PK’s book really centers around chapter five, titled “The Giant Encounters Other Giants – The Witness of Our Church In a Post-Church Culture – In the World But Not of the World,” the same chapter at the end of which PK discusses “Yankee Stadium.” The heart of the matter for PK is that we must realize that we live in a “post-church” culture and adapt accordingly. The book can really be summed up with the following paragraph:

    “In this process, many LCMS congregations are thinking, planning, staffing, and budgeting creatively, no longer assuming that patterns of the past will work in the present or future. Holistic ministry and mission efforts with a view toward identifying and responding to the needs of unchurched people in the community surrounding the church are emerging in congregations whose leaders understand the post-church culture” (p. 132)

    PK is convinced that we simply cannot “do Church” the way we used to. We live in a “post-church” culture and need to change with that culture. Those pastors and congregations who have realized this truth are implementing the kinds of changes that will bring successful interaction with their surrounding culture. They are the “trail-blazers” we need to follow if we are going to remain relevant voices for Christ in this world. They have learned to step outside of their comfort zone and embrace people with the Gospel in new ways, and we should all follow suit.

    I disagree wholeheartedly with the president’s sentiments. It is precisely because we do live in a “post-church” culture that we need, now more than ever, to be THE CHURCH, not a social club, appealing to the wants and desires of the unchurched, while sprinkling in a little Jesus here and there. Now more than ever, as people are searching and longing for something substantive, we need to be especially attentive to our doctrine and practice, making sure that it is pure and undefiled by the culture that surrounds us. PK would have us sell out, or at least, compromise to meet the needs of those around us. To do so would result (already is resulting) in “a church for people who don’t like church,” which is no church at all, where a repackaged “gospel,” which is no Gospel at all, reigns.

    My $.02, anyway, fwiw.

  22. @Rev. Thomas C. Messer #21
    “PK is convinced that we simply cannot “do Church” the way we used to. We live in a “post-church” culture and need to change with that culture.”

    GK can’t say anything else. To change his mind, he would also have to admit that he’s wasted nine years, $18 million dollars (owed to real missions) and a good many lives missing from pulpit and pew. (In spite of the CG talk, the fact is lcms has shrunk faster than ever.)

    Now Hybels (?) of Willowcreek has admitted that they haven’t accomplished much, but apparently the SP is not ready to follow Willowcreek there, although he’s followed it elswhere for decades already. [Before the Violet Vatican there was “Willowcreek, Texas.”]

  23. “They also indicate that the overwhelming majority of new members are first introduced to the congregation through the informal, blended, or contemporary services rather than through the traditional, formal services of worship.”

    Does this mean that sometime, after being “first introduced to the congreagion” that they will be introduced later to the “traditional, formal services of worship” that has been the hallmark of the LCMS?

  24. Thanks for filling that ellipse, Pastor Messer. I suspected he described CW in greater detail, which is why I focused my earlier comments on the bizarre insertion of the violin as a standard instrument in the praise band.

    I’m going to hold off a little longer on a more global critique, until I can read more of the book myself; however, the last line of Kieschnick’s description of CW is even more bizzare than the phantom fiddles:

    “Casual, even informal attire is often worn by worshipers, WHO INCLUDE PEOPLE OF ALL AGES.” (emphasis added)

    What’s up with that? Is this included to reveal somehow that “traditional” worship does not include peopel of all ages? How silly. Perhaps he thinks that tradiional worship is more for an older set because that is how things tend in congregations that are divided by music, but it works both ways. If anything, the rock music services are more age-segregated generally than traditional worship, as many churches gear one service for Baby Boomers and another, more “edgy” service for “Gen X or Gen Next”.

    But one would expect in most places that people of all ages go to church, regardless of style. So perhaps he is just trying to say that there are some older people who do go for “contemporary worship”. This is no surprise, since CW long ago stopped being for “the youth” even as it is marketed that way to unsuspecting congregations. The baby boomers are retiring now, after all.

    Ironically, though, in actual practice, it is the CW services that do NOT have people of all ages – despite President Kieschnicks’ assertion. Who is often missing? THE CHILDREN. They are often sent off to “children’s church” or Sunday School while the parents and older siblings rock out.

  25. Phillip,

    Good observations. I found the “people of all ages” inclusion odd as well. I took it as PK noting that the “informal, blended, and contemporary” services are more likely to gather in a younger crowd, while the “traditional, liturgical” services are mainly for older folk. He is, after all, part of the baby boomer generation that did their best to sell everyone on the fact that the youth were asking for CW. In reality, it was the boomers themselves who became bored with “5 and 15” and used the supposed “felt needs” of the youth to introduce CW. It’s not just that CW long ago stopped being for “the youth,” but that it was NEVER really for “the youth.” It was introduced to satisfy the wants and desires of the adults who wanted church to be more “hip.” And it is truly sad that CW advocates continue to try to sell the lie that they’re only doing what “the youth” want. Yeah, right. Having watched two different congregations go full-blown “contemporary,” I can assure you that it had nothing at all to do with “the youth.”

  26. Pastor Messer,

    In seeing those congregations go CW/CG, what inovations did you see being pushed in their specific context? I wonder how many congregations’ pastors bring “contemporary”/CG inovations before their circuit conferences before implementing them? It seems to me that in the past nine years there has been a heightened proliferation of full-out CG paradigms then even before. I would think, though, folks might also be importing them from their nonLutheran contacts in their local areas.

    Have we forgotten the admonitions in FC SD X, 4-9? Inovations, whether in CW or whatever, ought to be accepted or rejected by common confession and recognition of one another’s rites. That’s what has made our truly, tried and true liturgies easily implemented, be they from LSB, LW, TLH, etc. They stem from centuries old, approved rites and ceremonies which uphold the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a joy to see places like this forum because we cordially discuss common rites and reject those which fail to uphold the cross of Christ for our salvation.

  27. Rev. Thomas C. Messer :
    Phillip,
    Good observations. I found the “people of all ages” inclusion odd as well. I took it as PK noting that the “informal, blended, and contemporary” services are more likely to gather in a younger crowd, while the “traditional, liturgical” services are mainly for older folk. He is, after all, part of the baby boomer generation that did their best to sell everyone on the fact that the youth were asking for CW. In reality, it was the boomers themselves who became bored with “5 and 15″ and used the supposed “felt needs” of the youth to introduce CW. It’s not just that CW long ago stopped being for “the youth,” but that it was NEVER really for “the youth.” It was introduced to satisfy the wants and desires of the adults who wanted church to be more “hip.” And it is truly sad that CW advocates continue to try to sell the lie that they’re only doing what “the youth” want. Yeah, right. Having watched two different congregations go full-blown “contemporary,” I can assure you that it had nothing at all to do with “the youth.”

    “[W]hat ‘the youth’ want….”? I witnessed an interesting situation a couple of years ago which involved a discussion of how worship should be done and what the music should be like. One side was advocating “up-tempo” (their description) musical styles and worship, the other side was strongly liturgical. Here’s the kicker: the “up-tempo” advocates all had graying hair. The “liturgicals” were spearheaded by a couple of guys who were under 30.

    Any further questions?

    Arkansas Lutheran

  28. Funny, but all the “seekers” and visitors here in northeast Tennessee are drawn to our traditional Lutheran Divine Service with hymns, organs and violins.

  29. My twenty-something cousins at a neighboring LCMS congregation (that just went through a devastating PLI/CEO pastor program) refer to the contemporary service as the “hippie service”. I’m sure it would come as a great shock to PK that to many young Christians, “my grandfather’s church” means folk services designed by adults who never wanted to grow past 1967. “Hymns for Now” is really “Hymns for Then”.

    Not only is PK’s sentiment wrong, it’s 15-20 years behind the “trend” of the evangelicals. Embarrassing. At least if you’re going to be wrong, be timely.

    I wish the Blue Ribbon Task Force was as honest and transparent as PK’s book seems to be.

  30. “Not only is PK’s sentiment wrong, it’s 15-20 years behind the “trend” of the evangelicals. Embarrassing. At least if you’re going to be wrong, be timely.”

    The same goes for the motivational jargon used by the CW/PLI/CEO hawkers. It’s the jargon that became passe a year ago in the motivational language of the business world. It’s like thay pick it up in from curbside business hype recycling bins. Embarrassing.

  31. @David Rosenkoetter #7
    Regarding CCW being in the favored time slot (10:45 or 11:30 AM) while “traditional” worship is left to the 8:00 AM slot….my son attended a local LCMS church near the university he attended. He and many of his friends who were raised in liturgical churches were disappointed that the 11:00 AM service was “contemporary”. When he asked the leadership at the church about it, he was told, “The university students attend the 11:00 AM service because it is contemporary in style.” He tried to tell them that university students (who tend to stay up late) attended the 11:00 AM service because it was held at 11:00 AM and that they would like liturgical worship. The church wouldn’t budge and continued to keep the 11:00 AM service contemporary because “that’s what the students want” (even though a number of them didn’t).

    I have often wondered in this case and in many others: if the so-called contemporary service was held at 8:00 AM and the liturgical service was held at 11:00 AM, what would the attendance figures be? Would they be any different? How many people attend worship based on the service time and not on the worship “style”?

  32. @Pastor Steven Schlund #32

    EXACTLY! I have wondered the same thing. You can also count the young adults with young kids in that category — I know when my 25 year old was 1 I just could not get the family up for the 8:00am service on Sunday .. we liked to sleep in on Sunday if our daughter let us! So we attended the late service. If I’d attended a church like those who predominately make the 8am liturgical and the 11am contemporary I don’t know what I would do; I know I would be VERY frustrated. Of course, so far I’ve been lucky / discerning and never attended a church with a split service like that.

  33. …and now he gets a “book signing” at the Concordia Historical Institute. Did he become a major author or is this not-so-subtle campaigning a la Sarah Palin?

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