There is no Greater Rush than Chanting Shalom at the 5/2 Wiki Conference, by Pr. Rossow

The attached video is part of a presentation by Ian Morgan Cron at the Five Two Wiki conference this fall. It has the feel of a youth convention. Here is a tweet on the video clip on the Five Two web page:

There is something incredibly beautiful in chanting “shalom” together as a body of believers. Thank you Ian Morgan Cron

Ian Morgan Cron is an Episcopal priest, lecturer, psychotherapist and apparent docent to the universe.

Here is a clever, contrary tweet on the same post by confessional Lutheran James Wilson:

Some folks are known to say ‘shalom, shalom’ where there is no peace.

Wilson is right. This is not the shalom that passes understanding through the forgiveness of sins. Here is what I think is going on in this clip. The Five Two people are picking up on two things: 1) the passion of an emotional high and 2) a sense of “the other.”

Neither is wrong or bad if understood properly. Emotion and passion are gifts from God and Christianity does put man in touch with “the other.” The problem with Five Two is that they turn these into fundamental and substantial expressions of the faith rather than by-products of the faith that honestly are by-products even in the worship of false gods although there the One, True, Other is not encountered.

They also do not realize that the 2,000 year old liturgy effectively promulgates these two things, emotion and a sense of “the other,” but as by-products of the one true faith and not replacements for it.

Singing Scripture can be emotional but in the form that we see here it is extremely juvenile (i. e. something we got caught up in junior high and high school). Scripture is ripped out of the authentic Christ-centered, cross-focused form (borrowing that great phrase from Issues, Etc.) given it by the liturgy so that it becomes what James Wilson notices, crying “peace, peace” where there is no peace (Jeremiah 8:11).

The liturgy has been providing a “sense of the other” for 2,000 years. It does it for sure through the emotion experienced when Scripture is put to song but those emotions are deceptive and are experienced even in false religions. Also “The Other” is experienced in no more real way than in the liturgy of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion where Christ is really present, whether we feel Him or not. And that is the Gospel, the truth of God’s Word that He is for us whether we feel it or not. Emotions are secondary and derived. The Gospel is primary and the one thing needful.

But there is something even more serious than emergent worship going on here. Here are a few select quotes from Father Cron (from his blog).

What we need is here.  It’s hard for us to believe this is really true. Most of us believe that what we need is anywhere else but here. But when St Paul writes, ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’ he is not handing us a notional theological abstraction. He is saying that we live in a God drenched universe.

God’s loving presence suffuses the whole of creation [so] we don’t need to maintain this manic, striving life. Everything we need is already here.

Sadly we don’t see it. We rarely enjoy the urgent immediacy of God that is in everything our eyes behold and in every human transaction in which we participate.

So what makes a contemplative different?

A contemplative is someone who is being graced with a new perceptive appreciation, a capacity to see God in all things. They are arrested by God’s presence in the wind moving through trees, his majesty in the sight of a cardinal perched on a snow laden bush… The contemplative has a growing capacity to recognize the Vestigia Dei—the footprints of God everywhere she looks. As a result of receiving these new eyes the contemplative moves through life radically amazed, full of awe, graced with a rich awareness that all of life, as poet Elizabeth Barrett Brown wrote, is “crammed with God.

That is some scary, detached-from-the-cross stuff. This is not someone we ought to be hanging out with. We are to flee false teachers (Romans 16:17, Walther, Thesis VIII on the Church). As Dr, Normal Nagel always said, “If you can’t nail it to the cross it is not Christian.” No wonder this clip from the Five Two conference seems like a youth conference. These are youthful and enthusiastic (schwarmerei) minds that got impatient with and tired of the liturgy and never got over the juvenile need for an emotional high and so are looking to re-invent church. It’s not necessary guys. Give it up. You are hurting the Gospel.

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.


There is no Greater Rush than Chanting Shalom at the 5/2 Wiki Conference, by Pr. Rossow — 125 Comments

  1. @Mrs. Hume #48
    You and Helen are right on. I was previously a member of an LCMS congregation in which some of the other members and the pastors wanted to start a contemporary service. Our congregation already offered nothing but modified liturgical services or kind of blended services half written by the pastor. Some of us pointed out that if we were going to start to offer a contemporary (pop) service perhaps we could offer a fully liturgical (i.e. right out of the LSB hymnal) service as well. The senior pastor got defensive and said that he had done the service his way since coming to our church years before and he wasn’t about to let the church die on his watch by offering the full LSB version. A Lutheran Divine Service is viewed as a congregation killer by many in the LCMS. Sadly many seem to view the clear proclamation of Law and Gospel, Jesus for you in Word and Sacrament, as a congregation killer as well.

  2. Mrs. Hume :
    Here is Bill Woolsey (0:46) disparaging the worship service:
    “Germanic emotionalist ritual that communicates God at a distance making me think maybe, you know, we are in the holy of holies with this high priest and I am out shlepping in the gentile court..”

    I could be mistaken, as I could be getting one emergent confused with another. If I am remembering correctly, the concept of those in the church being the elitists who deny access to the Holy of Holies to the “other”, forcing them to the outer Gentile court was one propagated by Rob Bell, former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, author of Velvet Elvis and Love Wins and who is about to launch his own show called “The Rob Bell Show” on Oprah’s network (OWN).

  3. Thinking a bit more about it, it could have been Mark Driscoll, former pastor of the other Mars Hill, who dabbled in emergent theology as a neo-Calvinist, before denouncing at least some of the teachings, which is extremely difficult to do, as they were continually being re-defined in the collaborative conversation within the context of community.

  4. @ross #1
    The senior pastor got defensive and said that he had done the service his way since coming to our church years before and he wasn’t about to let the church die on his watch by offering the full LSB version.

    Didn’t have much faith in the Holy Spirit, did he!

    [And he’d still have 2 of 3 to play with!]

    One of my friends took on a congregation of about three dozen; he has an oasis of traditional Lutheran worship (which has tripled its membership in three years). To God all the glory, as he frequently says.

  5. @Srsly? #32

    Welpers . . .

    Having been kind of nudged by another here to maybe strike up a dialogue with you regarding my earlier comments which, by the way, I in no way retract, since I have dealt personally and up front with a good number advocating precisely what you do.

    Cain and Abel may offhand seem to fit your argument precisely, except . . .

    If we are called to be one in Christ, and worship Him in unity, I fail to see how bringing up the case of the one brother who murdered the other plays a part in the discussion. My heart is sinful, so is yours, so was Abel’s, so that wasn’t the primary issue.

    Perhaps you should study that text again.

    Fr. Rossow, in the kindest of tones, corrected you. You musta kinda, sorta missed it.

    Peace, nonetheless . . . to you and yours

    [email protected] (you can take this private with me if you wish).

  6. “Work as if it all depends on you.

    But pray as if it all depends on God.” … which it does!

    P.S Thanks, all y’all to whom I owe thanks.

    And thanks to RevFisk, who reminded me this morning
    that some things really are the “same old same old”.

  7. @Mrs. Hume #50

    Mrs. Hume:

    I tried to play the Bill Woolsey video you posted from You tube, and when I clicked on the link, it said, “The video is unavailable in safety mode.” Not wanting to go into any dangerous video :D, I will have to take your word for it…

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  8. John R,

    1) Then why even bring it up?

    2) Do you realize that doctrine is not formulated on concensus? Doctrine is not voted on it is received. It is received from God on high in His Scriptures.

  9. John Rixe :
    @Pastor Tim Rossow #35 , pg 2
    2) Everyone I personally know in LCMS favors and works for a consensus in pure doctrine.

    Something to consider:

    “When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of the others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions. Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and then only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate the faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it.” —Charles P. Krauth, “The Conservative Reformation” (as quoted in the BJS article found here).

  10. @Joe Strieter #12

    I agree, Joe, and am thankful I don’t personally know anyone who uses goofy consultant-speak and irreverent, irrelevant rock music during divine worship. I hope Crosspoint backs away from this.

  11. @John Rixe #11

    John Rixe, You wonder who claims that a majority makes something right. You do, according to your comment #26 on the second page. “I appreciate Srsly’s articulate comets. She is not alone. The great majority of LCMS laypeople agree with her.”

  12. @Jim Pierce #14


    Thanks for reminding us of Krauth’s words. A natural, and unfortunate, byproduct of what Krauth stated is that as time goes by the initial error becomes the “new truth” to so many. Generations grow up believing CoWo/CGM practices and teachings are pure and right. I often use the phrase “poor catechesis” as a significant contributing factor, but another phrase could be “Contrary Catechesis.” There are pastors and congregations out there that seldom, if ever, refer to the Lutheran Confessions, including the Small Catechism. In many cases, the BoC has been replaced by heterodox material from Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John Bevere, etc….

  13. @Scott Diekmann #17

    My comet may have not been too articulate, but I was simply saying that Srsly’s opinions were widely shared.  That, of course, doesn’t automatically make them without error.

  14. John Rixe :@Randy Yovanovich #19
    Only the Holy Ghost working through God’s Word via the brothers in the circuit and district.


    You almost got an “A.” To summarize your answer, Ecclesiastical Supervision is required. Perfect. However, Ecclesiastical Supervision can’t stop at the circuit or district. As a synod we need a unified confessional voice. We are missing that right now. As a result, entities like FiveTwo and Crosspoint thrive under a DP and system that promotes and facilitates heterodox teaching and practice. Confessional DP’s need to speak up and out against error within the entire synod, not just their little piece of the pie. The Praesidium and the SP need to regain their voice. None of this will happen if we all remain silent in a unified act of surrender.


  15. @Randy Yovanovich #18

    You’re most welcome and you make a great point about the lack of proper catechesis! To be sure, everyone in the LCMS is being taught something! As you point out we have to be discerning and that, right there, is a giant problem amongst us. Far too many think they can “baptize” Rick Warren, Joel Olsteen, or whomever is teaching the latest, greatest, cutting edge fad and they are mistaken.

    Also, while I have the soap box; sadly, many see reaching “consensus” on doctrine as synonymous with “compromise.” Consensus then becomes an exercise over what shrinking domain of doctrine we can unite around before it gets to a breaking point where we can no longer sing kumbaya at the campfire together. I think we are seeing some of that in the comments here.

    What consensus means is agreement upon what actually is our doctrine. It isn’t compromise. It could be that all parties involved in the process of reaching consensus are wrong, but it isn’t the case that all parties are right. Holy Scriptures are the rule and norm of what constitutes true teaching, not a voters assembly. It isn’t the old Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?!” How truly sad it is for anyone to want such an environment in our church body. Of course we can “get along,” but on God’s terms and not ours.

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