Trifling with Transactions, Transfigurations, Transylvanians & Tripe

WordsThe FiveTwo Network recently published an article of mind-boggling pomposity and heterodox humbug. IssuesEtc’s Todd Wilken found exactly the right term for it: bafflegab.

Here’s a sample, if you can bear it:

We want our ministries to be postured in such a way that the corporeality of the divine is in contact not only with our community, but also with our neighborhoods and cities. Too often, we sacramental leaders can offer the manifest goods of God to our own people in water, Word, bread, and wine, but by design or disregard, we put up barriers to these gifts so that our neighborhoods are divorced from the very transfigurational power of Jesus that they so desperately need to be in touch with.

Reading “From Transaction to Transfiguration” reminded me of my very brief stint as a teaching assistant in a liberal arts department. Freshman students would turn in this sort of dross with expectations of praise and high marks. They were baffled and crestfallen that the academy didn’t actually value pretentiousness.

My preferred method of corrective instruction was to give them a copy of The Economist as a better style to mimic. They could just as well have read the Gospels and Epistles that are masterful examples of brevity and precision in literature, piercing every culture and time with ease.

Instead of fumbling about in mystical darkness, here is the answer the author sought to the problems he sees. Note that this author said we should imitate him:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

(1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ESV)

There is no reason to plant the gospel in a minefield. It is the clear Word of God that even infants respond to. Please just proclaim the certain word of hope that we have received for our salvation.


Trifling with Transactions, Transfigurations, Transylvanians & Tripe — 16 Comments

  1. It would seem that Shakespeare anticipated the latest 5/2 gobbleydgook New Speak in “”Macbeth: “it is a tale told by an idiot, full of storm and fury, signifying nothing.”

  2. I keep checking Rosetta Stone’s website for a FiveTwo language learning product, but they haven’t released one yet. Woolsey and his network of “leaders” are like the “Riddler” from Batman.

  3. Too often, we sacramental leaders can offer the manifest goods of God to our own people in water, Word, bread, and wine, but by design or disregard, we put up barriers to these gifts so that our neighborhoods are divorced from the very transfigurational power of Jesus that they so desperately need to be in touch with.

    What barriers? Catechesis? Profession of faith? Close[d] Communion? Baptism? Adult training?

    Could this be next?

    Central United Methodist Church in Concord, northeast of Charlotte, earlier this year [2013] said it would launch a “virtual campus” complete with streaming services, webcam Bible study, counseling via live chat and a dedicated online pastor.

    The church also planned for virtual users to be able to regularly take Holy Communion when it is being offered during services: Online users can simply grab some grape juice and any bread or crackers they have in the house, and consume them after the pastor, in the sanctuary, blesses the juice and bread as representing the blood and body of Christ.

    The practice, common in many evangelical churches, could help make Christianity more accessible, especially to young people who read the Bible on an app, if at all, the century-old church says.

    “We believe that God is not bound by space and time,” said the Rev. Andy Langford, Central’s senior pastor.

    Oh really? Says the Methodist who only believes that the bread and wine/grape juice only represent Christ’s Body and Blood.

  4. A while ago, folks in the ELCA sent around an invitation to do some thinking about who is welcome at the Lord’s Table. While it could have been directed to infant communion, an up and coming movement in the ELCA, this invitation rather asks questions about the necessity or wisdom of requiring baptism of those who commune at the Lord’s Table (in the ELCA at least).

  5. @Abby #3
    RE: the online “celebration of ‘communion'”. That ain’t new. I watched Pat Robertson do the same thing on the 700 Club on Maundy Thursday afternoon (that was one of maybe 2 times I’ve ever watched it) my Senior year of high school–1984. Kinda reminded me then of Ernest Aingley (or however you spell it) reaching his hand toward the TV camera and saying, “Heal!”

    There is *nothing* new under the sun–especially the 5-2 Methobapticostal stuff, aka the enthusiasm the Serpent taught to Adam in the Garden.

  6. @Abby #4
    Reading the “lutheranreport” you link to here, I am minded to paraphrase Syndrome in “The Incredibles”: “and whenever *everyone’s* doctrine is right, then no one’s is.”

  7. “The corporeality of the divine” – What about the Augsburg Confession and its statement that the divine essence does not have a body? Assuming that “the divine” in the document quoted means the divine essence, this statement seems to be not in harmony with the confessional subscription of the authors.

    Cf. Augsburg Confession, article 1:

    Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

  8. “Bafflegab.” You gotta love it. I first heard that expression over 50 years ago. I think my parents saw it in “Time” magazine. It describes such language perfectly.

    Thanks for keeping up with 5/2, Tim (is it Rev. Wood?). This is dangerous stuff, and we do well to heed your warnings. Keep up the good work!

  9. This BJS article is timely for me and I’m pretty grumpy right now since this type of baloney walked into my church yesterday. I, like many these days, travel a fair distance to find a good church. Apparently the elders of my new church invited a pastor in that was essentially on a fundraising drive. This guest pastor gave the sermon and conducted the bible study. Things just weren’t right, so when I got home I looked him up. The first thing that I found was this video where he turned his pulpit over to a layman who proceeded to give the message. Beth Moore was a key part of his message. So, beware of this stuff. It’s real and it has made inroads into the LCMS.

  10. @Randy #11 Randy, that video is ridiculous! That has no place in an LCMS church, never mind from behind the altar. What would possess (ahem) people to sit through that without a single objection.

    Will you be raising the issue with the elders?

  11. My current pastor is a wonderful man and he even teaches the laity about all the heterodoxy going on. This whole thing blew me away. My pastor was there, and if I read his body language correctly, he didn’t seem happy. My guess is that this was an isolated case and won’t be allowed to happen again. Also, remember, this video was not at my church, but the pastor in it was the “guest” yesterday.

    I’ve never been one to shy away from raising the issues. Not sure how I’m going to go about it. I’ve been church hopping all over Arkansas for a confessional church and finally found one an hour from my home. I think my pastor was blind-sided on this one. I completely support him and have his back. It was made very clear that the elders invited him, not my pastor.

    Finally, I actually meant to post this on the Beth Moore thread by Pastor Rossow. I messed that up, so now it’s on both. My apologies for acting like a rookie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.