A Suggested Overture on the Transforming Churches Network

BJS is compiling a list of proposed overtures for District Conventions and the 2016 Synodical Convention which can be found here.  This overture comes from the Association of Confessing Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (ACELC).  A more extensive list of overtures suggested by the ACELC can be found on their website.

To Ask the CTCR and Seminaries to Evaluate Transforming Churches Network

WHEREAS, The Transforming Churches Network (TCN) is listed on the Synod’s Web site as a “Recognized Service Organization”; and

WHEREAS, Although it is concerned for the health of existing LCMS congregations, TCN determines a congregation’s health based chiefly on numerical measurements and sociology such as attendance numbers and financial giving but not on its adherence to the teaching of the Scriptures or the Lutheran Confessions; and

WHEREAS, TCN advocates changing the main emphasis of a pastor’s duties from “being the lead caretaker of the existing congregation to the lead missionary to lost people in the community” (“Pastor Survey,” TCN, question 7a http://web.archive.org/web/20090529230302/http://portal.revitalization-lcms.com/Portals/0/5%20Pastor%20Survey.pdf), thus diminishing the pastoral care of the Law and Gospel that pastors have historically provided to members of the congregations they serve (Jn. 21:15-17); and

WHEREAS, TCN initially asks pastors to see how comfortable they are with this statement, “If we do not achieve the 5% growth goal in the next 24 months, and 5% growth annually thereafter, I will put my name out for another call” (“Pastor Survey,” question 8d), thus suggesting that the man who is divinely called to be a pastor is only effective if he meets preset worldly standards, even though both Jesus and Paul did not always find such worldly success in their ministries (Jn. 6:60ff.; 2 Tim. 4:9-16; Acts 17:1-9); and

WHEREAS, TCN also asks congregation leaders to determine if “The leaders of this church hope to initiate a style of worship service that appeals to unreached people” (“Leader’s Survey,” TCN, question 3e [http://web.archive.org/web/20090529230850/http://portal.revitalization-lcms.com/Portals/0/6%20Leaders%20Survey.pdf]), thus suggesting that a congregation’s worship style should be based on sociology instead of the Word of God as it has been taught in the Lutheran Confessions, or that a congregation’s worship style should be changed even if it exclusively uses the approved hymnals of the Synod; and

WHEREAS, The Holy Spirit alone is responsible for converting people to saving faith by His Word and Sacraments, when and where He pleases; and

WHEREAS, Jesus in Matt. 23:15 teaches that a strong missionary zeal without the proper biblical and Christ-centered doctrinal teaching is spiritually dangerous; and

be_transformed_goldWHEREAS, We as Christians are called to be in this world but not of it; therefore be it

RESOLVED , That the _________ District memorialize the LCMS at her next convention to direct the CTCR, Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne to give a theological evaluation of the premise, methods, and materials of Transforming Churches Network; and be it finally

RESOLVED , That this theological evaluation be completed and published in The Lutheran Witness within a year of the completion of the next LCMS convention.

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