Catching Waves with Christ!

as_surf_bede_2048At first I thought this was a video of somebody mocking Christianity.

If only that were the case.

As it turns out, we do the best parody of ourselves.

If this was all I knew about Christianity, I’d be an atheist.

It’s no wonder people don’t take Christianity seriously.

Apparently, nothing calls sinners to repentance or preaches Christ crucified [1] like a cowabunga beach party.

No, I haven’t contacted the people behind this video. Nor do I plan to. Romans 16:17 comes to mind, as does the Large Catechism:

All this has been said regarding secret sins. But where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it, you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.

There’s no shortage of theological excrement in the church today. But unless we learn to smell it, people will keep on mistaking it for chocolate and eating it up.

Christ cannot be the foundation of any school that would present itself in this way, even if they talk about Jesus and have the word “Lutheran” in their name. How you act is a reflection of what you believe (Matthew 12:33). Sadly, what was intended as a joke [2] could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yes, Jesus is mentioned in the video—any false teacher worth his salt will have the appearance of religiosity. Remember, wolves dress in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15) and Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Of course, false teachers may not recognize themselves as such and may even think they’re doing the work of Christ (Matthew 7:22-23).

This organization’s theology is foreign to Christ and the Scriptures. The way in which Christ is approached here (i.e., the irreverent setting and behavior) is directly at odds with the way Christ is approached in Scripture (Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8; Revelation 1:17). In short, what we have here is both a false anthropology and a false Christology, to say nothing of an implicit disdain for the liturgy.

Given the choice between the two, talking about Jesus wrongly is worse than not talking about Him at all. No doctrine is better than false doctrine.[3] This place would be better off sticking with the waves and leaving theology to the professionals.


[1] Repentance and grace will always be at the heart of genuine Christian education.

[2] And not a very good one, at that. How could someone possibly mistake a Lutheran school (in Michigan) for a surf school?

[3] Again, given the choice between the two.


Catching Waves with Christ! — 62 Comments

  1. Here’s what another Lutheran school did during Lutheran Schools week. This is St. Paul Lutheran School, Hamel, IL. The students travelled to the International Center of the LCMS in St. Louis to give a concert. This video is found at Scroll down to 29 January, 2016, video titled ‘Soul Adorn’.

    In Christ,

  2. The personal experiences shared by J.Dean and Debbie above and my knowledge of similar origins of one of the regular posters above, on the one hand, and such ridiculous and arrogant responses to Rev. Andersen as “Missouri–Love it or Leave it!” (paraphrase of #34 above), as well as similar head-in-the-sand responses, on the other, have given me an idea.

    Speaking as a lifelong LCMS German Lutheran, raised in the Midwest parsonage, educated (largely) in her schools, recent personal experiences of my own have made me think that it is maybe time to do something radical;

    I think it is time to fire all “cradle-Lutherans”–clergy and laity–and make them all reapply–go through colloquy, if you will–if they want back in.

    Mind you, I am suggesting this AS A BORN-AND-RAISED-MISSOURI-LUTHERAN!

    Outside of myself, pretty much all of the people I know right now who actually “get” what Brad referred to as the “white-hot center of Biblical orthodoxy and orthopraxy”, who understand the beauty, the joy, the treasure, the comfort, the necessity that the Lutheran Confessions are, are people who have come to Lutheranism–specifically the LCMS–THROUGH the Confessions FROM somewhere else. That is to say, the most “Lutheran” people I know right now, those who actually understand what “Lutheran” means, are ex-American Evangelical, ex-Roman, ex-Baptist, etc., who spent their lives floundering about the American Christian landscape before finally stumbling across the truth they knew was there, but could never find, in the Lutheran Confessions. And, boy, are they excited about it! Just talk to them! It is infectious! They know Lutheran doctrine is the greatest thing ever!

    Which is why the rest of us need to be fired and take instruction on what “Lutheran” actually MEANS before being subjected to examination to determine if we should be LET back in!

    There is an old Blues line that says “You don’t miss your water ’till your well runs dry.” The problem with us “lifers” is that we have the deepest and the purest wells in Christendom, but we no longer understand what it is and/or seem not to care, trying to “better” what we’ve received by actively importing from the shallow, stagnant, muddied and even poisoned pools we see around us, because they look more interesting, exotic, and exciting. Meanwhile, those who have managed to escape these mirages that so interest us, and stumble into the Confessions, revel as they are finally able to immerse themselves in the cool, pure waters of our inherited treasure, where they find the Doctrine of the true Church catholic. And there are so many of us who simply smile condescendingly at them and say, “That’s nice. Now we’re gonna fill these in. We’ve got some improvements to make.”

    Anyway, that’s my modest proposal. It would leave Missouri smaller, yes, but we would once again be Lutheran! A small price to pay, I think.

    soli Deo gloria,

  3. @John Rixe #50

    @Brad #49

    I couldn’t agree more. The name “Lutheran” was originally applied to the German Evangelicals (as they called themselves) as a pejorative. While we’re at it, we might re-think the use of “Missouri”, too. I’m not particularly attached to our name.

    @Pastor Prentice #44

    I’ve written about that question on a number of occasions. See:

    The post I referenced by Dr. Kilcrease is also helpful in this regard:

  4. @Grendelssohn #53

    That’s an interesting proposition– akin to pulling everyone’s driver license, and making everyone re-apply and qualify to get it back.

    I think this sentiment is usually what motivates the generation of the various “micro-synods,” which are respectively more or less successful in their execution. Of course, the LCMS was originally such a “micro-synod” back in the years when it formed, when faithfulness to Scripture and the Confessions was valued over numerical growth or public prestige.

  5. @Brad #56

    Hi Brad,
    St. John Lutheran in Wheaton, Il, does something similar. If I recall correctly, anyone who wants to join the congregation has to go through an extensive course in Holy Scripture, the Small Catechism, BOC, etc. This includes transfers from other LCMS congregations. I think it’s a good idea. Some cradle Lutherans would probably not like this.

    In Christ,

  6. I also catechize anyone who wants to join Zion, Summit or Immanuel, Hodgkins. The amount of time I spend with them depends mostly on their level of catechesis. Though Grendelssohn is suggesting including clergy in that process, too. I’m not sure we take theology seriously enough to make that happen, but I’m not sure if that’s necessary, either. If proper oversight were being exercised, it would be easy enough to weed out those who have no interest in Lutheran doctrine. I’m all for patient catechesis for those who are willing to learn, but that’s not always the case. Most of the time you can get a good sense of where pastors/congregations stand fairly quickly. That gets to my point about this goofy school video from the original post.

  7. @Brad #59

    Just to let you know, St. John, Wheaton is not my congregation. We are in the same district and we visited St. John a few years ago. I think I first heard about their catechesis instruction from their website. It has podcasts of the lessons. I thought it strange at first that even LCMS transfers would have to go through a rigorous process to become a member. I believe some life-long Lutherans would put up a fuss about it. It’s interesting that Grendelssohn is suggesting clergy be reassessed too.

    In Christ,

  8. @J. Dean #43

    Before you know it, you wake up, and your Lutheran church is incorporating non-Lutheran evangelicalism into its services and doctrine, and the confessional core of the church is either seriously crippled or outright gone.

    Not long ago, I had a beautiful pear, unblemished and ripe; when I cut into it, it was rotten from the core outward.
    Many of our “Lutheran” congregations…not a few of our “flagships”… are like that pear.

    Our Lord had thousands who seemed to be disciples at one point; when He said something serious, he was down to 12. The “biggies” are obsessed with numbers, which, they are afraid, might shrink if they tried pure Lutheran doctrine.

    Perhaps they would, but are they leading a church or a social club? Are they teaching about life eternal or “the good life now”?

  9. @Diane #60

    Ah, gotcha. That resistance against catechetical formation is probably due to this mistaken notion that being a Lutheran is a sociological construct. Unlike so many other Christian traditions, being a Lutheran is fundamentally tied to an explicit confession, rather than an organization. Thus, joining a Lutheran congregation is by definition a catechetical and confessional process… as is continuing membership in such.

    And if that’s definitional of all congregational members, it is even more critical of clergy, and those in positions of authority (i.e., elders, council members, seminary faculty, synodical officers, etc.) Proposing periodic reviews of understanding and confession (with review of actually putting that understanding and confession into practice) should be the most natural suggestion to authentic Lutherans… and unsettling to those who are not.

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