Monday, October 31, 2011
Living with an Ozzie and Harriet mentality in an Ossy and Sharon Osbourne world...
A couple of things.... It speaks of missions from the vantage point of a shrinking LCMS instead of confidence in the Gospel and in the means of grace. Because of this, it is mostly concerned with things like process and practice than doctrine and faith. This is not something unique to this group but it is an issue I have with many groups where guilt and shock are used to call us to do what joy and confidence alone can do...
It complains about a clericalism in the church that is crippling the mission. I have heard this before from different folks and I really do not understand it. We have more lay folk in short term and long term missions than ever. We live in the heritage of "everyone a minister" and a church structure that is less and less directed toward or by the Pastor. Our members do not sit in awe of the Herr Pastor's knowledge or experience. They are just as educated, just as experienced, and they have opinions they are not afraid to express. We have more "lay offices" (like deacon) doing things once reserved for Pastors than we ever have. We have congregations being served by these folks as virtual Pastors. If anything, we live at a time when clergy are seen as less essential to the life and work of the Church than ever before.
It insists that we do not know the world around us, that we live in a past that is long gone, guided by a theological language, musical style, and liturgical identity that no longer sells, and we have missed the fact that our culture is no longer Christian. Who is he talking about? We have sung liturgy, weekly Eucharist, and strong teaching (catechesis). We also know the world around us is unfriendly to the faith, suspicious of the moniker Lutheran, unchurched, and lost. Yet we also know that what reaches them is not a Christian imitation of their culture, music, or message. What reaches them are the means of grace. Period. Word and Sacrament. Not some with it Pastor or lay leader who mimics the look and lingo of the day and plants churches that have little or nothing in common with those paying the mission tab.
I don't know a lot of things. If I were smarter or wiser I would not be blogging my meandering thoughts. I would get people to pay for them. But I think our problem is not that we are behind the times. I think that we have lost confidence in the means of grace, lost confidence in the Lord to do His work through the Word and Sacraments, lost confidence in the promise that where we preach and teach the Word of God faith will be born (in God's time). Instead, we have given up on the Gospel and now we think that we can do something to reach the heart of the lost. We have the technology, we have the skill, we have the wisdom, we have the tools -- we don't need liturgy or hymnal or theology. We barely need the Spirit. All we need is networking and cash and we can get the job done. We don't need St. Louis and we don't need oversight and we don't need someone second guessing us.
You listen to the video and tell me what you hear and what you do not.... What I hear is passion and desire but mixed in with disdain for St. Louis (code word for theology, confession, practice, and doctrine). Sure I hear them talk sacramental but it is not a sacramental faith and identity borne of and shaped the means of grace. It is a nod toward the confessional identity but the emphasis is clearly on what we are doing, how we are connected, our success, and our refusal to be ignored. Maybe I am over reacting. You tell me....
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I thought I left this stuff behind when I left the Baptists, and then the 'emergent' PCA (Presbyterian Church in America)!
When will people stop reading Leslie Newbigin, Rob Bell, Brian MacLaren, et al ad nauseum? Read Holy Scripture and the Confessions!
Read Dietrich Bonhoeffer - "We do not build the church."
I am tired of hearing how the Church needs to be 'creative.' Now I hear we need to have creative Sacraments and Theology. We need to enlist all those passionate lay people who think we should have women pastors!
I have a seminary education, albeit from a Baptist seminary (ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you I was NEVER a good Baptist). I would not, could not put myself above 'herr pastor.' Even if everyone in a pastor's congregation is better educated than he is, that doesn't change the fact that God Almighty has commissioned him, and that Jesus Christ speaks through him every Divine Service.
IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!!!!!!
If I sounded a little upset, I am.
If anyone who reads pastor's blog would like to see just where this stuff (polite term) is going, check out:
Chris Rosebrough regularly reviews sermons from Evangelical 'churches' that are being followed by these "passionate" men and women. Note the lack of labels in the video. We know he loves the mysterious works of God in Baptism and the Supper, but not really what that means.
One more and I'll quit.
The Church has 'retreated' to Africa? As if they are doing it the way he advocates: Does he not know they are more confessionally Lutheran than some of the most 'traditional' (read; broken) American congregations?
Read what "OnWord" stands for...JesusFirst part 2
The video is what it sounds like in the 21st century when the proverbial Talent (Matthew 25:24-25) being buried. God calls us to be faithful, and it seems too often my brothers in the clergy cannot tell the difference between being faithful and being successful.
From the OnWord website:
"During our formation we entered into a process of Christian worship and teaching, contemplative prayer, cooperative discussion and community exegesis"
Community exegesis? Huh????
^Anon;1040AM, community exegesis would be gathering a cultural understanding of the community at large or the community gathered for discussion. Followed shortly thereafter by scriptural eisegesis to find proof texts to support the suppositions they've made vis a vis the community exegesis.
Rev. Allen Bergstrazer,
In other words, OnWord recommends that the Church should try to "shoehorn" its theology to be in harmony with the existing politically correct beliefs of the community. Why bother. If they want a social activist Jesus, they should leave the LCMS for the ELCA.
If this is the future of the church, let alone the LCMS, God help us. Talk about reinventing the wheel. Worst talk I have struggled to listen to in months, if not years. Absolutely horrible. Miserere nobis, Domine!
Anon, they probably wouldn't put it so bluntly, but yes one of the first steps in the church growth process is to assess felt needs and ascertain how those needs can be met. Of course figuring out what people want and trying to give it to them is not any sort of evangelism that one would find in scripture. And as Pastor Peters pointed out so clearly, the vantage point for missions and evangelism is not an angst riddled head count, but confidence in the Gospel and the means of grace.
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