Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Goal and Centerpiece of Evangelism is Life Together in the Eucharist
Hmmmmmm... Could this be a church planting conversation in your neck of the LCMS... Don't be so quick to say "no way." There are no attempts being made either (hate to use this phrase, but it was turned on the presenter) to brand our Lutheran identity so that the unchurched folks who are being targeted know who Lutherans are. Doctrine (not sure whose doctrine) is more important than Lutheran. Word and Sacrament are being used (sort of) in new and dramatic ways, using new language, at the discretion of the planter.
1) Mission has a church, not the church has a mission;
2) Church must restructure itself to reflect discipleship in a radical minimal commitment to Love God, Love People (in your fusion groups), serve community.
3) The community is the witness -- many people have heard the Good News, but most have not seen Jesus.
People are to be accepted into the church without question, so that they feel connected. Belonging is the first principle. Believing and changes in Behavior come next. After all, Jesus met with some pretty nasty characters, prostitutes, tax collectors, etc. God loves everyone just as they are, no matter what. That is who these plants go after -- the bikers, tattooed, alcoholics, drug addicts -- people that would never grace our church doors.
Traditional church focuses on Behave, Believe, then Belong -- that is behave a certain way to enter the building, believe what and the way we believe, then you will belong. Such things as doctrine (confession) and worship (liturgy and Eucharist) are insignificant since the most important concern is to get the Gospel to the unchurched, to share the love of Christ with people.
The problem with this is that the most powerful expression of Christ's love for us resides in the Eucharist and in Confession and Absolution... the love we have for others flows from the means of grace and the love that is borne of the Holy Spirit's work flows right back to the means of grace.
I wish just once someone involved in evangelism and church planting within Lutheranism (District and Synod) would say so clearly what the Roman Catholic Bishop said above -- that the goal of evangelism and its fruit are the incorporation of people in the Eucharistic life of the Church. Period. No, ifs, ands or buts... This is why was plant congregations and this is the goal of the love of Christ we display before the world -- God's call that takes fruit in our life together at the Word and Table of the Lord (through the incorporation of baptism)...
Any other goals or purposes, no matter how pious they may sound, are at odds with Scripture, our Confession, and the command of Christ to go, baptize, and teach. Period. It seems we are so busy with the methods and models, we may have forgotten this as Lutherans. We have become so enamored with statistics and numbers that we forget the greatest success of the Gospel is the person called through the voice of the Word, cleansed in the waters of Baptism, sustained by the regular reception of grace through confession and absolution, and met together in the communion/participation in Christ's body and blood.
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When we welcome youth or adult
confirmands into the parish we
invite them to receive the blessed
Sacrament. To make this a reality
it is wise to have the rite of
confirmation and first communion
in the same service. This sends the
message that belonging to the church
is about receiving Word and Sacrament
each Sunday. It is sad to delay their
first communion to a later date and
separate Word and Sacrament.
RC. Again. Yeah we can do what they do, make statements just like that -- and get what they have, congregations of several services on Sunday morning, for the most part (most part, there are indeed very faithful Catholics here and there) filled with people there out of custom, obligation, background, etc, that is if they don't go to the Saturday service to "get it out of the way".
This is too funny. As if Lutherans and other denominations don't have members who are just "hangers on".
One Lutheran in my family is now Catholic. Another one "lost" his faith because when he went to university and took philosophy courses he came to the conclusion that where Christianity is concerned "no one believes that stuff anymore".
I know too many Lutheran parents who go to church alone because their kids have dropped out.
Your criticism of Catholics who attend Saturday would have more merit except for the fact that we Lutherans do it too and please, no lectures about Vatican II for Lutherans. We do it. Period.
A little logic might help. I did not say we don't have hangers-on. Certainly we do. Not the point.
The point was, making official statements such as the one quoted from an RC bishop does not produce congregations whose life is centred in the Eucharist, just congregations where it's there.
As to Saturday services, not a traditional practice, and who started that in modern times, from whence others followed suit? Guess you don't want to look at that. There's a lot of that going around.
In response to: "The point was, making official statements such as the one quoted from an RC bishop does not produce congregations whose life is centred in the Eucharist ..." I don't believe Pastor Peters said it did. The only way it automatically happens at the speaking is if God speaks it into being.
The point is that in the LCMS it's not even being suggested as the target for which we ought to be aiming. Even if the bishop's words are no more than lip service, that's more service toward that end than we get from our evangelism executives.
Our evangelism executives (of whom I am no fan bts) are no more a bar to a sacramental life than saying stuff like the "bishop" did is a help. But the latter is more deceptive, since it usually gives a comforting but false sense of the reality here on the ground.
Mr Maher is romaphobic.
Came from there, dude. Been there done that.
Anonymus, Mr. Maher is not a Romaphobe, he is a curmudgeon. The world needs negativity and naysayers in this culture of "me." ;>P
Well thank you Janis. Half way. If there is a Nay I have to say, it is toward things that appear to be and/or claim to be things they are not. For example, much of what passes as traditionalism these days, over things that are not traditional at all, but modern cut and pastes from various traditions. The only difference between that and those who chase after the "New Measures" of our day (which are the same ones of Walther's day with new names) is that, in the former case the raw material is tradition and in the latter it is not. So one dresses up and plays church, the other dresses down and plays church. The one is not tradition though is appears to be and is claimed to be, and the other is not new though it appears to be and is claimed to be.
I had the same thought yesterday as I listened to a recent discussion on the Witness, Mercy Life Together Bible study materials. As much as I hate to admit it, such conversations are an indictment on how we have carried ourselves in the Body of Christ over the last 100 years or so where our congregations have gotten so caught up in the DOING of church and the ACTING like a church, that we have forgotten what it means to BE the church. Our lives do not consist in the DOING, but in the BEING — BEING who God has called us to be in Christ, and who HE is making us to BE.
Life together in the Body of Christ was once thought to flow solely from the Word and Sacrament, from God's people gathering around His table to be fed with the bread of Life, with the very Body and Blood of Christ. The theme of Witness, Mercy, Life Together is an attempt — and a good one — to bring the life of the Christian back into focus on BEING who God has called us to be and who HE is making us to BE in Christ. Our Lord Himself does meet us at the door of our buildings, at the beginning of our walk, remains with us throughout, and is the mediator in our relationships with one another. Some would deny this and say we meet Jesus in our own time at our own pace. But this is our life, gathered around the Lord's Table under His cross. This is where He calls us and meets us. And our final call will be a summons to that great wedding feast of the Lamb.
A romophobe, I don't know, but the "nay" in his say generally creates more heat than light in the comment thread. Terry genuinely seems much like my grandpa. He was happiest when page 5 was three times a month and page 15 once, with the old lectionary, the liturgy by the book (without seasonal change), and little marks on the floor so that the Pastor knew where to stand. My grandpa at least knows those days are gone and his whining will not bring them back. My grandpa at least knows that when he finds a liturgy out of the book (even mostly out of LSB), and Biblical preaching, he has found more than most and he has learned to be thankful for that much. Not Terry.
That's right, not me. But the thing is, You Who Will Not Identify Which "Me" You Are, it's not about me. Making it about me rather than what I say is ad hominem, a convenient way to avoid what was said by going on about the person who said it.
Who cares if it's liturgy out of "the book". Which book? There's lots of them out there. Where I came from they got them up the yingyang, with a new one last Sunday. The ELCA, ECUSA, EO and others do a great job of going by the book too, but I don't go there, I don't believe all of what they officially confess, even if they put on a better liturgical show and have weekly Communion.
There's a little more to this traditionalism thing than having a book and going by it. What's in the book? When we adapt our book to resemble in manner and form the new books of the liturgical heterodox churches, we are no less engaging in "new measures" to "grow the church" than those who dump books to resemble the manner and form of the non-liturgical heterodox churches.
I guess we wouldn't do so much ad hominen posting if you'd put your Catholic past a bit more firmly behind you.
You keep making the same points over and over and it gets old. Nor are your views the only ones in the LCMS.
"We"? There's a steering committee doing this? Well, there's enough posters who won't put their names to what they write to make one.
Thing is, Whoever You Are, putting my Catholic (as opposed to catholic) past behind me is exactly what I thought I had done in becoming Lutheran, but instead of finding catholic worship purged of Catholic accretions and excess, I found a Lutheranised version of precisely the Catholic novus ordo manner I had left behind. A wannabe.
Funny, I thought the parts Luther objected to were the parts that had turned the sacrament into a sacrifice, where communing was less essential than witnessing and worshiping the sacrifice, and where works had obscured the Gospel. I had no idea that Luther was opposed to the novus ordo or DS 1 and 2. I look at the Lutheran versions of the things you detest so and I do not find any of the objectionable parts that roused Luther and the later Lutherans. Am I missing something?
Well, yes. Two things, for starters.
For one, what do the Confessions say -- what we need are several new orders of service, that more fully draw on the varied practices of the church, as long as they do not contradict the Gospel, and a new lectionary too so people hear more of the Gospel? Rather, we hear the Confessions rather proudly point, as evidence to being a true continuity with the past and not something newly fashioned along somebody's judgement, that we for the most part RETAIN the ceremonies PREVIOUSLY in use, and we RETAIN the traditional order of readings.
For another, the novus ordo came about on a Catholic agenda to achieve Catholic goals that address Catholic issues, none of which, if the Reformation meant a damn thing, have to do with us. Not to mention the eager jumpers-on are predictably exactly those liturgical churches with Reformation roots from which they now depart, but still put on a good liturgical stage show. Yet we act as if Vatican II were the hoped-for council that would resolve things.
The majority of Lutherans aren't going to go back to the one-year lectionary.
It's a bit amusing to hear a disgruntled former Catholic telling those of us who were Lutheran well before the 70's what we are and aren't doing right.
"As to Saturday services, not a traditional practice, and who started that in modern times, from whence others followed suit? Guess you don't want to look at that. There's a lot of that going around."
Funny thing about "traditions", they tend to evolve over time. They didn't have altar rails at the Last Supper either.
As for "looking at" where Saturday worship came from, oh no -- don't tell me -- it was Rome? Who knew! Hmmm. I did. So I guess Lutherans who worship on Saturday are second-class, huh?
But weren't there differences in the church rites always among Lutherans? At least from Luther we have two different orders (German Mass and Latin Mass) that follow a similar pattern but are different in text and tune. Each jurisdiction did the same thing - though certainly there were families of orders, there were also differences.
Hey thanks for the welcome whichever of the Whoever You Ares you are. You gotta watch those disgruntled former Catholics. Judas H Priest, I knew this boofed out Augustinian who was a corker!
Dude, we aren't living in the 1500's anymore. The Gospel never changes, the forms in which it is delivered can and do. Take off your Catholic lenses once in a while.
On the other hand, Luther didn't have to contend with praise bands, big screens and plastic cups that resemble shot glasses. Lucky him.
I believe I referenced the Confessions, not something RCs typically do. You wanna take your cue from Rome rather than that and call it traditionalc as long as there's no screens and praise bands and individual cups, well ...
Your Catholic lenses I meant in the sense that because Lutherans have adopted some "Roman" forms such as Saturday worship you get a bit spastic about it. Some of us like having that option, you don't, fine, but don't expect everyone to conform to your views.
I like traditional, but not necessarily traditionalism which can become stuck, stuck, stuck in another era.
But yes, I detest praise bands, screens and shot glasses which I am free to do just as you detest Vatican II wannabeism.
That's it, pal -- cultural, not confessional. Lutherans adopt "evangelical" forms too and some like having that option. So it's really just an argument, in the "worship wars", between sides undivided on adopting non- and un-Lutheran practices originating with non- and un-Lutheran agendas, and only divided on culture, one liking smells and bells and service books and hymns etc and the other liking praise music, screen presentations, informal worship, etc. No tradition, in which out Confessions place us, either way.
Terry, it is NOT the same. You may not like novus ordo or the Lutheran forms of it, as you might put it, but they are within the pale, they are family to the Mass - if leaning to one side. What you miss is that there is a bigger fish to fry in the number of LCMS parishs who do not give a hoot about p. 15 or 151 or whatever and do whatever on Sunday morning. The confessions do not mandate a page number but they do mandate a form, a family identification with the Western Mass that is imbedded even in the Lutheran forms of Novus Ordo, whether you want to admit it or not. You are being disingenuous when you paint the various DS of LSB with the same broad brush as praise bands, etc... Really, Terry, if you cannot see this difference you have blinders on (and I already know you will respond that I have blinders on but at least mine are historical). Lutherans have always mandated a form, pattern, and family identity of the mass even if we have allowed diversity within the form and even the words. This is no different than the German Mass and Latin Mass of Luther existing side by side -- not exactly the same but so familial that they are seen as related -- just like Divine Service 1-5 in LSB.
Did I ever say it could only be the "Common Service" everywhere in LCMS? Did I ever say there can be only one text of the Divine Service everywhere? Did I ever say that such had been the case at any point in Lutheran or church history?
The Confessions don't have bupkis to say about family resemblances nor call for new "family" members.
But they have a lot to say about retaining for the most part the ceremonies previously in use, and the traditional order of readings and festivals.
And to the extent one does not do this but chases after forms forged by heterodox other churches to fit their own agendas, one is no less on a different path whether one looks to Rome or Willow Creek or dresses up or dresses down doing it. A personal and cultural preference for a dressed up way of doing it is no more traditional or historical than a dressed down preference.
Except Rome was there before the Reformation. There is still a connection.
Willow Creek wasn't. And doesn't have the mass.
Doesn't apply. Rome was not there before the Reformation with what it had after the Reformation, or with what it has since Vatican II.
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