Thursday, June 6, 2013
Desperate people do desperate things...
It has become fashionable in many circles to believe that the Church is facing desperate times and that desperate times require desperate measures. For us as Lutherans this has been the underlying reason why we have abandoned Augustana XIV and put unordained men into Word and Sacrament ministry, why we have abandoned the liturgical identity that flows from our Confessions in order to worship as evangelicals, and why we have adopted methodologies of church growth, evangelism, and governance which are at odds with our identity as Lutheran Christians.
In other words, we fear the good ship of Christ's holy catholic Church is in danger of foundering and that we have only a short time to save the holy bark of Christendom from catastrophe and destruction. The only problem with this is that we have become our own worst enemies and our poor decisions and desperation have come back to haunt us.
One great article which speaks to this has been published in the Canadian Lutheran. I urge you to read it. Christ's Church is not a beggar, is not on the verge of destruction, and is not a whore -- unless we make her so. Read it all here...
Here are a few tidbits. . .
It is no secret that, as church membership and attendance decrease, many Christians are concerned about the future of the Church in North America. When we look at the Church as a human organization, its short term future may in fact look bleak. But when we rightly view it as God’s creation and possession, we can be filled with great hope and joy…
…Too often churches today, desperately trying to produce more active members, have begun to panic—like a salesman who has knocked on far too many doors with far too few sales. But the Church is not a possession of man. It’s not a club or a business. It is Christ’s sacred Body, heaven’s powerful ark, God’s beautiful garden, the Son of Man’s precious Bride, and our holy mother.
...The tribulations that we face as Christ’s Church are themselves instruments God uses for our spiritual growth: “The vine is lifted up by being bound, and enlarged by being cut back,” as Gerhard says. There is no doom and gloom underlying this sermon, despite the promises of many difficulties and trials. Did the persecuted Christians of the second century curse the sky because their congregation no longer had an active youth group? Did the Reformers join their adversaries because their Sunday schools had more children? Throughout his writings, Gerhard reminds us that God’s grace is sufficient for us. The Church is bigger than one generation, and any one of our own subjective experiences.
HT to Outer Rim Territories for the cue...
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thanks for your comment on my recent article.
I am a military chaplain with the Canadian Forces and recently published a journal/devotions of my experiences in Afghanistan, entitled "At Peace with war" which you may appreciate. May we walk by faith. Bottom line is: never trust your eyes. God works despite ourselves. Broken instruments, but instruments nevertheless.
This brings me some solace in the current troubling times. Desperate people or groups do desperate things to control or even silence true believers. Do not fall victim to their evil tactics. God is with us always and even more so in troubling times. Rest assured he hears our prayers and when the time is right he will deliver his faithful followers out of the darkness and into the light!
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