But they are just a bunch of old dead dudes, and who really cares about ancient history anyway. Yeah, they said stuff. So what. We say stuff, too, and what we say is what matters today.
Meanwhile, an email rather circuitously made its way to our inbox yesterday. It was initially sent to the pastors of an entire circuit in the WELS SEW District, and included a passel of attachments for their review ahead of their meeting of this Friday. They will be discussing the opening of an INTERDISTRICT MULTI-SITE CONGREGATION. The congregation, Hope Lutheran in Oconomowoc, WI (Western Wisconsin District), had been planning a multi-site effort since 2010, and, with the encouragement of their District President, had been communicating their plans with WW DMB throughout this time. In July of 2012, a conversation with Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC) President Dan Johnson resulted in his offer to use the facilities of WLC as a "cradle to launch the second location of Hope" – in the Southeastern Wisconsin District (SEW).
Multi-site Congregations? Whence comest thou?
In a previous exposé on the teaching of Craig Groeschel, entitled Pietism and Ministry in the WELS: A brief review of Craig Groeschel, we critiqued the thirteen points of his Vision and Values document. Point one, along with our response to it, reads
- "1. Since Christ is for us and with us, we are a fearless, risk taking, exponential thinking church. We refuse to insult God with timid thinking or selfish living.
"Interpretation: We like to tempt God.
"There is nothing laudable in casting Christian Stewardship aside, to openly take 'bet-the-farm' risks with resources God has given to us, which he expects us to wisely invest. 'Betting the Farm' is not wisdom, but foolishness."
- "Since Christ is for us and with us, we are a fearless, risk taking, exponential thinking church. We refuse to insult God with timid thinking or selfish living."
- "4. We give up things we love for things we love even more. It's an honor to sacrifice for Christ and His church.
"7. We will lead the way with irrational generosity. We truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive."
- "We love to give up things we love for the things that God loves."
- A Superfluity of Naughtiness: Plagiarism and Pastoral Fraud – Part I
A Superfluity of Naughtiness: Plagiarism and Pastoral Fraud – Part II
A Superfluity of Naughtiness: Plagiarism of Sectarian Sources in the WELS – A Case in Point
A Superfluity of Naughtiness: Plagiarism of Sectarian Sources in the WELS – A Case in Point (cont'd)
Recently, Craig Groeschel wrote an editorial for FoxNews.com, which was titled, Christians, here's why we're losing our religion. Aptly titled, his objective is, in fact, to lose religion. He writes:
- "You see, religion alone can only take a person so far. Religion can make us nice, but only Christ can make us new. Religion focuses on outward behavior. Relationship is an inward transformation. Religion focuses on what I do, while relationship centers on what Jesus did. Religion is about me. Relationship is about Jesus... religion is about rules, but being a Christian is about relationship."
- "We will not let our behavior or church culture create a barrier between Jesus and a person he died for."
Craig Groeschel continues in his editorial:
- "But in order to reach the current generation and generations to come, we must change the way we do things. That's why we like to say, 'To reach people no one is reaching, we have to do things no one is doing.'"
- "We are committed to reaching people that churches are not reaching."
Craig Groeschel continues further:
- "[A]s churches, we don't have the liberty to change the message, but we must change the way the message is presented. We have to discover our 'altar ego' — and become who God says we are instead of who others say we are."
The Collective Descent of American Lutheranism
In our post, C.P. Krauth explains how orthodox Lutheran Synods descend into heterodoxy, we quoted Charles Porterfield Krauth as he identified the Course of Error in the Church, well-known since the time of St. Augustine and operating as well as it ever had in his own time:
- "When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages in its progress are always three. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: 'You need not be afraid of us; we are few and weak; let us alone, we shall not disturb the faith of others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions.' Indulged in for this time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the Church. Truth and error are two coordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their repudiation is that they repudiate that faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it."
Krauth, C.P. (1871). The Conservative Reformation and its Theology. Philadelphia: Lippincott. (pp. 195-196).