Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Third Seminary in the LCMS?

If you were going to start up an airline, you'd need to hire pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that all pilots first be trained by an approved training program, and that would mean hiring people to train those pilots. The question is, who would you hire to train the pilots? I know - hire a bunch of business men.

That sounds stupid doesn't it? Yet that's part of the mindset at PLI, the Pastoral Leadership Institute, the third seminary of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

PLI was begun in 1999 by LCMS Pastor Dr. Norbert Oesch, with input from many LCMS notables, including then Texas District President and now LCMS Synodical President Gerald Kieschnick.

The PLI leadership training program for pastors is a four year commitment, with annual attendance at two collegial events plus a conference at various host LCMS mentoring churches. Each year a different major topic is examined, for a total time commitment of 69 days spread over the four years. Specific mentoring churches are selected to host the events because they exhibit one or more "signature ministries" and conduct ministry "excellently," and participants are encouraged to observe and interact with the staff of these mentoring churches. Each participant is assigned mentors, who are experienced "pastor-leaders." The participants stick with their collegial group of six or seven fellow attendees throughout the four year program. Pastors build their "mission consciousness" by exposure to a congregation involved in multi-ethnic urban ministry, and through a two week international mission "vision" event. The annual fee for the program is $950 for the pastor and $3,250 charged to their congregation.

PLI had somewhat of a rough start. While it is a private concern not officially sanctioned by the LCMS, more than $300,000 was given to it by the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. Some synod members were upset by that contribution and other incidents that gave the appearance that the LCMS was allied with PLI more closely than it should have been. There was also controversy surrounding the original "call" of Dr. Oesch to his position of Executive Director of PLI by the Pacific Southwest District, the Commission on Constitutional Matters (CCM) eventually ruling that the District had no authority to issue such a call. Since those days, the LCMS has studiously avoided the appearance of an official sanction of PLI, at least at the top of the LCMS corporate structure. You now have to dig through LCMS Board of Directors meeting minutes and obscure Reporter articles to find mention of PLI from the top. Yet those ties still exist.

PLI states in its information packet (to access the proper link, click and then download the Pastor Information Packet):
What is the relationship of PLI to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod?
PLI is a 4-year continuing education learning experience with a special focus on leadership training and missional formation for pastors and their wives. Though PLI is neither an organization designated by the LCMS as a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) nor an auxiliary organization (like Lutheran Hour Ministries), PLI originated within the LCMS and serves the LCMS.
Assigned to the PLI Board of Directors is a member of the Council of Presidents. Both LCMS seminaries give academic credit toward a Doctor of Ministry degree for work completed by pastors in PLI. Concordia University Chicago gives academic credit toward a Masters Degree for work completed by pastors' wives in PLI.
In addition, members of both LCMS seminary faculties attend conference events to participate in theological dialog with mentor pastors. Faculty members also serve as conference presenters.
All mentors and their host site congregations as well as conference churches are members in good standing within the LCMS.
PLI further blurs the line of distinction between themselves and the Synod by saying it is "...a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ministry."

Others seem to miss the distinction between the two as well.

One LCMS pastor states "PLI is a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod continuing education program...." People Ablaze! calls PLI "a nationwide grass roots training program within the Missouri Synod...." Transforming Church reports that "the LCMS is now adding to their mobility papers for pastors a place to indicate if they are PLI alumni."

A further example of the cozy relationship between the LCMS and PLI is that of PLI Board Chairman Dr. Jock Ficken. He is also the Vice President of Large Church Ministry for Capital Funding Services, which is a ministry service of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. At Large Church Ministry he "develops capital stewardship campaigns and related services tailored specifically for large congregations."

When LCMS District Presidents are "nominating" pastors in their district to attend PLI, and when Districts are paying for their pastors to attend, when PLI calls itself "a virtual campus and offers itself as a dedicated training arm for the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod," it's time to call PLI what it really is, the third seminary of the LCMS.

According to the PLI website
The mission of PLI is to provide advanced leadership training for pastors whose hearts burn with passion for the gospel and who have exhibited potential for leadership excellence. It is an initiative conceived with the express purpose of supporting a strong, viable church for the next millennium.
If I were a pastor and hadn't attended PLI, would their mission statement motivate me, or annoy me? Does their statement imply that since I haven't attended PLI's advanced "leadership" training I'm a laggard? Maybe I'm not "on fire" for the Lord, or I'm a leadership failure.

Returning to the staffing scenario, if you needed to teach pilots, you'd hire other pilots to teach them. If you needed to teach pastors, wouldn't you hire other pastors to teach them? (Something akin to a seminary perhaps.) PLI has a whole Lutheran-sounding page on their website claiming that they uphold Lutheran Confessional standards, but the last thing on the page, apparently the thing they want to leave you with is this:
3) Excellence in training.
PLI is committed to offering continuing education in leadership areas from experts in the field of executive leadership training who are committed to designs that PLI believes promote excellence in learning theory and maximize participant involvement. Most often these experts are obtained from the business sector of society who have either engaged in training those in the not-for-profit sector or focused sharply on this sector. These experts are selected when they have demonstrated knowledge of the LCMS and can assure PLI that they will not use materials nor teach content that would be in opposition to what the LCMS holds to be true.
Why would you hire an expert in executive leadership training to teach pastors? Because you're not teaching them about the things of Christ's Church, you're teaching them about the ways of man, and that takes experts in man's ways, not experts in God's ways. PLI says
As graduates of LCMS seminaries, pastors are already prepared with a sound education in theology. Their theological training significantly influences and shapes the way they lead and contributes to the way their congregations function. PLI seeks to fully develop their potential by addressing strategic thinking, management and organizational skills. This additional education provides the pastor with tools to help him effectively lead his congregation to reach the lost.
After reading that last paragraph, I can't help but think of Galatians 3:3: "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? "

The LCMS seminaries do teach some leadership skills, but I am willing to entertain the possibility that more training in that area might be appropriate. The best place to turn to investigate that possibility is the Bible.

Did any of the writers of the books of the New Testament mention additional leadership training? I can't find any evidence of such in Paul's writings, but he did say this: "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2)." Paul does point to one skill that every pastor must possess, but it isn't leadership, but the ability to teach (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:24). The writings of the apostle John might be good to investigate, since he outlived all the other apostles. He would have been in a unique position to see the advance of nascent Christianity and witness any lack of leadership skills that evidenced themselves in the early pastors of the Church, yet he never suggests an intensive four year leadership academy designed by executive leadership experts. I did manage to find this in the Gospel of St. Luke, the 26th verse of the 22nd chapter, words spoken by Jesus: "But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves."

PLI, for all its pious-sounding talk of adherence to the Lutheran Confessions, can't even get off their own "Biblical and Lutheran Confessional Standards" page without deviating from the Confession. In the quote above, they say "they will not use materials nor teach content that would be in opposition to what the LCMS holds to be true." Yet the Formula of Concord states
God's Word alone should be and remain the only standard and rule of doctrine, to which the writings of no man should be regarded as equal. Everything should be subjected to God's Word.
Other good, useful, pure books, expositions of the Holy Scriptures, refutations of errors, and explanations of doctrinal articles are not rejected by this point. As long as they are consistent with the above-mentioned type of doctrine, these works are considered useful expositions and explanations. [emphasis added] (FC SD, Rule and Norm, 9, 10)
PLI lowers the bar. Rather than the Confessional standard that all material must be consistent with the doctrine of Christ's Church, PLI is perfectly happy as long as their material isn't in opposition to what the LCMS holds to be true. This is a not-so-subtle redefinition of the Confession. We are to adhere to and teach correct doctrine, not just teach whatever we want, as long as it doesn't contradict correct doctrine. Also, it is what our Confession, as a faithful representation of Biblical doctrine, holds true, that we are to adhere to, not what the LCMS holds to be true. 

PLI also says "The special contribution the Pastoral Leadership Institute makes to the continuing education of those pastors who enroll is the assurance that their learning takes place in the context of the theological framework of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod."

A good question to ask would be which interpretation of the LCMS theological framework are they talking about, the Confessional interpretation, or the Church Growth Movement (CGM) interpretation? A good way to answer that question would be to look at their reading list (to access the proper link, click and then download the Pastor Information Packet). Their list includes a "Who's Who" list of leadership gurus, change agents, and CGM advocates and heroes, with names such as George Barna, Jim Collins, Peter Drucker, John Maxwell, Lyle Schaller, and Rick Warren, with bordering-on-heretical Emerging Church leader Brian McLaren thrown into the stack for good measure. I'd have to conclude from the list that they are interested in Church growth the CGM way, not the Biblical way.

By now you're starting to get the big picture. PLI is nothing more than the LCMS pipeline for spitting out CGM pastors. Stick an LCMS pastor who wants to get "big numbers" in one end of the pipe, and out comes a CGM automaton at the other end. Oh sure, there might be an occasional pastor who walks away with only "the good" and avoids assimilation, but it's not the rule.

Do you disagree? Here is the fruit of one congregation whose pastor attends PLI:
Recognizing the need for spiritual growth among Resurrection's increasing number of members and friends, the congregation embarked on the 40 Days of Purpose program during the 2004 Lenten season. Involving most all of Resurrection's approximately 200 worshipers, the Lord's gracious love in Jesus Christ was made known through this program in ever-deepening ways, by examining the question, "What On Earth Am I Here For?" What an exciting mission for the Lord we have been given.
The 40 Days of Purpose program is an outgrowth of Pastor Rick Warren's book The Purpose-Driven Life. The Purpose-Driven Life is a book which is based on a theology completely foreign to Lutheranism and the Bible. It teaches you to rely on yourself and what you can do for God, instead of relying on God and the gifts He offers to you. It is a book that is driven by the Law rather than the Gospel. To put it into theological terms, it is a Theology of Glory. Any LCMS pastor should easily be able to recognize The Purpose-Driven Life as a threat to the Gospel, yet many pastors who have succumbed to the enticements of CGM philosophy fail to make the connection. They fail to follow the Confessional standard of doctrinally pure materials, and instead preach a different Gospel. The 40 Days of Purpose campaign is very effective if you're trying to transform your church into a CGM community church, which many LCMS churches are attempting, all the while claiming to still be Lutheran. This campaign is effective in part because operating in the background of the small groups involved in the program is the Hegelian dialectic transformation process, purposely designed to transform your church. If you're not familiar with the dialectic process, I'd highly encourage you to read up on it. You'll be amazed, and alarmed, at what you'll find.

So what's wrong with CGM? Don't we want church growth? Of course everyone wants the Church to grow. But it needs to be "grown" in the way in which God has provided, through the means of grace, which involves the faithful preaching and teaching of the Word and administration of the Sacraments. CGM de-emphasizes the means of grace, in favor of the means of man. It can do no other, because it comes from a Reformed theological perspective. That's why PLI hires leadership experts, not pastors. CGM abandons the Lutheran concept of vocation, in favor of turning every church member into a pastor, and turning every pastor into a business manager. It transforms the Church from the place where God's people receive God's gifts to the place where the "seeker" goes to explore and have his or her needs met. This is not to say that some Lutheran churches who use CGM techniques don't try to retain Lutheran distinctives, but practice influences doctrine, and vice versa. When you import CGM philosophy into the Church, your practice changes, which then influences your doctrine.

Another LCMS pastor reports on the effects of PLI in his parish:
What impressed me most about what I experienced and we discussed was the transformational change that a congregation goes through when its main emphasis is making guests welcome and not in making members comfortable. ...Our ministry planning efforts of the last few months have helped us see opportunities to guest-er-ize our church. Reserved parking for guests, a cleaner sanctuary, and a less cluttered narthex area are specific ways that we have made our facilities more inviting to guests. We need to see these steps as a beginning and the final development of our Ministry Plan as the road map to a more inviting church.
Their efforts are taken straight out of the CGM manual. There's nothing wrong with devoting parking spaces for seekers, but if your main focus becomes the "unchurched," you've got a theological disaster.

The ultimate goal of CGM and PLI are to reorient the pastor to a completely different paradigm. This isn't just the change of a guideline or two, it's a totally different worldview. (It's also one of the reasons why PLI wants the pastor to bring his wife to some of the events. You are easier to assimilate if your wife can be assimilated at the same time. There's nothing more inconvenient than an uncooperative wife who doesn't want to be married to an automaton.) This may sound like hyperbole, but it's not.

PLI says
Leadership is the critical issue confronting the church as it moves toward the 21st century. The challenge is to move the thinking and operational paradigms of church leaders, both pastoral and lay, beyond shepherd care and administrative efficiency to leadership effectiveness. Leaders must lead!
According to the PLI paradigm, "success" or "failure" in the Church is defined by leadership:
First, in any organization, church or otherwise, every issue — whether good or bad — is also a leadership issue. When you find success in an organization, you find successful leaders. When you find failure, you find leadership failure as well.
They then go on to discuss the implications for leadership development:
First, leaders must learn how to define and cast a vision. Vision will tell people where we are going.
Second, leaders must learn how to define and clarify values. Values inform people what they will become as they follow the leader and pursue the vision.
Third, leaders must maintain the integrity of the mission of the organization. Integrity creates an environment of trust. Trust is essential for any dynamic organization.
Fourth, leaders must clearly communicate how individuals can be involved in a great endeavor. They release people for service. They help the individual answer the question, "How can I make a difference?"
Finally, for the church, leaders begin and end at the same place — a passionate love for Jesus Christ and His purposes the church. [sic]
The above "implications" are the short version of the steps used by individuals, corporations, and governments around the world to effect change and paradigm shift using the dialectic process and other pre-programmed steps. Their technique may have a place in the business world – it has no place in the Church. The preaching of the Word should be the one-step method Christians use to effect paradigm shift, to "transform" a lost unrepentant enemy of God into a believer.

The above "implications" are the way CGM is being used to reshape pastors and churches to the Church Growth Movement paradigm. This sounds like a Hollywood "conspiracy theory," but if you've ever been in a church that's been hijacked by CGM proponents, you'll immediately recognize the hallmark "steps" involved. Many other people have pointed out that these types of emphases are occurring in the LCMS, not just in relation to PLI, but also in relation to other programs in the LCMS, and are being used to transform the Synod as a whole.

Chris Rosebrough at Extreme Theology and Pastor Cwirla at Blogosphere Underground have both made much the same point. Pastor Cwirla, in his post "A Primer in Change Management," summarizes the transformational steps in John Kotter's book Leading Change, the book Chris calls "the BIBLE for change management." Pastor Cwirla reports:
Here is the basic transformational game plan according to Kotter (1999):

1. Establish a sense of Urgency
2. Create a guiding Coalition
3. Have a vision
4. Over-communicate the vision
5. Remove obstacles to the vision
6. Create short term wins
7. Be patient
8. Anchor the changes in the corporation's culture
Transformation makes heavy use of unwavering commitment to the "vision," authoritarian leadership, team building, eliminating dissent, restructuring the church, and the dialectic process, all following a pre-programmed long-term plan. In certain circumstances, this process may work well, but when dealing with God's Truth and God's Church, it cannot be used.

I don't want to paint a caricature here, and I'm sure there are things at PLI that are beneficial, and I certainly don't want to demonize well-intentioned LCMS pastors, but the PLI plan is one based on foreign theology and the dictates of the business world, not on our Confession.

Let me ask you to entertain a thought. I would suggest that two pastors, both of whom share the same Confession and are in the same synod, could yet have completely different worldviews. It is here that the greatest danger lies. Pastors who attend PLI are exposed to four years of CGM indoctrination. I know pastors that are so blinded by the glow of increasing membership that they've literally abandoned the oath they took to uphold our Confession in order to get those big numbers. Those numbers come at a cost, a cost that is much too high to pay. It comes at the cost of exchanging the Truth of God for a lie. God does not promise us unlimited Church growth. In fact, He tells us that the gate is narrow and few find it. You may be able to convince yourself that you can follow Church Growth Movement precepts and still uphold our Confession, but you'll be unable to convince me.

The LCMS is being split by these two opposing worldviews. On one side of the chasm stand those who uphold the Confession we've all agreed to uphold. On the other side are those who have essentially exchanged the Church's firm foundation of justification by grace through faith for a foundation of sand built on the Great Commission. To quote Luther on justification:
This doctrine is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.... For no one who does not hold this article–or, to use Paul's expression, this "sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1)–is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary... (Quoted from What Luther Says, 2195).
The third seminary of the LCMS, the Pastoral Leadership Institute, is one facet of this much bigger problem. The LCMS seems to be headed more and more towards an undiscerning embrace of the Theology of Glory, in this case, in the form of the twin foreign theologies of Reformed thinking and business thinking. We will not find hidden treasure in the promise of the Church Growth Movement, but only in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:3-10 ESV

This article may be downloaded here.


Mark Dowell said...

Scott, thank you for such a well written and detailed post on the PLI. I am very familar with the errors of the Church Growth Movement, but had not until today understood the clear connection to the PLI's objectives and methods.

A Lutheran Church "doing" the 40 Days of Purpose during Lent speaks volumes. Thanks Again!

Anonymous said...

The former pastor of my church was a vigorous member of PLI (so was his wife). After firmly entrenching our congregation in church growth methodologies, he left our church after accepting a call to a position at the LCEF. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

This year a mission trip at the conclusion of the 4th year of PLI costs a congregation over $6000.00. PLI is obviously for wealthy congregations only. I guess those pastors faithfully serving the smaller more budget conscience congregations are out of luck. Apparently they aren't "successful" enough to be a part of PLI anyway.

Frank said...

Great post!

Mark Louderback said...

Hi. I'm Mark Louderback, pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Springdale, AR. I entered PLI four years ago, had my last conference this past April and I'm going to Panama for my mission trip in 2009.

I guess I am one of the guys who does think that PLI has a great deal to offer and is a wonderful blessing for our Synod and the church at large.

I don't want to respond tick-by-tick, but let me just share a quick statement to begin with.

So, Norb Oesch, as you know, is a great driving force for PLI. He was talking about something and just gave a throw-away line about pastor membership classes. "Now you guys know that you'll have about ten, twelve weeks of classes, since this is so important."

I remarked to a Sem prof about that comment saying that many assume that PLI is all about having one morning membership classes. He said "Norb Oesch is the most Lutheran guy in our Synod."

There you go.

Anyway, in response to a few of the statments:

Congregations do not pay for the Mission trip. My own collegial group has a pastor from a small, rural congregation.

Pastors are leaders. I mean, that is just the plain fact of the case. We ought to be good leaders, and that is what PLI is for.

Finally: Their efforts are taken straight out of the CGM manual. There's nothing wrong with devoting parking spaces for seekers, but if your main focus becomes the "unchurched," you've got a theological disaster.

Paul was most definately focused on the unchurched. Luther wrote the Small Catechism because he saw that people didn't know their Scripture. What was Loehe all about except sending missionaries to America?

I think our church could stand a little more focus on the unchurched.

Anyway, I'd be glad to answer any questions about PLI and try to correct any misunderstandings that might be around.

Mark Louderback said...

If you were going to start up an airline, you'd need to hire pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration requires that all pilots first be trained by an approved training program, and that would mean hiring people to train those pilots. The question is, who would you hire to train the pilots? I know - hire a bunch of business men.

So, I was reading one of my leadership books, and it talked about how an airline during simulations put pilots into a catostrophic failure of some kind.

There were two kinds of pilots: those who made a decision quickly, decisively, set out a plan of aciton, and followed it.

And then those who asked the cockpit crew "What ought we to do?"

Turns out, by a wide margin, asking for advice was the better way to go.

Now, I'll tell you this: I sure hope my pilot has that book on leadership. I hope they are listening to what businessmen say, and not just discarding it as foolishness, since they are the pilot, and they have to make the call.

Just my opinion.

Rebekah said...

I have some friends tangled up in PLI, and here's what kills me about it: the pressure is on for wives to be there. To be in the club with all the cool people, you'd better find a place to park your infant for a long weekend (kids are Not Invited). If you don't want to do this, you're a bad sport and get guff for it (oh yes you do). If you do want to do this, you're not the kind of pastor's wife who knows how to mind her own blessed business, or even what her business is.

What wives have to do with pastoral leadership is more than I can figure (I kind of doubt that they're learning how to organize better potlucks), although I'm sure they'd be happy to enlighten me.

Mark QL Louderback said...

What wives have to do with pastoral leadership is more than I can figure (I kind of doubt that they're learning how to organize better potlucks), although I'm sure they'd be happy to enlighten me.

That is a mean little comment. Is that what pastor's wives do? Cook food?

The reason why wives are invited to come is to give them the oportunity to express their frustrations and difficulties. Part of PLI is specifically designed to strengthen marriages--because church work can sometimes drive couples apart.

It is tricky arranging for child care, no doubt about that. We had my wife's mother come and help watch over our baby. And sometimes they stayed at our house (and they do not live in the same state.)

So yeah, this is a challenged. But it is a blessing. My wife has enjoyed PLI and the opportunity to get together and talk and share (and cry alot...but she was pregnant that first conference...)with other pastor's wives. It is a wonderful way of support.

calkam said...

Pastor Louderback is a phony and a ungodly man...I would be hesitate if I was you with the words he has posted...Pastor Louderback does not follow what he preaches to his congregation.....if this is what he calls good leadership training than this course falls short of what it says it provides to Pastors and their wifes....

calkam said...

Pastor Louderback may think he knows what makes a strong marrige and what this organization provides as support...maybe he should extend that knowledge to the Church flock he sheperds.....just saying.......

Mark Louderback said...

(shrug) Easy to make broad accusations...anonymously...

Anonymous said...

Our congregation was told that it is a common practice for the congregation to pick up the tab for the final mission trip.

Anonymous said...

When our church starts worrying more about attracting visitors and less about providing word and sacrament for the members, I'm outta there.

I heard the Ohio DP speak last year on "being seeker sensitive." Ick.

Rev. Jamie Waring said...

Two comments.

First, the article is great but the author needs to be more precise when labelling the source of CGM theology. It does not grow out of Reformed theology per se, but out of human-centered, Arminian theology typical of what we today unfortunately call "Evangelicalism". Reformed Christians stress the absolute sovereignty of God in opposition to human free will.

Second, I think the debate here in the comment section shows that there needs to be some public forum for honest debate between pastors in the LCMS (and in LC-Canada, where I am). I used to be a proponent of the CGM, but once I actually understood Lutheran, Biblical doctrine, I realized the subtle but grave errors of CG theology and practice. I would say that those who honestly don't see the contradiction between the two need to understand better why those of us who are upset at the adoption of such theology and the corresponding practices are so upset. Likewise, we cannot expect people who are honestly unaware of their errors to listen if we insult them. (Of course, even this statement may be perceived as insulting and arrogant, I realize. But either the CG guys are right or the Old Lutheran types are, so let's have it out based on Scripture and the Confessions. That's what I would like to see happen, but nobody in a position to set such a public debate up ever seems to want to...)

Mark Louderback said...

Jamie Waring,

I would say that those who honestly don't see the contradiction between the two need to understand better why those of us who are upset at the adoption of such theology and the corresponding practices are so upset.

Weeeelll...I guess to me, I understand the criticism of PLI. I just don't think that it is simply "church growth." That to me is the issue as well.

I do believe that some honest and open discussion would be good and helpful to the church though. But I guess I think that it certainly does occur on the internet somewhat. And within our Synod (LCMS), the theological convocations we have are designed to foster such discussion.

But PLI...it has been vetted. The Confessionals of Synod have looked at it and given it thumbs up. Not all. But both sems. Confessional profs. I think it has the approval that you seek.

Mark Louderback said...

Oh, and once again: I've never heard that congregations are responsible for the mission trip funds.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time with this article. "There's nothing wrong with devoting parking spaces for seekers, but if your main focus becomes the "unchurched," you've got a theological disaster." This statement seems in direct conflict with the great comission. It also seem in direct conflict with "leave the 99 shhep for the one lost". I understand the inerrancy of scripture, but it seems you have lost God's Love for the lost. If you respond, my bet it will be a lot of mumbo jumbo church words. If you can't profess your faith, theologically and doctrinally true in words and ways that a common and lost person can understand you are just a clanging cymbal or a white washed tomb.

Scott Diekmann said...

Thank you for your comment Anonymous.