Friday, May 8, 2009

Thanks for Reading

Thanks for reading along the last two weeks as we've investigated the Mission Revitalization Process and the Transforming Churches Network.

I hope you'll help warn others about the dangers of TCN. All nine parts of this series can be downloaded as a single Word document or pdf file. Spread the Word.

Have a great weekend.

The Management

photo credit: TruthAbout


Bill Wingfield said...

I had never heard of TCN until your series. Thank you for sorting through the many issues for me.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the whole series. You spell out the problems with the Church Growth movement so clearly. Why are so many- including pastors with many years of Lutheran theology training- swayed by and impressed with this nonsense? It is my contention that they are losing more members than they are gaining by pushing these programs.

Scott Diekmann said...

Thanks for your comment Anonymous. I think people are swayed by these types of programs for several reasons:

1) A lack of trust in God.

2) A theology of glory which sees "numbers" as a barometer of spiritual health.

3) Desperation.

4) Pietism, which always is willing to minimize doctrine in favor of pragmatism.

5) The promise of CGM people who entice the pastor with promises of bigger churches.

6) A lack of catechesis, which leaves people vulnerable to false doctrine.

7) Doctrinal creep, which has been going on for decades in the LCMS.

Robert Shipe said...


I think you have pretty much summed up what the CGM is about. I think if I could put it in a one sentence summary I would say that what the CGM, at least here in Michigan, is about is this: To change the Biblical application of being in the world, but not of the world to being in the world so conforming for the world.

Many Lutheran Pastors take the movement and its philosophies one step further than what McGavran and some of the other gurus originally intended by usung my one sentence summary. Let me give one, yet very critical, example.

An ongoing question is lamented by many Lutheran parishes: "What do we do with the older members of our congrgation who grew up with the historic liturgy and hymnody" that true and pure CGM churches despise? This, I believe, is a question that Pastors who either embrace the movement or give in to it are very concerned about. I mean, how can real numerical growth occur if members who really love the liturgy and hymnody of the historic church leave that church or at the very least complain about the changes being made and threaten to leave? This is answered by usuing my one sentence summary; The more-than-one- service Sunday where a synodically adopted hymnal is used complete with vestments, organ, 16th century hymns, and all the other "traditional" things that are used that the older or "conservative" members want, hence the "Traditional Service." Or a church will give into what is called a "Blended" service where some of the "trditional" things are put into place, but the theology is always a theology of glory complete with the Pietistic and Enthusiastic wrappings of the CGM.

So like I said the Lutheran church has actually taken the original concepts of the CGM and has exanded that movement making it even more dangerous yet more in tuned to the world.Yet the bottom line of numerical growth is safe and everyone is now happy again!

Bob Shipe

Scott Diekmann said...

Yeah, a lot of churches that go the CGM route keep a "traditional" service, at least for a while. The solution at the church I was a member of was for the pastor to say they were going to develop a "blended" service, but then never do it. All of the confessional people were given the left foot of fellowship. After all, they needed to make room for the seekers.
One LCMS church I know of has two separate sanctuaries for the different services, and essentially two separate congregations with very little unity.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that you cannot have both factions under the same synod umbrella. As a lifelong member of the Wisconsin Synod, I see our church is going thru the exact same thing. I must say that in my opinion, it's only a matter of time before the Lutheran church must split. In fact I wish they would do so soon. That way at least you could easily tell the confessional church from the Baptist wannabes. I only hope the rock 'n rollers don't keep the name Lutheran. I doubt that they would as they seem to despise everything Lutheran anyway.

Robert Shipe said...

I'm not sure, Anonymous, what you are refering to when you say "'s only a matter of time before the Lutheran church must split." Are you talking about WELS, the LCMS or Lutheranism in its entirety, world wide? Since I know very little about WELS, except for their differences in polity from the LCMS and since I have never thought about a split in Lutheranism world wide (though it is intriguing) I am going to address the LCMS and why in my humble and simplistic opinion a split will be very hard to come by.

There may be many more reasons I am not aware of but some reasons why I think a split is much further off than many believe is: 1)Some conservative (and I use that term instead of "confessional" because of my reasons)Pastors would rather practice "selective fellowship" rather than make a statement of confessional protest. This is nothing more than a "agree to disagree" attitude. Other conservative Pastors think that if they just pay attention to their own congregation and its members then they are doing what is good and salutary. This makes it very diffucult, if not impossible, for a split to occur and those "confessional" churches that go in a state of protest will just have to leave synod. There are so few in a state of confession that synod really does not care if these "schismatics" leave. In fact synod is happy to see them go. If all the conservatives would go into a state of confession, then a split would be more likely. Or at least some dialogue could be possible.

The other reason, an even more critical reason, I do not see a split in the LCMS anytime soon is because of the total apathy of the laity. This may seem cynical and negative but it just amazes me how disintersted the laity is in synodical polity, liturgics, hymnody, history and especially doctrine. They just don't care about what is becoming of synod and I believe even womens ordination would probably not sway them to take action, or at the very least it would only take a minimal defense from synod to keep them from rebelling. While some of this apathy can be faulted by Pastors not teaching them, I do not buy that this is the only reason. The laity must take responsibility even for lack of catechisis.

I wish I had a more positive outlook, but I just think that the pendulum has swung too far over. Maybe even more so than in the 18th century Pietism days, which took a long time for the Lutheran church to overcome. I do not see a split coming in my lifetime and I believe the liberals have a stranglehold on the synodical presidium and the COP's for a very very long time, especially with the resolutions passed at the last convention.

Bob Shipe