Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank You District President Golter

It’s a rare day when you see a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod District President stand up and indirectly oppose the current Synod President, and today is one of those rare days.

Rev. Randall Golter, the President of the Rocky Mountain District, is opposing President Kieschnick’s restructuring plans. President Golter said in a very pastoral way in his District’s newsletter that “perhaps this is not the time for restructuring…,” and “financial collapse of the LCMS structure may well be the Lord’s way of restructuring.” These are pretty strong words coming from a District President. I’ll bet he thought about it for a while before he clicked “send” for that email.

I commend President Golter for his courage in saying what needed to be said, and encourage other District Presidents to speak up as well. As we teeter on the brink of annihilating the congregational polity of our Synod, now is not the time to mince words or remain silent.

You can read President Golter’s entire article here.

4 comments:

Robbie F. said...

Wow! And have you seen what Dr. Roger Paavola wrote in the Mid-South District supplement to the June-July LW?

jim the lutheran said...

Fill us in, please!

Robbie F. said...

Dr. Roger Paavola, 2nd VP of the Mid-South District, writes in part:

>>The purpose of the Great Commission is "to make disciples." That's a tall order; an order that can only be accomplished by Jesus' command through the means He offers. The recent history of the Christian Church on earth indicates that we're not doing very well at following Christ's instructions....

Recently, the Church Growth Movement (CGM) came to a shocking realization that the mega-churches that grew over the last generation merely shifted nominal church-goers from mainline denominations to "community, non-denominational" churches. In a 2007 article in REV magazine, Sally Morgenthaler states that the CGM has not grown the total number of Christians, but only changed their seats.

That's why we're faced with a Great Omission, and not the Great Commission.... Getting more people in the seats omits the particles of the "what and how" Jesus commanded. He clarified HOW disciples are to be made-by baptizing and teaching them to observe all things He gave to the Church.

Outreach (or evangelism) alone is not the answer! It's only a first step of what Jesus gives. Outreach must include assimilation-making the unchurched person included in Church fellowship. Merely making a social relationship as the foundation of one's membership in
any congregation is a sociological illusion if the unchurched person doesn't embrace a theological reason for belonging. Simply stated, that's why Jesus said that making disciples (our Great Commission command) is accomplished by baptizing (entry into the family of God) and teaching (assimilating) all that Christ gave to His Bride, the Church....

If entertainment, social satisfaction sensory excitement, or any other thing brought an unchurched person into our fellowship, the long-term result won't have any more effect than any other social service organization or entertainment venue. If the guitar band or the electric light show down the street are more exciting, our ability to retain membership will be in jeopardy.

The LCMS has not failed in outreach. We continue to receive new members. Similarly, assimilation isn't our weak underbelly. Retention of membership - building one's relationship with Christ - is where we've lost. How many churches could we build from our friends who left the Lutheran Church "out the back door"? Were they faithfully taught to be faithful?

When the scriptural doctrines and Confessions of the Lutheran Church are dismissed as nothing better than any other denomination or "non-denominational congregation," we find the source of our Great Omission. Unlike any other church body, we embrace a treasury of God's grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus. There's no greater message, and surely no other way by which a person is made a disciple....

If our desire turns to look like, sound like, act like, and teach like all the others, what do we have left to offer? If we determine that those others are just as good, we may as well quit fooling ourselves, pack up our tents and go home. Yearning to replicate a mere numbers game turns us toward a covetous sin of chasing numbers at the expense of the means Christ offered...

We have a mother lode in the Lutheran Confessions that made the LCMS the most vibrant and growing denomination in America. Borrowing from business parlance, that "market differentiation" is Christ's pure Gospel, faithfully taught and embraced by His people. Without paying attention to "all He has commanded us," our work to accomplish the work of His command will simply mean we truly have discovered our Great Omission.<<

Scott Diekmann said...

I've got a pdf copy of Dr. Paavola's comments. Email me if you would like one.