Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clashing Theology: The Willow Creek Association and Lutheranism

A quote of Pastor Todd Wilken discussing the Willow Creek Association and Lutheran churches who join the association, from an Issues, Etc. segment on May 3, 2011:
Like it or not, it’s a theological association. They’re going to be presuppositions behind everything that’s taught at a leadership seminar, or going or using Willow Creek materials about the nature of the Church, the nature of the pastoral office, what is Baptism, what is the Lord’s Supper. That all goes to the question “How are Christians made?” Are they made by the artful persuasion of the mind and eventually a decision that the unbeliever makes to accept Jesus into his heart? That’s the Willow Creek model. Read Bill Hybels many books. Or, is this entirely the work of the Holy Spirit working through, as Jesus says, through Baptism, and the teaching of God’s Word. Two completely different views. Is there a conflict here? Obviously. A Lutheran pastor who says “We can consistently be Lutheran and a member of the Willow Creek Association as a congregation is either fooling himself, or, worse yet, being dishonest.
A list of LCMS congregations that belong to the Willow Creek Association can be found here.

5 comments:

John Brandt said...

Scott, At first I winced when I saw the number of churches from my home state of Michigan. After reading the names of those churches I wasn't surprised, saddened, but not surprised. Recently I read a passage from Dr. Oberdeck's book, Eutychus Youth: Applied Theology for Youth Ministry, that relates to your post: http://tinyurl.com/9qvtsm8 Our daughter has not yet had Dr. Oberdeck for class at CUW but after reading his book, I hope she's in one of his classes before she graduates.

Daniel Casey said...

As someone still new-ish to Lutheranism ( LCMS ), specifically the Confessional variety, this surprises me.

I've attended the best Willow Creek copy you could find within about 100 miles of where I live and it's nothing but milk-toast, evangellyfish, and vapid.

I honestly believe this is a whole subset of folks who need to be "reached" with the Gospel.

Scott Diekmann said...

That sounds like a good book John. Thanks for pointing it out.

Great point Daniel.

Anonymous said...

As increasing numbers of emergent church leaders cross the Rubicon and embrace liberal Christianity, will promoters of the church growth movement within the LCMS finally wake up?

Emergents who have embraced liberal Christianity:

Rob Bell, Andy Stanley, Brian McLaren.....

And the list continues to grow....

Scott Diekmann said...

Thanks for your comment Anonymous. I'd say the three gentlemen you mention haven't so much embraced liberal theology, rather, in our time they define it.