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Zitat

Zitat: Small Groups In The LCMS

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun) is translated as "zitat" in German.

That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post. That being said, I'm always keeping my eyes and ears open for good Lutheran quotes that encourage prayerful consideration and deeper study of God's Word and His Church. Here's the latest.

I've been battling a cold/flu/sinus thing for nearly a week now and one of the benefits is that it's allowed me to finally catch up on some reading.

Well, for whatever reason, a lot of the material I've been picking up to read lately has had to do with this notion of the "Small Group Bible Study" as it relates to being "evidence" of a person's "true relationship with Jesus Christ" and their "personal stage of sanctification" too.

Obviously, I put those phrases in quotations for a good reason, because they're un-Biblical ideas of man, and yet, those are precisely the types of things that are often associated with such Small Group Bible Studies and the types of things you'll often hear people say as sort of a badge of honor for themselves or as a way to differentiate between the different kinds of Christians in a particular church.

What? You didn't know that there are two kinds of believers in every church? Oh yes! According to the "Emergent," "Church Growth," "Contemporary Worship" types, there are only ever two kinds of believers -- you and them, or "committed, genuine, on-fire, radical, true believers" and "fake, half-hearted, lukewarm, pretend believers."

Now, please don't misunderstand me, because this is never a matter of distinguishing between the "wheat" and the "tares" or the "sheep" and the "goats" even. If it were, then identifying each other accurately would be very easy since DOCTRINE is what determines the true from the false.

But most people can't bother themselves with doctrine anymore, because "doctrine divides" remember? Plus, studying doctrine and then seriously discussing it with other believers is too formal, and too much like school and work, and who wants church and the worship of God to be serious, hard work, or to feel like school?

So, instead, it's about setting up an exclusive class of "Super Christians" within each church body that are supposedly the heart-and-soul of Christ's own church. In other words, anything and everything that happens (or doesn't happen) that involves that church and its members is solely due to the personal efforts and ingenuity of those select individuals...who are "surely blessed by the hand of God Himself to be able to do what they do for His church!"...and, of course, it's always "in Jesus' name!" too. Without fail, naturally, these "Super Christians" always belong to (or lead) a Small Group Bible Study themselves.

I should probably add that I don't dispute the intentions and motives of such people. But I most certainly will challenge and question their doctrine and theology.

Back to the use of the Small Group Bible Study within Lutheran circles these days. Personally, I think Small Group Bible Studies are a good thing...but only if there's a Pastor leading them or at least a part of them to help guide the rest of the group into truth. The problem nowadays is that I'm seeing these Small Groups supplant the divinely instituted Office of The Holy Ministry, subverting God's primary means of grace to His own, and establishing a class system amongst the laity.

For instance, I overheard a young woman (a wife and mother of two who volunteers at our church and school more than anyone else I know) taking heat in the narthex after a church service recently by another sister in Christ because she hadn't been to a Women's Small Group Bible Study in months (one about a best-selling Evangelical Christian book -- not the Bible -- and one without a Pastor). Never mind the fact that she was fulfilling her various God-given vocations faithfully day-in-and-day-out without ever complaining. Somehow that's just not good enough though.

I don't want to get too deep into this right now because I'm sure I'll publish some additional posts later this week that will continue this discussion, but for now I think this short video and quote about Small Groups are good ones to highlight the main issues and why we should be very concerned.




"The small group approach to church organization is built on the false premises that church is about relationships and not holy absolution, that connections are formed around warm and fuzzy discussions and not through Holy Communion and that the word is taught by layman to layman and not through the preaching and teaching of the ordained ones. The basic logic of the church growth movement, of which small group 'ministry' is a component, is based on making the church relevant by growing similar to the culture. "

Pastor Tim Rossow


As an ex-Evangelical, it's simply mind-blowing to see so much of this in the LCMS Church that I belong to. I never noticed it before, but I also wasn't aware of the Lutheran Confessions or true Lutheran doctrine back then either. Now, I shake my head in disbelief whenever I see evidence that our church wants to be anything but Lutheran.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, why do you think Small Group Bible Studies have become all the rage in the LCMS to the point where you're looked upon as an outcast if you don't currently belong to one?


[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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