Pastor Hyper-Missionified: 'Do You See What I See?'

Those of you who listen to Table Talk Radio regularly are probably quite fond of their game "How Big A Missionalist Are Ya?" like I am, which helps the layman listener discern the un-Biblical "missionorific" messages they're hearing from the pulpit and the pews.

If you've never caught an episode where Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller and Rev. Evan Goeglein play this game, then simply CLICK HERE to listen to some examples to help you get your feet wet.

Here's the criteria they use to "award" points so that you can determine just "how big" the suspected "Missionalist" in your life really is...


 
HOW MANY OF THESE APPLY TO THE SUSPECTED MISSIONALIST? 
1 Sola Missio (everything in Scripture is ignored except the words regarding mission). 
2 Despise vocation. 
3 Despise the sacraments. 
4 Despise doctrine (the pure kind). 
5 Despise Christian maturity. 
6 Despise the ministry. 
7 Despise church rites. 
8 Use really trendy buzz-words. 
9 The church is a training facility (to equip, but not give, sending, not forgiving). 
10 The church is organic (not super-natural). 
11 Movement, not institution. 
12 Cost other people a lot of $. 
13 Leads others to think in terms of emergency (crisis).

TOTAL POINTS AWARDED: 
2-4: Missional / 5-7: Missionorific / 8+: Hyper-Missionified


I bring all of this up today, because I know of a Pastor here in my district who has recently received a score that's off the charts!

In his church's February 2016 Newsletter, there was everything from his encouragement to attend the annual "Community of Churches Lenten Journey" church services at neighboring heterodox churches (in fairness, a practice/tradition that began long before this current Pastor arrived even though this is the second year in a row now that this LCMS church has participated) to this purpose driven letter he wrote to the congregation...


Do You See What I See? 
What do you suppose Trinity Lutheran Church will look like in the next three to five years? What do you want it to look like? You can safely assume that it will not look the same as it does today in our ever changing culture and context. If we do nothing but try to keep everything the same as it has been, because we like it and resist change, we probably won’t succeed. And, I suspect, we won’t like the consequences of trying to do so. We’ll become more and more out of step with the world around us and less relevant in ministering to it, and our people who live in it. It’s time for us to step back and try to envision where we believe God is leading Trinity in the future to be the best “lights” and “salt” in the world for Him. We just had a team from LCMS St. Louis (Lutheran Schools Consulting Service) visit and assess our church’s school ministry. The church board is also working on putting together a Vision and Strategy workshop (possibly in April or May) and a follow-up task force to help us address the future ministry of Trinity. Please begin that process now by praying for Trinity and our church’s desire to determine and commit to a new vision and ministry plan. This first step of prayer is vital! As plans develop more will be publicized on the process. 
-- "Pastor Hyper-Missionified"


Ok, so his name is not "Pastor Hyper-Missionified" although it should be, because he scored well over 8 points by my count.

I get that he's certainly not the only Christian Pastor to be seduced by this contemporary way of thinking. In fact, the majority of Pastors and parishioners in the LCMS District that I live in feel the way that he does so I don't want to come across as if I'm singling him out here.

When does it all end though? When will they begin to understand that while it might sound good and some perfectly reasonable to us to say and want to do such things, it completely contradicts the Scriptures and our very Lutheran Confessions that echo God's Word?

Friends, if you're anything like me, then you're growing very tired of this sort of perversion of Christ's Church and the turning of His Gospel on its head to become a cleverly devised system where believers "make disciples" (whatever that means nowadays!), "praise God" (whatever that means nowadays!), "worship God" (whatever that means nowadays!), and "give God glory" (whatever that means nowadays!) instead of proclaiming the forgiveness of sins thanks to Jesus Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind.

This isn't the first time I've written about this subject either in an attempt to call attention to it and get the Body of Christ to merely think about whether or not any of this reconciles with what we say we believe, teach, and confess.

If you want to read what I think is the definitive pastoral perspective on this affront to Christianity (other than Rev. Rodney Zwonitzer's "Testing The Claims of Church Growth" book), then please check out the "What's The Real Mission Behind Being 'Missional'?" piece I did where I cited Rev. Lucas Woodford's EXCEPTIONAL commentary on this topic that is truly MUST READ material.

Here's just a small taste to show you what I mean by that...


Thus, I occasionally wonder if we are really on the same team when there are such disparities of understanding the Gospel. Is the Gospel Jesus' work for me or my work for Jesus? Lutherans say it's the former, this missional paradigm says it's the latter. Leaving the way of Jesus "for me" is to leave the way of the forgiveness of sins. That's not an option for Lutherans.


Pure gold! The best part is that that's not the only paper he's written on the subject either!

Look, it's one thing to have a desire to share the Gospel. That's a good and noble desire for sure. However, I firmly believe that we must continue to resist the pressure to be "Missional" in the manner that the Missionalists are currently defining it.

Though the intention is good and sincere, the real and resulting mission behind being "Missional" will only lead to sin through a direct distortion of Law and Gospel.

That's why I ask you to please join me in praying for those Pastors and laymen alike who have been "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:14) so that they may be open to hearing what we have to save when we attempt to address this subject by sincerely "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and to quote Rev. Woodford once more, "I believe the Missional Movement desires to get congregations headed in the right direction" but "I just think Lutheran theology has been pointing us there long before this movement came along."



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 2 years ago now. 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 inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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2 comments:

  1. This is just weird. If you care about pure “Lutheran” doctrine and think it matters you are like a character in a spy fiction thriller wherein nobody can be trusted, not even at the highest levels, as you try to find someone who understands and can help you expose and correct institutionalized corruption. You’re like John Book in the movie, “The Witness” (1985) or Serpico (1973) trying to reach someone on the force with integrity but are all the while being pulled deeper into the conspiracy despite sounding the alarm. Or worse, you are ignored and marginalized as irrelevant. You get blank, vacant stares from those to whom you mention “the problem” of becoming like the megachurch down the street, or “the problem” of viewing Steven Furtick videos during Sunday School hour. After a while, you begin to wonder why no one else sees what you see. They want to know if your concerns are salvific, and if not why do you bother them? And then discouragement turns to disillusionment when you learn that, for all the talk about getting the Synod back on track, our SP has had little influence on the COP as they continue to upgrade their Districts to meet the demands of the 21st Century and steadily move away from the Church of Scripture and the Confessions. The DPs ultimately are interested in Butts in the pew seats and approve of the hip and trendy methods of church modernization to make it more appealing to the unchurched and label it “obedience to the Great Commission.” Talk about a convenient untruth. Knowing the beauty and truth of the Lutheran Confessions has made my life miserable. How I would love to share my misery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously, I can identify, feel your pain, and sense your frustration. It's not fun a lot of the time, but it's not abnormal either. You're not alone, my friend! I've come to find comfort and solace from those I've met who God has blessed me with through this humble blog. That being said, please feel free to reach out to me as needed. In the meantime, here are a few pieces I wrote that might be helpful to you...

      http://www.lutheranlayman.com/2015/03/lutheran-confessional-angry-perspective.html

      http://www.lutheranlayman.com/2015/10/video-why-you-should-stay-lutheran.html

      http://www.lutheranlayman.com/2015/01/being-lutheran-by-conviction-motives.html

      Grace And Peace,
      JKR

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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 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 sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 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 mature spiritually (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!