How often do we kid ourselves into believing that this stuff depends on us?
S.M.This pastor thinks it depends on money.I can see the advert -- this could be your lucky Sunday!LPC
Is this guy a pastor or P.T. Barnum?
Second thought: This pastor has zero trust that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to draw people to the cross.
Steve,This guy is hardly preaching the Cross.So I guess he has to rely on gimmicks, no?LPC
Oh boy. We need clear and simple and we get this. Jesus take the wheel.By the way, you all want to mix it up with a couple of commentors over on my last post? I would love to have some help.
There’s a subtle or not so subtle “tipping point” that happens in a church “trying to reach the lost” with supposedly the Gospel. This tipping point becomes a battle between the Gospel and a battle to “reach the lost” or between the evangel and evangelism. In one of my own former denominations, SB, over multiple years and multiple churches from Calvinistic to Arminian to Conservative bodies it slowly became all too clear that the “real message” was so called evangelism and not the evangel. I mean I heard it from the BEST SB pastors/theologians they had to offer. The message was never “we need to get the Gospel right” but “we need to be doing more evangelism”. And so the tipping point looses the Gospel for the act of proselytizing or so called evangelism. Keep in mind (Lutherans who have never ‘been there’) that the Gospel is hardly needed in a system of “once saved always saved” or “the elect cannot fall away” in which one can get a thin “gospel” sauce at the beginning served over a chokingly dry religious husk for the remainder of one’s life in that religion. So the overall message is “get’em in…then get’em selling the product”.There are so many false errors/doctrines here one hardly knows where to start. One of the issues is the failure to see that often, more often than not, the Gospel really really really doesn’t draw in the crowds. Theologies of glory see numerical decrease and equate it with a failure somewhere down the road, even God’s displeasure with something they are doing. They have no concept whatsoever that the Gospel actually may drive their “numbers down”, in fact it may close the church doors. In fact numbers going down may be a sign that the real Gospel is being preached. One should not look at numbers then adjust yea or nea but preach the Gospel and the Sacrament even if everyone in the entire church walks out. Looking at the numbers decreasing as a problem begets other methods which at length usurp the Gospel. This is a wild fire in heterodox churches and even orthodox churches are tempted (e.g. LSMS’s latest Ablaze issues).I don’t want to mis-communicate the temptation here. It’s personally very tempting and not just a “congregational or synod issue”. It tempts at all levels. At the high level decreasing numbers or “less of us” is very tempting to gin up the numbers, who wants to be the smallest Christian church in the world? On a personal level it hits us like this, “we are the only orthodox confessing people on both sides of our family, we would LOVE to have more family with us, it isolates us in a sense, it “feels bad” to be the “loner” “odd ball” confessing family within a larger family/friend network – so its very tempting to not join an orthodox confessing church and just “give in” and stay in a heterodox community for the comfort of numbers and such. But there’s the test! Do we love Christ, the Word, the Gospel more than family, friends, etc…or vice versa? On the larger scale does an orthodox church love Christ, the Word and the Gospel more than numbers, prestige, big churches and power or vice versa. The temptation is great, especially when either the larger congregation or synod or individual or family “feels” the pressure of “being alone” in confessing the singular orthodox truth. The pressure is tremendous at all levels, some succumb to it and they engage in this non-sense of “getting desperate” because they’ve sold the Gospel out, they don’t like the suffering of it, the loneliness of it all, the lack of peers, the lack of fellow Christians. Recall Noah, the ONLY one (and his immediate family)! In likeness to the very Cross of Christ Himself; orthodoxy is a desolate place, The pure Gospel rightly preached is a desolate place, the sacraments administered according to Christ’s institution is a desolate place, the cross is a desolate place, faith staying at the Cross alone is a desolate place the, theology of the Cross is a desolate place.Larry
Larry,It is really the Lonely Way as Sasse said.It is very tempting for the orthodox pastor to succumb to the lure. He may even get pressure from his own people.At the same time, one can be glib too in being triumphalistic in the other way, saying to one's self, we must be doing right, we have the only Gospel, that is why we are not growing.I have heard so called orthodox pastors criticize the others about falling head long on church growth but when I listen to their sermons, they have no Law and Gospel either and they can hide their laziness in triumphing over their lack of numbers.It is this lack of trust in the means of grace.My wife and I have this debate when I try to catechize our grand sons. She tells me - use words they can understand and I would complain, this is what it says in the Bible, I must use it though they may not understand it now, but when they do, they can be sure I did not misrepresent the words to them.So we have this Gospel being relevant issue, and my wife is a child psychologist and an educator.God bless you and yours this Christmas.LPC
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