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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Dan Fienen on January 26, 2011, 12:37:03 PM

Title: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 26, 2011, 12:37:03 PM
Over in the thread about attending the Convocation at Ft. Wayne, the discussion has turned to what is good or bad about the seminary, and why some churches will not call from Ft. Wayne.  One of the suggested difficulties is the attitude toward Contemporary Worship.  Rather than contributing to further thread drift, I wanted to start a discussion about what specifically that is done in Contermporary Worship is objectionable.  I am not very interested here in impassioned defenses of a pastor's or church's right to use varied worship formats, or impassioned defenses of traditional worship as being far superior and far more edifying than that contramporary c***.

I have yet to see a really good and useful of contemporary worship.  My congregation does contemporary worship every Sunday.  It must be contemporary because it is being done right now.  This next Sunday we will worship at that time, contemporaniously, that worship service will not be 50 years ago.  Perhaps such a definition is impossible. 

So lets start stating specific practices that we see in the whole contemporary worship phenomenon that we find objectionable, and why.  Then worship discussions may be more profitable.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 26, 2011, 01:01:06 PM
As one who like's Robert Webber's term - ancient-future worship, and who has led CoWO in the non-denom world, I offer this.

1.  I hate it when in attempting to do CoWo - it is done with little effort and planning and practice.  CoWo isn't the youth of the church bringing their instruments and banging away.  (yet that is the example often generalized)

2.  I hate it as well when the music doesn't resonate with the service and the service with the music. 

3.  I hate it when the service isn't both reverent and celebratory.  It can and should be both.

Equally I hate it when CoWo is generalized to describe what I hate.  If there is to be a constructive discussion about CoWo - take the best example of it, rather than the worst. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 26, 2011, 01:48:02 PM
ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Here we go again!!!!!!!!!!

You Missouri guys seem to be as obsessed with this as the ELCA folks are with "the issue" which was raised at the ELCA's 2009 CWA.

So once again, all of the music snobs will kvetch about modern sounding music. I will make my obligatory point about there being a big difference between throwing out the entire liturgy and with preserving the traditional liturgy, but using newer tunes and more modern instrumentation. Then someone else will make the point that some contemporary worship songs don't mention God, Jesus, or faith enough to suit them. Then someone else will point out that after an entire sermon about the concept of a Christian being "Born Again", only an idiot would fail to grasp that a song called "Born Again" was about the subject of the sermon, even if God and Jesus weren't mentioned enough in the song.

Then the usual suspects will post the usual links to the absolute worst examples of the use of Contemporary Christian Music that exist on YouTube as some sort of "proof" that all Contemporary Christian Music is the work of the devil. Then there will be some response links to good CCM videos on YouTube, but the music snobs will sneer at them.

Then we'll digress into arguing over using a pipe organ or an electronic organ, with the organ snobs insisting that any organ that uses chips or transistors is the devil's work, and if it was good enough for Bach, then that's the only acceptable instrument to use.

We won't see the contemporary worship music faction argue over whether a Stratocaster with single coils is better than a Les Paul with humbuckers, which is a shame, as I think that sort of digression would be fun. Nor will we see the contemporary worship music faction argue over Korg versus Roland keyboards.

I'll bet we could do this entire thread with nothing but links to each of our own earlier posts on this subject.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James_Gale on January 26, 2011, 01:54:54 PM
As one who like's Robert Webber's term - ancient-future worship, and who has led CoWO in the non-denom world, I offer this.

1.  I hate it when in attempting to do CoWo - it is done with little effort and planning and practice.  CoWo isn't the youth of the church bringing their instruments and banging away.  (yet that is the example often generalized)

2.  I hate it as well when the music doesn't resonate with the service and the service with the music. 

3.  I hate it when the service isn't both reverent and celebratory.  It can and should be both.

Equally I hate it when CoWo is generalized to describe what I hate.  If there is to be a constructive discussion about CoWo - take the best example of it, rather than the worst. 

"Contemporary worship" and "traditional worship" are skunked terms and should be retired.  

All too often, worship characterized as "contemporary" (i) involves "little effort and planning and practice"; (ii) includes "music [that] doesn't resonate with the service and the service with the music"; and (iii) isn't "both reverent and celebratory."  Such worship is not saved by calling it "relevant" or "Bible-based" or "casual" or anything else.

All too often, worship characterized as "traditional" involves badly played and led hymns and poor, lethargic liturgical practice.

As Pr. Fienen suggested, good worship is both traditional and contemporary.  Different music styles and different instruments can be used.  But I despise the ghettoization of our worship services.  (Fuddy-duddies worship at 8:00 and hipsters at 10:30!  We've got something for every consumer's taste.)

For some, I suppose, this discussion is about more than music style.  However, as Lutherans, we are committed to the historic liturgy.  We are not required to use it in all instances or in a specific form.  However, we understand its richness and its role in passing the faith from one generation to the next.  Those who cast aside the liturgy completely in favor of something completely new are taking an enormous risk that they will pass down a different faith than the treasure that we have inherited from God through the faith lives of our ancestors.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: SmithL on January 26, 2011, 02:11:03 PM
I love Lutheran Liturgy, and I love Contemporary Worship.  I usually attend the Contemporary service, but that has more to do with it being the later service and my son being in the band. 

From my standpoint, what's wrong with Contemporary Worship is that the song selection seems to be fairly random.  I do wish it was better tied to the Church calendar.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 26, 2011, 02:23:50 PM
Perhaps another way to approach this question is to ask what makes for a good worship service.  I have long thought that the only thing deadlier to worship than traditional worship done poorly is contemporary worship done poorly.  Quite frankly any time I see a Lutheran, especially an LCMS Lutheran, trying to be hip I wince.  (Of course, my confirmation class has informed me that nobody uses the term "hip" any more, I'm that far out of it.)

I also intended this to be more of theological discussion rather than simply one of musical tastes or instrumentation.  We can argue until the cows not only come home but die of old age about what music is good for church and what instruments are appropriate?  (Does anyone actually use that secular instrument that was popular in secular theater and thus contaminated by its association with pop culture and unChristian theatrical performances - the pipe organ?)   But that is not the point I want to discuss.  What can and cannot be appropriately done in worship?

Let us also not forget that church is not a museum to preseve relics of our heritage, although honoring and remembering our heritage is valuable.  Very, very few would insist that worship should be in German, even if that was that way it worked in our Grandfather's church.

Are there certain practices common to what many people would call "contemporary worship" that are objectionable to good Lutheran theology?  If we take the Common Western Mass as the root stock of our worship, what elements must or should be present for a service today to be a good service?  Obviously details of the common service have changed over the centuries.  What can change and what must remain?

In talking about worship materials, may I also recommend a resource prepared by the LCMS Commission on Worship: Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials available from CPH.  The blurb reads:

"Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials provides a process for pastors, musicians, and others involved in worship planning to work through in assessing a variety of worship materials. Far from simply providing lists of what is and is not appropriate for use in worship, the questions and commentary contained in TMC identify important issues regarding the theological content of texts, the nature of music in worship, and larger issues concerning the nature and purpose of corporate worship. Prepared by the LCMS Commission on Worship."

It is not expensive and provides background and aids for evaluating worship materials.

Dan

 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 26, 2011, 03:09:42 PM
What I hate most about the topic is the idiotic term "Co-Wo" or "CoWo" or any other ridiculous attempt at making a short-hand title.
All earthly worship is "contemporary". It takes place in the here and now.
CoWo is grating and silly.

From humorist Richard Wright: "I saw a sign that said 'Breakfast at any time.' So I ordered scrambled eggs in the Renaissance."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James_Gale on January 26, 2011, 03:13:01 PM
What can change and what must remain?

The process by which the church answers this question is nearly as important as the answer itself.  The church developed the mass over time and space.  Faithful Christians from around the world and across the ages contributed to its form.  By using the mass as the foundation for our worship, we guard against innovation that might not be able to stand up to the test of time.

A big risk associated with "non-liturgical" worship is that the pastor (perhaps with a few other leaders) composes all aspects of worship (picks the hymns, decides when they'll be sung, writes the sermon, picks lessons based on the sermon, etc.).  In such a setting, worship conveys the teachings, not of the catholic faith, but of a single leader.  I wouldn't want to trust even the most gifted and orthodox pastor with this role.

Thus, a pastor and a congregation should stray from the mass only with great care, taking into account the views expressed by past and present church leaders.

And this answer applies no matter what style of music a congregation chooses to use.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: JMK on January 26, 2011, 03:58:26 PM
I am curious about whether the chapel services at Ft. Wayne ever include CoWo? Are their any students at Ft. Wayne who believe that CoWo is a matter of being adiaphora? Do they feel persecuted for their belief by students and faculty members?

From what I understand St. Louis has CoWo from time to time during their chapel. Is this correct?

If CoWo really is adiaphora, than should it not be required in chapel services at Ft. Wayne - due to the feeling of being persecuted, by those who believe it is not adiaphora? See the Formula of Concord (Concerning Ecclesiastical Practices) for the reasoning behind this thought.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 26, 2011, 04:05:45 PM
The liturgy, properly understood and historically applied, is teaching Scripture itself.  the "liturgy" is Scripture set to music.

Most "contemporary" songs lack the content or the message itself, and therefore lend itself to a "worship - lite" style.  A big "for-instance:"  try to find a "contemporary" song that conveys some, if any, part of the Advent purpose. 

My critique of Haugen and the likes with their so-called "contemporary liturgies" is that Scripture is often left short changed or just simply changed.  Another example:  Words to Haugen's Holden Vespers, where LBW service of light quotes Psalm 141 as "the lifting up of my hands as an 'evening sacrifice.'" has been changed to 'the lifting up of our hands as an offering to you.'"  While it doesn't seem so awful on the surface, the implications are enormous - especially in the loss of the word "sacrifice."

As one who leads a "contemporary" service, I often find that contemporary worship is done very poorly, and sometimes I'm the one doing it poorly as well.  There are few good examples out there even today of how one might conduct a "contemporary" service that is fitting, contains the components of worship, and is done in a reverential manner.

Thus, a pastor and a congregation should stray from the mass only with great care, taking into account the views expressed by past and present church leaders.
And this answer applies no matter what style of music a congregation chooses to use.

James, you've hit the nail on the head with that statement.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 26, 2011, 04:11:54 PM
What can change and what must remain?

The process by which the church answers this question is nearly as important as the answer itself.  The church developed the mass over time and space.  Faithful Christians from around the world and across the ages contributed to its form.  By using the mass as the foundation for our worship, we guard against innovation that might not be able to stand up to the test of time.

A big risk associated with "non-liturgical" worship is that the pastor (perhaps with a few other leaders) composes all aspects of worship (picks the hymns, decides when they'll be sung, writes the sermon, picks lessons based on the sermon, etc.).  In such a setting, worship conveys the teachings, not of the catholic faith, but of a single leader.  I wouldn't want to trust even the most gifted and orthodox pastor with this role.

Thus, a pastor and a congregation should stray from the mass only with great care, taking into account the views expressed by past and present church leaders.

And this answer applies no matter what style of music a congregation chooses to use.
What exactly do you mean by "the mass" what are we to follow?  Is it the order of elements, the texts of the elements, what?  I am not trying to be funny, or dumb, but as we use these terms we need to be clear exactly what we are talking about or we often wind up talking past each other.

In planning worship, how much freedom should the worship leader have in picking what to do?  Should the use of an approved lectionary series be mandated?  The exact series?  Should there be an approved sermon text to be used.  What about hymns?  How much freedom should there be to select hymns?

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 26, 2011, 04:33:26 PM
Perhaps another way to approach this question is to ask what makes for a good worship service.

I've argued that point for years. Before we can judge any liturgy good or bad, we need to establish criteria for good Lutheran liturgy. Too often the criterion is: "I like it" or "I don't like it."

Let me suggest three criteria for judging.

1. theological -- what does the liturgy proclaim about God? Is God the primary actor in our worship, or are we?

2. historical/traditional -- what does the liturgy proclaim about the history/tradition of the congregation? E.g., a liturgy in a Lutheran church should be different than in a Baptist church because we have different histories/traditions. Even among Lutherans, a congregation with an Augustana history will do liturgy differently than one with a Haugian tradition.

3. pastoral -- what does the liturgy say about this particular group of people? What speaks to them? What can they do well? A congregation with a $1.5 million pipe organ can do liturgy in a different manner than a congregation with a hand-me-down Hammond -- or with a donated piano.

Just last Sunday, one worshiper complained to another worshiper, who relayed the complaint to me: "I wish we'd sing the old hymns." What I find ironic about that complaint is that I consider two of the three hymns to be "old" hymns. We sang "Dearest Jesus, at Your Word," which first appeared in 1663 in German, and translated in 1858. Although these lyrics weren't in Service Book and Hymnal (SBH 1958), they were in some older English Lutheran hymnals: Evangelical Lutheran Hymn Book (1889); Common Service Book (1917); and Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). The tune is just as old, first appearing in 1664.

We also sang, "O Master Let Me Walk with You," isn't quite as old, words written in 1879 and the music in 1874; but it was in SBH (1958).

The third hymn was "new": "Christ, Be Our Light," words and music published in 1993, by a composer born in 1957.

Two points: First: "old" and "new" often refer to "what I know" vs. "what I don't know" rather than when a hymn was written. Second: since all the hymns are accompanied by an improvisational pianist, even old and familiar hymns can sound "new" because of the accompaniment.

Until there is a definition of "old" and "new" or "contemporary" and "traditional," hymns and liturgies can't really be judged.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James_Gale on January 26, 2011, 04:36:07 PM
What can change and what must remain?

The process by which the church answers this question is nearly as important as the answer itself.  The church developed the mass over time and space.  Faithful Christians from around the world and across the ages contributed to its form.  By using the mass as the foundation for our worship, we guard against innovation that might not be able to stand up to the test of time.

A big risk associated with "non-liturgical" worship is that the pastor (perhaps with a few other leaders) composes all aspects of worship (picks the hymns, decides when they'll be sung, writes the sermon, picks lessons based on the sermon, etc.).  In such a setting, worship conveys the teachings, not of the catholic faith, but of a single leader.  I wouldn't want to trust even the most gifted and orthodox pastor with this role.

Thus, a pastor and a congregation should stray from the mass only with great care, taking into account the views expressed by past and present church leaders.

And this answer applies no matter what style of music a congregation chooses to use.
What exactly do you mean by "the mass" what are we to follow?  Is it the order of elements, the texts of the elements, what?  I am not trying to be funny, or dumb, but as we use these terms we need to be clear exactly what we are talking about or we often wind up talking past each other.

In planning worship, how much freedom should the worship leader have in picking what to do?  Should the use of an approved lectionary series be mandated?  The exact series?  Should there be an approved sermon text to be used.  What about hymns?  How much freedom should there be to select hymns?

Dan

In the Lutheran context, I'm not sure how a "mandate" would or could be applied.  However, I do think that pastors should use their freedom very judiciously.

Without extremely good cause, I believe that pastors should stick to the lectionary used by their church body.  Pastors should preach from the appointed lessons and not pick lessons based on a theme of the week.  Using the lectionary ensures that a congregation will hear a range of Scripture that otherwise might be missing.

How do I define the "mass"?  For these purposes, I think that it includes the order of the elements and the texts.  I don't think that absolute fealty to a single version (e.g., some setting from the LSB) is required.  However, deviations should be based on historical use and precedent.  

I'm not sure that this is a fully satisfactory explanation.  But it's my initial quick effort.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Michael Slusser on January 26, 2011, 04:57:38 PM
Perhaps another way to approach this question is to ask what makes for a good worship service.  I have long thought that the only thing deadlier to worship than traditional worship done poorly is contemporary worship done poorly.  Quite frankly any time I see a Lutheran, especially an LCMS Lutheran, trying to be hip I wince.  (Of course, my confirmation class has informed me that nobody uses the term "hip" any more, I'm that far out of it.)


So far, I see you, Charles Austin, Mike Gehlhausen, and J&S basically in agreement, which deserves some award from the moderators. It seems--even from your initial post--that the title of the thread isn't what either you or the others thinks needs to be talked about. I too have no clue what "contemporary worship" means as a term of (more less) art, but agree with your original point, seconded by Charles, that what we do today is contemporary. So can you retitle the thread to what you really want to discuss?

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 26, 2011, 05:25:28 PM
The liturgy, properly understood and historically applied, is teaching Scripture itself.  the "liturgy" is Scripture set to music.

Most "contemporary" songs lack the content or the message itself, and therefore lend itself to a "worship - lite" style.  A big "for-instance:"  try to find a "contemporary" song that conveys some, if any, part of the Advent purpose. 

My critique of Haugen and the likes with their so-called "contemporary liturgies" is that Scripture is often left short changed or just simply changed.  Another example:  Words to Haugen's Holden Vespers, where LBW service of light quotes Psalm 141 as "the lifting up of my hands as an 'evening sacrifice.'" has been changed to 'the lifting up of our hands as an offering to you.'"  While it doesn't seem so awful on the surface, the implications are enormous - especially in the loss of the word "sacrifice."

As one who leads a "contemporary" service, I often find that contemporary worship is done very poorly, and sometimes I'm the one doing it poorly as well.  There are few good examples out there even today of how one might conduct a "contemporary" service that is fitting, contains the components of worship, and is done in a reverential manner.

Thus, a pastor and a congregation should stray from the mass only with great care, taking into account the views expressed by past and present church leaders.
And this answer applies no matter what style of music a congregation chooses to use.

James, you've hit the nail on the head with that statement.


Here we go with the generalizations again.  For the last 10 years or so, there has been a lot of music that is properly eschatological and lamenting our present situation, desiring greatly the return of Christ, and the consolation of the Holy Spirit till tis occurs.  A great deal of it is seen in the Catholic Music Association, or in some of the things Michael Card's group in Tennessee is doing, as well as some conservative UMC guys. Then even within our group - there are groups like Koine, that are working on the settings.

With 100,000 songs in the CCLI index, I would hesitate strongly before making such strong generalizations.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: JMK on January 26, 2011, 06:11:41 PM
CoWo is difficult to nail down. For one thing, we can't even define what we mean by the term "Mass." For example, is a "dry" Mass (i.e. without Holy Communion) acceptable? If so, why can't other parts be taken out - e.g. the confession of sins (make it optional and private instead of public), the Creed (the early church did not have one for decades), the Lord's Prayer, the offering, the sharing of the peace, the sermon, chanting, hymn singing, vestments, etc.. There is no essential part of the Mass, as far as I can tell. It is all adiaphora. So, why even bother with this discussion?

There is no right or wrong, it is just a matter of making something as effective as possible in delivering the goods (i.e. Means of Grace). That is how I see it.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 26, 2011, 07:45:01 PM
Perhaps another way to approach this question is to ask what makes for a good worship service.  I have long thought that the only thing deadlier to worship than traditional worship done poorly is contemporary worship done poorly.  Quite frankly any time I see a Lutheran, especially an LCMS Lutheran, trying to be hip I wince.  (Of course, my confirmation class has informed me that nobody uses the term "hip" any more, I'm that far out of it.)


So far, I see you, Charles Austin, Mike Gehlhausen, and J&S basically in agreement, which deserves some award from the moderators. It seems--even from your initial post--that the title of the thread isn't what either you or the others thinks needs to be talked about. I too have no clue what "contemporary worship" means as a term of (more less) art, but agree with your original point, seconded by Charles, that what we do today is contemporary. So can you retitle the thread to what you really want to discuss?

Peace,
Michael
My initial post was sparked by comments on another thread that suggested that graduates from CTSFW generally had a "zero tolerance" for contemporary worship.  If that is the case, I was interested in just what this Contemporary Worship is that they have zero tolerance.  I thought that a list of characteristics that are objected to and for which CoWo is rejected would be at least interesting to discuss.  So far, I haven't seen many specifics as to what is objected to and why.  Perhaps CoWo is like obscenity - I can't define it but I know it when I see it.  Which makes it difficult to come up with coherent guidelines for what is and is not acceptable for worship.  We are reduced to shouting at each other that their worship is offensive so stop it already, do it more like I do.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on January 27, 2011, 10:31:30 AM
As a St. Louis type, let me offer my personal experience that a Ft. Wayne grad is the only one to ever creep me out in a "Contemporary" worship setting by paraphrasing the Verba Domini in Holy Communion. So much for stereotypes.

The "big argument" I have right now is over the Prelude. One part of the church wants to come in and be "reverent"-- which they equate to quiet and contemplative. The other part wants to come in and be engaged and "joyous" and sing with the "ensemble" as it practices before service. Both consider this an appropriate entry into worship. I like loud and happy. My organist (Swedish tradition) can't imagine anything but quiet.

I think these are the kind of "values discussions" that are at the root of the argument.

I refuse to accept the assertion that quiet = reverence. I think that loud and happy is reverent, too.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 27, 2011, 10:51:09 AM
The choir at the church of my childhood, just before the opening hymn, sang with organ accompaniment or a capella - every Sunday - "The Lord Is In His Holy Temple - Let All Within Keep Silence."  It took years before I realized that was only one psalm among many, and that others referenced joyful noises and dancing and harp and lyre and timbrel and drum. 

You guys have an advantage in that there might be some purpose to pre-service anything.  Urban reality - opening hymn = 8 people; closing hymn = 120 people.  CAN ANYBODY GET HERE ON TIME???

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: edoughty on January 27, 2011, 11:06:31 AM
The choir at the church of my childhood, just before the opening hymn, sang with organ accompaniment or a capella - every Sunday - "The Lord Is In His Holy Temple - Let All Within Keep Silence."  It took years before I realized that was only one psalm among many, and that others referenced joyful noises and dancing and harp and lyre and timbrel and drum. 

You guys have an advantage in that there might be some purpose to pre-service anything.  Urban reality - opening hymn = 8 people; closing hymn = 120 people.  CAN ANYBODY GET HERE ON TIME???

Dave Benke

Ha!  That's the similar urban reality we deal with in our ELCA congregation in Minneapolis.  The pre-service begins at 10:15 with Taizé "sung prayer", a couple of prayers led by the lay assisting minister, and a prelude of some sort.  The *actual* service starts at 10:30. 

We recently did a building project to add a narthex (we didn't have one before).  Guess where everyone is until about 10:40 or later?

Pastor Mary has gone so far as to say, over the loudspeaker, in her best Authoritative Voice (sometimes known as the Mom Voice or the Teacher Voice; you know what I mean), "I'd like to invite those in the narthex to find seats in the sanctuary.  Worship is beginning."  (And then she waits until they start to trickle in.)

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on January 27, 2011, 11:08:33 AM
I should have said that I refuse the assertion that ONLY quiet is equal to reverence. I do not demean those for whom quiet is important. The problem, of course, is that one crowds out the other. Unfortunately our narthex is in the old style-- quite small. New churches have a narthex 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the sanctuary to address these concerns.

I do agree that idle chit-chat is not the point of pre-service worship preparation. Yet it is also the time when I am actively greeting guests and giving them opportunity to declare their intention to commune. So, too often, I am the offender in chief.

My point remains-- these are all deeply held values discussions which is why they are so emotionally driven and need to be talked about with dignity and care.

PS. The head Usher has strict instructions to not count attendance until the Reading of the Gospel.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Michael Slusser on January 27, 2011, 11:41:34 AM
At one RC parish on the West Side in St. Paul, pre-Mass conversation in the sanctuary goes on until a deep tubular bell is struck; then there is a two-minute silence before the opening hymn. That seems gracefully to combine both values. To DP Benke: this is urban, ethnic; to Eric Doughty: no narthex, so they don't have your problem!

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 27, 2011, 12:31:31 PM
OK, this goes against my better instincts since I agree with Mr. Erdner about how these threads go, but here are the things that I believe the stereotypical Fort Wayne "zero tolerance" for contemporary worship refers to:

Use of hymns and songs not found in LSB, TLH, or LW especially current Contemporary Christian Music

Does that include not allowing the choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus on Easter? Much of the use of CCM songs that I'm familiar with is for "special music" used during the gathering of the Offering or distribution of communion. Sometimes that includes purely instrumental versions of CCM songs.

Here are things that might be permissible but would be discouraged:

Use of guitars, drums, and other "praise band" instrumentation.

Is that all guitars or just electric guitars? What about lutes? Martin Luther played the lute. My acoustic 12-string sometimes sounds kind of lutish.

Use of screens and multimedia.

To that add other modern technology, including PA systems to amplify the pastor's voice. If he can't speak loud enough to be heard throughout the entire church, call someone else. Get rid of those new-fangled electric lights. Candles were good enough for Martin Luther, then they should be good enough for us today. And don't you dare use a pipe organ with an electric motor pumping air. Get some strapping young lads working the bellows, the way it should be.

Removal of the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
Removal or propers and prayers

That part I totally agree with. You don't eliminate stuff like that.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James S. Rustad on January 27, 2011, 03:17:45 PM
Quite frankly any time I see a Lutheran, especially an LCMS Lutheran, trying to be hip I wince.

This comes close to what I think a big part of the problem is.  I am a member of a small congregation where a previous pastor kept insisting that a contemporary worship service would attract new members.  The big problem with that idea was that no one in the congregation really felt qualified to select music for contemporary worship.  The church musician was a classically trained pianist.  The choir members were all traditionalists.  We ended up spending a bunch of time trying to start a contemporary service without really knowing how to do such a thing.

The whole idea finally was abandoned when someone from the synod office pointed out that there were successful and unsuccessful congregations with contemporary services just as there were successful and unsuccessful congregations with traditional services.  Given that the talents available in the congregation leaned heavily to the traditional side, we decided to go with our strengths.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: LCMS87 on January 27, 2011, 03:28:13 PM

Removal of the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
Removal or propers and prayers

That part I totally agree with. You don't eliminate stuff like that.

You don't eliminate it, and Mike doesn't eliminate it, and I won't eliminate it, you may not even know anyone who eliminates it, but there are all too many LCMS congregations and pastors who have eliminated ordinaries and propers, sometimes even the Lord's prayer.  And the ones that do it invariably do it in the cause of contemporaneity.  That's why this is a topic that won't go away.  (Which again is to insist that this isn't just all about instruments or musical styles.)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 27, 2011, 03:31:31 PM
Perhaps another way to approach this question is to ask what makes for a good worship service.  I have long thought that the only thing deadlier to worship than traditional worship done poorly is contemporary worship done poorly.  Quite frankly any time I see a Lutheran, especially an LCMS Lutheran, trying to be hip I wince.  (Of course, my confirmation class has informed me that nobody uses the term "hip" any more, I'm that far out of it.)


So far, I see you, Charles Austin, Mike Gehlhausen, and J&S basically in agreement, which deserves some award from the moderators. It seems--even from your initial post--that the title of the thread isn't what either you or the others thinks needs to be talked about. I too have no clue what "contemporary worship" means as a term of (more less) art, but agree with your original point, seconded by Charles, that what we do today is contemporary. So can you retitle the thread to what you really want to discuss?

Peace,
Michael
My initial post was sparked by comments on another thread that suggested that graduates from CTSFW generally had a "zero tolerance" for contemporary worship.  If that is the case, I was interested in just what this Contemporary Worship is that they have zero tolerance.  I thought that a list of characteristics that are objected to and for which CoWo is rejected would be at least interesting to discuss.  So far, I haven't seen many specifics as to what is objected to and why.  Perhaps CoWo is like obscenity - I can't define it but I know it when I see it.  Which makes it difficult to come up with coherent guidelines for what is and is not acceptable for worship.  We are reduced to shouting at each other that their worship is offensive so stop it already, do it more like I do.

Dan

OK, this goes against my better instincts since I agree with Mr. Erdner about how these threads go, but here are the things that I believe the stereotypical Fort Wayne "zero tolerance" for contemporary worship refers to:

Use of hymns and songs not found in LSB, TLH, or LW especially current Contemporary Christian Music
Use of creeds other than the three ecumenical Creeds
Use of liturgical dance or skits in addition to or in place of the sermon

Here are things that might be permissible but would be discouraged:

Use of guitars, drums, and other "praise band" instrumentation.
Use of screens and multimedia.
Removal of the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
Removal or propers and prayers

I don't think that they have much problem with modernization of language from Jacobean Thys and Thees.

Let the rotten tomatoes regarding how I have stereotyped Fort Wayne and the argments of historic liturgy advocates begin.

Mike

So you rule out the 100+ hymns the Commission on Worship found acceptable?  

What about the hymns in Lutheran Hymnals before that? What about WELS Material that is acceptable?

Doctrinally acceptable does not always equate to published by CPH does it?





Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 27, 2011, 04:00:21 PM

Removal of the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
Removal or propers and prayers

That part I totally agree with. You don't eliminate stuff like that.

You don't eliminate it, and Mike doesn't eliminate it, and I won't eliminate it, you may not even know anyone who eliminates it, but there are all too many LCMS congregations and pastors who have eliminated ordinaries and propers, sometimes even the Lord's prayer.  And the ones that do it invariably do it in the cause of contemporaneity.  That's why this is a topic that won't go away.  (Which again is to insist that this isn't just all about instruments or musical styles.)
My parents' church received a new graduate from the seminary.  One of the first things he did was restructure the worship service around the use of the guitar (he played, sort of).  The creed was gone, the Lord's Prayer was gone, the hymnal was gone (they used TLH).  He thought he would help the church grow, but ended up almost destroying the church and being asked to resign.  Now, the heart of the problem from what I could tell at a distance was not so much that he wanted to do some sort of contemporary worship but that he was inept as a pastor (and had not been a Lutheran very long either) and had a quite inflated view of his talents, knowledge and skill.  He had had trouble passing his vicarage the church found out later. 

Some churches, like some pastors, are totally rigid in their wants and expectations.  Many are willing to bend some.  That church had been willing to bend some, but the pastor was not willing to meet them where they were, and overestimated the benefits of what he demanded.

BTW, for those who see the seminaries as monolithic in the pastors they produce ("Ft. Wayne teaches zero tolerance for contemporary worship") the man graduated from Ft. Wayne.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James_Gale on January 27, 2011, 04:09:24 PM

Removal of the ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei)
Removal or propers and prayers

That part I totally agree with. You don't eliminate stuff like that.

You don't eliminate it, and Mike doesn't eliminate it, and I won't eliminate it, you may not even know anyone who eliminates it, but there are all too many LCMS congregations and pastors who have eliminated ordinaries and propers, sometimes even the Lord's prayer.  And the ones that do it invariably do it in the cause of contemporaneity.  That's why this is a topic that won't go away.  (Which again is to insist that this isn't just all about instruments or musical styles.)

And that illustrates why the term "contemporary worship" is so unhelpful.  Music style is one issue.  The substantive content of the liturgy is another.  The first issue is in large part a matter of taste, in my view.  And it does not turn on how "contemporary" the music truly is.  The second is not about taste.  Nor does it have anything to do with being contemporary.  People have been eliminating the ordinaries and propers from worship for many centuries.  Others have criticized them for doing so.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 28, 2011, 08:49:41 AM

Here we go with the generalizations again.  For the last 10 years or so, there has been a lot of music that is properly eschatological and lamenting our present situation, desiring greatly the return of Christ, and the consolation of the Holy Spirit till tis occurs.  A great deal of it is seen in the Catholic Music Association, or in some of the things Michael Card's group in Tennessee is doing, as well as some conservative UMC guys. Then even within our group - there are groups like Koine, that are working on the settings.

With 100,000 songs in the CCLI index, I would hesitate strongly before making such strong generalizations.

Actually, I thought I was quite specific in identifying some of my objections and the Lutherans who were most responsible. 

the simple fact is, while I love Michael Card's music, it is not generally used for worship, nor is most of the CMA's music.  What you find being used in the vast majority of "contemporary" services are the likes of 3rd day, Mercy Me, and so on.  While they all can do some very nice songs, are very light theologically and sometimes are indistinguishable from what you would hear on regular radio. 

Do I listen to what constitutes "pop Christian?"  All the time - using the Sirius 66 Spirit Channel.  The music there, compared to the local Christian station, is one and the same.  Most of it doesn't lend itself to sound theological principle and yet it is what ends up in worship service throughout the area.

Even back in the late 80's/early 90's when Card was still producing his "Life" and "Ancient Faith" series of CD's on the OT and NT, one did not hear it much on contemporary Christian stations.  And FWIW, I still think those are his best works ever.  Singing Scripture - what a concept.  Has it ever been done before?  Methinks it was, in something called "the liturgy?"
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on January 28, 2011, 05:03:30 PM
Fr. Larry Beane on real worship-- http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/2011/01/real-worship.html
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 28, 2011, 05:33:56 PM

Here we go with the generalizations again.  For the last 10 years or so, there has been a lot of music that is properly eschatological and lamenting our present situation, desiring greatly the return of Christ, and the consolation of the Holy Spirit till tis occurs.  A great deal of it is seen in the Catholic Music Association, or in some of the things Michael Card's group in Tennessee is doing, as well as some conservative UMC guys. Then even within our group - there are groups like Koine, that are working on the settings.

With 100,000 songs in the CCLI index, I would hesitate strongly before making such strong generalizations.

Actually, I thought I was quite specific in identifying some of my objections and the Lutherans who were most responsible. 

the simple fact is, while I love Michael Card's music, it is not generally used for worship, nor is most of the CMA's music.  What you find being used in the vast majority of "contemporary" services are the likes of 3rd day, Mercy Me, and so on.  While they all can do some very nice songs, are very light theologically and sometimes are indistinguishable from what you would hear on regular radio. 

Do I listen to what constitutes "pop Christian?"  All the time - using the Sirius 66 Spirit Channel.  The music there, compared to the local Christian station, is one and the same.  Most of it doesn't lend itself to sound theological principle and yet it is what ends up in worship service throughout the area.

Even back in the late 80's/early 90's when Card was still producing his "Life" and "Ancient Faith" series of CD's on the OT and NT, one did not hear it much on contemporary Christian stations.  And FWIW, I still think those are his best works ever.  Singing Scripture - what a concept.  Has it ever been done before?  Methinks it was, in something called "the liturgy?"



We obviously each then have a large group of friends who use CoWo that use things far different from each other.  Most of them eschew the maranatha sound, and the maranatha type lyrics.  A lot of them follow in the footsteps of Card and Talbot, and where RIch Mullins was heading.

Look at what Passion uses, or Sonic Flood or as I noted earlier, groups like Koine and the Catholic Music Associations worship leaders.  Or those focusing on Celtic styled worship.   There is a lot more to CoWo than the stuff that is on the pop CCM charts. 

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on January 28, 2011, 06:56:21 PM
Um. So, I actually practice some CoWo. I'd like to participate, but I am a bit unsure about exactly what needs to be said. I think George is right—a lot of this has been said and we can quickly dive into our same things.

So, here is what I would say:

1. I appreciate some of what you say Dan, but I think that Pastors can indeed be "hip". Not by trying to be hip, but just by knowing what is going on in the world and talking about things that matter. For example, a while back Pres Benke was talking about kids singing Candy Store in the back of the school van (candy store? Was that it?). He knew what the song was about. You don't have to pretend to be cool; but do sermons actually touch people where they are?

2. I love CoWo as an abbreviation because it so silly. I love TradCo even more.

3. You either think that you need to be bringing God's Word to people where they are at or you think you need to be bringing the people up to God's Word. That is a coarse divide, but fairly accurate. I know and understand the wonder that is the liturgy. But I also know it does not connect with some. We can try and try but it won't always work and something else needs to be tried.

Some don't think so and would say "No. This is what we do." (I know that others say 'This is what I do to reach people and it works' and I'm down with that too. But not all.)

4. Right now, in my opinion, the discussion is formed in the context of "You can't do that." That is where I feel the conversation will be now. Maybe I'm wrong on that. But from that standpoint, you'll get different thoughts, you know?

Ok Dan: those are initial thoughts. What exactly are you looking for from me? Surely this is not just to list the theological problems of CoWo? (and admittedly there can be) What would be helpful for me to bring to the discussion? Besides beer?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 28, 2011, 08:09:26 PM
I originated the phrase "zero tolerance for contemporary worship."  I did not ever say that Fort Wayne taught that--it didn't.  But the atmosphere of the campus was "zero tolerance for contemporary worship"--that had as much to do with the way the students thought as with what was actually taught in classrooms.  It's going to be tough for LCMS authorities to crack down on an atmosphere, and you would think that the authorities would be more concerned about cracking down on the widespread "don't ask, don't tell" version of "close communion" that defies and ignores our synod's doctrinal position.  I guess I'm expressing my doubt that many of the authorities really agree with the doctrinal position of the LCMS.

Please forget about that sour beginning, which doesn't really have to do with the topic at hand, and allow me to have a fair hearing here.  I promise to say nothing else that is snarky in the rest of this post.  I've noticed that no anti-contemporary voices have weighed in, so I will try to do so briefly. 

First of all, Dan Fienen is the pastor of the church in which I was baptized, that my mother grew up in.  Because only my mother's side of the family is Lutheran, I have a deep love for the town he is in, and a filial reverence for the Lutheranism that lived there.  I really didn't know much of her family.  And my father's family was fundamentalist.  So in many ways although I was born and bred LCMS, the piety of confessional Lutheranism which my mom was immersed in as a child was a foreign thing to me.  I did not learn Lutheran piety in the congregation I grew up in.  What I had I got from my mother when I heard her sing Lutheran hymns like "Awake, my heart, with gladness."  In that respect I suppose I had more Lutheran piety than most people who grew up in the LCMS around the same time I did.  Although the synod still almost exclusively used the hymnal then, I've met very few LCMS types who grew up having had family devotions, let alone using the catechism or the hymnal in those devotions.  At any rate, what I know of Pr. Fienen from this board shows me that he is thoughtful, intelligent, clearly knowledgeable and faithful to the Lutheran  confessions.  Therefore, I would have no hesitation about communing at his church, though I am disappointed that guitars and drums (I think) and praise choruses should replace the venerable hymns that nourished my flesh and blood that once worshipped there and are responsible for passing on the faith which has saved me.  I say sincerely that if I had continued in the calvinistic/baptist piety and theology that I embraced in my early twenties, I would almost certainly have died without Christ.

What is bad about contemporary worship?   A couple of points (not exhaustive.)
1.  I don't think anyone can deny that this form of worship developed in an alien communion.  It comes from non-denominational/baptist/reformed/pentecostal churches, and its roots are there.  That of course doesn't mean that it can't be reclaimed for Lutherans.  But since we have been so alienated from the piety that nourished our own church for the last 50 to 100 years, that alone should give us pause.  It should have also given us pause when, starting with folks who were born in the 20's, the love of Lutheran hymns was being eclipsed by doctrinally acceptable hymns written by the reformed.   There is a danger not only of singing these that are false, but singing things that are good but not the best. 

Lutherans frequently underestimate the destructive nature of reformed theology--that statement will sound too alarmist or harsh to many people.  But having fundamentalist family and having left the Lutheran church for the tradition from which contemporary worship springs--I have experienced it.  Trying to find assurance of salvation in experience, emotions, or works--in anything but the Gospel--will send you to hell.  Not having the sacraments can also send you to hell.  We are justified by the death of Jesus, and this faith does not come because I feel close to God, but through the sermon, baptism, absolution, the Lord's body and blood. 

2.  Contemporary worship is attractive to people because its format is ecstatic. That is why people close their eyes and put their hands in the air.  They are having an encounter with Jesus in their heart, they think, as they sing what are often mantra-like songs confessing love for Jesus and the desire to be near Him and serve Him.  When contemporary worship is ecstatic, it is at its very core opposed to the Gospel, because it directs you away from the means of grace to communion with Jesus in your heart.  That is reformed theology.  Rock concerts also give a quasi spiritual experience, and that's probably because rock music has its roots in west african music; and west african religion is also ecstatic. 

3.  Even where this is not the case, contemporary worship often distracts from the Word and sacraments.  Lutheran hymns are sung sermons.  Most contemporary songs are not.  Where they do not contain false doctrine, that is usually a matter of abstaining from bad things rather than actively teaching good things.  There remain very few really Lutheran praise songs.  But even if there were tons, part of the problem is that the music overshadows the Word.

4.  Contemporary worship is demotic, but the Divine Service is celestial.  I love blues, bluegrass, americana, punk rock, rap, and country music.  I've only recently started to be patient enough to listen to classical music.  But nevertheless, I know the difference between high art and low art.  Just because I like low art doesn't mean it's equal to high art.  We are entering into the most holy place in the Divine Service, where the angels sing "Holy, holy, holy," "Glory to God in the highest."  Christ, who is seated at the Father's right hand, is coming to serve us.  The reality of what the Divine Service is calls for high expressions of human ability, not low ones, for the same reason that a royal wedding is not the time for the king to show that he is a man of the people or for a farmer to play a square dance on his fiddle.  Part of the problem is that Americans don't understand this concept anymore.  And of course I know that Jesus was born in a stable, but Jesus is glorified now.  For us to refuse to distinguish between low and high art and use low art because we like it better is not fitting.  Just like it's not fitting for worshippers to dress sloppily for church or give small offerings because Christ was born in a stable and he doesn't despise lowly things. 

5.  Contemporary worship divides the church.  If there were no other reason, this should be enough.  I don't genuflect because even though it is an adiaphoron, it would scandalize some of my members.  If it didn't scandalize my members, but it scandalized other brothers in the circuit or their congregations, I still wouldn't do it.  Genuflexion can be a reverent thing--it can be useful for teaching.  But if it causes division or offends the weak, don't do it, for the sake of harmony and out of love for those brothers with whom you share a common confession.  So with co wo.  It causes offense.  Some folks from a parish up the road  had Christmas eve ruined for them because their pastor did a contemporary service, I'm sure with good intentions to reach the lost in his community.  But if it offends the 80 year olds who want to hear about the birth of Jesus and worship in the way they did since they were children, why do it?  I think the reason why folks have been willing to divide the synod about it is they believe it is necessary to do this to reach the lost--and if it is necessary it is not really an adiaphoron.

6.  What ought to draw people to our churches--at least in terms of our worship--is the word of God.  Missouri Lutheran preaching ought to be so different from what is heard in other churches that it is the reason why people are attracted to the church.  If someone says I don't like this church because I don't like the way you worship, maybe we should be glad about that.  I want people who join St. Peter to have their sensibilities about what church should be punctured.  Folks expect to come to church and have the pastor say, "All churches are equally good, we all believe in the same God, we hope you'll join our church because we have a better youth group, or we are friendlier, or we have a nicer building."  But what we should really want is for people to come to our churches because they have never heard the law preached that way, with all its severity, and they have never heard the Gospel so clearly presented as God's gracious and full pardon, finished and certain, not dependent on us but completed on the cross.  We should want them to be impressed that we actually believe that it is possible to have pure doctrine, to know with certainty what God says, and that we refuse to have fellowship with false teaching.  If we have that, and then we cave in because people aren't happy with the worship that defined the Lutheran church until a couple of decades ago, and we copy other churches that can't preach the Word of God rightly, I think we are tacitly helping them to ignore the Word of God.  If they heard the Gospel like they never had heard it before at our church, they would put up with liiturgy and hymns for the sake of the Gospel.  And gradually they would come to realize that liturgy and hymns are organic developments from the pure word and sacraments.  They are the embodiment of a piety that arises from the right preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.  They are the cultic enfleshment of the Lutheran confessions.  They are a good work of the Holy Christian church that developed naturally from the right preaching of the Word.  For the same reason that we don't change the words of the creed, we shouldn't undertake to create a new liturgy or abandon our treasure hoard of hymns.  It's not that it is impossible to come up with something else that is also orthodox.  It's that the creed as written, though it is not Scripture, has come to shape the life and piety of the Church, and to lose it is exceedingly foolish.  You don't fix what's not broken.  We have all kinds of broken things in the life of the church that people could work on fixing, but the liturgy and the lutheran core hymns and the catechism are not those things.  You're not going to find a better setting for the mandated parts of worship--preaching, Scripture, Lord's supper, prayer--than the liturgy with the Lutheran hymns.  They are the fruit of the one holy church's meditation on the word and reception of the Lord's body and blood, and now they have in their own right come to shape the piety of the orthodox church.  And that is why someone who jettisons those things or mars them in a considerable way, while he may theoretically be orthodox, should EXPECT to be suspected of heresy.  If someone changes the creed every week, I'm going to suspect him of heresy.  Same thing with the liturgy.  The onus is on a person who does that to give a serious explanation for why they would do something so drastic and potentially dangerous.  The fact that this hasn't happened in the LCMS in defense of cowo--well, I can't explain it.  But the ones who introduced this radical departure from the piety of the church have given the impression by their actions that they are breaking with the orthodox church, or that they despise their inheritance.  (No snark here guys; some of you who are proponents of contemporary worship know that I respect you as brothers in Christ, redeemed with his blood.  Those of you who don't know that, please take my word for it and believe that I write these words out of concern and love, not out of a desire to demean you and your work.)

I hope you will take the time to read all of this and respond to it, but it is kind of an essay, and I don't know if I have the energy to do this ever again.  God's peace.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Richard Johnson on January 28, 2011, 08:14:22 PM
Kind of surprises me, but I find myself agreeing with almost everything you have said here.  ;)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 28, 2011, 09:13:26 PM

KH wrote:
Please forget about that sour beginning, which doesn't really have to do with the topic at hand, and allow me to have a fair hearing here.  I promise to say nothing else that is snarky in the rest of this post.  I've noticed that no anti-contemporary voices have weighed in, so I will try to do so briefly. 


JS - will repsond briefly

What is bad about contemporary worship?   A couple of points (not exhaustive.)
1.  I don't think anyone can deny that this form of worship developed in an alien communion.  It comes from non-denominational/baptist/reformed/pentecostal churches, and its roots are there.  That of course doesn't mean that it can't be reclaimed for Lutherans.  But since we have been so alienated from the piety that nourished our own church for the last 50 to 100 years, that alone should give us pause.  It should have also given us pause when, starting with folks who were born in the 20's, the love of Lutheran hymns was being eclipsed by doctrinally acceptable hymns written by the reformed.   There is a danger not only of singing these that are false, but singing things that are good but not the best.  

Lutherans frequently underestimate the destructive nature of reformed theology--that statement will sound too alarmist or harsh to many people.  But having fundamentalist family and having left the Lutheran church for the tradition from which contemporary worship springs--I have experienced it.  Trying to find assurance of salvation in experience, emotions, or works--in anything but the Gospel--will send you to hell.  Not having the sacraments can also send you to hell.  We are justified by the death of Jesus, and this faith does not come because I feel close to God, but through the sermon, baptism, absolution, the Lord's body and blood. 

JS - I grew up in the RCC, and they were using music written in the sixties and seventies even while Chuck Smith was thinking about leaving the Foursquare Denom.  So I am not sure of your point's accuracy.  Further, the folk who use CoWO music in the LCMS I know are well aware that not all CoWo fits - and plan their worship with that in mind.

2.  Contemporary worship is attractive to people because its format is ecstatic. That is why people close their eyes and put their hands in the air.  They are having an encounter with Jesus in their heart, they think, as they sing what are often mantra-like songs confessing love for Jesus and the desire to be near Him and serve Him.  When contemporary worship is ecstatic, it is at its very core opposed to the Gospel, because it directs you away from the means of grace to communion with Jesus in your heart.  That is reformed theology.  Rock concerts also give a quasi spiritual experience, and that's probably because rock music has its roots in west african music; and west african religion is also ecstatic. 


js - disagree completely.  It's another gross generalization that neglects focus on lament, on direct biblical quotations, and on re-arrranging classic hymns - which has been going on since I was in college in the early 80's. 

3.  Even where this is not the case, contemporary worship often distracts from the Word and sacraments.  Lutheran hymns are sung sermons.  Most contemporary songs are not.  Where they do not contain false doctrine, that is usually a matter of abstaining from bad things rather than actively teaching good things.  There remain very few really Lutheran praise songs.  But even if there were tons, part of the problem is that the music overshadows the Word.

js - This is classic, because it does raise 2 interesting issues.
1.  If tey are sung sermons - do you let women sing them?
2.  IS the purpose of singing in the Bible solely didactic, or is it adoration? I would contend it is both- but it always leads to the latter.



4.  Contemporary worship is demotic, but the Divine Service is celestial.  I love blues, bluegrass, americana, punk rock, rap, and country music.  I've only recently started to be patient enough to listen to classical music.  But nevertheless, I know the difference between high art and low art.  Just because I like low art doesn't mean it's equal to high art.  We are entering into the most holy place in the Divine Service, where the angels sing "Holy, holy, holy," "Glory to God in the highest."  Christ, who is seated at the Father's right hand, is coming to serve us.  The reality of what the Divine Service is calls for high expressions of human ability, not low ones, for the same reason that a royal wedding is not the time for the king to show that he is a man of the people or for a farmer to play a square dance on his fiddle.  Part of the problem is that Americans don't understand this concept anymore.  And of course I know that Jesus was born in a stable, but Jesus is glorified now.  For us to refuse to distinguish between low and high art and use low art because we like it better is not fitting.  Just like it's not fitting for worshippers to dress sloppily for church or give small offerings because Christ was born in a stable and he doesn't despise lowly things. 

Js - another false trail. planting an assumption.

5.  Contemporary worship divides the church.  If there were no other reason, this should be enough.  I don't genuflect because even though it is an adiaphoron, it would scandalize some of my members.  If it didn't scandalize my members, but it scandalized other brothers in the circuit or their congregations, I still wouldn't do it.  Genuflexion can be a reverent thing--it can be useful for teaching.  But if it causes division or offends the weak, don't do it, for the sake of harmony and out of love for those brothers with whom you share a common confession.  So with co wo.  It causes offense.  Some folks from a parish up the road  had Christmas eve ruined for them because their pastor did a contemporary service, I'm sure with good intentions to reach the lost in his community.  But if it offends the 80 year olds who want to hear about the birth of Jesus and worship in the way they did since they were children, why do it?  I think the reason why folks have been willing to divide the synod about it is they believe it is necessary to do this to reach the lost--and if it is necessary it is not really an adiaphoron.

js - traditional worship divides the flock - so maybe we just give up all music?  I have a bunch of 70-80 year olds, who when our organist left, after two weeks with a classical guitar/jazz worship leader filling in - called for us to use him - and forget about looking for an organist.  So you assertion fails if it asserts we use the old music to PLEASE the old people.


6.  What ought to draw people to our churches--at least in terms of our worship--is the word of God.  Missouri Lutheran preaching ought to be so different from what is heard in other churches that it is the reason why people are attracted to the church.  If someone says I don't like this church because I don't like the way you worship, maybe we should be glad about that.  I want people who join St. Peter to have their sensibilities about what church should be punctured.  Folks expect to come to church and have the pastor say, "All churches are equally good, we all believe in the same God, we hope you'll join our church because we have a better youth group, or we are friendlier, or we have a nicer building."  But what we should really want is for people to come to our churches because they have never heard the law preached that way, with all its severity, and they have never heard the Gospel so clearly presented as God's gracious and full pardon, finished and certain, not dependent on us but completed on the cross.  We should want them to be impressed that we actually believe that it is possible to have pure doctrine, to know with certainty what God says, and that we refuse to have fellowship with false teaching.  If we have that, and then we cave in because people aren't happy with the worship that defined the Lutheran church until a couple of decades ago, and we copy other churches that can't preach the Word of God rightly, I think we are tacitly helping them to ignore the Word of God.  If they heard the Gospel like they never had heard it before at our church, they would put up with liiturgy and hymns for the sake of the Gospel.  And gradually they would come to realize that liturgy and hymns are organic developments from the pure word and sacraments.  They are the embodiment of a piety that arises from the right preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.  They are the cultic enfleshment of the Lutheran confessions.  They are a good work of the Holy Christian church that developed naturally from the right preaching of the Word.  For the same reason that we don't change the words of the creed, we shouldn't undertake to create a new liturgy or abandon our treasure hoard of hymns.  It's not that it is impossible to come up with something else that is also orthodox.  It's that the creed as written, though it is not Scripture, has come to shape the life and piety of the Church, and to lose it is exceedingly foolish.  You don't fix what's not broken.  We have all kinds of broken things in the life of the church that people could work on fixing, but the liturgy and the lutheran core hymns and the catechism are not those things.  You're not going to find a better setting for the mandated parts of worship--preaching, Scripture, Lord's supper, prayer--than the liturgy with the Lutheran hymns.  They are the fruit of the one holy church's meditation on the word and reception of the Lord's body and blood, and now they have in their own right come to shape the piety of the orthodox church.  And that is why someone who jettisons those things or mars them in a considerable way, while he may theoretically be orthodox, should EXPECT to be suspected of heresy.  If someone changes the creed every week, I'm going to suspect him of heresy.  Same thing with the liturgy.  The onus is on a person who does that to give a serious explanation for why they would do something so drastic and potentially dangerous.  The fact that this hasn't happened in the LCMS in defense of cowo--well, I can't explain it.  But the ones who introduced this radical departure from the piety of the church have given the impression by their actions that they are breaking with the orthodox church, or that they despise their inheritance.  (No snark here guys; some of you who are proponents of contemporary worship know that I respect you as brothers in Christ, redeemed with his blood.  Those of you who don't know that, please take my word for it and believe that I write these words out of concern and love, not out of a desire to demean you and your work.)

JS - I agree with the preaching of our Synod, and I ave outside experience and training to know so.- but not with the massive leap you make with your logic.  I can point to heterodox and heretics who use the creed and a historic liturgy.    Matter of fact - look at where the Higher Critical and demythology movements originate.  Further - the red herring that people who do CoWO change the creed every week is bogus, but again, if you worked with them, asked them why, maybe you would see the issue.  The onus is on you as well, because I can claim that your methodology, and the culture that is promoting isn't working as well as you claim.  I know some great liturgists - and their churches are stable.  I have churches in my circuit - that had liturgy, and churches once holding 500-1000 are now worshipping 30-40.  If it was one or two... that's one thing - but it is not.

Take every standard you apply to CoWo - apply it to Liturgical as well.... PLEASE

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 28, 2011, 09:39:37 PM
Kind of surprises me, but I find myself agreeing with almost everything you have said here.  ;)

What do you know.  You say that like I'm in the same cell block as Charles and Brian.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Richard Johnson on January 28, 2011, 10:12:47 PM
Possibly same cell block. Certainly different tiers.  ;D
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James_Gale on January 28, 2011, 10:17:38 PM
In his classic book, The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America, Luther Reed wrote that liturgical music is of "fundamental importance"; that music is used in worship to "further[] the corporate expresion of successive moods of reverence, adoration, aspiration, praise, and prayer."  He described the "music of the liturgy" as "distinctive" and "unique."  He asserted that this music "has its own definite character which is of the Church and not of the world."  "Departures from this churchly type in the direction of secular feeling and form are always disastrous.  They result in weakness, commonplaceness, and loss of spiritual values."  (p. 236-37)

So far as I can tell, Reed did not explain in detail the cause of the "disaster" associated with a departure from the use of "churchly" music and liturgy.  On this score, Pastor Frank Senn's book, Christian Liturgy:  Catholic and Evangelical, is helpful.  Citing Harold Bloom's work, Senn argues that "American religion" includes elements of "ancient gnosticism."  "Alienated from nature, history, community, institutions, and authorities, Americans practice a religion that is enthusiastic, experiential, personal, and subjective.  It also tends to be antisacramental, antihistorical, antiinstitutional, and anticlerical."  Senn claims that "American religion" is "biblicist in a way in which even the Protestant reformers would have found unacceptable, since the Christianity of the reformers (as of the fathers) is a religion of creeds, church orders, liturgies, and polities as well as a religion of the book."  In other words, "American Christianity is only in tenuous continuity with historical Christianity."  And "the catholic liturgical heritage cannot be defended with appeals to historical use" because "most Americans would view that as a reason to discard the practice."  The disconnect between a dominant American religion "that regards itself as Christian" and "historical Christianity" means that "the American mission field . . . is as much in need of conversion into the catholic faith as any non-Christian mission field."

For the most part, this all makes sense to me.  And it seems largely consistent with Pr. Hess's "essay."

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 29, 2011, 10:35:00 AM
In his classic book, The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America, Luther Reed wrote that liturgical music is of "fundamental importance"; that music is used in worship to "further[] the corporate expresion of successive moods of reverence, adoration, aspiration, praise, and prayer."  He described the "music of the liturgy" as "distinctive" and "unique."  He asserted that this music "has its own definite character which is of the Church and not of the world."  "Departures from this churchly type in the direction of secular feeling and form are always disastrous.  They result in weakness, commonplaceness, and loss of spiritual values."  (p. 236-37)

So far as I can tell, Reed did not explain in detail the cause of the "disaster" associated with a departure from the use of "churchly" music and liturgy.  On this score, Pastor Frank Senn's book, Christian Liturgy:  Catholic and Evangelical, is helpful.  Citing Harold Bloom's work, Senn argues that "American religion" includes elements of "ancient gnosticism."  "Alienated from nature, history, community, institutions, and authorities, Americans practice a religion that is enthusiastic, experiential, personal, and subjective.  It also tends to be antisacramental, antihistorical, antiinstitutional, and anticlerical."  Senn claims that "American religion" is "biblicist in a way in which even the Protestant reformers would have found unacceptable, since the Christianity of the reformers (as of the fathers) is a religion of creeds, church orders, liturgies, and polities as well as a religion of the book."  In other words, "American Christianity is only in tenuous continuity with historical Christianity."  And "the catholic liturgical heritage cannot be defended with appeals to historical use" because "most Americans would view that as a reason to discard the practice."  The disconnect between a dominant American religion "that regards itself as Christian" and "historical Christianity" means that "the American mission field . . . is as much in need of conversion into the catholic faith as any non-Christian mission field."

For the most part, this all makes sense to me.  And it seems largely consistent with Pr. Hess's "essay."



Here we go again, trumpeting the idea that a specific form of liturgy is more pious that another, and that abandoning it results in a weaker, or non-existent faith. 

Except of course, that H-C comes out of liturgical types, and the most liberal denoms today are liturgical as well.  It seems to be presented that "the" liturgy works of its own accord, rather than that it points clearly to Christ.  It can, but it does not always, for what it communicates can easily be lost in the communication, and far to often it is assumed that people know why we do what we do.

SImple point - meet, right and salutary - ask the elders of your congregation what those words mean.  Ask them what the significance of the candles are, or why we do C&A every week?  Or what the significance of a pastor wearing black and a white collar is.

You want to save your traditions of the liturgy?  Help people treasure them by teaching them what the liturgy reveals about Jesus.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jonathan Priest on January 29, 2011, 12:49:41 PM
So far the bulk of this discussion deals with "innovation" in structural, textual, and musical elements of worship. What about innovation in the visual realm? Or is this area less conflicted? I don't mean "screens" by the way. Those are still primarily used in the same fashion that hymnals, printed materials, etc. are used. They are word & music aids. Nor do I want to moan over stadium vs. cruciform seating, etc. I'm thinking about innovation in the ways we visually point to Christ.

For example:
Recently I played around with projected light in our large gothic revival church built 1883. I took a light projector and projected stain glass iconography on various surfaces; the marble baptismal font, the blank wall behind the canopy over the altar. As I did so I imagined a building designed so that the paraments and iconography were projected onto blank surfaces from hidden projectors. No cloths or banners, just projected images.

As I did so I thought about the "innovation" of our stain glass windows and the theological associations that we attach to them. Using a projector would shift the metaphor from stain glass, a light from without, to the projector, light from within. I can already think of orthodox and heretical doctrines associated with both metaphors.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on January 30, 2011, 10:33:30 PM
CoWo is synonymous with the Church Growth Movement and all of its accompanying baggage, no? 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 30, 2011, 11:07:58 PM
CoWo is synonymous with the Church Growth Movement and all of its accompanying baggage, no? 

No.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on January 30, 2011, 11:47:53 PM
CoWo is synonymous with the Church Growth Movement and all of its accompanying baggage, no? 

No.

Wrong, George.  Every single LCMS congregation interested in Church Growth strategies is told that it needs to abandon traditional worship services.  CoWo and the Church Growth Movement are inseparable.  Imagine Rob Bell, Rick Warren, or even Joel Osteen presiding over a traditional service.

Are you suggesting that the ELCA is an exception to this rule? ???
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2011, 12:11:37 AM
CoWo is synonymous with the Church Growth Movement and all of its accompanying baggage, no? 

No.

Wrong, George.  Every single LCMS congregation interested in Church Growth strategies is told that it needs to abandon traditional worship services.  CoWo and the Church Growth Movement are inseparable.  Imagine Rob Bell, Rick Warren, or even Joel Osteen presiding over a traditional service.

Are you suggesting that the ELCA is an exception to this rule? ???

I'm suggesting that the LC-MS doesn't have a monopoly on being Lutheran. I have trouble imagining Rob Bell, Rick Warren, or Joel Osteen presiding over any sort of worship service. To the best of my knowledge, they don't "do" worship services. They just put on a Jesus show for an audience. And I freely acknowledge that I've never attended any of their Jesus shows, so I'm only repeating what I've heard.

I don't doubt that some congregations who drink the Church Growth Kool-Aid abandon traditional worship services. I've also encountered more than a few Lutheran churches that have contemporary music services, including at least one LC-MS congregation where I was a guest musician, who have nothing whatsoever to do with any sort of Church Growth movement. We just had a contemporary music worship service this morning at the Lutheran church that I'm a member of. I can assure you that we aren't part of any sort of Church Growth movement. I joined the congregation about two years ago. There hasn't been any new members join since then.

For what it's worth, we used liturgy setting two from ELW, including all elements of the traditional mass. The music was played on an electric piano, a 12-string guitar, a six-string guitar, a bass guitar, and a flute. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I played guitar at my own church at the 6:00 PM contemporary worship service and also at another Lutheran church at their 11:00 AM service on Sundays when I wasn't assigned to do pulpit supply. Neither of those churches were part of any "Church Growth" movement.

So, maybe those who sign on to the Church Growth deal switch to all contemporary worship services, but other Lutheran congregations switch to contemporary services who have nothing at all to do with any Church Growth movement. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 01:26:20 AM
CoWo is synonymous with the Church Growth Movement and all of its accompanying baggage, no? 

No.

Wrong, George.  Every single LCMS congregation interested in Church Growth strategies is told that it needs to abandon traditional worship services.  CoWo and the Church Growth Movement are inseparable.  Imagine Rob Bell, Rick Warren, or even Joel Osteen presiding over a traditional service.

Are you suggesting that the ELCA is an exception to this rule? ???

Wrong. I am the exception to your rule.  I use CoWo, and left the CG/Statistical analysis stuff behind before I colloquized.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 31, 2011, 03:40:35 AM
Mr. Erdner writes:
I joined the congregation about two years ago. There hasn't been any new members join since then.

I comment:
 ;D
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James Gustafson on January 31, 2011, 08:03:19 AM
Mr. Erdner writes:
I joined the congregation about two years ago. There hasn't been any new members join since then.

I comment:
 ;D

I distinctly remember you complaining forcefully about someone else making a similar joke about Pr. Stoffregen not having many confirmation students lately.  Yet here, you do essentially the same thing in regards to another ELCA congregation.  Nice.  ::)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 31, 2011, 08:16:01 AM
Come on, Mr. Gustafson, that "other" was a clear bit of mean-spirited sniping.
I only offered a jocular post hoc ergo propter hoc observation, which, anyone who has read my posts here over the years would know was a trifling jest. Especially since everyone knows that post hoc... reasoning is flawed.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: James Gustafson on January 31, 2011, 08:31:21 AM
Come on, Mr. Gustafson, that "other" was a clear bit of mean-spirited sniping.
I only offered a jocular post hoc ergo propter hoc observation, which, anyone who has read my posts here over the years would know was a trifling jest. Especially since everyone knows that post hoc... reasoning is flawed.

I’m sorry, apparently I need to be more clear when I post.  I wasn’t trying to find any causation or coincidental correlation between the two events, I was strictly referring only to your apparent hypocrisy.  Unlike a post hoc logical fallacy, observed hypocrisy is not flawed, it’s just ugly.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Keith Falk on January 31, 2011, 09:08:19 AM
Given the abundance of dueling statements from the Confessions about what may happen regarding worship/ceremonies (for example, for every quote about retaining things like vestments in the Apology, you have the comment about it not being necessary for ceremonies to be the same everywhere in AC VII), I find it odd (arguably, it would be entirely against the Confessions) to completely dismiss "CoWo".  I would argue that one must be very, very careful, because without the firm frame of the traditional liturgy it is far too easy to allow personal agendas to enter into the worship... but I don't think that one can say that CoWo is in and of itself antithetical to Lutheran worship.

Secondly, while numbers are not automatically a sign of faithfulness, they are also not necessarily a sign of un-faithfulness, either.  If numbers did not matter whatsoever, someone should have told Luke, who mentions numerical growth quite a bit in the book of Acts.  So we have to be sure that we are not painting with an overly broad brush when touching on CoWo and numbers.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on January 31, 2011, 09:57:04 AM
So, we just had the first of three Theological Conferences on Worship in Michigan. To summarize an 8 hour day in a few sentences would be impossible-- but here is my "bottom line" for the day: there is no longer any argument over "style" in worship. Content of worship (or lack thereof) can be fraternally rebuked and corrected but not the music. In other words, I must now defend my neighboring churches' use of really bad music (whatever it is). Should a brother badly paraphrase the Verba Domini for example, I could say, "hey what are you doing?" But if he sings the correct text to a Bosa Nova beat with conga accompaniment all I can say is I don't like it-- not that it is wrong. There might be a Brazilian worshiping community for whom this is perfectly appropriate!

Which informs my opinion of CoWo-- it's a lot harder to do well than you think. Technology in worship can be a cruel mistress who teases you and then dumps you.

I say it is more important to inculcate a value of every Sunday communion (this protects you off from evangelical worship) than to obsess about the tunes. That said, attempting to imitate the local mega church is just plain stupid unless you are that good. What I don't like is a)boring traditional worship and b)bad contemporary worship. Both of which I have seen way too much of...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 31, 2011, 10:27:22 AM
I'm not sure if I have already recommended this resource on this thread, but I think it can be very useful.  The LCMS Commission on Worship prepared a study, published through CPH on selecting worship matterial.  

"Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials provides a process for pastors, musicians, and others involved in worship planning to work through in assessing a variety of worship materials. Far from simply providing lists of what is and is not appropriate for use in worship, the questions and commentary contained in TMC identify important issues regarding the theological content of texts, the nature of music in worship, and larger issues concerning the nature and purpose of corporate worship. Prepared by the LCMS Commission on Worship."

This study would be useful both for evaluting Contemporary Worship materials and Traditional.  It looks at the music, but also the content of the texts.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on January 31, 2011, 10:32:26 AM
I have a deep appreciation of high liturgy done well.  My ordination was a splendid example of such.  I don't dismiss Contemporary Worship out of hand.  I suspect it can be done well.  I've even attended such.  What I don't like are worship services that are "All Praise All The Time."  That gets to be a bit much.  One thing I'm finding on quite a few threads lately is that worship that lacks a solid theology of the cross in its liturgy and preaching does not serve Christ's people well (if at all).  Worship should be a fortifying feast, not a treat or a snack.  High liturgy done well never disappoints.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2011, 10:50:28 AM
High liturgy done well never disappoints.  

Anything "done well" never disappoints when you consider that one definition of "done well" is "it didn't disappoint". If something, anything, does disappoint, that's all the evidence needed to prove that it wasn't "done well".
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jonathan Priest on January 31, 2011, 11:03:03 AM
I say it is more important to inculcate a value of every Sunday communion (this protects you off from evangelical worship) than to obsess about the tunes.
Lutheran sacramental theology is the anchor of my own practice even if I use elements that others might consider contemporary. By contrast, I have attended enough Cowo services in LCMS congregations which have essentially instructed me to measure my connection with God through alien sacraments--accumulated knowledge, deeper mystical experience, or more developed ethical behavior. A subtle turn yes, but a turn nonetheless away from imputed righteousness through Christ. In these same services it felt like their celebration of communion was half hearted, almost tacked on like the tail on a donkey; that they didn't know what to do with it except do it because they were Lutheran. Not all Cowo services have done this, but those services made me wary and weary.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2011, 11:05:11 AM
I say it is more important to inculcate a value of every Sunday communion (this protects you off from evangelical worship) than to obsess about the tunes.
Lutheran sacramental theology is the anchor of my own practice even if I use elements that others might consider contemporary. By contrast, I have attended enough Cowo services in LCMS congregations which have essentially instructed me to measure my connection with God through alien sacraments--accumulated knowledge, deeper mystical experience, or more developed ethical behavior. In these same services it felt like their celebration of communion was half hearted, almost tacked on like the tail on a donkey; that they didn't know what to do with it except do it because they were Lutheran. Not all Cowo services have done this, but those services made me wary and weary.

I have seen things like "accumulated knowledge, deeper mystical experience, or more developed ethical behavior" grafted into otherwise traditional services in ELCA congregations. I'm not saying that such things are right, but the use of traditional hymns and instruments is no guarantee that such things won't happen.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: amos on January 31, 2011, 11:36:52 AM
I have followed this post with interest.  I was raised in the old Augustina Swedish background. Very conservative, traditional, and leaning toward "High Church" in liturgy and style. While I have served 12 different churches and have found some contemporary worship palatable, what happened in my home church is an example of what I dislike about contemporary worship.

Contemporary worship was touted as a new way to get folks involved, sort of a "marketing ploy for the church."  An appeal to the un-churched and youth.   All the real movers and supporters were Lutheran converts (mostly by marriage) coming out of the baptist, church of Christ, or no church background.  It went something like this -- if it appears in the LBW it's bad and we will not use it.  We have to make our service "appealing" --- give them a reason to worship here. The end result was to split the congregation, contemporary at 8:30, traditional at 10:30. It go so bad that there were two different congregations worshiping in the same building. Traditional folks were literally told, it's our church now and if you don't like it get the Heck out. Unfortunately at the time we had a pastor just short of retirement and didn't have the heart to fight it anymore.

The contemporary service developed into a praise band concert.  The message was gospel light --- there was no confession of sin, no absolution, and no creed. Biblical readings "IF" used were always from a paraphrase edition of scripture. The emphasis was to entertain, make people feel good and show off some exceptional musical talent.  Almost every "hymn" was a "Yeah God" type with little depth or meaning.  

Now 20 years later, we have raised two generations of kids who have no clue what the liturgy is, what the Lutheran confessions are, what it means to be a Lutheran, their concept of faith is a watered down version of the theology of glory.  When we got a new pastor, he offended some when he insisted that they would use the creed or there would be no contemporary service.

The end result?  Today we may have 45 at the contemporary service and 30 at the traditional service.  This is in a church that once worshiped close to 200.  

So here is my point --- in churches that I have served as an interim I have found contemporary services that did include the Lutheran components - confession, absolution, the creed, the lords prayer, etc. in their service.  The style of music may have been different from traditional but the content of that music was well thought out. I have even played a 12 string in some of those services. So more often that not, the style of music is less important than the content of the service. Contemporary services (not well thought out) can be a church killer.

It seems to me that most of the complaints about contemporary worship are more about content than style (or should be). So much contemporary stuff on the market is not Lutheran in any sense and  I am sorry but as an old Scandinavian high church type, liturgical dance is (at least to me) a joke and will never take place in any congregation that I serve.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 31, 2011, 11:57:16 AM
What is truly important is that the texts that are used for worship, the structure that is used for worship and the music and technology that is used for worship actually promote what worship is all about.  The really important question is not whether or not CoWo is good or bad, or Traditional is superior or not, the important question is what is worship really supposed to be doing and what sorts of things will help accomplish that in any given situation.  Unfortunately answers to that question are more often assumed than thought through.  Far too often the question becomes more of what do people want than what do people need.  The flip side to this is to decide that one form of worship is best and expect everybody to simply be remolded to fit it - the procrustean method.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 31, 2011, 12:25:58 PM
On out trip to the Holy Land we were with LCMS congregations that were highly liturgical and some that were more CoWo, so we sang both kinds of songs are various points in our devotions at sacred sites. The CoWo songs, which I knew by heart from having sung nothing but them at my first church, struck me as the aesthdetic equivalent of Precious Moments figurines amid ancient mosaics and icons. What's wrong with that? Nothing, I guess, in the sense of sinful or immoral. But certainly it is settling for something less-- not just different, but less.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on January 31, 2011, 12:30:45 PM
High liturgy done well never disappoints.  

Anything "done well" never disappoints when you consider that one definition of "done well" is "it didn't disappoint". If something, anything, does disappoint, that's all the evidence needed to prove that it wasn't "done well".
Well put - to a point.  There are some folks who won't give high liturgy a chance whether or not it's done well.  Just like some folks won't give classical (country, hip-hop, grunge, fill in the blank) music a listen whether or not it's done well.  Some folks (I'm not one of them) won't give contemporary worship a chance whether or not it's done well.  

I should clarify that "high liturgy done well never disappoints me (or others with an appreciation for high liturgy)."  As one of my Theology professors at seminary taught us, "painstaking clarity" is essential. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on January 31, 2011, 12:46:06 PM
I imagine I would feel very good about the liturgy at Pastor Weedon's church (even if he seems to be emphasizing the sacrificial rather than the celebratory and facing the wrong way part of the time).
On the other hand, from my Youth for Christ days, I don't mind some Gospel choruses and a little dance and shout. (Don't like most "Praise songs" as they are simply too boring: four lines, three chords repeated for 20 minutes, yuck.)
I just do not get those who say it has to be all one way or the other.
The "classic liturgy" - Confession, Gathering, Word, Meal, Dismissal can be done a lot of ways. And so....?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 12:58:04 PM
Ahh - more of the war stories.... focusing on the worst of CoWO.

Should I do that with those who are liturgical - and note the pastors that put their churches to sleep, the organists who feel the liturgy is their recital, and the gutless soulless liturgical rote, or the high performing cantors, the cries of foul play would be obvious.  Same for those who somehow still define COWo as if we were still singing Kum Bay Ya and I've got a River of Life... The use of such strawmen shows a major weakness in your position.

If you want a fair discussion on this, where CoWo and/or Blended practitioners don't use the emotion laden war stories.  Ask Mark what he uses, ask me why we blend this or that.  Find the best of Lutheran CoWo - and challenge that, rather than pointing to something else.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 01:10:23 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns. 

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 01:15:26 PM
Echoes of Dr. Christopher Boyd Brown's thesis there, Pr. Hess.  He shows how the faith was passed and preserved precisely in the hymnody.  Just presented on that down in Texas at a free conference. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2011, 01:16:00 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 


I've never heard anyone argue that Contemporary Worship or the use of contemporary worship was necessary. The arguments I've heard (and raised!) are that it is good. Worship with traditional music is good. Worship with contemporary music is good. Worship is good. Period.

The collective taste of a congregation for contemporary versus traditional music is little different from the collective taste of a congregation for traditional music played only on a piano and traditional music played only on a pipe organ.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 01:20:11 PM
Echoes of Dr. Christopher Boyd Brown's thesis there, Pr. Hess.  He shows how the faith was passed and preserved precisely in the hymnody.  Just presented on that down in Texas at a free conference. 

I read about half of his book.  It was a really fun book.  It's a shame that we have lost so much of our Lutheran piety--and I think that is part of the reason why we have the cowo issue. Since we had essentially departed from our practice of singing the Gospel for singing calvinist hymns and not singing them at home, there seems to be no good reason not to abandon a dead traditionalism in favor of a more exciting protestant worship.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 01:22:03 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns. 

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use. 

Be careful about tossing my comment as off the cuff, as if 20 years of thought and experience is not behind them, and as if I don't teach these things regularly.

When you say necessary, I can turn that around - why are some of the elements of the Liturgy "necessary".   Necessary is different than beneficial.   Is the Kyrie, te Gloria, the Nunc Dimitis, Is general confession and absolution?  Or is it still liturgy to simply have the Word and sacrament, and still be completely liturgical?  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 01:30:01 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns. 

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use. 

Be careful about tossing my comment as off the cuff, as if 20 years of thought and experience is not behind them, and as if I don't teach these things regularly.

When you say necessary, I can turn that around - why are some of the elements of the Liturgy "necessary".   Necessary is different than beneficial.   Is the Kyrie, te Gloria, the Nunc Dimitis, Is general confession and absolution?  Or is it still liturgy to simply have the Word and sacrament, and still be completely liturgical?  


No, I didn't mean that you haven't thought about these things.  I meant that you dealt with my arguments without, I felt, considering them fully. 

No, I think that--maybe not you or young guys doing cowo--but the folks who brought it to the LCMS in the first place, needed to argue why this was necessary.  I don't know, maybe they did.  I think it has to be necessary that it be done, otherwise it shouldn't be done when it causes division.  I don't push to get a chasuble at my congregation, not because it wouldn't be cool in my mind and beautify the service.  I don't do it because it isn't necessary, and it would cause some people offense, anger, and drive them away from the Gospel.  Now maybe if I taught them for a long time that this is really a matter of freedom and it could beautify the service, etc., and they were willing to do it, then I wouldn't have to convince them that it is necessary.  But obviously, that hasn't happened in the LCMS with cowo.  If cowo is like a chasuble--not necessary, but could add something to the church's life, but not the end of the world if it doesn't happen, then co wo should have been introduced the way I'd have to introduce a chasuble--with a lot of patience, without force, showing the weak that it won't be harmful, more or less gaining consensus.  (And that would be very hard and take a long time, and it seems like there are better things I could be doing.)  But if cowo is necessary--really important for saving souls, and sinful to not have--then you do it, and division and upset be damned.  And that's how it's been done in the LCMS.  So I would expect that cowo folks show why it is necessary.  And if it is necessary, then it is likely that the rest of us who don't have cowo may need to add a cowo service.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 31, 2011, 03:28:42 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns. 

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use. 

To adequately respond to your essay Karl will take more time and thought than I can give it at the moment, I will get back to you on that.  But since you asked, you need not fear to come and worship at the church of your younger days.  While we primarily do use a contemporary hymnal, Lutheran Service Book, I seriously doubt that qualifies as being a hot bed of CoWo.  We do use materials from Creative Worship and occasional hymns from All God's People Sing and a few from other sources, but mainly it is from the hymnal.

I started this thread not to advocate for CoWo but to try to bring clarity and facilitate discussion of it.  I find it not very useful to discuss CoWo in general because that covers such a wide variety of practices.  I thought that it would be more useful to discuss particular things and what was or was not good about them, than in vague generalities.  There are number of contemporary hymns in LSB if you count contempory according to the calendar.  Are they all bad simply because they are new?  I think not.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2011, 03:39:33 PM
Karl, your comparison of CoWo and the wearing of a chasuble gave me pretty great pause.  I have been under-chasubled for many decades.  So I got all these chasubles, all at once. The next Sunday
a) I wore a chasuble
b) I told people that it looked good on me and asked if they agreed.  They did.
c) I told people to watch when I put it on, after the prayers and before Holy Communion, and then explained I put it on then as a sign to anyone in church that I was the celebrant - that I was going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper and wanted them to come to the celebration, so whenever the pastor puts it on there will be a great celebration including singing, a procession/dance, and the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ for forgiveness and strength.   They were very happy with this explanation; an acolyte or assisting minister helps me on with the chasuble during the offering.  They like doing that,too.

And that was that.  Why would you blahsdiblasdyblasdi and take all kinds of time before wearing a chasuble?  I don't get that.  It's easy to explain, looks good on me (I can't speak for you) and has meaning to the people of God. 

I'm not exactly sure how that extrapolates to CoWo, but if it edifies the Body and leads people joyfully to receive the Word and Sacraments, why would you go blahsdiblashyblasdi for months and months?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 03:41:37 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks.  

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns.  

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use.  

Be careful about tossing my comment as off the cuff, as if 20 years of thought and experience is not behind them, and as if I don't teach these things regularly.

When you say necessary, I can turn that around - why are some of the elements of the Liturgy "necessary".   Necessary is different than beneficial.   Is the Kyrie, te Gloria, the Nunc Dimitis, Is general confession and absolution?  Or is it still liturgy to simply have the Word and sacrament, and still be completely liturgical?  


No, I didn't mean that you haven't thought about these things.  I meant that you dealt with my arguments without, I felt, considering them fully.  

No, I think that--maybe not you or young guys doing cowo--but the folks who brought it to the LCMS in the first place, needed to argue why this was necessary.  I don't know, maybe they did.  I think it has to be necessary that it be done, otherwise it shouldn't be done when it causes division.  I don't push to get a chasuble at my congregation, not because it wouldn't be cool in my mind and beautify the service.  I don't do it because it isn't necessary, and it would cause some people offense, anger, and drive them away from the Gospel.  Now maybe if I taught them for a long time that this is really a matter of freedom and it could beautify the service, etc., and they were willing to do it, then I wouldn't have to convince them that it is necessary.  But obviously, that hasn't happened in the LCMS with cowo.  If cowo is like a chasuble--not necessary, but could add something to the church's life, but not the end of the world if it doesn't happen, then co wo should have been introduced the way I'd have to introduce a chasuble--with a lot of patience, without force, showing the weak that it won't be harmful, more or less gaining consensus.  (And that would be very hard and take a long time, and it seems like there are better things I could be doing.)  But if cowo is necessary--really important for saving souls, and sinful to not have--then you do it, and division and upset be damned.  And that's how it's been done in the LCMS.  So I would expect that cowo folks show why it is necessary.  And if it is necessary, then it is likely that the rest of us who don't have cowo may need to add a cowo service.

And again, I would ask you to apply your question to your position first.  What in your liturgy is necessary?  

And yes, if you've read my points for any period of time, you know that I am pretty insistent on catachesis prior to and during change.  I did this with making a very CoWO move of going to every week Lord's Supper, but eventually just had to make the call - for consensus is awesome, but not always possible.  (And yes, my prior congregation was told by a retired pastor that subbed for me once that he didn't understand this contemporary worship and its desire for weekly Eucharist, if 2nd and 4th was ood for 50 years of is ministry...)  This is due, IMHO to the fact that we can be honest about our idolatry of tradition and our fear of change.  

The entire discussion about needing to show its "necessary" shows this - as it ignores what is beneficial, while possibly defending what is neither beneficial  (but could be... if they knew why) or necessary, but is at least... comfortable.


js

PS - Pr. Benke's post reminded me that at my last church I re-introduced the chausable - it was nice in the winter, but we put it in storage for the summer.  Heat then coming through the windows behind the altar could soar to 110.- even with the AC colling the rest of the church to 65.  It wasn't difficult, and it did blend with our blended service.  Which is the another point.  Blended services lend to lots of teaching moments.



Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 03:44:29 PM
Our idolatry of tradition... I suppose.  Just recognize that an idol can also be made of hip relevancies and such...  Old idol - musty, dusty... new idol - shiny and electric.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 03:47:32 PM
Our idolatry of tradition... I suppose.  Just recognize that an idol can also be made of hip relevancies and such...  Old idol - musty, dusty... new idol - shiny and electric.

And idolizing generalizations like... COWO is shiny and electric...   :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2011, 03:52:37 PM
The older you get, Pr. W., the more your hip does become relevant.  And then, interestingly, it becomes so irrelevant it's replaced.

I think this is why the older generation gravitates toward, rather than away from some blended/co-wo.  Stuff is wearing out and getting replaced all the time.  Plus, with a hearing aid, if it's too loud, you can just turn it off yourself.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 03:59:43 PM
Yes, it IS the older generation that trends that way...Hmm.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 04:03:32 PM
How are you guys doing with the weather today?

That's about the only thing that get's old here...

It's a pain being inside -when outside my open window it is 65 degrees and sunny!

(Snow days are wasted on those people whose weather is horrid)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: John_Hannah on January 31, 2011, 05:54:05 PM
Karl, your comparison of CoWo and the wearing of a chasuble gave me pretty great pause.  I have been under-chasubled for many decades.  So I got all these chasubles, all at once. The next Sunday
a) I wore a chasuble
b) I told people that it looked good on me and asked if they agreed.  They did.
c) I told people to watch when I put it on, after the prayers and before Holy Communion, and then explained I put it on then as a sign to anyone in church that I was the celebrant - that I was going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper and wanted them to come to the celebration, so whenever the pastor puts it on there will be a great celebration including singing, a procession/dance, and the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ for forgiveness and strength.   They were very happy with this explanation; an acolyte or assisting minister helps me on with the chasuble during the offering.  They like doing that,too.

And that was that.  Why would you blahsdiblasdyblasdi and take all kinds of time before wearing a chasuble?  I don't get that.  It's easy to explain, looks good on me (I can't speak for you) and has meaning to the people of God. 

I'm not exactly sure how that extrapolates to CoWo, but if it edifies the Body and leads people joyfully to receive the Word and Sacraments, why would you go blahsdiblashyblasdi for months and months?

Dave Benke

Somewhere Arthur Carl Piepkorn wrote that vestments were mostly a matter of aesthetics and beauty. You must have read the article. Every good bishop has memorized Piepkorn.   ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on January 31, 2011, 06:04:35 PM
Maybe it's just me but I haven't been to a CoWo service that hasn't felt like I'm being emotionally manipulated. When I was into that sort of thing, I just went with it. That was just the way it worked - it created a sense of "meaningfulness". In fact when I was in praise bands, it was a normal part of the plans for the set list and service. Now I find it difficult not to resent the blatant attempts to create a certain feeling within me which I'm supposed to mistake for an encounter with Jesus.

And on another note, it's been my experience screens don't invite congregational singing. Sure, you can follow along with the words and maybe sing a chorus or two, but it's mostly listening to the band. And unless you are already really familiar with the song, it's difficult to sing along. I am a fairly accomplished musician and can play or sing just about anything on sight. I have the WORST time with praise songs because there is no tune to even look at and figure out what relation one note may have to another. It's just words. I can't imagine how difficult it is for people with less musical training.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on January 31, 2011, 06:45:31 PM
It's just words. I can't imagine how difficult it is for people with less musical training.

On one hand, I agree totally with you. I read music. I play music. I want to see the music. (In fact, another pastor and I walked out of a "praise-type" service that only projected words to songs we were unfamiliar with. His comment, "It's the 20% of the people who read music who will help the congregation sing. Why eliminate them?"

On the other hand, 20 years or so ago, when I only put words in a bulletin (before I had a program where I could import music -- and that congregation still doesn't have projection,) I heard from a number of people that they liked it that way. They don't read music and the music just confuses them. We also had an alto recorder, often a flute, occasionally a trumpet, for a while an oboe; some instrument that did blast out the melody.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 06:52:48 PM
Maybe it's just me but I haven't been to a CoWo service that hasn't felt like I'm being emotionally manipulated. When I was into that sort of thing, I just went with it. That was just the way it worked - it created a sense of "meaningfulness". In fact when I was in praise bands, it was a normal part of the plans for the set list and service. Now I find it difficult not to resent the blatant attempts to create a certain feeling within me which I'm supposed to mistake for an encounter with Jesus.

And on another note, it's been my experience screens don't invite congregational singing. Sure, you can follow along with the words and maybe sing a chorus or two, but it's mostly listening to the band. And unless you are already really familiar with the song, it's difficult to sing along. I am a fairly accomplished musician and can play or sing just about anything on sight. I have the WORST time with praise songs because there is no tune to even look at and figure out what relation one note may have to another. It's just words. I can't imagine how difficult it is for people with less musical training.

In my experience, which includes 15 years of leading or accompanying worship in non-denoms, and nine years in the LCMS,  I find the issue about having a orchestrated hymnal or even a melody line to focus on to be an issue with musicians, but not with most of the congregations I've worked with.  This includes a number of years leading worship in th jails of Los Angles County, where four part harmonies soared - not because the guys were "trained", but because that is the way they sang.  Even more, as people get used to singing tis way, there is one less thing to focus on, in order that the words are able to be focused on.  (using right brain left brain theory - the left is free to focus on the words and the meaning wile the right handles the music intonations.)  Using left to focus on the music results in less comprehension and cognition of the words.  There are very few musicians singers who operate left brain only, and are still able to engage both the words and the music.

And it is one of the reasons a classical pianist has trouble playing in a praise band.  It engages a different part of the mind.  And the best engage both - the mathematical theory and the art.  ( John Williams - the conductor and composer did this exceedingly well.)

As to manipulation - it's there in a good TradWo service as well, especially in the Liturgy f the Eucharist.  Tell me there is no emotional involvement that rises from the Kyrie to the Gloria in Excelsis, or in the the Proper Preface movement into the Sanctus, or from the realization of the Words of Institution into the soaring Agnus Dei or in the descent of the Nunc Dimitis.  It is there, or it would be, if the entire service is played well - say by your HT Organist. Ask him if there is an emotional flow to the DS - or to Compline.






Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 07:14:08 PM
I think there is a difference between music that is moving as it confesses; and music that is designed to move.  It is the difference, to me, between an invitation and someone attempting to coerce me into something.  I'm rather stubborn (no comments, please) and I have always shut down immediately when I feel I'm being told how to feel.  I just don't engage.  The difference between the two is very real in my experience. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on January 31, 2011, 07:22:11 PM
In my experience, which includes 15 years of leading or accompanying worship in non-denoms, and nine years in the LCMS,  I find the issue about having a orchestrated hymnal or even a melody line to focus on to be an issue with musicians, but not with most of the congregations I've worked with.  This includes a number of years leading worship in th jails of Los Angles County, where four part harmonies soared - not because the guys were "trained", but because that is the way they sang.  Even more, as people get used to singing tis way, there is one less thing to focus on, in order that the words are able to be focused on.  (using right brain left brain theory - the left is free to focus on the words and the meaning wile the right handles the music intonations.)  Using left to focus on the music results in less comprehension and cognition of the words.  There are very few musicians singers who operate left brain only, and are still able to engage both the words and the music.

And it is one of the reasons a classical pianist has trouble playing in a praise band.  It engages a different part of the mind.  And the best engage both - the mathematical theory and the art.  ( John Williams - the conductor and composer did this exceedingly well.)

Then I guess our experiences are different. :)

Quote
As to manipulation - it's there in a good TradWo service as well, especially in the Liturgy f the Eucharist.  Tell me there is no emotional involvement that rises from the Kyrie to the Gloria in Excelsis, or in the the Proper Preface movement into the Sanctus, or from the realization of the Words of Institution into the soaring Agnus Dei or in the descent of the Nunc Dimitis.  It is there, or it would be, if the entire service is played well - say by your HT Organist. Ask him if there is an emotional flow to the DS - or to Compline.

I'm not saying there's not a flow to the liturgy, but it just doesn't strike me as artificial and contrived in the way that CoWo is. Maybe it's because the liturgy doesn't really change from week to week.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 07:41:03 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks. 

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns. 

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use. 

To adequately respond to your essay Karl will take more time and thought than I can give it at the moment, I will get back to you on that.  But since you asked, you need not fear to come and worship at the church of your younger days.  While we primarily do use a contemporary hymnal, Lutheran Service Book, I seriously doubt that qualifies as being a hot bed of CoWo.  We do use materials from Creative Worship and occasional hymns from All God's People Sing and a few from other sources, but mainly it is from the hymnal.

I started this thread not to advocate for CoWo but to try to bring clarity and facilitate discussion of it.  I find it not very useful to discuss CoWo in general because that covers such a wide variety of practices.  I thought that it would be more useful to discuss particular things and what was or was not good about them, than in vague generalities.  There are number of contemporary hymns in LSB if you count contempory according to the calendar.  Are they all bad simply because they are new?  I think not.

Dan

I agree that new is not bad. 

Immanuel is not the church of my childhood (I grew up in the Chicago suburbs) but it is my ancestral church.  And even if Immanuel was a hotbed of cowo, that wouldn't prevent me from worshipping there.  It might somewhere else, but not there.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 07:44:30 PM
Karl, your comparison of CoWo and the wearing of a chasuble gave me pretty great pause.  I have been under-chasubled for many decades.  So I got all these chasubles, all at once. The next Sunday
a) I wore a chasuble
b) I told people that it looked good on me and asked if they agreed.  They did.
c) I told people to watch when I put it on, after the prayers and before Holy Communion, and then explained I put it on then as a sign to anyone in church that I was the celebrant - that I was going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper and wanted them to come to the celebration, so whenever the pastor puts it on there will be a great celebration including singing, a procession/dance, and the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ for forgiveness and strength.   They were very happy with this explanation; an acolyte or assisting minister helps me on with the chasuble during the offering.  They like doing that,too.

And that was that.  Why would you blahsdiblasdyblasdi and take all kinds of time before wearing a chasuble?  I don't get that.  It's easy to explain, looks good on me (I can't speak for you) and has meaning to the people of God. 

I'm not exactly sure how that extrapolates to CoWo, but if it edifies the Body and leads people joyfully to receive the Word and Sacraments, why would you go blahsdiblashyblasdi for months and months?

Dave Benke

If I put on a chasuble at my church, a lot of folks would be very upset.  You had no doubt built up a lot of trust over the years, and so you could do it.  I couldn't. 

The folks who introduced cowo to the MS may have done a good job of introducing it to their congregations, but they obviously caused great offense in the synod.  I think everyone would agree that if I just start doing every adiaphoron I think is a good idea at my parish tomorrow, and then in a few months I'm talking to the district president about why my congregation wants me to resign, that would be lousy pastoral practice.  I would suggest that the same holds true if new practice causes uproar and division not in the local congregation but in the wider church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 07:48:48 PM
I laid out some serious arguments that weren't war stories about why cowo is negative for Lutheran churches.  I'd really like to get Dan's response to them.  I got yours, j and s, but they were kind of off the cuff.  When I think about it I've never really gotten a serious response about why cowo is necessary besides "to reach people", and this from some smart folks.  

The swedish pastor (sorry I forgot your name) brings up the most obvious practical problem--we will lose the liturgy and the Lutheran hymns for succeeding generations.  And while you may be anchored in Lutheran doctrine, their primary way of getting it besides your sermon is the catechism, liturgy, and lutheran hymns.  

Like it or not, there is a piety, a tradition, by which Lutheran faith was inculcated into laymen.  Take that away, and replace it with something that feels like american protestantism, it's hard to see how they won't see themselves as american protestants.

In addition, no matter how good some cowo may be, it will never be as theologically rich as the hymns of Lutheran orthodoxy.  So cowo practitioners are cutting down the Gospel they give to their people.  In some ways, this is not our fault, because we had already lost our familiarity with Lutheran hymns.  But those hymns were meant not only to teach the Gospel when they were sung in church, but to be sermons by which the royal priesthood can comfort and edify themselves in their homes.  And that won't happen unless they are sung frequently.

There were some other good arguments in my essay (if you ask me).  Particularly the one about how tossing out Lutheran piety, much like tossing out the creeds, seems to be a heretical act, even if it is not formally against Scripture.  You never toss out the Gospel that's been handed down to you, in any form it comes to you.  If we get the Gospel in rich measure in a hymn from 272 written in a foreign language, and it doesn't seem applicable to our time, we keep it anyway, because the Gospel is never an impediment or a burden.  Having to keep crappy traditions that don't teach the Gospel--that is a burden.  Traditions that extol the Gospel are never a burden and tossing them out shows--it seems to me--that we figure the Gospel is only useful if it's written by us and easy for us to use.  

Be careful about tossing my comment as off the cuff, as if 20 years of thought and experience is not behind them, and as if I don't teach these things regularly.

When you say necessary, I can turn that around - why are some of the elements of the Liturgy "necessary".   Necessary is different than beneficial.   Is the Kyrie, te Gloria, the Nunc Dimitis, Is general confession and absolution?  Or is it still liturgy to simply have the Word and sacrament, and still be completely liturgical?  


No, I didn't mean that you haven't thought about these things.  I meant that you dealt with my arguments without, I felt, considering them fully.  

No, I think that--maybe not you or young guys doing cowo--but the folks who brought it to the LCMS in the first place, needed to argue why this was necessary.  I don't know, maybe they did.  I think it has to be necessary that it be done, otherwise it shouldn't be done when it causes division.  I don't push to get a chasuble at my congregation, not because it wouldn't be cool in my mind and beautify the service.  I don't do it because it isn't necessary, and it would cause some people offense, anger, and drive them away from the Gospel.  Now maybe if I taught them for a long time that this is really a matter of freedom and it could beautify the service, etc., and they were willing to do it, then I wouldn't have to convince them that it is necessary.  But obviously, that hasn't happened in the LCMS with cowo.  If cowo is like a chasuble--not necessary, but could add something to the church's life, but not the end of the world if it doesn't happen, then co wo should have been introduced the way I'd have to introduce a chasuble--with a lot of patience, without force, showing the weak that it won't be harmful, more or less gaining consensus.  (And that would be very hard and take a long time, and it seems like there are better things I could be doing.)  But if cowo is necessary--really important for saving souls, and sinful to not have--then you do it, and division and upset be damned.  And that's how it's been done in the LCMS.  So I would expect that cowo folks show why it is necessary.  And if it is necessary, then it is likely that the rest of us who don't have cowo may need to add a cowo service.

And again, I would ask you to apply your question to your position first.  What in your liturgy is necessary?  

And yes, if you've read my points for any period of time, you know that I am pretty insistent on catachesis prior to and during change.  I did this with making a very CoWO move of going to every week Lord's Supper, but eventually just had to make the call - for consensus is awesome, but not always possible.  (And yes, my prior congregation was told by a retired pastor that subbed for me once that he didn't understand this contemporary worship and its desire for weekly Eucharist, if 2nd and 4th was ood for 50 years of is ministry...)  This is due, IMHO to the fact that we can be honest about our idolatry of tradition and our fear of change.  

The entire discussion about needing to show its "necessary" shows this - as it ignores what is beneficial, while possibly defending what is neither beneficial  (but could be... if they knew why) or necessary, but is at least... comfortable.


js

PS - Pr. Benke's post reminded me that at my last church I re-introduced the chausable - it was nice in the winter, but we put it in storage for the summer.  Heat then coming through the windows behind the altar could soar to 110.- even with the AC colling the rest of the church to 65.  It wasn't difficult, and it did blend with our blended service.  Which is the another point.  Blended services lend to lots of teaching moments.





I don't see the need to defend the liturgy and the kernlieder as "necessary."  They were already in place and had been edifying the Lutheran Church for centuries.  It would be incumbent on those who wanted to change that to explain why. 

The thing about liturgy and core Lutheran hymns though is not simply that they are traditional, but rather that they proclaim the Gospel.  I don't see how it could ever be good to throw out something that proclaims the Gospel fully and well, even if you want to add something else.  The thing with cowo is that it doesn't proclaim the Gospel as fully or as well as what we were doing before, and yet rather than recognizing that bronze age worship was weak because we had stopped teaching people Lutheran hymns and an appreciation for the liturgy, and going back to a better practice, we said, "This is weak," and we put something weak and trendy in place.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on January 31, 2011, 07:59:02 PM
I think there is a difference between music that is moving as it confesses; and music that is designed to move.  It is the difference, to me, between an invitation and someone attempting to coerce me into something.  I'm rather stubborn (no comments, please) and I have always shut down immediately when I feel I'm being told how to feel.  I just don't engage.  The difference between the two is very real in my experience. 

The irony in this is making me laugh so hard I cannot believe it.  Really?

You really don't see the coercing nature of the liturgy as it is seen in modern editions?  Or perhaps a better construction is to say how it molds your worship?  Not just audibly, but visually and kinesthetically?

Really?  please tell me you are kidding me, with these words.  You engage far more than you realize you do. Again - look at the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Proper preface/Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Nunc Dimitis.  All mold you into a specific emotional and mental process - assuming they are done well - and not just as a penitential dirge.

Reminds me of the guy who was blasting visual tools in worship (i.e. powerpoint) and then moving to how he appreciated the stain glass windows because the pictured his faith.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on January 31, 2011, 08:00:17 PM
Taking the topic in a slightly different direction, does anyone here have inside information on how the whole Koinonia thing is going to approach the liturgical life of our Synod?

There are obviously (from this thread and many others) two major camps and this forum is the closest thing I have seen to dialogue between the two camps.  As one who is not in either camp, and that is only because I am liturgical with a very reverent Mass, but I rarely if ever use Setting 3, which seems to be the required admission to the Liturgical Party in the LCMS.  My congregation prefers setting 4, which is our dominant setting, but we do dabble in Setting 1 and 2.  That said, even when using Setting 4, I import the C&A from Setting 1, and import seasonal Prefaces from the new Roman Missal (draft version) and Eucharistic Prayers from the LBW and from what Fr Weedon has shared on this forum.  But, enough about me.....

Since it is quite obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that the favored liturgical format is Setting 3 of the Divine Service from the LSB, how will Koinonia Project deal with or otherwise handle our congregations that do not use Lutheran in their signage, have a "worship space (oh, how I hate that term)" with the band on stage, a lucite pulpit, screens and projectors, no Lutheran hymnody, no lectionary, no vestments....or, to phrase it positively: a "nondenominational community church" format ?  Will there be an attempt to somehow "lutheranize" the content of the service, leaving the style alone?  Will there be massive garage sales of sound stage equipment (to say nothing about the District "missions" money that was spent purchasing portable sound stages) with the mandatory purchase of an appropriate electronic organ?  Will Pastors be given a dress code indicating that at minimum some vestment that reflects Lutheranism of the 20th Century be worn?  Will an altar be required in their "worship space"?  A crucifix?  Candles?

Do you get what I am saying?  What is this Koinonia all about anyway?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 08:06:45 PM
Oh, I'm serious, J&S.  I find it incredibly moving to sing the third verse of "Lord, Thee I Love" and can barely bring myself to do so without tears.  Yet, I never feel as though the music is attempting to dictate to me:  NOW, Weedon, start crying.  The liturgy is mostly rather more objective than that and doesn't tend to reduce me to tears so fast.  There are times it does do so; but then it is usually the circumstances around me, rather than the music.  The music is sturdy, serves the text without overpowering it, and just writes the text deep in my heart. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2011, 08:10:08 PM
According to your logic, Karl, no Missouri pastor should wear a chasuble, since all churches have not agreed it's meet, right and salutary.  If this became, or becomes, the mandate, the response you can look for is "I don't care.  You can't prove it's wrong.  I'm wearing mine anyway."  

The idea of the dialogs is not going to invariably lead to everyone agreeing that only one way is the THE way to do this or that, but that those who do this or that are all supportive and encouraging of one another.  I for instance support completely your wearing the chasuble.  And don't actually understand why after a year or two in your parish you couldn't bring the basic speech I gave into your chancel and git 'er done.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 08:10:21 PM
Padre,

I don't think we've got info enough yet on how Koinonia will address things except for this one promise we heard from our Synodical President upon his election:  "I promise I will not coerce you."  I trust he means exactly that.  

By the bye, we've been using DS IV on fifth Sundays and every now and then besides.  I substitute the Confiteor from Compline when we do; I simply think that opening confession is rather weak.  We tried to use it for a while; I just think the Compline prayer is stronger.  Besides, it's nice for me to be absolved too!  :)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on January 31, 2011, 08:11:05 PM
Karl, your comparison of CoWo and the wearing of a chasuble gave me pretty great pause.  I have been under-chasubled for many decades.  So I got all these chasubles, all at once. The next Sunday
a) I wore a chasuble
b) I told people that it looked good on me and asked if they agreed.  They did.
c) I told people to watch when I put it on, after the prayers and before Holy Communion, and then explained I put it on then as a sign to anyone in church that I was the celebrant - that I was going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper and wanted them to come to the celebration, so whenever the pastor puts it on there will be a great celebration including singing, a procession/dance, and the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ for forgiveness and strength.   They were very happy with this explanation; an acolyte or assisting minister helps me on with the chasuble during the offering.  They like doing that,too.

And that was that.  Why would you blahsdiblasdyblasdi and take all kinds of time before wearing a chasuble?  I don't get that.  It's easy to explain, looks good on me (I can't speak for you) and has meaning to the people of God.  

I'm not exactly sure how that extrapolates to CoWo, but if it edifies the Body and leads people joyfully to receive the Word and Sacraments, why would you go blahsdiblashyblasdi for months and months?

Dave Benke

If I put on a chasuble at my church, a lot of folks would be very upset.  You had no doubt built up a lot of trust over the years, and so you could do it.  I couldn't.  

The folks who introduced cowo to the MS may have done a good job of introducing it to their congregations, but they obviously caused great offense in the synod.  I think everyone would agree that if I just start doing every adiaphoron I think is a good idea at my parish tomorrow, and then in a few months I'm talking to the district president about why my congregation wants me to resign, that would be lousy pastoral practice.  I would suggest that the same holds true if new practice causes uproar and division not in the local congregation but in the wider church.

Karl, I don't understand the big deal.  I have vested in alb, stole and chasuble from day 1 in my congregation.  It is not a matter for congregational vote, neither is every Sunday Eucharist.  I am the Pastor, I am charged with the care of the souls of the congregation.  What does it matter what I wear, or whether I genuflect after the Consecration, or anything else for that matter?  I don't get that at all...it's how i do my job.  When folks question, I simply explain what something is and that it helps me do my job better and that I appreciate their support of me being the best Pastor I can be to them.  I mean, in my 4 years in this old church, I vested day 1 in full vestments, announced that we would be celebrating the Eucharist each service in order that anyone desiring the Sacrament could receive and those who didn't feel the need could stay in the pew; I purchased a large wooden crucifix and replaced the wrought iron cross that was over the altar as a gift to the congregation, I purchased a pouring chalice (which they insisted I take reimbursement for), bought an ambry and placed it behind the free standing altar for the hosts not consumed and designated a refrigerator for the precious blood between Masses and taught the Altar Committee to rinse those dastardly plastic cups with the Blood of Christ remaining in a basin and return the water to the ground.....all that and more I am probably forgetting, without any problems at all.

I'm just saying......
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2011, 08:13:05 PM
RATHER weak, Pr. W?  DSIV confession is puny weak.  

I would say, Padre, that the point of Koinonia out of the box has to be building trust and mutual encouragement.  If it deteriorates to vestment rubrics, it's a born loser.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on January 31, 2011, 08:14:39 PM
I'm confused about how it made it through, Bishop.  I was on the working group for the Lord's Supper liturgy and will happily give answer to anything after the Preface, but I sure as shooting have scratched my head a time or two about DS IV's "Confession and Absolution." 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 08:15:42 PM
According to your logic, Karl, no Missouri pastor should wear a chasuble, since all churches have not agreed it's meet, right and salutary.  If this became, or becomes, the mandate, the response you can look for is "I don't care.  You can't prove it's wrong.  I'm wearing mine anyway."  

The idea of the dialogs is not going to invariably lead to everyone agreeing that only one way is the THE way to do this or that, but that those who do this or that are all supportive and encouraging of one another.  I for instance support completely your wearing the chasuble.  And don't actually understand why after a year or two in your parish you couldn't bring the basic speech I gave into your chancel and git 'er done.

Dave Benke

I'll keep that last bit of information in mind.  However, i think it's probably best to wait on this because I've changed plenty of things, and some things that still need to change are more important.

The reason why it's not the case that nobody can wear a chasuble in the LCMS is you don't have uproar about chasubles.  Do you?  Maybe some old folks with fear of Rome complain about it, but there isn't a full bore war over chasubles.  I've never heard anyone arguing about it in the many arguments we have in synod.  I do have people that are grieved about the division caused by cowo, and how we have different flavors of LCMS competing with each other.  I don't think that it's in keeping with Christian love to say, "Too bad you're offended."  If chasubles had caused a big uproar in synod, I don't think the situation would be any different.  Of course there's more at stake with the argument about cowo, because it's not just a matter of adding a piece of cloth, but of taking away hymns and liturgy that proclaim the Gospel.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 08:23:17 PM
Karl, your comparison of CoWo and the wearing of a chasuble gave me pretty great pause.  I have been under-chasubled for many decades.  So I got all these chasubles, all at once. The next Sunday
a) I wore a chasuble
b) I told people that it looked good on me and asked if they agreed.  They did.
c) I told people to watch when I put it on, after the prayers and before Holy Communion, and then explained I put it on then as a sign to anyone in church that I was the celebrant - that I was going to be celebrating the Lord's Supper and wanted them to come to the celebration, so whenever the pastor puts it on there will be a great celebration including singing, a procession/dance, and the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ for forgiveness and strength.   They were very happy with this explanation; an acolyte or assisting minister helps me on with the chasuble during the offering.  They like doing that,too.

And that was that.  Why would you blahsdiblasdyblasdi and take all kinds of time before wearing a chasuble?  I don't get that.  It's easy to explain, looks good on me (I can't speak for you) and has meaning to the people of God.  

I'm not exactly sure how that extrapolates to CoWo, but if it edifies the Body and leads people joyfully to receive the Word and Sacraments, why would you go blahsdiblashyblasdi for months and months?

Dave Benke

If I put on a chasuble at my church, a lot of folks would be very upset.  You had no doubt built up a lot of trust over the years, and so you could do it.  I couldn't.  

The folks who introduced cowo to the MS may have done a good job of introducing it to their congregations, but they obviously caused great offense in the synod.  I think everyone would agree that if I just start doing every adiaphoron I think is a good idea at my parish tomorrow, and then in a few months I'm talking to the district president about why my congregation wants me to resign, that would be lousy pastoral practice.  I would suggest that the same holds true if new practice causes uproar and division not in the local congregation but in the wider church.

Karl, I don't understand the big deal.  I have vested in alb, stole and chasuble from day 1 in my congregation.  It is not a matter for congregational vote, neither is every Sunday Eucharist.  I am the Pastor, I am charged with the care of the souls of the congregation.  What does it matter what I wear, or whether I genuflect after the Consecration, or anything else for that matter?  I don't get that at all...it's how i do my job.  When folks question, I simply explain what something is and that it helps me do my job better and that I appreciate their support of me being the best Pastor I can be to them.  I mean, in my 4 years in this old church, I vested day 1 in full vestments, announced that we would be celebrating the Eucharist each service in order that anyone desiring the Sacrament could receive and those who didn't feel the need could stay in the pew; I purchased a large wooden crucifix and replaced the wrought iron cross that was over the altar as a gift to the congregation, I purchased a pouring chalice (which they insisted I take reimbursement for), bought an ambry and placed it behind the free standing altar for the hosts not consumed and designated a refrigerator for the precious blood between Masses and taught the Altar Committee to rinse those dastardly plastic cups with the Blood of Christ remaining in a basin and return the water to the ground.....all that and more I am probably forgetting, without any problems at all.

I'm just saying......

Maybe my congregation has a history of arguing that doesn't exist at every congregation.  All I know is, when a group disbanded and handed me a check and said "Pastor, buy something for the church we need--" I bought a credence table and told the elders that we were going to stop consecrating 500 extra individual cups and 3000 extra hosts every week and then doing God knows what with the reliquiae, and I heard a lot of complaining.  I introduced chanting when I got there and I'm still hearing complaints. 

Theologically, I am kind of of the opinion that the pastor should have a great deal of say about adiaphora, particularly in the worship service, but that he is not the master of the church that gets to make those decisions unilaterally. 

But anyway, I hear both of you and appreciate the insight.  My point really was not so much about chasubles; it was about the way change ought to be introduced; do we agree that changes in the practice of the church should be done with sensitivity regarding the weak that it might offend?  For another thing, changing to singing a lot more of the kernlieder was not easy for some folks to deal with either; they were used to "creative worship".  That seemed like a necessary change to me, and I did it with little in the way of discussion, because it had to do with putting the Gospel into people's ears.

So if cowo is necessary, I can see dividing the synod over it.  If it's like deciding to wear a chasuble, and it causes offense and division, why do it?  It certainly gives the impression to many people that we are abandoning or despising Lutheranism.  Aren't the people who have those concerns--at worst--the weaker brothers whom we should not offend?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on January 31, 2011, 09:23:20 PM
Maybe it's just me but I haven't been to a CoWo service that hasn't felt like I'm being emotionally manipulated. When I was into that sort of thing, I just went with it. That was just the way it worked - it created a sense of "meaningfulness". In fact when I was in praise bands, it was a normal part of the plans for the set list and service. Now I find it difficult not to resent the blatant attempts to create a certain feeling within me which I'm supposed to mistake for an encounter with Jesus.

It's not just you, Sandra.  When the LCMS congregation I belonged to years ago went full-blown contemporary, it was ALL about emotional manipulation via entertainment.  As a pastoral aide (which was the new and improved terminology for what most of us refer to as "elder"), I sat in on meetings with the pastor, the "worship team," and the "drama team" often, and the sole focus was to create as dynamic a "worship experience" as possible, employing the most popular CCM songs, cool and relevant skits that would be humorous and entertaining, and messages that would grab people's attention and give them the tools for blessed living, all for the purpose of evoking an emotional response from the crowd.  It was a weekly performance to entertain the crowd, masked in the guise of "giving them Jesus."  In fact, the performance itself became for them the means of grace, as preaching the Word was replaced with messages to supplement the performance and the Sacrament of the Altar was just something added on.  The praise band was dynamite.  The music was performed exceedingly well, as there were many very talented musicians and singers there.  They performed well.  The crowd was pleased.  Thus, in their estimation, Jesus was delivered.  The proof was in the response.  Sometimes the crowd was led to tears; other times to laughter; always to some emotional response.  Hands waved, people clapped along and boogied in their seats as the songs were performed, people looked up to the rafters and pointed, often following the cue of the pastor, as if Jesus was up there - it was all very Pentecostal in nature.  And why shouldn't it have been?  The pastor and leaders from the worship and drama teams had learned it all from the Pentecostals.  

But, I know, this is all just a big fat straw man to many here.  Whatever.  I lived it.  It wasn't just a different "style" being employed, but a whole different theology.  As someone who was brought to Lutheranism at the age of 15, I recognized the different theology right away when our pastor began leading us away from the liturgy and toward full-blown contemporary worship.  It's the theology that used to drive the Protestant churches I attended, and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why Lutherans would be putting it into practice.  I had come to love the liturgy and the reverence and the Christ-centered, Cross-focused aspect of Lutheran preaching, teaching, and practice.  It was real.  It was consistent with what I read about worship in the Bible.  It had substance.  Our Lord was there!  To throw it all away to have a pop-rock concert every week was mind boggling to me.  Still is.

To the thread point:  What's wrong with CoWo?  It flows from a theology foreign to Lutheranism.  And if you say, "Well, not MY CoWo!," you're deceiving yourself.  The only reason you have CoWo is because those who went before you brought it in, and they brought it in from those who most definitely adhere to a theology foreign to ours.  I'm sure there are many who do their best to Lutheranize their CoWo, but that's kinda the point - if you have to work at Lutheranizing something else, you've entered foreign territory.  But, besides the fact that it flows from a theology foreign to Lutheranism, it doesn't last and it doesn't properly catechize.  It's superficial.  It's ever-changing, flowing with the tide of the contemporary culture from which it thrives.  It is a failed experiment.  Lutherans should know by now that it wasn't the answer to all their problems they thought it was going to be thirty years ago.  We've seen the results, some of us up close and personal, as we've watched family members we love dearly leave Lutheranism for the non-denom down the road with the bigger praise band and more comfortable seating.  Or, we still have family members who belong to LCMS congregations where CoWo is king and we lament the fact that they have such a profoundly wrong understanding of what Christianity is, having been taught for years that the sum and substance of their Christian faith is to be found in their feelings and emotions.  I have family members who have been going to a CoWo LCMS congregation for 15 years and when we have conversations about our Christian faith it is just like talking to a Pentecostal.  Just a couple of weeks ago, my uncle, who is one of those family members who has been attending that congregation for 15 years, argued with me about Christ's Presence in the Sacrament.  15 years in an LCMS congregation and he had no clue that Lutherans believed that the consecrated bread and wine is the actual Body and Blood of our Lord!  15 years!  But, that's what happens when you've been putting on a weekly show and using songs, skits, messages, and the like which all point to the Jesus "up there," who is my friend and life-coach and loves me because I can feel Him in my heart, etc.

But, enough.  I'm just pointing out bad examples of CoWo and using them as the standard to judge all CoWo and failing to see how some CoWo is good CoWo and other CoWo is bad CoWo and that there is also some medium CoWo that is sometimes good and sometimes bad . . . yeah, yeah, I know.  But, what I also know is from whence came CoWo into Lutheran circles and for what purpose, since, in the spirit of that old Barbara Mandrell song my mother used to love and sing all the time (Ugh!), "I was CoWo, when CoWo wasn't cool."    
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on January 31, 2011, 10:14:09 PM
I say
a) join Scott and me and just put on the chasuble, Karl. 
b) you're right - there is a difference between co/wo and the chasuble.  But
1) you're the one who made the analogy
2) sometimes the chasuble transition can be a lot more difficult than adding a praise song.

Just finished watching a portion of the old favorite movie "Hannibal" while waiting for wintry mix.  Excellent classical music/opera throughout - Goldberg Variations, a Dante libretto, wonderful, peaceful.  Very balanced, and non-manipulative of my emotions, as we in the music trade say "Apollonian" at the highest level,  even as I watched a dozen boars from Sardinia eat three people and Hannibal serve a guy a meal made of the guy's brains.   Tasteful in the extreme.  How gauche it would have been to listen to wild and pulsing rock music during the carnage.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on January 31, 2011, 10:42:29 PM
The point is about causing division.  Cowo has caused division.  For what good purpose?  Do folks in the LCMS really think that we should be allowed to do whatever we want in our own parishes, and if someone else in the synod is offended, it's their problem?  That's not how I read Romans 14 or 1 Cor 12.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: TravisW on January 31, 2011, 11:24:30 PM
ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Here we go again!!!!!!!!!!

You Missouri guys seem to be as obsessed with this as the ELCA folks are with "the issue" which was raised at the ELCA's 2009 CWA.

So once again, all of the music snobs will kvetch about modern sounding music. I will make my obligatory point about there being a big difference between throwing out the entire liturgy and with preserving the traditional liturgy, but using newer tunes and more modern instrumentation. Then someone else will make the point that some contemporary worship songs don't mention God, Jesus, or faith enough to suit them. Then someone else will point out that after an entire sermon about the concept of a Christian being "Born Again", only an idiot would fail to grasp that a song called "Born Again" was about the subject of the sermon, even if God and Jesus weren't mentioned enough in the song.

Then the usual suspects will post the usual links to the absolute worst examples of the use of Contemporary Christian Music that exist on YouTube as some sort of "proof" that all Contemporary Christian Music is the work of the devil. Then there will be some response links to good CCM videos on YouTube, but the music snobs will sneer at them.

Then we'll digress into arguing over using a pipe organ or an electronic organ, with the organ snobs insisting that any organ that uses chips or transistors is the devil's work, and if it was good enough for Bach, then that's the only acceptable instrument to use.

We won't see the contemporary worship music faction argue over whether a Stratocaster with single coils is better than a Les Paul with humbuckers, which is a shame, as I think that sort of digression would be fun. Nor will we see the contemporary worship music faction argue over Korg versus Roland keyboards.

I'll bet we could do this entire thread with nothing but links to each of our own earlier posts on this subject.



Simply put, the Stratocaster is designed better from a durability/repair/consistency standpoint.  The Les Paul can sound good (many do, some sound awful), but Gibson refuses to fix inherent durability problems, such as the eternally weak headstock and the crap-o-matic Kluson "vintage" tuners.  Oh, they fixed it in the 70's with a volute and Grover tuner, but current Gibson management cares so little about actual guitar players that they went back to the 50's design.  Stupid. 

I guess it's obvious that, as a former guitar repair guy, I have a bone to pick with Gibson. 

As far as how this relates to Contemporary Worship, I guess my main issue comes down to aesthetics.  Is the musical style throwing the entire liturgy off-course?  Granted, that can easily happen with older music as well, so that isn't necessarily inherent in the music.

My main issue with Contemporary Worship (the aforementioned aesthetic problem) tends to center around the tunes and the way the music mixes with the service.  I've been part of a CoWo band before, and a few things stuck out to me:

1.  I hate being in front.  It feels more like you're a performer than like you're a worshipper.
2.  Guitar solos.  There's no real purpose in a guitar solo in a church service (I'm talking about a sort of improvised "rock-style" guitar solo, not a guitar playing a melody line or the like).  This is coming from a guy who has played brazillions of guitar solos.
3.  Musical style.  I once likened Contemporary Worship music to the music from a Cable One commercial, or a million bank commercials from the 1980s. 

Now, I have seen contemporary music done incredibly well.  But, the main question I have is whether it's worth doing if you can't do it very well and there is something else that you CAN do well.  Most churches around here have some mix of traditional and contemporary worship, and a majority have the people who can pull off traditional worship pretty well.  So if you do traditional well, and contemporary not very well, why do the not-so-good one?  Of course, that sword cuts both ways.  If you can do co-wo well, and a lousy job at traditional, then I suppose it raises the same question.

Finally, I will fully admit that I really don't like the musical style of contemporary worship songs.  They don't rock enough to be good rock, they aren't catchy enough to be good pop...I guess to me it's kind of the musical equivalent to eating a microwaved T-bone steak.  Sure, it's technically steak...I guess...but I just don't get the appeal. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jonathan Priest on January 31, 2011, 11:27:27 PM
FWIW, I began wearing my chasuble on my first Sunday here in Glenwood. I was the first to do so, and there were 6 pastors before me.  Colorado ain't exactly high church country.  No one said anything, in part I think they were just happy to have a pastor.  Anyways, they still haven't said anything. Then again maybe I should preside naked and I see what happens. 

Also, having just brought contemporary music into our liturgy for the first time this past Sunday which is just guitar and drum based music to traditional hymns one thing really stood out to me: when compared with singing the traditional hymns via the organ CoWo style is so much easier to sing.  For many people I think it's that simple.  To be rather base, why struggle through a hymn when you can easily catch on to a song that has a 2,4 beat with the same lyrics? 

As a teen growing up in the Midwest, our newly called pastor was from the east coast, Massachusetts if I remember. I clearly noted on the very first Sunday he presided that he dressed different (cassock, surplus, stole, chasuble) than the previous pastor (alb, stole). No one ever seemed to care. At my current parish, I wear the alb, stole, chasuble. So far I have not had anyone ask me why I wear what I wear in our quarterly new member classes. They do ask me about why we change colors every now and then. I guess for most who catechize into the LCMS here in Brooklyn it's just not an issue. If it is an issue in a church, I'd wonder what the issue is behind the issue, as they say.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on January 31, 2011, 11:53:34 PM
My main issue with Contemporary Worship (the aforementioned aesthetic problem) tends to center around the tunes and the way the music mixes with the service.  I've been part of a CoWo band before, and a few things stuck out to me:

1.  I hate being in front.  It feels more like you're a performer than like you're a worshipper.
2.  Guitar solos.  There's no real purpose in a guitar solo in a church service (I'm talking about a sort of improvised "rock-style" guitar solo, not a guitar playing a melody line or the like).  This is coming from a guy who has played brazillions of guitar solos.
3.  Musical style.  I once likened Contemporary Worship music to the music from a Cable One commercial, or a million bank commercials from the 1980s. 


(1) The band in my church sits in front, off to one side and usually can't be seen by anyone in the congregation other than some in the front row.
(2) We've never had a guitar solo, though our newest guitarist lays a nice harmony descant above the melody sometimes, when the flute player isn't there.
(3) You can liken it to whatever you want. That doesn't mean that's an accurate or universal observation.

BTW, I agree with you about some of the Les Paul quality issues, but I've encountered some really shabby Fenders. More importantly, humbuckers just plain sound better than single coils. I say that as a player who has a single coil on his six-string, and a piezo in his 12.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 01, 2011, 02:28:55 AM
The point is about causing division.  Cowo has caused division.  For what good purpose?  Do folks in the LCMS really think that we should be allowed to do whatever we want in our own parishes, and if someone else in the synod is offended, it's their problem?  That's not how I read Romans 14 or 1 Cor 12.

Actually, CoWo didn't cause the division.  The reaction to CoWo caused the division - why was the reaction necessary is my question.  Why not put best construction on it, and look to the benefit, as we do with the various aspects of the liturgy (which regularly change)

Your words about denying the need to show why the specific form of your liturgy is "necessary" is the same concept.  You deny the standard you apply to others.  If you cannot prove it necessary, but only beneficial, it lowers your position to that which you oppose.  The same with the time argument- the catholic church pointed to hundreds of years of promoting indulgences, does that make it right?

Beneficial is not a bad thing, it is actually quite good.  But it is not "necessary"  Word and sacrament is. (nevermind that many liturgical churches won't touch the weekly Eucharist like they won't touch going with the chausable.)



Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastorfiene on February 01, 2011, 07:37:42 AM
The point is about causing division.  Cowo has caused division.  For what good purpose?  Do folks in the LCMS really think that we should be allowed to do whatever we want in our own parishes, and if someone else in the synod is offended, it's their problem?  That's not how I read Romans 14 or 1 Cor 12.

I'm just a bit confused with where you are going with all of this, are you saying that CoWo should not be used because it has caused division?  I think it could be argued that it has only caused division amongst certain groups in synod.  For example, in 2009, the year that I graduated from sem, we were told that the majority of calling congregations had some form of CoWo worship.  

The point is about causing division.  Cowo has caused division.  For what good purpose?  Do folks in the LCMS really think that we should be allowed to do whatever we want in our own parishes, and if someone else in the synod is offended, it's their problem?  That's not how I read Romans 14 or 1 Cor 12.

Actually, CoWo didn't cause the division.  The reaction to CoWo caused the division...

Eek.  I don't think we'll make much progress in unifying the synod if people's mentality is that, aside from everyone who disagrees with us, we're totally united.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Evangel on February 01, 2011, 08:48:37 AM
ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Here we go again!!!!!!!!!!

You Missouri guys seem to be as obsessed with this as the ELCA folks are with "the issue" which was raised at the ELCA's 2009 CWA.

So once again, all of the music snobs will kvetch about modern sounding music. I will make my obligatory point about there being a big difference between throwing out the entire liturgy and with preserving the traditional liturgy, but using newer tunes and more modern instrumentation. Then someone else will make the point that some contemporary worship songs don't mention God, Jesus, or faith enough to suit them. Then someone else will point out that after an entire sermon about the concept of a Christian being "Born Again", only an idiot would fail to grasp that a song called "Born Again" was about the subject of the sermon, even if God and Jesus weren't mentioned enough in the song.

Then the usual suspects will post the usual links to the absolute worst examples of the use of Contemporary Christian Music that exist on YouTube as some sort of "proof" that all Contemporary Christian Music is the work of the devil. Then there will be some response links to good CCM videos on YouTube, but the music snobs will sneer at them.

Then we'll digress into arguing over using a pipe organ or an electronic organ, with the organ snobs insisting that any organ that uses chips or transistors is the devil's work, and if it was good enough for Bach, then that's the only acceptable instrument to use.

We won't see the contemporary worship music faction argue over whether a Stratocaster with single coils is better than a Les Paul with humbuckers, which is a shame, as I think that sort of digression would be fun. Nor will we see the contemporary worship music faction argue over Korg versus Roland keyboards.

I'll bet we could do this entire thread with nothing but links to each of our own earlier posts on this subject.



Simply put, the Stratocaster is designed better from a durability/repair/consistency standpoint.  The Les Paul can sound good (many do, some sound awful), but Gibson refuses to fix inherent durability problems, such as the eternally weak headstock and the crap-o-matic Kluson "vintage" tuners.  Oh, they fixed it in the 70's with a volute and Grover tuner, but current Gibson management cares so little about actual guitar players that they went back to the 50's design.  Stupid. 

I guess it's obvious that, as a former guitar repair guy, I have a bone to pick with Gibson. 

As far as how this relates to Contemporary Worship, I guess my main issue comes down to aesthetics.  Is the musical style throwing the entire liturgy off-course?  Granted, that can easily happen with older music as well, so that isn't necessarily inherent in the music.

My main issue with Contemporary Worship (the aforementioned aesthetic problem) tends to center around the tunes and the way the music mixes with the service.  I've been part of a CoWo band before, and a few things stuck out to me:

1.  I hate being in front.  It feels more like you're a performer than like you're a worshipper.
2.  Guitar solos.  There's no real purpose in a guitar solo in a church service (I'm talking about a sort of improvised "rock-style" guitar solo, not a guitar playing a melody line or the like).  This is coming from a guy who has played brazillions of guitar solos.
3.  Musical style.  I once likened Contemporary Worship music to the music from a Cable One commercial, or a million bank commercials from the 1980s. 

Now, I have seen contemporary music done incredibly well.  But, the main question I have is whether it's worth doing if you can't do it very well and there is something else that you CAN do well.  Most churches around here have some mix of traditional and contemporary worship, and a majority have the people who can pull off traditional worship pretty well.  So if you do traditional well, and contemporary not very well, why do the not-so-good one?  Of course, that sword cuts both ways.  If you can do co-wo well, and a lousy job at traditional, then I suppose it raises the same question.

Finally, I will fully admit that I really don't like the musical style of contemporary worship songs.  They don't rock enough to be good rock, they aren't catchy enough to be good pop...I guess to me it's kind of the musical equivalent to eating a microwaved T-bone steak.  Sure, it's technically steak...I guess...but I just don't get the appeal. 

I like older Stratocasters with 3 position switches.  I especially like the way they sound when you balance the switch between the bridge and center position and get an out of phase sound.  ;)

Guitar solos - as long as they are kept short and placed correctly - are no different than a church organist riffing off a short freestyle interlude between the 2nd and 3rd verse of a hymn.  Better organists do this quite frequently.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2011, 09:34:43 AM
Tell me I can't have drums or electronic guitars or a rock-music flavor to a liturgical rite, and I will object strenuously.
Tell me I have to have drums or electronic guitars or a rock-music flavor to a liturgical rite, and I probably will never come.
Tell me there will never be "traditional" worship with Gregorian chants, chorales, solemn processions and Elizabethan-flavored language, and I will object strenuously.
Tell me I have to have only "traditional" worship with Gregorian chants, chorales, solemn processions and Elizabethan-flavored language, and I will probably go somewhere with more variety.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 01, 2011, 10:06:12 AM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastorfiene on February 01, 2011, 11:07:47 AM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke

If I remember correctly, I believe Harrison's statement was that he believes it's possible to unify 85% of the synod, not that we're currently 85% unified.  Nonetheless, the problem I see is not that a high percentage of the synod actively promotes non-Lutheran doctrine, but that a high percentage of the synod doesn't realize it's embraced non-Lutheran doctrine, in particular a non-Lutheran theology of conversion that is the driving force behind CW, as others have noted.  I believe that with study and prayer, Harrison's 85% number is perhaps attainable.  But I think the first step to getting near that number is probably not to tell people who say we're divided that we're not really divided.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 01, 2011, 11:24:39 AM
Pr. Feine,

I believe you are accurate in each point you raise in the above.  To begin with the assumption of unity is to already dismiss the concerns of those who raise doctrinal points that they hold need addressing. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 01, 2011, 12:20:06 PM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke

A round collared guy walks into a church.  Ouch, he says.  No, no, seriously.  A round collared guy from Fort Wayne walks into a church with a praise band.  He says, "You're fired; no more cowo.  And no more individual glasses for communion."  The church splits, the round collared guy is ejected, and Fort Wayne gets a reputation.

A Missouri Synod pastor walks into a congregation.  He convinces the congregation to get rid of the hymnal, Lutheran hymns, and the catechism, and gets a praise band, a sign that does not say "Lutheran in it", and an espresso machine.  Congregation loves it; church grows.  Many other Lutherans are scandalized by it, since the Gospel is being chucked and the forms that have nourished Lutherans always and everywhere are being dismissed with no explanation.  But one political group in synod says: don't impose on our liberty in Christ, we are free to do whatever we want!  And the offense that is caused is blamed on the ones who are offended, the round collared guys, and Fort Wayne, who are called "loveless." 

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother...For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.  By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died...So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.  Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."  Romans 14:13-15, 19-21
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 01, 2011, 12:44:16 PM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke

A round collared guy walks into a church.  Ouch, he says.  No, no, seriously.  A round collared guy from Fort Wayne walks into a church with a praise band.  He says, "You're fired; no more cowo.  And no more individual glasses for communion."  The church splits, the round collared guy is ejected, and Fort Wayne gets a reputation.

A Missouri Synod pastor walks into a congregation.  He convinces the congregation to get rid of the hymnal, Lutheran hymns, and the catechism, and gets a praise band, a sign that does not say "Lutheran in it", and an espresso machine.  Congregation loves it; church grows.  Many other Lutherans are scandalized by it, since the Gospel is being chucked and the forms that have nourished Lutherans always and everywhere are being dismissed with no explanation.  But one political group in synod says: don't impose on our liberty in Christ, we are free to do whatever we want!  And the offense that is caused is blamed on the ones who are offended, the round collared guys, and Fort Wayne, who are called "loveless." 

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother...For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.  By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died...So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.  Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."  Romans 14:13-15, 19-21


The ironic thing is you continually pass judgment on people.  Then you get upset when the standard used is applied to you.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 01, 2011, 12:50:57 PM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke

A round collared guy walks into a church.  Ouch, he says.  No, no, seriously.  A round collared guy from Fort Wayne walks into a church with a praise band.  He says, "You're fired; no more cowo.  And no more individual glasses for communion."  The church splits, the round collared guy is ejected, and Fort Wayne gets a reputation.

A Missouri Synod pastor walks into a congregation.  He convinces the congregation to get rid of the hymnal, Lutheran hymns, and the catechism, and gets a praise band, a sign that does not say "Lutheran in it", and an espresso machine.  Congregation loves it; church grows.  Many other Lutherans are scandalized by it, since the Gospel is being chucked and the forms that have nourished Lutherans always and everywhere are being dismissed with no explanation.  But one political group in synod says: don't impose on our liberty in Christ, we are free to do whatever we want!  And the offense that is caused is blamed on the ones who are offended, the round collared guys, and Fort Wayne, who are called "loveless." 

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother...For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.  By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died...So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.  Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."  Romans 14:13-15, 19-21
One key difference between the Round Collar and the Missouri Synod pastor in your examples.  The Round Collar walks in and apparently simply lays down the law - no discussion - this is the way it will be.  The Missouri Synod pastor walks in and convinces the congregation to do certain things.  It is important to do the right things, but it can also be important to go about doing the right thing in the right way.  Could Rev. Round Collar have worked with the congregation and educated them away from the praise band, etc.?  (Where in the Confessions does it forbid individual glasses for communion?)  Perhaps.  It certainly would have taken longer and more work, but it also may not have split the congregation - or at least resulted in fewer losses.

One other difference.  In the case of Rev. Round Collar, the difficulties in the congregation arose internally, per your story from the pastors actions.  In the case of Rev. Missouri Synod Pastor, the problem came from outsiders who inserted themselves into the actions of the congregation.  Perhaps they were justified, but the trouble did not begin internally - per your story.

I am not sure how the Romans passage applies.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 01, 2011, 01:07:17 PM
Because non-round collared guy caused offense within the synod.  He introduced his changes well in the congregation, but did not introduce them to his brothers in the synod well.  And then the argument is; I can do whatever I want in my congregation, and you shouldn't get offended by it.  Romans 14 applies, I think, to that mentality, which we have seen in this thread.

IE if you get offended by the introduction of cowo, that's your problem, because you are loveless and demand uniformity.  Well, by the same logic, the round collared pastor could claim the same thing.  Since it is an adiaphoron whether we do cowo or liturgy, and since having individual cups or not having them is a matter of freedom, it's your problem if you get offended.  Besides, 49.5 percent didn't get offended--the problems didn't come from the change, but from the people who took offense.

Those are the exact arguments we've heard so far.  But we would never make those arguments in a congregation.  And I'm saying Christian love and forbearance should not extend only as far as your congregation, but to all the brothers with whom you are in fellowship.

Folks in synod get really upset that a pastor might be denied communion.  Well, why do you get mad at a pastor for not treating you like a brother when for all intents and purposes you've written him off as a brother?  You've said, "You're offended by my practice?  Too bad; you're a Pharisee and I'm trying to reach the lost.  If it weren't for people like you in the synod, we'd have no divisions." 

I can agree completely that some of the "confessional party" are and have been loveless.  I will own and confess that I have been, and I have written guys off because they have tossed out things that I consider crucial to the teaching of God's Word in its purity--and by writing people off I have not treated them like brothers or borne with them in love.  I confess. 

But so have those of you who are pro cowo.  It was not done with concern for the rest of the brothers in the synod, and then when people complained it was used as an excuse to try to quash and silence those people politically, to put a black mark on Fort Wayne, and so on. 

So I love you, and I won't automatically reject you as a heretic or subLutheran just because you do cowo.  I repent of my sins.  Please consider that when others--lay or clergy--are gravely offended by the loss of Lutheran hymns and liturgy or what they consider to be inappropriate music--that you might have brushed them off and told them by your actions that you have no love for them. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 01, 2011, 01:26:45 PM
Scott's got a good point.  The differential to me is between "unity" and "uniformity."  They don't have uniformity in the 400 parish WELS.  In 6000 parish Missouri, it's a fantasy.  And unity on the core doctrines of the faith in Missouri is evident to an extraordinary degree among reasonably sized denominations.  The stat used by Pr. Harrison is 85%.  On core doctrines that's up in the mid90s.  It seems to me that the degree of differentiation between the chasublers and the praise-bander drives some of the agita in the system. 

Karl evidences his frustration and "blames" the CoWo crew for initiating before uniformity had been achieved.  From the other side the characterizations of round collared highboys sitting by themselves to avoid being stained by anyone not like them is the antithesis.   The issue is stigmatized from both sides, in my opinion, with again the differential that to a greater degree the chasublers want a lockstep world, while the praise-banders just want not to be bothered by the chasublers.  As Paul Sauer noted long ago, out here we are the chasublers, but the people we don't want to be bothered by are locksteppers.

Good dialog, and a long winter, will solve all these things.  Or ice them up anyway.

Dave Benke

A round collared guy walks into a church.  Ouch, he says.  No, no, seriously.  A round collared guy from Fort Wayne walks into a church with a praise band.  He says, "You're fired; no more cowo.  And no more individual glasses for communion."  The church splits, the round collared guy is ejected, and Fort Wayne gets a reputation.

A Missouri Synod pastor walks into a congregation.  He convinces the congregation to get rid of the hymnal, Lutheran hymns, and the catechism, and gets a praise band, a sign that does not say "Lutheran in it", and an espresso machine.  Congregation loves it; church grows.  Many other Lutherans are scandalized by it, since the Gospel is being chucked and the forms that have nourished Lutherans always and everywhere are being dismissed with no explanation.  But one political group in synod says: don't impose on our liberty in Christ, we are free to do whatever we want!  And the offense that is caused is blamed on the ones who are offended, the round collared guys, and Fort Wayne, who are called "loveless." 

"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother...For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.  By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died...So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.  Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble."  Romans 14:13-15, 19-21


The ironic thing is you continually pass judgment on people.  Then you get upset when the standard used is applied to you.



If you're referring to the quote about the Gospel being chucked, J and S, I'm not intending to say that all cowo pastors don't preach the Gospel.  You and I have already found, I think, mutual joy in the fact that you and I both believe that what is central to being a Lutheran is the doctrine of justification.  So I trust that you preach the Gospel clearly and faithfully to the best of your ability, just like I do.

What I was intending to say (and I'm sorry for not saying it more clearly), is that in tossing out Lutheran hymns and liturgy we are tossing out things that should not be thrown out because they proclaim the Gospel.  They have nourished our church for a long time.  When they get tossed, the Gospel may still be preached from the pulpit, but we're losing some gems in which the Gospel is conveyed.  I don't think that should be done.  I could see if you wanted to add some other things that also proclaim the Gospel well, but I can't see ever completely throwing out the things in which our fathers in the faith were given the rich Gospel.  When Luther reformed the liturgy, he threw out traditions that conflicted with the Gospel.  I don't think he ever said, "This hymn that clearly proclaims the Gospel is too old to be relevant, so we're going to get rid of it."  The core hymns that have been given to us are richer expressions of the Gospel than what they are being replaced with.  And even if they weren't, you still shouldn't throw them out entirely; you should keep teaching them because they still proclaim the Gospel.

Anyway, about me passing judgment: I have, and where I have done so lovelessly or wrongly I ask your forgiveness and promise you that I will try to do better.  As far as others passing judgment on me, I try not to care, because I frequently deserve it.  I do care about unjust judgments on groups or institutions in the Church that are working to proclaim the Gospel in truth and purity, as I believe that Fort Wayne does.  It is unjust for Fort Wayne to be condemned because it has graduated some pastors who didn't have sufficient patience and love for their congregations, when those who criticize Fort Wayne for this are often the same people who introduced massive changes to Lutheran piety and church practice, and largely wrote off those who were offended by this (many of whom were lifelong Lutheran laymen who were not at all political)--as the ones who were really the problem.  Writing off those who are supposed to be your brothers and letting them know that you will do what you want regardless of what they say is its own form of excommunication.  It's just an excommunication by which you don't look intolerant or mean.  You have withdrawn your heart from your brother, who is injured.  But that is a form of lovelessness that does not openly appear to be cruel, and so it is easy to get away with.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 01, 2011, 02:46:22 PM
Brother Hess,

I'm not sure where to start, perhaps clearing up a few misconceptions.  I am not a devoted practitioner of Contemporary Worship.  In one sense what we do at the church I pastor is contemporary worship because it is happening now, contemporaniously, and my point in saying that is that the very term Contemporary Worship, CoWo, CW or whatever is quite vague unless it is clearly defined, preferably with a list of practices that are objectionable.  That is why I started this thread, to see if we could perceive just what it is about what some people are calling CoWo that is objectionable and that be discussed, rather than throwing around a term that different people use in different ways.

As I have stated (or at least I think I stated, I have had trouble with getting a couple of replies posted lately) at the church I pastor we use a contemporary hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.  I call it contemporary because it is the most recent hymnal produced by the LCMS Commission on Worship and published by CPH.  It also has some contemporary hymns in it - even hymns written in the last couple of decades.  We also use resources from CPH's Creative Worship and occasionally hymns from the LCMS Hymn Book All God's People Sing and very occasionally hymns from other sources that I find to be useful and not objectionable.  If that makes me a devotee of the kind of Contemporary Worship that you see as discarding the heart and soul of Lutheran piety, I am sorry but that is where I am.

I have run into those who would say that only those songs and those forms of worship that are often called Contemporary Worship should be used and that anything that is older or more traditional should be discarded.  I have also run into those who would say that anything not in the hymnal (sometimes by preference or even demand The Lutheran Hymnal, nothing newer) should never be used, and make sure you follow all the rubrics to the letter.  I disagree with both.

What we do in worship, and how we do it matters, and it is possible to deny by the worship matterials used the Gospel that as Lutherans we are to proclaim.  But it is also possible to enshrine in musts and must nots our own likes, tastes and preferences.  (Both CoWo and Traditional can be guilty of this.)

As to the giving and taking of offense, that can go both ways.  Some are indifferent to the effect their decisions have on others, while some others are quick to take offense and anyone who does things differently than how they think it should be done, and quick to demand that everyone do it their way.  What should we do, look around for the congregation in each circuit that seems to be most traditional in their worship practices and demand that all the other congregations do their worship that way lest that congregation be offended?  Go around to the pastors in neighboring congregations and say to them that either they must convince me that their worship practices are better than mine or do it my way?

The whole application of the passages in Romans and 1 Corintihians on the giving and taking offense probably needs to be studied in greater depth because I think that they are often misapplies to mean basically, if I don't like what you are doing, stop it because you are offending me.

I don't think that we are actually that far apart, but you seem to have quite rigid standards of what may and may not be done based on whether it can be called Contemporary Worship or Traditional Lutheran.  I think that a better standard is not to look at the time stamp but on what it says about the word of God and the Gospel and how it affects the people.  There are many things out there being done under the banner of Contemporary Worship that should not be done in a Lutheran (or actually in any) Church.  But the problem is not that they are Contemporary Worship.  The problem is that they deny or side step Law and Gospel.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 01, 2011, 03:03:34 PM
Of course, there are more than two groups in the Synod, I for example wear a tab collar and use CoWo music, have a weekly eucharist, have an incredible praise band (which acts as a cantor and is on the side - not the front) and do DS IV with some changes... (like going back to quick and the dead in the creed -)

As to chucking the gospel, it is one of the reasons I put my sermons up on my blog - if I preach something questionable, one of the readers asks a question...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 01, 2011, 03:47:40 PM
The basic way we Missourians on this board are behaving in 2011 to date should be the model for the Koinonia Project, in my opinion.  I am going to enter a motion at the COP meeting requiring the Praesidium of the Missouri Synod to read the entire corpus alpbensus for elucidation and guidance. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 01, 2011, 04:15:40 PM
Pastor Hess writes:
Because non-round collared guy caused offense within the synod.  He introduced his changes well in the congregation, but did not introduce them to his brothers in the synod well. 

I comment:
Whoa! (Says this outsider.) So before a guy institutes "changes" he feels will help his parish he has to check them all out with the brothers in the synod? How does that work? I want to bring in a set of musicians - drums, guitar, bass, trumpet and euphonium - for Easter and I need to go over it with the guys at the Winkel, lest one of them have a problem with a euphonium?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 01, 2011, 05:08:25 PM
Dan, I think I agree with everything you've written.  There is quite a bit of ambiguity in the term "contemporary worship", but I don't know how to get around it so I keep using the term.  I'm not so rigid that I think every praise song, everything not in a hymnal, should be forbidden.  I also don't think just because some people get upset about something that means we aren't acting in Christian love; everyone has a responsibility not only not to give offense but not to make division where there needn't be any. 

On the other hand, I don't think that the loss of Lutheran core hymnody and the western liturgy is good for the Synod, because it means disconnection from the piety that has been the primary vehicle for imparting "lived doctrine" to Lutherans for centuries.  Which type of music ought to be used is something there's a little more give on, for me, although I think we need to think carefully about what musical forms are really compatible with teaching that Jesus is present in the Divine Service and that we are entering into the heavenly sanctuary with the whole company of heaven. 

I also don't think we need to run it by the circuit or the district every time we do something different in the worship service.  However, when a significant number of brothers are concerned, I think it illustrates the poverty in our understanding of what it means to be Christ's body.  We are shaped by the individualistic ethos of our society in that respect, all of us. 

The general principle that I think would help the synod greatly is this.  We are free in Christ, and yet we need to bear with one another, and we want to prevent unnecessary division.  For the sake of preventing division over personalities and tastes, it would be good if we could, as a Synod, arrive at  parameters for worship within which we all agree to stay.  The idea that we should have different "flavors" of LCMS, so that if you don't like this, you can find a church that does what you like, I think is contrary to the kind of unity we want to preserve.  It leads to the sort of thing that causes great offense that we've seen, where one church will plant a "satellite church" next door to another LCMS congregation in another circuit or even another district, and we end up treating one another as competitors. 

What I think many of us would agree on is that it would be good if your membership in a church was  not a matter of shopping around for the kind of stuff you like.  That a family or a person would recognize that some pastors have more gifts than others, and some congregations are better at some things than others, but what it is important is that we are one in Christ, one in His teaching, all members of His body.  And so if there are two LCMS congregations in a given town, it would be better if  our people knew that although one congregation might have a better youth group, and the other's pastor was a better preacher, and one of them sang more hymns that you like, you know that they confess the same thing, and you probably would want to choose the closest one in normal circumstances.  (Of course, a million mitigating factors could be brought up).  People would know that although no two congregations are exactly alike, all LCMS congregations believe the same things, stand for the same things, and on matters of freedom there is sufficient uniformity to forestall divisions over them.  Because it is often the case that God may want to have you as a member of a congregation where you don't think the youth group or the pastor is as good as the one down the street.  But we have a situation now where people drive across town or several towns to get to the church that has liturgy, or that has a good band.  Luther seems to have been of the opinion that that level of variety was detrimental to the church.  Which is why for a long, long time Lutheran churches were expected to  abide by church orders--not to burden consciences, as though these things were the necessary worship of God, but for the sake of concord among the churches.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 03, 2011, 12:42:31 PM
The non-denominational mega church down the street does CoWo better than any LCMS congregation.  What are the "best practices" for attracting disillusioned non-denominational church members who may be visiting an LCMS church?  If CoWo is one way, then how effective is it as an evangelizing tool.

What are non-denominational laymen looking for.  Do they expect CoWo.  Do they expect an LCMS church to have the same look and feel as the church that they are considering leaving.  Are they looking for differences, or similarities.  Are they shocked or pleasantly surprised at what they find.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 03, 2011, 12:48:13 PM
The non-denominational mega church down the street does CoWo better than any LCMS congregation.  What are the "best practices" for attracting disillusioned non-denominational church members who may be visiting an LCMS church?  If CoWo is one way, then how effective is it as an evangelizing tool

Yeah, I'm certain that they do sound amplification better too.  Should we give that up?

Perhaps the local Roman Catholic church distributes the Eucharist with more ceremony.  Should we give that up?

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 03, 2011, 01:03:04 PM
The non-denominational mega church down the street does CoWo better than any LCMS congregation.  What are the "best practices" for attracting disillusioned non-denominational church members who may be visiting an LCMS church?  If CoWo is one way, then how effective is it as an evangelizing tool

Yeah, I'm certain that they do sound amplification better too.  Should we give that up?

Perhaps the local Roman Catholic church distributes the Eucharist with more ceremony.  Should we give that up?

Mike

Mike,

Your response is not helpful, nor does it address my concerns.  Can anyone other than Mike provide a thoughtful response.  Thank you.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 01:37:33 PM
The non-denominational mega church down the street does CoWo better than any LCMS congregation.  What are the "best practices" for attracting disillusioned non-denominational church members who may be visiting an LCMS church?  If CoWo is one way, then how effective is it as an evangelizing tool.

What are non-denominational laymen looking for.  Do they expect CoWo.  Do they expect an LCMS church to have the same look and feel as the church that they are considering leaving.  Are they looking for differences, or similarities.  Are they shocked or pleasantly surprised at what they find.

For the 347th time, there's a world of difference between the so-called "contemporary worship" and using contemporary music within a liturgical music setting. There is a range, a spectrum, running from mounting a slick, show-biz spectacular "Jesus Show" for an audience to passively watch, and maybe sing along if they want to on one extreme and a mega-liturgical high mass with all the smells and bells, music accompanied by a pipe organ, and no hymns that weren't originally in German and are older than the end of the 18th century, and any and all conceivable points in between.

So, what to disillusioned non-denominational church members want? It depends. Ask 20 of them and you'll get 30 different answers.

If they are disillusioned, then they probably want what they aren't getting from their non-denominational church. Maybe they totally love the Sunday morning "worship" shows, but they miss congregational interaction and ministry, pot-luck suppers, and other such aspects of congregational life. Maybe the really love the music, but wish that there was more congregation/worship leader-pastor interaction, as in liturgy. Maybe they'd like the sort of blended service I've been wasting my efforts typing about because so few in here acknowledges that middle-ground alternative as worth considering.

Maybe they suspect, based on old experiences, that liturgical worship means "dirgical" worship, with no joy, no enthusiasm, only slow tempo hymns and other singing, and Scripture readings and sermons delivered in a dull, droning monotone. That might not describe your church's worship services, but there's an excellent chance that it is a correct description of what those who've never been to your church thinks your services are like. You have to decide whether it's more important to protest that description as not applying to your church and leave it go at that, or to take action to let those who hold that mistaken perception learn the truth.

Asking if they are "shocked or pleasantly surprised at what they find" is putting the cart before the horse. You have to give people some idea of what to expect before they'll even venture through your doors. I'll wager that most people would be pleasantly surprised by what they find when they visit. But the people who most need to visit aren't likely to just wander in off the street some Sunday if they're accustomed to a non-denominational mega church. If they're attending such a church, and are disillusioned, odds are that they know something is missing, but they can't quite articulate what it is.

Whatever you do, you have to do what you do well. God gave your congregation people with talents, so use what He gave you. If you have people who can play musical instruments, recruit them to use their talents in worship. You recruit volunteers to sing in the choir, right? Do the same with musicians.

Don't chase away your existing members by subjecting them to change, especially not Lutherans. Accepting change isn't part of Lutheran DNA. But consider how many people within close enough geographic proximity to your church that they could choose your church, but they have to work Sunday mornings. In many parts of the country, that's an ever increasing number of people. You could accomplish two things with one extra worship service by adding a liturgical worship service that uses contemporary sounding music (either modern CCM songs that pass lyrical judgement or using alternate instruments for accompaniment of older songs) at a time when people who have to work Sunday morning could attend.

If someone kvetches about the newer songs not having the theological richness or Lutheran traditional understanding as the dusty old stuff in the official hymnals, ask them how much "theological richness or Lutheran traditional understanding" does anyone get out of hymns that are sung in a place where they are not? Isn't it better that someone who doesn't go to church at all, or who goes to a church where the Gospel is wrongly preached at least gets to hear scriptures and sermons about Law and Gospel even if they don't also get the dusty old hymns?

But whatever you do, get it out of your mind that there are only two alternatives, Contemporary Worship (whoever coined the term "CoWo" as an abbreviation deserves 39 lashes!) and traditional worship. That is wrong. Those aren't polar, either/or choices. You can synthesize elements from both as needed in order to reach more people with God's Word.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 03, 2011, 02:16:57 PM
This has been pointed out before.  One danger of trying to emulate non-denominational mega church worship, is that 1) it is very difficult for a typical Lutheran congregation to do that sucessfully - lack of resources, differences in church culture, etc. and 2) one can end up simply teacher the people to look for and enjoy non-denominational mega church worship and eventually they will go find where it is done really well and that will rarely be in a Lutheran Church.

Especially if we want to reach out to disillusioned former non-denominational mega church people what they are looking for is not more of the same - otherwise they would not be disillusioned.  We may need to make an effort to make what can do really well accessible to those who did not grow up with it.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 02:41:52 PM
Asking if they are "shocked or pleasantly surprised at what they find" is putting the cart before the horse. You have to give people some idea of what to expect before they'll even venture through your doors. I'll wager that most people would be pleasantly surprised by what they find when they visit. But the people who most need to visit aren't likely to just wander in off the street some Sunday if they're accustomed to a non-denominational mega church. If they're attending such a church, and are disillusioned, odds are that they know something is missing, but they can't quite articulate what it is.

I agree, people aren't just going to walk in.  So you can try to get them to come in by offering a different musical style, or by offering a service more likely to appeal to American spirituality but minus the wealth of Gospel that used to characterize Lutheran worship.  

Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs.  And you could also diligently instruct people about the duties of their vocation, as both the epistles and the small catechism do.  And you could focus on having the pastor spending more time as a cure of souls and less time as a marketing guy.  And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.  And if the living billboards don't catch people, their invitations and prayers and gracious speaking of the Gospel--which they have learned to speak not only from sermons but also from the catechism and the hymns of the church--those might catch them instead.  
Quote
If someone kvetches about the newer songs not having the theological richness or Lutheran traditional understanding as the dusty old stuff in the official hymnals, ask them how much "theological richness or Lutheran traditional understanding" does anyone get out of hymns that are sung in a place where they are not? Isn't it better that someone who doesn't go to church at all, or who goes to a church where the Gospel is wrongly preached at least gets to hear scriptures and sermons about Law and Gospel even if they don't also get the dusty old hymns?

The dusty old stuff in the hymnals--assuming we are talking about the good dusty old stuff instead of the mediocre dusty old stuff--if they had been used and taught instead of allowed to gather dust, might have provided an alternative to this crappy dichotomy you've given here.  The answer to your question is that Jesus doesn't desire either that people not come to church at all OR that they go to a church where His word is partly falsified.  He wants all people to be saved, and He wants all of His Word and only His Word preached to the people that come.  If the beautiful, precious Gospel of God that is in the Lutheran hymns that are being allowed to die was not despised as an impediment to the growth of the church, maybe we wouldn't see ourselves as being forced to choose the lesser of two sins.  The Gospel in Lutheran hymns is not an impediment to the growth of the Church.  It is an impediment to our fleshly way of trying to grow the Church.  It is a stumbling block, but it is also the ONLY way the church grows.  So when I kvetch, as I do, about a "lack of theological richness" or " a lack of traditional Lutheran understanding," I'm kvetching about a lack of the Gospel, a lack of Christ, not a lack of knowing which fork to use or a lack of knowing stuff that makes you look smart at a bar with MDIVs but which can't save your soul.  

If you want to sing a fluffy praise song or a fluffy old favorite hymn now and then, have at it.  I do it here.  But we are not required to reduce the Gospel in worship services in order to fill the church.  The Gospel, and only the Gospel, can make the church grow.  Nourish God's flock properly, and God will use His royal priests to advertise the congregation.  Use human methods to entice carnal men to come to church, and God's holy people will be spiritually emaciated and unable to do their holy work of "declaring the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light," by their sacrificial work in their daily callings and also with their gracious speaking of the Gospel to their neighbors.  

We make this entirely too difficult.  Give the people as much Gospel as possible and teach them all of God's word.  Focus on that, and focus on the people doing the good works that are fitting for God's holy people.  There's a lifetime of work there without burning up all kinds of energy trying to figure out whether people are more likely to want to come to a country music service or a punk rock service, or how foamy to make their cappucinos when they do come.

And George, I know you're going to get mad, but I love you and appreciate your Luther-like unwillingness to suffer fools gladly.  Even if you don't love me back.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 02:55:44 PM
Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

Thy strong Word BESPEAKS us righteous,
Bright with Thine own holiness.
Glorious now, we press toward glory
And our lives our hopes confess.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Praise to Thee who Light dost send.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Alleluia without end!

Or what our lives are called to be than this:

Give us lips to sing Thy glory,
Tongues Thy mercies to proclaim,
Throats that shout the hope that fills us,
Mouths to speak Thy holy name.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
May the Light which Thou dost send
Fill our songs with Alleluias,
Alleluias without end!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 03, 2011, 03:02:08 PM
George wrote:

"For the 347th time, there's a world of difference between the so-called "contemporary worship" and using contemporary music within a liturgical music setting."

If you refer to the LCMS as "LC-MS," then I can note contemporary worship as "CoWo." ;D

I don't think anyone within the LCMS cares if "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" is played by the organ or only by a couple of guitarist and a keyboardist.  When LCMS Lutherans debate contemporary worship, they define the term to mean this kind of (non-liturgical) music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiJGIz9udKo

Now this is the kind of non-denominational church that is luring members away from traditional churches such as the LCMS (and I would suspect from the ELCA as well).  I have heard evangelicals call the LCMS laymen the "frozen chosen."  Look at the enthusiastic young people moving around in the video.  Observe the large crowd.  Yes, the video is an extreme example of CoWo.  But that does not change the fact that the LCMS wants to emulate such a church.

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

The ELCA may be different, but......within the LCMS, to address the subject of CoWo without discussing it as a tool of the Church Growth Movement is a red herring.  What is the best way to market the LCMS to non-denominationals.  Which parts of the CGM within the LCMS should be kept, which should be modified, and which should be abandoned.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 03:08:18 PM
Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. 

Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

It's pretty clear that all three of you are only concerned with those already in your pews and not with getting new people to "Come and See".

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 03, 2011, 03:13:11 PM
Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

Thy strong Word BESPEAKS us righteous,
Bright with Thine own holiness.
Glorious now, we press toward glory
And our lives our hopes confess.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Praise to Thee who Light dost send.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Alleluia without end!

Or what our lives are called to be than this:

Give us lips to sing Thy glory,
Tongues Thy mercies to proclaim,
Throats that shout the hope that fills us,
Mouths to speak Thy holy name.
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
May the Light which Thou dost send
Fill our songs with Alleluias,
Alleluias without end!

Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this?

Actually, I hope so. Even though the Cross is obliquely mentioned, I tend to agree with Pr. Mark Preus that this hymn does not teach that we are bespoken righteous only by what Christ did for us in His life, death, and resurrection.

It's a good strong barnburner of a hymn, but I don't think it hefty enough to bear the weight of the Hymn of the Day.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 03:14:01 PM
Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. 

Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

It's pretty clear that all three of you are only concerned with those already in your pews and not with getting new people to "Come and See".



Not at all.  I just want people to come and see Jesus. 

And I want them to come and see Jesus because someone who came and saw Jesus at my congregation went out and invited someone else to come and see Jesus.  After all, that's what happened in John's Gospel with Nathanael and with the woman at the well, and in neither case did people just come because they heard about music they liked.  In both cases they were invited by another human being who had been in Jesus' presence to come see Jesus--sans any kind of marketing.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 03, 2011, 03:18:09 PM
Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. 

Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

It's pretty clear that all three of you are only concerned with those already in your pews and not with getting new people to "Come and See".



Not at all.  I just want people to come and see Jesus. 

Yeah, me too.

That's why I don't particularly care for "Thy Strong Word".

After all, if that is truly what you want, then this song should do fine, eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D_80GhyrigLs&sa=U&ei=CQ1LTZrSNIT48Aar_JGcDg&ved=0CBUQtwIwAA&usg=AFQjCNGDx446bhFbAFAYZzsl3r98fhfaEg

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 03:28:31 PM
Now, now, Mike.  I love Pr. Preus a great deal and respect his hymnody immensely.  But on this one, he's wrong.  It's a GREAT hymn; one of the greatest written in the 20th century.  It proclaims the wisdom of the Cross much as Paul does in 1 Cor. 1 and 2.  It doesn't explicate it; it just announces it.  From the Cross God's wisdom shining / breaketh forth in conquering might.  From the weakness of the Cross, God's wisdom conquers, bespeaking righteous by His strong Word!

George, did you not hear Pr. Hess speak of how the Holy Spirit at work through the royal priesthood in their vocations would be summoning those yet to be converted to come and taste the gifts He has for them? 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 03, 2011, 03:46:34 PM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes:
After all, if that is truly what you want, then this song should do fine, eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D_80GhyrigLs&sa=U&ei=CQ1LTZrSNIT48Aar_JGcDg&ved=0CBUQtwIwAA&usg=AFQjCNGDx446bhFbAFAYZzsl3r98fhfaEg

I comment:
Well, that's not all I want, but I can't see anything - repeat anything - wrong with the Southern Plainsmen "anthem." And the harmony is pretty good, too.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 03:47:22 PM
Not at all.  I just want people to come and see Jesus. 

And I want them to come and see Jesus because someone who came and saw Jesus at my congregation went out and invited someone else to come and see Jesus.  After all, that's what happened in John's Gospel with Nathanael and with the woman at the well, and in neither case did people just come because they heard about music they liked.  In both cases they were invited by another human being who had been in Jesus' presence to come see Jesus--sans any kind of marketing.

So you'll just sit back and do nothing other than to hope that maybe someone in your congregation might maybe someday invite someone. And for all the people out there who aren't lucky enough to have members of your congregations as friends, to hell with them, right? Who needs strangers cluttering the pews, right? As long as the only people invited to your church are invited by members, you'll assured none of the "wrong" kind of people will be invited, right? Like the way all-gentile country clubs keep out the Jews, by making membership "by invitation only".

George, did you not hear Pr. Hess speak of how the Holy Spirit at work through the royal priesthood in their vocations would be summoning those yet to be converted to come and taste the gifts He has for them?  

I heard it. Doesn't mean I understood it or agreed with it. In 59 years wandering this planet, I haven't seen it with my own eyeballs yet.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 03, 2011, 04:04:09 PM
Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. 

Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

It's pretty clear that all three of you are only concerned with those already in your pews and not with getting new people to "Come and See".



Wrong again, George.  What you have written is not helpful, nor does it address my concerns.  Would someone other than George like to make a thoughtful contribution.  ;D
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 04:11:53 PM
George,

I am one such.  Two catholic boys witnessed their faith to me while I was sitting beside them at a ball game...it started things rolling and by the time it was done, I was baptized into Christ, and within a year and a half confirmed as a Lutheran.  I've got folks here in my Church today whom a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker invited to come with them, and they went from heathen to baptized child of God.  It does happen.  And it is the most natural way in the world for the Church to work as Christ's net in this world.  "Come and see!"
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 04:16:43 PM
Another problem I have with "CoWo" is that it first seeks out to appeal to the audience. What we want, what we like, what will attract visitors, (supposedly) keep the young people coming (at least until they graduate), what will show the church's/planner's/musicians' creativity etc. It comes from the perspective of making itself appealing. I put "CoWo" in quotes because this applies to blues/jazz/polka whatever services, and it can even apply to some traditional/liturgical services as well.

"I like it," is the biggest problem I have with ANY format of the service. When there are as many vested men standing around in the chancel as there are people in the pews, I have to wonder if things are being done for the sake of delivering the Gospel to the people or because the leadership likes all the pomp.

It's not about what you or I like, it's about delivering the Gospel to those given to receive it in the best way possible. I believe the traditional liturgy is the best, most direct way to do that with the least distractions. I am open to being convinced otherwise, but it's going to take a lot of convincing. :)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2011, 04:34:29 PM
My first response to your concern, Drive-by, has to do with the average age of a Lutheran in worship.  When I've spoken with folks on the topic, they've tended to be people in their 50s, 60s or 70s who have watched their children and grandchildren leave for those non-denominational "Church Growth" churches.  So the predominant concern is not, as has been mentioned here, "outreach" to those who don't know Jesus.  Instead it's a family concern, "inreach," if you will.  Why do my kids go to some other church?  

And the kids say, "come on over, dad, and see how my kids love it here.  We can understand the message, the people dress casual, the songs are easy to follow, and we feel better when we leave.  And the kids' minister knows what it's like to raise a family, and they're younger than St. John Gaspump.  And they have all these community service opportunities.  It's like in technicolor, and St. John's feels like it's black and white."  And dad goes, and is impressed, and can't get the kids to come back, so he goes to the board of elders and says, "We have to loosen it up here."  And the pastor puts the CPH inserts with little antiphonal readings in, but nobody's buying that as making any difference, so it ends up loosening up.  

And thus the Dreaded Church Growth Movement in the LC(insert hyphen)MS is born, and born again.  If as is widely noted, 70% of the worshipers in our denomination are in 25-30% of the parishes on a Sunday, and the great majority of those parishes have some form of blended worship, and in the 40% of the parishes that are marginal at best in terms of membership and pastoral compensation the overwhelming majority are "by the book only," then the internal stats are speaking as well.

People are voting with their feet.   Yes, there is a portion of the "younger generation" that enjoys the quieter more meditative and traditional.  But way, way, way more people are leaving the LC(hypen)MS for non-denoms than Roman Catholicism.   Those of us doing contextual evangelical and catholic worship and practice are attempting to give away none of the dynamics of the Divine nature of the Divine Service while utilizing resoures that "speak" to diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Hopefully, that is a more appropriately agitative answer than George's.  If we're going to have agitation, let it be appropriate.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 04:41:05 PM
George,

I am one such.  Two catholic boys witnessed their faith to me while I was sitting beside them at a ball game...it started things rolling and by the time it was done, I was baptized into Christ, and within a year and a half confirmed as a Lutheran.  I've got folks here in my Church today whom a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker invited to come with them, and they went from heathen to baptized child of God.  It does happen.  And it is the most natural way in the world for the Church to work as Christ's net in this world.  "Come and see!"

Well, I guess if it happened once, that means that is the basket all of our evangelism eggs should be put into, doesn't it?

We've had this conversation before. I keep saying, "Do the one thing, and also the other thing, and if you can think of more things, do them, too. All things that bring people to hear God's Word are good.", and the response I get back remains, "Do the one thing. It's enough. It doesn't matter that our respective denominations are both shrinking at an alarming rate." Granted, the last bit is unspoken, but since we all know both the LC-MS and ELCA are shrinking, and have been for years, and yet it's seldom mentioned, it remains the elephant in the room we just don't talk about.

Seems kind of pointless, doesn't it?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 04:42:29 PM
People are voting with their feet.   Yes, there is a portion of the "younger generation" that enjoys the quieter more meditative and traditional.  But way, way, way more people are leaving the LC(hypen)MS for non-denoms than Roman Catholicism.   Those of us doing contextual evangelical and catholic worship and practice are attempting to give away none of the dynamics of the Divine nature of the Divine Service while utilizing resoures that "speak" to diverse cultures and backgrounds.

I'm not sure that they're voting on worship styles with their feet. Yes, those things can be attractive, but if people were thoroughly catechized in what we believe, teach, and confess as Lutherans (regardless of worship styles), then I don't think they would be so eager to run off to the nondo or RC churches where they may have the worship styles they prefer but  sacrifice the Gospel in so doing.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 04:43:52 PM
I'm not sure that they're voting on worship styles with their feet. Yes, those things can be attractive, but if people were thoroughly catechized in what we believe, teach, and confess as Lutherans (regardless of worship styles), then I don't think they would be so eager to run off to the nondo or RC churches where they may have the worship styles they prefer but  sacrifice the Gospel in so doing.

That's a might big if.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 04:54:57 PM
"I like it," is the biggest problem I have with ANY format of the service.

Indeed, Sandra. As shown in this form-over-substance argument:

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=13679

Even if the substance is a heterodox RC mass, it's preferred over CW because there's "a celebrant, deacon, subdeacon, and two servers, all reverently and historically vested, each stationed in his proper order..."

"Entertainment" is criticized, but then:

"BJS Conference Keeps Getting Better – President’s Sr. Assistant and Former Commission on Worship Assistant Director Jon Vieker to Chant Evening Prayer"

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=13590

I have great respect for Jon Vieker, his liturgical and his musical abilities, but "Come to the BJS Conference. Why? Guess who's going to chant Evening Prayer?!" manifests a bit of an entertainment attitude.

The St. Louis mezzo Katherine Lawton Brown was a soloist at my ordination service, done as a favor by my teacher and friend. Absolutely heavenly beautiful. Similar to Cindi Weedon's solo "How Beautiful are the Feet" at Dr. Lee Maxwell's installation.  But we didn't promote the service by advertising that Katherine Lawton Brown was going to sing the Kyrie and an anthem!

it can go both ways when form triumphs over substance.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 05:06:01 PM
George,

Yes, we've had the conversation before a time or twenty.  I remain adamant:  before we dump Lutheranism as something that can't work, let's ACTUALLY give it a try!  I.e., take Sandra up on her big IF.  Impart the joy of the faith as encapsulated so well in the Small Catechism, teach the hymns that have sung the faith into many a generation before us, open the eyes of the Royal Priesthood of the baptized to the lives of sacrifice God calls them to (sacrifice of praise to Him; sacrifice of service to neighbor).  Put "O Lord, We praise Thee, Bless Thee, and Adore Thee" down in a person's heart and let them see the joy of the Holy Eucharist and there is no way in hell they will abandon the Eucharist for the Non-denom phenomenon.  Don't teach the Catechism, look like the non-denom as much as possible, play down every Lutheran distinctive, and never teach Lutheran hymns, and then try to hold onto folks - well, a formula for the disaster we're seeing.  I'm NOT arguing for more of the same; I'm arguing be intentionally, joyfully, and unashamedly Lutheran Christians!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 03, 2011, 05:09:58 PM
People are voting with their feet.   Yes, there is a portion of the "younger generation" that enjoys the quieter more meditative and traditional.  But way, way, way more people are leaving the LC(hypen)MS for non-denoms than Roman Catholicism.   Those of us doing contextual evangelical and catholic worship and practice are attempting to give away none of the dynamics of the Divine nature of the Divine Service while utilizing resoures that "speak" to diverse cultures and backgrounds.

I'm not sure that they're voting on worship styles with their feet. Yes, those things can be attractive, but if people were thoroughly catechized in what we believe, teach, and confess as Lutherans (regardless of worship styles), then I don't think they would be so eager to run off to the nondo or RC churches where they may have the worship styles they prefer but  sacrifice the Gospel in so doing.

So what you are saying is the reason for the greying, balding and white/blueing of our synod is poor catachesis.

I'll agree with that - now, in the last 40 years, who was supposed to be doing that?  If it was the churches with more 1950's traditional worship that are shrinking...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 03, 2011, 05:12:28 PM
A pastor I know who doesn't like "entertainment evangelism" or structuring worship so that it twangs the strings of the "audience" says: "The only one who ought to be entertained at worship is God."  ;D
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 05:21:47 PM
Or, better still, you could follow the Biblical and Lutheran paradigm of spreading a lavish feast of Gospel not only in sermon and sacrament, but also in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. 

Pr. Hess,

So very well stated.  I was thinking of the great hymn of the day for this coming week:  "Thy Strong Word" (and I *think* we have that in both year A and the one year).  Can we get more at the Gospel insight of the reformation than this:

CoWo is a marketing tool within the Church Growth Movement of the LCMS.  The Church Growth Movement is designed to attract young people who would otherwise join a non-denominational church and not even consider the LCMS.  Are they coming to the LCMS?

It's pretty clear that all three of you are only concerned with those already in your pews and not with getting new people to "Come and See".



Not at all.  I just want people to come and see Jesus. 

Yeah, me too.

That's why I don't particularly care for "Thy Strong Word".

After all, if that is truly what you want, then this song should do fine, eh?

http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D_80GhyrigLs&sa=U&ei=CQ1LTZrSNIT48Aar_JGcDg&ved=0CBUQtwIwAA&usg=AFQjCNGDx446bhFbAFAYZzsl3r98fhfaEg

Mike

Don't try to drag me into a discussion of Mark's hobby horse.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2011, 05:23:40 PM
J & S hits a nail right on the old noggin there!  As does Charles!

Sandra, it's not an "if," it's a "since."  Since so many of our younger baptizands and confirmands for the last quarter century plus have motored down the parkway to the square of land on which sits True North (the name of a non-denom out on The Island), as we examine our evangelical and catholic Means of Grace place in the Church catholic, we must never give up the Divine nature of the Divine Service.  

I absolutely "get" Paul McCain's intense focus on Lutheranism and marketing it.  Why not, for Pete's sake?  It's great stuff.  OK, the best stuff.  

The sliver of the market that cares is not all that large, is the problem.  It's like classical music.   I'm sure many of us here are in some purchasing format where we list our "likes" as classical.  Meaning we're lumped with jazz (OK by me) and are treated as the 5 million of the 200 million market that we are.  Which is "How nice for you.  Are you asleep yet?  I fall asleep pretty much simultaneously with hearing classical music.  Do you have a sleeping disorder?"  

I saw the most-seen you tube of Gospel last night online.  6 or 7 million hits.  It's from Carnegie Hall, with a man who originates from Trinidad/Tobago explaining the "slave scale," the negro spiritual and then in this very mixed crowd just absolutely singing "Amazing Grace."  Which many here would see as a bad inclusion in LSB.  And that's on the religious music side of the aisle.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 05:25:34 PM
J&S,

What on earth do you mean by 1950's traditional worship?  You have been pretty adamant at not allowing COWO to be stereotyped.  Isn't this a silly stereotype?  Our parish uses DS 3 most ofen; does that equate to 1950's?  We're sure not 1950's when we sing "Listen! God is Calling" or "What is This Bread" or "Eat This Bread."  The whole nature of liturgical worship and traditional Lutheran hymnody is that it REFUSES to be locked into a single era [and the music for DS 3 liturgy actually comes from several centuries!].  If it conveys the truth of God and does so with the music as servant to the words, it is worthy of our worship.  So we sing ancient chant, Anglican chant, German chorale, African music, stuff from Central and South America and so on.  Our hymnal is replete with them.  1950's???  Get real.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 05:28:34 PM
George,

Yes, we've had the conversation before a time or twenty.  I remain adamant:  before we dump Lutheranism as something that can't work, let's ACTUALLY give it a try!  I.e., take Sandra up on her big IF.  Impart the joy of the faith as encapsulated so well in the Small Catechism, teach the hymns that have sung the faith into many a generation before us, open the eyes of the Royal Priesthood of the baptized to the lives of sacrifice God calls them to (sacrifice of praise to Him; sacrifice of service to neighbor).  Put "O Lord, We praise Thee, Bless Thee, and Adore Thee" down in a person's heart and let them see the joy of the Holy Eucharist and there is no way in hell they will abandon the Eucharist for the Non-denom phenomenon.  Don't teach the Catechism, look like the non-denom as much as possible, play down every Lutheran distinctive, and never teach Lutheran hymns, and then try to hold onto folks - well, a formula for the disaster we're seeing.  I'm NOT arguing for more of the same; I'm arguing be intentionally, joyfully, and unashamedly Lutheran Christians!

Well, there hasn't been a Lutheran church body/denomination succeed at increasing the number of people who come to church on Sundays to hear the Gospel rightly preached and to recieve the Sacraments properly administered in my lifetime by using only that method, but I guess there's no reason to believe it won't start working someday. I doubt if I'll be alive to see it happen.

And, as before, I don't disagree that the ridiculous straw man you posted to mock what I've been advocating sounds pretty terrible. If I had ever advocated "Don't teach the Catechism, look like the non-denom as much as possible, play down every Lutheran distinctive, and never teach Lutheran hymns", then I'd think you were disagreeing with me. But, since I never suggested anything of the kind, I have to assume you're only mocking me.

A pastor I know who doesn't like "entertainment evangelism" or structuring worship so that it twangs the strings of the "audience" says: "The only one who ought to be entertained at worship is God."  ;D

That is an accurate observation. I'd like someone to show me in scripture where it says that God does not like a "joyful noise".

Does anyone actually know for a fact that God doesn't like guitars? Does it say that in the Bible somewhere?

 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 05:29:51 PM
You assume they've used that method.  How well do YOU know Luther's catechism hymns?  Were they drilled into you?  They sure weren't drilled into me.

P.S.  No mockery whatsoever intended and I apologize for not writing carefully enough for the mistake to arise.  I am suggesting Lutherans in the past 50 years have done a horrible job of actually passing on the Lutheran faith and heritage and that we are everywhere reaping the fruit of it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 05:35:44 PM
You assume they've used that method.  How well do YOU know Luther's catechism hymns?  Were they drilled into you?  They sure weren't drilled into me.

P.S.  No mockery whatsoever intended and I apologize for not writing carefully enough for the mistake to arise.  I am suggesting Lutherans in the past 50 years have done a horrible job of actually passing on the Lutheran faith and heritage and that we are everywhere reaping the fruit of it.

I was raised old ALC, then ULCA, then LCA, then ELCA. We were never taught hymns. We just sang them. Loudly.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 05:40:13 PM
And that's part of the problem.  For the Lutheran heritage of hymns is that they were for TEACHING and they were used for daily mediation and such.  Surely it was an evil moment when the devil convinced the Church to put hymn books in the pews, leaving our music behind in the building - before that, they were carried back and forth by the people and they LIVED out of them each day. :)

And I take it that means you didn't grow up with "These are the holy Ten Commands" and "We All Believe in One True God" and "Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above" and "To Jordan came the Christ our Lord" and "O Lord, We Praise Thee" ringing in your ears at home, at school, at church?  Neither did I.  But what would happen if such concentration on the Catechism as to sing into the hearts took place?  I say, it would be a renaissance of the Lutheran Church!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 03, 2011, 05:45:09 PM
Maybe, Pastor Weedon, but you have admitted appreciating the hymns and music from other cultures in worship. I say again, I sometimes fear that in order to make people "good Lutherans," we insist that they turn into the Germans and Scandinavians of the last centuries.
I can imagine "good Lutherans" who never sing a Paul Gerhardt hymn or use a Bach Chorale or prelude.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 05:49:01 PM
Sandra, it's not an "if," it's a "since."  Since so many of our younger baptizands and confirmands for the last quarter century plus have motored down the parkway to the square of land on which sits True North (the name of a non-denom out on The Island), as we examine our evangelical and catholic Means of Grace place in the Church catholic, we must never give up the Divine nature of the Divine Service.  

I absolutely "get" Paul McCain's intense focus on Lutheranism and marketing it.  Why not, for Pete's sake?  It's great stuff.  OK, the best stuff.  

I've worked in a parish, and I've seen this take place personally. When people are taught, they aren't willing to sacrifice the Gospel for worship style. People who had been taught and still left for other denominations did so because they didn't agree with what we taught. I respect that.

I get the focus on it too, I make my living off this "Dare to be Lutheran" thing. :)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 05:49:05 PM
Not at all.  I just want people to come and see Jesus. 

And I want them to come and see Jesus because someone who came and saw Jesus at my congregation went out and invited someone else to come and see Jesus.  After all, that's what happened in John's Gospel with Nathanael and with the woman at the well, and in neither case did people just come because they heard about music they liked.  In both cases they were invited by another human being who had been in Jesus' presence to come see Jesus--sans any kind of marketing.

So you'll just sit back and do nothing other than to hope that maybe someone in your congregation might maybe someday invite someone. And for all the people out there who aren't lucky enough to have members of your congregations as friends, to hell with them, right? Who needs strangers cluttering the pews, right? As long as the only people invited to your church are invited by members, you'll assured none of the "wrong" kind of people will be invited, right? Like the way all-gentile country clubs keep out the Jews, by making membership "by invitation only".



Wow, this is pretty vicious.  However, it doesn't make me stop liking you.  

No, I want the pews to be filled with "the wrong people."  However, in a world that's being marketed to and advertised to constantly, I still believe that the "Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."  (1 Corinthians 4:20)  When the Gospel is preached, this is not empty talk, but "the power of God for salvation."  (Romans 1:16)  When the Gospel is preached, the power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work to resurrect sinners so that they are not only ready to run a marketing campaign for the church, but to lay down their lives for those who are lost.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."  (2 Corinthians 10:4)  What are the weapons of our warfare?  Musical instruments?  Power point?  Marketing?  No--that's just talk, human wisdom.  When a Christian sacrifices himself for his family, serves his neighbor, prays for the unbelievers in his  circle of acquaintances, serves at the church to evangelize the neighborhood, gives to missions--that's God's work in him through the Gospel.  Preaching the Gospel is God's means of building the church.

So no, I won't sit back and hope someone lives according to their vocation and tells their neighbor the Gospel.  I'll do what God called me to do--preach His Word, which is the power of God.  And His Word will accomplish what God wills.

I don't care if you want to play modern music or run ads or whatever.  Those things have a certain limited usefulness.  But if you think that pastors who aren't willing to hold back some Gospel in order to reach the lost want to run a country club, you're badly mistaken.  Mdiv or no, you have a right to speak and be heard when you speak according to the Word of God.  But here you're speaking  against the word of God and just engaging in slander.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 05:57:22 PM
"I like it," is the biggest problem I have with ANY format of the service.

Indeed, Sandra. As shown in this form-over-substance argument:

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=13679

Even if the substance is a heterodox RC mass, it's preferred over CW because there's "a celebrant, deacon, subdeacon, and two servers, all reverently and historically vested, each stationed in his proper order..."

"Entertainment" is criticized, but then:

"BJS Conference Keeps Getting Better – President’s Sr. Assistant and Former Commission on Worship Assistant Director Jon Vieker to Chant Evening Prayer"

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=13590

I have great respect for Jon Vieker, his liturgical and his musical abilities, but "Come to the BJS Conference. Why? Guess who's going to chant Evening Prayer?!" manifests a bit of an entertainment attitude.

The St. Louis mezzo Katherine Lawton Brown was a soloist at my ordination service, done as a favor by my teacher and friend. Absolutely heavenly beautiful. Similar to Cindi Weedon's solo "How Beautiful are the Feet" at Dr. Lee Maxwell's installation.  But we didn't promote the service by advertising that Katherine Lawton Brown was going to sing the Kyrie and an anthem!

it can go both ways when form triumphs over substance.


Which  just goes to show that all Americans are afflicted with the disease of going to church based on "what I like," including liturgically minded conservative Lutherans.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 06:03:55 PM
People are voting with their feet.   Yes, there is a portion of the "younger generation" that enjoys the quieter more meditative and traditional.  But way, way, way more people are leaving the LC(hypen)MS for non-denoms than Roman Catholicism.   Those of us doing contextual evangelical and catholic worship and practice are attempting to give away none of the dynamics of the Divine nature of the Divine Service while utilizing resoures that "speak" to diverse cultures and backgrounds.

I'm not sure that they're voting on worship styles with their feet. Yes, those things can be attractive, but if people were thoroughly catechized in what we believe, teach, and confess as Lutherans (regardless of worship styles), then I don't think they would be so eager to run off to the nondo or RC churches where they may have the worship styles they prefer but  sacrifice the Gospel in so doing.

So what you are saying is the reason for the greying, balding and white/blueing of our synod is poor catachesis.

I'll agree with that - now, in the last 40 years, who was supposed to be doing that?  If it was the churches with more 1950's traditional worship that are shrinking...

Yes, and what were they singing in the 1950's?  Lift High the Cross--a protestant hymn.  And what were the theologians doing?  Often, playing down the differences between Lutherans and fundamentalists.  And how much teaching was going on regarding the liturgy?  Hardly any, and the pastors were wearing Geneva gowns and celebrating the eucharist once a month.  Have you ever talked to any of those greying Lutherans?  Try to find out whether they know any hymns by Gerhardt.  Ask them what their favorite hymns are.   Could it be that the Missouri Synod, rather than  worshipping as Lutherans, were already a good way down the path of protestantizing their worship, and that Lutheran piety had not really survived the transition into English and was not imparted to them? 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: edoughty on February 03, 2011, 06:08:30 PM
And that's part of the problem.  For the Lutheran heritage of hymns is that they were for TEACHING and they were used for daily mediation and such.  Surely it was an evil moment when the devil convinced the Church to put hymn books in the pews, leaving our music behind in the building - before that, they were carried back and forth by the people and they LIVED out of them each day. :)

And I take it that means you didn't grow up with "These are the holy Ten Commands" and "We All Believe in One True God" and "Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above" and "To Jordan came the Christ our Lord" and "O Lord, We Praise Thee" ringing in your ears at home, at school, at church?  Neither did I.  But what would happen if such concentration on the Catechism as to sing into the hearts took place?  I say, it would be a renaissance of the Lutheran Church!

Maybe it's a German-Lutheran thing.  I find many of Luther's hymns nigh-well unsingable, even when led by accomplished Lutheran church musicians.  I'm not sure that suggesting (or even mandating) Luther's hymns would have the desired effect. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 06:13:25 PM
Maybe it's a German-Lutheran thing.  I find many of Luther's hymns nigh-well unsingable, even when led by accomplished Lutheran church musicians.  I'm not sure that suggesting (or even mandating) Luther's hymns would have the desired effect.  

Maybe. I'm Finn-Lutheran and have never liked most of Luther's hymns. Great content sure, the tunes well...that's another story.

Then again, I'm a Barry Manilow fan...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 06:14:43 PM
Really.  I would think that in that particular set I mentioned, only We All Believe and To Jordan pose any sort of real challenge musically.  The others are quite simple - but then again, we DID sing them on occasion at least.  I don't think I even HEARD We All Believe till seminary.  But it wasn't that hard to learn.  TLH actually provided another tune for it also - a very easy one from the 18th century I think.  To Jordan IS a bear; but it can be mastered.  But again, we've got an easier tune for it in the hymnal too.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 06:21:56 PM
Yes, and what were they singing in the 1950's?  Lift High the Cross--a protestant hymn. 

If you consider Anglican to be Protestant...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 06:23:45 PM
Does anyone actually know for a fact that God doesn't like guitars? Does it say that in the Bible somewhere?

 

Is that all you're arguing about?  If the issue was using guitars, I wouldn't be arguing with you.  If the only issue was that we were setting the liturgy and Lutheran hymnody to pop music and throwing in some fluff, I'd be much less concerned.  But I thought we were discussing "kvetching about how the new songs aren't as theologically rich" as Lutheran hymnody.  And yeah, I am kvetching about Lutherans who think that it's no big deal if we give less Gospel to people, and that if we don't give less gospel to people they won't come.  

Trying to make the Gospel attractive to the world is not going to work, no matter what numbers Pres. Benke or you quote.  When a girl tries to make herself feel loved by giving herself to any man who'll take her, she loses herself and doesn't get love.  When Christ's bride begs the world for attention, the world abuses her and robs her and leaves her and laughs at her and kicks her while she's on the ground.  Look at the Church in Europe for the end of this morality play.  Do you know how hard the European churches and theologians worked for the respect of the world?  That's the future for American churches that rely on something other than the Gospel to save the church.  And that's not only true for "liberal" churches who cave in on basic matters of morality, but also for "conservative" churches who rely on secular wisdom and techniques to"grow the church".  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 06:30:30 PM
So, following that analogy a young women should look as plain/Amish and "traditional" as possible, lest she look attractive and be abused?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 06:31:10 PM
Yes, and what were they singing in the 1950's?  Lift High the Cross--a protestant hymn. 

If you consider Anglican to be Protestant...

Yeah, you're right.  This is not the best example of a doctrinally weak hymn I could have come up with, because it's actually got at least one really good stanza that's coming to my mind.

As a rule, though, the greying LCMSers are not particularly familiar with Luther, Gerhardt, Nicolai, etc.  They are very familiar with English hymns which are often of Calvinist provenance, and, while not as weak as some of the praise choruses that are around today, are not as strong as the Lutheran hymns.  And my point is not that we should sing ONLY the Lutheran hymns, but that we shouldn't abandon them and substitute ones that are not as good.  If the Lutheran hymns are harder to sing (which is not really true if you teach them to kids and they grow up being familiar with them), then we should work that much harder to make them familiar to people, so that hymns that are rich in the Gospel become as familiar to them as those less so.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 06:37:24 PM
So, following that analogy a young women should look as plain/Amish and "traditional" as possible, lest she look attractive and be abused?

No, she should be chaste until she's married, that was the point.  But if you want to talk about clothes, then the analogy would run something like--don't dress provacatively in order to gain the attention of men who only want your body, but let the true wealth of your inner self be the thing that draws a man to you. 

See, you're starting to do that thing you always do.  If you want to improve upon how I'm arguing, have at it, but don't derail the discussion with your need to make sure that everyone else knows their place.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 06:39:45 PM
And that's part of the problem.  For the Lutheran heritage of hymns is that they were for TEACHING and they were used for daily mediation and such.  Surely it was an evil moment when the devil convinced the Church to put hymn books in the pews, leaving our music behind in the building - before that, they were carried back and forth by the people and they LIVED out of them each day. :)

And I take it that means you didn't grow up with "These are the holy Ten Commands" and "We All Believe in One True God" and "Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above" and "To Jordan came the Christ our Lord" and "O Lord, We Praise Thee" ringing in your ears at home, at school, at church?  Neither did I.  But what would happen if such concentration on the Catechism as to sing into the hearts took place?  I say, it would be a renaissance of the Lutheran Church!

"These are the holy Ten Commands" not in SBH or LBW
"We All Believe in One True God" not in SBH, but in LBW. I've never heard it sung.
"Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above" not in SBH or LBW
"To Jordan came the Christ our Lord" not in SBH , but in LBW. I've never heard it sung. 
"O Lord, We Praise Thee" not in SBH, but in LBW. I've never heard it sung.

Wow, this is pretty vicious.  However, it doesn't make me stop liking you. 

No, I want the pews to be filled with "the wrong people."  However, in a world that's being marketed to and advertised to constantly, I still believe that the "Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power."  (1 Corinthians 4:20)  When the Gospel is preached, this is not empty talk, but "the power of God for salvation."  (Romans 1:16)  When the Gospel is preached, the power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work to resurrect sinners so that they are not only ready to run a marketing campaign for the church, but to lay down their lives for those who are lost.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."  (2 Corinthians 10:4)  What are the weapons of our warfare?  Musical instruments?  Power point?  Marketing?  No--that's just talk, human wisdom.  When a Christian sacrifices himself for his family, serves his neighbor, prays for the unbelievers in his  circle of acquaintances, serves at the church to evangelize the neighborhood, gives to missions--that's God's work in him through the Gospel.  Preaching the Gospel is God's means of building the church.

So no, I won't sit back and hope someone lives according to their vocation and tells their neighbor the Gospel.  I'll do what God called me to do--preach His Word, which is the power of God.  And His Word will accomplish what God wills.

I don't care if you want to play modern music or run ads or whatever.  Those things have a certain limited usefulness.  But if you think that pastors who aren't willing to hold back some Gospel in order to reach the lost want to run a country club, you're badly mistaken.  Mdiv or no, you have a right to speak and be heard when you speak according to the Word of God.  But here you're speaking  against the word of God and just engaging in slander.



I apologize if I got too heavy handed to make a point, but I fear the point needed to be made. In the United States of America, in the year of our Lord 2011, things are different from what they were in the first century. Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.

Perhaps it was a verbal slap in the face to point out the consequences of doing only what you suggested was proper today in 2011, and imply that you wanted those consequences. Of course you don't want them, which I thought you'd have recognized as sarcasm. But if anyone engages in an activity that will lead to a certain result, even if the person doing the activity doesn't want that result, as long as he engages in the activity, that gives the appearance that he is pursuing the most probable outcome.

If a fisherman uses a net that has holes 3" in diameter, then he'll only catch fish that are bigger than 3". Smaller fish will slip through the net. Now, maybe the fisherman doesn't want to only catch fish that are bigger than 3", but if he insists that his net with 3" holes is the only net he'll use, it sure gives the impression that he only wants fish that are bigger than 3", doesn't it?

When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.

Does anyone actually know for a fact that God doesn't like guitars? Does it say that in the Bible somewhere?

 

Is that all you're arguing about?  If the issue was using guitars, I wouldn't be arguing with you.  If the only issue was that we were setting the liturgy and Lutheran hymnody to pop music and throwing in some fluff, I'd be much less concerned.  But I thought we were discussing "kvetching about how the new songs aren't as theologically rich" as Lutheran hymnody.  And yeah, I am kvetching about Lutherans who think that it's no big deal if we give less Gospel to people, and that if we don't give less gospel to people they won't come. 


You really need to read what I wrote before you respond.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 06:41:23 PM
See, you're starting to do that thing you always do.

It's not that thing I do,  Rev. Hess. You used the word "attractive" in a negative sense, as being wrong.

But it is a catchy tune and a cute movie. Reminds me of the good ole days when young people tried to look attractive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPMLG8mnCRM
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 06:49:43 PM
My point exactly, George.  If they're not in the hymnal or there but not used, they can't do much shaping of our faith, can they?  But if we put these puppies to use, they have a very salutary way of writing the Catechism into our hearts and minds as music alone seems able to do.  Just one example - is there an even briefer way to sum up the third commandment than Luther's Small Catechism?  Sure is:

"You shall observe My worship day
That peace may fill your home, and pray,
And put aside the work you do,
So that God may work in you."
Have mercy, Lord!

Catchy little tune used by, I believe, the Crusaders as they marched along.  Very simple, bright and joyous in tone.  And it simply nails the idea that in the Divine Service, God is the ONE doing the Work in us via His Word and Sacrament.  This is the hymn Luther mentions in the Small Catechism when he says that after we say our morning prayers, we should go to work, cheerfully singing a hymn like the one on the Ten Commandments, or whatever our devotion may suggest.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 06:51:54 PM
Actually, I wrote this:
Quote
When a girl tries to make herself feel loved by giving herself to any man who'll take her, she loses herself and doesn't get love.
 There's nothing in there about how a woman dresses, but refers to her giving her body away in exchange for love.  

This is what I'd argue that many people in the church think evangelism is.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 06:56:47 PM
Actually, I wrote this:
Quote
When a girl tries to make herself feel loved by giving herself to any man who'll take her, she loses herself and doesn't get love.
 There's nothing in there about how a woman dresses, but refers to her giving her body away in exchange for love.  

This is what I'd argue that many people in the church think evangelism is.  

Okay. Let's simply conclude that your analogy falls short and stick to how you did use "attractive." Cus I don't get it. I certainly don't consider myself a CWer, but I try to make the Gospel attractive to whomever will listen.  In fact, I don't really need to try other than attempt to do my best to proclaim it well. The Gospel proclamation is attractive, "having or relating to the power to attract" as the Holy Spirit see fit.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 07:06:57 PM
Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.


When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.


There's no limitation in involved in preaching the Gospel to the royal priesthood.  The priesthood is quite capable of banding together for evangelism in the community, using the radio or television to proclaim the Gospel, etc.  However, there's no substitute for someone seeing Christ in someone else's daily life.  That seems to me to be the thing you're discounting.  There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

Evangelism is not the same as promotion or advertising.  For evangelism to happen, one thing is needful--the evangel, the Gospel.  And the point of worship is not to promote the Gospel, to attract people to come and hear it.  The point is to  convert unbelieving pewsitters and strengthen believing ones, so that Christ is formed in us, so that we grow to live like what we are already--Christ's body.  And then Christ through His body gathers his elect, one by one, through daily life, just like He did in Galilee.  Otherwise evangelism is no different than propaganda, and we are building, to use your words, a big religious country club, or a political party, but not Christ's church.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 07:14:36 PM
Actually, I wrote this:
Quote
When a girl tries to make herself feel loved by giving herself to any man who'll take her, she loses herself and doesn't get love.
 There's nothing in there about how a woman dresses, but refers to her giving her body away in exchange for love.  

This is what I'd argue that many people in the church think evangelism is.  

Okay. Let's simply conclude that your analogy falls short and stick to how you did use "attractive." Cus I don't get it. I certainly don't consider myself a CWer, but I try to make the Gospel attractive to whomever will listen.  In fact, I don't really need to try other than attempt to do my best to proclaim it well. The Gospel proclamation is attractive, "having or relating to the power to attract" as the Holy Spirit see fit.

Yes, the Gospel has its own power to attract, so rather than try to make it attractive, as though it were weak and needed the help of sociologists, we simply proclaim it and try not to let what is either attractive or unattractive about us personally interfere with it.  When folks say, It's not enough that our services are rich in the Gospel because people don't come tuo church, so we have to cut down on the Gospel and put more things in the service that unbelieving people will like, that's trying to make the Gospel attractive to people who are not able to perceive its worth.  You know, casting pearls before swine.  So the analogy that you say falls short is that when the Church tries to make herself appealing to the world with things that are appealing to fallen people (instead of being glad that she is appealing to Christ), the church is behaving like a harlot.  Just like a girl trying to find love by sleeping around.  But if you don't like the analogy, that's ok.  I think it fits.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 07:16:37 PM
I think it fits too, Pr. Hess.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 07:49:19 PM
  All people have a desire to belong to something, that's why there are the ELlks and the Masons, fraternities etc.
 

That's an excellent point.  There is a lady here who is the daughter of the pastor who oversaw here for 30ish years.  And she told me when I had been here a few years that her dad was of the opinion that everyone needed a job in the church.  Like you said, people want to belong to something and feel useful.  God created us that way.  And people being fallen and weak, a person may believe the Gospel but his flesh may induce him to quit coming the Divine Service.  But if he has a job, the first use of the law kicks in and makes him embarassed not to show up.  So you're right, and there are many "confessional" guys who don't realize that the "this worldly" parts of church life are not their enemy, but their friend, if used properly.  I was one of those guys. 
Quote
The Divine Service is for the initiated but given our context and what Americans are used to we still need to make our services understandable.
Yes, but does that mean we need to ditch Lutheran hymns and liturgy in favor of less gospel-rich forms?  Or can we use those and teach those, and allow the human community discussed above to carry the inquirer until they are catechized and able to begin to appreciate how Christ comes to us in the liturgical life of the church?  I have not found the difficult of our worship to be something that keeps visitors away as long as we welcome them, bring them into the life of the church that happens outside the service, and diligently catechize them.  Of course, maybe if  the Sunday worship service was immediately accessible to visitors, we might have more new members.  But the downside of that is, is the nondenom format capable of sustaining a lifelong discipleship?  Well, the numbers say no, that megachurches are a revolving door (probably the Lutheran megachurches too), and some of their leaders publicly admitted that the Willowcreek model did not lead to Christian maturity.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 08:13:14 PM
I think another reason people leave for the nondo CoWo churches is that a lot of those churches specifically teach that an exciting worship service that makes you feel good is more spiritually ALIVE! than churches that don't worship that way. I've been told many times that simply because my church uses the liturgy and the service is essentially the same every week that it is spiritually dead, and I (and the people around me) are just going through the motions. How can the uncatechized stand up against that kind of reasoning?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 08:17:43 PM
Well, the analogy has now changed; maybe it now fits. For, previously, attractive was a negative, analogizing to a harlot. Now, the gospel is attractive in and of itself. Does that make the gospel a harlot?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 08:34:44 PM
Karl,

Agreed but the thing is, think about the language of our liturgy - Introit, Kyrie, Collect.  These are not bad things and they're great teaching moments but if you have no Christian presuppositions whatsoever you'll be lost, better yet most of our people don't know what those mean and why we do them.  Quite honestly, from a simple standpoint, many of the hymns in LSB are hard to sing and quite depressing (tune wise), if one is just off the street that ain't too appealing.  

Also, I saw earlier on this thread a theory/idea proposed that the reason we do not retain the younger people is because of poor catechesis.  I don't think so, I think it's very simple, many Lutheran Churches don't offer the options that the non-denoms offer.  We live in a consumer driven culture. Furthermore, I honestly believe that most people really don't care about the intricacies of theology like we pastors do.  Why wouldn't Joe blow join a church where the bible is preached in ways applicable to his life, the people are friendly and his kids have plenty to do?  After all, most non-denom churches do believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins - I'm sure that for many families that's half the battle.  

Scott+
Of course, those things you listed are all things that Lutheran churches can do without doing away with liturgy and Lutheran hymns. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 03, 2011, 08:36:05 PM
I think another reason people leave for the nondo CoWo churches is that a lot of those churches specifically teach that an exciting worship service that makes you feel good is more spiritually ALIVE! than churches that don't worship that way. I've been told many times that simply because my church uses the liturgy and the service is essentially the same every week that it is spiritually dead, and I (and the people around me) are just going through the motions. How can the uncatechized stand up against that kind of reasoning?
Sandra, this kind of reminds me of what Luther once said of Andreas Karlstadt, who became an iconoclast and spiritualist.  Luther said that he believed that Karlstadt had "swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all."

While ministering to the family of a dear departed saint from our congregation over the past year, his oldest granddaughter mentioned how the rest of her family had started worshiping at a nearby nondenominational church.  She mentioned that she did not like the way they celebrated Holy Communion.  It was a good opportunity for me to tell her, "Good for you.  They only observe communion as a memorial - they don't believe that Christ is really present, body and blood in the bread and the wine.  The reason it feels different is that they don't tell you that "This is the body of Christ given for you, this is the blood of Christ, shed for you." Sadly, though, she is not coming to worship often with us either.  She was helping serve at a more recent funeral - another funeral for a person who died of cancer, like her grandfather.  I definitely have to do some further follow-up with her.  Her grandparents told me she is struggling with her faith, especially because of all of the suffering - specifically from cancer - that she has seen affect friends and family.
I've had a conversation or two with her.  She was at her grandfather's place when I shared communion with him and her and the rest of the family that could gather that one last time before he died and, of course, she came to his funeral.  I could share with her how much I hate cancer.  Cancer took my dad 4 years ago.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2011, 08:36:19 PM
a) the biggest motivation in CoWo in my opinion is not to reach the unreached, but to reach the non-Lutheran - wandered down the road to a "better deal" kids and grandkids of Lutherans.  I think it's a mistake to start from what is used as the "missional" vs. "traditional."  The "mission" to many people is not non-Christians or even those who've never been Lutheran, but Lutherans who are attending Lutheran churches no more.  If you are doing substantial outreach to people who are not and have not been Christian, you are among a very small contingent in our church body.  

b) the Willow Creek shibboleth is old news.  The stats show that the one phenomenon in American protestantism that's doing fine is the mega-church.  While attendance has slipped during the decade, the megas have more than held their own.  And are pilfering away.  And have many many options while a lot of our parishes have one midweek bible class for mostly elderly people and a little youth group and confirmation class when there are kids.  Can you say "non-competitive?"  

c) the liveliness of preaching and the conduct of the pastor in the community and among the fellowship of the faithful is of enormous importance.  CoWo is in most regards a side show.  The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.  It is dynamite.  Of course that blows up in all directions - it's a preemptive strike against self-esteem and self-love, while at the same time it unleashes agape love in unquantifiable amounts.  I've found the as practiced in a Body of Christ the Gospel in the lives of people is incredibly "attractive," as in authentic, real and durable.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 08:39:21 PM
Am at a loss, though, Pr. Geminn, with your characterizing of LSB as "hard to sing and quite depressing (tune wise)."  I honestly don't know how anyone could say that of our hymnal.  It does have some difficult tunes; they do not predominate, and they tend to be strong and strongly loved once known (but they have to be taught).  But most of the tunes are just standard Western hymnody found in most any Hymnal at all - except for the newer pieces, which tend to be quite strong melodically.  

"Thine the Amen" is depressing?
"Praise and Thanksgiving, Father We Offer" is hard to sing?

I'm just randomly flipping open the book.

"Hail Thee Festival Day" is hard to sing, but quite joyful and not depressing.

"From Heaven Above" - easy to sing, joyful in tune.

I could go on, but I simply think your characterization of the hymnal is quite in error.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 08:40:55 PM
Well, the analogy has now changed; maybe it now fits. For, previously, attractive was a negative, analogizing to a harlot. Now, the gospel is attractive in and of itself. Does that make the gospel a harlot?

The Gospel is attractive in the same way that a chaste woman is attractive.  If you're looking for a harlot, a chaste woman is not attractive.  If you have been brought to repentance by the law in whatever its forms, the Gospel will be attractive.  If not, it will be the stench of death.  Not many men are willing to wait on a chaste woman; most would have to really be in love with her.  Not many people are contrite, and so there aren't that many to whom the gospel is appealing.  The analogy didn't change.  I guess I just didn't explain it enough.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 08:42:35 PM
Am at a loss, though, Pr. Geminn, with your characterizing of LSB as "hard to sing and quite depressing (tune wise)."  I honestly don't know how anyone could say that of our hymnal.  It does have some difficult tunes; they do not predominate, and they tend to be strong and strongly loved once known (but they have to be taught).  But most of the tunes are just standard Western hymnody found in most any Hymnal at all - except for the newer pieces, which tend to be quite strong melodically.  

"Thine the Amen" is depressing?
"Praise and Thanksgiving, Father We Offer" is hard to sing?

I'm just randomly flipping open the book.

"Hail Thee Festival Day" is hard to sing, but quite joyful and not depressing.

"From Heaven Above" - easy to sing, joyful in tune.

I could go on, but I simply think your characterization of the hymnal is quite in error.

God's own child, I gladly say it.  Again, my congregation, not familiar with Lutheran hymns, ate that one up.  I don't think it's that easy to sing either.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 08:44:45 PM
God's Own Child is one of those:  "Where have you been all my life?" hymns.  Our congregation belts it out too.  "Death, you cannot end my gladness; I am baptized into Christ."

Tune and text dance for joy!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 08:50:04 PM
Well, the analogy has now changed; maybe it now fits. For, previously, attractive was a negative, analogizing to a harlot. Now, the gospel is attractive in and of itself. Does that make the gospel a harlot?

The Gospel is attractive in the same way that a chaste woman is attractive.  If you're looking for a harlot, a chaste woman is not attractive.  If you have been brought to repentance by the law in whatever its forms, the Gospel will be attractive.  If not, it will be the stench of death.  Not many men are willing to wait on a chaste woman; most would have to really be in love with her.  Not many people are contrite, and so there aren't that many to whom the gospel is appealing.  The analogy didn't change.  I guess I just didn't explain it enough.

I'm pleased to note that I must not yet have committed any logical fallacies.  Or perhaps you're just taking it easy on me.   ;)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2011, 08:52:01 PM
Pr. W., I think you and Scott may be talking past one another here.  In conversation with one of my young veteran pastors today who has spent time in other parts of our beloved Synod, he opined that basically all of his new and newer members had never been in a Lutheran church before entering his.  They simply don't have experience in a hymnal like ours, and maybe not in any hymnal.  Your aesthetics find those hymns wonderful and easy to sing.  Cool.  But if you establish that as an objective standard, it's an objective standard based on insider trading.  

My outside folks, which is most of the parish, come from a Caribbean Anglican tradition and know hymns - and they love to sing.  And they hymns they know and love to sing are mostly found in This Far By Faith, with hymns such as "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," "I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me," "Blessed Assurance," "Softly and Tenderly", "I Know It Was the Blood," "Nothing But the Blood," "Go Down, Moses," "We Shall Overcome,"  and the like.  And of course TFBF IS a Lutheran hymnal, produced by Lutherans for Lutherans.  So they think Lutherans know and love those hymns.  I"m pretty positive you're not one of them.  Point being, there's a subjective level to this in terms of disposition and singability.  And the young adults from our neighborhood know none of the ones above and none of the ones you mentioned.  

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 03, 2011, 08:55:56 PM
Hey, I DO know most of those hymns (not "I know it was the blood" or "nothing but the blood") but all the rest.  I don't think any of them do the job of Gospel delivery so clearly as the ones that DID get included in our hymnal.  And when folks come into the Church not knowing any hymns (that's not uncommon for our bona fide heathen converts), the Lutheran hymns pose no problem.  They didn't know the other Protestant hymns either, you see.  They didn't know any of the Church's song.  But I tell you what, they love to sing:  "God's Own Child,"  "The Lamb," "What Is This Bread?," and even "On My Heart!"  It is a question of whether the heritage (such as "On My Heart") is worth teaching them so they come to love it.  I hold it TOTALLY is.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 09:24:09 PM
There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

It was the love that Christians felt for the Lord that was strong enough to inspire them even to the point of martyrdom that also inspired them to spread the Good News by whatever means were available to them. In the first century, that consisted of almost nothing but one-on-one word of mouth. But, had there been means available for them to reach multiple people simultaneously, I do not doubt that the early Christians wouldn't take advantage of it.

Throughout Acts, does it not tell of Paul going to where there were large crowds of people to hear him, like the temples, synagogues, and public squares? Did Paul only walk up to people one at a time? Did he not address large crowds when he found them? Did Jesus not address large crowds?

As for "attractiveness", this isn't about hair and make-up, or about radical changes. It's more like the difference in attractiveness between someone who is smiling and someone who is frowning. When I shot Christians for a living, they were always more attractive when I got them to smile.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 09:30:27 PM
There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

It was the love that Christians felt for the Lord that was strong enough to inspire them even to the point of martyrdom that also inspired them to spread the Good News by whatever means were available to them. In the first century, that consisted of almost nothing but one-on-one word of mouth. But, had there been means available for them to reach multiple people simultaneously, I do not doubt that the early Christians wouldn't take advantage of it.

Throughout Acts, does it not tell of Paul going to where there were large crowds of people to hear him, like the temples, synagogues, and public squares? Did Paul only walk up to people one at a time? Did he not address large crowds when he found them? Did Jesus not address large crowds?

As for "attractiveness", this isn't about hair and make-up, or about radical changes. It's more like the difference in attractiveness between someone who is smiling and someone who is frowning. When I shot Christians for a living, they were always more attractive when I got them to smile.
I disagree with nothing you've said here.  Maybe we agree.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 09:33:35 PM
Well, the analogy has now changed; maybe it now fits. For, previously, attractive was a negative, analogizing to a harlot. Now, the gospel is attractive in and of itself. Does that make the gospel a harlot?

The Gospel is attractive in the same way that a chaste woman is attractive.  If you're looking for a harlot, a chaste woman is not attractive.  If you have been brought to repentance by the law in whatever its forms, the Gospel will be attractive.  If not, it will be the stench of death.  Not many men are willing to wait on a chaste woman; most would have to really be in love with her.  Not many people are contrite, and so there aren't that many to whom the gospel is appealing.  The analogy didn't change.  I guess I just didn't explain it enough.

Thank you for that specificity. For my point in all this is that we tend to paint with too broad a brush. Someone mentions CW and bang! The litany of generalizations emerges. E.g.: You consider a desire to make the gospel attractive to the world as like the actions of a harlot. A gross generalization. There is nothing the matter with trying to make a service and a gospel proclamation attractive. Our choirs practice. We work on and practice our sermons. We try to do a good job in our proclamation. We try to keep our church building attractive and welcoming. IOW, we try to make the church, the service, and the proclamation all attractive.

You have now backpedaled, oops I mean explained, and state that chaste women can present themselves as attractive. We can do the same with our proclamation of the gospel in all forms. We can make teh liturgy attractive. by doing it well.

I recall a few years ago being on CAT41 with some real nuts who liked to call themselves theological thugs. There were actually some that advocated not reading the lessons with much expression lest they become entertaining or that the focus will be on the reader rather than the lesson!

And others discuss CW and pretty soon they're badmouthing the hymn "Lift High the Cross"! Goodness, what brings this out in people?

Let us beware elevating form over substance. Pr. Louderback explains that his services are Law/Gospel proclamations and a focus on Word and Sacrament. Yet, as you can see from the attacks on his comments, which usually are simply asking questions, many think, "He does CW, therefore he's not Lutheran. Why don't you just leave, Louderback!" They've never been to a service at the congregation he serves, but they know it's not Lutheran and false doctrine! Form over substance, gross generalizations, and erroneous assumptions. Others group all "CWers" together, including Dean Nadasdy, call them cockroaches (a pastor, by the way), encourage others to shine the light on them and exhort them to drive them out!  What gets into people?

On another thread over on BJS, a discussion of the new LHM speaker took place. Some stated that he actually did a presentation at Higher Things and, therefore, he will be a wonderful addition. One of his sermon videos was posted. I watched it a couple of times, took notes, and concluded that there was absolutely no gospel in that sermon. Maybe he had a bad day. We all do. But lets not elevate form- "He did Higher Things, so he's right on" over substance. Let's hear his proclamation and then decide.

So, let's be careful with the generalizations. If you don't like a service tell us why rather than, "That's (what I think is) CW! Bad! Acting like a harlot! The great unwashed might like it, so it's wrong!"

IOW, to mix the analogy, not all what some consider CW appeals to the prurient interests of the world.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 03, 2011, 09:34:00 PM
It was the love that Christians felt for the Lord that was strong enough to inspire them even to the point of martyrdom that also inspired them to spread the Good News by whatever means were available to them. In the first century, that consisted of almost nothing but one-on-one word of mouth. But, had there been means available for them to reach multiple people simultaneously, I do not doubt that the early Christians wouldn't take advantage of it.

Throughout Acts, does it not tell of Paul going to where there were large crowds of people to hear him, like the temples, synagogues, and public squares? Did Paul only walk up to people one at a time? Did he not address large crowds when he found them? Did Jesus not address large crowds?

As for "attractiveness", this isn't about hair and make-up, or about radical changes. It's more like the difference in attractiveness between someone who is smiling and someone who is frowning. When I shot Christians for a living, they were always more attractive when I got them to smile.

So you got paid to shoot Christians?  Speaking of martyrdom . . .  ;)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 03, 2011, 09:37:35 PM
The Gospel is attractive in the same way that a chaste woman is attractive.  If you're looking for a harlot, a chaste woman is not attractive.  If you have been brought to repentance by the law in whatever its forms, the Gospel will be attractive.  If not, it will be the stench of death.  Not many men are willing to wait on a chaste woman; most would have to really be in love with her.  Not many people are contrite, and so there aren't that many to whom the gospel is appealing.  The analogy didn't change.  I guess I just didn't explain it enough.

I just thought it interesting that Jennifer Lopez is wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved blouse and a headcovering tonight on American Idol. And she looks quite beautiful.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 03, 2011, 09:52:39 PM
The Gospel is attractive in the same way that a chaste woman is attractive.  If you're looking for a harlot, a chaste woman is not attractive.  If you have been brought to repentance by the law in whatever its forms, the Gospel will be attractive.  If not, it will be the stench of death.  Not many men are willing to wait on a chaste woman; most would have to really be in love with her.  Not many people are contrite, and so there aren't that many to whom the gospel is appealing.  The analogy didn't change.  I guess I just didn't explain it enough.

I just thought it interesting that Jennifer Lopez is wearing a high-necked, long-sleeved blouse and a headcovering tonight on American Idol. And she looks quite beautiful.

JLo - Jenny from the Block, grew up in the 'hood of Chap. Col. John Hannah.  I only saw the end of the show, where she walked off the set.  Your reference to the upper body areas was missed by the camera which seemed very happy to be following the lower body areas.  I averted my eyes sometime along the way.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 03, 2011, 10:01:18 PM
Let us beware elevating form over substance. Pr. Louderback explains that his services are Law/Gospel proclamations and a focus on Word and Sacrament. Yet, as you can see from the attacks on his comments, which usually are simply asking questions, many think, "He does CW, therefore he's not Lutheran. Why don't you just leave, Louderback!" They've never been to a service at the congregation he serves, but they know it's not Lutheran and false doctrine! Form over substance, gross generalizations, and erroneous assumptions. Others group all "CWers" together, including Dean Nadasdy, call them cockroaches (a pastor, by the way), encourage others to shine the light on them and exhort them to drive them out!  What gets into people?

On another thread over on BJS, a discussion of the new LHM speaker took place. Some stated that he actually did a presentation at Higher Things and, therefore, he will be a wonderful addition. One of his sermon videos was posted. I watched it a couple of times, took notes, and concluded that there was absolutely no gospel in that sermon. Maybe he had a bad day. We all do. But lets not elevate form- "He did Higher Things, so he's right on" over substance. Let's hear his proclamation and then decide.

So, let's be careful with the generalizations. If you don't like a service tell us why rather than, "That's (what I think is) CW! Bad! Acting like a harlot! The great unwashed might like it, so it's wrong!"

IOW, to mix the analogy, not all what some consider CW appeals to the prurient interests of the world.

You make a point that needs to be made.  Although I think your gripe is really with other people. But to be clear, I agree that not everything that gets the name contemporary worship is motivated by a desire to help the Gospel do its work.   Contemporary worship, or less formal music, need not mean taking Gospel out of the service.  And even when cowo has been embraced for faulty theological  reasons, charity and patience should govern the way we deal with brothers and sisters in Christ, particularly when they mean to remain faithful to the confession of our church.

My complaint is with the idea that we can or should abandon the hymns, liturgy, and catechism of our church in order to reach the unchurched.  At the very least, whatever music a congregation is using,  they ought to realize that when we have the richest hymnody in Christianity that most clearly proclaims the Gospel, it is a mistake and it is not evangelical to let it fall fallow, whether it is in favor of praise choruses or even bronze age favorites like "Lift high the cross."  What's at stake is not a love of tradition or Germany, but the nourishment of souls with the Gospel and the confidence that it is the Gospel and Sacraments alone that save and edify the Church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 03, 2011, 10:10:11 PM
"It is not the task of theology to construct a theory of God that is supposed to win us over by attractiveness. --Forde"

Indeed! But, finish the quote.

"It is the business of theology to foster the preaching of the Word of God.” --Forde

And that preaching can be made "attractive."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 03, 2011, 10:20:54 PM
Those hymns that they love to sing... can we not give them hymns that sing something more solid than Just a Closer Walk with Thee?  Come on now Bishop.  It does not have to be a choice between Isaiah Mighty Seer in Days of Old or Just a Closer Walk?!  We have plenty of hymns that are meaty and good without the tunes you complain about... Please, don't give them pablum when they are hungering for real meat...  It would be like Jesus saying My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink, but I understand, here's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because you are not ready for real food...  The idea that we have to give the newbies to Lutheranism songs like the Platte River (a mile wide and an inch deep) is a scandal to us and an offense to them....
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 03, 2011, 10:46:11 PM
a) the biggest motivation in CoWo in my opinion is not to reach the unreached, but to reach the non-Lutheran - wandered down the road to a "better deal" kids and grandkids of Lutherans.  I think it's a mistake to start from what is used as the "missional" vs. "traditional."  The "mission" to many people is not non-Christians or even those who've never been Lutheran, but Lutherans who are attending Lutheran churches no more.  If you are doing substantial outreach to people who are not and have not been Christian, you are among a very small contingent in our church body.  

b) the Willow Creek shibboleth is old news.  The stats show that the one phenomenon in American protestantism that's doing fine is the mega-church.  While attendance has slipped during the decade, the megas have more than held their own.  And are pilfering away.  And have many many options while a lot of our parishes have one midweek bible class for mostly elderly people and a little youth group and confirmation class when there are kids.  Can you say "non-competitive?"  

c) the liveliness of preaching and the conduct of the pastor in the community and among the fellowship of the faithful is of enormous importance.  CoWo is in most regards a side show.  The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.  It is dynamite.  Of course that blows up in all directions - it's a preemptive strike against self-esteem and self-love, while at the same time it unleashes agape love in unquantifiable amounts.  I've found the as practiced in a Body of Christ the Gospel in the lives of people is incredibly "attractive," as in authentic, real and durable.

Dave Benke

The CoWo debate is a red herring.  Round and round we go.  Why does the debate have to be so polarized?  No "shades of gray" exist?

Lutheran sermons are like steak compared to the non-denominational fast food.  As people get older, I often wonder when (or if) they will tire of junk food and yearn for the better stuff.  I have been to a few non-denominational services.  How many Lutheran pastors can say this.  There is something to be said about the relaxed, coffee house atmosphere.  Lots of style, but little substance.  Sadly, Lutherans are like the Germans in that they don't know how to market their excellent products.  (Worldview Everlasting, Issues, Etc. and Pirate Christian Radio are exceptions to the rule, of course. ;D)

People are hungry for fellowship and a sense of community.  Since small towns and city neighborhoods no longer provide this, the non-denominational churches have stepped in to fill the vacuum.  It is very difficult to tell the difference between fellowship and worship in those non-denominational churches.  Both ooze together like the colors of a modern painting.  People want a "cool" place where they can hang out - a place that is not a bar.  Singles will want to go where they have the best chance in meeting someone - and the larger the church, the better.  Lutherans have never been good at "doing" fellowship.  Are they getting better at it?  How effective has CoWo been in attracting and keeping the 18-35 year olds in the LCMS.  Will we ever see a day when teenagers decide to skip the non-denom. mega church activity in favor of an Lutheran one?  Pastor Benke, what you describe is so sad.

Planet of the non-denominational churches:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2EzEBbtDGmI/TUqx2aAhneI/AAAAAAAANpk/0c_P2KCaARA/s1600/planet_apes+copy.jpg

It's Time?  I hope so, Pastor Harrison.  It might be later than we think.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 03, 2011, 11:01:03 PM
Lutheran sermons are like steak compared to the non-denominational fast food.  As people get older, I often wonder when (or if) they will tire of junk food and yearn for the better stuff.  I have been to a few non-denominational services.  How many Lutheran pastors can say this.  There is something to be said about the relaxed, coffee house atmosphere.  Lots of style, but little substance.  Sadly, Lutherans are like the Germans in that they don't know how to market their excellent products.  (Worldview Everlasting, Issues, Etc. and Pirate Christian Radio are exceptions to the rule, of course. ;D)


If you're going to use that analogy, fine. I can't see what sort of music is used for the Kyrie, Hymn of Praise, Sursom Corda, etc., has to do with the content of the sermon. I've heard some really good Lutheran sermons preached and then followed by a CCM hymn. And, I've heard some really bad non-denominational sermons in Lutheran churches, surrounded by traditional organ-led music. But, if you want to compare Lutheran sermons to steak as opposed to fast food, an overcooked steak is still a steak, but it's hard to chew. A nicely done hamburger could be a very attractive alternative to a badly done steak.

If you expect people to "yearn for the better stuff", you need to determine what criteria they use to evaluate what is "better". To someone who didn't go to seminary, or who isn't already a well-catechized Lutheran layman, some of those non-denominational sermons of the Theology of Glory or the Gospel of Prosperity do seem more like a tender, juicy theological steak and the typical Theology of the Cross sermon of a Lutheran church might come across as dry and tasteless as the monotone voice with which it is delivered.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 12:19:24 AM
J&S,

What on earth do you mean by 1950's traditional worship?  You have been pretty adamant at not allowing COWO to be stereotyped.  Isn't this a silly stereotype?  Our parish uses DS 3 most ofen; does that equate to 1950's?  We're sure not 1950's when we sing "Listen! God is Calling" or "What is This Bread" or "Eat This Bread."  The whole nature of liturgical worship and traditional Lutheran hymnody is that it REFUSES to be locked into a single era [and the music for DS 3 liturgy actually comes from several centuries!].  If it conveys the truth of God and does so with the music as servant to the words, it is worthy of our worship.  So we sing ancient chant, Anglican chant, German chorale, African music, stuff from Central and South America and so on.  Our hymnal is replete with them.  1950's???  Get real.

Get Real?  really? 

Okay - for the last 60 years - what has been the predominant shaping of the Liturgy - the Red Hymnal.  And the churches that are dwindling used what?

We've had this conversation before, and the catachesis there, and the training in liturgy just wasn't there.  And therefore there is a generation gap.  You exclaimed that there is no way in hell that people would leave the Eucharist - so I ask - why did they leave?

Why is there a generation that is missing from our churches?

I know a bunch of CoWo guys - they are all into catachesis and discipleship. Could that be why their churches are growing in multiple generations?  They are all weekly Eucharist.  Maybe that's why?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 12:23:52 AM
Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.


When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.


There's no limitation in involved in preaching the Gospel to the royal priesthood.  The priesthood is quite capable of banding together for evangelism in the community, using the radio or television to proclaim the Gospel, etc.  However, there's no substitute for someone seeing Christ in someone else's daily life.  That seems to me to be the thing you're discounting.  There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

Evangelism is not the same as promotion or advertising.  For evangelism to happen, one thing is needful--the evangel, the Gospel.  And the point of worship is not to promote the Gospel, to attract people to come and hear it.  The point is to  convert unbelieving pewsitters and strengthen believing ones, so that Christ is formed in us, so that we grow to live like what we are already--Christ's body.  And then Christ through His body gathers his elect, one by one, through daily life, just like He did in Galilee.  Otherwise evangelism is no different than propaganda, and we are building, to use your words, a big religious country club, or a political party, but not Christ's church.  

Note the words in bold/italics/underlined.

Note anything missing?  Or perhaps AnyOne?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 04, 2011, 12:46:16 AM
Once a year, usually on the last Sunday of the church year, we do a service in the style of a New Orleans funeral, with piano and jazz instruments, and it always includes Just a Closer Walk with Thee as well as When the Saints God Marching In. Some people love it. Some tolerate it. I know going in that the meat of the service is not the words of those hymns, but but being deliberate about it, putting it in context, explaining it, and making it an occasional exception instead of a steady diet, I think we make it work quite well.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 01:08:12 AM
"It is not the task of theology to construct a theory of God that is supposed to win us over by attractiveness. --Forde"

Indeed! But, finish the quote.

"It is the business of theology to foster the preaching of the Word of God.” --Forde

And that preaching can be made "attractive."

Finishing the quote tends rather to prove my point than your interpolation.

In what sense do you mean that preaching can be attractive?  That you work hard at it and don't shake it out of your sleeve?  Fine, we agree.  That you don't behave like an ass?  Fine, I agree with that too.  Well at least I agree that you should try not to be an ass.

But I'm sure you don't intend to deny that  "the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing...for we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles..."  or that " the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." or that the Gospel  should not come in a way that is dependent on "plausible words of wisdom" or for that matter, anything else that is appealing to fallen men, but"in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" so that the hearers' "faituh may not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

If you don't  disagree with those points, then we have nothing to argue about.  My concern is about the argument that says that substituting songs with a pleasing style but little or less Gospel for hymns that are rich in the Gospel will make the church grow or can make the church grow.  I note that not one time has anyone tried to argue that there is more Gospel in "the old favorite hymns" or praise songs than are in Lutheran hymns, and yet people still want to debate.  Since we're Lutherans, the debate should be over.  We could argue about whether we should write new melodies for they hymns or whether we should play them with guitar or drums, but it should be settled that since Lutheran hymns proclaim the Gospel better than old favorite hymns and praise songs, they need to be sung and inculcated in our congregations.  Or does someone want to try to put the old favorites or the praise songs up against the kernlieder?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 01:12:27 AM
Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.


When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.


There's no limitation in involved in preaching the Gospel to the royal priesthood.  The priesthood is quite capable of banding together for evangelism in the community, using the radio or television to proclaim the Gospel, etc.  However, there's no substitute for someone seeing Christ in someone else's daily life.  That seems to me to be the thing you're discounting.  There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

Evangelism is not the same as promotion or advertising.  For evangelism to happen, one thing is needful--the evangel, the Gospel.  And the point of worship is not to promote the Gospel, to attract people to come and hear it.  The point is to  convert unbelieving pewsitters and strengthen believing ones, so that Christ is formed in us, so that we grow to live like what we are already--Christ's body.  And then Christ through His body gathers his elect, one by one, through daily life, just like He did in Galilee.  Otherwise evangelism is no different than propaganda, and we are building, to use your words, a big religious country club, or a political party, but not Christ's church.  

Note the words in bold/italics/underlined.

Note anything missing?  Or perhaps AnyOne?

Please read the highlighted sentence in the context it was written and you'll recognize that I was arguing that through the preaching of Christ, the royal priesthood lives sacrificial lives in the world.  So of course it is Christ converting the empire by means of the preaching and witness of His Church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 01:54:39 AM
Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.


When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.


There's no limitation in involved in preaching the Gospel to the royal priesthood.  The priesthood is quite capable of banding together for evangelism in the community, using the radio or television to proclaim the Gospel, etc.  However, there's no substitute for someone seeing Christ in someone else's daily life.  That seems to me to be the thing you're discounting.  There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

Evangelism is not the same as promotion or advertising.  For evangelism to happen, one thing is needful--the evangel, the Gospel.  And the point of worship is not to promote the Gospel, to attract people to come and hear it.  The point is to  convert unbelieving pewsitters and strengthen believing ones, so that Christ is formed in us, so that we grow to live like what we are already--Christ's body.  And then Christ through His body gathers his elect, one by one, through daily life, just like He did in Galilee.  Otherwise evangelism is no different than propaganda, and we are building, to use your words, a big religious country club, or a political party, but not Christ's church.  

Note the words in bold/italics/underlined.

Note anything missing?  Or perhaps AnyOne?

Please read the highlighted sentence in the context it was written and you'll recognize that I was arguing that through the preaching of Christ, the royal priesthood lives sacrificial lives in the world.  So of course it is Christ converting the empire by means of the preaching and witness of His Church.

You are still missing.....

And since the bashing of CoWo is based on it missing something catechetical.... this oversight is very relevant...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 04, 2011, 08:09:03 AM
And therefore there is a generation gap.  You exclaimed that there is no way in hell that people would leave the Eucharist - so I ask - why did they leave?

Why is there a generation that is missing from our churches?

I know a bunch of CoWo guys - they are all into catachesis and discipleship. Could that be why their churches are growing in multiple generations?  They are all weekly Eucharist.  Maybe that's why?
1) A generation is missing, though not completely, because so many parents stopped bringing their children to church.  I have often noticed that the people who want CoWo are in their 50's and 60's not the 17 year olds.  (And those in their 50's and 60's were the ones who didn't bring their children believing that they shouldn't "force" their faith on their children but let them make their own choice.)  The reasons for changes in church attendance are numerous and shouldn't be tied only to CoWo or no CoWo.  :)

2)  Some congregations that are "into catachesis (sic) and discipleship" are growing some are not.  A local church here is starting a new campus.  It's giving away an Ipad.  Some of those "catechesis and disciplship" churches do rather silly things to get new members.  In the end, CoWo is not the be all and end all of getting a church to grow.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2011, 08:16:56 AM
Once a year, usually on the last Sunday of the church year, we do a service in the style of a New Orleans funeral, with piano and jazz instruments, and it always includes Just a Closer Walk with Thee as well as When the Saints God Marching In. Some people love it. Some tolerate it. I know going in that the meat of the service is not the words of those hymns, but but being deliberate about it, putting it in context, explaining it, and making it an occasional exception instead of a steady diet, I think we make it work quite well.

That sounds fair to me.  By "meat of the service," I would take it they have been led to the cross through the Word, received the promises of God in absolution, the Meal, the Word and prayer, and have been strengthened, encouraged and sent forth individually and in the Body for their individual, family and parish walk. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on February 04, 2011, 08:18:24 AM
If you don't  disagree with those points, then we have nothing to argue about.

Since that has been and is my point (other than the personal shot you've taken) and you agree with it, i.e., that preaching and, therefore, the proclamation of the gospel, can be attractive and not harlot-like (What's with these guys' fixation on harlot analogies?), I agree.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 11:19:26 AM
If you don't  disagree with those points, then we have nothing to argue about.

Since that has been and is my point (other than the personal shot you've taken) and you agree with it, i.e., that preaching and, therefore, the proclamation of the gospel, can be attractive and not harlot-like (What's with these guys' fixation on harlot analogies?), I agree.

Which personal shot?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 11:44:20 AM
Despite the population we have, most people nowadays know fewer people than their Christian counterparts knew 19 centuries ago. The strategy listed in Scripture for getting God's word into the ears of those who need it hasn't changed, but the tactics have. Preaching the Gospel requires someone preaching it, and it requires someone hearing it.


When you limit your evangelism to this, "And then, by God's grace, the congregation would fulfill their calling as a royal priesthood, and their lives would be living billboards to the fact that you don't simply have a cool worship service that people might like at your church, but something far better--Jesus Christ.", you're saying that you have a really good fishing net. But the people in your congregation are like 3" holes in a fishing net. They have a limited "community" of people they encounter and interact with. In this day and age, people tend to interact with others like themselves. The idea of "community" is defined by common interests rather than geographic proximity. So, even though you protest that you want the people in your congregation to reach out to everybody, the fact is that they are mostly only going to interact with people like themselves. That is the likeliest result of doing what you say is the only method that works at getting God's word into peoples' ears.


There's no limitation in involved in preaching the Gospel to the royal priesthood.  The priesthood is quite capable of banding together for evangelism in the community, using the radio or television to proclaim the Gospel, etc.  However, there's no substitute for someone seeing Christ in someone else's daily life.  That seems to me to be the thing you're discounting.  There were 12 disciples in the first century and there was one Jesus.  What was it that converted Rome into a Christian empire?  Was it promotion and marketing, or was it the love of Christians and their martyrdom?

Evangelism is not the same as promotion or advertising.  For evangelism to happen, one thing is needful--the evangel, the Gospel.  And the point of worship is not to promote the Gospel, to attract people to come and hear it.  The point is to  convert unbelieving pewsitters and strengthen believing ones, so that Christ is formed in us, so that we grow to live like what we are already--Christ's body.  And then Christ through His body gathers his elect, one by one, through daily life, just like He did in Galilee.  Otherwise evangelism is no different than propaganda, and we are building, to use your words, a big religious country club, or a political party, but not Christ's church.  

Note the words in bold/italics/underlined.

Note anything missing?  Or perhaps AnyOne?

Nope. Not in the context of the general series of posts. Each and every single post over the course of a long exchange of posts won't have every single thing included in each and every sentence. Taking a few posts out of context of the overall exchange to look for missing references is not the least bit helpful. Neither is pretending to not realize that some things between two Christians are an accepted given even when not specifically mentioned.

If someone were to go back through every post you've ever made, do you think we might find some in which you didn't include the name Jesus, even though it was clear He was who you were talking about?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 04, 2011, 12:19:43 PM
I just received notification of a worship seminar to be sponsored out of Concordia, Seward this summer.  In the interest of disclosure, they indicate that the truncation of synodical level commissions and boards in the Missouri Synod, including worship, was accompanied by a desire to have those items picked up by other entities in the church body.  I see that the Michigan District has hosted three regional worship conferences, and now this one appears.  I take this as a hopeful sign, and a prefigurement of a way that Missouri's "Koinonia Project" might accomplish its agenda.  The de-centralization of conversation, in other words, is a sign of hope for more comprehensive conversation. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 12:31:26 PM
And therefore there is a generation gap.  You exclaimed that there is no way in hell that people would leave the Eucharist - so I ask - why did they leave?

Why is there a generation that is missing from our churches?

I know a bunch of CoWo guys - they are all into catachesis and discipleship. Could that be why their churches are growing in multiple generations?  They are all weekly Eucharist.  Maybe that's why?
1) A generation is missing, though not completely, because so many parents stopped bringing their children to church.  I have often noticed that the people who want CoWo are in their 50's and 60's not the 17 year olds.  (And those in their 50's and 60's were the ones who didn't bring their children believing that they should "force" their faith on their children but let them make their own choice.)  The reasons for changes in church attendance are numerous and shouldn't be tied only to CoWo or no CoWo.  :)

2)  Some congregations that are "into catachesis (sic) and discipleship" are growing some are not.  A local church here is starting a new campus.  It's giving away an Ipad.  Some of those "catechesis and disciplship" churches do rather silly things to get new members.  In the end, CoWo is not the be all and end all of getting a church to grow.


And why did the parent's stop bringing their children to church?

And why won't the kids come back?

Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Besides which, I would challenge that giving people what they need to know about Christ is not primarily head knowledge.  It is first and foremost that God became incarnate, lived, suffered, died, rose again, ascended in order to redeem for Himself a people to relate to as His people, and He as their God and Father.  He marked and secured them in Baptism, continually feeds them as the Holy Spirit works through word and sacrament. The head knowledge is important, the understanding of how it works is something we should teach.  But I have seen too many people know how well we indoctrinate, and end up knowing very little of the God who comes to them to deliver them.

That's one thing those horrible, simplistic CoWo tunes you bash do very effectively - relate to God and praise Him for what He has done.   They pretty much fulfill the second word of the Decalogue, and Luther's explanation of it.






Personally, if I had a spare Ipad, I wuldn't give it away.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 04, 2011, 12:43:57 PM
Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Just a reminder - it has been stated that a great number of those "traditional" churches of a generation or two ago didn't really sing the great catechetical songs either, and little Lutheran catechesis took place. Traditional churches today are not necessarily a throwback or idealizing that era.

So yeah, it's not at all inconceivable that they would go to where their ears were being tickled by the next great thing - CoWo, or the pillow on Sunday mornings.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 12:56:10 PM
Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Just a reminder - it has been stated that a great number of those "traditional" churches of a generation or two ago didn't really sing the great catechetical songs either, and little Lutheran catechesis took place. Traditional churches today are not necessarily a throwback or idealizing that era.

So yeah, it's not at all inconceivable that they would go to where their ears were being tickled by the next great thing - CoWo, or the pillow on Sunday mornings.

Or someone saying the way to be a devout Christian is NOT to sing CoWO.

Pietism can raise its ugly head on either side of this ditch.  And while I know some, (like those in the HT leadership) that are not pietists, I know some as well that say you can't be a good Christian or Lutheran unless you dare to be a clone...err  a Liturgical Lutheran and create a new pietism.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 01:44:34 PM
Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Just a reminder - it has been stated that a great number of those "traditional" churches of a generation or two ago didn't really sing the great catechetical songs either, and little Lutheran catechesis took place. Traditional churches today are not necessarily a throwback or idealizing that era.

So yeah, it's not at all inconceivable that they would go to where their ears were being tickled by the next great thing - CoWo, or the pillow on Sunday mornings.

Even though I never heard those catechetical hymns sung during my formative years, the messages contained therein were taught to me in Sunday School and Confirmation classes, albeit by spoken word rather than song. I'd hate to think that learning the material via the spoken word was somehow inferior to learning it through song.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 04, 2011, 02:42:19 PM
And why did the parent's stop bringing their children to church?

And why won't the kids come back?

Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)

If it is true that parents stopped bringing their children to church and the kids won't come back because they do not value the Eucharist and were not properly catechized, shouldn't the solution be to teach them to value the Eucharist and to properly catechize them?  I'm not following your argument at all, brother.  I mean, I fail to see how the introduction of contemporary worship has led to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist or resulted in stronger catechesis.  In fact, I would argue that just the opposite has occurred, and to support my argument I could point to real life examples of how a steady diet of contemporary worship has led to a further de-valuing of the Eucharist and catechesis toward that end. 

Plus, there are numerous other factors to consider here - the fact that the Church has always struggled to retain her younger members and that, even now, that struggle exists within congregations who use contemporary worship as much as those who are more traditional, not to mention the effect society has had on how people view the Church and its necessity in their lives, just to name a few.   

Besides which, I would challenge that giving people what they need to know about Christ is not primarily head knowledge.  It is first and foremost that God became incarnate, lived, suffered, died, rose again, ascended in order to redeem for Himself a people to relate to as His people, and He as their God and Father.  He marked and secured them in Baptism, continually feeds them as the Holy Spirit works through word and sacrament. The head knowledge is important, the understanding of how it works is something we should teach.  But I have seen too many people know how well we indoctrinate, and end up knowing very little of the God who comes to them to deliver them.

That's one thing those horrible, simplistic CoWo tunes you bash do very effectively - relate to God and praise Him for what He has done.   They pretty much fulfill the second word of the Decalogue, and Luther's explanation of it.

If by "CoWo tunes" you mean the popular CCM songs often used by Lutherans doing contemporary worship, I couldn't disagree more with your assertion that they do very effectively what you claim they do.  I mean, I don't hear a lot of references to the means of grace in those songs.  Instead, I hear in most of them a very different theology being taught than that which we Lutherans believe, teach, confess, and practice.  So, again, I'm not following your argument.   
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 04, 2011, 02:49:35 PM
Interesting article in the WSJ...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703437304576120690548462776.html?mod=googlenews_wsj (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703437304576120690548462776.html?mod=googlenews_wsj)

(Since they tend to make articles subscriber only after the first day or two, here's the content of the article as well...)

By RUSSELL D. MOORE

Are we witnessing the death of America's Christian denominations? Studies conducted by secular and Christian organizations indicate that we are. Fewer and fewer American Christians, especially Protestants, strongly identify with a particular religious communion—Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc. According to the Baylor Survey on Religion, nondenominational churches now represent the second largest group of Protestant churches in America, and they are also the fastest growing.

More and more Christians choose a church not on the basis of its denomination, but on the basis of more practical matters. Is the nursery easy to find? Do I like the music? Are there support groups for those grappling with addiction?

This trend is a natural extension of the American evangelical experiment. After all, evangelicalism is about the fundamental message of Christianity—the evangel, the gospel, literally the "good news" of God's kingdom arriving in Jesus Christ—not about denomination building.....

Moderator's note: please be mindful of copyright restrictions. Do not copy a whole article here unless you have permission from the copyright holder.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 04:24:47 PM
Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Just a reminder - it has been stated that a great number of those "traditional" churches of a generation or two ago didn't really sing the great catechetical songs either, and little Lutheran catechesis took place. Traditional churches today are not necessarily a throwback or idealizing that era.

So yeah, it's not at all inconceivable that they would go to where their ears were being tickled by the next great thing - CoWo, or the pillow on Sunday mornings.

Or someone saying the way to be a devout Christian is NOT to sing CoWO.

Pietism can raise its ugly head on either side of this ditch.  And while I know some, (like those in the HT leadership) that are not pietists, I know some as well that say you can't be a good Christian or Lutheran unless you dare to be a clone...err  a Liturgical Lutheran and create a new pietism.

Yes, your second point is true.  Your first sentence does not reflect what I'm saying. 


Regarding your earlier post, Sandra said one thing I wanted to say.  The other thing is this: you're right, faith in Christ is not simply head knowledge.    But as some theologian said (I can't remember who right now) increase of faith and sanctification normally goes together with an increase of knowledge of theology, that is to say God's Word.  Frankly, hymns and pslams and spiritual songs are better teachers of theology than sermons.  The pastors in the early days of the reformation were of the opinion that if they preached a sermon, people might remember it, but if doctrinal hymns were sung at church and in the home, they would be remembered better than the sermons.  This is why they frequently referenced hymns and the catechism in their sermons in order to drive home a point, just as later Lutheran preachers have done.  But this only works if people know the hymns well, something that is rare even with American favorites.   

(You should really read the book by Christopher Boyd Brown, "Singing the Gospel."  If nothing else it is interesting reading about what life was like in a Bohemian town during the reformation, and how the Lutherans tenaciously held onto their faith during the counter-reformation by singing hymns in the home when Lutheran doctrine was suppressed in the town church.  And there is also a sort of moving story about how one of the first Roman priests sent there--a man who had been successful in "counter-reforming" some other towns and who had studied intensely how to undo the progress made by Lutherans--this man was converted to the Gospel by the example of pious Lutheran laymen who continued to cling to the Gospel despite suppression--and the hymns were a major factor in this.) 

So anyway, we certainly don't want to impart only dead head knowledge to people, or make them think that doctrinal expertise is the same as living faith.  But faith, knowledge, and doctrine are all connected, and a church that is ignorant of doctrine is going to be weak in faith as well, in most cases.  The Word of God is not merely kerygma, but also a corpus of doctrine.  So doctrine is the means by which the Holy Spirit works faith.  Besides, we are called to teach people doctrine: "everything I have commanded you," "the whole counsel of God." Can you tell me how it can be Lutheran to argue that a steady diet of non-doctrinal songs can be edifying to the Church?  I wonder if I'm missing something you're saying, or misunderstanding you.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 04:26:04 PM
If it is true that parents stopped bringing their children to church and the kids won't come back because they do not value the Eucharist and were not properly catechized, shouldn't the solution be to teach them to value the Eucharist and to properly catechize them? 

How do you plan to teach those who aren't in your church to be taught because they weren't taught in the first place? Do you plan on go door-to-door to the houses of people who aren't coming to church because they weren't taught properly?

I know I keep harping on this, but it's a two-step process.

Step one. Get then to come into the building.
Step two. Teach them.

You can't do step two until after you've done step one.

Why do so few people see that?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 04, 2011, 04:30:31 PM
Two options:

1.  We're terribly stupid.
2.  We already know and grant the point and have said so repeatedly.

I'll leave you to figure it out...  ;)

Oh, and to 2. I'd add that changing your music doesn't get them in the building.  Why should it?  Why would they care?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 04:31:30 PM
George, what do you see as being the best ways to get people to come into the building?  And what ways would be unacceptable in your mind?  We went around about this for a page or two and then maybe came to an agreement, so rather than go off and criticize something you're not saying, it would probably be good to understand what you are saying.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 04, 2011, 04:35:18 PM
Rev. J&S has said on many occassions that certain CoWo artists articulate Lutheran theology quite well, yet he has never presented an actual song or two as an example (I may be mistaken, and if so I apologize).  My suggestion is for him to select two or three songs that he uses in worship on a regular basis and let us discuss the theological merits of the words of those songs.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 04:49:44 PM
George, what do you see as being the best ways to get people to come into the building?  And what ways would be unacceptable in your mind?  We went around about this for a page or two and then maybe came to an agreement, so rather than go off and criticize something you're not saying, it would probably be good to understand what you are saying.

The "best" ways are whatever works, short of breaking any commandments. It's a foolish waste of time to worry about only doing what's "best". Do whatever you think might work. Do this, and do that, and do the other thing to, if you have the resources. Use your imagination. That's why God gave you one.

Take all the mental resources you devote to thinking about why this plan or that plan or the other plan isn't "the best", and devote those resources to coming up with ideas. Make a mental inventory of the skills and talents of the people in your congregation, and attempt to match the talents with ideas that will increase the awareness of your congregation with all of the people who reside within a reasonable geographic proximity to your house of worship, not just the ones your members are friends with.

As long as it doesn't violate God's Law, you shouldn't hesitate to try anything and everything you can think of. If something doesn't work, try something else. If something does work, do it again.

It's not rocket science. It's just a matter of accepting that, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations", includes the unchurched within a ten or fifteen mile radius of your building. Then just do it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 04:51:44 PM
Two options:

1.  We're terribly stupid.
2.  We already know and grant the point and have said so repeatedly.

I'll leave you to figure it out...  ;)

Oh, and to 2. I'd add that changing your music doesn't get them in the building.  Why should it?  Why would they care?

You are one of the few, the very few, who did grant the point and in didn't make numerous subsequent posts that ignored that simple truth.

And seeing a sign in front of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh that said "Contemporary Worship, 6:00 PM" that had a drawing of a guitar on it did convince my wife and I to walk through their doors one Sunday night at 5:55 PM. I ended up joining that congregation, and she ended up joining a little later after having been a nominal Roman Catholic for her entire life. We both ended up being elected to the Church Board, and serving as voting members of the Synod Assembly, and being very active in the life of the congregation. And it all started with a sign that said "Contemporary Worship, 6:00 PM".

Of the new members that congregation welcomed between 2004 and 2009, almost every one walked through the doors of that church for the first time shortly before 6:00 PM.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 05:07:24 PM
George, what do you see as being the best ways to get people to come into the building?  And what ways would be unacceptable in your mind?  We went around about this for a page or two and then maybe came to an agreement, so rather than go off and criticize something you're not saying, it would probably be good to understand what you are saying.

The "best" ways are whatever works, short of breaking any commandments. It's a foolish waste of time to worry about only doing what's "best". Do whatever you think might work. Do this, and do that, and do the other thing to, if you have the resources. Use your imagination. That's why God gave you one.


I mean what would work the best.  Because when I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church, you said that wouldn't work because it wouldn't reach enough people; so I had the idea that you had something in mind like using radio or television or the internet or something.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 04, 2011, 05:14:22 PM
Rev. J&S has said on many occassions that certain CoWo artists articulate Lutheran theology quite well, yet he has never presented an actual song or two as an example (I may be mistaken, and if so I apologize).  My suggestion is for him to select two or three songs that he uses in worship on a regular basis and let us discuss the theological merits of the words of those songs.



Your apology is accepted.

I've done it enough times and heard either, "nothing wrong with that" from Weedon or been ignored.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 04, 2011, 05:18:33 PM
Yeah, but just remember, you and I both like JM Talbot and Michael Card and such.  That might prejudice me!  I still listen to Kemper Crabb every once in a while too.  And I can bang out a mean Keith Green on the piano, but don't tell on me.  Wouldn't want to ruin my rep.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 05:19:10 PM
George, what do you see as being the best ways to get people to come into the building?  And what ways would be unacceptable in your mind?  We went around about this for a page or two and then maybe came to an agreement, so rather than go off and criticize something you're not saying, it would probably be good to understand what you are saying.

The "best" ways are whatever works, short of breaking any commandments. It's a foolish waste of time to worry about only doing what's "best". Do whatever you think might work. Do this, and do that, and do the other thing to, if you have the resources. Use your imagination. That's why God gave you one.


I mean what would work the best.  Because when I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church, you said that wouldn't work because it wouldn't reach enough people; so I had the idea that you had something in mind like using radio or television or the internet or something.

I was referring to that fact that pastors preach the Gospel to the people sitting in the pews in front of them on Sunday morning. I had in mind using radio or television or the internet or something to get more people to walk through the doors, then sit in the pews, and then listen to the Gospel being preached. I know you said that the holy lives of your parishioners would attract people to the church. I've seen that happen so rarely as to call it a miracle. Even when I've observed someone who lead their life in such a way that it might inspire me to attend a church (if I wasn't already a church going person), I don't think I've ever seen anyone whose display of their holy life would inform me of which church I should attend. Looking at it from the perspective of an unchurched person walking in the mall, if I saw a stranger displaying their holy life in such a way that it would inspire me to attend a church, I'd still pick a church that appealed to me from the ones I had heard about or that had messages on their signs out front that were appealing.  

Perhaps you could fill me in on specifically how one of your parishioner's holy life attracts people into your church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 04, 2011, 05:31:56 PM
George,

I readily admit that I struggle with the whole "how do we get people into the building" thing.  We have tried many things at our congregation.  We have actually walked our neighborhood, knocked on doors, handed out literature, participated in various community events, held "outreach" events at our congregation (e.g. Easter Egg Hunts, Advent Teas, Authentic Mexican Dinner and Movie Nights, etc.), and have even tried the whole "Friendship Sunday" thing a couple of times.  In my five-plus years of service here, I cannot think of one single person who became a member through any of these activities.  Sounds awful, but it's true.

We have gained several new members over that time frame, but in every case, it has resulted from members inviting family, friends, and acquaintances to come with them to church.  That doesn't happen as often as any of us would like, but, when it does happen, we enjoy a pretty high percentage of converting those guests into members.  And, one of the main reasons is because those guests are intrigued by our reverent, liturgical Services and want to learn more.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard things like, "Wow, that was so different from what I'm used to - that felt like Church!"  I know, weird.  But, true.  

Anyway, we're kinda shifting gears, focusing more on getting involved in various human care opportunities within our community, not for the purpose of getting people into the building, but simply to share the mercy of Christ with those in need.  In many ways, all the "outreach" events we've done (and continue to do) fall into this category as well.  In other words, if we hold an Easter Egg Hunt for our community, we do so not because we expect to gain members, but because we want to share our love with others.  

But, getting back to the point:  What we're not willing to do is change how we worship for the sake of getting people in the building.  We're really the only "gig" in a small town of dozens of churches where traditional, liturgical, reverent worship can be found.  Even our local RC church has gone "contemporary."  So, call us stubborn if you wish, but we believe that we have something substantive to offer our community in the whole worship department.  So, we'll have to figure out other ways to get people in the building.  But, I'm thinking that the best way is to continue to preach the Gospel and let our Lord work in the lives of His people, who will continue to invite others to come and see Jesus with them.  It ain't flashy, for sure.  But, it works - in our Lord's time and in His way.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 04, 2011, 05:39:44 PM
I believe that a study a few years ago of 1,000 people who joined ELCA churches (not transferred, but joined anew) showed that the vast majority of those people first came to that church because someone in the congregation (and not the pastor) invited them. A lot of factors may play into whether people stay, but the first time through the door happens when someone invites.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 04, 2011, 05:54:14 PM
As someone in a Southern city where Lutherans have no street cred, we have several things designed just for this.  We have a preschool with a fabulous reputation and a long waiting list.  People stand in line from 4 am on to get in on registration day.  80% of the 110 students are from the community and we figure that if people will trust us with their kids, they will trust us when we speak the Gospel.  Those kids go to chapel once a week, learn the salutation and response, how to cross themselves, and hear the Gospel spoken to them through the Lutheran lens of law/gospel in age appropriate ways.  When I meet the families in WalMart the kids inevitably call me their Pastor -- even when the family goes to a Baptist or another generic Southeran style church.

We have a concert series in which we have two sacred music concerts (this year our choir and orchestra did Vivaldi's Gloria and will do the Lenten music of Pergolesi with orchestra at the end of March).  The rest of the concerts are "secular" -- bluegrass, celtic music, jazz, etc. All free without admission charge and designed to get people into our building and find out that Lutherans don't bite.  BTW they go through an abundance of literature at each concert (including a goodly number of the Lutheran Hour booklets).

We are one of the primary sponsors of the local Pastoral Counseling Center in which faith is a counseling resource and no one is turned away for lack of insurance or money.  We host fund raisers for this effective ministry and I serve on the Board as its chair (about 1200 client hours at the center).

While we do all of this, every week we have 3-8 new families who walk through the door for the first time.  About half of them are Lutheran connected and the rest are looking at church for the first time or for the first time in a long time.  Most of them come through Yellow Pages, web page, word of mouth, or invitation from one of our people in the pew.  We would be huge but we live in such a mobile community that it seems some years we send out more in transfers than we receive.  Many of the folks we receive are adult confirmands of adult baptisms or both and we start them out on their life in the Church.  We figure that St. paul's words about some planting, some tending, some watering, etc... are literal for us.  About the time we get some of these folks to a solid level, they end up moving.  Sadly they have great trouble finding Lutheran congregations in which the music is good, the preaching is Biblical, the liturgy is unapologetic, and the Eucharist is weekly...   And we do with with sung liturgy, full Eucharistic vestments, pipe organ, choir, and all the traditional stuff that is not supposed to work...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 04, 2011, 06:44:13 PM
George, what do you see as being the best ways to get people to come into the building?  And what ways would be unacceptable in your mind?  We went around about this for a page or two and then maybe came to an agreement, so rather than go off and criticize something you're not saying, it would probably be good to understand what you are saying.

The "best" ways are whatever works, short of breaking any commandments. It's a foolish waste of time to worry about only doing what's "best". Do whatever you think might work. Do this, and do that, and do the other thing to, if you have the resources. Use your imagination. That's why God gave you one.


I mean what would work the best.  Because when I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church, you said that wouldn't work because it wouldn't reach enough people; so I had the idea that you had something in mind like using radio or television or the internet or something.

I was referring to that fact that pastors preach the Gospel to the people sitting in the pews in front of them on Sunday morning. I had in mind using radio or television or the internet or something to get more people to walk through the doors, then sit in the pews, and then listen to the Gospel being preached. I know you said that the holy lives of your parishioners would attract people to the church. I've seen that happen so rarely as to call it a miracle. Even when I've observed someone who lead their life in such a way that it might inspire me to attend a church (if I wasn't already a church going person), I don't think I've ever seen anyone whose display of their holy life would inform me of which church I should attend. Looking at it from the perspective of an unchurched person walking in the mall, if I saw a stranger displaying their holy life in such a way that it would inspire me to attend a church, I'd still pick a church that appealed to me from the ones I had heard about or that had messages on their signs out front that were appealing.  

Perhaps you could fill me in on specifically how one of your parishioner's holy life attracts people into your church.

Well, I'm not opposed to radio.  We have a radio broadcast of our services here.  The people in the congregation claim that it is the oldest ongoing religious broadcast in the country.  We also have a live nativity every year.  Our VBS is pretty well attended.  We are getting ready to develop a plan for congregational evangelism and for mercy work in the community.  We also have a parochial school.  And we run ads in the newspaper and have a website (although the website needs updating).

We've had people come here because of the website.   We've had school families that joined the church (although, that didn't just happen, it happened because I invited them).  But like Tom said, nobody has joined the church as a result of those things. I think when we start serving the community, that will attract people.  But that is kind of the thing--then it will be a result of the church showing mercy--i.e. living a holy life.

This is how the royal priesthood's holy life has resulted in new members coming to the church:

One lady who comes here to do genealogy all the time called me about some issues, and I met and counselled with her, and she started coming to church.
One guy had grown up here and felt moved to come back and I sat down with him after not communing him, and he came into the new members' class.
One woman was encouraged by her mother-in-law, who is the head of the evangelism committee, to get her children baptized and to get married here.  So the evangelism lady's holy life of going to church every Sunday and keeping after her kids to go to church, and her invitation, brought that young woman in.
Another lady was invited by her co-worker who goes to church here. 
A young man who had never darkened the doors of a church started dating a girl here and started coming with her.  I got to baptize him and marry them.  Her holy life of faith in Christ, lived out in the vocation of marriage, encouraged him.
Another young woman was dating a man who goes to church here, although he wasn't going very much.  But his grandma, who had ten kids and tries to get them all into church, who has her catechism memorized and runs the altar guild and who takes care of all the sick family members, encouraged her.  So she, who also never went to church, was baptized and lately her boyfriend has also started coming back to church.

A husband and wife who have become very active members enrolled their kids in the school and I invited them  to attend the new member's class.
A woman enrolled her kids in the school, invited by some folks in the church.  I can't remember how she ended up in the new members' class.
Another family enrolled their kids in the school.  The mother wanted their three children baptized, so I did.  Then they entered catechesis.  Then, the father's older daughter through another marriage came to live with them, and they lived holy lives in Christ by bringing her to church even though she didn't want to go.  Then something happened and she wanted to enter catechesis with the middle school kids (instead of the shorter route with the adults) and be baptized.  I hope to baptize her on our first easter vigil.    Also apparently she has begun to talk to her friends at school about the Gospel, because she brought one to church the other day.
Recently one very old couple have been bringing their 17 year old, unbaptized grandson.  Then another grandson moved here from Oregon, and they started bringing him too, and he's entering adult catechesis (even though he was confirmed many decades ago and has been admitted to the altar).

On and on the story goes.  Nearly every new member we have come in is invited by someone, or watches a church member and decides to go, or gets a visit from me.  There are a lot of other stories but I don't want to bore you. 

Now maybe if I had music people liked better, people would just show up on Sunday in droves without being invited.  But I don't think so.  The holy lives of Christians attracting people to church is not a miracle; well I guess it is, but it's a common miracle. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 04, 2011, 08:42:42 PM
I readily admit that I struggle with the whole "how do we get people into the building" thing.  We have tried many things at our congregation.  We have actually walked our neighborhood, knocked on doors, handed out literature, participated in various community events, held "outreach" events at our congregation (e.g. Easter Egg Hunts, Advent Teas, Authentic Mexican Dinner and Movie Nights, etc.), and have even tried the whole "Friendship Sunday" thing a couple of times.  In my five-plus years of service here, I cannot think of one single person who became a member through any of these activities.  Sounds awful, but it's true.

I've seen the kinds of outreach programs many congregations have tried. When I used to shoot Christians for a living, I got a chance to see how other churches also did outreach. Outreach that's done well works. Outreach that's done not so well doesn't work.

As for changing how a congregation worships, I have noted two very specific different approaches. I have also made it (I would hope) abundantly clear that I'm talking about a traditional Lutheran liturgy that uses contemporary music instead of traditional music. I have never once advocated doing a contemporary "Jesus Show" for an audience as an alternative to a liturgy that includes the worshippers.

The two approaches are (1) adding an extra service at a time other than Sunday morning as a "two birds with one stone" approach and (2) working some contemporary music services into the normal worship rotation, such as every Sunday that is the fifth Sunday of the month.

I'm reminded of the breakfast cereal commercials who claim to be "an important part of a balanced breakfast". The use of contemporary music can be an important part of a successful outreach program, but in and of itself, it's like eating a bowl of Frosted Sugar Balls and thinking that's a complete breakfast.

One thing is sure. If the only thing a congregation does is to rely on friends inviting friends, then the only people they'll get are friends invited by friends. And (as pointed out earlier), if the only new people you get are friends invited by congregation members, then you can be confident that people who aren't friends of your members won't have any chance of every hearing the Gospel preached at your church. Do you want to write those people off?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 04, 2011, 09:32:19 PM
I've seen the kinds of outreach programs many congregations have tried. When I used to shoot Christians for a living, I got a chance to see how other churches also did outreach. Outreach that's done well works. Outreach that's done not so well doesn't work.

George,

Can you provide some examples of the well done outreach that works? 

And, yes, I know that you are not advocating dumping the liturgy. 

No, I don't want to "write those people off."  That's just plain silly.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 04, 2011, 10:08:19 PM
Why did the boomers stop coming to church is a complicated and multifaceted problem.  All I am saying is that traditional worship is not the only reason that some stopped coming.  Also, I didn't notice in my post any bashing of CoWo.  

But I note that in my area cathechesis was woefully inadequate and too many differences between Lutherans and other bodies were simply glossed over.  So my experience is that boomers formed by intermarriages of Lutherans and Baptists, or Lutherans and (insert denom here), so often were not taught that Lutherans actually believe that the Eucharist is a sacrament.  They were also taught that the differences between Lutherans and (inserrt denom here) didn't amount to much and didn't matter.  Their children made the next logical jump: if the Eucharist is simply a memorial meal and being Lutheran doesn't matter, then going to church doesn't matter either.

Worship style may play some role in changes in attendance but agian it isn't everything.  But I admit, I am not a big fan of "CoWo" in some of its forms (Praise Bands, Me and Jesus spirituality, etc.) but its not all bad.  In fact, I would love to see more congregations embrace diveristy in accompaniment (guitar, organ, piano, drum, etc.)  Can we be inclusive of a diversity of musical gifts without jumping to a "CoWo is good, traditional is bad" or vice versa diatribe?

And therefore there is a generation gap.  You exclaimed that there is no way in hell that people would leave the Eucharist - so I ask - why did they leave?

Why is there a generation that is missing from our churches?

I know a bunch of CoWo guys - they are all into catachesis and discipleship. Could that be why their churches are growing in multiple generations?  They are all weekly Eucharist.  Maybe that's why?
1) A generation is missing, though not completely, because so many parents stopped bringing their children to church.  I have often noticed that the people who want CoWo are in their 50's and 60's not the 17 year olds.  (And those in their 50's and 60's were the ones who didn't bring their children believing that they should "force" their faith on their children but let them make their own choice.)  The reasons for changes in church attendance are numerous and shouldn't be tied only to CoWo or no CoWo.  :)

2)  Some congregations that are "into catachesis (sic) and discipleship" are growing some are not.  A local church here is starting a new campus.  It's giving away an Ipad.  Some of those "catechesis and disciplship" churches do rather silly things to get new members.  In the end, CoWo is not the be all and end all of getting a church to grow.


And why did the parent's stop bringing their children to church?

And why won't the kids come back?

Perhaps its because they do not value the Eucharist at all?  Perhaps it is because while they sang all these great catechetical songs - no catachesis was occurring?  (there is the idea of being too subtle)  

Besides which, I would challenge that giving people what they need to know about Christ is not primarily head knowledge.  It is first and foremost that God became incarnate, lived, suffered, died, rose again, ascended in order to redeem for Himself a people to relate to as His people, and He as their God and Father.  He marked and secured them in Baptism, continually feeds them as the Holy Spirit works through word and sacrament. The head knowledge is important, the understanding of how it works is something we should teach.  But I have seen too many people know how well we indoctrinate, and end up knowing very little of the God who comes to them to deliver them.

That's one thing those horrible, simplistic CoWo tunes you bash do very effectively - relate to God and praise Him for what He has done.   They pretty much fulfill the second word of the Decalogue, and Luther's explanation of it.






Personally, if I had a spare Ipad, I wuldn't give it away.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 04, 2011, 10:54:34 PM
Anyway, we're kinda shifting gears, focusing more on getting involved in various human care opportunities within our community, not for the purpose of getting people into the building, but simply to share the mercy of Christ with those in need.  

B-I-N-G-O!!  Sometimes we focus so much on how to get people in the pews to meet Jesus, when we can very effectively take Jesus to them.  They may never grace our pews, but they will have been introduced to Jesus.  More effective than any billboard or ad campaign, etc., in my experience and in the experience of others I know, a church which develops a reputation for caring for its community and making that community a better place to live tends to develop a natural draw all on its own.  A congregation which cares for its community is a congregation which cares for its own, as well.  I can't imagine being in a congregation without a strong emphasis on mercy and human care; it brings the church and the community to life (and Life!).  There are so many opportunities right outside our church doors to do this if we just look and ask the right people in the community just what the needs are. 

Back to thread, we spend so much time thinking the draw is really about our worship styles, etc., and from what I've seen, people want to know they are cared about and that they are part of a community; they have no problem learning the liturgy and traditional hymns and actually come to appreciate just how different and special the Divine Service is.  We belittle people when we make assumptions that they are not capable of learning this style of worship.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 05, 2011, 12:39:38 AM
Rev. J&S has said on many occassions that certain CoWo artists articulate Lutheran theology quite well, yet he has never presented an actual song or two as an example (I may be mistaken, and if so I apologize).  My suggestion is for him to select two or three songs that he uses in worship on a regular basis and let us discuss the theological merits of the words of those songs.



Your apology is accepted.

I've done it enough times and heard either, "nothing wrong with that" from Weedon or been ignored.



Well, if that is the case, could you please link us to a few of those songs in this thread.  Thank you in advance.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2011, 12:57:54 AM
I've seen the kinds of outreach programs many congregations have tried. When I used to shoot Christians for a living, I got a chance to see how other churches also did outreach. Outreach that's done well works. Outreach that's done not so well doesn't work.

George,

Can you provide some examples of the well done outreach that works? 

And, yes, I know that you are not advocating dumping the liturgy. 

No, I don't want to "write those people off."  That's just plain silly.

No, I cannot, in the space of a discussion forum post, describe the difference in details between an outreach effort that works and one that differs only in a few details that fails. Give me time to write a few books, then maybe. Much of it is common sense, and much of it is in bearing in mind that the little details make most of the difference.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 05, 2011, 01:06:50 AM
Rev. J&S has said on many occassions that certain CoWo artists articulate Lutheran theology quite well, yet he has never presented an actual song or two as an example (I may be mistaken, and if so I apologize).  My suggestion is for him to select two or three songs that he uses in worship on a regular basis and let us discuss the theological merits of the words of those songs.



Your apology is accepted.

I've done it enough times and heard either, "nothing wrong with that" from Weedon or been ignored.



Well, if that is the case, could you please link us to a few of those songs in this thread.  Thank you in advance.

Will you actually consider them, or will you just ignore them again?

Just as critical to the discussion, will you allow me to dissect your choices by your standards, and/or use your stanards to critique the songs and hymns in scripture itself?

If you are unwilling for this to be a dialog, and to challenge your choices as well as your standards, I see no reason to head down this road again.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 05, 2011, 01:26:48 AM
Rev. J&S has said on many occassions that certain CoWo artists articulate Lutheran theology quite well, yet he has never presented an actual song or two as an example (I may be mistaken, and if so I apologize).  My suggestion is for him to select two or three songs that he uses in worship on a regular basis and let us discuss the theological merits of the words of those songs.



Your apology is accepted.

I've done it enough times and heard either, "nothing wrong with that" from Weedon or been ignored.



Well, if that is the case, could you please link us to a few of those songs in this thread.  Thank you in advance.

Will you actually consider them, or will you just ignore them again?

Just as critical to the discussion, will you allow me to dissect your choices by your standards, and/or use your stanards to critique the songs and hymns in scripture itself?

If you are unwilling for this to be a dialog, and to challenge your choices as well as your standards, I see no reason to head down this road again.

I'm all for this.  Let's start with the doctrine in which the church stands or falls.  I will put up either "Salvation unto Us Has Come"  (LSB 555) or "Dear Christians, One and All Rejoice"  (LSB 556).  I am heading to bed but please post a link to your songs as I assume you have an LSB.  I hope this to be a fruitful discussion.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 05, 2011, 08:43:43 AM

[/quote]
B-I-N-G-O!!  Sometimes we focus so much on how to get people in the pews to meet Jesus, when we can very effectively take Jesus to them.  They may never grace our pews, but they will have been introduced to Jesus.  More effective than any billboard or ad campaign, etc., in my experience and in the experience of others I know, a church which develops a reputation for caring for its community and making that community a better place to live tends to develop a natural draw all on its own.  A congregation which cares for its community is a congregation which cares for its own, as well.  I can't imagine being in a congregation without a strong emphasis on mercy and human care; it brings the church and the community to life (and Life!).  There are so many opportunities right outside our church doors to do this if we just look and ask the right people in the community just what the needs are. 
Back to thread, we spend so much time thinking the draw is really about our worship styles, etc., and from what I've seen, people want to know they are cared about and that they are part of a community; they have no problem learning the liturgy and traditional hymns and actually come to appreciate just how different and special the Divine Service is.  We belittle people when we make assumptions that they are not capable of learning this style of worship.
[/quote]
I agree strongly with both of these statements.
As a fellow urban church worker with many new attendees, guests, members-in-progress, and kids in worship, GET THE CHURCH OUT OF THE BUILDING and into the streets.  Right now we're piloting both neighborhood cleanup and food outreach not in the sanctuary or parish hall, but on the corner and at the YMCA. 
And as a fellow urban church worker with many new attendees, guests from other or no traditions, members-in-progress and kids in worship, EXPLAIN AND TEACH even while enacting and proclaiming the Means of Grace. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 05, 2011, 06:03:58 PM
Anyway, we're kinda shifting gears, focusing more on getting involved in various human care opportunities within our community, not for the purpose of getting people into the building, but simply to share the mercy of Christ with those in need.  

B-I-N-G-O!!  Sometimes we focus so much on how to get people in the pews to meet Jesus, when we can very effectively take Jesus to them.  They may never grace our pews, but they will have been introduced to Jesus.  More effective than any billboard or ad campaign, etc., in my experience and in the experience of others I know, a church which develops a reputation for caring for its community and making that community a better place to live tends to develop a natural draw all on its own.  A congregation which cares for its community is a congregation which cares for its own, as well.  I can't imagine being in a congregation without a strong emphasis on mercy and human care; it brings the church and the community to life (and Life!).  There are so many opportunities right outside our church doors to do this if we just look and ask the right people in the community just what the needs are. 

Back to thread, we spend so much time thinking the draw is really about our worship styles, etc., and from what I've seen, people want to know they are cared about and that they are part of a community; they have no problem learning the liturgy and traditional hymns and actually come to appreciate just how different and special the Divine Service is.  We belittle people when we make assumptions that they are not capable of learning this style of worship.

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

Can Lutherans learn how to "do" fellowship without tossing out the old hymns? :'(
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 05, 2011, 06:23:14 PM
There's a really good question, Drive-by.  The answer, of course, is yes. 

Practically it takes some (sorry) leadership.  The new three-fold emphasis is helpful in my opinion - "mercy" is not only the activity of sending money to somewhere else to help, but of organizing the corporate Body of Christ locally to assist those in need in the community of the parish, and to do so from a genuine "faith active in love" approach.

Theologically, there's a strain of the teaching on vocation that truncates vocation in the world to individual activity after hearing/receiving the Gospel.  So the bricklayer goes his way, the teacher hers, the cop hers, the accountant his, etc. living out the Christian witness.  But there's no reference to corporate or perish the thought ecumenical activity in matters of mercy in this truncated vocational pattern.  Big mistake.  The fellowship component of activity in all kinds of mercy is its own energy source in the Christian community, much less the assistance given and the new perspectives received in such activity.

So yes. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 05, 2011, 08:41:23 PM
Rev. J&S, just in case you forgot, I would like one or two hymns of the CoWo type that teach Justification for me to look at.  I have given you two from LSB up stream.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 05, 2011, 09:08:29 PM
While waiting for J&S, can you spot and then offer your thoughts upon the point of tension between the two hymns you cite as examples of the Lutheran doctrine of justification?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Robert Johnson on February 05, 2011, 10:13:17 PM

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

I think this is an important point, and I would like to add that it is not only non-denominational churches that do this.  My sister belongs to a Free Methodist church; it's large and has multiple activities just about every night.  For a large number of people, church activity fellowship is the most important part of their social life.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 05, 2011, 10:41:34 PM

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

I think this is an important point, and I would like to add that it is not only non-denominational churches that do this.  My sister belongs to a Free Methodist church; it's large and has multiple activities just about every night.  For a large number of people, church activity fellowship is the most important part of their social life.

For me, it's about the only part of my social life.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 06, 2011, 12:17:54 AM
Rev. J&S, just in case you forgot, I would like one or two hymns of the CoWo type that teach Justification for me to look at.  I have given you two from LSB up stream.

1.  I hadn't forgotten, some of us have busy days...

2.  I think you mistook the arrangement, or decided unilaterally to change it.  What I offered was...:
       a.  Me noting a couple of songs I regularly use
       b.  You analyzing them.
       c.  I consider you analysis and apply it to
                     what you use
                     the liturgy itself
                     the hymns and psalms of scripture.


Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Martin R. Noland on February 06, 2011, 12:22:59 AM
President Benke is right about this being a productive discusion, and worthy of attention by the LCMS President and the Koinonia Project.  Here is my opinion on what you have said so far:

I agree with Benke's comments #193 and 254 and Dcs. Schave's #249.

Here is how I analyze the problem, at least for LCMS Lutherans -

Per Benke #193, the symptom is kids and grandkids leaving the Lutheran church.  The older folks say "What's wrong? What can we do?"
Their diagnosis is worship is boring or irrelevant for the younger crowd.
Their prescription is contemporary worship, however you or they might define it.

I believe there has been an error in diagnosis, as many of you have observed here in this post.  Back in the 1980s, Alan Klaas did work for the LCMS known as the Church Growth Initiative.  It was a rather large statistical survey, done correctly.  The memorable result was that people joined churches, not because of the worship style, but because of the "friendly" factor; i.e, they felt welcomed and quickly made good friends.  This supports those on this post who talked about the "fellowship" factor, as well as the new LCMS emphasis on Life Together.

So I really agree with President Benke that Mercy work, when done correctly, can be a critical factor in outreach to the community.  It is one of several ways that the church shows that it is a "friend."  If that is backed-up by real friendships when the people visit the church, then you have real membership growth.

One thing I noticed about the history of LCMS missions is that those which had long-term deaconesses in the field, in the same place for a long time, also had the most impact and staying power.

So, by whatever means it works best in a particular community, our congregations need to both gain the reputation of being "friends" to the people of a community and then, when those folks enter their doors, they need to actually become friends.

I wonder why LCMSers have consistenly misdiagnosed this, i.e., thought that the answer to back-door losses (or front-door gains) was changing worship.  I think that, for many people who have grown up in the church, they just don't understand what it is like to be outside of a religious community.  I think that the people who consistently do understand this are adult converts who joined the Lutheran church voluntarily (i.e., not roped into it by a spouse).  But we don't have a lot of those, and probably very few of them as pastors or church leaders.

I bet that if you did a survey of LCMS congregations today, of "traditional worship" and "contemporary worship" congregations, measuring for the "friendly factor" over against back-door losses and front-door gains, you would find that "traditional" and "contemporary" are not significant factors, but that the "friendly factor" is very significant, for both types of worship.

Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on February 06, 2011, 02:02:54 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ApS9W26eDs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4wl0VFgpjY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txnToAs2RY4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IlYo1FlOUY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9HodA8jUCk

Executive Summary: Contemporary worship music on a Sunday morning is not my fav.  I would not advocate replacing all “traditional” services with contemporary.  Neither would I advocate insinuating or outright saying that those who prefer to utilize contemporary music sparingly or even on a somewhat regular basis because it seems to work well for their congregations, variety is the spice of life, the congregation has some talented musicians who are interested in sharing their gifts, or whatever,  are unchristian, unLutheran, don’t care about the past, are only trying to appear popular, have weak theology, are failing to care for their flocks, etc…

Long Form:
Well, this is probably going to get me sent to Lutheran Reeducation Camp, but I’ll give it a shot.  Before I begin, I should note that my personal “preference” for Sunday morning worship is extremely “high-church,” which derives (lately, anyway) from my very uh…robust view of the Real Presence.  Nonetheless, I am one of the very few people my age who has Bach or Handel on my ipod (for real, I do).  Most people my age are not in (any) church on Sunday morning.  I contend that simply opening the front doors and chanting the liturgy louder so that they can hear it out on the streets is not likely encourage those individuals to “give church a chance.”  As much as we firmly believe that the Word of God, having been proclaimed, works entirely on its own, it must be proclaimed in a language that can be understood by those to whom it is being proclaimed.  I could stand up in church tomorrow morning and read the Gospel from Nestle-Aland27 and have full confidence that the Word of God will “do its thing,” so to speak.  However, barring some modern-day rendition of Pentecost in rural North Dakota, such an act is unlikely to accomplish much. 

Similarly, many of the people out (and in, sadly) of our parishes have lost the ability to understand, “hear,” and/or appreciate older, liturgical, theologically dense, classical-style music.  Hear me out: I firmly believe that this ability can be cultivated or regained with sincere educational effort, and that such effort should indeed be undertaken.  However, it is simply unfair to invite completely unchurched populations, who do not know and indeed have never heard, let alone sung, the liturgy to worship with us, expect them to follow along with every measure of “hymn and chant and high thanksgiving”, and expect them to “like it – it’s good for you.”  It’s even more unfair when such people find the experience aesthetically unpleasant and we announce to them (in person, or behind their backs on boards like this) that they are simply resisting the Lord. 

For good or for ill, we now live in a society where church is a choice – what church one attends, or whether one attends at all.  We are no longer in a position where we can simply structure worship, proclamation, outreach entirely the way “we think it ought to be done” and give not a second thought to how it will be received.  Perhaps, since we all seem to want to run around claiming to be offended, we ought to give thought to our weaker brothers and sisters, or individuals who may not yet even be Christian, who have simply not yet developed the ability to appreciate and worship in the highly traditional liturgical format.  Example: As I stated above, I have a very strong preference for highly liturgical worship.  (Most) “contemporary” music on Sunday morning drives me crazy.  (I’m headed to the Rock and Worship Road Show in Grand Forks next week on a Thursday night and I’m ridic excited.)  And I have friends who wouldn’t go near liturgy, but might attend my home congregation’s contemporary service.  So, sometimes I suck it up, invite them, and we attend the contemporary service together.  And on that day, someone who otherwise wouldn’t, hears Law and Gospel proclaimed, learns the Good News of Jesus Christ.  And I think that’s a good thing.  Sue me.

And now (and this is the part that’s gonna get me sent to Reeducation Camp), here’s something else.  Sunday morning worship services are about more than teaching theology – via the liturgy, the sermon, or the hymns.  Sunday morning is also a time for people to actually, you know, worship.  It is a time for people to express praise and love and gratitude and adoration – and frustration and lack of understanding and fear and trust-and-hope-nonetheless – to God, the Lover of our souls.  If we are so hung up on using only hymns that are dissertation-ready because of their theological perfection and educational value, but that fail to actually touch people’s hearts, allow them to connect with God and express themselves, then we will end up with congregations either a) full of people who can “sign off” on the Nicene Creed but might never know what it feels like to say, “I love you, God,” or b) empty because everyone has gone to a place where they are actually allowed to worship and say what’s on their hearts. 

Is a lot of “CCM” junk?  Yes.  But a lot of it is good, too.  I’ve posted links to a few videos above, and others abound.  We needn’t throw good theology, or historical format, or the entire liturgy overboard.  We needn’t set up our congregations to accommodate to every passing whim of contemporary culture.  We needn’t eliminate the faith once delivered in favor of postmodern feel-good theology.  But we also needn’t be so obsessed with what was great and helpful about the past that we fail to appreciate what is great and helpful about our own era. 

Just my $.02.  Done now. 

~ Katie
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Robert Johnson on February 06, 2011, 02:30:04 AM
And now (and this is the part that’s gonna get me sent to Reeducation Camp), here’s something else.  Sunday morning worship services are about more than teaching theology – via the liturgy, the sermon, or the hymns.  Sunday morning is also a time for people to actually, you know, worship.  It is a time for people to express praise and love and gratitude and adoration – and frustration and lack of understanding and fear and trust-and-hope-nonetheless – to God, the Lover of our souls.  If we are so hung up on using only hymns that are dissertation-ready because of their theological perfection and educational value, but that fail to actually touch people’s hearts, allow them to connect with God and express themselves, then we will end up with congregations either a) full of people who can “sign off” on the Nicene Creed but might never know what it feels like to say, “I love you, God,” or b) empty because everyone has gone to a place where they are actually allowed to worship and say what’s on their hearts. 

If I had the ability to write as well as you do, I would have written this.  Well done.  I'll head off to camp with you.

I'm old; I am a classically trained amateur musician.  But...  I don't care that a 16th century hymn is theologically perfect; if it's a slow 6-verse dirge through some oddball irregular beat with lyrics that don't even remotely scan to English as it is spoken, my mind is wandering long before it has reached the halfway point.  I have no idea what to say to my adult children (who attend church only on request to please us, so we don't ask them all that often) to tell them how much they should appreciate these theological gems, because I can't do it myself.  [Aside: is it a theological mandate to insist on singing all the verses of every hymn, no matter how long it takes?  Do we not have an understanding of attention span?]

I am NOT a fan of vapid choruses that repeat the same phrase endlessly, or pop music that is barely recognizable as a hymn.  But I'm saying that the response to music is more emotional than intellectual (even Bach!) and if our music largely or entirely does not connect emotionally with the people who need it, there may be a problem that is not solvable by telling people that they don't think right about music. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 06, 2011, 04:14:23 AM
Katie,

Of course you include a clip from downhere only my favorite group out there these days - and they're Canadian?!  Who'd have thunk it?!  ;)

My favorite song from them is still their first hit song (at least I think it's their first - I know it's from their self-titled first cd):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCglkTHeMPo

a newer hit, again emphasizing God's greatness and our humility:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buiPI6wsJ18&feature=related

Another song that I really like from a group I really like became an obsession for one of my confirmation students when I used it as an opener for our unit on the second article of the Creed in confirmation class "Light of the World" by Watermark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmZ8gD2q7Uo

she's asking for it every week and I'm not ashamed to show it. 

And - of course, with a wink  ;) to Pastor Weedon for giving a nod to a few of the contemporary Christians he's given a listen to, I would rank Rich Mullins right up there with Michael Card and JM Talbot, especially this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tpq4MoRVV4

and this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2KOCgC8DnU

and I mustn't forget this one, the source of my current tagline:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K93ebKnmhs
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 06, 2011, 05:54:52 PM
President Benke is right about this being a productive discusion, and worthy of attention by the LCMS President and the Koinonia Project.  Here is my opinion on what you have said so far:

I agree with Benke's comments #193 and 254 and Dcs. Schave's #249.

Here is how I analyze the problem, at least for LCMS Lutherans -

Per Benke #193, the symptom is kids and grandkids leaving the Lutheran church.  The older folks say "What's wrong? What can we do?"
Their diagnosis is worship is boring or irrelevant for the younger crowd.
Their prescription is contemporary worship, however you or they might define it.

I believe there has been an error in diagnosis, as many of you have observed here in this post.  Back in the 1980s, Alan Klaas did work for the LCMS known as the Church Growth Initiative.  It was a rather large statistical survey, done correctly.  The memorable result was that people joined churches, not because of the worship style, but because of the "friendly" factor; i.e, they felt welcomed and quickly made good friends.  This supports those on this post who talked about the "fellowship" factor, as well as the new LCMS emphasis on Life Together.

So I really agree with President Benke that Mercy work, when done correctly, can be a critical factor in outreach to the community.  It is one of several ways that the church shows that it is a "friend."  If that is backed-up by real friendships when the people visit the church, then you have real membership growth.

One thing I noticed about the history of LCMS missions is that those which had long-term deaconesses in the field, in the same place for a long time, also had the most impact and staying power.

So, by whatever means it works best in a particular community, our congregations need to both gain the reputation of being "friends" to the people of a community and then, when those folks enter their doors, they need to actually become friends.

I wonder why LCMSers have consistenly misdiagnosed this, i.e., thought that the answer to back-door losses (or front-door gains) was changing worship.  I think that, for many people who have grown up in the church, they just don't understand what it is like to be outside of a religious community.  I think that the people who consistently do understand this are adult converts who joined the Lutheran church voluntarily (i.e., not roped into it by a spouse).  But we don't have a lot of those, and probably very few of them as pastors or church leaders.

I bet that if you did a survey of LCMS congregations today, of "traditional worship" and "contemporary worship" congregations, measuring for the "friendly factor" over against back-door losses and front-door gains, you would find that "traditional" and "contemporary" are not significant factors, but that the "friendly factor" is very significant, for both types of worship.

Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

AMEN, Pastor Noland!

I would like to add a personal testimony regarding fellowship in the LCMS.

My wife was happily attending a thriving, Presbyterian seeker church.  After we got married, she volunteered to join the LCMS.  Our LCMS congregation has an excellent reputation for child care.  We also wanted our kids to go to the LCMS grade school.  Some of the non-denominational churches have also started Christian grade schools.  But we in the LCMS have been doing Christian education for decades.  We do it better! ;D

My wife joined the LCMS not just for the grade school.  We moved to a small town where we did not know anyone.  The "small groups" program at our church allowed us to meet other young couples our age with kids.  The "small groups" program, a (fellowship) component of Church Growth, has encouraged us to make friends and has provided us with a deeper sense of belonging in our church.  (My only regret about small groups is that we are encouraged to study Calvinists such as Rob Bell and Beth Moore.  Where's the Lutheran theology?  No CPH materials? ???)

Does the LCMS really need the Church Growth Movement in order to teach it how to "do" fellowship.  I am not sure why the LCMS feels the urge to adopt all of (Calvinist) Rick Warren's ideas.  Why not just adopt a couple of Church Growth Movement ideas that pertain to encouraging fellowship and abandon those ideas that damage Lutheran theology.  Will the LCMS seriously address this in the Koinonia Project?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 06, 2011, 06:09:37 PM
President Benke is right about this being a productive discusion, and worthy of attention by the LCMS President and the Koinonia Project.  Here is my opinion on what you have said so far:

I agree with Benke's comments #193 and 254 and Dcs. Schave's #249.

Here is how I analyze the problem, at least for LCMS Lutherans -

Per Benke #193, the symptom is kids and grandkids leaving the Lutheran church.  The older folks say "What's wrong? What can we do?"
Their diagnosis is worship is boring or irrelevant for the younger crowd.
Their prescription is contemporary worship, however you or they might define it.

I believe there has been an error in diagnosis, as many of you have observed here in this post.  Back in the 1980s, Alan Klaas did work for the LCMS known as the Church Growth Initiative.  It was a rather large statistical survey, done correctly.  The memorable result was that people joined churches, not because of the worship style, but because of the "friendly" factor; i.e, they felt welcomed and quickly made good friends.  This supports those on this post who talked about the "fellowship" factor, as well as the new LCMS emphasis on Life Together.

So I really agree with President Benke that Mercy work, when done correctly, can be a critical factor in outreach to the community.  It is one of several ways that the church shows that it is a "friend."  If that is backed-up by real friendships when the people visit the church, then you have real membership growth.

One thing I noticed about the history of LCMS missions is that those which had long-term deaconesses in the field, in the same place for a long time, also had the most impact and staying power.

So, by whatever means it works best in a particular community, our congregations need to both gain the reputation of being "friends" to the people of a community and then, when those folks enter their doors, they need to actually become friends.

I wonder why LCMSers have consistenly misdiagnosed this, i.e., thought that the answer to back-door losses (or front-door gains) was changing worship.  I think that, for many people who have grown up in the church, they just don't understand what it is like to be outside of a religious community.  I think that the people who consistently do understand this are adult converts who joined the Lutheran church voluntarily (i.e., not roped into it by a spouse).  But we don't have a lot of those, and probably very few of them as pastors or church leaders.

I bet that if you did a survey of LCMS congregations today, of "traditional worship" and "contemporary worship" congregations, measuring for the "friendly factor" over against back-door losses and front-door gains, you would find that "traditional" and "contemporary" are not significant factors, but that the "friendly factor" is very significant, for both types of worship.

Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

AMEN, Pastor Noland!

I would like to add a personal testimony regarding fellowship in the LCMS.

My wife was happily attending a thriving, Presbyterian seeker church.  After we got married, she volunteered to join the LCMS.  Our LCMS congregation has an excellent reputation for child care.  We also wanted our kids to go to the LCMS grade school.  Some of the non-denominational churches have also started Christian grade schools.  But we in the LCMS have been doing Christian education for decades.  We do it better! ;D

My wife joined the LCMS not just for the grade school.  We moved to a small town where we did not know anyone.  The "small groups" program at our church allowed us to meet other young couples our age with kids.  The "small groups" program, a (fellowship) component of Church Growth, has encouraged us to make friends and has provided us with a deeper sense of belonging in our church.  (My only regret about small groups is that we are encouraged to study Calvinists such as Rob Bell and Beth Moore.  Where's the Lutheran theology?  No CPH materials? ???)

Does the LCMS really need the Church Growth Movement in order to teach it how to "do" fellowship.  I am not sure why the LCMS feels the urge to adopt all of (Calvinist) Rick Warren's ideas.  Why not just adopt a couple of Church Growth Movement ideas that pertain to encouraging fellowship and abandon those ideas that damage Lutheran theology.  Will the LCMS seriously address this in the Koinonia Project?

And here is where people show their ignorance.

1.  Which school of CG Theory is being pushed to be adopted in total?  Who is demanding this?

2.  Rick Warren, a Calvinst?  Really?  If you ever bump into John Piper, you might tell him that... then again don't - his heart may not be able to take the laughter.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: SmithL on February 06, 2011, 06:18:57 PM

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

I think this is an important point, and I would like to add that it is not only non-denominational churches that do this.  My sister belongs to a Free Methodist church; it's large and has multiple activities just about every night.  For a large number of people, church activity fellowship is the most important part of their social life.

For me, it's about the only part of my social life.

Yesterday, in our discipleship workshop, we spent a lot of time discussing "living in the church bubble."  And as frequently happens, I found myself in a distinct minority.  A lot of my social life is tied up with scouts, former submariners, and assorted unchurched Californians.  I'm not ready to initiate conversations by asking people how I can be a blessing to them, but a lot of people know I've included them in my prayers.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 06, 2011, 10:24:29 PM

When Lutherans examine thriving non-denominational churches, they overlook the fact that these function as self-styled community centers that coincidentally have a Sunday church service.  People are hungry for fellowship.  The line that separates fellowship and worship in those churches is blurry.  It's not about the music.  (Surprise!)  People are drawn to a place where there is a sense of belonging: "A community of worshipers."

I think this is an important point, and I would like to add that it is not only non-denominational churches that do this.  My sister belongs to a Free Methodist church; it's large and has multiple activities just about every night.  For a large number of people, church activity fellowship is the most important part of their social life.

For me, it's about the only part of my social life.

Yesterday, in our discipleship workshop, we spent a lot of time discussing "living in the church bubble."  And as frequently happens, I found myself in a distinct minority.  A lot of my social life is tied up with scouts, former submariners, and assorted unchurched Californians.  I'm not ready to initiate conversations by asking people how I can be a blessing to them, but a lot of people know I've included them in my prayers.

Perhaps I should have said my "in person" social life is limited to only church activities. I've been out of work for over a year, and had no friends from work even when I did work. I know no one in the Atlanta Metro other than people from church or church-related activities. My only other contact with other human beings is grocery store check-out clerks, my participation in here, Facebook, and telephone calls to my relatives.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Darrell Wacker on February 06, 2011, 10:27:31 PM
George,

When I lived in Atlanta, I met a great group of guys who had breakfast at chic-fil-a every morning.  Overtime we formed sort of a discussion group, totally unplanned-plus you can't beat the chicken biscuits!

Looking forward to being in Atlanta in a couple of weeks!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on February 06, 2011, 10:56:39 PM
There's a really good question, Drive-by.  The answer, of course, is yes. 

Practically it takes some (sorry) leadership.  The new three-fold emphasis is helpful in my opinion - "mercy" is not only the activity of sending money to somewhere else to help, but of organizing the corporate Body of Christ locally to assist those in need in the community of the parish, and to do so from a genuine "faith active in love" approach.

Theologically, there's a strain of the teaching on vocation that truncates vocation in the world to individual activity after hearing/receiving the Gospel.  So the bricklayer goes his way, the teacher hers, the cop hers, the accountant his, etc. living out the Christian witness.  But there's no reference to corporate or perish the thought ecumenical activity in matters of mercy in this truncated vocational pattern.  Big mistake.  The fellowship component of activity in all kinds of mercy is its own energy source in the Christian community, much less the assistance given and the new perspectives received in such activity.

So yes. 

Dave Benke
By God's grace, we are getting a reputation of being a VERY friendly church....I still don't see it mainly because I am still doing a lot of the "friendly" though there are signs of life in the laity independent of me in welcoming those who God sends our way.  We are not very good at getting folks in, but it seems that we are getting better at keeping them once God sends them in.

There are a lot of smiles and hugs around our place, though once we get down to the Mass, we are pretty traditional...our hymns are accompanied in an amazing way, lead a bit slowly for my taste, but we do a reverent Mass without bells or smells....that and I do a children's message and we have lay men and women reading the Lessons and distributing the Blessed Sacrament.  We are what you call an enigma, I guess.

So, the hymns are LSB traditional, Advent and Lent mid-week Eucharist is Taize, I am vested in full Eucharistic vestments for all services...even got myself a cope from a place on e-Bay in Poland...and got to wear it for a graveside service recently.

Oh, and the Packers won tonight!  YIPPEE!!!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 06, 2011, 10:59:20 PM
Padre,

I hear you.  Today before the prayers I had to announce that one of our families had suffered a terrible house fire (no life lost - Deo gratias!) and a young mother of triplets was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  LOTS of hugs and tears in Church this a.m.  Both families were present and I think they both could sense the love that was enveloping them.  It's what the Body of Christ is all about...

P.S.  And the humor this a.m. of announcing - for those of us who follow the one year - this Sunday (5 Epiphany) will not recur again for 27 years - after which time I'll either be in my grave or out to pasture!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 06, 2011, 11:05:34 PM
By God's grace, we are getting a reputation of being a VERY friendly church


Does "we" refer to Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church or to the LC-MS?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 06, 2011, 11:20:03 PM
And now (and this is the part that’s gonna get me sent to Reeducation Camp), here’s something else.  Sunday morning worship services are about more than teaching theology – via the liturgy, the sermon, or the hymns.  Sunday morning is also a time for people to actually, you know, worship.  It is a time for people to express praise and love and gratitude and adoration – and frustration and lack of understanding and fear and trust-and-hope-nonetheless – to God, the Lover of our souls.  If we are so hung up on using only hymns that are dissertation-ready because of their theological perfection and educational value, but that fail to actually touch people’s hearts, allow them to connect with God and express themselves, then we will end up with congregations either a) full of people who can “sign off” on the Nicene Creed but might never know what it feels like to say, “I love you, God,” or b) empty because everyone has gone to a place where they are actually allowed to worship and say what’s on their hearts. 

Is a lot of “CCM” junk?  Yes.  But a lot of it is good, too.  I’ve posted links to a few videos above, and others abound.  We needn’t throw good theology, or historical format, or the entire liturgy overboard.  We needn’t set up our congregations to accommodate to every passing whim of contemporary culture.  We needn’t eliminate the faith once delivered in favor of postmodern feel-good theology.  But we also needn’t be so obsessed with what was great and helpful about the past that we fail to appreciate what is great and helpful about our own era. 


You make an excellent point that too many people seem to miss and forget. Scripture doesn't say "intone a mournful sounding dirge unto the Lord". It says "Make a joyful noise".

One caveat about using most CCM songs in worship. There are a great many excellent SATB choir arrangements of traditional hymns that turn them into musical performance pieces. There is nothing wrong with that. If a church choir works to learn a special arrangement of a hymn that is so arranged that an ordinary congregation cannot sing along with it, and they perform that specially arranged hymn as an anthem or other "special music" during the gathering of the offering or some other appropriate time, that is a good thing. One example that springs to mind is "Beautiful Savior", which can be a nice congregational hymn or a powerful anthem if one of the special choir arrangements are used.

In the case of CCM songs, what is put out on recordings are the highly arranged "anthem" versions of those songs. Just as a simply hymn can be fancied up into a choir performance piece, CCM songs need to be stripped down to their basic melody and lyrics for use in congregational singing. If anyone says that CCM songs cannot be used in worship because they aren't suitable for congregational singing, that's a false straw-man argument. It just takes a reasonably good music director.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 06, 2011, 11:24:45 PM

And here is where people show their ignorance.

1.  Which school of CG Theory is being pushed to be adopted in total?  Who is demanding this?

2.  Rick Warren, a Calvinst?  Really?  If you ever bump into John Piper, you might tell him that... then again don't - his heart may not be able to take the laughter.



Would it be incorrect to call Rick Warren Reformed, or should he be considered a generic Calvinist.  His theology is not Lutheran.  But you know that.

How many people graduate from the seminary as trained LCMS pastors, but then they do an 180 degree turn and encourage the teachings of Reformed/Calvinists such as Rob Bell, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, etc.  in small groups.  How many Nooma DVDs are in your church library, J & S?  Busted!  I rest my case.  ;D


Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 07, 2011, 12:37:34 AM
Rob Bell isn't a Calvinist.  If anything, he is a Fuller Grad, and a liberal Evangelical.  I know, I didn't know there was such a thing.  Well - the American Baptist's, I suppose.  Sometimes, to hear Bell preach, or expound, he may as well be a Unitarian Universalist or - he may need to explore the Bahai faith. 

Calvin favored infant baptism, Evangelicals (a.k.a. "Baptists") do not.  So, Rick Warren is not a Calvinist, although he is puritanical. Lately, with his new "Daniel Plan" weight loss gimmic, as I've heard about on Issues, Etc., what he's teaching there is hardly Christian.  "Biggest Loser with a praise band," is what they called it on Issues, Etc.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 07, 2011, 01:35:49 AM

And here is where people show their ignorance.

1.  Which school of CG Theory is being pushed to be adopted in total?  Who is demanding this?

2.  Rick Warren, a Calvinst?  Really?  If you ever bump into John Piper, you might tell him that... then again don't - his heart may not be able to take the laughter.



Would it be incorrect to call Rick Warren Reformed, or should he be considered a generic Calvinist.  His theology is not Lutheran.  But you know that.

How many people graduate from the seminary as trained LCMS pastors, but then they do an 180 degree turn and encourage the teachings of Reformed/Calvinists such as Rob Bell, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, etc.  in small groups.  How many Nooma DVDs are in your church library, J & S?  Busted!  I rest my case.  ;D




Driveby,

Not one Nooma dvd, and Rich Warren isn't even a two point calvinist, nor is he truly reformed in any classical sense.  Not even close to Zwingli in this theology.

One of the papers I did a long time ago noted at least 8 different schools of though in church growth.  The Fuller school of thought is based on statistical analysis and replication of methodology, and tries to apply lessons learned.  (the first theorist was really Allen, an Anglican missionary who tried to apply his missionary techniques to the churches he returned to) It has a significant problem, because it look at symptoms, rather than causes, studies rather than relationships.

There are other schools of thought, such as Jack Hayford, who is more concerned with the spiritual development of the pastor and leaders of the church.  A form of pietism perhaps, but nothing to do with statistical analysis.

Schuler and two of those who were closely associated with this theory, Hybels and Warren, do not share common methodologies, save that they talk a lot about the people who they see God making a difference in their lives.  (Schuler is a Calvinist)  Heck the Crystal Cathedral still uses its pipe organ primarily, along with choirs, robes etc.  Not exactly the canned stuff I see criticized by those that lump all CG together.

There are other theorists, some who base in discipleship, and those who actually develop their theories from the mission fields, or from Patristic sources.

I left the CG stuff - the stat analyst stuff, that dominated my old denom, for a reason.  Stats may reveal some interesting things, but they only show the surface... dig deeper, read the stories, talk to the guys, and you find out it's all about introducing people who have no hope, to their hope of glory, being in Christ through baptism.





Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Team Hesse on February 07, 2011, 09:34:00 AM

And here is where people show their ignorance.

1.  Which school of CG Theory is being pushed to be adopted in total?  Who is demanding this?

2.  Rick Warren, a Calvinst?  Really?  If you ever bump into John Piper, you might tell him that... then again don't - his heart may not be able to take the laughter.



Would it be incorrect to call Rick Warren Reformed, or should he be considered a generic Calvinist.  His theology is not Lutheran.  But you know that.

How many people graduate from the seminary as trained LCMS pastors, but then they do an 180 degree turn and encourage the teachings of Reformed/Calvinists such as Rob Bell, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, etc.  in small groups.  How many Nooma DVDs are in your church library, J & S?  Busted!  I rest my case.  ;D




Driveby,

Not one Nooma dvd, and Rich Warren isn't even a two point calvinist, nor is he truly reformed in any classical sense.  Not even close to Zwingli in this theology.

One of the papers I did a long time ago noted at least 8 different schools of though in church growth.  The Fuller school of thought is based on statistical analysis and replication of methodology, and tries to apply lessons learned.  (the first theorist was really Allen, an Anglican missionary who tried to apply his missionary techniques to the churches he returned to) It has a significant problem, because it look at symptoms, rather than causes, studies rather than relationships.

There are other schools of thought, such as Jack Hayford, who is more concerned with the spiritual development of the pastor and leaders of the church.  A form of pietism perhaps, but nothing to do with statistical analysis.

Schuler and two of those who were closely associated with this theory, Hybels and Warren, do not share common methodologies, save that they talk a lot about the people who they see God making a difference in their lives.  (Schuler is a Calvinist)  Heck the Crystal Cathedral still uses its pipe organ primarily, along with choirs, robes etc.  Not exactly the canned stuff I see criticized by those that lump all CG together.

There are other theorists, some who base in discipleship, and those who actually develop their theories from the mission fields, or from Patristic sources.

I left the CG stuff - the stat analyst stuff, that dominated my old denom, for a reason.  Stats may reveal some interesting things, but they only show the surface... dig deeper, read the stories, talk to the guys, and you find out it's all about introducing people who have no hope, to their hope of glory, being in Christ through baptism.







Interesting. How does one wean women from Beth Moore? The women's group locally has been hooked on her from before my time and that's an area where angels fear to tread as far as I can see.

Lou
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: SteveS on February 07, 2011, 10:59:27 AM

Ok, I'll bite.  Our adult Sunday school class has used some of the Nooma DVDs.  Some of the things that have been mentioned in some of the roughly 10 Nooma videos I have seen I have questioned.  But, overall, I feel they have generated very good discussion in our class.  Keep in mind that the DVDs are to be thought provoking, not the basis for our theology.  They are certainly no substitute for the creeds or for Luther's catechisms.

I try to go to Sunday school every week, but I'm an electrical engineer.  I get lost with some of the more advanced theological discussions here.  We struggle to get adults to participate in Sunday school.  We also haven't had the pastor lead the class in the 14 years I have been a member.  I simply don't understand why pastors must preside over communion while I, someone with no training is asked to lead an adult Sunday school class from time to time.  Compared to letting me teach for an hour, showing a 15 minute Rob Bell video and discussing it isn't a big risk in my opinion.  :-\  After all we don't expect all you pastors to do all your home wiring or fix your own computers and appliances.

Is this forum welcoming to those of us not ordained and not experienced in theology?  In discussing why the Non denominational churches are growing while the mainline churches are not, I think one overlooked aspect is that many folks do not want to feel like they are being looked down upon by their college professors.  Sometimes this forum makes me feel this way.  Rob Bell videos, for all their faults, do not.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 07, 2011, 11:03:37 AM

And here is where people show their ignorance.

1.  Which school of CG Theory is being pushed to be adopted in total?  Who is demanding this?

2.  Rick Warren, a Calvinst?  Really?  If you ever bump into John Piper, you might tell him that... then again don't - his heart may not be able to take the laughter.


Would it be incorrect to call Rick Warren Reformed, or should he be considered a generic Calvinist.  His theology is not Lutheran.  But you know that.

How many people graduate from the seminary as trained LCMS pastors, but then they do an 180 degree turn and encourage the teachings of Reformed/Calvinists such as Rob Bell, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, etc.  in small groups.  How many Nooma DVDs are in your church library, J & S?  Busted!  I rest my case.  ;D

Driveby,

Not one Nooma dvd, and Rich Warren isn't even a two point calvinist, nor is he truly reformed in any classical sense.  Not even close to Zwingli in this theology.

One of the papers I did a long time ago noted at least 8 different schools of though in church growth.  The Fuller school of thought is based on statistical analysis and replication of methodology, and tries to apply lessons learned.  (the first theorist was really Allen, an Anglican missionary who tried to apply his missionary techniques to the churches he returned to) It has a significant problem, because it look at symptoms, rather than causes, studies rather than relationships.

There are other schools of thought, such as Jack Hayford, who is more concerned with the spiritual development of the pastor and leaders of the church.  A form of pietism perhaps, but nothing to do with statistical analysis.

Schuler and two of those who were closely associated with this theory, Hybels and Warren, do not share common methodologies, save that they talk a lot about the people who they see God making a difference in their lives.  (Schuler is a Calvinist)  Heck the Crystal Cathedral still uses its pipe organ primarily, along with choirs, robes etc.  Not exactly the canned stuff I see criticized by those that lump all CG together.

There are other theorists, some who base in discipleship, and those who actually develop their theories from the mission fields, or from Patristic sources.

I left the CG stuff - the stat analyst stuff, that dominated my old denom, for a reason.  Stats may reveal some interesting things, but they only show the surface... dig deeper, read the stories, talk to the guys, and you find out it's all about introducing people who have no hope, to their hope of glory, being in Christ through baptism.


 J & S:  For a moment, I had thought you were an Ablaze! pastor, whom I had offended.  My apologies.

I have described one of the Church Growth activities going on at my LCMS church (small groups).  My church is a member of the Willow Creek Association.  I like the opportunity for fellowship, but not necessarily the curricula.  You may choose to debate whether it is Calvinist, Reformed, Universalist, Pietist, etc., but it is not Lutheran.  Some may ask what's wrong with that.  After all, many non-Lutherans have good ideas, too.  I would argue that many of the beliefs promoted by those theologians (Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Beth Moore, etc.) are hostile to Lutheran doctrine.   

The explosion in membership at those non-denominational churches illustrate that most church shoppers who buy that "church car" are not too interested in what theology is found "under the hood."  If non-denominational theology is a nebulous protestant mush, then that is "ok" for many people.  And if church shoppers don't care that much about doctrine, then they should not care whether the worship and bible study curricula is traditional or contemporary.  If the real issue is fellowship and friendship in a "cool" and relaxed setting, how does embracing non-Lutheran theology and practice encourage this? ??? ??? ???

Yes, I understand that Rob Bell and Beth Moore are fun "coffee house church" authors and that many LCMS Lutherans are addicted.  It is alluring stuff.  Where are the Lutheran authors?  (I do  like WorldView Everlasting a lot, but unfortunately the material is not organized in a DVD study guide format for Sunday school and small group instruction.) 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 07, 2011, 11:35:47 AM
At the risk of this metaphor being warped and twisted beyond all reason, it strikes me that in some regards (and only some, not all), churches can be compared to restaurants. A restaurant is partly described by the type of food it serves, but it is also recognized for decor, how the food is served, etc. A Christian church is partly described by the type of theology it serves as its understanding of the Gospel, but it is also recognized by how the Gospel is served, etc.

All restaurants, regardless of the kind of food they server, can improve their basic operations. Those basic operations are common to all restaurants. Whether a restaurant specializes in Italian, Asian, American, or Mexican food, the principles of keeping the kitchen clean, having an attractive sign out front, easy to read menus, good wait staff, and other such common characteristics are universal to all restaurants. There is no reason why someone running an Italian restaurant couldn't benefit from advice from someone who runs a Mexican restaurant on how to get hungry people to walk in the door. Specific details may vary, but the principles are the same.

Likewise, though a Lutheran congregation shouldn't accept advice from non-Lutherans on what theological interpretation of the Gospel to preach, there's no reason why a Lutheran congregation couldn't benefit from advice from Baptists, Methodists, or even Jews on how to better organize a pot-luck supper, or get the building roof repaired, or to do any other church activity that is unrelated to the theological interpretations of the Gospel.

Lutheran theology might well shape the order of liturgy, but Lutheran theology doesn't shape how we do pot-lucks.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 07, 2011, 12:04:57 PM
Is this forum welcoming to those of us not ordained and not experienced in theology?  In discussing why the Non denominational churches are growing while the mainline churches are not, I think one overlooked aspect is that many folks do not want to feel like they are being looked down upon by their college professors.  Sometimes this forum makes me feel this way.  Rob Bell videos, for all their faults, do not.

SteveS:  Tough questions.  I too, am a layman.  It took me a solid year and a half of lurking before I worked up the courage to post.  The pastors on this forum have a minimum of a masters degree in Theology, with training in one or two languages (I think).  The discussions here run very deep, and I enjoy reading them.  Condescending?  I think I know what you mean, but I have always interpreted it to mean "snark."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 07, 2011, 12:42:21 PM
At the risk of this metaphor being warped and twisted beyond all reason, it strikes me that in some regards (and only some, not all), churches can be compared to restaurants. A restaurant is partly described by the type of food it serves, but it is also recognized for decor, how the food is served, etc. A Christian church is partly described by the type of theology it serves as its understanding of the Gospel, but it is also recognized by how the Gospel is served, etc.

All restaurants, regardless of the kind of food they server, can improve their basic operations. Those basic operations are common to all restaurants. Whether a restaurant specializes in Italian, Asian, American, or Mexican food, the principles of keeping the kitchen clean, having an attractive sign out front, easy to read menus, good wait staff, and other such common characteristics are universal to all restaurants. There is no reason why someone running an Italian restaurant couldn't benefit from advice from someone who runs a Mexican restaurant on how to get hungry people to walk in the door. Specific details may vary, but the principles are the same.

Likewise, though a Lutheran congregation shouldn't accept advice from non-Lutherans on what theological interpretation of the Gospel to preach, there's no reason why a Lutheran congregation couldn't benefit from advice from Baptists, Methodists, or even Jews on how to better organize a pot-luck supper, or get the building roof repaired, or to do any other church activity that is unrelated to the theological interpretations of the Gospel.

Lutheran theology might well shape the order of liturgy, but Lutheran theology doesn't shape how we do pot-lucks.

Yes, I agree with you George.  Thoughtful reflections.  Good stuff!  I hope these issues can be included in the LCMS Koinonia Project.

Consistency is key to a restaurant that wants to stay in business.  Consistency is also critical to the success of the restaurant if the owner decides to open several locations.  McDonald's is the same throughout the country no matter where you travel.  People expect that.

If I live in Illinois and attend a traditional worship service at an LCMS church, and then I move to a small city in Texas and need to travel across town to visit three LCMS congregations before I can even find a traditional service, then what does that say about consistency?  How many times is this scenario repeated across the country.  (And yes, I could easily reverse it to say:  If I originally attended a CoWo service...."). ;)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 07, 2011, 01:06:43 PM
At the risk of this metaphor being warped and twisted beyond all reason, it strikes me that in some regards (and only some, not all), churches can be compared to restaurants. A restaurant is partly described by the type of food it serves, but it is also recognized for decor, how the food is served, etc. A Christian church is partly described by the type of theology it serves as its understanding of the Gospel, but it is also recognized by how the Gospel is served, etc.

All restaurants, regardless of the kind of food they server, can improve their basic operations. Those basic operations are common to all restaurants. Whether a restaurant specializes in Italian, Asian, American, or Mexican food, the principles of keeping the kitchen clean, having an attractive sign out front, easy to read menus, good wait staff, and other such common characteristics are universal to all restaurants. There is no reason why someone running an Italian restaurant couldn't benefit from advice from someone who runs a Mexican restaurant on how to get hungry people to walk in the door. Specific details may vary, but the principles are the same.

Likewise, though a Lutheran congregation shouldn't accept advice from non-Lutherans on what theological interpretation of the Gospel to preach, there's no reason why a Lutheran congregation couldn't benefit from advice from Baptists, Methodists, or even Jews on how to better organize a pot-luck supper, or get the building roof repaired, or to do any other church activity that is unrelated to the theological interpretations of the Gospel.

Lutheran theology might well shape the order of liturgy, but Lutheran theology doesn't shape how we do pot-lucks.

Yes, I agree with you George.  Thoughtful reflections.  Good stuff!  I hope these issues can be included in the LCMS Koinonia Project.

Consistency is key to a restaurant that wants to stay in business.  Consistency is also critical to the success of the restaurant if the owner decides to open several locations.  McDonald's is the same throughout the country no matter where you travel.  People expect that.

If I live in Illinois and attend a traditional worship service at an LCMS church, and then I move to a small city in Texas and need to travel across town to visit three LCMS congregations before I can even find a traditional service, then what does that say about consistency?  How many times is this scenario repeated across the country.  (And yes, I could easily reverse it to say:  If I originally attended a CoWo service...."). ;)

And that's where my metaphor breaks down. It is an open question as to whether or not all of the churches within any denomination, church body, or even faith tradition should be comparable to national franchise chains or if they should be comparable to independently owned and operated establishments. Consistency is critical to operating a franchise restaurant, but it is meaningless if opening an independent restaurant. I'm only attempting to make the point that there is nothing wrong with listening to advice from people of other faith traditions, so long as one does it with careful discrimination, and limits the acceptance of advice from people in other faith traditions on matters that do not affect the theological understanding of the Gospel. The metaphor I used stands up to illustrating that point, but it cannot be stretched any further to cover other issues.

Another way that my metaphor does not apply to churches is that churches aren't open seven days a week, offering multiple items on a menu. I suppose one could stretch the metaphor a little. I'd submit that if you move to a small city in Texas that has three LC-MS congregations, and each one only has one service per Sunday, and always has the exact same type of service every time, then there are other issues to be resolved. Maybe two of those congregations need to merge. Maybe at least one of those congregations should rotate among different musical styles in their services. Maybe the District President should sit down with the leaders of all three congregations and guide them towards maximizing the use of their different resources by at least one of them adopting a more traditional worship style. I don't know the answers. I'm not even sure of all the questions.



Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Darrell Wacker on February 07, 2011, 01:23:12 PM
Is this forum welcoming to those of us not ordained and not experienced in theology?  In discussing why the Non denominational churches are growing while the mainline churches are not, I think one overlooked aspect is that many folks do not want to feel like they are being looked down upon by their college professors.  Sometimes this forum makes me feel this way.  Rob Bell videos, for all their faults, do not.

SteveS:  Tough questions.  I too, am a layman.  It took me a solid year and a half of lurking before I worked up the courage to post.  The pastors on this forum have a minimum of a masters degree in Theology, with training in one or two languages (I think).  The discussions here run very deep, and I enjoy reading them.  Condescending?  I think I know what you mean, but I have always interpreted it to mean "snark."

I too am a layman and have usually found most of the pastors on the forum to be quite gracious, although there are certain exceptions.  Of course, some of the posters here seem to wake up snarky and go to sleep snarky, and never change in between!  ::)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 07, 2011, 01:36:46 PM
Is this forum welcoming to those of us not ordained and not experienced in theology?  In discussing why the Non denominational churches are growing while the mainline churches are not, I think one overlooked aspect is that many folks do not want to feel like they are being looked down upon by their college professors.  Sometimes this forum makes me feel this way.  Rob Bell videos, for all their faults, do not.

SteveS:  Tough questions.  I too, am a layman.  It took me a solid year and a half of lurking before I worked up the courage to post.  The pastors on this forum have a minimum of a masters degree in Theology, with training in one or two languages (I think).  The discussions here run very deep, and I enjoy reading them.  Condescending?  I think I know what you mean, but I have always interpreted it to mean "snark."

My apologies to both of you if you found my attempt at clarification of denominational background as condescending.  I just wanted to clarify who was what, that's all.  It's true, Luther had major disagreements with the leaders of the Reformed Tradition (Calvin, Zwingli, et al.), especially with regards to what they taught about Holy Communion - that they believed about Christ only being "Spiritually Present," or the converse - that the believer, partaking of Holy Communion is "spiritually present" with Christ in the heavenly banquet yet to come.  The classic debate being between Ullrich Zwingli who insisted that Christ could only be spiritually present since He is seated at the Father's right hand and Luther, who held that Christ, being a member of the Godhead - the Holy Trinity - shared in his post-resurrection glory the ubiquity that the Father and the Holy Spirit have.  I think I remember hearing that Luther even went so far as to argue that Christ was in his cabbage soup to buttress Zwingli - to indicate the belief that His benefits to our lives can be found in everything that nourishes us, body and soul.    

Luther also had major problems with the Anabaptists (today's Baptists/Evangelicals).  If faith is not a gift - if it is something we have the power to subscribe to or give cognitive ascent to, then that robs the Holy Spirit of its role to "call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify" for God His holy catholic church.  In fact, Luther argued firmly against any sense that we come to faith or "accept" or "choose" Jesus Christ to become our Savior.  It is so difficult to read through Calvin's Institutes (it reads like a lawyer wrote it - I had a Presbyterian colleague who told me she couldn't do it).  But, I suspect that Calvin would agree more with Luther about the Holy Spirit than an Anabaptist (or today's Evangelicals) would.  

As Luther covers the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed on the Holy Spirit in his Small Catechism:

THE THIRD ARTICLE: SANCTIFICATION

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”
6 What does this mean?
Answer: I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church he daily and abundantly forgives all my sins, and the sins of all believers, and on the last day he will raise me and all the dead and will grant eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true.

The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 1959 (T. G. Tappert, Ed.) (345). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.

I did read that Calvin came out in favor of "Paedobaptism" (or "infant baptism" as we would call it) in his Institutes - something he takes a multitude of pages to arrive at.  I cannot speak confidently about whether or not infant baptism is practiced across the Reformed tradition.  While I cannot speak for everybody here, I would welcome requests for clarification from anyone if my "shop talk" gets a bit out of hand - either by a personal message or on the forum (if you promise to be gentle). One of the best words of advice I received from one of my Theology professors, Dr. Pete Pero of LSTC was that we must try to teach with "painstaking clarity."  I must confess, I'm hardly perfect at it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 07, 2011, 02:18:36 PM
My apologies to both of you if you found my attempt at clarification of denominational background as condescending.  I just wanted to clarify who was what, that's all.  It's true, Luther had major disagreements with the leaders of the Reformed Tradition (Calvin, Zwingli, et al.), especially with regards to what they taught about Holy Communion - that they believed about Christ only being "Spiritually Present," or the converse - that the believer, partaking of Holy Communion is "spiritually present" with Christ in the heavenly banquet yet to come.  The classic debate being between Ullrich Zwingli who insisted that Christ could only be spiritually present since He is seated at the Father's right hand and Luther, who held that Christ, being a member of the Godhead - the Holy Trinity - shared in his post-resurrection glory the ubiquity that the Father and the Holy Spirit have.  I think I remember hearing that Luther even went so far as to argue that Christ was in his cabbage soup to buttress Zwingli - to indicate the belief that His benefits to our lives can be found in everything that nourishes us, body and soul.    

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over the placement of pews in the church building? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists on any secondary issues related to convincing people who didn't go to any church at all that they should start?

That would be directly relevant to whether or not Lutherans should be wiling to accept advice from non-Lutherans on church issues unrelated to theological understanding of the Gospel or Sacraments, wouldn't you agree?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 07, 2011, 02:28:32 PM
I don't have references right at hand, but I do think that Luther had issues with iconoclasts, of which the anabaptists were often examples.  By analogy, I think that Luther would have problems with any group today who demand that traditional worship styles or church architecture and decoration be abandoned.  That might include some of far out contemporary worship liturgy nazies.  (I have run into a few - just as adamant that only CW is appropriate for use today {what's the matter, aren't you mission minded?!?} as the traditionalists liturgy nazies who insist that in important part of our mission is repristinating traditional liturgical forms.)

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 07, 2011, 03:54:22 PM
Rev. J&S, just in case you forgot, I would like one or two hymns of the CoWo type that teach Justification for me to look at.  I have given you two from LSB up stream.

1.  I hadn't forgotten, some of us have busy days...

2.  I think you mistook the arrangement, or decided unilaterally to change it.  What I offered was...:
       a.  Me noting a couple of songs I regularly use
       b.  You analyzing them.
       c.  I consider you analysis and apply it to
                     what you use
                     the liturgy itself
                     the hymns and psalms of scripture.




1.  Your first comment is pure snark.  We all have busy days, just ask my wife and kids about how often they see me esp. this last month and half. 

2.  I will be happy to follow Fr. Weedon's advice and give you the reasons why I feel the hymns that I listed are superior.

First off, LSB 555  "Salvation unto Us Has Come."  This hymn is a dogmatics class on the doctrine of Justification.  The hymn does a very good job at showing our total dependance on the work of God in salvation.

The first stanza right off the bat shows us that we are doomed if we look to our works for our salvation and how Jesus alone is to be the source of salvation
The second stanza shows how we fall short of the Law, Original Sin language
The third stanza shows the second use of the Law in our lives.
The fourth stanza has more "old Adam" in us language- defintely showing our sinful nature.
The fifth stanza shows that we need Someone to fulfill the Law for us- Active Obedience (Christ keeping the law for us)  The fifth stanza works as a nice bridge to bring us to work of Christ for our salvation.
Stanzas 6-10
6: Christ Alone makes atonement--grace alone
7:  Baptism places us into this salvation 
8: a reminder of what the Law does but with comfort of the Gospel
9:  Faith Alone along with a reminder of living our Christian life in service towards our neighbors
10: Doxological

The reason why this is hymn is important for continual use in the Lutheran Church is simple- it teaches, can you give one CoWo that teaches Justification this clearly.  This is Pieper set to music and it is written in such a simple way that children can understand the central article of faith through song.  Luther's hymn which I will give a rationale for later is more personal (subjective) in nature than this objective one.

I hope you actually want to do this, if not let me know.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 07, 2011, 05:13:28 PM
If people are looking for good video resources for Bible Studies a couple of places to look are http://www.lutheranvisuals.com (http://www.lutheranvisuals.com)  and  tp://www.lhmmen.com/studies.asp (http://tp://www.lhmmen.com/studies.asp) .

One could also check out the resources available from CPH and FP.

Dan
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 07, 2011, 09:54:42 PM
My apologies to both of you if you found my attempt at clarification of denominational background as condescending.  I just wanted to clarify who was what, that's all.  It's true, Luther had major disagreements with the leaders of the Reformed Tradition (Calvin, Zwingli, et al.), especially with regards to what they taught about Holy Communion - that they believed about Christ only being "Spiritually Present," or the converse - that the believer, partaking of Holy Communion is "spiritually present" with Christ in the heavenly banquet yet to come.  The classic debate being between Ullrich Zwingli who insisted that Christ could only be spiritually present since He is seated at the Father's right hand and Luther, who held that Christ, being a member of the Godhead - the Holy Trinity - shared in his post-resurrection glory the ubiquity that the Father and the Holy Spirit have.  I think I remember hearing that Luther even went so far as to argue that Christ was in his cabbage soup to buttress Zwingli - to indicate the belief that His benefits to our lives can be found in everything that nourishes us, body and soul.    

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over the placement of pews in the church building? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists on any secondary issues related to convincing people who didn't go to any church at all that they should start?

That would be directly relevant to whether or not Lutherans should be wiling to accept advice from non-Lutherans on church issues unrelated to theological understanding of the Gospel or Sacraments, wouldn't you agree?
Certainly.  The problem with Rob Bell and Rick Warren is that their teaching has infiltrated and confused Lutherans into accepting their theology at face value - I used to serve in a church where I was the associate pastor and the senior pastor led the congregation in doing the whole, "Purpose Driven Life" thing, including the messages which were not at all informed by Lutheran theology.  That's where the problem lies, not in what they can teach us about fellowship, mission trips, etc.  Learning from others about secondary issues is just fine, I guess. 

In previous posts, I've indicated that I don't believe that CoWo is all that bad (following the point of the thread title) If you look at the clips that Katie and I posted, you should find that the CCM musicians we posted had plenty of good stuff that seemed to come more from a standpoint of theology of the cross than from a theology of glory - or the "name it, claim it," kind of bunk that Joel Osteen operates in. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 07, 2011, 10:02:18 PM
I am totally an amateur musician.  Yet I must confess that I have found the music of our hymnal to be absolutely winning.  This morning, in the school, we began practicing the hymn for next week ("O Wondrous Type!  O Vision Fair!" - one year's Transfiguration falls this coming Sunday).  I played through the hymn a couple time for myself, just practicing, before the kids sang it in the Order of Responsive Prayer I.  [Why on earth is the A flatted all times, but one?  Wouldn't it have been easier to put the Ab in the key signature and then mark the ONE place with an accidental, instead of listing ALL of them but that one as accidentals?  GRR.] And I remembered how much I loved it.  They opened their mouths when the time came and belted that puppy out.  Just like they'd been singing the Agincourt Hymn forever.  When it comes to other hymnody, I join Fr. Matthew in asking:  is it really something superior to this?  And I speak of both text and tune.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 07, 2011, 10:27:50 PM
The problem with Rob Bell and Rick Warren is that their teaching has infiltrated and confused Lutherans into accepting their theology at face value - I used to serve in a church where I was the associate pastor and the senior pastor led the congregation in doing the whole, "Purpose Driven Life" thing, including the messages which were not at all informed by Lutheran theology.  That's where the problem lies, not in what they can teach us about fellowship, mission trips, etc.  Learning from others about secondary issues is just fine, I guess. 


I notice that you phrase that as "their teaching has infiltrated". It's not the teaching that does the infiltrating, it is the teachers, right? And is it really a question of the teachers or the teachings doing the infiltrating, or is it that the church leaders who are evaluating the teachings are properly separating the wheat from the chaff?

If a senior pastor swallowed the entire "Purpose Driven Life" package whole, then isn't the problem the senior pastor's bad job of looking through the Purpose Driven Life thing to see what nuggets could be picked from the gravel?

I'm reminded of Mark Twain's cat, who once sat on a hot stove and burned it's rear end. It never again sat on a hot stove. It never sat on a cold stove, either.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Drive-by Lutheran on February 07, 2011, 10:51:32 PM
My apologies to both of you if you found my attempt at clarification of denominational background as condescending.  I just wanted to clarify who was what, that's all.  It's true, Luther had major disagreements with the leaders of the Reformed Tradition (Calvin, Zwingli, et al.), especially with regards to what they taught about Holy Communion - that they believed about Christ only being "Spiritually Present," or the converse - that the believer, partaking of Holy Communion is "spiritually present" with Christ in the heavenly banquet yet to come.  The classic debate being between Ullrich Zwingli who insisted that Christ could only be spiritually present since He is seated at the Father's right hand and Luther, who held that Christ, being a member of the Godhead - the Holy Trinity - shared in his post-resurrection glory the ubiquity that the Father and the Holy Spirit have.  I think I remember hearing that Luther even went so far as to argue that Christ was in his cabbage soup to buttress Zwingli - to indicate the belief that His benefits to our lives can be found in everything that nourishes us, body and soul.    

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over the placement of pews in the church building? Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists on any secondary issues related to convincing people who didn't go to any church at all that they should start?

That would be directly relevant to whether or not Lutherans should be wiling to accept advice from non-Lutherans on church issues unrelated to theological understanding of the Gospel or Sacraments, wouldn't you agree?
Certainly.  The problem with Rob Bell and Rick Warren is that their teaching has infiltrated and confused Lutherans into accepting their theology at face value - I used to serve in a church where I was the associate pastor and the senior pastor led the congregation in doing the whole, "Purpose Driven Life" thing, including the messages which were not at all informed by Lutheran theology.  That's where the problem lies, not in what they can teach us about fellowship, mission trips, etc.  Learning from others about secondary issues is just fine, I guess. 

In previous posts, I've indicated that I don't believe that CoWo is all that bad (following the point of the thread title) If you look at the clips that Katie and I posted, you should find that the CCM musicians we posted had plenty of good stuff that seemed to come more from a standpoint of theology of the cross than from a theology of glory - or the "name it, claim it," kind of bunk that Joel Osteen operates in. 

Thank you, Rev. Scheuller.  Sadly, no one seems to want to talk about the Church Growth Movement and Ablaze!, and how they have damaged and maimed the LCMS.  "Worship Wars" indeed!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 07, 2011, 11:12:04 PM

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship?

Yes. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: SteveS on February 07, 2011, 11:14:21 PM
Rev. Scheuller,

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments.  I did not find your post at all condescending.  I believe that Lutheran understanding of scripture is the most sound. However, I have been thinking a lot lately about whether we make too much of it.  There is much swimming through my head right now, but at the late hour let me just say that it would never occur to me to pray that my four children remain Lutheran as adults.  But I do pray that they remain Christian.

Sincerely,
Steve Shumate
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 07, 2011, 11:25:58 PM
Yes, I understand that Rob Bell and Beth Moore are fun "coffee house church" authors and that many LCMS Lutherans are addicted.  It is alluring stuff.  Where are the Lutheran authors?  (I do  like WorldView Everlasting a lot, but unfortunately the material is not organized in a DVD study guide format for Sunday school and small group instruction.) 

Well if you're looking for authors and not videos, there are actually quite a few confessional Lutheran books that are good.

Have you heard of or read:

1.  Dying to Live, by Harold Senkbeil
2.  The Spirituality of the Cross, by Gene Edward Veith
3.  The Fire and the Staff, by Klemet Preus?

I think all of those could be read in an adult bible class.

Another really great book written on the practice of spirituality that I can't praise enough is  Grace upon Grace, by John Kleinig.  I tried to teach a bible class on it last year.  I'm going to try it again in another year or so.  It was life changing.

It never kills anyone to read Luther.  A great Luther book to read in an adult bible class would be "The Freedom of a Christian," because it is short and it applies so readily to the kinds of issues Christians face in trying to live as a Christian in the world.  It's important to find a good translation, though.  Here is a link--not because I recommend this translation, but I do know one of the guys involved in this company and have a lot of respect for him:http://www.lutheranpress.com/htlacl2.htm (http://www.lutheranpress.com/htlacl2.htm)

Another excellent Luther book is the Large Catechism.  I can't wait until I can get to that in the Lutheran Confessions study we are doing here.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: SteveS on February 08, 2011, 07:14:53 AM
Karl and Drive-by Lutheran,

Books vs. videos, yes that is part of the problem.  For multiple reasons we struggle to draw and maintain members in our adult Sunday school class. Requiring heavy reading just wouldn't work for us.  It is sad, but true.  (I am convicted as well.  Our past council president was well read and he would pass out various books. They are yet to be opened.)  If our class required outside reading, folks would show up unprepared and the discussion would stall.  For better or worse, Rob Bell videos naturally generate discussion.  

Let me be clear -- the faults are ours.  I wish we had the discipline to do Bible study right.

I'm ELCA (would like to be LCMC) and would love there to be a Lutheran Rob Bell out there.  Let me know when you find one.  My brother is a Baptist minister and while I don't agree with him on many issues I always listen to what he has to say and have great love and respect for him and his viewpoints.  Why would I not listen and consider what Rob Bell has to say?

Steve


Yes, I understand that Rob Bell and Beth Moore are fun "coffee house church" authors and that many LCMS Lutherans are addicted.  It is alluring stuff.  Where are the Lutheran authors?  (I do  like WorldView Everlasting a lot, but unfortunately the material is not organized in a DVD study guide format for Sunday school and small group instruction.)  

Well if you're looking for authors and not videos, there are actually quite a few confessional Lutheran books that are good.

Have you heard of or read:

1.  Dying to Live, by Harold Senkbeil
2.  The Spirituality of the Cross, by Gene Edward Veith
3.  The Fire and the Staff, by Klemet Preus?

I think all of those could be read in an adult bible class.

Another really great book written on the practice of spirituality that I can't praise enough is  Grace upon Grace, by John Kleinig.  I tried to teach a bible class on it last year.  I'm going to try it again in another year or so.  It was life changing.

It never kills anyone to read Luther.  A great Luther book to read in an adult bible class would be "The Freedom of a Christian," because it is short and it applies so readily to the kinds of issues Christians face in trying to live as a Christian in the world.  It's important to find a good translation, though.  Here is a link--not because I recommend this translation, but I do know one of the guys involved in this company and have a lot of respect for him:http://www.lutheranpress.com/htlacl2.htm (http://www.lutheranpress.com/htlacl2.htm)

Another excellent Luther book is the Large Catechism.  I can't wait until I can get to that in the Lutheran Confessions study we are doing here.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 08, 2011, 08:52:45 AM
Steve,

For Discussion starters, have you ever looked at the incredibly frisky Pr. Fisk's:  Worldview Everlasting?

http://www.worldvieweverlasting.com/

Buckle your seat belt before he gets started!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Steverem on February 08, 2011, 08:54:01 AM

Thank you, Rev. Scheuller.  Sadly, no one seems to want to talk about the Church Growth Movement and Ablaze!, and how they have damaged and maimed the LCMS.  "Worship Wars" indeed!


You're new here.  A LOT of people want to talk about that here, and do so ad nauseum.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 08, 2011, 09:18:05 AM
I am not familiar with Rob Bell, so I cannot say if Lutherans produce anything similar, but Lutheran Hour Ministries have produced a number of video based Bible Studies on a variety of topics that are quite good.  You can find them at www.lhmmen.com (http://www.lhmmen.com) look under studies.  Some of these do have definite slant towards men, but many of them are appropriate for general groups.  They are not expensive (usually $15 with a reproducable study guide - free if you download it yourself) and cover topics from Biblical studies to current issues, to Islam.  You don't have to be Missouri Synod to use them.

These are the topics.

    We the People: Citizens of Two Kingdoms

By: Dr. Dale Meyer

Politics and politicians -- there's seemingly no way to escape them. Though government and those who govern are often criticized by press and citizen alike, it is through government that God works His designs in this world. Join host Dr. Dale Meyer as he surveys government in history, the character of the United States as a nation, and the Christian's role as a citizen of any country.


    Working For the Man Upstairs - Your Job... Your Calling... Your Life!

By: Rev. Tim Radkey

Is it work you're looking for or a chance to serve God? Can they be one and the same? Join us as we consider Working for the Man Upstairs, the newest Men's NetWork Bible study. See how our jobs-no matter what they might be-are a conduit through which God's work is done in this world.

    Facing Disaster Like A Man

By: Rev. Kurt Klaus

Disasters! Life's catastrophes come in many shapes and sizes, and their unwelcome intrusion leaves us reeling. Grief, profound uncertainty and -- not infrequently -- more questions than can reasonably be answered, rise from its wake. In this devastation, the heart is drawn to look for answers human reason cannot provide.

    Explaining All The Scary Stuff In Revelation

By: Rev. Ken Klaus

Nobody said demons, plagues, and an appointment with Armageddon would be fun, but it doesn't have to be feared-at least not for the Christian. Check out how the latest LHM Men's NetWork Bible study, Explaining All The Scary Stuff In Revelation, gives both insight-and encouragement to those who follow "the bright Morning Star."

    The Real St. Nick: Leader, Legend or Lie

By: Rev. Ken Klaus

This single-session Bible study, hosted by the Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus-Speaker of The Lutheran Hour, examines a man who, next to Jesus Christ, is the most visible figure during the holidays-St. Nicholas or Santa Claus-as we know him in Western culture. Dating back to the third century, St. Nick is attributed with the doing of many benevolent and charitable acts of kindness and generosity.

    How We Got The Bible

By: Dr. Paul L. Maier

As God's written Word, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the source of His revelation to man.

    Challenge of Islam (Part Two): Defending the Christian Faith

By: Sam Shamoun

In Part Two of this Men's NetWork Bible study, Sam Shamoun, an Arab-Christian, examines key texts from the Qur'an and the Bible. Among the items he sheds light on are Islamic presuppositions concerning the priority of the Qur'an, Bible texts considered corrupt by Muslims, the sonship of believers, and Islam's position on the Trinity.

    Challenge of Islam (Part One): What is Islam?

By: Sam Shamoun

To the Western mind, the faith and practice of Islam are often a profound mystery. In recent years, this religion has emerged as a prominent -- yet misunderstood -- belief system. Listen as Sam Shamoun, an Arab-Christian, unveils some of the mystique surrounding this religion first preached by Muhammad and today practiced by more than one billion people worldwide.

    Out of Nothing: The Word, Creation and Faith

By: Rev. Steve Misch

In this Bible study, Pastor Steve Misch considers theories of evolution, the plausibility of random chance, man's spiritual and physical nature, and how God's creation and salvation are intrinsically linked in the person of Jesus Christ.

    He Who Dies With The Most Toys... Still Dies!

By: Rev. Tim Radkey

Toys are the things that fill our lives. Most guys are pros in the fine art of stockpiling. Whether it's motorcycles or medals, our stuff isn't going with us when we finally "pack it up" on our last day, so getting our priorities right according to God's Word is good for us and our families.

    Who Am I? What Am I Doing Here?

By: Dr. Joel D. Biermann

The universe, God's will, speaking the Christ story, true human fulfillment, God's Law, the point of it all-these are some of the ideas in Pastor Joel Biermann's explorative video Bible study. In six sessions, he takes us from the beginning to that place where, on the Last Day, we find our greatest realization as humans.

    Home Run King

By: Rev. Tim Radkey

This men's Bible study aims to weave two passions into one. The first is a passion for the game of baseball-America's time-honored pastime. The second is a passion for growing into the husband, father, and spiritual leaders God has called us to be.

    Stuff They Didn't Teach Me In Sunday School... About Genesis!

The first DVD of the series. Now available-Sunday school lessons that are more scripturally nutritional than ever!

Trying to view/download the videos online? Visit http://www.lhmmen.com/sundayschool.asp!


    Baloney Shop: Season One on DVD

You've waited all year for this baloney. Now you can own all of the Baloney Shop episodes from 2009 on one DVD. NOTE: There are NO DISCUSSION GUIDES for the Baloney Shop.!

Trying to view/download the videos online? Visit http://www.lhmmen.com/latest.asp!



Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 08, 2011, 09:54:11 AM
Another book that is real easy for laity to get into and is a good intro to Luther and his theology is Herman Preus' "A Theology to Live By."  For some reason we're reading this for winkel (I would prefer if we actually read Luther, sigh). 

Also, my laity prefer a good mix of topical study along with a study of the book and I typically put my own stuff together as I can't stand to use someone elses material.  That being said, the LHM study of creation is good as is Dr. Paul Maier's Jesus Christ: Legend or Lord.  Those are the only two canned studies I have used in the last 3 years.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Wayne Kofink on February 08, 2011, 09:59:33 AM

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship?

I don't know if it could be considered a major disagreement, but Luther supported the use of instruments in worship while Zwingli forbade instruments in church and had organs destroyed. Personally, I dislike any "rules"  about what kind of instruments or musical styles Lutherans can use in worship. I was disappointed when I lost two members because they heard a tambourine used in a choir anthem. I was frustrated to hear from a pastor-developer that one of the ELCA powers-that-be told him if a mission congregation started an organ fund, all mission support would be cut off.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 08, 2011, 10:47:27 AM

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship?

I don't know if it could be considered a major disagreement, but Luther supported the use of instruments in worship while Zwingli forbade instruments in church and had organs destroyed. Personally, I dislike any "rules"  about what kind of instruments or musical styles Lutherans can use in worship. I was disappointed when I lost two members because they heard a tambourine used in a choir anthem. I was frustrated to hear from a pastor-developer that one of the ELCA powers-that-be told him if a mission congregation started an organ fund, all mission support would be cut off.

Since I'm vacationing in Mazatlan I don't have my resources, but a book on the history of church music indicated that the use of the organ (and other instruments) in worship was not to accompany the singing -- which was done a cappella -- but to provide instrumental music. What I don't remember is when this practiced changed to accompanied singing.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2011, 10:54:07 AM

Did Luther have any major disagreements with the Reformed or Anabaptists over what musical instruments to use in worship?

I don't know if it could be considered a major disagreement, but Luther supported the use of instruments in worship while Zwingli forbade instruments in church and had organs destroyed. Personally, I dislike any "rules"  about what kind of instruments or musical styles Lutherans can use in worship. I was disappointed when I lost two members because they heard a tambourine used in a choir anthem. I was frustrated to hear from a pastor-developer that one of the ELCA powers-that-be told him if a mission congregation started an organ fund, all mission support would be cut off.

I also dislike such rules. I am not surprised that some members might have siezed upon the use of a tambourine as their excuse for leaving. I have trouble believing that was anything more than the straw that broke the camel's back. I find it hard to believe that members who previously had no problems or complaints would leave over that issue alone, though I am very familiar with incidents of people who were looking for an excuse to leave for some time seized upon something trivial to use as their excuse.

I can understand how the ELCA powers-that-be might regard starting an organ fund as a premature action, or misprioritization of resources. I grew up in a mission congregation of the ULCA. I can recall the adults discussing priorities, and securing a piece of land and enough funds to break ground and start the building was a much higher priority than an organ fund. If that anecdote was about attempting to start an organ fund before other, more pressing matters had been resolved, I'd be inclined to agree with the ELCA powers-that-be (and that doesn't happen in here more than once every three months!). On the other hand, if the mission start had their building under construction and all of their other ducks in a row, then maybe it was time to start an organ fund. Then again, once the mission congregation had reached that point, then maybe it was time to stop being a mission congregation.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 08, 2011, 04:03:40 PM
Brian,

You recall correctly.  It gradually changed from the 17th to the 18th centuries, when the organ presenting its own music became much rarer.  Pietism in general supported the use of the organ to accompany the singing of the people, rather the choir presenting its music and the organ presenting its music.  Just gave a presentation on the liturgy at the Magdeburg Cathedral in 1613 and one of the more striking points of that liturgy was that these Lutherans in 1613 only had the people actually SING one song in the Divine Service:  the German Creed - We All Believe.  The choir sang the entirety of the rest of the service.  A very good book that chronicles the shift toward congregational song (supported by the organ) is Dr. Joseph Herl's *Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism* - a very interesting read.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 08, 2011, 04:12:07 PM
I think one aspect of worship related to outreach that gets lost in all this is a seeming abuse of the third article of the creed. What I'm getting at is simply-- at what point does a person go from being lost to saved? I would expect Lutherans (as well as Catholics and some others) to say "when they are baptized" and some other groups to say something more along the lines "when they make a decisions to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior" or some such. But both groups would still be talking about faith and salvation.

But at some point seemingly in the last generation or two, we stopped talking about that altogether and decided to go with the categories of churched/unchurched. But what kind of a category is that? What does it have to do with? Mostly just institutional viability. It is as though we don't trust theological/sacramental categories to reflect any sort of reality, spiritual or otherwise, so we go by sociological categories because at least they are visible enough to manipulate. Thus, we deal with "unchurched" people who are already baptized and in some cases confirmed, but are not functionally Christians, and we realize that we need somehow to move them from the category of "not functionally Christian" but we can't rebaptize them and we can't go all decision theology, so we have the church put on some activities they might enjoy coming to and say we changed them from unchurched to churched as though somehow that matters. But nothing happened in that switch. They did not repent, get baptized, or otherwise "turn their life over to Jesus" or go from being an unbeliever to a believer or whatever, they just started showing up around the building more often for various events, just so long as they like the music.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 08, 2011, 04:28:12 PM
I think one aspect of worship related to outreach that gets lost in all this is a seeming abuse of the third article of the creed. What I'm getting at is simply-- at what point does a person go from being lost to saved? I would expect Lutherans (as well as Catholics and some others) to say "when they are baptized" and some other groups to say something more along the lines "when they make a decisions to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior" or some such. But both groups would still be talking about faith and salvation.

But at some point seemingly in the last generation or two, we stopped talking about that altogether and decided to go with the categories of churched/unchurched. But what kind of a category is that? What does it have to do with? Mostly just institutional viability. It is as though we don't trust theological/sacramental categories to reflect any sort of reality, spiritual or otherwise, so we go by sociological categories because at least they are visible enough to manipulate. Thus, we deal with "unchurched" people who are already baptized and in some cases confirmed, but are not functionally Christians, and we realize that we need somehow to move them from the category of "not functionally Christian" but we can't rebaptize them and we can't go all decision theology, so we have the church put on some activities they might enjoy coming to and say we changed them from unchurched to churched as though somehow that matters. But nothing happened in that switch. They did not repent, get baptized, or otherwise "turn their life over to Jesus" or go from being an unbeliever to a believer or whatever, they just started showing up around the building more often for various events, just so long as they like the music.  

I was always taught that it is a good thing to receive Communion and to hear God's word preached. I agree that turning unbaptized people into baptized people is very important. I would imagine that among the people who do not ever go to church are some who were baptized but then turned away from the church, and others who were never even baptized in the first place. I do not know how to tell which category any "unchurched" person belongs to, so I assume that just dragging all of the unchurched into the church and then sorting 'em out after they're there makes the most sense.

But then, when Jesus told Peter and Andrew, "Come, and I will make you fishers of men", He was talking to fishermen who were accustomed to hauling in huge nets full of fish, not just catching a trout or a bass one at a time on a baited hook. So, I interpret that as meaning that when fishing for people, we should use big nets and not little hooks. In another parable, Jesus told of the sower who scattered seeds. He didn't talk of the horticulturalist who planted seeds one at a time in little pots. He talked of sowing big handfuls of seeds. I interpret that as meaning when spreading the Word of God, scatter it in big handfuls, don't only sit down and talk to people one-by-one. Not that fishing with a hook or planting seeds one at a time are bad things. Jesus never said to not do that. But He did endorse big, sweeping harvests twice. So, trying for big sweeping harvests of people should be considered a good thing, right?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Bennett on February 08, 2011, 04:42:54 PM

I can understand how the ELCA powers-that-be might regard starting an organ fund as a premature action, or misprioritization of resources. I grew up in a mission congregation of the ULCA. I can recall the adults discussing priorities, and securing a piece of land and enough funds to break ground and start the building was a much higher priority than an organ fund. If that anecdote was about attempting to start an organ fund before other, more pressing matters had been resolved, I'd be inclined to agree with the ELCA powers-that-be (and that doesn't happen in here more than once every three months!). On the other hand, if the mission start had their building under construction and all of their other ducks in a row, then maybe it was time to start an organ fund. Then again, once the mission congregation had reached that point, then maybe it was time to stop being a mission congregation.


Precisely.  I love our organ, but a good one isn't something to be fund-raised for while receiving alms from other congregations. 

Rather like a young man saving up for a Corvette while living rent-free in what would otherwise be his parents' spare bedroom, because he "can't afford" his own place.  (I like Corvettes, and approve of giving a generous hand to our kids as they start out in life, but not both at the same time).

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 08, 2011, 05:08:15 PM
Peter, I think you've identified a big, messy sticking point here.  Of course, whenever I've heard the old canard (usually spoken by Evangelicals) that "being in a church doesn't make one a Christian any more than being in a garage makes one a car," I've found it to be offensive because it's such an accusatory statement, it calls everyone's faith into question. It's almost like our culture's version of the anxious bench that the puritans used back in the day.  

The kernel of truth that rings true in that statement is more positively exclaimed when we (Lutherans) say that our identity in Christ is defined by the identity He gave us at our baptism.  We are Christians because we are connected to Christ - claimed by Him as His in our baptism - not in our membership at "St. John's by the gas station."  Your follow-up question brings us to our current problem.  What do we do about all of those baptized (many also confirmed) who find other things to do besides come to worship?  I suppose each generation brings newer and more numerous distractions.  We still believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit to "call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify," the debate is over whether or not "CoWo" or any other tool we might use provides a conduit or an obstacle to the Holy Spirit.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 08, 2011, 06:15:20 PM
I think one aspect of worship related to outreach that gets lost in all this is a seeming abuse of the third article of the creed. What I'm getting at is simply-- at what point does a person go from being lost to saved? I would expect Lutherans (as well as Catholics and some others) to say "when they are baptized" and some other groups to say something more along the lines "when they make a decisions to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior" or some such. But both groups would still be talking about faith and salvation.

But at some point seemingly in the last generation or two, we stopped talking about that altogether and decided to go with the categories of churched/unchurched. But what kind of a category is that? What does it have to do with? Mostly just institutional viability. It is as though we don't trust theological/sacramental categories to reflect any sort of reality, spiritual or otherwise, so we go by sociological categories because at least they are visible enough to manipulate. Thus, we deal with "unchurched" people who are already baptized and in some cases confirmed, but are not functionally Christians, and we realize that we need somehow to move them from the category of "not functionally Christian" but we can't rebaptize them and we can't go all decision theology, so we have the church put on some activities they might enjoy coming to and say we changed them from unchurched to churched as though somehow that matters. But nothing happened in that switch. They did not repent, get baptized, or otherwise "turn their life over to Jesus" or go from being an unbeliever to a believer or whatever, they just started showing up around the building more often for various events, just so long as they like the music.  

Well, Peter I think it reflects the reality of a lot of America. In Europe, in the West, other places, you can find people who really don't understand what Christianity is. Have not been baptized, etc. I was talking with a missionary to Amsterdam once who was from OK and he said in Tulsa the drug dealers can share the Gospel message with you.

But this is how things are: Jesus spoke to the Israelites and said that they needed to repent. Wasn't that the shock for them?

So, getting to the church, I think you do a dis-service in simply talking about going from unchurched to churched, when there are so many books that speak about the need for spiritual growth in the church. Books like Simple Church for example. It is not simply a matter of having people come to an attractive rock concert.

But I think this emphasis would be a lot better—there does not have to be some GRAND MOMENT of conversion. The church simply slips a person into its daily life. Isn't that a better metaphor of what the church is?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jonathan Priest on February 08, 2011, 07:56:50 PM
But at some point seemingly in the last generation or two, we stopped talking about that altogether and decided to go with the categories of churched/unchurched. But what kind of a category is that? What does it have to do with? Mostly just institutional viability. It is as though we don't trust theological/sacramental categories to reflect any sort of reality, spiritual or otherwise, so we go by sociological categories because at least they are visible enough to manipulate.

Your point reminded me of something we discerned during last night's Monday new member class. We read about the theological categories of church fellowship/membership used by God when instructing Peter about the centurion Cornelius. The language was in the framework of Leviticus: unclean, common, and clean. God commmands Peter to eat. Peter says that he has never eaten anything either unclean and common. God tells Peter to not call "common" what God has made clean. It is interesting that the Gentile Cornelius is not referred to by God as unclean but as common. More importantly, faith, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and baptism are all inseparably intertwined in this passage as is the "clean" status. The baptized, elect, are neither unclean or common but "clean". Top status. Why do churches no longer use "kosher" language? We are mostly Gentiles. However, I am reminded by Jewish believers in Jesus that we Gentiles have been given a bump-up, not just a washing off. Hence we are not just a people, but a priesthood. Churched / unchurched? How about neither unclean, nor common, but clean! Our new members nearly ALL have come through the invitation through family and friends -- or they are young people who move to New York City from the Midwest who find us through our website and our close proximity to the subway.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on February 09, 2011, 08:04:55 AM
A few anecdotes about Rob Bell, Mars Hill and Zondervan.

1) Met a fellow LCMS pastor at a national conference. When he found out I lived near G.R. and had NEVER gone to see Rob Bell he was dumbfounded. "Why, he's the BEST preacher in the U.S.!" I just had to admit that a) I could borrow the videos (NOOMA) from any of a dozen Reformed churches in my neighborhood and b) he was a false teacher. The conversation closed. I guess pastors are as star struck as any occupation.

2) Mars Hill doesn't "do funerals". Its not in their "purpose." Local LCMS (and other) churches have to graciously bury people on their behalf.

3) Zondervan is now part of Rupert Murdoch's publishing "empire." I would stick to CPH, especially as they have been totally "made over" and are doing a great job now.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Steverem on February 09, 2011, 08:46:51 AM
A few anecdotes about Rob Bell, Mars Hill and Zondervan.

1) Met a fellow LCMS pastor at a national conference. When he found out I lived near G.R. and had NEVER gone to see Rob Bell he was dumbfounded. "Why, he's the BEST preacher in the U.S.!" I just had to admit that a) I could borrow the videos (NOOMA) from any of a dozen Reformed churches in my neighborhood and b) he was a false teacher. The conversation closed. I guess pastors are as star struck as any occupation.

2) Mars Hill doesn't "do funerals". Its not in their "purpose." Local LCMS (and other) churches have to graciously bury people on their behalf.

3) Zondervan is now part of Rupert Murdoch's publishing "empire." I would stick to CPH, especially as they have been totally "made over" and are doing a great job now.

While there are no doubt Reformed churches (Lutheran churches, for that matter) that have Bell's materials, I don't think there's any real tie between Bell and the Reformed branch of Christianity.  Bell is a part of the Emergent (or Emerging--there seems to be a shade of difference) church movement, which sees itself as post-denominational, and eschews such titles.  Matter of fact, the leading voices speaking out against the theology of Bell and his kin are indeed Calvinists--most notably D. A. Carlson, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Challies, and the pastor of the "other" Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll.  I wish there were more Lutherans on that list, frankly.

Labeling anything that appears to be outside of the Lutheran tradition as "Reformed" is no more helpful than when people label anything not liberal mainline Protestant as "fundamentalist."  I think we owe it to the other Christian traditions to accurately represent their views when discussing the merits (and demerits) of their theologies.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on February 09, 2011, 03:47:23 PM
Steve,

You over interpreted my comment-- I wasn't picking on Reformed theology, per se, most of the churches in my area are Reformed. They tend to be Willow Creek Association and Arminian. I am aware and am glad for the strict Calvinist rebuttal to Bell's theology. There are comparatively few "Emergent" churches-- so some one in the "reformed" world (and indeed Lutheran) was buying all those books and videos. I think it is pretty obvious who Zondervan markets their books to. I am quite comfortable dividing our world into Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Orthodox and Stone Cold Pagan... and some of my best friends are CRC.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Steverem on February 09, 2011, 04:27:17 PM
Steve,

You over interpreted my comment-- I wasn't picking on Reformed theology, per se, most of the churches in my area are Reformed. They tend to be Willow Creek Association and Arminian. I am aware and am glad for the strict Calvinist rebuttal to Bell's theology. There are comparatively few "Emergent" churches-- so some one in the "reformed" world (and indeed Lutheran) was buying all those books and videos. I think it is pretty obvious who Zondervan markets their books to. I am quite comfortable dividing our world into Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Orthodox and Stone Cold Pagan... and some of my best friends are CRC.

So you're defining "Reformed" as "Protestant"?  I guess I'm not as comfortable as you are with that--I see the "Reformed" and "Arminian" schools of thought as wholly separate groups under the larger umbrella of "Protestant."  (For that matter, I don't have a big problem grouping "Lutheran" as a third category under "Protestant," but I know the ECs around here would probably object.)

(BTW, you're not one of those people who calls all different types of soda "Coke," are you?   ;))
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 09, 2011, 10:11:21 PM
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on February 09, 2011, 10:20:21 PM
No, I am from Detroit, all pops are different kinds of Faygo. My seminary (St. Louis) friends may correct me, but we always referred to anything that wasn't Lutheran or Roman Catholic to be reformed. Of course, that gets confusing around Western Michigan were RCA churches are "Willow", Presbyterian churches are "liberal",  CRC churches are "conservative", and United Reformed, Protestant Reformed, Reformed Baptist and Netherlands Reformed are,like, REALLY reformed! But back to Rob Bell and Contemporary Worship.

The irony for me of CoWo is how both fundamentalist "Bible" churches and very funky "Emergent" churches can play the same music. If you look at the top 100 on CCLI over time you will find it is very conservative--the rankings hardly change. A new song or two will bump another song or so out of the top ten, but the body of the "hymnody" is very static. It is essentially a very "conservative" hymnal of a type. My hypothesis is that most "contemporary" texts are First Article of the Creed kinds of songs. It is much harder to tell a story about Second Article themes in a few words (that can be projected in PowerPoint). Again, Third Article is a bit easier. That means a wide range of theologies can proclaim, "How Great is Our God". So Mars Hill in GR can use much the same music as "Beltline Bible" or "Fifth Reformed".

So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one. A praise band full of sixty year old baby boomers playing "Our God is an Awesome God" is not going to be snicker proof. The current Worship Leader magazine has a feature on training your "Worship Producer"! Now, how many of our churches have a Worship Producer?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 10, 2011, 01:21:30 AM
No, I am from Detroit, all pops are different kinds of Faygo. My seminary (St. Louis) friends may correct me, but we always referred to anything that wasn't Lutheran or Roman Catholic to be reformed. Of course, that gets confusing around Western Michigan were RCA churches are "Willow", Presbyterian churches are "liberal",  CRC churches are "conservative", and United Reformed, Protestant Reformed, Reformed Baptist and Netherlands Reformed are,like, REALLY reformed! But back to Rob Bell and Contemporary Worship.

The irony for me of CoWo is how both fundamentalist "Bible" churches and very funky "Emergent" churches can play the same music. If you look at the top 100 on CCLI over time you will find it is very conservative--the rankings hardly change. A new song or two will bump another song or so out of the top ten, but the body of the "hymnody" is very static. It is essentially a very "conservative" hymnal of a type. My hypothesis is that most "contemporary" texts are First Article of the Creed kinds of songs. It is much harder to tell a story about Second Article themes in a few words (that can be projected in PowerPoint). Again, Third Article is a bit easier. That means a wide range of theologies can proclaim, "How Great is Our God". So Mars Hill in GR can use much the same music as "Beltline Bible" or "Fifth Reformed".

So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one. A praise band full of sixty year old baby boomers playing "Our God is an Awesome God" is not going to be snicker proof. The current Worship Leader magazine has a feature on training your "Worship Producer"! Now, how many of our churches have a Worship Producer?

I would suggest that if you went onto CCLI and search for cross, resurrection, forgiveness, redemption, crucified, you would find a lot more 2nd article than you are noting.  First Article would be less.  It also weighs heavily in favor or adoration/worship as opposed to catachesis/testimony.

Then again, Luther didn't say he who sings teaches twice...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on February 10, 2011, 09:01:21 AM
Good response. Some examples of the best 2nd Article (in your opinion) would be both interesting and helpful. Give me good structure, text and tune and I'll use it assuming the arrangement is within the competency of my music team. (And they are pretty good.)

So, what would be a top ten of "contemporary" music that would add to or reinforce or theology-- and not merely be neutral? (I know we can sing a psalm in any style and the text is unarguable.)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 09:41:57 AM
I would suggest that if you went onto CCLI and search for cross, resurrection, forgiveness, redemption, crucified, you would find a lot more 2nd article than you are noting.  First Article would be less.  It also weighs heavily in favor or adoration/worship as opposed to catachesis/testimony.


If a music publishing company existed that had all of the traditional hymns from all of the hymnals of all of the Christian faith traditions that existed, would you not find a similar ratio of hymns that weren't really suitable for Lutheran worship? CCLI is the same kind of smörgåsbord of contemporary christian songs for all faith traditions. It should surprise no one that a pan-Christian enterprise that provides Christian songs for all faith traditions should have more songs for non-Lutheran faith traditions than it has for Lutherans. That situation is as old as the Christian music publishing business. It doesn't prove anything, other than the same care must be taken in picking modern songs for Lutheran worship use as was taken when approving which hymns to include in Lutheran hymnals and which to leave out when any of the Lutheran hymnals were compiled.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 10, 2011, 10:03:11 AM
Quote
So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one.

Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 

Now I am not granting that there is no theological weight in our arguments -- there is -- but for those who won't go there, why do you insist upon ignoring the marketing wisdom of those who know the realities of competition.  Furthermore, the CoWo folks are not really competing for the same unchurched folk but actually competing for the same church changing, fickle Christian population that loves new things and quickly tires of them, moving from place to place in search of what they do not know... until they happen to enter our doors.

I had a young man (25) whose father was a Baptist preacher and he was looking for a more old time gospel hour style baptist congregation when he wandered in to visit us.  He sat in the pew for about six months watching, half scared to death, and yet attracted to what he had never experienced before -- the liturgy and a Eucharistic piety.  He went through membership class twice and ended up saying that his mind told him to leave many times but his heart knew that what he was experiencing in the liturgy and hearing from the pulpit was the truest form of Christianity he had ever experienced.  He said he heard the Gospel here for the first time...  -- just one of many such stories...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 11:18:26 AM
Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 


Pastor,

Does the fact that a smaller Lutheran Congregation that only has about 100 people worshipping per week, and only a 15 voice choir and an electronic organ mean that since they can't do a major production high mass with intoned chants and all the big-church trappings of the traditional liturgy with big choir, pipe organ, and all the other things that make a big-church service like yours what it is, they shouldn't bother trying to incorporate as much of traditional liturgy as they can?

Some of the best contemporary music worship services I've seen in Lutheran churches were only about 20 or 30 worshippers, a "praise band" that consisted of a single acoustic guitar, unamplified, and solid Biblical preaching of the Gospel.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 10, 2011, 12:07:26 PM
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 12:32:23 PM
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 12:43:02 PM
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?

And I'll add this related question.

Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 12:59:16 PM
An erstwhile ALPB contributer posted this: 

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/01/ps-i-hate-you-part-1.html

I LOVE it!

Just to nail this down then Wil: How would you evangelize this person? Hm? What would you say to them?

The problem with the article is that he is wrong. Most of our unchurched population don't hate Jesus. They might hate the church. They might not really see any reason to go to church. But they don't hate Jesus.

Or are we making a theological point of this? Ultimately, they do hate Jesus if they reject His church? That could certainly be true but then, it changes the whole point of his post: they think they love Jesus when they really hate him.

I don't buy it.

I'd add this related question. Where would you evangelize this person? How would what you do inside the church building on Sunday morning impact or influence someone outside the building on Sunday morning? Do you make an effort to encounter this hypothetical person somewhere outside the church? Assuming this person isn't the personal friend of one of your members, do you just write him off as unreachable, or do you beat your members around the head and neck to get them to start making more personal friends outside of the church?

And I'll add this related question.

Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?

Mike

Have you been hanging out with Stoffregen?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 10, 2011, 01:04:16 PM
"Why didn't Jesus run off after those in Capernaum who found His teaching hard and beg them to return?" M. Gehlhausen.

Mike, I chose not to re-post the whole string of quotes, but instead picked yours.  I'm not singling you out, although it may appear that way.  There were several quotes responding to the blog piece that Rev. Weedon linked us to.  

Why didn't Jesus run after those who left?  He preached and taught and many left.  They left on their own.  I dare to presume that if Jesus went after those who left our Lord would have preached the same hard truth.  And I dare to presume that the response would have been similar.  I believe the blog piece stated that people are tired of not getting any credit for their salvation.  Jesus may have died on the cross, but why does he get all the credit?  I want some credit.  It's my credit when I don't believe, when I leave the Lord of my youth.

How and where to evangelize those who "hate" Jesus?  In the comment section of Rev. Fiene's blog, I think he was asked what his response would be.  The answer was "Live your vocation."  Everyday we are put in positions to live the Gospel that has reached us.  Sometimes my eyes and ears are open, sometimes I'm distracted.  My distraction is my fault.  

And I do think that "hate" is the right word.  Rev. Fiene used it appropriately to describe matters.  The Church dares to do what it is given to do.  The Church dares to point to Jesus and call him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  In labeling Jesus, we label ourselves.  There is the Savior.  Here are the ones who need saving.  And a fair number of churches have abdicated their awesome and glorious responsibility of calling sinners to repentance for the forgiveness of their sin.  

I am in the Amen corner of the blog piece.  People are shunning all churches- high church, mid church, low church, small church, big box church, urban church, rural church, suburban church.  The world hates the Church that dares to hold up the cross.  I'm not the first to say it, but I know the truth of this thought- When sin is minimized or diminished, so is the need for Jesus.  Who needs a savior when there are no sins to be forgiven?        

Maybe I would say that Jesus did run after the people who left.  Jesus' running was just in the direction of Calvary, carrying a cross, carrying my sin.  

Jeremy
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 01:11:51 PM
Pr. Loesch,

Thanks for grasping my point and understanding that it was not meant as a red herring to divert productive discussion.

Thank you also for fleshing it out as I would have loved to but had no idea how to do.

I agree with you and the blog.  We live out our vocations.  Sometimes, those vocations give us an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  Sometimes, they permit us to forge relationships that as a side benefit encourage us to invite people to church -- not because the relationship was a means to an end; it just happens.

And sometimes, I believe simply living out our vocations in a Christian manner is a confession in and of itself.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 01:19:44 PM
Pr. Loesch,

Thanks for grasping my point and understanding that it was not meant as a red herring to divert productive discussion.

Thank you also for fleshing it out as I would have loved to but had no idea how to do.

I agree with you and the blog.  We live out our vocations.  Sometimes, those vocations give us an opportunity to share the Gospel with others.  Sometimes, they permit us to forge relationships that as a side benefit encourage us to invite people to church -- not because the relationship was a means to an end; it just happens.

And sometimes, I believe simply living out our vocations in a Christian manner is a confession in and of itself.

Mike

So, are you saying there is no place for intentional evangelism? Did Jesus say, "Go therefore and lead Christian lives, and the all the nations will become disciples because of your example, without you actually having to make any intentional or deliberate effort."?

That sure makes evangelism a lot easier for us, doesn't it?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 10, 2011, 01:32:19 PM
Jeremy Loesch,

How and where to evangelize those who "hate" Jesus?  In the comment section of Rev. Fiene's blog, I think he was asked what his response would be.  The answer was "Live your vocation."

What if your vocation is to have CoWo? :)

I don't mind the attitude of "Live your vocation." I just want people to realize that they are called to the vocation of "Witness to Christ" not just plumber, student, etc.

My issue with the piece is that it mixes theological and sociological positions. The fact is that people look at the church and are disgusted. And not merely because they hate Jesus. But because the church to them is worthless.

The position of the article is that the church doesn't have to worry about this. I hold to the position of unChristian and Dan Kimball and think that we can indeed act different and should do so in reaching out.

I also hold to the postion that it is illegit to say "Well, God just wanted Europe to gradually drift to a rejection of Christianity and there is nothing we on earth can do, so we might as well not try." I find that too many people are pulling out pre-destination arguments in relationship to evangelism and ending up with a soft-fatalism attitude.

The fact is that the church can indeed present itself and its message in a winsome manner.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 10, 2011, 01:32:47 PM
George, I don't know if it makes evangelism easier, but I do know that evangelism isn't supposed to be hard.

By my own fault (my own most grievous fault, thanks Compline!) I make evangelism hard.  What will they think of me?  What if they don't like me?  What if I say it wrong?  What if they are offended?  All of those questions and more are distractions.  They get me away from what I am privileged to do.

Evangelism does have an intentional aspect to it.  Going and making disciples by teaching them to obey all that the Lord has commanded is accomplished as we intentionally go about our daily lives.  And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  I intentionally go to the YMCA every morning.  I've had a few conversations with people when they see me get dressed in my clerical.  They ask where I serve and they then tell me the name of their church.  We part by wishing each other a blessed day.  Perhaps some day a non-Christian and I will talk.  Hasn't happened yet, but it might.  

Some people do respond to a knock on the door and answering the question about where they would be if the Lord returned that night.  Some people don't.  

The Christian is called to be the child God made them to be, to pick up their cross and follow Him.  Sometimes that means driving the FedEx truck that you are responsible for.  It's either intentionally unintentional or unintentionally intentional.  

Jeremy  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: racin_jason on February 10, 2011, 01:34:08 PM
I admit to being ambivalent to this whole discussion.

On the one side we have the co-wos. They recognize that traditional liturgical worship doesn't work for everybody. So they try new and different things. I question, at times, the agenda. The adage "there are two reasons for doing something, first is the reason you tell people, second there is the real reason your'e doing it" applies a bit to many of this persuasion, who go out and innovate by doing what they think the world wants. Well, the changes are often not what the world wants as much as the changes are what the innovator wants.

Meanwhile, the traditional liturgists, who are the majority on this forum, are content to defend the status quo, and/or even advocates for higher liturgy, when we can see empirically that this style has scant attractiveness in the american context. Lutherans can look down there noses at other traditions and reject them all for not being Lutheran enough, but wow, they attract people who want to grow in their relationship with Christ. I see it all around where I live. Some among us are content to be stewards of the tradition whether there are (m)any people in the pews or not.

Recently I chaperoned my daughter's class on a trip to see our city's symphony orchestra. The orchestra went to great lengths to present classical music as relevant and interesting. They had lively dialogue, they played short pieces, they played scores from movies the kids would know. They even had powerpoint screens to accompany the music. The conductor was engaging in his explanations. I thought the whole effort was effective, but I looked around and saw many kids and chaperones who had fallen asleep.

At one point, they played an orchestral version of "Don't Stop Believin'", a song by the group Journey, a song popularized recently by the TV show "Glee". An opera singer belted out the lyrics. The powerpoint screen even had the "Glee!" logo projected. It was horrible, I was uncomfortable by the display, embarrassed, but also amused at how unintentionally funny it all was. The applause was lukewarm.  Afterwards my daughter's teacher, a woman in her 20's told me "they ruined one of my favorite songs".

What the orchestra attempted is pretty much what we are doing in the church with this co-wo discussion. It's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you don't situation. Keep doing what you're doing, staying the course will have limited results. But innovation brings risks too, the biggest risk being coming across as being inauthentic.

    

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 01:39:08 PM
George, I don't know if it makes evangelism easier, but I do know that evangelism isn't supposed to be hard.

By my own fault (my own most grievous fault, thanks Compline!) I make evangelism hard.  What will they think of me?  What if they don't like me?  What if I say it wrong?  What if they are offended?  All of those questions and more are distractions.  They get me away from what I am privileged to do.

Evangelism does have an intentional aspect to it.  Going and making disciples by teaching them to obey all that the Lord has commanded is accomplished as we intentionally go about our daily lives.  And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  I intentionally go to the YMCA every morning.  I've had a few conversations with people when they see me get dressed in my clerical.  They ask where I serve and they then tell me the name of their church.  We part by wishing each other a blessed day.  Perhaps some day a non-Christian and I will talk.  Hasn't happened yet, but it might. 

Some people do respond to a knock on the door and answering the question about where they would be if the Lord returned that night.  Some people don't. 

The Christian is called to be the child God made them to be, to pick up their cross and follow Him.  Sometimes that means driving the FedEx truck that you are responsible for.  It's either intentionally unintentional or unintentionally intentional. 

Jeremy 

Pr. Loesch,

Wow!  Great answer.

Mind fielding all of my tough questions for me?  ;)

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 10, 2011, 01:54:08 PM
Pastor Fiene deals with the other extreme:

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/02/ps-i-hate-you-part-2.html

Enjoy!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 10, 2011, 01:54:29 PM
To my former IM captain Mark, I'm on the side of not favoring CoWo.  Not my thing.  But in reading the blog piece, I found it to read that "The World" ignores both aspects of church- traditional and contemporary, hipster and non-hipster.  "The World" mocks the Fender Stratocaster and the Casavant Freres.  If you are called to CoWo, I suppose that is okay.  But the world will hate you or think you irrelevant just like they do the traditional church.  In my mind, hatred and irrelevant are related terms.  unChristian was a good book, lots of accurate thoughts in there.  

I would agree that the Word believes the Church to be irrelevant.  Nothing new there.  Sometimes the Church makes herself irrelevant.  My congregation falls within the boundary of the Diocese of Wilmington DE.  The Diocese reached a legal settlement with some plaintiffs to the tune of $77 million.  Do you think people are going to look to the Church for moral standards or guidelines?  The Church shoots herself in the foot all the time.  Nothing new there.  

The Church is irrelevant because she continues to preach the same "tired" message.  "Pastor, you keep having Confession and Absolution every Sunday.  Do we have to?"  "Yes, because you keep sinning.  Let me know when you are no longer a sinner and I'll stop doing what I am supposed to do."  

The part about what the church should be worried about is in my response to George.  And maybe the response is best taken from the Epistle this week.  Apollos watered, Paul planted, Barnabas sprayed the roundup, Silas laid the compost, John Mark prepared the compost in the first place, Lydia filled the watering can that Apollos used, and Luke brought the seed that Paul placed into the ground.  But the Holy Spirit brought the growth.  

The Church should be worried about the numbers of people in the seats.  Our worry is seen in the care we take for the proclamation of the Gospel.   Our worry is displayed in the way we respond to the situations we encounter.  

My response is likely too long because I think we are in agreement.

Good to respond to you, hope all is well.

Jeremy
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 10, 2011, 02:02:03 PM
Kim, glad you shared the second part of Rev. Fiene's "letter".  Very true.  Certainly lets us know of the work Jesus has given us to do. 

Did you find that blog while passing time recuperating from your Bieber Fever?  Remember, bourbon is wonderful medicine for fevers.  And you live in Cincitucky, so bourbon should be plentiful down there!   ;)

Jeremy (who lived in true Ohio- Columbus.  Toledo wants to be Michigan and no one really cares for Cincy, so that only leaves Ohio State University, Franklin, Union, and Madison Counties.  And maybe Dayton and Zanesville.  If you're not located along Highway 40...meh.) 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 02:08:58 PM
Pastor Fiene deals with the other extreme:

http://thehighmidlife.blogspot.com/2011/02/ps-i-hate-you-part-2.html

Enjoy!

Thanks. To Pr. Fiene for posting this, and you for linking to it.

God's Word does indeed have power to regenerate the sinner in the world who hates Jesus.  That is indeed why we should speak it to those we meet in our vocations including those fairly-widely-defined like grocery shopper and citizen.

But some will always hate Jesus even after hearing His Word.  Soft-fatalism; hard-fatalism; I don't know. It is just what Scripture says.

And some will love Jesus for a while -- even fervently -- and then reject Him and hate Him because their heart is broken or they lose a loved one or the economy reduces their life to a mess.   Or because they become captivated by wealth and luxury and the work of their vocations which are no longer done with their eyes upon Christ.

Why? I don't know, but Scripture tells us this is true. God is God. We are not God. Let God be God and worry about why some are not saved even though He desires all to be saved.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 02:21:38 PM
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 10, 2011, 02:28:36 PM
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 10, 2011, 02:32:05 PM
Quote
So then, you can attract Generic American Protestants by singing music they know and like but, they can just as easily flow to the next church with the "hot" preacher or "hot" praise band. I am not interested in worshiping GAG-- Generic American God by presenting AGAPE -- Another Generic American Protestant Experience. I would rather go through the hard work of teaching new people the value of Lutheran Worship and thereby retain them over the long haul rather than take the easy course of pretending to be something we are not. I don't really care for organ exclusively and I don't enjoy most of the old chorales so I don't think we need a monolithic approach to worship either.

My old consultant career still haunts me some days regarding the concept of competitive advantage. A firm with a product or service can have a broad market that competes as a low cost provider. Or a firm can be highly differentiated and compete as a high value provider. No firm can survive long "stuck in the middle". In the middle of Minnesota or Missouri the Lutheran church might be the "community" church for its location. But in most of the U.S. the Lutheran church serves a small niche within the churches in the community. If we lose that niche by trying to broaden our appeal by becoming more "generic" then we had better have the money and the talent to compete with the "big box" churches on their scale. I think Lutheran churches that can play at that level are a handful. Most of us are better off being the "high value" provider rather than the "low cost" one.

Exactly.... next door to us is a large Baptist congregation with more mics than Shure, screens and projectors, a paid praise band, the generic handsome and attractive male and female lead singers and a stage that fits its CoWo format.  If we tried to emulate what they do, we would look foolish in comparison.  Now we are not small by Lutheran standards (300 on a Sunday).  But we are the only game in town with sung liturgy, large traditional choir, large pipe organ, high content Biblical preaching and teaching, and weekly Eucharist.  What sense is there for us to even offer CoWo as an option when we cannot match the big guns (of which our next door neighbor is but one of many).  So, cast theology aside, it is a marketing nightmare to try and be what they are.  We have Lowes and Home Depot in town but we also have two very highly successful local DIY centers -- why?  Because they do not match Lowes and Home Depot but compete in different ways and in different markets. 

Now I am not granting that there is no theological weight in our arguments -- there is -- but for those who won't go there, why do you insist upon ignoring the marketing wisdom of those who know the realities of competition.  Furthermore, the CoWo folks are not really competing for the same unchurched folk but actually competing for the same church changing, fickle Christian population that loves new things and quickly tires of them, moving from place to place in search of what they do not know... until they happen to enter our doors.

I had a young man (25) whose father was a Baptist preacher and he was looking for a more old time gospel hour style baptist congregation when he wandered in to visit us.  He sat in the pew for about six months watching, half scared to death, and yet attracted to what he had never experienced before -- the liturgy and a Eucharistic piety.  He went through membership class twice and ended up saying that his mind told him to leave many times but his heart knew that what he was experiencing in the liturgy and hearing from the pulpit was the truest form of Christianity he had ever experienced.  He said he heard the Gospel here for the first time...  -- just one of many such stories...

These stories are great - but they don't represent CoWO all that well.  For example - you set up a straw man that CoWo in Lutheran Churches is represented by your neighbor's baptist church and appear to be anti-sacramental.  Some may, but that is not my experience.  Most include the major parts of the liturgy - albeit it may be sung.  And I disagree with your generalization about competing for fickle people (and how do you know they won't be fickle and tire of you five years from now?)  You put things to extreme.. in order to defeat them.  But your stories are simply the extreme - not the real thing.

Our music isn't easy but rather a more relaxing and meditative sound.  And I could tell of the stories of people, like our newest couple - that is neither satisfied with high liturgy that is done dry, nor with the non-lutheran offerings around.  ee shucks, they found their home.


Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 02:35:16 PM
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work. 

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 10, 2011, 02:40:12 PM
Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

My point exactly.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 02:49:42 PM
And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work.  

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"? Of course if there are multiple means for accomplishing any goal, those multiple methods can be ranked from best to worst.

So, what is your point? Are you saying that since you believe that one particular method is #1 on the list of methods, then methods 2 through 10 should just be thrown aside and never used? If the method you believe is #1 so good, so universally effective, that it will reach every person out there who needs to be reached? Are you saying that it is the one, single basket that all of our evangelism eggs should be kept in?

And we cannot think that a one-size-fits-all is going to work. 

Apparently most people in this forum who have responded regarding this issue do believe that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is the only way to engage in evangelism. Apparently, there is no other possible means of attracting those who do not attend church to "come and see" other than a one-on-one, face-to-face approach. Adding any other additional methods over and above that is generally rejected outright.

I'm going on record to say that I have found that the best methods for evangelizing are through our vocations and also through human care (acts of mercy).

Which are both face-to-face and also corporate through things like LCMS World Relief & Human Care, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Social Services, Lutheran Malaria Initiative, etc.

I really have not seen anyone here reject people cooperating with others in evangelizing, providing care and relief, and working out their vocations.  So I really don't get Mr. Erdner's one-on-one complaint.  ???

Mike

I thought that those programs were to provide aid and support to those in need. If, in the process, of providing that aid and support, there would be the opportunity arise for one-on-one, face-to-face evangelism with the individuals receiving the aid and support, all the better.


Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 10, 2011, 02:59:47 PM
Since when are the means of grace NOT one size that fits all?  Unless you have been hearing nothing, the liturgy is essential the Word and the Sacrament, the means of grace.  Now it is not something we reinvent each Sunday but it has come down to us in a format and with words (mostly Scripture and mostly word for word of Scripture).  Do we disdain this simply because people like to listen to lots of different kind of music on the I-pods?  Is all music neutral?  Can all musical forms serve as handmaidens to the Word or are some more suited than others?  Should music be simply an expression of our taste and feeling or is it a means by which the Gospel is communicated (not with some watered down idea of love but the actual word of the cross)?  Worship and music that are a reflection of our likes or of the trends of our culture are suspect immediately in my book and always have been, I believe.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 10, 2011, 03:02:21 PM
George:

I didn't get your point . . . enough said.

I thought that those programs were to provide aid and support to those in need. If, in the process, of providing that aid and support, there would be the opportunity arise for one-on-one, face-to-face evangelism with the individuals receiving the aid and support, all the better.

In the LCMS, acts of mercy are attached to Word and Sacrament ministry whenever possible.  And at the very least, the Gospel is attached!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 10, 2011, 03:20:50 PM
Since when are the means of grace NOT one size that fits all?  Unless you have been hearing nothing, the liturgy is essential the Word and the Sacrament, the means of grace.  Now it is not something we reinvent each Sunday but it has come down to us in a format and with words (mostly Scripture and mostly word for word of Scripture).  Do we disdain this simply because people like to listen to lots of different kind of music on the I-pods?  Is all music neutral?  Can all musical forms serve as handmaidens to the Word or are some more suited than others?  Should music be simply an expression of our taste and feeling or is it a means by which the Gospel is communicated (not with some watered down idea of love but the actual word of the cross)?  Worship and music that are a reflection of our likes or of the trends of our culture are suspect immediately in my book and always have been, I believe.

One size does not fit all. We readily recognize that most members in our congregation would not benefit from a Lutheran liturgy in German or Norwegian or Spanish or Korean. Speaking the language of the people is necessary if they are going to hear the Word -- otherwise it is gibberish.

NOTE: Last Sunday I attended mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Mazatlan, Mexico. (We are vacationing here with some Roman Catholic friends.) The service was all in Spanish. Even for the one of us who can converse some in Spanish, most of the speech was too fast for him to comprehend. We all could follow the parts of the liturgy, but neither the Word nor the words registered with any of us.

Interestingly, it was the third of four masses that day -- and there was standing room only! However, less than 1/4 of the folks went forward for the sacrament. (My wife and I did not.)

The question is whether or not we need to take into consideration styles of music and/or instrumentation to also be part of the language of the people who gather to hear the Word and receive the sacraments. (The mass used one, out-of-tune guitar and a couple miked singers who were sometimes in tune. Not a great musical mass, but the cathedral was full! The young priest went up and down the aisles during his homily.)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 10, 2011, 04:01:20 PM
Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"?

Darn. You're on to us, We do it just to yank your chain.  :)

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 04:12:12 PM
Since when are the means of grace NOT one size that fits all?  Unless you have been hearing nothing, the liturgy is essential the Word and the Sacrament, the means of grace.  Now it is not something we reinvent each Sunday but it has come down to us in a format and with words (mostly Scripture and mostly word for word of Scripture).  Do we disdain this simply because people like to listen to lots of different kind of music on the I-pods?  Is all music neutral?  Can all musical forms serve as handmaidens to the Word or are some more suited than others?  Should music be simply an expression of our taste and feeling or is it a means by which the Gospel is communicated (not with some watered down idea of love but the actual word of the cross)?  Worship and music that are a reflection of our likes or of the trends of our culture are suspect immediately in my book and always have been, I believe.

Pastor, I'm not sure what you're referring to. I don't think anyone was saying that the means of Grace are not one-size-fits-all. At the moment, the thread is addressing the issue of getting people to come through the doors so that they will be inside the building on Sunday morning. When it comes to the use of contemporary music or any other change in what happens inside the church, those changes are only pertinent to the discussion if they are something that can be posted on the sign in front of the church that might catch the eye of someone driving past.

I would also note that while worship and music are a reflection of our likes or of the trends of our culture, so is wearing long trousers instead of knee britches like Bach wore. Are you saying we should eschew modern garb that reflects the trends of our culture and instead dress like the burghers of Wittenberg circa the mid 1500's when we go to church?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 10, 2011, 05:15:10 PM
George (& Brian),

Having the liturgy in the language of the people is not the same as ditching the liturgy or abandoning the hymnody of the Church for CoWo praise music.

The wearing of an alb or alb and chasuble are hardly the concern here.

The liturgy IS the means of grace and nothing less -- quite properly the Lutheran liturgy is sung Scripture and Scripture is one of the means of grace and the liturgy of the Eucharist encompasses a second means of grace.

If you think that giving people the music they want will solve the mystery of why they do not come to church, then we have a bigger problem communicating than the above clarifications.

Honestly, I do not know how to tell you that this is not a matter of musical taste but of music that SERVES the Word instead of displaces or competes against it, about songs/hymns that speak something other than the message of the cross which St. Paul says is all we preach, teach and teach.

The liturgy is not a page number in a book (although it can be)... it is a pattern with words, drawn from Scripture and ordered from the earliest of Christian history (before Lutheranism)...

Honestly, am I saying something so confusing?  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on February 10, 2011, 05:37:22 PM
Rev. Peters, huge LIKE!  Liturgy...a pattern with words drawn from Scripture...sung or spoken Scripture.  Great and appropriate imagery.  I appreciate it.  Thank you.

I thought your brief description caught the universality and timelessness of the liturgy.  Even if we were to say that it has evolved, it has not evolved into something that is unrecognizable.  And that is what some members relate to me from their travels or from attending memorial services or baby dedications- I didn't recognize what was going on.  There didn't seem to be a reason for what was taking place. 

Jeremy 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 05:51:31 PM
Honestly, am I saying something so confusing?  

Pastor, what is confusing is that I'm talking about is methods of getting people who are not sitting in the pews on Sunday morning to get out of bed and go to church on Sunday morning. You are talking about what they would encounter if they ever got there. (Note, that's a mighty big "if".)

What direct benefit do those who are not sitting in the pew of any church on any morning ever gain from what happens inside any church on Sunday morning?

Having the liturgy in the language of the people is not the same as ditching the liturgy or abandoning the hymnody of the Church for CoWo praise music.

Haven't I been clear about not wanting to ditch the liturgy, and about not wanting to use nothing but "praise" music? Have I not posted repeatedly on the need to take care in going through the huge supply of Contemporary Christian songs to find only the few with theologically sound lyrics, just as the hymnal compilers had to sift through enormous piles of traditional Christian hymns to find only those with sound theology in the lyrics?

BTW, does the newest LC-MS hymnal have the exact same tunes for the Kyrie, Hymn of Praise, and other liturgical elements that are usually sung or intoned as the ones used back in the late 1800's? I know that the ELCA doesn't, and neither did any of the ELCA's predecessor bodies. In fact, the main ELCA hymnal, the Lutheran Book of Worship, is copyrighted in part by the LC-MS as they were involved in the selection of the tunes used for the sung liturgical elements.





Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 10, 2011, 08:02:18 PM
What direct benefit do those who are not sitting in the pew of any church on any morning ever gain from what happens inside any church on Sunday morning?


You're right George!  There is absolutely no direct benefit to going to church for anyone.  The church, without offering free ipods, or doing giveaways has nothing to offer newcomers.  That whole grace of God thing is a mere pittance after all compared to football, Sunday youth sports leagues, and just about anything else you can think of.

I quit (and so should you.)  (Wishing there were an emoticon for sarcasm.)  ;D
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 10, 2011, 08:24:15 PM
We constantly confess that we are by nature born enemies of God. It is the nature of original sin and the realm of Satan to be an enemy of God. So unless we're talking about true believers who deliberately don't worship God because they find it boring because of the stuffy music (a very confused group of people) and are thus unchurched, we must be talking about unbelievers who, as enemies of God, hate the Gospel until such time as they are converted by it. And if we're going to say that they do worship Him, just not in church, well, if that is true (which it likely isn't) then why do we care if they come to church or not? We're not offering anything they don't already have. We're giving away ice to Eskimos. This is my problerm with churched/unchurched as categories. It deals in the sociological at the expense of the spiritual. Rather, we ought to discuss believers and unbelievers.   
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 08:37:36 PM
What direct benefit do those who are not sitting in the pew of any church on any morning ever gain from what happens inside any church on Sunday morning?


You're right George!  There is absolutely no direct benefit to going to church for anyone.  The church, without offering free ipods, or doing giveaways has nothing to offer newcomers.  That whole grace of God thing is a mere pittance after all compared to football, Sunday youth sports leagues, and just about anything else you can think of.

I quit (and so should you.)  (Wishing there were an emoticon for sarcasm.)  ;D

I asked what benefit there was to NOT going to church.

The church has lots to offer those who don't go to church, but the church does an excellent job of keeping what it has to offer a secret. The only people who are told about the good things available in church are the people already in church!

(I wish there was an emoticon for "didn't you even read what I wrote")  ::)

Also, I feel we all are aware that the "good things" being talked about are the gifts of the Spirt, God's Grace, etc. That should go without saying, based on what's been said before, but I realize if I don't spell that out, someone will drag me over the coals about it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 10, 2011, 09:54:01 PM
We constantly confess that we are by nature born enemies of God. It is the nature of original sin and the realm of Satan to be an enemy of God. So unless we're talking about true believers who deliberately don't worship God because they find it boring because of the stuffy music (a very confused group of people) and are thus unchurched, we must be talking about unbelievers who, as enemies of God, hate the Gospel until such time as they are converted by it. And if we're going to say that they do worship Him, just not in church, well, if that is true (which it likely isn't) then why do we care if they come to church or not? We're not offering anything they don't already have. We're giving away ice to Eskimos. This is my problerm with churched/unchurched as categories. It deals in the sociological at the expense of the spiritual. Rather, we ought to discuss believers and unbelievers.   

So there is no difference between someone who has heard the Gospel, attended church, and no longer attends and someone who has never picked up a Bible?

Yes, theologically we can say they are identical, but the issue is that theological distinctions are not always helpful.

I wonder Peter, if you would admit that there is any reason to make any different approach to anyone, depending on their background. Or, if the Gospel brings salvation, then it doesn't matter if the person is a Muslim, Mormon or laxed Methodist: the Law Gospel presentation would be identical. God would save who He saves.

No: just as there is a distinction here, so too there is a distinction with the unbelievers of America. Some are unchurched, some are not.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 10, 2011, 10:24:10 PM
To my former IM captain Mark,

(sniff) The good old days...

I still remember — that is to say, I can close my eyes and recall in a moment — the softball hit that landed fair and brought us victory in the last game of the year. Oh, what a thing of beauty that was....

Quiz time: what was our name?

I'm on the side of not favoring CoWo.  Not my thing.  

Just to confirm something with you: I'd say that this attitude would be the vast majority of the guys who graduated around our years, wouldn't you say?

But in reading the blog piece, I found it to read that "The World" ignores both aspects of church- traditional and contemporary, hipster and non-hipster.  "The World" mocks the Fender Stratocaster and the Casavant Freres.  If you are called to CoWo, I suppose that is okay.  But the world will hate you or think you irrelevant just like they do the traditional church.  In my mind, hatred and irrelevant are related terms.  

"The World" is pretty broad. Broadly speaking then, I agree. My postion is that CoWo lowers objections that "The World" would have in coming to the service—but that is nonsensical if The World hates Jesus. So then, why does anyone go to church? Because they are Christians already? Mmm...


unChristian was a good book, lots of accurate thoughts in there.  

It really was and I think the point that they make is that the church can be the church still but change the perceptions in how people see them. People perhaps will have the church theologically, but they will not hate the church for reasons that are really just not true.

I would agree that the Word believes the Church to be irrelevant.  Nothing new there.  Sometimes the Church makes herself irrelevant.  My congregation falls within the boundary of the Diocese of Wilmington DE.  The Diocese reached a legal settlement with some plaintiffs to the tune of $77 million.  Do you think people are going to look to the Church for moral standards or guidelines?  The Church shoots herself in the foot all the time.  Nothing new there.  

Yeeaah....no, I think that things tend to be a bit different. 100 years ago, there were scandals, but the church still held a strong reputation in the community. The point of unChristian is that this reputation is gone.

People did used to look to the church for moral standards.

The Church is irrelevant because she continues to preach the same "tired" message.  "Pastor, you keep having Confession and Absolution every Sunday.  Do we have to?"  "Yes, because you keep sinning.  Let me know when you are no longer a sinner and I'll stop doing what I am supposed to do."  

I disagree with this. The church is irrelevant because people don't hear it preaching the same tired message. They see it preaching the same message as the Republican Party. Homosexuality is worse than other sins. And Christianity is about moral living. I don't think people hear the message of the Gospel at all.

The part about what the church should be worried about is in my response to George.  And maybe the response is best taken from the Epistle this week.  Apollos watered, Paul planted, Barnabas sprayed the roundup, Silas laid the compost, John Mark prepared the compost in the first place, Lydia filled the watering can that Apollos used, and Luke brought the seed that Paul placed into the ground.  But the Holy Spirit brought the growth.

Yes. I agree. Although, he likes to be called "Mark" not "John Mark" but that's not really important.

The Church should be worried about the numbers of people in the seats.  Our worry is seen in the care we take for the proclamation of the Gospel.   Our worry is displayed in the way we respond to the situations we encounter.  

And I think that the proclamation of the Gospel is something that needs care to be taken with it. I don't think that as a church we are really doing that well in proclaiming and bringing that Gospel to our community. Or, I think that people have an autopilot about what they church is about that needs to be broken through.

My response is likely too long because I think we are in agreement.

Shoot, I'm just glad you read unChristian. ;)

Good to respond to you, hope all is well.

Thanks. Things are good with me. Besides the blizzards (we had 3 inches. It did not melt until noon. NOON! I thought I going to have to eat my neighbor.) and the zombies, it is all good.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 10, 2011, 11:11:32 PM
The Church is irrelevant because she continues to preach the same "tired" message.  "Pastor, you keep having Confession and Absolution every Sunday.  Do we have to?"  "Yes, because you keep sinning.  Let me know when you are no longer a sinner and I'll stop doing what I am supposed to do."

I disagree with this. The church is irrelevant because people don't hear it preaching the same tired message. They see it preaching the same message as the Republican Party. Homosexuality is worse than other sins. And Christianity is about moral living. I don't think people hear the message of the Gospel at all.

I would say it's more an issue of repeating the same wonderful, excellent message in a tired, rote monotone that makes it seem "tired". When a regular, ordinary person hears the same thing phrased the exact same way, sung to the exact same tune, the beauty of the message can be lost. And of course, those who genuinely love both the message and the means by which it is identically repeated week after week after week after week just cannot grasp that not everyone else has the ability that they have to maintain the same level of interest and joy in the constant repetition.

And, there is the issue of jargon to contend with. Put yourself in the mind of a non-churchgoer and attempt to see what church folk say (especially what some Lutheran church folk say). The Lutheran pastor says, "We confess the Apostles and Nicene Creeds". To Mr. Non Churchgoer, "confess" is what a criminal does to plea bargain for a lower sentence. Mr. Non Churchgoer, who doesn't yet know that his Pelagian perspective of himself is wrong, figures he has nothing to confess, and so he rejects what the Lutheran Pastor tells him. Or the Lutheran pastor tells Mr. Non Churchgoer that he can only be justified by Grace through Faith. To Mr. Non Churchgoer, "justified" means "you had a good enough reason for doing what you did", as in "killing in self-defense is justifiable homicide".

After lengthy catechesis, training, and education, and with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, Mr. Non Churchgoer will come to learn the insider Lutheran lingo. But to get Mr. Non Churchgoer to drop his first name, someone needs to witness to him in language and terms that he understands.

That's why I keep harping on, and no one seems to grasp, that those who reject the church for any reason (And for every 100 people who stay away from church, there are probably 100 reasons why and 100 different excuses expressed in place of the reasons.) aren't being affected by what is happening in the church. Their choice to stay away from churches are based on old, half-remembered memories or misconceptions about something they've only experienced vicariously by the way that "church" is depicted in the media.

And, to make matters worse, this isn't the first century, when Jews and Greek and Roman pagans didn't engage in random acts of kindness as part of the teaching of their religion. "Acting like a Christian" meant that the person acting like a Christian was a Christian. If any Jew or Greek or Roman pagan saw someone acting like a Christian, then he knew that person was one of those "Christian people" he heard about. Today, in the 21st century, followers of all sorts of different religions, as well as people who have no religion at all, act like "Christians". I've seen people out and about behaving in a manner that any Lutheran pastor would be proud of if that person was a member of his flock, but the people acting like "Christians" might have been Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Shinto, Atheist, or Druid. The sort of friendly, caring, giving attitude that used to be an exclusive characteristic of Christians is now regarded as a laudable trait by secular society. So, if anyone expects that people simply "acting like Christians" will convince people to "come and see", they are in for some serious disappointments. Even if the witness made by acting like a Christian inspires someone to check out a Christian church, odds are they'll check out a Christian church where they'll hear the Gospel of Glory or Decision Theology.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau on February 10, 2011, 11:32:48 PM
Subjectivism sees no point in word or sacrament as faith is an achievement that rises out of one's own inner resources.  grabau
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 11, 2011, 01:27:54 AM
George (& Brian),

Having the liturgy in the language of the people is not the same as ditching the liturgy or abandoning the hymnody of the Church for CoWo praise music.

The wearing of an alb or alb and chasuble are hardly the concern here.

The liturgy IS the means of grace and nothing less -- quite properly the Lutheran liturgy is sung Scripture and Scripture is one of the means of grace and the liturgy of the Eucharist encompasses a second means of grace.

If you think that giving people the music they want will solve the mystery of why they do not come to church, then we have a bigger problem communicating than the above clarifications.

Honestly, I do not know how to tell you that this is not a matter of musical taste but of music that SERVES the Word instead of displaces or competes against it, about songs/hymns that speak something other than the message of the cross which St. Paul says is all we preach, teach and teach.

The liturgy is not a page number in a book (although it can be)... it is a pattern with words, drawn from Scripture and ordered from the earliest of Christian history (before Lutheranism)...

Honestly, am I saying something so confusing?  

NO, but what you are saying is wrong. The Liturgy is not the means of grace.  It may contain the means of grace, but it can likewise obscure the means of grace.  Sort of think of it as insulation around a pvc conduit.  You still have the conduit without the insulation, and in unless you are some frozen place... you don't need it.

Word and Sacrament is the means of grace, and at its core, that is all Liturgy has to be. The other aspects are beneficial but beneficial doesn't mean required. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 11, 2011, 02:17:44 AM
Yes, theologically we can say they are identical, but the issue is that theological distinctions are not always helpful.

I wonder Peter, if you would admit that there is any reason to make any different approach to anyone, depending on their background. Or, if the Gospel brings salvation, then it doesn't matter if the person is a Muslim, Mormon or laxed Methodist: the Law Gospel presentation would be identical. God would save who He saves.
If anything is not understood theologically, it is not understood at all. Not really. I take different approaches all the time in trying to present the Gospel to different people. Why would you wonder about that?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: revdsid on February 11, 2011, 09:01:53 AM
Sorry for being behind the posts.To catch up with George:

"Does the fact that a smaller Lutheran Congregation that only has about 100 people worshiping per week, and only a 15 voice choir and an electronic organ mean that since they can't do a major production high mass with intoned chants and all the big-church trappings of the traditional liturgy with big choir, pipe organ, and all the other things that make a big-church service like yours what it is, they shouldn't bother trying to incorporate as much of traditional liturgy as they can?

Some of the best contemporary music worship services I've seen in Lutheran churches were only about 20 or 30 worshipers, a "praise band" that consisted of a single acoustic guitar, unamplified, and solid Biblical preaching of the Gospel."

This would be absolutely fine because they were not trying to be something they were not. It would be just another form of differentiation-- an "indigenous" worship meeting the needs of its community. My Sunday Evening Service (Divine Service IV-LSB or Vespers) is done with a Baby Grand Piano and Violin-- its gorgeous. I am sure I would enjoy the single acoustic guitar played well and with devotion.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: GoCubsGo on February 11, 2011, 09:06:20 AM
What direct benefit do those who are not sitting in the pew of any church on any morning ever gain from what happens inside any church on Sunday morning?


You're right George!  There is absolutely no direct benefit to going to church for anyone.  The church, without offering free ipods, or doing giveaways has nothing to offer newcomers.  That whole grace of God thing is a mere pittance after all compared to football, Sunday youth sports leagues, and just about anything else you can think of.

I quit (and so should you.)  (Wishing there were an emoticon for sarcasm.)  ;D

I asked what benefit there was to NOT going to church.

The church has lots to offer those who don't go to church, but the church does an excellent job of keeping what it has to offer a secret. The only people who are told about the good things available in church are the people already in church!

(I wish there was an emoticon for "didn't you even read what I wrote")  ::)

Also, I feel we all are aware that the "good things" being talked about are the gifts of the Spirt, God's Grace, etc. That should go without saying, based on what's been said before, but I realize if I don't spell that out, someone will drag me over the coals about it.
The problem George is not in talking about people in or outside of church but the use of the term "benefit."  You're operative theology seems to be "What's in it for me?" which is coutner to the Gospel's proclamation.

And we have had the argument beofre, as you have had here, abouit doing whatever it takes to "get butts in the seats".  A laudable goal for businesses and posperity gospel charlatans but not the "goal" of the Church. (Wishing there were an emoticon for disgust and annoyance.)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 11, 2011, 11:41:57 AM
What direct benefit do those who are not sitting in the pew of any church on any morning ever gain from what happens inside any church on Sunday morning?


You're right George!  There is absolutely no direct benefit to going to church for anyone.  The church, without offering free ipods, or doing giveaways has nothing to offer newcomers.  That whole grace of God thing is a mere pittance after all compared to football, Sunday youth sports leagues, and just about anything else you can think of.

I quit (and so should you.)  (Wishing there were an emoticon for sarcasm.)  ;D

I asked what benefit there was to NOT going to church.

The church has lots to offer those who don't go to church, but the church does an excellent job of keeping what it has to offer a secret. The only people who are told about the good things available in church are the people already in church!

(I wish there was an emoticon for "didn't you even read what I wrote")  ::)

Also, I feel we all are aware that the "good things" being talked about are the gifts of the Spirt, God's Grace, etc. That should go without saying, based on what's been said before, but I realize if I don't spell that out, someone will drag me over the coals about it.
The problem George is not in talking about people in or outside of church but the use of the term "benefit."  You're operative theology seems to be "What's in it for me?" which is coutner to the Gospel's proclamation.

And we have had the argument beofre, as you have had here, abouit doing whatever it takes to "get butts in the seats".  A laudable goal for businesses and posperity gospel charlatans but not the "goal" of the Church. (Wishing there were an emoticon for disgust and annoyance.)

No, my operative theology is "What's in it for them?", with the "them" being the people who do not hear the Gospel preached because they are not present to hear it. One of the goals of the church is to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations". Getting the people from all nations into the seats to hear the Gospel preached is not the ultimate goal. But it is a necessary and vital intermediate step in the process. It is not the end goal, but it is a means towards the end goal.

If a mother wants to feed her children a nutritious meal, she first has to get them to come in from outside and to sit down at the table. Getting them to sit down isn't her goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If a doctor wants to give life-saving vaccines to people, he first has to get them to come into his office where he has the needles and vaccines. Getting them into his office isn't the primary goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If you want to preach the Gospel to people from your pulpit on Sunday morning, you need to get the people into your church so that they can hear you. Getting them into the church isn't your primary goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If one cares about the people who are not getting to hear the Gospel preached, then one must care about "what's in it for them", and one has to do what one can to get them to come to hear the Gospel preached. For any called preacher to just preach to empty pews, and write off the people who didn't come to hear the Gospel preached is to abdicate one of a preacher's responsibilities as a preacher of the Word.

(Wishing there was an emoticon for demonstrating patience in the face of stubbornness)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 11, 2011, 11:56:15 AM
No, my operative theology is "What's in it for them?", with the "them" being the people who do not hear the Gospel preached because they are not present to hear it. One of the goals of the church is to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations". Getting the people from all nations into the seats to hear the Gospel preached is not the ultimate goal. But it is a necessary and vital intermediate step in the process. It is not the end goal, but it is a means towards the end goal.

If a mother wants to feed her children a nutritious meal, she first has to get them to come in from outside and to sit down at the table. Getting them to sit down isn't her goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If a doctor wants to give life-saving vaccines to people, he first has to get them to come into his office where he has the needles and vaccines. Getting them into his office isn't the primary goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If you want to preach the Gospel to people from your pulpit on Sunday morning, you need to get the people into your church so that they can hear you. Getting them into the church isn't your primary goal, but it is a necessary step in the process.

If one cares about the people who are not getting to hear the Gospel preached, then one must care about "what's in it for them", and one has to do what one can to get them to come to hear the Gospel preached. For any called preacher to just preach to empty pews, and write off the people who didn't come to hear the Gospel preached is to abdicate one of a preacher's responsibilities as a preacher of the Word.

The problem with your logic George is that your quote uses the word "go". Jesus didn't command, "Make them come in." What I see in the book of Acts is evangelists who went out with the gospel, then when the folks were converted and baptized, then they were brought into the (closed) fellowship of believers.

Traditionally, Christian worship was not a "Billy Graham Crusade" that seeks to convert the unconverted; but a gathering of believers around Word and Sacrament -- and at some points in our history, these "gatherings" were secret so that outsiders wouldn't be crashing the "party".

Part of what is to happen at the (closed) "parties" is that the members are trained, encouraged, and motivated to go out with the good news to those who are in the world.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 11, 2011, 12:21:09 PM
The problem with your logic George is that your quote uses the word "go". Jesus didn't command, "Make them come in." What I see in the book of Acts is evangelists who went out with the gospel, then when the folks were converted and baptized, then they were brought into the (closed) fellowship of believers.

So tell me, Brian, how much street preaching do you do personally outside of your church in the public square?

If I were in Yuma, when would I hear you preaching the Gospel at the State Park on 201 N 4th Avenue? Or do you do your public "street" Gospel preaching in the modern public square, the Southgate Mall? When was the last time you (or any other pastor in this forum) preached the Gospel outside of your church?

And please, I've already rebutted the idea that just "acting Christian" in public is "preaching the Gospel". When a devout Muslim practices kindness towards others as he "preaches Islam", the average non-churched or unchurched person seeing it can't tell the difference.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 11, 2011, 12:38:54 PM
And please, I've already rebutted the idea that just "acting Christian" in public is "preaching the Gospel". When a devout Muslim practices kindness towards others as he "preaches Islam", the average non-churched or unchurched person seeing it can't tell the difference.

No, of course, he can't.

So what is your point?

Living out your vocations -- as you put it "acting Christian" in public" -- is still what God would have us do.

13"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

And sometimes we have an opportunity to speak the Gospel and invite people to church in the course of those vocations.

Mike

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 11, 2011, 01:11:12 PM
The problem with your logic George is that your quote uses the word "go". Jesus didn't command, "Make them come in." What I see in the book of Acts is evangelists who went out with the gospel, then when the folks were converted and baptized, then they were brought into the (closed) fellowship of believers.

So tell me, Brian, how much street preaching do you do personally outside of your church in the public square?

Street preaching is not effective evangelism.

Quote
If I were in Yuma, when would I hear you preaching the Gospel at the State Park on 201 N 4th Avenue? Or do you do your public "street" Gospel preaching in the modern public square, the Southgate Mall? When was the last time you (or any other pastor in this forum) preached the Gospel outside of your church?

I think that most of us preach the gospel at all times -- sometimes using words.

Quote
And please, I've already rebutted the idea that just "acting Christian" in public is "preaching the Gospel". When a devout Muslim practices kindness towards others as he "preaches Islam", the average non-churched or unchurched person seeing it can't tell the difference.

The difference is that Christians do their "acts of kindness" because of Jesus. We love our neighbors, because we know Jesus loves them. We are empowered by God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. No Muslim can say that. I do believe that there is a difference between the good news deeds by Christians and acts of kindness by others.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 11, 2011, 01:13:32 PM
And please, I've already rebutted the idea that just "acting Christian" in public is "preaching the Gospel". When a devout Muslim practices kindness towards others as he "preaches Islam", the average non-churched or unchurched person seeing it can't tell the difference.

No, of course, he can't.

So what is your point?


If just "acting Christian" isn't enough in the year of our Lord 2011 to let people know that it is the love and gifts of grace we've received from Jesus Christ that makes us act that way, then we need to do something more, something extra, something deliberate to let those who do not hear the Gospel preached know the Gospel. That includes getting them to come into our churches on Sunday mornings. Duh!.

Living out your vocations -- as you put it "acting Christian" in public" -- is still what God would have us do.

13"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

God would have us do good for the sake of doing good. God knows we're doing good to give him glory, even if the average man on the street who sees it doesn't make the connection.

And sometimes we have an opportunity to speak the Gospel and invite people to church in the course of those vocations.


And often times we don't have that opportunity. As I've said 1,547 times before, I'm not talking about doing anything instead of leading lives of quiet Christian witness. I'm talking about doing things in addition to leading lives of quiet Christian witness.

Did you miss it when I said this:

Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"?

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 11, 2011, 01:55:12 PM
Did you miss it when I said this:

Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"?

No, actually I even replied to that in jest.

Darn. You're on to us, We do it just to yank your chain.  :)

But, seriously, why would we want to spend our time on methods of evangelism which are less than the best?  Is that productive?

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 11, 2011, 02:14:31 PM
If just "acting Christian" isn't enough in the year of our Lord 2011 to let people know that it is the love and gifts of grace we've received from Jesus Christ that makes us act that way, then we need to do something more, something extra, something deliberate to let those who do not hear the Gospel preached know the Gospel. That includes getting them to come into our churches on Sunday mornings.


Just "acting Christian" is certainly enough in an unchristian world. There has to be something about the other Paraclete that Jesus promised the believers. No other people have that -- no matter how good their actions are.

I don't know how many times I have thought about a person, based solely on their actions and attitude: "They must be a Christian," and upon further conversations discover that, indeed, they are active in a Christian congregation.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 11, 2011, 02:28:09 PM
If just "acting Christian" isn't enough in the year of our Lord 2011 to let people know that it is the love and gifts of grace we've received from Jesus Christ that makes us act that way, then we need to do something more, something extra, something deliberate to let those who do not hear the Gospel preached know the Gospel. That includes getting them to come into our churches on Sunday mornings. Duh!.

1. What does it mean to "act Christian"? Because as you've noticed (and I agree), behaving like a decent person and treating others with kindness and courtesy isn't something that Christians have the corner on. I know atheists and pagans can do that.

2. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. I can't make anyone else believe either, I can't even make them know the Gospel. All I can do is point to Jesus, talk about what He's done, and trust that the Spirit does His thing in His time. In fact, I had a close friend who was baptized but not really much of a believer (certainly not a church-goer) and was pretty hostile toward God and the church in general. To my shame, I made a point of NOT talking about my faith with this person unless cornered - because of the very unproductive arguments, debates, etc. that would ensue. Years later, in an argument over another subject I was told, "I hate talking to you! All you do is talk about Jesus, all the freakin' time!" So even when I was making a point NOT to do just that, it was going on - in spite of me!

I think it might be worthwhile in our evangelism efforts to focus less on our doing something more, something extra, something deliberate (which is the Law - and the Law never saved anybody) and more on Christ and what He has done for us all. And it will overflow all over our lives, making a glorious Gospelly mess everywhere. :)


Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"?

What would you like to see done?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 11, 2011, 02:30:59 PM
2. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. I can't make anyone else believe either, I can't even make them know the Gospel. All I can do is point to Jesus, talk about what He's done, and trust that the Spirit does His thing in His time. In fact, I had a close friend who was baptized but not really much of a believer (certainly not a church-goer) and was pretty hostile toward God and the church in general. To my shame, I made a point of NOT talking about my faith with this person unless cornered - because of the very unproductive arguments, debates, etc. that would ensue. Years later, in an argument over another subject I was told, "I hate talking to you! All you do is talk about Jesus, all the freakin' time!" So even when I was making a point NOT to do just that, it was going on - in spite of me!

I think it might be worthwhile in our evangelism efforts to focus less on our doing something more, something extra, something deliberate (which is the Law - and the Law never saved anybody) and more on Christ and what He has done for us all. And it will overflow all over our lives, making a glorious Gospelly mess everywhere. :)

Thanks for saying what so clearly what I would have liked to say but instead expressed poorly and smothered in snark.

I do appreciate it.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Matt Staneck on February 11, 2011, 02:59:55 PM
If I may, I'd like to simply suggest maybe a middle ground to this question of evangelism.  As Sandra has pointed out (with help from Luther's explanation), we cannot by our own reason or strength believe.  That means we need the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to give us faith.  If Christians are folks who have the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by a faith in Jesus Christ, that means there are folks out there who do not have the Holy Spirit.  I might suggest that means the folks "out there" are all dead, and George is quite right they have no reason to wonder into a church, especially one where the Gospel is preached, why would the devil want such a thing.  We also know that God works through means, one such mean being a person.  If we're alive because we have the Spirit, then there are a bunch of dead people "out there" milling around.  If faith comes from hearing, and from hearing the Word, then I might suggest we get "out there" and tell people Jesus died for them and invite them to church.  No doubt there will be a healthy failure rate, but who are we to say who God will and won't work faith in? 

If the people are dead, as our theology says, then we need to be out there giving them the Word of Life.  The only way these folks out there can be made alive is by the Gospel.  This is not due to our own efforts, but, "I planted and Apollos watered, but God caused the growth."  Now to George's famous question, "How? It's not enough to just be 'out there' making nice with people. How do we get them in the door?"  Yo no se, Jorge.  But I think that's something local congregations need to identify and work toward, and primarily outreach needs to be Gospel-centered and at a certain point you just gotta start electing people and let the Word do its thing. 

Thoughts on a Friday afternoon while I work on an exegetical...

M. Staneck
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 11, 2011, 03:30:08 PM
I'm mostly listening to this thread, but offer a couple thoughts on the last few posts.

First Matt 28 needs a little thought as to the imperatives. Lately "Go" has been all the rage. I propose we read carefully and see it more as it shows in the Greek - Go equals "as you are going" [about your everyday vocation/decisions] which certainly is an encouragement to get off our tail bones, and be going/deciding. The imperatives here, however, are really "make" disciples, and we do that in baptizing (Sacrament), and teaching (Word).

There is a danger in localizing these things (going about our every day vocation, decisions in and out of the church etc.) It is not localized. But as we are going about these things.(including at the office, and the council meeting discussing worship decisions)

My second offering is I have discarded the above "deliberate" the way it has normally been done. That has used a thought of "Intentional," and most evangelism programs have that intentional part to them. I found that lacking and non-scriptural over the last decades. What I have used is "Attentive" or more specifically instead of "In"tentional, "A"ttentional. As we are going, and deciding we see what God is doing, and attentively follow His lead. This keeps the decisions focused on - going about our callings, listening and watching what God is doing, and responsive decisions in that context.

Just a few thoughts, I'm back to listening, (I believe every one here knows I do everything from cathedral pipe organ high mass to parking lot guitars and plastic cups at the trunk of a car)

TV
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 11, 2011, 03:56:19 PM
But, seriously, why would we want to spend our time on methods of evangelism which are less than the best?  Is that productive?

Mike

Yes, it is productive. The "best" works some of the time, but it still excludes a lot of people. It's "the best" in terms of effectiveness per person using it, but it is not "the best" in terms of reaching the maximum number of unfortunate souls who need to be reached.

The best way for a single individual to help an individual hungry homeless person is to give him a sandwich. But the best way to feed 100 hungry homeless people is to cook a huge pot of soup and invite them all to come and have a bowl.

Let's assume for argument's sake, in the area where you live, there are 20,000 people who do not got to church. Some don't go because they are heathens who were never baptized and some are baptized Christians who just don't go to church. You are a personal friend of 20 of those people, and you talk to all 20 one-on-one, and 4 of them accept your invitation to come to church where they hear the Gospel preached and the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does. That's a 20% success rate, so that makes it "the best" method. But that means that 19,980 other people who need to hear the Gospel still don't.

Now, let's say you engage in some additional evangelism above and beyond one-on-one invitation. This could include creative invitation messages on the church's sign, such as "Special non-stuffy contemporary music service this Sunday. Come and See." Or, it could include the church's choir doing a "flash mob" stunt at the local mall, combined with passing out fake "tickets" to a Sunday morning worship service, good for any service. Or it might include a well-done radio commercial. Or something else that your congregation's outreach team is inspired to do. The only limit is your imagination and willingness to accept inspiration. That method is heard by 10,000 of the 19,980 people who need to hear it. If you've done it well (There's another of those pretty big if's!), you can get 100 people to "come and see". Now, 100 out of 10,000 is only a 1% success rate, which isn't as good as a 20% success rate, so it's second best. But, enabling 100 souls to hear the Gospel who otherwise wouldn't is not an unproductive thing. Is it?

2. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. I can't make anyone else believe either, I can't even make them know the Gospel. All I can do is point to Jesus, talk about what He's done, and trust that the Spirit does His thing in His time. In fact, I had a close friend who was baptized but not really much of a believer (certainly not a church-goer) and was pretty hostile toward God and the church in general. To my shame, I made a point of NOT talking about my faith with this person unless cornered - because of the very unproductive arguments, debates, etc. that would ensue. Years later, in an argument over another subject I was told, "I hate talking to you! All you do is talk about Jesus, all the freakin' time!" So even when I was making a point NOT to do just that, it was going on - in spite of me!

I think it might be worthwhile in our evangelism efforts to focus less on our doing something more, something extra, something deliberate (which is the Law - and the Law never saved anybody) and more on Christ and what He has done for us all. And it will overflow all over our lives, making a glorious Gospelly mess everywhere. :)

Do you or do you not believe that one way in which the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does is through the preaching and teaching that called and ordained pastors do from the pulpit? Do you or do you not believe that persuading, enticing, or otherwise getting someone to walk through the church doors, sit down in a pew, and hear a called and ordained pastor preach and teach the Gospel is one of the effective ways for the persuaded, enticed, or otherwise gotten into the church person to hear the Gospel? I'm not saying it's the only way, I'm saying it is one of the ways.

Why is it that whenever I mention that there are multiple methods of evangelism, the only responses are which one someone thinks is "best"?

What would you like to see done?

Whatever the Holy Spirit inspires people to do when they pray and ask "What can we do to get more people to 'Come and see', and hear the Gospel rightly preached?" No more. No less.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 11, 2011, 04:22:15 PM
What was your IM team name Peter?

If anything is not understood theologically, it is not understood at all. Not really.

Yes, but a theological understanding is not the only understanding. As verified by the below:

I take different approaches all the time in trying to present the Gospel to different people. Why would you wonder about that?

Well, why? Theologically, aren't they identical? Either they are Christians or they are not Christians. Theologically, right? So, why would they need different approaches?

Does that make sense? I think that the issue is not looking at the situation theologically — after all, we can see that God has created all people different and so different approaches are appropriate. But just locking stuff into binary categories is not helpful.

Does this make sense?


Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: mqll on February 11, 2011, 04:32:49 PM
Sandra, I'd like to take a shot at this.

1. What does it mean to "act Christian"? Because as you've noticed (and I agree), behaving like a decent person and treating others with kindness and courtesy isn't something that Christians have the corner on. I know atheists and pagans can do that.

Well, i think acting like a Christian is not merely decent living—I think we have to account for living out a life full of grace and forgiveness. Love that is not deserved. That sorta thing.

Obviously plenty of pagans can do this—but on the other hand, if we DON'T do it, well then, the rep of the church is damaged.

2. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. I can't make anyone else believe either, I can't even make them know the Gospel. All I can do is point to Jesus, talk about what He's done, and trust that the Spirit does His thing in His time. In fact, I had a close friend who was baptized but not really much of a believer (certainly not a church-goer) and was pretty hostile toward God and the church in general. To my shame, I made a point of NOT talking about my faith with this person unless cornered - because of the very unproductive arguments, debates, etc. that would ensue. Years later, in an argument over another subject I was told, "I hate talking to you! All you do is talk about Jesus, all the freakin' time!" So even when I was making a point NOT to do just that, it was going on - in spite of me!

This is true. But you don't find many example of Paul saying "Don't talk about Jesus with other people." We see him doing it all the time.

Now, obviously different situations are different. Sometimes we have the opportunity to speak plainly about our faith. Sometimes we do not.

But going back to your earlier point: since there are plenty of people being nice in the world, it is not enough to just be nice and fair to people. We have to speak out about the truth that we hold to.

I think it might be worthwhile in our evangelism efforts to focus less on our doing something more, something extra, something deliberate (which is the Law - and the Law never saved anybody) and more on Christ and what He has done for us all. And it will overflow all over our lives, making a glorious Gospelly mess everywhere. :)

What, exactly, does this look like?

Let's compare this to First Things and the conferences ya'll do. Roughly speaking, someone said "Hey, we really are not doing youth work in a good way." People came together and thought about how we could teach our youth. They started publishing a magazine, started having conferences.

That is to say, they got organized, motivated and moving. Maybe in different order from that.

So...wasn't all of that "something more, something extra, something deliberate"? I find it hard to believe that this was merely focusing on Christ. No: it was an organized effort.

That is what evangelism should be. Make sense?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 11, 2011, 04:44:47 PM
2. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. I can't make anyone else believe either, I can't even make them know the Gospel. All I can do is point to Jesus, talk about what He's done, and trust that the Spirit does His thing in His time. In fact, I had a close friend who was baptized but not really much of a believer (certainly not a church-goer) and was pretty hostile toward God and the church in general. To my shame, I made a point of NOT talking about my faith with this person unless cornered - because of the very unproductive arguments, debates, etc. that would ensue. Years later, in an argument over another subject I was told, "I hate talking to you! All you do is talk about Jesus, all the freakin' time!" So even when I was making a point NOT to do just that, it was going on - in spite of me!

I think it might be worthwhile in our evangelism efforts to focus less on our doing something more, something extra, something deliberate (which is the Law - and the Law never saved anybody) and more on Christ and what He has done for us all. And it will overflow all over our lives, making a glorious Gospelly mess everywhere. :)

Do you or do you not believe that one way in which the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does is through the preaching and teaching that called and ordained pastors do from the pulpit? Do you or do you not believe that persuading, enticing, or otherwise getting someone to walk through the church doors, sit down in a pew, and hear a called and ordained pastor preach and teach the Gospel is one of the effective ways for the persuaded, enticed, or otherwise gotten into the church person to hear the Gospel? I'm not saying it's the only way, I'm saying it is one of the ways.

I believe that one way in which the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does is through the preaching and teaching that called and ordained pastors do from the pulpit. But that's not the only way.  It's the WORD that does it, the Word, the Word, the Word. It is the specific vocation of called and ordained pastors to preach that Word. I could possibly even be pressed to say that it's not their vocation to go out and rustle the bushes to get people to hear the Word they preach. :)

Of course, I can persuade, entice, or otherwise get someone to walk through the church doors to hear that Word preached by the one called and ordained to preach just that. That tends to happen as I encounter different opportunities to do so in my daily life.

What that will look like will vary according to each person and the situations that come up for each one of them. For example, I could have a brief conversation with a lady in line at the post office and have an engaging talk about Jesus or I could volunteer at a food bank and just sort food. Neither one is better than the other, both are settings for any number of situations in which the Gospel can be shared.

The "hard sell" of going door to door doesn't go over like it once did, neither does leaving tracts laying around. What tends to work well is making personal connections with people. They don't have to be BFF's - just enough of a connection to acknowledge that you see the other person as an individual and not just another potential notch on the cover of your Bible. Listening, paying attention, taking advantage of those moments whenever they come up (whether expected in a situation or not) and being prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you is often where the Spirit does that thing He does.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Evangel on February 11, 2011, 04:54:14 PM
...Go equals "as you are going" [about your everyday vocation/decisions] which certainly is an encouragement to get off our tail bones, and be going/deciding. The imperatives here, however, are really "make" disciples, and we do that in baptizing (Sacrament), and teaching (Word).

...What I have used is "Attentive" or more specifically instead of "In"tentional, "A"ttentional. As we are going, and deciding we see what God is doing, and attentively follow His lead. This keeps the decisions focused on - going about our callings, listening and watching what God is doing, and responsive decisions in that context....

TV,

Amen on the "Go" = "as you are going" = while doing your everyday vocation

 ... and consider the "A"ttentional thing stolen ... ;)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 11, 2011, 05:01:29 PM
Well, i think acting like a Christian is not merely decent living—I think we have to account for living out a life full of grace and forgiveness. Love that is not deserved. That sorta thing. Obviously plenty of pagans can do this—but on the other hand, if we DON'T do it, well then, the rep of the church is damaged.

Yeah, I agree. And that's a big reason Christians have such a bad reputation these days. Of course, we're all hypocrites - but people expect something more from Christians. Striking the balance between freedom and considering our neighbor can be tricky too. I went to lunch with a very nice Nazarene lady once, who about dropped dead in the parking lot when she saw that I planned to walk into Applebee's Bar and Grille. "That's a BAR! What will it do to my Christian witness to be seen going into a BAR??".

2. But you don't find many example of Paul saying "Don't talk about Jesus with other people." We see him doing it all the time.

I wouldn't recommend this method at all, and am rather ashamed that I did it. But even in spite of myself and my efforts to NOT do it, it still happened!


But going back to your earlier point: since there are plenty of people being nice in the world, it is not enough to just be nice and fair to people. We have to speak out about the truth that we hold to.

I agree!


Let's compare this to First Things and the conferences ya'll do. Roughly speaking, someone said "Hey, we really are not doing youth work in a good way." People came together and thought about how we could teach our youth. They started publishing a magazine, started having conferences. That is to say, they got organized, motivated and moving. Maybe in different order from that. So...wasn't all of that "something more, something extra, something deliberate"? I find it hard to believe that this was merely focusing on Christ. No: it was an organized effort.

That is what evangelism should be. Make sense?


Higher Things. First Things is something else. So is High Times. :)

Yes, there can be more done. But you don't have to do those things, you can do other things. My issue is making it a Law-motivated thing rather than a Gospel-motivated one.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 11, 2011, 05:45:31 PM
The problem with your logic George is that your quote uses the word "go". Jesus didn't command, "Make them come in." What I see in the book of Acts is evangelists who went out with the gospel, then when the folks were converted and baptized, then they were brought into the (closed) fellowship of believers.

So tell me, Brian, how much street preaching do you do personally outside of your church in the public square?

If I were in Yuma, when would I hear you preaching the Gospel at the State Park on 201 N 4th Avenue? Or do you do your public "street" Gospel preaching in the modern public square, the Southgate Mall? When was the last time you (or any other pastor in this forum) preached the Gospel outside of your church?

And please, I've already rebutted the idea that just "acting Christian" in public is "preaching the Gospel". When a devout Muslim practices kindness towards others as he "preaches Islam", the average non-churched or unchurched person seeing it can't tell the difference.

First of all, you make the mistake of thinking that pstles were doing open air preaching all the timme.   They weren't.  They usually first preached in synagogues--I.e. churches.  Then they might also preach or teach at Mars Hill, but the goal was to establish a church.  The established church would then evangelize that city by acting as God's priesthood in that place.

Secondly, your notion of "acting Christian" is faulty, so you haven't rebutted anything.  First of all, there were moral and good pagans in Paul's time, just as now.  It is also true that Christian morals have shaped our society--but our society is a far cry from "acting christian."  People can't keep their families together--is that Christian?  The fastest growing religion in America is Mormonism.  Why?  Maybe going door to door helps, but it's not that they play music that people like.  Maybe part of it is their emphasis on family.  Moral lives that are in accord with the way that God ordered the world are attractive.  If we were teaching Lutherans the catechism and they were learning that serving God is a matter of children honoring their parents, and parents actually being parents to their children, and employees serving their boss like he was Jesus, and spouses laying down theiir lives for each other, these moral lives could make Christianity attractive to a society that is falling apart.  But most Lutherans don't know their catechism, because we are looking for a silver bullet for evangelism like a change in music.  So most Lutherans have no idea what a calling is, let alone that God has given them one.  And if we started teaching people their callings, they would also start needing more Gospel too,since they would realize how much they sin.  Then we could help them learn to sing the Gospel to each other around the dinner table where they are finally eating together again, and dad could fulfill his calling as thehead of the house and teach his family the word of God.  Those Lutheran hymns with Gospel instead of empty assertions aout how much we love Jesus would come in handy again.  We could also teach people to come confess their sins in their callings and be absolved, and teach them how to the. Same in their homes to one another, so that their homes would be oases of the forgiveness of sins in a condemning world.

But there's more to "acting like a Christian" even than that.  There's something that only Christians can do that pagans, no matter how moral, can't.  And that is to die for one's enemies.  Christians don't simply behave morally.  Whatever good they do is a self-offering to Christ who died for us and cancelled death.  That means that as much as I live by faith in Christ, I also give my life for my neighbor.  It is so when I love my wife or when I bear with the guy at work who tries to take my job.  I as a Christian can afford to lose everything.  My neighbor who is not can't afford to die.  And because I have died with Christ and been raised with him in Baptism, I no longer live according to the flesh, trying to save my life at all costs.  Because I am in Christ and he is in me, I have everything, and I freely give what I have out of love for my neighbor.  No pagan does those things.  If he is good, it is ultimately for his own benefit.  But the Gospel sets us free from worrying about ourselves, and makes it so that giving ourselves up for our neighbor is an end in itself.

That kind of life doesn't preach more effectively than a change in musical instruments?  Maybe it's because so few Christians live that way.  They don't live that way because there is a shortage of Gospel.  Not enough absolution, not enough Gospel in the hymns, not enough teaching of the catechism, preaching that may be good speaking but is thin on faith-producing Gospel.

As I pointed out earlier, nearly all of my new members come from personal contact and personal invitations from the holy people of God.  And this has increased as the gospel has been unleashed on the congregation in richer measure, through review of the catechism,emphasis on home devotions, Lutheran chorales, private absolution.

Give the Holy Spirit more credit.  He knows how to renew us who were dead in trespasses and sins.  Human techniques are not useless,, but they are not the mighty power of God and they can't raise the dead.  The Gospel does that.  That is the reason the Gospel was preserved for us--not because the apostles used smart techniques to get butts in pews, but because they preached Christ.  Period.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 11, 2011, 05:53:10 PM
So very well said, Pr. Hess.  Running with Von Schenk:  

It is not our human love the world needs.  This is what the world has been trying to tell church people for a long time.  But not all agree.  We place the blame for our failure everywhere but the right place, and then we keep on trying to foist our human love, tainted with self-interest, on the world, to which it says, "We don't want it; we don't trust it.  We can be just as good, if not better, outside the church."

Why is it the early Christians showed such power?  It was because Calvary love, the divine love, radiated in their message and in their lives.  That love was irresistible.  The fascinating story of the martyrs fertilized the acres of the Church.  That love alone will build the kingdom of God on earth. That love is the only missionary policy to follow.  The pure Calvary love will draw men up.  It is the only love which achieves a final victory.  It is the only love which has an Easter.  Any other love just leaves ashes.  (p. 72)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: kls on February 11, 2011, 07:44:59 PM
I'm on an acts of mercy kick again, I know.  It can definitely be hard to differentiate something being law-driven or Gospel-motivated.  One of my favorite documents on mercy (http://www.lcms.org/ca/worldrelief/resources/wrhc-sunday/WRHCtheological.pdf) in the LCMS starts with these paragraphs:

Love, care and concern for those in need (diakonic mercy/love) are actions motivated by the gospel, when faith (fides qua creditur/the faith by which we believe) apprehends the righteousness of Christ and his merits (Augsburg Confession IV&VI), unto eternal life. The gospel thus laid hold of, produces love.  Love seeks and serves the neighbor.

Love for the neighbor, while an action mandated by the law of God, is a reflection of the very being of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 4:7). This love finds its source and motivation in the deep gospel matrix and totality of the true faith (fides quaecreditur/the faith which is believed).
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Richard Johnson on February 11, 2011, 08:46:02 PM
Street preaching is not effective evangelism.

When I was a college student some time in the middle of the last century, there was a "street preacher" who used to preach on the campus of my state college. We called him "Holy Hubert." He made a deep impression on me. What I remember particularly was that he was unflappable. He would be heckled and ridiculed, and he would respond, and then smile and say "Bless your dirty heart."

I often think about that line when reading things on this forum.  ::)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 11, 2011, 11:35:58 PM
I'm mostly listening to this thread, but offer a couple thoughts on the last few posts.

First Matt 28 needs a little thought as to the imperatives. Lately "Go" has been all the rage. I propose we read carefully and see it more as it shows in the Greek - Go equals "as you are going" [about your everyday vocation/decisions] which certainly is an encouragement to get off our tail bones, and be going/deciding. The imperatives here, however, are really "make" disciples, and we do that in baptizing (Sacrament), and teaching (Word).

While πορεύομαι can refer to "going about your everyday vocation," I don't see that Matthew ever uses it with that definition. Rather he uses the first definition of the word: going from one place to another place; and frequently in statements about witnessing. See especially 10:6-7; 22:9; 28:7; consider also 11:4; 18:12;
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 11, 2011, 11:39:15 PM
Well, i think acting like a Christian is not merely decent living—I think we have to account for living out a life full of grace and forgiveness. Love that is not deserved. That sorta thing. Obviously plenty of pagans can do this—but on the other hand, if we DON'T do it, well then, the rep of the church is damaged.

Yeah, I agree. And that's a big reason Christians have such a bad reputation these days. Of course, we're all hypocrites - but people expect something more from Christians. Striking the balance between freedom and considering our neighbor can be tricky too. I went to lunch with a very nice Nazarene lady once, who about dropped dead in the parking lot when she saw that I planned to walk into Applebee's Bar and Grille. "That's a BAR! What will it do to my Christian witness to be seen going into a BAR??".

What Jesus commanded was "repent," not "live decently." While living decently should be part of our Christian lives, what distinguishes us from all the other decent people is repentance.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 11, 2011, 11:44:11 PM
I believe that one way in which the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does is through the preaching and teaching that called and ordained pastors do from the pulpit. But that's not the only way.  It's the WORD that does it, the Word, the Word, the Word. It is the specific vocation of called and ordained pastors to preach that Word. I could possibly even be pressed to say that it's not their vocation to go out and rustle the bushes to get people to hear the Word they preach. :)

Of course, I can persuade, entice, or otherwise get someone to walk through the church doors to hear that Word preached by the one called and ordained to preach just that. That tends to happen as I encounter different opportunities to do so in my daily life.

What that will look like will vary according to each person and the situations that come up for each one of them. For example, I could have a brief conversation with a lady in line at the post office and have an engaging talk about Jesus or I could volunteer at a food bank and just sort food. Neither one is better than the other, both are settings for any number of situations in which the Gospel can be shared.

The "hard sell" of going door to door doesn't go over like it once did, neither does leaving tracts laying around. What tends to work well is making personal connections with people. They don't have to be BFF's - just enough of a connection to acknowledge that you see the other person as an individual and not just another potential notch on the cover of your Bible. Listening, paying attention, taking advantage of those moments whenever they come up (whether expected in a situation or not) and being prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you is often where the Spirit does that thing He does.

I'm totally confused by your response. Are you saying that it is good to do whatever works (that doesn't break God's Law, of course) to get people into church so that they can hear the called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, but you just can't think of anything other than personal one-on-one conversations? Or are you saying that only one-on-one personal conversations are the right and proper way to get people to hear a called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, and all other methods that might get someone to "Come and see" are the work of Satan?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 12, 2011, 12:08:02 AM
Secondly, your notion of "acting Christian" is faulty, so you haven't rebutted anything.  First of all, there were moral and good pagans in Paul's time, just as now.  It is also true that Christian morals have shaped our society--but our society is a far cry from "acting christian."  

My notion of "acting Christian" is based on this statement of yours from Februay 5th, "I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church." What can regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, Lutheran Christians do in their regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill daily lives to display their "holy lives" to attract people to "Come and see" what's happening in out Lutheran Christian churches on Sunday morning?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Timotheus Verinus on February 12, 2011, 12:37:25 AM
While πορεύομαι can refer to "going about your everyday vocation," I don't see that Matthew ever uses it with that definition. Rather he uses the first definition of the word: going from one place to another place; and frequently in statements about witnessing. See especially 10:6-7; 22:9; 28:7; consider also 11:4; 18:12;

In current translations, and perspectives I don't see any danger of over stating the distinction, and that is why I press the thought, as something to ponder.

The Aorist Participles here are not imperative, but descriptive of the target imperatives. 10:6 while going, Proclaim!, 22:9 paraphrase, "why are you wasting time here? He is not here, because of this, as you go quickly, Say to the disciples." 11:4 having Jesus's answer, so when you leave immediately and go back to John Declare. 18:12 He leaves, and as he goes he Seeks.

While not literally a double verb I see that it has the same effect. For example when we see "Jesus answered and said" it is the following "said" that has the force. And so we see also as in 25:16 and 18 for example the stewards "on going" with the talents Traded. That's what good stewards do in their vocation. they go about and trade. As one "went" (16) he traded. As the last "went" he buried it.(18) the "went" had little to do with the question at hand beyond they were going about their vocation.

I don't disagree with the point you make, and hence am not proposing we retranslate any of these accepted standard "go" translations. But there is a distinction that is worth pondering here as we force ourselves to put the imperative at the "Go."

I offer it only as a thought. MHO Take it or not.

TV
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: LutherMan on February 12, 2011, 05:57:19 AM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Evangel on February 12, 2011, 08:30:07 AM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Now I wish I remember where I heard the quote (not my strong suit) ... but what I was taught was:

The Lutheran church is not a liturgical church ... we are a confessional church with a liturgy.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: edoughty on February 12, 2011, 08:31:58 AM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Well-- full disclosure here-- I'm not a fan of "Contemporary Worship" or "Praise Services" or whatever they're currently called.  However, some of those same services *are* both liturgical and sacramental.  They follow the general form of the mass, including the Eucharist.

Erik
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: LutherMan on February 12, 2011, 08:52:11 AM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Well-- full disclosure here-- I'm not a fan of "Contemporary Worship" or "Praise Services" or whatever they're currently called.  However, some of those same services *are* both liturgical and sacramental.  They follow the general form of the mass, including the Eucharist.

Erik
Must be an ELCA phenomenon.   I've been to several LCMS CoWos and they were not.  Either.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: LutherMan on February 12, 2011, 09:08:22 AM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Now I wish I remember where I heard the quote (not my strong suit) ... but what I was taught was:

The Lutheran church is not a liturgical church ... we are a confessional church with a liturgy.
Hairsplitting.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 12, 2011, 09:19:43 AM
I believe that one way in which the Holy Spirit does what the Holy Spirit does is through the preaching and teaching that called and ordained pastors do from the pulpit. But that's not the only way.  It's the WORD that does it, the Word, the Word, the Word. It is the specific vocation of called and ordained pastors to preach that Word. I could possibly even be pressed to say that it's not their vocation to go out and rustle the bushes to get people to hear the Word they preach. :)

Of course, I can persuade, entice, or otherwise get someone to walk through the church doors to hear that Word preached by the one called and ordained to preach just that. That tends to happen as I encounter different opportunities to do so in my daily life.

What that will look like will vary according to each person and the situations that come up for each one of them. For example, I could have a brief conversation with a lady in line at the post office and have an engaging talk about Jesus or I could volunteer at a food bank and just sort food. Neither one is better than the other, both are settings for any number of situations in which the Gospel can be shared.

The "hard sell" of going door to door doesn't go over like it once did, neither does leaving tracts laying around. What tends to work well is making personal connections with people. They don't have to be BFF's - just enough of a connection to acknowledge that you see the other person as an individual and not just another potential notch on the cover of your Bible. Listening, paying attention, taking advantage of those moments whenever they come up (whether expected in a situation or not) and being prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you is often where the Spirit does that thing He does.

I'm totally confused by your response. Are you saying that it is good to do whatever works (that doesn't break God's Law, of course) to get people into church so that they can hear the called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, but you just can't think of anything other than personal one-on-one conversations? Or are you saying that only one-on-one personal conversations are the right and proper way to get people to hear a called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, and all other methods that might get someone to "Come and see" are the work of Satan?

When business use a bait and switch tactic -- get people to come into the store for one exciting reason and then switch the reason after they are there, it is illegal. Why would the church want to do something illegal or at least deceptive?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 12, 2011, 12:12:53 PM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Well-- full disclosure here-- I'm not a fan of "Contemporary Worship" or "Praise Services" or whatever they're currently called.  However, some of those same services *are* both liturgical and sacramental.  They follow the general form of the mass, including the Eucharist.

Erik

Careful, reminding people of that truth tends to make them angry and defensive. It's much easier to attack something if it can be depicted as a straw man with no redeeming qualities at all.

I'm totally confused by your response. Are you saying that it is good to do whatever works (that doesn't break God's Law, of course) to get people into church so that they can hear the called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, but you just can't think of anything other than personal one-on-one conversations? Or are you saying that only one-on-one personal conversations are the right and proper way to get people to hear a called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, and all other methods that might get someone to "Come and see" are the work of Satan?

When business use a bait and switch tactic -- get people to come into the store for one exciting reason and then switch the reason after they are there, it is illegal. Why would the church want to do something illegal or at least deceptive?

What part of the portion of what I said above that I put in bold face did you not understand? Should I have had it translated into Greek or Hebrew so you'd understand it?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 12, 2011, 12:41:48 PM
Quote
The Lutheran church is not a liturgical church ... we are a confessional church with a liturgy.

That would be a hard thing to square with the Confessions which insist over and over again that we are, indeed, a liturgical church.  The liturgy is expected, assumed, confessed, and attested in those Confessions.  While it is true that Luther had concerns about the Canon (largely a hidden prayer since it was largely unknown to the people in the pew), he affirmed Latin for the mass, kept the form and structure of the mass, rose up vehemently against those who discarded the mass, etc...  If you look at the practice of Lutheranism in its first 100 years, it is impossible not to identify the Lutheran Church as a liturgical church.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 12, 2011, 12:55:55 PM
I'm totally confused by your response. Are you saying that it is good to do whatever works (that doesn't break God's Law, of course) to get people into church so that they can hear the called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, but you just can't think of anything other than personal one-on-one conversations? Or are you saying that only one-on-one personal conversations are the right and proper way to get people to hear a called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, and all other methods that might get someone to "Come and see" are the work of Satan?

I'm confused about what's confusing you. Or what you're objecting so fervently to for that matter. Is it a bad idea to talk to people? Am I not reaching enough people for Jesus if that's all I do?

Sure, it's a decent idea to do whatever lawful works to get people into church to hear the preaching of the Word. But if they're there for the bake sale or family game night then I'm guessing (and REALLY going out on a limb here) it'd probably be a good idea for someone to notice those people and maybe have a conversation with them about coming to an actual service. I don't think you'd suggest that they get it by osmosis from the fellowship hall carpeting.

And No, I'm not saying that personal conversations are the "right and proper way" to get people to hear the Word preached and all other methods are Satanic. I'm saying that our works can't save anyone and can't convert anyone. They can get them in the door, but they can't make them hear or believe. God's Word does that. I'm not saying don't do all the dog and pony shoes and free iPad and flatscreen give-aways. Go for it, I don't care. But it's not the Gospel.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 12, 2011, 01:28:24 PM
Secondly, your notion of "acting Christian" is faulty, so you haven't rebutted anything.  First of all, there were moral and good pagans in Paul's time, just as now.  It is also true that Christian morals have shaped our society--but our society is a far cry from "acting christian."  

My notion of "acting Christian" is based on this statement of yours from Februay 5th, "I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church." What can regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, Lutheran Christians do in their regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill daily lives to display their "holy lives" to attract people to "Come and see" what's happening in out Lutheran Christian churches on Sunday morning?

O dear God, I spent all that time writing that post and you didn't even read it.  Ordinary Christians can give up their lives for their neighbors and for their enemies.  Pagans can't.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 12, 2011, 01:55:06 PM
I'm totally confused by your response. Are you saying that it is good to do whatever works (that doesn't break God's Law, of course) to get people into church so that they can hear the called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, but you just can't think of anything other than personal one-on-one conversations? Or are you saying that only one-on-one personal conversations are the right and proper way to get people to hear a called and ordained pastor preach the Word, the Word, the Word, and all other methods that might get someone to "Come and see" are the work of Satan?

I'm confused about what's confusing you. Or what you're objecting so fervently to for that matter. Is it a bad idea to talk to people? Am I not reaching enough people for Jesus if that's all I do?


ARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

For the 47th time, I'm objecting to the idea that ONLY talking to people one-on-one is the one acceptable means of getting them to come to church. I'm not saying that talking to people one-on-one is bad. I'm only saying that we need to open to ideas of methods to use in addition to talking to people one-on-one.

Secondly, your notion of "acting Christian" is faulty, so you haven't rebutted anything.  First of all, there were moral and good pagans in Paul's time, just as now.  It is also true that Christian morals have shaped our society--but our society is a far cry from "acting christian." 

My notion of "acting Christian" is based on this statement of yours from Februay 5th, "I said, preach the Gospel to people, and let their holy lives attract people to the church." What can regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, Lutheran Christians do in their regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill daily lives to display their "holy lives" to attract people to "Come and see" what's happening in out Lutheran Christian churches on Sunday morning?

O dear God, I spent all that time writing that post and you didn't even read it.  Ordinary Christians can give up their lives for their neighbors and for their enemies.  Pagans can't.

I read it. I just didn't see what it had to do with regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill evangelism that we should all be doing all the time.

And, whether they can or not, an awful lot of pagans did give up their lives gladly for their neighbors or their god or gods. Maybe you should read about the Japanese code of Bushido, and how it was used in World War II to motivate kamikaze pilots. Those misguided fools who were inspired by Satan to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and all the suicide bombers in the Middle East weren't hesitant to give up their lives for their neighbors and their twisted understanding of their god.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Sandra on February 12, 2011, 02:01:59 PM
For the 47th time, I'm objecting to the idea that ONLY talking to people one-on-one is the one acceptable means of getting them to come to church. I'm not saying that talking to people one-on-one is bad. I'm only saying that we need to open to ideas of methods to use in addition to talking to people one-on-one.
I'm sorry, I must've missed where I disagreed with that. Or anyone else did for that matter...
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 12, 2011, 03:28:22 PM
For the 47th time, I'm objecting to the idea that ONLY talking to people one-on-one is the one acceptable means of getting them to come to church. I'm not saying that talking to people one-on-one is bad. I'm only saying that we need to open to ideas of methods to use in addition to talking to people one-on-one.
I'm sorry, I must've missed where I disagreed with that. Or anyone else did for that matter...


Whenever people point out, at length, how wonderful one thing is, and endorse it at length in glowing terms, and any acknowledgement that anything else even exists is conspicuous by its absence, that conveys the message that only that which is mentioned is worthwhile, and that which is unacknowledged and unmentioned is worthless or worse.

In the context of most of the posts in here about using anything other than one-on-one, face-to-face, your reply was somewhat ambiguous. That's why I asked you for further explanation of what you meant.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave_Poedel on February 13, 2011, 10:02:07 PM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Now I wish I remember where I heard the quote (not my strong suit) ... but what I was taught was:

The Lutheran church is not a liturgical church ... we are a confessional church with a liturgy.
I received that quote from the Bishop who ordained me, The Rt.Rev. Roger Pittelko, and always assumed it was his.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Evangel on February 13, 2011, 10:55:48 PM
Lutherans shouldn't do CoWo.  We are a liturgical and Sacramental Church.

Now I wish I remember where I heard the quote (not my strong suit) ... but what I was taught was:

The Lutheran church is not a liturgical church ... we are a confessional church with a liturgy.
I received that quote from the Bishop who ordained me, The Rt.Rev. Roger Pittelko, and always assumed it was his.

Could be Dave ... I honestly don't remember where I picked it up (I'm pretty sure I never met Rev. Pittelko) - but it always rang true to me.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 13, 2011, 11:00:07 PM
I think I first saw that quote attributed to Burgdorf, fwiw.  I'm not sure I buy it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 13, 2011, 11:10:25 PM
In the interest of transparency, I should divulge that we had a contemporary worship experience at my very own parish this evening with around 40 present - meditative, thematic (love), service of word and prayer/praise, major use of multi-media (excellently done by the team), younger participants and worshipers.  We'll be continuing on a monthly Sunday evening basis, casual dress including the deliverer of the message - this time yours truly.  

I had been in full bishop regalia all day after zipping from Brooklyn to Islip, home of the Staneck family, for words of encouragement to a lively parish engaging the world with the Gospel of hope; followed by attendance at a wake for a parishioner's mom; followed by an inter-faith community organizational meeting for 800 with parishioners and other Missouri pastors involved - with a Senator, a congressman and the new schools chancellor.  In 1989 our community organization in Brooklyn, wrote an editorial calling for a major overhaul in the school system.  Ours were the first "small schools" in NYC - now there are 500, 150 of which are charter/non-public spin-offs.  The chancellor was appropriately thankful for our care and concern for the education of our parish kids.  Two of my own were accepted into the top shelf NYC HSs this week, which is quite a feat.  So I went from bishop royal blue to gold sweater.  Big wardrobe change.

Anyway, the CoWo was as far as I could tell extremely well-received for a non-eucharistic meditative evening option.  Kind of like vespers without vestments.  And thus is the road to perdition, in the eyes of some, traversed.  I actually think we'll be fine.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 14, 2011, 12:47:55 PM
Quote

I read it. I just didn't see what it had to do with regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill evangelism that we should all be doing all the time.

And, whether they can or not, an awful lot of pagans did give up their lives gladly for their neighbors or their god or gods. Maybe you should read about the Japanese code of Bushido, and how it was used in World War II to motivate kamikaze pilots. Those misguided fools who were inspired by Satan to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and all the suicide bombers in the Middle East weren't hesitant to give up their lives for their neighbors and their twisted understanding of their god.



George: pagans may give up their lives to have certainty of salvation, like Muslins do.  That seems to be the only way they can be certain of inheriting paradise--martyrdom.  Other people may give up their lives for loved ones or for their country.

But as I wrote in the post (and this is why I assumed you didn't read it) only Christians are capable of laying down their lives for those who hate them.  Christians do this because they have been given the righteousness of Christ as afree gift, and so they are set free from having to justify or save themselves.  They are free to direct their attention and love toward those around them, because they have already been given the Kingdom of God as a free gift.  And they give up their lives for their neighbors not only when they are killed for confessing Christ, but also in daily life as they follow Jesus' call to be mothers, spouses, workers, children.  Instead of doing their jobs to get people off their back or to win God's favor, the Spirit impels them to think of their neighbor's good instead of their own.

This has everything to do with ordinary, run-of-the-mill evangelism. Without it no evangelism would happen at all.  And it should be the chief thing that makes our services attractive to people-the power of God--the Gospel--transforming people so that the light of the new creation shines out from them in the midst of an old creation in which death and condemnation appear to reign.  Without the Word of God declaring us righteous on account of Jesus, and without the Holy Spirit having renwed our hearts, evangelism becomes the propagation of an ideology, instead of the Spirit's work of calling, gathering, and and enlightening sinners throughthe Gospel.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 01:08:27 PM
Quote

I read it. I just didn't see what it had to do with regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill evangelism that we should all be doing all the time.

And, whether they can or not, an awful lot of pagans did give up their lives gladly for their neighbors or their god or gods. Maybe you should read about the Japanese code of Bushido, and how it was used in World War II to motivate kamikaze pilots. Those misguided fools who were inspired by Satan to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and all the suicide bombers in the Middle East weren't hesitant to give up their lives for their neighbors and their twisted understanding of their god.



George: pagans may give up their lives to have certainty of salvation, like Muslins do.  That seems to be the only way they can be certain of inheriting paradise--martyrdom.  Other people may give up their lives for loved ones or for their country.

But as I wrote in the post (and this is why I assumed you didn't read it) only Christians are capable of laying down their lives for those who hate them.  Christians do this because they have been given the righteousness of Christ as afree gift, and so they are set free from having to justify or save themselves.  They are free to direct their attention and love toward those around them, because they have already been given the Kingdom of God as a free gift.  And they give up their lives for their neighbors not only when they are killed for confessing Christ, but also in daily life as they follow Jesus' call to be mothers, spouses, workers, children.  Instead of doing their jobs to get people off their back or to win God's favor, the Spirit impels them to think of their neighbor's good instead of their own.

This has everything to do with ordinary, run-of-the-mill evangelism. Without it no evangelism would happen at all.  And it should be the chief thing that makes our services attractive to people-the power of God--the Gospel--transforming people so that the light of the new creation shines out from them in the midst of an old creation in which death and condemnation appear to reign.  Without the Word of God declaring us righteous on account of Jesus, and without the Holy Spirit having renwed our hearts, evangelism becomes the propagation of an ideology, instead of the Spirit's work of calling, gathering, and and enlightening sinners throughthe Gospel.

I do not dispute the accuracy of what you're saying. I'm disputing the relevance to this portion of the discussion on Contemporary Worship and whether it can be an effective incentive to convince the unchurched to "Come and see". I have consistently disputed the relevance of that drift of what you are saying to its application in drawing the unchurched into the church to hear the Gospel preached.

You say without that, no evangelism would happen at all. I counter with even with it, no evangelism would happen at all unless Christians get off of what they sit upon and go out and do something deliberate. Without Christians taking action to get the Gospel into the words of those who need to hear it, the Gospel becomes an insiders' secret, known only to the lucky.

The Gospel shouldn't be kept a secret.
 

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 14, 2011, 02:08:39 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

The fact that you consider the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christians who hear it--making them little lights of Christ--to be not very relevant or useful to evangelism seems kind of synergistic to me.  I would agree that when the world sees Christ in the Christians, this will repel rather than attract in many cases.  But then so will the Gospel on Sunday when it is preached purely, no matter how much folks may like the music. 

Anyway, the word of God on its own has all the power it needs to make itself heard.  What music we use should have one criterion--does it serve the proclamation of the Word.  If it does, great. 

IT's also a good idea to keep the church clean, be friendly, wisely use media and publicity.  That's all first article law stuff.  When you screw it up it can impede proclamation, but it doesn't help it.  To one degree or another the spirit is going to have to work in spite of our failures in the arena of the law, including organization and presentation.  In the meantime, I think the greater danger is that in the midst of all the planning to get people into church to hear the Gospel, people have forgotten their first love, forgotten our treasure and the power of God for salvation--the Gospel itself.  Let people get full of the free forgiveness of sins and get full of God's word, and the earthly things we need to do will come easily.  But the Gospel is a treasure that does not come easily.  Rather it is lost easily, and history shows it often is never found again by the groups who lost it.  Far too many Lutherans take the Gospel for granted, sure that they have it nailed down.  Lutherans are a lot like Israelites that way.  The surest sign that you donkt know the Gospel like you think you do is that you think you have a lock on it.  The fact that Lutherans think our big problem is that our methodology sucks shows how lightly we take the precious Gospel.  Luther warned that this would happen--he said his experience was that it was very hard to hold on to the gospel, but that lots of his contemporaries heard it once or twice and became experts.  That's the way we are--ignorant of the catechism and Lutheran hymns. But masters of the Gospel, convinced that we only need a change in methodology to rechurch America.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 03:49:08 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

I'm assuming that much of what the Holy Spirit does He does through us. You know, the whole "God's work, our hands" thing.

The fact that you consider the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christians who hear it--making them little lights of Christ--to be not very relevant or useful to evangelism seems kind of synergistic to me.  I would agree that when the world sees Christ in the Christians, this will repel rather than attract in many cases.  But then so will the Gospel on Sunday when it is preached purely, no matter how much folks may like the music. 

I see covering the little lights of Christ with a bushel by keeping them hidden, instead of making an effort to help those lights shine where there is darkness, to be bad stewardship of God's resources.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 14, 2011, 04:19:49 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

I'm assuming that much of what the Holy Spirit does He does through us. You know, the whole "God's work, our hands" thing.

Yep, and I assume that He does it despite our best intentions to think we are in control and the ones intentionally deciding to evangelize.

You know, the whole "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" thing?  Evangelism is like that too.

Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 04:49:32 PM
Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike


My vote for quote of the month.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Pilgrim on February 14, 2011, 05:05:42 PM
Tim notes: My favorite was from a recording years ago whose name is foggy, but it portrayed something along the order of Jesus speaking, saying roughtly: "Don't turn me into a cross shaped bullett in order to shoot me into the hearts of men."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 14, 2011, 05:10:34 PM
Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike


My vote for quote of the month.

Second.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

I'm assuming that much of what the Holy Spirit does He does through us. You know, the whole "God's work, our hands" thing.

Yep, and I assume that He does it despite our best intentions to think we are in control and the ones intentionally deciding to evangelize.

You know, the whole "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" thing?  Evangelism is like that too.

Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike

Mocking making a conscious, deliberate effort to do as God tells us to do when it comes to evangelism is like mocking efforts to feed the poor by actually making plans to buy groceries and cook a meal for the hungry, and then deliberately finding hungry people to feed. Mocking making a conscious, deliberate effort to do as God tells us to do when it comes to evangelism is like mocking disaster relief agencies, including the relief agency of the LC-MS because they make deliberate plans to be proactive in providing help to those in need.

If you think that making a deliberate effort conscious, deliberate effort to engage in evangelism is something to mock and belittle just because you can think of a clever cheap shot, why not try turning that imagination towards worthwhile efforts to deliberately spread the Gospel in ways that aren't like selling Avon door-to-door.

Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike


My vote for quote of the month.

If your standard is for the snarkiest quote of the month, you wouldn't be wrong.

Tim notes: My favorite was from a recording years ago whose name is foggy, but it portrayed something along the order of Jesus speaking, saying roughtly: "Don't turn me into a cross shaped bullett in order to shoot me into the hearts of men."

Isn't it easy to cast something as negatively as possible, so that it's easier to make a snarky and sarcastic put-down? I mean, if what is being said is too difficult to refute, just pretend that it was something different that was said, something easier to mock and belittle.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Steverem on February 14, 2011, 05:23:09 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

I'm assuming that much of what the Holy Spirit does He does through us. You know, the whole "God's work, our hands" thing.

Yep, and I assume that He does it despite our best intentions to think we are in control and the ones intentionally deciding to evangelize.

You know, the whole "Life is what happens when you're busy doing other things" thing?  Evangelism is like that too.

Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike

There seem to be any number of people in the Bible who were called essentially to do just that.  

I'm a big proponent of vocational living, but I'm not ready to discount the call to "intentionally evangelize."  I think there are times when many of us (myself prominently included) who at times use the idea of vocation as an excuse to not testify to the hope we have in Christ.  If I'm willing to laud the exploits of my favorite sports team, or will rave to casual acquaintances about a new restaurant I've discovered, I should be able to put into words the grace that is available to us in Christ.

It's two sides of the same coin, really.  Without the love of Christ emanating from all that we do, even the best-conceived, well-spoken proclamation of the Truth will ring hollow.  On the other hand, Faith comes by hearing, and if God chooses us as his mouthpiece to this or that person, woe be to us if we do not proclaim the message, even if it makes us look like fools in the eyes of the world.

There is a wonderful gentleman in our congregation who has only recently discovered his faith in Christ.  He is, by his own admission, somewhat eccentric (he has a long, unkempt white beard, and spends his retirement traveling across the country attending beard competitions, for example).  He is by no means shy about his faith, and sometimes his methods of proclaiming God's Word can be, well, cringe inducing.  For instance, should we go out to eat after church, he always announces to our server that we are going to pray prior to our meal, and asks if there is anything for which we can pray.  The few times I've been with him, the server always seems to squirm uncomfortably, says "no, thanks," and then shuffles off as quick as possible.  And although I find such a method of evangelism somewhat contrived and manipulative, I have no doubt that God can--and perhaps has--used this gentleman's question as a way to prick the conscience of the hearer.  

The bigger issue, though, is what happens after the request is made.  For, in addition to being a bold proclaimer of the faith, this gentleman is, well, a server's nightmare.  Every menu item--and I mean every item, from water to soda to main course to side salad--requires some kind of adjustment.  He doesn't hesitate to send something back, even if the only thing wrong with it is that he changed his mind about wanting it.  And, best as I can remember, he's not a great tipper.  While requesting if we can pray for the server could serve to open the ears of the server, his actions following the request often do more to obscure the Gospel than to illuminate it.

And yet, is this gentleman's zealousness--some might say overzealousness--in proclaiming God's message any worse than the times when I go to restaurant and give the server no reason to think I have anything special to offer than his or her last 50 tables?  And even if I don't ask for prayer requests, do I spend a few seconds praying that the Holy Spirit be with my server, and that God open that person's ears and heart to His message.  Often, I do not.  And as much as this gentleman might make me squirm in some of the ways he proclaims God's message, the fact of the matter is that he is proclaiming that message, and he longs for others to hear that message, too.  There are several people who are now regular attenders and/or members of our church, largely because of this man.  And if he believes he is called to go door-to-door in the neighborhood around our church asking people if he can pray for them or if they'd be interested in joining us on Sunday (which he does semi-regularly), who am I to say that he isn't doing exactly what God would have him do?  Even if it is in a less-than-perfect manner, he is following God's call on his life, and I have nothing but admiration for his faithfulness.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 05:25:08 PM
Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike


My vote for quote of the month.

Second.

Here's a thought. In addition to mocking the idea the Christians should be involved in spreading the Gospel in the neighborhoods around their churches, why don't you and pilgrim and Pastor Weedon and Mike all go to this thread (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3670.msg205305#msg205305), and mock the idea of spreading the Gospel in foreign lands as well.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 05:29:20 PM
George,

No one here is against spreading the Gospel; we're against peddling Jesus as a product that you have to sell.  Sometimes, my friend, that's how you come across:  we're not selling hard enough.  But I have nothing TO sell - only a gift to give away as freely as it has been given to me.  You've tended to come across here (maybe it's just to my ears) rather as a pharisee and when pressed on what exactly you're suggesting we do differently, you evade the question or rule it out of bounds or whatever.  Our Jesus is a gift we have been given, freely, undeservedly, and lavishly.  We each seek to pass the gift on in the same way.  So George, please cool your jets on this. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 05:36:01 PM
George,

No one here is against spreading the Gospel; we're against peddling Jesus as a product that you have to sell.  Sometimes, my friend, that's how you come across:  we're not selling hard enough.  But I have nothing TO sell - only a gift to give away as freely as it has been given to me.  You've tended to come across here (maybe it's just to my ears) rather as a pharisee and when pressed on what exactly you're suggesting we do differently, you evade the question or rule it out of bounds or whatever.  Our Jesus is a gift we have been given, freely, undeservedly, and lavishly.  We each seek to pass the gift on in the same way.  So George, please cool your jets on this. 

No one (especially me) is saying that Jesus is a product that you have to sell. But I have spent much of my adult life working in sales and marketing. There is much more to marketing than just the use of trickery and deceit to persuade people to buy an inferior or unneeded product, which seems to be the subtext in how you and the others are mocking what I'm saying. Marketing something can be as simple as just putting it on a shelf where it can be seen instead of hiding it away in a warehouse.

Frankly, the antipathy towards engaging in proactive efforts to let people know about the Gospel and encouraging them to come and hear it preached sounds a lot like those who oppose evangelical outreach, and who express the position, "If God wants them to come to church to hear the Gospel, God will handle it", strike me as coming from people who are ashamed to be Christians.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 05:40:09 PM
Sigh.  Even if there is no trickery whatsoever, giving the gift of Jesus' gospel is still not about marketing, salesmanship or anything close.  It's about gift, unasked, unsought, unearned - and gifts remain rejectable or they wouldn't be gifts at all.  I can say with St. Paul that I am not ashamed of the Gospel; you see I believe IT is the power of God for salvation - it doesn't need any power I could bring to it.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Pilgrim on February 14, 2011, 05:42:08 PM
Pilgrim notes: Amen to Weeden. C'mon George, this is one of those times to lighten up a bit. I've done sales, too and have a son with an MBA in Business and Marketing whose life work is in thsi arena. Please read (Listen) more closely. You're not hearing what is being said.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: LutherMan on February 14, 2011, 05:47:02 PM
Thanks for your clarity and faithful witness.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Steverem on February 14, 2011, 05:48:30 PM
I'll actually give George a little backing on this one--I found the comparison of those "intentionally evangelizing" to door-to-door salesmen to be unnecessary.  It is not my place to determine how God has called others, and what the state of their hearts might be.  All I can concern myself with is how God is calling me to spread his word.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 05:50:35 PM
Pilgrim notes: Amen to Weeden. C'mon George, this is one of those times to lighten up a bit. I've done sales, too and have a son with an MBA in Business and Marketing whose life work is in thsi arena. Please read (Listen) more closely. You're not hearing what is being said.

I am hearing people say, "Don't bother with "making disciples of all nations", Jesus was just joking about that." I'm hearing them say, "If God wants people to come to church, God will send them there." Which, sounds as foolish as, "Don't bother feeding the hungry or clothing the naked. Jesus was kidding about that, too. If God wants the hungry to have something to eat, He'll send them something. If God wants them to have clothes, He'll send them that, too. Just sit back, sing old German hymns, and pat yourself on the back for being able to drop the names of Reformation theologians into your speech as if they were your close, personal friends."

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 14, 2011, 05:52:13 PM
You're seemingly assuming that the holy Spirit doesn't gather people around the Word as well as through it.  But ultimately hearing the Word at all is owed only to God, just like believing it. 

I'm assuming that much of what the Holy Spirit does He does through us. You know, the whole "God's work, our hands" thing.

Yep, and I assume that He does it despite our best intentions to think we are in control and the ones intentionally deciding to evangelize.

You know, the whole "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans" thing?  Evangelism is like that too.

Jesus isn't like Avon to be sold door-to-door.

Mike

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Philippians 1:15-18 (ESV)


Simply put - I know some people who have done that, as their vocation - and I will rejoice in the lives that are freed from the oppression of sin.

It may not work for you... but don't denigrate those it does work for.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Pilgrim on February 14, 2011, 05:55:40 PM
I am hearing people say, "Don't bother with "making disciples of all nations", Jesus was just joking about that." I'm hearing them say, "If God wants people to come to church, God will send them there." Which, sounds as foolish as, "Don't bother feeding the hungry or clothing the naked. Jesus was kidding about that, too. If God wants the hungry to have something to eat, He'll send them something. If God wants them to have clothes, He'll send them that, too. Just sit back, sing old German hymns, and pat yourself on the back for being able to drop the names of Reformation theologians into your speech as if they were your close, personal friends."

Tim notes: That is NOT what I'm hearing. Not at all.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 06:03:41 PM
George,

If we thought like that, we'd not have begun a daycare/preschool to reach out to those in our community who don't know Christ; I wouldn't have been there today teaching a room full of little ones about the hope of the resurrection, nor would our little ones in turn be teaching their largely pagan parents in a service that they will lead proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection and the blessing that is so that all may believe in Him.  We wouldn't gather food each first Sunday of the month to feed the hungry at our local food bank.  Our youth and I wouldn't take invitations to our church services door to door in our community.  We wouldn't put invitations on the placemats of the local bar and restaurant.  We wouldn't advertise on the radio about our school for Lutheran Schools week so that the community can be invited to send their children to a place where an excellent education is only the side benefit.  We wouldn't be working with our ministerial alliance to sponsor a Lenten Community Breakfast where we invite the leaders of our community who do not have a church home to find one in one of the alliance churches.  Our members wouldn't put out the white crosses in their yards during Lent that flip over on Easter to announce:  "He is risen!"  I don't know where you got your idea of what our church is like, but it's bogus, my friend.  

Now, as for those old Reformation fathers, they ARE your good personal friends and the more you get to know them, they more you will love them, as they point you so unerringly to the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world and who alone is your righteousness - for righteousness is not in our doing any of what I listed above; we do all that BECAUSE God has kindly regarded us in His Son, has wiped out all our sins and destroyed our death and He has done this for all in His beloved Son.  We want folks to know that.  That's also why we sing old German hymns - because they are choked full of that Gospel that alone CAN save:  But as the law must be fulfilled Or we must die despairing, Christ came and has God's anger stilled, Our human nature sharing.  He has for us the law obeyed And thus the Father's vengeance stayed Which over us impended.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on February 14, 2011, 06:08:03 PM
Then there's this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhVrcV6WmfQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhVrcV6WmfQ)

Kid seems to know his stuff, be a touch familiar with the Word, and ready to proclaim it.  There's an Advent wreath, but also drums, a wireless mic, and a distinct lack of vestments on the lad, so whether or not it's acceptable to be happening at all, ever, let alone in a Lutheran church, and whether it's acceptable to continue repost it, is up for debate, I suppose.   ::)  But I liked it.  Cute kid. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 14, 2011, 06:09:49 PM
Here's a thought. In addition to mocking the idea the Christians should be involved in spreading the Gospel in the neighborhoods around their churches, why don't you and pilgrim and Pastor Weedon and Mike all go to this thread (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3670.msg205305#msg205305), and mock the idea of spreading the Gospel in foreign lands as well.

Who's mocking the idea that Christians should be involved in spreading the Gospel in the neighborhoods around their churches?  I thought we were mocking the idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon to be sold door to door.  

Look, George, I don't have much to add to Pr. Weedon's fine comments here.  I'll just note that before I bowed out of this conversation a while back, I shared many of the ways our congregation has tried to do the sort of "intentional evangelism" you keep advocating.  I noted that we had not gained one new member from those efforts, and that all the new members we have been blessed to add to our fellowship these past five-plus years had been invited by our members.  I asked you what else you had in mind and, after implying that the reason congregations like the one I serve have not been "successful" in their evangelism efforts is because they don't pay attention to details, may not be friendly enough, etc., you said that it would take writing a couple of books to answer the question.  So, without having those books in hand to read and study, I think many of us are struggling with just what it is you're trying to say.  You seem to be arguing with yourself.  There ain't a person who has engaged you in this thread who isn't all for spreading the Gospel in their neighborhoods and around the world.  Is there?  Who?  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 14, 2011, 06:10:03 PM
Sigh.  Even if there is no trickery whatsoever, giving the gift of Jesus' gospel is still not about marketing, salesmanship or anything close.  It's about gift, unasked, unsought, unearned - and gifts remain rejectable or they wouldn't be gifts at all.  I can say with St. Paul that I am not ashamed of the Gospel; you see I believe IT is the power of God for salvation - it doesn't need any power I could bring to it.

Are you by chance familiar with the story of the missionary William Carey?

Your words sound much like the challenges he dealt with, with those who did not want him wasting time on the mission field.  

2 Corinthians 5 shows that while the gospel is the power of God to salvation, He has shared the ministry of reconciliation with us.  Romans 10 talks of how can they hear this gospel unless one is sent to them....

That can be door to door, going to a birthday party of a college student, wearing a clerical collar while walking through a supermarket or Walmart, lots of ways. But unless one is sent - they cannot hear.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 14, 2011, 06:15:42 PM
Here's a thought. In addition to mocking the idea the Christians should be involved in spreading the Gospel in the neighborhoods around their churches, why don't you and pilgrim and Pastor Weedon and Mike all go to this thread (http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3670.msg205305#msg205305), and mock the idea of spreading the Gospel in foreign lands as well.

Who's mocking the idea that Christians should be involved in spreading the Gospel in the neighborhoods around their churches?  I thought we were mocking the idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon to be sold door to door.  

 

The idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon was a mockery of what I had been calling for.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 14, 2011, 06:17:02 PM
The idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon was a mockery of what I had been calling for.

What, exactly, are you calling for, George? 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 14, 2011, 06:32:40 PM
The idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon was a mockery of what I had been calling for.

What, exactly, are you calling for, George? 

I would say he's calling for people to work in their vocation as neighbor, by demonstrating love in the most incredible way possible - introducing people to their Savior.....

Now the question he is wanting you to ask - who is your neighbor?  at what distance from you are they not your neighbor?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 14, 2011, 06:40:12 PM
George, I know that there are congregations not interested in mission, some of them in ELCA  and some in Missouri but honestly I believe that they are fewer in number than what it sounds like on this forum.  I think that fear is more factor in bold witness than it is disinterest.  I think that the Lake Woebegone tendency to self-deprecation sometimes means people don't think they are good enough or schooled enough to engage the community around them but as far as finding people and congregations who refuse mission and who genuinely do not care about those not yet Christian, I have not found many of them.  The paralysis of fear, yes, maybe, but antagonism to mission, no, not really.  BTW, one of the biggest differences I have noted between the LCMS and ELCA is the ELCA is more likely to use social work and mercy style means to reach out and Missouri generally believes there must be a deliberate witness to the Gospel.  That said, there is no reason, as Weedon said, that we must choose between them.  Mercy and Service go with Witness.  Period.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 06:40:34 PM
According to our Lord, "And who is my neighbor?" is the question asked by the man who wished to justify himself.  

The question our Lord proposes instead is simply:  Am I a neighbor?

To which the only honest answer anyone can give under the law is:  not a very good one.  Yet the whole point of the parable is that we HAVE One who was a good neighbor to Adam and all of us.  And He invites us into His own life of mercy:  go and do likewise.  Important, too, that the context invites us toward acts of mercy toward the outcast rather than evangelizing in the strict sense, no?  The evangelizing comes when the recipient of the mercy is shocked to ask:  Why are you bothering about me?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 14, 2011, 07:53:12 PM
According to our Lord, "And who is my neighbor?" is the question asked by the man who wished to justify himself.  

The question our Lord proposes instead is simply:  Am I a neighbor?

To which the only honest answer anyone can give under the law is:  not a very good one.  Yet the whole point of the parable is that we HAVE One who was a good neighbor to Adam and all of us.  And He invites us into His own life of mercy:  go and do likewise.  Important, too, that the context invites us toward acts of mercy toward the outcast rather than evangelizing in the strict sense, no?  The evangelizing comes when the recipient of the mercy is shocked to ask:  Why are you bothering about me?

I notice that you deal with one part of my statement, and not the other.  I find it interesting, and a nice juicy red herring - almost as if you need to do as the young lawyer did and justify yourself about not loving your neighbor.

The point that encounter was Love thy Neighbor - that fulfills the law (1st and 2nd use) but it also is a gospel imperative.  Not doing it is sin, and should we sin all the more, that grace may abound all the more?  No, indeed Jesus stripped the man f the excuse of the sin and self righteousness, and called him to love his now revealed neighbors.   

Those I know that are effective in door to door or street ministry are about the Law of Christ, and not the Mosaic Law.  They are as unlike JW's or Mormons who do it to earn points as you can imagine.  They do it because they care about and love thy neighbor, because Christ loves them, and His love compels them too.  It's not about altar calls and decisions for Christ.  It is instead grasping that the most loving thing you can do for your neighbor is not to return the wrench you borrowed, but to introduce him to his Savior.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 14, 2011, 08:15:42 PM
The point that encounter was Love thy Neighbor

No, the point of that encounter was Jesus. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 14, 2011, 08:23:35 PM
I'm very curious what part of my statement led you to assume that I needed to justify myself.  It is in fact the exact opposite of what I was trying to get at.  I can't justify myself; I can't love my neighbor as I ought.  You can't either.  Such is the sad damage sin has wrought in us and for which we are nonetheless culpable.  But you who do not love your neighbor as yourself, have been loved by One who became your neighbor to pour out mercy upon you and me too.  And He summons us into the mercy life with Him, where the focus isn't on what the Law requires, but on who we are in Him:  mercied and so learning to show it to others and growing in it.  Love in the concrete form of meeting the neighbor's need, not some legal requirement.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 14, 2011, 11:45:13 PM
I'm amazed at the turn this thread has taken.

Look, who ever argued we shouldn't be intentional about evangelism?  If you want to talk about christ to your waiter, good for you for being so bold.  I'm not opposed to congregations knocling on doors, either.

I do really have a problem, though, with the idea that you're "not doing anything" when you preach the Gospel to your congregation and they go to do what Christ has called them to do byfaith in the Gospel.  Yes, Jesus said, "Go make disciples of all nations."  A disciple of Christ is not a guy who spends all his time thinking of different ways to get people into the church building.  A disciple of Christ takes up his cross daily and gives his life in love for his neighbor.  Discipleship is not and can never be a program.  It is simply what happens when a sinner is brought to faith by the holy Spirit and comes to see Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

What is disheartening is the total dismissal this has received from you, George.  But whether you dismiss it or not, it remains rhe way the Holy Spirit leavens the world with the Kingdom of God.  The Word gives faith to sinners one at a time, and those justified sinners have the power that raised Christ from the dead at work in them to make the glory of Christ apparent in those jars of clay.  That's not something small at all.  It's infinitely more important than the perfecting of any kind of external technique--whatever it is that you are proposing.  The word does it all.

Again,  Lutherans, like grumbling Israelites, don't like the heavenly manna.  They take it for granted; everything in the world is crucial for evangelism except the evangel, which we can afford not to sing anymore because we know it so well.  We are Gospel experts, despite the fact that we don't know the catechism or Lutheran hymns, let alone obscure Lutheran theologians whom we make snide comments about, let alone the Lutheran Confessions.  We are experts at the Gospel, so much so that we are going to improve on the crappy evangelism techniques of Luther and the other dead Germans whose writings we don'T read and whose hymns we don't sing.  We know what they didn't know.  They sang things like: "The Word they still shall let remain, nor any thanks have for it, He's by our side upon the plain, with His good gifts and Spirit."  They trusted the Word alone.  But we know the Holy Spirit isn't going to save people unless we develop some way of getting them in the Church.   "The word they still shall let remain....we're by His side upon the plain, with our big screen and drum kit."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: grabau14 on February 14, 2011, 11:55:31 PM
According to our Lord, "And who is my neighbor?" is the question asked by the man who wished to justify himself. 

The question our Lord proposes instead is simply:  Am I a neighbor?

To which the only honest answer anyone can give under the law is:  not a very good one.  Yet the whole point of the parable is that we HAVE One who was a good neighbor to Adam and all of us.  And He invites us into His own life of mercy:  go and do likewise.  Important, too, that the context invites us toward acts of mercy toward the outcast rather than evangelizing in the strict sense, no?  The evangelizing comes when the recipient of the mercy is shocked to ask:  Why are you bothering about me?

I notice that you deal with one part of my statement, and not the other.  I find it interesting, and a nice juicy red herring - almost as if you need to do as the young lawyer did and justify yourself about not loving your neighbor.

The point that encounter was Love thy Neighbor - that fulfills the law (1st and 2nd use) but it also is a gospel imperative.  Not doing it is sin, and should we sin all the more, that grace may abound all the more?  No, indeed Jesus stripped the man f the excuse of the sin and self righteousness, and called him to love his now revealed neighbors.   

Those I know that are effective in door to door or street ministry are about the Law of Christ, and not the Mosaic Law.  They are as unlike JW's or Mormons who do it to earn points as you can imagine.  They do it because they care about and love thy neighbor, because Christ loves them, and His love compels them too.  It's not about altar calls and decisions for Christ.  It is instead grasping that the most loving thing you can do for your neighbor is not to return the wrench you borrowed, but to introduce him to his Savior.


Still waiting for a cowo song that rivals (teaching the centrial article) Salvation unto Us Has Come? 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pr dtp on February 15, 2011, 12:53:17 AM
According to our Lord, "And who is my neighbor?" is the question asked by the man who wished to justify himself. 

The question our Lord proposes instead is simply:  Am I a neighbor?

To which the only honest answer anyone can give under the law is:  not a very good one.  Yet the whole point of the parable is that we HAVE One who was a good neighbor to Adam and all of us.  And He invites us into His own life of mercy:  go and do likewise.  Important, too, that the context invites us toward acts of mercy toward the outcast rather than evangelizing in the strict sense, no?  The evangelizing comes when the recipient of the mercy is shocked to ask:  Why are you bothering about me?

I notice that you deal with one part of my statement, and not the other.  I find it interesting, and a nice juicy red herring - almost as if you need to do as the young lawyer did and justify yourself about not loving your neighbor.

The point that encounter was Love thy Neighbor - that fulfills the law (1st and 2nd use) but it also is a gospel imperative.  Not doing it is sin, and should we sin all the more, that grace may abound all the more?  No, indeed Jesus stripped the man f the excuse of the sin and self righteousness, and called him to love his now revealed neighbors.   

Those I know that are effective in door to door or street ministry are about the Law of Christ, and not the Mosaic Law.  They are as unlike JW's or Mormons who do it to earn points as you can imagine.  They do it because they care about and love thy neighbor, because Christ loves them, and His love compels them too.  It's not about altar calls and decisions for Christ.  It is instead grasping that the most loving thing you can do for your neighbor is not to return the wrench you borrowed, but to introduce him to his Savior.


Still waiting for a cowo song that rivals (teaching the centrial article) Salvation unto Us Has Come? 

And you proved to me - by changing the nature of what I had offered, and the insulting accusation, that you are not interested in a discussion at all.  So why should I bother?  Six months from now - the topic will come again, the continued generalizations will still continue, and you will act condescendingly towards those you oppose.

As to your song - very simple critique - it doesn't pray to or praise God, except in the doxology.  I said it upstream - the phrase of Luther was he who sings prays twice, not catechizes/preaches/teaches twice. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 08:55:10 AM
It's two sides of the same coin, really.  Without the love of Christ emanating from all that we do, even the best-conceived, well-spoken proclamation of the Truth will ring hollow.  On the other hand, Faith comes by hearing, and if God chooses us as his mouthpiece to this or that person, woe be to us if we do not proclaim the message, even if it makes us look like fools in the eyes of the world.

It's not the pithy tweet I provided, but this is my vote for quote of the month.

As Pr. Weedon has well elaborated, Jesus is not a product to be sold and marketed.  He is a critically-needed gift that is free but Who is rejected by many (most?).

But yeah, witnessing door-to-door can be fine and provide results.  But I continue to maintain that the sincere living out of vocation -- which includes that of Christian, neighbor, and citizen; all which might encourage interaction with almost ANYONE -- to build relationship is needed to follow up.  Otherwise, we're just doing the equivalent of counting coup.

And you are right; going door-to-door for me rings hollow because it is not what I have been called to do. God has placed enough people in front of me to witness to so that I don't need others beating me up because I don't go door-to-door.

For those who feel called to go door-to-door; who may even enjoy the interaction of getting to meet and know new people, then bully for them.

But I'm sick and tired of Mr. Erdner's beating me and others up because the way in which we evangelize does not seem flashy enough for him.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 15, 2011, 09:03:54 AM
I would take George to be Jedermann in this exchange, the average layman-payman-sayman in democratized Lutheran protestantism simply wanting an explanation of how the sales department gets the job done.  All records indicate sales in the Lutheran division have gone substantially down for a long, long time.  What is being done to turn that around?  

So the (in this thread mostly) Missouri Lutheran answer, "we're not in sales; we just make the offer God has disclosed inside the Divine Service, and God closes the deal," is designed as a corrective to the problem of having the question asked at all.

Where it gets interesting is in the practice of the doctrine as applied to "sales."  If "Divine Service" is seen and practiced as transactional and invididual, then the result is that each individual leaves the Divine Service and is responsible having received the Gospel transaction to live it or in some allowable way for the non-ordained to articulate it, and this sometimes to often encouraged process will or could produce invitations to others to speak to an ordained articulator so that God provides, through properly articulated Gospel and the Holy Spirit, growth.  This is perceived by Jedermann, who agrees with the theological principle since he is Lutheran, as thin.  I think he's right myself.  It is the thinness of an technocratic approach to the practice of a doctrinal truth - Gospel was applied, truth was told, grace was received, all were sent to their various spheres.  Results will follow.  We're waiting.

While "programs", or stronger encouragements, or communal action as the Body of Christ, or other organized efforts - home Bible studies, feeding the poor, etc - are theologically penultimate and should not be credited as "responsible" for sales/growth, the request by Jedermann for evidence of them should not be seen as theologically weak, but as an extension of the corporate response to the proclamation of the Gospel by the Body - the Body acts, moves, invites, engages, organizes around the gifts of the Spirit as faithful people acting in love in the world that God so loved.  They don't get to dictate a numerical percentage increase for their efforts, but their effrots are what the Body does as the Pauline epistles indicate so directly.  "We are God's building, God's field."  And the field produces a bountiful harvest, all thanks and praise to God.

Dave Benke

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 15, 2011, 09:21:35 AM
This is the thing, Herr President.  No one is saying "Don't do programs."  The objection is to the idea that we are responsible for getting butts in the pews, and the Holy Spirit will take it from there; and especially to the idea that when Christians live cruciform lives flowing from faith in the Gospel, this is useless since no one can tell the difference between a Christian being good and a Muslim being good.

Lutheranism is failing sales-wise and has been ever since--when?  Since we started thinking that discipleship was not effective and that programs are.  Since Lutherans started to wane as disciples of Christ.  Since Lutherans stopped knowing the Catechism, stopped knowing what a vocation is, stopped evangelizing each other with Lutheran hymns in the home. 

Let's look at the facts.  When did the numbers start to drop?  Around the same time we started abandoning Lutheran piety. 

If we only put as much energy into learning, teaching, and singing the full riches of the Gospel as we did into technique, perhaps people would look at our families and our lives outside of church and recognize that there is a difference between Christ and human righteousness.  In the meantime, we are like the Israelites whom the prophets kept telling, "The answer is not a king, the answer is not an alliance with Egypt, the answer is the Lord your God, who is hiding His face from the house of Israel."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 15, 2011, 09:30:24 AM
"No one is saying 'Don't do programs,'", Karl?  Everything you wrote starting with "the objection" sounds exactly like you're saying "don't do programs."  Read what you wrote.

My post was meant to pinch on exactly that connection/disconnection between ideation and action.  What I am proposing at the end of my post is that it is quite within Lutheran teaching and piety to engage the world as a Body, "programmatically" or as that organism.  What you call an alliance with Egypt is in fact the extension of the Gospel preached, heart, and consumed by the agency that knows Christ as Head.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 09:35:16 AM
So many presuppositions.  So many presuppositions.

Witnessing through vocation is fine but ...

Intentionally witnessing is fine but ...

Does anyone else feel like we are simply parsing each other's words with the worst possible construction and talking past each other as we say primarily the same thing with perhaps just a sight variation in emphasis?

And, yes, I do include myself in that, and I hope to make a change starting now.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 15, 2011, 09:41:21 AM
Bishop,

What I think Pr. Hess was getting at was that programs (that is the Body of Christ in action at more than an individual level) serve their own purposes but they cannot substitute for the imparting and shaping of that distinctively Lutheran worldview and self-understanding that is imparted by the inculcation of our traditional piety - a piety that is unique in being absolutely infused with devastating law, lavish Gospel, and constantly inviting into the joy of repentance.  We've faltered in passing that on.  I don't think anyone could honestly conclude otherwise.  And we've found that nothing else quite substitutes for it. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: FrPeters on February 15, 2011, 09:43:32 AM
I think people are talking past each other... what I, and I would presume many on this forum, object to is the idea that Lutheranism is a product, like a brand of car... that all cars get you there but cars appeal to different tastes.  Our franchise is Lutheran so it is our job to sell the Lutheran car and to watch the market so that our brand is ahead of the competition, captures its necessary market share, and has high quality and approval ratings from the general public...

I believe my parish does more than most to build Lutheran identity in a part of the world where Lutherans are suspect by other Christians much less non-Christians.  But I resent the idea that evangelism is marketing -- finding out what people want and presenting a product that people want.

We have events designed to bring in the general public to cultural things (I stretch that to mean Celtic music, blue grass, jazz, etc.).  We have a preschool primarily utilized by those outside the parish.  We go into the community in a myriad of ways.  We advertise in social networking media and traditional media.  We feed several thousand a year from our food pantry and support the work of an ecumenical cash assistance program and staff a community soup kitchen several times a week.  We have advertised on TV and radio.  We sponsor community events in partnership with others in the city and neighborhood.  We are very visible.  But we are not marketers and the Gospel is not a product retailed by this franchisee called Lutheran.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 15, 2011, 09:58:00 AM
The idea that Jesus should be marketed like Avon was a mockery of what I had been calling for.

What, exactly, are you calling for, George? 

What I have posted in this thread over and over and over again. If you didn't get it the first dozen times I wrote it, how would my writing it again make any difference?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 15, 2011, 10:10:13 AM
Here is a summary of how well each of the "Big Three" has done at bringing the Gospel message to God's people over the past two decades. Membership data from 1990 came from Adherants.com. Current membership for the Big Three came from their websites, and is for 2009, which is the most recent data posted. Had data for 2010 been available, the numbers would have been worse. That data also comes from before the ELCA started hemorrhaging members as a result of the 2009 CWA.

US Population, 1990 = 248,709,873
US Population, 2010 = 308,745,538
US Population increase = 24.1%
      
LCMS, membership 1990 = 2,602,569
% of population = 1.0%
Expectation of membership, if % stays the same = 3,230,799
Actual Membership = 2,312,111
Difference (lost members) = 918,688
Percentage loss = 35.3%

ELCA, membership 1990 = 5,240,739
% of population = 2.1%
Expectation of membership, if % stays the same = 6,505,792
Actual Membership = 4,543,037
Difference (lost members) = 1,962,755
Percentage loss = 37.5%

WELS, membership 1990 = 420,039
% of population = 0.2%
Expectation of membership, if % stays the same = 521,432
Actual Membership = 389,545
Difference (lost members) = 131,887
Percentage loss = 31.4%

Big 3 Lutherans, membership 1990 = 8,263,347
% of population = 3.3%
Expectation of membership, if % stays the same = 10,258,023
Actual Membership = 7,244,693
Difference (lost members) = 3,013,330
Percentage loss = 36.5%

I know, "numbers aren't everything". They are especially "not everything" when they show such a terrible loss of souls who are no longer hearing the Gospel rightly preached or receiving the sacraments properly administered. It's so much easier to hide behind the mantra "numbers aren't everything" than it is to admit that all of the Big Three Lutheran denominations should be hanging their collective heads in shame over the terrible job they have been doing at preaching the Gospel to more than the remnants of the immigrants who were Lutherans in the old country and who regard the Lutheran church as their ethnic, ancestral heritage. You can protest all you want with anecdote after anecdote, but the numbers do not lie. If what all of you claim is the "best" way to evangelise, the collective loss of membership of the Lutheran Big Three wouldn't be over one-third of the members of two decades ago.

Whether it is moving beyond being obsessed with remaining a tribal church for people of German ancestry, or opening your hearts and minds to new methods of evangelism, those numbers prove that something needs to be done.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 10:22:45 AM
Whether it is moving beyond being obsessed with remaining a tribal church for people of German ancestry, or opening your hearts and minds to new methods of evangelism, those numbers prove that something needs to be done.

The numbers prove nothing.

And something is being done.  Evangelism is being done. Outreach is being done.

If you like numbers so much, the LCMS Ablaze web site shows that almost 11 million contacts have been made in which the Gospel has been witnessed to unchurched people or unconnected Christians.

http://www.lcms.org/pages/default.asp?NavID=5247

We sow the Word.  God reaps the increase or decrease according to His hidden Will.

But you make the same mistake that others make on a smaller scale when they focus on when a congregation's membership numbers are declining.

Scripture tells us to preach the Gospel in season and out of season.  When it is out of season, we have no reason to berate ourselves and others because people don't seem to be responding.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on February 15, 2011, 10:47:54 AM
The numbers prove nothing.

Wow.  Just, wow.  Let's get you a job in the Communications Dept. at Higgins Road.   ;D

One the one hand, of course, you're right.  We can't be doing everything we do solely on the basis of "numbers." 
And yet, each one of those 3,013,330 people is an actual person who, as George pointed out, is no longer hearing the Word preached and the Sacraments administered. 

Numbers mean something not because they prove how "successful" or "popular" we are, but because numbers count people.  I am reminded of a certain Acts 2:41, which my 8th-graders had a really fun time with last week: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."  I realize this is not a very "Lutheran" sentence - accept?  what's a message?  and who cares what the numbers are!  Mary, stop counting from the back of the room, sit down! ::), but it is there nonetheless, so we should probably deal with it.

And speaking of questions no one has answered, which is, supposedly what this thread is about - if theologically acceptable music of whatever variety can be located, and arranged to be congregationally-singable, why should parishioners be prevented from singing music that they enjoy, and that allows them to express praise, worship, and love towards God?  And if some people are more likely to attend services on Sunday morning to hear the Word preached and watch (or possibly receive) the Sacraments because they find the experience - of which music is one element - reasonably enjoyable - what could possibly be wrong with recognizing that?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 15, 2011, 11:08:18 AM
George,

I admire your work on the numbers.  One of the things that I am finding, we've probably touched on it in other threads, and in this lengthy thread (good conversation - this is not a complaint) our culture suffers from Information overload!  I know I'm not imagining this, the younger generation seems to prefer texting or facebooking to actual face-to-face conversations.  We live in the culture of the soundbite.  People's attention spans are shorter and shorter.  I (along with about 75% of the population - maybe a slight exaggeration) have been diagnosed with ADD.  There is far too much to distract us these days.  Guttenburg's printing press indeed helped Luther in the birthing of the Reformation.  Ironically, the information superhighway may be the tool that makes everyone's lives more insular.  I suspect that if a pastor were to suggest to his or her parishioners an internet fast (at least as a part of their Lenten disciplines) he or she would have hell to pay.  

http://factoidz.com/evidence-of-the-decline-of-the-family-unit/

One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes touches on this:

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased!” - C.S. Lewis  

The fact that it is a C.S. Lewis quote bears out what the author of Ecclesiates wrote, "There is nothing new under the sun."  Distractions continue to abound.  The Screwtape Letters also expand on this theme.

Another phenomenon that has affected the church has been what Robert Schuller envisioned when he first started thinking about building the Chrystal Cathedral.  The idea of the "drive-thru" church - the consumer-driven mindset, satirized quite well in this video on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4QFKS4LzS4

I share your frustration, George.  I only question the idea that there is a magic formula to combat the way our culture makes it easier and easier to empower the old Adam to have his way in us.  It is indeed spiritual warfare.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Charles_Austin on February 15, 2011, 11:19:38 AM
If "evangelism" is simply getting the name of Jesus "out there," then it is indeed being done with some energy by Lutherans. More could be done, of course.
But the climate murkies up if one asks about "effective" evangelism; that is, evangelism which not only gets the name of Jesus "out there," but gets people "in here," that is, into our parishes, into discipleship, into faith.
If I spend $375,568.98 on billboards and television ads preaching the Gospel, is that "evangelism"? Probably.
But if no one, as a result of those billboards, commercials, and big bucks comes to know the Lord personally and take steps towards becoming a disciple, is it effective evangelism?
I am among those who contend that we are also responsible (at least partially) for getting people "in here" as well as getting the Gospel message "out there."
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 15, 2011, 11:24:48 AM
Whether it is moving beyond being obsessed with remaining a tribal church for people of German ancestry, or opening your hearts and minds to new methods of evangelism, those numbers prove that something needs to be done.

The numbers prove nothing.

And something is being done.  Evangelism is being done. Outreach is being done.

If you like numbers so much, the LCMS Ablaze web site shows that almost 11 million contacts have been made in which the Gospel has been witnessed to unchurched people or unconnected Christians.

The seed of the gospel can be planted, but it still has to grow and bear fruit. I believe that a significant part of the fruit-bearing is a person's involvement in a Christian community. Without that, as Jesus' parable indicates, there are all kinds of issues that can thwart the growth of the sown seed.

The "I Found It" campaign of some years ago had wonderful statistics about how many people they reached, how many prayed "the prayer," etc., but there was no corresponding growth in any congregation where "millions had been reached". That indicates to me a seed that was sown but didn't bear fruit.

I believe that similar statistics can be found with Billy Graham (or other crusades). The hundreds who come forward to commit or commit their lives to Christ do not result in increased church membership. So, what kind of transformation is God's Word doing in the person's life?
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on February 15, 2011, 11:27:22 AM
One the one hand, of course, you're right.  We can't be doing everything we do solely on the basis of "numbers."  
And yet, each one of those 3,013,330 people is an actual person who, as George pointed out, is no longer hearing the Word preached and the Sacraments administered.  

Numbers mean something not because they prove how "successful" or "popular" we are, but because numbers count people.  I am reminded of a certain Acts 2:41, which my 8th-graders had a really fun time with last week: "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day."  I realize this is not a very "Lutheran" sentence - accept?  what's a message?  and who cares what the numbers are!  Mary, stop counting from the back of the room, sit down! ::), but it is there nonetheless, so we should probably deal with it.

Remember also, as a friend used to point out, a few chapters later, Stephen preaches a sermon, and we don't hear of anyone accepting his message or being baptized. Do the numbers suggest that Peter was more faithful in his sermon than Stephen? I don't think so.

Quote
And speaking of questions no one has answered, which is, supposedly what this thread is about - if theologically acceptable music of whatever variety can be located, and arranged to be congregationally-singable, why should parishioners be prevented from singing music that they enjoy, and that allows them to express praise, worship, and love towards God?  And if some people are more likely to attend services on Sunday morning to hear the Word preached and watch (or possibly receive) the Sacraments because they find the experience - of which music is one element - reasonably enjoyable - what could possibly be wrong with recognizing that?

Because songs that are all about our praise, worship, and love towards God are theologically questionable lyrics. Theology (based on the Greek word theos) is properly words about what God is doing for us. Theologically proper lyrics are about God's love for us, Christ's death for us, the Holy Spirit's empowering us, God's acceptance of us.; even God's demands that convict us of our sins keeps the emphasis on God's actions.

While the psalter includes hymns of praise and hymns of thanksgiving, the largest genre of psalms are laments -- quite different type of "music" than what happens in "praise services".
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on February 15, 2011, 11:35:07 AM
Did I say anything about Peter being more effective than Stephen?  No.  What I said, in response to a contention that "numbers don't matter," is that, in at least one place in Bible, it seems that they do matter, at least enough to talk about; therefore, simply dismissing all discussion of "numbers of people who accept the message and are baptized" as "proving nothing" doesn't seem warranted.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 15, 2011, 12:04:33 PM
I listened to Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller talk about the "three broken ladders" of
Moralism
Mysticism, and
Speculation

on Issues, Etc. and subsequently found his blog on it:

http://wolfmueller.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/three-broken-ladders/

I see woven throughout this thread the major concerns he puts forth, especially as I've read about the concern over "ecstatic" singing done by some in "CoWo."  Throughout, I've taken (and continue to take) more of a "both/and" approach to the whole question about "which music" to use to help bear the Word.  I would not argue that the Holy Spirit some time during the middle of the eighteenth century stopped inspiring musicians to write hymns that bear God's creative and redeeming Word in a theologically correct manner.  I think that even some on this thread who seem to suggest this to be the case, would be reasonable enough to allow that there are some good songs out there that avoid a theology of glory.

Jesus says in Matthew 13:52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

I think the "three broken ladders" that Pastor Wolfmueller discusses are three good criteria to safeguard against in our preaching, teaching, and singing.





Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 12:15:17 PM
Did I say anything about Peter being more effective than Stephen?  No.  What I said, in response to a contention that "numbers don't matter," is that, in at least one place in Bible, it seems that they do matter, at least enough to talk about; therefore, simply dismissing all discussion of "numbers of people who accept the message and are baptized" as "proving nothing" doesn't seem warranted.

I see that number as a statistic much like there were twelve original apostles. Yes, 3000 were added that day.  And our congregations (and districts/synods and church bodies) report how many members are added and removed from the rolls each year.  We are not God; we cannot gauge how many have been converted to Christian faith or have fallen from it.

But they are simply numbers.  Yeah, for determining seating or parking lot size or how much coffee to make, I guess those numbers matter.

But theologically, they don't matter to us.  They matter only to God.  And it is only He Who may add to the number of believers through the hearing of His Word; we cannot do so just as we cannot make one hair white or one hair black.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Weedon on February 15, 2011, 12:40:47 PM
Pr. Scheuller,

Some of my favorite hymns in LSB are more recent.  Some that I think do a bang up job:

The Lamb
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
What Is This Bread
Thine the Amen
The Tree of Life
Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia!
Where Shepherds Lately Knelt
We Praise You and Acknowledge You

No particular order there, but every one is 20 or 21st century in both text and tune.  I love that the tradition keeps being enriched by the Spirit's gifts to poets and musicians.  The Church's deposit of music is vast and wonderful!
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 15, 2011, 12:43:07 PM
What I have posted in this thread over and over and over again. If you didn't get it the first dozen times I wrote it, how would my writing it again make any difference?

You're right, George, I don't get it.  And, if you write the same thing that you've been writing, I still won't get it.  Because, you see, you keep talking about ideas and principles and such, but never get around to specifics.  You keep saying, "We can't just expect people to walk through our doors; we have to spread the Gospel out there where they are."  We keep saying, "Yes, we agree.  That's why we preach the Gospel and catechize, so that the faithful will be enlivened to share that Gospel when and where it pleases the Holy Spirit in their various vocations.  At the same time, we're open to other ideas.  What do you have in mind, George?"  You respond, "You can't just sit there and do nothing."  We respond, "Who said we're just sitting here doing nothing, George?  What do you have in mind?"  You respond, "You guys just don't get it!  You must be ashamed of the Gospel."    

At the same time, you talk of statistics and numbers and marketing techniques, which leads us to respond, "Jesus is not a product to be marketed."  You respond, "I know that!  You guys aren't listening!  You must be ashamed of the Gospel!"  

So, yeah, I don't get it.  Sorry.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 15, 2011, 12:56:18 PM
This is the thing, Herr President.  No one is saying "Don't do programs."  The objection is to the idea that we are responsible for getting butts in the pews, and the Holy Spirit will take it from there; and especially to the idea that when Christians live cruciform lives flowing from faith in the Gospel, this is useless since no one can tell the difference between a Christian being good and a Muslim being good.

Lutheranism is failing sales-wise and has been ever since--when?  Since we started thinking that discipleship was not effective and that programs are.  Since Lutherans started to wane as disciples of Christ.  Since Lutherans stopped knowing the Catechism, stopped knowing what a vocation is, stopped evangelizing each other with Lutheran hymns in the home. 

Let's look at the facts.  When did the numbers start to drop?  Around the same time we started abandoning Lutheran piety. 

If we only put as much energy into learning, teaching, and singing the full riches of the Gospel as we did into technique, perhaps people would look at our families and our lives outside of church and recognize that there is a difference between Christ and human righteousness.  In the meantime, we are like the Israelites whom the prophets kept telling, "The answer is not a king, the answer is not an alliance with Egypt, the answer is the Lord your God, who is hiding His face from the house of Israel."

Very well stated, Pr. Hess.  I do think what you've noted here is spot on at getting to the main root of the problem.  I would just add another obvious factor, namely that we stopped having as many children.  I have four and this is viewed by many as a very large family nowadays. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 12:56:39 PM
Perhaps it might be helpful to link back to this discussion and the fine paper by Pr. Heath Curtis that it discusses.

An issue that seemed to recur on the thread "Elitism" and its discussion of the liturgy was, "What place does human activity have in conversion?"  Arguments for contemporary worship were made like this: "Contemporary worship speaks to people today.  Liturgy, as traditionally celebrated, often doesn't.  People don't understand it or like it.  Since our goal is to allow people to hear the Gospel so that the Holy Spirit can work saving faith in Christ, we ought not to put stumbling blocks to the hearing of the Gospel in their path.  Insisting on the western liturgy often acts as a stumbling block to hearing the Gospel."

A friend of mine asked me to read a paper by the Rev. Heath Curtis called "Liturgy as a Beacon for God's Elect."  I know Heath's name and probably some of these ideas have come up here before, and perhaps even this paper.  But I think it's worthy of its own thread because it gives an argument for why contemporary worship as practiced by Lutherans constitutes a doctrinal problem.  The paper can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33702693/Liturgy-as-Beacon-for-God-s-Elect-Gottesdienst-West-2010 (http://www.scribd.com/doc/33702693/Liturgy-as-Beacon-for-God-s-Elect-Gottesdienst-West-2010)

I'm interested in your reactions to this paper, particularly if you are a proponent of Lutheran cowo.

A quote relevant to earlier discussions:
Quote
If every Christian tomorrow shut his mouth and refused to speak the Gospel, if every Christian tomorrow
shut his wallet and refused to send in mission dollars: then many will be damned because the Holy
Spirit does not work outside of these means. Likewise, if the Church puts up artificial barriers to
hearing the Word – like a stodgy liturgy, bad parking, terrible music, etc – then men will go to hell
because they could not hear the Word in those circumstances and thereby be converted by the Holy
Spirit. Indeed, a pastor's crabby personality could prevent men from hearing the Gospel preached by
him and thus prevent the Holy Spirit from saving some.

Given this theology, it is no surprise that many Lutheran churches look like Arminian churches.
While the theory is slightly different, the practical implications overlap. The entrance of human agency
into salvation simply comes at a different point – for the Arminian, in the will of the one to be saved,
for the Lutheran in the will of those who can prevent the Holy Spirit from doing his work by refusing to
give money for missions or tell their neighbor about Jesus. But once the human agency (as an efficient
cause) is injected, the practice of the church flows naturally. The Arminian has a praise band because
that is what a lot of people like, and they want to convince those people to make a decision for Christ.
The Lutheran has a praise band because a lot of people won't come hear the Word (through which the
Holy Spirit works) unless they have a praise band
; in other words, the Lutheran has a praise band
because that is what a lot of people like. The Arminian gives to missions because people can't make a
decision for Christ unless they hear a preacher, and so folks might go to hell if they don't give. The
Lutheran gives to missions because people can't be saved apart from the means of grace through which the Holy Spirit works, and so folks might go to hell if they don't give. A slightly different expression of
theology, to be sure – but the same practice, the same church life emerges – hence, Functional
Arminianism. Indeed, even the speech patterns end up being the same: “Father God, we just want to
praise you....” Such diction resides not in the Scriptures, not in the historic Lutheran liturgy, and not in
the Confessions. Lutherans who pray this way learned it from American evangelicalism – and why?
Well, birds of a feather flock together. Churches with the same practice recognize each other for what
they are and learn from one another.

(boldface mine)

If Rev. Curtis is right, then there is indeed a doctrinal problem at work in the abandonment of the liturgy, not simply a change in style.  What is your reaction?

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 15, 2011, 01:07:28 PM
Whether it is moving beyond being obsessed with remaining a tribal church for people of German ancestry, or opening your hearts and minds to new methods of evangelism, those numbers prove that something needs to be done.

The numbers prove nothing.

Why is it that the people who are failing miserably at accomplishing things that can be measured by numbers are always the first to claim "The numbers prove nothing"? The numbers prove that the Big Three Lutheran denominations are not only not reaching new people, they aren't even keeping the people they used to have.

What I have posted in this thread over and over and over again. If you didn't get it the first dozen times I wrote it, how would my writing it again make any difference?

You're right, George, I don't get it.  And, if you write the same thing that you've been writing, I still won't get it.  Because, you see, you keep talking about ideas and principles and such, but never get around to specifics.  

I've been around in these parts for a while. Until and unless people will agree that proactive evangelism, including using all available communications techniques, is a good and positive thing to do, posting specific examples of specific evangelism projects generates nothing but anecdotes about how a similar but different project in a different location using similar but different methods didn't work. I'm not going to get into specific details in an environment where posting hypothetical examples results in seeing them torn apart by isolated anecdotes. If you cannot or will not accept the fundamental idea that restricting evangelism to nothing but doing what you do behind closed doors on Sunday morning and "friends-inviting-friends" results in losing members, or cannot or will not accept the fundamental idea that participating in the life of a congregation by being an active member is a good, positive, and God-pleasing thing for a person to do, then talking about specific details is irrelevant.


Very well stated, Pr. Hess.  I do think what you've noted here is spot on at getting to the main root of the problem.  I would just add another obvious factor, namely that we stopped having as many children.  I have four and this is viewed by many as a very large family nowadays. 

The overall population of the United States has grown by almost 24% in the past two decades. If you could get over being a "tribal church" for people of German ancestry and actually reach out to other people who either aren't Christians at all or who are only nominal Christians but who don't practice the Christian faith, making up for any drop in birth rate wouldn't be a problem. If all you want to be is a Deutsche Kirche und Kultur zentrieren, then keep on doing what you're doing. But don't blame the drop in birthrate for the laziness of the Big Three Lutheran denominations in evenagelism. That's not a reason, it's a flimsy excuse.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: iowakatie1981 on February 15, 2011, 01:08:17 PM
My reaction is: then why the heck bother with any of it?  

At this rate, we barely need to have worship services!  After all, the Holy Spirit knows our hearts, and in fact, places our prayers before the throne of God, with sighs too deep for words.  I think that instead of having church this weekend, I'm going to tell everyone to stay home and just pray silently in their hearts that the Holy Spirit would reach everyone who God wills to be saved.  That oughta cover it.  I mean, all that stuff about some being apostles, some being prophets, some being teachers - hey, as long as everyone is "in their comfort zone," we're all good.  Nothing can stop the Holy Spirit.

[/sarc] (for the sarcasm-impaired)
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 15, 2011, 01:18:27 PM
Pr. Scheuller,

Some of my favorite hymns in LSB are more recent.  Some that I think do a bang up job:

The Lamb
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart
What Is This Bread
Thine the Amen
The Tree of Life
Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia!
Where Shepherds Lately Knelt
We Praise You and Acknowledge You

No particular order there, but every one is 20 or 21st century in both text and tune.  I love that the tradition keeps being enriched by the Spirit's gifts to poets and musicians.  The Church's deposit of music is vast and wonderful!
Exactly, Pastor Weedon.  We're simpatico, I never doubted that for a second.   :D  

That's why I emphasized "seem to suggest this to be the case" in my comment.  I have parishioners who suggest we do away with putting brief commeroration of Saints Days at the end of our bulletins.  They tend to also be the same folks who think we should sing more "pop-py" hymns, make worship more "entertaining," etc. and I refrain from being too defensive about it.  We continue to publish the saint commemoration days because our forefathers in the faith have a lot to teach us today.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 15, 2011, 01:18:49 PM
No, the numbers do prove something.  They prove that the mentality Lutherans have had towardg evangelism and discipleship for the last 20 years or more is failing.  I would agree with Herr President that George is the Lutheran Everyman on this issue.  The Lutheran everyman and the denominational leadership have largely been in agreement during the last twenty years about evangelism and programs.  And you are proposing more of the same failing recipe.

Programs are not bad--they just can't be a replacement for living, vital faith in Christ that works by love, and unfortunately, that's what we've been trying to do.  There's no substitute for Christians who are full of joy in the completed work of Christ working faithfully at their vocations and doing the hard work of stepping outside of themselves to welcome new people into the life of the church.

Programs can be useful when they are supported by disciples of jesus, but they can't substitute for them.  So the spiritual lethargy and deadness that are often in evidence at Lutheran churches--the pitiful giving talked about in another thread, the failure of parents to teach their children God's Word, the lack of hunger on the part of many Lutherans for the Word of God--it's easy, looking at that to figure we must need programs to attract unbelievers since our own congregations have so little in the way of spiritual life.

But a program can't give spiritual life.  In rare cases, the church growth approach inspires a fleshly zeal that results in numerical growth.  But in most cases it doesn't work, and many of those. Congregations crash and burn.  (Those stories don't seem to get around as much though because we get upset when people make our idols teeter.)  

In order for congregations to grow spiritually so that they become zealous to serve their neighbors corporately and vocationally, they need pastors to do the hard work of bringing out of the attic the rich Gospel treasure we hide up there, instead of throwing up our hands at the lack of life in our congregations.  Lutheran Everyman no longer knows the full richness of the Gospel because it's been a really long time since he was used to church being full of God's Word.When your church is full of families who have devotions, who learn the catechism together at home, and who sing the Gospel to each other and are not afraid to absolve each other, you won't have the problems you do now.  Programs will serve a good purpose because they'll be run by discples of Jesus.  But right now we cherish the idolatrous hope that programs will renew the church, when the problem is that our congregations largely have a superficial knowledge of the Gospel, an immature faith, and really very little knowledge of how a person follows Jesus in daily life.  And that's the fault of those whose calling it is to teach--pastors and fathers and mothers.

No offense intended to those of you I disagree with.  If you dispute that our congregations are spiritually weak, and our evangelism problem is really a music problem or a programming problem, I'm still open to considering that.  But I think our congregations CAN thrive without programs.  They can't thrive without preaching the word in season and out and without Christians living in love toward their neighbor, and I think that's the real issue--weak teaching, weak faith, little love, much love of the world.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 15, 2011, 01:22:02 PM
No, the numbers do prove something.  They prove that the mentality Lutherans have had towardg evangelism and discipleship for the last 20 years or more is failing.  I would agree with Herr President that George is the Lutheran Everyman on this issue.  The Lutheran everyman and the denominational leadership have largely been in agreement during the last twenty years about evangelism and programs.  And you are proposing more of the same failing recipe.

Programs are not bad--they just can't be a replacement for living, vital faith in Christ that works by love, and unfortunately, that's what we've been trying to do.  There's no substitute for Christians who are full of joy in the completed work of Christ working faithfully at their vocations and doing the hard work of stepping outside of themselves to welcome new people into the life of the church.

You keep missing the point. It's not just "programs". Badly conceived and/or executed programs fail. Well conceived and/or executed programs succeed. Clearly, when the denominations have come up with ideas for programs that require the enthusiastic support and participation of the clergy, and the clergy is convinced that all such programs will fail because all programs fail, then failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Incidentally, I only used 20 years as a baseline because that data was easiest to find. The decline dates back to much more than just two decades. Adjusting church growth for population increase, and looking at membership in the Big Three and their predecessor bodies, Lutherans have been fading away longer than I have been alive. Basically, Lutheran growth stopped when immigrants stopped coming over from Europe in large numbers.

Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Karl Hess on February 15, 2011, 01:32:12 PM
Again, you clearly aren't reading my posts.  I'm fine with good programs.  But programs can't save the church.  Without vital faith in Christ filling the congregations, the best a program can do is try to cover up what's missing in the congregation.  Sadly, Lutheran churches are full of weak Christians, and we have become so comfortable with that that we imagine God's word can't fix it.  Spiritual lethargy is fixed by God's Word, not programs.  After the lethargy starts getting cured, programs can serve some useful purpose.

A program that "fails" in my mind is not one that doesn't generate numerical growth in the churc.  Success includes not only getting people to show up, but to live as disciples. 
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 01:46:57 PM
Karl,

I must ask, is this view that you are expressing of Lutheranism of the past nothing but mere Romanticism?  It seems rather Pharisaical to me to suggest that we need to get back to how it was.  Really, was the Lutheran church ever that great?  Years ago, it can be argued, people went to church because that's what you did on Sunday.   I can recall a story that my Uncle loves to tell about his father in church, he remembers that every Sunday when they went to church his father fell asleep in the pew.  I grew up in a church that had communion every Sunday, solid catechesis in regards to Confirmation class and the pure Gospel was preached.  In fact, we worshipped with TLH every Sunday and for the most part they still do.  Yet since the 1980s the church has seen a decline in membership which has been the case for many LCMS parishes. 

Similarly, I believe your view of how robust church membership was is also romanticized.

You say it yourself.  Years ago, it can be argued, people went to church because that's what you did on Sunday.

That is so no longer the case.  Our American society is ambivalent, if not actually hostile, toward the Church.

Which is why loud flashy advertisement and promotion of the social Gospel and free child care will never work.

I don't care which specific program or strategy you use.  If it does not include the cultivation and nurture of people as part of the redeemed people of Christ, it will never truly succeed.

But, yeah, you might get some big numbers to boast about while the sun shines and before trouble inevitably hits.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Dave Benke on February 15, 2011, 01:52:13 PM
Scott hits the mark with his comment.   The "end of the age" Lutheran movement was in virtually the same position as the rest of Protestantism, and when it began to fall it was just a question of how far.  Lutherans have actually fared better than some other denominations mostly because our parishes were larger to begin with than the Methodists, for example, and because have a demographic that lives a long time.  Jedermann, the stat is that there have been declines every year since 1963.  Which was the year I took the SAT test, the best year for that test since it was first administered, by the way.  

Lutherans By Habit is the grouping that is slip-sliding away.  

Lutheran theology, and some Lutheran practice - aspects of our educational system, our health system (LSA), our immigration venue (LIRS), and our world relief/human care (LWR and the denominational venues) are tier one.  And what people who analyze our activities in the public sphere say about us is uniformly not just that we are nice people but that we seem to have an understanding of what it means to be Lutheran in the world and act on it.  

Parish to parish, however, there are a lot more variables.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: pastormesser on February 15, 2011, 02:05:24 PM
Karl,

I must ask, is this view that you are expressing of Lutheranism of the past nothing but mere Romanticism?  It seems rather Pharisaical to me to suggest that we need to get back to how it was.  Really, was the Lutheran church ever that great?  Years ago, it can be argued, people went to church because that's what you did on Sunday.   I can recall a story that my Uncle loves to tell about his father in church, he remembers that every Sunday when they went to church his father fell asleep in the pew.  I grew up in a church that had communion every Sunday, solid catechesis in regards to Confirmation class and the pure Gospel was preached.  In fact, we worshipped with TLH every Sunday and for the most part they still do.  Yet since the 1980s the church has seen a decline in membership which has been the case for many LCMS parishes.  

Pr. Geminn,

The way I read Pr. Hess, it's not about rediscovering some "golden age of Lutheranism," but of rediscovering our confession of the faith.  The approach for a long time has been to tweak our confession of the faith in the attempt to fit in and to reach out to others.  That hasn't worked so well.  Why should it?  The more we lose our identity, and the more we become like the Protestants who surround us, the less we have to offer.  The Reformation was built on the foundation of rediscovering the true confession of the faith.  It is anything but Pharisaical.  It's what Lutherans do.  Back to the Word.  Back to the Confessions.  That begins with repentance, which flows from an honest acknowledgment that we have lost our way.  And we're all guilty in this.  Some (myself included) have erred on the side of being so overzealous to safeguard our doctrine and practice that we fail to bear witness about our confession of the faith to others as we ought.  Others have erred on the side of being so overzealous to reach out to the lost that they have forgotten to maintain sound doctrine and practice.  Where do we go from here?  Back to the Word.  Back to the Confessions.  In repentance.  I pray we will.  
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Mike Gehlhausen on February 15, 2011, 02:06:13 PM
Agreed 100% which is why I am so hopeful about the church I serve right now.  We have Christ, we preach Christ crucified, that's what separates us from most of the American denominations.  Just last night while I was smoking a cigar outside of my apartment I had great conversation with a neighbor who was lamenting to me all the law that is preached at all the churches she has been to in the Roaring Fork Valley.  I'm really working on her, continually inviting her to church and I do think that in a few months she'll be walking through the doors of Holy Cross.

Excellent.

And this is exactly what I believe is the best method of evangelism available to us as Christians.  It is the method of evangelism I myself follow.

If others want to pursue other methods, then that is great.

But I have no idea why it so irks some people that some of us simply try to keep our eyes open and witness to those God places in front of us as we go about the course of our different vocations.

Mike
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: Rev. Kevin Scheuller on February 15, 2011, 02:12:45 PM
Caedmon's Call expresses THE RUB as we would define it quite well in their song, This World:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT40h2DX9dM&feature=related

This world has nothing for me and this world has everything
All that I could want and nothing that I need.
Title: Re: CoWo, What's Wrong with It?
Post by: George Erdner on February 15, 2011, 02:20:34 PM
Again, you clearly aren't reading my posts.  I'm fine with good programs.  But programs can't save the church.  


I'm not talking about "saving the church". I'm talking about bringing more people into the life of the church to hear the Gospel rightly preached, and to receive the Gospel rightly administered. You keep going off on unrelated tangents about what happens to the people after they enter the church.

What's missing in most Lutheran churches is Lutherans. If you're talking about programs to cover up the empty pews, you're talking about something different from what I'm talking about. I'm talking about filling the pews.

A program that "fails" in my mind is not one that doesn't generate numerical growth in the churc.  Success includes not only getting people to show up, but to live as disciples.  

Then you don't have a clue about what "programs" are supposed to do. Getting people to live as disciples is a two-step process. Step one is get them to walk in the door. Step two is to help them live as disciples. If you assume that all programs must accomplish both goals, instead of using two programs, one for the first step and another for the second step, then it's no wonder you don't think programs work. This post reminds me of the guy who had a saw. He was able to cut boasrds to size, but he couldn't nail them together because he had no hammer. Instead of realizing that he needed a saw and a hammer both, to cut to size first and nail together second, he assumed that no tool was of any use.

Agreed 100% which is why I am so hopeful about the church I serve right now.  We have Christ, we preach Christ crucified, that's what separates us from most of the American denominations.  Just last night while I was smoking a cigar outside of my apartment I had great conversation with a neighbor who was lamenting to me all the law that is preached at all the churches she has been to in the Roaring Fork Valley.  I'm really working on her, continually inviting her to church and I do think that in a few months she'll be walking through the doors of Holy Cross.

Excellent.

And this is exactly what I believe is the best method of evangelism available to us as Christi