It only takes a spark to set a forest fire going...
Bunny Diehl's blog features some insightful commentary (as usual) on an upcoming Methobapticostal- style conference for the Missouri Synod's Methobapiticostal- style "Ablaze!" evangelism (?) program (which, as we are so often reminded, is not really a program, but a movement which just happens to have all the characteristics of a program).
The banner above- an advertisement for the conference- features a group of worshippers with their arms raised in the Pentecostal "touchdown" posture (aka the orans position of the ancient church, today identified largely with heretical movements who deny the sola Scriptura). Bunnie asks the obvious question, not only about the banner, but about Ablaze! itself: "What's Lutheran here?"
Good grief! I haven't seen so many "trees" since my early days in my last parish, where I was preceded by a Charismatic! Hasn't it occurred to anybody in St. Louis that if we wanted to be Methobapticostals, we would join Methobapticostal congregations?
Well, the deal is, you see, that historically Lutheran congregations really have no right to be such, anyway. The Word and the Sacraments, it has been discovered after lo these many years, are inadequate for the Holy Spirit's purposes in evangelism. The leadership of the LCMS appears to believe that Methobapticostal presuppositions regarding evangelism, and certainly Methobapticostal style, provide the only way in which the unchurched can be reached- or at least the only valid way. We should be grateful to Charles Finney and the whole modern "Evangelical" movement for providing us with manipulation, guilt-tripping and salesmanship as means with which to reach the unchurched, since nobody, plainly, was ever brought to Christ in the first two thousand years of the Christian era before this stuff was invented.
Just think! If Paul had gone to these workshops, he might have been less of a miserable failure as an evangelist. And who knows? Maybe Martin Luther could have started something worth preserving!
Setting all those "trees" "Ablaze!" certainly must be something the Forestry Service would disapprove of almost as much as confessionally conscious Lutherans (or historically conscious Christians of any Reformation tradition, for that matter).
Whatever happened to people whose hearts have been changed by the Gospel, rather than coerced by the Law, simply giving a reason for the hope that is in them within the context of the vocations in which God has placed them?