Sunday, September 19, 2010

Confessional not Conservative, thank you

I was called a "Conservative" today.

Usually, that's not a problem. Politically, I'm a conservative. I'm OK with that, or I wouldn't be one. However, when it comes to church, I'm not a conservative. I'm a confessional.

A confessional Lutheran holds to the teachings in the Book of Concord. All of them. A conservative doesn't necessarily do that. Most conservatives look confessional on the outside, until you listen to them. A conservative will want to keep something in church because "it's always been done like that." A confessional looks at the practise and asks, "No matter if it's always been like that, is it correct?" A conservative, and I know this as my mother is one, can sit through a self-help sermon and think it's just fine, whereas a confessional leaves asking, "Where was Jesus?"

At my church there is currently a push for a "new style of worship." I appear to be in the minority on this issue (big whopping surprise.) The push is that we have to get current, we have to do this stuff and spend money we don't have to get more people into church. It's being called "blended," and I still have not heard what blended worship is. (Likely because there isn't such a thing.) There's even an advertising acronym WORSHIP: Welcoming, Offering ourselves, Responding, Serving, HONORING, Inspiring, Praising. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Except for one thing: Worship isn't about me or what I do. It's about what GOD does FOR me. That's why the proper term is "Divine Service." Church isn't about ME, it's about JESUS for me.

That's why I will not subject my kids to this "blended" stuff. My kids deserve only the best, and that best is found in liturgy and sacraments. The best isn't to be found in worship that is all about "me." And a worship service which is being sold under the above acronym doesn't sound very Christ-centered or Cross-focused, now does it?

I have been assured that this "blended" W.O.R.S.H.I.P. will be just as good as the "traditional" worship services. If it's anything like today's service, that won't be saying much. Today we had a self-help sermon that only mentioned Jesus by name at the end ONCE, and most of the hymns had us the congregation as the subject of the verbs, not Jesus.

In 1946 Hermann Sasse wrote: "What would have come of the fourth and fifth centuries if, for the sake of the mission task, it [the church] had not battled through the Arian and Nestorian controversies, if Arian, Homoious, Nestorian, Monophysite, Pelagian, and followers of Augustine had allowed themselves to simply be united in one great ecclesiastical communion? ...Today the church would simply no longer exist. The church would have been ruined. Just like a man whose kidneys no longer eliminate poisons which have accumulated in the body will die, so the church will die which no longer eliminates heresy."

Hermann Sasse not only lived to see the end of Lutheran orthodoxy in Germany, but also to have to leave Germany in order to keep his conscience clear. I pray that I should not be put into the same position, but if I should be, then I pray that I am given the strength to stand as a witness as Sasse did.