“Whether they are selling cars, toys or fast food, companies are tapping consumers as never before to help them create new products.”
So synopsized Melanie Wells of Forbes. The article is interesting, but it’s rather beside the point. The point, gentle reader, is that the LCMS is completely on bus with this mentality. We’re a business, and we’re looking to increase our market share. So let’s offer a product that is appealing to as many consumers as possible. Blah, blah, blah, Ablaze!™ , blah, blah, blah, Ignite™, blah, blah, blah, blah. Is this where we’re headed?
Hearts on Fire; Igniting Hearts; Fan into Flame; Spirit Kindle; or any number of catchy plays on Ablaze!™. That’s right, they’re district convention themes. Anyone else get images of this guy?
So my question is, can anything good come out of a district convention? Ours was a triennial formality. We do it because we have to, and we continue in the anti-Scriptural/anti-Confessional status quo. Cordially delivered Confessional correctives were relegated to sweeping omnibus resolutions and quickly dismissed. Topics on which serious theological discussion is desperately needed were avoided by means of parliamentary strategery.
So what was accomplished? The road to the infinitely customizable spiritual experience was cleared, paved, and widened. Without going into the gory details, I’d like to take a moment and lay out the dream world of those whose agenda carried the day. Feel free to sing “In the year 2000” in your best falsetto between predictions:
The day of doctrine is over. Not only is it passe, it’s a hindrance to the growth of the church.
Pastoral care is not as important as conversion growth. Get ’em in and use them to get more in. If you’re not growing in numbers you’re slipping. Church will be synonymous with “spiritual recruiting station.”
Accordingly, church activities will only be undertaken if they can be shown to significantly and positively impact the numbers of the congregation.
“Pastoral care” will become an archaic term, for “pastor” will be a thing of the past. Regardless of the fact that God has established this office for the care of His people on earth, pastors have been deemed unnecessary, and the functions of this office will be (are already being!!) carried out by minimally-trained laymen.
“What does Scripture say?” will be the cry of the unenlightened who refuse to live in the now. Words like “Biblical (Scriptural),” “Confessional,” “appropriate,” and the like are falling out of use, and in fact, will disappear among us in exchange for words like “effective,” “expedient,” “successful,” and such, again, toward the end of numerical growth.
Theological terms that are currently being deconstructed will be retooled to be optimally “effectual.”
All boundaries, constrictions, distinctions, and definitions will be demolished. Church leaders will take unlimited license to rewrite the Christian faith, and individuals will have absolute freedom to pursue custom-fit spiritual experiences, and the church will finally be able to achieve what is becoming and will be known as its primary purpose: visible unity of all peoples in one great (numerically enormous) siblinghood of humankind.
And Satan will laugh, revelling in the liberal post-modern sham theology that’s got us barrelling down that road.