No, this isn't a post about Emmaus, but many brothers and sisters do find themselves on the road over the Easter holiday, and so our friends over at Johnny Steadfast decided to run one of my travelogues from the BJS Quarterly's "Not Your Grandfathers' Church" series.
Here's an excerpt:
Most of us worship in our own congregations or in the congregations of family members who attend churches similar to ours. It is easy therefore to dismiss concerns about others’ worship practices as conservative over-reaction to a guitar or an unfamiliar setting of the liturgy. Certainly some confessional Lutherans are repristinators at heart, and so their complaints aren’t taken very seriously by average churchgoers who simply don’t share their passion for the culture of 1950’s Wisconsin or 1580’s Wittenberg. But these articles are written so that you may know indeed that today’s LCMS is not your grandfathers’ church, and that it is going to take the work of some truly courageous leaders to restore unity to our communion. Whether these things are going on in your church or not, you, the laymen of the evangelical Lutheran Church, can provide the leadership we need. “Ecclesiastical Supervision” is everyone’s responsibility! We need change from above and from below–and lay leadership is key.
Certainly nobody can put a stop to a congregation doing whatever it wants to do. But we can appeal to their consciences to return to the fold. And, if they refuse, we can and should stop them from hanging the LCMS sign outside their door. We did not create this conflict, but our decision as to whether we will confront it or avoid it will determine whether or not this synod prevails. Think about it: how long would Subway last if they allowed hundreds of their stores to stop selling sandwiches and offered only pastries instead?
The report was about I service I attended while on sabbatical last year doing research for the book I am working on. But it was a service like that attended by many of us who happened to be on the road visiting family this past weekend. It included a heterodox "affirmation of faith" in place of a historic Creed, open communion with "altar call style" invitation for non-members to join in at the Lord's Table, and a liturgical emphasis on sanctification apart from justification. Some of us even suffer through such things in our home congregations!
What do you encounter when you come across "blended" worship? Are some of these practices finding their way into your home congregation? What do you think about all this?