Saturday, November 10, 2007


Here's the latest nonsense from the LCMS. First VP Bill Diekelman sent us all an email describing the progress of the Ablaze! initiative. Much has been written about the theological weaknesses of the program. But here's something which caught my eye in the latest missive. He says this:

"Ablaze! was endorsed by the 2004 Synod convention in two parts. One part, the witnessing part, is a movement. It is messy, it is un-programmed, it is Spirit driven. The other part is programmatic. While we pray it may also be Spirit led and blessed, it is much more structured."

And I said to my self, "Messy?" Something driven by the Spirit is messy? I don't know what spirit this man is talking about, but there's one thing I know the Holy Spirit is not, and that's messy. Has he not read that our God is a God of order?

We've always known that the Synodical leadership has charismatic tendencies. Well, here's what we might call the root problem. The Spirit preaches Christ, as Christ Himself said, "He shall testify of me." And the Spirit is not messy about it. In fact His way of doing it is in the context of the structured liturgy of the church.

You might call this a slip of pen, but I think it's a little insight into the fallacies at the heart of the whole movement.

You show me a movement that is messy and I'll show you a place where the Holy Spirit is not.


solarblogger said...

Perhaps he should have said 'unpredictable'? I'm guessing the verse in the background is John 3:8.

I think unpredictability and order are not ultimately contradictory. People from the outside might not see the pattern even where there is one. They may be surprised by what they see time and again.

What has long impressed me about the liturgy is how unpredictable the service is with the liturgy. The lectionary takes us through much more Scripture than most pastors would given their own choices. Many parts of the liturgy actually keep us from falling into bad ruts.

Order is a good thing. I am thankful that the liturgy is a vast order, though. I would feel cramped in a small order.

Lawrence said...


Yep. This pretty much sums up "Ablaze".

Some other descriptors, just off the top of my head:


Venkman said...

Well, my wife would like to add another word to the list: EXPENSIVE.

But my guess is that the financial side of Ablaze is the me, the programmatic part. Ya know, the part also known as "Aflame." (By the way, does that make those who send fan the flame letters or support programs like aflame a flamer? Just wondering.)

Leave it to the Missouri Synod to start a program that's sole purpose is to support yet another program. And by the way, isn't this the same synod that dares to send me about twenty five letters a week all telling me how I should focus on good stewardship?

In the words of our father Abraham, "Oy-vay!"

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I wouldn't worry about this particular thing very much. No doubt what was meant did not refer to the Holy Spirit, but to the human end of the relationship. A whole group of human beings being led by the Spirit, when each human is at his own unique level of spiritual development, is never as well-defined, as quick, or as easy as being led by, say, a constitution with by-laws. Probably that's all "messy" meant.


Father Eckardt said...

Sure, to give the benefit of the doubt, messy meant not structured.

Yet there is a problematic implication, that the Spirit is not necessarily ordered. To be led by the Spirit is to be led by the Word, and this takes place preeminently in the Holy Liturgy, a very structured thing. Synodical bureaucrats fail to understand this, as a rule.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps it's just a coincidence of translation, but Scripture suggests that To be led by the Spirit is to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. God be praised!


Jeff said...


It also suggests that to be led by the spirit leads to be assaulted by Satan in the wilderness and a rather painful crucifixion...

But sure, gentleness too...

Lawrence said...

Leave it to the Missouri Synod to start a program that's sole purpose is to support yet another program.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Leave it to us to start a program to try and improve on the program that Christ already gave us.

Venkman said...

The problem is of course that "we" supposedly don't know what that program is. In the words of Pilate, "What is truth?"