Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lutheranism and its Temptations in the 21st Century

Rev. David Petersen is hosting a one-day conference at Redeemer in Fort Wayne next Monday, and has asked me and Dr. Rick Stuckwisch to sit on a two-man panel to gab about the future of the LCMS in a rather informal free-for-all. Here's the scoop from his blog:

The Future of the LCMS is a terrible name. It should have been something like "Lutheranism and its Temptations in the 21st Century."

Here is the idea. In the late 1930's Winston Churchill was the lone voice raising the alarm about Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany. For the most part, the rest of the world was asleep. I am hoping to nudge Dr. Eckardt and Dr. Stuckwisch into speaking with that kind of clarity regarding the current state and future of Lutheranism. Is that a bit ambitious? Yes. But it will be a collaborative project. We aren't going to try and set an agenda for saving the synod or deciding what we should do. We're simply going to try and analyze where we are and what is coming at us next.

Along with Churchill, think of this: our immediate predecessors in American Lutheranism ushered in a Confessional revival. But most of them thought the most significant issue of the 20th century was inerrancy. Most of us now think they were wrong, not that it wasn't important, but that it was misaligned for the real threats. So also notice how a generation before them the Missouri Synod read and pledged itself to the Book of Concord but made almost no effort to restore or practice private confession and absolution or a weekly celebration of the Holy Communion. How do you read the Book of Concord and miss that? I don't know but they did. So what are we missing? Where are our blind spots?

These are the questions that will be addressed first to Dr. Eckardt and Dr. Stuckwisch. The conversation will be informal but moderated. Will we come to any conclusions? Probably not. But I hope our thinking will be stretched in the process and we will walk away with a deeper humility and better understanding of who we are and what we are up against.

That is the topic. We will also get some training late in the day regarding Gregorian chant and a chance to pray vespers from LLPB.

Here is the schedule, and yes it is free, and yes, lay people are welcome and even encouraged to come.

9:30 - Private Confession available with Petersen in Redeemer's chapel
10:30 Low Mass in the Chapel
11:00 - discussion of most significant controversy in the LCMS for the future / most significant current blindess of Confessional Lutheranism
12:30 - lunch - order in pizza, pitch in for costs
2:00 - discussion continues
3:30 - Gregorian choir practice/training with Beisel for the LLPB Vespers
4:30 - LLPB Vespers w/ Treasury Propers
5:30 - ???

1 comment:

Ted Badje said...

Private Confession is well and good. It is something that has been missed in the past few years in emphasis. I firmly believe that the direction Lutheranism should go if it is to be a vibrant movement in the Church is evangelism, finding ways to providing community to the lost (singles, divorced, apartment dwellers, everyone) and preaching Christ crucified. Get the lay people involved.