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Friday, May 23, 2008 

Seminary Prof. Berger on Ablaze!

A big tip of the hat to Pastor Chryst over at Preachrblog for pointing out that Seminary Professor (and Board for Communications Services member) David Berger has just written a scathing commentary on the LCMS evangelism program Ablaze! and actually posted it on Concordia Seminary’s website “Concordia Theology”.

Some highlights;

Most troubling, however, is the lack of primary – front and center – emphasis on the Sacraments, especially infant Baptism, and on substantive preaching and teaching of the Word (the "business as usual" referred to below?) as the God-given means of creating faith and spreading the Gospel. Surely the Baptism of a child is a “critical event.” A lack of emphasis on God’s gifts can easily be understood as de-valuing the God-given means of grace and, by extension, the means He has provided for bringing the gifts to a world in need.

To provide resources and ideas for personal and group witnessing is an admirable goal, but when a program relies so heavily on a host of techniques, gimmicks, explanations, definitions, rationales, action plans, discussing the seven mission responses, etc., (not to mention funding and consultants), the methodology threatens to overwhelm the mission.

Having seen only reports of participants makes it difficult to evaluate the “re-vitalizing” process in detail; however, bright red flags have already appeared on the horizon, e.g., asking a pastor to commit to putting his name on a call list if his congregation does not achieve 5% growth within two years.

When missionaries must be recalled from the field for lack of support, we need to ask what we need to change to make it possible for them to continue their work. Those who are called to be evangelists need to be supported, not tasked with raising funds for the work that should consume all their energies.

Those are just the highlights. Again, read the whole paper here.

I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t going to be some changes to the staff at Concordia Seminary for programmatic and business/stewardship reasons…

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Wow. That was great. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It's great to see such things from one of our seminaries.

I posted the link on my blog, with an ht to you

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