Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dr. Kieschnick, Is Your Church Growing?

The Ablaze! Movement is all about growing the Church. Proponents believe that the church can be grown better and faster by using "contemporary methods" geared towards "seekers" than can traditional liturgy, pure doctrine, and closed communion.

Is it working?

Since Dr. Kieschnick's ascendency, millions of dollars have been pumped into consultants, public relations, fund-raising, conferences, web sites and publications. A big push has brought about a growing number of participants in the Ablaze! movement even while the number of members in LCMS congregations dwindles. Or it may be his belief that he is championing a cause by which the church shrinks more slowly than it did when we stood together with formal worship and pure doctrine, dismissing such congregations as "grandfather's church."

Is it working?

Is the membership of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod growing now that Dr. Kieschnick has been having his way? Have membership numbers increased? Have financial statistics been getting better?

In fact, the numbers are shrinking -- and on the verge of declining all the more quickly with the dissension he creates by demeaning congregations which promote formal worship and pure doctrine while claiming that churches which don't even use the name "Lutheran" in public and squander thousands for dubious billboards are hailed as churches which are following "best practices."

Perhaps Dr. Kieschnick thinks that churches that are 80+ years old are just too much decaying baggage and that bigger mega-churches need to have more votes (and that they will make the synod even better) -- as is being proposed in his new plans for the restructuring of the LCMS. Perhaps he feels that the synod can afford to lose congregations which are adamantly opposed to his Ablaze! movement. Maybe he thinks that after such congregations are jettisoned, the LCMS will be free to grow faster and bigger like never before.

But if the Ablaze! movement ends up bankrupting the LCMS theologically and financially, who will hold him accountable?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

His "ecclesiastical supervisor" (Ezekiel 34)

Anonymous said...

Joel:

This is the hallmark the Kieschnick era; the complete lack of accountability. This will be the Kieschnick legacy in LCMS history.

Dr. Kieschnick does not consider himself accountable to anyone, theologically, organizationally, legally or fiscally. His seven years in office are replete with evidence of his disdain for, and disregard of any authority higher than himself. His most recent attempt to "restructure" synod is nothing more than a further consolidation of synodical authority to himself.

Dr. Kieschnick is "the will to power" in a clerical collar and a $1,000 suit.

"What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome." --Friedrich Nietzsche

Rev. Joel A. Brondos said...

I LOVE these 2 "anonymous" comments. Quoting Nietzsche always warms the cockles of my heart while raising the hairs on the back of my neck.

I'm delighted that someone else sees traces of Nietzsche, Hegel, Schleiermacher, and Feuerbach in the heart of the Ablaze! movement.

Anonymous said...

A lot of the Ablaze movement seems aimed outside of the LCMS. For example, somebody has paid to send Rev Mike Gibson back and forth to Hong Kong to present pure CG garbage. Somebody has paid to give the leaders of the LCHKS (Lutheran Church Hong Kong Synod) PLI training. And what has been the effect of the latest line of jokers in the ILC (International Lutheran Council), namely Nafzger and now an ILC President by the name of Dr Kieschnick?
There are the emotional ties to the LCMS, not just within the LCMS, but church bodies abroad. Those can be strong. Missouri has been the mother that fed them and us for so long, even if it wasn't the most wholesome food. These other church bodies need to know clearly that the LCMS is divided. Dr Kieschnick won't tell them that.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Brondos, why did you quit the Board for Communication Services when you could have stayed and remained a positive voice and witness? Why did you abandon your post?

Rev. Joel A. Brondos said...

Why did I quit and "abandon my post?"

You mean, you hadn't heard?

I quit and abandoned my post because I'm really quite fearful of what might happen to a "positive voice and witness" speaking out in such a dangerous synod as this.

Or else I might have had Luke 9:5 in mind, "And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them."

Or else I didn't quit.

It could have been that my 3-year term had expired last July and I wasn't reappointed by the Synod's Board of Directors.

In the first place, I hadn't been elected by the Synod in convention to serve on the BCS -- I was appointed by the Board of Directors for a 3-year, not a 6-year term.

Couldn't I have been reappointed?

Well, if you take a look at the kind of people who were appointed in my place, people whom I would have been "up against" on the slate which the Kieschnick-modified Board of Directors was considering, MAYBE I COULD have been reappointed.

But that kind of thinking would be more on par with the rationale of people who go about posing questions in a way which suggest that I had quit and abandoned my post, failing to serve as a positive voice and witness.

Not that I mind, really. The damned devil says much worse things about me every day, and much of what he accuses me of is true. His comments are much worse than referring to me as a quitter or an abandoner of posts. Still, for all that, he's rather unsuccessful at making any headway thanks to the grace, mercy and peace which are mine in Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Brondos,

The accusation, that you "abandoned your post," at the B.C.S. is obviously specious.

The same false accusation has been made against Mollie Hemingway (by a district president, no less).

The accuser is too clever by half. The ironic phrase, "a positive voice and witness" tips his hand. The accuser hardly considers your (or Mollie's) time and efforts on the former B.C.S. "positive" in any way.

The accuser is either ignorant of how an appointment to a synodical board works; or he knows better, and is being intentionally dishonest. In either case, his accusation against you exposes his own ignorance/dishonesty.

The truth is, the four-vote, Jesus First majority on the current B.C.S. is main reason David Strand knew that he would be able to get away with unilaterally canceling Issues and firing Wilken & Schwarz.

Strand acted, knowing that the majority of his own board would not hold him accountable. And he was right.

So, the problem of unaccountablilty extends far beyond President Kieschnick.

When a director of a synodical board can act unilaterally, knowing that his board will look the other way, unaccountability has become part of the synodical culture.

Unaccountablilty is now, in Strand's parlance, the synod's way of doing "business."