Tuesday, August 01, 2006

RIM to close?

This from the "final edition" of the Newsletter for Renewal in Missouri with the headline "RIM to Close"

Is this a sign after almost 20 years of theological controversy that disagreements can be satisfactorily resolved through coming to agreement and unity in common confession? Or is this about something else?

Say Rev. Del Rossin, editor of the Newsletter in the final article, "Our dialogues with Synodical leaders resulted in agreement in all theological areas where there had been disagreement." Under the Kieschnick administration an agreement has been achieved that was not achieved under previous District Presidents and administrations. What was the breakthrough?

For all the talk of agreement RIM still sounds as if it believes there is a "second baptism", that adds something that people without it don't have.

Says Rossin, "The Charismatic Renewal was a sovereign world-wide movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The movement has waned somewhat in this country, but many positive blessings continue. The Holy Spirit is still moving in Christ’s Church! There is now more worship and praise in the churches. Millions have been “baptized
with the Holy Spirit” to receive power to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ
through word and wonder in a world in desperate need of Jesus."

Nor does this action of the Holy Spirit appear to be bound (by God's choice) to the true proclamation of God's Word. Is this world-wide movement found in Christian faiths which deny the power of baptism as a means of grace, who suggest that a personal decision or act of free will is necessary for salvation, who deny the real physical presence of Jesus in the Lord's Supper?

Has Rim come around to the Lutheran position that God has voluntarily bound Himself to the Word and the Sacraments to bestow the Holy Spirit (READ MORE)

Consider these additional nuggets of insight to where RIM still stands from there "last" newsletter:

"But God had moved on his heart, and his worldview changed dramatically. So did the
paradigm of millions of others after Pentecost started hitting mainline churches in the sixties."

Really? Word and Sacrament not good enough?

"Pastoring is a gift, not an education. That means there are more pastors around than we may be aware of."

Really? What about the Lutheran belief no one should publiclly preach or teach without a divine call?

"...not an education." "A gift". So am I hearing that pastoring is not about getting the Word out and getting it out right but rather about special gifts of the Spirit that the "pastor" has?

Once again the Confession have something to say in talking about the power of bishops (or pastors). "This power is exercised only by teaching or preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, according to their calling either to many or to individuals.For thereby are granted, not bodily, but eternal things, as eternal righteousness, the Holy Ghost, eternal life. These things cannot come but by the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, as Paul says, Rom. 1, 16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.html#article28)

Is this an example of coming to common consensus or giving up and just tolerating positions which may be divergent from our official positions and the ancient confession of the church (Lutheran and otherwise) because we need numbers to sustain our organizational system as it currently exists? What is driving the agenda? Real concern for a genuine confession or real concern that there will not be enough people or dollars to sustain health plans and pension and salaried positions or even pastorates?

Why is success in our Synod today measured not on the basis of how faithful we are to true Lutheran understandings or how strongly we are giving a common witness but rather by how many numbers we are bringing in? Why is the stress of our leadership about obedience and not disagreeing publically with their agenda or administration of their authority/responsibility rather than on resolving very real differences and keeping a common confession? Using organizational authority to create an imposing environment of silence and acceptance of institutional rules may give the appearance of commonality -- but what is holding us together in common? Why are we really together as a Synod? Because we stand for a belief in common? Or because we want the seminaries, the Concordia Plans, our Pension plans, or programs, and so forth and so on?

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