Monday, August 24, 2009

Church versus Movement

What does it mean when a church begins to refer to its church body as a movement?

The congregation in which my wife and I were married, where my mother-in-law is a member, a congregation that has changed so much that we no longer recognize it, has this statement on its web site:

Holy Cross is associated with other Christians world-wide in a movement known as the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS).

What does this mean? Perhaps the movement is the direction that is being taken that moves the people farther and farther in a new direction. Perhaps it means that the congregation and church body are moving away from what they once believed, taught, confessed, and practiced to what is counted as an improvement upon their past moorings.

Perhaps the rest of the material presented on the homepage for Holy Cross helps to illustrate what is meant by being a movement.

Perhaps the link to the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) provides insight. On this page I noticed a new format and new links. Interestingly one of the new information blurbs, or advertisements, regards the inclusion of “Time of Grace” on the KFUO broadcasting schedule. Time of Grace previously was advertised on the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod home page. The WELS home page no longer promotes Time of Grace, a program produced by a WELS pastor and congregation. But the LC-MS has “moved” toward promoting it on its radio programming. WELS moved somewhat away from the promotion of Jeske and the LC-MS moved toward promoting Jeske.

In contrast to the notion of movement is what the Lord Jesus says concerning His Church. He says:

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Christ, the Son of the Living God, says that He is the builder of His Church and that He builds it upon the rock of this confession. Accordingly, He builds His Church to be immovable, standing even against all the works of the devil, standing unmoved by the coaxing of the gates of hell.

So when a congregation or church body begins to speak of an identity that is equated with a movement, what does this really mean? What are those who are speaking really saying about themselves and the direction in which they are choosing to move?


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Maybe I will never ever fully "grow up", but the word "movement" necessitates a bit of toilet humor.

Not Alone +++ PAS said...

Hey Dan!

How I wish that the churches would experience such a movement as you mention. Then they would be purged of the skubalon which is stinking things up and polluting the view of the cross. Then, instead of inventing new movements, the Way would be followed and He would clean up the messes that we keep making. Then we truly would find ourselves as synod (same way) together. Then instead of creating synods we would actually be synod, in Christ.