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Church Professionals Retreat (CPR) & the Word “Meaningful”

The Church Professionals Retreat, or “CPR” is organized every year to provide meaningful worship, growth, and fellowship opportunities for professional church workers in the Lutheran Church– Missouri Synod.

What I find interesting is that word ‘meaningful’ included in the above description (http://churchproretreat.com/index.html).

Why the need for the word, “meaningful”?  Meaningful worship…Meaningful growth…Meaningful fellowship…  Isn’t all truly Christian worship, growth, and fellowship meaningful?

I guess one could argue “no.”  But this begs the question, what is truly Christian worship, growth, and fellowship?  If these are truly Christian, they have to be meaningful, not, however, because everyone defines them as such.

Christian worship is meaningful not because we are giving to God our worship, but because God is giving to us His Word and promise through Jesus Christ.  Christian worship is that which believes God and says “Amen” to His Holy Word, “saying back to God what He has said to us.”  If Christian worship is defined as meaningful because the Christian is defining it to be so, then what of God’s Word being the determining factor in such matters, not the sinner?

The same could be said with reference to “meaningful” growth.  What is the basis for determining whether growth is “meaningful?”  What we get out of it?  What it “does” for us?  How much we grow?  How many grow?  What of sin and repentance?  What of confession and absolution?  What of learning Christ?  What of God’s Word?

Surely, CPR isn’t suggesting that we (and not God) establish the basis for what’s meaningful with regard to worship or growth or fellowship!

With regard to fellowship, how can it not be “meaningful,” as Christians, united in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, come together to receive the Lord’s Supper?  This may not be what CPR is referring to, but in its truest sense, Christian “fellowship” has to do with communing with one at the Lord’s Supper, fellowship with Christ and with members of His body, the church.

Fellowship can and does, of course, have various meanings in the church.  But even here, what is Christian fellowship, even in a nontechnical sense, but Christians being together?  And how can this not be meaningful already?

The SWD and Rev. Jeske

For the past several years in the South Wisconsin District (SWD) of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), I’ve noticed a growing number of conferences and retreats where Rev. Mark Jeske of Time of Grace ministries located in Milwaukee (which airs on the net (http://www.timeofgrace.org/index.php), on the radio, and on TV) is one of the speakers.  The SWD endorses him, as his ‘ministry’ is also now a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS

(http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=15614).  The program even airs on the LCMS’ radio station from St. Louis, KFUO.

What’s interesting, as others have noted (i.e. http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=6919), is that Jeske is:

1)      of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)

2)      not an LCMS pastor

3)      Promotes the unscriptural ‘principles’ and doctrine of the ‘church growth movement’ (CGM) (For further study on these, see http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/huebelcgm.pdf as a starter)

LCMS and WELS are not in fellowship.  Joint ministries here are in the least confusing to members and nonmembers of both church bodies.  Joint ministries here are also conflicting, esp. because the Church Growth Movement so advocated by Jeske is in conflict with our doctrine, and also the official teaching of WELS.

A genuine concern for doctrine asks the question ‘why’?  Since CGM teaches what is contrary to Scripture, why is such teaching given air on the LCMS station KFUO, advocated by at least one district (the SWD), and even now an RSO of the LCMS?

Perhaps the LCMS as a whole has forgotten the concern of God’s people, that of faithfulness to His Word, rather than seeking after acceptance by the world and its ways.  Faithfulness calls for obedience to the Lord’s Word and avoidance of those who teach otherwise:

Note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18)

May the Lord keep the LCMS and her members watchful, observant, and bold in the face of false doctrine and opposition, even with those within her own body!

The South Wisconsin District & Rev. Mark Jeske of Time of Grace

In the South Wisconsin District (SWD) of the LCMS, I’ve observed disturbing changes within this district (and within the LCMS as a whole), changes which further move us away from our foundational moorings.

For the past several years, I’ve noticed a growing number of conferences and retreats where Rev. Mark Jeske of Time of Grace ministries located in Milwaukee, airing on the net (http://www.timeofgrace.org/index.php), on the radio, and on TV, is one of the speakers.  The SWD endorses him, as his ‘ministry’ is also now an Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS

(http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=15614), airing even on the LCMS’ radio station from St. Louis, KFUO.

What’s interesting, as others have noted (i.e. http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=6919), is that Jeske is:

1)      of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)

2)      not an LCMS pastor

3)      Promotes the unscriptural ‘principles’ and doctrine of the church growth movement (CGM) (For further study on these, see http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/huebelcgm.pdf as a starter)

LCMS and WELS are not in fellowship.  Joint ministries here are in the least confusing to members and nonmembers of both church bodies.  Joint ministries here are also conflicting, esp. because the Church Growth Movement so advocated by Jeske is in conflict with our doctrine, and also the official teaching of WELS.

A genuine concern for doctrine asks the question ‘why’?  Since CGM teaches what is contrary to Scripture, why is such teaching given air on the LCMS station KFUO, advocated by at least one district (the SWD), and even now an RSO of the LCMS?

The answer may be because the LCMS as a whole has forgotten the concern of God’s people—faithfulness to the His Word, rather than seeking after acceptance by the world and its ways.  But faithfulness calls for obedience to the Lord’s Word and avoidance of those who teach otherwise:

Note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18)

May the Lord keep the LCMS and her members watchful, observant, and bold in the face of false doctrine and opposition, even with those within her own body!

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