Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Willow Creek Effect



Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church aka Lutheran Training Academy


wantingthemountainstofallonme has left a new comment on your post "Willow Creek Story and Parody":

I was not only alarmed and confused when my former WELS pastor and leaders of that church were attending Willow Creek for seminars and sessions. Why would they want to sit at the feet of mockers and even subject themselves to false teachers I wondered? Even that pastor said if you went to a Willow Creek Service you would say (quote to the best of my memory) "these people are devoid of the Gospel, there is no solid teaching there. But the zeal these people have is amazing." I just remember him saying "their zeal, their zeal!" as if he were bitten by the AMWAY bug. (if youv'e ever met someone smitten with the AMWAY eyes you'll know what I mean. It was truely frieghtening fo rme to see. My stomach was really starting to tweek and twitter. The internal alarm in me (my conscience, discernment?) was really convicting me. I left the chruch shortly after.

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GJ - Ditto. Wally Oelhaven, trained at Fuller Seminary, head of the Michigan WELS mission board, wanted Lutherans to be as enthusiastic as the Reformed.

I know the Michigan District board paid pastors to attend Willow Creek seminars. They never asked me. I attended a Seeker Service there anyway.

WELS pastors really thought that imitating Willow Creek would create Willow Creek clones. I suppose the Parlow/Kelm congregation is a clone, but is it Lutheran?

A Church Growth expert has said that Willow Creek is the most influential church in America. That is certainly true about WELS and Missouri. Willow Creek has influenced ELCA as well. Even some of the mini-micro sects have their tongues hanging out for Willow Creek.

Why do Lutheran congregations do well when they become liberal Reformed?

1. Lutherans have a long history with Pietism, which is unionism with the Reformed and based on good works, not the Word and faith.
2. The Wisconsin Synod began with union Reformed-Lutheran congregations. The old spirit has not gone away.
3. The high profile congregations in America are anti-Confessional.
4. Synodical leaders are pragmatists, not idealists. They want to promote what works.
5. Many synodical leaders are also apostates. They hate orthodox Lutheran doctrine and those who love the Triglotta, Luther, Chemnitz, and J. Gerhard. (It's official, everyone loves Paul Gerhardt the hymn-writer. They just hate his doctrine.)
6. Healthy, orthodox Lutheran congregations are an embarrassment to Lutheran leaders, so they never give those parishes any credit for doing anything right.
7. Apostate pastors who chase women and girls (boys, too) must be protected, because they give synodical leaders a bad reputation.

One WELS mission pastor actually gave Hybels sermons, verbatim, complete with the same vocal nuances. On Ichabod I have recorded two WELS pastors copying Reformed sermons almost verbatim and posting them as their own work. That is against the law.

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rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Willow Creek Effect":

A former member of our WELS congregation was obsessed with the zeal that those in the Reformed camp exhibited. He even tried to lead by example. When he wasn't working or going to board and Council meetings, he would be watching some TV circus tent huckster or going to a "prophecy conference". Whenever we had a vacancy on a board, he would start whining about the lack of enthusiasm (pun intended) among our members. He would then point to the Oneness Pentecostal sect about a mile away as proof that their zeal produced results. The claim was made that they never had any money problems as everyone tithed. There was always a packed house as members came from as far as 30 miles away. The implication being that they did things right.
Those who lack discernment will always be impressed with apparent success. I used to work with a fellow who belonged to a big LCMS congregation. He had the same complaints about lack of zeal. He used to point to the door knocking of the Jehovah's Witnesses as evidence that even the JW's were better than those dull Lutherans.

The Amway analogy is fitting. The Amway stakeholders are expected to leave , eat and breathe Amway. My wife was involved in a similar direct sales scheme many years ago. Their monthly meetings were no more than circus tent revivals. Their product was expected to be the center of your universe.

It reminds me of a little comedy routine from Cheech & Chong. A guy is talking about how his life changed when he got religion. He says, "Before, I was all messed up on drugs. But since I found Jesus, I'm all messed up on the Lord".

Along with this, the keynote speaker at the C&C conference is motivational speaker John Di Frances. Read about him at http://www.superbspeakers.com/speaker_listing.asp?sid=56.
To paraphrase a credit card commercial - Motivational speaker fee: $15,000 to $20,000. Cost of enthusiasm: priceless.

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Greg Jackson Is Da Man! has left a new comment on your post "Willow Creek Effect":

******"On Ichabod I have recorded two WELS pastors copying Reformed sermons almost verbatim and posting them as their own work. That is against the law."*****

You are the man Greg, you da man! Continue your back patting. I'm sure it feels good. You sure stuck it to them! If you keep it up surely WELS will soon bow down to you! You go Greg!

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GJ - The poster directly above should wonder why ordained ministers are stealing the words of others and portraying them as their own. I did not find the plagiarism. Various WELS pastors/laity found the examples and relayed them, signing their emails, not hiding like A. Nony Mouse. I asked for a direct link to prove where one came from.

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Bruce Church has left a new comment on your post "Willow Creek Effect":

You're wise for copying comments on your blog into the main body of your posts (i.e., updating your posts) because otherwise, the commenters might come back and delete and revise their comments unbeknownst to you.

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GJ - Thank you. I learned how quickly the Ichabod effect hits. Crown of Life, Corona, California, removed the Leonard Sweet rhapsody plus its gushing-red-ink offering figures, finding it a horrible sin that I mentioned their offerings.

A typical WELS response to violations of the Ten Commandments is to make the objection itself a sin and to make snide personal remarks. Nevertheless, stealing someone els'e words remains a sin and a civil crime. My experience with classroom plagiarists is that they act very offended, deny the most obvious facts, hide the evidence (if possible), and accuse the instructor of vile crimes against education.

In confirmation, the daughter of a woman who committed adultery explained the Sixth Commandment this way, "You should not steal away someone who belongs to another person." I thought this was an insightful blending of two commandments. Infidelity and thievery go together.

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