Monday, July 13, 2009

WELS Members Visit
Victory of the Movie Screen:
Another Chicanery Showcase





Tim Felt-needs, Victory of the Lamb Blogger


We went to Victory of the Lamb a while back. The irony of the whole scenario is that we stopped going to our normal place of worship because we felt it wasn't liturgical enough. I didn't have high hopes for VotL but my friend said, "Its kind of contemporary, but it's done right."

He couldn't have been more wrong.

I drove past another WELS church about three miles and arrived at Celebration Cinema and immediately had reservations. I walked into the lobby, smelling of old popcorn, and was greeted by Pastor Ben...more reservations. He invited us to grab a snack and a drink from the "Victory Cafe"...I was unsure because it was already after the time church should start but he invited us to bring it with us into Theater #1.

We walked in just as the praise band started.

Got to our chairs as people said hello to us and tried to carry on conversations (the first "hymn" was still in session). We awkwardly tried to sing along but gave up and mouthed the words. Then "Pastor" Ben invited us to greet each other. After the confession of sins which was somewhat normal...the rest of the service was contrived and awkward. We were unable to sing anything and people clapped after each praise band performance.

I was perturbed when the children left before the sermon, except for one who screamed loudly and the parents acted like they were in a movie theater--wait, they were. Zero transcendence at this point. "Pastor" Ben started his sermon which contained five lengthy stories--probably taking up 1/4 of his actual speaking time. The rest of his time was spent retelling those stories (using Abraham) and then retelling them again (using us) and giving us a "takeaway."

Then, the coup de grace was when he claimed that we need to be attached to the means of grace...didn't mention the Lord's Supper once...and said we "can remember our baptisms every time we wash our face in the morning..." (paraphrase)

After the service he gave a announcement about "Hallepalooza" and Soccer Camp. We got out of there as fast as I could.

They are having "success" - many of their families are from established congregations but there are a few large convert families as well (from the soccer camps)...however sowing seed in shallow ground often has early success. I can guarantee you, as a WELS Lutheran...I would not have communed there (as if it had been offered) and my wife and I did not feel the least bit edified.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WELS Members Visit Victory of the Movie Screen:Ano...":

Anon@10:22

No the sermon did not center on the savior. The word "God" was used in stories about Abraham. The words "Jesus" or "Christ" were not.

As for the hymn, the entire atmosphere at VotL (along with other happy clappy churches) is a performance. When you take the people out of worship by installing a praise band no one can sing along to--no one sings(Koine is the obvious WELS exception).

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WELS Members Visit Victory of the Movie Screen:Ano...":

As the writer/visitor states, I too, like many WELS members, are beginning to do what may be called Selective Fellowship. I do not think this is recognized by the leadership in WELS as a scriptural principal. I have heard it said "we do not practice selective fellowship. We either are in fellowship with our brothers or we are not." Those leaders who are not doing what the Bible tells us to do, with regards to those who cause divisions among us, have allowed laity to do it. That is simply to "Mark and avoid", which the laity are doing in a very quiet way.

I myself, having been in Greenbay not too long ago, found it quite a job of finding a sound Lutheran church in town. But I did. Web sites can tell you volumes of what a church is doing and you can save yourself the heartache caused by much of what is being done in the name Lutheran. Some people say, "step out of your comfort zone." I say, step into the light of discernment.

Bye, bye.

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Joseph Schmidt answered the howls of Joe Krohn here.

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GJ - Many of us have seen choir members, organists, choir directors, and acolytes in a cassock and surplice. I am so high church that I chant the announcements.


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