"A Changeless Gospel in a Changing World" is a motto found at some Church and Change congregations in WELS. That by itself does not define a congregation. Some may use it innocently. Others are Shrinkers but borrow "We Still Believe," sometimes with their own verbiage, which falls harshly on unwaxed ears.
The original motto used by Shrinkers would be true if they reversed the order, as I did in the headline. People have not changed since Biblical times, and we live--once again--as minorities in the midst of paganism and occultism. The same sins, against the First and Second Tables of the Ten Commandments, are a regular feature of our frail, fallible, and corrupted nature.
Disturbing to many is the Shrinker effort to change the Gospel in their marketing efforts. Once again, the word Lutheran, by itself, is not the key element but a symptom of the change. By now the uneducated public thinks of Lutheran in the same category as interior decorator, male model, and Hollywood star. I would second the motion to use a new phrase, such as Church of the Augsburg Confession.
The words themselves are not the problem, but the attitude behind them. The Shrinkers believe, thanks to their marketing experts, that hiding their confession is the best way to attract their audiences. After all, Andy Stanley--Babtist guru to at least seven WELS pastors and Bishop Katie--hides his own confession by calling his church Northpoint Community when he is a Babtist who denies and teaches against baptismal regeneration and infant baptism. Ditto - The Simple Church, which Peter Pan-denominational follows and promotes at his WELS church.
Hiding the confession of faith is prelude to hiding the practice of the faith. I heard from Roger Zehms, part of the Wayne Mueller team, that WELS churches were moving Holy Communion to Wednesday to avoid offending the visitors on Sunday. I learned that 22 years ago. The next step, taken by Ski and Gunn, is not having Holy Communion at all.
The president of the WELS congregation told me I offended people by preaching about infant baptism when extended family members (Babtist of course) attended the baptism of a baby. The issue was hotly debated so it should have been avoided altogether.
Strange - I heard this story about missionary work in China. The Roman Catholic priest said Mass every day, in a public place where the ruler could hear it. Finally the ruler became intensely interested in what this was and became a Christian. Perhaps the story is false, but the anecdote illustrates a profound faith in the Sacrament as God's work. I cannot imagine a Chinese ruler being intrigued by a Seeker Service, Friendship Sunday, or Smores and Rock in the Park. More likely the cacophony of Rock would have led to a summary execution.
Kieschnick, Jeske, and the Chicaneries have changed the Gospel. They have adulterated it in a desperate move to attract more people. They believe in the efficacy of man's methods but not in the efficacy of God's Word.
"The child is the father of the man," as one Romantic poet said. In this case, Mark Jeske's father, John Jeske (aka Jumpin' Jack, aka Jester) is the father of this situation. Professor Jeske joined in the ecumenical effort to produce the worst ever translation of the Bible - the NIV. WELS and Missouri went on to make it their official version. WELS excommunicated pastors who dissented, even though they originally promoted the KJV (closest to Luther) and said modern versions were the Devil's tool. (A changing Gospel, many decades ago)
Now Concordia Publishing House is promoting the ESV while Otten counters with the Beck. Schwan funded a revision of Beck, to the tune of about $800,000 a year, so the Missouri pastor in charge could translate and remain in his adulterous situation. If you have a Beck revision, check on the Sixth Commandment - I am sure the "not" was omitted.
Lutherans, the Biblical guys, could not get behind a confessional translation. A slight revision of the KJV would have been great: no omitted verses, no erasing of the Sacraments, no feminazi language, no alteration of the Virgin Birth. But no, in all these years, the Lutherans can only promote this or that non-Lutheran effort. Meanwhile, the Book of Concord gathers dust on most pastors' shelves and remains a mystery to most laity.
The Biblical foundation has been abandoned because it did not matter to the organizational types. The scent of money did concern them deeply. Given the cash generated by volume sales of books, I am sure synodical enslavement to the NIV was richly rewarded.
Lutherans illustrate this sentence, which I recorded in Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure - "The Church that marries the spirit of this age will be a widow in the Age To Come."