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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mark Braun WELS, WLC - Soil Testing To Make Fuller Seminarians Swoon:
Effective Church Growth Principles!

"What do people mean when they talk about effective church growth principles? Do we make God's kingdom come? 'God's kingdom certainly comes by itself,' Luther wrote. Ours is to sow the seed. We hamper the kingdom if we sow carelessly or if we do not sow at all. But we do not make it grow."
Mark Braun, "The Growing Seed, What Do People Mean When They Talk about Effective Church Growth Principles?" The Northwestern Lutheran, September 1, 1991, p. 300. Mark 4:26-29.

"Soil Testing. An evangelistic strategy that seeks out those people who are open to receiving the gospel at the present time." [Note the Mark Braun NWL article about the sower and the seed, employing this soil testing concept.]
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 300.

"In my opinion, therefore, Church Growth receptivity and 'soil testing' techniques are often unfairly criticized as if they were by definition synergistic. It is a fact that some fields are, for various historical and sociological reasons, more receptive to the preaching of the gospel and church planting than others. Our home and world mission boards make these judgments all the time in deciding where to begin churches or send missionaries."
Rev. Curtis Peterson, former WELS World Mission Board, "A Second and Third Look at Church Growth Principles," Metro South Pastors Conference Mishicot, Wisconsin, February 3, 1993 p. 12 Mark 4:

"If one associates much with heretics, one finally also makes oneself partaker of their false doctrine, their lies, and their errors; for he who touches pitch soils his hands with it."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 646.


Charis Spawned Church and Change (WELS)

From Bailing Water

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Church and Change group is not divisive – Dr. Mark Braun

In his closing sermon at the Church and Change conference Dr. Mark Braun jokes about Rev. Mark Bartling’s understanding of the Church and Change group.

Church and Change
(if this link doesn't work go the churchandchange site and follow the audio link to the sermon)

In his sermon, Dr. Braun says that he recognizes that over the last decade groups in the WELS have become polarized. He even says that “Birds of a feather flock together” (there you go again..oh those Magpies). He further says that these organized groups could be called an ecclesiastical version of political action groups.

Rev. Braun then quotes Rev. Mark Bartling’s article from the Christian News in which Rev. Bartling said “we now have an official group in the WELS entitled Church and Change. The name itself should tell you something is wrong here.”

Dr. Braun pauses in his sermon and the Church and Change congregation erupts in laughter (at the expense of a nameless WELS pastor)

Dr. Braun goes on with his sermon and says he would like to ask this (nameless) pastor (who we know as the Rev. Bartling), “what is wrong here? Is it that we can’t put church and change in the same sentence? or the same title? Is it that if it is the church it can not change and if there is change it better not be in the church!?”

I wonder why he didn’t ask Rev. Bartling these questions directly instead of in a Conference sermon…hmmm.

Dr. Braun’s sermon goes on to emphasis the changeless Gospel in a changing church. I would invite you to listen to this quote and the entire sermon in context and post your responses.

Comments on Bailing Water

RandomDan said...
Has Church and Change even made it into the late 90s? That audio file is huge. Do these people not know how to use mp3's?

October 22, 2007 6:14 PM

Anonymous said...
randomdan brings up a really interesting point. The Church and Changers see themselves as cutting-edge innovators within the WELS, but compared to the church and the world at large, they're really far, far behind the times. The audio file is an example of this. They think they're making their churches seem cutting edge and innovative, but when a visitor compares the WELS praise band to the megachurch praise band or the WELS PowerPoint to the PowerPoint they saw last week at work, the WELS church seems cheesy and behind the times. Let's be honest, praise bands and PowerPoint aren't the strong points of the Lutheran church. Why not focus on what are our strong points--the liturgy and Scriptural doctrine? Those are the things that we can do excellently. Those are the things that can set us apart from the Evangelical churches. And yet those are the very things that C&C seek to eliminate.

October 22, 2007 6:37 PM

Anonymous said...
Here's my reaction to the sermon:

It sounded more like a defense for the existence of C&C than a sermon proclaiming law and gospel.

There wasn't really any law. Instead of calling the congregation to repentance for the times when they have lost confidence in the power of the gospel, he sought to justify their opinion that we can make the gospel more effective.

There wasn't really any gospel. He talked a lot about the gospel, but never actually proclaimed the gospel itself. He spent more time talking about old TV characters than Christ.

The sermon was filled with little jabs at those silly, unenlightened WELS pastors and people who aren't a part of their special little group. The condescending laughter after each jab revealed exactly how C&C people view the rest of us poor WELS people. (The laughter of the Pietistic cell groups in Spener's day toward the rest of the Lutheran church probably sounded quite similar.)

In short, it was a propaganda piece, not a proclamation of law and gospel.

October 22, 2007 7:03 PM

Anonymous said...
I just wanted to agree with the person who mentioned that compared to "evangelical" Christianity...our "efforts" at praise bands and what not is pretty laughable.

Plus, they can't so any live streaming nor do they seem to be able to condense their audio odd.

I hate when things get nasty--snarky and "tit for tat"'s all very high schoolish. It is really saddening to hear it being utilized in a sermon...revolting.

Thanks for the link. I'm off to listen to the "sermon" (is that truly what it was?).

October 22, 2007 7:52 PM

rlschultz said...
The WELS is always a day late and a dollar short in jumping on the latest fads. Yes, the sermon is a .wav file instead of the compressed, .mpg file. Most teenagers who are computer savvy know that .wav files are too big, even with broadband access. That was a really cheap shot by Dr. Braun against Rev. Bartling. Furthermore, if the tables were turned, Rev. Bartling would be getting flogged with the "8 & 18 switch" (8th commandment & Matthew Chapter 18) by not approaching the offender on an individual basis. Even though, neither admonition applies when the sin is public.

October 22, 2007 9:35 PM

A WELS Pastor said...
I don't know if Pastor Bartling is still in the active ministry or not. But he needs to pursue this through his DP and Synod President if need be.

October 22, 2007 9:51 PM

Anonymous said...

Never in my life have I ever heard one WELS pastor use another as the object of ridicule in a sermon to get some cheap laughs. That's what those of us in the WELS who are still confessional are to the C&Cers--a joke.

How disgusting.

October 22, 2007 10:06 PM


GJ - Bailing Water gets a lot of comments. This set did not include any from synod minders, who guard the image of Holy Mother WELS by attacking anyone who doubts the immaculate conception of the Wisconsin sect. For instance, one poster bullied Bailing Water about the truth of Church and Change removing their fraudulent link because of SP Schroder's insistence. Surely Bailing Water must be lying! But no, Bailing Water spoke to Schroeder about the problem. Isn't that the rule?

Being flogged in a sermon is not new to me. I have experienced it in the LCA and in WELS. My friend was at a WELS conference where I was denounced by name by a WELS VP. My friend said to him, "Too bad Greg wasn't here to defend himself." The WELS VP had to leave the ministry, for cause. And I liked the guy.

Kuske and Valleskey made a point of denouncing me for opposing Church Growth. The Church Growth pastors took their swipes, even when guests in my pulpit in the WELS. Satan's disciples are uncouth, but tolerated. Thus God smites people who tolerate falsehood, according to Luther.

Pastors and laity must get used to this approach by apostates. The dogs howl when they feel the pain, but they bite a lot, too. In the long run we will be dead and answering our Savior for what we taught.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WELS Pastor Attacked (Not By Name) During Church a...":

And what about the swipes you take at people, twisting the truth about them, telling untruths and even outright lies? You criticize others, but yet you do the same thing, and even worse. Didn't Jesus say something about a sliver and a plank?

GJ - Oh yes, another string of unwarranted accusations from Rev. Mouse. I suppose he got another day pass from the high-security facility where they are treating him. (Just kidding, Mouse.) No other Lutheran blog has so much raw information, verbatim quotations with the sources, and quotations from interesting blogs. I do not see a micron of evidence for the charges made--anonymously--above. Rev. Mouse, aren't you supposed to go to me and tell me face-to-face about my many sins, to rescue me from Hell, as Paul Kelm tried to do?


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WELS Pastor Attacked (Not By Name) During Church a...":

I have a better name for this group who feels they've discovered a better way to recruit new members. Instead of 'Church and Change', let's call it what it is.... A CHANGED CHURCH. Folks, it's the Word of God, pure and simple. You shouldn't have to fancy it up and package it into the catagory of entertainment. It is what it is. If these people want to change it, let them split off and start their own reformed Lutheran churches. But quit trying to change our liturgical and traditional worship services. The two do not mix. I refuse to buy a ticket for their show.

Mark Braun - A Kind Word for the Pope