Andrew says in his comments on this post that he thinks Group A and Group B, as he has described them, should work together.
Group A working with Group B. That is exactly what we need. In other words, we need Christians to be effective witnesses and servants of Christ in their vocation as well as their role in the ministry of the church.
And yet he says this:
I believe that if the position of Group A prevails in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod it will continue to decline in membership. Congregations will shut down and sell their properties.
Surely, the best thing for the Church would be to get rid of Group A!
What is the heart of the problem in the LCMS? According to Andrew:
The devil is crafty, and only expecting Sunday attendance is not enough! There are seven days in the week, and 1 hour of Church on Sundays is showing itself to not effectively sustain or mature disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to engage people during the week by fostering fellowship in small groups, and equip leaders to lead these groups. We ought to equip parents to lead home devotionals so that the bapztized will grow up in Christian homes. We need to foster a culture of Scripture reading and prayer, where people are in the Word and seeking God’s will. Simply expecting church attendance on Sundays is not effectively sustaining or maturing disciples of Jesus Christ!
I agree that “Sunday Christianity” is not enough for disciples of Jesus to mature. Again, it requires teaching them everything that Jesus has given to us. Maybe some form of small group is the best way to do that. My question is this: when the novelty wears off, what will be the difference between a home Bible study and a Bible study that the pastor leads, wherever and whenever that might happen?
Further, I wholeheartedly agree that parents are not fulfilling their vocations. But the vocation remains. I think pastors can do more to encourage and help parents carry out their vocations, but part of the problem is that the parents have not been properly taught. Not only that, but they themselves have the attitude that church is “just something we do” and they pass on that attitude to their children. Unless and until we can revive the fatherly vocation of teaching children, instead of waiting until they’re confirmation age and attempting to cram every theological fact into their tiny heads in two years, we’re going to continue to have the problems that Andrew outlines. Parents are expecting the pastors to do in one or two years what they themselves are not willing to do in twelve or thirteen years.
[Next: defining vocation and its role in the Christian life.]