February 14, 2008

How are souls "won"?

Dr. Stuckwisch has an excellent preliminary examination of some disturbing news coming from the new Commission on Worship about surveying the top five percent of "soul-winning" congregations in the LCMS, presumably so the rest of us can copy their New Measures. In this paragraph he delivers the payload:

Since when do Lutherans need a survey to determine how souls are won? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. In order to obtain such faith, God has instituted the Office of the Ministry for the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Through these means of grace, the Holy Spirit works faith, where and when it pleases Him, in those who hear the Gospel. One servant of the Word may plant the seed; another may water; but it is God the Lord who gives the growth (or not, as the case may be). He adds daily to the number of those being saved, but with the Gospel comes the cross and persecution and rejection. The implicit notion of some further tricks or techniques, programs or propaganda, which are supposedly making the Word more effective (sic) in some congregations, as measured by outward numerical growth, is contrary to the Word of God. It may be Methodistic or Revivalistic, but it is certainly not Lutheran. Souls are won by Christ and His Spirt, by the ways and means of the Gospel, and not by any of the clever machinations of man. It is likewise the Word and Spirit of Christ by which pastors preach faithfully, and by which the people of God receive the gifts Christ freely gives in faith and with thanksgiving. And where that is happening, by God's grace, look for the Cross and suffering, not impressive statistics.

You can read the whole thing here.


Frank said...

With so many good blogs out there, I almost missed this post. Thank you for bringing it front and center.

Frank said...

Pastor Stuckwisch now has a follow up looking at soul producing marriages. Good stuff