According to “The Nation’s Report Card” Lutheran Schools Tops in the Nation

Great piece by Janie Andrich highlighting how Lutheran Schools are tops in the nation!

Accountability! Results- what difference does it make? We are becoming a data-driven nation in regard to our schools. Whether you agree with that direction or not, it is where we are at this moment in our nation’s history. Parents want to know if their child is receiving a quality education.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’ s Report Card,” is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.

The report is in and the news is GREAT for Lutheran schools. In five of the eight categories Lutheran Schools finished in first place among nine other categorizations. In the other three we finished second. The groups included the following: public, other religious, nonsectarian, Catholic, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Dept. of Defense, State Department of Education, Lutheran, and Conservative Christian.

Source: Lutheran Schools Tops in the Nation on “The Nation’s Report Card” – Janie Andrich – 21st Century Education.

It is a choice that is made on where to send your children to school.  If you are able to send your child to a Lutheran school that’s awesome!  As Janie points out:

Lutheran  schools  are great places to grow.   Lutheran  schools, like any schools,  are not perfect. In Lutheran schools students learn that they are forgiven and that they also can forgive others because of Jesus Christ. And yes, we do thank God students in Lutheran Schools have great test scores. Lutheran Schools have teachers, parents, administrators, boards and congregations  who continue to strive for excellence in all aspects of Lutheran education, academics. the arts, sports, social development, service to others and creating 21st century learning environments that prepare our students for service.

And if you you aren’t able to that’s great too.  The key in the end is to be involved in your child’s education, so that they do well.

Contemporary Worship Is Not Lutheran

Some excellent insight into how, contrary to belief by some, Contemporary Worship is not Lutheran.

What is almost always missing in our ongoing worship debates is an honest assessment of the genesis of what has become known as contemporary worship among Lutherans.  It seems that many are wont to conveniently ignore the fact that this genre of worship was developed by non-Lutherans who adhere not only to a different theology of worship, but a completely different theological system (different exegetical, different systematic, different historical, different practical theologies).  This did not originate with Lutherans, but came from those whose theology is purposefully not centered upon Christ and the blessed means of grace through which faith in Him is created and sustained, but rather is centered upon man and the experience and enthusiasm created to elicit a decision/response from those in attendance to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  In other words, for all attempts to prove otherwise, this genre of worship is not Christ-centered, but man-centered – and PURPOSEFULLY so.

This is because those who led the charge to turn worship into an experiential, enthusiastic, emotional-manipulating, feel-good, fun-fest do not believe Jesus is Present in their “worship experiences.”  That’s the whole point, the whole basis for this genre of worship.  Jesus is “up there,” not here.  We need to reach Him.  We need to let Him know how much we love Him.  We experience His love in return as we feel Him touch our hearts.  And, if the worship is powerful enough, then that experienced love we feel in our hearts will lead us to commit ourselves to Jesus, make Him our personal Lord and Savior, and leave with the intent to live for Him in this world.  It’s all about you.  Your feelings.  Your emotions.  Your decision.  Your choice.  Your commitment.  Your life.  Jesus is nothing more or less than the object of your affection and the arbiter of your feelings.

As Pastor Messer points out:

You can slice and dice this all you want in the attempt to Lutheranize it, but that dog just won’t hunt.  You cannot adopt the practices of those who adhere to a completely different theology and avoid having your confession of the faith marred in the process.  The attempt by so many Lutherans to do this today is not only an exercise in futility, but a sad commentary on how our theology is so grossly misunderstood and unappreciated.

So it is that the oft-attempted argument in our worship debates that this is not about theology is disingenuous, at best, and malicious, at worst.  I mean, no one can possibly argue against the fact that the contemporary worship adopted by Lutherans came from those who adhere to a different system of theology.  In fact, those who initiated the flirtation with contemporary worship knew this full well.  It was kinda the point at the time.  Those other Christians who worship differently than we do seem to be onto something.  Their numbers are growing and people seem to be really responsive to their way of worship, so let’s check that out and see if it’s for us.  Besides, we’re really getting sick of the whole page 5 and page 15 thing; something new and fresh would be most welcome!

As Pastor Messer points out, it was the beginning of Contemporary Worship gaining traction in the LCMS in the 1980’s.  The result today is that many seem to think this type of worship is actually Lutheran.

The amazing thing to witness in all this is how the second generation of contemporary worshiping Lutherans among us engage in our ongoing worship debates.  Unlike their predecessors, they are convinced that the genre of worship to which they adhere is Lutheran through and through.  This is a testimony of the first generation’s effectiveness in embedding this genre of worship into our life together as a synod.  Call them pioneers or innovators or what have you, no one could possibly deny the success they’ve had in convincing Lutherans to accept and embrace this genre of worship.  When they began their flirtation, one could hardly find an LCMS congregation that had a contemporary worship service available, but now it has become increasingly difficult to find LCMS congregations that do not have one.  That’s not bad for a movement that is only a few decades old.  Those who dreamed of the days when you wouldn’t have to attend a methobapticostal worship service to “feel the presence of the Spirit at work” have had their dream fulfilled, and then some, for not only can you find this sort of worship service all around the synod today, but those who have taken up their mantle today are convinced that this is decidedly Lutheran.

As a result the point that the debate about worship in the LCMS is about theology is missed by supporters of Contemporary worship.  The fact that doctrine and practice can NOT be separated is ignored.

That’s the point that gets glossed over in our worship debates time and time again, as a plethora of red herrings and straw men are invoked to keep us from getting at the heart of the matter.  Try as they might (and they do try!), the second generation of contemporary worshiping Lutherans will never be able to deny the fact that what they now embrace and falsely believe to be perfectly Lutheran is the warmed-up porridge their predecessors sold their birthright to obtain.  At the end of the day, this is about theology, no matter how vehemently are those who argue to the contrary.

What would be refreshing would be to hear the second generation of contemporary worshiping Lutherans argue their case with the honesty in which their predecessors argued theirs.  They wanted something different.  They believed that we Lutherans needed something different.  They didn’t shy away from making that known.  They said things like, “The hymnal does not appeal to unbelievers”; “The liturgy is outdated and turns people off”; “Worship needs to primarily be about reaching the lost, not feeding the found”; “Worship should be fun and entertaining, so that people will long to come”; “We need to change our ways, lest the Church fade away and die”; “Everyone should be a minister,” and so forth.  And, they said these things knowing full well that they were saying that we needed to learn from those whose theology differs from ours.  Our theology needed to change.  That was the point.  But, today’s generation says all of these things and more, maintaining that, in doing so, they are expressing our theology, refusing to admit that all of these things are based on a theology foreign to ours.

Pastor Messer sums things up perfectly with a comparison to the “Wizard of Oz”:

The separation of doctrine from practice is akin to the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” ploy used by the wizard of Oz.  As long as that curtain remains in place, there is no dialogue to be had.

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Higher Things: Four Conferences in 2012

Higher Things, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, is hosting four conferences next summer.

Registration is open for four Higher Things youth conferences next summer — June 26-29 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; July 3-6 at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo.; July 10-13 at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.; and July 17-20 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

The theme for all four conferences is “Twelve” — calling to mind the significance of that number in scriptural references and to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Higher Things.

So what’s the significance of “Twelve”?

“The theological part of the ‘Twelve’ theme is amazingly wonderful,” said Higher Things Conference Coordinator Sandra Ostapowich. “It’s a good number from the Scripture; it’s all over the place. God likes twelves.”

Ostapowich continued that what makes next year’s conference theme “special to Higher Things is that 2012 will be our 12th year of doing Higher Things Conferences.  It’s our 12th birthday.”

“The Lord has to have twelves,” added Higher Things Conference Executive Rev. George Borghardt. “He doesn’t stop at 11. He always goes 12. Think of the tribes in the Old Testament, the apostles in the New Testament and the 144,000 in Revelation [Rev. 7:4-8, which mentions 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes]. Twelve is a huge number in the Scriptures.”

“Everything we do at Higher Things is about Christ, daring young people to be Lutheran and teaching them to receive Christ in His Word and Sacraments,” said Borghardt. “Twelve is the perfect theme for 2012 because it was the Lord’s number first.”

In case you’re wondering if a Higher Things conference is the right choice for the youth of your congregation, consider this.

“Our all-inclusive conferences are both a great value and a great opportunity,” said Higher Things President Rev. William Cwirla. “They allow the kids to spend four days together on a college campus, hang out together, make lots of friends and be immersed in great Lutheran teaching and worship. We dare the young adults of our churches to be genuinely Lutheran, and they have a great time rising to that challenge.  That has been our satisfaction over these past 12 years.”

Click here for more information on the Higher Things conferences and to register.

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Ping Pong Fu

Another great video by Rev. Fisk regarding True Religion & unforgivable sin’s terror.

If you don’t watch AskdaPastor2.0 videos on a regular basis, you should start.