LCMS 2.0 Continues

The April Reporter sports a blue LCMS cross. We who formerly preached under the burgundy cross are going to switch to a new color.  Blue is one choice.  Just like Wal-Mart has gone from brown, to blue, to tan, so does the church.  Not the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the Una Sancta, not the Church we confess to believe in every Sunday, but the church as business, as marketer, as sales.  This is LCMS 2.0.

The color switch is part of “Synod’s refreshed branding” (p. 2).  It is not enough to be known as the church that preaches Christ and Him crucified; it’s not enough to be marked by the Sign of the Cross, we need a cross distinct unto ourselves, our logo, and we need to change that color every so often as other businesses do.

More than color, however, is being added.  Allow me to quote the Reporter from the same page. “Other changes to look for in the Synod’s refreshed branding initiative include: – new standards for using the LCMS cross logo along with the WITNESS, MERCY, LIFE TOGETHER emphasis logo when both appear together on the same piece.  – specific WITNESS, MERCY and LIFE TOGETHER logos for use in brand marketing settings.”

I’m not making this up.  This really is how today’s churchmen and churchwomen think and talk.  It’s the same voice, tone, mood, and tense of the marketplace, of the world, of dare I say it?  Babylon.

You have to admire President Harrison’s chutzpah though.  He’s rolling out a theme, a logo, a branding without convention approval.  At least past-president Kieschnick got a Synodical convention to approve his ABLAZE! branding and marketing before sallying forth into the business of growing the church.

At the ACELC conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this past March the Reverend Holger Sonntag asked this question from the floor.  “Do you know where you will find the words witness, mercy, life together used most frequently?”  He then observed those words are not found frequently in the Book of Concord.  He then challenged us to Google them.  He then saved us the Googling and said, “They are found in connection with the ecumenical movement.”

This is LCMS 2.0.  We will be marked by our now familiar techno-cross sporting a new color and we will be branded by the ecumenical rallying cry of:  WITNESS, MERCY, LIFE TOGETHER!  And our hard charging president is not pulling up the reigns for any convention either.  Nope, he’s adding three new floor committees number 1 is Witness and you can guess what the next two will be.  Theology does come in fourth (Ibid. 9).  And we accused the former president of being a-theological or weak theologically.

LCMS 2.0 is lining up clearly, but it’s in the wrong line.  Dr. Norman Nagel said that in a sermon he preached in England.  He said that the people of post-war England who were lining up at the church for worldly needs were standing in the wrong line.

I say LCMS 2.0 is because we’re standing in the line to end malaria in Africa.  Google that; see how many programs, people, businesses, etc are in line to do that.  President Harrison number one reason for getting in this long line is “Nearly a million people a year are still dying of malaria, mostly in Africa” (Lutheran Witness, January 2012, p.1).  Golly willikers that’s almost as many babies who are being aborted in America each year.  Actually it’s about 210,000 less.  Truth be told: 43 times as many children worldwide die of abortion as they do of malaria.

However, being anti-abortion is hard to market even when you try to do it as Pro-Life.  It just doesn’t brand well.  You can be anti-malaria; you don’t even have to make it pro anything to sell it.  Big name stars, successful people, and huge companies are into being anti-malaria, and now little ol’ LCMS is.  President “Let’s Go” Harrison has even got the liberal Texas District on his anti-malaria bandwagon.  (No mean feat there.) The opening worship offering from the 2012 Texas District Convention will be given to Lutheran Malaria Initiative.  Yes, they will gather thousands and Bill Gates will plunk down billions but both will be branded as “winners.”

This is LCMS 2.0, and you can have it.  I’m not going down this river.  It only ends in harps being hung up and weeping (Psalm 137).


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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