People are wondering what is happening in the LCMS with the cancelling of the radio program Issues, Etc. and the recalling of world missionaries. The LCMS has long been admired as the world’s largest and strongest bastion of confessional Lutheran Christianity. Years ago, the WELS and the LCMS parted ways over fellowship issues and the roles of women in the Church; but it is still the hope of many that there can once again be unity among confessional Lutherans. With unity there is strength.
Issues, Etc. was a strong Gospel outreach radio program that was abruptly canceled during Holy Week by its superiors without warning or explanation. Even the program archives on the internet were erased and then eventually replaced with inferior files. The powers that be in the LCMS later said that the reasons for cancelling the program were mainly financial, but their explanations and actions were contradictory.
This is what I believe is currently happening in the LCMS: There is a battle between the conservatives who believe the word of God is inerrant and effective and the new leadership that believes the word of God is not necessarily effective. Because the leadership has lost faith in the effectiveness of God’s word, they are cancelling Lutheran apologetic radio shows and recalling missionaries in order to pay for slick marketing campaigns.
One marketing campaign advertised the fact that an LCMS church was replacing the historic services of Lent with a sermon series on sex. Another marketing campaign purported to come from “Satan” and informed unbelievers that a particular LCMS church “sucked.” This advertising campaign cost either Satan or the LCMS $25,000. (Save the LCMS: Ablaze Hall of Shame).
This is very concerning because it shows more faith in reverse psychology and sexually charged marketing than the message of Christ crucified. People who trust the word of God do not use swords, politics, or bait and switch marketing tactics to convert the lost. They preach the Word because they trust the Word.
The failure to wait upon the Lord and to trust the word of God is what lead to the end of King Saul’s leadership. (1 Samuel 15). Eventually, Saul found himself turning, not to God, but to a witch. (1 Samuel 28). The movie Prince Caspian also illustrates this same mistake: When the heros fail to follow Aslan, and they fail to wait for Aslan, they are tempted to turn to the White Witch.
Do modern Lutheran Christians follow King Saul or King David? Does the Word of the Lord endure forever, or for only 500 years? When the Word of the Lord appears to have failed in converting the lost, do we call on the Name of the Lord, or do we invoke the name of Satan?
How do Christians get to the point where they are citing the name of Satan in order to increase church attendance (satanhates.com)? How can those who no longer trust the Word of God lead a Christian church? This is a battle worth fighting.
Issues, Etc. Update
The former staff of Issues, Etc.; the Rev. Todd Wilken & Producer Jeff Schwarz; will be returning to radio, internet, live streaming, & podcasting; for this purpose they have reestablished their website at Issues Etc.org. The show will also be available through live internet streaming at Pirate Christian Radio.com.