A myHT Fortress

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Don't Make the Church into a Prostitute!

There are few sentiments that upset me as much as "The Church is a business." OK, so the first runner up is treating a parochial school like a secular private school. In either case, there is a complete opposition to Jesus' command: "Be in the world, not of the world."

When the local congregation fancies itself as a business and worries about money more than ministry, it offends Christ and flirts with sin. Likewise, when a parochial school lusts after the programs and finances of upper crust private schools, and treats collecting tuition like a bunch of credit collections thugs, we slander our Lord and drag His reputation through the mud. In short, we turn the Bride of Christ into a prostitute.

May God have mercy on us all, and bring true repentance to all who molest our dear Lord's Bride in such a manner. Kyrie eleison!


J. Sutton said...

Amen, dear brother and father in the faith...

We are seeing this mentality in the "issues, etc" controversy that is swirling about the LCMS.

Lutheran, Christian schools need not feel like they need to be all things for all people, as a related point. Our schools need not feel like they have to have the single largest possible enrollment. It should not be about any numbers at all.

Our schools first and foremost should be big enough to accommodate all of the children who are members of the particular congregation that built, funds, and supports that school. THOSE children should be the Lutheran school's primary focus - teaching THEM the Christian, confessional Lutheran faith, and assisting the parents in teaching the other subjects necessary.

We should be thankful for any other Christians (or maybe who are not!) whom the Lord brings our way as "guests" in our schools. We want to share the Gospel good news of Jesus Christ with them. But we should be who we are and what we are, without apologizing, as Confessional Lutheran Christians. If your child comes here, this is what you get from us, up front. You are our guest here in this school, then. This in return is what is expected of you - to support the school, volunteer, pay the tuition on time as much as possible, etc.

Because frankly, the school exists to teach the faith to the children of our congregation's members, FIRST AND FOREMOST. All other things are secondary concerns, and if need be, as much as we'd like to share this great school and resource with our community as an outreach to them with the Gospel, we do not HAVE TO have other students here in this place. That is not to advocate being hurtful to people who, as you mention, cannot pay the bill due to unfortunate circumstances. But that is to advocate not trying to please some parent who wants the Small Catechism not to be taught to their child because it offends them, or not trying to please some parent who wants only pop songs sung in chapel services, or not trying to please some parent who wants this or that program and the veiled threat is, they can get that elsewhere.

If our schools are being run in such a way so that they cater to everyone, and try to be all things for all people, and try to have the biggest and brightest and most eye-popping programs, if it does not serve the Gospel it is useless to us, and those things become our idols. That leads to the business "dollars first" mentality you are talking about.

All things must submit to the Gospel of our Lord and serve Him alone. We should be about Christ's mercy, and not about sacrificing to the altar of numbers either in enrollment or dollars or both.

May we hear our Good Shepherd's voice in all these things!

Angie said...

Wow. Well said. Maybe you should put that in the chruch bulletain;) But seriously, that was very well written and you have an awsome point of view.