12 November 2011

Decline and Fall

Techno Mass in Swedish Lutheran Church

It is so predictable, I hesitate to comment on it. But this article encapsulates it, inadvertently, but concisely, toward the middle.
Over the past 10 years, membership in Sweden's Lutheran church has fallen 13 percent and attendance at regular Sunday services plunged 50 percent to 4.6 million visits last year, worrying the clergy.

The church in Sweden has become increasingly progressive.

In 1958, it allowed its first female priests, and two years ago ordained its first openly gay bishop, Eva Brunne, and gave priests the right to wed same-sex couples.

Idestrom says his modern Mass is a further development on the road of progress.

You will note, "progressive." Is a key word. "Happening or developing gradually or in stages." "A group favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas." These are two of the definitions my dictionary gives, and they are using it in these senses. "Progress" is defined as "movement toward a destination." Well, they certainly are making progress....are they going anyplace worth going?, that is the important question that no one seems to be asking.

Let me fill in the rest of the sequence of events on how this happens.
  • We want to be "smart" like all the other academics at the university.
  • We start accepting ideas of "higher textual criticism" and other theological innovations.
  • Because of this, we make the subtle (at first) shift from allowing scripture to be our judge to being the judge of scripture.
  • Once we're the judge, we start to question (condem) the parts we don't like.
  • Once we start editing, truth becomes subjective and we become the source of all authority.
  • Once we lose hold on the revealed truth, we have become just like the world. (Now we are just like most of the people at the university).
  • Once we are just like the world, there is nothing to attract anyone to us, because we are just like everywhere else.
  • Then we have start turning to the ways of the world--flash and sensationalism--to attract people to us.
All of this is progress. The same way there was "progress" in Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. Way to be biblical! I suppose as long as we are ignoring great chunks of scripture, we can assume God's reaction won't be the same this time....

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