Friday, October 5, 2007

Received Today

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Greetings on behalf of the global Ablaze! movement of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and its 30 partner churches around the world.

Asia is Ablaze! Africa is Ablaze! Eurasia is Ablaze! Latin America is Ablaze! Each of our 30 global partner churches has Ablaze! activity. In countries where we work with emerging churches and other partners, they, too, are participating in the Ablaze! movement. In the Philippines, Lutherans at regional conferences wear Ablaze! shirts and share results of outreach activity. East, West, South, Anglo, and Franco Africa mission training centers feature Ablaze! resources. Children in Sunday schools sport Ablaze! bracelets and display Ablaze! balloons. In India and Sri Lanka, probationers (vicars) are planting churches under the Ablaze! banner. In fact, the India Evangelical Lutheran Church has made a commitment to reach 25 million people with the Gospel message by 2017! Ablaze! banners decorate churches in Panama and throughout Latin America. In many areas of the world, the Ablaze! movement is much more vibrant than it is here in the United States. In many cultures, sharing the news of Jesus is a normal expectation of being a Christian, and happens daily. African Lutherans are somewhat surprised that any church would need a special emphasis on sharing the Gospel!

Next time we will explore the Acts 1:8 proclamation model and begin to look at how the national Fan into Flame funding campaign supports this model.

In Christ,


Rev. Dr. William Diekelman, Campaign Spokesman


  1. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    African Christians aren't the only one surprised - I'm surprised. In fact, I'm rather annoyed that we seem to think we need to spend the GNP of a small country on trying to get our people to actually talk about Jesus.

    Now I'm scared to check my mail. Thanks.

  2. Emily H. said...

    Can anyone say "marketing ploy"? They talked as much about the Ablaze bracelets, shirts, banners, ect. as they did about sharing the Gospel! I guess you can really tell who's on board with Ablaze by the gear that they wear.

  3. Dixie said...

    Speaking of marketing, I imagine you both saw the Christianity Today article on the subject referenced on Pastor Alms blog. I read it to my husband this morning. I was particularly struck by the notion of the "messianic secret" and the teaching in parables.

    When faith is understood as integral to "being" (integrated belief and action) then people convey the message by who they are and what they do...what comes out of their mouths is but a reflection of this.

    You may recall me writing before about my sister-in-law, the Roman Catholic, meeting her Baptist friend in the grocery store and discovering they both had just returned from mission trips. My sister-in-law had just completed 2 weeks of service in a Jamaican orphanage for the disabled, helping with therapy and after-the-hurricane clean up (in very primitive conditions, no air conditioning, no running water, etc.), all the while participating in the liturgical life of the orphanage. While her friend traveled throughout Europe in an air conditioned coach bus equiped with a DVD player where they put on revivals and she said she saved 350 souls. The contrast for me was really a punch in the gut and a dose of reality.

    I am afraid the marketing approach gives Christianity as much credibility as McDonalds and the Gap...try it for a while and if it doesn't continue to satisfy you...try something else.

    You really bothers me to see the Lutherans get sucked into the American Evangelicalism vortex. (Please understand my husband and two sons are still hardcore it matters to me.) The Lutherans managed to avoid it for so long...why now?

  4. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Great comments folks.

    Emily, that is what struck me too: all those descriptions of how committed they were by the stuff they were wearing. Again we can see where the $100 million Ablaze! dollars is going...or we're making those poor third-world Christians pay for it.

    Dixie, I linked that article in a post today. I was impressed by it too.

    Your story reminds me of a portion of The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. A friend of his was Hindu and explained why Christian missionaries could not convert the Indian people: they were fat and sweaty and undisciplined. They did not look "holy" by clearly living an ascetic life. Of course Merton wrote it much better than I did. I'll have to find that quote somewhere.

  5. Christopher D. Hall said...

    Aha! Found it already:

    But all Christian missionaries, according to him, suffered from this big drawback: they lived too well, too comfortably. They took care of themselves in a way that simply made it impossible for the Hindus to regard them as holy--let alone the fact that they ate meat, which made them repugnant to the natives. (p. 196)