Monday, August 18, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to the Convocation?

The Theological Convocation on Church Structure of the LCMS, that is. Leonard Sweet. Who's that you ask? This is from his bio on his webpage:

  • "One of the church's most important and provocative thinkers."
  • Voted "One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America" (2006, 2207)
  • "No church leader understands better how to navigate the seas of the 21st century."
  • "A writer of vast imagination, poise and charm."
  • "I can't imagine a Christian leader in America who hasn't read one or more of Leonard Sweet's books."
  • "Some statistician-types will drown you in doom and gloom. Sweet's message is uplifting, hopeful and relevant."
These are but a sampling of responses to Len's three-ring mission: as a historian of American culture; as a futurist/semiotician who "sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;" and as a preacher and writer who communicates the gospel powerfully to a postmodem age by bridging the worlds of academe and popular culture.

Currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon, Len has been Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University for five years, Previous to Drew Len served for eleven years as President and Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. Prior to 1985, Len was Provost of Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. Involved in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America's denominational leaders and agencies. He is a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference.
So he is a Methodist and a futurist. And he's speaking to our theological convocation to...what? To help us understand Lutheran theology about Church Structure. Hmmm....

But it is actually much, much worse. Here's some quotes from one of his books:

“A globalization of evangelism “in connection” with others, and a globally “informed” gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim–people from other so called “new” religious traditions (“new” only to us)–without assumption of superiority and power. One Caribbean theologian has called this the “decolonization of theology.”~It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing” (Leonard Sweet, “Quantum Spirituality” pp.130-131).

“The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people “in-phase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another.” (ibid. p. 147)

I found these quotes from a comment by Jim Pierce on He says it better than I can.

Leonard Sweet is a pan-theist who has embraced New Age mysticism. For Sweet we are all on the same path, Hindu, Muslim, Christianity, Buddhism… these are all religions that equally have the “spark of truth”. Take notice of what Sweet states about people “in-phase” with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another”. This is the old jargon of New Age philosophy.

So, here we have synod paying a heretic to speak at our convocation over theology and church structure. It was just in January that Terry Dittmer (LCMS National Youth Director) had well known Emergent guru Dan Kimball speak to our youth workers, at a symposium in Texas, about reaching out to youth.

We have a female pentecostal pastor leading worship at a the Texas District Youth convention.

Are these sort of events coincidental, or are they evidence of a concerted effort by leadership in the synod to move the LCMS into 21st century synergistic practice and doctrinal baloney?

But maybe Mr. Pierce and I are jousting at windmills.


  1. Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

    Me too, so it would seem.

  2. Paul said...

    Obviously, some in LCMS circles no longer believe what they pray. A major and dangersous disconnect, indeed. Kyrie eleison!

  3. Norm Fisher said...

    Wow! He was the "Most Important and Provocative Thinker" 200 years apart! (in 2006 AND 2207). Quite amazing.