95 THESES FOR MISSOURI'S REFORMATION

by Ralph Tate

Prolegomenon.

Reformed/evangelical missology pervades nearly all aspects of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Many Missouri missologists have been favorably disposed to these revivalist evangelistic techniques and methods, because so many reformed/evangelical churches hold a high view Scripture. Nevertheless, such missology strikes at the heart of the Lutheran, to wit Christian, faith without which man may not receive his Glorious Inheritance in Christ. The fundamental missological reformed/evangelical principle is to approach men at the point of their perceived or "felt need". This un-Scriptural principle obliquely attacks the Article of Justification thereby destroying the fulcrum of the Christian faith. Since all doctrine and practice flow from or point to objective justification, a theology based in felt needs pervades all aspects of doctrine and practice. The following theses expose those errors of doctrine and practice promoted by so-called Church Growth and Leadership aficionados.

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I. A theology of felt needs rejects the Article of Original Sin.

II. A theology of felt needs rejects Divine monergism.

III. A theology of felt needs seeks God elsewhere than in the Crucified One.

IV. Therefore, a theology of felt needs seeks God elsewhere than in Word and Sacrament.

V. A theology of felt needs calls Truth Lie and Lie Truth by denying Sola Scripturas:

a. A theology of felt needs rejects the notion of objective Truth;
b. A theology of felt needs makes Truth subject to the person.

VI. Therefore, a theology of felt needs denies the marks of the pure Church of God on Earth (AC VII):

a. A theology of felt needs denies that the Word is purely preached only where the Lord's Supper is rightly administered;
b. A theology of felt needs denies that the Lord's Supper is rightly administered only where the Word is purely preached.

VII. A theology of felt needs rejects the Incarnational Nature of Christ's Church:

a. A theology of felt needs sees the Church as organization;
b. A theology of felt needs rejects the Unum Sancta, a living thing.

VIII. A theology of felt needs is centripetal to Word and Sacrament.

IX. A theology of felt needs rejects the Crucified One's Cross.

X. A theology of felt needs rejects preaching the Law.

XI. Therefore, a theology of felt needs cannot bring sinners to Christ, the Crucified One:

a. A theology of felt needs cannot preach redemption;
b. A theology of felt needs cannot preach reconciliation
c. A theology of felt needs cannot preach the Article of Justification;
d. Therefore, a theology of felt needs confirms hardened Pharisees or despairing cynics.

XII. A theology of felt needs also rejects the usum tertias (third use of the law):

a. A theology of felt needs cannot correct erring persons;
b. A theology of felt need cannot correct erring communions.

XIII. A theology of felt needs cannot comfort trouble souls:

a. A theology of felt needs turns man inwards;
b. A theology of felt needs rejects turning outward into the Crucified One.

XIV. A theology of felt needs manifests chiliasm. (Millenialism)

XV. A theology of felt needs manifests Nestorian christology (Christ is God in name only); therefore:

a. A theology of felt needs manifests a Nestorian ecclessiology;
b. A theology of felt needs manifests a Nestorian sacramentology.

XVI. "Evangelical style" contradicts "Lutheran substance"- a scriptural falsehood and ontological fallacy:

a. A theology of felt needs contradicts Lutheran piety;
b. True Lutheran worship obtains from biblical and confessional principles;
c. Reformed evangelical worship obtains from the enthusiasm and fanaticism of men's corrupt hearts;
d. Lutheran worship looks outward to the Crucified One; Reformed/evangelical worship is curvatus a se (curved into onesself)-- pagan self-worship.

XVII. A theology of felt needs rejects the Person, Nature and Work of Christ Jesus, the Crucified One.

XVIII. A theology of felt needs is a construct of Maslovian transpersonal psychology, New Age psychobabble.

XIX. A theology of felt needs establishes a personal hermenuetical principle of Biblical interpretation.

XX. A theology of felt needs teaches man as merely sick rather than a condemned criminal, coram Dei (according to the judgement of God):

a. A theology of felt needs establishes theraputic regimens;
b. A theology of felt needs establishes pastors as therapists;
c. A theology of felt needs results in theosophical speculation.

XXI. A theology of felt needs cannot distinguish common graces from special graces in His Church.

XXII. As before, a theology of felt needs establishes the Church as an organization:

a. Business school programmatics supplant Word and Sacrament in a theology of felt needs;
b. A theology of felt needs converts pastor from shepherd and steward into administrator.

XXIII. A theology of felt needs manifests unionsim.

XXIV. A theology of felt needs establishes man as God.

XXV. A theology of felt needs is a theology of inclusion:

a. A theology of felt needs embraces "open communion";
b. A theology of felt needs supplants openness and tolerance for acceptance, accommodation and affirmation;
c. A theology of felt needs cannot comprehend the term "catholic".

XXVI. A theology of felt needs accepts man as righteous according to his works; that is, a theology of felt needs rejects the sola fide (from V).

XXVII. Therefore, a theology of felt needs is a Theology of Glory:

a. A theology of felt needs is heresy;
b. Heterodox communions practice according to principles of felt needs theology;
c. A communion may not be called orthodox, confessional or Lutheran when applying principles of felt needs theology.

XXVIII. Pastors and theologians embracing a theology of felt needs are hermenuetical and epistematical liberals. These must be summarily deposed.

XXIX. A theology of felt needs ultimately leads to apostasy.

XXX. A theology of felt needs necessarily rejects Christ's Real Presence both to His Church and in His Supper.

XXXI. A theologian of felt needs cannot be a Theologian of the Cross.

XXXII. A theology of felt needs exposes a sacramentarian.

XXXIII. A theology of felt needs supplants scriptural marks of the Church for human visions, goals and outcomes.

XXXIV. A theology of felt needs seeks fulfillment in direct social and political action.

XXXV. A theology of felt needs seeks relevance in this world; a Theology of the Cross seeks relevance by embracing that which is foolish and irrelevant - the Cross.

XXXVI. Worship based on a theology of felt needs is both narcissistic and nihilist.

XXXVII. Worship based in a theology of felt needs is enslaved to base culture; orthodox and confession worship is transcendent -- that is, countercultural and transcultural.

XXXVIII. Worship based in a theology of felt needs conforms to the prevailing culture's norms and precepts:

a. A theology of felt needs minimizes its breadth of influence;
b. A theology of felt needs follows the least common denominator;
c. A theology of felt needs subordinates the church beneath culture.

XXXIX. Worship based in a theology of felt needs exposes a liberal ecclessiology.

XL. The Lutheran church subsists in the dialectal tension of paradox; relieving that paradox results in either Calvinism (double predestination) or Arminianism (man cooperates in his salvation by his free will):

a. Arminianism devolves into Socanism in the limit;
b. A theology of felt needs is extreme Arminianism;
c. A Lutheran Church becomes minimally heterodox if not apostate when practicing a theology of felt needs.

XLI. A theology of felt needs reflects a sectarian spirit.

XLII. A theology of felt needs establish men, groups and movements as normative rather than Scripture doctrine.

XLIII. An ecclessiology based in a theology of felt needs repudiates Christ Jesus' Great Commission.

XLIV. A theology of felt needs violates good order in the Church:

a. Small groups form conflicting polities;
b. Small groups often form micro churches;
c. Small groups often form elitist circles based on common interest, economic and social status; such groups may establish church policy outside of congregational purview;
d. Small groups are the breeding ground of heresy.

XLV. A theology of felt needs violates confessional unity within the congregation and Synod.

XLVI. No practice based in a theology of felt needs can be adopted, modified, rehabilitated or sanctified for use in the Lutheran Church:

a. Such practice is rooted in un-Scriptural Zwinglian ecclessiology (the church is a physical, politicial entity);
b. Reformed/evangelical ecclessiology is antithetical to Scriptural Lutheran principles.

XLVII. A theology of felt needs only affects the emotions thereby effecting only shallow, temporary change in man; a Theology of the Cross annihilates man to crush his will -- a theology of felt needs cannot affect the will of man.

XLVIII. In a theology of felt needs, man ascends to God; whereas in a Theology of the Cross God condescends to man:

a. A theology of felt needs seeks that which it can neither go nor seek;
b. A Theology of the Cross finds that which was blind, bumbling and lost.

XLIX. A theology of felt needs makes every man Pope and antichrist.

L. A theology of felt needs manifests postmodern fascism.

LI. A theology of felt needs is counter-reformational.

LII. A theology of felt needs deals with man's symptoms not his root disease: sin and rebellion.

a. Man's felt needs are asymptomatic of his root problem;
b. A theology of felt needs gives blinded man a cane not sight.

LIII. A theology of felt needs breeds mysticism.

LIV. A theology of felt needs is pietistic in that it emphasizes holiness and activity as evidence of the church.

LV. A theology of felt needs is grounded in a deistic world view.

LVI. A theology of felt needs destroys the external supports of the Church.

LVII. A theology of felt needs confuses the visible and invisible Church even whether the visible Church exists.

LVIII. A theology of felt needs hinders the Spirit's work by permitting His activity to be understood psychologically, sociologically or philosophically (from XLVII).

LIX. A theology of felt needs profanes the holy and sanctifies the profane.

LX. A theology of felt needs is heretical if only because it tolerates heresy (from XII).

LXI. A theology of felt needs breeds tyranny by investing congregational authority in within a leadership clique.

LXII. A theology of felt needs confuses the Office of the Holy Ministry with "leadership".

LXIII. A theology of felt needs is a gutter form of post-modern "process" theology.

LXIV. In a theology of felt needs, pastors degenerate into mere enablers.

LXV. A theology of felt needs is universalism (from XL).

LXVI. A theology of felt needs embraces a "realized" eschatology.

LXVII. A theology of felt needs subverts the doctrine of faith.

LXVIII. A theology of felt needs confuses the Priesthood of All Believers with the Office of Holy Ministry.

LXIX. A theology of felt needs rejects the orthodox Creeds as relevant to contemporary man.

LXX. A theology of felt needs rejects the confessional principle:

a. A theology of felt needs rejects quia subscription;
b. A theology of felt needs confuses the doctrine of inspiration of Scripture;
c. A theology of felt needs rejects confessional exegesis.

LXXI. A theology of felt needs enslaves the Church under human law rather than subsisting in the Gospel.

LXXII. Therefore, a theology of felt needs destroys the Article on Election by confusing the elect with the non-elect.

LXXIII. A theology of felt needs is narcissistic expressivism.

LXXIV. A theology of felt needs allows Recognized Service Organizations (RSO) to trample the Lord's Vineyard.

LXXV. A theology of felt needs allows another voice in the Church other than the Good Shepherd's Voice.

LXXVI. A theology of felt needs cannot comprehend the doctrine of the call to teach in the Church.

LXXVII. A theology of felt needs is cultic.

LXXVIII. A theology of felt needs allows the Church to be looted by hirelings with no call to office much less even to speak.

LXXIX. In a theology of felt needs, the "homogeneous unit principle" embraces determinism.

LXXX. In a theology of felt needs, "church growth" eyes are blind, because they can only see man coram humano. (according to human judgment)

LXXXI. A theology of felt needs seeks to manipulate God to achieve predictable empirical results thereby ignoring God's Sovereign Will and Purposes (from XXIV).

LXXXII. Therefore, a theology of felt needs violates the First Commandment.

LXXXIII. A theology of felt needs is a reductionist fallacy, because it assumes empirical metrics quantify the Church's vitality.

LXXXIV. In a theology of felt needs, "contemporary worship" is a complex-compound oxymoron.

LXXXV. In a theology of felt needs, "contemporary worship" isn't, because it's the same old Adam struggling to express himself.

LXXXVI. A theology of felt needs cannot give all Glory to God alone.

LXXXVII. Therefore, a theology of felt needs robs God of His Glory thereby deifying man (see XXIV).

LXXXVIII. A theology of felt needs is a "zero sum" paradigm.

LXXXIX. As man prefers darkness rather than light, a theology of felt needs advances in secret conclaves by political chicanery.

XC. The presence of a theology of felt needs identifies a Church that has lost faith in the Gospel.

XCI. A theology of felt needs breeds either a nihilist cynicism or narcissistic solipsism (reality is one's experience only) thereby quenching the Spirit.

XCII. In a theology of felt needs, evangelism is merely "sheep stealing".

XCIII. A theology of felt needs presumes knowledge known only to God alone (see LXXXIII and LXXII).

XCIV. A theology of felt needs exhibits cognitive dissonance, because it separates worship from professed Word and doctrine.

XCV. Therefore, a theology of felt needs must be condemned and execrated as an abomination from Hell.

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