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Archive for the ‘Garrett Craw’ Category

Risky Business

I was once a church-planting candidate in the largest conservative Reformed denomination in America. During my seminary preparation I watched as prospective church-planters jumped through various hoops, including raising money. At the time, it was not unusual for a single church-planter on the West Coast to have to raise $500,000 but I have heard recently that the amount needed to execute a church-plant, before the first worship service is ever planned, is over $1 million in some metropolitan areas. Is this a good and desirable thing?

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, being interviewed by Radio Bremen in 1962, said the following:

Money corrupts. If I have to solicit great foundations for money for my research, then I have to propose something which is already obsolete for me. I know no researcher who in the first moment of a new inspiration could have found the sympathy and approval of the establishment. Whether it’s Galileo, Copernicus, Fichte, or I myself, it’s always the same: the new thought has to break through in battle against the vested interests, the power of the establishment, the conception of squandered money, against money itself—in short, against power of all sorts.

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There is something in the nature of man that he feels the necessity to add to things. This can be a good thing as we transform the natural order from a raw state into a more gloriously refined state but it can also be twisted. Take our conception of and approach to the Eucharist. In the Puritan world an emphasis was put on the judgmental aspect of the Table and our unworthy disposition toward it. This led to, ironically, the same fearful disposition toward the Eucharist that Medieval Catholics had and that the Puritans were seeking to escape.   (more…)

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A lot of people assume that planting a liturgical church is the kiss of death. “Do the contemporary thing, it’ll draw in the young people” they say. But planting a liturgical church is doable and its dividends are great, though it takes some up-front planning. So here are some tips: 

  1. Prepare your launch team to sing in parts and be familiar with your music (hymns and Psalms) before you officially launch the church. There is nothing sadder than seeing a poorly executed liturgical service. (more…)

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Traditionally, the Anglican Church has viewed itself as the “Via Media” or “Middle Way” between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. But I want to suggest that a helpful way of viewing Reformed churches is seeing them, in some sense, as a “Via Media.” 

The recent controversy in conservative Reformed circles has generally run along the fault line between High Church Calvinists and those more influenced by a Revivalist tradition coming out of the Great Awakenings. The charge is often leveled against High Church Calvinists that their openness to historic liturgy and a higher regard for and practice of the sacraments leads to people heading to Roman Catholicism and, to a lesser degree, Eastern Orthodoxy. Perhaps this is true but for the sake of clear and honest dialogue, we will assume this is true. But on the other hand, it seems that there is a constant hemorrhage of persons leaving more Revivalist Reformed churches for Baptist churches (this has been my experience) and this should be equally disturbing to us. After all, these folks will be viewed with endless suspicion until they recant their covenant baptisms and submit to re-baptism, something our Puritan forefathers would find outrageous.  (more…)

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