M. Z. Hemingway explains everything you need to know about the current controversy over the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s cancellation of “Issues, Etc.” in a story in no less than the Wall Street Journal. Her piece is entitled Radio Silence. After discussing the cancellation, including the synod’s latest explanation that the show lost too much money and had too few viewers, Hemingway puts the incident in a larger context and concludes:
The program was in all likelihood a pawn in a larger battle for the soul of the Missouri Synod. The church is divided between, on the one hand, traditional Lutherans known for their emphasis on sacraments, liturgical worship and the church’s historic confessions and, on the other, those who have embraced pop-culture Christianity and a market-driven approach to church growth. The divide is well known to all confessional Christian denominations struggling to retain their traditional identity. . . .[The program’s] attacks against shallow church marketing included mention of some approaches embraced by the current leadership. It opposed, for instance, the emergent church — an attempt to accommodate postmodern culture by blending philosophies and practices from throughout the church’s history — and the Purpose Driven Church movement, which reorients the church’s message toward self-help and self-improvement.