Monday, August 18, 2014


Yeah, But Stratagem Makes A Difference

Douglas Wilson:
There is a way of falling in love with an elegant play, the way the coach drew it out on the whiteboard, with all the x’s and o’s doing just what they need to do in order to enable the coach to draw an arrow toward the end zone. And people who love this also love the walk-throughs in practice. “Look at the elegant way the guard pulls, runs left and takes out the blitzing linebacker. In slow motion.”

The problem is that in a real game, the value of the play when run full tilt in real time looks quite a bit different than it did when we all had the leisure to think things through. It is easier to see the reason for everything during the walk-throughs. The only problem is that it is not the game.

The Prussian general von Moltke once said that “no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” And this is probably why Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

We often talk about the worship wars, but these are just quarrels over strategy between coaches in practice. The real worship war is the war that right worship declares — on the devil and all his works. So we should be supportive of every form of Christian worship that engages the enemy effectively. If it does that, we might want to tinker with it to make it more effective, but we would be doing this with a general disposition of support. If it does not do that, it is worthless — no matter how good it is.
I can't disagree with that, but note that regardless of outcome, "...planning is indispensable.” The exercise is necessary- absolutely totally and completely necessary. The key question in my mind is "Why?"

Well, I think Wilson's last paragraph there tells much of the tale. When we argue we are trying in part to learn how to think and argue about these things. Numbers do not matter , save we are moving those numbers where we want them to go. Attracting numbers is fairly easy - turning those numbers into serious committed disciples is hard.

Early in my university career, I considered teaching as my goal. One of the reasons I did not end up there is that I have been told administrations would have a hard time with me because I "would expect the students to actually master the material."

So when we discuss "worship wars" are we attempting to fill the pews or are we attempting to have the people there master the material? If the latter does not frame the discussion - a re-evaluation is needed.


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