August 20, 2013 "Lights, Camera, Action!"
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Lights, Camera, Action!
Oh, and Mr. DeMille
"Carthago Delenda Est!"
If you are like me, you enjoy movies. If you are really like me, you really enjoy the oldies, the ones that don’t rely on immersing you in computer graphic action sequences, but movies like the film noir classic, Sunset Boulevard, with Gloria Swanson’s famous closing line, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up!” Of course, I enjoy modern cinema as well, especially when it’s got substance.
Having said that, let me tell you about a hi-def video project of the ACELC. If you haven’t viewed the 7 minute promo, please do so here
The video is now in post-production. Three segments of approximately 40-45 minutes each will provide, first, an overview and explanation of the ACELC and the importance of its work for our brothers and sisters in the LCMS, and second, a two part treatment of the ten errors being tolerated in the LCMS, identified in our Evidence of Errors documents available on our website here.
Time to head back to the concession counter and refill that large barrel of popcorn, you say? OK, so it’s not filmed in 3D, nothing is exploding, and there are no car chase scenes. Well, maybe not exactly, but that does not mean we shouldn’t pay attention to the big picture. God’s Word and our Lutheran Confessions don’t come with surround sound, but they should and ought to shake us up. We’ve got fractures. If you don't think so, just look around! Don't take our word for it. Check out for yourself some of the websites of LCMS congregations on the Internet. As you do that, pay attention to how well we’re walking together these days. We have errors of both doctrine and practice, and they have been lingering in our midst for some time. Our walk together as brothers and sisters in Christ needs fixing. And if we ignore that, well, it’s like all those little warnings audiences get in movies that make you want to shout to some on-screen character: “Don’t do that!” But they never learn, do they? I guess it wasn't in the script.
That shouldn't be the case for us, though, because we have God’s Word and our Lutheran Confessions. These call us to honest evaluation and repentance, to speaking the truth in love. So, let’s read the books. They’re always better than the movie anyway. But just in case a little popcorn would help the medicine go down, the ACELC intends to have its video ready for release in January of 2014. The three parts will be geared for use in Bible Class as well as other settings. We also expect to provide a discussion or study guide to go along with the video.
We know the ACELC has been saying all this for awhile. We appreciate the need for big problems to be fixed over time, pastorally. We’re not trying to rub popcorn salt in anyone’s eyes but we do want – in the most charitable way possible – to do what Cato did for the Roman Republic when he continually ended his speeches with the words: “Carthago delenda est,” or, “Carthage must be destroyed.”
Now to be sure, we are far from calling for anyone’s destruction, however, we are advocating the correction of the errors that have been permitted to fester and grow in our Church body over the years. We do advocate treating and healing the wound as deeply as it needs to be treated, not lightly, as did the false prophets of Israel. Do we really need a multi-million dollar movie to wake us up to the disaster that would be? No? Maybe just a few thousand dollar one, then! That’s why the ACELC has put donated funds and membership dues toward the work of providing this video series for you, free of charge!
We have already had a number of folks who have contributed toward this project, but we are still in need of more. So, If you would like to support the completion and distribution of this project, you may make a donation by clicking here.
If you would like to know more, please email me or another member of the ACELC board by going here. Pastor Perry Copus is the person putting this project together, and I think you'll agree that he is doing a fine job. I’m sure he would also be open to speaking with you about the value of this project.

All in all, we think this is one more way we can winsomely do what Cato did, that is, gently but persistently remind people of the danger of leaving threats to our Church uncorrected – in our case, errors of doctrine and practice. In addition, we think you will really enjoy the documentary style of this video. Despite the absence of computer generated imagery, special effects or action sequences, we think it’s worth grabbing some popcorn, a Bible, the Confessions and anyone interested in learning what the ACELC is doing and how it’s important for our Synod. Mr. DeMille may have had nothing to do with it, and Gloria Swanson’s character may have long since retired to the loony bin, but we all ought to be ready for what this video presents: a close up, honest and caring look at what needs correcting in our Synod. To ignore the need for that would be the real insanity.
Remember, as tiresome as Cato’s refrain got and as extreme as the result of it was, he was right at least this far: Carthage was a threat that couldn't be ignored or allowed to stand. So, any reluctance on our part as a Synod to acknowledge and correct our errors of doctrine and practice must surely be destroyed if our genuine love and walking together as brothers and sisters in faith and life are to be preserved.
Pr. Rick Sawyer
ACELC Vice-Chair
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