Friday, October 24, 2014

Classic Church Mouse plus Ichabod Quotations from Megatron

Daniel Fuller, son of the founder, led the school away from inerrancy.
Church Mouse has many good posts - well researched.



Fuller Theological Seminary alums: Rob Bell « Churchmouse Campanologist:

Fuller Theological Seminary alums: Rob Bell
November 25, 2010 in Evangelical, Protestant | Tags: emergent church, Evangelical, Fuller Theological Seminary, Protestant, Rob Bell
Rob Bell, 40, is one of Fuller Theological Seminary‘s top alums and a big name in the Emergent Church.

The lopsided smile makes us think of Mark and Avoid Jeske,
but this is fellow apostate Rob Bell.


Beginnings

He founded Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a city better known as a centre of Reformed (Calvinist) theology in the United States. His father, Robert Holmes Bell, is a US Federal Judge, first appointed in Ronald Reagan’s second administration in 1987.

Like his father, Rob earned his Bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College in Illinois. Whilst there, he was part of an indie rock band and also met his future wife, Kristen. He got his start in the ministry after volunteering to teach a Christian message to the counsellors at the college’s Honey Rock Camp when no minister was available. At that time, he said, the Holy Spirit gave him a message about ‘rest’. From that point on, he decided to pursue a calling in the church.

That compelled him to earn an M.Div. from Fuller and serve as a youth intern at Lake Avenue Church. After he earned his degree, Bell and his wife returned to Grand Rapids, where he took the Saturday evening service at Calvary Chapel. At the age of 29, he decided to break out on his own by founding the Mars Hill Bible Church. Within a year, the congregation moved to what was a disused anchor store in a local mall.

In addition to his highly successful church ministry, he also makes short films. The series is called NOOMA, the phonetic American pronunciation of pneuma, signifying the Holy Spirit. (Here in the UK, we would say ‘NEWMA‘.) He also tours the country to sell-out crowds. His books include Velvet Elvis, Sex God and Drops Like Stars.

Start with Barth

According to someone who knows and told Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, Bell was more of a John MacArthur style preacher when he served at Calvary Chapel. Then, he and his wife read one of Brian McLaren’s books, A New Kind of Christian. From that point, he rejected sola Scriptura. He believes that the Bible needs reinterpretation. He also said that the more one studies the Bible, the more questions it raises.

How do the ministers from the Emergent Church come to think that way? Silva puts it down to the influence of Modernism, then Karl Barth. Whilst Barth advocated a neo-orthodoxy, which in some way redressed Modernism, he did reject sola Scriptura and biblical inerrancy. For him, Scripture contained words of God, not the Word of God. Bell, too, rejects the truth of Scripture and loves the confusion his questions bring him. Yet, for many of us, myself included, it was actually believing what the Bible said which brought a sense of relief and deepened our belief.

Divine dirt clods

Bell borrowed a phrase from Marianne Williamson and attributed it to Nelson Mandela. One can imagine that his congregation lapped it up. Ken Silva tells us:

If you’re still tracking with (in English that’s following) me I return your attention now to the supposed ”Mandela” quote where Guru Bell tells us “you may be a dirt clod, but there is greatness and power and glory that resides in every single human being.” Why is that; because ”this divine breath is in every single human being ever.” And what has Bell taught us all along; that “breath” is spirit—it’s the heart of his whole shtick right down to “Nooma” …

… as previously pointed out in Rob Bell and New Age Guru Marianne Williamson those words were actually penned by New Age Priestess Marianne Williamson in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles“.

What about homosexuals?

Scripturally speaking, there is only one way to truthfully respond when asked if a homosexual can continue his liaisons and become a Christian. Yet, Bell obfuscates:

The Bible is very clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin (see—Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and for someone to become a Christian they must repent of [i.e. forsake, turn away from] their sin (see—Mark 1:14-15; Acts 20:21). But unfortunately an honest question to Rob Bell and MHBC on such a crucial issue of our time was met with a mere form letter from a “michelle” …

Then the recipient of this form letter from michelle of “Mars Hill Communications” is told:

We care deeply how Scripture is interpreted and how to discern living the way of Jesus, and in encountering differing viewpoints it is our aim to agree or disagree in love, keeping central a shared desire to know God and serve Jesus Christ. Regarding your comments or questions, we’d like to direct you to our mission http://www.marshill.org/mission, Narrative Theology http://www.marshill.org/believe,

Directions http://www.marshill.org/believe/directions [shared values], and serving focus http://www.marshill.org/serving, available at marshill.org.
You might also find our recent audio teachings http://www.marshill.org/teaching/podcast.php and archived series http://www.marshill.org/teaching/other.php as well as Rob Bell’s recommended reading list http://www.marshill.org/about/rob/recommendedReadingList.php to be beneficial.

After all, I’m constantly told how Jesus-centered and Biblical Bell’s teaching is; well Rob Bell, where do you stand; because Jesus answers the question—No.

Judge not

About online criticism, Bell had this to say:

When a Christian can find nothing better to do with their time [than criticize]…you start realizing that some Christians need to be saved. How a person would have energy to take shots at other Christians is just mind-boggling. You have to be so disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time.

That sort of response doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’m delighted that Ken Silva blogged (!) the following:

This would make me one whom Bell called “disconnected” from life because in his fickle fantasy I would only be thinking about how “blogging is somehow a redemptive use” of my time. But instead it looks like Bell’s entered the doghouse yet again feeling he’s just “a little more relevant” because he and his “tribe cares more about the poor” etc., etc. while buying into the myth that those who hold the doctrines of grace like me don’t have any such concerns.

And this is what an Anglican priest pretty much published in a parish newsletter a few weeks ago. Paraphrased: ‘God doesn’t care about your religiosity or your doctrinal belief; He cares about what you do.’ Deeds, not creeds! Oh, we have so much in this world to DO! And you can’t redeem yourself in His sight unless your DOING things in His name. (That is, things which the church approves. Blogging isn’t one of them, because your pastor cannot see what you are doing.) Wrong … it’s about living a life of faith through grace. Our pitiful works alone cannot save us.

Hell defined

Bell is into utopia, always a bad sign. Ken Silva explains:

Bell makes it clear that he is more concerned with “hell on earth” than with what happens after this life: “What’s disturbing then is when people talk more about hell after this life than they do about hell here and now” …

Bell’s teaching that heaven and hell come to earth depending on how we live now simply is not biblical. He says, “As a Christian, I want to do what I can to resist hell coming to earth. Poverty, injustice, suffering – they are all hells on earth, and as Christians we oppose them with all our energies.” [7] But the term for hell, Gehenna, is used 12 times in the New Testament, 11 of them by Jesus. Not once did He use the term to describe something that is now on earth or now coming to earth.

But, then, Bell’s not interested in biblical truths, just a social activist interpretation.

How evangelical is Bell?

Ken Silva observes:

Bell is a hero to the mystical interspiritual set who in their deluded spiritual pride think their neo-Gnostic meditation powwows of Contemplative/Centering Prayer will eventually unite all religions. But this now begs the question: If the so-called crossing of ”traditional boundaries of religious groups to build stronger communities” really was the message of Jesus Christ and His Apostles then why were all of them, save John, murdered? They should have been as revered as Bell is. But you should now be able to understand why we’re experiencing such a diluting of doctrine; you see, if they were to teach in straight Biblical purity it wouldn’t make them very good role models at all for these fickle “faith heroes.”

‘Nothing new under the sun’

Another pastor, the Revd Casey Freswick of Bethany United Reformed Church in Wyoming, Michigan, writes of Bell’s errors:

Ultimately, Rob Bell does not repaint the Christian faith. He paints a picture that is not a picture of the Christian faith or the truth of Christianity. But his new picture of error is not really new at all. It is old error. It is old false teaching. It is the same old errors of the past repainted. Rob Bell forsakes truth. He rejects it. He deceives. He is a false teacher. He repaints the errors of the past…

Rob Bell has embraced these and other errors and merged them into postmodernism, an anti-Christian philosophy teaching the impossibility of absolute truth. Both postmodern 21st century philosophy and 20th century “modern liberalism” have influenced Rob Bell. A more appropriate title for Rob Bell’s painting, his “Velvet Elvis”, is “Postmodern Liberalism” …

One key aspect of liberalism embraced by Rob Bell is the false view of the life of Jesus replacing faith in Jesus. For Bell “Christian” describes those devoted “to living the way of the Messiah, who they believed was Jesus. A person who follows Jesus … A way of life centered around a person who lives.” He writes, “I am far more interested in jumping than I am in arguing about whose trampoline is better.” What we do is essential, not what we believe.

It is hard to fathom someone professing a love for Christ yet rolling around in all that error. I, too, embraced a lot of this before it was loosely codified as the emergent church. You could get it fairly readily by finding out what the clergy read in their spare time, then taking the books out of the local library. At some point, you get to the point where you ask yourself, ‘If I believe the Beatitudes and charity are the way forward, why am I not predisposed towards believing the rest of Scripture?‘ And, at that moment, the real journey begins with Bible reading, solemn reflection and prayer. I am today miles away from where I was then, which was not too far from where Rob Bell is now.

I have spent the past few hours reading through what Rob Bell says. Nowhere was there any mention of the Cross, Christ’s propitiation for our sins, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost or St Paul’s exhortations to the churches. Maybe he’s wrestling with himself wondering whether or how they actually happened. If so, that’s very sad, indeed.

Tomorrow: Another Fuller alum and his theology

Ichabod was the first to predict Mark Driscoll's war,
and his disciples Glende and Ski have followed.

***

GJ - Fuller Seminary began with weak view of inerrancy (inerrant in doctrine, but not necessarily in history, geography, etc). The founder's son studied under Karl Barth, an avowed Marixist, and came back with a new view of the Word of God. Another prominent leader at Fuller had similar training.

Church Growth - so dearly loved by Missouri, WELS, the Little Sect, and some parts of ELCA, had its beginning after Fuller repudiated inerrancy. Joel Gerlach, David Valleskey, F. Bivens, Lawrence Otto Olson, First VP Huebner, and Paul Calvin Kelm all studied CG at Fuller.

Some Quotations


"The crudest extravagances of revivalism (Methodism, Pentecostalism, Holy Rollerism) have their root in this specifically Reformed doctrine of the immediate working of the Holy Spirit." [Fuller Seminary is known for its Pentecostal extremism, including C. Peter Wagner's "Signs and Wonders" course.] "Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 299.

"I know these questions are real because I was asking them myself when I first came, during my second missionary furlough from Bolivia, to study at Fuller under McGavran. Frankly, I entered his program in 1967 as a skeptic. But I emerged an enlightened person." C. Peter Wagner (study questions by Rev. John Wimber), Your Church Can Grow, Glendale: G/L Regal Books, 1976, p. 35.

Professional church growth consultant: "A pioneer in this field is Pastor John Wimber of Yorba Linda Friends Church in Orange Country, California. Wimber has recently resigned his pastorate to head up the newly-created Department of Church Growth of the Fuller Evangelistic Association." C. Peter Wagner (study questions by Rev. John Wimber), Your Church Can Grow, Glendale: G/L Regal Books 1976, p. 20.

"The basic responsibility for the seminar is mine, but I am also assisted by Donald McGavran, Win Arn and John Wimber of the Fuller Evangelistic Association." [Two week Doctor of Ministry seminar every winter at Fuller School of Theology, on church growth] C. Peter Wagner (study questions by Rev. John Wimber), Your Church Can Grow, Glendale: G/L Regal Books, 1976, p. 15.

"Church growth consultation began at the Charles E. Fuller Institute in 1975, when it was still called Fuller Evangelistic Association, under C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber. I took over from Wimber in 1978." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Chapter: "Church Growth Consultation," by Carl F. George, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 159.

"In January of 1982, he [Wimber] taught a course at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he is an adjunct professor, called 'Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth.' Wimber taught this course for four years and it became one of the most popular courses at Fuller." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 275.

"Stephen A. Wagner is senior pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, Texas. In addition he serves as chairman of the Church Growth Task Force of the Texas District, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod...He is the author of Heart to Heart: Sharing Christ with a Friend (Corunna, Indiana: Church Growth Center). He is also a contributing author to the Church Planting Manual (North American Missions Department of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, 1985), and he has written articles for denominational publications. Currently he is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree in church growth from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 274.

"Wagner was instrumental in the organization of the North American Society for Church Growth, and became its founding president in 1984. In the same year he was honored by Fuller Seminary with the Donald A. McGavran Chair of Church Growth." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 273.

"Recognizing the need for professional church growth consultation, in 1975 he [C. Peter Wagner] invited John Wimber to become the founding director of what is now the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. Wimber got the Institute off to an excellent start, then left to become the founding pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim and Vineyard Ministries Internation... Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow (Regal, 1979) is approaching the 100,000 mark... Church Growth and the Whole Gospel (Harper and Row, 1981) is a scholarly discussion of criticisms of the Church Growth Movement from the viewpoint of social ethics, in which Wagner did his doctoral work." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 271f.

"C. Peter Wagner is the Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth at the Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Missions in Pasadena, California. The School of World Mission became a part of Fuller Seminary in 1965 when Donald McGavran, father of the Church Growth Movement, moved his nonacademinc Institute of Church Growth to Pasadena from Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon. Since that time, Fuller Seminary has been the institutional base for the Church Growth Movement, first in its global expression and later in its North American expression." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 271.

"C. Peter Wagner is the Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth at the Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Missions in Pasadena, California. The School of World Mission became a part of Fuller Seminary in 1965 when Donald McGavran, father of the Church Growth Movement, moved his nonacademinc Institute of Church Growth to Pasadena from Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon. Since that time, Fuller Seminary has been the institutional base for the Church Growth Movement, first in its global expression and later in its North American expression." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 271.

"Elmer Matthias is associate professor of practical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, an institution of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod...While serving the parish [Zion, Anaheim, California] he enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program in church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, receiving his degree in 1977. At Concordia Seminary he became the first trained church growth seminary instructor in Lutheran circles, teaching church growth, evangelism, and parish administration." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 250.

"When the roster of pioneers of church growth in North America is drawn up, three individuals will deserve a prominent place on it: One is Win C. Arn, one of the students in the first Fuller Seminary course in American Church Growth...Another pioneer is Paul Benjamin, who in 1974 left his position as Professor of New Testament and Church Growth at Lincoln Christian Seminary to establish the National Church Growth Research Center in Washington, D.C." C. Peter Wagner, Study Questions by John Wimber, Your Church Can Grow, Glendale: Regal Books, 1976, p. 17.

"We resent unnecessary distractions; we resist unbiblical diversions.. Can anyone believe that all other activities should be suspended until all evangelicals agree on precise doctrinal statements? We certainly cannot." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, 91182

"Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of divine self-disclosure All the books of the Old and New Testaments, givine by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, 91182

"The current "Statement" approved by our trustees and faculty in 1972 is our attempt to hear and obey the Scriptures as they teach us their basic truths. Any changes made had as their intent a more - not less - biblical expression of Christian truth. We see this move not as a shift but as a corrective." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, 91182

"Where inerrancy refers to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches through the biblical writers, we support its use. Where the focus switches to an undue emphasis on matters like chronological details, the precise sequence of events, and numerical allusions, we would consider the term misleading and inappropriate. Its dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes;...5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible we have... 6)that it prompts us to an inordinate defensiveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182

"Were we to distinguish our position from that of some of our brothers and sisters who perceive their view of Scripture as more orthodox than ours, several points could be made: 1) we would stress the need to be aware of the historical and literary process by which God brought the Word to us...4) we would urge that the emphasis be placed where the Bible itself places it - on its message of salvation and its instruction for living, not on its details of geography or science, though we acknowledge the wonderful reliability of the Bible as a historical source book; 5) we would strive to develop our doctrine of Scripture by hearing all that the Bible says, rather than by imposing on the Bible a philosophical judgment of our own as to how God ought to have inspired the Word." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182

"A second example of this homogenization is Waldo J. Werning's Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, published by Moody Press in 1977." [Ed. note: The foreword is by C. Peter Wagner. Werning studied at Fuller.]


"Werning is a Missouri Synod Lutheran executive. Although Werning's denominational publishing house did not publish his book, it is nevertheless an attempt by Werning to create an instrument for church growth among Missouri Synod Lutherans. If you read Werning, you can readily see that he is exceedingly eclectic, drawing from everywhere, including his own tradition." Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1981, p. 33f. [McGavran became a professor of missions in Indianapolis in 1957, at the College of Missions, where he got his M.A. in 1923. He began teaching at Northwest Christian College in Oregon in 1961. McGavran was invited to move his Institute of Church Growth to Fuller and become the founding dean of Fuller's School of World Mission.] Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1981, p. 10f.

"To acquire more expertise in Church Growth thinking, I visited the School of World Mission and Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. When I inquired concering resources and materials for American Church Growth, I found that Dr. Donald McGavran and C. Peter Wagner were team-teaching a course applying world principles of Church Growth to the American scene. I immediately became a part of that group. As I listened and learned, I realized here was the effective approach to evangelism for which I had been searching. In those hours, I experienced my third birth--'conversion' to Church Growth thinking." [Winfield C. Arn] Donald A. McGavran and Winfield C. Arn, Ten Steps for Church Growth, New York: Harper and Row, 1977, p. 12.

"In the words of C. Peter Wagner, Professor of Missions at the Fuller School of World Missions, Jesus at Bangkok was the 'prototype of an ideal social attitude,' the 'man for others' whose resurrection and lordship meant no more than that others should be inspired by His example." Ernst H. Wendland, "Missiology--and the Two Billion," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, January, 1974 71, p. 11f.


[Fuller's new statement on Scripture] "Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice." [Lindsell writes]: "It is where the word infallible is placed that makes the difference. Had the statement said that the Books of the Old and New Testaments 'are the infallible Word of God, the only rule of faith and practice,' it would have repeated in different words what the first statement of faith had said. But what the new statement does is this: it limits infallibility to matters of faith and practice. And this is the view espoused by Daniel Fuller in his address on Warfield." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 116.

[Paper by Daniel Fuller, Evangelical Theological Society, Toronto, 1967] "Daniel Fuller then said he wished to make a slight corrective to Warfield and his view of an inerrant Scripture. He argued that there are two kinds of Scripture: revelational and nonrevelational. Revelational Scripture is wholly without error; nonrevelational Scripture is not." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 113.

[Inerrancy advocates left Fuller: Charles Woodbridge in 1957, Wilbur Smith in 1963, Harold Lindsell in 1964, and Gleason Archer in 1965.] "The departure of all four was directly related to the question of biblical inerrancy." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 111f.

[After the December, 1962 faculty-trustee retreat, the Fuller catalog backed away from the claims that the faculty agreed about doctrine without any mental reservation, that they signed the statement of faith each year, and that faculty members in disagreement withdraw from the seminary.] Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 111. [December, 1962, faculty-trustee retreat]

"Edward Johnson, president of Financial Federation and a member of the board, focused the issue when he used the term benchmark in the discussions. He insisted that once the benchmark (a term used by surveyors having to do with the point from which they take all of their measurements) was changed, the institution would lose its bearing and depart from orthodoxy in other ways. The failure of the board to stand firm on the original commitment of the seminary led Johnson to resign within a month...." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 110.

"The second decision related to the selection of a new president for the seminary. David A. Hubbard was Charles Fuller's candidate and Daniel Fuller's as well. He had the support of C. Davis Weyerhauser, too...The syllabus [he co-authored at another seminary] contained teachings that were opposed to historic evangelical understanding. They included matters like the non historicity of Adam and Eve., the Wellhausen approach to the Pentateuch, the late dating of Daniel, and other points. The offensive parts were written by Laurin who, in turn, was defended by Hubbard as an outstanding evangelical." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 109.

"It soon became known that Daniel Fuller indeed had changed his viewpoint [on inerrancy]. This was pinpointed in two major decisions that were made. The first one had to do with the appointment of Calvin Schoonhoven to the faculty. He was a Fuller Seminary graduate who also had gone to Basel, and was a close friend of Daniel Fuller. When Schoonhoven was examined for a faculty appointment, he admitted that he did not believe in an inerrant Scripture. Other faculty members and I opposed his appointment. We got nowhere." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 109.

"A third indication of the coming crisis involved the son of the founder, Daniel Payton Fuller...After he had been there [on the faculty at Fuller] several years, he went to Basel, Switzerland, to work for another doctorate under men like Karl Barth. While Fuller was at Basel, rumors began coming back to America that he had shifted his position on the Scriptures. I personally talked to Charles E. Fuller about this on a number of occasions. In every instance he assured me that there was no truth to the rumors that his son had changed his position. He was wrong, as subsequent events demonstrated." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 108f.

"A second indication of the coming crisis occurred at a faculty meeting when one member of the teaching staff declared that what he was about to say might cost him his job. He said it, but it didn't cost him his job. He made it apparent that he believed the Bible was not wholly free from error. He was joined in this by at least one other faculty member at that meeting. Neither the administration nor the board moved to censure and remove those who could no longer affirm the doctrinal statement of the seminary, at least at the point of inerrancy. The situation was allowed to drift." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 108.

[In or about 1962] "One of the key board members, who was later to become chairman and whose wealth helped to underwrite the annual operating budget, was C. Davis Wyerhauser. As the situation developed, he was to play a key role in the final outcome. He was clear in his own conviction that the Bible had errors in it. Nor did he hesitate to make his position plain. But he neither chose to resign from the institution nor was forced to resign by other board members." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 108. [Faculty member Bela Vasady could not sign the original statement on inerrancy and left Fuller by mutual agreement.] Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 108.

[Original statement on Scripture] "The books which form the canon of the Old and New Testaments as originally given are plenarily inspired and free from all error in the whole and in the part. These books constitute the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 107. "From the beginning it was declared that one of the chief purposes of the founding of the seminary was that it should be an apologetic institution...It was agreed from the inception of the school that through the seminary curriculum the faculty would provide the finest theological defense of biblical infallibility or inerrancy. It was agreed in addition that the faculty would publish joint works that would present to the world the best of evangelical scholarship on inerrancy at a time when there was a dearth of such scholarship and when there were few learned works promoting biblical inerrancy." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 106f.

"Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947. It was brought into being through the efforts of Charles E. Fuller of the 'Old Fashioned Revival Hour.' He secured the services of Harold John Ockenga, then minister of the Park Street Church in Boston, as president of the fledgling institution. The school opened its door with four faculty members: Wilbur Moorehead Smith, Everett F. Harrison, Carl F. H. Henry, and myself." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 106.

"Despite these strident affirmations of biblical infallibility, responses from Fuller demonstrate a serious inconsistency in distinguishing evangelicalism from neo-orthodoxy." [Gerald T. Sheppard, Fuller graduate, assistant professor at Union] Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Gerald T. Sheppard, "Biblical Hermaneutics..." Union Sem Q R, 1977 Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 237.

"The paradox that Barth, Brunner, Cullmann, and Eichrodt provide more attractive models at Fuller for an 'evangelical' approach to Scripture than do the fundamentalist and that they are at the same time major representatives of 'neo-orthodoxy' has yet to find resolution." [Sheppard, Fuller graduate and professor at Union] Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Gerald T. Sheppard, "Biblical Hermaneutics..." Union Sem Q R, 1977 Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 237.
"The graduates of an institution usually give full proof of the teaching they received from the school in which they studied. According to Dr. LaSor's observations the leaven was present when David Hubbard, Daniel Fuller, and Ray Anderson were students. They went from Fuller to graduate study overseas and were promptly converted to the neoorthodoxy and liberalism of their professors. They returned to Fuller Seminary having moved farther to the left than any of their teachers at Fuller. And now their students in turn begin to reflect their views." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 236.

"Ralph P. Martin is Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary...Professor Martin engages in guess work and patch-quilt organization to explain away the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 228.

"Dr. Kraft is a professor in the School of World Mission at Fuller Seminary. Two illustrations will suffice to show the continuing Fuller drift away from the authority of Scripture. Dr. Kraft has been deeply involved in anthropological and sociological studies in relation to missions...His [Dr. J. Robertson McQuilkin's] burden included demonstrating that in some cases people who profess to be evangelical place the behavioral sciences over Scripture rather than under Scripture, with the result they undermine the Word of God. He made specific reference to Professor Kraft...." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 226.

"The Fuller Evangelistic Association has a doctrinal statement. It is the statement which was adopted by Fuller Theological Seminary some time ago. It does not differ from their early statement and has never yet been changed, that I know of. This statement explicitly affirms that the Bible is free from all error in the whole and in the part. Both Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Fuller are part of that organization. This means they are signing two different doctrinal statements, one of which affirms inerrancy and one which does not. We also know that Dr. Hubbard frankly disavows inerrancy and even declares this view to be 'unbiblical.' Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 220.

"Lest anyone think this is a harsh indictment, let me add that nowhere since the publication of The Battle for the Bible has Dr. Hubbard or the Fuller Seminary ever said that it still believes that the Bible is free from all error. They say opposite." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 213.

"The real question is whether inerrancy or the view represented by Dr. Hubbard and Fuller Seminary leads to the dismal results he forecasts." I think it can be established that the view of Fuller Seminary will result in the very disasters he posited as the outcome for those who believe in inerrancy." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 209.

"In the new statement, Fuller Seminary no longer says that the Bible 'is the infallible Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.' It simply says the Bible is the word (lower-cased) of God, and then adds that infallibility is limited to matters of faith and practice. Thus whatever does not constitute a matter of faith and practice can contain error. I alleged that Fuller has given up its cherished belief in an inerrant or infallible Scripture." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 184.

"The situation of the Fuller Theological Seminary has worsened since the publication of The Battle for the Bible. Prior to and since the publication of the book, Fuller Seminary has waged a vigorous campaign to offset its impact." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 183.

"Of all the articles in the special issue of Theology, News and Notes, none is more important than those pertaining to Dr. Jewett...In it, the reader will find the full confirmation of my second allegation: that Fuller Seminary has breached its new statement of faith in the case of Paul King Jewett who denies the infallibility of Scripture in regard to a matter of faith and practice. The seminary itself has now borne testimony to this fact. Dr. Jewett has said that in Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul tells us that which is not true." Harold Lindsell. The Bible in the Balance, News and Notes, Fuller Seminary, 1976 Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 193.

"The Fuller people claim that I am disenchanted with the school because I was not chosen to become president. This canard has been repeated many times. It is interesting, in view of the fact that I have been offered five presidencies in the course of my career and turned all of them down." Harold Lindsell. The Bible in the Balance, footnote 12 Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 242.

"Given the state of theological education in most of the major denominational seminaries, Fuller still looks outwardly to be conservative." Harold Lindsell. The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 241.

"I have now updated the case I made in 1976 in which I asserted that Fuller Seminary has departed from its original commitment to biblical inerrancy. ...If Fuller Seminary were to return to the original foundation on which it was begun it would necessitate the dismissal of a large number of faculty members. It would require the reorganization of the school of theology, the school of mission [home of the Church Growth Movement], and the school of psychology. Dr. Quebedeaux's observations happen to be true [The Worldly Evangelicals, 1978]. All three divisions of the seminary are now involved in the departure from orthodoxy." Harold Lindsell. The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 240.

Mrs. Fuller was converted by the efficacious Word
"Mrs. Barnhill looked at me and said, with such a loving look in her gray eyes, 'Oh, Grace, Christ said, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,' and, my dear, you have no way of approach to a holy God unless you come through Christ, His Son, as your Saviour.' "The Scripture which she quoted," Mrs. Fuller continues, "was the Sword of the Spirit, and at that moment Unitarianism was killed forever in my heart. I saw the light like a flash and believed at that moment, though I said nothing. She had quoted God's Word, the Spirit had used it, and, believing, I instantly became a new creation in Christ Jesus. She might have talked and even argued with me about it, but instead she just used the Word." [conversion of Mrs. Grace Fuller, wife of Charles Fuller, Old Fashioned Revival Hour broadcast, founder of Fuller Seminary] J. Elwin Wright, The Old Fashioned Revival Hour and the Broadcasters, Boston: The Fellowship Press, 1940, p. 54.

"To the best of my knowledge, only three WELS pastors have ever taken classes at Fuller Seminary: Reuel Schulz in the 1970s, and Robert Koester and I in the 1980s." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

"You may reply that by 'Fuller-trained' you mean anyone who has attended a workshop presented by the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth, an agency which is independent of the Seminary. If that is the case, your attribution of 'Fuller-trained' is still simply not true. It would surprise me if even half of the two dozen people on your 'WELS/ELS Who's Who' list have attended a Fuller workshop; I personally know of only five who have." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

"Please stop exaggerating the amount of study that I have done at Fuller. After four years of study at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, which involved sixty-two different courses and a year of vicarage, I graduated in 1983. From 1987 to 1989 I took four courses where I was in a classroom with a Fuller instructor. That is the extent of my Fuller coursework...In addition, I have taken two courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and one at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. Because of Fuller's liberal (would you expect anything else?) policy on transfer of credit, and because of two independent studies I undertook, I could complete the degree by simply writing a dissertation." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23

"The church growth movement has made inroads into nearly every denomination in America. Once considered only the turf of conservative evangelicals, you will now find church growth practitioners in the United Methodist Church, in the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and among the Episcopalians. The LCMS has more pastors enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary, the seedbed of the movement, than are enrolled in the graduate programs at their Fort Wayne and St. Louis seminaries combined, and most of them include church growth as part of their studies." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, Parish Consultant for the WELS Board of Parish Services and his district's Coordinator of Evangelism. p. 1.

"When Frederick Horn faced that situation, the Holy Spirit moved him to accept the call, and for the last few years he has served as the [lay] Minister of Discipleship for Grace Lutheran in downtown Milwaukee." (Pastor James Huebner Fuller alumnus) Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary,, "Another Kind of Minister, There's a lot to do in a church, and a staff minister can do a lot of it," The Northwestern Lutheran, March, 1994, p. 9. Olson is director of staff ministry at MLC.

"David Hubbard, president Fuller Seminary: 'Not all of us have the gift of evangelism. I admire people who can lead others to Jesus Christ right on the spot...." Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, PT 358A p. 52. "In an article on the small group movement, J. A. Gorman notes that 'both the Church Growth Institute of Fuller Seminary and the American Institute of Church Growth became centers for influencing the use of this means for evangelizing." (Christian Education, Moody Press, 1991, pp. 509, 510) Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.

"In late 1976, 80 district mission and evangelism executives and board members attended special Fuller Seminary sessions and by the late 1970s, courses on Church Growth principles were taught at both LCMS seminaries." [Toward a Theological Basis, Understanding and Use of Church Growth Principles in the LCMS. 1991. p. 1] Rev. Curtis Peterson, former WELS World Mission Board, "A Second and Third Look at Church Growth Principles," Metro South Pastors Conference Mishicot, Wisconsin, February 3, 1993 p. 10.

"Incidentally, during my mission counselor days in California during the 80's, I did take a course at Fuller from Carl George and Peter Wagner. I am grateful for the opportunity to have done so because it helped me to see through the lousy theology espoused by David Luecke in "Evangelical Style and Lutheran Substance" a book, by the way, which has been roundly criticized in WELS circles as your own columns have noted." Rev. Joel C. Gerlach (WELS) to Pastor Herman Otten, no date. [Gerlach taught at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary]

"I did attend a Pasadena forum on Church Growth featuring Win Arn and others. That this does not imply 'studying' and thus absorbing and advocating CG philosophy or theology is borne out by the stated objective of my attendance in my role as home mission administrator, to be personally informed as to this popular 'home-mission' related movement. During my attendance I publicly challenged the theological basis of some of the CG principles. That I found some pertinent non-theological observations does not imply any acceptance of the Reformed theology involved. None of my writings re mission methods or stewardship principles deviate from the Law/Gospel Lutheran approach to justification and sanctification. Please check them honestly!" Rev. Norman W. Berg, former DP and Home Mission Exec, WELS Letter to Gregory L. Jackson, 3-27-96.

"Non-Christians usually become good prospects for personal reasons or as I like to say: 'They come for sociological reasons and stay for theological reasons.'" [Note: this is the felt needs approach of Fuller, also endorsed by Pastor Forrest Bivens, now a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary: "I went to Fuller Seminary and I happen to believe we can use sociological methods to bring people to church so we can apply the Means of Grace." Midland circuit get together, attended by Pastor - now DP - John Seifert.] Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 4.

"Then there is the church growth movement, which has made more devastating headway in LCMS than in ELCA (although it is evident enough in the latter). Today, it is said, Missouri has three seminaries-- St. Louis, Ft Wayne, and Fuller Seminary in California, the hothouse of church growth enthusiasms. The synodical and district mission offices are frequently controlled by church growth technocrats...But the idea that Word and Sacrament ministry is somehow validated by calculable results is utterly alien to the Lutheran Reformation...The triumph of style over substance, however, is all too evident in LCMS congregations that look like Baptists with vestments. As we have noted before, second-rate Lutherans make fourth-rate Baptists." Rev. Richard Neuhaus, (ELCA at the time), Forum Letter, 338 E 19th Street New York, NY 10003 November 26, 1989 p. 2.

"...and in the process we got a look at the inside of his study. [WELS pastor David Reichel, Mandan, ND] He's got all the standard reference works you'd expect to find in a confessional Lutheran pastor's office. But the handiest shelf, right at chest level, was reserved for a long row of binders from annual seminars at Fuller." Source: Pastor Paul Naumann, CLC. April 1, 1996, e-mail.

"Waldo Werning has made an outstanding contribution to the church growth movement in America with Vision and Strategy for Church Growth...Working out of the models established by Donald McGavran and the School of World Mission at Fuller Seminary, Waldo Werning breaks new ground in developing ways that church growth principles can be applied directly to American churches." [Foreword by C. Peter Wagner] Waldo J. Werning, Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, Second Edition, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, p. 5.

[Ockenga accomplishments since 1947: 1. The National Association of Evangelicals; 2. World Evangelical Fellowship; 3. New apologetic literature from the great publishers; 4. Fuller and other seminaries; 5. Christianity Today; 6. Billy Graham, spokesman of the New Evangelicalism.] 12-8-57 news release by Harold Ockenga William E. Ashbrook, Evangelicalism, The New Neutralism, Columbus: Calvary Bible Church, 1963, p. 8.

"The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration. Instead of static fron battles the new theological war is one of movement. Instead of attack upon error, the New Evangelicals proclaim the great historic doctrines of Christianity." Harold J. Ockenga, news release, 12-8-57 William E. Ashbrook, Evangelicalism, The New Neutralism, Columbus: Calvary Bible Church, 1963, p. 7.

"The New Evangelicalism has changed its strategy from one of separation to one of infiltration. Instead of static from battles the new theological war is one of movement. Instead of attack upon error, the New Evangelicals proclaim the great historic doctrines of Christianity." Harold J. Ockenga, news release, 12-8-57 William E. Ashbrook, Evangelicalism, The New Neutralism, Columbus: Calvary Bible Church, 1963, p. 7.

"The New Evangelicalism is the latest dress of orthodoxy as Neo-Orthodoxy is the latest expression of theological liberalism. The New Evangelicalism differs from Fundamentalism in its willingness to handle the social problems which Fundamentalism evaded. There need be no dichotomy between the personal gospel and the social gospel. The true Christian faith is a supernatural personal experience of salvation and a social philosophy. Doctrine and ethics are Christian disciplines. Fundamentalism abdicated leadership and responsibility in the societal realm and thus became impotent to change society or to solve social problems." Dr. Harold John Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church, Boston, first president of Fuller Seminary, 12-8-57 news release. William E. Ashbrook, Evangelicalism, The New Neutralism, Columbus: Calvary Bible Church, 1963, p. 7.

"Christianity according to Fundamentalism is one religion. Christianity according to Modernism is another religion. Which is the true religion is the question that is to be settled in all probability by our generation for further generations. There is a clash here as profound and as grim as between Christianity and Confucianism. Amiable words cannot hide the differences. 'Blest be the Tie' may be sung til doomsday but it cannot bind these worlds together." [Editorial, Christian Century, January 3, 1924] William E. Ashbrook, Evangelicalism, The New Neutralism, Columbus: Calvary Bible Church, 1963, p. 6.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Extended Summer - And Butterfly Bushes

Butterflies greet the planting of their favorite bushes.
They also need other plants for their life cycle.

We have 80 degree days predicted in the next week. Meanwhile temperature easily reach 70, and the leaves are only starting to fall.

The butterfly bushes arrived two weeks early, so I did not have to plant them amid snow and ice. They were surprisingly small for a plant with so much potential (12 feet in height). Sassy ran outside to supervise, but that conflicted with her desire for an evening walk. She gave me the Bad Daddy speech as I was digging, no matter what I promised.

Satisfied that her evening walk was sealed with promises and oaths, Sassy went back in to wait.

Each filled hole already had a bag of mushroom compost in it, so digging some out was easy. I just had to scoop soil around the rootball and prop up the plant as I mixed clay and mushroom compost around it. Newspaper and cypress mulch topped the effort, and I watered thoroughly.

Butterfly weed is a good addition to the garden.

I want the roots to form well, so I will add Epsom Salts when I water next. I do not have to mix it in the soil because it dissolves immediately in water. Magnesium and suphate from the Epsom Salts will benefit the plant and cost almost nothing to apply.

Mulch will benefit the plant by providing organic matter for the soil creatures and cover for their work in the sunshine. Tunneling and mixing is good for plants, whether new or old, so the activity will encourage growth while preserving moisture.

When the work was done, Mrs. Ichabod had me stand near each one. They are difficult to see from the house. She said, "I have trouble imagining them 12 feet tall." That is the problem with most people when they plant trees and bushes. They pack a group of them together, and the plants grow like conjoined twins, branches entangled into each other. Many examples can be found on our walks, not to mention two trees planted about four feet apart.

The area along the back fence will have a dense planting of giant sunflowers. They will screen the view until the bushes reach their height.

Sassy got her evening stroll, and Mrs. Gardener got a big surprise. Her husband had eyeballed our mulch trail up and down the shared fence. I initially thought about vining plants there, but I considered his love for neatness along the fence.

I told Mrs. Gardener, who came outside, "Roses are going to grow along the fence." She lit up and said, "Then I can reach over and cut one?"

"That is the idea." Or - that became the idea. I will need a larger variety to make that easy for her to do. She was really excited about the idea, and Mrs. Ichabod is just as happy about dressing up the fence with roses. The initial path of mulch is to provide a weed free zone next to the fence. Our helper and I will dig holes into the lawn parallel to the fence and mulch around them to compost the lawn.

This winter the rose catalogs and magazines will arrive. My wife and I will order bare root roses early to get the ones we want. If space allows, we will snap up some leftover bargains at the end. Jackson and Perkins will likely have a few $50 tree roses for $10. Some old roses are available for $8. Since the going rate for the promoted ones is $30, fractions of that price are welcome.

Winter is the easiest and least expensive time for a gardener. No work needs to be done. Nothing needs to be ordered at first. Everything in the coming year will grow perfectly.

Butterflies puddle in mud or manure, easy to arrange with the elevated soaker hose.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Substitute for Study

Make friends quickly with your accuser, lest...


Most Wormhaven gardening practices go against common garden myths, for good reason - constant study. In the past, the Grace Dow Library was my Harvard and Yale in gardening. Between the gardening books upstairs and the children's books downstairs, I had every title read. I bought the rest of the books I needed, from earthworm culture to Rodale organic gardening books.

In addition, my parents taught me the difference between the artificial growth of modern agriculture and the flavor-filled results of old practices. My father often railed against tasteless tomatoes and bland chicken.

Creation principles do not go away, even if people think they have better ideas. I still like the American Indian response to the effect of plowing. Expected to react in wonder, he said, "Soil upside down." I remember a pastor recalling with pride how he rototilled leaves into his garden in the fall. I said, "Earthworms will do that for you." He was oblivious to the obvious. Don't come between a gardener and his 10 hp rototiller.

Almost everyone dismisses fallen leaves - even some composting gardeners do. If nitrogen is the ideal, why bother with dry leaves, loaded with carbon, short on nitrogen? Dry leaves compost slowly, etc. Likewise, wood lacks nitrogen and will "absorb nitrogen," so wood mulch is bad, bad, bad.

First of all, the big swap underground is the plant giving up carbon for nitrogen. Who wants all the carbon (boo hiss)? Fungi do. They need carbon to grow. Fungi give up nitrogen to the plant roots because of their need for carbon. Fungi are purpose-driven.

Secondly, wood does absorb nitrogen in the first stage of rotting, but releases it again later. Organic matter is self-adjusting. Manure promotes bacteria, which digest it. Wood promotes fungi, which excel at attacking wood with chemical-bond splitting enzymes.

These principles were established at Creation, and they will not change. They are so complex that no one can briefly summarize what happens in that ocean of life in the soil.



Biblical Principles
We can discover Creation principles with science. The more we learn from the microscope and telescope, the more we grasp the infinite number of dependencies in the universe.

The most important truths are revealed in the Scriptures, yet they are ignored with more obstinacy than Creation principles.

Lutherans like to say that justification is the Chief Article of the Christian Religion, quoting Luther (remember him?). Justification is the master and the prince, judging all other articles - as Luther wrote. But - justification is also the topic most often ignored in discussions, because it is divisive. Indeed. Justification divides the sheep (JBFA) from the goats (UOJ).

Instead, the blogs and discussion groups like to talk about the symptoms of the One Great Error of the Synodical Conference and ELCA - forgiveness without faith. One might as well argue about blue handles on the rake as opposed to green handles.



Likewise, all doctrinal discussions should be based upon the efficacy of the Word, but that phrase is seldom mentioned and often implicitly rejected. The morons and criminals who run the synods assume that their entertainment services will attract new members when their own statistics show how wrong they are. Meanwhile, Koine charges $3,000.00 just to show up. No one blushes.

The all-time universal favorite hymn is Amazing Grace, but few discuss the Means of Grace.  Those who reject the efficacious Word in the Word and Sacraments are never mentioned, but they are not so irenic in return. Nothing enrages the Enthusiasts more than the Instruments of God's grace. Thus the UOJ Stormtroopers talk about Jesus while tearing down the bridge to Jesus - the Means.

I found some Facebook friends boo-hooing the recent effort to subpoena sermons that might offend a mayor. I responded to Matt Harrison (LCMS SP) and a WELS pastor - "Let me know when you two stand up to ELCA and Thrivent. I won't hold my breath."







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Raining on the Mulch

Google images will reveal all colors of disgusting molds that
grow on mulch, but the key growth is almost microscopic.


When our helper and I finished all the mulching - I promise - for this year, I thought. "We should hose it down." Sometimes his children come along to help, so I was ready for them to help - with a suitable length of garden hose and a brand new nozzle. We had plenty to do and no children to help, so the mulch stayed dry...for a few hours.

That night we had a heavy rain, enough to build a puddle across Scott Street (my rain gauge). Aha, I thought, the mulch has started to rot.

The idea behind mulch and straw bale gardening is the decomposition of the medium. I did not think so at first. I imagined that mulch would hold moisture in the soil (true) and prevent wind erosion (also true). I understood that soil creatures liked shade rather than blazing sun (beyond dispute), but I wanted wooden mulch to last forever. No wonder they sell people on various non-rotting media - even plastic "weed barriers" that make weeds worse.

Contact with the soil will begin the rot. Leave a log on the ground and it will look the same for years, but underneath it is eaten away by fungus and soil creatures, leaving its inside soft enough to crumble with a little finger pressure.

The newsprint layer is a bit of a barrier, but mostly there to block the sun and hinder weed growth. Newspapers are sponge-like in absorbing water but they let air through, so they foster decomposition.

From Emlab:
Fungi do not ingest their food like animals. Instead, they release enzymes into their surrounding environment to break down complex materials into simpler ones that can be absorbed by the fungus in a process known as absorptive nutrition. For these enzymes to leave the fungus, remain functional and to break down complex substances, water is necessary. Once the complex substances have been broken down and dissolved in water they are absorbed by the fungus.

I want the fungal strands (hyphae) to attack the wood and begin feeding the broken down chemicals into the soil. The rain promotes the growth of other microscopic creatures, so they prosper together and generate more biomass. The biomass (all creatures great and small, the Lord God loves them all) holds nutrition in the soil in a vast Vanity Fair of buying, trading, and crafty swindles.

I consider sacks of mulch to be soil amendments. I do not have to rototill mulch into the soil to get the effect, because God's Creation takes care of the distribution. Rototilling would wreck the system that goes into action for all decomposition.

Did I have to rototill the lawn to plant spinach? No, I mulched and waited, then opened a section for planting, with all the grass and weeds rotted into the top layer, serving as cafeteria for earthworms, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes.



I have garlic bulbs to plant in the rest of the row. As hardy bulbs, their cloves will grow into fresh garlic bulbs for the spring.


Hymn - All Things Bright And Beautiful  

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all. 

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkin in the Compost, Part II

The broad leaves suggest a future in hogging the sun for growth.
Pumpkins are also good for shading the corn patch.

Pumpkin in the Compost, Part I.


Autumn approaches and the pumpkin is still growing out of the compost. The plant took a long time to sprout and form its initial leaves. I watered it during the dry season, then left it alone. The roots reached deep enough to mine the moist compost for water and nutrition. The vining tendrils reached out for support from the chicken wire and the blossoms formed.

Yard debris is piled around the plant, including pears from my my neighbor's tree. When frost ends its growth, the components will become part of the compost during the winter. The soil food web of life does the following to give us healthy soil and plants:

  • Shredders like springtails and earthworms tear dead plants apart for bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, and fungi to attack.
  • The microscopic creatures mineralize the chemicals, breaking organic matter down so the plant can use the component parts. A plant cannot absorb a bean pod, but fungus can.
  • The biomass, which includes all creatures in the soil, keeps recycling all these components, which build up in various ways.

My gardening neighbor is throwing his garden trash into the compost, located in the corner next to his backyard garden. I deliver roses to his front door.



Nine Inches of Rain
Our record rainfall, nine inches over several days, gave the rose garden a boost. Soon we had over three dozen roses in bloom at once. We had enough for large vases of roses for each neighbor, another for school, roses on the altar, and many blooms still on the bushes.

Our grandson said about a grasshopper on the rose, "I will just hang around here. Don't mind me." I was cutting roses for the neighbors when the same grasshopper (or his cousin) was on the roses near the blooms. He looked well fed but I saw no damage. Healthy plants shrug off insects and plant diseases. The insects attract predators, so balance is kept without sprays.

Pigweed is plentiful in Arkansas Hog country.
I harvest it for compost.


Mulching is Done for the Year
I promised to stop mulching, so I made two more trips to Lowe's, each one the last. No, really, I promise this time.

Sassy loves Lowe's. The customers and clerks welcome her. One family smiled at her and petted her, saying, "We have a three-legged dog, too." I asked, "Does your dog have a blog?"

I had piles of soggy newspapers, which made me want to mulch the entire fence line. Our helper wanted some work to do. He is fast and neat, knowing my plans. We ended up with about 200 feet of fence lined with newspapers and mulch, The only un-mulched part of the fence is the compost, which is the ultimate mulch. We  mulched the dead tree, because that will be the support for trumpet vines, a favorite of humming birds.

The chemical fertilizer crowd used to pan compost as "OK but really low in NPK." That is like saying, "Steak is fine, if it makes you feel good, but you should concentrate on vitamin pills for all your meals. If you feel hungry, eat more vitamin pills."

The soil food web people see compost as the ultimate soil amendment because of its complex chemical combinations, humus, earthworm cocoons, and soil creatures. That is why I am saving the compost for the corn patch, where pumpkins and pole beans will also grow.

Corn demands nitrogen, so the chemical people say, "Pour on the nitrogen fertilizer, but not too much or it will be all greens and no crop." But the soil food web delivers  nitrogen to the roots, chiefly through fungi that need carbon from the root tips. The soil food web balances the chemicals according to the needs of the plant.

Mulch feeds the birds by providing a feeding ground for them. Fungi reach up into the mulch to break down the shredded wood and feed the roots. Mulch pretends to shelter insects and earthworms, but movement and noise alert the birds that food is being served.

Spiders show that mulch effectively promotes insect life. Soon after I mulch a plant, a web is cast about the surface of the shredded wood. A spider, unbidden by me, decides that the spot is ideal for a home, with fresh meals delivered hourly. In contrast, a raked bare soil area under the plant will remain dry and relatively free of insect life. Earthworms will avoid the surface until dark.

You can buy this toad house for only $72 - named Hopsburg Castle.
What happened to using broken clay flower pots?
Toads love dampness and slugs.


Orders for the Spring
I am ready for spring planting. The spinach will be covered when the frost arrives.

Some gardening plans include:

  • Straw bale gardening in the sunny garden, for potatoes and strawberries.
  • Peas, asparagus, Malabar spinach, gourds, and pole beans along the fence, stage left.
  • Roses along the fence, stage right.
  • Screening plants along the back fence. No offence, but the alley view needs a vegetative wall of butterfly bushes and sunflowers.
  • Tomatoes galore in the vegetable garden.
  • Trumpet vines for the dead tree and a nearby living tree.
  • Roses around the maple tree in front.
Nothing beats the giant Russian, Siberian, striped sunflower
for growth, screening, and seed production.

Lucky To Have Clay
My Army veteran neighbor used to dig out the clay soil from yards when he landscaped them. They filled the empty area with topsoil. If they did not punch holes in the clay bowl before filling with topsoil, the lawn floated like a waterbed during heavy rains. In fact, that waterbed effect has been portrayed recently in the local paper.

We have a clay yard, so it turns white and brick-like when dry. No waterbed effect during rainstorms. 

Wake up, gardeners. Clay is the best soil of all. The tiny particles hold the most electrical charges, which are needed for the ion exchange of minerals. Once clay is amended with organic matter, the soil is much easier to dig and even more fertile.

I could hardly jam the shovel in the prospective spots for screening bushes, so I made a slight bowl with my shovel. I began watering those spots when days of rain intervened. Afterwards, digging the moist clay was a dream. Our grandson helped with one excavation. In each cavity I poured a bag of mushroom compost. I also put the upturned sod back in the hole, to compost with its captive soil creatures. The organic matter will mix with the clay soil from the inevitable explosive growth of soil creatures. Planting will foster even more development of soil health.

Tim Glende started this debt-ridden debacle in Savoy, Illinois,
which was foreclosed by WELS and sold to Baptists.
Glende studied under Mark Driscoll!


Go Big or Go Home
I know when ministers have inhaled the toxic fumes from Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek, or similar carnivals of con. They write, "Go big or go home."

They emphasize bigness as a measure of their success. The harvest of weed seeds is plentiful. 

Robert Schuller was the model of success, with his Crystal Cathedral, sold to the Catholic Church in bankruptcy. He founded the Church Growth Movement, minutes away from Fool Her Seminary, but he resigned from his own church - bitter and angry. 

Mark Driscoll made pulses race with his enormous numbers and abusive language. He used church funds to manufacture a best seller, and plagiarized without shame. He also resigned from the church he founded.

These blowhards and their disciples never take into account Paul's words about being faithful stewards. 

1 Corinthians 4:1Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

The Church Growth imposters are so intoxicated with themselves that they mistake their cleverness for God's Word.

The soil food web exists without our planning or wisdom. We can destroy it, but we cannot order one spider, one earthworm, or one fungus to obey our will. They were all programmed by the Creator to do His will.

Paul also wrote about sowing and watering. 

1 Corinthians 3:5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

Ministers should be studying Paul rather than the appalling Church Growth leaders.  




Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2014. Matthew 22:34-46.
The Lord Said to My Lord




The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2014


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Time


The Hymn # 239     Come Thou Almighty King                        2:72
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #269            O Lord Our Father                  2:56   
  

Justification Throughout the Bible


The Communion Hymn # 315:11-15            I Come O Savior             2:66
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #651               Be Still My Soul               2:17

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.



Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Justification Throughout the Bible


KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

The religious opponents of Jesus are historically true, and the polemic continues to this day. But the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees also represent the spirit of justification by works and reliance on the law, which is dominant in the visible church of this day.

We can view the religious opponents as allegories of the eternal struggle between faith and unbelief. When an unbeliever hears the Gospel, he often reacts against it. People find an endless array of expressions where they can remain in unbelief and yet use the language of faith. 

On the academic side, the academic theologians reward those who do not believe in Christ and who dance around that topic. They know and understand that the faith words are just there as structure for the philosophy being presented. They hail this as creative, refreshing, exciting, and groundbreaking.

The modern Lutheran theologians who teach faith are almost non-existent. Their disciples gather around and bow to their greatness, chattering about these fellow apostates as "Confessional." If anyone dares to dispute this, the response is exactly the same as the scribes and Pharisees. Thus Carl Braaten rejected all the articles of faith in the Creeds, the most basic ones, and he is called a "confessional Lutheran" because he has expressed dismay with ELCA, an organization he helped create with a lifetime of false teaching in ELCA schools. Worst of all, he helped write a dogmatics textbook that rejected Christianity while using some words of faith rather selectively.



When the Gospel is rejected, the Law must replace it. Moses is the savior. Of course, this is  not the Law of the Bible, but the Law of man. One must obey all the laws of human tradition in that organization or be banished with an excommunication more horrible and swift than any carried out legitimately. As Father Richard Neuhaus said, when liberals excommunicate, they excommunicate for life. He was always a liberal, but became a little less liberal over time. That was not allowed, so he was banished and attacked in public - even though he helped shape ELCA through Seminex, their portable mini-seminary.

Jesus had silenced His opponents, so the battle was on. They would defeat Him with a question He could not answer.

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Tempting is such a good word to use here. One could say, testing, or even trying, but the idea is to trap Jesus with a question. Many people do this when they want to hear the "wrong answer" so they can pounce. Church officials are nimble in always answering ambiguously or in changing the subject so their unbelief is not exposed.

The right way to deal with opponents is to answer clearly and plainly. If there is an error in communication or in understanding, they can be worked out. If the intention is false and deceptive, it is all the more reason to answer from faith rather than trying to be pleasing or diplomatic.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is where Jewish leaders will say, "All the Jewish scholars agree with this. Nothing new here." I have gone to the Jewish Encyclopedia many times, to get their perspective on various issues. The main idea is this - Jesus was a rabbi like many other rabbis. What He taught and did was common for that time, including miracles.

That will always be the rationalistic response, which refuses faith and and cannot see anything revealed by the Holy Spirit as a mystery. Many modern Lutherans exist happily and blindly in that same mode. Thus they will always grasp some form of law because of their unbelief.

Of course this word love is connected with faith. Love is the result of trusting the Word, which reveals the true nature of God. As the new book will show, the Holy Trinity is taught throughout the Bible, from Creation to the Heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation. The true nature of God is mercy, love, and forgiveness. So we fallible, weak, and stumbling humans look to God with love because of His gracious and loving nature.

This statement also shows us the result of loving God - loving our neighbor and caring for our neighbor's needs. That is so enjoyable and fulfilling. We like our roses outside. Our neighbors like them inside. Pruning them the right way means we have more in bloom outside and they enjoy theirs inside. 

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.

Jesus answered their question correctly, so there was nothing more to say about that. But He asked the ultimate question leading to faith. Who is the Messiah? Whose son is He?

The correct answer, beyond dispute, is - David's. That is the one word answer in the Greek text. The KJV adds "The Son of" to make it clear. In conversation we would probably be just as concise, saying "David's."

This is leading them into a response, which is typical of the rabbi-audience dialogue. The audience asks difficult questions and the rabbi asks them stumpers as well, a good tradition for thinking and teaching.

A good question leads to an inevitable meeting point, whether it means agreement or opposition.

43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

This response always confused me when I was very young. Many portions of Scripture are plain and clear so that no one can miss their meaning. This seems so convoluted. As adults we learn that faith untangles these passages.

David - in the Spirit - has faith and calls his descendant "Lord" because he believes in the coming Messiah, centuries to come.

Son suggests a subordinate position, which is common in human families. Everyone wants to be equal to the great patriarch. But David was the model king, the great leader of history, yet he called his descendant Lord.

Since the response demanded an answer from faith or rejection of faith, the opponents were afraid to answer. 

Unbelievers hair-split and use ambiguities to make their answers pleasing to both sides. But faith makes us bold to respond with God's Word rather than man's wisdom.

Unbelief will not stop opposing faith. The worst comes from the great, the wise, the honored spiritual leaders who cover up for criminals and may have a criminal past of their own. They know the visible unity of the church requires public relation falsehoods, while the truth of God's Word sparks revolutions. 

God delights to do His work through the insignificant members of the church while the great and mighty parade in their best clergy costumes.