The Glory Has Departed

Books are being donated to those studying
Justification by Faith and fighting UOJ.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Audio Gutenberg - Travis and Lauren Cartee

Audio Gutenberg Blog

Bethany Lutheran Worship on Ustream

Sunday, 10 AM
Central Daylight Time.
Lenten Services Wednesdays - 7 PM, Central Daylight Time. Greek starts after the Ash Wednesday service.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.


    Essential Lutheran Books
Lutheran Resources and Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Jackson's Amazon Author's Page

Lutheran Librarian Author's Page - Print Books

All Bethany Lutheran Media Ministries

Dropbox links to free public domain books, Lenski Commentaries, Keil-Delitzsch, Luther's Sermons,
plus free books edited and written by Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Navigation for Luther's Sermons, Lenker Edition

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry - Ebooks

How to Send Money to the Bethany Philippine Mission

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Latest Excuse:
From the Spin-doctors at
The Love Shack

Michael Schottey has left a new comment on your post "Church and Change - Still on WELS Website":

The official word as it was passed down to me is that A decision was made in the prior administration that gave "sponsorship" on the WELS website to publicize events for parasynodical organizations.

This is no longer the case in the current administration. However the proposal is that anything there currently was "grandfathered" so the new officials did not have to break the word of the old.

We shall see if the next convention is posted on the and I may eat my words.


GJ - My, my. The excuses grow in complexity.

False doctrine has been grandfathered.

St. Augustine said that doctrinal error has three stages:
1. You must tolerate us, for we are a persecuted minority.
2. Equal footing with sound doctrine. Hence, Mequon now has a "balanced" faculty. Brenner was added to "balance" the Vallesky Cell Group.
3. False doctrine persecutes those who prefer sound doctrine. This CGM is now so old in WELS that it is grandfatherly.

The NIV renders Romans 16:25 as "Mark and delay..."

No, I have the 21st Century Gay-friendly Feminist NIV. The new reading is:

Register and attend!

Ichabod on Business

I will be gone on a business trip, just for two days. Mrs. Ichabod will remain home, resting for our trip to see the grandchildren.

In the meantime, keep up with Bailing Water and Trouble in Paradise.

Trinity 17

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

The Hymn #292
The Invocation p. 15
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 Ephesians 4:1-6
The Gospel Luke 14:1-11
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #207
The Sermon

The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn #287
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 #288

KJV Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

KJV Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

True Unity in the Invisible Church

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The Ephesians passage is brief, yet it is one of the most recognized of all the Pauline verses – concise, full of meaning, its message honored chiefly today in being ignored.

For instance, I know of church leaders who insist on being called the right name. Any variation on what they have chosen is quickly corrected, so often that it has become a synodical joke. Others are so haughty that someone would scarcely be able to speak to a minister so high above everyone else. This is common in the business world. If I send an email to someone in the educational world, I am surprised if I get an answer, if the message is even acknowledged. Getting through to someone and getting an answer has spawned an industry in how to do just that. People are just too important to do their jobs.

Lowliness, meekness, and longsuffering are all qualities of the Savior. The New Testament always urges us to take on the attributes of Jesus rather than those of the world. The Gospel promises provide the energy to do exactly that. Where does this break down?

The temptation is to lay down heavy doses of the Law, to cajole people to be humble, forebearing, and meek. That is like taking someone to a clinic for tests, then prescribing even more tests as a cure. An x-ray will diagnose a broken bone, but it will not heal a broken bone. When x-rays were considered magical, they were tried as a cure, but disastrous results.

Broken bones need healing. Pain requires medicine. We are in the peak cold season, when children return to school and share their germs. When the throat is raw, the ears aches, and the nose shuts down, any medicine sounds appealing. Is it cold and raining, traffic backed up? We will jump in the car to get that medicine.

Our greatest sin, according to Jesus, is unbelief. Jesus said, in parting with His disciples, “The Holy Spirit will convict of sin, because you do not believe.”

KJV John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

How often do people hear they are sinners, that the solution is to do something more, to do that action better, or to stop doing something bad? Luther correctly observed that the Medieval Age, as we call it now, consisted of a thousand years of terrifying people with the Law. They were convinced of their sin, but knew little about the Gospel.

This haughtiness we find so commonly in the visible church is the direct result of people not trusting the Word of God, in fact, not trusting God. They think everything rests on their own shoulders. Hence, they put on an act which they think is consistent with success. They know it has worked with others.

When we attended the famous Church Growth congregations at Willow Creek and Community of Joy (Glendale), we never saw the senior minister, except on the stage. He was too important to mingle with the peasants after the service. When people mingle in the narthex after church and speak to the pastor, I wonder how many of them think about how pleasant that is, compared to looking at a celebrity who will not even greet the people who support him financially.

The old-fashioned pastors did in fact trust in God working through the Word. They did not think much of themselves. Luther said, “The older I get, the less confidence I have in myself, the more confidence I have in God.” Those traditional pastors thought that teaching and preaching the Word, visiting the sick and elderly, were all God’s work. God would bless it according to His will.

Simply put, the Word conveys Christ and all His benefits to us. The Word brings us together, Christ coming to us when we cling to the Means of Grace.

I just read an essay written by an atheist. She was encouraged by the news that Mother Theresa in India spent 50 years in despair, even as she grew in fame. Mother Theresa wrote to her confessor that she never felt peace in Christ. There we can see the impact of false doctrine. Someone who lived in the Law cannot find peace. A Catholic woman said she would never send her six children to a Catholic school because of the constant guilt forced on all the children. (Does that sound like your synod?) If Mother Theresa had been pointed to the sufficiency of Gospel instead of the need for works, she would have seen and experienced Christ in the true Means of Grace.

The Gospel of Christ creates faith in our hearts and sustains that faith through the Means of Grace.

I used to think a four-leafed clover was rare. Everyone said it was rare. They were so rare, no one ever looked for them. A gardening friend said, “They are all over the place.” He described how to find one. They are normally in patches of clover, especially where it grows tall. Once I knew where to look, I saw four-leafed clovers all over and picked them for others.

Complete and free forgiveness seems rare because people do not know where to look. They do not know because their guides are as blind as they are. They think, “We have the Gospel if the organization is prospering.” If the organization is not doing well, they begin flogging people with the Law. Nothing improves morale like a good flogging.

When Christ comes to us in the Word of God, in the hymns, liturgy, creed, lessons, and sermon, the blessings of the Gospel fill us with the working of God’s Word. God works. That is the essence of Christianity, the only faith where God gives to adherents rather than members working for Him.

Many times in the past, the Gospel seemed hidden from almost everyone. During the Age of Rationalism, preachers gave sermons on everything except the Gospel (sound familiar? – how to have friends, how to have more time, how to be successful). Nevertheless, the Gospel remained in the liturgy, creeds, and hymns. Over time a new generation of ministers began to believe again.

We use the term mysteries because so much is hidden from the unbeliever but revealed to believers. I knew two people from Hong Kong who laughed at the Gospel and scoffed at the Gospel. They heard the Word but did not understand. One day the Gospel converted them. From then on they were especially keen to hear God’s Word and to trust in its message. I recall so vividly one day when I gave one of my last sermons in the LCA. The couple from Hong Kong nodded in agreement when I spoke of the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures. Two church council members frowned and shook their heads no.

That is one of the mysteries – how people can grow up with the Gospel and desert it while staying within the visible church, how people can grow up without the Gospel, betray their Asian families (from their perspective) by believing in the Word, and cling to its promises.

Church and Change - Still on WELS Website

The Church and Change convention registration is still on the WELS website.

Registration is a "WELSForm."

Church and Change was dissolved by Synodical Pope Gurgel. So they say. Several people insisted it was true because officials told them so.

One can only conclude that Church and Change, dedicated to apostasy and the destruction of all Lutheran doctrine, is officially supported by The Love Shack Curia.

WELS members - when your offerings go to support $1+ million for technology, that includes the promotion of Church and Change through the elaborate and expensive WELS website, WELS.nt.

I Told You So: UOJ Lurkers

Once the word got out, the poll on forgiveness went from 100% justification by faith to 60% justification by faith. Yes, 40% answered that "everyone is already forgiven."

I think there was a rush to stuff the ballot on the UOJ side, but that is good. The laity should know how many clergy Universalists are lurking in the Lutheran Church.
LutherQuest (sic) is full of them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Still Believe, II

Michael Schottey has left a new comment on your post "We Still Believe":

Rev. Jackson,

I would like to use this text (Is mission statement too GW?) on my new website.

I would use it en toto and not change the text in anyway. I would also cite you and link to your site (in the post)As a way of biographical introduction I would include the following.

'This is a sample from a brochure of a church pamphlet. It comes from Rev. Gregory Jackson of Bethany Lutheran Church an independent Lutheran congregation. I have not always agreed with everything he has said, but this is the most confessional statement I have found to be used in such a way.'

Thank you
Michael Schottey


GJ - Permission granted. How pleasant, to get a comment like this. Signed, too. Nota bene, A. Nony Mouse.

I cannot determine how people use what I offer, so no one has to promise to use my words verbatim. I find it odd that people borrow something and water it down. Historical note - I composed this at Mequon, during a so-called evangelism training seminar for pastors and laity. The entire program was all Church Growth, featuring such luminaries as David Valleskey, Paul Kelm, Lawrence Otto Olson (all Fuller grads). The brochure is proof that the seminar had no ill effects on me, in spite of the best efforts of WELS' leading false teachers.

I am happy to have people debate with me. Blogs are great for obtaining information, sharing opinions, refining argumentation.

I appreciate Norm Teigen's willing to spar with me.

Information mavens complain that when they read a magazine or newspaper, there is no link taking them to more information.

One hobby of Lutherans is finding the rest of the story in Christian News. The remainder may be on the page listed, but then again, it may not.

Pastors Will Say We're in Love (Parody)

Pastors Will Say We’re in Love

(Apologies to Rogers and Hammerstein, and to musicians in general. Dedicated to the music director in _________.)

Why do they think up stories that link my name with yours?
Why do the pastors chatter all day, behind their doors?
I know a way to prove what they say is quite untrue.
Here is the gist, a practical list of "don'ts" for you.

Don't throw your smiles at me
Don't please my choirs too much
Don't laugh at my jokes too much
Pastors will say we're in love!
Don't sigh and gaze at me
Not in the sacristry
Your eyes mustn’t fix on me!
Pastors will say we're in love!

Don't start with those bulletin quotes
Smile when you look up above.
Sweetheart don’t pass me notes
Pastors will say we're in love.
Don't praise preludes too much
Don't look so proud with me
Don't laugh out so loud with me
Pastors will say we're in love!

Don't take my side too much
Don't keep your hands on mine
Your hand feels so grand in mine
Pastors will say we're in love!
Don't pray all night with me
Till the stars fade from above.
They'll see it's alright with me
Pastors will say we're in love.

On the Touchiness of WELS

Many people have noticed how touchy WELS members, pastors, and seminarians can be when Holy Mother WELS appears less than perfect. Our dear friend used that term about the LCA, long before I knew it was a serious term for Catholics, as in Holy Mother Church. One of the famous pastors in the LCA used to say, "Holy Mother Church is a whore!" He was speaking of the visible church, the organization.

Holy Mother WELS is especially thin-skinned about all crticism. For example, when a Milwaukee reporter asked SP Gurgel about a pastor living in adultery, the primate's response was to find out who told the reporter, not to fix the problem. The same District Pope who allows the adultery to continue has gone into a pastor's office to say, "You will resign voluntarily and get three month's salary, or I will fire you on the spot and you will get nothing." I am not talking about one time but many times.

By they way, some ousted pastors in the WELS/ELS are now talking about how demonic their fomer synod is. However, they said nothing at all when the same things happened to many of their fellow-pastors. And that is why, dear friends, it continues. The bullies are cowards, afraid of negative reactions. If conservative pastors ever showed some spine, things would be different. But that would require trusting the Word of God instead of Holy Mother Synod.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Someone Who Left WELS Wrote...

Resigning As Elder at a WELS Church

I realize this may not be an ideal time for me to do this in view of the other challenges going on in our congregation and especially in our Pastor's family life. I decided there would really be no good time. For me, things are getting so bad that I feel terrible continuing. So, to reduce stress in my life, I am moving forward with this at this time. Even more important, how can I not take a stand when I have grown to understand that the Gospel is being withheld.

After giving my concerns much consideration, I think at the heart there is an issue of what is believed about humans and their condition before God. I believe that the "Theology of Glory" dominates in the WELS, among pastors and within our congregation instead of the "Theology of the Cross." This is exemplified by the issues and approaches to problems described further below.

1) The approach taken to many issues by the various groups: Pastors, Elders, Sunday School, Adult Spiritual Growth, the Council, the Voters and the Synod is given by the question: "What can we get away with?" What is OK with God? I see that as an approach that views God as only Lawmaker and it is our job to figure out how far we can push His limits. It is not an attitude of sinners recognizing their fallen state before God and humbly receiving His gospel and desiring to do anything we can to keep the focus on the Gospel. Instead of this, if we are asking what can we get away with, we are viewing our relationship with God as merely one of Lawmaker and law-follower.

2) There is an assumption of our ability to do good works behind many things taught and preached. These are viewed as good works as they stand alone, not after Christ's blood purifies them. The strongest example I can point to is the extreme dominance of preaching where the main point is directing how we live our lives (sanctification or third use of the law). Nearly every sermon I hear (both inside Ascension and other WELS congregations) is trying to teach me how I should live. It gives me God's law that says: do it this way. This kind of preaching seems to be a problem with, not only pastors, but also with the people. The people demand such sanctification preaching by their praise of the pastors when they get it. This leads to several further problems:
a) The law is diluted. It no longer crushes us by showing us that it is utterly hopeless for us to try to follow the law and thereby satisfy God's demands. Instead, the law is held up as something we can achieve. At least it is something we can do better with and we are left to conclude that maybe that will be good enough.

b) Sanctification is imported into passages where it is not expressed and the Gospel that is there is not preached. A example was a sermon on Luke 10:25-37 (Parable of the Good Samaritan) where it was set up as 3rd use of the law, teaching us that we need to be doing better at serving our neighbor. I cannot understand that to be the main point. The question posed to Jesus was "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus was directing the questioner to the answer that we can do nothing because all our attempts to follow the law are as filthy rags. Instead we must give up on ourselves and depend only upon Christ.

c) The excessive 3rd use of the law can lead people to assign sins to others and thereby feel justified. I have heard people at Ascension respond to sermons this way. They praise sermon because it rebukes those "other people" who are violating God's law. They are happy and smile about this.
3) Worship theology is askew. It emphasizes what we do and what is pleasing to us. It elevates the human elements as something of high value. It dimishes the divine elements and gifts that are given. The attitude behind our worship is that we each are a saint giving his holy praise instead of a humble sinner coming to receive God's grace. Some of the aspects of this theology can be broken down into the following points.
a) Innovation in our worship practices is pursued for its own sake. It has been said that "variety is good." "We need to move from the 14th to the 20th centuries." It does not seem to enter into people's minds as to why they call these things good. I believe there are several attitudes at work here: 1) worship is entertainment for me, 2) worship is my work towards God, 3) church should fit into our culture, 4) worship should make me comfortable, 5) worship should be easy.

b) Worship at Ascension is focused on "me," that is each individual is directed back to themselves. This comes from hymns which have more "I" and "me" pronouns than references to Christ. It was also seen in the "new" liturgy setting which places the highest note by far in the "Create in me" on the word "me." (Compare with the hymnal setting).

c) There is a strong emotional appeal in worship. Again, this is a focus on me. It should make us feel good about our ability to follow God's law. It should just "tickle" us a little bit with the law. The cross gets moved to the side and the screen that displays pictures to make me feel happy replaces it. This emotional appeal has replaced a teaching of objective truth that stands steady despite my current emotional state. Whether I am happy or sad, God's truth still stands. Yet that is not what we are teaching.

d) Worship is seen as a performance. We have the Sunday School "Program" where the children are told not to get nervous for their "performance." We have the choir calling for members for an upcoming performance. Again it is a focus on what we humans have to contribute and entertainment.
4) Doctrinal control has been lost or abandoned. Not only is our Synod publishing books with false teaching ("God's People" series) but our congregation is buying them for our library and even publishing favorable book reviews in our newsletter. This is despite the fact that we recognized the problem with this very book series a year ago and returned a set of these books that were purchased for a Sunday School teacher's gift. We recognized the problem in 2005, but then in 2006 we turn around and buy the books for our church's library. We cannot count on the Synod to provide doctrinal control of its material and if we have no control ourselves, then any wind of false teaching will be free to blow on us.

5) A am concerned with Synodical trends and propaganda. The "Church Growth Movement" seems to have taken over the Synod. That Movement prescribes the use of business and marketing techniques to put warm bodies in the pews and dimishes the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing us to faith. The propaganda comes with a strong appeal to emotions, as was exhibited in the the December WELS video. The Spiritual Growth Workshop we had about two years ago was full of false teaching. I specifically remember discussing the whole point on the so called, "power of prayer." That seemed to come to little avail as nobody else got the point of the concern I was raising.

6) Ascension, like many other Lutheran congregations, has a desire to be like all other churches. The people want to have contemporary music, hymns on the screen, roving pastors, lay involvement and other features because it is what other (often non-Lutheran) churches are doing. It is really a desire to reduce the church to be like the world. Instead of coming to a service and having an "other-worldly" experience because we are dealing with a God who stretches far beyond this world, the people want to have something like their everyday experiences. I wonder if members of Ascension really recognize what separates Lutherans from others. The distinctives of Lutheran teachings and historic practices are not widely understood, I believe, and instead they are viewed as irregularities from the 14th Century that we need to eliminate for something more modern.

Part of my role as an elder seems to be to encourage folks to attend church services. I find myself asking more and more why I should encourage attendance at our services. Is it a good thing? I don't see that people really get to hear the gospel most of the time. In fact, attending worship with the dilution of the law and shortage of the gospel makes we wonder if someone could easily be confirmed in a false belief of self-justification and works righteousness. Is it instead harmful for someone to attend? I really had to consider this on December 20 when Pastor Limpert delivered a message that told us we need to persuade others to come to church to hear the Gospel. The entire message was law, telling us what we should be doing. I thought that it would have been a shame to have those we persuaded come to our service that night because the message they would have heard would be essentially Law, not Gospel. We might have persuaded them to come and hear the Gospel, but that wouldn't be what they got.

What really is the goal of Christianity? What is the goal of the Church? What is the goal for the Christian, overall? What is the goal for the Christian in this life? I believe that sanctification is not any of these goals, but justification is. Sanctification is a response to the Gospel. It is a response that is directed by the Holy Spirit. If we believe we see a "problem" that our members don't seem to be progressing in their sanctification, then we don't need more law to try to motivate them, but instead we need a better understanding of the Gospel, which comes through a proper understanding of justification. It is not a Lutheran but a Reformed practice to emphasize sanctification as the primary goal. Reformed teach that we are to pursue to goal of perfection and maybe by the end of our lives we will be ready for heaven. The Reformed emphasize the Theology of Glory.


GJ - The letter describes the flotsam and jetsam left behind when apostates like Paul Kelm, Lawrence Olson, David Valleskey, and Waldo Werning run the synod. Oh yes, Waldo Werning ran around WELS and the ELS, selling his books, which were almost mimeographed from Fuller Seminary.


rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Someone Who Left WELS Wrote...":

This gentleman is to be commended for his courage in both his resignation and his well written letter. I wonder how many WELS laity really understand the difference between the Theology of Glory and the Theology of the Cross. He should get ready for defenestration.


A. Nony Mouse has left a new comment on your post "Someone Who Left WELS Wrote...":

Greg, you don't give the name of the person who wrote this letter, nor do you give the name of the congregation, other than "Ascension." How many Ascension's are there? Given your past record of lies and half-truths, I wouldn't be surprised if you wrote this yourself.


GJ - I had to feature A. Nony Mouse again. He is quick to make vague accusations but slow on the draw. I suspect he is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Read the next sentence over slowly, without moving your lips, Herr Mouse. I put the URL in the text, so anyone can find the entire, original text and the author.

Here is a second way to find material. Put some of the text in the Google search window.

Special Orders for Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant

Orders of Ten or More
Some congregations have ordered 10 and 20 copies of CLP at a time. If a congregation wants to do that, for any reason, I can drop the cost to $15 each plus $10 shipping for shipping the large order.

I can make arrangements, such as consignment, for bookstores. Just phone or send an email.

Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant Printed and Headed to Christian News

Lulu tells me that the first case of CLP is headed toward Christian News. I ordered some for the requests sent to my home.

If I receive an order for CLP, I can ship it via Lulu, which is handy. I am not allergic to credit cards for my own use, but some people hate to use them over the Net.

Christian Brothers, Concordia, MLC, Dominoes

I was reading the news release about Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, selling the former Christian Brothers school next door - for a loss. We bought our house from someone under the same circumstance. The woman could not afford her purchase and had to sell to pay off debts.

The dominoes are falling. I knew several Christian Brothers at Notre Dame. They are a teaching order, famous for their schools. My classmate is now president of their main college, which is in dire economic straits. The Roman Catholics began selling off newly remodeled and expanded properties after Vatican II, when the supply of priests, nuns, and students nosedived.

Many of us were sure that Concordia's expansion plans included taking over the Ft. Wayne seminary and moving it, in the name of economics. Schwan money paid for millions in remodeling at St. Louis and about $22 million for the Christian Brothers school. Apparently that was just a bridge loan. Concordia will incur millions in losses to sell their white elephant to Washington University, a first-rate school in St. Louis.

Stupid in - buying the property. Stupid out - selling for a loss.

My guess is this - St. Louis does not need to absorb Ft. Wayne because the Fort will probably close due to shrinking enrollment. Hence, as the news release admits, there is already plenty of room at the St. Louis campus. Buildings are expensive. Anyone with a home will gladly describe the current repairs needed just to keep it going. We need a half-roof, not exactly a crisis during a drought, but the cost is hanging over our heads (bad pun). Buying a half-roof will be our peak experience for the year.

Someone else noticed that the WWII expansion boom churches would hit their repair bill peaks around 2000 and later. Fifty year old buildings have plenty of problems, and the law makes repairs even more frightening. The Christian Brothers had asbestos in their buildings, expensive to clean out. They pulled a fast one on Concordia, selling a liability for millions in cash. Lutherans enjoy being a day late and a dollar short.

A friend of mine was a millionaire in real estate, before the mortgage crisis. Now he owes $5 million more than he has in assets. When the credit crisis hit, the property values all went down together. Now every building is a pain, not an asset.

Summing up, all the school buildings are dragging down every entity owning them. The property is a problem. So are the health benefits. If one sector of the budget expands faster than the cost of living, that part of the budget drives the whole cash flow problem. A small church with a small school has a huge problem. A large church with a large school has a crisis. A synod with one or more schools has a disaster incubating.

Remember, it was Ur-Ichabod who predicted the future of ELCA in 1987, 20 years before it all happened. WELS and Missouri leaders cringed to have their favorite bedmates criticized. Now they are quick to distance themselves from ELCA's Lavender Mafia. Both synods have their own members of that Mafia, but no one is supposed to know that.

Some scenarios - conjured with the help of East Coast and other savants:
1. MLS will fold first, as the smaller of two preps. GM is melting down and going on strike. The Michigan economy looks less than bouncy.
2. Luther Prep will hang on a little longer, but that school will fold too. Both properties will be liabilities.
3. MLC needs the preps to keep going, so MLC must go after the preps. College duties can be taken over by Wisconsin Lutheran College, with all the Schwan money. (Look at a map, WELS and ELS have three colleges in a day's drive: New Ulm, Mankato, Milwaukee.
4. Mequon will shrink in enrollment but not in overhead. In ten years, as District Pope Seifert said, "We will be lucky to keep the seminary. WELS will look completely different than it does now."

Long live the Church Growth Movement, hating schools in the name of missions, doing nothing but talk about missions, its scrofulous hands reaching out for more money to do God's will.

Maranatha Remembers - and Watertown

The comments about Maranatha College have been interesting. Apparently this strict Baptist group bought a Catholic college in Watertown, Wisconsin and began going door to door to evangelize. WELS pastors complained that Maranatha picked up all kinds of members from WELS. That does not surprise me at all. WELS is good at preparing people to join the Baptists. Secondly, a typical WELS reaction would be anger toward Maranatha for picking up neglected or quasi-Baptist members.

The Northwestern Lutheran (before it was FIC) ran a story on NWC, complaining about the alcoholism fostered there. That was just before the Anschluss, when DMLC absorbed NWC and Luther lost his doctorate. Dr. Martin Luther College became Martin Luther College.

MLC really ignored educational trends. Now most schools have significant online programs, something pioneered by the University of Phoenix (300,000 students). MLC's enrollment has been trending down, its figures worsened by the accurate rumors that it will close. Yes, MLC will close in a few years. Not right away. WELS is propping up too many buildings with too much of an aging population. Things could be different, but the momentum would have to shift dramatically toward sound doctrine and honesty, unappetizing prospects for The Love Shack Curia.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lay-led Cell Group Pietism

Someone asked about lay-led cell groups being the heart and soul of Pietism. I have a chapter on that in Thy Strom Word. All the chapters are posted as links. Please use them. Still, I am happy to summarize:

1. Pietism was a unionistic movement to combine Lutheran and Reformed Christians at the expense of Lutheran doctrine.
2. The lay-led cell group was and remains the heart and soul of Pietism. Now it is also the energy behind women teaching men, women in authority over men, and women's ordination (the ultimate prize, the Helen of Troy, the forbidden fruit).
3. Cell groups foster the idea that they are the Real Church. They despise the Means of Grace and use the Sunday service to recruit more buddies for their cell group.
4. Fuller Seminary promotes cell groups, but loathes Lutheran doctrine, Lutheran worship, the creeds, etc.
5. Cell groups are divisive because of their superiority complex. Read Timotheus Verinus if you can find a copy.
7. Other names for cell groups - koinonia, share, care, affinity, Home Bible Study.
8. Apostates like Mark Jeske love Pietism. When someone comes out in favor of Pietism, count on him endorsing the Church Growth Movement later.

Is Mankato Hell?

Norm Teigen

A snowball's chance in Hell

If someone had asked me a few years back if my cousin Erling Teigen would ever be named to the Doctrine Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, I would have said that a snowball would have a better chance of making it in Satan's demesne.

Well, he has been named to this Committee. How about that.

Erling is also teaching in the Seminary. And so is Dennis Marzolf.


GJ - If Erling is a snowball, then Mankato must be Hell.

The Little Sect on the Prairie has very high standards. When people learned that the new seminary professor, Moldstad, had no bachelor's degree, there was a dust-up. Apparently Moldstad then finished his bachelor's to uphold the high standards of the seminary facult - 100% have graduated from college! Moldstad then replaced the First VP of the sect in a carefully planned coup, as ELS Pastor Kincaid Smith bragged. He was soon enthroned as Pope John the Malefactor. Needless to say, this title went to his head, which was not exactly filled with Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and German.

An Augustana Synod (Swedish-American) historian marveled that boys off the farm could assume such airs as soon as they were ordained. Exactly how could someone so allergic to education teach subject matter so demanding of higher education?

Norm Teigen is right. Education tends to disqualify someone in the Little Sect.

Norm Teigen versus Church and Change

Norman Teigen
I also think that I will stop by and see my pastor friend and find out what the deal is on Church and Change. Why did he feel that he could participate last summer but then drop out of the program? Who really told him in the first place that this was a cool place to go? Why did he change his mind?)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We Still Believe

I wrote the following and used it in a brochure. Then I urged others to copy it, via Christian News, and they did. Here it is:

In an age of anxiety, we still believe that peace comes from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

In an age of confusion, we still believe that the Bible is the Word of God, inerrant and infallible.

In an age of doubt, we still believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

In an age of guilt, we still believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to remove the power of sin, death, and Satan from our lives.

In an age of fear, we still believe that Christ rose bodily from the dead to win for us eternal life.

In an age of self-centeredness, we still believe that God acts through the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.

In an age of constant change, we still believe in the unchanging Holy Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

"If you hold to my teaching, then you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:31-32


I no longer had the brochure, so I Googled "We Still Believe Lutheran." I found examples all over Lutherdom, some with variations that fall harshly on the unwaxed ear.

Pietistic Cell Groups at a WELS Church

I warned you!

Lay-led Cell Groups.

Aha! Matt Has Not Actually Seen This

I know a lot of you WELS and ELS pastors are reading this, so take a gander at what the Ft. Wayne seminarian says about Green Bay, De Pere. Isn't Paul Kelm there? Yes, I see that he is.

I anticipate what WELS leaders will say. Matt has not seen these apostate acts first-hand. Read and weep, Old WELSians, because it can only get worse.

At January 22, 2006, Matt Makela said...
Dear WELS and WELS student,

Sorry for being vague. Nothing is intrinsically unbiblical about contemporary worship. However, St. Mark's contemporary worship is often unbiblical. My source of information concerning St. Mark's is my former hairdresser who is a faithful member of the congregation. Please note that on their home page ( there are three main pictures. The rightmost of the pictures has what contemporary worship typically looks like at St. Mark's. My informant has told me that songs with decision theology lyrics such as "Refiner's Fire" and "I Choose You" are sung regularly at St. Mark's contemporary services (they have 3 per week). Often there is no confession and absolution, creed, or Lord's Prayer. The site does, however, have a very good Q&A portion that is very faithful to Scripture. My informant told me that women read Scripture and help with distributing the elements not terribly often...probably once a month at one service. There were at one point Bible studies based on the Purpose Driven Life, which I find very disturbing (it's unforunately happening all over the LCMS).

Let me clarify that I have not personally seen anything that goes on at St. Mark's. However, my witness is very trustworthy, and I have no reason to doubt her. I hope this clarified some of the confusion.


At January 23, 2006, wels_of_pure_doctrine said...
I personally talked with Pastor Parlow of St. Mark DePere this morning. He emphatically told me that they do NOT allow women to distribute the elements. Only called men are allowed to help with that. He also told me that songs which contain reformed lyrics (I believe you mentioned "I choose you") are not used. They often write their own songs, and ANY song they used not written by one of their WELS ministers is put under doctrinal review (that includes hymns as not all their services are "contemporary."). I don't know what was up with your informent, but he demonstrated to me that those things are simply not true.


GJ - Now we know it did happen and perhaps still does happen. The official denial has been posted. You have already broken fellowship with WELS by reading this blog, so repent you guilt-free saints of UOJ.

I wonder - does Paul Kelm supervise the doctrinal purity of the hymns? No one is more Reformed than he is.

Some may know that the WELS and ELS leaders got together to discuss women distributing Holy Communiion (and more?). They said, "Naughty, naughty." That does not mean it actually happened, ever, anywhere, at any time.

Matt - Wake Up and
Smell the Kool-Aid

Consider joining WELS?

I guess another thing is what constitutes a "persistent errorist"? I know for a fact that some WELS pastors in Green Bay are persistent errorists by their love for unbiblical contemporary worship and adherence to The Purpose Driven Life and other church growth books. They allow women to read Scripture, perform children's messages during the Divine Service, and serve the elements. They have women "staff ministers." The church in particular that I refer to is St. Mark's, which has a dual parish (one church in Green Bay and the other in DePere). I know also that "percentage-wise" more WELS churches have unbiblical contemporary worship services than LCMS churches. Is it because the WELS has PAPER ORTHODOXY that you are confident to say that it is 100% orthodox and the LCMS 100% heterodox?

You wrote in a post last week (I think) that the WELS takes care of its problems, and that's what makes it different fom Missouri. If this is true, the one responsible for St. Mark's in Green Bay is not doing his job. I guess my point is that not even the WELS is always able to combat false teachings. Should it be that because the WELS does not take care of the problems happening at St. Mark's that you should leave and join the ELS? However, that would be problematic also since the ELS is in fellowship with the WELS.

I hope that you do not take offense at my writing. I in no way mean to cause you to be angry or insulted. As I said before, I respect the WELS and ELS greatly, and I know that you are a very faithful Lutheran believer. I just have some questions about WELS that I would like clarified before I feel 100% cut to the heart that I need to switch synods (something that I am definitely considering by the way).

Any clarification you can give to me, WELS, would be very helpful. Thank you!


GJ - This young man is very polite. I am sure some WELS member will post something about the Green Bay Packers, rendering Matt's knowledge of Green Bay null and void.

Charis - Church and Change

From the source:

Research Update: Factional Attributes in the WELS
By Dr. John E. Bauer
Dr. Bauer is the former Executive Director of The CHARIS Institute, Inc.


The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has experienced steady rates of decline over the past two decades that have produced financial and organizational stress. With the exception of 2004, baptized and communicant membership saw 21 straight years of decline. Sunday school attendance has dropped for 32 years straight and Lutheran elementary school enrollments have declined for 25 years in a row. Fiscal shortfalls, first made public in 2002, have led to reductions in the number of world missionaries, the number of college and seminary professorships, and numerous other cost-cutting measures.

When an organization experiences decline, it is common to observe denial and avoidance on the part of organization members and leaders on the one hand, and agitation forinnovation and change on the other. Both are occurring in the WELS. Within the last decade, growing divergence is occurring between two distinct factions.

One group, characterized by The CHARIS Institute and The Center for Church and Change, reacts to decline and loss by seeking creative and innovative approaches to ministry, by trying to develop networks for sharing ideas, and by combating the forces of legalism that restrict the free expression of the gospel.

The other group, characterized by the “Issues in WELS” conferences, the now defunct journal, Motley Magpie, and blogs such as “WELS in Crisis” react to financial and cultural changes in the denomination by returning to the safety of orthodoxy. Judging from the articles, papers, and postings of these organizations and groups, the preferred reaction to decline and demise is a clearer refinement of the church’s doctrine of church fellowship, rejection of anything thatseemingly resembles “church growth,” and a rejection of things contemporary or innovative in favor of the more traditional modes of pastoral ministry and worship.

Cell Group Quotations

Cell Group Quotations in Alphabetical Order

The lay-led cell group or conventicle is at the heart of Pietism, Reformed doctrine, and the Church Growth Movement. Below are quotations from WELS, LCMS, and various non-Lutherans, all saying approximately the same thing.

"Small Group Fellowships are not, as is sometimes supposed, a formal Bible class. Instead, Small Group Fellowships are a 'relationship,' a relationship among members of the group, a relationship with God, a relationship based on and centered in the Word of God. Small Group Fellowships are gatherings of people who study God's Word together and then put the Word into action together by (a) applying it to their lives, (b) by worshiping the Triune God, and (c) by serving others--sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and their very lives."
Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 3.

"The Rationale for Small Groups...5. It Follows Biblical Practice. a. Jesus and the Twelve Apostles (Jesus concentrated on investing Himself in His small group of disciples to teach and model spiritual truth, attitudes and behavior for them and to train them to be spiritual leaders. b. The Early Christians (Acts 2:42-47; 16:40; 20:20-21).
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 3.

"Small Group Fellowships are lay-led."
Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 8.

"HomeWORD Bound Groups, Fairview (WELS), Milwaukee, WI. The Boards of Elders and Education of Fairview Ev. Lutheran Church Prayerfully Extend A DIVINE CALL to____________________ To Lead a Small Group Bible Study along with ________. Purpose: A Bible study leader in Fairview's HomeWord Bound program shall facilitate lay-led, home Bible studies which assist Fairview in its ministry...."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison.

"Definition: 'A small group within the church is a voluntary intentional gathering of people, varying in number, regularly meeting together for mutual Christian purposes.' - Serendipity
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 2.

"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 10.

"A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)"
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

"The Network of WELS Small Group Leaders. 1. Information on active/interested small group leaders. 2. The Resource Sharing Network led by Divine Savior in Indianapolis, Indiana [Pastor Dan Kelm]."
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

"A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)"
WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

"A cell group is the basic part of our church. It is not another church program--it is the program of our church."
Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 42.

"We have many different types of cell groups. I have found that there is a basic sociological principle which must be maintained in order for them to be successful. The principle is one of homogeneity."
Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 44.

"The unrelenting growth is based on a multiplication of home cell groups led by lay leaders." Harry Genet, "Big Trouble for the World's Largest Church,"
Christianity Today, January 22, 1982 p. 30.

"Students of Church Growth realize that a good structure for the church that really wants to grow is the organization of celebration plus congregation plus cell. When we see the importance of the organization of the church we are looking with 'Church Growth Eyes.' We are looking from an x-ray perspective and understanding the internal organs of the body of Christ—the Church!"
Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congregation, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit: Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 81. WELS Church and Change loves, loves, loves Hunter.

"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.

"This writer's acquaintance with this current phenomenon is threefold: 1) he has attended one of the workshops held by Lyman Coleman; 2) he has read about a dozen books in the last ten years coming from evangelical sources [i.e. false teachers] that deal with small groups either wholly or in part; 3) he has also inquired about why a number of WELS congregations have begun to conduct small group Bible study and how they have structured these groups."[1]
Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.

"The point being made here is that the reason for having home Bible study in small groups seems to have shifted from the Pietists' or parachurch groups goal of creating cells of people who will reform the church to having small groups as an integral part of a congregation's work."
Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.

"PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY AT CROSSROADS...Conduct seeker services... Provide small group leadership. At Crossroads, as people come to know Jesus they are encouraged to participate in groups of 8 to 10 people who meet weekly for 2 years of fellowship, holding one another accountable, discipleship training, encouragement and support. 1 Thessalonians. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
Pastor Rick Miller, (WELS), Crossroads Community Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

"Every disciple had responsibility over two types of cells, one cell where he formed the lives of the new converts, and another cell where he took the most advanced of those new converts and taught them how to be leaders, knowing that cell would soon be divided and the most advanced disciples put over additional cells. So came the multiplication." Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 101. "A cell has five elements: 1) devotion; 2) discussion; 3) programming; 4) mobilization; 5) multiplication. It takes all five to form a cell group." Juan
Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 106.

"The cell groups are used to teach sound doctrine...Sound doctrine is not just belief in the millennium, the rapture, and the tribulation."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 111.

"Another cause for the misplacement of believers is the Sunday school. The early church knew nothing about Sunday schools. They knew the best way for believers to grow and multiply is not through Bible lectures, but through living cells. This means small groups of four or five persons who meet in homes under a leader so their lives may be shaped so they may mobilize and multiply themselves in other cells."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 29.

"Resources mentioned in this 'Bulletin' are available from CHURCH GROWTH, 709 E. Colorado Blvd. #150, Pasadena, CA 91101. Or call 1-800-423-4844."
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, Mission Counsellor Newsletter, Austin, Texas, May, 1988

"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton. Copied with the permission of Charles Arn."
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 11.

"The dynamics of assimilation into active church membership have very little to do with theological issues. Rather, a new members' class should focus primarily on relational issues of involvement and belonging." (Defining an Assimilated Member, by Charles Arn, copied with permission from EVANGELISM, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI, 53092. Annual subscription rate for EVANGELISM is $12...Charles Arn is Vice President of Church Growth, Inc. in Monrovia, Ca.)
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 150.

"What Are Affinity Groups? by Pastor Wayne Vogt, Fount of Life, Colorado Springs, CO."
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 8.

WELS Mission Counselors' NEWSLETTER, April, 1992: authors are - James Woodworth, Disciples of Christ; "Net Results," March, 1991; Roger K. Guy, Disciples of Christ; Arnell P. C. Arn, American Baptist Church; Jane Easter Bahls, Presbyterian; C. Jeff Woods, freelance writer and minister; Lyle Schaller, United Methodist; Pastor Paul Kelm; Pastor Jim Mumm, WELS; Pastor Peter Panitzke, WELS; Pastor Randall Cutter and Mark Freier, WELS; First Congretional Church, Winchester, MA." [2]
Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, April, '92, 2929 Mayfair Road Milwaukee, WI 53222

"The church is no longer the community of those who have been called by the Word and the Sacraments, but association of the reborn, of those who 'earnestly desire to be Christians'...The church in the true sense consists of the small circles of pietists, the 'conventicles,' where everyone knows everyone else and where experiences are freely exchanged."
Martin Schmidt, "Pietism," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1899.

"Some 15 years ago, Peter Wagner's equation read 'Cells + Congregation + Celebration = Church.'"
Ken Sidey, "Church Growth Fine Tunes Its Formulas," Christianity Today, June 24, 1991, p. 46.

"Wouldn't it be terrible to sleep through the Second Reformation? Cell Group Churches. The New Lifestyle For New Wineskins. Cell Group Churches Are Really Different! A 'Cell Group' Church is built on the fact that all Christians are ministers, and that there is no 'professional clergy' hired to do the work of ministry. According to Ephesians 4, God has provided 'Gifted Men' to equip 'Believers Who Are Gifted' to do the work of ministry...The life of the church is in its Cells, not in a building. While it has weekly worship events, the focus of the church is in the home Cells."
Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865

"Cell Groups For Reaching The Unchurched Are Called...SHARE GROUPS. Touch Outreach Ministries has spent many years experimenting with the best way to train Cell Group members to form 'Sub-Groups' called SHARE GROUPS which specifically target evangelizing the unchurched. SHARE GROUPS are 'pre-Bible study' Cells, which bond relationships between three Christians and six unbelievers. A series of three small books are used over a 27-week period of training. The first book, called 'BUILDING BRIDGES, OPENING HEARTS,' guides the SHARE GROUP Team through the first part of the strategy."
Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865 p. 7.

"The cell groups have probably become the universal trademark of Full Gospel Central Church...A cell group is a cluster of church members who meet weekly in a home, factory, office, or other place for the purpose of evangelism and Christian fellowship through singing, prayer, Bible study, offering giving, announcements, sharing of needs, and praises and ministry to one another."
John N. Vaughan, The World's Twenty Largest Churches, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984, p. 44.

"Cell. Sometimes called a kinship circle; a small group of 8-12 believers; an important part of the church's struct which has the primary functions of spiritual accountability and intimacy and secondary functions of Bible, prayer, and healing."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.

"Cell groups of Christians fellowshipping together date back to the first century, for it was largely through the activities of little groups or cells of believers that the message of Jesus Christ spread throughout the Roman Empire."
Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 93.

"Bible studies from Serendipity. Serendipity makes available Bibles (with outlines and discussion questions) and topical study booklets for adults and teen-agers. See appendix D for sample study courses. Order a SERENDIPITY SMALL GROUP RESOURCES CATALOG from Serendipity, P.O. Box 1012, Littleton, CO, 80160 or call 1-800-525-9583 (In CO call 1-303-798-1313)."
Notebook, WELS School of Outreach IV, p. 225.


[1] CLC Pastor David Koenig was anxious to prove that David Kuske was not trained by Lyman Coleman. Koenig even published a letter in Christian News about it. Koenig was always eager to start cell groups and heatedly supported Pietism while trying to quash any criticism of his beloved Church Growth Movement.

[2] Two of the featured WELS authors, Cutter and Freier, have left Lutheranism.

What I Found On My Scavenger Hunt for Blogs

St. Peter (WELS) Lutheran Church Blog

Sermon for May 7, 20064 May 2006 by Saint Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church
I believe in the Holy Christian Church, but I do not believe in the Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod. God’s Church cannot fail because … well, because it is God’s church. The Wisconsin Synod can fail because it is a human institution. ...

I picked that up from the link on Google, but the page no longer exists. Once again, I ask, Who says WELS has no doctrinal discipline?

Bloggers know that pages can be kept online for a long time. Deletion has to be deliberate and pre-meditated. This pastor stopped drinking the Kool-Aid. I am sure he has returned to his Holy Mother WELS mode now.

Maranatha Remembers

Maranatha Student:

Where our college/seminary was located (Watertown, WI) was an old-line Lutheran college. Northwestern. Since merged with Martin Luther in Minnesota.

In 1968 a group of students went on their campus, into dorms, to "witness" to those WELS heathen!! Rock, drunkeness, porn and about everything that was NOT allowed at Maranatha were in evidence. And we were confronted with the fact that many of these guys were going on to seminary and into the pastorate.

After our visit we were told we could talk to students out on campus, but never again allowed in the dorms. We had been TOLD that the WELS was the most conservative/hyper or "x" of the Lutherans, but I've found most MoSyn to be in REALITY more conservative.
'Dr. Bob' Griffin

GJ - UOJ favors alcoholism because drunks know they are already forgiven. Northwestern College was famous in WELS for allowing underage drinking, drinking to excess, and many other excesses. I posted this because it was information found on the Net. Of course, now we know it is true because an official denial was posted immediately afterwards.

WELS logic: If one Starbucks makes real whipped cream, then WELS is still perfect.

If Maranatha expects young women to dress modestly, their posts must be full of lies about WELS.


M Schottey has left a new comment on your post "Maranatha Remembers":

No, but a 40 year old story coming from a legalistic source isn't what i'd call classy investigative journalism.

2nd-- Because it happened at Northwestern does not mean it was 'allowed' as you put it. Just as it is not 'allowed' at MLC today.

In fact, a bigger problem is getting people to see that you cannot solve a 'morality problem' with constant and empty sanctification preaching, or using the Gospel as a new Law.

I know many young men who were the type of men you are deriding, and they have repented and been forgiven.

Not all of us can be perfect from the start as you and your baptist friend seem to be.

Does a lack of drinking on campus or ankle length skirts make you a better Christian?

If it does...please post a picture of yourself in an ankle length skirt.


GJ - I had to feature this because it is so typically WELS, except for the fact that the author signs his name.

Sig Becker, according to Herman Otten, was disgusted with the alcoholism and adultery of the WELS ministerium. Recently, I heard of a well-traveled WELS businessman who said the WELS clergy were the worst behaved, adulterous, and loutish of all the clergy he knew across the country. But of course, when the former SP was asked about a pastor in Arizona living in adultery, he went after the supposed source of the news. The adulterer was left alone.

One WELS pastor's wife, a graduate of DMLC, complained about the Score Reports at NWC. Her husband, a WELS circuit pastor, roared with laughter. Perhaps Mike could explain the Score Reports in a comment.

I would dissect all the logical fallacies from the post above, but I have some homework to grade. Readers can judge for themselves.

This is a polemical website emphasizing orthodox Lutheran doctrine, where vast amounts of web information are gathered to save people the trouble of going to other websites.

Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant Printing

The Luluputians have informed me that Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant is being printed and sent to Christian News, another shipment going to the Galactic Headquarters of Martin Chemnitz Press.

I have learned from my Church Growth mentors in various synods to inflate all titles. However, that makes me a bit uneasy, since an ecclesiastical organization is always inversely proportionate to the grandiloquence of its name. (For Mequon graduates, that means: the bigger the name, the smaller the institution. Example - Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America. Translation - one church building, a half dozen meeting-ats.)

When my copies arrive I will immediately ship them to those who care to order through me, or, those who ordered early to avoid the rush.

CN ordering advantage - they take credit cards.

MCP advantage - If you want 10 or more, I can give you a good discount. A number of churches have ordered boxes of CLP at a time, for confirmation or adult classes. I will still take care of individual orders, too. I am happy to work with small book stores with a consignment arrangement. They can take on a few books at a time and pay the wholesale rate when they have sold them.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant Printing":

Any person can take credit card orders through PayPal or Google's Froogle service. PayPal allows people to send money and an invoice to you without your having to even post anything on e-Bay or your website. I think Froogle requires you to post something, BUT posting on Froogle is free. The post remains active for 30 days, but you renew the post with a couple mouse clicks when the 30 days is up. You can do that indefinitely.

GJ - That may be true, but I am allergic to PayPal.

Trinity 16 Sermon

KJV Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

KJV Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

TLH Hymns
292 – Lord Jesus Christ (Selnecker, Concordist)
297 – The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace (Matthias Loy, American Lutheran leader, Delaware, Ohio)
287 – That a Man a Godly Life (Luther)
288 – Lord Help Us Ever to Retain (trans, Loy)

Words and music to hymns at these sites:

The Power Working in Us: Efficacy of the Word
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

This verse from Ephesians should stop every single Christian, to make him think – what is this power? If we know what this power is, we can understand how God works to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.

That is always the question in religion – what can God do and how does He accomplish His will? The way in which a question is asked or a statement is made will ultimately be a religious statement, often a foundational statement.

One of the problems of legalism - or perhaps rationalism is illustrated by this statement:

“God wants His Church to grow.” Donald McGavran

This is a proposition, not a Biblical statement. Even worse, this is a distortion of a Biblical revelation, so the words appear good, pious, and Christian at first. I find it a bad echo of this verse:

KJV Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

One question raised by the McGavran proposition is – which church? The visible church? God wants the organization to grow? That’s the problem with the Methodist hymn, The Church’s One Foundation. The hymn confuses the visible and the invisible church

If it means God wants the true, invisible church to grow, then that is rather vacuous. God is the One Who accomplishes all growth in the true Church.

KJV 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

No one is going to make a million in conference fees with that Biblical citation. In fact, church leaders used to quote 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 all the time, whether they were Lutheran or Protestant. They would say, “Everything is up to God. All we can do is be faithful to His Word.”

Picture a room full of church executives from many different denominations, including the Church of Rome. How these sleek cows of Bashan would love to hear those words – God wants their church body to grow! Success. Promotion. A five-bedroom cottage retreat in the north woods. God’s will!

I constantly repeat myself on this, but people need to know. The Church Growth leaders—who have trained all the mainline, Catholic, and Lutheran leaders—constantly make fun of traditional worship as boring and tedious. Then, when someone detects their hatred of the Gospel, they yell, “Christian-bashing!” Who was actually doing the bashing and still is assaulting divine worship? They loathe Lutheran doctrine and detest Lutheran worship with a special animosity, a demonic hatred.

God’s power and will are the main issues. If God needs man to accomplish His will, He is a very weak God indeed. The McGavran statement implies as much. God needs statistical studies (but never did during Christianity’s miraculous growth in the Apostolic Age). God needs marketing (but never did during the Reformation, which swept through Europe via a printing press made from a wine-press). God will be powerful when His numbers are powerful, as McGavran and his sycophants always teach.

In contrast, the power of God is expressed exclusively in the Bible as derived from His Word. The Holy Spirit never works apart from God’s Word, so we know that even the wild opposition to the Gospel experienced so often is a result of God’s power, the power to harden, to blind, and to enrage. Man causes those adverse reactions, something almost everyone has seen. Speak about the Gospel to a Mormon and the eyes will flare up. The fault is not with the Holy Spirit, not with the Gospel. When someone has hardened himself against the Gospel and hears it again, he normally grows even more opposed to the Gospel.

Power and the Word go together throughout the Bible, from the Creation. God the Father spoke the Word, “Let there be Light,” and there was Light. This Word was and is Christ. All things were created through Him and nothing was created apart from Him. I read this in Greek to my world religion class. I compared Genesis 1 to John 1, showing how the Trinity is taught throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit brooded over the water, Genesis 1.

The power of God is never divorced from the Word, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the Word, but we can also say the two are never separate at any time. The Word is always effective and the Holy Spirit always works through the Word. The Bible is utterly consistent in teaching this. So is the Book of Concord, following Luther.

Luther was so influential that all Protestants taught the basic efficacy of the Word, although they added their rationalistic touches. Twenty-five years ago an LCA bishop would say more about the efficacy of the Word than any “conservative” Lutheran leader today.

Some ministers have said, “They have taken my call away, my congregation away. I am shunned everywhere.” And yet the Word remains all powerful. The synods are so tyrannical because they are so frightened. Any pastor can start studying the Bible and Confessions with people and create a congregation through the Word.

If someone truly desires the Holy Spirit, then the only way to receive this Spirit is through the Word. God does not work in dreams and visions, apart from the Word. Faith is a good word in the Bible, not a bad one. God wants us to trust His Word, and proclaims the Gospel to create and sustain that trust.

One I played Trivial Pursuit against Martin when he was fairly young, not even a teen. He knew the answers for his team, so I would interrupt and say, “Are you going to trust a kid for that answer?” That would make them waver. No, the capital of Portugal was not Lisbon. That did not sound right. This worked time after time, leading to our team’s well- deserved victory. All I had to do was question their trust. I never attacked the answer, just the confidence they placed in a child.

Most of the voices in this world question our trust in God’s Word. I know that any mention of creating the universe in six days will earn me looks and open hostility in academic circles. Almost all the communication we get is anti-Word, anti-God in subtle ways.

But if God’s Word is true, something we know and experience, then the secrets of the universe open up. The Bible may not satisfy our curiosity about many things, but the Scriptures do teach us all we need to know about our ultimate destiny. We can also see the purpose for all life in the words of the Testaments.

The concise wording of the verse in question is one of those great secrets, hidden from the wise and powerful, revealed to babes.

1. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. That is the great promise of all religion, fulfilled only in Christianity. God not only provides for us, but beyond anything we could ask or imagine.
2. According to the power at work in us. The Word is that efficacious power, that divine power, at work (efficacious) in us. We carry Christ with us in that Word, and that Word is powerful.

We are glued together with Christ through Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Word. Christ is with us always, as the popular song says, “My forever Friend, My leave-me-never Friend.” The Scriptures urge us to pray, but the Word also motivates us to pray. This verse is one of the great Gospel promises of the Bible: we will receive far more than we ask.

So why does the Word seem to fail? For one thing, people adulterate the Word of God, mixing it with man’s word to make it appealing, logical, and germane. The word of man is not effective and does not convey Christ to us. The City of Man is built upon love of Self while the City of God is built upon the love of Christ.

Also, people grow tired of the Word. The two enemies of the Gospel are curiosity and satiety, according to Luther. People become curious about pagan beliefs like reincarnation, spirit guides, and other goof-ball notions. Curiosity moves them away from the Gospel. Besides, they grow satisfied and complacent about the Gospel and move on.

Trials and challenges make us return to the Word of God. The Word teaches us:

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Norm Teigen Officially Denies

From Norm Teigen's Blog:

more on Church and Change - a MEA CULPA for Norman?

A very reliable source has informed me that my ELS pastor friend has withdrawn from his participation in Church and Change.

This source writes: "I could find no official tie between Church and Change and WELS. From what I could find, Church and Change may 'report' to WELS, but there's nothing official. They are not listed as an organization on the WELS website."

My conclusion is that I may have misinformed myself on this issue.


GJ - My first impression - the fur is flying and Wayne Mueller's denying. Pass the word - there is no connection between Church and Change, Fuller Seminary, Leonard Sweet, Kent Hunter, and WELS. None. Period. Nada. If you think so, you have broken fellowship with WELS/ELS just by letting that thought poison your mind.

OK. Deep breath. I will look it up on the website. Hold on. I will be right back.

I'm back. I have the WELS site listed in my Lutheran folder, in a sub-folder labeled Pests.

The jumpword index, as of this moment, still lists Church and Change:

Jumpword -
churchChange Church and Change

That is pretty official, almost a nilhil obstat and imprimatur from the Love Shack Curia.

Listen to this - when I clicked on Church and Change, on the official website, I got this link, which is not outside of the WELS website, but inside. Look at the address:

"Note well," as Father Mapple said in Moby Dick - WELSForms. WELSForms sound officially WELS, or am I reading too much into the word WELSForms? I may have misinformed myself.

I might listen to the denials if the link were outside the website, but the link is inside and protected (https = secure). It looks like I can sign up for this Church Growth hootenanny and pay for it. Too late to cancel if you have qualms. There is a $50 fine for dropping out after September 14th. Who says WELS has no doctrinal discipline!

In conclusion, WELS is lying...again.

GA works, my friends. Lying is institutionalized in WELS, just like some of their church workers have been (for murder, for molesting children, for having a fling with a minor girl).

Bouncing Back and Having Fun

Someone asked about bouncing back from ill treatment from one's peers, one's synod, and pseudo-pious laity. I told one pastor, "If you want a friend in the Lutheran Church, get a dog."

Our loyalty must remain with the Word of God and the Confessions. I do not include synodical documents created by theological illiterates and voted upon by convention to be authoritative. I was once chastised for "showing contempt for synodical resolutions." Guilty as charged. The sect president covered up the criminal behavior of his brother-in-law. A regular Dershowitz, this churchman. Which synod? you ask. I can think of three where I have direct knowledge of cover-ups, some felonious.

If God wants to move someone, Patton's Third Army will not keep him in that position. If God does not want him moved, Patton's Third Army will not budge him. It is a great mistake to conspire with apostates to keep oneself in false security by adulterating the Word of God.

The enemies of God's Word will engage in any disgraceful act to ascend to power and to keep it. Unfortunately, many accept the PR releases as truth, but that number is fading.

When God allows His faithful to endure the cross, we should not resent a slight version of what His Son bore for us. We get only a glimmering of what Our Savior endured for our sake. He was innocent. We are not.

As Luther said, our Old Adam rebels against this treatment. "You can tie a hog to a tree, but you cannot keep him from squealing." So it is with our fallen human nature. In time, the cross purifies our faith as we realize how useless security is. God gives us more than we could ever hope for, pray about, or wish.

Why do children laugh so freely? Luther said, "You have as much laughter as you have faith." Children have boundless faith and seldom rationalize the way adults do. We want to balance the equation, but God does not work that way. He lets Satan and unbelievers (many in synodical and congregational leadershp positions) have their way. But His Holy Spirit is so powerful that He can turn the worst evil into the greatest blessing, as He did on Good Friday.

Best Synod for Pastors

If I had to recommend a synod for a pastor, I would definitely favor the LCMS.

WELS is a tyrannical cult. The worst part of it is this - the defenestrated feel wrongly that they have been excluded from the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Satan, perhaps, but not the Kingdom of God. Consider it a divine favor.

The ELS is no better under Pope John the Malefactor's Reign of Terror. The ELS is really a franchise, like WELS, a franchise owned by a few families. Nothing is so bad that it will damn a pastor, if he is related to the right people. A seminary professor can bray about his affection for the most blatant false doctrine and yet be spared. The best pastor can be ousted by papal edict, by papal threats to the congregation. They do not like their rowboat tossed about by discussions of doctrine.

ELCA is a joke, except for those gaining power from the Lavender Mafia.

Missouri is apostate, as everyone knows, but there is more congregational autonomy than most people realize. More than one ELS or WELS pastor has found a soft landing in the LCMS ministry. Moreover, there are many circles within LCMS. Anyone can find a circle and join it, much like the Roman Catholic Church:
1. Those who worship Walther and Pieper, called Bronze Age Missourians.
2. Those in training for the Catholic priesthood, developing Marian piety and obsessing about clerical finery, incense, and exotic titles.
3. Baptist-Pentecostals, trained at Fuller Seminary or Willow Creek, fired up to transform their victims through Management by Objective, tacky marketing, and graphs (unless the offerings go south).
4. Those who adore every European theologian except Luther.
5. Luthean pastors.

All the synods are coming undone. People do not want to fund tyrants who try to create panic and then divert funds for themselves. Synodical doctrine is so deceitful that a seminary professor will critique Reformed doctrine in one classroom while another professor promotes it next door.

Another Perspective on Removing the Liturgy, the Name Lutheran, and Lutheran Doctrine

Trouble in Paradise has some good comments on Church Growth trends in the ELS and WELS.

Luther on Justification by Faith, II

Martin Luther, on Justification by Faith, Book of Concord


"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.


"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.


"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 418. Heiser, p. 195.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Luther on Justification by Faith


"In like manner Moses must precede and teach people to feel their sins in order that grace may be sweet and welcome to them. Therefore all is in vain, however friendly and lovely Christ may be pictured, if man is not first humbled by a knowledge of himself and he possesses no longing for Christ, as Mary's Song says, 'The hungry he hath filled with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away,' Luke 1:53."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 149. Matthew 15:21-28; Luke 1:53.


"The apostle says 'our,' 'our sins;' not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free-will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God; he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 180. Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 1:3.


"Christ is speaking here not of the word of the law, but of the Gospel, which is a discourse about Christ, who died for our sins, etc. For God did not wish to impart Christ to the world in any other way; He had to embody Him in the Word and thus distributed Him, and present Him to everybody; otherwise Christ would have existed for Himself alone and remained unknown to us; he would have thus died for himself. But since the Word places before us Christ, it thus places us before Him who has triumphed over death, sin, and Satan. Therefore, he who grasps and retains Christ, has thus also eternal deliverance from death. Consequently it is a Word of life, and it is true, that whoever keeps the Word shall never see death."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 177. John 8:46-59.


"To this incline your ears, and be persuaded that God speaks through men and forgives you your sins; this, of course, requires faith."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 200.


"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Easter, Third Sermon. Mark 16:1-8.


"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the HS came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.


"All who are born into the world of man and woman are sinful under God's anger and curse, condemned to death. For all are conceived and born in sin as Scripture testifies (Psalm 51:5): 'Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 26. Easter Tuesday. Luke 24:13-35; Psalm 51:5.


"The 'rod of His mouth' signifies the spoken Word or the Gospel, which proceeds from the mouth of all whose teaching is pure. It is not inefficacious; it bears fruit; it justifies the godly and destroys the ungodly."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1469. Brief comment. Isaiah 11:4.


"Christ did indeed suffer for the whole world; but how many are there who believe and cherish this fact? Therefore, although the work of redemption itself has been accomplished, it still cannot help and benefit a man unless he believes it and experiences its saving power in his heart."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 705f. Smalcald, 1537.


"If remission of sins without repentance is preached, the people imagine that they have already forgiveness of sins, and thereby they are made secure and unconcerned. This is a greater error and sin than all error of former times, and it is verily to be feared that we are in that danger which Christ points out when He says, Matthew 12:45: 'The last state of that man shall be worse than the first.'"
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 123. Matthew 12:45.[19]

GA? - Does It Still Happen at Mequon

One student has claimed that the Wisconsin Synod's secret initiation rite was dumped five years ago.

We do not know that GA is still active until Wayne Mueller officially denies it.

Ahem, not Amen

About Me
Christopher Evans San Pablo, California, United States View my complete profile

My Lifestyle
A brother in the Spirit, partnered, in vows of stability, obedience, and lifelong conversion, to a fellow Christian, who happens to be a Lutheran pastor.

Has ELCA's cooperation with the Episcopal Church gone too far?


Evangelical Lutheran churches are semiautonomous, said Frak Imhoff from church headquarters in Chicago, but no national policy bars the ordination of gays and lesbians nor the affirmation of gay relationships.

However, Lutheran Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom wrote to President Clinton, "We have a clear set of standards and expectations for all who are ordained. We judge them by their behavior rather than on the basis of their sexual orientation." Chilstrom was urging Clinton to lift the ban against gays in the military.

And, Chilstrom said, "Ordained persons who are homosexual are expected to abstain from homosexual realtionships."

The church sponsors Reconciled in Christ congregations and synods, similar to the United Methodist Church's Reconciling and Presbyterian U.S.A's More Light groups.

The Grand Canyon Synod, which embraces Arizona and southern Nevade, is not Reconciled in Christ, nor are there any RC congregations within Arizona, said Bishop Howard Wennes in Phoenix.

Neither are there any openly gay clergy members in the synod, Wennes said, "at least not that I am aware of." The synod was created in 1978. At its second annual meeting, Wennes said, a speaker attempted to "sensitize people on how the church deals with gays and lesbians. The church feels that there is room under the cross for everyone, that homosexuals are real people with real feelings."

From Arizona pulpits, he said "we try to create an atmosphere where we can talk about it without people zooming out in space. It's a very complicated subject."