Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wayne's World,
Wayne's World
Party Line, Party Line

If you want to know what is going on in the bowels of The Love Shack, 2929 N. Mayfield Road, read Wayne Mueller's blog. Ichabod costs nothing, by the way, but WELS spends over $1 million a year on technology. The technology is not impressive.

The party line is clear. President-in-Waiting Mueller is saying, "We will tell you what we will do with your money. If you do not improve, we will close Michigan Lutheran Seminary. If you do improve, we will close MLS and probaly Luther Prep, too." (I almost added And your little dog Toto.) The two preps will take down Martin Luther College.

Here are the facts. About 300,000 communicants give $1,000 per year per communicant. That includes all giving through the congregation. The math is easy. WELS has $300 million in giving, give or take a few dollars. I did not install $250,000 in software on my computer, so I may be a little off. At least I haven't spent $8 million twice and blamed it on my wife!

The communicants are saying, "We won't fund the party line." The pastors are sitting on their hands instead of applauding the synod. Some ministers actually formed a mild protesting group, Issues in WELS.

Can anyone imagine what the brilliant minds at The Love Shack have conceived in the Last few decades?

  1. Let's have a new feminazi hymnal, and get rid of that Lutheran name. That will bring in hordes of new members. Charismatic Worship! No, too obvious. Christian Worship.
  2. Let's get rid of Lutheran on the name of our magazine. And Northwestern as well. Too regional. That will bring in hordes of new members. Forward in Christ!
  3. Let's work with ELCA on evangelism and worship. They are so cool.
  4. Let's pay pastors to study at Willow Creek. One day all our congregations will be as big as Willow Creek Community Church.
  5. Those Michiganders need a spanking. They did not want Martin Marty speaking at our college. Let's close their prep school.
  6. The treasurer said we couldn't spend all our reserves and then some. Let's fire him and hang him out to dry.
  7. Fuller Seminary hates Lutheran doctrine just as much as we do. Let's get all our leadership through Fuller and use Church Growth methods to rock the planet. I can see it now - World Evangelical Lutheran Synod. No, dump the Lutheran label, and add some personality:

    Wayne's World Evangelical Cell Group Association!

WELS Church Growth Hero

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dec 25, 2006 by TOM HEINEN
Martin Luther wrote the lyrics centuries ago, but the eighth- note rock rhythms that pulsated through St. Marcus Lutheran Church on Christmas Eve clearly proclaimed that this was new terrain for "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come."

Such sounds would have been verboten in the distant past within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, known for staunch theological conservatism.

But new ways to deliver God's message have been evolving.

Exploration of modern musical forms and instrumentation also has been happening for years in other branches of Lutheranism, and in other denominations, sometimes sparking what have been termed "worship wars" as contemporary and traditional approaches to music and worship vie within congregations.

At St. Marcus, 2215 N. Palmer St., traditional hymn lyrics are retained for its alternative service at 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Even the familiar tunes usually are there - just with a blues, pop, folk or rock 'n' roll setting, all played by the "house" band Koin.

Pete Reese, 32, a string bass player from Milwaukee, describes the music as "bombastic pop, to classic rock, to folk. Even a

Touch of metal, a touch of punk here and there."

"We don't consider ourselves a praise band," said Brian Davison, 28, of Milwaukee, the band's vocalist and the church's youth and music minister. "We call ourselves a worship band or a church band. All our songs come from old hymnal songs from the Lutheran tradition, and others. We are trying to give new life to some of the old hymns that taught so well and had such beautiful words."

'Natural drive'

Take the Luther hymn, for example.

"The song has natural drive to it," said Milwaukeean Benj Lawrenz, 31, the band's creative spark, electric and acoustic guitar player, and grandson of Carl Lawrenz, a theologian and former president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon.

"It's the shepherds explaining to the world what they have just seen with the angels. So there's a lot of energy to the lyrics. And the music has a lot of energy behind it. If you play it in an upbeat tempo, it just pushes you forward, like the shepherds were being pushed."

That hymn was one of several from the synod's 1993 book, "Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal." Adding brief narratives and Scriptural readings, the service told the Old Testament history that led up to Christ, the events around his birth and the sacrificial purpose for which he came.

"A lot of times people leave Jesus in the manger, and it's just really nice and cuddly at Christmas," Lawrenz said. "They forget that this person came to die for the sins of the world and not just to be a ploy to sell Christmas merchandise."

There is theology behind retaining traditional lyrics, which are seen by some as more accurately reflecting Scripture.

"You have to get the difference between the way the evangelicals and Lutherans look at theology," said James Tiefel, dean of chapel and a professor of worship and homiletics at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. "The evangelicals will say that a human being has to make a decision to become a Christian. And so the way you get him to make that decision becomes very important. You have to find a way to raise his emotions or convince his intellect. Lutherans will say the Holy Spirit works through the word (Scripture) to create a Christian." [GJ - So how are Church Growth WELS/Missouri/ELS/ELCA leaders different from the Reformed?]

There has been some experimentation with full-blown praise bands in WELS churches for at least 10 years, but it is not widespread, Tiefel said.

One of the noteworthy WELS examples nationally is St. Mark Lutheran Church in De Pere. About 80% of the music that its praise band plays comes from top-selling contemporary Christian music. The church, which has a $150,000 audio-visual system with two big video screens, has nearly 2,000 members and needs to expand beyond the new facility it built a few years ago, said Phil Boileau, its minister of music and family.

A growing number of WELS churches nationally are making at least some use of contemporary music and instruments beyond the organ, according to Tiefel and the Rev. Bryan Gerlach, administrator for the WELS Commission on Worship. At least 150 have gotten instruction at Gerlach's School of Worship Enrichment. [GJ - But Wayne Mueller says there is no Church Growth in WELS, not even by another name.]

25% offer alternative service

Wayne Mueller, first vice president of synod mission and ministry for WELS, estimates that 25% of the denomination's 1,263 congregations offer some type of regular alternative worship.

He thinks the push for contemporary music is coming from 35- to 40-year-olds, and that younger people prefer tradition. He also cites a study that correlates membership growth with the percentage of a congregation's people involved in Bible study.

Unlike many other mainline denominations, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has had stable membership instead of losses. There were about 317,000 baptized and confirmed members 16 and older in 1990, a majority in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Now there are about 315,000, Mueller said. [GJ - Say what? WELS has lost members steadily for decades, under the watchful eye of Wayne Mueller.]
Formed in 1993, Koin, the St. Marcus band, took its name from an ancient Greek term for the language of the common people. With Seth Koch, 25, of East Troy as a newly added replacement on drums, and Seth Bauer, 26, of Waukesha on piano, the band recently released its second CD. Koin has played at more than 70 churches in the region.

A Man Speaks - But Who Is Listening?

WELS President-in-Waiting Wayne Mueller:

God Bless Our Decisions
Last weekend the Synodical Council found itself in nearly the identical financial position as it was at the February meeting. The support forecast and budget emergencies in mid-March forced $2.3M in cuts to Home Missions, World Missions, and Parish Services. The SC applied the blessing of the 5-year gift of $2.5M to those cuts for the first year of the upcoming fiscal biennium.

For the second year of the biennium 2008-2009 half of those cuts will be reinstated to areas of ministry other than Ministerial Education. Mission divisions will each lose about a half million of their budgets for that fiscal year and Parish Services will also be cut. There will be no cuts to Ministerial Education for the next two years. BME will retain its full allocation, keep the $2.6M addition from the November 2007 meeting, benefit from a $170,000 annual gift to their special funds for 2007-2009, and retain all the savings of the proposed closing of Michigan Lutheran Seminary in their budgets.

Starting July 1, 2008, and for four years after that, the SC designated half of the new $2.5M gift annually for debt reduction. Since WELS’ debt service for more than $20M in loans currently comes out of our operating funds, this move will have the affect of relieving the operating budget of nearly a million dollars a year of debt service. This will allow the $2.5M gift to be the gift that keeps on giving long into the future and have a stabilizing affect on support for ministries.

These budget moves by the Synodical Council presuppose that the convention will uphold their recommendation to close Michigan Lutheran Seminary. If the convention reverses their decision, much larger cuts to other areas of ministry will have to be considered to cover not only the operating costs of MLS, but also the BME deficits which, with MLS open, will climb to over $5M by the end of the 2009-2011 biennium.

It was the prayer of Synodical Council members that God would bless their decisions in a way that would demonstrate their desire to maintain prep level education in the WELS, offer overall long term stability to our support of ministerial education, and live within our means while keeping our core ministries intact.

As C. Peter Wagner Stated, Church Growth Principles Just Don't Seem to Work

Friday, June 29, 2007

Commercialism Strangles Congregational Stewardship

God must not bless commercialism in His Church, because the money-changers in the Temple always drive out good stewardship.

The biggest problem with selling to the public while remaining a church is the effect on the conscience of the congregation. Soon the church members and synodical leaders are not ashamed of anything.

They all fit the old Jewish joke which goes like this. Sadie says, "If I had Rockefeller's money, I would be richer than Rockefeller." The friend says, "How?" Sadie says, "Because I would do some sewing on the side."

So the congregation and synod think Thrivent gifts and pie sales are extras. In fact, the sewing on the side suppresses giving.

One congregation got $1,000 every year from the Dow Foundation. All they had to do was write a thank-you letter. Every year they said, "We are $1,000 behind, but we will get that from Dow."

When people relie on outside sources, they trim their giving back accordingly.

The double dose of poison from Thrivent and Schwan is this - The apostate leaders control the funds (their money) and grow very lax about reporting them. People think, "They have extra money." Giving slides downhill while the genuine needs grow.

The gap grows faster because the extra money goes for luxury Wild Hair projects. No one would fund them from offerings if they knew the truth about them. So the officials spend their money (in their febrile minds) on their projects and beat up the congregations for being so stingy and mean.

The late St. Marvin of Schwan actually enabled the bankruptcy of WELS and Missouri with his outlandish gifts. They blessed his divorce and second marriage, and this is how he repaid them!

Killing and Killers

Thou shalt not murder.

Secondly, under this commandment not only he is guilty who does evil to his neighbor, but he also who can do him good, prevent, resist evil, defend and save him, so that no bodily harm or hurt happen to him, and yet does not do it. If, therefore, you send away one that is naked when you could clothe him, you have caused him to freeze to death; if you see one suffer hunger and do not give him food, you have caused him to starve. So also, if you see any one innocently sentenced to death or in like distress, and do not save him, although you know ways and means to do so, you have killed him. And it will not avail you to make the pretext that you did not afford any help, counsel, or aid thereto, for you have withheld your love from him and deprived him of the benefit whereby his life would have been saved. (The Large Catechism, Fourth Commandment, #189f, Book of Concord)

First of all, there are the cases of two WELS church workers who killed their wives. Al Just was a teacher at Arizona Lutheran Academy when he claimed his wife rolled over on a steak knife so many times that she died from the wounds. The jury convicted him. Al married his children's babysitter while in the hoosegow. The president of Martin Luther College was a character witness for Al. Busloads of brainwashed sect members came to support good ol' Al at his trial. He was convicted but spent very little time in the slammer.

WELS Pastor William D. Tabor was found in Milwaukee with a dead wife on his hands. He was allowed to move from Salem, Milwaukee to a new call in Escanaba. He never served time, but his mistress did. WELS had accepted him by colloquy even though he was a known serial adulterer.

How much hatred or cowardice must church officials have... when they condone and cover up for murder?

There are other types of murders that take place routinely. Thanks to the meddling of church officials (ELS, WELS, ELCA, LCMS), faithful pastors are driven from the ministry. Church officials encourage the parish to be cold and merciless to the former pastor. Congregations are divided and wounded. Families are alienated. Friends are lost. The financial cost is enormous for the minister, but there are prices to pay in other areas. For instance, few children of church workers today want to follow their parents in the same vocations. The main problem - contempt for their parents expressed in so many ways by the church officials. Rather than serving as buffers between the pastor and congregation, the officials serve as Iagos, enabling the murder of Desdemona while clucking their pious tongues.

Lest we forget, ELCA pays for the murder of unborn babies in the denomination's health plan - for any reason. Only an apostate could sit in the same room with ELCA leaders and plan religious efforts with these corpse-cold murderers, whose outward compassion does not keep them from ending the lives of the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak, the unborn. Still, the old Synodical Conference (WELS, LCMS, ELS) gladly works with ELCA, especially through Thrivent grants for pan-Lutheran projects.

Praise Music Doesn't

"You Are My All in All"
copyright, Dennis Jernigan, 1991 Shepherd's Heart Music

You are my strength when I am weak,
You are the treasure that I seek,
You are my all in all.
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I'd be a fool, [fuel is a better rhyme here]
You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God -- worthy is Your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God -- worthy is Your name.

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame,
Rising again, I bless Your name,
You are my all in all.
When I fall down, You pick me up,
When I am dry You fill my cup,
You are my all in all.

A columnist for The American Spectator Online has written a fine critique of praise music for a conservative, political magazine. Is that a recursive? - critique of praise.

Here is what he wrote:
"IT IS AN INTERESTING PARADOX. Churches devoted to rigorous, difficult theology -- real Christianity, in short -- have largely adopted praise music, mainly to get people in the doors. In doing so, they have denied their parishioners an intimate connection with the art, the music, the poetry, and the history of the faith of our fathers, embodied in hymns."

He did not name the pain - Church Growth - but his diagnosis is accurate. Ever since I was ordained in 1973 I have tried to introduce good Lutheran hymns to Lutheran congregations. Ministers often take the easy route and favor the Methodist-Baptist hymns found in Lutheran hymnals. Lutheran hymnal editors have increased the icky song content in each new edition. Add to that the pit bands in the chancel and Cousin Brunhilda singing ridiculous twaddle to a back-up tape. I was shown Ron Freier's church in Michigan. Very large. He featured pop music. His son, Mark Freier, carried things farther along, left the Lutheran church, and perhaps left the ministry. The Wisconsin Synod had nothing but praise for Mark as he apostacized.

The Freier saga could be retold with variations in many other WELS families. The father stays in the synod while turning Baptist. The son does an extreme version of the same routine, with hosannas from the synod hierarchy, and leaves the Lutheran Church he already abandoned in substance.

I can imagine more than one son saying, "Pop, I did what I learned from you. Besides, the synod printed me up in bulletin inserts and praised my holy name all the while. They sent me to Fuller and paid my tuition at Willow Creek."

The worse thing to befall any pastor is the praise, support, and encouragement of the Wisconsin Synod. "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Samuel 18:33

Let us turn our attention to the praise music copied above. I am teaching creative writing at the moment. I would give this ditty a D in a spirit of compassion. As a Christian song the hackneyed words deserve an F.

The song is really praise of self, like most praise music. Remember Augustine's great statement about two loves and two cities? This song represents the Love of Self and the City of Man. A Pharisee might cloud up during its rendition. A real church musician would cry in shame. A sincere Lutheran pastor would hide in the sacristy. Worship is the ultimate expression of a congregation's doctrine, a synod's doctrine. Lutherans have stampeded to study at Fuller and Willow Creek. Is it a wonder that they sound Baptist-Pentecostal and worship in the same spirit?

To get people in the doors, Lutheran churches have sold their heritage for a bowl of soup. They have denied their own doctrine so long that they hate it without knowing what to love. Twenty years ago, I told DP Robert Mueller what members experienced visiting WELS churches in Florida. Thanks to the frenzy of Church Growth there, the members said, "The only way we could tell those churches was Lutheran was by reading the sign outside." Mueller glared at me for questioning the wisdom of this anti-Lutheran, anti-Christian movement.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Languages and Prep Schools

Americans are anti-language training.

A pastor needs to know various languages: Hebrew, Latin, Greek, German. A number of WELS pastors said, "You know German!?" I said, "You graduated from seminary and didn't learn it?!"

Latin can be taught in the sixth grade, using the Gospel of John. Translate without a pony. Learn the words and grammar by reading. Translate the words known and guess the rest. Reading the Gospel of John in Latin will be a good start for all Latin training. It is a good father-son activity.

One language start per year is plenty.

Greek should follow Latin. The grammar is quite similar. The Gospel of John in Greek is perfect for learning New Testament Greek. The idea should be read the New Testament like a newspaper, not "translate" while reading. The pony has to be chucked. No one can learn a language with a pony or with an interlinear crutch.

German is heavily reliant on Latin. The Gospel of John provides the vocabulary and basic grammar. By the way, grammar is derived from literature, not literature from grammar. Show me a grammar expert and I will show you a non-writer.

My prize student was asked, "How do you know it's subjunctive?"

He responded, "Because it looks funny." Try that in Greek, Latin, and German. Subjunctives do look funny.

A good translator looks at groups of words to make sense. A grammar weenie parses one word at a time. Grammar weenies get good grades, become language teachers trying to produce more weenies, a good example of making disciples.

Language immersion is the only way to really learn a living language. The Army does that very well. Eat, sleep, talk, read the same new language. The brain switches over so that the new language is no longer really translated. It is just known and understood. That would put the weenies out of a job, so they keep on slaughtering the innocent, making them hate all language training.

Hebrew is not tough but can be turned into a difficult language. Hebrew is absolutely essential for understanding the Old Testament. I asked to study Hebrew at my LCA seminary. The dean said, "Why?" Jonah or another simple book is a good start for Hebrew. The best teacher is one who knows and loves Hebrew. Watertown had an excellent professor of Hebrew. The men left college with a solid knowledge of Hebrew. They knew Greek and probably some Latin. Our son could speed-translate Latin, German, Greek out loud, faster than I could follow the text. He could follow Spanish TV and translate back and forth in Mexico. He knew Hebrew quite well.

I did what I could for his language training. MLS and Watertown (now Luther Prep) contributed their share. His mother contributed a rare genius for language and a photographic memory, which he inherited. Then he got involved in computer languages, which were easy compared to human language.

WELS AnswerMan
Not Apt to Teach

"With regard to textual criticism, KJV advocates take the illogical position that the relatively recent manuscripts which were available to the church in 1611 are more reliable than the much older manuscripts that have become available to us since. They also fail to appreciate that the manuscripts used to produce the KJV—including the manuscript tradition known as the Textus Receptus—are themselves the products of textual criticism. If Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther, or the scholars who produced the King James Version had had access to the Greek papyri or the Dead Sea Scrolls, it’s impossible to imagine that they wouldn’t have used them."

This is one, dumb paragraph. WELS pushed pastors out of the ministry for favoring the KJV, which was formerly the standard in all LCMS and WELS congregations, in all the English-speaking world.

The KJV is really a version of the Tyndale translation. He was burned at the stake for his work, prefiguring the fate of others who wanted a good translation. The NIV is a joke, constantly changing from bad to worse, increasingly feminazi in its butchered renderings.

Returning to the stupidity expressed by AnswerMan - the KJV relies on the enormous body of Byzantine texts, thousands of them. The Byzantine Empire was highly literate, Christian, and Greek-speaking for 1,100 years. So what would they know about Greek manuscripts, eh AnswerMan?

The modern text critics base their work on three goof-balls. Wescott and Hort were told to produce a new translation but to leave the text alone. They made up a bunch of rules which are fatuous but still followed - and they create their own text of the New Testament. Tischendorf was the other fake. He "discovered" two New Testament manuscripts which he declared to be the best of all. One was at a monastery on Mt. Sinai. The other came from the Vatican. The two sources do not agree but have similar tendencies. Many scholars are suspicious of people who make their names discovering something by accident. Neither manuscript has a known origin. I am not saying they were forged. They are like the Shroud of Turin, appearing conveniently late in history.

When you read the NIV, look for all the verses cut out. A committe of five votes on them. If the vote goes 3-2 against the verse, color it gone.

Missouri and WELS have made a bundle from the NIV, a unionistic effort involving two WELS seminary professors, gobs of Pentecostals and Baptists. Free trips to Israel. Nice perks for unionists and compromisers.

The new edition of Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant has exactly one (1) verse from the NIV. The NIV is completely anti-sacrament. Surprised?

Synodical Schools
Good and Bad

The Good
Prep schools are synod supported high schools designed to give a classical, European style education to future teachers and pastors. Religion is almost completely banned from public schools (except for Islam and Hinduism) but the Christian faith remains an integral part of prep school education. They do not need committee approval to sing a Christmas carol in December. Chapel services are a normal part of the day and an excellent potential for Lutheran worship education.

Money should never be an issue with a prep school student. Those who have less money should feel no more burden than the children of wealthy parents. A fair system attracts the broadest spectrum of students while a cash-hungry school will tend towards selecting only those who can afford it.

No one is ever going to replace a prep school. A private school is not the same. Many started out with a religious background, but that receded when the school became a proving ground for high society. Chapel, yes. Taken seriously, no. The public high schools are now so low in academic content that most should be shut down.

Church Growth = School Shrinkage
Church Growth leaders hate the schools because a traditional Lutheran educational system assumes the efficacy of the Word. Church Growth gurus are self-loathing snobs. They want to evangelize the fashionably foreign, flitting about from one exotic country to another. They do not want their own children educated to spread the Word. Anyone with an IQ above room temperature can see the anti-Christian roots of Church Growth, so the Enthusiasts hate intellectual rigor. Prep schools offer the potential of creating genuine Lutherans while the Fuller fans want Baptists and Pentecostals.

The Bad
The WELSian tendency to keep making the same mistakes has led to a culture of hazing.
The sadistic hazing is tolerated, even welcomed by the prep school staff. After all, they were hazed and hazed others. One seminary professor laughed when he told about the boy suspended from the window by his legs. They let go by mistake and he plunged head-first to the ground - from the second floor. Some hazing can be harmless and fun - make my bed, carry my books. Other hazing is insanely evil. The trouble is - dealing with the problem is called ratting. They have punishments for anyone who tells. That is why the typical WELS pastor is so timid. The preps and upper level schools (especially the seminary) have promoted a culture of conformity through intimidation. That is now working against the prep schools and college. SP Gurgel only needed to show up at Issues in WELS to suppress the attendance by 150%. He scowled when he should have been listening, but he got his agenda across: "Do not offend the Great and Terrible Oz!" That works better with money coming in.

Needless to say, some people remember painful experiences with hazing. They are not allowed to say it, and they are not going to go all out to fund the sadists they remember so well.

The Ugly
The area high schools have grown in number and have drained off resources and students from the preps. New Ulm once had a prep. Now they have an area high school. Phoenix has a fair number of congregations, but the nearest prep is in Wisconsin. So Phoenix has an area high school. The experts in demographics might have anticipated treating all regions equally instead of putting two preps in Wisconsin and then closing one. Regionalism is stronger in WELS than any other synod. Virtually all the leaders and professors are from the Watertown prep. That sounds like an exclusive sorority, doesn't it.

Shamelessly Copied from Issues in WELS

I found this at Issues in WELS. They copied it from a previous report.

An Interesting Thought from 1961 by Benjamin Tomczak

I was taking a look at the Proceedings of the 1961 synod convention (as I'm sure many of us have been lately), and I came across an interesting report from the Prep Course at Northwestern College (pages 65-68, if you're curious).

It appears that at that time, they were addressing concerns about the curriculum at the prep schools and the value of doing things the way they were doing them. The defense they offer for maintaining the prep school system is one that we can, should, and must make today as well. I find it interesting that these thoughts from nearly 50 years ago still ring true. I offer them here without further comment:

"Are we trying to teach too many different subjects during the eight years? If we were trying to specialize in some one language, or in history, or science, the answer would be Yes.

"But our purpose is not to specialize to train experts in one field; our purpose is rather to supply the student with the fundamentals of the subjects with which he should have some familiarity as a pastor, and to give him the tools that he can use later if he wants to concentrate on one subject. We must remember that many of the boys now in our school will one day be called upon to teach in our schools and colleges. The very nature of our whole system requires that we train our own teachers and professors as well as our pastors. We cannot avoid inbreeding. We have to lay the foundation now for the work as pastors, teachers, professors that our boys will one day have to do. Of necessity that foundation will to be rather broad.

"Why continue to teach German and Latin? It ought to be taken for granted that a Lutheran pastor who bears the name of Luther proudly should be able to read and understand Luther's language as we have it in his translation of the Bible, in our hymns, and in the originals of our confessions, such as the Catechism and the Augsburg Confession.

"As for Latin, there is no medium that is so suited to illustrate the meaning of the grammar of all languages as the Latin language. Latin is the enemy of ambiguity and obscurity. It is the source of many thousands of English words. Instruction in English, German, Greek always rests heavily on the foundation laid in Latin. A good foundation in Latin makes the mastery of all other languages easier.

"Can the course not be changed so as to make it possible for public high-school graduates to enter our college to prepare for the ministry? Suppose we waive all foreign language requirements for admission to the freshman year of college in order to make it possible for high-school graduates to enter without a handicap and with no loss of time. What would follow? After not many years our synodically operated preparatory schools would be dead. Parents would not send their sons away to school when the Synod lets them know that they can get all they need for admission to college at home, at less cost, and at less effort to the boy. In effect, this would make the public high school our preparatory school for the ministry until we had our own high schools spaced throughout the Synod. And finally, it would be impossible to start Latin, Greek, and German, all at once in the freshman year. Something would have to go, and that something would be two languages…

"Can the area high schools not take over the work now done by the synodically operated high schools in Watertown, New Ulm, Saginaw, and Mobridge? Area high schools will always be under pressure to give the kind of course that the parents in the area and the vast majority of students desire and ought to have. A course that definitely points to the ministry will be demanded by relatively few. The smaller schools will find the cost of providing special classes for these few a heavy burden. Preparatory schools should always have the broad financial support provided by the entire Synod, should have the backing of the whole Synod when times are bad, and should be under synodical, not local, control.

"There is no compelling reason to be observed in the quality and the ability of the students in our schools, nothing in the conditions under which we are operating, nothing in the financial status of our Synod, nothing in the laws of the State that would make it necessary or advisable to make a radical change in our course of studies. On the contrary, everything that is happening in the world would rather argue that we develop as soundly educated a ministry as we can. Our course is intended to develop a teaching, preaching ministry. It is a course that tends to preserve us from becoming a church of the social Gospel that spends its strength in the interest of social, physical, and economic welfare.

"It we give up the languages we shall find that the vacant space that they leave will soon be filled with the popular subjects - social studies, psychology, psychiatry, community welfare, and so on. The experience of seminaries and colleges that have lost interest in the languages proves this to be the case.

"We must not weaken our preparatory departments, because in the degree in which we weaken them we weaken the college, and consequently also the theological seminary and the ministry."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Augsburg Confession - Anniversary Today

The Augsburg Confession was largely the work of Philip Melanchthon. Luther had to stay away because his life was in danger. Imagine that. The typical Lutheran pastor today is afraid he might miss lunch, or miss being appointed to the nominating committee of his sect.

The Confessors of the past were in danger of losing their lives. Many were driven out, as Chemnitz was. Many pastors were exiled and imprisoned.

June 27th also marks the death of our dear friend, Brenda Kiehler. She died of osteogenesis imperfecta, which caused her bones to break and disappear. She had more physical problems than Job, but she could say and sing, "I know that my Redeemer lives." Her favorite hymn was "Beautiful Savior." She cared deeply about everyone and she loved Lutheran orthodoxy. She said, "I don't have anything else. I don't have health or money."

Brenda is an example of what the Gospel creates in the form of spiritual fruit. The world saw nothing but a tiny woman in a powered wheelchair. People treated her as deaf and retarded. Those who knew her realized she had a genius IQ, excellent observational powers, and a wicked sense of humor.

A day without an email from Brenda (during her health crises) was a day without sunshine. Now she rests in the bosom of Abraham, receiving all the good things for eternity.

How Norm Berg Killed Martin Luther College

I remember the old days, when WELS was entirely foreign to me. No one paid attention to WELS because the synod was almost absent where I lived and worked. I used to walk by a WELS church near a cornfield on my way to college. In my second call there was a small WELS church in Sturgis. I went to meet the pastor there.

A WELS church usually opened with a small school. Apparently they funded the building, the pastor, and a teacher. Bronze Age Lutherans remember schools with no tuition - it was part of the budget. When schools turned to tuition, they soon became private schools or even reform schools for the general public. That is the source of the lawsuit against California Lutheran High (WELS). Girls were kicked out for allegedly being lesbian, on very shaky grounds. The school was not all-WELS, so the normal excuses for abusing authority could not be used. California has strict laws about public institutions. One may expect this case to cost a bundle.

Getting back to Norm Berg, veteran of Fuller Seminary. How did I know? Do I have video of him on the campus? Do I have his tuition bill? No, I have a letter from him where he confessed. Berg was the head of Home Missions for WELS. He promoted "New Mode" evangelism, based on felt needs. Google "felt needs" and you will get Fuller material. I attended a brain-washing session where Berg bragged about taking mission church money away from the teachers. If the buildings were tinier (WEFs) and only one person funded with a pitiful salary (the pastor), then Berg could conquer North America with his missions. I was at a conference where Berg hoped out loud that he could defeat higher salaries for mission pastors to have more money for his missions. Pastors were costly overhead, but home office drones were not.

So WELS wasted millions on the ugliest, cheapest WEFs and stopped building schools. They did overfund one church in Coral Gables, Florida, filled it with Church Growth gurus, and sold the beautiful church building to Catholics when the experiment collapsed. Those gurus are not even Lutheran today.

So Berg effectively took away the need for Dr. Martin Luther College as a teacher's college. After a few decades, the need for training parochial school teachers dropped. DMLC refused state certification for years, so a degree from DMLC was pretty limiting.

WELS schools are closing right and left now. The parochial schools are closing for various reasons (costs, greying of the denomination). The preps will probably be gone soon, throwing more teachers into the secular workplace. "You mean we can't haze students in public school? Drop them upside-down from a window on the second floor? I miss my prep school."

Norm Berg is not the only Church Growth leader to put a hex on the school system. His work at 2929 N. Mayfield (The Love Shack) was all Church Growth. If you seek a monument for Church Growth in WELS, look around you. Count the empty pews, the empty buildings, and the many lawsuits.

Third Commandment
Refutation of Kent Hunter, Lawrence Olson, D. Valleskey, Paul Kelm, Waldo Werning

For let me tell you this, even though you know it perfectly and be already master in all things, still you are daily in the dominion of the devil, who ceases neither day nor night to steal unawares upon you, to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against the foregoing and all the commandments. Therefore you must always have God's Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle, and the Word does not sound, he breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware. On the other hand, such is the efficacy of the Word, whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, that it is bound never to be without fruit, but always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness, and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts. For these words are not inoperative or dead, but creative, living words. And even though no other interest or necessity impel us, yet this ought to urge every one thereunto, because thereby the devil is put to Right and driven away, and, besides, this commandment is fulfilled, and [this exercise in the Word] is more pleasing to God than any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant. (Third Commandment, #100ff, Large Catechism, Book of Concord)

One WELS pastor was kicked out of the ministry and excommunicated for believing this passage. WELS members now refuse to fund the clowns who turned a denomination into their private sandbox for Church Growth experiments (Lutheran Parish Resources, Crossroads Community Church, CrossWalk, ad nauseam).

I realize how little one individual can do against these tyrants. Many laity have said, "They ignore me because I am a layman." I always say, "I am a pastor. They still ignore me." I had the advantage of publishing my thoughts in various forms. Besides, I mailed proof of false doctrine so often that my son called it my Xerox Ministry. I told Church Growth guru James Huebner about my ministry of mailing documents to people. His faced turned pale. I wondered why.

Nevertheless, we should read this passage as the greatest possible comfort in dealing with the apostates of the Lutheran Church. All we need is the pure Word. Everything will follow from that. Nothing else is effective. Only the Word will produce the fruit God desires. Apart from that Word, nothing can be accomplished, no matter how it is packaged or forced upon the unwilling and gullible.

Pastors and laity only need a good Bible (not the NIV, but something in the KJV family), a Book of Concord, Luther's Sermons, and a few other books. Opposition will follow a return to the basics. From that antagonism will come a new appreciation for the Confessions.

The Book of Concord was meant to be studied and absorbed during a time of crisis. That time has arrived.

Third Commandment - Large Catechism

Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled.

On the contrary, any observance or work that is practised without God's Word is unholy before God, no matter how brilliantly it may shine, even though it be covered with relics, such as the fictitious spiritual orders, which know nothing of God's Word and seek holiness in their own works.
(The Large Catechism, Third Commandment, #91ff, Book of Concord)

The problems of the Lutheran Church could be solved with the proper application of the Large Catechism, especially the section dealing with the First Table of the Ten Commandments. In Luther's day the simple were bedazzled with hilarious claims about the saints, many who never existed. The saint stories were designed to stir up good works leading to partial salvation (a bit less of Purgatory) in the Medieval Church.

Now with Lutheran ministers poping (joining Rome) and semi-poping (joining Eastern Orthodoxy) we have that old problem plus the curse of Church Growth marketing disguised as Reformed doctrine. Classical Reformed doctrine and worship are both far above Church Growth circus acts. One friend put it this way, "Our Fundamentalist church was fine until a Fuller graduate came and ruined it." Fuller graduates are equal-opportunity Satanists. They have destroyed more churches than the Chicago Fire, and just as indiscriminately.

The central thesis of this gem from the Large Catechism is the efficacy of the Word. We are not to remember the Sabbath passively, by not working, but actively, but studying the Word. God's Name and Satan are incompatible, just as Satan's trick's and God's Word are in a constant state of warfare.

Church Growth addicts, who are often Pentecostals, fool people with their constant invocation of Jesus, church, and Holy Spirit. Every Pentecostal (all denominations submerged by their common identity) is an apostle, it is thought. God speaks to them directly. They have the confidence of the totally deluded.

Pastors and laity did not stand up to the false teachers. First the false teachers assailed the text of the New Testament. And the compromisers merged Creation with Evolution. Next they questioned the canon of the Bible and its inerrancy. Naming Jesus and blaming Him for their need to create apostate mergers, the followers of their Father Below prepared everyone for the Church Growth Movement through the catastrophic losses they inflicted on their various church bodies.

A hero emerged - from the most liberal denomination - Donald McGavran, Disciples of Christ. He worked in obscurity until he was elevated to his post at Fuller Seminary, a school that openly rejected inerrancy. McGavran had no theological education beyond seminary, but that was fine. All the church politicians are M.Div.s as well.
McGavran's doctorate was secular. His book is so full of doctrinal stupidity that one can only laugh. His most notable disciple, C. Peter Wagner, is so dumb that he makes McGavran look like a theologian. Wagner is a Pentecostal. He swallowed the Holy Ghost, feathers and all, as evidenced by his grin and book titles: Look Out! The Pentecostals Are Coming!

The Fuller marketing experts got denominational leaders frightened with statistics. They got the world mission leaders (ELCA, LCMS, WELS, ELS) and the home mission leaders (ELCA, LCMS, WELS, ELS) to study their nefarious doctrines. Many of those politicans were either neutral about doctrine or against anything from Luther. Soon they trust in spread-sheets, statistics, demographics, and the prophetic utterances of Donald McGavran. The cancer spread as pastors learned that the path to success started at Fuller, not their own seminaries.

What did the timid Lutheran pastors and laity do? Almost nothing. Their punishment is to live with the consequences of 30-70 years of false doctrine (depending on where we begin). Their donations are being wasted. Congregations are closing and merging (a stealth closing). Criminal pastors are defended while confessional pastors are defenestrated.

When there is a concerted attack on God's Word, consequences will follow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

To Fumigate the Devil

Besides, it is an exceedingly effectual help against the devil, the world, and the flesh and all evil thoughts to be occupied with the Word of God, and to speak of it, and meditate upon it, so that the First Psalm declares those blessed who meditate upon the Law of God day and night. Undoubtedly, you will not start a stronger incense or other fumigation against the devil than by being engaged upon God's commandments and words, and speaking, singing, or thinking of them. For this is indeed the true holy water and holy sign from which he flees, and by which he may be driven away. (Introduction, The Large Catechism, #10, Book of Concord)

Wallace Schulz pointed out in his article that LCMS pastor's libraries, donated to the Concordia Historical Institute, are now comprised of non-Lutheran books, for the most part. I used to look for library sales at Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, because the retiring ALC pastors left such valuable books to be grabbed. I often took home boxes of old classics to be given away. The Gentiles gathered during their apostate chapel service, lined up first, and grabbed the Luther, Walther, and General Council books. We were banned from being first in line. The students (male, female, and in transition) wanted to gather some old classics to be used as lucky charms and coasters for their future offices.

We are what we consume. If we do not dwell on the few excellent Lutheran books available along with the text of the Scriptures, we will become theologians of the sects we admire so much. WELS and Missouri pastors want to call themselves Lutheran, but they walk and talk like third-rate marketing consultants for moderate Reformed sects.

My good friend Dan warned WELS leaders they were dealing with "powers and principalities." They did not want to hear that, so they pushed him out of the ministry, a calling he loved. A fellow pastor, in the same city with the same qualms about Church Growth, also found himself pushed out. Pimps for the Church Growth Movement retire in peace, but those who read the Confessions are hounded out of the Preaching Office of the Church. "The glory has departed from Israel."

Warming Trends in LCMS
Election Race Heats Up Slightly

I believe Kieschnick will be re-elected with an overwhelming vote this summer. His slate will probably win, too. LCMS will meet July 14th.

People should read about the issues.

This link is a paper about Yankee Stadium by Pastor Wallace Schulz:

Yankee Stadium.

The Schulz essay about how Missouri got so mixed up is here:

It is written.


I saw some interesting statistics for Missouri. They have 1,000 more pastors than they did 20 years ago, but far more pastoral vacancies. I wondered how that could be. Then I saw that the number of pastors serving in non-parish positions had tripled, from around 250 to 750.

Just like WELS - pastors want to flee the Predigtamt (Preaching Office) for a real office, a big salary, perks, no catechism class, selective preaching (bonus cash) giving the same sermon a zillion times.

The denominations immune to any suggestions are the ones with the most bureaucrats per member.

Latest WELS Offering Scheme Fails

"Dear brothers,

Today the Conference of Presidents (COP) met in teleconference. They learned that 105 congregations have responded to their appeal to review 2007 Congregation Mission Offering subscriptions and to consider increasing CMO subscription for 2007—and possibly to enter a preliminary subscription already for 2008.

The COP is asking you to report this information via the WELS Web site, even if you have decided not to make any changes. (NOTE: any special offerings collected for CMO beyond your congregation’s original subscription can be included in the revised CMO figure).

This appeal from the Conference of Presidents was launched after a forecast of CMO for 2007 projected an increase of 1.4% over the 2006 calendar year receipts. While the increase is greatly appreciated, it doesn’t keep pace with the increasing cost of maintaining current ministry—about 5.5% each year. If the projected increase for 2007 remains at 1.7%, WELS will not be able to meet its adopted budget. If support for synodical work does not increase further, the reality is that WELS will have to gradually dismantle the ministry we are carrying out (including further reductions in missions, ministerial education, and publications).

In order to maintain WELS ministry status quo, the synod needs to see an 8% increase in each of the next four years starting in 2008. If we boost the increase to 17% right away in 2008 we could consider restoring the portions of our ministry lost over the last five years.

Again, if you haven’t already, please visit by the end of the day Friday, July 20th to complete this process according to the directions given at the site.

On behalf of the Conference of Presidents, thank you for your time and consideration. God’s blessings to all of you as you “proclaim peace through Jesus” to all those you touch with your life and ministry.

In Our Savior’s Service,
Pastor Dave Liggett
WELS Ministry of Christian Giving Director"


Perhaps the congregations are giving a no-confidence vote to the WELS leadership. The congregational response is beyond pitiful, more like defiant. Long ago, when a comedian was asked if he voted, he said, "I don't vote for politicians. It only encourages them." Why encourage the administration to close more schools?

Reading the tea leaves, the economic analysts at Ichabod predict that this will seriously hurt the chances of President-in-Waiting Wayne Mueller to upgrade his role and salary.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Second Commandment

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

But, the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God's Word.

Behold, all this is decking one's self out with God's name, or making a pretty show, or claiming to be right, whether it occur in gross, worldly business or in sublime, subtile matters of faith and doctrine. And among liars belong also blasphemers, not alone the very gross, well known to every one, who disgrace God's name without fear (these are not for us, but for the hangman to discipline); but also those who publicly traduce the truth and God's Word and consign it to the devil. Of this there is no need now to speak further.

Here, then, let us learn and take to heart the great importance of this commandment, that with all diligence we may guard against and dread every misuse of the holy name, as the greatest sin that can be outwardly committed. For to lie and deceive is in itself a great sin, but is greatly aggravated when we attempt to justify it, and seek to confirm it by invoking the name of God and using it as a cloak for shame, so that from a single lie a double lie, nay, manifold lies, result.

For this reason, too, God has added a solemn threat to this commandment, to wit: For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. That is: It shall not be condoned to any one nor pass unpunished. For as little as He will leave it unavenged if any one turn his heart from Him, as little will He suffer His name to be employed for dressing up a lie. Now, alas! it is a common calamity in all the world that there are as few who are not using the name of God for purposes of lying and all wickedness as there are those who with their heart trust alone in God.
The Large Catechism, Ten Commandments, Second Commandment, #54-58, Book of Concord

The enormous evil of the Church Growth Movement is unmasked in this passage from the Book of Concord. Apostasy wears the cloak of spirituality. "This is for the good of the synod."

"God wants his church to grow," said the late Donald McGavran, but apparently He also wanted His followers involved in Planned Parenthood, a suggestion by McGavran. Also, according to Church Growth gurus, God does not give a hoot about pure doctrine. Make up anything and call it God's Word. He does not care, as long as the buildings are bigger and the budgets are overflowing.

God spoke to McGavran directly, chiding him about his reluctance to use statistics in India. Or so McGavran told us. I suspect God does not sound exactly like McGavran.

When people claim that God speaks directly to them, apart from the Word, they are either fakes or delusional. One WELS leader claimed that God told him to take a new position, debating with him a bit. Too bad I lost the link. There is a lot of Pentecostalism in WELS, doubtless from immersion in Willow Creek and Fuller Seminary.

Bless Their Pea-Picking Little Hearts

Some pastors spend all their time trying to please the synod. An innocent may ask, "How can anyone know how to do that?" Believe me, pastors know instinctively that some things are never done. That is why they are so brave during the coffee break and so timid during formal sessions. They will swear to support something good, to oppose something bad, only to melt away faster than a July frost.

The agenda of every synod, from the four-letter groups to the micro-mini cults, is liberal. Organizations are pragmatic, not idealistic (at least not now). They are prime targets for apostates, who first argue for tolerance, then for an equal say. Finally, the apostates rule and show no mercy toward anyone who disagrees.

Denial is a good way to get along. WELS was deeply involved in promoting the Church Growth Movement when President-in-Waiting Wayne Mueller denied it three times. Although a rooster did not crow, everyone knew it was a lie.

When I moved to Columbus, I already knew from a vicar's essay that LPR was established to promote the Church Growth Movement. The response of the officials was to exclaim, "What would a dumb vicar know about that?" They poured contempt on an eye-witness account of LPR being formed. A later vicar said, "I inherited the vicar's office and it was stacked with Church Growth books." The dumb vicar later enrolled in a doctoral program, to study the Reformation.

Pastors make a big mistake in recoiling from dissent. They should say, "Bless their pea-picking little hearts, I must be onto something." (Tennesse Ernie Ford) I published a little article on the origins of Church Growth - I was flooded with grateful mail. Getting one letter from publishing an article is unusual. I got dozens of positive letters.

Clergy opposition grew proportionately, especially from those with scarlet fever (the burning desire to become an official). Therefore, I had to study every aspect of Church Growth and the remedies for this toxin. Fortunately I already did a lot of comparitive dogmatics at Notre Dame. The only way to study the Book of Concord is when Lutheran doctrine is under attack. That is why so many clergy blogs are insipid. They want to tiptoe around every issue, to promote their careers, to avoid anything that would keep them from a free trip to Europe.

Always-Has-the-Last-Word Wayne got me to database every Church Growth quotation I could find - Fuller, Willow Creek, LCMS, WELS, ELCA. Five hundred in all. They matched up like, well, like peas in a pod. The WELS leaders were not liberals - they were plagiarists! They were parrots, repeating everyting they heard at Fuller and Willow Creek. When I visited a run-down congregation in Akron, the WELS worship bulletin said, "We don't expect visitors to contribute to the offering." Sure enough, the pastor had been pressed to study at Willow Creek for free - courtesy of the Mission Board of the Michigan District. Willow Creek invented that line, forgetting that no one ever expected visitor to give more than a token.

The pastors follow the synod line because they believe all good comes from the warming womb of Holy Mother Synod. That is a violation of the First Commandment, as Luther taught (and we confess) in the Large Catechism:

Let every one, then, see to it that he esteem this commandment great and high above all things, and do not regard it as a joke. Ask and examine your heart diligently, and you will find whether it cleaves to God alone or not. If you have a heart that can expect of Him nothing but what is good, especially in want and distress, and that, moreover, renounces and forsakes everything that is not God, then you have the only true God. If, on the contrary, it cleaves to anything else, of which it expects more good and help than of God, and does not take refuge in Him, but in adversity flees from Him, then you have an idol, another god. (The Large Catechism, The First Commandment, #28, The Book of Concord)

If a pastor believes in God, then he knows that only God can remove him from that call. If that happens, it is God's will. If God wills that he stay there, no one can move him. The idolatry begins when he connives to do and say those things that will preserve his comfort and security, as if they come from the synod rather than God. He may succeed in his manipulation of the truth, but this slowly turns a minister into a servant of his Father Below and his church into a Synagogue of Satan.

Job's Comforters will always show up when a minister is driven out. They are willing to scrape his sores with some broken pottery, pour salt in his wounds, and gloat. They are really angels in disguise. It is a good time to ask, "Is this what I want to be?" Their self-righteous gloating is a good sign that blessings will follow.

Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. 17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. 19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; 20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

False teachers in power are the surest sign of God's wrath, as Luther taught. If the pastors and members will not serve Christ, then they will serve Satan instead. The four-letter synods (ELCA, LCMS, WELS) are apostate. They comprise about 95% of the Lutherans. The only sect left of any size is the ELS, keeping itself busy as the Amen Corner of WELS. The micro-minis are the locked wards and padded cells of Lutheranism. That there are any Lutheran left in those dark corners is a miracle.

The course of action is to follow the Word and accept the consequences, which must be from God. He accomplishes His entire will through the Word. Luther had no plans, but the largest Protestant denomination in the world bears his name.

Opposition fuels study, writing, confessional thought. Turning oneself into synod-velcro induces torpor, intellectual shabbiness, and grotesque dishonesty.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

WELS Management by Objective

WELS fell in love with Management by Objective, by Peter Drucker. It's not clear whether they got it from their unionistic activities with ELCA or from their study of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary.

How well is Management by Objective working for WELS?

Both prep schools and the college have recruiters to drum up more students.

The student population is dropping. Martin Luther College have to start home-schooling their students.

The schools were ordered to start Junk for Jesus rummage sales and other inanities with full-time fund-raisers. Isn't that working?

The budgets are gushing red ink.

But Church Growth is working, isn't it? They put all their chips on that red square marked Church Growth.

  1. Membership has dropped ever since they found Fuller Seminary to be the new Mecca.
  2. That is the good news - future decreases in membership will be even more rapid.

But Marvin Schwan died and saved the synod with the largest charitable gift ever, year after year, millions and millions of dollars. Where did it all go?

Next question.

The Tetzels are doing their job, signing people up for irrevocable gifts to the synod. That must make a difference.

The members are either not dying fast enough or they are not signing their estates away.

The First Table of the Ten Commandments

The First Commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods.

What does this mean?--Answer.

We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Second Commandment.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

What does this mean?--Answer.

We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

The Third Commandment.

Thou shalt sanctify the holy-day.

What does this mean?--Answer.

We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.


The Small Catechism explains why people should not worship an institution, whether it is a synod or a congregation. Sometimes pastors feel defensive because they have dared to say their synod is less than perfect. They say or write, "I love the synod."

That is the problem. The synod is sinful, an organization full of sinful people. In light of history, a Lutheran sect in the Midwest is not the highpoint of Christianity, the culmination of all theology.

The solution cannot possibly be the synod or the synod president, if anyone takes the Scriptures and Confessions seriously. Looking at how people express themselves, I would say that few Lutherans believe in the efficacy of the Word. I just got an email about relationships and culture while I was starting this. Both of those terms, relationships and culture, are fine escape hatches for people who do not or cannot talk about God working through the Means of Grace.

If pastors trusted the Word, there would be dozens of blogs where people would be addressing doctrinal issues. Instead, they trust the warm womb of Holy Mother Synod to give them that long-awaited, coveted assignment - if they resist rocking the boat. Perhaps one day they may be able to second the motion to adjourn on the final day of the convention.

Adopt-a-Synod Donor Needed for WELS

Designated gifts did not work well for ELCA, so WELS tried them.

Now WELS needs a donor to adopt the whole synod. The figures tell the story.

The Michigan District has now given, over the first five months, $744,560, $79,080 less than last year for the same period. The district had major gifts lined up for Michigan Lutheran Seminary, but those were canceled when the synod said they would close the school. Synod stewardship at work.

The Synod has received, for the same period, $7,262,780, $297,588 less than last year for the same period. Last year was a disaster. This year they cannot keep up with last year's disaster.

Some possible solutions are:

1. Adopt the Michigan District. Naming rights will be offered for any gift of $3 million per year for 10 years. If the gift is not renewed or replaced, the name will revert to the Michigan District. Imagine the pride in having a district named for your own family or your girlfriend. The Angela District might be hard to explain, but the Krankheit District would be difficult to spell and explain. Any district could be adopted, but the price would vary with the density of the Lutherans there. The denser districts would necessarily cost more.
2. Adopt a professor. If enough people would adopt a professor, each one could be forced to attend a graduate school to study the Book of Concord. Enough money would have to be included to pay tuition and to buy a butane lighter for burning up the Fuller diploma.
3. Adopt a district president. If the cash flow is sufficient, the donor may dictate decisions made by the DP. Do you need to buy a call for a friend or relative who should really be in prison and registered as a sex offender? Adopt a district president and a new call is assured. In fact, with enough cash, the call could include some district and synod honors, for self-esteem purposes.

Professor Olson Not Adopted

I heard that Lawrence Otto Olson, Waldo Werning Professor of Church Growth, was retiring from Martin Luther College. Needing solid proof, I googled various combinations and found this absurdity...Sadly, Our Staff Infection is not retiring as reported by a New Ulm resident. Ichabod apologizes to all who were momentarily elated.

Project Cost: $50,000 Project # WEL920.2107
Mission Partner Adoption Agreement with Adopt-a-Professor at Martin Luther College

FAST FACTS: WELS College of Ministry since 1995. Approximately 1,000 students, [more like 600 students] drawn from across the United States and several foreign countries prepare to serve the Lord as full-time ministers of the gospel. A faculty of about 90 Christian educators and 40 staff members. [Not mentioned – Soon to be turned into an Extended Care Facility by the Church Growth leaders of WELS.]

Learned readers - did you notice that women who graduate from MLC are full-time ministers of the Gospel? Women's ordination by fiat. "Let there be darkness. And there was darkness".

Professor Lawrence Olson is just one of a number of professors at Martin Luther College who has a story to tell. Here it is.

STAFF MINISTRY PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN WELS I direct the Staff Ministry Program at MLC, and thus my major role at the college concerns preparing individuals to work along with pastors and congregational members in areas such as evangelism, parish education, youth work, family ministry, visitation and administration. Responsibilities vary from parish to parish, but the common thread is that staff ministers focus on a few aspects of the ministry rather than being responsible for and involved with all areas.

When I accepted the divine call and moved to New Ulm in 1993, I became a professor without any students and the director of a program that did not exist! But we developed the program, with both degree and certification options, and began our training of staff ministers.

There are three elements in the program: general education in the liberal arts, a religion component parallel to what teaching candidates take and professional courses designed to equip candidates with the competencies necessary to serve in parish ministry. The professional component includes an internship that helps future church workers learn about the ministry by working closely both with the called workers and with the members of the congregation.

During this past decade, God has blessed the staff ministry approach, and we are thankful to him for giving his people opportunities for kingdom work in offices other than that of the pastor or teacher, and for blessing the members of our congregations who are served by these called workers.

PUTTING FACES WITH THE PROGRAM Let me introduce you to a few people who can help you understand what the Staff Ministry Program seeks to do:

Brent Bitter was a 1998 graduate of MLC, and was the first candidate to complete the dual program that certifies a candidate for both staff ministry and elementary education. He received an Staff ministry student Jennifer Goodger, gained experience ministering to senior citizens during an internship in Cape Coral, FL. exciting call to serve along with Pastor Philip Hoyer in starting from scratch a mission church in Jacksonville, Florida. Their work has developed into Victory Lutheran Church, a growing congregation that has a current membership of 117 souls; they own six acres of prime real estate and have architectural plans for an initial facility of 7,600 square feet. They currently worship in the University Center on the campus of the University of North Florida and use their ministry center on Beach Boulevard for offices, midweek events and fellowship activities. Jacksonville is a rapidly growing city, which bodes well for the growth of the congregation.

Brent Bitter Brent’s responsibilities at Victory include youth and family education, outreach, fellowship and administration. He writes, My life wouldn’t be the same without the training I received in the MLC staff ministry program. My education didn’t just equip me to serve in a congregation; it prepared me to live as a Christian in this world. The staff ministry program didn’t just help me become a called worker; it helped me become a better Christian person. I pray that many other students will reap the benefits of the staff ministry program.

Amanda Meier graduated in 2003, and is also certified for both staff ministry and elementary education. Mandi grew up in a parsonage in Arizona, and had a good deal of experience in her home congregation: canvassing, evangelism, teaching Sunday School and involvement with choirs and the youth group. She attended Phoenix College for a year before transferring to MLC. Her first call, to Shepherd Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, combines responsibilities that utilize both kinds of training for ministry that she received: she was assigned to teach grades 3-5 and to serve in youth ministry.

Tom Benzing, a retired Technical Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force, is an example of the kind of second-career candidate that our program serves. Tom began taking correspondence and extension courses five years ago, and he had already met other program requirements through previous studies. When he retired after 21 years of active duty, he was in a position to come to New Ulm for one year to take the rest of his required courses. Tom graduated in 2004 and was assigned to a tent ministry position at St. Stephen in Fallbrook, California where he serves as the Family Minister. Thank God for our pastors and teachers. Thank God, as well, for his blessing of our efforts to provide other roles in which men and women can use their gifts and experiences to serve in the public ministry.

About the Professor Lawrence Olson Lawrence Olson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Northwestern College, and Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. [Not listed – He earned the coveted D.Min. degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.] He served as the pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Loves Park, Illinois from 1983 to 1993. Since that time he has been a professor of ministry and religion at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota where he directs the staff ministry program, a program that trains individuals to serve as staff assistants in congregations.

He also directs the synods Congregational Evangelist Program, which prepares men and women for service as evangelists in their own local churches. Dr. Olson's wife, Mary, is an early childhood special education teacher in the Mankato, MN public school district. Their six children range in age from 11 to 23; three are in college, two in high school, and one in grade school. [So why is he called Dr. Olson when no such degree is mentioned in his qualifications to teach?]

Mission Partner Adoption Agreement with Adopt-a-Professor at Martin Luther College I/We hereby agree to support MLC Adopt-a-Professor, Project # WEL920.2107 with a total of $_____________________ during the next __________________ years. My/Our gift will be sent $______ monthly $______ quarterly $______ semi-annually $______ annually Enclosed is my gift of $________________. ____ Bill my credit or check card $__________. ____MasterCard ____Visa ____Discover ____American Express Acct #_________________________________ Exp date:____________ Signature:______________________________ ____ I want the convenience of Electronic Funds Transfer. Please include a voided check. Date for automated transfer is the 20th of the month. Please make checks payable to WELS. Send to: WELS Ministry of Planned Giving, 2929 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53222

Spouses first name:_________________________ Address:_______________________________________________ Date:___________________ City:__________________________ State:_______________ Zip:_____________________ Home phone:__________________________ E-mail:________________________________ Congregation name:_______________________________ Congregation city:_______________________

Note: Gifts given to Mission Partners will be credited to your congregations mission offerings without indicating your name unless you request otherwise.

Please adopt me!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Charity Begins at Home

The current salary for Lutheran World Relief's president is $151,008 per year, according to

Charity Navigator.

Plagiarism in the Lutheran Church

One reader said he looked for daily updates to Ichabod. Fortunately, there is enough comedy material on Lutheran sites for hourly updates. My mortgage holder encourages me to make regular and timely payments, so I have to take a few breaks now and then, to work.

The WELS AnswerMan has touched my funny button again. The issue is plagiarism. What if the pastor is plagiarizing his sermons? I knew of a case where a WELS pastor gave sermons verbatim from a Church Growth source, copying the inflections and pauses. He was supposed to stop, but he could not resist. Eventually he left the ministry, even though he was a favorite of the Mission Counselors' Newsletter. Many of the favorites of WELS administrators have left the ministry or the Lutheran Church.

Plagiarism describes the work of Lutheran leaders for the last 30 years. In the 1960's there was excitement over Luther's works. The editor of The Northwestern Lutheran told me in 1987 that WELS used to have giant Reformation services in Milwaukee. They no longer did. The same editor loved Church Growth conferences and promoted them in his magazine.

Everything coming from various Lutheran headquarters is regurgitated from Fuller Seminary, which is only repeating what marketing experts have taught in business schools: demographics, market share, statistics, advertising schemes. For years I matched up Fuller sources with verbatim quotations from the LCMS and WELS. Then, with the audacity of hope, I quoted Luther on related topics. Now that really set them off at the Love Shack, 2929 N. Mayfield Road.

A side order of plagiarism is always available - the Lutheran Church aping the Roman Catholic Church. Notre Dame is the center of worship education in America. People earn doctorates in worship and move to influential positions in various denominations. Therefore, Roman worship is the gold standard of piety just as Communism is the gold standard of socialism.

I would rather be in a high church service choreographed by an atheist than a Church Growth Seeker Service run by an atheist - for one reason. If all the ancient traditions are followed (historic liturgy, historic Scripture readings, Creeds, Sacraments, a real sermon), then Christ is conveyed through the Means of Grace.

If the recruitment effort (Friendship Sunday, Seeker Service, Revival) is led by an atheist, the ultimate result will be Unitarian or atheistic, no matter how grand the goals. Even if the poor, deluded Church Growth minister is a believer, the final results will be the same. Sowing weed seed will only yield a luxurious growth of weeds.

Let me offer one example. I received a large postcard in the mail. On one side were huge letters proclaiming: SEX, MONEY, POWER. On the other side, the card said, "Now that we have your attention, please accept our invitation to Blah Blah Community Church." The people who responded to this attack on their intelligence and emotional maturity would go up to the minister on Sunday, saying, "Oh we just had to attend a church that was so clever. You really got our attention."

The poor devil would be grinning like his Father Below at his grand schemes. More tricks would follow to keep the place going. Success (if it does happen) would follow the content of the message - pure Me-ism. What if all the methods failed? The poor devil is crushed. He did his best, earned his Fuller degree, went to seminars at Willow Creek, listened to tapes from C. Peter Wagner in his car. Now what? He says to his soul, "Soul, the only thing left is teaching staff ministry!" Or he joins the synod staff to lead others along the same path of plagiarism.

Here are some examples of Fuller-plagiarism from the WELS Home Office:

  1. Friendship Sunday
  2. Seeker Services
  3. Getting Rid of the Denomination's Name Wherever Possible (FIC, CW, CrossWalk)
  4. Pit Bands in the Chancel
  5. Hiding the Communion Service So Visitors Are Not Offended
  6. Pep Talks Replacing Sermons
  7. Replacing the Organ with a Piano (a freak-out aping Willow Creek)
  8. Puppet Shows
  9. Staff Ministry So Women Can Be Called Ministers
  10. Cell/Share/Care/Koinonia Groups

Nothing shows more hatred of the Lutheran Church and the doctrine of Christ than these plagiarized efforts. And yet, the Home Office drones condemn anyone who sees through their sabotage as Unloving and Hurting the Church (Damaging Our Salary Potential).

When Lutheran Pastors Cry

I was reminded of an incident when I ran into a news story, condensed below. I was talking to a WELS pastor when I was still serving in that sect. I mentioned that the synod had been an active participant in Lutheran World Relief for many years. He said, almost crying, "I can't believe that. I was born in WELS. I grew up in WELS. I never heard of that."

"OK," I went on, "your district president, Robert Mueller, serves on the board. He mentioned his recent meeting with the LCA Bishop Crumley and others. Besides, it is public knowledge, in published material, even a book."

He was stunned. The issue was how often and how joyously WELS worked with ELCA.

Our far-sighted Michigan District even gave money to the United Nations, for the CARE project.

Missouri members know enough about the world outside the synod womb to realize that their organization does not float above the earth, like so many legendary Roman Catholic saints. In fact, the Catholic saint stories sound remarkably like the hagiography of WELS and the ELS.

The true Church is invisible and not confined to the boundaries of any given sect, as many acknowledge but fail to believe. Lutheran leaders of the past were fairly self-less, as far as I can determine from the history books. Passavant was one of those heroes. There were many others. Now we have managers, not very good ones at that.

Long before the Clinton scandals erupted, with witnesses silenced, I saw the same methods used in the Lutheran Church. I documented some things for the future president of Bethany Seminary. He said, "If half of this is true, we are in trouble." I said, "All of it is true." The managers did me a big favor by challenging everything I brought up, so I stuck to what could be documented. The response has always been disbelief, shunning, and that old stand-by - the personal attack. They are not content to attack the bearer of bad news. They move on to slander every member of his family. Shunning is what Lutheran pastors fear, instead of trembling before God's Word.

The gap between reality and fantasy continues to grow. Every so often I search Lutheran blogs for something of substance. Instead I find stories like this:

John Nunes Named President of Lutheran World Relief

The name sounded familiar, so I read the story to find out more of his history. Did he previously serve any Lutheran congregations as a pastor? I find that earlier information missing. He seems to be LCMS, but lately has been earning a doctorate of sorts at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, aka The Devil's Playground. Kent Hunter earned a similar degree at LSTC, as well as a prestigious D.Min. from Fuller Seminary. Hunter was originally LCMS but belongs to the world now as The Church Doctor.

Please check out Dr. Hunter in his physician's garb. Physician - heal thyself. Study the Book of Concord instead of Understanding Church Growth.

Ah yes. I found a story, which summarizes various news sources. The material is from Jack Cascione but appears to be accurate anyway:

Nunes Organist and Kieschnick Convention Musician Murders Woman, Sets Fire to House.

Actual news releases are reprinted here:

Church Member Strangled

Various versions of the whole matter are here:

LCMS version and Rebuttals

Nunes' previous congregation was not named in the official LWR news release, perhaps because of unpleasant associations. As I recall, he joined the ELCA Wheatridge Foundation as a staff member soon after the scandal and will remain as a consultant for them while serving as LWR President.

Two congregations are involved. The organist knew the victim from working at her church, Grace, where Henstenberg resigned. Pastor Nunes then hired him at St. Paul's. Somehow this unusual person became the directly involved in the LCMS 2004 convention, due to his connection with Nunes, a responsibility canceled due to his arrest.

A sermon involving the alleged murderer is here:


Another mention is here:


Apparently the seminary is a joint Episcopal/ELCA effort.

His testimony at his trial is found below. The original news link is gone.


Some interesting questions are asked here:

Why Was Nobody Warned?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pan-Lutheran Lavender Mafia

Anonymous, the famous poet and donor, asked, "What is the Lavender Mafia?"

The Lavender Mafia is a nickname for the pan-Lutheran political activism already going on, comprised of many different organizations. Roman Catholics have their version. People should ready Goodbye Good Men for some insights into this.

Two Lutheran organizations out in the open are:

Extraordinary Candidacy Project


Lutherans Concerned/North America.

Don't miss the LC/NA Reconciled in Christ Program.

These groups have been quite successful. The multi-cultural project was launched at Snowbird in 1991, when Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent) got ELCA, LCMS, and WELS together. Culture is not what you think, Anonymous. Culture is not Bach, French food, and silkscreens. Multi-ethnic in ELCA's vocabulary means many different racial groups. Multi-cultural means that the homosexual/lesbian culture is welcomed at the church or organization. Note that ELCA congregations will say they are both "multi-ethnic and multi-cultural."

WELS has some kind of homosexual ministry going on. When the schools were being defunded, WELS found funds to appoint someone for that position, which was announced. It would be interesting to see if they still have funds for it. Missouri probably has a person appointed, too. The LCMS follows ELCA fairly closely. Missouri posted a study on its website some years ago. Then the study disappeared. Studies are handy, easy to lose, easy to deny. WELS had someone bow in the same direction in a sermon at a convention.

Wake up and smell the latte.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are They Leaders or Followers?

One of the fallacies of the Lutheran Church is that voting gives power to people, as if democratic principles have a positive impact on a church organization. People fail to notice how carefully controlled those votes can be. The organization is in love with itself. The people who live from the proceeds need the institution to be strong in money and weak in ethics. When someone is elected president or bishop, the election is arranged, whether the sect is tiny and inconsequential or large and inconsequential.

Years ago, in one district of the LCA the president was elected by having a whispering campaign against the strongest candidate's wife. She was disabled, so he could not be a good president. The campaign worked, defeating the more capable candidate. Compassionate, liberal pastors did this.

The ELS has the WELS unwritten rule of the VP becoming president when the president finally retires. The new VP was a threat to the tradition of the ELS being the lickspittle of WELS, so John Moldstad was promoted to replace him. The lickspittle faction rejoiced that they ejected one person in favor of Moldstad, who soon became Pope John the Malefactor. ELS pastors politicking? Oh no! Bragging about it? Oh no! So the naive sheep are led around until they are fleeced.

The people who run the synods are never the noisy ones. The real leaders are the people who work behind the figureheads. They may brag about it from time to time, as Kincaid Smith does in the ELS, but they mostly keep their mouths shut. They have the satisfaction of seeing their plans accomplished over time. They get their children or siblings into the best positions and then pile on anyone, like hobos on a hotdog, if someone questions the actions or doctrine of another member of the lickspittle faction (or Church Growth faction in WELS, or Lavender Mafia in ELCA).

That is the basic problem, easily observed in ELCA, Missouri, WELS, the ELS, and mini-micro sects. Therefore, those who care about sound doctrine are wasting their time playing the devil's game in politics. They can never win because God works through the Word, and Satan works through politicking. One example will suffice. An orthodox Lutheran woman asked a WELS pastor to speak out about Church Growth. He said, "I am not going to, because I want a teaching position at the college." He silenced himself to get the job. Now he has the job and the college is vanishing faster than liquor at a WELS ministerial meeting.

Luther argued that we should teach the Word and accept the consequences. Satan teaches people to aim for their goals and bend the Word to meet their objectives. Women are teaching men, pit bands are in the chancel, Fuller graduates are professors, and you ask me who is winning?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Teigen, Teigen, Burning Bright

What caused thee to ignite?

Norm Teigen has objected to my views about fraternal insurance promoting commercialism in the congregations and synods. I do not like pie sales or car washes either. Churches should not compete in the market place for business, like the Methodist Church that advertised on its sign, "Home of the Yumbo Sandwich." I saw the photo - I am not making it up. The insurance company is entitled to corrupt as many churches as possible. The congregations and synods also have a right to resist temptation.

I was going to write, "Get your own blog," but he has one.

The other objection is calling John Moldstad "Pope John the Malefactor." I thought it was a catchy and appropriate title. WELS and ELS leaders are so impressed with themselves that they take on papal power. In fact, I imagine Pope Benedict envies their infallibility and their clout.

I know Pope George the Eternal did the same things, removing pastors according to his own whim, promoting false doctrine by fiat. The only Lutheran autorities I acknowledge are the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Lutheran leaders are neither norma normans nor norma normata (a ruling norm like the Bible, a ruled norm like the Book of Concord). Someone who respects the real norms should be respected, but that is just the opposite in the WELS, ELS, and the micro-crazy sects (so small they are not worth mentioning).

Here are some things that would make me a cheerleader for Pope John the Malefactor:

  1. Denunciation of forgiveness without faith, without the Means of Grace, which is the doctrinal foundation of current evils.
  2. Teaching the efficacy of the Word without reservation, repudiating all programs where evildoers cast doubt on this Biblical doctrine.
  3. Apologizing to the congregations and pastors ejected from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod under the flimsiest of excuses. Do a Nifong, even if it is too late.
  4. Breaking fellowship with Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek, and Church and Change.
  5. Promoting a multi-year study of the Book of Concord and Luther.
  6. Urging WELS to stop inviting Roman Catholic, Unitarian, Methodist, and ELCA speakers.
  7. Showing contrition for having a former Roman Catholic bishop march in a religious process at the Bethany Chapel and giving an address.

Can the Sausage Factories Be Repaired?

Norm Teigen commented below that the WELS school system tends to keep people away from the realities of the world. Anyone acquainted with WELS knows how much they work at conformity.

ELS Pastor Jay Webber, who has become a WELS loyalist, used to call the WELS seminary "The Sausage Factory," a term he got from the ELS. His nickname for WELS is our Weaker Evangelical Lutheran Siblings.

WELS Pastor James Huebner told me that students would make fun of anyone who was interested in a given topic. "That guaranteed," he explained, "that everyone would be the same." I said, "That also guarantees mediocrity."

Conforming turned out to be a great tool for flipping the Wisconsin Synod. All the apostates had to do was get a few key people in some slots, start a new program here and there. No one could object because all decisions made by WELS come directly from the Holy Spirit, who will not allow them to err. That sounds eerily Roman Catholic, no? I have heard comments like this: "The Holy Spirit made him circuit pastor, so who are you to disagree?" WELS members and pastors are not likely to argue with God, so the matter is settled. Roma locuta est, causa finita est. Rome has spoken, the case is closed.

Another important factor is the hazing practiced by WELS from the prep level onwards. The hazing has included knocking a future pastor out with a pillow case full of books, dropping a student out of a window when holding him by his legs, breaking a seminarian's leg, and knocking out a seminarian's tooth. Complaining makes things worse. Sissies complain about physcial and emotional abuse. Of course, what does that say about the abusers?

So WELS is a weird combination of spineless toadies and sadistic bullies. A bully is always a coward, but he does not think so when he makes people tremble.

When Issues in WELS was gearing up for a huge meeting, SP Gurgel made it clear he would be there. Attendance melted faster than a July frost. Gurgel also communicated his vast displeasure at the meek, trembling dissenters. If he had yelled, "Boo!" they would have probably fled the exits, trampling the local help.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Breaking News
Michigan District Special Meeting

The Michigan District voted to approve the Western Wisconsin conference resolution, which is to keep both prep schools open as the budget priority. "Cut everything, even foreign missionaries," as one person reported. Another one said, "If the preps are gone, the college is gone soon after." This vote is really for three schools, not one, and that makes all three school constituents allies.

Western Wisconsin Conference Says No to Gurgel, Yes to Preps

The Michigan District might take over Michigan Lutheran Seminary, but one person thought the burden would be too much. The math is simple: if 12 districts cannot support two preps, how can one support its own? The entire Michigan economy is based on American cars and sugar beets.

Different people thought the synodical council's attitude was "galling." The SC runs the synod at this point.

Mark Schroeder presented his plan to charge a fee for each congregation in the synod. He seems to be running for office.

This meeting does not mean that the delegates will vote the same way. If the WELS convention votes for this resolution, the new synodical president and synodical council may do things their own way. Gurgel was originally elected to save Northwestern College. He did an about-face the moment he was elected, right there at the convention.

Wayne Mueller will continue to act like the president, even if he is not elected.

The synodical council is determined to close MLS. That came through from the beginning of the open debate. When a new, large five-year gift was given, WELS did not use it for the schools but for everything except the schools.

Thrivent, AAL, LB:
Wake Up, The Lutheran Merger Already Took Place

One of the corrupting influences in Lutheran congregations is the fraternal insurance company.

Fraternals are chartered under the lodge insurance laws. When someone joins a lodge, whether Masonic or Knights of Columbus, he is required or expected to buy lodge insurance. The same thing has been implied among Lutherans.

Lutherans got lodge insurance going to help people overcome their aversion to buying insurance.

Thrivent and its earlier manifestations (LB, AAL) figured out how to create a merger without the bother of meetings, constitutions, and debates. Money is doled out through pan-Lutheran boards at the local level. At the national level, large chunks of money are given with the provision that Missouri and WELS work with ELCA on various religious projects. Perhaps the ELS gets its feet in the trough, but they do not register in the printed material I have found. Once I started reporting how serious this was, AAL and LB stopped reporting the truth in their little magazines.
The ELS goes along with eveything WELS does, either anticipating its big brother, or following it in foolishness: Church Growth, inviting Roman Catholics to give religious talks, moving toward women's ordination.

The result of the local and national projects is a pan-Lutheran body with ELCA leading the agenda. ELCA can easily boycott a project so they have clout, but they do not need to threaten. ELCA is where the others want to be. The so-called conservatives can say, "We had to do that Thrivent's way. They have the money." They also say, "That is not congregational money, so we can use it any way we want." The apostates seem to think the money is their personal possession.

At the local level, Thrivent gives a pittance while insisting that Thrivent is named in the bulletin for their little matching fund donation. Thrivent likes commercialism. Why not? They are the only company allowed to advertize in the bulletin and newsletter. Thrivent agents also work hard at getting the congregation's address list. The agents imply, or boldly state, that their ownershp of the address list has happened with the blessing of the pastor.

AAL gave its local branch officers pay for their work. I am not sure if Thrivent does. AAL was the larger group in the AAL-LB merger.