Friday, August 31, 2007

Is Fuller Seminary Next?


WELS AnswerMan may be showing symptoms of Lutheran doctrine:

Q: I have been invited to attend a Women of Faith conference. According to their website they are an Interdenominational women's ministry committed to helping women of all faiths, backgrounds, age groups, and nationalities grow emotionally and spiritually. How does WELS feel about attending such conferences?

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A: "Interdenominational" in effect means that they agree to disagree on doctrines of the Bible which they do not regard as essential. In reality, "interdenominational" usually means a kind of non-Lutheran, non-sacramental Evangelicalism. We can't feed our faith with teaching that is deliberately diluted.


Ichabod wonders - cannot the same be said of Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek Community Church, Trinity Deerfield, and InterVarsity Press? Obviously the faith of such Church Growth heroes as - Wayne Mueller, Lawrence Olson, James Huebner, Ron Roth, Frosty Bivens, David Valleskey, Wally Oelhaven, Fred Adrian, and their mentor Floyd Luther Stolzenburg - has not been fed, but starved.

The Love Shack has been running on this mish-mash of Pentecostal-Evangelicalism for decades. Why deny it to the women?

I call WELS headquarters The Love Shack because the heretics therein think they can convert people with love. Luther said that the Word, not love, converts the unbeliever to Christ.

***

WELS Statistics Down Again,
September FIC


Page 24: NEWS: WELS membership declining. That's the headline. We learn WELS, between 1990 and 2006, has lost 25,449 souls. But only 5,743 were communicants. Maybe not so oddly, 19,706 were non-communicants. Some 162,942 children and adults were confirmed in those 16 years (mostly children by about 10:6), but more than 150,000 were released either by removal or by request. This is a colorful recap of the stats on the website complete with pretty bar charts.

Vote the Poll - Bottom of Page


Vote in the poll at the bottom of the page. Six days are left.

Following WELS standards, all results will be ignored, unless they fit my agenda.

How the Wisconsin Deals with Its Scandals


The GOP has its senator problem at the moment. Next year we will have all forgotten his name.

How does the Wisconsin Synod deal with its scandals? Here is a recent example.

The word got out that a pastor was committing adultery out West - nothing was being done. In most Bibles there is a commandment against adultery, but not in the WNIV (WELS New Ignorance Version). A reporter went up to SP Gurgel at the convention and asked him about this scandal.

WELS went into "pound the leaker" mode, interrogating various people. One pastor even asked me, "Did you tell the reporter?" He was friendly, but intrigued.

1. I do not deal with reporters. They are probably more drunken and adulterous than the WELS ministerium. That bad? Probably.
2. I had no direct knowledge of the situation. I heard of the name from a layman, the non-discipline, but that's all. The laity know. The pastors know. The DP does nothing. The old SP wants to find the leaker. That is WELS discipline.
3. DP Janke, for example, has driven six pastors out of the ministry. I know of two cases where it was pure spite. Janke was second in the race for SP (but nowhere close).

WELS leaders - you can fool the ignorant, but that number is diminishing fast. Everyone has email, even the blue-haired great-grannies. And the clergy have their own group email lists. The faster you thugs lie, the faster people find it out.

Even if you could fool everyone for a few more years, God will not bless your corruption. God has not blessed any of your schemes.

Ichabod prediction - WELS attempts to stop the gushers of red ink will get nowhere until there is a concerted drive to deal with false teachers and predatory clergy (often the same names).

PS - A. Nony Mouse is offended that I did not name the clergy adulterer. There are three sins in WELS:
1. Not naming names.
2. Naming names.
3. Suggsting that Holy Mother WELS is less than perfect.

Herr Mouse is full of suggestions. He wants me to name names, but he never gives his. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are They the Same Person?










When Karl Rove resigned as Bush's political advisor, I was struck by his resemblance to Paul McCain.

God-Willing Schedule for
Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant


Earlier this year my teaching schedule slowed down, so I rewrote Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, using the original as the base. The final version is virtually ready to go. This second edition is 99% like the first one, with some changes for clarification and adult/youth class use. Norma Boeckler has contributed her artistic skills to this version. I had excellent editorial assistance from laity and pastors.

During the last year I began scouting for work to balance the ups and downs of teaching. I decided to return to insurance sales while limiting when and where I taught. That change took a little time and energy; then my main school threw a bunch of courses at me all at once. And, a new school asked me to teach New Testament history online (and learn a new technology for online). That was hard to resist.

In last few years I have taught several thousand students all over the world. They do not seem to have suffered. My school picked me to show other professors how to teach - and to introduce new students to the college. Both distinctions are limited to very few professors. Still, the schedule is theirs and not mine, so complications arise with my wife's care.

Mrs. Ichabod has been quite ill during this time, first with Valley Fever, which can be deadly. Then with cardiac failure and other problems. She has been at one or another hospital four times in the last week. So the following schedule is a God-willing one, as all schedules are.

I hope to get CLP ready for Lulu.com publishing this weekend. That will give me an ISBN number, which I need for regular printing. Since Christian News wants to sell it, I will also have my Michigan printer produce copies. If all goes well, copies should be available toward the end of September.

I plan to publish and re-publish other books through Lulu.com. I can also publish supplemental material for CLP at Lulu.com and at the Martin Chemnitz Press blog.

New Poll Started - See Bottom of Page


To make Ichabod more scientific, a poll has been added at the bottom of the page.

Anony-mouse has left a new comment on your post "New Poll Started - See Bottom of Page":

I enjoy the fact that you've worded the poll so that any answer ultimately fits your predetermined viewpoint. Very scientific. The professional pollsters couldn't have done it any better.

GJ - I followed the scientific model of WELS for amalgamation (die dreckische Anschluss):
1. WELS had district conventions vote on amalgamation, closing down Northwestern College. The districts voted against it.
2. WELS sent out a mail survey. The responders voted against it.
3. WELS had a national convention narrowly defeat amalgamation, so WELS reported it as a victory and went ahead.
4. WELS insisted that the districts had to amen their plans, going ahead with construction before the WELS constitution was followed in having district conventions approve the decision.

Bailing Water Is Back


Bailing Water is back. Just click on the embedded link.

Bailing Water is written by a WELS layman. The Fiends will do everything possible to shut him down. They are already murmuring about the 8th Commandment! Telling the truth about published false doctrine and public false practice (a little girl preaching to a congregation) - those are not violations of the 8th Commandment. Falsely accusing people of slander is a violation!

History of Bailing Water: Aaron Peders a WELS delegate started the post after the WELS cut his imprint blog on wels.net. After about a week he just disappeared. Then a guy named Jared took up the site. He wanted to mostly receive posts about MLS. But he then dropped it this weekend. Another person is now the blogger.

***

One person was very mocking toward me when I showed how a WELS pastor copied Presbyterian and Baptism sermons (bad ones at that) and claimed them as his own on his church website. This anonymous person wanted to know if I had talked to the plagiarist. My question would be - has the District Pope? That is illegal - to claim someone else's work as his own. Yet the WELS CG pastors do it with impunity.

Thou shalt not steal - that's a commandment too.

***

Anony-mouse had this seething comment, which - according to his logic - I wrote:

Greg, I wouldn't be surprised if you posted your own comments on your blog. You make all these accusations and start all these rumors, but you offer no proof, no names, no documentation (such as the "WELS Curia" still trying to close MLS, or the pastor who used Baptist sermons, etc.) Nothing has really changed since your days on the pages of Christian News, has it Greg? I really feel sorry for the poor souls who take everything you say as gospel truth. I would only hope they could really get to know you and what kind of "professor" and "pastor" you really are, before it's too late for them.

No documentation about plagiarizing the Baptists? I copied the "WELS" sermon and the Baptist sermon, the "WELS" sermon and the Presbyterian sermon. All posted.

If you want to know what Michigan District pastors are thinking, ask them. My source is from the Michigan District, WELS.

I am the same person. I document the facts while cowardly synod minders attack anonymously. You only hurt yourself, Anony-mouse. You are angry, full of false ideas, and probably potty-trained at gunpoint.

I appreciate the opposition, Anony-mouse. I sign my material, unlike you. I document with verbatim quotations and my eye-witness experiences, such as talking to the Kokomo excommunicants. I have published many books and hundreds of articles in 30 plus periodicals. I have earned six degrees from accredited institutions most people have heard about, so I must know something.

Here are some recent comments, sent by email and signed:
WELS pastor - "I love Ichabod. I read it every day."
WELS layman - "Time will tell. we think you deserve alot of credit for bringing issues to the attention of many. And that's putting it mildly."

WELS Curia Still Trying to Close Michigan Lutheran


This just in - from one source in the Michigan District, Diablo.

WELS pastors in the Michigan District are furious because The Love Shack is once again trying to close Michigan Lutheran Seminary, in spite of the convention vote and the election of Luther Prep president Schroeder.

Grow up, boys. Convention votes mean nothing unless they support the apostate wing of the synod. Then they are Law, the very oracles of God. The unelected Curia will continue to protect their salaries. That is how so much money disappeared. Designated funds were decimated to pay their generous salaries and benefits.

I thought the news was rather slow in coming. The new Synodical President will need the support of pastors and laity if he is going to accomplish anything.

The one and only issue is doctrine, not money, not schools. A genuine effort to study and renew sound Lutheran doctrine would boost every area of the synod.

ELCA Silent 12 Days after Convention


The ELCA News Archives have been as quiet as the library at Mequon, ever since the convention. That's surprising: ELCA normally puts out daily
the latest news on a host of topics.

ELCA pastors at ALPB Online were hoping no one noticed the vote to keep bishops from disciplining homosexual and lesbian couples in the parsonage. All the wire services noticed. LCMS SP Kieschnick noticed and frowned. No gratitude! ELCA communed Kieschnick and yet he posted an objection to the ELCA convention decision.

Correction. ELCA did post some news after the convention, but precious little. That could mark vacation time or everyone hiding under the desk to survive the incoming artillery barrage.

NAE
Meanwhile, Ted Haggard, the former National Association of Evangelicals president, has moved to Phoenix and enrolled at the University of Phoenix. His wife has moved with him to Phoenix and has also enrolled at UOP, both in the master's program. He will be in counseling. The announcements did not mention the whereabouts of his boyfriend. In spite of his enormous salary before he resigned, Ted has sent out an appeal for funds from his followers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Anonymous Wants To Know More About UOJ


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "UOJ - No Wonder WELS Loves Willow Creek":

1. For the benefit of your newer readers, could you briefly restate your position on justification? How do you define justification? In your view, when and how does it occur?

2. Both the Beckman and Zarling papers state that the Kokomo statements are inadequate representations of the doctrine of objective justification as interpreted by WELS. The statements were taken out of context from the Meyer book, and became a sort of de facto "litmus test" during the controversy. Are they really still used by WELS today?

Thanks for the clarification.

***

The Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions are very clear about justification by faith. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to plant faith in the hearts of those who hear the message (including infants being baptized). Faith receives the Promises of God and the blessings offered: forgiveness of sin, the fruits of the Spirit, eternal life.

Faith is not the cause of salvation. Faith is the result of Gospel proclamation. The statement below is a perfect expression of what I believe and a complete repudiation of UOJ and its bastard child, the Church Growth Movement.

"On the one hand, it is true that both the preacher's planting and watering and the hearer's running and willing would be in vain, and no conversion would follow, if there were not added the power and operation of the Holy Spirit, who through the Word preached and heard illuminates and converts hearts so that men believe this Word and give their assent to it. On the other hand, neither the preacher nor the hearer should question this grace and operation of the Holy Spirit, but should be certain that, when the Word of God is preached, pure and unalloyed according to God's command and will, and when the people diligently and earnestly listen to and meditate on it, God is certainly present with his grace and gives what man is unable by his own powers to take or to give. We should not and cannot pass judgment on the Holy Spirit's presence, operations and gifts merely on the basis of our feeling..."
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II, Free
Will, 55-56, The Book of Concord, ed. Theodore G. Tappert, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959, p. 531f.

***

Obfuscation by WELS

WELS is both for and against its own position, depending on the audience. Another exponent of ambiguition on justification is Rolf Preus, who switches back and forth with regularity.

Any quotation or paraphrase that reveals the real WELS is "taken out of context." Long verbatim quotations are "taken out of context." UOJ is the constant drumbeat of WELS today, but Meyers-Kokomo is "taken out of context." Every so often FIC will repeat the false doctrine of God declaring the whole world righteous, free of sin.

I know of a WELS pastor who periodically grills a member on whether that person adheres to the Kokomo Statements.

UOJ is taught in the ELS (Pope John the Malefactor), LCMS (early Robert Preus, but repudiated in his last book), and above all - in ELCA. UOJ is Universalism in another dress.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

UOJ - No Wonder WELS Loves Willow Creek


Sometimes I reject comments so I can feature them rather than have them appear as pop-ups. Here are two useful ones because they link to WELS documents on Universal Objective Justification.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Justification by Faith":

N.B.

http://www.wlsessays.net/authors/XYZ/ZarlingJustification/

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ask Luther about UOJ":

Read this for a clearer understanding of the actual WELS position on universal or objective justification:

http://wlsessays.net/authors/B/BeckmanUniversal/

***

Both essays are shallow, but the Beckman one is worse. They were both inspired by the Kokomo incident, where Pastor Papenfuss (his real name) dumped UOJ on the congregation.

I was at the Hartman farm and spoke to both families excommunicated from WELS for believing in justification by faith. I asked for xeroxes of the letters that were sent to them. I told you before - I have been everywhere.

There has been considerable lying about the Kokomo statements. WELS teaches them more ardently than any other synod, but WELS also tries to distance itself from those statements. Sometimes their finger-puppets in the CLC will echo their deceptions about Kokomo. If you click on the UOJ label or look up the justification chapter of Thy Strong Word, you will find more material than you can ever digest on UOJ.

The essays cited above are typical WELS productions. They pretend to deal with the Scriptures (Wauwatosa style) but really start and end with recent Wisconsin Synod teachers and books, especially Meyer's pathetic Ministers of Christ (no longer published by WELS) and Sig Becker's material.

Although WELS both denies and admits it, the first three Kokomo statements are from Meyer's Ministers of Christ. The fourth Kokomo Statement can be found in earlier conflicts about UOJ, which erupted from the Pietists in the 19th century.

UOJ is nowhere to be found in the Book of Concord or the Scriptures. WELS-LCMS-ELS-CLC can quote UOJ sources - all derived from the Pieper crowd. Their legitimate quotations from Luther, the Book of Concord, Romans, Corinthians, are about the atonement of Christ. He died for the sins of the world.

J. P. Meyer taught forever at Mequon. They were still talking about the "Meyer dog notes" in the 1980's. Seminarians keep their notes and wrote the conference papers from them. No wonder:
1. They cannot debate doctrinal issues.
2. The same false doctrines get recycled endlessly.

The Church of Rome has nothing on WELS in the category of infallibility. No Wisconsin Synod leader has ever been wrong. Any false doctrine (like Manufacturing Disciples) can be established by having a couple of synod hacks write a paper. The Book of Concord? WELS is not bound by it. The Word of God? WELS will advise God on what He should have said.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

ELCA's The Lutheran


GJ - Could this also be true of Forward in Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Lutheran Witless?

Fair and Balanced at The Lutheran « on: August 03, 2007, 02:37:47 PM »

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I listened very intently during the Central States Synod assembly early June as the new editor of The Lutheran, Daniel Lehmann, made an impassioned pitch for his magazine. The Lutheran is down to something just slightly over 300,000 readers. This is from a high in 1988 of about 1.5 million. (Seems like everything in the ELCA is down.) Lehmann, who comes from a secular newspaper background, was pretty candid as to why readership is approaching zilch. Declining congregational finances means the "every-member subscription plan" is a ready target for budget cutting bean-counters. That's true, and it may even be the major factor in the wholesale decline in readership.

Equally, though, somewhat to my surprise, he made reference to the "liberal bias" of the magazine as another turn-off factor. This was done somewhat off-handedly, a kind of "by-the-by" note. But his comments following that indicated he intended the comment as more than "by-the-by," because he went on to invoke the Fox News mantra. He promised news reporting under his editorship at The Lutheran would be - are you ready - "fair and balanced."

He explained a distinction between "news" and "commentary." News is news and carries no bias. It's straight reporting. Commentary, though, is frequently - even necessarily - opinionated. One may hope for an informed opinion, but at the end of the day, it is opinion. He didn't say it, but I will, news may also properly report opinion, but to properly retain the designation of "news," opposite opinion must also be referenced. "Fair and balanced" = fair reporting on diversity and equal space for both.

With this in mind, haul yourself back to the recent August issue (those of you still among the faithful 300.000), turn quickly to page 51, and read the "news" item "Discipline upheld, pastor defrocked."

There are four paragraphs reporting the action of the disciplinary appeals committee regarding the Bradley Schmeling case in Atlanta. The news here is simple, factual, informative. So far, so good. The fifth paragraph, though, is devoted to a lengthy quotation from Emily Eastwood, identified as the executive director of Lutherans Concerned, "a group that works for the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Lutherans in the church." She describes the outcome of the appeal as "what happens when human law becomes an end to itself." The ELCA "judicial process," she says, is "an ecclesiastical dry hole." She promises that "LGBT Lutherans and their allies . . . will not relent until justice and mercy prevail."

There is no sixth paragraph to argue for the appeals decision, no quotations asserting that no one is "excluded" from the church. Absent that, a sharp-eyed news editor should have excluded Ms. Eastwood's remarks from the article, and news of the appeals decision reported, uh, straight.

Personally, I think it is a shame that readership of The Lutheran has fallen so alarmingly. I seldom like everything I read in it. (Oh, hell, some issues I don't like anything in it at all, ever.) But it remains still the best source for knowing what's up with the ELCA, and why. I have written for The Lutheran in the past; I expect I shall write for it in the future. I genuinely believe Mr. Lehmann will make every effort to produce a magazine that fairly represents both sides of an issue.

Yet, equally, I also believe he needs a staff - a good news editor - who can distinguish news from sheer propaganda masquerading as news. Of course, he's still new to the job. As time passes, he may figure that out for himself.

ALPB Discussion Forum

« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 02:39:25 PM by Russ Saltzman » Logged

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Russell E Saltzman
former editor, Forum Letter

Where UOJ Leads


Gospel reductionism is UOJ. This is where it leads:

I was surprised when our beloved moderator informed me, some months back, that numerous congregations in his neck of the woods were routinely and intentionally inviting the unbaptized to receive communion. I guess I should not be surprised to hear that some reserve the use of the creeds for an occasional high holy day, but I am. I hope that this was not a group preparing to go to the churchwide assembly. Are there still any here who deny that there is more than one faith being taught in the ELCA?

Mel Harris (truly a dinosaur)

ALPB Online Discussion

Ask Luther about UOJ


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

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

Justification by Faith


Justification by Faith? or
Justification Without Faith (UOJ)?


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


"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered us in the promise of the Gospel."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #31. Of the Righteous of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925. Tappert, p. 544. Heiser, p. 252.

"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered us in the promise of the Gospel."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #31. Of the Righteous of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925. Tappert, p. 544. Heiser, p. 252.

"Yet these exercises of faith always presuppose, as their foundation, that God is reconciled by faith, and to this they are always led back, so that faith may be certain and the promise sure in regard to these other objects. This explanation is confirmed by the brilliant statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20: 'All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, to the glory of God through us,' that is, the promises concerning other objects of faith have only then been ratified for us when by faith in Christ we are reconciled with God. The promises have been made valid on the condition that they must give glory to God through us."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 495. 2 Corinthians 1:20.

"For we are not justified because of our faith (propter fidem), in the sense of faith being a virtue or good work on our part. Thus we pray, as did the man in Mark 9:24: 'I believe, Lord; help my unbelief'; and with the apostles: 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke 17:5."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 506 Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5.

"The entire Scripture testifies that the merits of Christ are received in no other way than through faith, not to mention that it is impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11:6, let alone to be received into eternal life. In general, St. Paul concludes concerning this [matter] in Romans 3:28: Thus we hold then that a man becomes righteous without the works of the Law—only through faith."
Johann Gerhard, A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1610, ed. D. Berger, J. Heiser, Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2000, p. 165.

UOJ Classics

"The doctrine of universal justification is often ridiculed with the argument that if God really forgives sins prior to faith then the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith becomes meaningless. Such conclusions demonstrate a rationalistic spirit that consciously or unconsciously refuses to be guided by Scriptures alone."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, unpaginated.


"The two terms are relatively modern. They are not used in the Lutheran Confessions. They are also not really synonymous. 'Universal justification' is a term denoting the doctrine that God has forgiven the sins of all men. Strictly speaking, the term objective justification expresses the thought that the sins of a man are forgiven by God whether he believes it or not. Objective justification is not necessarily universal, but if justification is universal it must of necessity be objective."[23]
Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, unpaginated. [GJ - Can you figure this out?]

This UOJ Fanatic Joined the Church of Rome
"So, then, we are reconciled; however, not only we, but also Hindus, and Hottentots and Kafirs, yes, the world. 'Reconciled', says our translation; the Greek original says: 'placed in the right relation to God'. Because before the Fall we, together with the whole creation, were in the right relation to God, therefore Scripture teaches that Christ, through His death, restored all things to the former right relation to God."
F. R. Eduard Preuss, 1834-1904, Die Rechtfertigung der Suender vor Gott. Cited in Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 24.

J. P. Meyer UOJ Howlers
I. "Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows about it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of a saint. What will be his reaction when he is informed about this turn of events? Will he accept, or will he decline?"[41]
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 103f. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

II. "Before Christ's intervention took place God regarded him as a guilt-laden, condemned culprit. After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention He regards him as a guilt-free saint."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 107. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

III. "This applies to the whole world, to every individual sinner, whether he was living in the days of Christ, or had died centuries before His coming, or had not yet been born, perhaps has not been born to this day. It applies to the world as such, regardless of whether a particular sinner ever comes to faith or not."
J. P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, p. 109. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.






Saturday, August 25, 2007

UOJ - Above the Fold in Christian News


I got the new Christian News, August 20, 2007.

They are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Brief Statement.

"Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ., Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthiasn 5:18-21; Romans 4:25..."

Thanks to academic incest, everyone kept being trained in this nonsense until it permeated the conservative Lutheran synods.

Ichabod readers will note that the cited passages from Scripture do not teach the proposition at all. That is the kind of legalism I wrote about earlier. The proposition becomes the ruling norm (norma normans) and Scripture is interpreted and twisted to fit the proposition.

The cited passages teach the doctrine of atonement. Christ died for the sins of the world. This is what the Book of Concord calls the treasure of the Gospel. But the treasure is in one heap until it is distributed by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace. Luther and the Book of Concord are consistent in teaching exactly what the Scriptures reveal. Therefore, people do not have grace, forgiveness, and righteousness until the Word, the instrument of forgiveness, plants faith in their hearts.

UOJ supporters are no different from those who teach Gospel reductionism in ELCA - everyone is forgiven. Period.

UOJ Enthusiasts also love the Church Growth Movement.

UOJ fanatics do not defend their doctrine - they personally attack critics of their false doctrine. They go into a feeding frenzy. Nevertheless, they do not defend their false doctrine. When they begin their attempts, their deceptions and manipulations are easily revealed to everyone.

***
Right after I posted this, the message below appeared as a potential comment. It is a typical personal attack from a Minister of the Gospel, vituperative, avoiding all doctrinal issues. Thank you, Anony-mouse, for proving my point so quickly.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "UOJ - Above the Fold in Christian News":

Well, Greg, you've finally shown your true colors. In the WELS and CLC you have been self-destructive as far as your ministry is concerned, and, unless it had been for the grace of God, you would have destroyed the congregations you served. Now you call the doctrine of universal justification "nonsense" and "legalism." I wish your readers would see you as you really are--and its not as a champion of confessional Lutheranism!

Those who want to study the only large collection of material on this subject can read the chapter I wrote about justification. Lutheran laity prodded me to deal with the issue. I know one parish pastor who vocally opposed forgiveness without faith.

UOJ and Church Growth go together like apple pie and ice cream.

Robert Preus rejected UOJ in his final book.

Justification by Faith, Thy Strong Word

"Nowhere in the Bible is any man constituted or declared righteous ‘without faith, before faith.’” R. C. H. Lenski, Romans, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1963, p. 382. Romans 5:19-20.

Sermon - Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

Ministers of a New Testament
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

KJV Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity


The Hymn #199
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 2 Cor. 3:4-11
The Gospel Mark 7:31-37
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #207
The Sermon
Ministers of a New Testament

The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn #195
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #188

KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The present situation in the Lutheran Church prompted me to choose the Epistle for today. More about that later.

A key term in this passage is testament. I used covenant when I first wrote out the title, knowing it was the wrong term. Then I checked the KJV and the NIV. The precise KJV uses testament and the Reformed-Pentecostal NIV uses covenant. The distinction in the New Testament was significant then and remains just as significant.

A testament or will is a one-sided agreement. I can leave to any person or any organization I choose, without their knowledge or agreement.

A covenant is quite different because it involves both sides of an agreement. Familiar covenants are zoning restrictions. The city agrees that a certain type of home may be built on property, but the owner of the property also agrees that a public business will not be established there. Nations have treaties or covenants, with the idea that both sides will keep the agreement.

This distinction between testament and covenant is significant because of the difference between the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith (testament) and the Reformed distortions (covenant).

God willed that His Son would die for the sins of the world. Man did not request this ultimate blessing, did not plan for it, did not agree to it in advance. God also willed that the Means of Grace would be the instruments for giving the Gospel message to people across the ages. The First Gospel was delivered to Adam and Eve. The Old Testament is full of Gospel passages: the Psalms, the Prophets (especially Isaiah 40ff). Before the Incarnation the Gospel created and sustained faith. When the Word became Incarnate in the Virgin Mary, people were able to see the human face of God, to hear His voice.

Jesus represented the Gospel already in the manger, when shepherds came to worship Him as the Savior. Jesus spoke the Gospel in Temple when He was still a boy, planting the faith in the very city that would reject Him as the Messiah.

After Jesus was baptized by John, He suffered in the desert wilderness, tempted by Satan, and then gathered the disciples. He performed many miracles to show people the authority of His Word, but people also knew from His teaching that He had divine authority “not like the scribes and Pharisees.” The religious leaders, those not converted by His Word, were His enemy. Jesus taught that their righteousness must come from without, from God, not from within, from their works.

The Bible is very clear about the power of the Word in converting people. Every believer is the creation of the Word, whether by Holy Baptism or by the spoken Word. In some cases the written Word alone converts people to Christ.

What passages prove this?

KJV Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

If we reverse the order of this great passage from Romans, the preachers sent from God proclaim the Gospel, and people believe from hearing this great message. Every single person who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

KJV Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

How does God work, except through the Word. Man does not work out the means to will (to decide) and to accomplish His will. God moves man through the Word alone.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

This is where the Reformed-Pentecostal Church Growth guys should put their hands to their faces and say, “Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!” Their entire agenda is destroyed by 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (and hundreds of similar passages) The remedy to their false doctrine lies in that little word effectually, which is King James for effective. Effectiveness is their claim to fame. Statistics make them effective. Entertainment makes the Sunday seeker service effective. A zippy, how-to, fix-it message (not a sermon) makes the minister effective. Friendly ushers make the congregation effective. According to Paul Kuske’s Church Growth guru, Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, the “best Law and Gospel sermon will do no good unless the ushers are friendly.” A crypto-Baptist said, “Amen” to that absurdity.

The message of the Reformed is simple – God’s Word is not effective unless man makes it effective.

The Bible says just the opposite. As long as it is God’s Word, man and Satan cannot hinder it. But, neither can man brag about God’s work, although Paul comes perilously close to that at times.

KJV 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

What I love most about Paul’s letters is the humanity coming through at all times. The Gospel-writers are very much in the background, so much that John, the disciple Jesus loved, is often disputed as the author. The other authors have been debated, too, except for Luke. The debates are easy to generate because of this lack of information. That is, liberals use whatever wedge they can find.

Liberals hate Paul because we know so much about him from his letters. Paul believed in his own works and lived accordingly. That meant God could use him most effectively in teaching against our human nature, in teaching against salvation by works. To this day Rome and the Eastern Orthodox avoid this topic in Paul.

Sincere believers, once they are detached from faith in the Word alone, gradually become attached to salvation by works. It may take more time that the first generation, but one event leads to another. I was reading about Fenton, the man who left the LCMS ministerium for Eastern Orthodoxy and his former church (Zion, Detroit). Zion, Detroit was once the biggest Lutheran congregation in the LCMS. When they confronted the Lodge in the early days, a group of people left and formed a church that is now United Church of Christ. The big WELS church in New Ulm and the independent Lutheran church in Columbus, St. Paul’s, both had their early Reformed-Lutheran union days and their final split (only to welcome false doctrine back). The defectors became the United Church of Christ and are now Unitarian (recognizing all faiths as equal). What happens to institutions happens to individuals.

KJV Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Notice that she did not open her heart. She did not make a decision. The Lord opened her heart. People who do not trust God’s Word to accomplish His will turn to human methods and devices. When ministers start defending methods, they are always headed toward rationalism and trusting in themselves.

These devices are always Law oriented and must fail in time. The Law is like going to a hospital and having all kinds of diagnostic tests. Then the doctor comes in and says, “According to the tests, you have all these things wrong with you.” And you say, “How are you going to cure me or help me?” The doctor replies, “We are going to do even more tests.” That would be appalling, but the Law/Law people do it all the time. They say, “This is where you are sinful.” And then, “To overcome this sin, you must do this and this.” A Pentecostal minister’s wife walked into our house and began saying, “You must confess your sin…” Thus many live and die in the Law.

In contrast, the ministry of the Gospel is far more glorious. Paul uses the comparison with Moses after receiving the Ten Commandments. Moses’ face shone so brightly that people could not even look at him. But that was the ministry of the Law, of condemnation, which can bear no fruit.

9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

I chose Easter hymns (the same ones as last week) today because the Gospel, forgiveness, and Easter are different aspects of the same power of God. Because the Son of God innocently died on the cross for our sins, He rose on the third day, changing the first day of the week to the Lord’s Day from that time on. The early Christians were known for gathering at dawn on Sunday to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Christ. In Moline we had Easter sunrise services attended by huge crowds. Wharton Field House, across the street, would fill with people, who were anxious to get there early to have a seat.

Wherever the Gospel is taught, death is defeated by the eternal life given through the forgiveness won by Christ. We should remember that the early Christians had little and could not measure their success by new buildings, parking lots, and balanced budgets. They were concerned about government attacks on their homes, being arrested, tortured, and killed. They were more like the Christians in Red China today.

The Word of the Gospel must never be slighted or forgotten in our zeal for the Law. I have mentioned before that an adult study group member got very angry when I quoted Walther saying the Law bears no fruit, (Law and Gospel lectures).

The Law necessarily makes people anxious and afraid because of their sin. If they never hear the Law, they have no feeling of need for the Gospel. When we have a sore throat and cough, we will pay any price for relief, for the right medicine. But when the infection goes away, we forget to take the pills.

The Gospel brings Jesus to people, to show them for the first time, or once again, that He died for them, that the entire price has been paid for their sins. The true Gospel must be free of all traces of the Law, as Paul taught so many times. Gospel tainted by Law is still Law. The pure Gospel is all forgiveness and without price.

KJV Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Objections to the Gospel show where the sects and Rome invade and take over.

What if I am not sorry enough?
Answer – Forgiveness is not based upon the degree of sorrow but Christ’s atonement.

What if I have not suffered enough?
Answer – Christ suffered in our stead. We cannot pay with suffering when the price has been paid.

What if I feel I am not worthy?
Answer – No one is worthy. Christ makes us worthy, giving us His righteousness with His complete and free forgiveness.

Forgiveness means eternal life. All people die because of sin, but Christ gives us eternal life through this Gospel message of forgiveness.

When Leonard Klein Went to Rome


This came from LCMS Pastor Al Loeschman, who dared to quote Paul McCain:

Last Sunday, Pastor Leonard Klein announced to his congregation that he was resigning in order to become a Roman Catholic priest. Pastor Klein has been an outspoken critic of the revisionist agenda in the ELCA, and a prominent leader within the ELCA. He has met with the ELCA Church Council and others within the ELCA leadership to express his dismay with the ELCA's revisionist direction. He has published articles in Lutheran Forum and The Lutheran stating his position. He has been a faithful witness to the gospel. And for his faithful leadership we must honor him.

Klein is not alone in giving up on the ELCA. My dear friend Jay Rochelle, a former professor at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, joined the Orthodox Church two years ago. Richard John Neuhaus, a writer, editor and outspoken leader within the Lutheran church, became Roman Catholic some years ago. Jaroslav Pelikan, a noted author, professor and editor of Luther's Works, also converted to the Orthodox Church. We can likely come up with numer ous other cases as well.

In addition, it is also likely that many of struggle with whether we can long remain within the apostate and bleak ELCA, or whether we must also give up and move on to greener pastures.

Unfortunately, the exodus is not over. It has just begun. While many of us continue to stay and fight within the ELCA, many of the wisest and most courageous among us have seen the writing on the wall. They see the coming tempest and are departing for fairer waters within the Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We may miss them. We may wish we had their fellowship and support as we continue to resist the assaults of Satan within the ELCA. But we must also honestly conclude that we cannot either blame or judge them for making such a decision within the horrid conditions in which we all serve these days. Someday each of us may also find ourselves stepping out of the ELCA circle as well. In the meantime, it is good to know that the fellowship of the gospel is not limited to our faithful witness within the ELCA, which increasingly appears to seem like enemy territory. There is good news in realizing that the church continues in other places as well. We pray for courage to remain and resist the forces of evil which assail us daily.

We also may pray for courage, that when the time comes for us to depart for another shore, that we may also venture forth with the call of God. But for the moment we still remain. We work diligently to organize our resistance. We pray to God. We comfort one other. We still the anger, the pain and the fear in our hearts, as we await God's abundant and tender mercy. Since Sunday, the word has spread quickly regarding Pastor Klein's decision. I have received many inquiries regarding whether the rumors are true. Since this letter was presented publicly, I therefore pass it on for your own information.

May we pray for Pastor Klein and his family as they face the challenges of the coming months. We pray for their journey, yet know that they are not really departing from the one true church in which we all serve together under the Fatherhood of God.

And may we also pray to strengthen each other as we continue to resist the insidious forces of the foe who continues to assail God's holy church with chaos and false teachings.

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Hershman



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From Pastor Leonard Klein:

Dear Friends in Christ:

After twenty-two years of service in this wonderful congregation and after a lengthy period of prayer, discernment, and study I have reached the decision to end this phase of my ministry. With humility and thanks to God and to you I am submitting my resignation from my call as senior pastor effective July 15, 2003.

I know that this will come as a shock to many of you, but I must add a second piece of information that will, I fear, aggravate that feeling and require considerable explanation. It is this: I will on the same day resign the office of pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A few days later Christa, Renate, and I will be received into the Catholic Church by Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, and I will begin a process of study and formation for the Catholic priesthood. This may cause yet further astonishment among those of you who are not aware that the Catholic Church makes provision for the occasional ordination of married converts who were ministers in other church bodies (usually Lutheran or Episcopalian). If you have noted my growing dismay over the ELCA, my leaving will not be a complete surprise. It might help if you think of my situation as comparable to that of a military officer who thinks the nation’s policies insupportable. In such a situation an officer must resign his commission.

As a congregation Christ Church has the independence to continue on its faithful path, and I wish you every blessing as you continue to do so. But as a pastor I am tied to the officer corps of an army for which I can no longer fight.

I am not fleeing conflict. I have played a leadership role in the fight for orthodoxy in the ELCA for the fifteen years of its existence and in extensive criticism of the plans for the merger for several years before 1988. If anything, the desire to stay and continue the battle is a temptation that has great appeal to my personality. I have never been good at walking away from a fight. So if I were convinced that I could stay Lutheran, even as a lonely minority, I would do so.

I have, however, become convinced that I am no longer a Lutheran. Over the past several years I have had to come to grips with the fact that I am a Roman Catholic, and that is the positive reason for this radical move. Let me try to explain as briefly as I can.

It is not that I think Luther was misguided or wicked. No sensible Catholic thinks that. But I have come to believe that in the Reformers’ proper intention to fix genuine problems in the late medieval church, they made a number of serious mistakes that cannot now be corrected. We lost the ancient apostolic form of governance by bishops, a vibrant sense of a communion in prayer with the saints living and dead, and a full understanding of how God changes people through the Gospel and leads them to holiness. We lost continuity and we lost a clear understanding of the role of holy Tradition. Because Luther expected the world to come to an end soon, he thought that the inertia of the past would sustain the basic doctrines of the Church and that biblical authority by itself would suffice to reform the Church until Christ’s return. It has not turned out that way.

Now, after nearly 500 years it has become clear that you cannot simply appeal to the Bible or count on inertia to sustain the life of the Church. What Luther intended as a necessary reform on biblical grounds has turned into a free for all of private interpretation, and our own denomination is a sad case in point.

There is to me an evident alternative to this moral, doctrinal and ecclesiastical chaos, the Catholic Church. Slowly I came to realize that I have actually believed for a long time that the Second Vatican Council was correct when it said that the Church “subsists in the Catholic Church.” That means that it exists there in its fullest and proper form. I find that claim to be consistent with my study of theology, scripture and church history. That language was drafted with sincere ecumenical intent and meant that valid church life could surely be found outside the Catholic Church. So I have felt no impropriety in continuing to serve as a Lutheran pastor. This congregation is a true and Christian Church. However, I realized that my view of Lutheranism as a reform movement for the Catholic Church meant that if I was really going to practice the best insights of the Reformation, I belonged inside the Catholic Church -- not outside it trying to make the Lutheran Church Lutheran.

So it was a positive realization that I held the Catholic doctrine of the Church and not just the negatives of the ELCA that led me to this point. Many fine pastors agree about the negatives, but because they do not share my understanding of the Catholic Church, they can and will continue as Lutherans. I am confident that you will find an excellent next pastor from among them, but my continuance as an ELCA pastor has become morally and intellectually impossible.

The easiest course would have been to continue another seven or eight years until retirement and then to walk quietly into the Catholic Church, but there are many good reasons why I should not do that.

First, this congregation is an important institution with a rich tradition and history. It would have become increasingly difficult for me to lead it effectively, and I do not wish to harm Christ Church.

Second, I have been here a long time, and I believe that it could be good for someone to look at things with a fresh set of eyes.

Third, there is a great danger that the ELCA will endure a schism over the question of blessing homosexual unions and ordaining people who are in them. I have lived through one church division in the Missouri Synod. It turned out badly. I will not take part in another.

Fourth, I feel good about the life and vitality of this congregation. I believe that my reservations about the denomination have not seriously harmed my ministry here and may have strengthened it. At this point I can leave you in good shape to discuss the next phase of your life. There is faithful and competent staff in place to continue parish life, and you are blessed with many fine pastors in the membership. I hope they will be willing to provide some service in the interim.

Fifth, I could not be your pastor forever, and as I approach the age of 58 that is increasingly apparent. If I were to stay until retirement, I would soon be entering upon the last quarter of my ministry among you. I had reached the point where a decision to leave or remain until retirement was becoming necessary.

Sixth, I need to face the question of what I will do with the rest of my life. If God grants me the years he is granting to my father and granted to my grandfathers, I have a third of my life to go. I have never intended to go out to pasture at age 66 but to continue to serve, to preach and to celebrate the sacraments in some context. I could not see doing that in the ELCA.

Seventh, I do not wish to be a guru. In mainline Protestantism that is the danger every pastor faces. I earnestly believe that I have faithfully presented a sound Lutheran position, but in the end the system leaves you having to take my word for it. We are perpetually asking you to trust us because you trust us. I hope that I have been trustworthy, but I prefer not to stand on my own authority. Also, it is because I do not wish either to be a guru or to harm the congregation that I have kept my deliberations private. I want to leave the legitimate heritage of this congregation intact. This is your spiritual home. Pastors on the other hand must come and go.

Eighth, this was a relatively good time for the family. My wife Christa has worked with and studied Catholic institutions for a long time and has been reaching the decision to become Catholic in parallel fashion. Our daughter, Renate feels the affinity between Lutheranism and Catholicism. Both are deeply grateful for this parish, and even as they look ahead, it pains them to leave. Our family history is entwined with Christ Church.

It is not that I am personally unhappy here. There are challenges, some of them difficult, but that is true everywhere.

I have continued to be happy to show up for work each morning and many nights. I have no regrets about the hours or energy I have expended. It would be hard to imagine a finer, more motivated, and more responsive congregation. You have been generous with your support, your encouragement, your personal warmth, and your prayers. Many of you are an example to me. I have been grateful for the role I could play in your lives and through Christ Church in the affairs of this community. No pastor could ask for a better opportunity than the one I have enjoyed for these many years.

I have been blessed, and I am not bitter, even about the ELCA leadership. Already at my ordination I knew that the road for Lutheranism would be bumpy. Like many other orthodox clergy in mainline denominations I have long wondered whether or when I might have to leave. You should know that the conversation “Could you go to Rome?” or “Would you go to Orthodoxy?” is painfully common among mainline clergy of traditional beliefs. In the last few years at least a half dozen pastors have had lengthy conversations with me on this matter. Three of them are now Catholics. That so many have seen me as an obvious person to talk to required me to be honest about where I really stood and finally to act.

As I close, I ask of you only that you make your best effort to understand the decision I have made. I ask no special considerations or favors as I leave. You have been most kind and generous in every way up to this point. I do ask your prayers and your continued friendship. We will for some time continue to live in York. I look forward to greeting you and talking with you, even after formal pastoral relations come to an end. Also, I want you not to be afraid to ask me questions and press me about my decision, if you feel the need to do so.

I want also to make one pledge to the council and staff: not only will I make every effort to help with a smooth transition but I will also be more than willing to answer questions about details of parish operations at any time in the future.

I continue to affirm many of the insights of the Lutheran Reformation, wishing only that the necessary reforms might have moved ahead without a schism. I wish I had never had to make the decision to stay or to leave. I wish that I had done a thousand things better. I wish that many of you had done a lot of things better! Which is to say I wish for the Kingdom of God. But until it comes, our lives will be shaken by the consequences of sin and by circumstances we never bargained for. By the grace of God even in a broken world and broken Church we can live with hope and joy. I am stepping forward in hope and joy, and I pray that those virtues, inculcated by the Holy Spirit, will continue to carry each of you and this fine congregation forward into the future that God has in mind for you.

Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Leonard R. Klein
14 May 2003




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Ed. It is surprising to see our own Rev. McCain decrying the loss of a former Seminexer to Rome. There are some observers on the right and most certainly the Jesus Firsters who have noticed that there are an awful lot of so-called "confessionals" who seem more Roman than Lutheran. It is a favorite refrain of the Jesus First crowd, and it must be admitted that there is a grain of truth in what they say.

Although the Jesus Firsters are influenced greatly by Reformed church growth principles, try to make out that every graduate of one of our seminaries leans toward Rome or Constantinople. It simply is not true. There are a very, very small minority of pastors (some newly ordained and some, like Klein, older men) who fit the description that Jesus First libelously proclaims. Most new grads from both seminaries are conservative and confessional Lutherans to the core. That is why the District Presidents are afraid of them.

And to tell the truth, this editor is a little afraid of them, too. Not them personally, for they are generally gentle souls, but their theology leans toward Rome. Check out the discussions on some of the LCMS email discussion lists about the Office of the Public Ministry, the Real Presence and the Church. Some do defend doctrine that, at the very least, looks Roman Catholic. Some hide behind pseudonymns, but some are open. Some seem to elevate the early Church Fathers and even the confessions above the simple words of Christ. The confessions become the Lutheran equivalent of "sacred tradition" when they are used to interpret the Word of God, instead of begin faithful and subserviant witnesses to the Word.

So, Brother McCain, let us encourage each other to "examine" ourselves "to see if we are in the Faith." And let us let go of those who have properly gone out from among us because of conscience while powerfully prodding those who hypocritically say they are LCMS at heart but are not, to "do the right thing" as Klein has done - join the ELCA or Methodists or Rome.



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Dear Pastor Loeschman,

I'm really surprised by the remarks about me I just read on your web site where you say I am "decrying" the Seminex guy leaving for Rome. Decrying? Did you even read what I said?

Next time you want to take a pot shot at me, you might consider doing me the courtesy of sending your comments to me to at least offer me the chance to respond.

Somebody just pointed out your remarks to me.

I criticize both Rome and Seminex in my article and you make me out to be a Roman sympathizer?

You owe me an apology brother. I expect to see your comments about me withdrawn from your www site as soon as possible!

From a clarifying followup post:
The way you speak critically of my "decrying" the loss of Klein to Rome and then how you go on to speak about how JesusFirst has a point about Romanizing tendencies among some of our pastors clearly lumps me in with all that and I did not appreciate it.

Thanks,
PTM

Rev. Paul T. McCain
Interim President/Chief Executive Officer
Concordia Publishing House
St. Louis, Missouri




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"This is another sad legacy of the Seminex conflict." ....."A sad turn of events" ..... "Leonard was clearly a leading voice in the ELCA, courageously batting the ever increasing pro-homosexual agenda."

I certainly apologize for the misreading of Rev. McCain's tone. However, I was apparently misled by the above sentiments witten about one with whom McCain is on a first name basis.

I have lots of classmates and semmates who went to Seminex because that is where their hearts were. Good, but they were and still are in error that is a danger to their souls. But they were honorable. Many who stayed in Missouri should have left, but didn't. Their souls are in even greater danger, since they have a god, the synod, who cannot save them though they trust that it will if they just can bring it out of the 16th century and into the enlightened age.

I didn't call Brother McCain or anyone else by name in my criticism nor was I taking a "pot shot" about something we have not discussed; but I simply say: "If the shoe fits, wear it." And I repeat: "Let us encourage each other to "examine" ourselves "to see if we are in the Faith."

Pr. L.

In Defense of Ft. Wayne


Brian Westgate has left a new comment on your post "In Defense of Rev. Fenton":

The Bride is pretty much dead. Fenton pretty much killed it. Nor is Gottesdienst pro-Rome/Constantinople.

As for Zion, it can't be blamed for Fenton or Neuhaus, and I presume she would prefer to be known as incarnational and sacramental.

And I know graduates of the Fort who care more for Luther's doctrine than for Rome and the East. Why are you so sure of students becoming fond of them BECAUSE of certain professors?
Brian Westgate

***
GJ - So we have a bunch of effects without causes? My role as Informaton Maven is to sift through mounds of data and come up with opinions.

I have studied at Concordia, Ft. Wayne, attended conferences there, and talked with graduates of the school. I attended a David Scaer class. I know about Ft. Wayne faculty members promoting Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy from its graduates. When a seminary has defections from its graduates on a regular basis, something is definitely going on.

Previously, under Robert Preus, Ft. Wayne had a D.Min. program that was 100% Church Growth, according to Kincaid Smith. The faculty endorsed Church Growth principles, according to Kurt Marquart. The faculty also voted that it was 100% orthodox. The faculty is mixed, like all Lutheran seminaries, thanks to political judgments meaning more than doctrinal decisions.

I looked over the Zion, Detroit website. There are many indications of those tendencies. There are LCMS circles headed out of the Lutheran Church and ELCA circles headed the same way. There will be more polarity and more desire to get rid of those pastors. I recall the polarity starting in the LCA when a worship professor at LSTC was turning out graduates who told their congregations they had never worshiped properly before.

Church Growth services are so assinine that people would be inclined to look for something that is real worship. The plethora of new hymnals has made any given form temporary.

Some pastors can use terms like confession and mass without bowing ultimately to Rome. However, the ones who study worship incessantly - without knowing Luther's doctrine - are going to fall over on the other side. I think they should leave the Lutheran Church as soon as they reject Lutheran doctrine.

I see Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy constantly promoting their confessions, such as they are. Meanwhile, the Lutheran leaders are either Baptist-Pentecostal or halfway to Rome, and promoting both errors. Many pastors are serious and faithful, but the overall situation is absurd. No?

In Defense of Rev. Fenton


Paul McCain and others denounced Fenton for leaving the LCMS ministerium:

Fenton's Admission
I just finished listening to John Fenton's radio interview about his decision to leave Lutheranism and join the so-called "Orthodox" Faith. Several important things jumped out at me:

1) He had serious doubts and reservations about Lutheranism before he went to the seminary. He had visited an Orthodox parish and read Ware's book on Orthodoxy and as he admits in his interview he had "considered dropping out of the seminary" several times, but did not. Here we have to be concerned that there was not a much more careful screening process at the seminary. Men who have these kinds of grave doubts and reservations about Lutheranism simply should not be permitted to continue in their studies. One should never be permittted to attend seminary as a way to work through such grave doubts and reservations.

2) Fenton clearly rejects the Biblical confession of the Gospel in rejecting the doctrine of vicarious satisfaction and wishes simply to chalk up the propitiation of God's wrath as an Anselmic theory. He has replaced the pure Gospel with adiaphora. In other words, for Fenton the "law of faith" is trumped by the "law of praying." Pretty liturgy is no substitute for the beautiful truth of pure doctrine.


3) Clearly this was a calculated and well orchestrated move out of his parish. A home was purchased, plans were made, and "Bishop Mark" of the Antiochian Diocese has green lighted the development of a "Western Rite" Orthodox parish in the Detroit area and Fenton's eventual ordination. Pastors who are aware of fellow clergy dabbling with Orthodoxy would do well to be aware that this is not simply some innocent "questioning" but often part of a well planned effort to leave Lutheranism, and there is, as I indicated, a clear program under way to recruit others. To laity and pastors: if you suspect a person is being tempted by the siren songs from Istanbul ask the pastor in question to tell you, in full and thorough detail, why they believe Eastern Orthodoxy is wrong. If they demur, there's a problem.

4) Finally, and most tragically, Fenton indicates to the interviewer that in spite of years of "discerning" and "studying" he said he realized he simply had to embrace Orthodoxy in spite of things he "doesn't understand" about it, simply on the basis of "trust" that it must be right. Isn't that both pathetic and sad?

Let us pray that in spite of the error he has embraced by joining "Orthodoxy," John Fenton will be preserved in the saving faith and pure Gospel he learned at his father's knee in the Small Catechism. And let us all take heed and warning from this episode.


***

Fenton's resignation statement is posted, with responses, in this link.

From the Free Republic - this comment is revealing: "A few times recently, Fr. Daniel (the senior priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese) has been away from our little mission and our mother parish for missionary work--specifically discussions with LCMS clergy contemplating conversion to Orthodoxy."

An intelligent response to Fenton's assertations can be found at this LCMS pastor's blog.


A Mass will be celebrated to install Fenton's replacement:

The Installation Mass.

***

GJ - I suspected, and confirmed, that Fenton graduated from Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne. Weinrich, David Scaer, and others prepare Lutheran pastors to become Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic. (By the way, I found links to independent Romanist congregations, including Romanist women priests with Sophia blogs, papal togs. Just Google search on John Fenton LCMS and you will run into it - no fault of his.)

Recent graduates of Ft. Wayne are inordinately concerned with everything except Luther's doctrine. Their infatuation with Roman/Eastern worship is parallel to the WELS fascination with Baptist-Pentecostal seeker services.

I speak in defense of Fenton's move because he was honest in leaving. Instead of dancing along the tightrope, he joined the association closest to his beliefs and practices. I wish more clergy would do that. That would rid WELS of its crypto-Baptist-Pentecostals, LCMS-ELS of its crypto-Papists, ELCA of its crypto-Unitarians. But no, instead of joining what they believe, these foxes and weathervanes pretend to be what they loathe while trying to change the confession and practice of their church bodies.

Moving to Eastern Orthodoxy or Rome was unthinkable in the past. Now it is rather common to find high profile people doing this. I read Zion, Detroit's history and found Richard Neuhaus had worked there. The congregation has a tradition of being high church, as anyone can see from the church website.

I imagine there will be increasing reaction against the high church groups like Bride of Christ and Gottesdienst, leading more men to leave the LCMS/ELCA/ELS for Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy.

WELS Budget Fiasco - The Gurgel-Mueller Years


Verbatim from the Kuske Report:

1. From 1996 to 2003 over $30 million of non-recurring funds were spent
2. Off-budget, almost $1.7 million in non-recurring funds was assigned to missions in Russia and Bulgaria. Off-budget means that it does not appear on the reports of the Operating Fund (See Appendix A).
3. The $22 million in the WELS Gift Fund (a.k.a. Gift Trust Fund) had been considered a “rainy day fund.” It was spent down to nothing by 2002. (See Appendix A for details)
4. In May of 2003 it was reported that $8.1 million (Later reports said $7 million) had been borrowed against trust funds and that there was a $1.5 million shortfall in the current fiscal year. The money borrowed against trust funds was scheduled for repayment, but repayments have been delayed.
5. One example of starting on-going programs with non-recurring funds is the addition of 19 world missionaries during this period. (See Appendices A and D.)
· By 2002 the consequences of the imprudence of using non-recurring dollars to fund on-going programs was very evident. A prescription for the serious problems that follow: More commitments, less income!
1. The “rainy day” fund was no longer available, when the cyclical economic downturn in late 2000 (exacerbated by 9/11) had adversely affected the WELS and the country. Further, after 2002 the Schwann Fund was not contributing the sizable gifts it had been sending to WELS. Restarted several years later.
2. The non-recurring funds that had accumulated over the year had been gaining interest that was used to support the budget. For each $20 million removed from the non-recurring funds $1,000,000 (or more) income in some form needed to be obtained. But the reality was that CMO offerings weren’t even keeping up with inflation. (See Appendix G.)
· The consequences of the imprudent use of non-recurring income resulted in budget cuts on the order of 25% to 30% starting in 2003. Use of non-recurring funds, both directly and indirectly, continued to the present and another $30,000,000 was disbursed, producing a total expenditure beyond income of $60,000,000. (See above)
1. More work of the Synod was moved off-budget (e.g. evangelism and youth ministry, which are now funded by the Revolving Funds) so that the non-recurring income and its income were reduced even more.
2. The world missionary corps was reduced by 17, but there were still more world missionaries in 2003 than in 1995. (Appendix D)
· The Board for Ministerial Education (BME) bore a disproportionately large proportion of the cutbacks.

Friday, August 24, 2007

McCain Count Seriously Wrong


According to Paul (Do you know who I used to be?) McCain:

Gregg, you need to tell the truth. The only reason I agreed to see you at the International Center was because you were without a position in the ministry an were selling insurance and tried to sell me a policy. This was before you alienated absolutely every person and every Lutheran Synod, micro-Synod and Lutheran congregation in the USA. Name even one single Lutheran pastor who supports you Gregg. I feel sorry for you.

This eruption came just because I mentioned that I knew him. Imagine if I had admitted he gave me a personal tour of the Purple Palace and got together with me a second time! Egads!

McCain makes it sound like he found me outside the doors of the LCMS office building, pushing my shopping cart full of personal possessions and aluminum cans, brushing away lice and fleas. After he claimed to have a $1 million AAL policy, I tried to sell him something?

I will put it this way - McCain is consistently wrong.

I recently had a long, friendly conversation with Pastor Herman Otten, McCain's former friend. I wonder if McCain alienated his former political ally - the very person who got the Barry-McCain administration into place - by constantly promoting Barry in his paper through secretly leaked materials from McCain. McCain publicly denied working with Otten. We don't really know it's true until we have an official denial from McCain.

Drifting back to my main point - I had a an exceptionally friendly email from a WELS pastor. He reads Ichabod every day and loves it. Before that it was an email from a pastor's daughter, whose father enjoys Ichabod as well. Yesterday I also had a long conversation with a pastor about all kinds of things.

McCain knows from his extensive study of politics, that a motion to make a decision unanimous fails from one negative vote. Therefore, his main contention is seriously wrong, as people must have guessed.

Laity are writing and signing their emails while synod minders are posting anonymously. Both encourage me.

I am trying to encourage people to stand up for the truth rather than continue in their synod-worship. The only ones gaining from synod-worship are those who have lived off the synod dole and hope to continue in their life of luxury and ease.

Intelligent Post on LQ


Rev. Ed Wright (Thewrightrev)
Member
Username: Thewrightrev

Post Number: 58
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on on LutherQuest, Thursday, August 23, 2007 - 11:44 am:

--------------------------------------------------------
We look upon our ELCA 'brothers and sisters' with disdain, but we will follow in the same footsteps unless we look at ourselves first (the LCMS). I see women's ordination just around the corner, then who knows what's next? Oh, I want to be optimistic about our synod, but little by little we have compromised God's Word with poor exegesis so we/I blame the current administration, but in reality all of us pastors and members are guilty of wanting either our ears tickled or to tickle others ears. So, let's pray for our friends in the ELCA and at the same time understand, but by the grace of God go I.

ELCA News Service Still Silent


I routinely go to the ELCA News Archives for their news releases.

I expected plenty of news after the convention, such as:
1. Mobs surround ELCA headquarters, wave pitchforks and torches.
2. Last congregation leaves ELCA - now only staff left.
3. ELCA merges with ELS - Moldstad excommunicates Bishop Hanson.

Nothing has been posted since the convention. Perhaps everyone went on vacation - or into hiding. I expect something every day, at least a few new stories a week. So far - nothing for over a week.

Yes, the National Council of Churches Lives



The United Church of Christ - bellwether for the Lutherans - has been shrinking and losing the PR race for decades.

So has the National Council of Churches. There were some major efforts to unite all Protestant groups in the 19th century. One result was the Federal Council of Churches, renamed the NCC when the FCC got too Marxist and too loud about it. Of course, renaming the group solved that problem.


An ELCA pastor has been named to an NCC post, proving they have some cash left in their faltering budget. Her name is Ann Tiemeyer, graduate of Yale Divinity. The ELCA news blog is a good way to keep up with their news.

WordAlone - LCMC


WordAlone/LCMC
We are rapidly running out of names for Lutheran groups. I cannot remember exactly what LCMS is, but I know they are congregations from the ELCA. Some congregations within LCMS are completely out of ELCA. Others have a dual-membership. Apparently, WordAlone/LCMC had two main groups, charismatic and non-charismatic. The two factions have parted ways.

No one (except Ichabod) wanted to leave ELCA when it began in 1987. Now the exits are being stampeded. During the last 20 years, WELS and Missouri have done their best to identify with and work with ELCA. No wonder people are not rushing to join either WELS or Missouri.

Augustana Ministerium
One Lutheran name has already been recycled. The Augustana Synod was a group of Swedish-American Lutheran churches. They chose their name to distinguish them from the generic, non-confessional Lutherans of the time. My wife, my mother, and I all graduated from Augustana College. Conrad Bergendoff wrote a book about the ministers of the denomination, called The Augustana Ministerium. Now a group within the LCMS has called itself The Augustana Ministerium.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sounds High Church To Me


For your information:

St. Andrew House - Center for Orthodox Christian Studies invites you to attend

"Faith of Our Fathers: A Colloquium on Orthodoxy for Lutherans"

An educational conference designed to present the basic precepts of
Orthodox Christianity to Lutheran clergy, spouses and lay leaders.

Monday - Tuesday, September 10 - 11, 2007
Detroit, Michigan


SPEAKERS:

Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit
Rev. Basil Aden - Rev. Calinic Berger - Rev. John W. Fenton
Rev. Gregory Hogg - Reader Christopher Orr
Rev. Gabriel Rochelle - Very Rev. Patrick Henry Reardon
Prof. A. Gregory Roeber

TOPICS:
Authority of Scripture - Trinitarian Theology
Nature of the Church - Virgin Mary and the Saints
Augustine's Influence on Lutheran Ecclesiology
Orthodox Confessions of faith - Justification

For complete information and registration,
visit us online at http//www.orthodoxdetroit.com.

Friends, look up that website.

Four of them are former Lutherans - two from ELCA and two from the LCMS.

Anonymous-Minder Blows Smoke

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Will SP Schroeder Be A Good Leader?":

The Kuske report never said tuition money was used for something other than the schools. If it did, he was wrong. All the tuition money goes to the schools. Unfortunately, this money is not enough to cover expenses. Synod subsidy was decreased from the schools.

Good work Mr. Jackson. Your fact checking makes we wonder if you work for the New Republic.

***

GJ - I suggest Anonymous-Minder reading what he pretends to cite. More money was collected in the name of the schools than forwarded to the schools. I am no accountant, and many things remain - shall we say - mysterious. The same can be said for many funds, which remain borrowed, as they used to say at Gurgel-Mueller's WELS-Enron.

Where did all that Schwan money go?

Verbatim from the Kuske Report:

http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2007/05/kuske-report-on-wels-mismanagement.html

1. More work of the Synod was moved off-budget (e.g. evangelism and youth ministry, which are now funded by the Revolving Funds) so that the non-recurring income and its income were reduced even more.
2. The world missionary corps was reduced by 17, but there were still more world missionaries in 2003 than in 1995. (Appendix D)
· The Board for Ministerial Education (BME) bore a disproportionately large proportion of the cutbacks.
1. The budget cutting for the BME was approximately doubled in percentage because the money that parents/students paid for tuition/fees was commingled with CMO. Details and illustrations are on Page 7.
2. The funds that had been given directly to the schools and were therefore in the Revolving Funds, were used to balance the budget over the last couple of years. (See Appendix C.)
3. After $20,000,000+ of these non-recurring funds was spent, it has been suggested that the schools should solicit a $300,000,000.00 trust fund to keep themselves going.
· In its November meeting the SC was planning to spending $5.8 million more of non-recurring funds. Of that amount only $2.6 million will be used to fund the prep school for one more year. Prior to that, the recommendation was made to defund the prep schools almost immediately, even though they serve a very significant function of recruiting and training (especially) future pastors, teachers, and lay ministers. (See Appendix I.)
· After serious consideration was given to defunding the prep schools, the SC and the President of the Synod decided to explore alternate methods of recruiting workers. (See Appendix I.)



And...

COMMINGLED NET COST TO BUDGET
Expenditures, BME $30,581,481 Expenditure, BME $30,581,481
Subtract tuition and fees ($13,507,707)
Subtract Activity fees1 ($2,000,000)
Net cost $30,581,481 Net cost $15,073,774
x 25% x 25%
Budget cut at 25% 2$7,645,370 Budget cut at 25% 23,768,443
1 Since I know of nothing outside of the BME that has “activity fees,” I have assigned $2 million here of the $14+ million reported for “Activity Fees And Retail Sales.”
2 In this illustration the difference between $7.6 million and $3.7 million is the distortion that would have occurred because of imprudently commingling tuition with CMO.

As shown in the chart, when the budget cuts were applied, a highly disproportionate reduction in the support provided to the Synodical schools occurred. Some of the budget shortfall was covered by increasing tuition and fees. As a result parents were expected, not only to offer their children for strong encouragement toward full-time ministry, but also to increase payments to the schools sharply. Many apparently could not afford the increases. Enrollments have dropped. The dropping enrollment adversely impacted the funding of the school even further. Since the decreased enrollment was caused ultimately by the imprudent use of non-recurring funds, as explained above, it is disingenuous to now fault the schools for the drop and therefore withdraw even more support.

The revolving funds, especially of WLS and MLC, were used to support the budget
After the predicted drop in enrollment became reality, the SC turned to another direction. The schools of the BME (especially WLS and MLC) had over the years received donations that weren’t specifically designated. These non-recurring funds were next used to shore up the Synod’s budget. The amounts that were taken from these non-recurring funds crept up from about $4 million to $13 million. Details are in Appendix C. The term to accomplish this transfer of funds is “reclassification.” The mechanism that makes it difficult to follow this reclassification (which was done openly in the 2003 report) is that the amount from income used for BME is reported in the Operating Budget. That amount plus the amounted used from non-recurring funds is reported as the total expenditure for BME in the report of Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. (See Appendix C.)

I Believe in the Efficacy of God's Word


God's Word is the only foundation for the work of the Gospel. As Lenski and others once said, the Church is built upon one thing only - the Word of God.

The Word, preached and taught, brings the Gospel to people. The Word conveys the Savior to us. We call the Word a Means of Grace because God grants forgiveness only through the Word (visible and invisible, the Word and Sacraments).

When the Word is correctly taught, the positive affirmations are not left to hover in the air without contrasting them with the negatives (rejections).

If the Word is efficacious, then Reformed doctrine is wrong. Fuller be damned.

If the papacy is the Antichrist, a Roman Catholic bishop cannot march in a religious service with the faculty of Bethany Lutheran Seminary. A Roman Catholic archbishop (gay or straight) cannot teach the Word at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Those who arrange, cover up, and explain away such monstrous behavior must be disciplined or expelled.

If Holy Communion an expression of doctrinal unity, open communion is nothing less than a repudiation of Lutheran doctrine.

Two Ingredients for WELS Reform


Put down your coffee cups and listen up. There are precisely two steps in cleaning up WELS. If either one fails, WELS is doomed, and I mean...insolvent, schools all closing, begging to merge with anyone who will take them in.

Here they are:

Ingredient I

Power is given away, not taken away. The synod, the District Popes, the Synod Council - no one can do a thing unless people let them.

The laity especially must take charge in leading a revolt against:
1) Sexual predator church workers;
2) Fellowship with ELCA, Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek, and the Church of Rome;
3) Pastors/teachers who publicly teach false doctrine;
4) Useless, overpaid synod-workers.
5) Misuse of funds.

At the same time, the laity must vocally and consistently support the new Synod President's correct decisions.

Ingredient II

Doctrinal purity is the only path to accomplishing God's will. The clergy have been brain-washed in Church Growth unionism for several decades. The careerists will continue to push this dead fad because Ron Roth, Henry Hagedorn, and Wayne Mueller will smile upon them.

If the laity insist on doctrinal reform and the expulsion of false teachers, money (the least of all concerns) will make its appearance in miraculous abundance. Another money drive - lacking the doctrinal reform - will be Dead On Arrival, prompting the CG leaders to work for new leadership, their pope, Wayne Mueller.

Will SP Schroeder Be A Good Leader?


Email volume is up considerably, from laity in WELS who are not being fooled. One person wondered about how well the new SP Schroeder would lead.

Schroeder will have to struggle against the entrenched Church Growth Curia established for 20 years at The Love Shack. President-in-Waiting Wayne Mueller remains in charge of that network. CG incompetents (and worse) find their careers are insinkable if they network with the right people.

Several things should be noted about the change in leadership in WELS:

1. Gurgel had no choice in leaving office, thanks to all the money that was used to prop up synod salaries, instead of going to the intended recipients. The Kuske report claimed that increased tuition was one such fund, where tuition and fees were jacked up but used by the synod for non-school purposes. This rapid 30% tution increase put both preps and the college in danger of closing. Also, the siphoned money remains borrowed - not paid back.
2. Thanks to grassroots support, Schroeder was the leader when he got to the convention. No one else had a chance. People worked hard to make sure Schroeder would get the votes. Ichabod pointed out how important family connections are in WELS elections. His family is respected as "the good Schroders."
3. I am guessing that the recent, enormous drop in mission offerings were due to an underground revolt against the Gurgel-Mueller team. For offerings to drop $8 million in one year, when the general trend is a 2% increase, something is happening synod-wide.