Sunday, August 31, 2008

What About ELDONA?

A pastor asked me about ELDONA, so I replied that I would respond on Ichabod.

James Heiser started the group of LCMS expatriates. The supposed motivation for creating another micro-synod was the DP Bente participation in the Yankee Stadium pan-religious Oprah Winfrey Show, a 9-11 memorial. Dan Preus turned turtle, Wally Schulz said "Naughty, naughty," but both were turned out of office. The Missouri Synod is supposedly against unionism, but every LCMS circuit meeting is an act of unionism.

So ELDONA began as a protest against syncretism, which is being cosy with non-Christian groups, aka unionism on steroids, aka taking a world religion course at the community college.

Nevertheless, Heiser began a Center for the Study of Lutheran Orthodoxy with an ELCA layman on the board. Did the evil Texas DP force him? Did Benke mesmerize him? No, he said, "I had to - he bought so many books." That is a fine start for Lutheran orthodoxy. "Unionism is bad, unless I can sell more publications," as Otten has expressed in so many different ways.

Something bothered me far more - even more than the secrecy with which the group operates, like some branch of the John Birch Society, which is Heiser's number one love.

The Heiser confab is far too friendly with Eastern Orthodoxy. Long ago and far way, when he ran the print shop for the LCS in Decatur, Illinois (Bishop-for-Life Randy DeJaynes and his Bishopette wife, who preached for Randy), Heiser got involved with infant baptism. I don't know what happened, but the LCS (in fellowship with the ELS for one, brief, shining moment) got into some issue over infant communion and the little group blew apart. One version is that DeJaynes recruited an infant communion fanatic to join the LCS. I am not so sure.

Another group Heiser serves--as a covert operator--is the oddly named Augustana (sic) Ministerium. (There already was an Augustana Ministerium, but perhaps we have used all the good names and now need reruns and remakes, like King Kong, Father of the Bride, and Cape Fear.) When the Augustana (sic) group met, they had Gary Gehlbach speak to them. Gehlbach is known throughout the LCMS as the guru of infant communion.

And infant communion is the distinguishing characteristic of Eastern Orthodoxy. The LCMS pastors are going bonkers over it, a day late and a dollar short, as usual. The LCA was yakking up infant communion in 1975 when I was at Notre Dame.

Here is one Augustana (sic) conference:

“Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism on Original Sin,” by Rev. John Rutowicz, Part 1 Part 2

“Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism on Justification,” by Rev. David Juhl, Part 1 Part 2

“Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism on Sanctification/Theosis,” by Rev. Gary Gehlbach,

Arjay noted that the advantage of joining the Augustana (sic) group was "Each new pastor can be a dean of something."

Administrative Council:
Rev. Bruce Ley, Superintendent; Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner, Legate;
Rev. Drew Newman, Recording Secretary; Rev. Gregory Schultz, Bursar;
Rev. Eric Stefanski, Dean of Communications; Rev. Dr. Steven Hein, Dean of Education; Rt. Rev. James Heiser, Dean of Missions; Rev. Dr. Micheal Strong, Dean of Pastoral Care; Rev. Jeffrey Ahonen, Dean of Pastoral Recruitment

ELDONA has about 10 congregations. Malone, Texas has its own building while Nile, Michigan has its own trailer. I am often baffled by the Nile website, where the links appear and disappear, Brigadoon-like.

ELDONA is very concerned about vestments and the office of bishop.

All the cryptos are turning adiaphora into matters of confession. My intuition tells me these people are sinuflecting toward Rome, taking as many gullible people with them as they go. I could accept the incense, purple shirts, long beards, and episcopal titles, if they were not baby steps to Rome. Because they are baby steps to Rome, the trappings of the Antichrist should be avoided at all costs.

"Oh no," they cry. "We are being true to the Reformation and the Early Church." So was John W. Fenton (still working in LCMS circles) until he joined Eastern Orthodoxy and repudiated Lutheran doctrine.

Richard J. Neuhaus called himself a "confessional Lutheran" until he became a priest. He became the Catholic he always was, but he never marketed himself as a papist until he officially joined.

Benjamin Kjendal joined Eastern Orthodoxy only two years after being ordained in the LCMS. His statement is still on the congregation's website, months later. Would WELS have left my statement on their website - "I have decided to leave the Wisconsin sect so I could become the Lutheran I always was"? I doubt it. Not three months. Not three seconds.

Here is some material from an earlier post on this EO business:

"I ran into Lutheran Enignma because I was searching a source for Berg's infant communion material. Gary Gehlbach is the author of this blog:

Theosis: Achieving Your Potential in Christ (1)

In preparation for my presentation (directed discussion) for The Augustana Ministerium's Theological Conference (30-31 August 2007) in Burleson, Texas, one of the readings which I suggested was Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis by Anthony M. Coniaris. Selected portions of his book can be found on the internet.

As John Fenton points out on his blog, "Orthodoxy has no central body of "confessional documents" because it does not have a central hierarchical authority." Thus I cannot attribute to Coniaris's book any authoritative status on the subject of theosis. However, numerous Orthodox parishes refer to his book as an excellent resource for those interested in discovering more about theosis. Coniaris may not necessarily be the final authority but his presentation is highly regarded among the Eastern Orthodox."

So here is my prediction once again - ELDONA and the Augustana (sic) Ministerium will be Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic within a few years.

The Second Martin

Chemnitz, the Second Martin

Si Martinus non fuisset, Martinus vix stetisset.

("If Martin [Chemnitz] had not come along, Martin [Luther] would hardly have survived") goes a common saying concerning him.

That saying reminds me of the opinion that Paul created the Christian faith with his world-wide travels.

If Martin Chemnitz had not come along, God would have provided another genius to do the same work.

Old WELS Conference Paper

Lutheran Orthodox cat addresses fuzzy doctrine.

Several people indicated an interest in having a Word version of the conference paper I just posted. The paper was 15 years old and prophetic.

Anyone who wants the Word file can send an email to my other address. The user name is the last name of the Second Martin. The service is

Or, post a comment with your email on it. I will block the comment but send the file. I am getting my mega-website ready so I can make these things more available for downloads. Or maybe Blogger will upgrade.

Typical Dishonesty from a UOJ Fanatic

Bow, bow, to the Kiwanis President-Elect

Several people have been discussing UOJ with me, so I looked up this post from Jack Cascione (Cascione Synod, former ELS reject, former English District reject, former LCMS):

Robert Preus on Justification Without Faith

Here is the verbatim quotation from The Cardinal, as he styles himself on LutherQuest(sic):

Dr. Greg Jackson has repeatedly stated on Luther Quest (sic) that Dr. Robert Preus was not in agreement with Objective Justification. I served as the PR Director for Fort Wayne from 1978-1981. “Missouri In Perspective” the ELIM paper, criticized the LC-MS position on Objective Justification. As editor for the Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne “News Letters” I asked Dr. Preus to respond in the Spring 1981 Issue. The following is his reply, plus other relative excerpts.

Cascione could not deal with my basic, simple, plain argument - Robert Preus repudiated UOJ in his final book, Justification and Rome. [Note to readers - Pope John the Malefactor ordered the book because he thought the title was Just a Vacation in Rome.]

Preus would have done the world and his semi-literate sons a favor by clearly stating this repudiation. Or maybe he did and they took it out. At any rate, Preus adopted the Norwegian/Waltherian position most of his life but dared to keep studying. His final book is a gem, apparently designed to keep The Fort from running off to Rome. Preus started a Church Growth program at The Fort when he was a UOJ proponent. He turned against UOJ and CG. Is there a connection?

Now the good members of the Missouri Synod are heavily subsidizing a seminary where the graduates become Eastern Orthodox priests, crypto-EO priests, Roman Catholic priests, crypto-Roman priests, or sympathizers and apologists for both.

As Chemnitz wrote, "These are the last times of an insane, old world."

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Symbol by Norma Boeckler

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #246 – Nicea
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 Galatians 5:25 - 6:10
The Gospel Matthew 6:24-34
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 479 Fahre Fort

The Spirit Effective in the Word

The Hymn #305:6-9 Schmueke dich
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 # 265 Erhalt Uns Herr

Happy Birthday – Diane Popp, September 4th.

The hymn texts and a melody link are at the end of the sermon.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

KJV Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity, from the Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee for all Thy benefits: that Thou hast given us life and graciously sustained us unto this day: We beseech Thee, take not Thy blessing from us; preserve us from covetousness, that we may serve Thee only, love and abide in Thee, and not defile ourselves by idolatrous love of mammon, but hope and trust only in Thy grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

This Epistle directly follows one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, the contrast between the endless works of the flesh and the nine-fold fruits of the Spirit. Law and Gospel are clearly taught in a few verses.

Galatians 6:8 has a clear Law Gospel distinction in one verse. The first part condemns with God’s wrath – whoever sows to benefit his flesh will reap corruption. The second part promises the blessings of the Gospel – whoever sows to the Spirit will reap everlasting life.

The Pentecostals will grab this verse for themselves if we do not explain it properly.

Every passage about the Word is also about the Spirit. Every passage about the Spirit is also about the Word. They are never separated in the Scriptures and cannot be separated in the work of Christianity. Those who separate Word and Spirit are Enthusiasts, false teachers. All false doctrine is based upon Enthusiasm, whether that error comes from the Pope, the Muslim Prophet, or the tongue-speaker. Adam and Eve were the first Enthusiasts. (See the quotations below.)

Isaiah has the greatest passage about Word and Spirit. Note the Promises made.

KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The Promises are:
1. God’s Word will always have an effect, just like rain and snow upon all the plants of the earth, something especially noticeable in a desert region. (Verse 10)
2. God’s Word will not return void. This double-negative or litotes is the strongest possible expression, just like “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” No exceptions are allowed with a double-negative. (Verse 11)
3. God’s Word will accomplish what God pleases. (Verse 11)
4. God’s Word will prosper in God’s cause. (Verse 11)

The Scriptures are utterly consistent about the Word always having the power of the Spirit of God:

KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
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.

St. Paul admonished Titus to teach sound (literally – healthy) doctrine, which is God’s Word, and not another’s word:

KJV Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Healthy doctrine creates spiritual health because the preaching and teaching of the Word is the work of the Holy Spirit. Appointed pastors are called to preach through the Holy Spirit in the Word. Believers could not have faith without the Spirit converting them and keeping them in the Faith through the power of the Gospel.

Flesh versus the Word

Paul is teaching us to invest ourselves in the Word rather than the flesh. One advantage of being older is seeing how many have devoted themselves to the flesh and reaped its reward over time. And yet, how fleeting were the rewards they sought for themselves.

The best way to advance in life is to use others before they use you (an LCA pastors’ motto), to lie without shame and backtrack only when caught (church bureaucracy), to pursue money, prestige, and power.

We are all tainted, thanks to Original Sin. However, the Word is given to us so that Original Sin does not take hold of our lives. That is why Paul urges us to sow to the Spirit, to invest in the Word, to trust in God’s Promises.

Deception and bribes have great power, but God’s Word has even more power. Recently, one pastor told me it was difficult to unmask the crypto-Calvinists who promote Church Growth doctrine and then retreat into Lutheran doctrine when confronted.

I disagree. People will answer truthfully when asked the right questions. I believe it is the power of the Word (Hebrews 4), which cannot be resisted.

I unmasked one fraud with a single question: “If an evangelism program fails to bring about any visible results, is it because the wrong method was used?” The Church Growth expert, Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, immediately said “Yes!” He was the expert. He knew all the right methods. District Pacifier Mueller began to rebuke him. VP Kuske jumped in to defend the false doctrine. Before Kuske could make a complete fool of himself, Mueller shut him down, with Floyd sputtering. A little later, the praesidium began lying about what happened. “It isn’t in my notes,” said VP Schroer, using the innocent look kids try on their parents when something is broken, smashed, or missing. “Never happened.” And of course, “He’s lying” or “He’s exaggerating about it.” God’s Word unmasks false teachers and makes powerful enemies.

"While only the Word is efficacious, the methods we use to minister to people with that Word may vary in their effectiveness."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 2.

"We cannot add anything to the Word, but we may be able to remove the human barriers which might be in the way of the Word."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 3.

"Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

"Our decision not to use the name Lutheran in the name of the congregation seems to have caused some concern. We point you to the Lutheran confessions which clearly state that a name is an adiaphoron. So only when not using the name is a denial of what the name stands for is there a problem. We reject the inferences that have been drawn that have been drawn [sic] that it is our intention to deny the biblical teach [sic] (ibid. conservative Lutheran teaching). Put in very practical terms our question is: Can we reach more of the unchurched if we can begin with sin and grace, guilt and forgiveness, rather than having to deal with lodge, scouts, the vagaries of ELCA, etc. at the beginning."
WELS Michigan District Vice-president Paul Kuske, Letter to the Ohio Conference, Pilgrim Community Church, sponsored from Grove City by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Fall Conference, Gibsonia, 1989. [44] [emphasis in original]

"We have discovered that the Early Church was an institution that unknowingly saw its world through Church Growth eyes. We have some benefits they did not have in that we can look back today and analyze their successes and failures."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "Church Growth - the Acts of the Apostles," Taught at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio.

I would ask any of the gurus of today – “Is God’s Word always effective?” And, “If so, how do you show this trust in God’s Word.” A doctrinal error is exposed by doctrine. Otherwise, people defend themselves by saying, “My grandfather was a DP” or “This is what I learned at the sem.” Luther learned Medieval error in is training. The issue is not the school but the doctrine, not the DNA but the teaching.

KJV Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

One WELS pastor said to Valleskey, the man who became president of the Wisconsin Seminary by promoting Church Growth false doctrine, “You are dealing with principalities and powers.” The pastor was forced out of the ministry, without cause.

Another pastor in the same town said, “God’s Word is always effective.” He was forced out of the ministry, without cause. He asked me once how he could get the synod to support him. I said, “Murder your wife. That always works.” He laughed because it was true.

A third pastor in the same town criticized the Church Growth methods promoted by WELS. He was a circuit pastor, but forced out of the ministry after being undermined by his fellow pastors.

Short-term sufferings are guaranteed in teaching the Word. The cross always accompanies the Word and reminds us of our Old Adam protesting against what the Scriptures teach as a necessity:

KJV Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Long-term blessings also accompany the Word. Many people give up the long-term blessings for the short-term rewards of the flesh. The time of greatest temptation is when it seems to be too much. That is almost certainly a sign that the time of trial will be over. As Luther said, Satan tempts us by making any trial seem just too long, too stretched out to bear any longer. That is why endurance or steadfastness under trial is so important.

Investing our time in the Word reaps those rewards. No one is spared. Jesus was not exempted, and He was perfect. The saints of the early Church were men and women who remained steadfast when the Roman Empire tortured and murdered them. That persecution continues today throughout the world. Christians are killed in many countries just for their beliefs. So, we have no difficulties in comparison. Nevertheless, emotional stress can be or seem overwhelming.

Stress and trial are not all bad. Only those who have suffered spiritual onslaughts can be counselors to others. That is also where we learn Biblical wisdom. The first stage of learning is important. We need to know the content and the unity of the Bible. But we do not hunger and thirst for righteousness until someone is trying to destroy the truths we take for granted.

The teaching of the Book of Concord is important because it is Biblical exposition. What does God’s Word say about each of these issues? The same false claims are repeated in each generation, so this is not delving in antiquities, Medieval history, or the development of the Lutheran brand. The Book of Concord was patiently edited to unify the Lutherans about Biblical truths. The early Church Fathers were also quoted extensively because the Church of Rome tried to defend false doctrine with Augustine, Jerome, and the others. (I have witnessed Lutherans doing the same thing.)

If someone does not first stir us up, we do not cling to those instruments of the Spirit. Once agitated, bewildered, angered, and confused, we look for the truths and shake out the falsehoods. So we learn them better and nothing can be shaken loose again.

"Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio: A Right Way to Study Theology" – Martin Luther.

Quoted from Humann:
oratio, meditatio, tentatio
In his Preface to the Wittenberg edition of his German writings, Martin Luther presents a brief, utterly profound outline of a correct way of studying theology. Drawing attention to Psalm 119, Luther articulates three "rules," amply presented throughout the whole Psalm. They are, in Latin, Oratio, Meditatio, and Tentatio; prayer, meditation, and temptation.
Prayer begins the whole process of study:
Firstly, you should know that the Holy Scriptures constitute a book which turns the wisdom of all other books into foolishness, because not one teaches about eternal life except this one alone. Therefore you should straightway despair of your reason and understanding. With them you will not attain eternal life, but on the contrary, your presumptuousness will plunge you and others with you out of heaven (as happened to Lucifer) into the abyss of hell. But kneel down in your little room [Matt. 6:6] and pray to God with real humility and earnestness, that he through his dear Son may give you his Holy Spirit, who will enlighten you, lead you, and give you understanding.
The second step, Meditatio is not what we have come to understand as "meditation" in the modern sense, but rather careful rumination and reflection on the words of Holy Scripture:
Secondly, you should meditate, that is, not only in your heart, but also externally, by actually repeating and comparing oral speech and literal words of the book, reading and rereading them with diligent attention and reflection, so that you may see what the Holy Spirit means by them. And take care that you do not grow weary or think you have done enough when you have read, heard, and spoken them once or twice, and that you then have complete understanding. You will never be a particularly good theologian if you do that, for you will be like untimely fruit which falls to the ground before it is half ripe.
Thus you see in this same Psalm how David constantly boasts that he will talk, meditate, speak, sing, hear, read, by day and night and always, about nothing except God's Word and commandments. For God will not give you his Spirit without the external Word; so take your cue from that. His command to write, preach, read, hear, sing, speak, etc. outwardly was not given in vain.
Lastly, theology is practical. It comes into being not in some monastic isolation and retreat from the cares and worries of life, but rather in the very midst of such suffering and anxiety. And so:
Thirdly, there is "Tentatio." This is the touchstone which teaches you not only to know and understand, but also to experience how right, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how mighty, how comforting God's Word is, wisdom beyond all wisdom.
Thus you see how David, in the Psalm mentioned, complains so often about all kinds of enemies, arrogant princes or tyrants, false spirits and factions, whom he must tolerate because he meditates, that is, because he is occupied with God's Word (as has been said) in all manner of ways. For as soon as God's Word takes root and grows in you, the devil will harry you, and will make a real doctor of you, and by his assaults will teach you to seek and love God's Word.

There are many different types of leaders in the Christian faith. Some laymen distribute the Word various ways, through the Net, through giving away books, through support of those who teach the Word. Some pastors take a leading role in supporting sound doctrine and willingly pay the price. A few elected or appointed leaders give up the perks of high office by being faithful. In all these circumstances, the last stage of sowing to the Spirit is also the most rewarding. The comfort and power of God’s Promises are so powerful that they would rather have them than the treasures that rust and decay.

Quotations on Enthusiasm

"The Lutheran Confessions take a decisive stand against 'enthusiasts,' who teach that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men without the Word and Sacraments (SA-III VIII 3-13; LC II 34-62; FC Ep II 13)."
John T. Mueller, "Grace, Means of," Lutheran Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Lueker, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1975, p. 344.

"On the contrary, with the Anabaptists and the Reformed Church in general, the Mennonites are Enthusiasts, lay great stress on the immediate working of the Holy Ghost, who is said to 'guide the saints into all truth.' In his Geschichte der Mennonitengemeinden John Horsch, a prominent Mennonite, states that the Holy Spirit is the 'inner word,' who enables Christians to understand the Scriptures. Without the inner word, or the light, the Scripture is a dead letter and a dark lantern."
The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 260.

Luther: "True, the enthusiasts confess that Christ died on the cross and saved us; but they repudiate that by which we obtain Him; that is, the means, the way, the bridge, the approach to Him they destroy...They lock up the treasure which they should place before us and lead me a fool's chase; they refuse to admit me to it; they refuse to transmit it; they deny me its possession and use." (III, 1692)
The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 5.

"A denial of the efficacy and sufficiency of the means of grace is contained in the theological systems of all religious enthusiasts."
Edwin E. Pieplow, "The Means of Grace," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 343.

"And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i. e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word."
Smalcald Articles, VIII., Confession, 3-5, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 495. Tappert, p. 312.

"The practical result of the separation of the divine power from the divine Word of Scripture is the rejection of the Bible as the only source and norm of faith (norma normans). This is proved by the very fact that the enthusiasts have invariably placed the 'inner word' (verbum internum), or the 'spirit,' above Holy Scripture (verbum externum), assigning to the latter an inferior place in the realm of divine revelation. To the enthusiasts the Bible is only a norma normata, or a rule of faith subject to the 'inner word,' that is, to their own notions and figments of reason."
John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 135.

"The Christian doctrine of the means of grace is abolished by all 'enthusiasts,' all who assume a revealing and effective operation of the Holy Spirit without and alongside the divinely ordained means of grace."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 127.

"To remain properly humble while firmly rejecting all erroneous teachings regarding the means of grace, we should remind ourselves how even Christians who teach and, as a rule, also believe, the correct doctrine of the means of grace, in their personal practice very often lose sight of the means of grace. This is done whenever they base the certainty of grace, or of the forgiveness of sin, on their feeling of grace or the gratia infusa, instead of on God's promise in the objective means of grace. All of us are by nature 'enthusiasts.'"
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 131.

"Our opponents hold that saving faith must be founded on Christ Himself, not on the means of grace. This reasoning, common to the Reformed, the 'enthusiasts' of all shades, and modern 'experience' theologians, assumes that faith can and should be based on Christ to the exclusion of the means of grace."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 152.

"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."
Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.

Old Conference Paper -
Is WELS Finally Catching On?

Paul Kelm, DMin, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis;
Fuller Seminary alumnus




Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

Shepherd of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church

1950 Hard Road, Worthington, Ohio 43235

Ohio Pastor's Conference, Zion Lutheran Church, Toledo,

April 27-28, 1992

"Remember your leaders who have spoken the Word of God to

you. Consider how their lives ended, and imitate their

faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and

forever. Do not be carried away with different kinds of

strange teachings." Hebrews 13:7-9a

"We have no intention of yielding aught of the eternal,

immutable truth of God for the sake of temporal peace,

tranquility, and unity (which, moreover, is not in our power

to do). Nor would such peace and unity, since it is devised

against the truth and for its suppression, have any

permanency. Still less are we inclined to adorn and conceal

a corruption of the pure doctrine and manifest, condemned

errors. But we entertain heartfelt pleasure and love fore,

and are on our part sincerely inclined and anxious to

advance, that unity according to our utmost power, by which

His glory remains to God uninjured, nothing of the divine

truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to

the least error, poor sinners are brought to true, genuine

repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience,

and thus justified and eternally saved alone through the sole

merit of Christ."

Closing of the Formula of Concord, Concordia Triglotta, p.



When we study the Book of Concord, I hope that the passage

from Hebrews 13:7 is always on our minds. I attended a

college named Augustana, named for the Augsburg Confession,

in opposition to the brand of Enthusiasm being promoted by

the General Synod in the 1850's. The revivalists of the

Reformed camp were having great successes, and the General

Synod wanted to emulate their protracted meetings and deny

the Biblical doctrines of baptismal regeneration and the Real

Presence to achieve unity. The General Synod leaders

supported Pietism and revivalism, suppressing confessional

Lutheranism. Thus was born the Augustana Synod, Augustana

College and Seminary, and also the General Council.

The Augustana Synod had a history much like Wisconsin's,

combining Pietism with orthodoxy, the orthodoxy coming from

traumatic experiences with Enthusiasm. Augustana leaders

were unionistic until they ran into American Enthusiasm:

The crudest extravagances of revivalism (Methodism,

Pentecostalism, Holy Rollerism) have their root in this

specifically Reformed doctrine of the immediate working of

the Holy Spirit. 1

A favorite textbook of old ALC pastors stated:

The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to

illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation

of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and

Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather

irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose

also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of

predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed

this power per se, but only in such cases where God

chose.... 2

One Augustana leader of orthodoxy, Eric Norelius, was trained

in Columbus and had an enormous influence, due to the sound

doctrine he learned at Capital. However, Enthusiasm won out

in the 1930's and Augustana Seminary began teaching,

overnight, the historical-critical method and the Social

Gospel, both examples of Enthusiasm. One pious young pastor

began his career at a pietistic Lutheran Bible Institute and

now serves as presiding bishop of ELCA: Rev. Herb Chilstrom.

It is often held against me that my history is tied to this

history, that I have experienced it first-hand instead of

reading about it in Christian News, that I was trained in

the historical-critical method. If this disqualifies me for

writing about orthodox Christianity, then I must offer other

examples who appreciated the truth better for having wallowed

in falsehood: Paul, Augustine, Luther, Chemnitz, Krauth,

Walther, and Hoenecke. In WELS today, they would be judged

by their bloodlines and not by their confession of faith.

Much of what is condemned in this paper was once appealing to

me. In many cases, some of the methods and techniques and

attitudes were offered - word for word - in the Lutheran

Church in America. More importantly, this battle has always

been waged in Lutheranism, because Enthusiasm attaches itself

to our work the way mercury attaches itself to gold and

silver. Once we are poisoned by Enthusiasm, orthodox

Lutheranism becomes our worst enemy and her advocates turn

into monsters of rigidity, legalism, and lovelessness.

Looking back a few years, we recall Wisconsin Synod leaders

who earned the respect of all Lutherans. Their scholarly

books are still praised today and used outside our small

circles: John Schaller, Adolph Hoenecke, August Pieper, and

J. P. Koehler. We should remember our leaders who have

spoken the Word of God to us, considering how their lives

ended. We should imitate their faith and not be carried away

with different kinds of strange teachings. (Hebrews 13:7-9a)

R. C. H. Lenski wrote about this passage:

They were true leaders indeed. All our church leaders may

well look closely at this characterization: speaking the

Word, the whole Word, and nothing but the Word (Acts 20:26-

27), and doing this with true personal faith; hence never

once misleading the Church. God, ever give us such

leaders! All followers may well look at these words. 3

II. Enthusiasm

The battle between the forces of Enthusiasm and the forces of

confessional Lutheranism have been contending for many

centuries, so this topic is current as well as historic.

Lutheranism fell apart months after Luther's death in 1546,

making the Book of Concord an absolute necessity. The

crypto-Calvinists perjured themselves in claiming to be real

Lutherans while slithering to the Reformed position on the

Lord's Supper. Lutheran anniversaries, as Prof. Fredrich

wrote, have been occasions for outbursts of apostasy, such as

the Prussian Union of 1817/1830 and the Preusian Union of

the 1980's. 4

Enthusiasm is such an inclusive topic that it bears a careful

definition. We are all by nature Enthusiasts, since it is

part of our fallen state.

In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants

from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison

implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it

is the source, strength, and power of all heresy, including

that of the papacy and Mohammedanism. Accordingly, we

should and must constantly maintain that God will not deal

with us except through his external Word and sacrament.

Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word

and sacrament is of the devil. 5

Enthusiasm is opposed to the Means of Grace, so we find

Enthusiasm both in the Protestant constellation of sects and

in Roman Catholicism.

In these matters, which concern the external, spoken Word,

we must hold firmly to the conviction that God gives no one

his Spirit or grace except through or with the external

Word which comes before. Thus we shall be protected from

the enthusiasts--that is, from the spiritualists who boast

that they possess the Spirit without and before the Word

and who therefore judge, interpret, and twist the

Scriptures or spoken Word according to their pleasure...The

papacy, too, is nothing but enthusiasm, for the pope boasts

that 'all laws are in the shrine of the heart,' [Corpus

juris canonici, Book VI, I, 2, c.1.] and he claims that

whatever he decides and commands in his churches is spirit

and law, even when it is above and contrary to the

Scriptures or spoken Word. All this is the old devil and

the old serpent who made enthusiasts of Adam and Eve. 6

Protestantism and Roman Catholicism alternate between

rationalism and Pentecostalism, sometimes mixing both

together. Against this is the doctrine of the Means of

Grace, which is the only antidote to Enthusiasm, and the

"peculiar glory of the Lutheran Church."

The doctrine of the means of grace is a peculiar glory of

Lutheran theology. To this central teaching it owes its

sanity and strong appeal, its freedom from sectarian

tendencies and morbid fanaticism, its coherence and

practicalness, and its adaptation to men of every race and

every degree of culture. The Lutheran Confessions bring

out with great clearness the thought of the Reformers upon

this subject. 7

For Roman Catholics, assurance of salvation comes from the

visible unity of the Roman church and the infallible

authority of the pope and those who teach infallibly in

concert with him. They use the term "Means of Grace" for the

seven sacraments, but they mean something else:

Therefore the media gratiae in the papistic sense are not

means through which God offers to faith the complete

forgiveness of sins and the salvation merited by Christ,

and through that offer also works faith in man or

strengthens the faith already present, but they are means

to incite and aid him to such virtuous endeavors, under

Roman direction, as can gradually and in constantly

increasing measure (Trent, Session VI, chapter 16, canon

32) win God's grace for him. 8

For Protestants, assurance of salvation comes from knowing

the moment of conversion, whether as an adult "born-again"

experience or, on a higher or deeper plane, the experience of

the Holy Spirit's baptism. However, both confessions

introduce a monster of uncertainty, which robs the believer

of certainty by placing certain demands of the Law upon him,

in both cases adding works to faith. Many of us have

experienced the testimony of Pentecostals, who invest their

dreams and visions with authority above and beyond the

Scriptures, a state which makes them despise the

Means of Grace and those who minister the Means. Therefore,

the Book of Concord states:

It is good to extol the ministry of the Word with every

possible kind of praise in opposition to the fanatics who

dream that the Holy Spirit does not come through the Word

but because of their own preparations. They sit in a dark

corner doing and saying nothing, but only waiting for

illumination, as the enthusiasts taught formerly and the

Anabaptists teach now. 9

Schmidt warned:

We are not, then, in any way to represent to ourselves the

relation of the Word and the Spirit as though the Word were

merely the lifeless instrument which the Holy Ghost

employed, or as thought the Spirit, when he wished to

operate through the Word, must always first unite himself

with it, as if he were ordinarily separated from it. 10

Lutheran pastors seem to have forgotten that Protestants and

Roman Catholics must deny huge portions of Scripture to

maintain their dogmatic statements. Simply put, as Hoenecke


Aus dem allen folgt die Verwerflichkeit des

schwarmgeistlichen Grundsatzes, dass der Geist wirke ohne

die Schrift. Geist nicht ohne Schrift, Schrift nicht ohne

Geist, das is gesunde Lehre. (From this follows the

repudiation of Enthusiastic principles, that the Spirit

works without the Scriptures. Spirit not without the

Scripture, Scripture not without the Spirit - that is sound

doctrine.) 11

Although we are often subjected to the sanctimonious

testimonies of Enthusiasts, who dominate the airwaves, the

Book of Concord points out how they destroy sanctification

while posing as defenders of holiness. That is why Jim and

Tammie Bakker still attract media coverage.

Both enthusiasts and Epicureans have in an unchristian

fashion misused he doctrine of the impotence and the

wickedness of our natural free will, as well as the

doctrine that our conversion and regeneration are

exclusively the work of God and not of our own powers. As a

result of their statements many people have become

dissolute and disorderly, lazy and indifferent to such

Christian exercises as prayer, reading, and Christian

meditation. 12

But we are told by the current leaders of Lutheranism (ELCA,

LCMS, and WELS; 99% of Lutherans in America) that the

Enthusiasts have something to teach us about evangelism,

worship, and the Church. However, the Formula of Concord

expresses no tolerance whatsoever:

6. On the other hand, we must condemn with all seriousness

and zeal, and in no wise tolerate in the church of God, the

enthusiasts who imagine that without means, without hearing

of the divine Word and without the use of the holy

sacraments, God draws man to himself, illuminates,

justifies, and saves him. 13

We are given a hundred reasons why the Enthusiasts of today

are wiser than the orthodox fathers of the last generation,

but the Book of Concord made a point of emphasizing Luther's

last words on the subject. As Edmund Schlink has noted, it

is one thing to write a theological book or opinion, but

quite another to have the Church endorse that statement and

to have men sign their names confessing that point. 14

Luther wrote an enormous amount of excellent material, but

this was selected by the Concordists as part of the remedy

for the collapse of Lutheranism, a debacle which is being

repeated today:

Dr. Luther, who understood the true intention of the

Augsburg Confession better than any one else, remained by

it steadfastly and defended it constantly until he died.

Shortly before his death, in his last confession, he

repeated his faith in this article with great fervor and

wrote as follows: 'I reckon them all as belonging together

(that is, as Sacramentarians and enthusiasts), for that is

what they are who will not believe that the Lord's bread in

the Supper is his true, natural body, which the godless or

Judas receive orally as well as St. Peter and all the

saints. Whoever, I say, will not believe this, will please

let me alone and expect no fellowship from me. This is

final. 15

III. Gray Areas of Scripture

A few years ago, we began reading that Ralph Bohlmann

considered the role of man and woman a gray area of

Scripture. Recently, this same claim has appeared in our

synod as well. A layman recently said, "I'm glad WELS is

clear on most doctrinal issues." If it is true that we are

going to make progress by arguing for the shortness,

incompleteness, insufficiency, ambiguity, and obscurity of

the canonical Scriptures, then we are adopting Roman Catholic

exegetical methods, which will certainly destroy Lutheranism.

Note what Martin Chemnitz said about how this line of attack

developed among the papalists:

The method of debate on the part of the papalists is far

different now than it was at the time of Eck, Emser, and

others like them. These men did not refuse to fight with

us with the weapons of the Scripture. Pighius, however,

has perceived that this arrangement has done the papal

kingdom more harm than good. Therefore he has shown a

different and shorter way by which, provided they stuck to

it, they could obtain practically anything without trouble.

It consists in this that they bring together every

oratorical device and then declaim loudly about the

shortness, the incompleteness, the insufficiency,

ambiguity, and obscurity of the Scripture and strenuously

fight for the necessity, authority, perfection, certainty,

and clarity of the unwritten traditions. 16

If anything, the Book of Concord is a tribute to the

completeness, sufficiency, and clarity of the Scriptures.

The following statements indicate no confusion by the

Confessors about the meaning of Holy Writ:

...far from having disproved our contentions from the

Scriptures, they have condemned several articles in

opposition to the clear Scripture of the Holy Spirit. 17

This is plain and clear, the faithful can grasp it, and it

has the testimony of the church. Nowhere can our opponents

say how the Holy Spirit is given. 18

It is surely amazing that our opponents are unmoved by the

many passages in the Scriptures that clearly attribute

justification to faith and specifically deny it to works.

Do they suppose that this is repeated so often for no

reason? 19

Yet there are clear passage of divine Scripture which

forbid the establishment of such regulations for the

purpose of earning God's grace or as if they were necessary

for salvation. 20

Those who would like to find in the Book of Concord a debate

about the normative force of Scripture or the inerrancy of

Scripture will be disappointed. This did not become a major

Lutheran conflict until Enthusiasm brought the historical-

critical method into American Lutheranism in the name of

scholarship. Then the Scriptures could be bent and shaped

like a wax nose, expressing everything except their clear,

plain message. The Book of Concord clearly supports the

Scriptures as the ruling norm of faith, infallible in all

respects. "Because we know that God does not lie. My

neighbor and I--in short, all men--may err and deceive, but

God's Word cannot err." 21

...Firmly Founded on the Word of God as the Only Norm 22

...we have in what follows purposed to commit ourselves

exclusively and only, in accordance with the pure,

infallible, and unalterable Word of God, to that Augsburg

Confession which was submitted to Emperor Charles V at the

great imperial assembly in Augsburg in the year 1530... 23

Norm is a word seldom found in the Book of Concord, since the

battle lines were drawn around that article of faith, but two

more citations are worth studying.

1. We believe, teach, and confess that the prophetic and

apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the

only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and

teachers alike must be appraised and judged, as it is

written in Ps. 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and

a light to my path. 24

Other writings of ancient and modern teachers, whatever

their names, should not be put on a par with Holy

Scripture. Every single one of them should be subordinated

to the Scriptures and should be received in no other way

and no further than as witnesses to the fashion in which

the doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved in

post-apostolic times. 25

Not only is this the best approach to doctrinal matters, but

this is the method which we have confessed as Lutheran

pastors, affirming our loyalty to the Book of Concord,

because (quia) it is a proper interpretation of Scripture.

In studying the Book of Concord, however, we do not find an

anti-intellectual, anti-historical attitude of "nothing

outside of the Bible." The Confessors clearly saw the value

of knowing the patristic fathers and using their testimony to

show that this is indeed the orthodox Christian faith and not

a new denomination. When we study the orthodox contributions

of our fathers and imitate their faith, we are not abandoning

the Scriptures but upholding the Word of God as confessed by

faithful warriors who now rest from their labors. Selnecker,

a Concordist, (who wrote "Ach, bleib bei uns") was bitterly

attacked, severely persecuted by the Reformed, deposed when

Augustus died, reduced to poverty, and not allowed to remain

in Leipzig as a private citizen. 26 If they had not stood

their ground and paid the price--jail, exile, humiliation,

execution--we would be the SWELS today, Schwaermer

Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

IV. Efficacy of the Means of Grace

The weakest area of Lutheranism today concerns the efficacy

of the Means of Grace, once the glory of Lutheranism and now

fading quickly into obscurity.

For Christ wants to assure us, as was necessary, that the

Word is efficacious when it is delivered by men and that we

should not look for another word from heaven. 27

In his Word he has revealed to us as much as we need to

know in this life, and wherever the Scriptures in this case

give us clear, certain testimony, we shall simply believe

it and not argue that the human nature in Christ is not

capable of it. 28

For the Word through which we are called is a ministry of

the Spirit--"which gives the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:8) and a

"power of God" to save (Rom. 1:16). And because the Holy

Spirit wills to be efficacious through the Word, to

strengthen us, and to give us power and ability, it is

God's will that we should accept the Word, believe and obey

it. 29

Every poor sinner must therefore attend on it, hear it with

diligence, and in no way doubt the drawing of the Father

because the Holy Spirit wills to be present in the Word and

to be efficacious with his power through it. And this is

the drawing of the Father. 30

The reason for such contempt of the Word is not God's

foreknowledge but man's own perverse will, which rejects or

perverts the means and instrument of the Holy Spirit which

God offers to him through the call and resists the Holy

Spirit who wills to be efficaciously active through the

Word, as Christ says, "How often would I have gathered you

together and you would not!" (Matt. 23:37) 31

Anyone who has tried to carry out mission work in an area

dominated by groups which despise Lutheran orthodoxy may well

succumb to the temptation of looking for guaranteed results

delivered for a specific cost. The Book of Concord, echoing

the Bible, reminds us again and again to trust in the Word

and remain faithful to the Word. Only the external Word,

preached and taught, and the visible Word, administered in

the Sacraments, will bring about justification and salvation.

This goes against the Enthusiasm of Old Adam and the venom of

the Old Serpent, but it is consistent with God's promises

throughout His Word. His Word never returns fruitless but

always accomplishes His will. (Is. 55) One may plant and one

may water, but God alone provides the growth. The seed falls

everywhere, so our task is not to judge the soil, but

to sow with reckless abandon, following the example of the

inept sower (Mark 4).

Unfortunately, we have in our midst a group of pastors who

have adopted the Reformed perspective on the Word. They

try to Lutheranize what they have learned from the

Enthusiasts of Pasadena, but their published writings reveal

their lack of trust in the efficacy of the Means of Grace.

This is also reflected in the Board of Home Missions (BoRaM,

1991) wondering in print what to do about "ineffective"

pastors. The use of effective and ineffective is prima

facie evidence of Reformed doctrine. We find it quite often

in WELS materials and Fuller Seminary materials.

Those who promote Enthusiasm in our midst claim that it is a

sin to disagree about doctrine, calling it slander and a

violation of the 8th Commandment. They also object to naming

names. They seem to forget that St. Paul confronted Peter in

public (Gal. 2:14) for Peter's public undermining of the

Gospel, that St. Paul named names in his apostolic letters,

(2 Tim. 2:17), that the Book of Concord identified people

with false doctrines--denouncing those doctrines, and Prof.

J. P. Meyer in Our Great Heritage, vol. I, supports dealing

with the doctrine itself:

We must bear in mind that we are not dealing with the

person of these errorists. We are not called to

investigate their personal character...We are dealing with

their confession, with the doctrine which they publicly

proclaimed before the whole church, for which they stood,

which they defended. 32

On the other hand, those of us who have tried to deal

directly with doctrinal matters, going through channels, have

met with personal attacks, puerile name calling, and attempts

to meddle in our congregations and remove us (in violation of

Scripture) from our calls. It appears that some attempts

have been successful.


"While only the Word is efficacious, the methods we use to

minister to people with that Word may vary in their


Pastor Lawrence O. Olson, Peace, Love's Park, Ill.,

"See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church,"

EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 2. Olson is a Parish

Consultant for the WELS Board of Parish Services and his

district's Coordinator of Evangelism. [Emphasis added.]

"We cannot add anything to the Word, but we may be able to

remove the human barriers which might be in the way of the


Pastor Lawrence O. Olson, ibid., p. 3. [Emphasis added]

"What do people mean when they talk about effective church

growth principles? Do we make God's kingdom come? 'God's

kingdom certainly comes by itself,' Luther wrote. Ours is to

sow the seed. We hamper the kingdom if we sow carelessly or

if we do not sow at all. But we do not make it grow."

Mark Braun, "The Growing Seed, What Do People Mean When They

Talk about Effective Church Growth Principles?" The

Norwestern Lutheran, September 1, 1991, p. 300. [Emphasis


"We can't do a thing to make his Word more effective. But

surely we can detract from its effectiveness by careless

errors and poor judgment. It just makes good sense to

utilize all of our God-given talents, to scour the field for

appropriate ideas, concepts, and material, to implement

programs, methods, and techniques so that we do not detract

from the effectiveness of the gospel we proclaim. Church

growth articles, books, seminars, and conferences can offer

such ideas and programs."

Pastor James Huebner, Spiritual Renewal Consultant,

Notebook, School of Outreach IV, p. 178. [Emphasis added]


1. THEOLOGY - The Word of God...unchanging. The Word of God

is efficacious. We are more or less effective

administrators of the Word. Steps 2 through 6 (below)

assure that our theology is put into practice as ministry

in the most effective way possible.

Outline of Pastor Paul Kelm's paper, reprinted in WELS

Mission Counselors' NEWSLETTER, Pastor Jim Radloff, editor,

April, '92, p. 16. [Emphasis added; as mission counselor in

Texas, Pastor Radloff carried around a briefcase of C. Peter

Wagner's, Your Church Can Grow, to give away. Wagner was

required reading for world mission pastors as well.]

The preceding selections from published WELS materials

represent the concept that the Word of God is efficacious,

but... That is the same as claiming that the Word of God

becomes efficacious when we use the proper man-centered

methods. One thing is worth noting: we seldom find the

word "faithful," but we often find the word "effective" in

current WELS materials. The word "effective" is normative

in the publications of Enthusiasts, as noted in the Catalog

of Testimonies at the end of the paper. Lutherans stress

faithfulness, and Enthusiasts emphasize effectiveness,

because Lutherans trust God's activity through the Means of

Grace, while Enthusiasts consider God's Word a dead letter

unless it is made attractive and relevant. note

V. Women's Suffrage, Women in Authority over Men, Women

Teaching Men

The ferment for women taking over spiritual leadership in the

Church has moved from the ALC and LCA to members of the

former Synodical Conference. In recent years we have seen

many new approaches taken: a woman in charge of OWLS, a woman

in charge of lay ministry, and a woman as assistant editor of

The Northwestern Lutheran. Women vote in the Twin Cities and

in Columbus, as well as other areas. Women serve on boards,

in authority over men, and women teach men. When I discussed

women teaching men with a former synodical official, he said,

"What's wrong with that?" I started to quote what St. Paul

said in 1 Timothy 2:12, but he interjected, "What about

Priscilla?" (He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When

Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their

home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

Acts 18:26) I started to answer, but he changed the subject.

Many think that the role of man and woman will be reversed

through the influence of church leaders, the promotion of

suffragette pastors, and the lack of discipline.

WELS is the first Lutheran church body, to the best of my

knowledge, to have a woman write the editorial page for the

national magazine. It was the Reformation issue of The

Northwestern Lutheran, 11-1-91. Therefore, we have passed

ELCA in trendiness. Our new hymnal will bow to the feminist

language demands, which is what the Lutheran Book of Worship

did in 1978. Some think it is being written with Church

Growth Eyes.

The Book of Concord does not deal with these issues,

indicating to us that no one was trying to overturn Biblical

teaching at that time. The upsurge of studies and special

commissions to deal with an issue is an indication of a

change in direction, which we are seeing - in WELS, in the

Ohio Conference, and in the Michigan District. The promotion

of Enthusiast cell groups will complete the feminization of

the WELS. Those of you who want your wives on church boards

and voting at the voters' meeting cannot possibly fathom what

this will mean in another generation. Remember, much of your

required reading at Mequon was from ELCA pioneers.

The feminist pastors should not gloat that the Book of

Concord is silent on these issues and does not deal with

the Biblical texts which are at the center of the current

debate (1 Cor 11:1ff; 1 Tim 2:12f.) The Confessors never

suggested that the Bible had gray areas which left doctrinal

issues open. The false charge of Biblical vagueness was a

claim of the liberal Lutherans in the last century (General

Council and General Synod), who were content to leave as open

questions the issues of altar and pulpit exchange with

Enthusiasts, the Masonic Lodge, and millennialism.


The loss of trust in the Means of Grace is underlined by the

current WELS enthusiasm for imitating the Willow Creek seeker

service, for eliminating the liturgy, and for using "felt

needs" to draw people to church. Those of us who read the

material printed by WELS about Willow Creek are horrified

that Pastor Robert Hartman and Pastor James Huebner would

endorse the seeker service--especially Pastor Dan Kelm's

version of it--on the evangelism training tape. (The last

time I spoke to Bob Hartman, he began quoting Donald McGavran

to me. I pointed out that The Donald should have studied

Isaiah 55.)

In their exegesis of 2 Corinthians 4:1ff.(Catalog of

Testimonies), Prof. J. P. Meyer and R. C. H. Lenski have

both pointed out that the use of bait, lures, and

entertainment is equivalent to being ashamed of the Gospel,

adulterating the Word of God, and using devious methods to

achieve a supposedly worthwhile end. We should not be

surprised, then, to learn that the chief theologian for

Fuller Theological Seminary is Karl Barth, an apostate who

moved his girlfriend, Charlotte Kirschbaum, into his house,

against the expressed wishes of Frau Barth, and spent every

summer with Charlotte in a mountain cottage, writing.

Barth's influence upon Fuller theolgians changed the modified

inerrancy stance of Fuller Seminary into a defiant errancy

position, before Donald McGavran moved there. As Lenski

pointed out (see Catalog), those who are not trustworthy with

the Word are not trustworthy with anything else. When we

read The World's 20 Largest Churches, Church Growth

Principles in Action, (written with Church Growth Eyes,

according to C. Peter Wagner), we can count a large number of

notorious anti-Christian teachers and a recently exposed

adulterer and anti-Christian teacher, Jack Hyles. All of the

20 largest churches are centers of Enthusiasm, mostly of the

Pentecostal style. The largest, Paul Y. Cho's, is occultic

and works closely with C. Peter Wagner and Robert Schuller.

In the Book of Concord, in Luther's writings, and in the

study of church history, we can find many examples of

Enthusiasts leading people astray and then falling into the

snare themselves. Luther wrote:

The peacock is an image of heretics and fanatical spirits.

For on the order of the peacock they, too, show themselves

and strut about in their gifts, which never are

outstanding. But if they could see their feet, that is the

foundation of their doctrine, they would be stricken with

terror, lower their crests, and humble themselves. To be

sure, they, too, suffer from jealousy, because they cannot

bear honest and true teachers. They want to be the whole

show and want to put up with no one next to them. And they

are immeasurably envious, as peacocks are. Finally, they

have a raucous and unpleasant voice, that is, their

doctrine is bitter and sad for afflicted and godly minds;

for it casts consciences down more than it lifts them up

and strengthens them. 33

The wonderful unity of false doctrine is concisely

illustrated in Sasse's comment on Karl Barth and the Means of

Grace, showing what a rotten foundation Enthusiasm offers:

The means of grace are thus limited for Barth. The

preacher descending from the pulpit can never quote Luther

and say with joyful assurance that he has preached the Word

of God. Of course, he can hope and pray; but he can never

know whether the Holy Spirit has accompanied the preached

Word, and hence whether his words were the Word of God. To

know this, or even to wish to know it, would be a

presumptuous encroachment of man upon the sovereign freedom

of God. 34

VI. Cell (Affinity, Koinonia, Share, Prayer) Groups

The lust for cell groups, which are the heart and soul of

Enthusiasm, is waxing in our synod. The extensive support of

cell groups in WELS is shown in the Catalog of Testimonies.

Intelligent pastors, bombarded with propaganda about the

effectiveness of cell groups, are starting to explain how

they can Lutheranize this form of denying the Means of Grace.

Some points worth considering:

1. Halle University was very successful as the center of

Lutheran Pietism, which grew through the promotion of

lay-led cell groups. Halle Pietism was unionistic and

therefore denied basic Lutheran doctrines. Spener

rejected the Real Presence and baptismal regeneration. 35

The visible success of Halle and its charitable

institutions is still worthy of note today. In one

generation, Halle became the center of rationalism.

Pieper stated: "Furthermore, it must be admitted that

the Reformed teaching of the means of grace filtered,

particularly through Pietism, also into the Lutheran

Church." 36 Krauth showed how Enthusiasm turned into

pure rationalism: " is exceedingly difficult to

prevent this low view from running out into Socinianism,

as, indeed, it actually has run in Calvinistic lands, so

that it became a proverb, often met with in the older

theological writers--'A young Calvinist, an old

Socinian.' This peril is confessed and mourned over by

great Calvinistic divines. New England is an

illustration of it on an immense scale, in our own

land." 37

2. The lay-led cell group creates a division between the

disciples (or soul-winners) who go to a group and those

who merely worship on Sunday. When Enthusiasts use the

term "disciple," they mean those who have reached a

higher level of sanctification. Have you noticed how

often disciple is being used in WELS? C. F. W. Walther

had to work very hard at escaping the toxins of Pietism

which clung to him and affected his sermons. This

distinction of levels of Christianity led to the

Pentecostal movement. Pietism is cured by the large

doses of the Book of Concord, rather than by large

amounts of alcohol. Pieper concluded about Pietism:

"In so far as Pietism did not point poor sinners directly

to the means of grace, but led them to reflect on their

own inward state to determine whether their contrition

was profound enough and their faith of the right caliber,

it actually denied the complete reconciliation by Christ

(the satisfactio vicaria), robbed justifying faith of its

true object, and thus injured personal Christianity in

its foundation and Christian piety in its very

essence." 38

3. The spiritual nature of women will lead to women teaching

men, which has already happened at two churches in

Columbus. From that point we will move rapidly to

women's ordination, which is de facto a practical reality

today in the LCMS, with women preaching and consecrating

Holy Communion.

4. Pentecostals love to take over cell groups and teach

people how to become "real Christians" by speaking in

tongues and healing people. President Robert Mueller, I

believe, mentioned some time ago that the charismatic

movement has popped up in WELS churches with cell groups.

5. The Church Growth Enthusiasts in WELS are promoting cell

groups and a repudiation of the Biblical role of man and

woman. The suffragette centers in WELS are also hotbeds

of Church Growth.

6. Because Enthusiasm is by nature unionistic, cell groups

promote doctrinal indifference and persecute orthodox

Christianity. Cell group members adopt the sanctimony of

the Enthusiasts, confronting and praying for orthodox

pastors who "quench the Spirit." Hell is paradise,

compared to a Lutheran church split by Pentecostal

Enthusiasts. WELS pastors: do not ask to be baptized in

this baptism and drink from this cup.

Those who enjoy saying that I am being extreme and rejecting

any use of anything outside Lutheranism should pay attention

to the following. I think, under certain circumstances, a

layman may teach others, as long as he is directly

responsible to the pastor and held to the doctrinal standards

of orthodoxy. Women may teach women and usually do a fine

job of expressing the Christian faith. However, I am

disgusted and alarmed by the promotion of Schwaermer training

materials and cell group resources by WELS leaders. If we

think we are going to have legitimate, orthodox, lay-led

groups which use Serendipity, Navigators, Intervarsity, and

Paul Y. Cho, then we are no better than wolves ourselves.

When I attended Paul Kelm's School of Outreach in 1987, Larry

Olson praised Cho and Schuller during the panel discussion on

Church Growth. I stood up and said, "What are we doing, here

at Mequon, praising two false teachers, one who got his butt

kicked out of the Assemblies of God, which is not noted for

doctrinal discipline, and the other, who is in fellowship

with non-Christians?" (This was during the Bakker and

Swaggert scandals, which the Assemblies of God allowed to

develop, even though certain top leaders knew all about the

allegations of adultery.) No one said anything, although

Olson talked with me briefly afterwards.

All Enthusiasts have cell groups, so we find them in Reformed

denominations, in Pentecostal groups, in the Roman Catholic

charismatic movement, in all mainline charismatic movements,

and in anti-Christian cults. We find the Means of Grace only

in Lutheranism, so the Book of Concord has much to say about

how we receive God's grace and how we are nurtured by the

Word. Subsequent Lutheran leaders, until now, always taught

against the Reformed concept of prayer as a means of

grace. 39 They based their doctrine on the Book of Concord:

It is indeed correct and true what Scripture states, that

no one comes to Christ unless the Father draw him. [John

6:44] But the Father will not do this without means, and he

has ordained Word and sacraments as the ordinary means or

instruments to accomplish this end. It is not the will of

either the Father or the Son that any one should refuse to

hear or should despise the preaching of his Word and should

wait for the Father to draw him without Word and

sacraments." [See SD, II, 4, 80] 40

WELS leaders want to pretend that cell group Enthusiasts,

like C. Peter Wagner and his friend Waldo Werning, are in

our camp. They should read Francis Pieper, who began his

ministry as a Wisconsin Synod pastor:

Moreover, the advocates of this error [Reformed advocates,

against the Means of Grace] are by no means always irenic

people. Rather, they go on the warpath and malign the

Biblical truth in many ways. 41

VII. Unionism and Open Communion

Fellowship principles are Biblical and well known to WELS

pastors, but fellowship now seems to be defined in terms of

what we can get away with and what we can excuse with

Pharisaic alibis and outright falsehood. An orthodox

Christian simply does not want to participate in formal

religious activities with false teachers, due to his love for

the pure Word of God. An orthodox pastor does not want to

support publicly any religious activity which suggests that

he condones false doctrine or is indifferent to it. Prof.

Reu has wisely written that unionism creates doctrinal

indifference, doctrinal indifference leads to unionism. 42

They are inseparable, as we have seen already in cell groups

and Pietism, a predicament summarized by Bill Moyers as, "You

lie down with dawgs, you get up with fleas."

Yes, I do think we should study textbooks and journals by

false teachers, but we should, like Ulysses, be bound to the

mast of the Scriptures and have our ears treated with the

Book of Concord, to guard against listening to the Sirens of

Enthusiasm. I think some pastors, like Robert Koester,

should attend Fuller to write a thesis against Church Growth.

But we have a large number of WELS leaders who have trained

at Fuller and endorse Fuller's doctrines and methods. The

mission board pastors have trained at Win Arn's Church Growth

Institute in Monrovia, near Fuller. Our district mission

board even sends pastors to D. James Kennedy to be trained in

Reformed decision theology. When I was at Mequon in 1987, a

poster from Paul Kelm was outside the president's office,

inviting seminary students to attend Billy Graham's School of

Enthusiasm. I had been at Wheaton 5 times (before colloquy)

and thought it very odd that WELS talked fellowship

principles and rushed to learn from those opposed to infant

baptism and Holy Communion.

The excuse is: "We are so orthodox, we can separate the

wheat from the chaff." The Catalog of Testimonies shows that

we are building on chaff, sowing chaff, and reaping


Open communion belongs with fellowship questions, because

communion is the clearest sign of unity, a factor recognized

by the April 27, 1992 issue of Christian News, in the story

about "Four Protestant Sects" working toward joint communion:

ELCA and 3 Reformed groups. In order to do this, the

Lutherans had to give up the Real Presence, which has always

filled Enthusiasts with wrath.

Schmauck, who worked against Enthusiasm in the Muhlenberg

tradition (ULCA), wrote:

Is the Lord's Supper the place to display my toleration, my

Christian sympathy, or my fellowship with another

Christian, when that is the very point in which most of all

we differ; and in which the difference means for me

everything--means for me, the reception of my Savior's

atonement? Is this the point to be selected for the

display of Christian union, when in fact it is the very

point in which Christian union does not exist? 43

The Augsburg Confession makes doctrinal unity the basis for

peace in the Church. Luther told the Evangelical

participants at Augsburg to go home rather than compromise

about the truth. The Confessors wrote, risking their lives:

The desire was expressed for deliberation on what might be

done about the dissension concerning our holy faith and the

Christian religion, and to this end it was

have all of us embrace and adhere to a single, true

religion and live together in unity and in one fellowship

and church, even as we are all enlisted under one

Christ. 44

Fifty years later, after wars and persecutions, the

Concordists were not in a mood to explain under what

circumstances they could associate with false teachers:

To dissent from the consensus of so many nations and to be

called schismatics is a serious matter. But divine

authority commands us all not be associated with and not to

support impiety and unjust cruelty. 45

Martin Luther clearly advocated closed communion when he

wrote the following, which is now our confession as well:

"So everyone who wishes to be a Christian and go to the

sacrament should be familiar with them [the benefits of the

sacraments]. For we do not intend to admit to the sacrament

and administer it to those who do not know what they seek or

why they come." 46

Pastor Paul T. McCain, LCMS, the editor of Kurt Marquart's

latest book, has written a fine booklet on Communion

Fellowship, A Resource for Understanding, Implementing, and

Retaining the Practice of Closed Communion in the Lutheran

Parish, (R. R. 3, Box 79, Waverly, IA, 50677-9517). Some do

not practice closed communion in Columbus. A Missouri pastor

told my friend in the ELS, "I went to a WELS church in

Columbus, and nothing was printed in the bulletin or said

during the service about closed communion. You are in

fellowship with them. How can you say we are liberal?"

Open communion is not simply a matter of bad practice but of

doctrinal indifference. Refusing someone communion is not

loveless, but loving. I gave one man a blessing instead of

communion and he is now an active member. Someone asked,

"Would you refuse your own mother communion?" I did, and she

is now an active member of WELS and a supporter of Lutherans

For Life. Closed communion not a ball and chain for Lutheran

churches but a banner which says, "We place sound doctrine

above everything else: family ties, friendship, cell groups,

a balanced budget, and unity based on compromise and

deception." When a Unitarian minister came to my Christmas

Eve communion service, in the LCA, I knew that I could not

practice open communion. I did not have to refuse her, since

her principles prevented her from saying the Lord's Prayer,

singing certain hymns, and coming to the altar. Liberals are

much better at doctrinal discipline than conservatives are.

The Unitarians would never let a Trinitarian speak at their

national convention, but we invite someone at war with our

doctrinal stance to be the preacher at our national youth

conference and national LFL convention - Pastor Richard


"Ephesians appears to be a circular letter, originally

written for a number of different congregations, and thus it

is addressed to a diverse audience. So it is more likely to

express general principles that deserve wide application.

But a letter like I Timothy which is addressed to an

individual - or even I Corinthians which is addressed to one

specific congregation - is more like to apply such general

principles to a particular time, place, and situation. We

who live in a different time and place will then have to

adjust the application accordingly - obviously without

compromising the general principles." ("Heirs Together of the

Gracious Gift of Life," by Richard H. Stadler, Michael J.

Albrecht, Iver C. Johnson, December, 1991, p. 3)

At the Snowbird Ecumenical Conference, the best ever,

according to Rev. James Schaefer, our council of presidents

and other leaders, 25 in all, were taught how to manage the

church by a woman. They were taught what St. Paul says about

ministry by a Trinity Seminary professor, an advocate of the

historical-critical method. They were told by a liberal

Reformed theologian that the radical left mainline

denominations were not becoming "sideline" denominations.

George Barna, Who's Who in Church Growth, also taught our

leaders at Snowbird, but they seem to know Barna's work quite

well already. When Columbus WELS pastors invited ELCA to

discuss inerrancy, no one from Trinity Seminary showed up.

They understand fellowship. But our synodical president

posed for photos with Rev. Herb Chilstrom, former Pietist,

who advanced himself by promoting the cause of homosexuality

and pornography-as-sex-offender therapy as bishop of the

LCA's Minnesota Synod. A Lutheran troubled by false doctrine

in Missouri and ELCA would have to say, reading The Lutheran,

"They are all in it together." Knowing the ELCA quota

system, I have to conclude that the very large ELCA

contingent included homosexual and lesbian pastors, certainly

a large group of women pastors and women executives. Did we

not express our approval of this violation of Scripture, not

to mention the blasphemies of Braaten Jenson's Christian

Dogmatics, which is the standard ELCA dogmatics text? 47

Another insurance sponsored ecumenical endeavor, the Joy

radio show, put together by ELCA, LCMS, and WELS, has 3

versions about its development. The one published in

Christian News, 12-9-91, p. 2) claimed it was the first joint

ministry among the three groups. The synod office denied in

writing that we were involved at all and claimed that the

ELCA pastor had been corrected. Another version, from ELCA,

is that John Barber was involved from the beginning and WELS

supported the joint religious program. As of 1-10-92, no one

had informed the ELCA pastor who wrote the release that WELS

was not part of the program. I spoke with him and with his

secretary at length. ELCA sent out various publicity flyers

identifying our participation in a classic case of rank

unionism. A third version of events came from the synod

office - that John Barber was sharing his great talents with

ELCA and LCMS. Is that so bad? The NWL denied WELS was part

of the program itself. Since I was once part of the LCA's

enormous media program, as a writer and stringer for The

Lutheran, as chairman of the district committee, and as a

participant in a national conference with the LCA media

people, I was amused to learn that ELCA needed our man at

all. (Worthy of note: we are following Missouri and ELCA in

spending bundles of public relations and advertising - and

getting the same results.)

WELS has acquired a well-deserved reputation for rudeness to

outsiders over the years, but I do not think that public

relations and unionistic efforts will change anyone's

attitude toward us. If we want to be loved and respected by

false teachers, then we must wallow in Enthusiasm with them.

If we want love, a fruit of faith, to flourish among us, then

we must believe, teach, and confess the true Christian faith.

As Lenski wrote, we cannot pick apples where there are no

trees. Schwaermer trees will only produce large, wormy


VIII. Adiaphora

When I hear WELS leaders speak about adiaphora, I wonder if

they understand the meaning of Article X. of the Formula of

Concord. Briefly, the section on "matters of indifference"

became necessary because of the compromises which Melanchthon

accepted under duress from the papal forces, claiming that

certain practices could be acceptable since they did not

involve the central doctrines of the faith. First,

Melanchthon remained silent during the imposition--by force--

of the Augsburg Interim. Pastors were deposed and jailed and

driven into exile. Some pastors were killed. 48

"In Swabia and along the Rhine about four hundred ministers

were willing to suffer imprisonment and banishment rather

than conform to the Interim." 49 Then Maurice had the

Wittenberg and Leipzig theologians draw up the slightly

improved Leipzig Interim. F. Bente explained reasons for

Melanchthon's treason, apart from his natural timidity:

"Evidently, then, Melanchthon consented to write the Interim

because he still believed in the possibility of arriving at

an understanding with the Romanists and tried to persuade

himself that the Emperor seriously sought to abolish

prevailing errors and abuses, and because the theological

views he entertained were not as far apart from those of the

Leipzig compromise as is frequently assumed." 50

The best summary of the Adiaphora article is found in a brief


We believe, teach, and confess that at a time of

confession, as when enemies of the Word of God desire to

suppress the pure doctrine of the holy Gospel, the entire

community of God, yes, every individual Christian, and

especially the ministers of the Word as the leaders of the

community of God are obligated to confess openly, not only

by words but also through their deeds and actions, the true

doctrine and all that pertains to it, according to the Word

of God. In such a case we should not yield to adversaries

even in matters of indifference, not should we tolerate the

imposition of such ceremonies on us by adversaries in order

to undermine the genuine worship of God and to introduce

and confirm their idolatry by force or chicanery. It is

written, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast

therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

(Gal. 5:1) 51

The Formula of Concord is clear why this is so:

"Hence yielding or conforming in external things, where

Christian agreement in doctrine has not previously been

achieved, will support the idolaters in their idolatry, and

on the other hand, it will sadden and scandalize true

believers and weaken them in their faith." 52

Getting rid of our Lutheran name, which has happened twice in

the Michigan District (Pilgrim Community Church, Columbus;

Crossroads Community Church, Livonia) and also out west, is

excused as an adiaphoron. The advocates forget to say that

they are following the sage advice of Robert Schuller and

Lyle Schaller, two Church Growth Enthusiasts. The Michigan

District praesidium which approved Pilgrim Community Church

ignored the objections of pastors and laity, including

members from Beautiful Savior, Grove City, the sponsor. For

many, it was a case of dishonesty, using bait to lure people

into Lutheranism (dolow, 2 Cor. 4:2). For others, it

included the whole doctrinal stew of the Enthusiasts.

Examine for yourselves the bulletin for Crossroads, A

Contemporary Christian Church, January 12, 1992:



Announcements and Prayer


Scripture Reading

Song of Praise


Message "Honoring Relationships"

Closing Prayer and Blessing

Closing Song

The message, not sermon, is outlined thus:

Philippians 2:1-5

Honoring Relationships

I. Honor Received (v. 1)

a. Encouragement from________

b. Comfort from______________

c. Fellowship with___________

II. Honor Returned (vs. 2-5)

a. Self-_____________________

b. Self-_____________________

c. Self-_____________________.

The expressed intent of Crossroads Community Church and

Pastor Dan Kelm's Divinity Lutheran Church is to imitate

Willow Creek Community Church, the Church Growth showpiece

which has no cross or religious symbols to offend the

unchurched. Floyd Stolzenburg's plan for Pilgrim Community

Church was to abstain from ever using the name Lutheran.

Lutheran finally appeared in microscopic print.

Must we have Reformed entertainment services, with puppets

and drama in order to lure people into the Kingdom of God?

We are not ashamed to sit with ELCA at the feet of

Enthusiasts at Snowbird, but our praesidium claims that ELCA

has ruined the name Lutheran, so we are ashamed to use it in

Columbus. (A thientific survey in Columbus showed nobody

cared.) The Book of Concord does not support our identifying

with the Enthusiasts in order to trick them into attendance.

The adiaphora article also forbids, in my opinion, our

coziness with ELCA and Missouri, where the Gospel is truly


IX. Optimistic Conclusion

The doctrinal crisis is so great in the old Synodical

Conference that pastors and laity are being aroused from

their self-satisfied slumbers. The Ohio Conference refused

to receive my last paper "with thanks," although it was good

enough for the conclusion of Liberalism and was checked twice

over for doctrinal errors by NPH. The "Cure" chapter, which

compares the Means of Grace to Enthusiasm, has been favorably

reviewed by everyone, including Dr. John Brug in the WLQ.

Clearly something is amiss.

Each new issue of The Northwestern Lutheran and the Mission

Counselors' NEWSLETTER proves that I have understated the

case here. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod is declaring

itself against Church Growth, in the latest issues of the

Lutheran Sentinel and Lutheran Synod Quarterly. The

Northwestern College faculty is teaching against the Church

Growth Movement in the classrooms and in the chapel services.

Missouri has a clear example papalism in the Robert Preus

case, which is directly related to Waldo Werning's work at

Ft. Wayne, and Preus' resistance to Church Growth Enthusiasm.

In addition, ELCA is being thrown into turmoil by their

mission board's open espousal of Church Growth tactics,

visions, and marketing techniques.

In my opinion, the vast majority of WELS pastors are faithful

to the Scriptures, sincere in their faith, and eager to serve

the cause of orthodoxy. This is based upon hundreds of phone

calls and letters, from laity and pastors, encouraging me to

defend the Means of Grace against the Enthusiasts. Our

leaders--the Council of Presidents, the synod administration,

and the seminary--have not guarded the sheep and kept away

the wolves. I am optimistic because we have the polity to

work at this problem, parish by parish, circuit by circuit,

conference by conference. The conventions themselves mean

nothing if we cannot deal with these matters as they occur

around us. But this will not happen, if we continue to

ignore the safeguards against apostasy. My circuit, for

instance, has two district officials in it, but has seldom

met in the last decade. The constitution mandates regular

circuit meetings. Church history shows than decline into

Enthusiasm begins with a lax attitude toward doctrinal

discipline. False teaching, left alone, will flourish, while

sound doctrine needs constant attention and nourishment from

the Scriptures and Confession. Do we want to grow roses or


Many blessings will result from the defeat of Enthusiasm in

WELS, although it will always be in our bones and ready to

strike out in another form against the Means of Grace. Some

obvious blessings from defeating Enthusiasm are:

1. Pastors will be encouraged to be faithful to the

Scriptures and Confessions and trust in the power of

the Word and Sacraments to accomplish God's will.

2. Worship services and sermons will improve by glorifying

God and showing people the way to eternal life.

3. Those who love orthodoxy will more than make up for

those who run away to Schwaermer churches.

4. We will stop recruiting pastors and teachers and instead

begin culling from the masses who want to share in this

wholesome and salvific work of God.

5. The synod will send out reprints of John Schaller for

free instead of Lyle Schaller for a license fee.

6. Pastors will no longer resign in disgust and

discouragement, thinking they are not handsome, clever,

or political enough to be ministers.

7. Teachers will be respected for their special calling.

8. Parochial schools will flourish.

9. People will give in proportion to their blessings,

motivated by the Gospel.

10. District presidents and mission boards will stop trying

to get rid of pastors and will instead respect the

divine call and the work of God through faithful


11. Apostate pastors and teachers will be given the left

foot of fellowship.

12. The Northwestern Lutheran will be viewed as a godsend

for parish work and evangelism.

Finally, Luther's words to Major should be framed and placed

above our desks, because they are aimed at us as well. When

Major insisted that he was not addicted to false doctrine,

Luther replied:

It is by your silence and cloaking that you cast suspicion

upon yourself. If you believe as you declare in my

presence, then speak so also in the church, in public

lectures, in sermons, and in private conversations, and

strengthen your brethren, and lead the erring back to the

right path, and contradict the contumacious spirits;

otherwise your confession is sham pure and simple, and

worth nothing. Whoever really regards his doctrine, faith

and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain in

the same stall with such as teach, or adhere to, false

doctrine; nor can he keep on giving friendly words to Satan

and his minions. A teacher who remains silent when errors

are taught, and nevertheless pretends to be a true teacher,

is worse than an open fanatic and by his hypocrisy does

greater damage than a heretic. Nor can he be trusted. He

is a wolf and a fox, a hireling and a servant of his belly,

and ready to despise and to sacrifice doctrine, Word,

faith, Sacrament, churches, and schools. He is either a

secret bedfellow of the enemies or a skeptic and a

weathervane, waiting to see whether Christ or the devil

will prove victorious; or he has no convictions of his own

whatever, and is not worthy to be called a pupil, let alone

a teacher; nor does he want to offend anybody, or say a

word in favor of Christ, or hurt the devil and the

world. 53

Perhaps this is why the District Mission Board and the

Michigan District praesidium have criticized my extensive

quotations of Luther. May God help us to lose our shame of

Luther and learn to take the strong medicine he offers our

ailing synod.

Thank you, brothers, for your encouragement. May Christ be

glorified in our work. Amen. 54


1 "Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, ed. L.

Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis:

Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 299.

2 Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Ev. Luth.

Church, trans. Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia:

Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.

3 Hebrews, James, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938, p.


4 That was the nickname for Bishop David Preus' declaration

of altar fellowship with the Reformed, affirmed by the ALC,

denied by the LCA, but now actively pursued, using the same

words ("the only difference is the mode of His presence," by


5 Smalcald Articles, VIII. Confession, 9-10. The Book of

Concord, ed. Theodore G. Tappert, Philadelphia: Fortress

Press, 1959 p. 313; hereafter cited as Tappert.

6 Formula of Concord, Smalcald Articles, VIII., Confession,

3-5, Tappert, p. 312.

7 "Grace, Means of," ibid.

"From these it is evident how unjustly and poisonously the

Sacramentarian enthusiasts [Sakramentschwaermer] ridicule the

Lord Christ, St. Paul, and the entire church when they call

oral eating and eating on the part of the unworthy 'two hairs

of a horse's tail and an invention of which even Satan

himself would be ashamed,' just as they describe the majesty

of Christ as 'Satan's dung, by which the devil amuses himself

and deceives men.' These expressions are so terrible that a

pious Christian should be ashamed to translate them."

[phrases used by Theodore Beza and Peter Martyr Vermigli]

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 67,

Tappert, p. 581f.

8 Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vol., St. Louis:

Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 117. Hereafter

cited as Pieper.

9 Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIII, The

Sacraments, 13, Tappert, p. 213.

10 Heinrich Schmid, ibid., p. 505.

11 Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelische-Lutherische Dogmatik, 4

vols., ed. Walter and Otto Hoenecke, Milwaukee: Northwestern

Publishing House, 1912. "6. Likewise we reject and condemn

the error of the Enthusiasts who imagine that God draws men

to himself, enlightens them, justifies them, and saves them

without means, without the hearing of God's Word and without

the use of the holy sacraments." Formula of Concord,

Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 10, Tappert, p. 471.

12 Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 46,

Tappert, p. 530.

13 Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 80,

Tappert, p. 536. Dr. Luther: "Let a hundred thousand devils

and all the enthusiasts come along and ask, 'How can bread

and win be the body and blood of Christ?' I know that all the

enthusiasts and scholars put together have less wisdom than

the divine Majesty has in his little finger. Here we have

Christ's word, 'Take, eat, this is my body...'" [Large

Catechism] Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's

Supper, 22, Tappert, p. 573.

14 Theology of the Lutheran Confessions.

15 [WA 54:155, 156] Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article

VII, Lord's Supper, 33, Tappert, p. 575. The Enthusiasts

called "crass fools" by Luther, Formula of Concord, Epitome,

Article VII, Lord's Supper, 103, Tappert, p. 587.

16 Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, 4

vols., trans. Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing

House, 1971, I, p. 71. Pastor David Jay Webber has

excellent, concise articles on Reformed and Roman Catholic

exegesis in Lutheran Synod Quarterly, March, 1989.

17 Apology of the Augsburg Confession, preface, The Book of

Concord, Tappert, p. 99.

18 Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV., 63,

Justification, Tappert, p. 115.

19 Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV.,

Justification, Tappert, p. 122.

20 Augsburg Confession, XXVIII, 43, German, Tappert, p. 88.

21 Large Catechism, Infant Baptism, 57, Tappert, p. 444.

22 Concordia preface, 1580 Tappert, p. 1.

23 Ibid., p. 8.

24 Formula of Concord, Epitome, Part I, 1, Tappert, p. 464.

25 Formula of Concord, Epitome, Part I, 2, Tappert, p. 465.

26 Schmauk p. 726. "And where the preacher does not consent

to the confessions of the church, by whose servants he has

been ordained, he is no fellow-confessor, and certainly

cannot be a preacher of a confession which he does not

acknowledge. In no event is the preacher individually any

more a witness to the truth than the common testimony of the

church in the symbols. He is not above the symbols, nor

under the symbols, but a joint witness with them." p. 86,

quoting Sartorius.

27 Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXVIII,

Eccles. Power, Tappert, p. 284.

28 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VIII.,

Person of Christ, Tappert, p. 601.

29 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI.,

Election, Tappert, p. 621.

30 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI.,

Election, Tappert, p. 629.

31 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI,

Election, 41, Tappert, p. 623.

32 Lyle W. Lange, ed., Our Great Heritage, 3 vols.,

John P. Meyer, "Ancient Errors about God," from The

Northwestern Lutheran, 1940, Milwaukee: Northwestern

Publishing House, 1991, I, p. 551.

33 What Luther Says, II, p. 642 (W-T 2, No. 2152; SL 22,


34 Hermann Sasse, Here We Stand, trans. Theodore G.

Tappert, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1946,

p. 161. Can you imagine an ELCA leader translating Sasse


35 Gregory L. Jackson, Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure,

Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1991, p. 25.

36 Pieper, III, p. 143.

37 Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its

Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication

House, 1871, p. 489.

38 Pieper, III, p. 175.

39 "The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means.

Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine

appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to

all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings

are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we

ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the

ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when

we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means

appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He

who despises these will as little have grace as he who

refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of

nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the

ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked."

Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, Columbus: Lutheran

Book Concern, 1888, p. 387.

40 Solid Declaration, Article XI, Election, Tappert, p.

628f. "Our opponents hold that saving faith must be founded

on Christ Himself, not on the means of grace. This

reasoning, common to the Reformed, the 'enthusiasts' of all

shades, and modern 'experience' theologians, assumes that

faith can and should be based on Christ to the exclusion of

the means of grace." Pieper, III, p. 152.

41 Pieper, III, p. 162.

Excursus: Calvin and the Means of Grace

"If the Spirit be lacking, the sacraments can accomplish

nothing more in our minds than the splendor of the sun

shining upon blind eyes, or a voice sounding in deaf ears."

John Calvin, Institutes, IV, xiv, 9, Benjamin Milner,

Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, ed. Heicko A.Oberman,

Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 119. Hereafter cited as


"...we are touched with some desire for strong doctrine, it

evidently appears that there is some piety in us; we are not

destitute of the Spirit of God, although destitute of the

outward means."

John Calvin, Commentaries, Amos 8:11-12; CO XLIII, 153.

Milner, p. 109.

"He also convinced them without the word, for we know how

powerful are the secret instincts of the Spirit (arcani

spiritus instinctus)."

John Calvin, Commentaries, Amos 4:12; CO XLIII, 68.

Milner, p. 108n.

"I grant that doctrines ought to be tested by God's word; but

unless the Spirit of wisdom (spiritus prudentiae) is present,

to have God's word in our hands will avail little or nothing,

for its meaning will not appear to us...." John Calvin,

Commentaries, 1 Jn 4:1; CO LV, 347-48.

Milner, p. 105.

"The word of God is not set before all men that they return

to soundness of mind; but the external voice sounds in the

ears of many, without the effectual working of the Spirit,

only that they may be made inexcusable."

John Calvin, Commentaries, Acts 28:26; CO XLVIII, 571,

Milner, p. 93n.

Pieper: On Calvin

"But according to the teaching of Calvinism this 'inner

illumination' is not brought about through the means of

grace; it is worked immediately by the Holy Ghost. Modern

Reformed, too, teach this very emphatically. Hodge, for

example, says: 'In the work of regeneration all second

causes are excluded....Nothing intervenes between the

volition of the Spirit and the regeneration of the

soul....The infusion of a new life into the soul is the

immediate work of the Spirit....The truth (in the case of

adults)[that is, the setting forth of the truth of the Gospel

through the external Word] attends the work of regeneration,

but is not the means by which it is effected." [Hodge,

Systematic Theology, II, 634f.]

Pieper, III, p. 120

42 M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Two Lectures,

Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940. "In tolerating

divergent doctrines one either denies the perspicuity and

clarity of the Scriptures, or one grants to error the right

to exist alongside of truth, or one evidences indifference

over against Biblical truth by surrendering its absolute

validity; and (b) in allowing two opposite views concerning

one doctrine to exist side by side, one has entered upon an

inclined plane which of necessity leads ever further into

complete doctrinal indifference, as may plainly be seen from

the most calamitous case on record, viz., the Prussian Union.

Doctrinal indifference is at once the root of unionism and

its fruit. Whoever accepts, in theory as well as in

practice, the absolute authority of the Scriptures and their

unambiguousness with reference to all fundamental doctrines,

must be opposed to every form of unionism." p. 20.

"Rationalism, unionism and nativism, both European and

American, have been the cause of the bulk of the trouble in

the Lutheran Church in America. Perhaps the most insidious

and treacherous of these ostensible friends has been

unionism." Schmauk, p. 855.

43 Theodore E. Schmauk and C. Theodore Benze, The

Confessional Principle and the Confessions, as Embodying the

Evangelical Confession of the Christian Church, Philadelphia:

General Council Publication Board, 1911, pp. 905ff. Schmauk

was the president of the (conservative) General Council.

44 Preface, Augsburg Confession, 2-3, Tappert,

p. 25.

45 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X. Church

Usages, 23, Tappert, p. 615.

46 Large Catechism, Fifth Part, The Sacrament of the Altar,

2, Tappert, p. 447. "The real question is not what do you

subscribe, but what do you believe and publicly teach, and

what are you transmitting to those who come after? If it is

the complete Lutheran faith and practice, the name and number

of the standards is less important. If it is not, the burden

of proof rests upon you to show that your more incomplete

standard does not indicate an incomplete Lutheran faith."

Schmauk, p. 890.

47 I have known the editor of The Lutheran since 1978, wrote

for him often, and met with him when he was in the

neighborhood or at the same conference. When the Snowbird

photo and stories ran in The Lutheran, I could imagine

Trexler saying, "You are in fellowship with us, Gregg, on our


48 Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing

House, 1921, p. 96.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid., p. 99.

51 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X, 10-11,

Tappert, p. 612.

52 Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X.

Adiaphora, 16, Tappert, p. 613. "Shall we permit this to be

done! in the name of Christian unity! and by a

latitudinarianism that is our own heritage, which rises ever

anew from the embers of the past to find such veiled support

and strength in the citadel of Zion that Confessionalism is

told to whisper low in Jerusalem lest she be heard on the

streets of Gath." Schmauk, p. 941.

"We should not consider as matters of indifference, and we

should avoid as forbidden by God, ceremonies which are

basically contrary to the Word of God, even though they go

under the name and guise of external adiaphora and are given

a different color from their true one."

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X. Adiaphora,

5, Tappert, p. 611.

"Nor are such rites matters of indifference when these

ceremonies are intended to create the illusion (or are

demanded or agreed to with that intention) that these two

opposing religions have been brought into agreement and

become one body...."

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X. Adiaphora,

5, Tappert, p. 611.

"4. Likewise we hold it to be a culpable sin when in a period

of persecution anything is done in deed or action to please

enemies of the Gospel contrary and in opposition to the

Christian confession, whether in things indifferent, in

doctrine, or in whatever else pertains to religion."

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X. Adiaphora,

29, Tappert, p. 615.

53 Concordia Triglotta, p. 94.

54 The extensive quotations were made possible by the

initial work of my wife, Christina, on our first database of

doctrinal material: Ortho-Docs. Advice and source material

has been provided from all over Lutheranism. Our son Martin

has helped revise the manuscript and check for factual



"The Difference between the Priesthood of All Believers and

the Public Ministry"

"Law and Gospel, Contrition and Forgiveness"

"Election and Evangelism"

"Freedom of the Will and Original Sin"

"The Relationship between the Book of Concord and the

Patristic Church Fathers"

"The Lives and Contributions of the Concordists"

Brief Bibliographical Sketch

The most useful book of all is NPH's Concordance to the Book

of Concord. Bente's historical introduction to the Concordia

Triglotta will put steel in anyone's spine. Lenski is a

perfect companion to any passage cited, since he knew the

orthodox fathers and always dealt with the history of

doctrine in reference to disputed passages. The best Luther

sources are the 8 volume sermons, Baker Book House, and

What Luther Says, Concordia. The best Luther biography is

Ewald Plass, This Is Luther. Many others could be called

This Is Luther? Walther's Law and Gospel is a fine laxative

for Enthusiasm, if one section is read carefully at a time.

Our Great Heritage, a best seller at Wisconsin Lutheran

Seminary, reminds us what our fathers taught us.

John Brenner and Paul Prange have both written outstanding

papers about Pietism. James Langebartels (2906 24th Street,

Hopkins, MI 49328) has translated volume I of Timotheus

Verinus, about Pietism's war with Orthodoxy. Robert Koester

is completing volume II.


This is the second printing of the conference paper, due to

demand from all over the United States. Letters of

appreciation have arrived from many different readers,

pastors and laity alike.

Some typos from the first printing were corrected and two

quotations were added: one from Richard Stadler and another

from Kincaid Smith. Martin H. Jackson provided invaluable

help in proofreading.