Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Uneventful Flight





We are back in Glendale, Arizona, counting the hours until we pick up our new dog.

We do not rescue cats (allergies). Another branch of the family has five of them, four of them rescued after being abandoned.

More To Come


We are returning home today and adopting our new Cattle Dog tomorrow. New blog posts will start appearing.

Vacation was great for all the normal reasons.

Note to Freddy Finkelstein



Dear Freddy,

A WELS layman I know would like to be in contact with you. If you would reveal yourself to me, I can pass that on to him. The layman is a good guy. We have discussed issues for a long time.

If you want to choose another way to do this, let me know. Anonymous email is another possibility.

In case anyone wonders about this, the WELS KGB (Jack Preus' term) is famous.

WELS politicians are always asking for sources to be named. My record is pristine. I don't discuss sources. That is why I have so many of them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas




Christmas

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn # 90 Gerhardt III.83
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 Isaiah 9:2-7
The Gospel Luke 2:1-14
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 94 Mendelsohn

Silent Night, Holy Night

The Hymn #102 Adeste Fidelis
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 #646 Stille Nacht III.40

KJV Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

KJV Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Christmas
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that of Thy mercy and compassion Thou didst suffer Thy dear Son to become incarnate, and didst through Him redeem us from sin and everlasting death: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever be thankful for such grace, and comfort ourselves with the same in all tribulation and temptation, and at last obtain eternal salvation through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Outline
I. The Virgin Birth in History
A. Brought to Bethlehem by Caesar, fulfilling God’s Word.

The Old Testament is filled with prophecies about the birth of the Messiah. We find a number of them in Isaiah, but also in other prophetic books. One intriguing prediction stated that the Messiah would not come until the throne passed from the House of David.

Herod the Great was not in the line of David, and the religious leaders all knew this. When the star appeared, and there surely was a stunning event in the night sky, everyone knew it.

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people." Genesis 49:10 (NKJ)

The ancient world was longing for a Redeemer, and the Roman Empire was growing creaky.

The birth of Jesus threatened the established religious leaders, who worked with Rome, and the civil leaders, appointed by Rome. Both groups saw the danger of the true Messiah. After all, the name means King (the anointed, literally). Jesus was hailed 30 years later as the Son of David, so this was an important claim, one which especially threatened. Herod.

As God would have it, Caesar brought Christ to Bethlehem, to fulfill the ancient prophecies. Taxation was just as important then as it is now. The key to taxation is numbering the people. Everyone registered gets to pay the tax and support the Empire.

Joseph and Mary were required to return to Bethlehem, suburb of Jerusalem, and make a long, uphill mountainous climb when Mary was ready to give birth. No passage says she rode on a donkey. That is a popular image. When Mary tales began to multiply, the fruit trees were said to bend down to give her something to eat.

The real story of the Nativity is that Rome forced the family to return and the relatives had no room for them. Certainly they had kinfolk back in Bethlehem or the surrounding area. There is great silence about that singular lack of hospitality.

B. Denied a decent birth by His own
people

And the innkeeper must have known that Mary needed more than an area where the animals were kept. But that was the only place provided. The message of Christmas is that the cross began for them at the beginning – the difficult journey, the negligence of family and friends, the apathy of the innkeeper and anyone else in the teeming area. No one bothered to help, but God was there.

The great and mighty wonder of the Nativity is God in the flesh, dwelling among us, full of grace and truth, knowing our sorrows and weaknesses, teaching us and dying for our sins.

The great Lutheran hymns speak of the Creator Himself, lying in swaddling clothes. What people imagined as the Messiah would have frightened people away. But one child said this about the Infant Jesus – “No one is afraid of a baby.”

For so many centuries the great religious (pagan) teachers terrified people about God. But the One, True God came as a weak and tender baby. In adulthood, Jesus had the power to split mountains, but fed the multitudes and welcomed the children instead.


II. Angels are Messengers

Luther’s great insight about the virgin birth of Christ was that they looked for him in a palace or temple, but He was there in the manger. The Messiah was not revealed first to the great and mighty, the wise and learned, but to the ordinary working man.

The angelic visitation must have been the greatest display even seen in heaven, but it was revealed to poor shepherds. Moderns want them in the fields at night only in the spring. That is the new Fundamentalism, but where it came from, I don’t know. Someone wrote it and the idea stuck. “Shepherds were only in the fields at night in the spring.” People reject most of the Bible, but they remember that new revelation from Fred’s uncle’s brother-in-law’s next door neighbor, who heard it somewhere. There were many reasons to be with the flocks at night, but that is all we know. They were there. Was it this time of year? The early Church thought so. What would they know, so close in time to the event, so easily remembered by children, grandchildren, and others?

Some cults do not want to recognize Christmas. That is their loss.

A. "Do not be afraid."

The angels had a great message – “Do not be afraid.” The opposite of fear is faith, faith in God.

Ancient fake priests made people afraid of God. The true God said through His messengers, the angels, “, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

These short phrases are very much like Hebrew poetry, easy to learn and repeat. The verses are a short catechism of the Nativity.

There are two reasons why we should not be afraid. One is:

B. "A Savior is born to you."

Jesus is the One Person who can and does forgive sins. That is why no one needs to be afraid. That is the reason for the great joy. It was far easier to visit a baby than a great and mighty ruler. People were always attracted to Jesus, because of His kindliness and gentleness. I have a professor I was loathe to send an email to. Why? He was always gruff and critical in class. I hated to ask him the slightest favor, let alone a great one. Jesus is just the opposite.

C. He is humbly born.

Lying in a manger sounds so churchy, making us forget the word manger means “feed trough.” The word in English comes from a root meaning “eat.” But we never say, “Lying in a feed trough.” That is what the shepherds heard from the angels, who did not mince their words.

The Savior of the World was humbly born. Bernie Madoff (Made-off with $50 billion) would only work with the wealthiest and most influential people. That is why some are bragging they lost money with him. That makes them important. But only a few could sit at a table with Madoff.

With Jesus, anyone could approach Him. True, the great, mighty, and wise were blinded by their rejection of the Word, but they too were allowed near Him. They asked Him question, taunted Him, and finally worked to crucify Him. The vast crowds came to Jesus because He was humbly born and worked with ordinary people.

I could describe the births of many monarchs in splendid palaces. They are mostly forgotten. One was crowned king before he was born. Gibbons tells of the counselors placing a crown about where the unborn baby’s head was thought to be. “They knelt before their invisible and insensible king.” That hilarious one-liner is the man’s claim to fame. How many hundreds were born in similar majestic circumstances?

But One alone is remembered this time of year – the Savior of the Nations.


---

Outline
I. The Virgin Birth in History
A. Brought to Bethlehem by Caesar
B. Denied a decent birth by His own
people
II. Angels are Messengers
A. "Do not be afraid."
B. "A Savior is born to you."
C. He is humbly born.

"Here are no learned, no rich, no mighty ones, for such people do not as a rule accept the Gospel. The Gospel is a heavenly treasure, which will not tolerate any other treasure, and will not agree with any earthly guest in the heart. Therefore whoever loves the one must let go the other, as Christ says, Matthew 6:24: 'You cannot serve God and mammon.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., I, p. 154. Luke 2:1?14.

"The preachers are to be angels, that is God's messengers, who are to lead a heavenly life, are to be constantly engaged with God's Word that they under no circumstances preach the doctrine of men. It is a most incongruous thing to be God's messenger and not to further God's message."
Sermons of Martin Luther, I, p. 153. Christmas Day Luke 2:1?14.

"Whoever does not receive the Word for its own sake, will never receive it for the sake of the preacher, even if all the angels preached it to him. And he who receives it because of the preacher does not believe in the Word, neither in God through the Word, but he believes the preacher and in the preacher. Hence the faith of such persons does not last long. But whoever believes the Word, does not care who the person is that speaks the Word, and neither will he honor the Word for the sake of the person; but on the contrary, he honors the person because of the Word, and always subordinates the person to the Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, I, p. 162. Luke 2:15?20.

"Therefore God must lead us to a recognition of the fact that it is He who puts faith in our heart and that we cannot produce it ourselves. Thus the fear of God and trust in Him must not be separated from one another, for we need them both, in order that we may not become presumptuous and overconfident, depending upon ourselves. This is one of the reasons why God leads His saints through such great trials."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 21. Luke 2:41?52.

The Gospel is our greatest treasure because it alone gives us forgiveness of sin based upon the merits of Christ alone. The Virgin Birth of Jesus testifies to the unique nature of His ministry and message.

Another WELS Church Worker Charged



Melissa Diana Koehn's arrest casts new light on the California Lutheran High lawsuit, which was tossed out by a judge.
Arrest the victim's parents, too.
Free Republic members posted a lot on this story..


Minneapolis Star Tribune

Teacher in car with student is charged

Melissa D. Koehn, also a coach at a private West St. Paul school, is accused of criminal sexual conduct with a girl, 17.


By LORA PABST, Star Tribune

Last update: December 23, 2008 - 11:34 PM


A 30-year-old teacher and basketball coach for a private Lutheran school in West St. Paul has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.

Melissa Diana Koehn of Kenosha, Wis., was charged Tuesday by the Dakota County attorney's office with three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The relationship came to a light after a chance encounter with an Apple Valley police officer over the weekend, the charges said. The officer was checking on a suspicious car parked near a soccer field on Saturday and noticed two people in the car, one lying on top of the other. When he got to the car, the officer noticed two females kissing in a reclined seat, according to the charges.

After identifying the two females as Koehn and a 17-year-old girl, the officer told them to leave the area. He had noticed that the girl was wearing a letter jacket for St. Croix Lutheran High School and later decided to check a staff directory for the school, where he saw that Koehn was listed as a teacher and a coach, the charges said.

Authorities notified the girl's parents and then interviewed Koehn and the girl, who is a student at St. Croix Lutheran High School. They both told investigators that Koehn had begun a mentoring relationship with the student during the previous school year when she was a history teacher and coach for the girl. Koehn took a leave of absence in the spring of 2008, but the two continued to see each other during the summer, according to the charges.

The girls' parents allowed Koehn to stay overnight in the girl's bedroom, but they did not know about the sexual relationship and they believed that Koehn was sleeping on the floor. In August, the sexual relationship began between Koehn and the girl. Koehn told police that the sexual contact occurred a "handful" of times, according to the charges.

Under Minnesota law, juveniles 16 years old or older can consent to a sexual relationship, but it is against the law for a teacher or coach to have sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old student that they have a position of authority over.

Koehn was released on $10,000 bail Tuesday and will make her next court appearance on Feb. 9.

Lora Pabst • 612-673-4628

---

Twin Cities.com

West St. Paul teacher charged with sexually touching teen
By Frederick Melo and Maricella Miranda
fmelo@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 12/23/2008 04:58:45 PM CST



Melissa Diana Koehn, of Kenosha, Wis., was charged by the Dakota County Attorney's office on Tuesday with three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. (Dakota County Sheriff) A 30-year-old teacher faces charges after Apple Valley police discovered her alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student from a private high school in West St. Paul.

Melissa Diana Koehn, of Kenosha, Wis., was charged by the Dakota County Attorney's office on Tuesday with three felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. She was booked into the county jail in Hastings on Sunday and released on $10,000 bail on Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities believe the sexual relationship may have begun in August, shortly after Koehn took a leave of absence from St. Croix Lutheran High School, where she had taught social studies and coached girls' basketball for several years.

Koehn taught and coached the student in the 2007-2008 school year, according to charges. She began a mentoring relationship with her, and continued seeing the girl after beginning her leave of absence in June.

At times, the girl's parents sometimes allowed Koehn to sleep over because she did not have a residence in the Twin Cities, the complaint against Koehn states. The girl's parents later told authorities they believed she had slept on their daughter's floor when she stayed over, and they were unaware of any sexual activity.

The complaint states that on Saturday, an Apple Valley police officer dispatched to investigate a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot overlooking a soccer field discovered Koehn and the girl inside the car, kissing. The girl was wearing her school letterman jacket.

The officer notified the girl's parents and turned the investigation over to a detective.

Interviewed by police, Koehn acknowledged taking part in a "handful" of sexual encounters with the girl in the girl's bedroom, the complaint states.

She also acknowledged that she still "exercised some authority" over the girl, according to charges. When interviewed by police, the girl referred to her as "Ms. Koehn."

Under Minnesota law, a person as young as 16 is old enough to consent to a sexual relationship. The law, however, prohibits a teacher, coach or person in position of authority over a young person to have sexual contact with someone age 16 or 17.

"Koehn frequently accompanied Victim on various activities, such as movies and shopping," the complaint states.

Koehn made her initial court appearance Tuesday morning before Judge Mary Theisen, who set bail at $50,000 or $10,000, with conditions.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 9 in Hastings.

Administrators at St. Croix Lutheran said they were surprised by the charges.

Koehn was on unpaid leave this school year for professional development, said Gene Pfeifer, president of St. Croix Lutheran. He said the school had no indication Koehn was having a sexual relationship with a student.

"We are disappointed," Pfeifer said. "We don't condone any type of activity like this on the part of any employee or past employee of the school. We are cooperating with the authorities in their investigation."

Koehn taught social studies for tenth-and-eleventh grade students for seven years at the high school, Pfeifer said. She also coached the junior varsity girls' basketball team before her leave of absence.

Koehn had no previous complaints against her as a teacher, Pfeifer said.

The victim still attends school at St. Croix Lutheran High School, Pfeifer said.

Frederick Melo can be reached at 651-228-2172.



***

GJ - Miss Koehn's bio and picture are no longer listed at the St. Croix Lutheran High website.

Here is a PDF newsletter.

The WELS church worker jailbird list continues to grow, thanks to the influence of UOJ. Meanwhile here is a typical WELSian Christmas greeting, probably from Joe the Bass Player, but there are other likely candidates:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another WELS Church Worker Charged":

What a sad, sad story. All the more for us to be thankful for the birth of our Savior. Please pray for all involved.

And I will continue to pray for you too, Mr. Jackson. You have some unresolved issues. I am embarrassed for you and the destructive behavior you exhibit on this blog to the body of Christ.

Merry Christmas.


***

GJ - Thanks for confirming that Ichabod is reaching the unwashed and unrepentant. I can tell when someone is really, really angry: "Mr. Jackson." Now there is an unresolved issue. Facebook denizens are unfriending people, but Lutherans have been dis-ordaining and un-calling for years. Here is an appropriate video for the couple:




The serious version:



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Queen Caroline Kennedy Awaits Her Coronation as Senatrix



"Silence, worms! Hillary never ran for elective office
until she began carpet-bagging in my state."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Domain Completely Revised, As Promised



Another all-nighter for a superannuated student.

I revised http://www.gljackson.com, as promised some time ago.

Most of the work involved completing a number of required projects. I remembered why I hated framesets, but I really enjoyed a refresher in DreamWeaver.

Like you, I have been annoyed with those awful pop-ups from the free 0catch.com (zero catch - if you don't count permanent pop-ups) websites. Now all the books can be accessed here for free without pop-ups. I will also revise the links on Ichabod.

I checked and noticed that some Lulu.com downloads were priced, but I changed them so that all PDFs downloaded from Lulu.com are free. In the future, new PDF downloads will be free at Lulu.com and linked from my website.

Any group with computers can study Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant by downloading the book and printing the pages needed. No cost. I can provide printed copies at the low group price mentioned previously.

I need to post some sermons and quotations. That will have to wait for now.

Future book plans are:

1. A revised version of Thy Strong Word on Lulu.
2. A full-color version of Jesus, Lord of Creation.
3. A discussion guide for Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant.
4. A version of Wormhaven on Wormhaven.
5. A new version of Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure. NPH graciously gave me the copyright.
6. Jesus, Priceless Treasure on Lulu.com.
7. A completely new book on justification, after I do more research and get done with graduate school (December of 2009). I am accumulatinig some good material and leads about UOJ coming directly from Pietism and Halle University.

Norma Boeckler is helping with the artwork.

Mark Ochsankehl is extremely helpful as an editor.

New General Motors Car Unveiled: Lean, Green, and Completely Recyclable


Deep Cover for Emerging Church and Change Leaders



Ski (James Skorzewski) , formerly at St. Marcus (Jeske network) and now at Starbuck's (Ron Ash network) has no photo and no bio as a bored member of Church and Change.
Here is Ski with Babtist Andy Stanley.


Jeff Davis, another bored member of Church and Change, has a photo posted but no bio. I find that alarming.



Gunga Don Patterson is not even listed as a key player at Emergent Church and Change, but he got the Church From Scratch (http://www.churchfromscratch.net) going with a juicy grant. Here is Gunga Don with a live synod council member and a dead zebra.


Gunga Don, VP of his district, is flying so low under the radar that few people suspect his leadership in Church and Chicanery. Texas contacts report he is "hopping mad" that more people know about his group pilgrimage to see Stetzer at Exponential 2008, the mega-gathering of all Emerging and Church Growth people.



Doctrinal Pussycat Glaeske has actually said critical things about Leonard Sweet and Church Growth. Gasp. But he does nothing while his VP organizes Church and Chicanery, while Gunga Don takes a busload of innocents to Exponential. Glaeske is an enabler. That is really deep cover.

Ichabod Names Names in the Emergent Church



Church and Change, Emergent Church view of Scriptures.



Leonard Sweet, sweetheart of Church and Change, is one of the first names to pop up in The Emergent Church.


I listened to the videos posted below, where The Emergent Church leaders talk. Finkelstein is right - they are blabbing Process Theology, which is a way of talking about religion without believing in anything.

The Emergent Church is a natural outgrowth, as in cancer, of the Church Growth Movement. If you are ever forced to listen to ELCA leaders, you will find them talking just the way the Emergent guys do. This stuff was erupting in the 1960s and becoming institutionalized in the 1970s.

Some other Emergent leaders are: Richard Foster, Tony Jones, Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren.

For those of you who just starting reading Ichabod - Leonard Sweet was to be the keynote speaker for WELS Church and Change. The lagomorphs of the ministerium finally objected to something and the conference was canceled. Gurgel claimed there was no Church and Change anymore. Oh no. They just registered their next conference via WELS.net, with a Church Growth guy in charge of technology. They got bumped from the official synod website, but now they have hired Babtist Ed Stetzer to be their next keynote speaker. Stetzer, below, is the wide-body version of Sweet.



Babtist Ed Stetzer, has "two master's degrees" (not really) and two doctorates (oh please, another lie) but he cannot spell. Look at the chart below, which is copyrighted, so I will be sued if I spell discipleship as dicipleship!


Everything Must Change Tour: Prepare To Gag at the Emergent Church Message




Brian Mclaren, smug apostate, is a key figure in the Emergent Church.


You never thought that hard about the WELS apostates calling themselves Church and Change, did you? Now it makes sense.

Emergent Church Sounds Like WELS Church and Chicanery




Does this video remind anyone of the cross resting in a cup of coffee, the so-called sanctuary filled with easy chairs? The WELS apostates have been sipping from the streams--or effluent--of The Emergent Church.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Con Men Usually Con Their Own: Torn from the pages of the NY Post



Bernie Madoff
(pronounced MADE-off, as in made off with $50 billion)
was a major donor to Democrats and to Jewish charities.



NY Post:

FIENDISH FRIEND
SOURCE: BERNIE FLEECED WIDOW AS FRAUD FAILED

Last updated: 6:24 am
December 21, 2008
Posted: 1:46 am
December 21, 2008

Bernie Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme hoodwinked tens of billions of dollars from deep-pocketed banks and hedge funds - but the 70-year-old Wall Street icon appears to have saved his most vicious losses for his closest friends.

For example, Madoff convinced one decades-long friend, a 60-something woman whose husband recently died, to hand over her entire life savings for safe keeping as his alleged fraud was unraveling - just weeks before his arrest, The Post has learned.

"She called Madoff because she didn't know what to do with her finances and he told her 'Don't worry, I'll handle everything' and then he took all her money," said a mutual friend of the two, who is disgusted at Madoff's behavior and the havoc it is wrecking in his Boca Raton-area community.

"Bernie knew her for decades, they golfed together at the Boca Rio Country Club and now she has lost everything," said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Carl Shapiro, a women's-wear magnate and one of the most generous philanthropists in America, gave Madoff his start in the investment business in 1960. But that didn't stop Madoff from conning him out of $545 million.

Shapiro, who is 95 and quite frail, was deeply saddened by the news that the man he often called "his son" was in fact a confidence man.

"I was stunned and saddened to learn about the allegations against Bernie Madoff," Carl Shapiro said. "It is devastating to think that so many charities, individuals and institutions that had put their trust in Mr. Madoff have had their lives so negatively impacted."

Robert Jaffe, another of Madoff's buddies who lost millions to the scamster, is married to Ellen Shapiro, Carl Shapiro's daughter. It was Jaffe who introduced his father in law to Madoff, something close friends now say he deeply regrets.

Jaffe was considered one of Madoff's closest personal friends, having known him since the late 1950s, when Madoff was a lifeguard in Far Rockaway, Queens. He touted his close personal friendship with the fraudster to other wealthy types in New York, Palm Beach and Boston, to attract investors. He and his wife Ellen claim they knew nothing of the secret double life lived by their close friend. They, too, are understood to have lost tens of millions of dollars in the scheme.

Real-estate developer Edward Blumenfeld, another of Madoff's small circle of friends, who took joint family vacations with the alleged fraudster, stands to lose more than just the millions he invested with Madoff.

The founder of Syosset, N.Y.-based Blumenfeld Development Group is a 50/50 partner in a $24 million Embaer Legacy corporate jet with Madoff, The Post has learned, and may soon be hearing from the receiver of Madoff's business - who'll be happy to learn he has another $12 million (Madoff's share of the plane) of assets to marshal.

The jet is based at Long Island's Republic Airport and is managed and leased out by Talon Air to help, a spokesman for Blumenfeld said, "defray its operating costs." The Blumenfelds and Madoffs used the plane on family vacations, said one Florida-based source.

Madoff, 70, a Wall Street icon, was arrested by federal agents on Dec. 11 after admitting to his sons that his entire professional life was a lie built upon a Ponzi scheme. He told his sons that the fraud amounting to more than $50 billion.

Federal agents are now poring through Madoff company records to determine the exact level of missing money - but it already known the massive alleged fraud has stretched around the world.

Walter Noel, the head of Fairfield Greenwich Group, a hedge fund of funds firm, had more than $7.5 billion of clients' cash invested in Madoff - all of it is probably lost. No single person funneled more cash to Madoff than Noel, who in return for his decades of loyalty will now likely see his firm collapse.

Down in Palm Beach, Fla., where the country club set is among the hardest hit by the alleged fraud, Richard Rampell, an accountant with several clients who lost millions to the apparent fraud, said he believes Madoff started operating his investment advisory business above board but then got in over his head and turned to fraud to inflate his returns.

Rampell based his assessment on 1985 statements from Madoff which he called simple and ordinary. More recently the statements became more obscure and complex.

"Perhaps back then he was running a legitimate business?" Rampell said. "As I say, it didn't seem out of the ordinary to me."

---

SYNAGOGUE OF $UFFERERS
BERNIE'S SCAM HITS ELITE TEMPLE
By STEFANIE COHEN and KELLY MAGEE
TAKING THE FIFTH:

The fraud by Bernie Madoff, here with wife Ruth, burned notable Fifth Avenue Synagogue members.

Last updated: 6:21 am
December 21, 2008
Posted: 1:46 am
December 21, 2008

Members of a posh Upper East Side synagogue suffered a $2 billion bloodbath in Bernie Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme.

The Fifth Avenue Synagogue ranks with the decimated rolls of the Palm Beach Country Club in terms of members scorched by the scam.

Ira Rennert, chairman of the synagogue's board and owner of the priciest mansion in the Hamptons, had $200 million staked in Madoff's fund, Fortune magazine reported.

He was one of at least 10 synagogue heavy hitters fleeced in the scandal, said a prominent congregant.

The synagogue was a breeding ground for Madoff investors given that its president, J. Ezra Merkin, reportedly served as a powerful recruiter for the alleged scamster.

Merkin is said to have given Madoff, who does not belong to the synagogue, access to a slew of universities and Jewish organizations.

Merkin had $1.8 billion wrapped up with the shady investor through his fund, Ascot Partners - in many cases, without his clients' knowledge.

Other prominent Fifth Avenue Synagogue members who took a bath include Elie Wiesel, the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose foundation lost $37 million, and investment banker Michael Jesselson, whose SAR Academy, an Orthodox Jewish school in The Bronx, took a $1.3 million hit, Fortune reported.

"Obviously, it's a black eye for the synagogue," said financial adviser and synagogue member Joseph Sprung of the extraordinary losses members suffered in Madoff's $50 billion wipeout.

Almost a dozen prominent families of the synagogue - the favored New York house of worship for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - sustained heavy losses in the Madoff madness, one congregant estimated.

"The synagogue isn't going to be wiped out, but it's an awful thing to have happened," said Sprung, who was not invested with Madoff.

The close-knit, 300-family congregation was dubbed by the author Herman Wouk, a member, as a "Who's Who of World Jewry."

"Everyone at that temple is a power player," said member Moreton Binn. "It's probably the most affluent temple in the city."

Revlon CEO Ron Perelman, a temple member, didn't invest with Madoff, his spokesman said.

"Ezra is a brilliant, scholarly man. He's brilliant in Judaic studies, he's just incredibly smart," said congregant Ellen Fawer.

Others doubted Merkin would be able to stay on as president as a result of legal troubles that will certainly ensue in coming weeks.

"Obviously, he will have to step down," said a member who asked not to be identified by name. "He's being sued all over the place."

Yeshiva University invested $110 million with Madoff, likely at Merkin's urging.

Billionaire Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman lost $30 million from a charitable foundation that he'd invested with Merkin only to discover that Merkin had put it in Madoff's fund.

Tufts University and New York Law School also signed hefty checks over to Merkin, who in turn placed the money in Madoff's care.

"Mr. Merkin and his family are personally among the largest victims of the massive fraud confessed by Bernard Madoff," said Merkin's lawyer.

The controversy didn't stop Merkin from attending yesterday's 9 a.m. service, where he was "warmly received," said a member who asked not to be named.

Meanwhile, the FBI admitted that the Madoff scandal had grown so large that it was forced to shift agents from counterterrorism operations to the alleged swindler's case, among other Wall Street scandals.

stefanie.cohen@nypost.com

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HURRICANE MADOFF TEARS UP TONY TOWN
Comments: 3Read Comments Leave a Comment By MARK DeCAMBRE

Last updated: 6:26 am
December 21, 2008
Posted: 1:46 am
December 21, 2008

The tiny, tony south Florida enclave of Palm Beach may never be the same now that Hurricane Madoff has blown through.

Doug Kass, a hedge-fund manager and resident of the town, says he expects inter-family warfare to break out any day as families who were late investing money with Madoff and lost millions in the alleged Ponzi scheme start suing friends and neighbors who already cashed in their Madoff profits.

"There's a growing recognition that [Madoff's scandal] is going to create a schism in the Palm Beach community," Kass told The Post. "Because those [investors] who redeemed money before the news of the fraud emerged will be involved in lawsuits from those who didn't get out in time."

Kass, who lived blocks away from Madoff's Palm Beach manse, notes that the tightly knit community, which had come to accept the Queens-bred money manager as one of its own, could be ripped apart by the infighting.

Palm Beach finds itself one of the hardest-hit towns because the avuncular Madoff had a home there and slowly gained the community's trust, becoming one of its most-respected members, notes Kass.

"This incredulous feeling is permeating the town," Kass notes. "It's not like everyone gave their money to a money manager in absentia or someone who was distanced socially - this man was immersed in the community.

"His role in particular as it relates to the Jewish community was profound in scope and in depth," he adds.

Traditionally populated by part-time, wealthy residents who use it as a winter vacation home, now charities, endowments and lifestyles are coming unhinged.

"Coming back to Florida, after a week in New York City, feels like being back in a war zone," Kass adds.

"For sale" signs have been popping up all over town, and country club memberships are being canceled. Days after the Madoff story unfolded, Kass said three investors with about $1 million each invested with the broker/dealer sought him out for counsel at his home.

"Sure I had friends that had outsized investments in Madoff that were attracted by his steady returns, who had $10 million and $25 million each," Kass said. "But it wasn't those people's losses that sent chills up my spine. It was those three people who had come to my home who'd lost 90 percent of their net worth."



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GJ - The Arizona Baptist Foundation promised people a 15% return on their money, based on real estate values. A top CPA firm gave Arizona Baptist a clean bill of health. So Baptists fleeced Baptists. Investors lost 90% of their money. I had lunch with the lawyer who was hired to tell people the bad news.

Those who handle money learn right away that no one can make more than 5-7% after inflation, year after year. There are decades when the stock market made no gains at all. A bad year is difficult to make up because a 10% loss followed by a 10% gain is not even going to net the orginal amount. Say $100 lost 10%. So you have $90. If that gains 10% (which is unlikely), the total is still only $99. So you have made $1 on $100 in two years. Not impressive.

The more someone aims at high returns, the greater the risk of a huge drop in value. A 15% return one year can yield a 40% loss the next year.

Moral of this story - the best way to get ahead now is to reduce all credit card debt to zero (best return on the dollar). A credit union pays 5% interest on certain accounts, not necessarily large ones. When it comes to investments, cash will be king for a long time to come. Distrust of Wall Street is pandemic.

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Bruce Church has left a new comment on your post "Con Men Usually Con Their Own: Torn from the pages...":

The Jewish and Baptist fraud cases are examples of Affinity Fraud:

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/23080/nakami-chi-group-ministries-international-3
excerpt: The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster's ruse.

***

Affinity Fraud - Lessons from the Arizona Baptist Ponzi Scheme.

Fourth Sunday in Advent



The Trinity, by Norma Boeckler


The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn # 81 Gerhardt III.60
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 Philippians 4:4-7
The Gospel Matthew 11:2-10
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 90 Gerhardt III.83

Peace Beyond All Understanding

The Hymn #307 III.70
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 #93 III.40

KJV Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

KJV Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. 9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Fourth Sunday In Advent
Lord God, heavenly Father, it is meet and right that we should give thanks unto Thee, that Thou hast given us a more glorious baptism than that of John the Baptist, and hast therein promised us the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and everlasting life through Thy Son, Jesus Christ: Preserve us, we beseech Thee, in such faith in Thy grace and mercy, that we may never doubt Thy promise, but be comforted by the same in all temptations: and grant us Thy Holy Spirit that we may renounce sin, and ever continue in the righteousness bestowed upon us in baptism, until by Thy grace we obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace Beyond All Understanding

Peace is highly valued, but seldom found. This epistle teaches us about the peace of God, which is so great that it exceeds all human understanding.

The Votum is a prayer at the end of the sermon, and the Votum is Philippians 4:7. I remember the future president of the Lutheran Church in America asking me at Salem Lutheran in Moline, where he was going to preach, “Do you use the Votum?” I was new to Lutheranism and could not have located a votum for anyone to use. It sounded like something black with knobs on it. My friend Ken bailed me out, saying, “Yes, we do.” Ken became a Unitarian later in life, following the example of Marshall, who wrote The Mighty Acts of God. I told Ken that he switched too soon. He should have stayed with ELCA while it was turning Unitarian. I was joking, but he took me seriously.

At Yale, Abraham Malherbe gave me an assignment from his 1 Thessalonians class. I was told to write 20 pages about the use of this one word in the Greek New Testament. (We use the name peace for a woman’s name, Irene.) I turned in my assignment, which omitted an important insight. The word peace in the New Testament is always found in conjunction with salvation. Salvation and peace go together throughout the Bible.

The first three fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 are love, joy, and peace. But one of the best definitions for peace can be found in Romans 5:1-2.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Lenski, quoting Robertson, said, “There are sermons in tenses.” Normally I would not talk about grammar in a sermon, but “being justified” is an aorist passive verb. That means that God justified us, declared us innocent, through faith. The first phrase means that we are declared innocent by God through faith. Paul does not say we have justified ourselves through faith. God has given us a pardon, received through faith.

“Being justified” is a participle defining we. The participle is very flexible in Greek, so we can translate it many ways, knowing that “we” is being defined by “being justified.” I could translate, “We who are justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We can see the close connection between being justified by faith and having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why do many writers never send a manuscript to an editor? They do not want to be on the receiving end of an editor’s wrath. “Why do you bother me with such junk?”

Why do people have so much trouble with phoning others to make appointments? They fear an angry reaction, perhaps laced with a lot of cussing.

Why is it hard to knock on the doors of strangers and invite them to church? Fear of their anger and rejection.

A guilty person has no peace with God. This alienated state drives the guilty person away, not because God wishes this to happen. Guilt causes inner turmoil, anxiety, and tension. That is one reason why we have seen an enormous falling away of the younger generations in this me-centered world. Our society says, “Do whatever you want. There is no right or wrong.” But the conscience still works away. The person who is guilty and yet denies guilt runs from God and sees Him only as an angry judge.

Edgar Robinson starred in a movie called “Scarlet Street.” He killed his girlfriend, framed someone else, and got away with it. The movie shows him in a Hell of torment over his unresolved guilt.

The Law works wrath and increases our awareness of sin, by showing us what God commands and how guilty we are. The purpose of the Gospel is to show us that Christ has already paid for our sins. When we see paintings or statues of Him crucified, we should say to ourselves, “Those are my sins. He suffered for the sins of the whole world, and that includes all of my sins as well.”

The peace of God does not come from saying, “There is no sin,” (Humanists, Values Clarification, Situation Ethics) or “Everyone is a guilt-free saint, whether they ever believe or not” (WELS, etc.). The peace of God comes from knowing we are sinners through the Law and receiving forgiveness in the Gospel promise through faith.

Although God is full of grace, we do not receive grace except through faith.

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

God establishes His peace by showing us our sin and the Savior who paid for our sin. Then the warfare begins. Satan will never leave a believer alone but will use every tactic to remove the believer from the Means of Grace.

I was never going to plant a member of the mint family again after trying to keep it back in the Midwest. But one person told me how to deal with mint in Phoenix. “Don’t water it.” Mint is extremely invasive, but it will die from lack of water. The Christian faith is contagious, because it travels and spreads through the Word. But, if the faith of an individual is never nurtured by the Gospel, through worship or study, the individual’s faith will become much weaker, or even die away. The power of Holy Baptism is so strong that a lapsed believer can hear the Word and return to his former state.

The peace of God is beyond all human understanding because it is one peace that cannot be taken away by anyone or anything. If a Mafia don is set free after a trial, he is full of peace and contentment. However, if his lawyer is tossed out of court for being in bed with known felons, the same mafia kingpin is filled with alarm and has no peace. Christ established a peace which the world cannot give or take away. John Bunyan had that peace when he spent his adult life in prison, writing masterpieces of the Christian faith, especially Pilgrim’s Progress, a book deeply influenced by Luther’s Galatians.

Christ promises and gives us an eternal peace, starting with being justified by faith. This peace is better than the bedrock on which our bridges and highrises are planted. If I barter away God’s peace for worldly peace, I will have a calm and serene life for a few years, but not for eternity. If I cling to the Word alone, I can count on the hostility of Satan and the scorn of the world. The peace of God can hold up against all threats and will last throughout eternity.

When God offers a promise, He also carries out that promise with the power of His Holy Spirit.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The peace of God will keep your hearts and minds a prisoner through Christ Jesus. Once, Al Capone was afraid for his life, so he surrendered himself to the police and had himself locked in prison. (Where else can one get free police protection?)

In this last verse, “keep” is a future tense for the verb for keeping prisoners. In this way Christ locks up our intellect and our emotions. Evil can displace the Gospel, but the more powerful Gospel can displace error, evil, and temptation.

All the admonitions of the apostle are based upon the Gospel. Because the Gospel has given you justification by faith:
· Rejoice in Lord.
· Let your kindly consideration be known to all.
· Do not fret about anything.
· In thankfulness take all your requests to God in prayer.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Quotations for Advent IV

"Melanchthon, the Hamlet of the Reformation, shrinking from action into contemplation, with a dangerous yearning for a peace which must have been hollow and transient, had become more and more entangled in the complications of a specious but miserable policy which he felt made him justly suspected by those whose confidence in him had once been unlimited."
Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: 1913 (1871), p. 85.

"If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies, who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk whatever he has upon earth--possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life. Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam; for the test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience in whatever way we are assailed, and to let go whatever is taken from us."
Large Catechism, The Lord's Prayer, Third Petition, #65, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 715.

"That forbearance which is a fruit of the Spirit retains its characteristic kindness whether directed toward friend or enemy, toward rich or poor."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 103.

"Prayer is made vigorous by petitioning; urgent, by supplication; by thanksgiving, pleasing and acceptable. Strength and acceptability combine to prevail and secure the petition."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 107.

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 107.

"This, mark you, is the peace of the cross, the peace of God, peace of conscience, Christian peace, which gives us even external calm, which makes us satisfied with all men and unwilling to disturb any. Reason cannot understand how there can be pleasure in crosses, and peace in disquietude; it cannot find these. Such peace is the work of God, and none can understand it until it has been experienced."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 111.

"The reference [the Votum] is simply to a disposition to trust and love God sincerely, and a willingness of heart and mind to serve God and man to the utmost. The devil seeks to prevent this state by terror, by revealing death and by every sort of misfortune; and by setting up human devices to induce the heart to seek comfort and help in its own counsels and in man. Thus led astray, the heart falls from trust in God to a dependence upon itself."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 111.



"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.

"Joy is the natural fruit of faith. The apostle says elsewhere (Galatians 5:22-23): 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.' Until the heart believes in God, it is impossible for it to rejoice in Him. When faith is lacking, man is filled with fear and gloom and is disposed to flee at the very mention, the mere thought, of God. Indeed, the unbelieving heart is filled with enmity and hatred against God. Conscious of its own guilt, it has no confidence in His gracious mercy; it knows God is an enemy to sin and will terribly punish the same."
Sermons of Martin LutherVI, p. 93.

"To rejoice in the Lord--to trust, confide, glory and have pride in the Lord as in a gracious Father--this is a joy which rejects all else but the Lord, including that self-righteousness whereof Jeremiah speaks (9:23-24): 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth Me.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 95.

"Now, suppose some blind, capricious individual intrudes, demanding as necessary the omission of this thing and the observance of that, as did certain Jews, and insisting that all men follow him and he none--this would be to destroy equality; indeed, even to exterminate Christian liberty and faith. Like Paul, in the effort to maintain liberty and truth, everyone should refuse to yield to any such demand."
Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 98.

"Christ's kingdom grows through tribulations and declines in times of peace, ease and luxury, as St. Paul says in 2 Cor. 12:9 'My power is made perfect in weakness, etc.' To this end help us God! Amen."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 99.

"The ultimate purpose of afflictions is the mortification of the flesh, the expulsion of sins, and the checking of that original evil which is embedded in our nature. And the more you are cleansed, the more you are blessed in the future life. For without a doubt glory will follow upon the calamities and vexations which we endure in this life. But the prime purpose of all these afflictions is the purification, which is extremely necessary and useful, lest we snore and become torpid and lazy because of the lethargy of our flesh. For when we enjoy peace and rest, we do not pray, we do not meditate on the Word but deal coldly with the Scriptures and everything that pertains to God or finally lapse into a shameful and ruinous security."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 18.

"The church is recognized, not by external peace but by the Word and the Sacraments. For wherever you see a small group that has the true Word and the Sacraments, there the church is if only the pulpit and the baptismal font are pure. The church does not stand on the holiness of any one person but solely on the holiness and righteousness of the Lord Christ, for He has sanctified her by Word and Sacrament."
Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 263. Matthew 24:4-7.

"When you preach or confess the Word, you will experience both without, among enemies, and also within, in yourself (where the devil himself will speak to you and prove how hostile he is to you), that he brings you into sadness, impatience, and depression, and that he torments you in all sorts of ways. Who does all this? Certainly not Christ or any good spirit, but the miserable, loathsome enemy...The devil will not bear to have you called a Christian and to cling to Christ or to speak or think a good word about Him. Rather he would gladly poison and permeate your heart with venom and gall, so that you would blaspheme: Why did He make me a Christian? Why do I not let Him go? Then I would at last have peace."
Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 928.

"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 for, 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 Formula of Concord, Triglotta. p. 1095)
Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 65.

"When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice. That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by few men during their lifetime. Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God. They are regarded as men worthy of contempt. But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace. Therefore, woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, sound the alarm whenever a foe threatens to rush the walls, and rally to the banner of Jesus Christ for a holy war.”
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 28.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Fourth Sunday in Advent":

very good and comforting sermon, pastor. just one thing i may question is the following phrase...“Those are my sins. He suffered for the sins of the whole world, and that includes all of my sins as well.” as a member of wels churches my entire life, this is exactly what i've been taught. i've never heard any pastor or teacher tell me we were all 'guilt-free saints' - whether we believe or not.

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GJ - WELS official doctrine is forgiveness without faith. I suggest reading the posts labeled as UOJ for proof. Or read Chapter Five of Thy Strong Word. J. P. Meyer taught this at the Sausage Factory for years and published his version of UOJ in his Corinthians book.

The Wisconsin Synod kicked two families out of their Kokomo congregation for denying these bizarre statements:

J-580



I. "Objectively speaking, without any reference to an individual sinner's attitude toward Christ's sacrifice, purely on the basis of God's verdict, every sinner, whether he knows it or not, whether he believes it or not, has received the status of saint."



II. "After Christ's intervention and through Christ's intervention God regards all sinners as guilt-free saints."



III. "When God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, He individually pronounced forgiveness to each individual sinner whether that sinner ever comes to faith or not."



IV. "At the time of the resurrection of Christ, God looked down in hell and declared Judas, the people destroyed in the flood, and all the ungodly, innocent, not guilty, and forgiven of all sin and gave unto them the status of saints."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chicago Is My Kind of Town,
Chicago Is...Saul's Kind of Town




The First Couple with their political associates Bill Ayres and Bernadette Dorn.



Saul Alinsky wanted Hillary Clinton to work for him. Obama's first job, that we know about, was being a Community Organizer in Chicago.


The Democratic Promise, A Film Homage to Alinsky:

Few know it today, but Chicago was the birthplace of a powerful grassroots social movement that changed political activism in this country. "Community Organizing" was pioneered in Chicago's old stockyards neighborhood by the soberly realistic, unabashedly radical Saul Alinsky.

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The Devil Is in the Details:

This dedication is no secret. David Freddoso wrote about it in his book, The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate; and the inimitable Ann Coulter noted it, too, just last month.

And the connection between Alinsky and Barack Obama—and Alinsky and the left in general—is real enough. As John Fund, author of a newly revised book, Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, observes, Alinsky, who died in 1972, was a sort of godfather to all the activist groups that emerged in the 60s and 70s, the most famous (or, if you prefer, notorious) of which today is ACORN.

Fund notes that young Hillary Rodham was such a fan of Alinsky that she traveled to Chicago, four times, to interview him for an adulatory school thesis she was writing. And Obama is an on-the-record fan too: Fund quotes The Washington Post’s Peter Slevin, writing in 2007, “Obama embraced many of Alinsky’s tactics and recently said his years as an organizer gave him the best education of his life.” Slevin further noted that Obama’s and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “common connection to Alinsky is one of the striking aspects of their biographies.”

Friday, December 19, 2008

PhotoShop: Proof of Divine Creation



I took a tulip photo and used filters on it.


Taking a web design course forced me into buying the latest versions of DreamWeaver and PhotoShop. I bought the whole bundle at a student discount, saving about 66%.

PhotoShop is the main software used to manipulate photos and prepare commercial printing.

The program can do 10,000 things to any given photo. Many operations can be done in a variety of ways. I took a PhotoShop course before, but I am still astonished at how quickly a photo can be ruined.

Someone trying to make a photo better, without mutiliating it, should pause at all the steps taken to create and sustain the functions of a human eye. Luther said we should be thankful to have only one eye. God gives us two eyes and we never thank Him for them. (Gerhardt does in Lobet den Herren.)

Homework



This was a homework assignment in DreamWeaver/PhotoShop. I separated the rose from the background and applied artistic filters.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wintery Blast In Chicago




It is so cold in Chicago, the politicians have their hands in their own pockets.

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GJ - My Webster's also includes wintery, but the Teigen proof-reading team demurs.

Obama Delivers Fierce Blow to Homosexuals By Picking Warren for the Invocation



Rick Warren, practicing to be porpoise-driven.



Pam's House Blend:

Dear President-elect Obama -
Let me get right to the point. Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans. Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years. And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.

---

According to the NYT as reported in SJ Mercury(12/18/08), Rick Warren has been chosen by Obama to give the invocation at his inaugural. The article says it is "a role that positions Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation's pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.

....."The choice of Warren, pastor of a megachurch in Orange County, is an olive branch to conservative Christian evangelicals. He is an opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage---litmus-test issues for Christian conservatives. His selection set off criticism by gay rights groups angered by his support for California's ban on same-sex marriages.

But Warren has also been one of the most prominent evangelical leaders calling for Christians to expand their agenda and confront global problems like poverty, AIDS, climate change and genocide in Darfur. He has sometimes angered the older generattion of conservative evangelical leaders aligned with the Republican Party, as when he invited Obama to speak abut AIDS at an earlier event at his church"

The Third Martin?
No, The Third LCMS Seminary



Fuller is Third LCMS Seminary

Here's an interesting quote attributed to Richard John Neuhaus (then ELCA, now Roman Catholic) in regard to the Church Growth Movement:

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

As quoted by Rev G. L. Jackson, "Truth on the Scaffold: The Fuller Influence on ELCA, WELS and LCMS" (New Ulm, MN: Martin Chemnitz Press, 1996): pp. 23-24.



Larry Oh! (Our Staff Infection) crowed about the same thing in WELS.

Jeske Video Rerun




WELS Pastor Mark Jeske is one of the kingpins of the synod within the synod: Church and Chicanery.

Check out the octopus.

Still no word on Brother Stetzer from the main page of Church and Change. When Joe Krohn asked them on their list-serve, they refused to answer. Correction - their answer was to pile on poor, little me.

Here is Page One of Church and Chicanery:

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Conference 09
Nov 5th - 7th
Wyndham Milwaukee Airport Hotel and Convention Center

C&C events are a great place to network with people who have similar ministries, situations and problems. Come, learn and benefit from everyone's experience!

More information is coming soon!



***

GJ - This video got people excited. I find Mark Jeske entertaining. He is so Saussage Factory-ish in his solemn declarations. One reader commented on the importance of having a captive ministerial wing in politics.

I keep thinking how far we are from the ideals of our Republic. Gibbons' The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was published in 1776 and profoundly influenced our Founders, warning them against the dangers of imperial, corrupt, sodomite Rome. American has become the Roman Empire.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Herman Otten, the Accidental Editor Who Changed a Denomination



Jack Preus is on the far left (for once), cousin David Preus, ALC President, on the far right (for once). Robert Marshall, LCA president, is standing next to David Preus. I met all three men.


Herman Otten began a mimeographed newsletter to inform his fellow believers about covert changes in their synod’s doctrine. But he ended up changing the denomination, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, electing new and more conservative leaders, and splitting its largest seminary, Concordia in St. Louis.

Otten was a young pastor in a small town, New Haven, Missouri, when he decided to start a newsletter called Lutheran News. Using some extra Christmas money from his wife Grace, about $40, he sent out the first issue of the newsletter on December 15, 1962. Since then the mimeographed newsletter has changed into a tabloid newspaper with a circulation of 11,500. The non-profit Lutheran News Corporation has published the Beck Bible (An American Translation) and many books related to Christian doctrine, such as the first translation of C. F. W. Walther’s Pastoral Theology.

Otten has published 2, 154 weekly issues of Christian News, its name changed from Lutheran News to include more denominations. Otten volunteered in one conversation that his paper broke ground by photocopying controversial material. Liberals would claim, “We never said that.” Otten countered by photocopying their exact words for the paper. This alerted many people to the changes in the LCMS that his opponents joked, “Otten was not born – he was photocopied.”

Otten began his career heading toward teaching. He earned a master’s degree in history from Washington University, located conveniently near the St. Louis Seminary. His accidental career in journalism nixed all possibilities of advancement within his denomination. His congregation stood by him as the liberals tried to remove him from preaching. The liberals even kicked the congregation out of the LCMS more than once. Except for his annual vacation, Otten kept publishing the paper, laying out the columns by hand each week.

Otten said, “I don’t even have to go to town on Thursday for layout. They send it all by computer. Can you imagine that? Oh, you can.” When I told him I teach and take classes on a computer at home, he said, “On a computer? I don’t even know how to turn one on.”

Otten is now 75, healthy from a lifetime of athletics. His wife and children help with the computer side of publishing. Otten often fields calls from all over. Although he is officially a pariah in the Lutheran groups, the same officials who shun him also want their spin on news stories. Christian News offers a cafeteria selection of stories from the Religious News Service, official denominational news, and independent stories.

John Warick Montgomery, another conservative Lutheran outcast, said, “Reading Christian News is like opening one of those old police gazette magazines. You wonder – what is he going to shock me with.”

Otten was instrumental in turning out the liberal administration and electing Jack Preus to the presidency in 1969 (Time Magazine, 1975). Preus gave Otten information to leak in Christian News. Once elected, Preus began working on the liberals at Concordia, St. Louis. The result was Seminex, a melodramatic “Seminary in Exile” and the religious news story of the year. Preus consolidated conservative control of the synod, with the help of Otten and voting lists at conventions. Preus also moved away from support of Otten to outright antagonism. This process was continued with the next two presidents, Ralph Bohlmann and Al Barry. Bohlmann and Barry sought Otten’s support, worked with him covertly, and then became antagonistic once they were elected to the president’s office. The current LCMS president, Jerry Kieschnick, belonged to the liberal faction in the synod. Kieschnick made a major effort two years ago to get rid of Otten, but that also failed.

Has Otten been influential? The editor responded, “People don’t read anymore. We have a website, but I never bother with it. Lutheran pastors have all these conservative blogs, but they never quote books. They just offer opinions and respond back and forth. They are not reaching people. They are just reaching the elite.”
Otten discussed the decline of printed newspapers, so I mentioned the slippage of the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. He is opposed to putting Christian News online. “If they want my wisdom, they can get a subscription.”

Reference
Time Magazine, (1975, July 21, 1975). Preus' Purge. Time, , . Retrieved December 16, 2008, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,913312,00.html

***

GJ - For my class in print journalism, I had to interview a journalist about his job, so I phoned Herman Otten. We had a long talk about a variety of topics. God willing, I will write my MA thesis on Otten and Christian News. I expect to have all the credits earned by the end of 2009. He was a bit shocked that I was working on a journalism degree.

Finkelstein on Process Theology, Stetzer, and WELS



Freddy likes the film Moby Dick.


Freddy Finkelstein has left a new comment on your post "Team Patterson - Mark Down This Conference in Your...":

"We wrongly think of God as static rather than dynamic and moving."

This entire paragraph smacks of the modern heresy of Process Theology, a movement with fond devotion among liberal Baptists (such as the Rev. Dr. Greg Boyd of the General "Babtist" Convention) and some Pentecostals that I know. It is the man-made theology of a changing god, producing a theology requiring man to pine and strive for spiritual renewal -- for continuous rediscovery of a god gone stale. In the end, it begs the question of whether God can be known at all, given that His only Special Revelation, by which He authoritatively reveals Himself and His Gospel to us, is long since obsolete.

God changes, according to the Process theologians among the liberal Babtists (like Ed Stetzer, supposedly), and so does the Church, according to our own WELS Church Growthers. Granting, in all charitableness, that Church & Change Church Growthers in the WELS are only Pollyanna Rubes, who in their Evangelical zeal have only the best intentions at heart, the question is, what do they really know about the theological challenges facing the Babtists? How much of the CG Babtist rhetoric they absorb is influenced by heresy completely unforeseen and unpredicted by them in their Lutheran "boredom," given their wholesome Lutheran training? How prepared are they to recognize damnable heresy cloaked in the garb of progressive, exciting, pop-church evangelical methodology? What, in their wide-eyed zeal, in their Confessional dismissivenes, have they assimilated from Babtists struggling from their own obscure theological challenges? After all, they deliberately choose the moniker "Change." Given their questionable associations, what, truly, is their inspiration?

This is not spouting, this is serious business. The methods of C&C Church Growthers in the WELS are an attack on Lutheran Doctrine via innovative practices -- whether they know it or not.

Rev. Jackson, I don't know if you hear it much at all, but I will state my appreciation for your blog, your journalism, your Lutheran "idealism" (for lack of a better term at this late hour), and your persistence. Freddy Finkelstein

***

GJ - Here is an interesting note from Brother Stetzer, on his blog:

"Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is Missiologist at NAMB, an overeater, occasionally loses his temper, is often unsure of who He is in Christ, and has a thought life that could use some work. "

The blind lead the blind, and make them pay dearly for it.

Thanks Freddy, whoever you are.

Yale Endowment Drops 25%



Yale University's Harkness Tower, one of the finest carillons anywhere.


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale University said Tuesday its nearly $23 billion endowment has dropped 25 percent to about $17 billion in recent months due to the recession, prompting the college to delay construction projects and take other cost-cutting measures.

Yale normally provides an annual update on its endowment, but Yale President Richard Levin provided the update Tuesday amid concerns over the effect of the financial turmoil rocking Wall Street.

Yale said in September that its endowment earned a 4.5 percent return in the fiscal year ending June 30, bringing total assets to $22.9 billion. Yale's "best estimate" of the endowment's value now is $17 billion, a decline of 25 percent since June 30, Levin said.

The 25 percent decline has a very significant impact on operations because income from the endowment supports 44 percent of the university's annual expense base of $2.7 billion, Levin said.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Team Patterson - Mark Down This Conference in Your Day-Timers: Exponential, 2009




Church and Change Bible Study Leader,
WELS VP Don Patterson.

"Shucks. Y'all caught me signing up
for the next Exponential Conference.
We get a group discount."



Exponential ‘09


12/02/08 13:05 from Planting Space
Last Chance! Super Early Bird Rate Ends December 5th There are only a few days left to get the lowest possible price of $129 to the largest church planting conference in North America. Not sure who will attend with you? No worries.

Church Planting Network is honored to oversee and shepherd the Exponential Conference. Exponential has become the largest gathering of church planting leaders in North America (possibly the world). This cross-denominational conference is designed to connect, inspire, equip and challenge church planting leaders. The conference brings over 3,000 church planting leaders from over 35 different denominations, networks and heritages together in one place.

This year's theme features the Art of Movements. Some key highlights include:

15 pre-conference intensives
Over 60 national church planting leaders including Alan Hirsch, Francis Chan, Craig Groeschel, Tim Keller (via video), Erwin McManus, John Burke, Efrem Smith, Ed Stetzer, Darrin Patrick, and many more.
Over 35 denominations, networks, and heritages
7 main tracks including pre-launch, post-launch, reproducing churches, multi-ethnic, church planting spouses, and missional
Over 40 sponsors representing the best services available to planters
Over 3,000 church planting leaders in one place
Orlando, Florida. Sun. Disney World.

Here is where to register.

"THE ART OF MOVEMENTS"

God is moving and at work all around the world and wants us to join Him in similar ways here.

"His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find him-though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist." - Acts 17:27, 28

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people have ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God." - A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961)

We want every attendee at Exponential to understand that God is moving and at work around the world and to be actively looking to join Him where He is moving and at work.

How we think about God will shape the vision of our churches and therefore how we do the work of God. While there is an increase in interest and participation in being a reproducing church (church planting & multi-site) in the west, the western church is being held back by two basic thoughts pertaining to God: First, that He is static, rather than moving and second, that He has a western bias rather than being God of all creation.

We wrongly think of God as static rather than dynamic and moving. In our effort to acknowledge God as King and Lord, we often think of Him as sitting on His throne, making rules and demanding that we must come to Him. While it is true that God is King and Lord, He is also a Creator and on the move. We see this God on the move in the first pages of Genesis: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2) Jesus reinforced this idea of the Father and himself being creators in the gospels: "Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.'" (John 15:7) It's clear that the early church understood that God is active and moving when Paul explains: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." (Acts 17:24)

We also tend to think of God with a western bias rather than a God of all creation. This is seen in everything from bumper stickers that say, "God bless America," to how little we know about our world outside of the United States. The Old Testament shows us a God who is omnipresent: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!" (I Kings 8:27). And the New Testament declares a God who is not limited by space or time: "He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:27-28); "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (II Pet. 3:8).

Approach for 2009 Exponential Conference: Our themes the past few years have been heavily biased to the "science" or "mechanics" of church planting. This year we will try and broaden our view to "The Art of Movements." In our lifetime we've not experienced true church planting movements in the US...we've only seen them overseas. So, we will be featuring a number of international leaders likely unfamiliar in the U.S. Most conferences (including ours in the past) take the approach of "come and learn from us." We are turning that upside down (or maybe right-side up!). In 2009 the call is "come and learn with us...as we experience the stories of those who are in the middle of movements.... as we discover what God is "up to" around the globe." We're prepared to be surprised, challenged, inspired, maybe even devastated by God's heart for a world in desperate need of the Gospel of Christ.

Gold Sponsors:

Church Marketing Solutions

Church Marketing Solutions is a leading provider of high-quality church marketing services at non-profit prices. They are passionate about church planting and providing unmatched service to church planters.

Here is another sponsor -

Catalyst One: Meet Andy Stanley, WELS Mentor


WHAT YOU WILL LEARN At Catalyst One Day.

You will:


  1. Discover the key to creating and sustaining momentum in your organization.
  2. Identify and break through the barriers to momentum and overcome personal leadership lids.
  3. Leverage the three triggers which ignite organizational momentum.
  4. Create a culture of continual improvement.
  5. Embrace a new approach to leading organizational change.


Church and Change Board Member Ski with Babtist Andy Stanley.
Both apparently have the same position on the Means of Grace.


Recognized as a top influential leader for pastors, Andy Stanley is senior pastor of one of the fastest growing ministries in the country, North Point Ministries. With campuses including North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia; Buckhead Church in Atlanta, Georgia; and Brown's Bridge Community Church in Cumming, Georgia; North Point Ministry locations are visited by more than twenty thousand congregants each week.

Andy has written the best-selling book Visioneering, as well as The Next Generation Leader, How Good Is Good Enough, Choosing to Cheat, The Best Question Ever, Am I Good Enough, and 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, among others.

Exponential Sponsor Dave Ramsey:
Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace providing biblically based, common sense education and empowerment which gives HOPE to everyone from the financially secure to the financially distressed.

Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church, WELS is planning to offer five subjects for small home groups, beginning in January, including basic truths of the Bible, a Financial Peace University course by Dave Ramsey, a marriage enrichment workshop by Dr. Kevin Leman and the Total Transformation course by James Lehman.



---
Reprise:



Pastor Ben Golish, Maitland, Florida went to the conference where Stetzer spoke.


Pastor John Stelljes, Maitland, is a young Church and Changer, fresh out of the Sausage Factory. He went, too.


Vicar Mark Tiefel, Holy Word, Austin, Texas. Did he go? He gets CG free from Al Sorum at Mequon.


Why would district VP Patterson spend money to hear a bunch of
Baptist-Pentecostals despise the Means of Grace? He gets vicars for free each year and helps populate Texas with Church and Changers. Guess where Wayne Mueller's kid vicared? Yup, ri-cheer in Austin. Patterson wants to be DP when Vilas Glaeske retires.


A significant group of WELS pastors went to hear Baptist Ed Stetzer (r.) before they rented him for the Church and Change conference. Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly.


Let's untangle a few more lies from Church and Change.

Part I. WELS Pastors take a pilgrimage to Stetzer.

The issue of Baptist Ed Stetzer speaking at the next Church and Change conference did not originate with Bailing Water or Ichabod.

In the beginning...a group of WELS pastors went to the Exponential Conference, which featured only Enthusiasts (Book of Concord term - unfamiliar to Sausage Factory grads). Baptist Ed Stetzer spoke there. All he does is speak - all over America and Europe too. Look at his schedule. He is a WELS Church and Change sweetheart, but also a Leonard Sweetheart. If his kids see him, they probably burst out crying because a stranger who looks like Michael Moore is kissing their mom.

Who were those WELS pastors?

The pastors at King of Kings in Orlando (Maitland) led by John Stelljes.

The 1st VP of the South Central District was there, Donald Patterson from Holy Word in Austin, TX along with some of his disciples (Doebler from Christ the Rock in Round Rock).

$200 for the next conference.

Other WELS pastors were also there, but those names have not been disclosed to my network of informants. When asked directly, the Church and Changers have refused to answer which other WELS clergy were there.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

KJV Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Part II. The District Presidents Find Out about Church and Change/Stetzer and Frown.

DP Englebrecht wrote in a letter to his pastors:

The next Church and Change Conference will be having Ed Stetzer, a person not of our fellowship, be one of its speakers. He is part of the "missional" movement. The members of the COP in looking at his theology and aggressive style of presentation have some serious reservations about his appearance at this conference and have asked President Schroeder to express our concerns to the leaders of Church and Change.

His comments were forwarded to me by...I forget.

Part III. I double-checked because I knew the Church and Changers would get nastier than skunks who haven't slept in a long time.

I started looking up Ed Stetzer because he was a nobody in theology. As diligent as I am, I had trouble locating his supposed "two doctorates" and "two masters" which appear on all the websites about him. This struck me as too bombastic, like Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, so I searched until I found him earning a DMin from one school (never heard of it) and a PhD from a liberal Baptist seminary.

I found Stetzer's schedule, which showed him teaching the Word of God to WELS at the next Church and Change meeting, followed by a stop at a Leonard Sweet event. He was also going to speak to LCMS executives.

To observe the permutations of the 8th Commandment, I looked over the Church and Change menu. I know it pretty well, since I copied most of its toxic content into Ichabod. Think of Ichabod as a mirror site, in case the server at Pasadena goes down.

I could not find any future Church and Change conference listed and said so.

The deception of the Church and Change website is now being used to attack people who ask questions about Stetzer. So, in effect, Church and Changers are attacking Englebrecht and the DPs who expressed concern about Stetzer. The DPs raised the issue. Englebrecht sent the letter. I am a mere journalist, a baby journalist at that, with only 20 credits at the end of December.

Church and Chicanery made the news and hid the news. I reported what I knew.

Bruce Becker, BPS Administrator, owes WELS another apology for this fiasco. He is a board member of Church and Change. He needs to move out of the stealth mode and into honesty and transparency.