Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Church and Chicaneries Might Try This - To Be Real, Relevant, Relational


Church skateboarding evangelism.

WELS - Stop Lying about Kokomo




LutherRocks has left a new comment on your post "Joe Krohn's Free Blog":

One more thing...

http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=45&cuItem_itemID=2835

Click on it or copy and paste.

Someone else needs to do some homework.

Joe Krohn



Q: What is the WELS teaching on objective justification? My friend and I have had a discussion, and he pointed me to the Kokomo articles, or theses, as an example of what WELS teaches. Being just a layman I was wondering if I should use these to teach others who may have the same question, as he did for me.
A: The teaching of objective justification is that God the Father declared the sins of the whole world forgiven because Christ had paid for all sin. To benefit from that payment and that declaration it is necessary that a person be brought to faith in Christ as his Savior (subjective justification) (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

The so-called Kokomo Statements should not be taken as representative of WELS teaching. Much that has been put out and circulated about the Kokomo Statements has been a misrepresentation of the WELS position. The Kokomo Statements were not drawn up by anyone in WELS as a presentation of our position. They were drawn up by opponents of the WELS position. Three of the statements are taken from WELS sources, but taken out of context, they caricature the WELS position and should not be taken as as an adequate presentation of WELS teaching. Anyone circulating the Kokomo Statements as a representation of the WELS position is not giving a fair and balanced presentation of WELS teaching.

A brief evaluation of the so-called Kokomo Statements is contained in a 1982 paper by Siegbert Becker, "Objective Justification," which is available from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary library. Papers on objective justification also appear in Vol. III of Our Great Heritage, available from Northwestern Publishing House.

***

GJ - I traveled to Kokomo and talked to both families who were kicked out of WELS for rejecting the Kokomo Statements, three of which were almost verbatim from J. P. Meyer's Ministers of Christ, NPH.

I reproduced the letter in Thy Strong Word.

Sig Becker endorsed the Kokomo Statements. Sausage Factory President Panning was in charge of the appeal process, and he supported the Kokomo Statements.

Whenever convenient, WELS denies the Kokomo Statements, but they are official policy. As one Lutheran said, "Didn't they bind the conscience of people who did not agree?"

Someone is obviously feeding Joe Krohn the official, deceitful line about UOJ in WELS. Would that be a stealth member of Church and Chicanery?

---

dk, in plain spoken fashion, addressed Joe. This is what he has left a new comment on your post "WELS - Stop Lying about Kokomo":

Hey Joe,

I have to ask you to think about this: If the WELS do not accept the Kokomo statements as official doctrine (as the WELS Q&A claims) how much more despicable are they for kicking out those two families!

"Um, hey... we don't believe these statements but since you're laymen and acting with authority we're going to kick you to the curb"

Howdy Joe: What do you make of that? Isn't that a pretty blaring contradiction? I'm not thumbing my nose at you, but you have to agree at the inconsistency, right?

What is the best construction that we (as Christian people) can put on this collection of facts?

Ignorance Explained



The kiddies learn to love Rock N Roll in the nursery department.


rlschultz
has left a new comment on your post "Let's Hear It for the Eighth Commandment...And Lov...":

I have a theory concerning the ignorance of WELS laity. There are several aspects which come into play here. I have known only a couple of WELS members who have read anything in the Lutheran Confessions beyond the Small Catechism. Most pastors will not take on the Book of Concord in an adult bible study setting. The active and involved members are often engaged in busy work. The congregational activities have become the new monasticism. Boards and committees suck up a lot of time and energy, like a powerful vacuum cleaner. Similar to the mainstream media, the information about the synod which reaches the laity is heavily filtered, spun, redacted, and edited.

Like the Mueller statement that there is no CG in the WELS, we should never believe anything until it has been officially denied. When non-official sources offer information which is both contrary and enlightening, such sources are instantly scorned and spat upon. There are also cultural factors. Many adults today have a short attention span. They may not read much and also may have a hard time with deductive reasoning. A lifetime of TV viewing tends to produce this. WELS leaders often have a fixation with authority, their authority. Many of them have a difficult time admitting to their errors and the errors of their peers. This has produced the stealth infallibility that is rampant in the WELS. I honestly believe that most of the WELS laity are trapped.

They are now being told that the financial problems in the synod are just the unfortunate consequence of a sour economy. It would be difficult for them to fathom the idea that this is nothing more than the chickens coming home to roost. The solution that is being given to them is to sacrifice and open up their wallets. After all, just look at all of the cutbacks that the synod is making. As has been stated so many times on this blog, the problem is false doctrine and the solution is biblical doctrine. Those who look to men and money are barking up the wrong trees.

***

GJ - We learn better what we teach. Pastors avoid teaching the Book of Concord so they do not know their own Confessions. They do not engage themselves in doctrinal discussions, so their intellectual tools grow rusty.

Laity - try asking for a study of the Formula of Concord in your congregation. The pastoral response will be educational. Some congregations do study the Confessions and that study bears fruit.

Church Growth produces more weed seeds.

Joe Krohn's Free Blog





Ichabod is Joe Krohn's free blog. For those who are new to this blog, Joe is a WELS member, a buddy of Kudu Don Patterson, and a promoter of The Church From Scratch in Round Rock, Texas, where Doebler channels Driscoll. Joe used to belong to CrossWalk in Phoenix, the non-WELS congregation from which Church and Chicanery Pastor Jeff Gunn is trying to escape. Gunn hopes to flee to Wisconsin Lutheran College, the nursing mother of Church and Change. We all know the birth father of C and C - Old Scratch hisself.

Joe had a Rock N Roll blog to promote his agenda, but he erased it. His Ichabod comments are entertaining and instructive, because they betray the thoughts of Church and Chicaneries everywhere. Sometimes he even signs them.

Like all Church Shrinkers, Joe is a UOJ Stormtrooper, always trying to justify the erroneous opinion that God declared the whole world forgiven of its sin, without the Word, the Means of Grace, or faith.

He asked about my use of OJ in the first edition of Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant. That has been explained many times before, and the new edition is available for free as a PDF download - either from Lulu.com or from gljackson.com. He can buy the book from his own publishing house, Northwestern Publishing House in Milwaukee.

I publish for everyone, not secretly or on secretive listserves. The issue is not what I think, but what the Word of God teaches and the Book of Concord confesses.

Many people still believe, as I did once, that OJ was a peculiar synonym for the Atonement. Various WELS laity pressed me to study the issue, so I learned otherwise. OJ, called UOJ in WELS, or General Justification in Hoenecke - means that every single person in the world has been forgiven by God: Hottentots (E. Preuss), Hitler, the people who died in the Flood. Everyone in Hell is a guilt-free saint (WELS Kokomo Statements).

The Atonement means Christ died for the sins of the world. The Atonement is not justification, as Robert Preus stated in his last book, Justification and Rome.

Some well established Christian doctrines clash with the weirdness of UOJ: Original Sin, the efficacy of the Word, the Means of Grace, Law and Gospel, justification by faith.

UOJ goes well with Universalism and Church Growthism.

The Sacraments
Joe reminds me of students who phone me without reading the syllabus. That just happened as we drove to the Hoover Dam. I got two phone calls from the same student about the upcoming assignment. "Have you read the syllabus?" No. I parked the van and explained the assignment to the student.

Really Joe. I have all my books linked to Lulu and my domain. Everything is there for free. I have 2,700 posts, which have covered the Word and Sacraments many times. Doing a little homework before posting would be a good idea. The Google search window on the blog works very well. It is the only way I find some material from the past.

Sacrament, like the word Trinity, is a non-Biblical word used to encapsulate the content of many different passages. Ordination is called a sacrament in the Apology - "the best work of Melanchthon," as one Lutheran said recently.

I find it odd that some Lutheran pastors declare, "Ordination is not a sacrament." I dealt with that topic a bit in my last sermon, which I saved as a videotape file (free) and in the printed version on two (2) blogs. I collect Lutheran quotations to help everyone in their sermon preparation.

The Church and Chicanery pastors should do the same - post the printed version of their sermons. They should also offer a link to the original from Driscoll, Groeschel, or their other favorite false teachers.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Baggage Check And Drop a Check at The CORE




Fresh from their baseball vacation, Ski and Katie are presenting

Baggage Check

at

The CORE.

Baggage Check is from Craig Groeschel again.

Baggage
View this series. Series ID: 5
4 week series

Do you have it? Would you like to check it for good? God is ready and willing to claim it, we just have to be willing to let it go. And not on a round-trip flight, but a one-way destination. Learn how you can pack up the pain and hurt, find release from addiction and torment, and break free from the battles that keep you and your baggage grounded.


The totally awesome teaser video can be viewed here.

Notice on the video - no one is there when the man finally pushes his bags into The CORE's lobby. That is because Ski and Katie were gone.

One Lutheran has already observed, "Checking baggage is a bad analogy. People check their baggage so they can pick it up again."

He asked, "Do they charge $25 to check each bag?"

I recall Paul Calvin Kelm using the same baggage illustration for one of his evangelism brochures. That was 22 years ago.

This display of sermon plagiarism from false teachers continues unabated.

Let's Hear It for the Eighth Commandment...And Love





Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Where Is Love? WELS Overkill in Rockford Area":

The "facts" in the article "WELS overkill in Rockford area" are anything but facts. Whomever (sic) is ranting against God's work in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) obviously has too much time on his hands (in this viewers' humble opinion). Whatever happened to "Speaking the truth in love" and "putting the best construction on everything?" I see neither in the above article, and a good start would be, simply speaking the truth. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."


---


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Where Is Love? WELS Overkill in Rockford Area":

The above anonymous commentators don't know what they are talking about. I live in the area. I have worshipped (sic) at all the churches mentioned above. It would be nice if people familiar with the area (Rockford & vicinity) rather than people who think they know it all. I personally abhor "church growth", and I know the pastor of New Life (and have met the other above-mentioned pastors), and know that New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church has solid Biblical Theology, and my wife and I am looking forward to joining this congregation soon for this very reason. I have studied theology, so I know what I'm talking about, and I have never been a member of Peace, Loves Park or Hope, Belvidere. The members who attend Bible Study at New Life are knowledgable (sic) of God's Holy Word, and we praise God that this is their focus: Knowing God's Word and Making it Known.

Richard D. Eischen
Rockford, IL

***

GJ - Do these people have a problem with a WELS pastor earning a DMin at Fuller Seminary, having a friend deny it in Christian News, and teaching Church Growth doctrine at Mary Lou College in New Ulm? Larry Olson, from Loves Park, has made a career from Church Growth. Did they perform an exorcism at his old church when he left?

---

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Let's Hear It for the Eighth Commandment...And Lov...":

"Whatever happened to "Speaking the truth in love" and "putting the best construction on everything?" I see neither in the above article, and a good start would be, simply speaking the truth. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.""

Everyone should cover for false teachings and misleading emphasis on CGM matters that do not count. I do not think so no matter how often the 8th commandment is trotted out.




Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Let's Hear It for the Eighth Commandment...And Lov...":

Greg, you and I might both prefer "worshiped" to "worshipped" yet they are both accepted spellings.

Furthermore, it should be noted that Tim Gumm who has been at Loves Park for many years now is the "anti-Larry O." Things have been cleaned up there for years now.

***

GJ - Anti-Larry Oh! is good, even though Olson is dubbed the harmless heretic by his fellow pastors. Left unanswered - Is Loves Park selling bonds legally?


Study of Pietism - Starting Next Sunday



Spener started Pietism with his little book.


Our adult study series on Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant has ended.

This Sunday will begin a series on The History and Influence of Pietism.

Lessons are being saved on Vimeo. Check the list in the left column.

I am going to publish my review of Schmidt's History of Pietism, which can be purchased at Northwestern Publishing House. Click here for the book. NPH seems to have the Hoenecke graphic where the Schmidt graphic should be. I am going to check that out. The picture reads "Evangelical Dogmatics I."

The Schmidt book is a tough one to read. Any intellectual history is going to be hard to follow, especially when events are so distant from us in time and culture. However, pastors and interested laity should give it a try.

The Lutheran bodies established in America were profoundly influenced by Pietism and still are. The Muhlenberg tradition (LCA, now ELCA) came from Halle University, the heart of Pietism. CFW Walther belonged to Pietist circles before he came over to America. The Swedes and Norwegians were Pietists. The Wisconsin Synod began as a unionistic, Pietistic sect. Hoenecke - one of their better theologians - was trained at Halle University, under Tholuck, an avowed Universalist.

Some of us are researching the history of Universal Objective Justification. Reformed doctrine and Pietism are the leading causes for UOJ being promoted by Walther, WELS, and the Little Sect on the Prairie.

The Shrinkers of WELS love UOJ, which excuses them from any doctrinal rigor. Everyone is already forgiven, so whatever they do to sign people up is justified by their profound concern for the lost (a core value in Pietism). Taking away trust in the Means of Grace - Pietism. Telling the laity they are responsible for evangelism - Pietism.

Let us pause for a moment and consider the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15, the Gospel lesson for those who do not follow the Roman lectionary. The shepherd looks for the lost sheep in that parable. He does not stay at home, drinking beer, creating a Vision Statement. Kent Hunter, that guru for all Lutherans, says, "Sheep have sheep. Shepherds to not have sheep." That is his lame justification for inserting the Fuller Pietistic agenda into Lutheran congregations. He is the Church Doctor but more of Kevorkian.

Joel Gerlach repeated the Pietistic Fuller mantra by saying the church must make disciples to make disciples to make disciples....

Pietists are unionistic.

Pietists despise the Sacraments and reject the efficacy of the Word.

Pietists have been polarizing and divisive by broadcasting how superior they are to everyone else.

Does anything sound like Church and Chicanery so far?

Like the Shrinkers in Missouri and the Little Sect?

Getting Adiaphora Wrong



Rock and the Cradle Roll


Dan at Necessary Roughness has an interesting post on some Lutheran practices today.

The desire to copy the worst of Roman Catholicism is a theme of LCMS-ELCA worship. Sometimes this is cloaked by Eastern Orthodoxy, the Lite Beer of Romanism. Someone can get just as drunk on Lite Beeer, but it takes a few more cans, I imagine.

I know the secret formula for Bud Lite. A chemist at A-Bush told me: "Brew Bud, add water." Later he tried to deny this. I said, "I remember when you admitted it to me."

Lutheran pastors are sinuflecting to Rome, or else moonwalking to Fuller. Either way, they justify themselves by calling everything adiaphora, matters of indifference.

The article on adiaphora in the Formula of Concord. Many practices are not commanded or forbidden by the Word of God. However, when false teachers engage in these practices, it is wrong to copy them.

---

5] Namely, when under the title and pretext of external adiaphora such things are proposed as are in principle contrary to God's Word (although painted another color), these are not to be regarded as adiaphora, in which one is free to act as he will, but must be avoided as things prohibited by God. In like manner, too, such ceremonies should not be reckoned among the genuine free adiaphora, or matters of indifference, as make a show or feign the appearance, as though our religion and that of the Papists were not far apart, thus to avoid persecution, or as though the latter were not at least highly offensive to us; or when such ceremonies are designed for the purpose, and required and received in this sense, as though by and through them both contrary religions were reconciled and became one body; or when a reentering into the Papacy and a departure from the pure doctrine of the Gospel and true religion should occur or gradually follow therefrom [when there is danger lest we seem to have reentered the Papacy, and to have departed, or to be on the point of departing gradually, from the pure doctrine of the Gospel].

6] For in this case what Paul writes, 2 Cor. 6:14-17, shall and must obtain: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness?Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.

7] Likewise, when there are useless, foolish displays, that are profitable neither for good order nor Christian discipline, nor evangelical propriety in the Church, these also are not genuine adiaphora, or matters of indifference.

8] But as regards genuine adiaphora, or matters of indifference (as explained before), we believe, teach, and confess that such ceremonies, in and of themselves, are no worship of God, nor any part of it, but must be properly distinguished from such as are, as it is written: In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, Matt. 15:9.

9] Therefore we believe, teach, and confess that the congregation of God of every place and every time has, according to its circumstances, the good right, power, and authority [in matters truly adiaphora] to change, to diminish, and to increase them, without thoughtlessness and offense, in an orderly and becoming way, as at any time it may be regarded most profitable, most beneficial, and best for [preserving] good order, [maintaining] Christian discipline [and for eujtaxiva worthy of the profession of the Gospel], and the edification of the Church. Moreover, how we can yield and give way with a good conscience to the weak in faith in such external adiaphora, Paul teaches Rom. 14, and proves it by his example, Acts 16:3; 21:26; 1 Cor. 9:19.

10] We believe, teach, and confess also that at the time of confession [when a confession of the heavenly truth is required], when the enemies of God's Word desire to suppress the pure doctrine of the holy Gospel, the entire congregation of God, yea, every Christian, but especially the ministers of the Word, as the leaders of the congregation of God [as those whom God has appointed to rule His Church], are bound by God's Word to confess freely and openly the [godly] doctrine, and what belongs to the whole of [pure] religion, not only in words, but also in works and with deeds; and that then, in this case, even in such [things truly and of themselves] adiaphora, they must not yield to the adversaries, or permit these [adiaphora] to be forced upon them by their enemies, whether by violence or cunning, to the detriment of the true worship of God and the introduction and sanction of idolatry. 11] For it is written, Gal. 5:1: Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not again entangled in the yoke of bondage. Also Gal. 2:4f : And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage; to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you. 12] [Now it is manifest that in that place Paul speaks concerning circumcision, which at that time had become an adiaphoron (1 Cor. 7:18f.), and which at other occasions was observed by Paul (however, with Christian and spiritual freedom, Acts 16:3). But when the false apostles urged circumcision for establishing their false doctrine, (that the works of the Law were necessary for righteousness and salvation,) and misused it for confirming their error in the minds of men, Paul says that he would not yield even for an hour, in order that the truth of the Gospel might continue unimpaired.]
Book of Concord, Formula of Concord, Adiaphora, Solid Declaration
---

The conflict came from the same kind of justifications when the Emperor forced the Lutherans to accept some aspects of Roman Catholicism, after Luther's death. Why did he do that? The obvious reason - he wanted to get Lutherans back into the fold. Melanchthon, who had many great qualities but not a lot of courage, decided to compromise by saying many of these things were adiaphora. That was a case of using a correct term to justify error.

For example, during the 1980s, the Shrinkers in WELS were always saying, "We cannot read someone's mind and identify motives." The same Shrinkers knew exactly why pastors and laity did not like their Fuller doctrine: "They are lazy. They do not care about the lost. They are threatened. They see a false teacher under every rock. They are jealous." The Shrinkers had an astonishing capacity to read minds and find nothing but evil among Book of Concord Lutherans.

When I laboriously listed the doctrinal errors of WELS leaders and contrasted them to orthodox Lutheran statements in a paper I gave, District VP Schroer phoned me and screamed, "You are judging hearts, and that is a sin!" I said, "No, I am quoting your leaders and comparing their statements to Lutheran doctrine."

Someone is using Bailing Water to promote his CLC (sic) sect. I remember Paul Tiefel using every possible excuse to justify following false teachers, just like his cousin James Tiefel at The Sausage Factory. Yes, people in other denominations are Christians too, but that does not commend their doctrine. Yes, there are questionable hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal, but that does not excuse false doctrine. Some prayers among the Collects might be taken the wrong way, but that is not a reason to promote Reformed or Roman Catholic doctrine.

The sign of the cross is an ancient Christian tradition, a good tradition encouraged by the Book of Concord. Many other practices are being introduced to make it easier to de-sensitize people to Romanism. Some pastors are so bewitched that their friends can leave Lutherdom for Rome or Constantinople, denounce Lutheran doctrine, and still be objects of adoration. Many Missouri pastors are still genuflecting before their Fenton icon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pope John the Malefactor on LutherQuest (sic)



Pope John the Malefactor once bragged about his world travels.



William Kope (Tonto2)
Senior Member
Username: Tonto2

Post Number: 1262
Registered: 12-2004

Posted on Friday, June 26, 2009 - 2:16 pm: Edit Post Delete Post Print Post
>>Isn't this exactly what you yourself have done by forming the ACLC?>>
Rev. Kurtzahn
The ACLC is not a single congregation. There are other small groups such as ELDoNA which is in discussions with ACLC, The Free Lutheran Church in Finland and a small group of Lutherans in Sri Lanka, called the Lanka Lutheran Church. So you can see by that that these small groups are reaching out to other Confessional Lutheran bodies. There is no Lutheran body that is completely orthodox, yet many bodies still strive for orthodoxy. Isn't that what the Church is called to do?


Rev. Stephen Kurtzahn (Hville79)
Member
Username: Hville79

Post Number: 180
Registered: 6-2008

Posted on Friday, June 26, 2009 - 2:46 pm: Edit Post Delete Post Print Post
Mr. Kope: I fully realize the ACLC is not a single congregation. The ACLC may indeed be having free conferences and discussions with other mini-church bodies. The point I was getting at with my last post is this: Pastor Preus criticizes others and makes sarcastic comments about them, while at the same time he's doing the very same thing.


Pr Rolf David Preus (Rolf)
Senior Member
Username: Rolf

Post Number: 3675
Registered: 5-2001

Posted on Friday, June 26, 2009 - 3:03 pm: Edit Post Delete Post Print Post
No, Rev. Kurtzahn, I am not doing the very same thing. None of us in the ACLC left the ELS voluntarily. We were thrown out. We were not thrown out for doctrinal reasons. None of us was given due process.

I was thrown out because I wouldn't recant a paper I had written unless I was shown that it contained errors or false doctrine. The other pastors were thrown out because they told the man who threw me out to repent of his sin and that he could not commune at their altars until he did. It was not our choice, Rev. Kurtzahn.



***

GJ - Pope John the Malefactor extended the Left Foot of Fellowship to many, yet he is still in elected office. That episode proves that voting does not solve any problems. The worst leaders (Gurgle, VP Wayne Mueller) have been voted into office and even voted back in after being voted out (Wayne Mueller).

The solution is not with the right man but with the correct doctrine. The Lutheran Church needs faithful leaders, but a faithful leader cannot accomplish much alone. Others must also apply the Word of God and study the Book of Concord.

The Third Sunday after Trinity



By Norma Boeckler


The Third Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time


The Hymn #292 Lord Jesus Christ 1.2
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 1 Peter 5:6-11
The Gospel Luke 15:1-10
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #436 The Lord’s My Shepherd 1.33

God Pursues the Lost

The Hymn #339 All Hail the Power 1.57
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 #9 O Day of Rest 1.89

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.

God Pursues the Lost

This Gospel passage is famous by itself, and it is also the introduction to the Prodigal Son. So we have three easy-to-remember examples in a cluster:
The first is the lost sheep. Any farmer could identify with that one.
The second is the lost coin. Any woman could place herself in that story.
The third is the lost, prodigal son. Any person could see himself as the Prodigal Son, perhaps as the elder brother. And it reveals to us the nature of our loving heavenly Father, who rejoices in what is found.

We have tender feelings toward our animals. They depend on us, showing us love and affection, especially when they are hungry. They get themselves into trouble in various ways.

The Bible is lavish in comparing our relationship to Christ as that of the Good Shepherd (John 10) caring for the sheep. We are the sheep (Isaiah 53) who have gone astray, and He is the sacrificial, spotless Lamb who has paid the price for our sins. He is both Passover Lamb and the Good Shepherd.

Sheep easily get into trouble. If one heads into the corner of the pen, all the others will line up and crowd into that corner and stay there for a while. We knew a family with a sheep farm, and the son showed us that tendency. Once they were all lined up and pressing into the corner, I tried to get the crowd broken up. The farms kids laughed. They said, “You can’t change their minds right now. Later they will break up.” I could picture four parents saying, “Who did that to the sheep?” But later, they milled around as usual. It was easy to imagine them following each other off a cliff.

We all know animals that can take care of themselves fairly well. I heard about cats that live in luxury in a house, with loving owners. The cats have also tunneled under the fence where a supermarket of mice and other creatures live in a field. It’s hard to imagine a cat being totally dependent, since so many can live on their own if they have to.

Luther had the greatest comparison to remind us of our relationship to Christ, and this little story reminds us of it – He is as anxious for us as we are for Him.

Jesus was accused of welcoming sinners and eating with them. This accusation came in various ways from the Scribes and Pharisees. We should remember that this was historically true but also a hint at problems to come in the visible church.
Jesus attracted huge crowds because they heard and saw something completely different. He spoke with divine authority. He confirmed His divinity with miracles. And He taught that forgiveness came from Him, not from the works we do ourselves.

Those who had no hope for forgiveness from the Scribes and Pharisees were drawn to Jesus. They were open sinners. In other words, everyone knew they were scoundrels. Jesus said, “Righteousness comes from Me, not from your works.” That enraged everyone who trusted in his own goodness, so they hated Jesus and sought to accuse Him this way and that way.

The Lost Sheep addresses God’s attitude toward sinners. Jesus addressed the critics by asking them a question. Who among you would not leave his 99 sheep to look for the lost one?

That would be hard to answer with “I would!”

Now the entire audience is viewing the question of Jesus befriending the sinners in a different way. But there are more details.

Any herd owner search for that sheep until he is found.

Notice how the Enthusiasts turn this around? They want everyone to identify with this parable but they get the basic message wrong. The 99 do not search the woods, the ravines, and the ditches to find their lost companion. The Shepherd does.

How does God pursue the lost? He provides many different ways for people to hear about His gracious love, His mercy, and His forgiveness. Throughout the Scriptures there are hundreds of statements about His desire to forgive, His efforts to provide a Savior for us all.

We do not just have one Means of Grace, but many, if we count them all up.
If you have ever called for a lost animal, you know about this. They do not answer the first call or come on their own. So God pursues us all with many different Means and always in a way that we can understand and trust in His Promises.
Infant baptism is one way in which God draws people into His Kingdom. It is the surest sign of God’s grace and love. Infants have nothing to offer – no works, no money, no merit. They do have the purest trust in God, which is planted within their hearts by the Gospel. As infant believers, everything they do glorifies God, even when they soil their didies or have green stuff coming out their noses.

Enthusiasts jumped on Luther and said, “How can this be? Infants do not have a mature understanding.” Luther responded, “You do, but still you do not believe.”

So Jesus taught repeatedly that we must believe as children to enter the Kingdom. He picked up small children and blessed them to show what He meant. That naturally means that small children, even nursing babies, have faith.

Some are converted as adults, so they are baptized—as Jesus was—because this Sacrament carries with it so many blessings. Are we in His kingdom? We only need to look to our baptism, whether as children or adults.

We have the preaching and teaching of the Gospel as another Means of receiving God’s grace.

Jesus provided, through the apostles, a learned ministry so people would hear the Word of God from men who were well trained in the Scriptures. Jesus taught publicly but also explained more to His apostles. He gathered 500 together before His Ascension and taught them.

Preaching and teaching must be important to God, because that is mostly what Jesus did for three years. He performed miracles to confirm the Word, but most of His time was spent in distributing the Word, like the Parable of the Sower and the Seed.

Holy Communion is another instrument of God’s grace. The hardest work is to focus while listening. Luther commented on how a sermon can fly right past us as we think about other things. One study showed that people think at least 5 times faster than anyone can talk. One distraction can take away an entire audience. I worked for a pastor who had a bat fly above the congregation. No matter what he said, the heads moved around watching that bat. And we think it’s funny when the dog says “Squirrel” in the movie Up. People are just as easily distracted. So Holy Communion gives us the visible Word, which we receive individually. Adult education specialists say, “We should involve the senses in education.” God thought of that a few years ago. It is impossible to ignore what Holy Communion is when we come forward as individuals to receive the body and blood of Christ.

What do Enthusiasts complain about? The Word – they do not trust in the Word alone.

They also rail against the Sacraments. The Enthusiasts do not accept God granting us forgiveness through Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

Lutherans who study with Enthusiasts begin to be embarrassed, so they get rid of the altar and hide the baptismal font.

What happened to the Shepherd leaving ninety and nine in the wilderness, and going after that which is lost, until he find it?

And yet there are more Means of Grace, if we count everything taught in the Book of Concord.

Absolution is definitely God’s instrument, because the announcement of forgiveness to believers is God’s grace.

The mutual consolation of the brothers – that is how people share the Gospel in their daily lives, forgiving and being forgiven.

Ordination is listed as a sacrament once in the Book of Concord. That is naturally part of the preaching and teaching of the Word. Certain men are set aside to preach and teach. Ordination, the laying on of hands, shows that God offers special blessings and responsibilities to those who serve in this capacity.

So Jesus helps us identify with God’s attitude toward us when He says that someone finding a lost sheep will carry it home rejoicing and celebrate with his neighbors. God is far more willing to forgive than we are to repent.

The Parable of the Lost Coin, in just a few words, once again reveals the attitude of God toward us. If only one item is lost, we search the entire home and engage in massive clean-ups to find it. One of my worst episodes was finding the tickets to Disneyland. I searched everywhere and even began cleaning out the filing cabinets finding them. I was ready to confess, on the day of the trip, that they were completely lost, when I sank into my chair near the computer. My eyes fell on the tickets, two feet away. The happiness was overwhelming.

So there is great rejoicing in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and believes in the Gospel.


Quotations

"If the question is put, 'Why did God ordain so many means of grace when one suffices to confer upon the sinner His grace and forgiveness?' we quote the reply of Luther who writes (Smalcald Articles, IV: 'The Gospel not merely in one way gives us counsel and aid against sin, for God is superabundantly rich in His grace. First through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world, which is the peculiar office of the Gospel. Secondly through Baptism. Thirdly through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourthly through the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, Matthew 18:20.'"
John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, 1934, p. 447. SA, IV, Concordia Triglotta, p. 491. Matthew 18:20.

"We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel. Therefore, whatever is to be preached, concerning the Sacraments belongs here, and in short, the whole Gospel and all the offices of Christianity, which also must be preached and taught without ceasing. For although the grace of God is secured through Christ, and sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the Word of God in the unity of the Christian Church, yet on account of our flesh which we bear about with us we are never without sin."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #54, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 417.

"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise: All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc. These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.' For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'﷓﷓He does not say: for all﷓﷓'for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28)
Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 25 p. 375.

"No more splendid work exists than receiving and hearing the Word of God."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 302. Luke 10:38.

More on the Koeplin Essay




Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Koeplin Essay Found! in the Ichabod Archives":

I believe that some who comment on this blog are to Lutheranism what the John Birch Society is to politics. As Birchers find a communist under every stone, some on this blog find a "Church Growther" in every comment that does not come from themselves.

I frequently attended Atonement when I was at the seminary. When Koeplin said that he was trying something "new and different," he was talking about things like singing "All Glory be to God on High" in place of the "Gloria in Excelsis" in TLH page 5 and page 15liturgy. I assume that some bloggers on this site would include Dr. Martin Luther as a raving WELS Lutheran "Church Growther", because as a PC he actually wrote chorales to take the place of liturgical chants -- fool that he was.

Some time ago, I wrote that I thought that the WELS would profit most from an every member visit from July 1 through December 31. Someone ripped me apart as a stark raving liberal who has never spoken out against Church Growth in WELS. I have, in fact, spoken against it with many at the "Love Shack," with district leaders, with my congregations, at conferences, and with those espousing it. I may have even spoke (sic) against it directly with more individual WELS "Church Growthers" than the person who accused me of being complacent. I have also paid what I consider rather high prices for my comments against Church Growth.

I certainly agree that Church Growth is a major, if not the number one, issue in WELS. I am not at all in disagreement with Ichabod and I enjoy the clever way Ichabod presents the issue. However, I do take exception when people who are on the right side and who have been addressing the right people are accused of complacency and "aiding and abetting" the Church Growth movement in WELS by people who are reading more into statements than is really there.

I believe that all bloggers need to be careful not to read all blogs through Church Growth sunglasses. It makes you sound foolish and extreme, when you want to sound wise and level-headed as we face root out this error.

***

GJ - If you want a John Bircher, email James Heiser, Archbishop of ELDONA. He is a trainer and recruiter for the JBS. But - shhh - it's a secret. Everything is a secret in ELDONA.

I thought your idea about an every member visitation was a good idea (assuming it is done correctly). I can imagine a lot of pastors resisting the work. They should look at what they are doing that is really important. I can only think of: preaching original sermons, teaching the Word, and visitation.

I vicared with an old fashioned pastor who believed in constant visitation in homes, hospitals, and nursing homes. I always visited a lot and I thought it was essential pastoral work.

Your comments were terribly general. Someone may disagree and sound fairly caustic, but that is part of anonymous blogging. You should see what I delete every day. It is good not to take a few remarks in the wrong way. Calling the others "John Birchers" is a logical fallacy. It is better to identify a specific remark and explain why it may be wrong.

I teach online at two universities. Feelings are often hurt because of the nature of the medium, almost anonymous. Blogging is similar.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Welcome Dan at Necessary Roughness


I added Necessary Roughness to my blog list. He updates fairly often and participates at Bailing Water.

More Lutheran Heroes



And by proxy, the CLC (sic)


Someone has been trying to promote the Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic) as an alternative to WELS, the Little Sect, and Missouri.

I won't let those comments through because the CLC is worse than the rest, always praising themselves while aping the Shrinkers in the larger groups. The more influential pastors are Paul Tiefel (cousin of James) and David Koenig. Both of them attack anyone who questions the Shrinkers in Lutherdom. As Dale Redlin said about both men, "They constantly have doctrinal problems, and they never listen to anyone."

David Koenig devoted an hour service (all sermon - nothing else) to a rant saying that Lutherans are wrong about evangelism. The Catholics and Reformed to it right. So the CLC (sic) made him a world missionary again. There may be a few Lutheran members among the legalists in that sect, but the pastors are anything but, and they are even more spineless than the garden variety.

Steve Kurtzahn is a hoot. He was CLC and is now WELS. He likes to comment on LutherQuest (sic) about the superiority of WELS. I think his congregation has issued a "divine call" to everyone in the parish except the church mice.

As regular readers recall, Koenig asked Valleskey if the Sausage Factory president really did go to Fuller Seminary. Valleskey had denied it to my face, but he admitted it to Koenig. Poor Dave leaves no thought unrecorded, so he sent one of his ferocious letters to me, including that fact. When I published this information, Koenig went ballistic on me. Apparently Valleskey was not at all happy with the leakage.

Plagiarism and the Emerging Church, Becoming Missional?
What A Shock!



The current heroes of Lutherdom are featured on this graphic. Missing are: Josh McDowell, Waldo Werning, Kent Hunter, Robert Schuller, and a few others.




MacArthur: The Emergent Church is a Form of Paganism

Paul Edwards (On Crosswalk.com - oddly enough)

"The Paul Edwards Program," WLQV Detroit

Paul Edwards, host of “The Paul Edwards Program” on WLQV in Detroit, interviewed pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church John MacArthur about the emerging church movement in America. Paul begins the interview by asking Pastor John to respond to a radio interview with prominent emerging church leader Doug Pagitt. In the clip from October 22, 2007, Pagitt denied that there is a place of eternal conscious torment for persons who die apart from faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul Edwards: Help me with this—the emerging church prides itself on conversation, having a conversation, so let’s have a conversation. How can you have a conversation with someone, when you’re not even speaking the same language?

John MacArthur: Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism.

I think you know it’s most helpful, Paul, to go back and kind of recast how we view these people. He’s not a pastor; he’s not a Christian; that’s not a church. When you call yourself a Christian and you call yourself a pastor and you say you have a church, all of that has to be—to be legitimate—defined biblically. And if it’s not, that’s not a church and you’re not a pastor and you’re not even a Christian.

What you have here is a form of false religion … A form of paganism that basically wants to be thought of as Christian because it gains a certain ground. But the underlying bottom line of this whole emerging movement is they don’t believe in any doctrine, they don’t believe in any theology. They don’t want to be forced to interpret anything in scripture a certain way and the out is, “Well the Bible isn’t clear anyway.” In other words, we don’t know what it means; we can’t know what it means.

Brian McLaren says nobody has ever gotten it right—we haven’t got it right now—so let’s not make an issue out of anything. Let’s just be open to everything. Let’s not take a position on theology, or for that matter, on morality or behavior because, hey, there’s no judgment anyway so we’re all going to end up in God in some ethereal, eternal relationship. And that’s just non-Christian. It is blatantly, flagrantly non-Christian. It’s as non-Christian as any false religion.

Edwards: [When “Emergents” and many seeker-sensitive church advocates say “We do church a certain way,”] it seems to me that they do it by totally ignoring the book of Acts and the Epistles.

MacArthur: I’m going to seem anachronistic if not an outright dinosaur at this point. I believe the church has one function, and that is to guard the truth, to proclaim the truth and to live the truth. So you take the Word of God, you teach it, you proclaim it, you protect it, you defend it, and you live it, and that’s a church. The Word of God rightly divided, rightly understood.

That’s not the idea in a seeker church; that’s not the idea certainly in an emerging church. Everything becomes style and contextualization and everything is built around the manipulation of people’s hot buttons as if we were selling a product like any other product in our culture. This fails to understand that the only real power in the spiritual realm is Divine and that God works His power through His truth, and that’s all that matters.

I think the illusion of success is created by crowds. You’ve probably heard recently that Bill Hybels, who is the guru of the seeker movement, has openly confessed that they did a big survey and found they’ve been doing it wrong.

Edwards: “We made a mistake,” he said.

MacArthur: Yes, we made a mistake. And so, the solution is—one of the lines in the statement was—we gotta get a blank piece of paper and start all over again. That’s exactly the problem. Why do you want a blank piece of paper when you have all kinds of paper full with the Word of God?

Edwards: Right.

MacArthur: If you want a biblical mandate and you want to do ministry biblically, you teach and preach the Word. I don’t think it matters whether you have smoke and mirrors. I don’t think it matters whether you wear a tie, or don’t wear a tie, whether you wear a black T-shirt and holes in your knees or a blue suit. (I think there are reasons to go with the suit rather the grunge approach—of dignity, respect, sober mindedness, seriousness, loftiness, etc, etc.)

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that we proclaim the Word of God. Look, I’ve been doing this for so long, and I haven’t changed anything. Contexts come, contexts go; fads come, fads go; styles come, styles go. I just keep doing the same thing. We show up on Sunday morning, we sing a little bit, we pray, we open the Word of God and explain His meaning to the people. The people just keep coming and coming and what I say goes around the world, on radio, and then it gets transferred into 50 languages and books and commentaries because [the Word] knows no boundaries. It knows no cultural restraint, because the Word of God is transcendent.

Edwards: One of the things I get most frustrated about is whenever people like you who are standing for truth point out the error both in the emergent church and in the seeker movement people will immediately run to 1 Corinthians 9 and begin screaming, “You know Paul said, ‘I became all things to all men,’ which means to the grunge I become as grunge, to the Universalist I become as a Universalist.” But in 1 Corinthians 9 Paul isn’t saying that we compromise the message and we become whatever the audience needs us to be in order to make the gospel palatable.

MacArthur: Well, of course not. All he is saying is there’s a foundation in the proclamation of the gospel with the Jew and there’s a different starting point with the Gentile. If I’m going to evangelize a Jew, I’m going to start with the Old Testament because that’s the substantial basis. So every time the Apostle Paul preached to the Jews he started with the Scripture—the Old Testament Scripture. Every time he evangelized Gentiles he started with creation. For example, in Acts 14 and Acts 17 he talks about the unknown God. Who is the unknown God? He’s the God who made everything—that was the foundation.

All he is saying in 1 Corinthians 9 is you must understand the starting point of your audience and here’s the point: ideologically. In other words, how do they think ideologically, philosophically, religiously? What are the ideas, the theories, the viewpoints that they hold? It’s not about identifying with their lifestyle; it’s not about being able to converse about every episode of South Park, every R-rated movie and every Rap song—that’s not it at all.

How do people think religiously, how do they perceive truth?—those are the starting points that Paul was establishing. That’s a far cry from saying that to reach this generation we must do their music, we must dress the way they dress, we must live the way they live, we must be familiar with the baser components of their culture. That’s a million miles from what the Apostle Paul had in mind. He was talking about those things that controlled their thought process and their worldview.

Paul Edwards: Help me with this—the emerging church prides itself on conversation, having a conversation, so let’s have a conversation. How can you have a conversation with someone, when you’re not even speaking the same language?

John MacArthur: Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism.

I think you know it’s most helpful, Paul, to go back and kind of recast how we view these people. He’s not a pastor; he’s not a Christian; that’s not a church. When you call yourself a Christian and you call yourself a pastor and you say you have a church, all of that has to be—to be legitimate—defined biblically. And if it’s not, that’s not a church and you’re not a pastor and you’re not even a Christian.

What you have here is a form of false religion … A form of paganism that basically wants to be thought of as Christian because it gains a certain ground. But the underlying bottom line of this whole emerging movement is they don’t believe in any doctrine, they don’t believe in any theology. They don’t want to be forced to interpret anything in scripture a certain way and the out is, “Well the Bible isn’t clear anyway.” In other words, we don’t know what it means; we can’t know what it means.

Brian McLaren says nobody has ever gotten it right—we haven’t got it right now—so let’s not make an issue out of anything. Let’s just be open to everything. Let’s not take a position on theology, or for that matter, on morality or behavior because, hey, there’s no judgment anyway so we’re all going to end up in God in some ethereal, eternal relationship. And that’s just non-Christian. It is blatantly, flagrantly non-Christian. It’s as non-Christian as any false religion.

Edwards: [When “Emergents” and many seeker-sensitive church advocates say “We do church a certain way,”] it seems to me that they do it by totally ignoring the book of Acts and the Epistles.


Paul Edwards is the host of The Paul Edwards Program, a columnist and pastor. His program is heard daily on WLQV in Detroit and on godandculture.com. Contact him at paul@godandculture.com.

***

GJ - I want to steal a march on Brett Meyer and post the obvious - Universal Objective Justification is an ideal doctrinal partner with Church Growth and implicit Universalism.

One WELS DP denied to me that WELS has ever taught Universalism, but I mentioned the "evangelism" campaign with posters that read, for all the world to see, "You are saved, just like me." Everyone is saved = Universalism.

Everyone is forgiven, without the World, without the Means of Grace, without faith - that is the UOJ message and the basic content of Universalism.

Teaching grace (forgiveness) apart from the Means of Grace is Enthusiasm.

The WELS, Missouri, and ELS leaders cannot defeat the Schwaermer Shrinkers because they are also Enthusiasts, as long as they cling to UOJ.

Memo to Church and Chicanery - It's Not Working for the Babtists Either






The Christian Post

Southern Baptist Head: We Have a Vision Problem
By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Jun. 23 2009 06:02 PM EDT

Southern Baptist president Johnny Hunt delivered an impassioned and fiery message to fellow Baptist leaders on Tuesday, imploring them to get out of the lukewarm state found in many of America's pulpits.

Related
* So. Baptists Now a 'Declining Denomination'
* So. Baptists Seek Great Commission Resurgence
* Southern Baptists Convene to 'Love Loud'

Referring to the recent national spelling bee word that had puzzled many, Hunt said, "America has not heard of the word 'laodicean' but I'm afraid that the Church has not perceived it."

His address during the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., was a challenge to a denomination that has begun to see decline in membership.

"How do you feel you're doing?" Hunt posed. "How do you feel the Southern Baptist Convention is doing?"

According to statistics recently released by LifeWay Research – the research arm of the SBC – Southern Baptist membership will fall nearly 50 percent to around 8.7 million by the year 2050 if the current trend continues.

Membership dipped by 0.2 percent in 2008. While losses only began in 2007 after years of growth, Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay, said the rate of increase had been declining by 0.06 percent every year.

Titling his message "The State of the Southern Baptist Convention from Where I Sit," Hunt cited a passage from Revelation and indicated that many have become apathetic, indifferent and have lost enthusiasm.

"You can walk to the pulpit, you can lead the music, you can teach a Sunday School class and the attitude is 'I've been there and I've done that.' There's no tear in your eye, there's no fire in your soul, and there's no anticipation after delivery," he said.

"You can get to the point [where] you're so strong you can get up, read through your devotion, have this brief prayer and go. We become professionals. We know how to do it," Hunt added, lamenting how many have lost their dependence on the grace and Holy Spirit of God.

One of the greatest needs of the pulpits of America, he pointed out, is "more emulation of the truth of almighty God to match the exhortation of the proclamation of almighty God's word."

Southern Baptists this week will consider adopting the Great Commission Resurgence declaration, which reaffirms core Christian doctrines and aims to renew a passion for evangelism and church planting in America.

But Hunt is not concerned with simply adopting a document. After all, talk is cheap, he said.

What he's concerned with is seeing true commitment among Southern Baptists to the Great Commission Resurgence.

"I really do believe we need revival in the Southern Baptist Convention," said Hunt.

Revival, he indicated, must first happen in the more than 43,000 Southern Baptist pulpits in America.

"If God were to break the hearts of us, the pastors, and we would ... realize out there in those pews there's gold in them there pews! It's amazing how God's people will rise up and take a challenge," he highlighted. "They're not looking for a program to follow. They're looking for a vision to embrace."

He stressed that they don't have a money problem, for God has been good to them. "We have a vision problem," he said.

"God help us to get a vision of the lostness of the world," said Hunt, who is still convinced that the Gospel will be "taken and penetrate the lostness and the darkness of all nations" in his lifetime.

Hunt was re-elected for a second, one-year term as president of the SBC – the largest Protestant denomination in the country.



---

A good read - click here
.


Rick Warren, on the far left, tries to distance himself from Robert Schuller now. (Sound familiar?) Ed Stetzer, on the right, is the fox in the hen house, doing "research" for the Southern Baptists while selling his goods to the Southern Babtists and anyone else who will listen - WELS, Missouri, the mini-synods and micro-mini-sects.

Both men seem to be reading the details of the Kirstie Alley diet.

Excellence in Smokescrees - WELS Church and Change




http://www.shepherdofthebay.com/Assimilation/Resources/4-Excellence%20in%20Worship.pdf

One of the crypto-phrases used by Church and Change is "excellence in worship."

James Huebner, trained at Fuller, Second Synod Veep, uses the same phrase on his church website.

Friday, June 26, 2009

WELS Rock Concert - Minnesota - Where Else?




Churches plan outdoor service, rock concert

By Herald staff (Contact) | Austin Daily Herald

Published Friday, June 26, 2009

The Joint Communications Team from Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (WELS), located just north of South Grove Park and Trinity Lutheran Church (WELS), north of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort on County Road 20, have some summer activities planned.

On Sunday, they will be having a joint outdoor service at Trinity. Pastor David Fleischmann will have a Bible study at 9:15 a.m., followed by the outdoor service. The joint service will start at 10 a.m. Hot dogs and beverages will be provided. Members are encouraged to bring a picnic type hot dish or dessert to go along with the picnic.

If you are not able to bring anything ,you are still encouraged to stay and eat as there will be plenty of food. The joint service will help with fellowship and welcome summer.

The service is also a reminder that service times will be switching the first Sunday in July. Beautiful Savior will have a 9 a.m. service and Trinity will have a 10:45 a.m. service. This is following the long tradition of switching service time for a one year period starting with the first Sunday in July.

In July, the church is sponsoring a float in the Austin Fourth of July parade. Members interested in participating should let one of the Joint Communications Team members know. They will be using the same theme as in the joint week of Vacation Bible School in July, “Soaring High with Christ.” This will start on Sunday, July 12 and will go through Thursday, July 16. This summer, Bible study for young children to adults will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Let Pastor Fleischmann know if you are able to assist with this program.

There will also be a light meal served at 6 p.m. before the start each evening. Volunteers are needed to help with meals. Let a Communications Team member or pastor know if you can assist.

The church is sponsoring a concert with Wendy Sue at the Paramount on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 2 p.m. Sue is a well-known Christian rock musician. She performed in Austin a few years ago. The performance is free.

The church will have its second outdoor theater night Sunday Aug. 23 with ice cream sundaes prior to the show and popcorn and pop available during the movie. The movie will be “The Reluctant Astronaut” and will show as soon as it is dark enough, approximately 8:45 p.m. Last year’s movie-goers were treated with a live animal show as several deer were walking on our church yard prior to the movie.

Call Greg Larson or Gordy Handeland with questions.

***

GJ - This is called hitting all the buttons. Get the aging Boomers with Rock N Roll, the kids with live deer. Memo to marketing director - "Need live deer at church...yesterday!"

JR (Ewing?) pointed out this is Austin, Minnesota.

Showdown at the WELS Convention


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Pastor Rick Avoids the Real Isssue - Again":

There needs to be a showdown at next month's convention. Either all WELS members are aware of the Church Growth situation and agree to stay and sway to the music, or it gets cut out 100% and we start over. Let the chips fall where they may. Church Growth will be a deal breaker for our family's involvment with the WELS.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pastor Rick Avoids the Real Isssue - Again



Stetzer loses another diciple (sic). See graphic below.


Pastor Rick Johnson, in Corona, California, got his Geneva gown in a bunch because I posted a typo on Bailing Water.

First, Bailing Water posted the Open Letter, which I also published.

Second, Rick Johnson offered a typical Church and Change rebuttal, attacking the author for being anonymous, for being "too general," etc. Sanctimoniously, he signed his name (for once), as if that made his response credible. The Shrinkers have always used the same method. They avoid the issue of false doctrine because they hate Lutheran doctrine. They change the subject and cloak their agenda.

Third, I posted a quick response, identifying Rick as a Shrinker and Leonard Sweet-heart.

Rick follows the old lawyer's trick: "If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you don't have either on your side, pound the table."

Rick is a table-pounder, just like the rest of the Changers. He belongs to the secretive cabal that has controlled the finances and agenda of "conservative" Lutherans for decades.

Doctrine - not on his side.

The facts - let's avoid what the Changers have done and spent.

The Changers are offended that people have not held their hands and explained their sins to them (Matthew 18). Of course, when people did exactly that to Kelm, he wrote he would not discuss Leonard Sweet at all.

The Changers are offended that someone would write without his real name. About 100% of the attempted rebuttals on Ichabod are anonymous. A number of them are too obscene and crude to reproduce, even with the words deleted.

Rick and Company enjoy seeing names so they can activate the Changer Slander Machine, the same one which labeled Koeplin, a senior pastor, "brain-damaged" for criticizing Church Growth and amalgamation. The same Changer Slander Machine labeled the former seminary president as "senile" for opposing amalgamation.

When I revealed that Rick was a Sweet-heart with offerings deep in the red, he erased the facts he published and began yelping about his public blog being quoted. He forgot to mention that he erased his slobbering reference to Sweet. Table pounding.

The Shrinkers are terrified now. The laity and pastors can see what Mischke-Gurgle-Patterson-Mueller did to WELS. (Yes, I know how to spell Gurgel. Just having fun with a name.) I hope the Shrinkers keep shrieking like little girls who just saw a spider. People can see them for what they are - insubordinate, dishonest, lazy false teachers. They are clouds without rain, belly servers, wolves wearing the finest fleece (bought with synod subsidies).

Paul warned about wolves from within and without. The Changers are the wolves within.



The agenda of the Shrinkers is charted by Babtist Ed Stetzer - Make diciples, because diciples bring in more sheep to be shorn.
Believing this relieves WELS pastors from writing their own sermons, visiting their members, and studying the Book of Concord.
Leonard is so much Sweeter, and he is FB friends with Stezers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Advising the Financial Advisor



Beatings by walker?
Retirees get revenge
Posted Jun 24 2009, 01:26 PM by Kim Peterson

Image credit: © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia CommonsRetirees in Germany were so upset with their financial adviser that they ambushed him outside his home and beat him with their walkers, the adviser claims. Then they taped his mouth closed and hauled him into a car.

"It took them quite a while because they ran out of breath," the financial adviser, James Amburn, told the U.K.'s Daily Mail. The kidnappers ranged in age from 60 to 74.

Amburn said they eventually got him to a house, where they chained and tortured him for four days. Two retired doctors also reportedly participated.

Amburn said the group chained him, burned him with cigarettes, broke two of his ribs and talked repeatedly about their money. Apparently, they had invested in properties in Florida and lost it all.

"I told them what I had told them before, that due to market conditions, unfortunately it was gone," he told the Daily Mail.

This story -- as Amburn tells it -- just gets crazier. He convinced the group to let him send a fax to a Swiss bank asking for a money transfer, but he wrote a secret message on the fax asking for police help. Then he escaped, only to be chased down the street in a car by his elderly captors. They grabbed him and dragged him back to the house.

Finally, 40 German special commandos stormed the house. They brought a doctor to help the captors into police vans because of their infirmities, the Daily Mail reports.

Freddy Finkelstein Has a Blog


http://freddyfinkelstein.blogspot.com/

Deutschlander on Issues Etc.



The book.



Professor Daniel Deutschlander.


Click here for Issues Etc.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Koeplin Essay Found! in the Ichabod Archives




Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Corky Koeplin Essay":

I grew up at Atonement and fondly recall Pastor Koeplin. I would love to read this essay if anyone can find the text somehwere. It shocks and saddens me that synod leaders would try to discredit this essay by claiming he was "brain damaged" when he wrote this - but I suppose it's easy to pick on dead men, what with them not being able to answer back and all.

***

Here is the text of the paper - Click here.

Note that the essay text is now at the top of the convention information.



---


Anonymous
has left a new comment on your post "Koeplin Essay Found! in the Ichabod Archives":

Corky's paper should be on the convention agenda.

***

GJ - I went to a WELS convention some years after I sent the Koeplin essay to Christian News for publication. Someone had removed the cover letter on top which said, "For circulation among the brothers only."

The convention began with a solemn declaration that no one could publish anything about the convention unless that individual had permission from the synod. Later, one pastor said to me, "Did you hear that announcement? That was because someone leaked the Koeplin essay to Christian News."

I said, "I know someone leaked it. I did."

"You did?"

Twitters, blogs, and email mean that this kind of information reaches people quickly. But people have to make an effort to stay informed.

Ski's Mentor Does the Worm




Way cool and totally awesome, dude!

Yeah, Craig Groeschel is the man.

I’m pretty sure that you’ll be able to see and experience much more than this at Catalyst’s 10 Year Anniversary gathering in October.

Get your tickets early because unlike Craig’s obviously unlimited breakdancing talent, the tickets to Catalyst aren’t


---

This video of Craig Groeschel contains the one quote that I have not only come to love but has been one of the driving forces behind what I do through and for online ministry:

“To reach people that no one is reaching you have to do things that no one is doing.”


I feel that for the first time in my life I’ve done the “planned abandonment” and discovered the “assignment” that God has given for me to do. Thus, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

Thanks Craig for your words. The impact has been huge.

Victory of the Lamb Facebook




Victory of the Lamb

Who Is Minding the Store? - At The CORE?



Leave the flopsweat drainpumps on max,
but turn off the lights and the popcorn machine.


Bishop Katie:

Headed to Iowa for a little baseball and a couple days away from a-town.
7:07 AM Jun 22nd from Tweetie. Field of Dreams?

Pastor Ski emerged from total Twitter silence to post this alarming message:

On our way 2 Dyersville, IA - Field of Dreams. Nice detour on the way 2 Clinton, IA 4 the Midwest All-Star game. about 22 hours ago from TweetDeck.

***

Verified, via the Internet, a lot of trips for this hard-working team of Shrinkers, Ski and Katie:

  • Training at Drive 08 - Ski, Buske, Parlow and others. Katie was not mentioned.
  • Training at Catalyst, with Stanley and Groeschel. Katie was not mentioned.
  • Joint training at Granger Community Church. Former St. Marcus member Tweeted about seeing them there. St. Marcus member is now a Granger member. Awwww.
  • Joint training at Drive 09, with 7 additional WELS pastors.
  • Joint training at Seattle, with Glende in attendance, soon after Drive 09.
  • Field of Dreams - for baseball, to relax from all the conferences.

    ---

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Who Is Minding the Store? - At The CORE?":

    The dot.com website builders had the same motto: "if you build it, they will come." Most of them went out of business during the dot.com collapse. The synod building mania is going down the same road. Oh, well, they have a lot of offerings to squander.


  • Worship Is Not a Means of Grace--Explained



    The cradle roll has become Rock N Roll at Christ the Rock, Texas.
    Their children are Little Rockers. Next - recruiting for the KISS Army.


    The Open Letter to WELS has a statement that may puzzle some, as it did me:

    "Worship is not a Means of Grace."

    Many WELS members have not heard the term Means of Grace for 20 years, unless they stumbled upon my websites. Now worship is not?

    I did some questioning for clarification, and the answers were satisfying. The authors drew upon a pastor saying this, meaning - and this is important -

    Worship is not an event for recruiting new members.


    Following is my explanation and why this distinction is crucial.

    Calvin, following Zwingli, declared that the Holy Spirit operates independently from the Word and Sacraments. That is what Luther and the Book of Concord editors called Enthusiasm - the foundation for all doctrinal error. For example, the LCMS pastors leaving Missouri for Rome or Constantinople are just leaving one Enthusiasm franchise for another.

    Because the Church Growth gurus are all trained in some form of Calvinism, whether Double Dutch TULIP or watered down Arminian, Baptist or Babtist, not one of them believes in the efficacy of the Word. The Holy Spirit works independently of the Word, as they imagine, so they must make the Word effective, germane, and attractive to others.

    Thus every service is an attempt to apply man's wisdom to make the dead, lifeless Word of God become real, relevant, and relational (Ski channeling Groeschel).

    Thus the WELS Friendship Service parroted Fuller Seminary, and Valleskey urged his loyal followers not to use the Biblical, Aaronic blessing.

    Nothing should turn off unchurched Harry, as Willow Creek's Hybels solemnly declared, and WELS paid people to learn from the Obi-Wan of Chicago. So WELS pastors began posting a notice in their bulletins that "We don't expect visitors to donate to the offering." The same bulletin often marketed Thrivent insurance.

    The Rock N Roll services at St. Marcus (Milwaukee), St. Mark (Depere, WI), and Round Rock (TX) are all affirmations of Calvinist doctrine. The Word is dead by itself, so they must goose it up with exciting music.

    The Sacraments? Sunday is for recruiting, so the altar and baptismal font are replaced by a performance stage. I heard Hybels tongue-lash his Sunday audience for not showing up for the real worship service on Wednesday, when they offer communion. (I know - not the real thing - but their version - a memorial meal, symbolic, an ordinance.) So Ski was excited that his movie theatre was getting a performance stage.

    Why do the Church and Change pastors used plagiarized sermons from false teachers? The false teachers like Groeschel, Stanley, and Driscoll know how to market themselves to those nominal members who hate church and love entertainment. Almost all the CG membership comes from other churches. It is not skimming the cream, but skimming the skimmed milk. Nevertheless, the effect is to adulterate and diminish the Word in all congregations. The contagion spreads.

    ---

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Worship Is Not a Means of Grace--Explained":

    This explanation is a great way to explain the difference between the "Church and Changers" in the WELS and the liturgical Lutherans in the WELS. Just how they see Sunday worship is so different that there actually is a "different spirit". My husband is a WELS pastor and he and I will be teaching our children who are close to being on their own how to look for a church since you no longer can just look for the WELS affiliation. We will look on the Evangelical-Lutheran Liturgical Congregations website. (The ELLC directory.)This is more helpful than which synod the church belongs to. Sorry, WELS, you really blew it as a synod.

    ***

    GJ - That's nothing. One WELS pastor told his congregation, "If you move to a town without a WELS church, join a Baptist church." This WELS pastor was Church Growthy. When his comment got back to him, he denied saying it.

    When Ski and Katie were at Granger Community Church for more training--they leave town a lot--they met a former member of St. Marcus, who had joined GCC. Ain't that cute? So WELS has done a great job of training members and pastors to leave Lutheran doctrine and worship altogether. St. Marcus seems to be central in this effort, and WELS promotes LutheranTime of Grace twice on its WELS.net website.