The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Roman Catholic Endorses WELS School


Septuagesima Sunday

Norma Boeckler

Septuagesima Sunday

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn #479 Zion Rise 2:13
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
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 151 Christ the Life 2:78

Fairness or Grace, Law or Gospel

The Hymn # 227 Come Holy Ghost 2:72
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 #409 Let Us Ever Walk 2:91

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

KJV Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Septuagesima Sunday
Lord God, heavenly Father, who through Thy holy word hast called us into Thy vineyard: Send, we beseech Thee, Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we may labor faithfully in Thy vineyard, shun sin and all offense, obediently keep Thy word and do Thy will, and put our whole and only trust in Thy grace, which Thou hast bestowed upon us so plenteously through Thy Son Jesus Christ, that we may obtain eternal salvation through Him, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Fairness or Grace, Law or Gospel
This parable illustrates an important concept in the Christian faith. While we think normally in terms of Law, the Gospel teaches grace.

The parable is stated in the plainest terms, but many who heard the parables did not comprehend what was said. Jesus taught them privately. In the body of the New Testament we have the explanations and parallel passages we need to understand the more difficult passages.

This parable is plain to the believer, but the Old Adam resists. The Old Adam enjoys righteousness through the Law, whether Old Testament ritual law or civil righteousness.
Paul took care of both in Romans, which we are studying today. No one is righteousness through the Law, however Law is interpreted.

The story is clear enough. A man hired workers during the day, to work in his vineyard. We can see that this symbolizes God and those in the church (the vineyard). The first hired were promised a penny a day. That was before the Minimum Wage Law. Others were hired later in the day, promised whatever was right as their pay.

The conflict came because the last hired were paid a penny, even though they worked only a short time. Everyone else also received a penny, but they thought they would receive multiples of a penny, since they worked many more hours.

11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

The same man who hired them gave them their pay, and he responded.

13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

The problem is from people converting the Gospel into Law. As children always say, “That’s not fair.”

One student failed his class by not doing his weekly assignments. He asked for another chance once the class was over and his financial aid was in jeopardy. He submitted his work and received a passing grade. His response was, “That’s not fair. I wanted a higher grade. I did all my work.”

When parents deal with their children, the “not fair” complaint is common. Kids measure the size of dessert, who got privileges, who sat by the window, and all kinds of other things. We were regular Pharisees at our home, always talking about our own virtues and the unfairness of favorable treatment of our siblings. Children have trouble with their parents treating the other children differently because of a variety of factors. A child’s concept of “fair” can be remarkably self-centered.

Some children have special needs. Others have special talents. Parents are always in training, so they start out with certain objectives and modify them as they are blessed with more children. They expect the most out of the first-born children and only children, so those children grow up to be pilots, CPAs, and architects.

In contrast, parents relax quite a bit when the baby of the family arrives. Everything the baby does is cute. The baby is always funny and entertaining. So typical babies become entertainers and salespeople.

Middle children are the most ignored, so they end up with different characteristics too. This is part of God’s design to build society through the lessons learned in the family.

In the church, this parable applies to all believers. The ending shows that God’s doctrine, being different from man’s opinion, caused many to fall away – Many are invited but few are elect. The Gospel calls many but few remain steadfast in the Gospel.

Murmuring against the Gospel is common. When God promises grace, that grace cannot be turned into law and remain grace.

God’s grace means His favor, which is undeserved and unearned our part. The message of the Gospel is that Christ earned this favor and bestowed it on us through the Gospel promises.

I was re-reading Lenski today. In his Romans commentary he wrote about Luther’s discovery of grace. Luther labored under the concept of earning God’s favor. When he was turned into a professor of Scripture, he saw that the entire Bible taught something different from what he learned as a Medieval monk.

Luther learned to earn God’s favor by depriving himself, enduring long vigils of prayer, and confessing his sins endlessly. His spiritual advisor said, “You do not love God. You hate him.” Luther grew to realize that in making Christ a fearsome and condemning judge, he led a spiritual life of resentment and anxious works.

When people talk about the god they reject, they often give this away. “I do not believe in a god who…” Their hatred and resentment comes from a concept of their own righteousness.

When Luther discovered justification by faith for himself, he felt set free from the law condemnation he had lived under. He did more than teach justification by faith. He also condemned:
· justification by works,
· paying money for forgiveness,
· and the entire structure of Medieval righteousness.

He let the Word attack the papacy, and the beast was mortally wounded from that time on. Luther would have been tolerated, even praised for teaching the Gospel by itself. What they could not abide was his attack on false doctrine, which threatened the entire financial structure of Medieval society. The churches, hotels, saloons, and relic museums all depended on the pilgrimage money from anxious believers, moving from place to place to earn forgiveness. The monasteries and nunneries were filled with people working for their salvation, hoping to reduce time in Purgatory for their friends and family.

One response to Luther was – That is not fair. How can the repentant murderer receive God’s grace on the scaffold, the same as the monk laboring for 50 years?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thrivent - Just Gathering Money for ELCA To Spend on Their Agenda

"Application denied, dearie."

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Government Subsidies for WELS Schools":

Talking about taking money from Thrivent and its forbears (as was noted in other posts on this blog), now Thrivent is going to a checklist system similar to United Way's. Not only is the Boys Scout troops (affiliated with LCMS congregations) off the list, but reportedly synodical schools and local churches will not be listed. In other words, only liberal-approved causes are on the list. Just how liberal? One of the Thrivent board members is a lesbian. Notice how they get all the conservative on board, and then they tilt the program liberal, depowering and defunding conservative groups.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Thrivent - Just Gathering Money for ELCA To Spend ...":

It is time to turn Thrivent from a "fraternal" organization into an insurance company. Let them pay taxes like any other insurance company. At least the federal budget funds some things conservatives agree with, even under the Obama regime.


GJ - Thrivent has played WELS-ELS-LCMS for suckers, making their company seem like a service to conservative Lutherans when so many premium dollars are drained away to fund Habitat For Humanity and ELCA.

Thrivent could become a mutual company and share its profits with the mutual policy holders. There are tax advantages for a mutual company as well.

Thrivent has become the corrupting leaven which leavens the entire lump.

Government Subsidies for WELS Schools

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Money for Kelm, Not To Finish Degrees":

Hi Jim Becker WELS,

I'll tell you exactly why the WELS is getting into pre-school. Ever hear of state-funded 4-year-old Kindergarten and state-fund childcare? Here's how it works. The state pays for 4th grade Kindergarten in many place regardless of parental income, and they allow for an optional devotional time that parents can opt their children out of.

In addition, there's a pool of children/parents that qualify for childcare/pre-school based on low income.

Similarly, but for older students, the WELS has several school-choice "charter" schools such as Jeske's St. Marcus school, in the vicinity of failing public schools.

The thing to watch out for is whether the state pays enough, because otherwise these schools can become a drain on church resources if the church or some religious foundation(s) have to kick in a thousand dollars per student, as is the case in Milwaukee WELS school choice schools. That's what's occurring in Jeskeland.


California Lutheran Orphan has left a new comment on your post "Government Subsidies for WELS Schools":

So what else is new? Government money for WELS schools was a big issue way back in the 70's when when WELS' lay members' protests resulted in expulsions in Milwaukee area, and one of several reasons for termination of this California Lutheran Orphan who agreed with the protesters who were labeled the "Milwaukee Nine". WELS statment of doctrine at the time stated."We reject any attempt on the part of the Church to seek the financial assistance of the state in carrying out its saving purpose". (THIS WE BELIEVE pg.23) When it was pointed out that it was understood that WELS schools existed for the church's saving purpose, government grants were defended with WELS leaders saying that the school didn't "seek" the government grants, they were "offered" to them. The more things change the more they stay the same.


GJ - The same thing happened with insurance money and joint meetings with ELCA and Missouri (Snowbird). WELS engaged in one religious activity after another with the other four-letter synods because the money was thrown at them. If they did not spend it, someone else would. Didn't want all that loot going to those nasty, unionistic liberals! QED - all AAL-LB-Thrivent programs were good, wholesome, and anointed by the Holy Spirit.

My favorite of all the lies told was the denial of working with ELCA on the Joy radio show. When ELCA put out their news release on the first joint project with Missouri and WELS, the Wisconsin Synod said ELCA was lying. (Sound familiar? It does to me.) So I followed Matthew 18 and phoned the ELCA person named. He was shocked because "Barber was at all the meetings." The ELCA official asked, "Do you believe me?"

Mischke sent a letter saying it was not true but that WELS was called in as consultants. Does that sound like GA, alumni of the Sausage Factory? It was not true but it was true in the way they said it was true, in a limited, ambiguous but purely innocent way.


Jim Becker WELS has left a new comment on your post "Government Subsidies for WELS Schools":

When I posted concerning my comments to WELS President Mark Schroeder a month ago admonishing the Synod in advance for sanctioning the behavior of Pastors Glende and Skorzewski (see Ichabod "Write a Letter") ,I indicated that Schroeder's comments regarding WELS involvement with Thrivent were also forthcoming. Considering the subjects under discussion here, I felt his remarks to be timely now.

Given ongoing fellowship issues with Thrivent's close ELCA ties and new information brought to light on this blog (e.g. matching funds for Thrivent employees to Planned Parenthood and favorable mention of Thrivent as a gay-friendly employer by a Minnesota LGBT publication), I further admonished Synod for its continued violation of our unit fellowship doctrine by continued involvement with Thrivent Financial. Schroeder's reply was thoughtful and empathetic. He shared nearly all of the moral concerns I listed and gave me the impression that if he thought our Synod was directly involved with Thrivent he would have some real misgivings.

"I agree completely that the Thrivent organization has adopted policies and principles which are clearly not in keeping with biblical teaching...we do not regard Thrivent as a church or church-related organization. We regard it purely as a business and as a financial services organization that, according to its own business model, serves primarily Lutheran clients. Unfortunately, even though Thrivent would not claim to be a church or to engage in work normally done by the church, it often acts and speaks in a way that gives the opposite impression...Thrivent's social views are also areas in which we have no common ground.

"Having said that, I must also say that WELS has absolutely no direct involvement or relationship with Thrivent. We are not represented on their board of directors. We do not consult with them on their business or charitable efforts, nor do they provide any input or advice on our synod's mission efforts. The only connection we have with Thrivent is the annual block grant Thrivent donates to WELS...Thrivent does, of course, have more direct dealings with individual congregations through their local chapters or whatever they call them today. In those cases, it is my prayer that pastors and congregations are being careful to keep the relationship as a purely business relationship, not one in which the line between the role of the church and the role of Thrivent becomes blurred."

Pastor Schroeder went on to say that he would forward my concerns, which he said deserved to be taken seriously, to the Conference of Presidents, and asked for prayer on behalf of those who deal with these issues at the synodical level.

He added that Synod has admonished Thrivent for its involvement in Habitat for Humanity. I also notice just this week that Thrivent is matching funds ($1 for every $2 donated, up to a million) for members of the WELS Committee on Relief working with the Haitian situation.


GJ - Has anyone admonished Mark and Avoid Jeske for his involvement in Habitat for Humanity? He is far more a member of WELS than Thrivent is.

The basic problem is depending on outside sources to support the church: foundations with their agendas, Thrivent, Schwan, and the govmint. The Golden Rule prevails - "Whoever has the gold makes up the rules."

The Jackson Corollary is - "Having extra loot from the outside impoverishes the church while prostituting it." For obvious reasons, my corollary has never caught on among church bureaucrats.

Thrivent takes WELS-ELS-LCMS money
and makes massive grants to
Jimmie Carter's favorite charity - HFH.
Rent-a-Rev Jeske does the dedication ceremony.
Left-click the picture to see the details.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Government Subsidies for WELS Schools":

Good news! It appears that not all schools are hurting for money after all. In the February edition of Forward In Christ A Lutheran Voice, there is an ad in the bulletin board section:

"Business professors-The business department of Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee, Wis., is seeking names of people qualified to teach in the areas of accounting, finance, and investments,marketing, and management. Potential positions are full and part time and require at least a master's degree."

Now that Kelm is no longer with Parish Services, he has time to teach marketing and serve as chaplain. Hey, I bet Kelm has some "friends" that know a little bit about finance and investments.

In Christ,
from WELs church lady


GJ - The ex-SP is a whiz at finance. He knows how to find designated funds to float the shortage, how to find someone to take the blame, and how to have a pleasant vacation afterwards, with pay. They need him for an MBS program at WLC.

"Who Picked Your Shirt - Ray Charles?" and Other Schuller Mistakes

"Who picked your shirt, Junior? Ray Charles?"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Crystal Cathedral - Home of Church Growth Movement...":

The 80-year-old Schuller demoted his son when the offerings went down, but I think that was a way-bad call on the senior's part. It had nothing to do with the son, but just bad economics, and their established flock was getting older and was quickly dying off.


GJ - The lesson - All the big Evangelical media ministries of the 1980s are fading fast. I remember the mainline leaders being enraged that any given TV ministry was taking in more money annually than their national, centuries old denomination. They raved against D. James Kennedy, Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and a few others. Pat Robertson was in TV early and has made a bundle with his talk show, entertainment style format. His son is carrying on the show, and it is even harder to believe under his guidance.

The WELS-LCMS-ELS gurus are pursuing the fads of the moment. Andy Stanley the covert Babtist is so cool that the foxes of Fox Valley are studying his book on how to be just like him. Glende and Ski are channeling so many Schwaermer leaders that one can hardly pick the number one false teacher they are following.

Shoveling snow today, I concluded that getting even is the biggest single motivation for CG in WELS. The guys started out with doctrinal problems and got biffed around for it. Other dysfunctional types found comfort and security in a secretive anti-establishment group. They rejoiced that they could advance one another's careers while icing their more able peers'.

So follow the megas of WELS-ELS-LCMC and buy up their assets in a few years, 10 cents on the dollar, max.

I have always wanted to broadcast with 20 sub-woofers behind me, popcorn machines popping, soda fountains giving up mounds of ice cream, Coke on tap.

Mrs. Ichabod said that one is leased.

Never mind.


dk has left a new comment on your post ""Who Picked Your Shirt - Ray Charles?" and Other S...":

Hey professor

I think that under the entry "Gurgel" in the Ichaslang lexicon there oughta be a second meaning:

2. verb, to gurgel, gurgling:

The vocal affectation or mannerism a person acquires when pretending to be Confessionally Lutheran. This behavior often may be associated with...(fill in the blank)


GJ - I spell his name "gurgle" because that was the sound of WELS going down the drain during his inspired leadership. He was the conservative dream candidate originally. Really. No kidding. He was against merging NWC and DMLC, then led the deception that resulted in a fading, failing MLC. As he said, "Denying that he had the gifts of leadership would be false modesty."

May he do for Patterson what he did for WELS.

Money for Kelm, Not To Finish Degrees

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Two ELCA Problems Parallel WELS, LCMS, and ELS":

I know this comment is in the wrong place, but did not see a recent post on Wimpy Little College (WLC).

I am surprised that no one has yet commented that WLC rather recently cut some major degrees from their curriculum, leaving some students high and dry. Now they have money for Paul Calvin Kelm as a second campus pastor to work with other pastors' members, maybe do a little WELS sheep-stealing among the non-WELS churched students, and I suppose to make WLC a "mission arm" of the "church" among their unchurched students.

Whence this sudden wealth at WLC to add a "pastor" after cutting curriculum so recently? It must be living proof that a fool and his money are soon parted. Why support a college that leaves students high and dry while pampering a retired reject with a cushy call?


GJ - A few seconds ago I was thinking, "Nobody cares about this extra call." I heard from a parish pastor that people dismiss it as WLC going its own way, Kelm wanting a college call when he qualifies for Social Security and Medicare. The same parish pastor says that people on campus think the college needs zero chaplains, not two.

The published description of the call shows that the apostate board--drawn from MLC and CrossWalk Phoenix--wants to promote the failing Church Growth methods of Pietism. Bones would say to Kirk, above, "It's dead, Jim."


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Money for Kelm, Not To Finish Degrees":

WELS provides NO financial support to WLC. It is not a synodical school.


GJ - Wade a minute. WLC collects donations as a Wisconsin Synod institution, Brigadoonish. When Martin Marty (ELCA) or Archbishop Weakland (Church of Rome) lectures there, it is not WELS. When raising money from the Schwan Foundation, it is WELS. The faculty is WELS, many of them trained at Marquette, which I understand is Roman Catholic. The board is WELS but not Lutheran.

I guess I won't get any fund-raising letters in the mail.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Money for Kelm, Not To Finish Degrees":

"A 4-year, private, co-ed, Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod."
* * * * * * * * * * *
This is a quote from the college's website. They sure don't get to be affiliated with the WELS without funding, finance, and support.


GJ - Certain there is a cost based on the synod's connection to WLC. No staff time? Please. The funny thing is - this is used to justify their dabbling in Roman Catholic ecumenism, CGism, and Martin Marty-ism. At those precious moments they are not WELS but totally, seriously independent.

How many millions have gone from the Schwan Foundation instead of MLC or the seminary or the preps? That is not a cost?


Why It's Almost Like Being in WELS!

Maybe Marv Schwan gave me the pow'r,
For I could swim Michigan and be home in half an hour.
Maybe the beer gave me the drive,
For I'm all aglow and alive.
What a day this has been! What a rare mood I'm in!
Why, it's almost like being in WELS!
There's a smile on my face for the big Kelm disgrace!
Why, it's almost like being in WELS!
All the music of life seems to be like a bell that is CCMing for me!
And from the way that I feel when that funding appeals,
I could swear I was joining, I would swear I was joining,
It's almost like being in WELS.

Two ELCA Problems Parallel WELS, LCMS, and ELS

Her Goofiness, the Big Nasty at Episcopal Headquarters,
may have set the ELCA prisoners free.

Lo, the religious empires are crashing: 
  1. Church Without Walls has its expensive walls in foreclosure;
  2. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge is selling off assets;
  3. Schuller cannot even sell property on his main campus;
  4. Time of Grace is shopping for a bigger, richer synod;
  5. ELCA went through another round of staff firings as congregations leave.

Katharine Jefferts-Schori pushed the limits of radicalism and began suing the congregations for daring to leaver her feminist-pan-sexual paradise. With entire sections willing to leave the Episcopal corporation and face their day in court, ELCA congregations--velcroed to these high-church Unitarians--have found their way to the exit doors. ELCA Congregations from my hometown of Moline are engaged in the same disputes. They used to be Augustana Synod: Augustana, as in Augsburg Confession.

The content of the departing ELCA members and pastors indicate how they are struggling to leave behind what was once familiar and comfortable. Two areas should be familiar to WELS, Missouri, and the Little Sect on the Prairie:
A. Reading material.
B. Trusting God's Word.

Reading Material
The ELCA members and pastors have been directed away from good theological reading for over 50 years. Instead of reading their own substantial material from the past, they get the latest publications coupled with warnings against the evils of dead theologians. Under a pile of books, they became illiterate about Lutheran doctrine. Are WELS, Missouri, and the ELS any different? They were handed Fuller and Fuller-cloned materials for decades while training at their sausage factories veered into making the Lutheran Church safe for Enthusiasm. "They have so much to teach us, those Babtists and Pentehowlers and occultists."

If the ELCA members and pastors had stuck to Lenski, Schmid, Jacobs, Krauth,  and Schmauk, they would have remained closer in doctrine to the Synodical Conference. 

If WELS, Missouri, and the ELS had featured a few good theologians in their training and publications--Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Gerhardt--they would still be Lutheran. 

ELCA is closest to Missouri in going Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, closest to WELS-ELS-LCMS in promoting the Enthusiasm of Missouri.

Trusting God's Word
The revolution in the Episcopal Church shows that the Word is efficacious, even in the midst of apostasy. A core group has found the new thinking completely alien, so they have nothing left to trust but the Word of God. They are emphasizing the Scriptures instead of culture and tradition.

Stan Hauerwas always liked to say at Notre Dame, "The Lutherans are always a day late and a dollar short." I am waiting to see a Lutheran bishop take his entire district out of ELCA, following his peers in the Episcopal Church.

Meanwhile, LCMS-WELS-ELS clergy and laity need to get over their lockjaw and start speaking out on doctrinal issues. Some will pay a price for this, which is called bearing the cross. There are also intangible rewards, which are great, because tangible rewards do not transport well after death.

Every doctrinal debate is a victory, even if there is a short-term setback. The apostates in the Lutheran Church do not want a debate. They accuse, following the pattern set by their Father Below. They scream:
1. You are criticizing Holy Mother Synod!
2. You dare the attack one of our Great Ones?
3. You are an evil, evil person.
4. All we want to do is make things better.

They want a political battle, because they always win those. Look at Wayne Mueller being voted out of office, or Gurgle voted in!

They fear a doctrinal battle, knowing they have nothing to offer and plenty to hide.

Every Church and Changer "has issues with Church and Change."  And yet, they are posting on the secret listserve and galloping off to each Schwaermer conference.

They hate having their secrets exposed. They hate being quoted verbatim, almost as much as they hate traditional Lutheran quotations.

They even hate cute kitteh pictures. That should seal their fate once and for all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crystal Cathedral - Home of Church Growth Movement - Hammered by Plunge in Giving

"Dad, if you fire me, I will totally put a hex 
on this Synagogue of Satan.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – The Southern California megachurch founded by televangelist Robert H. Schuller Sr. is selling property, laying off workers and pulling its signature TV program "Hour of Power" from some markets to offset a nearly $8 million drop in revenue.

The church saw revenue drop 27 percent from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009, church spokesman Mike Nason told The Associated Press. The church had projected an 18 percent revenue drop.

Church leaders blamed the decline on the struggling U.S. economy. They intend to save $4.9 million and stave off further financial collapse by selling 170 acres in southern Orange County, including a retreat and wedding center, laying off 50 employees and cutting "Hour of Power" from eight of the 45 domestic broadcast TV stations that air it.

Church officials declined to name the cities where the program would be cut because station managers have not yet been notified.

The 10,000-member church will also cancel this year's "Glory of Easter" pageant, which attracts thousands of visitors and is a regional holiday staple along with the church's "Glory of Christmas" show.

"Hour of Power," which has aired for 40 years, will continue to appear on cable networks such as Lifetime and TBN, and on broadcast TV in markets including California, Colorado, Florida and Ohio, said John Charles, director of development and public relations.

"If we can just hang in there and be smart about surviving the downturn in the economy, this storm will pass and we will be OK and we can begin to grow again as a ministry," Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's daughter and the church's recently appointed leader, said in a prepared statement.

The disclosure mirrors the troubles in recent months at other megachurches that have suffered from the downturn and reduced charitable giving.

Rick Warren, best-selling author and founder of Saddleback Church, made an appeal on New Year's Eve for urgent donations after finding his organization was nearly $1 million in the red. Parishioners raised $2.4 million for Saddleback and its ministries within days.

The Crystal Cathedral doesn't expect a similar outpouring from its members or viewers of "Hour of Power."

"It would be nice, but we understand the economy and people are hurting and our audience are not rich people," Charles said. "There's a lot of people on fixed incomes and they're giving what they can."

That aging membership base, along with the bad economy, could be a big part of the Crystal Cathedral's problem, said Richard Flory, a senior research associate for the Center for Religion & Civic Culture at the University of Southern California.

The era of blockbuster televangelists is fading and viewership is declining even as the age of the average viewer creeps upward, he said.

"I can't imagine anybody younger than 40 watching some sort of televangelist," he said. "Younger people are worshipping in smaller venues. I think the megachurch is always going to appeal to groups of people, but the television piece of it, I just don't see that as a growth market anymore."

The church, founded more than 50 years ago, and its internationally known telecast have been bleeding dollars and members for years — a trend that accelerated when Schuller Sr. stepped down and passed his senior pastor role to his son, Robert A. Schuller Jr.

Schuller Jr. became engaged in a bitter family feud, disappeared from "Hour of Power" broadcasts and abruptly left the church in 2008, less than three years after he took over for his father.

Schuller Jr. announced his own weekly show on AmericanLife TV Network last summer. Coleman, his sister, was appointed as the ministry's top administrator.

"Hour of Power" changed formats, with Coleman and her father appearing on the show with a stable of up to six guest pastors. Last year, Schuller Sr. pleaded for donations in an open letter posted on the church's Web site, saying the final months of 2008 were devastating.

Nason rejected the idea that the losses were the result of turbulence among leadership. A random survey last fall of nearly 700 members showed the departure of Schuller Jr. was not a factor in reduced giving, he said.

"What was significant was the economic downturn, and they were giving 30 to 40 percent less dollars to the ministry in 2009 than they did in 2008," he said.

Flory, the professor, said the economy undoubtedly plays a large role in the church's troubles — but the leadership changes at the top don't help keep viewers tuned in.

"The turbulence at the top blows up and nobody's ever heard of the daughter," he said. "I think since the beginning it's been pretty much an entertainment, feel-good place and it probably doesn't feel very good right now."

The Crystal Cathedral has a storied history.

Schuller Sr., now 83, first formulated his outreach to the unchurched in the mid-1950s when he opened a ministry at a drive-in theater in the suburbs of Orange County that catered to Southern California's emerging car culture. He pulled people in with his sermons on the power of positive thinking.

The little church later grew into the Crystal Cathedral, a worship hall with a soaring glass spire that opened in 1970 and remains an architectural wonder and tourist destination.

The "Hour of Power" telecast, filmed in the cathedral's main sanctuary, at one point attracted 1.3 million viewers in 156 countries. Charles said he didn't know what viewership is now but suspected it's lower.

Nason said the property to be sold is a church campus in southern Orange County known as Rancho Capistrano.

About 150 acres of the property — including 80 acres of open space — are already in escrow, he said.

The remaining 20 acres, which contain a spiritual retreat center with hotel rooms, a church building, acres of gardens and a Spanish mission-style hacienda popular for weddings, will also go on sale.

The Family Life Center on Crystal Cathedral's main property in Garden Grove, has been on the market for a year with no buyers, Charles said.

Employees who will be laid off received pink slips Friday and were given 60 days notice, he said.


Kenneth J. Schmidt has left a new comment on your post "Crystal Cathedral - Home of Church Growth Movement...":

Basing your ministry on self-esteem rather than the gospel is a recipe for disaster. When the charismatic leader dies, the church dies with him. Churches based on sound doctrine can survive the retirement or semi-retirement of a pastor. When Shuller gives up the ghost I think he will mutter "Rosebud."


GJ - Citizen Kane he is not.

Mequon Class Photo, Zehms and Oelhafen

Left-click to enlarge the Shrinkers.

Roger Zehms ended up at St. Marcus in Milwaukee - no surprise. His Grace stops by, from time to time, between tapings of Time of Generic Grace.

Wally Oelhafen swooned over CG in the Michigan District. His son gave the memorable sermon, "I Am So Glad Jesus Rode a Hog." No, that was not a novelty song. It was even posted on the website. Fortunately, I saved it on this blog. 

Wally O. and Fred Adrian both had a fit  when my paper (last chapter of Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure) was read at the pastoral conference. They went bezonkers, yelling, "Just because we studied at Fuller Seminary..."

Columbus was a real beehive of WELS corruption:
  1. Wally Oelhafen was the DMB chairman and gushed over CG.
  2. Fred Adrian took over as DMB chair and had a vicar go to state prison for an affair with a minor girl. He left the ministry but he is back. Talent like that is hard to find.
  3. Roger Zehms, part of the Wayne Mueller gang, headed LPR, which was started to promote the CG Movement.
  4. Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, was the supposed second banana of LPR, but he was allowed to act like the DP, bossing everyone around. He was openly anti-WELS, anti-Lutheran, and totally CG. Both LPR gurus were divorced.
  5. John Chworsky, the mission staff meddler, was CG everywhere but in my presence. He told me he finally understood what I was writing in CN. Then he was shipped out of the country.
  6. DP Mueller knew how to talk against CG (like Deputy Doug Engelbrecht and Glaeske) but promoted it right and left. Mueller worked hard to close NWC.
  7. VP Kuske loved CG as much as Oelhafen, Stolzenburg, and Zehms combined. The boys were going to show everyone how to do it with Pilgrim Community Church. It closed faster than a saloon in Wheaton, Illinois.
  8. Marc Schroeder (divorced and remarried) loved CG and eventually moved to Missouri, after having WELS pay for his entire mission start. Nice stewardship.
  9. Roger Kovaciny supported CG and claimed to help start it in WELS. Really?
  10. The big church in town, St. Paul in German Village, had never been WELS up to that point. Schumann, Nitz, Zehms, and Stolzenburg made a bad situation worse.

WELS Walking Together in the 1980s - The Blind Leading the Blind.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mequon Class Photo, Zehms and Oelhafen":

Nitz was not in agreement with CG at St. Paul's, Columbus. He stayed to try to add balance to the ministrations of Schumann. When he couldn't take it any longer, his dad (Az-CA DP) got him a call to AZ which he took immediately.


GJ - Nitz was a real lion-heart, like all the Nitz clan. He had a woman teaching men in the adult Bible study on Sundays. He complained that Church Growth was in such disrepute in Columbus that he could not even mention the word. He was not as far gone as the rest of them, but he was hardly a cure.

Sierra Pacific, ELCA, Tears Itself Apart Over Gay Vote:
MLC, Take Note

Presiding Bishop Hanson:
"Does this outfit make me look...Roman?"

Dear ELCA Congregation [name omitted, for good reasons]

Since the Church wide Assembly in Minneapolis this past summer, there have been many and varied responses across the ELCA and across the Sierra Pacific Synod to the votes on the Social Statement on Human Sexuality and the implementing resolutions regarding ministry policies.

While some congregations and members have celebrated this change in the ELCA's policies for which they have long advocated, others have registered strong objections and taken action, including members who are moving their membership to other congregations and congregations which are voting to separate from the ELCA. And somewhere in between, there are many congregations and members for whom this has neither been acause for celebration nor a source of concern. There have also been reports from some congregations which are welcoming new members who have come to find out more about the churches of the ELCA in the wake of the Churchwide Assembly.

I ask for your prayers for all of the people and congregations and ministries of the Sierra Pacific Synod as we move through this time. I especially ask your prayers for the leaders and congregational members of the 11 congregations who have decided to enter into a two vote, 90 day consultation process which would end their interdependent relationship with the conference, synodical and churchwide expressions of the ELCA.

Please remember in prayer . . .

* these congregations as they seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this important decision for their mission and ministry, especially as the date for their vote approaches.

* the pastors of these congregations who do not wish to leave the ELCA, whose calls will officially terminate if the process to leave the ELCA is approved.

* the members of these congregations who do not wish to see their congregation leave the ELCA, as they consider their options for the future should the vote succeed.

* the pastors and members of these congregations who do wish to leave the ELCA, that they may know it is our desire that other options might be considered.

* the lay leaders, staff and bishops of the synods of the ELCA, and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and the staff of the churchwide offices, as they seek to lead our church in this time.

The congregations and the dates for their 1st or 2nd votes are listed below:

Concordia, Kingsburg - 2nd vote  - 1/31

Emanuel, Lodi - 1st vote - 1/31

Mt. Zion, Yreka - 1st vote - 2/14

Sierra, Auberry - 2nd vote - 2/28

Gloria Dei, San Jose - 2nd vote  - 3/21

Life, Richmond - 2nd vote - 4/11

Chinese, San Francisco - 2nd vote - 4/11

St. John's, Los Banos - 2nd vote - 4/18

Shepherd of the Valley, Galt - 2nd vote - 4/18

In addition to these congregations, Grace, Redway, voted 19-5 to finalize leaving the ELCA on January 3rd, and St. Stephen's, El Dorado Hills, voted but did not reach the required 2/3 majority when they held their first vote last fall.

The Office of the Bishop, partnering with members of the Synod Council and Conference Deans, is currently in a consultation process with all of these congregations as they move through this process. Thank you for your prayerful support of these and all the ministries of our synod.

Lastly, I would ask for your prayers for my ministry as bishop. It is a difficult and challenging task to meet with lay and ordained leaders of our congregations, some whom I have known and worked with for many years and whom I have valued as friends and colleagues, as we find ourselves in very different positions with regard to the actions of the Churchwide Assembly. I am saddened that some of our congregations and pastors may choose to leave the ELCA, but do not feel it is my "job" to talk them out of their intentions, only to reflect Christ as I walk with them through this process, and ensure they will be making a fully informed decision when that time comes. I pray that I have and will continue to do so on behalf of all of you - the sisters and brothers of the Sierra Pacific Synod who are answering the call to share Christ each day in the places where the Spirit leads us.

God's Peace,

Bp. Mark


GJ - From what I have read, the larger congregations are leaving fast. Perhaps the quasi-merger with the Episcopal Church gave them the guts to do whether their brethren and sistern were doing in Anglicanism. Also, like Church and Change in WELS, the ELCA people had many different networks established years ago, with various outgrowths working together.

I left in 1987, before ELCA began, while WELS and Missouri were working feverishly with ELCA on a variety of religious projects, from evangelism to worship.

This blog gives some insight about what has been going on in ELCA since its inception. WELS was very embarrassed that I kept bringing these things up. WELS wanted their insurance loot from Thrivent.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sierra Pacific, ELCA, Tears Itself Apart Over Gay ...":

Don't confuse laughing at a stupid video with following in ELCA's footsteps. I guarantee there isn't a single member of MLC's faculty or student body who condones homosexuality or supports ELCA's decision.


GJ - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In 1987, most in the newly formed ELCA would have been shocked at its stance today, but it was already in the works. Franklin C. Fry would not even discuss women's ordination. Robert Marshall, his protege, got that approved about 15 minutes after the funeral service. Baby steps.

The response has not been encouraging. MLC did nothing about it. One of the recent mouthy comments was "You failed to get it removed." In other words, they are too clueless to realize how it makes them, their college, their synod, and the Christian faith look.

Mequon Yielded Three Shrinkers in 1953

Left-click to enlarge the Shrinkers.

This was a tiny class, compared to later ones, but the yield was impressive. Gerlach and Johne came back to teach at Mequon. Oddly, Gerlach left the Wisconsin Synod for a period of time, but came back when his father-in-law threatened to disown him.

Johne is a safari partner with Dom Perignon Patterson. He is also the second father-in-law of Marc Schroeder (son of Salty) who fell hard for Church Growth, changed wives, and joined the LCMS, all under the watchful gaze of the Michigan District, WELS.

Paul Kuske got the first CG agency in Columbus going, helped found Pilgrim Community Church (attendance at 3 when it closed), and engaged in plenty of typical Wisconsin dastardly mischief while First VP of the District. The district was so appalled that they voted him out of office, which is almost as rare as WELS admitting wrong-doing. Kuske tried to bring Floyd Luther Stolzenburg into WELS and failed, but his patronage helped get Robert Schumann, now an atheist, out of WELS. Let us not forget the founding of CrossRoads Evangelical Covenant Church in S. Lyons, begun with WELS/LCMS members and money.


Scott E. Jungen has left a new comment on your post "Mequon Yielded Three Shrinkers in 1953":

Is the Paul Kuske in this class the same Paul Kuske that taught at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in the 60s and 70s? And where and when did Robert Schumann serve? I'm sure I ran into Schumann somewhere in my Synod studies.


GJ - Kuske was at MLS. I recall that Schumann had been a campus chaplain somewhere and had a parish that he reduced to nothing before coming to Columbus. Oelhafen rejoiced that someone even more lit up about Church Growth was coming to rescue the heathen in Columbus. Schumann polarized the congregation. His faction created a shrine office for him in the church, after he was booted for false doctrine. He must have seen it coming a long time, because he studied for the CLU and ChFC, joining AAL as an agent. Schumann is from the Jungkuntz family of heretics.

The Vulpine Circuit - A Skulk of Foxes

"It is by your silence and cloaking that you cast suspicion upon yourself. If you believe as you declare in my presence, then speak so also in the church, in public lectures, in sermons, and in private conversations, and strengthen your brethren, and lead the erring back to the right path, and contradict the contumacious spirits; otherwise your confession is sham pure and simple, and worth nothing. Whoever really regards his doctrine, faith, and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain in the same stall with such as teach, or adhere to, false doctrine; nor can he keep on giving friendly words to Satan and his minions. A teacher who remains silent when errors are taught, and nevertheless pretends to be a true teacher, is worse than an open fanatic and by his hypocrisy does greater damage than a heretic. Nor can he be trusted. He is a wolf and a fox, a hireling and a servant of his belly, and ready to despise and to sacrifice doctrine, Word, faith, Sacrament, churches, and schools. He is either a secret bedfellow of the enemies, or a skeptic and a weathervane, waiting to see whether Christ or the devil will prove victorious; or he has no convictions of his own whatever, and is not worthy to be called a pupil, let alone a teacher; nor does he want to offend anybody, or say a word in favor of Christ, or hurt the devil and the world.”
F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 94.


GJ - For those who graduated from the Sausage Factory or the Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie - the name for a group of foxes is a "skulk."

Advice Given Before, But Ignored


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Maybe Bethany Should Be Sold or Closed Too: The Ap...":

Here's some advice to the college- aged. If you are commenting negatively (or confrontational)on this blog then you better make sure your t's are crossed. If you are posting as an authority on a subject then assume you just might be googled to see what kind of creditable character you bring to the discussion. If you are brave enough to publish your name then please double check your profile on my space, facebook, blog posts, youtube videos of you are all worthy of your Christian mother's approval. If it's not than maybe you better just post anonymous.

I've been in some situations when I was your age and I certainly don't want to that to reflect on my character today, but I also don't boast about the sins I've committed or joked about committing with pictures and videos on the internet. Honestly, I would have blushed (if not from guilt, out of embarrassment) if I acted as Matthias did in the video and my mother watched. 


GJ - Published means public, as in world-wide public, 24/7. So-called security levels do not mean much on Facebook or anywhere else. Some people are just too smart to know that. Erasing the file and latching the door are often too late to matter and too obvious to the discerning.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Advice Given Before, But Ignored":

The arguments don't change based upon the person delivering them. If someone is arguing with you, it is not an excuse to tear apart their character.


GJ - This has to come from a Shrinker, so the hilarity doubles. Their only arguments are:
  1. Evasion,
  2. Denial,
  3. Eighth Commandment,
  4. Matthew 18,
  5. Verbal abuse.
  6. Repeat and vary the order.

The Foxes of Fox Valley

More Poison To Cure the Patient:
Church and Changer Schuppe To Help Doebler and Krohn

Ed Schuppe

Left click to enlarge the Shrinkers.
There are more than the ones marked.

11) Christ the Rock – Round Rock, Texas. Pastor Matt Doebler.
• The congregation is working with Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe on the mission’s future plans and vision
• Prof. David Bauer is on sabbatical from MLC and is working onsite with the mission this year.
DMB Report.

From Ichabod's vast research facility in Arkansas:

Jars of Clay Ministries (JOCM), a non-profit, self-supporting outreach effort “born” in November 2002, is the result of God calling two Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) laywomen Sharon Buck [Steve Witte's sister] and Karen Harmon, to connect and prepare other spiritually mature women to use their God-given “relational and nurturing gifts” to share the gospel.

[GJ - Women's ordination arrived in WELS about 20 years ago. Notice that these women have been called directly by God to be evangelists - just like apostles. Their pastoral advisors are Shrinkers Schuppe and Witte, so no one noticed. Nor did anyone dare to object. Brug solemnly declared in the Quarterly that there is nothing in the Bible against women's ordination. Lux fiat. Erat lux.]

Resources Page - WELS Pots of Pietism

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – Evangelism and discipleship training.
International Coalition of Workplace Ministries - Founded by Os Hillman to help men and women identify and fulfill their God-given calling by applying biblical faith to their life and work.
Prison Fellowship Ministries (Chuck Colson, Founder), an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers….exhorting, equipping and assisting the church in it’s ministry to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families.
CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST: A nondenominational ministry founded by the late Bill Bright. The sole purpose of this organization is to evangelize the world for Christ. It is an international ministry with Reformed roots, but still provides a wide variety of Christian books, tapes, music, pamphlets, etc. that are effective tools for outreach and spiritual growth.

Campus Crusade for Christ, c/o Keynote,18005 Sky Park Circle, Suite K, Irvine, CA 92614.
Phone: 800-352-8273

Check out their resource list at
JONI AND FRIENDS: Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic for more than 30 years. Injured in a diving accident as a teenager, she has used this tragedy in her life to reach out to others with God’s message of love and encouragement. Her non-profit organization is dedicated to accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community. She has an International outreach called WHEELS FOR THE WORLD that has distributed over 14,000 wheelchairs in 50 countries. During the summer months in the US, she holds retreats for the disabled and their families in a variety of states. She has developed Area Ministries in 11 states to help localize support for people with disabilities. She provides inspiration and encouragement on a 5 minute daily radio spot. Her organization is a well spring of resources for outreach to the disabled and their families.
Joni and Friends, P.O. Box 3333, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.

Phone: 818-707-5664

TIME OF GATH is a Christian outreach ministry whose sole purpose is winning souls for eternity. Time of Gath shares the great news of Jesus Christ's gospel message via a weekly half hour television program originating from St. Marcus Lutheran Church (WELS) in the heart of Milwaukee and is broadcast throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. One of the ministry’s 5 year goals is to broadcast throughout the entire United States, reaching millions in the towns, cities and rural areas of our nation.

Mark Jeske is the featured pastor for Time of Gath Fund-Raising Ministry which also provides a variety of wonderful trinkets to buy that can bring you or others closer to God. Mark has written several booklets and brochures that are evangelistic in nature and very “consumer friendly”. In addition, Time of Gath makes inspirational videos and transcripts available to purchase.
To request resources call: TIME OF GATH MINISTRY at 1-800-661-3311. Have your credit card out - make sure it is not maxed out already.


Schuppe digs Victory of the Movie Theater, blogged by Tim Felt-Needs and Pastor Ben:

Yesterday also my Mission Counselor, Pastor Ed Schuppe, visited our church and worshiped with us for the first time at Showtime Cinema. Ed is a consultant and a mentor to me. He oversees dozens of newly planted churches, travels extensively, and devotes all his time to reading and studying and helping new churches.

When he visits churches he always comes as a "secret shopper" of sorts. He writes very detailed reports on everything from signage to friendliness of people to the music, the sermon, etc.

Ed is a man I highly respect and whose opinion I know I am always wise to seek. And with that said I want to thank God for all of you in the spirit of the apostle Paul and encourage you all to keep up the good work!

Ed wrote me a comprehensive 3 page report on his experience at VotL which he concluded by saying "Thanks for the great worship experience!"

In three pages of his report, nearly every comment was praise and encouragement. It was in every respect a glowing report and that is to your credit. Thank you! As a church committed to loving and reaching the unchurched with the gospel it is so important to do the little things to welcome people…and you’re doing them. Continue to look beyond yourselves to others and do these things more and more!

Here’s just a small sample of his comments to give you an idea of the things Ed from experience knows are vital to a church’s health in being able to reach others:

Before the service: Greeter outside at the door was very welcoming and conversant. Great job!

People were very friendly, even the teens. They often initiated the greeting and were willing to talk.

Very welcoming atmosphere before the service. Ushers were also welcoming and conversant.

The bulletin: Very nicely laid out, informative, and easy to follow. I especially appreciated the back of the bulletin. Nice format and very well worded. Nice use of VICTORY.

The service: Great welcome and greeting. I appreciate the energy and enthusiasm you project. Your people did a great job with the greeting time.

Great music! The Apostles’ Creed song – Great! Great use of video clip in the sermon.

— Like I said, these are just a sample of Ed’s comments. Ed also has been a great help to me in evaluating my own attitudes, preaching, leadership, vision, etc. I appreciate this very much.

So…I pray that y’all have a great week in the Lord. I’ll be at a pastor’s (sic) conference in Two Rivers Tuesday – Wednesday but I will be back for our Adult Bible Fellowship Group on Wednesday evening. I hope to see you there and I look forward to worshiping our Savior with you again this Sunday.

Remember that if you happen to miss a Sunday or two you can go to our website and get the sermon. We’re also more frequently updating our music as well. Yesterday’s sermon should be posted by this evening.

God bless! Pastor Ben


Schuppe blogged the convention:

Ed Schuppe
By admin: on Jul.26.2009
Filed In: Bio

Schuppe, age 58, has been in the ministry 24 years. He has been a mission counselor for the last eight years and currently serves the South Atlantic, South Central, and Southeastern Wisconsin Districts. He and his wife, Joyce, attend a new mission congregation: Hope in Hampton, Ga.

Schuppe will be serving on the floor committee dealing with miscellaneous memorials. “I am looking forward to see how we, as a synod, will continue to reach out to the lost with limited funded, mindful that outreach is and will remain a primary focus of our church body,” he says. “I am also looking forward to seeing the future course we delegates will set, trusting God rather than financial forecasting, and committing ourselves to reach more of the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ through personal outreach and innovative ways of attracting the unchurched.”



      Presenter: Rev. Ed Schuppe - Mission Counselor for the South Atlantic and Southeastern Wisconsin Districts of WELS.  He has presented repeated for the Congregational Team Workshops.
      Description: Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe will deliver our key note address this year on empowerment.  He will look at the biblical encouragement for unity.  He will also direct our attention to the frustrations we may feel as both lay persons and called workers.  He will show us ways in which we can draw empowerment from the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace.
Taking Risks
    And Failing Forward

      Presenter: Rev. Ed Schuppe - Mission Counselor for the South Atlantic and Southeastern Wisconsin Districts of WELS.
Description: Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe will encourage us to take risks.  He will give us practical tips on how to get the congregation on board in regard to new programs.  At the same time, he will share with us the fact that not every program “succeeds.”  How do we respond to those failures in our ministry and in the life of our congregation?  If you are looking for answers to that question, this workshop is for you.

Pots of Pietism:

About Us - Jars of Clay Ministries

Two WELS pastoral advisers Steve Witte and Ed Schuppe provide ongoing support and spiritual guidance to help JOCM meet its goals.
Project Airport:

MC Schuppe offered some useful helps on mentoring, gleaned from his personal experience and study, and MC Huebner led us through some coaching approaches (with assistance from Mrs. Christy Geiger’s materials) which seem to be bringing blessings to many. Districts were then asked to work together to decide on which kind of approach (shepherd/mentor/coach) or combination of approaches they might use to best serve their missions/missionaries.
May God continue to bless the after-effects (jetwash?) [flatulence!] of Project Airport!

MC’s Schulz, Schuppe, and Huebner and CCC Kehl

Of course, the mission counselor corps has been a crucial part of the newsletter; gathering, writing, encouraging others to submit, and helping oversee its course.
We owe them a great debt of thanks:
Pastor Gene Ahlswede
Pastor Wayne Schulz
Pastor Ed Schuppe
Pastor John Huebner
[GJ - Thanks for keeping Church Shrinkage alive, boys. We all owe you, big time.]
Church and Change Conference:

8:45-10:00 a.m....Workshops
register online at
102...... When Oprah Came to Class–Tadd Fellers
103...... Growing Your Congregation’s Staff from
Within–Lawrence Otto Olson, D.Min. (Fuller Seminary)
111...... Develop the Courage not to Plan your
Ministry–Steve Witte
203...... Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places
–Sharon Buck and Karen Harmon. GJ - This wins the Original Title Award.
301b....Which Niche?–Paul Steinberg
403b.... What’s Going On?
–Ed Schuppe and John Huebner
502...... A Movie is Worth a Million Words
–ELS Pastor Nathan Krause
505...... Seeing Visions–Peter Schaewe. GJ - Or, WELS Gone to Pot.
507...... What do you Mean, “Blended Worship?”
–Mark Jeske. GJ - He means - Pentecostal-Baptist 
Dr. Steve Witte (Schwaermer DMin) serves as pastor of Beautiful Savior, Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is co-founder of the WELS Prayer Institute. In addition, Steve serves the WELS as a part time lead consultant through Perish Assistance. Together with Ed Schuppe, he also serves as spiritual advisor to Jars of Clay Ministries co-founded by his sister, Sharon Buck, and Karen Harmon. 

No, Really, It's Jet-Lag:
I Was Pulling Weed


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No, Really, It's Jet-Lag: I Was Pulling Weed":

Then I piled up the weed and burned it. I love that smell of weed burning.


Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?
Lance: What?
Kilgore: Weed, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
Kilgore: I love the smell of weed in the morning. You know, one time we had a class bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' Luthrun body. The smell, you know that agricultural smell, the whole room. Smelled like
[sniffing, pondering]
Kilgore: graduation. Someday this degree's gonna end...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

District Mission Report - South Central, WELS - Oh, Give Me a Home, Where the Buffaloed Roam


Pastor·Teacher·Delegate Conference � Thursday & Friday, January 2122, 2010 Abiding Word Lutheran Church � Houston, Texas
“You have shown your people desperate times… But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner.” Psalm 60:3,4
Field Reports: Mission Encouragement 1) Christ Alone – Alliance Airport area, Texas. Pastor Paul Seager (Pastor Brian Doebler).
• First service held on January 10, 2010, at local high school – 49 in attendance
• Community “grand opening” set for March 28, 2010 (Palm Sunday)
• Mission Establishment request was not prioritized to receive BHM funding
• The mission will be receiving over $70,000 in grant funding each year for the next 3 years

2) Holy Cross Outreach – Norman, Oklahoma. Pastor John Strackbein.
• First service held on January 3, 2010, at a hotel – 23 in attendance (18 in Bible study)
• Community “grand opening” set for April 4, 2010 (Easter Sunday)
• Mission Establishment request was not prioritized to receive BHM funding
• The mission will be receiving a Kingdom Workers TCW team in the spring

3) Holy Word – Austin, Texas. Pastor Don Patterson and Pastor Karl Gurgel.
• The congregation has a 10yearplan in place that is looking to establish a presence in Pfluggerville
• Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe is used by the congregation in an advisory role

4) King of Kings – Alexandria, Louisiana. Pastor Chris Esmay.
• The Hurricane Gustov damaged building and property were sold, all debts paid, $200,000 in the bank
• Regular services continue and outreach work continues and is increasing

5) Living Water – Marble Falls, Texas. Staff Ministry Robert Hill.
• The newly selfsufficient congregation worked with the Mission Counselor to make a community profile
• The congregation submitted a request to the Antioch Foundation for ministry program funding (pending)

6) Trinity Preaching Station – West Plaines, Missouri. Pastor David Kapler.
• The congregation (based in Mountain Home, Arkansas) continues to conduct occasional services in MO
• The Mission Counselor is available to help with demographic work and community study

Field Reports: Mission Enhancement 7) Holy Word – Austin, Texas. Pastor Don Patterson.
• BHM Mission Enhancement request was not prioritized to receive BHM funding
• The congregation continues to reach out with bilingual congregational members and programs

8) Redeemer – Edna, Texas. Pastor Andy Schroer.
• Kingdom Worker National Project Grant (2008, 2009, and 2010 – final year)
• New layworker (MLC student) for Hispanic outreach

Field Reports: Mission Establishment 9) Christ the Lord – Sienna Plantation, Texas. Pastor Larry Schlomer and Pastor David Bivens.
• Kingdom Workers National Project Grant (2009 and 2010) for added staff
• LayEvangelist for congregational outreach: Chris Thomas
• Church Extension Fund – tentative mortgage approval
• The mission congregation continues to worship on Sunday evenings at a Sienna Plantation preschool
• Mission Establishment request was not prioritized to receive BHM funding
• Recent activity has focused on property acquisition – a new, prime $1.7 parcel is now available

Office: 9796934514 � Email: � Cell: 9795745984
Field Reports: Mission Development
10) Abiding Savior – Killeen, Texas. Pastor Steve Dorn.
• The congregation formally dedicated their new building on November 15, 2009
• Church Extension Fund provides the congregation with a 4% mortgage

11) Christ the Rock – Round Rock, Texas. Pastor Matt Doebler.
• The congregation is working with Mission Counselor Ed Schuppe on the mission’s future plans and vision
• Prof. David Bauer is on sabbatical from MLC and is working onsite with the mission this year

Field Reports: Mission Enrichment
12) Mission Enrichment Funding Sources. This category identifies congregations that work with the District Mission Board to enrich ministry efforts. Special funding from various sources may be available throughout the year. Contact Pastor Caleb Schoeneck about possible outreach efforts to see what funding might be available.
13) Kingdom Workers Faith in Action. The South Central District submitted 15 requests for Faith in Action teams. While final details are being made as we speak, I believe that all but one congregation are receiving teams in 2010. (By comparison, in 2009, only 11 of 20 requests were able to be funded.)
14) Summer Student Assistance Program (Summer Vicars). This is not a new program, but new funding from the LWMS became available this year to “reinfuse” the program. Victory of the Lamb Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas, has applied to receive a seminary student for ten weeks during the summer of 2010 (approval pending).
Note: Kingdom Workers Regional Chapters. Currently the Lone Star Chapter (greater Austin metro) is the only regional Kingdom Workers chapter in the South Central District. This chapter takes on several projects each year. More chapters like this could help to fund more Mission Enrichment projects in the South Central District. Mr. Ron Meier, the Kingdom Workers Chapter Director, is at this conference if you would like more information.
Other Items to Report
15) SCDMB Workshop. The SCDMB will conduct a workshop in College Station on February 28March 1.
16) Missionary Conference. In June 2009, the DMB met and studied the “go” passages in the Gospels. The conversation that followed led to a resolution to speak with the district (give and take) on the topic of mission work. While the resolution for advancing mission work was born out of the great urgency of the drastic defunding that was taking place at the time, the reality is that this great urgency is everpresent. October Conference 2010.
17) BHM Defunding. In April 2009, the Board for Home Missions cut funding to 27 sites in anticipation of a 25% decrease in synod funding. The defunding was approved at the 2009 Synod Convention. A memo detailing the impact of this defunding is attached to this report.
18) BHM Update. God was gracious during the BHM defunding process. Since the majority of the missionaries were not displaced, the funding set aside for severance—as well as new special gifts received by the BHM—have made it possible to increase the level of subsidized work. (The increased work is reflected on the attached memo. Additional funding for increased work may possible following the Synodical Council meeting in February.)
19) WELS Church Extension Fund. There are 18 congregations in the South Central District that have a loan with CEF. It was, is, and will continue to be a vital part of the work in reaching out with the gospel. In the recent days you should have received the CEF “offering circular.” This is information regarding the opportunities that CEF is offering to congregations and individuals. Investing in the CEF is always a winwin proposition.
20) Alternate Placement of Pastoral Candidates. The BHM has worked together with Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to find creative, outreachminded ways to make use of the number of graduates that will be greater than the number of vacancies in the synod. For more information, please contact the District Mission Board Chairman.
21) WELS Connect Website. The new password protected website contains most of the “administrative” and synodical resources that used to be available at the old WELS website. Each called worker, and each congregation, should have an account and password. If you do not, you may contact
22) Vicars in Mission Settings. The revised deadline for submitting Vicar in Mission Settings applications to the District Mission Board is Friday, March 12, 2010. Beginning this year, the Vicars in Mission settings requests will be made online at the WELS Connect site.
23) Kingdom Workers Deadlines. Don’t forget that the deadline to submit requests for Kingdom Workers National Project grants and Faith in Action requests is August 15, 2010.

Failed SP and future DP


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "District Mission Report - South Central, WELS - Oh...":

Thank you for posting the mission report Pastor GJ. I was able to read the minutes posted on pdf.

Pastor John Strackbein, of Holy Cross Ok City, is a blessing to the district. He is a home visiting pastor and a Confessional.

During his sermons he has preached about the importance of keeping our traditional Lutheran Liturgy. The lay leaders of Holy Cross will NOT allow any contemporary services or music. I am happy to see that they were able to get a Norman mission going. Twenty-three people in attendance? I would be very interested to know if they were all new people.

For the district as a whole, it appears that thay have to do a little more kingdom working and a little less monetary spending. It is God's will. Of course the LWMS is always happy to give. Yes, we're "rich" with our 300 dollar treasury funds.(it might be lower for some churches and higher for others)

"Ex-SP Gurgel!" Why did he have to come here? I am sure any number of "other" churches could have taken him off our hands.(Core, St Marcus, St. Peter, Cross Walk etc.) "Future DP Patterson?" He is in the C&C and a Jeske pal. Don't forget the Baptist conference. Yes I know Patterson has relatives around the district, and I feel sad for them. He is big time friends with Gurgel, so Schroeder is not one of their FANS! Look into it! Despite this particular instance, DP Glaeske is a nice person and has a warm reception.

In Christ,
from WELs church lady


GJ - The issue is not whether someone is friendly with SP Schroeder but whether he is friendly with the Book of Concord and Luther.

Patterson and his odious circle are friendly with Babtist theology (what there is of it) and Babtist Emerging Church stunts.

ELCA Come Outters

Leaders of Lutheran Groups Meet

Leaders of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), Lutheran CORE and the WordAlone Network met jointly in a Minneapolis suburb in mid-January to discuss and coordinate their ministry to individuals and churches seeking biblical, confessional, Lutheran teaching and practice. The three groups were founded over the past 15 years because the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been moving away from accepting the Bible as its final source of authority in decision making.
Some ELCA members and churches are leaving the denomination because of this drift from the authority of the Bible. Others are staying in the ELCA but are protesting the assembly votes, some by withholding financial giving.
William Drew, chair of the WordAlone Board of Directors, Spokane, Wash., noted the three confessional groups discussed during their meeting a cohesive approach to address the needs of Lutherans seeking faithful ways to move forward in a reconfigured North American Lutheranism.
WordAlone is changing its direction from having worked to renew the ELCA for almost 15 years to serving confessional individuals and churches, whether they stay in or leave the ELCA, by providing educational resources, pastoral care, fellowship opportunities and teaching by confessional theologians.
 “The LCMC Board of Trustees very much appreciated the opportunity to sit down with the board of WordAlone and with the working group from Lutheran CORE,” said the Rev. William Sullivan, LCMC service coordinator, Canton, Mich. “What emerged from the meeting was a strong consensus that we all share the same goal of a Word-centered, mission-driven Lutheran presence in North America. All agreed that each group has a particular niche to fill in the years ahead.”
LCMC, constituted in March of 2001, is an association of 297 Lutheran congregations in eight countries and 38 states, working together to fulfill Christ's Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations. Since August, 2009, LCMC’s ranks have swelled by 74 congregations departing the ELCA.
Ryan Schwarz, the chair of Lutheran CORE’s Vision and Planning Working Group, Washington, D.C., said, “We were particularly pleased to find consensus that Lutheran CORE and LCMC are ‘fraternal twins’ traveling on ‘parallel tracks,’ with both benefiting greatly from the contributions of WordAlone. We look forward to the prospect of substantial cooperation in mission and ministry with LCMC, and continued collaboration with WordAlone, as we move forward.”
He added, “WordAlone was instrumental in the founding of both LCMC and Lutheran CORE, and its varied ministries are critical to Lutheran CORE’s efforts to catalyze a reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism.”  The recent meeting included the first formal discussions between leadership of LCMC and Lutheran CORE.
 GJ - Some will leave ELCA for a Pietistic group that turns back the clock a few years. Others are trying the old Synodical Conference churches.


Jim Becker WELS has left a new comment on your post "ELCA Come Outters":

I'm a little confused. If LCMC and Augustana are Confessional and Scriptural, is there a conflict with having women pastors? Or will these churches put carryover ELCA Doctrine ahead of true Confessionalism? Will these new associations interpret the Bible from a historical-literal, historical-critical, or historical-liberal approach? Why aren't these "Confessionals" looking at Missouri, WELS, or the CLC?


GJ - There will be many more flavors in the future. Some will have women pastors. Perhaps most of them will. Why not? WELS has women pastors without ordination or even an explanation. WELS has women teaching men, whenever and wherever possible. Tiefel made a point of doing this at his pan-denominational worship conferences.

Tiefel had Missouri teach WELS back at the first conference at Carthage College (ELCA), so what is the big deal about Jeske teaching Missouri? - Reciprocity of the fourth genus: genus Wauwatosum.

That old liberal Methodist had it right. When women take over a role in the church, men will no longer take that office. Sunday School teaching is for women, and men hardly ever teach Sunday School. In my first LCA call, the men taught all the Sunday School classes except kindergarten, and a man was the superintendent.

In all-women congregations, where the pastor and council members are women, there are very few men in attendance. Look at the infamous HerChurch in ELCA.