I have been warned:
WELS Pastor Tim Glende is impressed with his own education, so much that no one is allowed to disagree with him.
No one on the Intrepids' blog has said "Boo!" about Glende's Ministry of Groeschel plagiarism. They even backed down from naming his Appleton neighbor for plagiarizing Chuck Swindoll (swindle all). But since the WELS pastors are all intoxicated by their own education, let me point out a few things.
Theologian, Not Just an MDiv
I also went to a Lutheran college, one of the best in America, still thriving. The State of Illinois paid most of my tuition because of my score on the college entrance exam. I also went to seminary, and finished a four year program in record time by taking a double-course load. I finished seminary with Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and German.
Yale University accepted me for an STM degree in Biblical studies, where I studied the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. I went to church with world-famous Lutheran scholars. Yale looked down on them because they were too conservative.
Notre Dame gave me a full tuition scholarship and a fellowship for their PhD program in theology. My professors were world famous in their fields, from various confessions (Lutheran, Mennonite, Roman Catholic). My dissertation concerned a Lutheran seminary professor, so I spent years writing about Lutheran history in America, defending the dissertation in front of a Mennonite, a Roman Catholic historian, a priest/theologian who specialized in Mary, etc. Martin Marty thought the disseration was good enough to be published, and it was.
I also took courses at Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne, plus a semester at The Sausage Factory, Mequon. I have written for 30 different periodicals, including FICKLE (nee The Northwestern Lutheran) and I have edited articles for some national theological journals. I lost count on the articles I have published, perhaps 400.
Northwestern Publishing House published my Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure, and still sells my Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant. I have written a few more books besides.
I teach religion at two universities, where I receive very high ratings from my students and supervisors. Teaching adults from all walks of life has given me a chance to get better at explaining difficult concepts.
Apparently this matters to the Lutheran audience, since my blog receives about 500,000 page reads per year at the current rate.
I have had unique opportunities in higher education, almost impossible to reproduce today. Someone can define Lutheran theology and discuss it as an academic field, but for me it is life and death, the truth that I believe because the infallible Word teaches it.
How To Talk Lutheran
Lutheran Confessional theology is Biblical theology, but since everyone wants to claim "Biblical," I have to write - How To Talk Lutheran. Every statement is clearly taught in the Scriptures and also in the Book of Concord.
- The Scriptures are clearly taught (perspicuity) so anyone can learn the basics of Christian doctrine, without knowing the Biblical languages or attending seminary. Let's face it, men - seminaries teach the synod more than they teach theology.
- Any layman or laywoman can ask questions and raise issues about Biblical doctrine. In fact, they are expected to discern doctrine and be Bereans in comparing the Word to what is being taught.
- Ministers, officials, and theologians cannot usurp the majesty of the Word and the Confessions by claiming authority by virtue of their office.
- All Biblical teaching must begin with the efficacy of the Word alone. Efficacy has not been taught or has been weakly taught in the Synodical Conference. Efficacy alone has been taught against by virtue of many Pietistic attitudes and claims.
- God only works through the Word, so His Holy Spirit is always united in His Word and Sacraments. Therefore, it is impossible that any divine activity could take place apart from His Word.
- Faith is good, because faith is trust in God's Word, God's mercy and loving-kindness. When people attack faith and ascribe divine benefits to non-faith, in the absence of the Word, they are Enthusiasts, not Lutheran.
- God creates faith through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel Word. He sustains faith and builds faith through the Word and Sacraments.
- Sins are forgiven because of God's grace, not because of man's virtue, and God's grace comes to us only through the Instruments of Grace, or the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments. Apart from the Means of Grace there can be no forgiveness.
- Therefore, every flavor of Universal Objective Justification is deadly wrong, because UOJ teaches grace without the Means of Grace, without the Word, its promoters lording it over the laity because people cannot follow their convoluted thinking.