The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence
Bethany Lutheran Church.
Friday, April 30, 2010
All Things Bright And Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all
The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one;
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows for our play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day;
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all
He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Click on this link for this song of Creation.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
A comment claims she published what was sent.
Tea Party insurgence ripples through Missouri Synod election
By TIM TOWNSEND
c. 2010 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS (RNS) When the nominations for president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod were tallied and released earlier this month, a collective gasp went up from Lutherans who pay attention to things like presidential nominations.
It wasn't just that nine-year incumbent Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, 67, received 755 nominations, but that the Rev. Matthew Harrison, 48, received nearly double that amount: 1,332.
Harrison, executive director of the church's World Relief and Human Care office, has the support of a group called the Brothers of John the Steadfast whose mission is, in part, to "defend and promote the orthodox Christian faith which is taught in the Lutheran Confessions..."
The group's website (www.steadfastlutherans.org) is one of the voices in the conservative wing of the synod that's unhappy with Kieschnick, and the group's analysis said Kieschnick's 755 nominations were the lowest number ever received by a sitting president.
"The nomination numbers were encouraging," said the Rev. Timothy Rossow, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., who heads the Brothers of John the Steadfast.
Some observers say the movement reflected in Rossow's group is made up of as many as one-third of the denomination's 2.4 million members. Others say it's much smaller, though loud and influential.
Theological and doctrinal conservatives within the St. Louis-based Missouri Synod call themselves "confessional Lutherans." They are traditionalists who stress a strict adherence to the Book of Concord, the 16th-century work that defined the central doctrines of Lutheranism.
Confessionalists are critical of what they call Kieschnick's postmodern approach to the church. They say that for the last decade, Kieschnick has taken a nondenominational, evangelical megachurch approach, and in the process has diluted Martin Luther's theology.
"My vision for the LCMS is that the gift that God has given us --that we believe, teach and confess on the basis of holy Scripture -- is a treasure," Kieschnick said. "That treasure is not intended to be hoarded. It's intended to be shared with the world."
Dale Meyer, president of the Missouri Synod's Concordia Seminary, said Harrison "has more conservative supporters, who are active in the blogosphere."
"Rev. Harrison is seen as more confessional, adhering to the teachings and practices of the Lutheran confession," Meyer said.
"President Kieschnick is a very conservative person, but he is a little bit more influenced by the
evangelical stream in the church."
Church delegates will cast their votes at the synod's trienniel convention in Houston in July.
Missouri Synod presidents have no term limits. If re-elected, Kieschnick will serve his fourth three-year term. But in the current American political landscape, "incumbent" is a dirty word.
"The incumbency factor is out there with some people," Meyer said.
On steadfastlutherans.org, Harrison supporters are counting on people in the pews seeking a change at the top of the church.
"Another thing that I think helps us this year is the general climate in our country of being dismayed with incumbents," Neal Breitbarth wrote.
Rossow said Harrison's large number of nominations -- the most ever for a nonincumbent, according to steadfastlutherans.org -- reminded him of another grass-roots effort seeking change.
"There's definitely a sort of Tea Party feel to these numbers," he said.
"President Kieschnick tends to reflect a broader, wider tent that can also suggest tolerance and openness. It's openness for the sake of being open, and that's where the Tea Party groundswell against him may kick in."
One of the largest pieces of business for delegates in Houston will be a proposed sweeping restructuring of the entire denomination that would consolidate some of the church's boards and commissions. "This is not," Kieschnick said, "a consolidation of power."
But Rossow and others see the proposed restructuring as exactly that. The proposals, he said, "centralize power in the synod office. That's not necessarily bigger government, but it's certainly stronger government."
Like all important elections, the presidential contest in Houston this July will determine the immediate direction that Missouri Synod Lutherans will take.
"There's a strong grass-roots movement that the synod can do much better in its life all the way around," Harrison said. "There's a strong sense of desire for a change of course."
Not surprisingly, Kieschnick sees things differently.
The fact that so few churches cast ballots, he said, means that people are largely satisfied with the job he's done, and out of that sense of satisfaction, they simply figure not voting will ensure the status quo.
"I've been a part of this church long enough to know that if someone in office is doing a very poor job, we'd have more than 30 percent of them weighing in," he said. "Call it apathy or satisfaction, but they see no need to make a change."
(Tim Townsend writes for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in St. Louis,
GJ - Quiche-nik is the Gurgle of the LCMS. He has pursued all the fads of the Church Growth Movement, spent everyone's money, and blessed the most outrageous and sacrilegious "evangelism efforts."
What Barry and McCain planted, Quiche-Nik watered, but Satan has given the increase. Look up all the LCMS congregations that are also members of the Willow Creek Association. Problem? Not for the Quiche-Niks. Land-o-Goshen! I found St. John in Ellisville. McCain and Barry had no problem with the congregation being members of two denominations at once. Neither does the current SP.
People used to claim that the conservatives took over the LCMS again. More accurately, the Reformed doctrine of Neo-Pietism took over WELS, Missouri, and the Little Sect on the Prairie.
I have been following the challenger, Harrison, for some time. He seems to have had a lot more practical experience than Quiche-Nik or Bohlmann.
L P has left a new comment on your post "LPC on Shunning":
This quote from the BOC is astounding ...
It is certain that sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ, as Propitiator, Rom. 3, 25: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation. Moreover, Paul adds: through faith. Therefore this Propitiator thus benefits us, when by faith we apprehend the mercy promised in Him, and set it against the wrath and judgment of God." "The wrath of God cannot be appeased if we set against it our own works, because Christ has been set forth as a Propitiator, so that, for His sake, the Father may become reconciled to us. But Christ is not apprehended as a Mediator except by faith. Therefore, by faith alone we obtain remission of sins when we comfort our hearts with confidence in the mercy promised for Christ's sake."
UOJers argue that Rom 3:24 is their verse. Yet the thorough examination of the verse along with Rom 3:25, shows that they ignore what the BoC says about justification through faith.
This setting aside on what the BoC says on Rom 3:25 is quite irresponsible.
What can be said but that there is coercion of the UOJ teaching upon the Sacred text and the BoC?
I do have the Althaus book, I will go back to it. Thanks for the reminder.
GJ - The era of Pietism is being studied for its effect upon UOJ. I have found nothing promoting forgiveness without faith before the Pietistic era. Several are working on this.
Marquart on Schleiermacher:
GJ - WELS Church Lady went German theology on me, so I had to bring up Halle theologian Schleiermacher, the most important theologian for all of modern Protestant theology. UOJ led him into Universalism, just as it did for Tholuck (Hoenecke's professor at Halle). Knapp, as the last of the believers, laid the foundation. Tholuck and Schleiermacher built on it. Some people think UOJ did not survive the 20th century, except in the Syn Conference. But it did survive! - in Karl Barth (theologian of Fuller Seminary, thus CGM) and Paul Tillich - both shameless adulterers. UOJ has a mangy pedigree.
I noticed that Dr. Ichabod blog about how faith becomes a four letter word here.
Yes, I wondered about this phenomenon of making faith a foul word.
I came from a Charismatic background and I know how the concept of faith has been abused in that circle. For example, faith is seen as a force. Prosperity teachers spoke of faith that way. It is like an infused stuff. Since they have been influenced heavily by Arminian Evangelicalism, Charismatics in general believe that everyone has faith, even the pagans and it is just a matter of exercising it or not. It can be turned on or off. Though my Charismatic friends may affirm it is a gift, it is not really in practice.
Take now a look at Pieper said about faith:
"I would eliminate faith as a requirement that makes justification true. That would be making faith a work of mine." Franz August Otto Pieper, A Final Word, http://www.franzpieper.com/This is the type of overstating the case that gives faith a bad rap.
Really Dr. Pieper? What about Mk 16:16? Peiper makes a non-sequitur fallacy, aside from what Dr. Maier pointed out in his paper - a tertium non datur fallacy too.
Indeed faith is a requirement, a condition! However, it is a condition that God meets for you the sinner by creating it in you through the Word and/or Sacraments. He does not give this gift without using means. It does not drop from the sky and zaps you neither is it something inside you such that you must pedal in your own steam to generate it. Like the Gospel - faith is EXTRA NOS. From the outside it comes to you. That is the payload of the Gospel (sorry for my little unsactified way of saying it).
So a few observations I make from say Eph 2:8-9 and Heb 12:2
- It is a gift from God not internal to us.
- It is not a work, you cannot work it such that you can produce it.
- The author of your faith in the Gospel is Jesus
- It cannot boast and if it can, then it is not the faith spoken of by the Bible.
I think what was happening during Walther's time and Pieper's time was that they have been surrounded by revivalism which uses faith like a tool and they wanted to correct this abuse. However, this wrong should have been corrected through the the Scripture of which the BoC expounds well specially on faith. It cannot be corrected by going off the other way.
Oops I criticized Dr. Pieper, a UOJ proponent. That is a no no.
One thing I notice with Pentecostal preachers and pastors. The moment you question the pastor, immediately the pastor gets offended and also his members too get offended with him and so watch out. They will no longer be your friend. You will be shunned like the plague. What can I say? Words like "immature and insecure" come to my mind.
I notice this type of behaviour is present amongst UOJ pastors too. They are quick to say that the anti-UOJers are wrong, they are quick to fly off with remarks of heresy and false doctrine etc. It is a type of bullying if you ask me. So what happens? Instead of people getting closer to the truth, having dialogue, the situation becomes a political play on people's affections.
My case in point is Dr. Maier's paper. That paper was written in a scholarly manner and I have found it to be well argued and well researched. His exegesis was not even peculiar. Yet did anyone take his thesis and work with it? Nope.
Is the Christian served well in this way? I doubt it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Nothing much is going to happen in WELS until people start openly applying the Word of God and the Confessions.
The Shrinkers spent WELS money to get their Church and Change organization going. They lost control of the Love Shack, but they still run Martin Luther College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, and the Sausage Factory in Mequon.
Like the unclean spirit, the Shrinker goes out and recruits more unclean spirits when he is expelled. Bruce Becker went to Jeske's LCMS media ministry, which is also the fetid womb of The CORE. Kelm went to WLC. Stroh got himself funded again. Wayne Mueller was un-elected and was replaced by Wayne Mueller. Finally Mueller quit and Jim Huebner, Fuller alumnus, replaced him as First VP.
Kelm would say, "Change I can believe in."
The Church and Changers have their annual get together -- remember Leonard Sweet? -- and no one has stopped them. Ex-SP Gurgle claimed he shut them down, but he was a member all along. The joke's on you WELS. And Rich Gurgle, his brother at the Sausage Factory, is another one.
And where did Gurgle land after his exile in a secure, undisclosed location? Patterson's Safari Center, furnished with a free vicar each year! Listen to this whopper of a lie - Patterson is not a Church and Changer, but he spoke at their convention, gathered a bunch of WELS workers for the Exponential pan-denominational fest, and traveled to the latest Changer convention. Patterson and the DPs support the Rock N Roll Church in Round Rock, made famous by its own blog.
In other words, these people are running circles around the typical WELS layman, pastor, and teacher:
1. The Changers have their own secret mailing lists, so they can network.
2. The Changers protect one another's jobs.
3. The Changers make no secret of what they represent and who is associated with them.
4. The Changers take turns beating up and expelling anyone who gets in their way or who even questions their precious agenda.
I see WELS at the tipping point. The apostates are starting to feel the pain, but they escape to fight again (Kelm, Stroh, Becker). The duplicitous DPs in Wisconsin stand behind their apostate Boomer pals.
Some stay in the background (wink, wink) - like Kudu Don Patterson - and promote the cause relentlessly. Patterson is not that subtle, and he certainly howled when his actions and words got onto the Net. If it is sound doctrine, why be ashamed? If you are ashamed, Don, why are you doing it?
Other Shrinkers, like John Lawrenz, are in deep cover on the other side of the world. But when a Shrinker pioneer like Steve Witte, with a DMin from Buffalo Chip Divinity, gets a call, he gets an upgrade to full-time bureaucrat. Both men are working on your dollar, WELS members.
Power is not taken away but given up, as Stuckenberg taught in the 19th century. WELS members have given up their congregational power by being passive. The pastors and teachers have given up their influence by being silent.
The district conventions are a good time to expel flabby DPs and put in faithful men. The district conventions are an ideal opportunity to demand doctrinal reform, instead of waiting around for someone else to do it.
ELCA members let the Lavender Mafia control the agenda from 1987 to 2009. They are finally fighting and leaving, often without the pastor or the building. Now that they have seen the ugly backside of apostasy, literally and figuratively, they prefer the Gospel.
WELS church lady has left a new comment on your post "Contra - The WELS KW Heretics":
In response to Pastor Spencer:
You are absolutely correct! Serving in Arizona, you have a birds-eye-view of the 'goings on' of the Kingdom Workers. Why would a Christ Centered person want to use this "what was intended to be a worthy program" to line his own pockets. It makes a mockery out of out-reach and mission work. Stroh went after these folks because it was one of he few programs not yet taken over by the CG crowd. Are any pastors or laymen writing letters of outrage?
LWMS is our 'ladies aid group.' We are helpers not heads. This new Women's Leadership Conference is in a partnership with Church and Change! There will not be any work completed if there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. God made head and helper. Scripture says that greed is the root of all evil. Yes we need WKW and LWMS; however, they need to be conducted in a God-pleasing manner!
from WELS church lady
L P has left a new comment on your post "Justification by Faith Alone":
To the UOJers, faith is an idle thought. It does not produce new life. They hate it with utmost hatred.
Imagine, they hate the one whose author and finisher is Jesus.
GJ - UOJ suffers from mission creep. Each generation wants to outdo the previous ones in making forgiveness without faith more radical.
KJV Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The fanatics are not studious, as they admit in weak moments. They simply repeat slogans.
Krauth pointed out the motto - "Young Calvinist, old Unitarian." We can update it with "Young UOJer, old atheist." I have already experienced that with WELS Shrinker pastors. Every UOJ advocate is well on his way to atheism, because Law and Gospel are both obliterated by their Enthusiasm.
Did you notice that the WELS Kingdom Worker message started with UOJ and finished with febrile Church Growthism?
Another side of this turning away from sound doctrine is weakness and apathy about the efficacy of the Word.
Once Isaiah 55 and many other similar passages are grasped, there is no problem with the Holy Spirit creating faith through the Word. Nor is there a moment's hesitation about the Real Presence and Consecration by the Word. Nor about baptismal regeneration.
KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
The Biblical emphasis upon faith is based upon the Holy Spirit's exclusive work through the Instruments of God's Grace - the Word and Sacraments. The Concordists understood this as well as Luther. The breakdown came after the era of Pietism, when the rationalism and emotionalism of Reformed doctrine crept into the Lutheran Church on little cat's feet.
Now we are cursed with the filter of Pietism's watery dogma whenever someone discusses justification by faith alone.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
KJV Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Dense Lutherans Foreshadowed
KJV John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
When Jesus answered the question directly, the crowd immediately demanded more. The work of God is to believe in the One He Sent, the Good Shepherd, to trust Him for the water of life (John 4), the Bread of Life (John 6), the fruits of the Spirit (John 15) and everlasting life.
"Nowhere in the Bible is any man constituted or declared righteous ‘without faith, before faith.’” R. C. H. Lenski, Romans, Augsburg Publishing House: Minneapolis, 1963, p. 382. Romans 5:19-20.
"They [the false teachers] fared like a man who looks through a colored glass. Put before such a man whatever color you please, he sees no other color than that of the glass. The fault is not that the right color is not put before him but that his glass is colored differently, as the word of Is. 6:9 puts it: You will see, he says, and yet you will not see it."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 644.
"To this incline your ears, and be persuaded that God speaks through men and forgives you your sins; this, of course, requires faith."Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 200.
west59wy (http://west59wy.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "WELS Kingdom Workers Work-Righteousness":
The highlighted sentence drips of a proud, pietistic, boastful spirit that loves to pin awards on those who say they are "sharing the Word" while slamming those who, in their exalted view, aren't because they haven't enrolled in the latest evangelism training session, hung doorhangers, etc. Tell it to the widowed mother who is raising her difficult teenage sons, paying the bills by toiling at a thankless job, who comes home exhausted after she's punched out the clock, who maybe has a enough gas left in the tank to read a devotion before nodding off, and who manages to come to church but is not much "involved" beyond that. Calling her a "church watcher"? Her church is her home, her altar is her family, her font is her job! Making such artificial distinctions as that of "church workers and "church watchers" reminds one of the haughty Corinthian spirits who looked down on the apostle Paul because he didn't measure up to their pre-determined standards of what qualified for a real apostle and a fake one. Yet,God uses the lowly...
GJ - I wonder what happened to the memory of the housemother, a poor widow, who raised a bunch of boys while doing menial labor. Her last name was Pieper. I suppose that is forgotten when WELS leaders slaver over such names as Drucker, Stetzer, Beeson, Stanley, Wagner, Hybel, and Sweet.
Rev. Fr. Spencer has left a new comment on your post "Contra - The WELS KW Heretics":
As much as I appreciate some of the work of WKW in the past, especially the Builders for Christ, I'm afraid they have now been completely taken over by church growth nuts and fanatics. Their material simply drips of Pietism. And watch out, ladies, LWMS could easily head off in the same direction. Be vigilant!
KJV Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
WKW National Director, David Timm, from the WKW Spring Issue, 2010, volume 23, issue 1. Note the laying on, not lifting off of, guilt in the second to the last sentence.
"We all agree on the doctrine of justiﬁcation – objective and subjective, that’s a safe topic for WELS Lutherans to discuss. The doctrine of sanctiﬁcation is a bit more on the edge of the safe zone. If we focus too much on how we live as redeemed children of God, some will say we detract from Jesus and the gospel.
WELS and WELS Kingdom Workers (WKW) don’t have the resources we enjoyed in the past. Change has been forced upon us. Some believe new and different methods of reaching the lost with the message of justiﬁcation are now necessary as part of a strategy to turn around the 20-year trend of decline in WELS. Some are against the idea of change. Others don’t want to argue about it, hoping things will get better if we all just get along. WKW is considering an association with the Center for Parish Renewal, formerly known as Parish Assistance. We are under the impression this is a good thing to do. As promoters of peace and harmony, we love the relationship we enjoy with WELS Boards for Home and World Missions. We are still providing people and money to serve WELS missions. If we can also help plateaued congregations see the mission ﬁeld beyond their own property, if we can equip and empower lay people to actively serve their congregation and their synod, they will become value added kingdom workers when their life circumstances permit. It is said, “to be safe and avoid criticism, say nothing, and do nothing.” That’s not the model we see in Acts 7. Stephen spoke a straight forward message to the Sanhedrin. It wasn’t the safe thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. We are kingdom workers not kingdom watchers. Let us walk together (not just stand together) and ask the Holy Spirit to bless our action to reach the lost both near and far."
WELS church lady has left a new comment on your post "WELS Kingdom Workers Work-Righteousness":
WELS Kingdom Workers:
Be on the look out for Pastor Stroh! Unfortunately this warning is TOO LATE. Didn't SP Schroeder kick Stroh and buddy Kelm off their Parish Assistance apostasy? (Yes he did!) We need Kingdom Workers, we do not need Kingdom Exploiters. When these guys come knocking at your door, they are after the money. Stroh went looking elsewhere and he found WKW. Why does everything have to be a C&C program? I am not against the WKW, only upset over these "changes."
from WELS church lady
GJ - And they tried to deny they went out looking for money from WKW. If the Antinomian Chicaneries deny it, the disputed fact is true.
rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Time of Grace Is a Missouri Synod Ministry":
Perhaps the "foward" at the bottom of the Satan Sex ed should have been "froward". The Middle English word appears in the much despised KJV and means "habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition". That seems to be the case here.
rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "He Denies UOJ! - Not in the Bible or BOC - But Wha...":
Here is another one. My former congregation is doing the "Fireproof your marriage" Bible study. This alleged Bible study is brought to us by a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. It is small group in format, with video tidbits for those with short attention spans. I was under the impression that the WELS was not in fellowship with Babtists. But, they can use their material if they just eat the meat and spit out the bones. What was that about swallowing the bird, feathers and all? Aren't we always told that the WELS won't be the only ones in heaven? Babtists are Christians also. We have been admonished to learn from them also.
The ultimate put-down in the Syn Conference is "He denies UOJ." Their theological leaders, from Otten on up, choose the Brief Statement of 1932 over the Book of Concord of 1580. Otten recently stated his agreement with the Brief Confession about UOJ, which is at war with the Book of Concord and the Scriptures.
The apostasy of the Syn Conference can be measured by this very fact - that denying UOJ is the unforgivable sin, while attending conferences with the Enthusiasts is excused, welcomed, encouraged, and financially supported.
Andy Stanley denies infant baptism, yet eight WELS workers have attended his Drive conferences together, according to Bishop Katie, who was also there.
Fuller Seminary denies the Means of Grace and mocks Lutheran doctrine, but Missouri, WELS, and the ELS have promoted men just for studying there. In fact, Larry Olson (Mary Lou College) earned a drive-by DMin at Fuller, his only qualification for heading the staff ministry program at MLC.
Leonard Sweet denies the Means of Grace, but WELS Church and Change hired him to teach WELS/ELS his New Age concepts. Thank you, Paul Calvin Kelm.
Ed Stetzer, as a Babtist, denies infant baptism and the Means of Grace, but Church and Changers were hotter than Georgia asphalt to have him teach them. The Conference of Pussycats woke up briefly from their doctrinal catnaps and halted that one.
Archbishop Weakland, as a gay Roman Catholic archbishop, denies the Biblical Means of Grace, but Willowcreek's Little College hired him and his priests to teach a series at their Schwan-funded school in Milwaukee.
A former Catholic bishop (this one straight, or at least married) denies the Means of Grace, but the Little Sect on the Prairie marched in a religious procession with him and had him speak in their chapel. Thank you, Erling Teigen, doctrinal stalwart.
Rick Warren, as a Babtist, denies infant baptism and the Means of Grace, but a number of WELS churches are affiliated with him.
Bill Hybel, at Willowcreek, denies the Means of Grace, but dozens of WELS pastors have been trained there to import his false doctrine into the Lutheran Church. Two WELS churches have affiliated with him, which would be unionism, except they believe the same thing. The open affiliation got stopped. Repentance? Ha.
Trinity Divinity School in Deerfield denies the Means of Grace, but so many staff and workers from WELS have studied there that the synod is listed twice in the school catalogue.
Craig Groeschel, Mark Driscoll, and Mark Beeson deny the Means of Grace, but WELS and Missouri workers oink over to those centers of apostasy so they can get their trotters in the trough, too.
The Shrinkers shriek about lack of adherence to their false doctrine, because it is their only doctrine. Once someone embraces UOJ, the richness and wealth of the Scriptural treasure is lost.
No one will admit officially to those doctrinal crimes listed above, but they are all documented, even bragged about, so there is no issue about the facts.
LP Cruz suggested the title, above, and I added the subtitle, from the Gospel of John.
I wonder what the UOJ Stormtroopers say about this passage from John's Gospel:
KJV John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
NKJ John 6:28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Many have noticed that the UOJ Stormtroopers rail against faith. Suffering from mission creep, each one tries to outdo the other in denigrating faith. One partisan signed his post on the Net, "An believer." And he is a Missouri pastor.
John's Gospel may be the most humorous book of the Bible, full of ironic humor. Read John 9 and imagine the opponents as the Keystone Kops of the Bible.
The humor is often paradoxical, with a play on words: born again versus born from above, thirsting for water, bread from heaven.
John's Gospel teaches faith in Christ. The entire purpose of the Gospel is to produce faith in the Good Shepherd.
KJV John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The paradox of the Gospel is whether our faith is in man or God. The righteousness of man is based upon faith in man's work, in order to please or appease God. That is the context of the question: "What work must we do?"
That one work is to believe on the One Whom God sent. Jesus is saying, "You are looking for a works answer. Here is the work - Believe in the One Whom God sent.
Paul said we are either saved by works or by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.
The UOJ fanatics are so allergic to faith that they constantly warn people against faith.
Christianity teaches that God has accomplished everything for our salvation through the atoning death of Christ, Who rose from the dead. His grace comes to us through the Instruments of Grace - the Word and Sacraments. This alien righteousness is received through faith alone, God declaring us forgiven of all our sins.
UOJ, which is pure Enthusiasm, teaches that the entire world has been forgiven, absolved of all sin, but their theologues have yet to tell us where this is revealed in the Scriptures. Forgiveness is salvation and eternal life, so they teach Universalism on one hand but add, as an afterthought, that people need to believe in this universal absolution. Hottentots, Hindus, everyone in Hell - all are guilt-free saints. E. Preuss and Kokomo-WELS said so.
This great doctrinal synthesis of Calvinism via Pietism is not from Walther originally, but from the Halle Pietist Knapp. Walther kelmed it from Knapp's lectures, which were a 19th century best-seller among all Protestants, English and German-speaking. Knapp is still in print. The double justification formula, so popular today, is found in the English translation of Knapp, published long before Walther landed in New Orleans and kept in print during that century.
UOJ Influence in the Syn Conference
1. UOJ has made all forms of Enthusiasm acceptable in the Syn Conference, so Pentecostalism, Reformed doctrine, and Pietism thrive.
2. UOJ destroys the meaning and purpose of the Lutheran Confessions. If everyone is already forgiven, each denomination is just a brand-name, all the more reason to jettison the name Lutheran.
3. UOJ teaches the works of man. All we hear from the Shrinkers is how much they do. They increase membership numbers (pause for ironic laughter), transform people's lives (by posing with Hollywood ho's), and work so hard at planning, visioning, and leading.
4. UOJ is unionistic. Because no confession of faith matters, no differences exist as a barrier to joint-worship, joint-education, and joint-apostasy.
5. UOJ is anti-worship. They love themselves and their works, so they do not condescend to worship God. Instead, they brag about themselves. They act as if nothing happened until they arrived in that location.
6. UOJ is anti-Sacramental. At places like CrossWalk in Phoenix (WELS) and The CORE in A-Town, the sacraments are hidden away.
7. UOJ detests the Confessions. They pay some lip service to the Book of Concord, but they dismiss it as out of date, irrelevant, boring, and not worth their time.
8. UOJ has declared war on the Scriptures. They use the prime justification by faith chapters, Romans 4 and 5, to argue justification without faith. They invent meanings which are nowhere to be found in the entire Bible, just to fit their slogans.
9. UOJ fanatics are dishonest, deceptive, manipulative, and Antinomian. Everyone is absolved, so there is no Law. Shrinkers love this part of UOJ, whether they are chasing women or the bottom of the bottle.
10. UOJ Enthusiasm has prepared those who hate CG Enthusiasm to join Rome or Constantinople for another version of Enthusiasm.
Shame on all the Syn Conference leaders who have denied their members and pastors a real education in the Confessions.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Ex-Synod President Gurgle sent out an email with four obvious spelling errors in it.
Ski, who offers Satan's Sex Education sermons at The CORE, copied Groeschel, who cannot spell, and added his own spelling error.
Perhaps it is time for WELS to stop thanking God for having such a great educational system. Sure, they know how to teach Fuller dogma in the colleges and seminary, but along they way they might want to study spelling on the side.
Most people who read a lot can also spell. That may be the problem.
Journal Sentinel Online
Lutherans sending MP3 players to troops
Time of Grace, the Milwaukee-based media ministry of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, is shipping 600 MP3 players preloaded with Biblical messages to American servicemen and women overseas, the church said this week.
The messages, by the Rev. Mark Jeske, senior pastor at Milwaukee's St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, will be distributed by LCMS chaplains to military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan.
"Time of Grace" is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 to spread the Gospel using technology. It produces a weekly 30-minute message by Jeske that is broadcast in 24 U.S. markets and via satellite overseas, according to its Web site, www.timeofgrace.org.
Meanwhile, Jeske's young protege, Ski, continues to use Groeschel's Satan's Sex Ed as a sermon series for the Easter season. It's still running, so you can still catch it. However, it is the only sermon series where children are expected to leave church.
GJ - I am just a journalism school dropout, but I detect a news release printed as is by the Milwaukee paper. Either Jeske's people or the LCMS sent this to the paper, and it was printed verbatim.
Congratulations, Mark, you are going down with the ship. Quiche-nik is facing the boot for his imperious ways and incompetence.
Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Time of Grace Is a Missouri Synod Ministry":
WELS' Time of Grace media Ministry of the LCMS.
GJ - Isn't that a nice message for everyone in WELS who gave money to Jeske (former link on WELS.net)and bought his trinkets (former link on WELS.net)? One sure sign of a Shrinker congregation is linking Time of Generic Grace from the church website.
Everyone knew LCMS congregations were the Church of the Lutheran Hour, but how many knew they were also the Time of Grace backers?
WELS - you have been taken for a ride.
bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Time of Grace Is a Missouri Synod Ministry":
I see Time of Grace's status as an approved ministry by the LCMS HQ allows Jeske to claim to be LCMS for fund-raising purposes, just as Wisconsin Lutheran College is WELS, at least for fund-raising purposes.
GJ - That is true, Bruce, but I have never heard of a program representing two synods at once, when they are not in fellowship - except for Mischke's Joy radio ministry program, which was ELCA-WELS-LCMS. WELS lied about that instead of promoting it the way ELCA did, as the first joint ministry of all three synods.
The Liberal Spirit
In response to my request to the office of the ELCA secretary, I received an email from The Rev Ruth E Hamilton, Ph.D., which is reprinted below:
These are the latest statistics:
As of April 7, we have been advised that 308 first votes have been taken by congregations to terminate their relationship with the ELCA (some congregations have taken more than one first vote). Of those 308 first votes, 221 passed and 87 failed. Synods also have informed the Office of the Secretary that 90 congregations have taken a second vote, 89 of which passed. (This does not mean that all of these congregations have been removed from the roster because Synod Council approval is required for congregations established by the ELCA and former congregations of the Lutheran Church in America, and, in some cases, the vote is disputed because questions exist regarding the process. The Office of the Secretary will remove a congregation from the roster only upon advice of the synod.) As of this date 46 congregations have been removed.
For comparison purposes, the website of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) reports 185 new congregations since CWA09. It would appear that a heavy preponderance of the congregations departing the ELCA are coming to rest in LCMC, which raises interesting issues for the Lutheran CORE progeny, the new denomination scheduled to start next August, which will be called the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). Again, remember that the ELCA counts over 10,000 congregations on its rolls.
Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "LP Cruz - On the Bourman UOJ Paper":
In order to induce at least a small level of frustration in both UOJ promoters and simultaneously in Justification By Faith Alone defenders I quote contradictory declarations from WELS AZ/CA District President Pastor Jon Buchholz in his 2005 WELS Convention Essay concerning Objective Justification as nurtured and nourished in the Wisconsin Synod.
"God has forgiven the whole world. God has forgiven everyone his sins." This statement is absolutely true! This is the heart of the gospel, and it must be preached and taught as the foundation of our faith. But here’s where the caveat comes in: In Scripture, the word "forgive" is used almost exclusively in a personal, not a universal sense. The Bible doesn’t make the statement, "God has forgiven the world."
"God has forgiven all sins, but the unbeliever rejects God’s forgiveness." Again, this statement is true—and Luther employed similar terminology to press the point of Christ’s completed work of salvation.16 But we must also recognize that Scripture doesn’t speak this way."
"God has declared the entire world righteous." This statement is true, as we understand it to mean that God has rendered a verdict of "not-guilty" toward the entire world. It is also true—and must be taught—that the righteousness of Christ now stands in place of the world’s sin; this is the whole point of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. However, once again we’re wresting a term out of its usual context. In Scripture the term "righteous" usually refers to believers. "
"God has forgiven the whole world. God has forgiven everyone his sins." This statement is absolutely true!" Also, "God has declared the entire world righteous." This statement is true, as we understand it to mean that God has rendered a verdict of "not-guilty" toward the entire world."
Pastor Buchholz' statement to me, "I also note in your description of UOJ below that you characterize UOJ as saying: "The world has had righteousness, forgiveness and justification charged to their account." That statement confuses universal acquisition and particular distribution of the forgiveness of sins. While I imagine that some WELS person may conceivably have written that statement, it is nevertheless sloppy and imprecise and cannot be used as a correct characterization of UOJ"
James Huebner (WELS First Veep) and Mark Paustian (Mary Lou College) - both of Church and Change - are the speakers at the upcoming district meeting for South Central, WELS, June 7-8, Calvary, Dallas.
That, readers, is how WELS keeps its members and pastors in Stygian darkness. First they pummel them with horrid papers on UOJ. Next they have their Shrinker leaders offer another round of poison based on UOJ.
There are intelligent pastors who actually understand what is in the Book of Concord and never attend Chicanery hive meetings, but they do not get asked.
Expect no difference while the current generation of Doctrinal Pussycats remains on the job.
Of course, Kudu Don Patterson cannot wait to reform the district!
Kenneth Sauer, ex-bishop of ELCA, had this to say about how ELCA degenerated so quickly. His remarks imply that ELCA began with a lesbian preacher in 1987, the same who preached for Goodsoil after the winning vote. In other words, the fix was in from the beginning.
One of the last remaining thinkers in ELCA has written an excellent essay on ELCA going wrong from the beginning, with mandated quotas. He failed to mention the required gay quota, which paid off royally at the 2009 ELCA convention. Much of this began with Missouri's Seminex, which had its beginnings at Northwestern College, Watertown, where Professors Jungkuntz and Gehrke taught apostasy with abandon.
The president of the ELCA (formerly ALC) seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, resigned and left town rather quickly. Just as fast, the board appointed an interim president, David Tiede, who was formerly head of Luther Seminary in Minneapolis. The leadership crisis suggests something, but what? One possible cause is insolvency. Several ELCA seminaries are flat busted, in spite of their female and LGTB pastoral candidates. Perhaps some additional facts will turn up.
The seminaries will lose students from the recent vote, but they will doubtless gain a few new ones, too. The fan page for Party-in-the-MLC will grow. Phones will ring in the New Ulm dorms. "Hi. I was just in town and..."
The ELCA Council member quoted recently is probably the LCA pastor we knew in Ohio. He was against the change but abstained from voting, since that was against the will of the Church Wide Assembly. The courage! The integrity!
How does one get on these legislative boards? By being slithering compromisers. Each one wants to paddle up to the edge of Niagara Falls for the view, but they all express shock that they cannot paddle back to safety.
PS - A 550 member church in Ohio just voted to quit ELCA. The bishop complained he did not get enough time to present the case for an LGTB denomination. Later the same guy might do a Ken Sauer and complain about the ordination of cats and dogs.
LP Cruz - On the Bourman UOJ Paper": BTW, that picture made me ROFLOL!!!!
L P has left a new comment on your post "Bruce Church - The Nate Bourman UOJ Paper":
A few points:
1. The use of Chemnitz to vouch for his position is anachronistic and coerced. He does this by equating the Atonement points Chemnitz made with Justification but that is begging the question.
2. If one assumes the Atonement is the same and equivalent with Justification then he will see any Atonement topic from Luther or Chemnitz as a statement about Justification. This is assuming already what one needs to prove.
3. Bourman assails H. Schmidt and G. Fritschel for saying that justification occurs at the time of faith yet this is what the Scripture says about Abraham Gen 15:6.
4. He quotes Chemnitz saying that Chemnitz equated justification with reconciliation p.7. However, the question is does Chemnitz equate the two without reference to faith? The second point is that reconciliation has a past sense of the atonement and a continuing sense in that men are still being justified today as they believe. His use of Chemnitz to leverage his case is suspicious.
Lastly, the pastors in this conference know of one thing about Calvinism - that Calvinists deny the universality of the Atonement. But that is not the only thing the Calvinist does. The Calvinist equates the Atonement with Justification too! Which I might add, the UOJers do as well.
GJ - Every UOJ paper argues that the Atonement passages in the Scriptures are also justification passages. They also repeat the same authorities, all post-Walther, all from the Synodical Conference, without addressing contrary positions, including Robert Preus' final book. Therefore, all UOJ efforts have proven themselves to be prime examples of Begging the Question.
Not only that, but these UOJ Stormtroopers betray their ignorance by using Guilt by Association, a variation on the personal attack, the Ad Hominem. The fake blog runs on fallacies, especially those.
Here are the responses of UOJ Stormtroopers to justification by faith:
1. You are a Calvinist.
2. You are in fellowship with Larry Darby.
3. You are in agreement with Greg Jackson.
4. Your faith is in faith.
5. You deny UOJ! - which assumes UOJ is Biblical or Confessional or just plain unassailable.
6. You have fallen into the error of intuitu fidei.
bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Knapp's Portrait Contributed by...Someone":
They finally have the Nate Bourman paper up at the WELS essay site--the one on the origin of the terms SJ and OJ.
I just perused the Bourman paper on the history of the term OJ and SJ, and did a search on the name Knapp. Nothing. Another thing that's missing is the entire p. 6 (lines 91-122)! I doubt the missing page mentioned Knapp.
Here's a statement: "They may even argue that the forgiveness of sins is not the same as justification." I've never heard anyone make that claim. The BoC says that the forgiveness of sins is the same as justification, according to my recollection. However, this statement comes out of the confusion caused by UOJ since the UOJers say someone is justified and forgiven but doesn't benefit thereby.
The whole Texas conference on UOJ turned out to be a circling the wagons, and dodging issues. Bourman asks us to believe that UOJ came fully formed out of Walther's head in 1872, and didn't come from Knapp and the many Halle U graduates and Knapp readers in the Synodical Conference.
Another example is when Ichabod says that UOJ is 99% on the way to universalism, Schleicher writes a paper on the differences, but neglects to admit there isn't a whole lot of difference. Also, he writes about universalist churches with their strange doctrines, but this is all irrelevant.
Once again Mequon graduates show their dependence on their indoctrination. On the universalism paper, Schleicher listed in the bibliography: "Seminary Dogmatics Notes, cf. the Seminary mimeo company."
Justification by faith alone since the Reformation: the use and emergence of “objective” and “subjective” in relation to justification.
When I find a fellow who clearly hasn't learned anything new since leaving school, I'm reminded of the old saying, "Even the best soil becomes exhausted by constant tillage!"
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Mollie on the fake shortage.
Do you write the blog Ichabod, the Glory has Departed? Well, if you did, you called it about the Ft. Wayne Sem and trumping the need for pastors to get guys to attend, because my class at the sem alone is 20 calls short.
GJ - More Church Growth programs are needed, funded by Thrivent.
April 25th, 2010 at 01:10 | #15
Reply | Quote
@Gregory L. Jackson #9
I see Greg Jackson has posted a link to his website. Greg, are you and Larry Darby still as one doctrinally? What do you say about MO’s traditional doctrine of Universal Justification?
April 25th, 2010 at 08:26 | #17
Reply | Quote
My comment is totally off-topic, but since Rev. Jackson posted a link to his website, I thought cautions were in order. He is a very intelligent, witty and at times friendly commentator, and has written some good stuff, but denies “Universal/Objective” justification (which is not Universalism in any way), while also denying being a Calvinist.
It is too bad you cannot focus on the topic at hand or list your name. I suggest you read this blog post for some doctrinal clarity: http://extranos.blogspot.com/2010/04/some-tips-to-calvinist-becoming.html
I was happy to link LPC's excellent post on the topic.
I believe the gratuitous comments, which have nothing to do with the discussion, are a sign of anxiety about their precious UOJ losing ground - as laymen examine it and clergy confide that they consider it junk theology.
oldjoe (http://oldjoe.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Holy Word Should Read the Appointed Gospel for Jub...":
Without a doubt, thank God, we are among the best trained for the public ministry anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately that high-quality education leaves a lot to be desired in terms of understanding Scripture and basic skills like spelling. Mr. Gurgel, you should avoid making claims that are so patently false. Making false claims destroys your credibility and that of what you say about the Word of God.
art by Norma Boeckler.
Jubilate, The Third Sunday after Easter
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 536 Awake My Soul 3.28
The Confession of Sins
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
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 36 Now Thank We 3.40
Because They Do Not Believe
The Communion Hymn # 354 In the Cross 3.84
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 # 195 (Luther) Christ Jesus 1:46
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
To Convict the World of Sin, Because They Do Not Believe
KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
The text for today is taken from the historic lesson for next week, because I glanced at another website and forgot they were using the Vatican order (3-year lectionary), which mixes things around. John 16 is a chapter worthy of considerable study, because it is Jesus’ farewell sermon and contains so much for us to know.
The work of the Holy Spirit (that is, the Word) is three-fold:
1. To convict the world of sin.
2. Of righteousness.
3. And judgment.
Whenever we speak of the work of the Holy Spirit, it is the work of the Word of God. And the reverse is also true. The Word of God is always the work of the Holy Spirit, no matter how we might be tempted to judge it.
Some say, “Do not speak so sharply about doctrine, because it makes people upset and unhappy.” But that is the work of the Holy Spirit – convicting them of sin, because they do not believe.
Verse 8 is the most upsetting of all verses in the New Testament, for two reasons.
One is the definition of sin for most people. Our first thought is the Prodigal Son, who wasted all his money on slow horses and fast women. We think of carnal sin and all the vices of the world. Most people think of sin this way because it is the primary definition in the minds of all people. That is also why they think the opposite of sin, or the cure for sin, is virtue and good works.
The second reason this upsets is that constant war against faith being waged by the stormtroopers of the Synodical Conference. Borrowing from Calvinism via Pietism, they imagine that everyone is already forgiven, without the Holy Spirit working through the Word, that salvation is believing we are already forgiven, while repudiating faith in an odd sort of way.
No matter how much we know as believers, we still go back to the world’s definition of sin. That is also why we spend so much time justifying ourselves instead of relying on the justification promised by and given by the Word of God.
To understand this properly we need to return to Luther’s concept of the Bible, which was the result of his spiritual agony, his extensive training, and his duties in lecturing on the Bible.
Luther, as a monk, thought battling sin meant confessing his sins for hours, ruining his health, torturing himself with physical pain of various types. The more he did this, the more he less he felt in control of sin. He knew the mental battle was the greatest of all. As he said in one sermon, someone can be tied up and incapable of doing anything, yet sin inwardly. Physical restraint is no cure. Nor is total fear of the consequences. If someone refrains from sin from fear, that is not conquering sin at all. Take away the fear and the impulse remains.
Because we all have a general knowledge of sin and a default attitude of paying for sin by ourselves, the Biblical solution must be different. God’s ways are not man’s ways, and God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts.
The basis for all sin is lack of faith in Christ. The Gospel alone conquers sin, so the lack of Gospel from a lack of faith is the cause of sin.
I contend that the teaching of UOJ in WELS, the ELS, Missouri, and the CLC (sic) has had catastrophic consequences for the clergy. Most laity do not grasp the false doctrine of UOJ because it is so self-contradictory. However, the clergy get UOJ left and right and know they cannot openly oppose it. For the spiritually lazy, it is wonderful, because it justifies anything they do, whether it means addiction to alcohol, drugs, adultery, or false doctrine. Under UOJ, unionism is meaningless and there is no room for the category of false doctrine (except “denying UOJ” which is condemned with fury).
The larger problem of a lack of faith in Christ comes from impatience with His results, which are never enough for us, and the experience of the cross.
Impatience with results will always lead us to doubt God’s Word and His goodness. Clergy get that experience because everything leading up to the first call is usually positive. Isn’t it wonderful is a common phrase. The vicar is almost always in a large congregation and never faces the real action. He is ordained and gets some gifts, his first real dwelling, to be shared with his shepherdess, and then it all starts. It is the bad side of teaching and preaching the Word. One member will be furious because a single announcement was overlooked.
As someone said, the actions of one person can color one’s perception of the whole group. Reaction against sound doctrine is much stronger than support of sound doctrine. That leads the clergy into ways of creating happy campers, as one Church Growth leader said, and the road to apostasy follows, especially since Satan rewards apostates to keep them in the fold.
No one looks at the last act of the apostate. Robert Schuller was the man to emulate for decades. Now various businesses are suing his church for unpaid bills. I have seen unpaid bills in a church before, but never so bad that lawsuits were filed to collect. That shows where the Power of Positive Thinking leaders. But others will follow younger, more radical wolf-shepherds and forget about old Schuller, yesterday’s news.
More importantly, people fail to grasp the Gospel when they think their battle against sin is one of works and virtue. The Law has no power to conquer sin. The Law can only convict us of our sin and stir up sin. A perfect Law sermon is this “You know why we are not growing? You are not friendly enough! We need a program of friendliness to make people want to join our church.”
That kind of Law sermon will make people upset at their unfriendly neighbors and induce people to engage in a works-program of friendliness.
All the self-improvement and addiction programs are based on works and virtue.
Fruits of Christianity come from faith in Christ. Faith in Christ comes from remaining with the Means of Grace. A forgiven Christian is motivated by love, God’s love. The Gospel alone has to power to conquer sin because believers receive the righteousness of Christ and enjoy that energy, that leaven in their lives.
I use the term energy because it is a pun on the Greek word expressing God’s Word “at work” or effective in the lives of believers. Paul and Christ warned against the bad leaven of the Pharisees but commended the constantly growing leaven of the Gospel.
As Luther said, and we read in the Confessions, the Gospel continues to work in us to make us more loving, more patient, more generous.
The unforgiven person rages against sin because he never knows how to be forgiven. The UOJ parson is in the same fix, because his solution is anti-Biblical rather than God-pleasing.
Not believing in Christ is a sin. Faith in Christ means receiving all His benefits.