Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Rid of the Last Lutheran Member,
St. Peter, Freedom, Wisconsin, WELS

To whom it may concern,
We, the Council of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, having prayerfully and faithfully examined the concerns raised by Mr. Frederick "Rick" Techlin Jr. in the document entitled “Letter to Council and Pastors”, and having determined that the accusations submitted therein reflect a gross misstatement about and misunderstanding of the ministry of St. Peter, and finally wishing to clearly state our consensus, submit the following response.

1) On the matter of the preaching of sound doctrine;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all called workers of St. Peter are preaching sound Lutheran doctrine based on God’s Word and all of them are faithful to their calling as ministers and/or teachers of this congregation.
2) On the matter of proper application of the Law and Gospel;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all called workers of St. Peter are preaching and teaching the proper mix of the Law and Gospel in their sermons and classrooms.
3) On the matter of plagiarism;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all pastors, at St. Peter and other WELS congregations, have every right to use outside resources in the preparation and preaching of their sermons.
4) On the matter of pietism;
We believe that it is truly Biblical for Pastor Glende and all called workers to encourage the members of our congregation to do good works to the glory of God motivated by the Gospel message of pardon in Christ.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10.
“The Bible makes it very clear that a sanctified life is not something that God deems optional for us. God desires us to live holy lives. Paul states this in no uncertain terms to the Thessalonians: ‘It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. For God has not called us to be impure, but to live a holy
life.’” (1 Thessalonians 4:7) - (“Sanctification”. People’s Bible Teachings, p.106)
5) On the matter of the St. Peter mission statement;
We believe that our mission statement contains both Law and Gospel. The phrase “and share God’s love with the whole world” sufficiently refers to the spreading of the Gospel message of pardon.
6) On the matter of the St. Peter vision statement;
We believe that our vision statement properly enumerates the actions that we will take to accomplish what Christ commanded in the great commission, to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8
7) On the matter of the use of outside creeds;
We believe that we can use various creeds (by definition - a statement of faith, belief) in our worship services which express the truth of God’s Word. The use of such creeds is an adiaphoran.
8) On the matter of the teaching of the Lutheran Confessions;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all called workers are properly emphasizing the Lutheran Confessions in their ministry.
9) On the matter of new liturgies and contemporary music;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all called workers have every right to design new worship liturgies and use Biblical contemporary Christian music to the glory of God.
“There are many areas where we New Testament Christians have freedom. The liturgies we use, the appointments we use in connection with worship, the translations we use, the architecture of the churches and schools we build, the forms and instruments of music we use, the forms of ministry we adopt – all are matters in which we have freedom to exercise sanctified common sense.” (“Sanctification”.
People’s Bible Teachings, p.177)
10) On the matter of the attendance of Christian Conferences;
We believe that Pastor Glende and all called workers have every right to attend Christian conferences to learn more about various Christian ministry methods.
Synodical professors, teachers, pastors, mission counselors and parish counselors in our synod are currently attending such conventions as part of their continuing education.
11) On the matter of fund raising;
We believe that our congregation in its Christian liberty has the right to conduct a limited amount of fund raising events.
Now, having responded such, we consider the personal nature of this correspondence concluded. This matter has been taken up by the Council and will be addressed following the guidelines set forth by Christ and the constitution of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In conclusion then, while we continue to encourage all Christians to follow God’s command to continually test the spirits (1 John 4:1), we also cannot allow the divisive nature (Titus 3:9-11) of this dialog to continue but rather will close with a final reminder and closing encouragement from God’s Word:
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 4:25-5:2 (New International Version)

In Christ,
The members of the Council of St Peter Lutheran Church
Tom Denney, President
David Gruendemann, Vice-President
William Kietz, Treasurer
Tim Bolwerk, Secretary
David Dalke, Elders
Gregg Mattek, Evangelism
Todd Dombrowski, Trustees
Adam Thomas, Board of Education
Gary Thoma, Stewardship
Mr. Phil Punzel (Principal), Ex-Officio member
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