Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quasidmodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" by Caravaggio




Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ is Risen 1:83
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 #200 I Know that My Redeemer 1:80

Faith Comes from Hearing the Word Preached

The Communion Hymn #187 Christ Is Arisen 1:45
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

First Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 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.

Faith Comes from Hearing the Word Preached
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Lenski:
In his risen and glorified state time, space, the rock of the tomb, the walls and the doors of buildings no longer hamper the body of Jesus. He appears where he desires to appear, and his visible presence disappears when he desires to have it so. This is wholly supernatural, wholly incomprehensible to our minds. Nor may we ask or seek to comprehend where Jesus stayed during the intervals between his appearances during the forty days. When our bodies shall eventually enter the heavenly mode of existence, we may know something of these supreme mysteries, but we doubt if even then we shall really comprehend the profundities of the divine omnipresence of which the human nature of Jesus partakes and which he exercised since his vivification in the tomb as in these wondrous appearances. “He came and stood in their midst” is all that human thought and language can say. He did not walk through anything. The disciples did not see him take so many steps from the door or the wall to their midst. He was there, and that was all.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1365.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

The text begins with a miracle, one that is denied for various bad reasons. Calvin did not allow for Jesus appearing in the locked room, unless He came in a secret way. Calvin believed the human nature of Christ limited His divine nature, but there were already several examples of the same kind of movement before in the Gospels. Two times an angry crowd surrounded Jesus but He passed through them. Another example would be His walking on the water.

We do not question God’s presence or ability when we pray. We normally pray in the Name of Christ, which is what He commanded and urged. Does anyone think Jesus left His humanity behind so He could hear us through His divine nature? That runs into all kinds of absurdities. That is why human reason is destructive when the Word of God is subordinated to it. Or, to put it another way – If the Word of God must be reasonable, eventually it will be nothing more that what human reason can accept. That is the path to Unitarianism and atheism.

Instead, we use all our God-given abilities to understand and appreciate what God reveals in His Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. That Word is so powerful that we know and experience it. We know it is true and we experience its truth at the same time.

In contrast, those who subject the Word of God to the test of their human reason and experience will find themselves blinded by their own vanity. Countless false teachers have bragged about their new insights and promoted them as unique bits of wisdom hidden from everyone else. One man in New England decided the Trinity did not exist. He began services in the name of the One God and people remained with him. That was the birth of Unitarianism in New England. It was not exactly new. In the Reformation it was called Socianism, but he thought it was special.

New England today is deeply affected by this Unitarianism. One LCA pastor told me decades ago, “We stand outside church on Sunday and beg people to visit.” He was joking, but it was bleak there. Fitting in meant being as Unitarian as the natives, and that naturally happened.

I asked one LCA group, as I was leaving, “What is our message? Join our church and help burn down the bank on the corner?” The moderator looked at his watch and said, “It’s time for lunch.” Everyone emptied the room.

The doors (plural) were locked because of fear. This is a lesson where fear and faith are contrasted. The plural suggests that the outside door was locked, and the room door was also locked. If I thought a mob might kill me too, I would lock every door, too.

Their fears were reasonable, and that is worth considering. They had every right, apart from faith, to be afraid. And yet they were the chosen disciples who had been told what would happen. The passion of Christ did take place as predicted, so they should have been full of faith.

The disciples often make very good stand-ins for us, because we should not be afraid but full of faith. We know as much as they did and also have their examples of timidity, but we still lock all the doors instead of trusting Christ. We can look back on their histories and say, “Christ was not going to let them die. Instead He planned to send them across the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel.”

This is what we can overlook about evil. If evil happens, it is because of man’s sinfulness. But God lets evil take place in a limited form. He also transforms that evil for those who believe in Him. Thus the hymn-writer Paul Gerhardt was subjected to a lifetime of tragic and painful experiences, but God transformed those events into beautiful poetry, the best hymns (along with Luther’s) in the Christian faith. When I hear a newer classic Christian hymn, I often think, “Which Gerhardt hymn is he trying to emulate?”

Gerhardt was a man with unique gifts, a mild disposition, and sound doctrine. But the doctrine got him in trouble, and he lost most of his family, his wife and all his children but one. Every one of his hymns expresses love of God, trust in His wisdom, and thankfulness for His blessings.

In the same way, the persecution of the Gospel in New Testament times drove the Christians to the corners of the Roman Empire. The persecutions were sporadic, so Christians were able to settle in, copy Scriptures, and train leaders. Then it would start up again. Thus through the evil of persecution the Word went to the corners of the world.

came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Jesus, after being abandoned by the disciples (except John), just as He predicted, and denied by Peter, as He predicted, came into their midst and said “Peace.” He might have denounced their sinfulness, but He came to show them His risen state and to nurture their faith.

His appearance in the locked room revealed the everlasting union of His divine and human natures. He appeared there - as only God could do, and yet His body showed the dreadful scars of His crucifixion.

John 20:20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw Him. They already believed in His resurrection, because the disciples saw the empty tomb, as the women reported. The Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13) also reported being with Him and eating with Him. Mary Magdalene already spoke with Him (John 20:11), blinded by her own tears until He spoke her name.

We see in the resurrection accounts a building up of the followers’ faith, with repeated and varied appearances, accompanied by teaching them the Word of God.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

This peace greeting is very important to understand and appreciate. It is not only God’s blessing but also a special blessing by itself. Jesus was giving them His peace, meaning that He would preserve their peace even when all the world was raging around them. Peace follows justification by faith and salvation – for all believers – and this peace offered them by Jesus, by His Word, is one that took them through their fiery trials and deaths as martyrs.

Indeed, nothing was so disconcerting to the pagan Romans as seeing the Christians die peacefully in their stadiums, while being torn apart by wild beasts. The luxury loving and slave owning Romans had all the material blessings life could offer, and the Christians were mostly riff-raff, the slaves, the former criminals. They were the bottom of society, but they had the peace that elude the pleasure-loving Romans.

Jesus also taught them the continuity between His mission, from the Father, and theirs, from Him. Just as He spoke the Father’s will, so will they speak the Son’s will. As He said, “When they hear you, they hear Me.” That is just as true for those who reject the Word. “When they reject you, they reject me.”

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

The continuity also includes the Holy Spirit, which is often overlooked. People have said correctly that the Pentecostal movement began precisely because the work of the Holy Spirit was neglected in the teaching of the visible church. The miraculous element was downplayed, for instance. How many have heard that Holy Communion itself is a miracle of the Holy Spirit?

More importantly, the union of the Holy Spirit and the Word was neglected to the point of total amnesia. We can speak of the Holy Spirit’s work and the effect of the Word interchangeably. They are never independent of each other and never without effect.

The disciples, in receiving the Holy Spirit, would write their works inspired directly by God. They would pray and perform miracles through the Spirit. They would preach through the Spirit. Knowing their limitations, they would recognize and teach that their miraculous results were from God the Spirit, not from their inventory of spiritual gifts (a Fuller gimmick).

John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

The ministry of the keys include both loosing (absolving) and binding (not absolving). In the Middle Ages, no one was ever really forgiving, so there was no loosing key. Today we have universal and cheap grace, so everyone is forgiven (no binding key). The purpose of the keys is to discern god repentance and faith from a lack of repentance.

The disciples were given this power to teach the true Church.

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

No reason is given, but Thomas was not there. Another glimpse of him was fearing that they would all die in Jerusalem when they went to the funeral and raising of Lazarus.

He was called “The Twin” but we remember him as Doubting Thomas.

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

The testimony of the other disciples was not enough for him, a telling point for each and every one of them. They would soon be preaching to people who never saw Jesus before or after the resurrection. How could they believe, based on the criteria of Thomas – seeing and touching?

His unbelieving boasting is to be contrasted with the actual event, a gap which many fail to see.

Doubting Thomas Sunday, One Week Later, Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

This is an important detail. All the doors were still locked because the disciples were still afraid. And yet Jesus appeared before them and still wished them Peace.

That is why we say “Gracious Lord,” because Jesus is full of forgiveness for our grave weaknesses and timidity. Instead of looking at all our sins and doubts, He builds up our faith to receive His righteousness. He builds us slowly through His Word, as He did the disciples.

Lenski:
Unbelief always was and always will be unreasonable. This is glaringly plain in the case of Thomas. For him all this unanimous testimony of all these people, whose character for veracity he knew so Well, amounts to nothing. The fact that all of them, like himself, had never dreamed of Jesus’ resurrection, had thought it impossible, and had then been convinced from this unbelief by overwhelming evidence, affects Thomas in an opposite way: he determines to set himself against them all. The more they speak to him and the more they present the facts, the more stubborn Thomas becomes. He has been called “doubting Thomas,” but he does not doubt, he is openly unbelieving. He challenges the evidence the others present. They have only seen—seeing does not count. If he is to believe he demands two lines of evidence, seeing plus feeling with his own finger and his own hand. And even the feeling must be twofold, that of the holes in Jesus’ hands and that of the gash in his side. Thomas demands what he deems a real test. What the other disciples claim to have is not nearly enough for him. Here the silliness of unbelief comes to view. If sight can be deceived, sight which takes in so much, what assurance has Thomas that feeling, which takes in far less, will not also be deceived?
The disciples had seen Jesus, but think of the wonder of that sight! Recall Luke 24:30, 31 and 35; John 19:19, the locked doors; v. 20, his hands and his side; Luke 24:39, “handle me and see”; v. 41–43, he ate fish and honeycomb. This was seeing indeed. Some had held his feet in worship (Matt. 28:9); Mary Magdalene had clung to him (John 20:17); they all had also heard him speak. Here is the pride, haughtiness, and arrogance of unbelief: it sets up a criterion of its own. It will have what it demands. The unbeliever makes himself a superior person, looking down on believers as credulous fools who cannot be trusted. The wisdom of the unbeliever exceeds that of all other men. Thomas is surely typical of the entire class. But all this action of unbelief reveals that, while it pretends to obey reason and genuine intelligence alone, it does nothing of the kind. It is actuated by an unreasoning and unreasonable will, I secret, stubborn determination, unacknowledged by the unbeliever himself, not to believe (7:17).
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1380


John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

This address to Thomas is one of confrontation and rebuke. Jesus commanded Thomas to touch His hands and reach His wounded side. Lenski takes the position, which is entirely fitting, that Jesus commanded and Thomas obeyed. Thomas demanded to touch the wounds, and Jesus took him at his word. Jesus also told the Emmaus disciples to handle Him (Luke 24:39).

Lenski: “The decisive factor is the command of Jesus.”

Taking this approach, we have three people at least who touched the risen Lord and could preach about this experience. The early Church was built upon the preaching of the resurrection, and the witness of 500+ people who saw and heard Him.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

This is a combination of the Word of Christ and Thomas obeying Him. Three men were crucified and killed. One Man returned to life, and He bore the scars, which Thomas touched.

Thomas the unbeliever became Thomas the believer, through the Word and obedience to Jesus’ command.

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jesus moved from the miracle of faith in Thomas to the greater miracle of faith the audiences would experience from preaching the Gospel.

John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 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.

This conclusion to John’s Gospel (there are two conclusions) leads me to think that faith is good, God-pleasing, and the way of salvation.

The entire Gospel was written down to create and sustain faith, to be the power behind justification by faith.

Quotations


"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing.  His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith.  For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, II,  p. 355.               

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything.  For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses.  Christ does not do thus."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355. 

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ.  By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.   
          
"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe.  And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office  and the external Word."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves.  For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved.  He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370. 

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.   
               
"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
            Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.

Pastor Tim's Church and Change Catechism

Bishop Katie and Ski bragged about worshiping with Babtist Stanley at the Drive conference. 
Glende attended, too.
Pastor Tim routinely plagiarizes Groeschel sermons, "to keep St. Peter, Freedom from dying." 
WELS does nothing.


I have been sorting out the doctrinal orthodoxy of WELS Pastor Tim Glende, whose glowering and erratic blog is devoted to denouncing me as a heretic. I wish more would do the same, because polemics bring out the truth. Most blogs are efforts in mutual praise and self-affirmation. There is more content in a Kodak commercial.

According to Tim, it is a terrible sin to quote a General Council Lutheran theologian, but life-saving to plagiarize Groeschel, who was trained United Methodist and joined a non-confessional Pietist sect.

According to Tim, all my quotations from Lutherans are bad and damaging, even when I suggest that they study collections of Lutheran theologians. But Tim has devoted himself to studying with non-Lutherans and anti-confessionals, including the Babtist Andy Stanley and the cussing Mark Driscoll.

According to Tim, I am wrong to mention Lenski, but Lenski is considered an automatic purchase for WELS students. Most people would puzzle over the contradiction, except for the fact that Lenski taught justification by faith, as Luther did and the Bible does.

According to Tim, it is damning to study at Yale, a sin that cannot be erased by UOJ, unless we are talking about his Uncle John Brug, who also spent some time at Yale.

According to Tim, the entire world (with the possible exception of moi) has been been absolved of all sin, without the Word of God, without the Means of Grace, without faith. But Tim is not exactly gracious with anyone who disagrees with him, since his own member had to seek protection from the Synod President and blog about the abuse, deceit, and false doctrine at St. Peter, Freedom.

According to Tim, he has not plagiarized Groeschel, but he had the Circuit Pastor canned when he was confronted with his dishonest practices. Visitors noticed the amazing similarity between all of Tim's "work" and the Groeschel packaged service of sermon, graphics, and promotions.

According to Tim, I am a unionist, because I graduated from Yale and Notre Dame, but I did not attend non-Lutheran schools or events as a WELS pastor - except for the one his home parish promoted for Church Growth, because a member asked me to do so and report on it for Christian News. Tim grew up in a non-WELS congregation, St. Paul in German Village, but no one would know that from his sanctimonious blog.

Tim, Ski, and Bishop Katie took in every possible Emergent Church training event. I am not sure exactly how many Tim attended, but Katie tweeted about all the ones she attended with Ski. They were both members of the St. Peter, Freedom staff. Ski is still a member of that staff, along with his new assistant pastor. Although they pretend to be two different congregations, St. Peter Freedom and The CORE are the same congregation, multi-site, as in Emergent Church (Stanley, Driscoll, Groeschel, ad nauseum).

Tim likes to brag that he is reaching out to everyone, but glories in his pseudo-WELSiness. After all, he was not a member of a WELS congregation until he was ordained and called to one. His home congregation practiced open communion, women's suffrage, and Masonic communion. St. Paul in German Village promoted Floyd Stolzenburg as a pseudo-pastor of Church Growth, after he was kicked out of Missouri for cause. No one will ever read that on Tim's blog.

Tim does not work hard, although he has plenty of spare time, with Groeeschel writing his sermons and bulletin inserts for him. Even then he is reduced to copying his own previous posts.

Getting a Response


A Missouri Synod pastor called me "Johnny One Note" for writing about justification by faith, as I mentioned before. Let's do a Groeschel quiz. The Reformation was based on ____________ . No fair looking it up on Wikipedia.

A pastor who says he is devoted to sound doctrine warned me about "biting and devouring" in regards to his quasi-demi-semi-UOJ stance.

"Error loves ambiguities," as Henry Eyster Jacobs wrote. We often use the Jacobs hymn for Holy Communion. The Word teaches the Real Presence. There is no compromise language allowed to bridge the gap between the Scriptures and the Zwinglian denial of the Real Presence.

Likewise, the recent Pietistic formulations about an imaginary universal absolution are not in harmony with the Scriptures and are definitely at odds with the Book of Concord. The struggles to connect Luther or the Confessions with UOJ would be comical if they were not tragic.

When anger erupts because of the Scriptures, the truth of God's Word is displaying its effectiveness. The personal attacks only underline that efficacy. A weak argument is never advanced by name-calling, but that does not keep false teachers from trying. Intimidation and manipulation are also tools of their Father Below.

Threats do not work well against someone with nothing material to take away. Threats also fall on deaf ears when the Word of God is everything.

KJV Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

How To Use the Doctrinal Graphics

The Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) is now a Muslim museum.


People report enjoying the doctrinal graphics. The seven-day favorites view shows people are clicking on them. So far I am linking them in a menu on the left.

Later I will have a post where all the older ones are linked together and sorted. I also plan on adding the words below the graphic, so readers can kelm the quotes which are embedded in the graphic.

Feel free to copy my doctrinal graphics and use them without giving credit to me. To make a copy, right click on the graphic and choose "save image as" on the list. I used to save in MyPictures, and I still do, but I use sub-folders created in advance, to keep them sorted.

You can also Tweet and email posts to others, using the little menu below each post. One reader, known only as 29a, prints the sermons and gives them to a relative each week.

If you want to be a faithful Lutheran, memorize the doctrinal quotations and meditate upon their meaning. You will be rewarded with a deeper knowledge of the Word of God. Later, you will feel like the only sober person at a drunken party. The drunks will notice and disapprove.

WELS Discipline

This Will Never Happen among the Syn Conference Leaders

Ben Wink on WELS Evaporative Calls



Ben Wink has left a new comment on your post "No Creed But Willow Creek - That Is the Syn Confer...":

Grumpy,

I know from my own experience of at least one person who didn't receive a call in 2003, and then didn't get preference when the 2004 graduate calls came out.

When I graduated MLC in 2002 as a staff minister, I basically believe that they did not know what to do with me, but as they were trying to promote staff ministry (not a whole lot mind you), they gave me a one-year call.

After that one-year call was up, the 2003 call list came out and I wasn't on it. Then 2004, nothing. 2005, nothing. All the way through to almost 2011's call day now and I still haven't heard anything. Supposedly after a certain amount of time where they haven't given you a call, you are then simply plucked off the list of available candidates for no other reason other than you're embarrassing them.

Now I know that staff ministry graduates have been given calls in the intervening years. And to actual staff ministry jobs and not just teaching gigs because they went as a double track. So what gives?

In those intervening years I was completely cynical about the entire experience and now I am more of a realist with cynical tendencies. My view of staff ministry was to be a called helper for the church and school (if they had one) in any capacity that I could aid and assist the pastor and teachers. During my internship for instance, I never prepared or gave sermons but I did do shut in visits, helped with the youth groups and VBS, led the 55 and over Bible study, helped teach Catechism classes, led adult Bible class, was a communion assistant and an usher, did first time visitor follow-up contact, etc.

Nothing too radical and new agey about it. I went to MLC for five years, did the one-year internship and I graduated. Then a one-year call. Then nothing. The only place that could give me a job decided not to do so. Others graduated after me, some got calls, others not, but I can wager that those who didn't are still sitting around waiting for the call. That is if they haven't moved on with their lives like I had to in order to earn a living for me and my family.

Part 2 to continue...

Part 2

By the way, the one-year call thing I firmly believe is a convenient way to make the list of called graduates look more impressive than it actually is. Because who remembers that MLC 2007 graduate with the one-year call that then got nothing in 2008? No one but the student and their family. Oh, and the Conference of Presidents too because the list looks good, they don't have to bring them up when the next year's list comes out, and it looks like they actually did their job.

And then the cycle starts all over again. And to all you MLC students out there: think about your schooling carefully. Get a degree that you can use out there in the world. Because all I got with my staff min degree was the ribbon around it on graduation day. And don't think that it cannot happen to you. And don't think that you'll have any spiritual and/or emotional support from MLC after you've left there without a call. You'd think you'd get better treatment from a Christian college, but sadly that is rather naive thinking. The only regular contact you get is envelopes in the mail asking for financial support. Which they somehow want even though you didn't get a job in on call day.

I stumbled around in the dark for a couple of years because of this. MLC wanted nothing to do with me. I stopped attending church for a while, which was ironic because I waited everyday for a visit or contact with my church elders so I could chide them for waiting this long to get in touch with me, but that church didn't even bother. They might even still have me on the membership rolls. I even wrote an article for the Forward in Christ that was published, after they edited it a bit by eliminating the word "call" and inserting "assignment". Remember kids, if you get a call it is divine, but if you don't then it is an assignment with no divinity attached to it.

Finally, how do we know that God only has need of us for one-year at a place? That seems rather specific in an odd way that doesn't really have a Scriptural base. I mean if we pull at that string more, you could probably say the same for staff ministry, but I'll go with the deacon description for that. But the COP knows that this person is needed for only 365 days starting right after graduation. That this ISN'T regarded as ludicrous is even more ludicrous.

***

GJ - The Doctrinal Pussycate will remind anyone that he can "march in and get rid of someone on the spot," although that never happens to those with Church and Change tattoos on their foreheads.

The King James Version Is the English Translation
Of Luther's Bible.
WELS/Missouri Spurn It for Calvinism




God answered his 1536 prayer in 1611.
King Jame's commission did little more than revise Tyndale and make his version the official English Bible for all English lands.

Lenski - On Adulterating the Word of God




"Crafty conduct is paired with 'adulterating the Word of God.' These two ever go together. He who is not honest with himself will not be overhonest with the Word. The reverse is also true--and the writer may be permitted to say that he has witnessed it too often--he who is not really honest with the Word cannot be trusted very far with his conduct. Dolow=to catch with bait, to fix up something so as to deceive and to catch somebody. It is used with regard to adulterating wine. So here: 'adulterating the Word of God,' not leaving it pure lest people reject it but falsifying it to catch the crowd. Of all the dastardly deeds done in the world this is the most dastardly. None is more criminal nor more challenging to God himself."

R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul's First and Second Letter to the Corinthians, Columbus: Wartburg Press, 1957, p. 955. 2 Corinthians 4:2.

You Shall Worship This god Alone -
Money,
And Bow Down in Adoration.
WELS an Abusive Sect

An irrevocable gift trust means the entire amount is lost for good. No turning back. Many promises are made about a juicy return on this gift, but synodical promises do not have to be kept. The Planned Giving Counselor works for a commission, so you know greed motivates him.



Luther has a great sermon where he discusses money as a weak god, the only god who needs our protection. We have to guard this weak god with iron and weapons, so no one takes him away from us. And yet, he will not do a thing for us when we are sick. He cannot even cure a case of the sniffles. But people worship him anyway and bow down before him, the weak god. They deceive others, love-bombing people to gain more money, hate-bombing those who get in their way.

Holy Word (WELS) in Austin has a capital funds campaign going on. I used to get badly spelled emails from ex-SP Gurgle about them, but my supply was cut off. Gurgle got the MilCraft estate when he was a District Pussycat. The proceeds of the successful business were supposed to support the widow as long as she was alive. But Team Gurgle managed to wreck the business, so the widow took them to court. WELS did not pay the poor widow until the court forced them to fork over $1 million.

The official lie was, "We have to be more careful about the gifts we accept in the future."

WELS loved Gurgle's stewardship as DP, so they elected him Synod Pope, where he reigned for 14 years, collecting millions in salary. Marvin Schwan suddenly reached room temperature, inducing panic on all those secretly spending the checks he sent. Relief! Schwan's foundation dumped millions and millions of dollars on WELS (Missouri and the Little Sect): a lot of money to absolve someone for getting divorced and marrying his manager's wife.

Gurgle proved incurable as he went through all that money and left WELS broke. St. Marvin's Cathedral on the Mary Lou College campus went un-built, because the money was gone. (This is my version. I cannot get the whole story from my contacts, who are too far away to use waterboarding and thumb-screws.) About $8 million disappeared. Gurgle blamed it on the synod treasurer, which everyone knew was a lie. Gurgle was offered a chance to retire immediately, which he did. Jail ministry was not his thing.

Gurgle spent his exile luxuriating in Asia. He landed at Holy Word, Austin, one of the central nodes of Church and Change in WELS. Poor Gurgle needed a job, so the staff at HW took cuts to pay his salary. Soon he was raising money for HW.

The concept is Holy Word going multi-site, at the expense of their nearest neighbor, Rock N Roll Lutheran Church in Round Rock. Holy Word will build or buy a new location within a bike's ride of Rock N Roll, move their school there, and have a competing Emerging Church service.

Cornerstone, the joint LCMS-WELS money raising business, another Church and Change franchise, is shaking the money tree at Holy Word.

Kudu Don Patterson is the District VP. Holy Word is so broke that they need a free vicar each year, provided by WELS offerings. But one member alone, Timmerman, is so wealthy that he takes Kudu Don on hunting trips to Africa.

WELS worships the money-god, so they tremble at his word. Do not get in the way of their god, who can do very little. But his disciples will do his work for him. Have you got money and a mistress? They will preach you into heaven, even while you are alive. I heard many a sermon on the virtues of Marvin Schwan...while he was still living. (But SP Brenner and his son Slick were evil, according to these people.)

Marvin had a Scriptural divorce! He divorced his wife and the mother of his children, gave her a million dollars and a Cadillac, and married his manager's wife, who also needed a divorce from her spouse. She was Roman Catholic but converted to the Wisconsin Sect...until Marvin departed for his eternal reward. After the will was read, she went back to Roman Catholicism, proving that the money-god has to power to convert, temporarily.

The trouble with an abusive sect is that the clergy accept the abusive behavior as normal. They are bullied and threatened, so they think the same behavior is pastoral. They see crooks, adulterers, bullies, and adulterers rewarded and praised, so they emulate the same behavior.



Patterson likes my photos. He copied my zebra photo and put it in his Facebook album.

Friday, April 29, 2011

No Creed But Willow Creek - That Is the Syn Conference Motto



AC V has left a new comment on your post "Henry Eyster Jacobs Explains the Word of God Trump...":

Continuing Education at MLC

Courses in jeopardy

Deadlines for some courses are coming up quickly. Without increased enrollment, the courses below will have to be cancelled. If you are interested, PLEASE ENROLL. A number of courses in the past would not have been cancelled if the “wait ‘n’ see-ers” would have enrolled.

REL 8509 A Closer Look at the Creeds, OL, Sellnow Needed: 3; Currently: 0


***

GJ - Show me a WELS pastor who understands the Book of Concord and I will show you an outcast who will never get a "good" call. I hope his present congregation appreciates that fact and his worth to them.

There are some. Not everyone was confirmed with Kuske's catechism.

WELS Prepping for Adoption of NNIV:
Professor Moo, Wheaton College Babtist, Helps

Pope John the Malefactor endorses the project, albeit from a distance.


NNIV

 1 Adam[a] made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.[b] She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth[c] a man.”
Footnotes:
  1. Genesis 4:1 Or The man
  2. Genesis 4:1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for brought forth or acquired.
  3. Genesis 4:1 Or have acquired

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    15 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
Footnotes:
  1. Matthew 18:15 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman; also in verses 21 and 35.
  2. Matthew 18:15 Some manuscripts sins against you

---

1 Corinthians 10:16 (New International Version, ©2011)

16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

---
 http://jaredmoore.exaltchrist.com/2010/11/23/niv-2011-rejected-by-the-council-of-biblical-manhood-womanhood-cbmw/

The Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has released their initial analysis of the 2011 New International Translation of the Bible (NIV 2011).  Although they are complimentary of various improvements in the new NIV over the 2002 TNIV, they still have numerous concerns for much of the same reasons they could not commend the TNIV.  Here is a summary of their response:
So, though we are genuinely thankful for the many positive changes in the new NIV (2011), and though we are deeply appreciative of the very different process by which our friends at the CBT and Zondervan pursued and unveiled this new version, we still cannot commend the new NIV (2011) for most of the same reasons we could not commend the TNIV.  Our initial analysis shows that the new NIV (2011) retains many of the problems that were present in the TNIV, on which it is based, especially with regard to the over 3,600 gender-related problems we previously identified.  In spite of the many good changes made, our initial analysis reveals that a large percentage of our initial concerns still remain.  CBMW will be releasing an exact percentage after we complete our full detailed analysis.  We are also still concerned about the frequent omission of the words, “man,” “brother,” “father,” “son,” and “he.”

No, This Approach Is Not Growing the ELCA Seminaries

Two ELCA seminaries are merging with other entities, so people are debating how and why.


ALPB - George Erdner

The "current turmoil" is the single, biggest, overriding thing taking place in the ELCA. It goes to the survival of the ELCA as an institution. Perhaps you'd like to ignore the rate at which the ELCA is taking on water and sinking and instead would like to blithely discuss how to rearrange the deck chairs as if there is nothing else happening.

As Pastor Keener pointed out to you in another thread, based on an average ELCA congregation size of 440 Baptized Members, the ELCA lost enough individual people to make 1,361 congregations since 2001. As I pointed out to you, it has lost or is in the process of losing over 550 congregations since the 2009 CWA, and the pace of new votes is showing no signs of abating. As large congregations lose members to the point where they are forced to reduce the number of pastors they have called, and smaller ones are going to have to learn to make do with only a part-time pastor who supports himself as a tent maker, the ELCA's need for new pastors is going to be diminished.

In light of that, what can anyone make of any suggestion that the ELCA seminaries should crank out even more unemployable graduates with student loan millstones around their necks and no congregations for them to find a call that can pay them enough to pay off that debt? In light of the reductions in available positions for ordained pastors to be called to vocational specialties where they can earn a living, is it good stewardship or good churchmanship to spread the over-optimistic rumors that common sense indicates are probably little more than wishful thinking?

---

More from George Erdner

For the record, the ELCA has lost congregations with a combined total of 276,300 since the August 2009 CWA. That figure does not include the thousands of people who were in the "losing majority" of congregations that voted to stay who started 168 new congregations in the LCMC, NALC, and other Lutheran Church bodies. Nor does it count the people who left ELCA congregations to join already existing congregations in the LC-MS, AALC, ALFC, and all of the other alternative Lutheran Church bodies.

The ELCA lost 600,000 members between 2001 and 2009, before the effects of the errant vote at the August 2009 CWA were felt.

---
Scott Yakimow:
FWIW, our local congregation has gained former ELCA members while the 2 local ELCA congregations remain in the ELCA.  I.e., that loss shows up on no statistics re: lay departures.  Neat folks, too.  Again, FWIW.

George Erdner:
What it is worth, though anecdotal, is a great deal. Multiply that times every LC-MS, LCMC, WELS, AFLC, and every other Lutheran church body out there, and you end up with a lot of people who will remain listed on the ELCA's membership statistics, but who aren't really in the ELCA any more.

***

GJ - Erdner has been keeping track of ELCA defections. He drives the ELCA loyalists crazy by pointing out basic facts. The loyalists come back with the latest talking points, such as "Missouri is suffering losses too, without the gay agenda issue." But ELCA has people running out of the doors, screaming and starting new entities. The numbers are already staggering.

Take note, Ichabodians. WELS, Missouri, and the Little Sect on the Prairie have been studying and worshiping with ELCA for decades, doing all kinds of joint work with them, all planned at the NoTell Conference Center, funded by Thrivent, blessed by their Father Below.

The so-called conservatives have learned to mimic the worst of ELCA: controlling and eliminating the dissenters, indulging in institutional suicide, wasting vast sums of money.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hymn Video from Necessary Roughness



***

GJ - WELS members may not watch this or sing along. CLC (sic) members may, as long as they deny they were watching it. They can say, for example, "I just wanted to find out what Satan was up to."

ELS members may hum along, because their canon lawyers have determined that humming is not the same as singing.

Promoting Sanity - Another Feature of Ichabod



LutherRocks has left a new comment on your post "Henry Eyster Jacobs Explains the Word of God Trump...":

These kind of posts keep me sane...

***

GJ - I was thinking of several laity at once, not to mention some pastors. A scholar is not someone with a lot of degrees. The word scholar comes from the Greek term for leisure.

A true scholar uses his spare time to pursue learning. Many PhDs are not scholars. They rest on their diplomas and never do any original research. Most MDivs avoid scholarship, because learning creates turmoil and the cross. Nevertheless, some pastors are genuine scholars, and some help with this blog.

The Lutheran sects devote most of their energy to controlling people and parishes, keeping up appearances. They want their pastors and laity to be robotic cows that can be milked and finally slaughtered when convenient.

The synod suck-ups shun me, so they save me the time and energy involved in shunning them. Their behavior is udderly predictable (see above paragraph). No wonder they listen with awe and wonder to Dr. Moo excusing the NNIV porno-feminist Bible.

If a pastor or layman questions the latest idiocy of the sect (such as the NNIV), the individual is bullied and ridiculed if flattery does not work. Principled objection is countered with excommunication. In WELS, it begins with secret probation, when all comments and associations are scrutinized and recorded. Next is double secret probation, when friends stop talking or act surprised that said iconoclast is still breathing or showing up at church events. The last step is expulsion, accompanied by abuse of all family members and friends.

The Wisconsin sect and ELCA also punish congregations for opposing them in any way.



"Now he is on double secret probation."

Richard Gurgle Proves My Assertion




AC V has left a new comment on your post "Henry Eyster Jacobs Explains the Word of God Trump...":

"They teach their boys to worship Holy Mother Synod. No matter which sect they belong to, theirs is the best, the greatest, and the most perfect. The others are pitiful, even though they are remarkably similar in abusing people and teaching false doctrine."

Obtained a copy of the spring 2011 WELS Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, a publication of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Can you feel the love from reviewer Richard Gurgel of the LCMS' revision of Walther's Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible?

"...this reviewer had one concern. Especially in the front matter (biography of Walther, etc.), it is his impression that there was a strong reticence to say anything that would reflect poorly on Walther.... this reader was at times uneasy by what he felt bordered on the worship of men.... Along with the tendency to place Walther on a pedestal, at times in both front matter and elsewhere, this reviewer detected a related spirit of boasting about Lutheran orthodoxy. Those reading this book from other denominations might get the impression that the Lutheran church's nose is up in the air..."

So, this is "Holy Mother Synod worship" on both sides. On WELS' side with Gurgel's condescending comments re Walther and "Lutheran orthodoxy," and on the other side, if Gurgel's critique is correct.

Can the WLQ ever review something from the LCMS without some kind of "yeah, but" in it?

***

GJ - No, they cannot avoid the "yeah, but," which they probably consider polite. The normal anecdote has all Missouri pastors as idiots. One theme is Missouri giving up their preps (just as WELS is doing now). Another theme is Missouri going easy on the Biblical languages (which WELS began with the Mary Lou College takeover of NWC).

WLQ has led WELS into the adoration of the Church Growth Movement. Wendland and Valleskey began the dishonest betrayal of Lutheran doctrine. Panning helped with his "the jury is still out" comment. That is simply too funny, given that the LCMS and WELS leadership studied together at Fuller Seminary.

Paul McCain says no one should believe Walther kidnapped children because the descendant of Bishop Stephan is a lesbian. All Cretans and synod suck-ups are liars, but orientation is not definitive proof of dishonesty. Either it happened or it did not happen.

Likewise, Stephan was known for being caught with women in the middle of the night, long before he led his pilgrims to Perry County. That could get a man shot in modern St. Louis. Back then it was especially notorious. Yet Walther swore life-long allegiance to Bishop Stephan - before being shocked to learn the man was a serial womanizer. Suddenly, Walther the disciple drove out Bishop Stephan.

Henry Eyster Jacobs Explains the Word of God
Trumping a Seminary Degree


"Holy Scripture carries with it its own evidence of its divine source and authority. While the historical evidence of its claims is to be gratefully cherished, and affords the proof of highest probability, Holy Scripture speaks with absolute certainty to those to whom it portrays the deepest secrets of their hearts, and whose felt wants it completely supplies. The inner testimony of the Spirit is the strongest and most convincing of all arguments. The fact that this is always at hand and universally applicable, raises it above all arguments that depend upon the researches of the learned. Here is an argument that the humblest and most unlettered apprehend with no less force than the profoundest of scholars."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, The Elements of Religion, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1997, p. 28.

***

GJ - This quotation explains why so many laity run circles around the clergy in Biblical knowledge and understanding. The clergy--especially the mediocre students--like to claim an MDiv as proof that they know more. Here Jacobs shows why the the power lies in the Word and not in the sheepskin.

An abusive priest-sect like WELS is always eager to bully the laity into submission, based on their descent from Mount Sausage Factory and their official positions in one of the fastest dying cults in the Western hemisphere. The CLC (sic) is racing it to the bottom.

I feel real sorrow for people like the attorney from St. Peter, Freedom. He knows the truth from the Word of God, but he is ordered to play by a set of rules that do not apply to the clergy, the Circuit Pastor or the Doctrinal Pussycat. The SP is working on it - give him another 30 years or so.

Here is the great shame of the Syn Conference seminaries. They teach their boys to worship Holy Mother Synod. No matter which sect they belong to, theirs is the best, the greatest, and the most perfect. The others are pitiful, even though they are remarkably similar in abusing people and teaching false doctrine.

The LCA had the same triumphalistic attitude. They took their superiority right into a black hole of rapid decline on all fronts.

When laity try to get the clergy to deal with justification by faith, they are ridiculed and intimidated. Luther explained this well - the apostles were not spared, nor was the Son of God. The cross is painful because it is the cross, not a temporary annoyance.

The cross is God's gracious plan, to purify our faith, to deepen our trust in His Word - not in human institutions. In Luther's day, the Catholic Church was the only Christian entity. The pope had spiritual and earthly power over his subjects. Clinging to the Word meant abandoning all the securities and verities of life. It is better today in many ways, but the feeling of jumping off the cliff is similar.

Those who trust in human institutions quickly adapt to the fad of the day, from Bible translations to various movements. They juggled the Word of God and impress themselves with their clever arguments, fed to them via the official synod talking points.

In contrast, those who place the Word of God above all will resist the fads and movements of the moment. They are taught by the Holy Spirit in the Word, not by wolves beating them with sheepskins.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Make Some Books Available at the Emmaus Syn Conference Conference


Brett Meyer will be our official delegate to the pan-Lutheran Emmaus Conference, May 5-6. The theme is "Be polite."

I can send him copies of Justification for $10. If you want extra copies to be available to those attending, send a check to:

Pastor Gregory Jackson
1 Silden Lane
Bella Vista, AR 72715.

Individual books and free downloads can be obtained from Lulu.com here. The PDF downloads are free.

Those who want 5 or more copies can get them through me at a reduced price.

I have recently been called Johnny-One-Note (by a Missouri pastor) for emphasizing justification by faith. I may have touched on some other topics in 6000 posts, but obviously one topic is grating to UOJ fans.

Likewise, one WELS pastor said the differences were minor and not worth arguing about. If that is so, then why have the UOJ Stormtroopers declared war on justification by faith for the last 80 years or so?

Inflate the Hours To Inflate the Salaries



bruce-church (http://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "ELCA Can Learn from the LCMS System":

Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines only wants 111 credit hours for an M Div, and that's 26 fewer than Ft. Wayne wants, and 28 fewer than Concordia St. Louis wants. St. Catharines is much less expensive, too:

Academics
http://www.brocku.ca/concordiaseminary/academics.php

excerpt: Program Requirements - M. Div.:
Successful completion of 111 semester hours...

How Do You Like the Doctrinal Graphics?

Rev. Sallie and Pastor Sleazy have been given a divine call to be Planned Giving Counselors.


I have fun with satirical graphics, like the one above.

My favorites are the doctrinal graphics, based on the best quotations in Megatron, my ready-to-go database.

Let me know what you think of them. I may do a few with false doctrine, too, because we remember better with the words illustrated by a picture.

My aim is not to deliver great quotations, as such, although they deserve to be memorized. More importantly, the laity and pastors need to do their own studies. Some have said they began or renewed their study of the Book of Concord because of Ichabod. I am happy if only one person thinks that way.

I will still be reporting on apostasy. The Fox Valley bunch is pretty boring - utterly predictable. The entire district is a festering pool of gangrene, as predicted by the Word of God.

The leadership in WELS, Missouri, and the Little Sect is appalling. But their salaries and perks depend on the consent of the governed. They are voted into office and paid in part with offering money. Who knows how much they get from Thrivent, Schwan, and the dead. Facts and figures are elusive.

The situation continues, not because the Doctrinal Pussycats are so bad - and they are - but because everyone makes excuses:
  1. The SP does not have any power. Boo hoo.
  2. The DP does not have any power. Boo hoo.
  3. The CP is bossed by the DP and has no power. Boo hoo.
  4. I am just a pastor and have no power. Boo hoo.
  5. I am just a layman and have no power. Boo hoo.

The Word has power. The excuses above show that those who use them are not Lutherans and not faithful to the revealed, inspired, efficacious Word of God.

A Stone Thrown into a Pond




"The preaching of this message may be likened to a stone thrown into the water, producing ripples which circle outward from it, the waves rolling always on and on, one driving the other, till they come to the shore. Although the center becomes quiet, the waves do not rest, but move forward. So it is with the preaching of the Word. It was begun by the apostles, and it constantly goes forward, is pushed on farther and farther by the preachers, driven hither and thither into the world, yet always being made known to those who never heard it before, although it be arrested in the midst of its course and is condemned as heresy."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 202. Ascension Day Mark 16:14-20.

Tell It Not in Gath

WELS Fox Valley Circuit, 2017

Theodore Schmauk Is Not Quoted in ELCA -
But Luther Is Not Quoted in Any Synod Today

Augustana College gave Theodore Schauk an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his great scholarship.


This sentence completes his brilliant statement in the graphic above.

The Purity of the Word and Its Effect


Johann Gerhard was a prolific orthodox author, letter writer, and father. He was not a Book of Concord author but worked with Martin Chemnitz as co-author of the gigantic Harmonia. I recall that he wrote around 10,000 letters, not to mention more theological works than anyone can imagine.

ELCA Can Learn from the LCMS System



bruce-church (http://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Second ELCA Seminary To Merge, WELS and Missouri C...":

The ELCA needs to learn and implement the LCMS solution to keeping two seminaries with bloated faculties open with a minimum of M Div students. First, have alternative routes to the ministry to gain a sufficient number of paying students, and second, demand a minimum of 137 or 139 credit hours for a M.Div, and raise the tuition and fees to the same as that of prestigious schools like Yale Seminary. As it is now, PLTS only demands a paltry 90 hours, only 18 more credit hours than the 72 the accrediting agency demands for a MDiv. Also, make sure not to tell the alternative route students that they are probably doing enough coursework that they could obtain a MDiv if they had attended other seminaries:

Pacific Lutheran Theological School Handbook:
www.plts.edu/docs/student_handbook.pdf

excerpt: The MDiv degree program consists of 90 credit hours of academic courses.

***

GJ - Famed plagiarist and former Concordia St. Louis prez Johnson told me, "A Missouri degree is not worth much outside the Missouri Synod." He had a ThD from Missouri (like Scaer) and earned a PhD from St. Louis U.

Any seminary degree is almost worthless in the job market. An academic version of the MDiv (for example, at Yale) can get someone into top PhD program in various disciplines.

An MDiv from Mequon means the potential doctoral student will need to take a year of make-up classes, the way John (Sparky) Brenner did, before being allowed into a state university program.

Try not to smile when a Sausage Factory graduate brags about his superior education. No one else seems to agree.

The Word of God Is Always Effective

Second ELCA Seminary To Merge,
WELS and Missouri Continue as Bedmates with ELCA



ALPB

April 22, 2011

Dear Bishops and Associates in our Supporting Synods:

I’m writing to you, our close friends and partners in the synods of regions 1 and 2, to tell you about collaborative ventures under consideration at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  I’d like to reassure you that there are no plans for PLTS to move. I’d also like to get ahead of the curve on rumors which are bound to be circulating and to solicit your help in giving your people good information.

At the PLTS board meeting in November 2010, we celebrated five consecutive years of solvency and the repayment of previous borrowing from the endowment. We also realized that we would be facing a deficit in the current fiscal year and would need to make staff reductions in order to balance the budget for next year.  We are in that painful process right now.   We are facing reduced income from our faithful synods and churchwide organization and downward enrollment trends in all our seminaries. We know we need a long term strategy that is going to contain costs and enable us to serve our constituencies with quality theological education that is more flexible and accessible.  We have been encouraged by an ELCA task force to explore options for collaboration with ecumenical partners and with Lutheran colleges and universities up to and including merger.  Here are two kinds of collaboration that are currently being explored.


    * We are in conversation with two of our partner schools within the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) about coordinating our academic programs and sharing faculty.  The strongest expression of that consolidation would be for the three schools to form a single faculty with a common dean.  We would develop a common core of classes, provide denominationally specific classes, and continue to give our students access to the wide variety of classes from the 9 seminaries in the GTU.  The schools would each retain their separate identity, denominational relations, traditional constituencies and governance.  Our active partners in this discussion are Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP).  Other GTU schools might join in this closer collaboration.



    * We are also in conversation with the Lutheran university in our region, California Lutheran University (CLU) about a closer relationship. One possible result of these conversations is a merger in which PLTS would become the school of theology or “divinity school” of CLU.   At this point, all of these discussions assume that PLTS would stay in its present location and retain its invaluable relationships within the GTU.  We have been following closely the movement of Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, toward a likely merger with Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina.  In this case, both schools will retain their locations.  We see possibilities here for economies of scale, delivery of educational programs on both campuses, and new joint-programs emerging out of the enriched resources of the two schools.


We are very excited about the possibilities of both these options and do not see them as mutually exclusive.  We are very grateful for the generous, creative and cooperative spirit of our partners. Nothing is decided, but we are hopeful.  At its April 28-30 meeting, the PLTS board will be discerning whether either or both of these possibilities should be taken to the next step, that is, from discovery to negotiation.  We will keep you updated from time to time along the way.  We hope to have a lot more clarity by this time next year.

We welcome your questions, suggestions, concerns, encouragement, and prayers.  We are living in very auspicious times when patterns for the life of the church and its treasured institutions will be adapting to new circumstances.  We are all learning to thrive in new ways.

Peace,

Phyllis Anderson
President

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
2770 Marin Ave, Berkeley, CA 94708
TEL: 510-559-2710
FAX: 510-524-2408
www.plts.edu

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Within the space of a few months, PLTS now joins Southern in looking to merge, one path to join California Lutheran University (similar to Southern joining with Lenoir-Rhyne), while the other path is much murkier. Should the choice be to merge with the Graduate Theogical Union,  PSR is the seminary which has offered "Seeing the Goddess  in Worship" and seeking the "Divine Feminine within a Lesbian Context" as summer courses.

I received this as an alum of PLTS.

And so the aftershocks of CWA 2009 [ELCA convention] continue. Of course, it is all the economy, I am sure.....

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Southern Seminary News

Seminary and Lenoir-Rhyne University Plan to Unite

March 29, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC – Planning is under way for Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) to unite with Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU), a Lutheran liberal arts university in Hickory, N.C., according to the Rev. Dr. Marcus Miller, seminary president. Under the proposal, the seminary will become the university's school of theology. It will continue to operate in Columbia, S.C., and remain a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). 

The plan for union emerged following a study into the feasibility of partnerships between the two institutions. "This opportunity to be a part of Lenoir-Rhyne University enhances the seminary's ability to fulfill its mission to the church," said Dr. Miller.  "The seminary understands that to meet the needs of the church in today's environment we must create innovative solutions that are sustainable and effective.  The partnership will allow the seminary to develop a new and more effective administrative model, make theological education more accessible for a greater number of people, and will allow the seminary in Columbia to continue its historic tradition of preparing women and men for ministry in the church."
The boards of trustees of each institution, at their spring 2011 meetings, affirmed the intent to pursue a merger after hearing the report of the partnership feasibility study authorized in the fall of 2010.   The committee to study the feasibility of stronger partnerships consisted of senior leadership at the two institutions.

"We are fortunate that both of these institutions are excelling in their respective areas and because of this we are able to enter into this agreement," said Dr. Wayne Powell, LRU president.

"Throughout the feasibility study, conversations were rich and fruitful.  The seminary appreciates the high quality of the Lenoir-Rhyne program and the seminary welcomes the affirmation we have received from the university.  We believe this alignment will strengthen the mission of both schools," said Miller.
The trustees also approved a preliminary timeline for completion of the merger.  Beginning in the Summer of 2011, the two institutions will identify areas where they can combine operations to become more efficient and effective.  As part of this process, LRU and LTSS will initially begin to combine their administrative responsibilities and operations in enrollment management, financial aid, and advancement.  These will occur through management contracts or enhanced partnerships within the existing seminary structure.  In March of 2012, the trustees of each school will receive a final recommendation for an agreement and plan to merge LTSS into LRU as its school of theology, with the earliest possible effective date for a completed merger being in the Summer of 2012.

"There is still a lot of work to be done before this process can be finalized," said Miller. "We are diligently studying every aspect of the seminary, from budget and personnel needs, to accreditation and ecclesiastical requirements.  From what we know right now, we believe we can work through all of the details and be prepared to move forward by this time next year."
The trustees of both institutions will be briefed regularly and the applicable accrediting bodies (the Association of Theological Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), as well as the ELCA churchwide organization and Synods of Region 9 of the ELCA, will continue to be engaged and consulted [bullied into submission] throughout the process. Supporting synods of the ELCA for LTSS are the Virginia Synod, North Carolina Synod, South Carolina Synod, Southeastern Synod, Florida-Bahamas Synod, and Caribbean Synod.

Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, founded in 1830, is located in Columbia, S.C.  One of eight seminaries of the ELCA, the seminary offers graduate and post-graduate degrees to men and women from many Christian denominations and traditions.  

Established in 1891, Lenoir-Rhyne University is a private, coeducational university located in Hickory, N.C. It is affiliated with the N.C. Synod of the ELCA and is open to students from all religious backgrounds seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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GJ - As I wrote before, Mary Lou College has made itself irrelevant--oh, the irony--by becoming a Willow Creek campus. Once WELS cut support for schools from 50% of the budget to 25%, tuition had to zoom upwards. State schools are cheaper and offer useful degrees.

The Wisconsin and Little Norwegian sects do not need three little colleges within a day's drive, so they will not have them in the future. One campus could easily provide everything needed.

The enormous investment in buildings at all three locations will be seen as Schwan's Folly, because the ELS will no longer exist in 20 years (their study). WELS may continue a little longer, but not much.

Thus the two sects have repeated what the Church of Rome does so well. They sold indulgences to Schwan, and those indulgence bought them buildings to glorify Marvin's name. After Vatican II, Rome was left with an enormous surplus of irrelevant, expensive buildings, which they rented out hither and yon to help pay the expenses. Willowcreek's Little College was a Roman Catholic school. Prairie was a Roman Catholic school backed by the Kennedy mob. Concordia Mequon was a Catholic school.

The Church Growth revolution in WELS/ELS has done more damage to them than Vatican II did to Romanism. Vatican II was quite conservative, but the Catholic Left used it to promote and support their agenda.

WELS-ELS-LCMS: all three are just pathetic imitators of Rome. No wonder pastors escape for the Real Thing - the Church of Rome Herself. They already worship Holy Mother Church, they only need to find the ultimate example.

Zorro Has Uncovered a Significant Factoid about UOJ,
So Listen Up


I happened upon this reference in G.C. Knapp in working through Heick's "A History of Christian Thought." It occurs in Book Four, The Disintegration of Confessional Theology; chapter seven, German Rationalism; section head, The Theologians of Rationalism. The page reference is 128.


"Frequently all the theologians of this period have been thought of being as one stripe. This is not quite correct. Two main schools of thought can be distinguished among them: the Supernaturalists and the Rationalists proper. The former exerted a kind of restraining influence in the earlier period of the Enlightenment; they marked the transition from Orthodoxy and pietism to rationalism...Relying on Kant's axiom that pure reason cannot establish religious truth, the second group of Supernaturalists emphasized that reason cannot deny the claims of Christianity. Among the proponents of this view were F.V. Reinhard at Wittemberg and Dresden (d. 1812) and G.C. Knapp at Halle (d. 1825). They labored to prove by rational means the possibility, necessity, and reality of the content of supernatural revelation. Truth was to be proved by Scripture. The idea was that Scripture, not reason, was to decide in matter of religion; but reason establishes what the teaching of Scripture is."

The rationalizing tendency sticks close to pietistic outbreaks, most notably in the argument that we can hinder the divine operation of the Holy Spirit working through the Word by our human foibles. From there, it is a quick jump to we are responsible for relative success or failure in the empirical growth of church organizations. Very rational.

Z