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

Friday, January 16, 2015

WELS Discussions on Facebook Has Lively Discussion and More Proof about WELS Abuse

WELS Discussions - Facebook

  • Bryan Lidtke Hey now, you know there's an outlet: Write a letter! The solution to all your problems!
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • Seth Bode Burden of proof is on the writer for saying it happens *so many* times. First & last sentence of the first paragraph. *Some* seems like it would be more accurate. Therein lies the problem with non-documentation. The court case is really weird and needs to be addressed.
    7 hrs · Like
  • Bryan Lidtke Well, the court case is a closed case for the district, isn't it? It was simply botched by the district and, sadly, I don't see much changing.
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • David Endorf I think the issue I have with the post is that it seems to ignore the fact that sometimes people stay anonymous because they have a sinful nature. They may be to lazy to handle things the right way, they may be too immature. There's all sorts of reasons. Ultimately though as God lays things out in Matthew 18 there is no room for being anonymous. If people don't trust God's word or know it enough to follow his plan for church discipline then I have a very hard time listening to their complaints. I'm not saying the WELS is perfect it isn't, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. I have had several complaints with things that have gone on over the years, and I've never had any problem talking with the pastor involved, my circuit pastor or the DP.
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • Joe Jewell David Endorf it's only fair to point out that the "synod protectors and enforcers" operate anonymously, too, or more often completely behind-the-back.

    I posted--using my own real name, as usual--a comment on a Lutheran blog site, which has since disappeared, and immediately an (anonymous, of course) poster popped up saying "I will fight against those who are wolves in sheep clothing within my Michigan District" and he was going to "email my pastor, circuit pastor, and DP that I was posting on such a blog.... Both will receive the information with screenshots where you so willingly embrace this terrible sin and also how you have been publicly warned". 

    And all this for a SINGLE fairly innocuous comment, where I said, essentially, that I thought open discussion was a good thing without actively taking a side in the dispute in question (except that I guess in the WELS, being for any kind of open discussion is controversial in and of itself, as we've seen). He then had the gall to demand the name of my pastor--which I freely gave; turn the other cheek, right?--and then replied "Joe, I am surprised you aren’t going to [redacted name of church] since that is closer to your home but I just went ahead and e-mailed all four of them anyway." WHAT?!

    So this completely anonymous "synod defender" type guy had actually bothered to look into my personal information enough to find my address (a recent move, mind you--I'm not in the phone book) and figure out which area WELS church I'm closest to, confirming that I attended the other one--and it's only a difference of a little bit, so yes, he took care to find the exact location. I'm not going to lie, I made extra sure my doors were locked every night for weeks.

    And I'm just a layman with a non-church job. Does anyone think that kind of a guy wouldn't hesitate to--completely anonymously--engage in that level of harassment-via-colleagues or make an attempt to take away the man's livelihood, in the case of a called worker? One of the reasons that I am outspoken is because I have that luxury as one who does not depend upon the synod for my family's continued earthly security. I wish more pastors and teachers were outspoken, too, but I recognize that they are much, MUCH more constrained.
    6 hrs · Edited · Like · 4
  • Franz Frankfurter I've told this story before, but I'll share it here. There were some very vocal members of my congregation who were pushing hard for contemporary worship. I explained my concerns to them and talked about the blessings of the liturgy and told them that we wouldn't be starting contemporary services. About a month later, my DP sits me down at a circuit meeting and tells me, "I've been contacted about you. Perhaps you should start thinking about other employment options." If I'm not free to voice my concerns about contemporary worship in my own congregation, does anybody really think I'm free to voice my concerns about the direction of the synod in general?
    5 hrs · Like · 4
  • Rik Krahn I am in no way discounting Pastor Frankfurter's experience. Something like that shouldn't happen. But I still believe that type of experience is out of the ordinary. I have had that very conversation with those same members at my 3 different churches, and had never had such a "talking to" from either my circuit pastor or District President. Again, I'm not saying that it never happens, but I don't believe it happens frequently.
    5 hrs · Like
  • Joe Jewell I think it probably depends strongly upon 1) who you are; 2) who your DP/CP is; and 3) who the complaining member is (and who they are related to).
    4 hrs · Edited · Like · 5
  • Seth Bode It just seems to me that anonymity greatly decreases the reliability & value of what you express. By the way, can we just understand that everything I say on here is anonymous?
    4 hrs · Like
  • Joe Jewell Speaking precisely, anonymity doesn't inherently decrease the reliability and value of what is spoken in any kind of absolute sense; it just broadens the uncertainty with which one can make that assessment. After all, anonymous information could be (and sometimes is) absolutely spot-on--there are just fewer ways of ascertaining those qualities if you don't know who it's coming from.

    Personally, the calculation (estimation, really) that I make depends upon the situation of the anonymous person, as nearly as that can be ascertained, as well as how well the anonymous information accords with other, publicly (or privately to me, at least) confirmable information. An anonymous account from a person who has good reason to remain anonymous (say, that the information they are expressing is something that the powers-that-be would rather is not expressed or made public) that doesn't contradict confirmable information--I'm likely to look favorably upon that in terms of the probable quality of the information.

    A name is no guarantee of the quality of an expression, either. I've been lied to or misled by plenty of non-anonymous people.
    4 hrs · Like · 1
  • Franz Frankfurter Seth Bode, of course my anonymity decreases my reliability and value. But what other option do I have? My anonymity increases my odds of feeding my family. Frankly, that's more important to me than convincing you I'm telling the truth. Besides, if I gave you my name, are you really going to believe me and side with me over a DP?
    4 hrs · Like
  • Thomas Schmeling Joe Jewell - the 'sin' was posting on a blog?
    3 hrs · Like · 1
  • Thomas Schmeling I have yet to get through the links on the article. Something that troubled me greatly was right out in the open. 

    "Rev. Paul Rydecki was suspended from WELS on the charge of teaching the “false doctrine” of Justification by Faith Alone."

    Clearly I am missing some context but is that the heart of this matter? Does our synod now deny Sola Fide?
    2 hrs · Like
  • Shanna White that's a bit misleading, Rev. Rydecki was disagreeing with UOJ (universal objective justification). The debate gets theologically deep (for me) pretty quickly, but I believe it was more a UOJ issue then a Sola Fide issue.
    2 hrs · Edited · Like · 1
  • Thomas Schmeling On the issue of anonymity, I prefer my real name for many reasons. One reason is because it makes me think before I hit that Enter key. 
    The most relevant to this discussion is Matt 10:32. Right after he says "Fear not" Christ says,

    32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (NKJV)

    For me specifically, hiding my name, even while confessing Christ publicly, would be an act of unbelief.
    2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Joe Jewell Thomas Schmeling, here is the post (ironic in its content!) that earned me such opprobrium and accusations from the anonymous, self-appointed Guardian of the Michigan District's Internet Blog Honor:

    "Welcome back. I wanted to post with my name to tell
     you that I admire your decision to keep blogging. Whoever you are, you and your family are in my prayers--as is your bully, that he might repent and stop the harassment and threats."