The Glory Has Departed


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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Few Corrections for the Ceaseless Moloch Commentary

Moloch lizard -
"The thorny dragon is covered in hard, rather sharp spines that dissuade attacks by predators by making it difficult to swallow. It also has a false head on its back. When it feels threatened by other animals, it lowers its head between its front legs, and then presents its false head."



http://welsdocument.blogspot.com/2015/02/additional-reading-for-techlin-case.html?showComment=1425136634264#c3053873536863759626


  • With reference to Lenski's NT Commentary, both NPH and CPH are publishing new commentary volumes but neither have produced a complete series since the People's Bible Commentary, which of course is a popular commentary series more like Kretzmann's. It is unfortunate that more of the commentaries of the Wauwatosa Theologians have not been translated and published by NPH, and CPH has not published the translations of the commentaries of Georg Stoeckhardt which were available in mimeograph editions when I was a student at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. To this day Stoeckhardt's Romans commentary is only available in an abridged translation of the complete text, with only the first half of the commentary available in a complete translation. Stoeckhardt was supposed to write a commentary on "Isaiah I" to which August Pieper's "Isaiah II" was meant to be the second volume, but Stoeckhardt died after only completing part of his portion of the commentary.
    Somebody can check for me, but I believe that Lenski intentionally dedicated his commentary on 2 Corinthians to the faculty of WLS and another commentary to the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, because the Synodical Conference rejected his false teachings.
  • GJ - The president of the Synodical Conference, Gausewitz, published his catechism, absent of any mention of UOJ - and Gausewitz was WELS. He died before the odious Brief Statement of 1932 was published. The 1905 German catechism of the Missouri Synod had no mention of UOJ. Both catechisms taught justification by faith. So does the KJV catechism still sold by Concordia Publishing House. To claim the Synodical Conference rejected justification by faith as false teaching is pure hooey, to put it politely. The fanatics who love UOJ are also the ones who promote Church Growth, Emergent Churches, and New Age dogmas. UOJ is mainline apostasy, loved by ELCA and the UCC and the rest of the scoundrels - all in the name of grace - but without the Means of Grace.
  • Mr. Moloch, your logic states that there is unionism one way or another in the WELS regarding this case. Since it has been declared a closed case, there is unionism, correct? Either the WELS allows error or there are those in the WELS who practice error and refuse to leave, thus making the WELS heterodox. Why not put your money where your mouth is and either do something about it or stop criticizing, well, pretty much everybody else involved then?

  • Mr. Lidtke, if those who support Mr. Techlin and believe that offense has been given and not removed have choosen (sic) to still remain in the WELS, then it logically follows that they, whatever they may say to the contrary, accept the fact that the case has been closed and do not believe that the offense allegedly given is sufficient reason for them to leave the synod. Their actions demonstrate that their own self-interest rises above the seriousness of the offense which they claim to believe has been given. As long as they are willing to remain in the WELS and are not under disciplinary action, then I must assume that their actions are more important than their words and accept them as being in fellowship with the WELS.
    If the WELS chooses not to take action against the supporters of Mr.Techlin because those individuals have chosen to remain in the synod and are not involved in any disciplinary action, then the synod has obviously accepted their action in remaining in the synod rather than any words of theirs regarding the Techlin case as their own final decision regarding the case. If their side of the case of those "offended" was not sustained by Mr. Techlin's congregation or his district and there is no way in which the case can be taken before the synod, and yet they choose to remain as members of the synod, then it logically follows that there is no real issue left to deal with, in spite of all of the talk. It lies with those who are "offended" and yet have decided to remain in the synod to demonstrate how serious they take the "offense" by actions rather than words.
    Therefore, I will acknowledge that I was wrong to accuse the synod of "unionism" because the synod accepts in good faith the decision of the those "offended" to remain as members of the synod in spite of their alleged "offense." It is those who remain as members of the synod in spite of their claim of being "offended" who are open to the charge of "unionism," because they are obviously willing to "agree to disagree" regarding the doctrine and practice of fellowship.


  • Just a quick reminder that will all this convoluted logorrhea from Mr. Moloch, he is still almost completely unfamiliar with even the most basic facts regarding the case.

    Also, he overlooks the facts that WELS pastors and congregations are actively and openly communing the person formally declared out of fellowship by the errant congregation and the district.

    How the Mr. Moloch can imply that this action represents "accepting the synod's decision" beggars belief. No: what it represents is a decision to do the right thing even when the synod directs one to do the wrong thing. It is to be praised that the synod does not stop them or discipline them for ignoring the synod's incorrect action--but this is therefore an admission of past error on the part of the synod..

  • From 2007 - The Adams Book Preus of Missouri



    Pope John the Malefactor, center, traveled to India
    on your offering money.


    I was reading Preus of Missouri again. Every century I pick up a book about Lutheranism or the Reformation, to stay even with the synodical leaders. I know from experience that they are a studious lot.

    I happen to own Pope John's copy of Preus of Missouri, probably through a book sale. I thought I left the night light on in the library, but the glow came from this iconic book, which should really be in the rare books collection of Bethany Lutheran College. In the high-security showcase: "SP John Moldstad actually owned this book. Scholars are divided about whether he read it."

    Robert Preus left his priceless collection to Bethany rather than Concordia, Ft. Wayne.

    I chuckled when I read Preus of Missouri's description of the Little Sect on the Prairie as "hyper-orthodox." The journalist's grasp of theology was definitely mainline, but he tried to be fair and largely succeeded.

    Neuhaus played a significant role in the Seminex split, leaving the LCMS, joining ELCA, and now prominent in the Church of Rome. Leigh Jordahl was a student of Jack Preus at Bethany. Leigh married a Gullerud (CLC president) and became ELCA by steps. Jordahl was friends with Wilken, who joined Rome. (Jordahl had some minor involvement with my dissertation at Notre Dame, as an advisor.)

    Bethany itself is central to Lutheran history of the last century. Al Barry and Oswald Hoffman studied there. Robert Preus earned the first seminary degree there, leaving Luther Seminary just before graduation. Jack Preus had a faculty position at Bethany, etc. Preus relatives at Bethany College included Ylvisaker and Norm Madson.

    Once upon a time, the Little Sect on the the Prairie had courage. On November 22nd, 1938, the Norwegian Synod (now the ELS) sent a letter to LCMS President Behnken. Missouri was getting close to the American Lutheran Church without expecting a repudiation of errors, such as unionism, Lodge membership, etc. The Admonition was signed by two Preus relatives: S. C. Ylvisaker and Norm Madson. It was also signed by Christian Anderson and H. M. Tjernagel. The ELS followed with a longer message in April of 1939, signed by the same four leaders, sent to all LCMS pastors and professors.

    The Norwegian Synod was impoverished and tiny in size. They did not have Marvin Schwan as a sugar-daddy yet. But they had faith in the efficacy of the Word. The Word proved efficacious, hardening Missouri's attitudes against orthodoxy. Behnken was definitely a see-no-evil president.

    Can anyone imagine the ELS writing a similar admonition to WELS? I cannot. For one thing, the ELS is so eager to parrot WELS that they have nothing to say to correct WELS.

    No synod has repudiated the Church Growth Movement and meant it. Instead they have spoiled the Egyptian compost heap while denying their involvement. The ELS likes to hold itself above WELS but is no different.

    ***

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "James Adams' Preus of Missouri":

    Oh yes, the holy Preus name. They can certainly do no wrong can they! Robert left to join the unionists in Missouri. Rolf gets kicked out of the ELS and sends his kids to Constantinople...I mean Fort Wayne. Smart theologians who evidently have no concept of fellowship. I guess if you can't stand the heat you might as well jump into the fire.

    ***

    GJ - If Anonymous reads the Adams book, he will see that Jack and Robert grew up among three synods: Big Norwegians (eventually ELCA), Little Norwegians (ELS), and LCMS. I think Jack was a Missouri member for 20 years while he was growing up. Governor Jake Preus was an all-synod man. Founding Lutheran Brotherhood and other causes made Jake sceptical or maybe indifferent about church organizations.

    Jack and Robert Preus did more to change Missouri in the twentieth center for the better than anyone else. Their publishing efforts alone were worthy of note. Too bad Lutherans do not read good material anymore. Robert's last work was an excellent repudiation of moving toward Rome. UOJ is also repudiated in the clearest possible language.

    I do not consider the Preus name holy. I am saddened that the men who started to change Missouri went after each other and handed victory to the apostates. Bohlmann was of course a Bohlmann loyalist, so he may not count. The same is true for Waldo Werning. According to legend, Jack was just as much an antagonist toward Robert as Bohlmann was. The Otten brothers have kept the same Bronze Age Missouri position.

    Everyone in a synod is a unionist today. Scaer is fond of saying, "Why join the community ministers group? Just go to LCMS circuit meetings. Each one is a rainbow coalition."

    WELS is united behind Leonard Sweet, Reggie McNeal, and Fuller Seminary. They have their own Holy Office of the Inquisition set up: Church and Change. There are pastors who dissent, but they are being disciplined. The buddies of these errorists? - the CG gurus of WELS.

    The Little Sect on the Prairie is silent about false doctrine. In 1939 the quoted Walther as saying, "Indifference is unionism." That was then, this is now. The ELS certainly echoes and imitates the worst errors of WELS.

    The Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic) protects the two worst false teachers from the consequences of their errors.

    ELDONA disagrees about justification by faith, unles Stefanski(associated with but not a member of ELDONA) has read the Book of Concord or the Gospel of John and changed his mind. Stefanski is a UOJ fanatic. [GJ - Note that this changed - and ELDONA became the only organized group to teach justification by faith. Various UOJ fanatics had their Calvinist robes in a knot about this.]

    Etc.

    Causes for apostasy are:

    1. Lack of study.
    2. Blood is thicker than doctrine.
    3. Loyalty to classmates (who are often relatives).
    4. Loyalty to the seminary, whose professors are often relatives.
    5. Veneration of Holy Mother Synod, Immaculate and Infallible.

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Leonard Nimoy Encouraged Moliner Ken Berry to Try Hollywood



    "Go West, young man."
    Yes - that is my Photoshop.


    When his hitch was up in 1955, Ken was looking for the logical next move. "My sergeant in Atlanta was Leonard Nimoy, from ‘Star Trek,’" Ken recalls. "Leonard said, ‘You really ought to contact some people on the coast since you’re going back out there.’ He set it up and I got a screen test. I didn’t get the job but it got me to California." (The film was Francis in the Haunted House and at the last minute Mickey Rooney got the job of essentially succeeding Donald O’Connor in what turned out to be the last of the "Francis the Talking Mule" films.)
    Ken Berry Official Website

    Delusions of Orthodoxy Remain in WELS - Even on the WELS Documented Blog

    Jeske's 2014 Change or Die! Circus -WELS, ELCA, LCMS


    http://welsdocument.blogspot.com/2015/02/additional-reading-for-techlin-case.html

    I don't think you erred, necessarily, but neither should you expect that you have joined a synod with no issues. There are probably fewer of these manifestly unjust, unscriptural issues in the WELS than the LCMS. But our weakness as a synod is that because we might be *better* we are very tempted to pretend we're *perfect* (this will be objected to, of course, but few WELS pastors would be willing to say publicly that the synod has gotten anything of any consequence "wrong" in living memory, while many LCMS pastors are perfectly willing to do so). There is simply less independent thinking, which works OK so long as everyone actively agrees to be identifiably, genuinely Confessional Lutheran, but is not so great when the ways of the world start to creep in from the top, not the bottom (few rank-and-file WELS pastors went to study church growth at Fuller Seminary, for example--it was professors and leaders, or those whose ambition to be professors and leaders has since in large part been fulfilled).

    Mark Jeske is far more significant and damaging than Matthew Becker.

    Matthew Becker could probably not happen in the WELS today. A relatively low-ranking pastor teaching at a non-training school, such as him, would be swiftly tossed for so publicly flouting synod leadership--although I think if he were well-connected and taught his stuff quietly in a sympathetic congregation, it's quite possible that he would last for quite a while, perhaps with a few "disfellowshipped" objecting laymen as collateral damage. By the same token, though, I don't think WELS rank-and-file pastors and laypeople would have the intestinal and doctrinal fortitude to be able to carry out a housecleaning at the seminary such as the LCMS was able to do during the Seminex controversy.

    ***
    GJ - Where to start? Mark Jeske is the media guy recognized nationally by WELS and the LCMS while tying them together with ELCA in his managed conferences, funded by Thrivent or the Siebert Foundation or both.

    Jeske's dogma is warmed-over Joel Osteen coaching and boosterism. Mrs. Ichabod puts it on to annoy me. Without listening or watching, I begin to feel the pain in five minutes.

    No one wants to deal with Jeske shoveling millions to ELCA to help fund their abortion-driven sect, or Thrivent funding Planned Parenthood. Certain Lutherans discoverd that - with dramatic shock - and failed to mention how this blog revealed the same more than five years ago (thanks to Brett Meyer).

    The only discipline in WELS is shutting down dissent, as previously shown, and selectively kicking out justification by faith. 

    If I need to mention:
    Ski
    • Tim Glende
    • Ski
    • Paul Kelm
    • Jeff Gunn
    • Adam Mueller
    • John Parlow
    • Steve Witte
    • John Parlow
    • Larry Olson
    • Jim Huebner
    • David Valleskey
    • or a few dozen others...

                      Then you have not been reading.

    WELS fellowship is centered on the Green Bay Packers.

    Joe Krohn Weighs In with Attacks on Justification by Faith and Lenski's Scholarship.
    Dozens Cheer.
    Boycott the Emmaus Conference

    Lenski was a parish pastor and district president
    before becoming a distinguished professor of New Testament studies.

    1. I would have to agree with Warren on the point of Lenski. Since Lenski denied Objective Justification, his works should be suspect since Justification is the pillar of Lutheran doctrine. What is ironic to me is that Lenski is even defended here by a WELsian since the view of some hold such a view of OJ that it skews their view of The Keys...
    2. Would Lenski approve of popcorn munching
      and cola slurping during the Prayer of the Church?
    3. Mr. Krohn: That's absurd. It's one paragraph out of 12,000 pages, in a different volume, on a different book of the Bible, dealing with different doctrine. One lousy paragraph where Lenski expresses a theological opinion, on a matter that is not really a textual issue anyway (and that is why people read Lenski: because of his facility with the Greek and deep research of the text, not for his dogmatic insight). Lenski is absolutely wonderful, THE best available commentary at this fine level of detail. Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (WELS) calls it "one of the great commentaries on the New Testament". The Northwestern Lutheran (Forward in Christ, WELS) said "Dr. Lenski presents the message of the book with clarity and convincing force. The book breathes the spirit of reverence for the Inspired Word and of faith in the Savior and zeal for his cause." Concordia (LCMS): "The book should be gratefully received by the Lutheran Church."

      But, oh, Joe Krohn disagrees! Because Lenski rendered a different opinion on one verse--more controversial now than then--out of the entire blessed New Testament. The very same Joe Krohn whose own thinking on that verse swung like a pendulum over the space of weeks and months--and absurdly is even now somehow convinced that WELS and the LCMS teach differently on it!--dismisses the whole corpus of a true expert's scholarship on the entire New Testament for his perceived error in the analysis of a single verse.

      In short, if Lenski is "suspect" in your mind then everyone else who wrote a comprehensive New Testament textual commentary (or lexicon, or...) must be deeply and irretrievably flawed (since essentially none of them are Lutheran at all). And then you're left with no outside scholarly sources whatsoever, just your own presumably infallible wits and whatever your professor's notes say. Nothing could be more WELSian than that! Are you sure you've left us?
    4. Really? I'll stick with Kretzmann for the most part.

      You know it's interesting, Melanchthon (Anonymous...oh how brave you can be there at your keyboard in anonymity...) that you would choose such a 'handle'; wishy washy as he really was...a sell out to the reformed...kind of like Lenski...who was off on Election too!
    5. JP Meyer was over the top and into enemy territory with his UOJ,
      but this statement is a good commentary on the passage in Corinthians. Joe Krohn should recognize how this applies to
      CrossWalk in Phoenix, The CORE in Appleton,
      Christ the King in Round Rock.

      1. I would have to agree with Warren on the point of Lenski. Since Lenski denied Objective Justification, his works should be suspect since Justification is the pillar of Lutheran doctrine. What is ironic to me is that Lenski is even defended here by a WELsian since the view of some hold such a view of OJ that it skews their view of The Keys...
      2. Mr. Krohn: That's absurd. It's one paragraph out of 12,000 pages, in a different volume, on a different book of the Bible, dealing with different doctrine. One lousy paragraph where Lenski expresses a theological opinion, on a matter that is not really a textual issue anyway (and that is why people read Lenski: because of his facility with the Greek and deep research of the text, not for his dogmatic insight). Lenski is absolutely wonderful, THE best available commentary at this fine level of detail. Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (WELS) calls it "one of the great commentaries on the New Testament". The Northwestern Lutheran (Forward in Christ, WELS) said "Dr. Lenski presents the message of the book with clarity and convincing force. The book breathes the spirit of reverence for the Inspired Word and of faith in the Savior and zeal for his cause." Concordia (LCMS): "The book should be gratefully received by the Lutheran Church."

        But, oh, Joe Krohn disagrees! Because Lenski rendered a different opinion on one verse--more controversial now than then--out of the entire blessed New Testament. The very same Joe Krohn whose own thinking on that verse swung like a pendulum over the space of weeks and months--and absurdly is even now somehow convinced that WELS and the LCMS teach differently on it!--dismisses the whole corpus of a true expert's scholarship on the entire New Testament for his perceived error in the analysis of a single verse.

        In short, if Lenski is "suspect" in your mind then everyone else who wrote a comprehensive New Testament textual commentary (or lexicon, or...) must be deeply and irretrievably flawed (since essentially none of them are Lutheran at all). And then you're left with no outside scholarly sources whatsoever, just your own presumably infallible wits and whatever your professor's notes say. Nothing could be more WELSian than that! Are you sure you've left us?
      3. Really? I'll stick with Kretzmann for the most part.

        You know it's interesting, Melanchthon (Anonymous...oh how brave you can be there at your keyboard in anonymity...) that you would choose such a 'handle'; wishy washy as he really was...a sell out to the reformed...kind of like Lenski...who was off on Election too!
      4. Mr. Krohn:

        You realize that these volumes are on nearly every WELS pastor's shelf? Why do you think that is? So they can mock him? Decorative paperweights? Enjoyment of the color green?

        Kretzmann (which already existed at the time Lenski did his work) is great, I agree! But he is also not by any means a substitute for Lenski since the work is not done at the same level of textual detail. For starters, he covers the New Testament in about 1200 pages and does not really get into the underlying language. Lenski takes 12,000 and dissects literally every Greek word.

        But all of this is a moot point. Why? KRETZMANN AGREES WITH LENSKI ON THE VERSE IN CONTENTION. Don't believe me? Crack yours open--I just did. Kretzmann's treatment of Titus 3:10 is identical to Lenski's (I mean, without all of the discussion of the Greek, of course, since Kretzmann doesn't get into that, and in one paragraph instead of five pages--but the conclusion is the same: "heretic")!

        So, in conclusion, thank you for helping me make my point. You may now resume your regularly scheduled ad hominem.
      5. Melanchtymous, please. Is it possible to lob ad hominem on the anonymous? It seems you want your cake and to eat it too. If you can’t stand the heat, then you probably shouldn’t light the oven.

        “You realize that these volumes are on nearly every WELS pastor's shelf?”

        So what. For a theologian so well versed in Greek as you say and yet is off on Justification and Election, in my mind taints his work. You should read this: http://www.wlsessays.net/files/GeigerLenski.pdf

        As far as Kretzmann is concerned; you said: “…then everyone else who wrote a comprehensive New Testament textual commentary (or lexicon, or...) must be deeply and irretrievably flawed (since essentially none of them are Lutheran at all).” I was simply countering your assertion there were no authoritative Lutheran commentaries. I know, I know…nothing could come out of the LC-MS that would stand up to the standards of the WELS.

        And to your ad hominem: “The very same Joe Krohn whose own thinking on that verse swung like a pendulum over the space of weeks and months--and absurdly is even now somehow convinced that WELS and the LCMS teach differently on it!”

        I do believe there are some in the WELS who do not teach Objective Justification correctly just like there are probably some in the LC-MS that do not either and vice versa. My contention was with a certain pastor and his preaching on the Keys. In the final analysis, I did find out where he stood as I found myself out of fellowship until I repented of ‘false doctrine’ and a critical spirit; without a fair hearing. He liked to eat his cake and have it too.
      6. No, Mr. Krohn, your ad hominem was against Dr. Lenski, not me. "Ad hominem" doesn't mean "saying something really mean or blunt" it means "arguing against THE MAN rather than the man's arguments". Which is precisely what you are doing by insinuating that Dr. Lenski should be "suspected" of not having gotten Titus 3 right because you don't like the way he treated a verse in Romans several volumes over on the shelf.

        I have, of course, read the essay you cite. Have you, actually? It acknowledges that: "Lenski’s commentaries are generally accepted in all conservative Lutheran circles as the finest New Testament commentaries. It is a scholarly work, issued by a man who loved the Lord and His verbally inspired Word, and it is found in the libraries of many of our pastors."

        Which is true. EVEN WITH THE JUSTIFICATION CAVEATS, Lenski is STILL "generally accepted as the finest available New Testament commentary in all conservative Lutheran circles," whether LCMS, WELS, or ELS. This is not a slam on Kretzmann, because Kretzmann is not a comprehensive commentary in the same sense. Kretzmann is the proto-"People's Bible", a gloss and explanation aimed at the level of the lay family, rather than a textual analysis based on the original language aimed at scholars and pastors. Reading Kretzmann provides no special insight into whether a particular Greek word in Titus 3 should be understood one way or another; reading Lenski does (though it's worth noting that Kretzmann does of course render it just as Lenski does, he provides no reasoning or reference to the Greek).
    6. Mr. Krohn:

      You realize that these volumes are on nearly every WELS pastor's shelf? Why do you think that is? So they can mock him? Decorative paperweights? Enjoyment of the color green?

      Kretzmann (which already existed at the time Lenski did his work) is great, I agree! But he is also not by any means a substitute for Lenski since the work is not done at the same level of textual detail. For starters, he covers the New Testament in about 1200 pages and does not really get into the underlying language. Lenski takes 12,000 and dissects literally every Greek word.

      But all of this is a moot point. Why? KRETZMANN AGREES WITH LENSKI ON THE VERSE IN CONTENTION. Don't believe me? Crack yours open--I just did. Kretzmann's treatment of Titus 3:10 is identical to Lenski's (I mean, without all of the discussion of the Greek, of course, since Kretzmann doesn't get into that, and in one paragraph instead of five pages--but the conclusion is the same: "heretic")!

      So, in conclusion, thank you for helping me make my point. You may now resume your regularly scheduled ad hominem.
    7. Melanchtymous, please. Is it possible to lob ad hominem on the anonymous? It seems you want your cake and to eat it too. If you can’t stand the heat, then you probably shouldn’t light the oven.

      “You realize that these volumes are on nearly every WELS pastor's shelf?”

      So what. For a theologian so well versed in Greek as you say and yet is off on Justification and Election, in my mind taints his work. You should read this: http://www.wlsessays.net/files/GeigerLenski.pdf

      As far as Kretzmann is concerned; you said: “…then everyone else who wrote a comprehensive New Testament textual commentary (or lexicon, or...) must be deeply and irretrievably flawed (since essentially none of them are Lutheran at all).” I was simply countering your assertion there were no authoritative Lutheran commentaries. I know, I know…nothing could come out of the LC-MS that would stand up to the standards of the WELS.

      And to your ad hominem: “The very same Joe Krohn whose own thinking on that verse swung like a pendulum over the space of weeks and months--and absurdly is even now somehow convinced that WELS and the LCMS teach differently on it!”

      I do believe there are some in the WELS who do not teach Objective Justification correctly just like there are probably some in the LC-MS that do not either and vice versa. My contention was with a certain pastor and his preaching on the Keys. In the final analysis, I did find out where he stood as I found myself out of fellowship until I repented of ‘false doctrine’ and a critical spirit; without a fair hearing. He liked to eat his cake and have it too.
    8. No, Mr. Krohn, your ad hominem was against Dr. Lenski, not me. "Ad hominem" doesn't mean "saying something really mean or blunt" it means "arguing against THE MAN rather than the man's arguments". Which is precisely what you are doing by insinuating that Dr. Lenski should be "suspected" of not having gotten Titus 3 right because you don't like the way he treated a verse in Romans several volumes over on the shelf.

      I have, of course, read the essay you cite. Have you, actually? It acknowledges that: "Lenski’s commentaries are generally accepted in all conservative Lutheran circles as the finest New Testament commentaries. It is a scholarly work, issued by a man who loved the Lord and His verbally inspired Word, and it is found in the libraries of many of our pastors."

      Which is true. EVEN WITH THE JUSTIFICATION CAVEATS, Lenski is STILL "generally accepted as the finest available New Testament commentary in all conservative Lutheran circles," whether LCMS, WELS, or ELS. This is not a slam on Kretzmann, because Kretzmann is not a comprehensive commentary in the same sense. Kretzmann is the proto-"People's Bible", a gloss and explanation aimed at the level of the lay family, rather than a textual analysis based on the original language aimed at scholars and pastors. Reading Kretzmann provides no special insight into whether a particular Greek word in Titus 3 should be understood one way or another; reading Lenski does (though it's worth noting that Kretzmann does of course render it just as Lenski does, he provides no reasoning or reference to the Greek).

    Writer Seems Not To Know the Real Monster Ministers

    When did you first suspect something was wrong with the new pastor?


    http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48481-11-signs-of-a-monster-pastor
    In a previous post, I wrote about "monster churches" in reference to congregations that chew up and spit out pastors on a regular basis. Monster churches are highly dysfunctional and rarely fruitful.
    The congregation, however, is not always the problem. Just as monster churches are a factory of discord, monster pastors take trouble with them wherever they go.
    Nicknames for monster pastors include: dictator, authoritarian and control freak.
    Biblically speaking, they may be false teachers, greedy for selfish gain, deceitful workmen and ravenous wolves. They specialize in hijacking congregations and then abusing their power.
    Monster pastors have little regard for the sheep (or the Chief Shepherd for that matter). Instead, their first priority is self, masked by other agendas. Such pastors may use pressure tactics, political maneuvering, and/or persuasive speech in order to manipulate a congregation into acting on their behalf.
    When they don't get their way, monster pastors usually 1) move on to another church, 2) cause a stir in their current church and/or 3) blame the congregation for not following their lead. Simply put, monster pastors are building their own kingdom rather than Christ's kingdom.
    As a general rule, monster pastors:
    1. Are always right and never wrong.
    2. Cannot accept criticism without becoming defensive.
    3. Are not willing to share the pulpit.
    4. Do not support other ministries.
    5. Overly use the personal pronoun, "I."
    6. Resist accountability.
    7. Feels threatened by former pastors.
    8. Surround themselves with "yes men" rather than edifying leaders.
    9. Do not entrust ministry to other leaders.
    10. Undermine programs that they cannot control.
    11. Insist that everything in the church run through them.
    ***

    GJ - These are characteristics of controlling pastors, above. Many ministers have those characteristics. The socialistic nature of church organizations makes this worse. The easiest promotion is to leave for a better salary, home, and situation. This opens the door for church executives to play politics with the call, rewarding friends and relatives, punishing anyone who questions their infallibility. Synodical leaders are a cancer today, absorbing enormous amounts of money for themselves, taking over and eating up everything.
    Here is my description of monster pastors in the parish:
    • Like Bishop Martin Stephan, they think they own the bodies of their members and exploit them --men or women, boys or girls--to satisfy their egos and their lusts.
    • Their disordered lives are marked by alcohol and drug addiction, often both together.
    • They make money disappear, but sometimes have deep-pocket pals who bail them out and defend them. In return, these enablers are absolved for their own abusive behavior at home or in business. There is nothing better than a sugar daddy adulterer whose Mafia business ethics make the newspapers. 
    • The monster pastors are either incompetent or too lazy to carry out their duties, so they cover up by acting busy and taking shortcuts.

    Thursday, February 26, 2015

    Questions Aimed at Luther and Lutherans



    Someone asked me to answer these questions aimed at Luther and Lutherans. I have marked them in blue with the answers following.

    Question
    I have a question that is perhaps provocative, but it not intended to offend or be upsetting, if you can possibly take it that way. It is intended to get an answer from an “insider” of what I shall refer to as Protestantism.
    In 2 Tim 3, Paul says that all scripture is inspired by God and (useful or profitable)…
    He also refers to the sacred writings.
    He’s writing in Greek to Greek speaking Jews and Gentiles. Historically, do you feel that he is referring to anything other than the Greek Septuagint, which he apparently assumes his readers/listeners would understand? Historically, that seems to be the answer.
    What I understand as the Septuagint is a Jewish translation of the Hebrew sacred writings (Torah, etc.) which would include all the recognized canonical books of the Jewish religion. It stands as a Jewish witness to what were considered to be the inspired writings.
    Over the course of hundreds of years, the early Church adopted the writings of the Septuagint as its canonical text.
    That seems to be a stable situation, although even a “Catholic” guy like St. Jerome really liked only books that he could translate from Hebrew, not translating a translation (Greek). But, overall, the Roman Church and later the Orthodox Church as well recognized the canonicity of the Septuagint.

    But, then, in the 16th century, along comes Martin Luther who overturns a lot of things. In translating the Bible into German, people commonly say that he threw 7 books out of the Old Testament.
    Answer
    One would be hard pressed to find the New Testament text quoting the Old Testament apocrypha, so that is one answer found in the Bible itself. The apocryphal books were pious additions but did not belong to the Old Testament. It was not a matter of "liking" or "feelings" or "opinions." It was a matter of right and wrong. If I add to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, later editors have every right to separate my additions or commentary and call it the extra gregoristicum
    In contrast, the New Testament quotes almost all of Isiah 53, indicating its status within the Bible. The issue of the canonical books is not deciding which ones to include but which ones never belonged in the first place. The same can be said about the New Testament, when people wanted to include extra books, some magical in nature, long after the apostles were dead.
    The Old Testament canon was limited first by the Jewish scholars, then by the Christian Church.
    The apocryphal books were found in Bibles through the Reformation and after. Luther and a pope separated the books and put them in a section between the two Testaments. Later, Protestants became angry at the Roman Catholic doctrinal debates using the Apocrypha and dropped that section. 
    It is a false claim that Luther "threw out seven books from the Old Testament." He was trained as a Catholic Biblical scholar at a Catholic University. He simply taught what he learned - that those later additions, the Apocrypha, were never regarded as the Old Testament Canon but only as well meaning, somewhat valuable additions. They are worthy of study but not authoritative for deciding Christian doctrine. Many Protestant Bibles today have a section on the Apocrypha and it is taught to a lesser degree in various Protestant schools. 
    Many Catholic editions of the Bible have the Apocrypha in a separate, center section. Does that mean the Catholic Church threw out books of the Bible. Since any Catholic Bible edition has to be approved, that would be going against the Roman Catholic magisterium.
    Question
    I read Eric Metaxis’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was very smart (otherwise) but seemed to have rejected membership in the German Lutheran Church (because it was supporting Hitler or at least not effectively opposing Hitler). Metaxis says that DB was troubled by a nagging question, What is the Church?
    Answer
    I am not a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He reminds me of many modern theologians (like Rahner and Hans Kueng - tboth Roman Catholics) who use the words of faith but are really rationalists. The Church is not an institution. To quote Augustine, Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.  Augustine, The City of God
    The Church exists wherever the Word is taught in its truth and the Sacraments are administered according to the Scriptures. They are the Means of Grace that bring Christ and His forgiveness to us - the Word and Sacraments. Someone described them as the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of the Sacraments. The purpose of the Church is to plant and nurture faith in Christ.



    More Winter - So I Threw a Picnic for the Birds.
    Gratitude Increases as the Temps Reach Single Digits

    "Feed them and they will come."
    St. Gregorius, Patron Saint of Arkansas Birds


    We have had almost constant traffic at the feeders during this cold spell, especially since grandson Alex and I offered four pounds of suet to the birds. The first response was a frenzy of feeding with so many extra lumps and fragments of suet scattered outside the mesh bags - and several bags packed full.

    We had tossed lumps and crumbles of suet in various places around the Jackson Bird Spa, instead of putting them in the front bags. The downy woodpecker obliged by moving his feeding from the front to the backyard. Today when I went outside, the starlings took to the air but settled in trees nearby to see what I had for them. Most of my trips in the backyard are to feed them, so we are conditioning each other.

    I may pour some water in the baths, too, but they will freeze over fairly fast. Next year I will buy a birdbath warmer and smile if I never need it. That is why people rent storage space, so they can look for the birdbath warmer from Minnesota they did not need in Arizona.

    I went to Walmart's new Supercenter today, since I follow the advice of union members and shop the locally owned stores. Walmart began a few miles away, and we know one of the major stockholders. The little store has grown a bit since she make popcorn for her dad in downtown Bentonville.

    The new Springdale Walmart has a great bird feeding area in the gardening center, which was strangely quiet today. I found supersized metal suet baskets from Pennington, which are far better than overpriced mesh bags. The next meat market buy will include chunks of suet I can jam into the baskets and hang on the trees.

    Walmart sells bags of field corn, far too expensive when squirrels eat one ear a day. Instead I bought a block of corn, all fuzed together with sunflower and some other seeds. As Sharon Lovejoy points out in A Blessing of Toads, a variety of seeds will bring a diversity of birds.

    Corn has attracted blue jays time and again, so I am happy to have them. Lately I have seen crows stealthily eating. The crows seem to know the moment I spot them, and they leave. Like all the corvids, crows are famous bug eaters and fun to watch (when they allow it). One night we saw a mass of them swirling in the sky in New Ulm, Minnesota, looking for a place to roost. Here is a link about that habit.

    I bought this block at Walmart today, about $6.00

    Cracked corn is very popular with the birds.


    Share the Lint Program
    Nothing disappears faster than twine pieces and dryer lint in the spring. I am using my tiny suet baskets to hold both, so birds come near our window for nesting material.

    There is a little more activity on the bird swing too, as they get used to the strange new device. Once they decide it is for their safety rather than a danger, the birds will use it more often.


    String, twine, and lint are just what birds want in the spring.
    I saw a robin tugging on string from my chicken wire,
    determined to have it for her nest.