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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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yes, Rick Techlin - Excommunicated by Ski and Glende - Still Does Commune at WELS Parishes - But DOES HE VOTE?
WELS Is a Ministry of Shunning and Excommunication. Sacraments Adiaphora.

When one is excommunicated with the approval of the DP in WELS,
one must appeal to that same DP.

  • Since is a WELS blog perhaps you should add it's link to the column on the side. Light for (sic) Light isn't really a WELS blog since unfortunately he is no longer officially a member of a WELS church, though Rick's blog is very worthwhile.


    1. Great suggestion! Thanks! I just added it.
    2. I don't understand why some people seem to think that the sermon is the only part of the worship service in which "teaching" is going on. The whole worship service should be "teaching" the great doctrines of Christianity. The traditional Common Service and the historic Lutheran hymns do this, and the "instructional worship service" in which the parts of the worship service are explained as the service is taking place is something which I believe that a pastor should consider using at least every few years as well as in all Confirmation and adult instruction classes.
      Finding where hymn tunes come from is an interesting subject for research, but certainly not a standard by which to judge the suitability of the tune. The origins of the "Bridal Chorus" or the "Wedding March" are not a source of concern to most people, for whom the melodies have by traditional use been identified with church weddings.
    3. Mr. Techlin is regularly communed at WELS churches, though (as well he should be) so I think it is fair to leave it as a WELS blog in the same sense that an ELS blog should also be welcome--he is literally in communion.
    4. Yes, but is he a voting member of a WELS congregation?

  • Actually, if you look at the "Church" section on Light of Light, the author is being properly served with Word and Sacrament at area WELS churches. Thankfully, these faithful shepherds recognize the shameful actions against the author in the termination of membership at his former church home.
  • As an aside re: Mr. Techlin and his being served the Sacrament by Pastors who are still in fellowship with the Pastors who wrongly terminated his membership, which, of course, puts him still in fellowship with the self-same pastors - To WD1 & WD2 - A good topic for a future post: "The Future of Selective Communion Fellowship in the WELS." Such would be an interesting study.


    1. That's a great idea, Pastor Spencer! I will start working on that.

  • Has Mr. Techlin made use of the avenues available to him for an appeal? If he has not, isn't it inappropriate for other area WELS pastors to commune him? If he is in the process of appeal, it would be appropriate, wouldn't it?


    1. How does one learn the facts of this case? I have found one reference online to Mr. Techlin's case in the Ichabod blog.

    1. Yes, he appealed. The appeals board looked at how the excommunication procedure was conducted and stamped the approval on that. However, the appeals board did not look into WHY the excommunication was considered.
      Read Rick's side here:
    2. The appeals were exhausted a couple of years ago (note, however, that for laymen there is only one appeal, to the District--laymen are prohibited from appealing to the Synod itself) but the situation is so obviously unjust and unScriptural with respect to Mr. Techlin that a number of other WELS pastors are ignoring the result to commune him.

      There is full documentation of both sides (Mr. Techlin happens to be an attorney by profession, and therefore saved everything that he both sent and received throughout the initial dispute and the appeal) available here, at the selfsame blog mentioned above:

      Be sure to read all of the additional links under "For further reading:" at the bottom of the post, as the one linked above is merely the latest in a long series.

      1. Don't orthodox Lutherans teach that after conversion the "new person in Christ" is able, albeit imperfectly, to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace, to be guided by the Third Use of the Law? I don't believe that I understand what is in controversy.

        With reference to the charge of plagarism, was a pastor quoting the copyrighted works of someone else and claiming them as his own creation? I certainly am aware of how pastors "recyle" sermons and Bible studies without always giving proper attribution to the author.
      2. [GJ  - Engelbrecht's "Clarion Call" is the DP's scheming, twisted defense of plagiarism.]
      3. Let's clear something up: Mr. Techlin is the only person who has ever declared himself excommunicated. He was removed by the church voters (not the pastor) after he himself declared that his church was in doctrinal error. This is very different than an excommunication which is saying he is spiritually outside the church. A removal just places him physically outside the church. Many churches have important distinctions like this as part of their constitutions for those who aren't in error but generally just annoy people with rudeness or are incapable of functioning within a church constitution. For example, Mr. Tichlen got up at almost every meeting to accuse his pastor of plagiarism. He was unable to convince any of the voters that this charge was actually true but nonetheless he got up every meeting to very vocally make this charge and every meeting convinced not a single voting member. This didn't place him outside the faith, it is just really, really rude.
        Now he is a member of another WELS church. I assume that he no longer believes what he has previously said and behaves more politely. His new church has made no formal charge of false teaching or accusations of plagiarism against St. Peter. He has either changed his mind, is silent about his doctrinal disagreements, or his entire church is silent about their doctrinal disagreements. However, in no way is that the WELS or St. Peter's problem or creates any triangular fellowship or weird communion practices that can be addressed by anyone but Rick. Rick was never declared to be an unbeliever who was excommunicated. He was removed for being extremely rude.
        If Rick truly does believe there are doctrinal issues he ought to speak up and try to convince his new congregation and district that the brothers at St. Peter whom he is still in fellowship with (even if he is no longer allowed at their meetings or in their building) are erring brothers. Otherwise he needs to assume the WELS is a persistent errorist and remove himself from our fellowship.
        But again, let's make this clear: The only accusations of false teaching and excommunication have come from Rick, not from anyone at St. Peters or in the district or in WELS.
      4. Anonymous, 4:20 PM,
        Thank you for your contribution. The Lutheran blogosphere has consistantly heard only one side of this story. This adds a bit of needed perspective.
      5. "Anonymous 4:20"

        He was declared out of fellowship, not just "removed from membership"--you may consider this an excommunication or not, but you should not make light of this at all (Paul Rydecki, too, wasn't excommunicated either, but merely removed from fellowship after all, and we certainly know that name is mud in the WELS). 

        Like Rydecki, Techlin's fellowship was terminated as a "persistent errorist"--see the relevant portions of the St. Peter's constitution and their communication with him here:

        Techlin's DP explicitly said that he was not free to commune at other WELS congregations (letter from Engelbrecht of May 6, 2011), so the congregations which have subsequently done so have done so in (righteous) defiance of the DP.

        "He was removed for being extremely rude."

        It seems clear that any objective reading of the situation would reveal Glende as the rude (abusive, actually) party, but like it or not, there is no provision for removing "extremely rude" people from the fellowship of St. Peter's congregation. The Constitution (and the appeals process, too) make that quite clear.

        I would encourage everyone who is tempted to give any credence to "Anonymous 4:20's" unique take on the events to read Mr. Techlin's extraordinarily well-sourced and documented blog posts.
      6. Doesn't Titus 3:10-11 deal with the "avoiding" of "divisive" people who are not necessarily heterodox?
    1. Warren--the Greek word there is αιρετικον ανθρωπον (hairetikon anthropon). Heretical man.

      This is not just someone you find unpleasant or rude, but someone who has actually chosen to teach contrary to Scripture.

    Throughout 2010 and 2011, five pastors and two laymembers of the Northern Wisconsin District met repeated times with the District Presidium concerning the very points that Rick Techlin had brought before them. I was one of those pastors and attended every meeting.

    I believe it is disingenuous to say that Rick was removed for being rude. It's true that at many public meetings of St. Peter congregation he asked if the Lutheran Confessions could be emphasized in the pastors' teachings. He did meet numerous times alone with Pastor Glende, and was asked once to appear before the church council. He also did seek the advice of St. Peter's Circuit pastor and the presidium of the Northern Wisconsin District. To say that he didn't make use of the proper protocol made available to him in WELS would show a person's ignorance of this case.

    In fact, just two weeks prior to his being declared out of fellowship with St. Peter's congregation, Mr. Techlin was part of a meeting that included the district presidium, all three pastors of St. Peter's/CORE, the pastors and laymen who joined Rick in his concerns, and the circuit pastors of all the pastors involved. The meeting lasted most of the morning. When it finished, it was agreed that all involved would continue talking to one another so that these issues could be solved. Without once asking to speak with him personally as a way to show pastoral concern, Mr. Techlin received the letter from St. Peter congregation declaring him outside their fellowship. Though he was spoken about at a public meeting of the congregation, he was not notified to defend himself. Most importantly, please do not say that Rick was excommunicated. That implies he lives as an impenitent sinner. Never once was he accused of being such by St. Peter congregation.

    Those are the facts of this case. Since being declared out of fellowship with St. Peter congregation, Rick has been welcomed by the pastors of a nearby congregation. He does received communion at its altar. The long time veteran pastor of the congregation asked the former president of the NW District to discipline him if he were doing something wrong. He has never been disciplined.

    Much has been written about this case. Though considered "closed" by the district and St. Peter congregation, there remain many unanswered questions. Those questions will probably never be answered.

    I have spent many hours discussing theology with Rick. He is a very humble man who is deeply concerned with the teachings of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. He is not someone who shoots from the hip or opens his mouth without thoroughly thinking about what he will say or do. If respected by and listened to by a WELS pastor, Rick would be a valuable resource for authentic Lutheranism in a congregation.