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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hilarious Opinions from WELS Phil Gurgle - 2009



The dark side of WELS seems to be shrinking.
Update - I was dead wrong about the shrinkage.
SP Mark Schroeder is Church and Change's best friend.



"Phil Gurgel is serving the 2008-2009 school year as the WELS Vicar to Mexico. Originally from Mequon, Wisconsin, he currently resides in Torreón, Coahuila, a city in northern Mexico. He serves at the mission congregation, "Cordero de Dios" (Lamb of God)." Phil is the son of Richard Gurgel, Mequon professor and Church and Chicanery activist.
Update: Phil Gurgel is now pastor of St. John, Newark, Delaware
Insiders tell me his father's essay had to be "heavily edited" to make it fit for publication.
The thistle falleth not far from the thistle plant.



Someone suggested I read some Facebook discussion posts. There is a WELS group and an outreach discussion thread within that group.

One person innocently began discussing Craig Groeschel, the Okie phenom whose sermons are copied by Ski and others in WELS. Groeschel works with Babtist Andy Stanley.

Various WELS people were making good points about evangelism, outreach, and the Means of Grace, when Phil Gurgel wrote:

Don´t be sucked into the thinking of people such as Gregory Jackson or others who state that anything that isn´t preaching the Word, any pre-evangelism whatsoever, is placing the emphasis upon ourselves rather than the means of grace. While we are nothing more than God´s tools in the process of bringing the means of Grace to others, that ought not mean that we be lazy in going about creating relationships with others (or doing such things that are helpful for creating an environment that supports and encourages the formation of relationships), as often along with having a relationship comes many opportunities to serve as God´s tools for bringing his means of Grace to souls.

Above is a perfect straw man fallacy. Phil denounces a statement which was never made, then glides into an excuse for following the Schwaermer with awe and devotion. Someone who disagrees with C & C unionism is "divisive," according to Phil.

People wrote some additional good posts, without rolling in the mud with Phil Gurgel, when he started over:

And sorry, I don´t buy that this doesn´t have anything to do with worship wars. You brought up the sermon issue, which clearly falls in with that. And you are falling into line with Gregory Jackson in making accusations and taking various pastor´s actions in the worst possible way, rather than putting the best construction on the actions of these pastors (go talk to them about your concerns, I think you´ll come away from the talks with a different perspective on why they do the things they do than you do now).

When Phil Gurgel was asked to address the actual topic, he responded:

1) So I am assuming then that these people made it perfectly clear in your discussions with them that they don´t believe in the efficacy of Scripture.

2) I looked at the first post when you made it, and I thought about why it would be brought up, and I wondered that because I:

A) Knew that you know about said quote appearing on a "Church and Change" member´s blog.

B) Your distaste for said person´s worship and outreach approaches (a pastor), and your belief that he is leading our church body into sin and error.

C) Know about how GJ, whose extremely divisive blog it appears you have been following rather closely lately , has been talking about this very quote recently (somewhat off topic, it was interesting, how "Corky" Koelpin´s article also appeared on the Synod Ed board immediately after GJ posted it on his blog. Funny that with all the talk about how these pastors are poor stewards of time for being at meetings with the heterodox, I have lately been seeing so many talking points taken from someone else whose teachings are also heterodox.)

I guess I thought originally that it would make sense that you would publish the quote, and then when the negative of said post was stated, you would insinuate that a WELS pastor agrees with it and therefore doesn´t believe in the efficacy of the means of grace (in my experience, he does believe in it) (and once again, I´m not saying that I think that everything that he does would be wise for other pastors to adopt, or at all, but I hesitate to call what God doesn´t point to as being sinful, as sin).

And lo and behold, my worries about the original post (which I chose not to post, to see if you would hopefully take it in another less divisive direction) came to fruition. This is why I spoke up as I did at this point, because such divisiveness among brothers is not a positive.

Going back to your desired direction for the thread, I have stated what I thought about our synod´s outreach. We as a synod do quite frequently get lazy in our roles as God´s tools. We don´t always do a good job at establishing relationships, relationships which present us with opportunities for evangelism. I feel we as a synod could do a lot better at that.

Here is more of Phil Gurgel's wisdom:

Is it possible that we could learn some things, even from the Groeschel´s of the world in ways of forming relationships? I think so. Outreach is something guys like Groeschel are very talented in. Yes, they tell people what their itching ears want to hear and that certainly is a large aspect of their success, but they are also very good at forming situations where they have open doors to telling people their garbage theology. Where they fail, is in their evangelism, and I see no WELS pastor imitating them in that (which seems to be the accusation of some).

Joe Jewell wrote from Oxford University:

"...they are also very good at forming situations where they have open doors to telling people their garbage theology..."

This is an interesting comment, which brings to mind several thoughts:

The proponents of Groeschel, Stanley, Stetzer, etc. in the WELS--are any of them willing to go on record as saying that their theology is "garbage"? Do they really believe that? I've never seen even a hint of it if they do. What I see is more akin to fawning adoration ("Ooh! Let's get photos with these guys!!") than any kind of cool or evaluative criticism.

When I read Ski's blog I read comments describing his WORSHIP with them as "awesome", the SERMON "one of the best I've heard"... this isn't outreach he's praising! It's straight up theology. Isn't it? If worship and the sermon aren't, what is?

I really don't think he was down there to learn "Facebook as an outreach tool, or Twitter, or texting"... those are things that can be learned from any number of secular or (yes) even confessional Lutheran sources--isn't the existence of this group proof enough of that?

Finally, the whole idea that we ought to adapt for our own use methods which have been--by your own description--developed specifically to deliver "garbage theology" seems quite misguided. Sure, it might be possible for me to rig up my sink's garbage disposal to function (sort of) as a food processor. I'll bet I could blend the heck out of some smoothies with a motor that powerful. But would that really be a good idea? I suppose if I put enough time into cleaning it I could claim it was sanitary, but would you come to be nourished at my home if the invitation said "come eat food I made in my garbage disposal--and don't worry, I cleaned it first"?

That doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

Joe Jewell wrote to Phil Gurgel:

Finally, I wholeheartedly disagree with you that C&Cers need to "stop posting ambiguous and potentially confusing blog posts"... I generally find the blog posts written in unadorned and simple English and not at all confusing (maybe you meant "confused"? I would agree that they are that). I am frankly grateful that the posts are made--what many of these pastors are beginning to do (and treat as a matter of course) is so far outside of what acceptable WELS practice has historically been that it is *absolutely imperative* that it be done in the full light of day and with every detail available for the examination of concerned people, and I would argue especially concerned laymen, the central ministerium having trended a bit insular in recent decades (cf. John 3:19-21).

I am condensing the discussion, but no one up to this point wanted to join Phil in attacking me. They ignored Phil's irrelevant comments. However, Phil responded immediately to Joe with this:

I can see that my posting only encourages you guys to make more and more judgmental posts, most on things that are nothing more than simple adiaphora. I won´t be part of further divisive discussion in this thread.

I will say though before I sign off on this discussion that it is quite hypocritical that this "mark and avoid" discussion is coming from people who are actively involved in reading and participating in Gregory Jackson´s blog (a heterodox teacher himself). Apparently the rule applies only to pastors who don´t share a love for 16th century tunes.

Joe Jewell responded to Phil:

Jackson is roughly the equivalent of a tabloid newspaper in the Lutheran world, as nearly as I can tell. He reports a lot of things, and quite frankly I would take all of them with a huge grain of salt until backed up with other sources. (But you know what? Sometimes they *are* backed up. He seems to be pretty good at collating outside sources.)

Still, NPH sells his books, for goodness sake! The man *is* at least a confessional Lutheran perspective, even if he was thrown out of WELS. Would I worship with him, or take his advice for how my church ought to be run? No. Of course not. But then, I wouldn't do those things with the Schwaermer, either (and certainly wouldn't pay them for the privilege), so I guess my standards for such things are rather different than those prevailing within C&C.

And fundamentally speaking, the man is a (biased, as they all are) news source (maybe more properly a news compiler) not a source of theology. The Wall Street Journal reports on finance and business; Greg Jackson reports on Lutheranism.

I'm not sure what you mean by "actively involved in reading and participating in" though. Is that an elaborate way of saying "reading"? I do read his blog along with a fairly long list of other Lutheran blogs, but I've certainly never posted or communicated with the man.

By that standard, I'm much more "actively involved in reading and participating in" the New York Times, my local newspaper, the Economist, the aforementioned WSJ, and probably a dozen other news sources (with which I might also frequently disagree)... because I've left comments on their threads or stories, or had letters to the editor published, which are not things that I've done at Ichabod.

Still, this all strikes me as a red herring. No one in the WELS pays Gregory Jackson money to teach them about how to "do church", and no one rants and raves about his sermons or the "awesomeness" of their worship with him.

Michael Schottey added:

The irony is that you continue to attack the character rather than the content. You've questioned motive numerous times and are the only one referring to the "worship wars" as you call them. You've turned a discussion about outreach into a debate about sources--sources you apparently read as well. (Not to mention a good deal of WELS pastors)

You have referenced Jackson in this discussion more times than I could visit his site in a year. You seem to discredit everything in which he could be conceived as the source. I suggest you go back and read the Koelpin paper et al. and take them for what they are and not continue your ad hominem attacks.

And I agree with Joe...you should have a huge problem with NPH for selling his books, and MLC for having all of them in their library. Thy Strong Word is a very good book and our church would be a lot better off if our people bought that book instead of "Purpose Driven..."

I responded to Joe:

Joe, you have your facts wrong. I resigned from WELS because I was disgusted with their constant and persistent support for a known adulterer--to the point of endorsing him for a new ministerial position--and even more with their advocacy of false doctrine: Valleskey, Kelm, Olson, Huebner, Bivens, Oelhaven, et al. A lot of WELS pastors and laity read Ichabod and thank me for discussing the doctrinal issues. I have yet to see a serious argument supporting Church and Change.

Joe was decent enough to retract his false statement:

Ah, sorry about that--quite honestly I have no idea of the circumstances under which you left, so I took Phil's words at face value. Apologies.

Michael Schottey responded to Phil:

The irony is that you continue to attack the character rather than the content. You've questioned motive numerous times and are the only one referring to the "worship wars" as you call them. You've turned a discussion about outreach into a debate about sources--sources you apparently read as well. (Not to mention a good deal of WELS pastors)

You have referenced Jackson in this discussion more times than I could visit his site in a year. You seem to discredit everything in which he could be conceived as the source. I suggest you go back and read the Koelpin paper et al. and take them for what they are and not continue your ad hominem attacks.

And I agree with Joe...you should have a huge problem with NPH for selling his books, and MLC for having all of them in their library. Thy Strong Word is a very good book and our church would be a lot better off if our people bought that book instead of "Purpose Driven..."

When Phil Gurgel was asked by Jessica Hill about WELS pastors worshiping with Babtists, Phil wrote (in reference to Ski's blog, which is still posted for all to read):

Jessica, the blog post was not clear about whether he actually participated in the worship at the conference or not. There is no doubt that he was there to witness what their worship was like (not a sin), but what remains in doubt from his blog posts was whether he participated with them (sinful).

Joe, I never said why GJ left our synod. What I did state, is that the doctrine of our church (and what Scripture teaches) is not in agreement with his beliefs. (We are not in fellowship with his current e-church, and for good reason). (This, however, is not the thread to discuss that though, such a thread would be better in the WELS theology group).

GJ, I am no C & C guy, but it is truly disturbing to see people call things that are neither commanded nor forbidden by God sins. Our Lutheran traditions certainly serve a wonderful purpose, and we have a wealth of great things handed down to us from our Lutheran forefathers. But those traditions are not papal law, and if someone uses a different style of music, that is not in and of itself sinful. One can question the "wisdom" of such things and the C & C people should not be held up as role models for all pastors, nor should they be held up as villains (or false teachers). There is a big leap between "unwise" and "wrong". I have gone to a number of the services a couple of years ago, and I have to say that despite what some people are saying, Christ was always front and center during the service. I didn´t always like the sermon styles (I found some of the service themes to be rather cheesy and contrived), but there was no doubt that they were centered on Christ and the Word, and not on the pastor. I don´t desire to debate this further with you. You are firmly convinced that these people are false prophets, and I doubt my words will change your mind (especially considering my last name).

I would encourage, however, as this is a WELS page. While we are open to open minded discussion with those outside of our fellowship, one thing we do not encourage is someone approaching a discussion here with a closed mind and solely seeking to change the minds of those on the board. As Romans 16:17-18 says "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." If you come here trying to push an agenda contrary to the teachings of the church (and specificially the Bible), that will not be tolerated. (Please reserve such topics to the WELS Theology or WELS pastor boards or your blog, thanks).

So I asked Phil Gurgel:

Phil, please parse these sentences for everyone: "The final Main Session with Andy Stanley was just phenomenal. We began with awesome worship."

(http://web.me.com/pastorski/Site/Day_5.html)

A Church and Change board member, Ski, bragged about worshiping with Babtist Andy Stanley, but you explained it away. Next you invoked Romans 16:17-18. Where is the consistency? You are smooth but not convincing.

Phil Gurgel says he is not a Church and Change guy, and I almost believe him. The seminary Gurgel is a C & C activist. Ex-SP Gurgel joined the staff of Kudu Don Patterson, who also denies being with C & C. Patterson led a session at a C & C conference and posts on their listserve, etc.

Diablo, a Lutheran layman wrote to me about the Gurgel exchange: "Taking doctrine aside for one moment, what did the Gurgels do for WELS? It is broke."

Phil Gurgel sent me a message:

Subject: Guilt by Association

I found your comment about guilt by association interesting, as so much of your blog is exactly that, "guilt by association". I guess that speaks to the content of your blog, in your own words "a fallacy" and someone posting with "nothing worthwhile to say". I´ll be sure to pass along that quote to anyone I know who might read your "guilt by association" posts on your blog. Thanks.

As far as my lack of understanding of basic Lutheran doctrine. I noticed you provided no examples, but just merely stated it as fact (I believe we call such accusations "ad hominem"). And if you are going to call me out for public error, you probably should actually point out my error, otherwise it´s just simply slander (but then again, that area of your conscience seems to have long ago become calloused). For someone who likes to "back up" his claims, you provided no such evidence in your post. I would also say that basic "Lutheran doctrine" encompasses the understanding of Law and Gospel. While it is a life time struggle to apply them correctly, the Law condemns me. As a sinner I am worthy of death. The Gospel heals me, as Jesus´death clothed me in righteousness and made me new without any merit of my own. Those are the basics, and I fail to see how I don´t understand them and believe in them wholeheartedly (with faith that the Holy Spirit has worked in my soul). I´ll let God judge me and my faith, and not you sir. (Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved!)

I would wait for an apology, but I don´t feel one is likely to come. So, I´ll just end it here.

God bless you,
Phil

Joe Jewell wrote:

Phil, we've had this discussion once before, remember? (Followed by a short but apparently necessary review of the Large Catechism's position on public error.) It was only "unclear" if English words don't mean what they mean:

"We began with awesome worship." [Description of awesome worship, including rapper, ensues. Or Enthuses, if you like.]

Following the 8th commandment, the most positive construction on that would be that the C&Cers are sorry and promise never to sit at the feet of the Schwaermer again. Is that likely, do you think?

***

GJ - My conclusions? Phil Gurgel represents a frantic, fading fad in WELS. The Chicaneries will fight for their causes at the convention this month, but the discussion on Facebook is a good indication of current attitudes.

Phil Gurgel kept trying to make the discussion revolve around Ichabod (bad, bad) and me (worse, worse). No one wanted to join him in dancing on my grave.

After trying to hijack an intelligent, thoughtful thread various times, Phil expected me to apologize to him.

Phil was obviously angry that everyone got to read the Koeplin essay from Ichabod, that it has spread from there. So Chicaneries can say, "If you mention Koeplin, you have read Ichabod, you worthless sinner."

Koeplin's essay was right on target about everything ex-SP Gurgel did. Koeplin died soon after, trashed by the Shrinkers. SP Gurgel did his best to ruin WELS and now works with VP Patterson. That is God's judgment against WELS for allowing Gurgel-Mueller and the Shrinkers to run the synod.

---

Phil Gurgel (Mexico) wrote:
You are not in fellowship with the WELS. You have been marked as a false teacher. So identifying you as such is no different than identifying the pope (Luther´s example), or a baptist pastor as being a false teacher. (This was the entire point that Luther was making above), that the public sinner who has been judged as a false teacher, can be testified about in order to help people mark him for what he is.

I have studied the Large Catechism, and it will continue to be part of my ongoing study of the BOC. However, is it safe to assume that you were in agreement with Joe´s understanding of Luther´s words on the eight commandment? It sure appears to me that those words that were pulled out of their context and made to say something that is not at all Biblical nor Luther´s intention in writing them. Perhaps we all could use a better study of the BOC and the Large Catechism! And with that, I encourage us to either 1) move this discussion to a different forum (WELS theology would be fitting) or 2) leave the discussion at this point because it is clearly that all those involved have clearly made up their minds on the issue as it currently stands.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can Church and Chicaneries Discuss Doctrine Withou...":

Phil Gurgel is a prime example of an unreal, irrelevant, non-relational, talking head of self-confusion and self-delusion.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can Church and Chicaneries Discuss Doctrine Withou...":

Anyone who supports a divisive movement like CGM seeks to support a failing synod at the expense of the Word of God. Way to go Phil.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can Church and Chicaneries Discuss Doctrine Withou...":

With leaders like Phil Gurgel polluting the WELS, I see why WELS is in decline. Drink at your own risk!

Why are WELS leaders illiterate?
It is well known that their teachers are required to give high grades
to the worst students - if they are the children of important officials.

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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can Church and Chicaneries Discuss Doctrine Withou...":

The thing that comes to mind when I read what Phil Gurgel wrote:

"Thou doth protest too much"

Frantic is right; but smooth is also right. I can't believe the slippery way Phil misdirects the focus of a conversation and subtly (subtly, mind you!) misuses language for his own end.

When I read someone like Phil Gurgel I'm reminded of seeing the Clinton White House in action--they pulled the same sort of verbal stunts to distract and mislead. The only difference is that the Clinton Administration was a bunch of very intelligent people, all who (I assume) passed 9th grade English class.

Phil Gurgel, in spite his smoothness, has the compositional ability of a lesser great ape.

If I were a on a college accreditation board and read some of what Phil Gurgel wrote I would seriously consider revoking MLC's accreditation. This guy has a college degree??? Review the following Phil Gurgel quote as an example:

"C)Know about how GJ, whose extremely divisive blog it appears you have been following rather closely lately , has been talking about this very quote recently (somewhat off topic, it was interesting, how "Corky" Koelpin´s article also appeared on the Synod Ed board immediately after GJ posted it on his blog."

I'm really not trying to tear Phil Gurgel down--I don't know him--but I have to be realistic. Someone who writes this way probably shouldn't have been awarded a degree. I dun bin larned by mi teecher. I is a collig gradutate! Now I reckon on been a parson"

"...Cluttered writing indicates cluttered thinking."

That's a quote--Strunk and White maybe?

The WELS Pod-Pastors use this terrible accusation.