The Glory Has Departed

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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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Part II - Making Disciples: The Error of Modern Rationalistic Pietism

Disciple used by John – not in the Fuller Seminary sense – after the Bread of Life sermon.
John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.


Cell Groups Come from Pietism – And Fuller Seminary

The essence of Pietism is the cell group, so the lay-led
·       share,
·       care,
·       koinonia,
·       Bible study,
·       home group,
·       small group,
·       or grow group
is evidence of a method and a dogma that opposes the Means of Grace, substituting the little church within the big church as the real church. My wife and I went to a Lutheran koinonia group presentation where the layman leading the effort repeatedly emphasized the efficacy of the cell groups in gathering and doing the real work of the congregation. A good illustration of this outside of Lutherdom is the Southern Baptist denomination, where someone may be a layman paid to lead Bible studies at home, and proud of never being inside the actual church building in 30 years. And why should he? – the real church is made up of cell groups like his. Whatever the denomination, the cell group members hold themselves above the rest of the congregation as superior to the ones who simply worship.
          Pietism is the name of a movement that used Lutheran orthodoxy as a springboard for launching a new agenda that proved remarkably successful and destructive at the same time. Spener was asked to write an introduction to the orthodox Lutheran book of sermons by Johannes Arndt in 1675. Instead, he turned the opportunity into major opportunity to introduce an entirely new way of looking at the Christian life (sanctification). The introduction was published separately – and continues in print – as Pia Desideria, or Pious Wishes, thus the name Pietism for this movement.
At first glance, the total difference seems absolutely paltry, but in truth the dangerous direction of Pietism is made apparent: life over doctrine, sanctification over justification, and piety not as a consequence but declared as a stipulation of enlightenment, leading to a kind of synergism and Pelagianism.
Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelische-Lutherische Dogmatik, 4 vols., ed., Walter and Otto Hoenecke, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1912, III, p. 253.
Hoenecke’s summary is brilliant and should be memorized as the distinctive definition of Pietism’s Trojan Horse, sanctification over justification, piety not as a consequence but a requirement of enlightenment.
          Spener was a prolific writer and guru to many leading figures in Europe. He suggested the founding of Halle University, which became the mother ship of Pietism, and had August Francke appointed as professor there. Three American Lutheran leaders studied or worked at Halle University:
1.    Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, founder of the General Synod, which became the Lutheran Church in America (with mergers) and ELCA with additional mergers.
2.    Adolph Hoenecke, the principal theologian of the Wisconsin Synd.
3.    Martin Stephan, the bishop who saved CFW Walther from death by teaching him Objective Justification, which Walther promoted his entire life. Thus the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod was born at Halle University and brought to America by a Pietist leader of cell groups, a fact few in the LCMS admit today.[1]
          My dogmatics professor at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, a  school founded by Lutheran Pietists, was Otto Heick. He was also a member of a separate Pietist congregation while belonging to a Lutheran Church in American congregation in Kitchener-Waterloo. He graduated from a German Pietist seminary, so he was quite the expert on German Pietism. His History of Christian Doctrine was widely used in WELS and often showed up at book sales.
Some hallmarks of Pietism are:
1.    A heart religion instead of a head religion. Pietists often mention that false distinction.[2]
2.    Lay-led conventicles or cell groups, to develop piety through prayer and Bible study.
3.    Unionism - cooperation between Lutherans and the Reformed. Spener was the first union theologian (Heick, II, p. 23).
4.    An emphasis on good works and foreign missions. "Deeds, not creeds" is a popular motto.
5.    Denial of the Real Presence and baptismal regeneration, consequences of working with the Reformed. (Heick, II, p. 24)
6.    A better, higher, or deeper form of Christianity rather than the Sunday worshiping church. This often made the cell group the real church, the gathered church.[3]
A member of a Lutheran congregation asked me what was wrong with cell groups. I said, “They are inherently anti-Lutheran and anti-Sacrament.” She frowned, not liking the answer at all, since she belonged to a Lutheran cell group. She suggested a discussion on infant baptism in her group, but the leader refused and rejected the idea of having both sides represented in a meeting. The woman had to concede that my observations were correct.
          The various groups that came to America to form their ethnic Lutheran denominations were Pietists. The Swedes and Norwegians were Pietists who never denied their origins. The Swedish Augustana Synod, though remaining Pietistic in many ways, was influenced by William Passavant, who emphasized the Lutheran Confessions, and also by an early Augustana leader who was trained in Lutheran orthodoxy. The Augustana leaders had bitter experiences with the Pietistic spirit in America - revivals, leaders despising the Means of Grace, shunning the Book of Concord. Breaking with the revivalists and naming themselves for the Augsburg Confession (Confessio Augustana), they tried to strike a balance between Swedish Pietism and Lutheran Orthodoxy. The bad leaven took over and led to merger into the LCA and leadership in the ELCA of 1987– Herb Chilstrom, Augustana Seminary graduate, was the first bishop of ELCA.

Fuller Seminary – The New Mother Ship for Rationalistic Pietism

Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California, opened in 1947, representing the relatively conservative wing of Evangelicals, using a modified definition of Biblical inerrancy. Given the overwhelming influence of mainline denominations and the National Council of Churches, Fuller looked quite conservative on that issue in the 1940s. After all, the first version of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, 1946, changed the Virgin Birth prophesy in Isaiah 7:15 to “a young woman will conceive.” They reversed themselves but left that in a footnote, as many modernist translations do.
The first leaders – Harold Ockenga, Carl F. H. Henry, and Harold Lindsell, were on the side of inerrancy. During that time, “inerrant in doctrine” sounded pretty good, but that implies – errant in all other areas, like history, geography, you know – the facts. Nevertheless, Fuller Seminary broke with that mild confession and repudiated inerrancy when Church Growth came to the school in the form of Donald McGavran, a Planned Parenthood supporter, a Disciples of Christ sociologist, and a former missionary to India. He arrived at Fuller in 1965 and soon involved denomination mission executives in his Church Growth Movement. The executives involved their subordinates, great business for Fuller Seminary and the Church Growth Book-of-the-Month Club.
"Were we to distinguish our position from that of some of our brothers and sisters who perceive their view of Scripture as more orthodox than ours, several points could be made: 1) we would stress the need to be aware of the historical and literary process by which God brought the Word to us... 4) we would urge that the emphasis be placed where the Bible itself places it—on its message of salvation and its instruction for living, not on its details of geography or science, though we acknowledge the wonderful reliability of the Bible as a historical source book; 5) we would strive to develop our doctrine of Scripture by hearing all that the Bible says, rather than by imposing on the Bible a philosophical judgment of our own as to how God ought to have inspired the Word." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added] Inerrancy Misleading and Inappropriate
"Where inerrancy refers to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches through the biblical writers, we support its use. Where the focus switches to an undue emphasis on matters like chronological details, the precise sequence of events, and numerical allusions, we would consider the term misleading and inappropriate. Its dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes;... 5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible we have... 6)that it prompts us to an inordinate defensiveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added] Inerrancy Advocates Are Against the Bible and Tick Me Off
"We resent unnecessary distractions; we resist unbiblical diversions… Can anyone believe that all other activities should be suspended until all evangelicals agree on precise doctrinal statements? We certainly cannot." David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added]
Fortunately, Harold Lindsell was available to chronicle the apostasy and write about it in his famous book Battle for the Bible. The founder’s son studied under Karl Barth and came back to change the doctrinal stance of the school. In fact, Karl Barth became the official theologian of Fuller Seminary, foreshadowing the plagiarism practiced by so many Fuller graduates.[4] For decades, “conservative” Lutheran leaders have advanced their careers by studying at Fuller or its clones and copying whatever they heard – Kent Hunter, Waldo Werning, David Valleskey, Forrest Bivens, Paul Kelms, Wally Oelhafen, Fred Adrian, Larry Olson, James Huebner, and many more in ELCA and the ELS.
The cell group – not the Gospel in the Means of Grace – is constantly promoted by these quasi-Lutheran robots as the one and only way to make the congregation grow. Although these men have destroyed more churches than the Chicago Fire, they continue to weevil their way into every program, hymnal, book, and translation. They have convinced themselves and others that forming cell groups will necessarily make the congregations and the denominations grow, even though just the opposite has happened. I have dubbed them Church Shrinkers because they go merrily on their way, like God’s appointed kamikaze pilots, aiming at one vulnerable target after another.
"Jesus did not send his disciples out to make disciples without first making them disciples. He gave them a course in disciple making by making them disciples. He knew that you have to be a disciple yourself before you can help someone else to become a disciple."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach, "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 6.6[5]
"But when our Lord told us what our mission should be, he was quite clear: Make disciples.”
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, The Evangelism Life Line (WELS), Summer, 1988, p. 3.
"If I were asked: What is the key thing in the disciple making process that demands our special attention in our effort to become better disciple makers, without hesitation I'd say it's the role of modeling. We need more disciple maker models in our classrooms. It isn't enough just to tell others to go and make disciples. We need to show and tell them. Modeling is an essential, integral part of showing and telling."
Pastor Joel C. Gerlach "The Call into the Discipling Ministry," Yahara Center, April 24-25, 1987, p. 18. Matthew 28:18-20.
"Pastors become disciples so they can make disciples. As a proud Pentecostal I thought I had everything because I belonged to a Full Gospel church. Little did I know how much I had to learn until I came together with other pastors— 69 Baptists, Presbyterians, Plymouth Brethren, and Catholics. As a proud Pentecostal I had to become a humble elder of the church." Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 100.
"In this way, the entire church is comprised of ministers. The ministers are not a special breed of sheep coming from the seminary. They are simply believers who go on growing. Thus the purpose of the pastor is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples."
Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 18.
“Make disciples, not members. Our mission is more than baptism, more than bring people in through water and the word. The scripture mandates us to make disciples—to move people into a life of meeting Jesus and experiencing faith. Pastor Per Nilsen, Director of Ministry, Prince of Peace, ELCA. Website at:
“Make Disciples,” What would it mean if we were to become disciple-making churches? Homiletics website at:
Bring A Friend Sunday introduced the Core Process of Making Disciples for Jesus Christ to the North Texas Conference in 1993. Making Disciples 2000 continues the process through the year 2000 with each of the 323 local churches in the conference invited to participate in the four expressions of that Core Process… Making Disciples 2000, Matthew 28:16-20. United Methodist Church, North Texas Conference, website, J-072 Making Disciples. Website for the United Pentecostal Church International.
"Accordingly, when Christ says, Disciple (matheteusate) all nations by baptizing them, matheteusate can mean nothing other than to make disciples, to turn unbelievers into believers; for that is the Spirit-produced effect of baptism."
David J. Valleskey, We Believe—Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 127. Matthew 28:18-20.[6]
A sincere student of the Scriptures will ask what the word disciple means in the New Testament. The Valleskey/Gerlach spin cannot possibly be correct, since we have many examples that are contrary to their agenda. In John 9:28, disciple simply means a student or follower, not specifically a Christian or a “soul-winning” Christian.
KJV John 9:28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. John 1:35 portrays disciples as followers of yet another confession of faith.
KJV John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; If disciples are a special kind of Christian, then why did some disciples stop following Jesus?
 KJV John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
"Is the mission of the church to preach the Gospel or to make disciples? The two—preaching the Gospel and making disciples—are closely connected. Making disciples is the goal, or end result, our Lord had in mind. He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance and faith. He wants all to be saved, to come to a heart knowledge of the truth. Preaching the Gospel (employing the means of grace) is the means by which the Lord will achieve his goal of making disciples and so of gathering in his elect before he returns." David J. Valleskey, We Believe—Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 134.
"It is true that only God the Holy Spirit can effect the end result of making a disciple out of an unbeliever; all we can do is sow the seed. But it is also true that our Lord, by speaking specifically of making disciples in his commission to his church, is encouraging it to keep that intended goal in mind when it does its seed sowing." David J. Valleskey, We Believe—Therefore We Speak, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1995, p. 135. Matthew 28:18-20.
"Church growth is that science which investigates the planting, multiplication, function and health of Christian churches as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God's-commission to 'make disciples of all nations' (Matthew 28:19-20 RSV). Church growth strives to combine the eternal theological principles of God’s Word concerning the expansion of the church with the best insights of contemporary social and behavioral sciences, employing as its initial frame of reference, the foundational work done by Donald McGavran." Constitution, Academy for American Church Growth, cited by C. Peter Wagner, Church Growth and the Whole Gospel, New York: Harper and Row, 1981, p. 75.
"Body Evangelism. A perspective which emphasizes the goal of evangelism as making disciples who are incorporated into the body of Christ, the result of which is church growth."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.
"Follow-up Gap. The difference between the number of persons who make decisions for Christ in a given evangelistic effort and those who go on to become disciples."  
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 290.
"Church. An assembly of professed believers under the discipline of the Word of God, organized to carry out the Great Commission, administer the ordinances, and minister with spiritual gifts."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283f.
"Your church will grow by God's grace because members will want it to grow in obedience to God's will and because you are using strategy and methodology in making disciples. Then nongrowth will be called nongrowth, and growth will be accepted as a gift from God."
Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 159.

[1] Stephan’s congregation, which attracted the Walther circle of pastors, was built on land donated by the Pietist Count Zinzendorf. That congregation in Dresden had specific rights to hold cell group meetings at the church – but nowhere else. Stephan built up a separate group of outsiders intensely loyal to him. He engaged in adultery with young women followers until he was brought to court and given a sentence of house arrest. At that point he ordered his group to leave the country with him and leave Europe without the Means of Grace since the Gospel residing in his work alone, as he imagined.
[2] Mark Jeske: “We need to loosen up.... Our public worship/praise/prayer style seems stiff, overly formal, unemotional, smotheringly doctrinal. I personally do not think that our synod in general has a good balance of head & heart in our worship life. There. I said it.” Conference remarks, March, 2000. Jeske is the ultimate unionist too, from ELCA to Judaism.
[3] Otto W. Heick, A History of Christian Thought, two volumes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966.
[4] Karl Barth was quickly elevated into academics after he wrote his best-selling Romans commentary. He used his assistant, Charlotte Kirschbaum, to do a lot of academic research and note-taking for him. He lived with her each summer in a remote cabin and moved her into his home, with his wife and children looking on. When helpers write up long sections of improvements in his Dogmatics, he simply took them over as his own work. Frank Fiorenza, my Notre Dame professor – now at Harvard, concluded that Kirschbaum wrote most of the Dogmatics herself with Barth providing the large print outlined material.
[5] "I did attend a Pasadena forum on Church Growth featuring Win Arn and others." Rev. Norman W. Berg, former District President and Home Mission Executive, WELS Letter to Gregory L. Jackson, 3-27-96. "Incidentally, during my mission counselor days in California during the 80's, I did take a course at Fuller from Carl George and Peter Wagner." Rev. Joel C. Gerlach (WELS) to Pastor Herman Otten, no date.
[6] WELS considered this collection of Universal Objective Justification Fuller Seminary gimmicks – like Friendship Sunday, with no liturgy – required reading for all congregations and nice business for Northwestern Publishing House.

Jay Webber quoted Rambach of Halle
against Chemnitz of the Book of Concord.