Defamation is defined here.
This takes some time, so I will list matters in chronological order.
1. I received this email from an ELCA pastor named Bruce Foster:
"----- Original Message -----
From: Bruce Foster
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 7:46 AM
Subject: orthodox rhetoric
Dear Pastor Jackson
I am writing this letter against the advice of a WELS pastor who claims to know something about you (he says he has a relative who served your WELS church in Ohio after you left). He says that you are unable to see any fault in your opinions or manner of stating them. He is also sure that you are mentally ill.
As I have been reading your blog for the last few months I have not seen those two traits. You think you are right and everybody who disagrees with you is wrong. So what’s new? Everybody thinks that! But you aren’t beyond being corrected. NPH showed you how you misinterpreted their web site and you admitted it. And as to you being crazy, well, being nuts is in the eye of the beholder and being passionate isn’t being nuts even if it is sometimes confused with it.
So here it goes. I’m actually going to give you a constructive admonition, not a “brotherly admonition” since I’m a member of the ELCA and thus out of fellowship with you.
Dr. Jackson, why do you declare your love of Luther so much and never take seriously Luther’s explanation to the 8th commandment? I am not accusing you of lying, but rather of ignoring the second part of the explanation.
but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.
but defend him, speak well of him, and take his words and actions in the kindest possible way.
sondern sollen ihn entschuldigen, Gutes von ihm reden und alles zum besten kehren.
I am willing to believe that all these versions of the last half of the explanation of the 8th commandment are part of some vast Church Growth conspiracy and in your private set of original Luther documents you have a version that says,
but spend a lot of time dreaming up abusive nicknames for your enemies.
Unless however you can produce those documents and have them authenticated, I will have to stick to the version I learned in LCMS catechism class and which is found in the Triglotta."
2. I asked him to verify his source, so ELCA Pastor Bruce Foster wrote:
From: Bruce Foster
To: Gregory L. Jackson
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 8:09 AM
Subject: Re: orthodox rhetoric
The WELS pastor is Peter Lindemann Jacksonport WI. I didn't name him because it wasn't the point of my email. Love to hear your response to my actual email, email not an essay.
3. I saw that there was a Lindemann in Jacksonport, so I emailed him to see if he said this to the ELCA pastor. He did not respond and the email did not bounce back. I assume this is Jenswold's brother-in-law, the son of Dean Lindemann at the late Northwestern College.
4. WELS SP Schroeder had contacted me more than once when he wanted something corrected, so I wrote him about this. His only response was - contact them. That was late in 2009, when I was moving to Arkansas.
5. I wrote a certified letter in April of 2010, sending it to SP Schroeder, Pastor Jenswold, and Pastor Lindemann, who was in another parish. A copy of all three signed receipts is below. All three are signed May 3, 2010. But no one responded by phone, by email, or by letter.
6. When I pointed a total lack of response, SP Schroeder sent me an email denying this had happened. He said I did not need to issue a correction. He is keen on corrections. When I pointed that he signed the certified letter, so there was no need to change an accurate post, he said, on October 23, 2010:
"Since the certified letter was not addressed to me but sent as a “CC”, and since I had encouraged you to contact these men directly and you were doing so, I did not respond directly to your letter.
Regardless, I apologize if this appeared to be a lack of response. It was not intended to be.
Rev. Mark Schroeder
GJ - I have known about this slander campaign for many years. Various friends in WELS have told me about it. As I pointed out to all three WELS pastors, defamation is a crime punishable by the law. WELS is very big on slander. When I was writing about WELS involvement in Church Growth and Fuller, Paul Kelm and Norm Berg and Joel Gerlach all wrote to cry "Slander! Eighth Commandment!"
SP Schroeder is legally responsible for what his underlings do. So is DP John Seifert and other WELS leaders. Ecclesiastical leaders can get away with just about any defamation in their own sect. That is why the leaders, pastors, and members get used to abusive behavior. Nothing is done. But when someone is outside of their organization, defamation is a very serious matter.
Schroeder could have asked Lindemann and Jenswold to apologize, since neither one denied this happened. Both pastors could have apologized, but they did not. That is because WELS pastors cannot admit ever being wrong. They are so thin-skinned that they believe themselves entitled to slime anyone who disagrees with anything.
Schroeder himself could have apologized for the criminal behavior of his underlings, but he did not. WELS never admits wrong.
ELS Pastor John Shep (now ELCA) was caught doing the same thing via email. In an email to a generous donor to Thoughts of Faith, he praised me. In an email sent to another contact, he questioned whether I was normal or balanced. When the donor confronted him with a copy of his negative email, he did not respond at all. Shep, by the way, had never met me or talked to me, but he wrote, "How well do you know him?"
What I am reporting here is only the tip of the iceberg in WELS/ELS abusive behavior. They treat their members and pastors like trash, if it suits their immediate purpose.
I could detail many other items from my own experience with WELS, to show how pathetic their leadership is. When my wife was disabled with a life-threatening illness, they told others that she was not sick at all. As anyone can tell from the original report from Lindemann and Jenswold, they imagine they are medical experts too. Nothing is too low for them.
I showed up on the NWC campus one day, in the midst of Dean Lindemann being a tyrannical jerk with a group of students. He was being quite threatening with them about "a letter." I followed WELS procedure and invited him for a face-to-face meeting in his office. I asked about "the letter," which magically no longer existed. I told him how I defended WELS all the time, perhaps mentioning the whining the ELS Pastor Jay Webber, who wanted to break fellowship with WELS. (He is a born-again Intrepid now, Defender of the Unfaith.)
Later, students said Lindemann had a look on his face no one had seen before. They were all quite pleased. I am not saying the Lindemann clan nursed a grudge. Oh no. The entire sect nurses a grudge against anyone who does not fall down and praise them with glazed eyes.
I know from a dust-up between Paul McCain and Larry Darby that publishing a letter neutralizes it as evidence. Long ago, McCain sent one of his ugly letters around, which blamed Darby and me because a Missouri pastor failed to support UOJ. I did not even know the pastor named, so I wondered about McCain's omniscience and ethics. Darby would not give me the letter because the attorneys were dealing with it. He was not allowed to share it, even though I was named.
I discussed this matter with an attorney. I know church officials (who are often in court, due to criminal behavior) get all huffy about this. Dan Preus wrote about Walther's parallel experience.
"Walther himself initiated a lawsuit in the state of Indiana against a
fellow Lutheran of the Ohio Synod who had been guilty of slandering him. Through
his lawyer he even sought monetary damages from the man guilty of slander,
although stating that any damages awarded would not be used for his personal
benefit. Walther dropped his lawsuit only when the two individuals primarily
"Christians, Lawsuits and 1 Corinthians 6,"
Affirm, June, 1991, p. 5-6.
In the last two years, Jenswold, Lindemann, and Schroeder have had many chances to man up.
Jenswold does not even know me. I visited Shepherd of Peace once. He was rude to me and my wife, which is typical of WELS clergy. That Sunday he talked about what an expert he was in Greek, so no one could question the new feminist Creed promoted by Christian Worship. I said nothing. There is an old saying, "Have regard for the pastor before you and the pastor who follows you." WELS is not aware of that saying. They are crippled in ethics.
I told the congregation when I resigned from WELS, "Don't bother to call a pastor if you cannot back him up." They remembered that during the last 17 years. The statement still comes up.