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Monday, July 11, 2016

The "Conservative" Lutheran Clergy, Accurately Described by Luther




Therefore Jerome and Erasmus do Paul an injustice when they take the words “to his face” to mean “only according to the outward appearance”; they maintain that Paul did not oppose Peter sincerely, but that he did so with complaisant pretense, since others would have been offended if he had remained completely silent. But “to his face” means “in his presence”; for he opposed Peter openly, not in a corner but in the very presence of Peter and with the entire church standing by. When he says, “to his face,” this is aimed especially against those poisonous spirits who slander those who are absent but do not dare open their mouths in the presence of these people. That is what the false apostles did; he touches them obliquely here, because they did not dare slander him in his presence; they did so only in his absence. “I did not,” he says, “speak evil of Peter in the way; but I opposed him candidly and openly, not because of any pretense, ambition, or other human affection or mental disease, but because he himself was deserving of attack.”

Page 108 of LW Lectures on Galatians

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GJ - Every page of the Galatians Commentary is full of gems like this, but they are overlooked by those who never read Luther. Neither do they read or even know what Luther has written in the Large Catechism.

The greatest sin against Holy Mother Sect is to discuss doctrinal issues in public. That is when the Iago-clergy howl about slander, the Eighth Commandment, and Matthew 18. But they engage in whispering campaigns, where few whisper at all. They loudly denounce someone who is not there and pretend all is well when he is present. 

WELS calls this their "Grapevine," which is fed and watered by the secretions of its leaders. When Corky Koelpin wrote an essay against Church Growth and Northwestern being merged into Dr. Martin Luther College, he was called "brain-damaged" by their precious Grapevine. He had a stroke after writing the essay and died soon after. A former seminary president also opposed the merger, so the Grapevine called him "senile."

I was scolded by a "friend" for giving the essay to Christian News. He did not ask me if I gave it to Otten - he just phoned me and began ranting about it. One part of the diatribe was about the cover letter that said it was for circulation among the pastors, which surely meant pastors only. However, I got the essay in the mail, anonymousely, without the cover letter. 

The Circuit Pastor did the same about a letter published in Christian News, not even relenting when I said I never wrote the anonymouse letter. He continued, saying, "Well it sure sounds like you." So I was at fault for someone also taking the issues seriously. I would gladly plead guilty to that.

St. Paul in German Village had an adult class taught entirely by a woman. When I brought this up at a pastoral meeting, the place went crazy because I actually said "St. Paul's" instead of beating around the bush. Therefore I was thrashed and the issue was ignored. The junior pastor at the time asked me meekly about details, and I said, "You mean to tell me you don't know what is happening at your congregation?" He had no answer for that.

Even more bizarre was the reaction to the essay at another conference. I did not have a last chapter written for Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure.  But then I saw how most of the clergy, Wally Oelhafen, Fred Adrian, and Kovo flew into a rage about my paper on the Means of Grace versus Fuller Seminary. I thought, as the demons jibbered, waved their claws, and stomped their hooves, "This is The Cure, the last chapter in the Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure."

Likewise, I find it strange that people immediately write me, furious, that I have copied and published their ridiculous opinions posted on Facebook, a website for the world to read. One said, "You included the link to my personal page!" Yes, that was only because he linked himself when he posted his comment in a public forum.

Publish is closely related to the word "public," a fact they often overlook.

Another ignorant claim is this one - When they send an email to me, it remains their property and Top Secret, Eyes Only, Burn After Reading. Once I receive a letter or email - it belongs to me, not to the writer.

I got so many printed letters in WELS with those warnings that I bought a rubber stamp with red ink that read "BURN THIS LETTER!" I used the stamp for fun, but I was apparently the only one who got the joke.

With email, the writers imagine they can secretly accuse me, because they have various admonitions written into their little missives. Their manipulations would be far more interesting if published. Then people would see they have opinions and thoughts that vary with the audience.

As John Shep said to me, "Jay Webber makes fun of the ELS leaders until he is within 100 miles of Mankato."

ELDONA  has one attitude when asking for money or rare books, or money for rare books, or help in justification by faith - but another if their tender toes are stepped on. Pardon me for concluding that their real nature is revealed in their private poisonous comments, because in eight (9) years they failed to respond to my mild published warning about their Eastern Orthodox tendencies. The article linked is from 2007 and yet they fume about it in 2016. Another reader took the time to take issue with me, and I posted his comments.

Needless to say, nothing good is happening in Lutherdom because the laity and the leaders try to manipulate secretly instead of addressing issues openly. One WELS pastor had his son write to me, to leak all kinds of information to me, so the pastor could claim he never wrote to me. Then Paul never wrote those letters when he used a scribe, right? Same argument. That was a double deceptions, because the pinch-hitter was in fact writing what his father wanted written, a deception, and any claim of innocence (because writing me is a sin) becomes another deception. Once the pastor utterly failed in all his manipulations - even with all the publishing I did on his issue - the writing ceased.

A WELS pastor is all-friends, even if secretly, as long as he is getting something from it. I had lots of free-book-friends when it was known in WELS that I gave away cases of books I gleaned from Trinity Seminary book sales. The clergy knew my address. They phoned and wrote me. They stopped by to shop in the basement lined with free books. They even asked me to mail them books - and I did. 



(Tune: We Three Kings of Orient Are)

We three priests of stealth-mode EO,
Lacking gifts we borrow them so
Chalice, patten, Greek, not Latin,
Bishops will save our soul.

O-o Orthodoxy, floats our boat
Orthodoxy gets your goat
Eastward leaning, incense steaming
Using Luther to misquote.


I was advised by someone that Pastor Berg would never join Eastern Orthodoxy, because Berg said so. Nevertheless, Berg is obsessed with infant communion, so much that he just released his thoughts on the topic, that the Lutheran Reformation had no problems with it. The same argument from silence could prove anything.

I just want to list some of the tidbits I have been noticing on the Internet:

Here is the Crypto-Eldona Conference agenda from August, 2007 -

The Second Annual Theological Conference and Plenary Session of The Augustana Ministerium will be held August 30-31, 2007 hosted by Charity Lutheran Church, Burleson, TX and her pastor, the Rev. Dr. Kent Heimbigner.

A stimulating and timely theological agenda, open to all—pastors and laity—is being planned that will address two important areas that need discussion and clarification in our midst. The first is to put Eastern Orthodoxy into focus vis-à-vis Confessional Lutheranism. These will include: EO vs. confessional Lutheranism on Original Sin, Pr. John Rutowicz, facilitator; on Justification, Pr. David Juhl, facilitator; on Sanctification/Theosis, and how they relate to God’s plan of salvation, Pr. Gary Gehlbach, facilitator. The second major area is Sanctification, and topics will include: “Sanctification: What is it? What causes it? What are its consequences?” Dr. Steven Hein, facilitator, and “Modes of Communication in the Ministry of the Gospel,” Pr. Robert Schaibley, facilitator.

Gary Gehlbach was a source for Berg's infant communion essay. Do they realize people know how to blog? 

Here is an interesting exchange on Cyberstones:

Mar 30, 2007 14:32:44 Re: Infant Communion - Gary Gehlbach 

Fr. Weedon, thank you for your well-reasoned comments. You said it much better than I could.

GVG
Mar 30, 2007 18:53:42 Re: Infant Communion - weedon

Fr. Gehlbach,

What I presented was nothing but a condensation of the arguments you have assembled and helpfully presented for all to read. For that the Church owes you a debt of gratitude indeed. 


Gehlbach's blog is Lutheran Enigma.

Items:

  1. Eastern Orthodoxy is heavily promoted by Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne. The seminary trains LCMS pastors who turn EO when they graduate.
  2. Heiser's first breakaway group had problems when a pastor favoring infant communion was invited to join.
  3. Gary Gehlbach is an officer in the so-called Augustana Ministerium, which is clearly designed to lead people into ELDONA.
  4. Gehlbach is clearly teaching Berg and others to advocate infant communion. Notice the smart-alecky discussion about this on Cyberstones.
  5. The crypto-ELDONA conference description lacks any suggestion that Eastern Orhtodoxy might contain heresy. The ambiguous wording allows someone to conclude it is a critical look at EO or it is a fawning promotion of EO. Krauth wrote: "Error loves amibiguity."


***

Brian P Westgate has left a new comment on your post "Eastern Orthodoxy Connections:Infant Communion": 

I think ELDONA has come out against infant communion. I do think you meant to say that, it just didn't come out quite as clear as it could have.

As for Fr. Berg, he's not obsessed with infant communion. That article was probably written due to Fr. Frey's article on it.

Your parody is funny, but way off, as Fr. Rutowicz and others have been trying to tell you. There is nothing wrong with incense, and nothing wrong with bishops, as you know. 

***

I hear you Brian, but I have to judge the words, not the intentions. Until recently, Eastern Orthodoxy was not even on the Lutheran map. Now there is a conference on EO for Crypto-ELDONA, plus the many other things going on. I think it is a mistake to call it sacerdotalism, as some have. That term is too vague and sounds like high church or high church-in-overdrive. This new trend, a tidal wave coming from Ft. Wayne and ELCA, is an embrace of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Some things are harmless by themselves but the new fanatics make me wonder about the necessity of using them: the title father, the title bishop, the incense, the fancy threads. There is no clear Eastern Orthodoxy confession of faith. It is amorphous. Nevertheless, Eastern Orthodoxy is the closest thing to Roman Catholicism. They have the same relationship to Rome that the Little Sect on the Prairie has with WELS, resentful and obedient at the same time.

Most alarming is the way this is paralleling the Church Growth infection. First there were some little suggestions, panel discussions, open wondering if CG would help Lutherans. Gradually they came out of the Fuller/Willow Creek closet. Now they operate out of the Love Shack, the Purple Palace, and the Seminary Built on a Bluff.

My parody is funny because it is right on target. Anyone who links an ecumenical/Marian monastery as "Confessional Lutheran" is Neuhausian in strategy. I recall Neuhaus calling himself a Confessional Lutheran until he became a priest. His buddies who joined Rome were also labeled Confessional Lutheran until they poped.

I have a better term for the Fuller/Willow Creek boys and the future papists/EO monks: Recessional Lutherans. They are backing away from Luther's doctrine as slyly as they can. One wit called it sinuflecting toward Rome.