The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Monday, April 3, 2017

Countering Synodical Thinking with Critical Thinking - Final Draft.

 The Intrepids met only once, because SP Schroeder,
who wanted a lobby on his side, to counter Mark Jeske,
was peeved that some members and clergy
were thinking on their own.

Many people reacted favorably to the post on critical thinking, a topic I taught many times. Training in critical thinking was required for other courses I taught at the undergraduate level. The subject often comes up in higher education, seldom in the Lutheran synods.

We take for granted what is normally practiced in the American legal system, but that is an outgrowth of many developments. In an absolute monarchy, officials could arrest someone, find him guilty, and punish him. Separating the police from the prosecution - having trials with evidence judged by juries, with a judge presiding - protected citizens against tyranny.

Language has a much longer history. Logical fallacies were examined and refuted in ancient Greece and the Republic of Rome. Many of them are based on the relevance of facts. When I told a learning team, "Oh, you're from Mesa? That explains everything," they went crazy. It had nothing to do with the discussion, but it played on their insecurities. My goal was to help them see through transparent fallacies so they could refute them, such as saying to me, "That has nothing to do with the topic."

Synod politicians often give in to manipulation, deception, and logical fallacies. They use the threat of force - or bribery - to get what they want.

Countering Synodical Thinking
For entertainment, one reader brings up my name - just to hear a ten-minute rant from WELS pastors. One layman heard that I did not know any Greek, so I asked him, "You have Thy Strong Word (first edition)?" Yes he did. "Is there a lot of Greek in the book?" Yes, there is. "How did I accomplish that, without knowing Greek?"

Now he could say, "I take Greek lessons from Bethany Lutheran Church, every Thursday."

Baptists at Baylor? Where?
The entire board - minus a few slots? No kidding!


ELDONUT Busted at Baylor
One ELDONUT priest claimed that Baylor Babtist University was not Babtist. (Note for northern liberals who talk funny - Southern Baptists call themselves Babtists.)

To refute this counter-claim, I went to the source. How many people do that today?

Baylor was founded as a Babtist school, and they call themselves Baptist. Of course, that is de-emphasized in their PR materials, but who uses PR as evidence? That is like believing the synod president's report - or worse - Lutheran Witness or Forward in Christ.

The best piece of evidence came from the Baylor site. They will now allow up to 25% of the board to be non-Baptist! I could picture a board meeting where someone like me makes a suggestion and 75% of the board begins ring-knocking with their school rings, thumping on the table to show the chairman, "We will decide this." That image tickled my funny-bone.

Ridiculous denials are easily countered today with a little searching on Google. That requires curiosity and a little practice.



Biblical Evidence
Those who study a good Bible translation (KJV) are trained by the Holy Spirit, as Luther wrote. False teachers cannot stand up to questioning from the Word of God, so they flatter others or have fits to intimidate them.

Several models of study are worth following. Luther's sermons and lectures are explorations of the Word itself, not a combination of claims from this expert or that. Likewise, the Book of Concord is a one-volume commentary on the Scriptures - rather than an effort to support a denomination.

Chemnitz and Melanchthon's works are also clear and compelling essays about the Word of God. As great as these authors all, we still have an obligation as ministers and laity to know the Scriptures ourselves and not enslave ourselves by comparing opinions.



The Two Rules
Some ancient epigrams about Scriptural study are worth following:

  1. Scripture interprets Scripture.
  2. The bright passages shed light on the verses we find to be dark.
If God teaches one matter so clearly in one passage that no one can deny this truth, then those verses will help us with other passages. For instance, the Holy Trinity is named and declared so clearly in the Great Commission that doubts and questions are easily answered in other parts of the Bible. That may seem to be an odd question for many, but the chief theologian of UOJ, Knapp, did not think the Trinity was Biblical. 

The same can be said about Justification by Faith. Paul leaves no doubt about Justification by Faith in Romans 4 and the opening to Romans 5. Does anyone think that in the midst of his inspired oration about Justification by Faith that the Apostle taught Justification without Faith? - as the UOJ Stormtroopers insist. To follow their schizophrenic path, one must conclude that the Holy Spirit moved Paul to contradict himself every few verses.

Shouting out a verse or a fragment of a verse to support a dubious claim is typical of the Evangelical sects and cults. I stopped seeing "Raised for our justification!" when I examined the phrase from Romans 4 in its context. So pitiful to find LCMS-ELS-LCMS clergy involved in such antics.

And no - it does not matter who your daddy was. Nor does it matter who has what degrees from what school and wrote which books. When clergy and laity play top-dog about their human authorities, it is time to back away, as we would from a herd of cows with bovine viral diarrhea.

Likewise, it is a grave mistake to speak as though a synod's edicts have some infallible claim on the truth. Those solemn pronouncements are the result of political scheming, like various statements from the LCMS crafted in the hopes of merging with the ALC. I understand that was the purpose of the 1932 Brief Statement from Missouri. But now, whatever the purpose, that 1932 B.S. is treated as the final word on the Scriptures, even though the citations about Justification are laughable.

Not Against Research and Human Authorities
The Babtists like to say "The Bobble Only" and "No Creed but the Bobble!" and even "The continuing revelation of the Bible" (Northern, liberal Baptists). Those efforts are attempts to enforce a pre-determined dogmatic outcome. "You must be born again" is equivalent to "Raised for our justification!" - a phrase not supported by careful examination of its context, as students of our congregation's Greek class realize.

The synods seem feverishly in favor of promoting their own magazines and their most recent, high-priced publications. WELS has an amusing fixation on its own Holy of Holies - The Essay File, now a websty with hundreds of dreadful works of self-praise and false doctrine. 

Essays by a confessed atheist, a former Missouri and WELS pastor? - no problem when its from a Church Growth advocate! 

What about a WELS professor caught in false doctrine who retired in The ALC? - no problem, he was fanatical for UOJ!

All research should be balanced, looking at opposing opinions and representing them fairly. That is why the best collection of UOJ statements can be found in a book against UOJ and Church Growth - Thy Strong Word. Nothing is quite so appalling as reading what the UOJists write to promote their hideous dogma.

As one obscure WELS pastor (E. Schaller) once wrote, it is not enough to deride false doctrine. One must examine the Biblical passages and teach them, not simply make grand statements, as Walther was fond of doing.