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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crocodile Tears from Real Crocks

Big Baby Grant is afraid he will lose his funding.

One complaint stands out among all the anonymousey comments - I copy photos and web content. Horrors.

Long ago the Shrinkers said I quoted them out of context, but they were the ones who said, "Prove it."

I quoted them at greater length, so their response was to silence me in every possible medium. I was threatened with censorship if I ever wrote for Christian News, even though the Shrinkers like Gerlach published there all the time. The Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic) went through similar gyrations, gleeful to be published in CN but condemning me for doing the same. David Menton was especially wrathful, and now he poses with Otten for the publication he condemned so vigorously. Menton also published a series of articles in CN.

Lately, someone wrote a contradictory lament about how I was using web content to critique ideas. According to his logic, no one could write a critical review of anything, because quotations and comments might be negative. My efforts are completely non-profit, unlike the grant-grabbing tactics of Church and Chicanery. They are the last tycoons of charitable greed. Staggering.

I link all my sources, unlike those who drop huge hints about this blog without naming it. I have had no requests to remove content, although one person was a little touchy once about how I quoted and cited.

I have fixed or removed errors when requested. That has been rare. Any publication will end up with mistakes. My distance from the scene offers some objectivity but also creates some unfamiliarity.

I have seen a lot of funny responses to publishing the facts, using verbatim quotations. Ski, Glende, and Buske have ceased all meaningful Twitters. My guess is that they have changed addresses and limited their audience. WELS' discipline is not "Stop doing this!" but "Stop getting caught!" Earlier, Ski and Katie boasted about their Schwaermer conferences and Glende deceived his congregation. For Seattle, Glende again withheld facts about what the "pastor conference" was, but Ski and Katie were awesomely silent on everything but fun and food.

Church and Chicaneries informed me that it was unethical for me to quote their listserve comments, which are semi-public. They are also silent, suggesting they found a new medium, one more secure than the last one. The overpaid leeches of The Love Shack (Love Shack = Church and Change = WELS headquarters staff) do not think it is unethical to overthrow the elected head of their synod. They have been defiant, obnoxious, and disorderly crybabies. Several were called on the carpet for their behavior, so the secretive group had a collective hissy-fit.

The COP had to order C and C to disinvite Ed Stetzer! As someone noted, it spoke volumes that he was hired in the first place.

Wayne Mueller and Peter Kruschel both quit in another tantrum. Have these Jesus-people consulted with the Word of God about respect for leaders? Or the Small Catechism on the Fourth Commandment?

Bruce Becker left as soon as he realized that his job was perishing. Mark Jeske hired him. Mequon will feature him in August: WELS Pietistic Institute.

Join the WELS Popcorn Cathedral of Rock
To Hear Groeschel Sermons

Getting ready for another week of The Sickness Within @gotocore. Talkin pride this week. about 6 hours ago from web

Craig Groeschel - The Sickness Within - LifeTV - Pride

Go to CORE Twitter:
We are talkin pride tonight. Be at 215 e Washington St at 5:30
about 6 hours ago from web.

The last CORE Twitter was two weeks before the one above. I need a full-time assistant to Tweet for me. Seriously, dude.

Perhaps others think it hilarious that real, relational, and relevant Ski commands people to attend his church. I suppose that is his Law preaching. His introduction on the CORE website also commands people to attend.

I hear the sound of flopsweat dripping from the pores of all the people involved in this fiasco. Thank you, CORE, for providing the glass-bottomed boat, so we can see the swamp of Church and Chicanery without getting stunk up too badly.

Training for The CORE has consisted of:

  1. Drive 08 Babtist Worship Conference, led by Andy Stanley.
  2. Catalyst, with Stanley and Groeschel.
  3. Granger Community Church, with Beeson, also attended by Katie, Head Tweeter.
  4. Drive 09 Babtist Worship Conference, attended by seven WELS pastors and Katie.
  5. Seattle Pastor Conference (not WELS), attended by Glende, Ski, Katie.

Ski did not attend the conference where WELS Professor Deutschlander spoke on the theology of the cross.

Bishop Katie:
Would you ever do this? (via @jackalopekid) // are u serious? Seriously we live in a sad world.
29 minutes ago from web


GJ - The founder of Church Growth, Robert Schuller, arranged for car worship decades ago. I find this hand-lettered sign rather touching. Not everyone has $100,000+ grants to lease them huge buildings, popcorn machines, soda fountains, IMax screens with 20 Woofers! To paraphrase Pieper, I would rather worship in a car with Means of Grace Lutherans than be entertained by Babtist wannabees in a Popcorn Cathedral of Rock. I guess I "don't get it."


I downloaded the Groeschel transcript for The Sickness Within - Pride. It's free, and includes a video, a video teaser, graphics, all kinds of way cool stuff for Schwaermer WELS Church and Chicaneries. I am sure the Circuit Pope, District Pope, and local pastors (Witte, Parlow) have jumped on Ski like hobos on a hotdog. WELS is famous for doctrinal discipline and fellowship principles.

Sickness Within #3 by Groeschel

[ Music ] If you have your Bibles with you today, let’s open them up to the book of Isaiah. Isaiah chapter 14 is where we will start. We are in week number three of the series called, “The Sickness Within.” Today, we are going to deal with the sickness that we call pride. All of our campuses, would you be very honest? How many of you deal with pride? You are prideful? Raise your hands up in the air. Those of you that are really prideful, you are too proud to raise your hands. You are hanging back.

All of us deal with pride at one level or another. For example, if you ever find a group photo, a group picture, and you are in the picture, who is the first person that you look for in that picture? Who do you look for? You look for yourself. Right? And if it’s a good picture of you and bad of everyone else, you don’t care. You’d still say it’s a good picture. If it’s good of everyone else and it’s bad of you, what kind of picture is it? It is a bad picture, right? We all deal with pride at one level or another.

Isaiah 14:13-14 offers us perhaps, chronologically, the first example of pride in scripture. In fact, this event took place even before Adam and Eve were born. It was when Lucifer decided that he wanted to be like God. His pride got him a one-way ticket out of Heaven. We can see his pride in Isaiah 14:13-14, “You said in your heart,” Lucifer said this. He said what? Say it out loud. He said, “I will ascend to Heaven.” What did he say? Say it again. He said, “I will raise my throne above the stars.” He said it a third time. He said what? Say it. He said, “I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly of the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.” The fourth time, he said, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds.” And a fifth time, he said, “I will make myself like the Most High.” Contrast, his most common two words, “I will” with the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, not I will, but He said, “Thy will be done.”

Is it going to be about us, or is it going to be about Him? What I want, or what He wants? Today, we are going to do battle with the sinful sickness within called pride. All of us deal with it. For me, when I first met Amy, that was an obvious example of pride. We were on our second date and she came out, actually, to watch me. I played college tennis and I was playing the district finals, and I thought to myself, “If I play really, really good, she will be impressed.” She came out to watch, and on the very first serve, I thought, “I’m going to just wow her with this awesome kick serve.” So, as she walked up, I flexed everything that I had, trying to impress her. And a kick serve in tennis is when you actually brush over the ball with just tremendous velocity and the ball comes down, and then it lands, it jumps way up. And I thought, “If I kick this really good, she’ll say, ‘Oh, I gotta marry that guy. I want him to have my six children.’ “ So, as I swung, I actually misjudged the ball, and rather than clipping it, I hit it dead on the end of the rack and sent it straight up in the air, and it landed three courts over. Thankfully, Amy doesn’t know anything about tennis. She thought that was amazing, and she clapped for me. When the match was over, she was just amazed. She said, “Why did you only do that one really cool serve one time? No one’s ever done that all day.”

Pride is when we think we are hot and we are not. Have you seen my new website? It’s the Pride is the dangerous sickness within. What does scripture say about it? Proverbs 16:18, all of our campuses, if you guys could, help me out. Scripture says that, “Pride goes before,” what? Say it out loud. “Pride goes before destruction. A haughty spirit before,” what? “Before a fall.” How dangerous is pride? Proverbs 16:26, the Lord does what? Say it. What does He do? “The Lord detests …” Who does He detest? “All the proud of heart. Be sure of this.” What will happen? “They will not go unpunished.” I Peter 5:5 says God actually opposes. He resists the proud, but what does He do? He gives grace to whom? To the humble. Now, some people might say, “Well, what if I’m proud of my kids?” This is a different type of pride. What we are talking about today is a sinfully selfish pride. It is not saying, “You know, I am proud of what God is doing in my church.” That’s being proud of God. Or, “I’m proud to be an American.” Or, “I take pride in my neighborhood.” We are talking about a selfish, self-focused sickness within, a sinful pride.

There’s three types of this pride that we are going to look at today. The first one, if you are taking notes, is this. This is probably what you think about when you think of pride, and that is number one, “I am better than you” pride. Okay? You are not as good as I am. “I am better than you” pride. It’s a lot like one very proud woman who came to her pastor and said, “Pastor, I guess I deal with vanity and pride, because every time I walk through the church, I look at all the other women, and I just say to myself, ‘I am so much more beautiful than all of them.’ Pastor, I just deal with pride.” And the pastor said, “Well, ma’am, to be honest, that’s not pride. That’s a mistake. You are just wrong with your assertion. That is a mistake.”

Pride. “I am better than you,” is the way so many people feel. Now, how does this type of pride show itself? Because, you may not honestly recognize it in yourself. Well, one of the ways it shows itself is in a critical attitude or a critical heart. If you find that you are often criticizing, “Well, you know, look at the way she does that. Look at the way he does this, and he’s not this and he’s not that.” What that is, is a reflection of a proud heart. “I know it’s right, and you don’t. You don’t do it right.”

Another type of “I am better than you” pride, is spiritual pride, and oh man, is it ever ugly. You know, “We worship God the right way, and everyone else, they are all wrong. We’ve got the corner on the truth.” Or, you know, “I would never do what that no-good sinner would do. I am so much holier than they are.” You will see a I’m-better-than-you pride often in marriages, too. “Well, I’m right and my spouse is always wrong. I’m right. This one is always wrong.” I’m-better-than-you pride. In the early days of the church, I’m embarrassed to say that I never took time off. I preached almost every weekend, and someone said to me, “Craig, that’s because you are proud.” I said, “I’m not proud.” He said, “Yes, you are proud. You think that you’re the only one that can do it. You think you’re that good, and you’re not.” And all of a sudden, I owned that. That was an I’m-better-than-you pride, and I had to repent of that, and now, I’m honored to take a lot of time off and let a lot of other people do what I do, do it better, and it refreshes me.

I am better than you pride, very, very dangerous. We can see a great illustration of this in a story that Jesus told about a tax collector and about a Pharisee. Now, during this day, the Pharisee’s were known throughout the whole community as very righteous in appearance. They would tithe off of everything. They would wear these fancy religious looking robes. They would fast two days a week, not eat anything so they could pray. And then, there’s a story about a tax collector who was despised and absolutely hated by everyone. The tax collectors, they were Jewish by birth, but they basically were betraying their own people because they were helping the Roman government. They had the full force of the Roman army behind them. And so, let’s say you owed for the year $4,000 in taxes. These tax collectors could come up and say, “Your bill is, huh, $5,000 and if you do not want to pay, deal with these Roman officers.” Then what they would do, is give $4,000 to the Roman government and they’d keep $1,000 for themselves. They were thieves, and everyone hated them.

Jesus told a story about a tax collector and a Pharisee. He said they went to the temple to pray, verse 11 of Luke 18, “The Pharisee stood up and he actually prayed about himself.” One key, reflection of those who are proud, those who always pray about their needs and pray about themselves, “God, do this for me.” The Pharisee prayed about himself and said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, robbers and evil doers and adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of all that I get.” Jesus continued in the story in verse 13, and He said, “but the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to Heaven, but he beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The proud, and the humble, and Jesus said that it was the tax collector, the one everybody despised, that went away justified, not the proud Pharisee.

One fifth grade Sunday School teacher asked one of the fifth grade boys, “Do you get the moral of the story?” and he said, “Absolutely, I do, and oh, how I thank God I am not like that Pharisee.” Do you get the moral of the story, and that is, God opposes the proud, but oh, how He loves to give grace to the humble.

There’s a second type of pride, and boy, this one really hits me. If you’re taking notes, the second type of pride is this. I call it an “I can handle it myself,” pride. I can handle it myself. How do you know if you struggle with this? Well, if you have a difficult time asking others for help, you are dealing with an I-can-handle-it-myself pride. “Well, I just don’t want to bother anybody. I can do it myself.” If you find it difficult to receive, someone else wants to help you or wants to give to you, or wants to bless you, but you just find it so difficult to receive. “No, no, no. I’m not worth it. No, no, no. Give it to somebody else.” That is pride! “I can handle it myself.” If you find yourself with a very on-again, off-again prayer life. You pray for a little while and then you stop praying. What does that really say? Deep down, no matter what we say we believe, our actions indicate that we think we can do it without God. “I can handle it myself.” For example, I have this kind of pride. Anytime I am driving somewhere, I never ask for directions and maps or the devil. Won’t use them. Secondly, I can’t fix anything. Those of you that can fix things, I just can’t stand how great you are at that. Amy always is like, “You can’t fix anything.” You are right. I can’t. One time, I actually bought one of those do-it-yourself assembly things from the devil. This was a bookshelf and it came with these instructions, and Amy said, “You really ought to ask for some help from one of your staff members to put that together.” I’m like, “Uuummm, no, step back. I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength,” and I said, “You leave me alone for a month and when you come back, I will have this completely assembled.” And so, I started to work on it. I actually read the directions for a few minutes, and they weren’t doing any good. Believe it or not, within a few hours, I had assembled the whole bookshelf without even using probably a third of the parts. All these extra screws and little things that were just totally unnecessary. I put the bookshelf up, put all of my books, all of my little nick knack’s, all of the stuff in there, and I called Amy in for the great debut. I said, “Come on in, sweetheart.” You’re not going to believe this true story, God as my witness. She walked in. I said, “ta-da,” and she looked at it. She said, “I can’t believe you pulled it off.” And right when she said that, my bookshelf fell over and boards flew everywhere. Nails were flying out. We were ducking for cover, and she said what you know any loving wife would say, “You should have asked for help, stupid.”

Why is it that we are like this? “I can handle it myself.” Because we are prideful. You see a great example of this in the story that we know as the Prodigal Son. Luke 15:11-12, Jesus was continuing His teaching and He said, “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate,’ “ and what you can hear behind and between the lines is basically, “Dad, I want my stuff. I don’t like your rules. You are cramping my style. I want to do life my way. Now, if this was a modern day story, it would go something like this. So this son, went out, max’d out his credit card, bought an expensive skateboard, started drinking beer, smoking whatever, hanging out with loose women, tatoo’ing and piercing everything, and this guy just went absolutely wild. Before long, he couldn’t support his lifestyle, started living on a friend’s sofa, his friend kicked him out, and all of a sudden, he woke up one day hurting. He thought he knew what he wanted, and he thought he had the resources to pull it off, and the bottom line is, he thought he knew what was best and he could handle it without his father. But scripture says this, Jesus said, verse 17, “When he came to his senses,” and there will be those of you today that I pray will come to your senses. When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and I will go back to my father and say to him, ‘Father, I’ve sinned against Heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired men.’ “ Can you see the contrast?

The proud and the humble. Pride comes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. God opposes the proud, but God gives grace and God lifts up those who are humble and broken before Him. So, what does this mean to you? If you battle with an I-can-do-it-myself pride, it’s time to humble yourself and get help. How does this play out? Some of you, your marriages, they are in trouble and you have said for a long time, “Well, we don’t need help. We can do it on our own. Well, well, you know. Ah, counseling is for whooshes, okay? We don’t need that.” No, no, no, no. No, no, no. You, please, for the sake of the covenant that you made with God, humble yourself. Ask for and receive help. Others of you, you are addicted to something and you think to yourself, “I can handle it. I can stop this any time.” Let me just say right now, if you haven’t stopped yet, you are not going to stop without help. You need help. Humble yourself. Humble yourself. Humble yourself. Open up. Open up your life this week. Open up to your spouse. Open up to your campus pastor. Open up and say, “I need help.” Ask for it and receive it. Why do we not? Because of pride.

First type of pride we are looking at is this. “I-am-better-than-you” pride. Second type, “I-can-handle-it-myself” pride. A third type is this, “It-doesn’t-apply-to-me” pride. Those may be the rules, but they don’t apply to me. It’s a lot like Muhammad Ali. I like some of the Muhammad Ali stories. What was he saying? “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. Something, something, something, Muhammad Ali.” I always forget that other little line. I like, there’s a story that Muhammad Ali was supposedly one time on an airplane, and the stewardess, a flight attendant, came up and said, “Sir, you need to wear your seatbelt.” And, Muhammad Ali said, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” And she looked at him and smiled and said, “Superman don’t need no airplane.” Okay? “Well, I can, I am above the rules,” you say to yourself. Some of you, you think you are above the rules. You are the people that take twelve items to the express checkout line that says ten and under, right? Why? You think the rules don’t apply to you. Scripture teaches different things. It is adultery to lust after a woman, and yet, I know so many guys who call themselves Christ followers that look regularly at pornography as if to say, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me. This just helps me deal with things. It just helps me cope. It doesn’t apply to me.” Or, “We are just living together before we marry because, you know, the rules don’t really apply to me.” Or, “I know that scripture says that we are supposed to forgive as Christ has forgiven us, but you don’t know what this person has done. You see, that just doesn’t apply to me.” Or, “I know that as Christ followers, the greatest of these would be those who serve, and we ask people at our church to serve, but you know what? That doesn’t apply to me. I can go to church and just watch and go home. I don’t have to do that. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t apply to me.”

One time I was making fun of bad drivers, because everybody knows that we drive good and everybody else is dangerous. It’s just kind of the way things are, and I was making fun of people who put their blinker light on in Washington and drive to L.A. with their light on the whole way, you know. And I was talking about people that drive off on the shoulder when there is a traffic jam, and go off of the shoulder and think that they have the right to be more important that the rest of us who are following the rules, and just how ungodly those people are, and how they are going to answer to God one day. Well, the very next day, from a Sunday to a Monday, the very next day, I was driving to church, and sure enough. I was really close to the church parking lot and there was a traffic jam. And I looked up and I realized that there was a little grass trail just off to the side that could take me, in thirty yards or less, into our church building, and I rationalized it out. We own that property. That’s my property. That belongs to me. So I just pulled off into the grass, and I drove up. Little did I know that a few cars in front of me was one of the staff members who was taking his son to school, who looked out the window and said, “There’s one of those guys that pastor Craig was talking about!” Then, his mouth dropped wide open. He said, “That IS pastor Craig doing what Craig was talking about!” What is that? It is the pride of thinking that the rules don’t apply to me.

King David was like this in the Old Testament at one time in his life. Scriptures said that at one time, when kings went off to war, King David didn’t go off to war. When he didn’t go where he was supposed to go, he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to do. He saw something he wasn’t supposed to see. He thought something he wasn’t supposed to think. He did something he wasn’t supposed to do. He sent one of his people and said, “Uh, see that naked lady over there? She looks good. Go get her.” And then, he committed adultery. He did, thinking he was beyond the rules. Then, what he did was one of the most horrendous crimes you could ever do. After taking this other guy’s wife, he made an order, which was basically led to the murder of his good friend, Uriah. He betrayed his friend and then had him killed. “The rules don’t apply to me.” Nathan, the prophet, called King David on this, and he told him a little story. You can read it. It’s in your notes. I’ll basically summarize it. It goes like this. There was a rich guy with lots of sheep and lots of cattle, and there was a poor guy with one little bitty lamb. The poor guy came to the rich guy’s house, and instead of the rich guy offering him one of his from his wealth, instead, the rich guy killed the poor guy’s one little lamb and fed it to him. And Nathan told David the story and David was like, “That’s the worse thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” The scripture said, “His heart burned with anger.” David was like, “We’ve got to punish this guy. This just isn’t right.” And then, Nathan looked at David and said, “Auttaeesh.” Everybody say, all of our campuses say, “Autta, autta-eesh.” Now say it together, “Auttaeesh.” Nathan looked at David and said, “Auttaeesh,” which is Hebrew for “You are the man.” “You are the one that we are talking about in this story. Auttaeesh. May I say, lovingly and humbly, that there are those of you that are living in this kind of pride. It doesn’t apply to me, and may I say to you, auttaeesh. You are the man. Some of you ladies are going, “Ha, well, I am glad that I am a lady.” May I say to you, auttaeesha, which means you are the woman. Is there an area in your life where you are saying, “You know what? This doesn’t apply to me. Yeah, I’m not happily married, you know, and I know that God hates divorce and all of that stuff, but, you know, forget this marriage. You know, forget it. It doesn’t apply to me. I know God says we are stewards and ten percent of what He trusts us with belongs to Him. Now, I just don’t believe lalalaladalalala, uh, that doesn’t apply to me. Auttaeesh.


Another version of The Sickness Within - Pride.

Yet another version.


I. J. Reilly has left a new comment on your post "Join the WELS Popcorn Cathedral of Rock To Hear Gro...":

For the record, I'm a member of Ski's conference. He has been at every Pastors' Conference since he's been in the area -- including one this past January where Prof. Deutschlander spoke about the doctrinal importance of the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. This talk included many of the concepts from his Theology of the Cross book.


GJ - They even defend Ski anonymously. Ski boasted about missing the Atlanta WELS conference, where he ran into Deutschlander, because he was there to worship with Babtist Andy Stanley. Buske and Parlow were also there. Ski's blog is still up and running. Many are reading it. Doubtless they were all worshiping outside the framework of fellowship.

Absent from this pusillanimous defense is any mention of plagiarizing false teachers, worshiping with false teachers, and being an all-around embarrassment to Lutherans everywhere.

Pastors are required to attend conferences. They are also required to be faithful. The apostasy of Ski's Conference is proven by his fellow pastors' apathy, indolence, and lassitude about sound doctrine.

Champeen Grant Grabbers from Church and Chicanery

The Four Horsemen of St. Marcus are pursuing the grants.

Just in 2008 from the Fleck Foundation - these grants -

Risen Savior Ev. Lutheran Church Scholarships for students to attend Risen Savior $45,000

9550 West Brown Deer Road Lutheran School.

Milwaukee, WI 53224

Pastor Kenneth Fisher (WELS)


Wisconsin Lutheran High School Scholarships for students to attend Wisconsin Lutheran -. $90,000

Funding for Agents of Change program to improve relationships among peers from various backgrounds - $600

330 North Glenview Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53213

Pastor James Kleist, President


Risen Savior Ev. Lutheran Church Funding for civil rights tour, Spring 2009. $20,000

9550 West Brown Deer Road

Milwaukee, WI 53224

Pastor Kenneth Fisher (WELS)


St. Marcus School Funding for the Discover America civil rights trip. $10,000

North Palmer Street

Milwaukee, WI 53205

Henry Tyson, Principal (WELS)


Wait, There's More!

Just in 2008 - from the Bradley Foundation -

Risen Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Milwaukee

To support community outreach $50,000


Wisconsin Lutheran College, Milwaukee

To support the "Pathways to College" program $100,000


St. Marcus Lutheran School, Milwaukee

To support expansion $365,000


Where Is Love?
WELS Overkill in Rockford Area

Where is love?
Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneath the Willow Creek tree
That I've been dreaming of?

Peace in Loves Park, Rev. Olson's former parish, the one that's trying to move now, has never really liked their location from the 1970s. Now, however, the synod probably made the relocation necessary due to their church growth program.

The WELS wanted to plant a church in S Rockford since there were none there. The nearest WELS churches were in Loves Park in N Rockford, which is a fairly large city, and Belvedere five miles to the E. The exploratory congregation started out at a college on E State Street near the center of the city.

To everyone's consternation, instead of building in S Rockford as planned, the synod insisted that the new Church Growthy-style church be built along the main N-S freeway (I-90/39) on the E side of Rockford. It was purposely built with a steeple with a lighted big glass windows so travelers would see it from the freeway day and night. Also, if you look at the New Life Website, it is all the relational, relevant CG-type stuff.

New Life was started around 1989 by Pastor Mark Paustian. Sometime in the early 90s
after building that new building off the freeway, he got a call to New Ulm to be a Communications professor. NPH published Paustian and Pastor Rick in Corona reads Paustian.

New Life is just 5 miles S of Peace in Loves Park which has been there since the 1970s. Also, it's just 5 miles W of the WELS Belvedere church which has been in existence since 1967 (see attached map). Needless to say, New Life wicked up about half the members of Peace and half the members of Hope, and continues to be a big draw. It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Love's Park probably wants to get away from the latest growthy WELS church. Perhaps that's why they have to raise their own money and the synod won't cough up the funds, because it makes CG look bad.

Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church 501 Bellwood Rd Belvidere 815-544-6606 New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church 1100 N Lyford Rd, Rockford, IL‎ - (815) 227-0855‎ Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church 5183 Pebble Creek Tr Rockford 815-633-6197

Peace in Loves Park (S Rockford, IL)

New Life

Hope, Belvidere


GJ - The Church and Changers at The Love Shack want to teach WELS all about stewardship, but they are the biggest wastrels in Christendom. Those are WELS offering dollars at work, draining members from two established congregations to create a C and C parish - just in time for a split? Stay tuned.

WELS Pietistic Institute Strikes Back:
Bruce Becker - Forgotten, But Not Gone,
Speaking at Mequon

Bruce Becker went from being a board member of Church and Change and head of WELS Perish Services to working for Mark Jeske at Time of Grace.

August 14-15

WELS Prayer Institute

Failing Forward in Prayer Ministry

August 14-15, 2009, The Sausage Factory, Mequon

Keynote Speaker - Bruce Becker

The conference is at The Sausage Factory, but only the second day's agenda is listed (Becker). So what happens on August 14th?

How many Wesleyan conferences are held at Mequon? Is WPI the only one?


Beautiful Savior, Green Bay, produced the brochure, but Witte did not list his real degree (DMin) or reveal it was from Gordon Conwell.

Dr. Rev. Steve Witte.................Pastor

Leon Ehlert................Part time Pastor

Robin Zeratsky............................Vicar

Dr. Mike Pfeifer...............Staff Minister

Dr. Mary Eisenriech....................Music

Jonah Lee..................................Hmong Evangelist

Phomma Chindaphone...............Laotian Evangelist

Robert Fischer...Outreach to Developmentally Disabled

Kate Dewick.............................Church Secretary

Ann Wolfgram..........................Church Treasurer


Steve Haskins.........................President of Congregation

Overseers: Marv Konrad, Tom Wiltzius, Greg Archambault,

Mark Peters, Greg Nault, (one vacant position)

Council Secretary..........................Becky Doyle

Financial Secretary..........................Lisa Engel

Killer Tiller Terminated at His ELCA Church - Reformation, Wichita

Killer Tiller posed at the governor's mansion with the Democrat governor of Kansas, Sibelius. The BTK Killer was congregational president of an ELCA congregation in Wichita.

Kansas abortion doctor shot to death at church

By Carey Gillam

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A Kansas doctor reviled by anti-abortion groups for his work providing "late-term" abortions was shot and killed in his Wichita, Kansas, church on Sunday, and police said they captured the man responsible.

Police said they planned to charge a 51-year-old man on Monday with homicide and two counts of aggravated assault in the death of 67-year-old George Tiller, who died from a single gunshot.

Tiller was shot while serving as an usher for Sunday services in the foyer at Reformation Lutheran Church. The shooter threatened two other men at the church who tried to intervene, police said.


GJ - Will Missouri and WELS continue to work with ELCA?


Marc T. Newman, Ph.D., President of, gave a terrific presentation at the CareNet Pregnancy Center Fall Fundraiser this week.

One of the most intriguing things he mentioned was a Planned Parenthood advertisement published in 1964 to promote birth control. Read the whole thing, then consider this from the Q&A section:

Is it [birth control] an abortion?

Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely postpones the beginning of life.

Kudzu Tendrils of Church and Change

"Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where it was promoted as a forage crop and an ornamental plant. From 1935 to the early 1950s the Soil Conservation Service encouraged farmers in the South to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps planted it widely for many years. Kudzu was recognized as a pest weed by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1953, and was removed from its list of permissible cover plants."

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) is a Confessional Lutheran Church body begun in 1850 in Milwaukee , Wisconsin . The WELS has approximately 1,259 congregations with a total membership of 400,622 souls. See for details on the Synod and its various ministries. The WELS PRAYER INSTITUTE (WPI) is not an official organization of the WELS . WPI was introduced in November 2004 as another ministry “spun off” from Church and Change, an informal gathering of WELS pastors, teachers, staff ministers and lay leaders. “Church” refers to the one gospel ministry of Jesus Christ which he has entrusted to all of his people. The word “Change” refers to how we might proclaim the changeless gospel of Christ within the changing culture in which we live.

The WPI promotes prayer throughout the Synod in a variety of ways:

1) Promotes prayer for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
2) Connects WELS prayer leaders to one another.
3) Provides "working models" of prayer ministries for those getting started with prayer ministries.
4) Shares ideas on how to expand prayer ministry in your personal life and local church.
5) Sponsors Prayer Conferences which focus on praying, education, and encouragement.

Contact Information:
Pastor Steve Witte: Phone# 920-499-7405, email
Reg Draheim: Phone# 920-497-1000, email
Lesli Frank: Phone #920-661-4070, email


From Church and Change:

Prayer - WELS Prayer Institute
Steve Witte, Shelley Mattes and Reg Draheim

The WELS Prayer Institute exists to promote and encourage prayer throughout the WELS for WELS leaders, pastors, churches, and ministries. God has clearly given us this command to pray in Ephesians 6:18-20, and many other places throughout the Old and New Testament Scriptures.

Visit their website, join in on a prayer and be encouraged!
Contact Shelley Mattes for more information.



GJ - Witte earned a DMin in Church Shrinkage from Gordon Conwell, where prayer is a Means of Grace--in fact--the only Means of Grace.

A common theme from the Shrinkers is change. Everything must change - Jeske, Lawrenz, et al.

Larry Olson's Old Congregation Selling Bonds To Cover Moving Expenses

Junk bonds genius.

Peace in Love's Park never grew while Larry Olson was there. But they are now moving to a new location.

But - they do not have enough money to complete the project.

Another WELS congregation posted in its newsletter that Love's Park is selling bonds to cover the difference.

Ahem. Bonds?

Are they registered with the governmental authorities?

A bond is a pledge on assets, so the government has a pile of rules on offering a risky investment to the public.

Peace is offering around 7% for many years to come. Of course, there is no guarantee that any corporation offering bonds will actually redeem them at face value when they mature.

General Motors is a case in point.

Many municipalities default on their debt. There is a saying about counting the cost first.

Another citadel of WELS Church Growth, St. Mark Depere, was unable to raise enough money to fund its project, and that was in good times. Parlow's anonymous flack denies it, but that was the intended goal of their capital funds campaign - to combine two campuses into one. Maybe they should hire a perish consultant. Paul Kelm--with talent on loan from Calvin--comes to mind.

Parlow, Jeske, Kelm, Patterson - Big Hug!


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Larry Olson's Old Congregation Selling Bonds To Co...":

Our church almost used bonds to finance a new school addition a few years ago. The city squashed it though because its attorney was a stickler on separation of church and state. A WELS area Lutheran high school recently purchased adjoining property using bonds through its municipality. You may think this is strange, but its (sic) happening all over. It's viewed as an alternative form of financing. If the government allows it, and there are no strings attached, why not?


GJ - Big if - if the government allows it. Ever since the last Depression, the government has placed restrictions on what can be offered as an investment. When I was licensed for variable products (investments on a minor scale) I had to hand over a prospectus if I even mentioned something like this. We called these booklets "Get Out of Jail Free" cards.

I can see where a local government might float an issue, as they have for commercial companies. But if a congregation wants money and calls those pieces of paper bonds, they better toe the line. Otherwise, the district, all the officials, the synod, and the SP will be on the hook for losses and violations of the law. Gone are the days when a church could plead stupidity for calling a promissory note a bond.

If these are real bonds, I will wait until they reach a par value of 10 cents on the dollar. Then I will swap them for church furniture, multi-media equipment, and piles of Church Growth textbooks.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost

Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

Note – if you are having trouble reading Ichabod or the Bethany blog, Google is reporting problems not yet fixed - as of this post. One solution is to download and use the Firefox browser (much faster working than Internet Explorer). The free download site is :
I made changes to Ichabod, which have helped.

The Hymn #10 This is the day 3:39
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual Acts 2:1-13
The Gospel John 14:23-31
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #370 My Hope Is Built 3.11

We Are the True Pentecostals

The Hymn #231 We Now Implore - Luther 3.38
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #354 In the Cross of Christ 3.84

KJV Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

KJV John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God: We beseech Thee, send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, through Thy word, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will, comfort us in every temptation and misfortune, and defend us by Thy truth against every error, so that we may continue steadfast in the faith, increase in love and all good works, and firmly trusting in Thy grace, which through death Thou hast purchased for us, obtain eternal salvation, Thou who reignest, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

We Are the True Pentecostals
One denomination has made a splash in the world. They call themselves Pentecostals but they do not mark this day, which is based upon the Old Testament calendar. Pentecost is still observed today by Jews because it marks 50 days after the Passover. Of course, Easter is directly related to the Passover, but they do observe Easter.

The Day of Pentecost is just as Jesus-centered as Easter, because the Savior’s promises were fulfilled on this day. All the parting sermons from Jesus in John are about the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples remained in Jerusalem because of these promises.

On this day, the disciples were gathered with one accord – Concordia. The Book of Concord expresses that harmony. I used to wonder, as an outsider to the old Synodical Conference, why so many things had to be named Concordia. Now that I have seen so much discordia over the years, Concordia sounds so much better. If only we had more Concordia, and pursued the path toward that harmony – study of the Word and Confessions.

The miracle of Pentecost is simply told. The Holy Spirit entered with a great rush of wind. In Greek and Hebrew, the word for Spirit is the same as wind. What better word could be found for the shy member of the Trinity? We do not see the wind but its power is so great that walls are knocked down and roofs torn away in seconds.

Tongues of fire appeared above the disciples. They spoke in foreign languages. When scoffers want to get rid of the miracles of the Bible, they explain that the word in this text really means dialect, so the disciples were only speaking the same language in those various dialects, not unlike Minnesotan compared to Milwaukee or Southern. But the disciples were Galilean, so that was their dialect, whether speaking in Greek or Aramaic. To say they switched dialects is a bit silly – all the rationalisms of apostates are equally strained. When Paul wrote about speaking in tongues, he used another word and made it clear that they were speaking an ecstatic language, not one that made sense to others. See 1 Corinthians 12-14. The love chapter (13) is aimed at the practice.

Most of people were shocked and amazed, hearing the miracles of God in their own language. We know that 3,000 were baptized, so the Word converted them to faith in Christ. At the same time, other mocked and said, “They are drunk.” This encapsulates the effectiveness of the Word. Those who receive the Word with meek hearts find the living Word grafted onto their hearts. Those who harden themselves against the Word feel compelled to mock. Even today, some begin their lives with faith because of infant baptism, but they lose this gift through the various devices and problems described in Mark 4 – the Parable of the Sower.

We are the true Pentecostals because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as described in the Scriptures.

When I was began studying the doctrinal problems of Lutherans, I knew about Calvin separating the Holy Spirit from the Word and Sacraments. I looked for Biblical passages that consistently taught what I knew from Lutheran doctrine.

This one is the most extensive treatment:

KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The passage first establishes that God’s Word and ways are far beyond ours, therefore not subject to man’s approval or analysis – like the person who says, “I cannot believe in a God who…” Nor is there any suggestion that we need to make God’s Word appealing, germane, or in harmony with our own perspective.

Secondly, the role of precipitation in God’s Creation is described as everyone knows it. Rain and snow always have an effect, and that is life-giving – watering the earth, making it fertile, providing seed for the sower and bread for the eater. If we have a long, slow rain in Phoenix, something rare – like Israel – plants simply burst into activity, in a rush to bloom and set seed. Weeds erupt from plastic barriers and gravel. Trees bloom and form their pods. Cactus blooms. Western sage is covered with purple blossoms for a day, and ocotillo (buggy whip) greens up.

Thirdly, the three-fold effect of the Word is portrayed with clarity, in a few words:
A. The Word never returns void – a double negative that excludes any exceptions.
B. The Word will always accomplish what God desires, so we can see that includes both the good and the bad, converting and hardening, enlightening and blinding.
C. The Word will prosper whatever God blesses.

As I saw from studying Luther and the great theologians of the Lutheran Church, this is a passage which destroys any separation of the Holy Spirit from the Word. Notice that the term Holy Spirit is not used, but the concept is clearly taught. God always works through the Word = the Holy Spirit always works through the Word. The WELS theologian Hoenecke said, “The Holy Spirit never without the Word; the Word never without the Holy Spirit. That is sound doctrine.”

In this light we can see why the Bible will use “Word” and “Holy Spirit” as synonyms. In other words, the work of the Holy Spirit is always through the Word and never apart from the Word. The Word is always divine, always powerful and effective.
KJV Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
KJV Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
The only purpose of the Bible is to show us Christ and His death on the cross for our sin. So grace comes to us through the Holy Spirit, which means through the Word, only through the Word.

Paul taught the same thing, using these words:

KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

The Church Shrinkers are always saying, “We want something that works.” The word for “works” in the Greeks texts is “effective” or “efficacious,” a different version of the same word. What works? The Word of God works. Nothing else is effective. If they are, it is only because of the Word. Man likes to measure, so the human temptation is to forget the opening of the Isaiah passage (My ways are not your ways) and change the message to get results, to push the hot buttons, as one council president told me.

This means that the only source of God’s grace, forgiveness, and love is the Word. The Holy Spirit creates a meeting place for the individual and Christ – the Word. The individual believer comes before Christ, is known to Him by name, and receives the blessings promised by the Savior.

When the Holy Spirit works through the Law, we do not call that a Means of Grace, because the Law cannot work grace or provide forgiveness. But the Law of God in the Word effectively reminds us of our sinful nature and need for the Savior. God’s Law is a burning fire and a hammer that smashes our stubborn pride.

Our earlier Cattle Dog told me she was there by putting her mouth on my heels, left and right, as I walked through the house. Our new one, Sassy, nibbles on my fingers as I walk. They remind me of the Law – always there, always reminding. The Law is good and useful, as Paul wrote, but limited. When I heard Helmut Thielicke speak in Canada, he compared Law and Gospel to the Shepherd Dog and the Good Shepherd. If we wander from the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd’s Dog (the Law) nibbles at us until we follow again.

When someone has done something horrible, we want to take revenge, but God’s Law will catch up with the miscreant in time. The longer God takes, the greater the terror of conscience that person faces. Sometimes the Law of God takes an immediate toll on the sinner. The folly of this age teaches people they can do whatever they want without consequences.

Sacraments and the Holy Spirit

Calvin separated the Holy Spirit from the Word, and also from the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion – just as Zwingli did.

There are dozens if not hundreds of passages where the Sacraments are clearly taught as the visible Word, as Means of Grace.

First of all, Christ commanded the Sacraments, so they could not be empty rituals condemned as Roman Catholic.

Secondly, they are effective, something lost in the new Calvinistic translations (NIV, etc) loved by the LCMS, WELS, and ELS.

KJV 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

NIV 1 Peter 3:21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Or we look at the classic passage about the Lord’s Supper conferring forgiveness upon us:

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

NIV 1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

In baptism and communion, the Word of God is active through the earthly elements.

We are the true Pentecostals because we look for the Holy Spirit in the Word, which is what God teaches us throughout the Scriptures. So we know from the Word that the Word and Sacraments are instruments of God’s grace.


"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.
"For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #58, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.
"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.
"Everything, therefore, in the Christian Church is offered to the end that we shall daily obtain there nothing but the forgiveness of sin through the Word and signs, to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live here. Thus, although we have sins, the [grace of the] Holy Ghost does not allow them to injure us, because we are in the Christian Church, where there is nothing but [continuous, uninterupted] forgiveness of sin, both in that God forgives us, and in that we forgive, bear with, and help each other."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #55, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.
"Therefore, before the conversion of man there are only two efficient causes, namely, the Holy Ghost and the Word of God, as the instrument of the Holy Ghost, by which He works conversion. This Word man is [indeed] to hear; however, it is not by his own powers, but only through the grace and working of the Holy Ghost that he can yield faith to it and accept it."
Formula of Concord, Epitome, II, Of the Free Will, #19, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 791.
"But as the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that [not we, but] Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance and conversion. For Christ says, Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Here there are two members. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death. To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake; when we believe, our hearts are quickened by the Holy Ghost through the Word of Christ. Here, therefore, there are these two chief parts, contrition and faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII (V), #44, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 263. Matthew 11:28.
"But if ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God's command and glorious promises. Romans 1:16 The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise, Isaiah 55:11: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please...And it is of advantage, so far as can be done, to adorn the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical men, who dream that the Holy Ghost is given not through the Word, but because of certain preparations of their own...."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIII (VII), #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 311. Romans 1:16; Isaiah 55:11.
"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you. Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is received through faith...Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost, so that now we are able to think aright."
Augsburg Confession, Article III, #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159.
"The Holy Spirit works through the Word and the Sacraments, which only, in the proper sense, are means of grace. Both the Word and the Sacraments bring a positive grace, which is offered to all who receive them outwardly, and which is actually imparted to all who have faith to embrace it."
Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House, 1871, p. 127.
"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, III, p. 280.
"The Holy Spirit is given to none except to those who are in sorrow and fear; in them it produces good fruit. This gift is so precious and worthy that God does not cast it before dogs. Though the unrepentant discover it themselves, hearing it preached, they devour it and know not what they devour."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 281f.

"He allows the affliction to remain and to oppress; yet He employs different tactics to bestow peace; He changes the heart, removing it from the affliction, not the affliction from the heart. This is the way it is done: When you are sunk in affliction He so turns your mind from it and gives you such consolation that you imagine you are dwelling in a garden of roses."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 285. John 14:23-31.
"Thus true spiritual leaders fight. They strike Satan dead and rescue souls from him; for to pierce Satan to death is nothing else than to rescue from him a human being whom he has taken captive by deceitful teachings. And that is the right kind of spiritual tactics."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 289. John 14:23-31.
"Neither is he [Satan] truthful; he is the spirit of lies, who, by means of false fear and false comfort having the appearance of truth, both deceives and destroys. He possesses the art of filling his own victims with sweet comfort ; that is, he gives them unbelieving, arrogant, secure, impious hearts...He can even make them joyful; furthermore, he renders them haughty and proud in their opinions, in their wisdom and self-made personal holiness; then no threat nor terror of God's wrath and of eternal damnation moves them, but their hearts grow harder than steel or adamant."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31.
"Again, with truly pious hearts, which in many respects are timid and tender, his [Satan's] practice is just the opposite. He tortures them with everything terrible that can be imagined, martyring and piercing them as with fiery darts, until they may find no good thing nor comfort before God. His object in both cases is to ruin souls by means of his lies and to lead them to eternal death."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31
"Therefore, let God's Word be of more authority to you than your own feelings and the judgment of the whole world; do not give God the lie and rob yourself of the Spirit of truth."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304. John 14:23-31.
"In the eyes of the world, and even in her own estimation, she has not the appearance of a prosperous and well ordered organization; rather she is a scattered group of poor, miserable orphans, without leader, protection or help upon earth. All the world laughs at her and ridicules her as a great fool in thinking that she is the Church and comprises the people of God. Furthermore, each individual is so burdened and oppressed in his need and suffering as to feel that no one else lies so low or is so far from help as he."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304f. John 14:23-31.
"It will not do for individuals to formulate their own ideas of conduct, act accordingly and then say that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 320. John 14:23-31.
"Secondly, it is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken beforehand, and that afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the Word. One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but one who comes with and through the Word and goes no farther than the Word goes."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 329. John 14:23-31.
"We hear God's Word, which is in fact the preaching of the Holy Spirit, who is at all times present with it, but it does not always at once reach the heart and be accepted by faith; yea, in the case of those who are moved by the Holy Spirit and gladly receive the Word, it does not at once bear fruit."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 330. John 14:23-31.
"Likewise, in the matter of preaching, we must make selection that order may be preserved. But since all who are Christians have authority to preach, what will be the outcome? for women will also want to preach. No so. St. Paul forbids women to put themselves forward as preachers in a congregation of men and says: They should be subject to their husbands."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 375. 1 Timothy 2:11-12.
"Paul does not speak of opposing or antagonistic doctrines, but of those placed beside the true doctrine; they are additions, making divisions. Paul calls it a rival doctrine, an addition, an occasion of stumbling, an offense and a byway, when on establishes the conscience upon his own goodness or deeds. Now the Gospel is sensitive, complete and pre-eminent: it must be intolerant of additions and rival teachings."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 376. Romans 16:16-17.
"The world desires such wolf preaching, and is not worthy of anything better since it will not hear nor respect Christ. Hence it is that there are so few true Christians and faithful preachers, always outnumbered by the members of the false church."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 385. Deuteronomy 29:19.
"For you do not find Him; He finds you. For the preachers come from Him, not from you. Your faith comes from Him, not from you. And everything that works faith within you comes from Him, not from you."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 345. Matthew 21:1-9.
"(3) Hollazius (ib.): 'The Word of God, as such, cannot be conceived of without the divine virtue, or the Holy Spirit, who is inseparable from His Word. For if the Holy Spirit could be separated from the Word of God, it would not be the Word of God or of the Spirit, but a word of man. Nor is there any other Word of God, which is in God, or with which the men of God have been inspired, than that which is given in the Scriptures or is preached or is treasured up in the human mind. But, as it cannot be denied that that is the divine will, counsel, mind, and the wisdom of God, so it cannot be destitute of the divine virtue or efficacy.'"
Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1899, p. 505.
"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."
Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.
"Mrs. Barnhill looked at me and said, with such a loving look in her gray eyes, 'Oh, Grace, Christ said, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,' and, my dear, you have no way of approach to a holy God unless you come through Christ, His Son, as your Saviour.' "The Scripture which she quoted," Mrs. Fuller continues, "was the Sword of the Spirit, and at that moment Unitarianism was killed forever in my heart. I saw the light like a flash and believed at that moment, though I said nothing. She had quoted God's Word, the Spirit had used it, and, believing, I instantly became a new creation in Christ Jesus. She might have talked and even argued with me about it, but instead she just used the Word." [conversion of Mrs. Grace Fuller, wife of Charles Fuller, Old Fashioned Revival Hour broadcast, founder of Fuller Seminary]
J. Elwin Wright, The Old Fashioned Revival Hour and the Broadcasters, Boston: The Fellowship Press, 1940, p. 54.

The Last Day of the Old World

Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, now a museum, remains one of the oldest and largest churches in the world.

Something to think about today -

The Fall of Constantinople

The assault began after midnight, on the 29th of May, A.D. 1453. Wave after wave the attackers charged. Battle cries, accompanied by the sound of drums, trumpets and fifes, filled the air. The bells of the city churches began ringing frantically. Orders, screams and the sound of trumpets shattered the night. First came the irregulars, an unreliable, multinational crowd of both Christians and Moslems, attracted by the opportunity of enriching themselves by looting the great city, the last capital of the Roman Empire. They attacked throughout the line of fortifications and they were massacred by the tough professionals, who were fighting under the orders of Giustiniani. The battle lasted two hours and the irregulars withdrew in disorder, leaving behind an unknown number of dead and wounded.

Next came the Anatolian troops of Ishak Pasha. They tried to storm the stockades. They fought tenaciously, desperately trying to break through the compact ranks of the defenders. The narrow area in which fighting went on helped the defenders. They could hack left and right with their maces and swords and shoot missiles onto the mass of attackers without having to aim. A group of attackers crashed through a gap and for a moment it seemed that they could enter the city. They were assaulted by the Emperor and his men and were soon slain. This second attack also failed.

But now came the Janissaries, disciplined, professional, ruthless warriors, superbly trained, ready to die for their master, the Sultan. They assaulted the now exhausted defenders, pushing their way over bodies of dead and dying Moslem and Christian soldiers. With tremendous effort the Greek and Italian fighters were hitting back and continued repulsing the enemy. Then a group of enemy soldiers unexpectedly entered the city from a small sally port called Kerkoporta, on the wall of Blachernae, where this wall joined the triple wall. Fighting broke out near the small gate with the defenders trying to eliminate the intruders.

It was almost day now, the first light, before sunrise, when a shot fired from a culverin hit Giustiniani. The shot pierced his breastplate and he fell on the ground. Shaken by his wound and physically exhausted, his fighting spirit collapsed. Despite the pleas of the Emperor, who was fighting nearby, not to leave his post, the Genoese commander ordered his men to take him off the battlefield. A gate in the inner wall was opened for the group of Genoese soldiers, who were carrying their wounded commander, to come into the city. The soldiers who were fighting near the area saw the gate open, their comrades carrying their leader crossing into the city, and they though that the defense line had been broken.

They all rushed through the gate leaving the Emperor and the Greek fighters alone between the two walls. This sudden movement did not escape the attention of the Ottoman commanders. Frantic orders were issued to the troops to concentrate their attack on the weakened position. Thousands rushed to the area. The stockade was broken. The Greeks were now squeezed by crowds of Janissaries between the stockade and the wall. More Janissaries came in and many reached the inner wall.

Meanwhile more were pouring in through the Kerkoporta, where the defenders had not been able to eliminate the first intruders. Soon the first enemy flags were seen on the walls. The Emperor and his commanders were trying frantically to rally their troops and push back the enemy. It was too late. Waves of Janissaries, followed by other regular units of the Ottoman army, were crashing through the open Gates, mixed with fleeing and slaughtered Christian soldiers. Then the Emperor, realizing that everything was lost, removed his Imperial insignia, and followed by his cousin Theophilus Palaeologus, the Castilian Don Francisco of Toledo, and John Dalmatus, all four holding their swords, charged into the sea of the enemy soldiers, hitting left and right in a final act of defiance. They were never seen again.

Now thousands of Ottoman soldiers were pouring into the city. One after the other the city Gates were opened. The Ottoman flags began appearing on the walls, on the towers, on the Palace at Blachernae. Civilians in panic were rushing to the churches. Others locked themselves in their homes, some continued fighting in the streets, and crowds of Greeks and foreigners were rushing towards the port area. The allied ships were still there and began collecting refugees. The Cretan soldiers and sailors, manning three towers near the entrance of the Golden Horn, were still fighting and had no intention of surrendering. At the end, the Ottoman commanders had to agree to a truce and let them sail away, carrying their arms.

The excesses that followed during the early hours of the Ottoman victory are described in detail by eyewitnesses. They were, and unfortunately still are, a common practice, almost a ritual, among all armies capturing enemy strongholds and territory after a prolonged and violent struggle. Thus, bands of soldiers now began looting and murdering at will. Doors were broken, private homes were looted, their tenants massacred. Shops in the city markets were looted. Monasteries and Convents were broken into. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on. The troops had to satisfy themselves. The great doors of Saint Sophia were forced open, and crowds of angry soldiers came in and fell upon the unfortunate worshippers, butchering them all. Pillaging and killing in the holy place went on for hours.

Similar was the fate of worshippers in most churches in the city. Everything that could be taken from the splendid buildings was taken by the new masters of the Imperial capital. Icons were destroyed, and precious manuscripts were lost forever. Thousands of civilians were enslaved; soldiers fought over young boys and young women. Death and enslavement did not distinguish among social classes. Nobles and peasants were treated with equal ruthlessness.

In some distant neighborhoods, especially near the sea walls in the sea of Marmora, such as Psamathia, but also in the Golden Horn at Phanar and Petrion, local fishermen opened the gates, and while the enemy soldiers were pouring into the city, local magistrates negotiated successfully their surrender to Hamza Bey’s officers. Their act saved the lives of their fellow citizens. Furthermore their churches were not desecrated. Meanwhile, the crews of the Ottoman fleet abandoned their ships to rush into the city. They were worried that the land army was going to take everything. The collapse of discipline gave the Christian ships time to sail out of the Golden Horn. Venetian, Genoese, and Greek ships, loaded with refugees, some of them having reached the ships swimming from the city, sailed away to freedom. On one of the Genoese vessels was Giustiniani. He was taken from the boat at Chios where he died from his wound, a few days later.

The Sultan, with his top commanders and his guard of Janissaries, entered the city in the afternoon of the first day of occupation. Constantinople was finally his and he intended to make it the capital of his mighty Empire. He toured the ruined city. He visited Saint Sophia, which he ordered to be turned into a mosque. He also ordered an end to the killing. What he saw was desolation, destruction, death in the streets, ruins, and desecrated churches. It was too much. It is said that, as he rode through the streets of the former capital of the Christian Roman Empire, moved to tears he murmured: “What a city we have given over to plunder and destruction.”

The Fall of Constantinople marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of a new epoch in Europe. Many Greek scholars moved to Italy, initiating there the development of European Humanism, while the legal succession of Byzantium and leadership of the Orthodox Church were transferred to Tsardom and the “3rd Rome” in Moscow. Finally, by losing access to the Black Sea, Europe was deprived of the land route to India; the search for a new sea route brought about the overseas discoveries of the Americas. Thus, the next day, May 30th, 1453, was the first day of a New World.

Pastor Paul Schmeling Memorial Service, May 29th; Funeral Service, May 30th

The Memorial service was conducted principally in the interest of the many young children in our pre-school (the majority of whom are not members), children in our congregation, and community, to help them understand what happened to Pastor -- who they knew from frequent contact with him. Pastor Joel Luetke was asked to preside this service, not only because of his relationship with Pastor, but also because he leads a District program called "Jesus Cares" -- a Gospel ministry to the mentally disabled -- and has quite a bit of experience reducing what can be complex for children to very simple words. An unofficial attendance estimate for this service is on the order of 325.

The Funeral service was presided by Paster Mark Schwertfeger (first half of the service) and Pastor Wayne Hilgendorf (second half of the service). Both are pastors from our District, and classmates of Pastor. Pastor Charles Degner, District President, served as preacher. All musicians were from our congregation, except the choir, which was a group of pastors from our District, and one of the trumpeters, who is a son of our congregation but is now an active member at another congregation along with his new wife and child. A more official count of attendance for this service is on the order of 575.

At most, our nave only seats 200 comfortably. To effectively serve all of the attendees with the Gospel, and provide a means for their participation in the services, four large television screens were placed in adjoining fellowship and banquet halls, in front of several hundred chairs which were set up in rows. Real time video was piped to the screens so that those seated in the chairs could participate in the services along with those in the nave.

Memorial Service for Rev. Paul Schmeling from Faith Evangelical Lutheran on Vimeo.

This is the link.

Funeral Service for Rev. Paul M. Schmeling from Faith Evangelical Lutheran on Vimeo.

Memories of Paul Schmeling from Faith Evangelical Lutheran on Vimeo.

Leonard Sweet Undercuts Barna Book

Leonard Sweet: "It's all a myth---that frog that slowly boils to death without realizing its environment has changed. Wikipedia smashes another illustration."

The Frog in the Kettle, by George Barna.


GJ - I know about that because I am Facebook friends with Sweet and Stetzer. I am one of the few Lutherans who could be friends with both men and not start a popcorn cathedral of rock (with huge grants and subsidies of course).

I am not at all surprised that Sweet does his research and citations from Wikipedia.

Anyone with a little experience around animals knows that God's creatures are much smarter than the average Church Shrinker.

One WELS member said to me, "Guess what? My WELS pastor is having us read a book - The Frog in the Kettle. Have you heard of it?"

I said, "Yes. And you are the frogs he wants to boil alive."

This clueless frog helped start a Rock N Roll congregation, which grew to 30 in attendance in only 3 years, thanks to enormous subsidies and the protection of his VP. His blog was so convincing that he erased every file and closed it down.

Dooming the WELS Schools

Slashing the budget has affected math classes already.

Someone commented by email that both budget proposals doom the two WELS prep schools, one sooner than the other. Others have noted that Martin Luther College's dependence on prep school candidates has tied its survival to the preps, perhaps even to Michigan Lutheran Seminary alone. In other words, the loss of MLS by itself would push MLC closer to the edge.

The closing of the preps began with Norm Berg squeezing every nickel he could to start more po' folks missions - with ugly little WEFs and misery salaries. He did not want to waste his mission money on congregations with parochial schools, so he cut out financial help for a new parochial school. He made the first unit so hideously cheap that WEF stood for "water, electricity, flush toilet" - because the four cardboard walls contained little else. He wanted salaries kept low so he could have more mission starts. (However, Berg threw tons of money at the building and staff of Coral Springs, Florida, a Church Growth experiment ending in the debt-ridden church closing and being sold to the Antichrist. Rumors claim it was Berg's only attractive mission unit.)

Berg studied at Fuller Seminary, along with everyone else in missions, but he claimed that never affected his thinking. Pastors filled me in on Berg's "new mission mode, felt-needs" and Kelm's role in hyping the Fuller fads.

Cutting out the mission parochial school funds meant that Dr. Martin Luther College no longer had a job to do. It was an unaccredited school designed to create parochial teachers for WELS - period.

Eventually most congregations would close their schools. That was not the only factor, but it was a significant move against the whole concept. Catholics and Missouri Lutherans had once thought, "We will handle our own education." The larger groups eventually began recruiting any child to fund teachers' salaries. In time, WELS turned to that style of marketing.

Church Growth gurus like Berg, Kelm, and Hartman were against schools, so they began changing the percentage allotments in the budget. That change started with Mischke. Each year the schools got less money as a portion of the national budget.

No one could miss the implied message from all the Fuller veterans: "Missions are good and make us look fine; schools are bad, costly, and selfish." No one stopped to think that such slogans came from Fuller - a school, one which transformed all American churches with its idiotic slogans based on false doctrine. Education does work that way. It could work the other way, if given the chance.

The money managers want people to think that the answer is more dollars, but the real issue is the pie-chart. Clueless Voss knew enough to show seminary graduates that the school portion had been cut in half, and that was in 1987.

Berg and the other Shrinkers doomed DMLC, so they had to stage a takeover of Northwestern College to justify the New Ulm school's existence. After ignoring everyone's opinion, lying, and flipping the final vote (amalgamation lost), NWC was closed. So was the Prairie prep (now a prison). I heard that $30 million was spent on these cost-saving measures. The announced total was $8 million. Gurgel even boasted that he would shut down the process if the price tag went over $8 million. ("The check is in the mail," and other fables.)

Merging two colleges worked like a charm. Two viable schools became one failing college, thanks to the pie slice shrinking and the parochial schools closing.

More money is not the answer. WELS losts its nerve some decades ago - under Naumann, Mischke, and Gurgel. The sect decided that the Babtists and Pentecostals had all the answers. Ape them and WELS would grow again. Copy false teachers and the birth drought would disappear. If the offering money spent on Fuller, Trinity Deerfield, and Willow Creek had been lavished on school scholarships or teachers' salaries, the situation would be different today.

Fuller Seminary also taught WELS to boost The Love Shack staff every time the synod got smaller. Just like Planned Parenthood (which McGavran boosted), WELS thought the answer to the problem was more of the same. So Gurgel-Mueller cranked up school tuition for cash flow, decimated the school population, and cackled over closing MLS. In aiming at MLS, irrationally hated by Wisconsin-dwelling WELSians, they hit both preps, the college, and the seminary.

No one thought about reducing The Love Shack expenses. And every new Wild Hair world mission project was hailed as an achievement rather than examined as a cost. Fuller - thou has conquered.

"Mom, are they going to zechs me? Will I have to befriend the Sprinter?
Why does papa grin about GA? Does that mean Gator-Aid?"


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dooming the WELS Schools":

OK, you've piqued my curiosity; what is "to zechs" and what is "GA?"


GJ - Zechsing is taken from the word sechstaner, originally the first year of prep school. Zechsing means the older classmates can impose upon, belittle, humiliate, physically and verbally abuse the first-year students. Some older students enjoy their time as bullies, repeating it in college and seminary. WELS has hazing rites all the way through, but I am not sure how many are done in the open now. GA is a not-so-secret seminary ritual where the first year students are manipulated for a week of mind games until they are sure a bunch of upper-classmen are out to get them for good. The Kinder (first-year students) break through the doors and find out it was all a joke. Some claim GA is gone or tamed, but another source tells me it went underground.

They claim GA creates unity, but in reality it creates conformity and a synod full of victims and bullies. How many synods can boast of a First VP who says, "When I get my hands on the guy who gave Greg Jackson that letter..."? That was said at a public meeting.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dooming the WELS Schools":

GA is not dead. It is underground, carried out by a select few who are deemed worthy and reliable enough not to talk about it with anyone else. The hazing still happens, but not to everyone, just to a select few.

The first year students who are selected for hazing are instructed afterward to carry the tradition on when they are in their final year.

Wendland can think it's dead if he wants. But it's not.