Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Excerpts from a sermon Martin Luther preached from his Wartburg Church Postil, 1521-1522:

...The Evangelist shows how, when they arrived at Bethlehem, they were the most insignificant and despised, so that they had to make way for others until they were obliged to take refuge in a stable, to share with the cattle, lodging, table, bedchamber and bed, while many a wicked man sat at the head in the hotels and was honored as lord. No one noticed or was conscious of what God was doing in that stable. He lets the large houses and costly apartments remain empty, lets their inhabitants eat, drink and be merry; but this comfort and treasure are hidden from them. 0 what a dark night this was for Bethlehem, that was not conscious of that glorious light! See how God shows that he utterly disregards what the world is, has or desires; and furthermore, that the world shows how little it knows or notices what God is, has and does.

See, this is the first picture with which Christ puts the world to shame and exposes all it does and knows. It shows that the world's greatest wisdom is foolishness, her best actions are wrong and her greatest treasures are misfortunes. What had Bethlehem when it did not have Christ? What have they now who at that time had enough? What do Joseph and Mary lack now, although at that time they had no room to sleep comfortably?

...Behold how very richly God honors those who are despised of men, and that very gladly. Here you see that his eyes look into the depths of humility, as is written, "He sitteth above the cherubim" and looketh into the depths. Nor could the angels find princes or valiant men to whom to communicate the good news; but only unlearned laymen, the most humble people upon earth. Could they not have addressed the high priests, who it was supposed knew so much concerning God and the angels? No, God chose poor shepherds, who, though they were of low esteem in the sight of men, were in heaven regarded as worthy of such great grace and honor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian Worship supplement

Earlier there was a post about CW. I thought I would open up discussion for those that have used the CW supplement.

Among other things there is a "new" confession that is used. I believe that it is also in the new LC-MS hymnal.

Here is a link to an article about this confession: (the confession is at the end)

Comments on any other portion of CW (supplement) are welcome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

U.S. News and World Report -- A Return to Tradition

From the "for what it's worth" department:

It seems that people have grown weary of the superficial and sappy contemporary worship trend of the last decade.

Do you think it is possible that a liturgical renewal can begin in the WELS?

(Can you believe it? US News even talks about weekly communion.) But we will leave this can of worms closed. US News talks about this return as "innovative." Maybe the Church and Change group will jump on the bandwagon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 Blog of the Year : )

I nominated 'Bailing Water' as the 2007 blog of the year. I said that you generated many comments and that you must be read by many persons.


Norman Teigen
ELS layman
(I am not Mr. Anonymous)

Introducing... The Lutheran Blog of the Year Award

The Lutheran Blog Directory will be honoring one blog with the distinction of "Lutheran Blog of the Year - 2007".

Voting is now open. Rules are as follows:

1. Vote only once
2. Do not vote for your own blog
3. Vote before January 1st, when I will tabulate results and announce the winner.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Article V - Means of Grace - OHM

Anonymous said... December 17, 2007 6:55 PM

I would like to hear someone actually respond to the statement that "to interpret AC V as a reference to the public ministry rather than to the means of grace" is to read more into the article than is there. The LCMS editors of "Concordia- the Lutheran Confessions" include the note "While the most direct concern of Article V is to confess the Holy Spirit's work through the means of grace, there is also in view, indirectly, the Office of the Ministry".
AC V --

Anon said:
"If you believe that AC V actually refers to the OHM and not the means of grace..."

I don't see anyone saying this. But in any case, the following comes from a recent WELS Q&A response:

"The small groups that have left the LCMS, like the other CLC (Concordia Lutheran Conference) and LCR, insist on a doctrine of the ministry that does not agree with Article V of the Augsburg Confession."

Maybe you should alert the Sem that one of their Q&A answering profs is a heretic, because he also seems to think that AC V pertains to the ministry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Wauwatosa Gospel

Awhile back a poster asked for discussion concerning the Wauwatosa theological perspective. I have done some reading on this topic and thought readers might be interested in clarify or commenting on this topic and "its impact on pastoral study, preaching, and teaching" (as discussed in a recent WELS paper cited below).

Here are a few sources I have located.


Here is a recent WELS blog on this topic:

"Between 1900-1929, three professors at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, reshaped the theological approach of the Wisconsin Synod, especially through their writing in the seminary's theological journal, Theologische Quartalschrift.....Professor John Philipp Koehler, Professor John Philipp Koehler, and Professor John Schaller."

Pastor Wayne Mueller’s dedicatory preface.... In the first 30 years of this century, these professors at the Wisconsin seminary in Wauwatosa refreshed the church with a direct appeal to the Bible."
From Charis:
Here is another recent paper:

This recent paper suggests that the Wauwatosa approach is: The Historical Grammatical Approach.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The True Lutheran Church


What are the marks of a confessional Lutheran church?

1) The pure preaching of the Word and right administration of the Sacraments are a mark of a confessional Lutheran church.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Evangelical-Lutheran Liturgical Congregations

Christian Worship.

RandomDan said...

It has often been said that WELS has the worst hymnal in all of Lutheranism. Let us discuss the bad and the good of our hymnal. Is the current hymnal good enough? Should we completely redo it? If alternatives are available, which would be best for our synod?

One of the more fascinating directions might be the development of Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, especially in light of the fact that the ELS had Christian Worship available to them.

December 6, 2007 7:38 AM

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Confessional WELS churches' Web sites

Anonymous said...

Could someone direct me to some confessional WELS churches' Web sites which have online sermons? I have several LCMS that I enjoy listening to (Petersen, Cwirla) and have been searching for some in Wisconsin. I know all say they are confessional, but ... nothing contemporary, please.



A woman serving on a church board

AP said...
I know this has been discussed before, so I thought some of your readers might find this interesting. This is the complete text of an answer given recently on the WELS Q&A in response to a question about a woman serving on a church board:

"WELS believes that women may participate in all the offices and activities of public gospel ministry where the service does not involve authority over men (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11,12)."

Has the WELS always taught this? Do your readers believe this?

It is also worth noting that this contradicts what the ELS says on the matter: "God has given the ministry of the Gospel to all believers; it is the office of the pastoral ministry that he has restricted to qualified men" and "...when Scripture refers to one who officiates at the Word and sacrament liturgy it speaks in male terms (1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 4:13). Therefore women shall not read the Scripture lessons in the divine service, preach the sermon, adminster Baptism or distribute the Lord's Supper, for these things are intimately related to the pastoral office (1 Timothy 4:13-14, 1 Corinthians 4:1)."

"Bible Studies for Wemon" (sic)

Since Mr. Grammarian has been so helpful here, I thought that the Church and Change group might seek his advice on their site.

Monday, December 3, 2007

LCMS - thread (by request)

Anonymous said...

Let's start with an officially sanctioned and distributed LCMS worship service promoting their Ablaze! program.

That's the link. Make sure you check out the official contemporary worship options, including a praise band playing "I Am Here to Worship" and "Shine Jesus Shine". The person who had such a problem with a confession not mentioning "three days" will want to note that the Ablaze! confession doesn't mention the resurrection at all. I also like the suggestion that a "worship leader" pray spontaneously throughout the service.

There's plenty more too. Check it out! Whoever said that LCMS members should worry about the plank instead of the speck was right on.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Members not allowed

The "new" perspective on ministry is to do away with church membership. Several WELS churches no longer claim members but rather partners. Membership is too inclusive and has an elitist connotation. So the latest trend is to turn members into partners. So what are the ramifications?

Remember churchianity is also being taught. Is it time to move the worship service from the sanctuary into homes?

More on Communion

www.Connected to Jesus
We are connected to Jesus individually and personally in the Lord's Supper. But we are also connected to each other.
....FIC - John Braun - 12/07
This Supper is not just a memorial meal for everyone to join in. Scripture makes that clear when it speaks of “proclaiming the Lord’s death,” receiving the Sacrament “in an unworthy manner,” and eating and drinking “without recognizing the body of the Lord” and instead of forgiveness receiving “judgment” (
1 Corinthians 11:26-29). A person must know what the Sacrament is all about. This sacrament is different than Baptism. Baptism initiates faith and is the entry point for most believers, including children. But this sacrament is for believers who know and who have been instructed.

The apostle Paul also reminded Christians to examine themselves before coming to the Lord’s Table. This sacrament is not meant for those who cannot “examine themselves” Those coming to the altar must be able to reflect on who they are and what they are about to do. Children and those with certain diminished mental abilities should not attend. Simply, communicants must be able to examine themselves lest they do something they don’t know and understand—lest they receive the Sacrament “without recognizing the body of the Lord.”

How is this done? Luther said that only faith makes us ready to receive the Sacrament. His question was “Who then, is properly prepared to receive this Sacrament?” His answer was the answer of the Scriptures: “. . . he is properly prepared who has faith in these words ‘Given’ and ‘poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins’ ” (The Reception of Holy Communion, Luther’s Small Catechism). .....

Does our faith merit us worthy of the Lord's Supper? J.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WELS Fellowship

Feel free to address the issue that is important to you. (I have updated the opening post on Fellowship)
Here's something. The material below came from a recent WELS Q&A.

Q: I am the volleyball coach for our WELS school team. We have combined our sports teams with a neighboring Missouri Synod church due to the fact that neither of us have enough students for form our own teams. I would like to have a short prayer with myself and our team before each match simply asking God to help us remember proper sportsmanship and the like. Is it wrong for us to pray with others, even small children (grades 3-6), if they are not WELS?


A: There are a lot of questions you have to address in order to answer your question.

The first is why does the Bible tell us to not join together in worship with those individuals and groups that hold to false teachings? The primary reason is to give a clear testimony against falsehood. A secondary reason is to not entangle ourselves with false teachings and false connections. What will give a clear testimony in this case?

Why are we not able to be in fellowship with the Missouri Synod nor they with us? What is the position of this Missouri Synod congregation to the teachings that separate us from them and to the sharp internal divisions in the LCMS? Do they reject any of our teachings and practices as false? Since the Missouri Synod has an unscriptural position on prayer fellowship, do we have to be especially careful in this case?

Whose teams and whose prayers are these? There is no reason we cannot pray our own prayers when others are present as we do when we have visitors at VBS or Sunday school or church. But do you have a right, for example, to give a table prayer at someone else's house when you are a guest? Can we impose our prayers on others? What if the joint team was with Catholics or non-Christians? Would you still have the prayer then? Would the other parties then have the right to lead our team in prayer?

When children are involved, is our responsibility to avoid offense less of an issue or is it greater? If prayer in this situation is okay with 3rd to 6th graders, what about 7th and 8th or teens? What if this is an adult league? Is the only factor here the effect on the children or is it the testimony to the congregations?

If this joint team is cooperation in an external thing, why do you feel a need to introduce your prayer for the group? Why can't each person just have his or her own silent prayer?

What did the pastors and boards of the two churches say when you asked them about this? What understanding did they have when they set up the joint teams? Are you introducing an unnecessary complication to the arrangement?

All of these are questions you should be discussing locally in order to answer your question.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How Lutheran Are You?

www.How Lutheran Are You?

This unscientific quiz does not necessarily represent the view of all Lutherans (or even those in the WELS).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

What a wonderful time to pause and reflect upon the blessings that our Heavenly Father has given each of us. I am thankful that a remnant remains faithful to God's Word and our Lutheran Confessions. I'm thankful that I have stumbled upon a Lutheran church that offers the Holy Supper every week (yes it is WELS). I'm thankful that I'm apart of the church militant and pray that others will join the fight for salvation.
Guest comments:
Anonymous said...

I just wanted everyone to know that this Thanksgiving I will be thanking God for the WELS and for all of the wonderful things that he does through the WELS. I invite all of you to do the same.

November 21, 2007 10:44 AM

Anonymous said...

I will be thanking God for the "Holy Christian Church" this Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2007 11:45 AM

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping the discussion alive.

I truly believe the focus at the recent WELS convention was about money not the theological issues that plague the WELS. If these aren't addressed the water will keep pouring in.

August 28, 2007 12:59 PM

Feel free to add your Thanksgiving blessing.

(I was thinking about giving out a Madden drumstick award to the most original comment posted ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


There is still time to enter the WELS hymn writing contest. A chance to win $300 and you may even have your very own hymn tune in the next WELS hymnal.

"Kumbaya, my Lord"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Synodical Council meeting highlights

The President's Newsletter -

The Synodical Council (SC) met on Nov. 2-3, its first meeting since the synod convention last summer.

Year of Jubilee offering

The Synodical Council decided that all offerings received for the synod’s debt in the Year of Jubilee offering will be used toward the principal of the debt, which will reduce the length of time for repayment. This is similar to what happens when you make additional principal payments on your home: your payments don’t decrease, but the length of time before your home is paid off is shortened. We’re pleased that offerings have already begun to arrive for this effort, even though it does not officially begin until next summer.

Other actions of the SC

  • Established a compensation committee to review synodical salaries.
  • Approved a proposal to conduct an independent study of our program for health care coverage.
  • Released funds for the MLC chapel project.
  • Combined and restructured the synod’s capital debt.
  • Approved a revised “Support Forecast” based on indications of increased offerings and improving financial conditions.

SC okays synod debt consolidation

At the Synodical Council meeting Nov. 2-3 in Milwaukee, Wis., a proposal was approved to consolidate the synod’s four debts, totaling $22.4 million, into one single debt.

The move helps reduce confusion over the variety of interest rates and a feeling of inequity—a feeling among some that the Board for Ministerial Education was carrying a disproportionate share, $15.1 million, of the debt load. Now the entire debt will be consolidated into one line item in the synod’s general operating budget.

Even though all but $7 million of the debt is from internal borrowing from synod special funds, the loans must be paid back to honor donor intent.

The four debts are as follows:

  • $7.3 million—for costs associated with the amalgamation of Dr. Martin Luther College and Northwestern College, and Martin Luther Prep School and Northwestern Prep in 1995.
  • $7.3 million—for operational borrowing for 2001-03.
  • $6.9 million—for the boiler house at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minn., and the science wing at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw, Mich.
  • $900,000—for a dormitory at Luther Preparatory School in Watertown, Wis.

The consolidated debt will be repaid over 10 years at four percent interest. The annual payment will be $2.7 million, an amount which will result in $550,000 in savings for the 2008-09 fiscal year budget.

http://www.wels newsletter

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Now?

It has been almost 3 months since I took over the "Bailing Water" blog. I thought that there was a true need for lay people and called workers to come together and discuss important synodical issues. It was my hope that this blog would provide one avenue for this process. I believe that this blog has begun an important process that may help in dealing with diverse perspectives that have arisen in the synod. I truly believe that there are many issues that plague the synod and need clarification and discussion. I believe that the Church and Change camp has taken a minority control of the synod. I also firmly believe that the majority of clergy in the WELS are confessionally sound but "synodically" afraid to take a stand against those that promote Methodist methods such as effective and efficacious.

However, I have some major work projects that need my full attention for the next few weeks. Posting and moderating does take time. The last few weeks comments have dropped a bit so I wonder if interest is wavering.

So is there a reader who would like to continue the process?

Does "Bailing Water" need a vacation?

Is "Bailing Water" a beneficial discussion board for the WELS?

I do appreciate your comments.

(oh..a few errors on the folow-up page have been corrected...) and change Folow up)
November 14, 2007 5:03 PM
John said...

Back on the original topic, I have decided to continue the blog. I appreciate the open, diverse, and honest opinions. This blog has allowed me an opportunity to struggle with important Scriptural issues.

I will try to work with randomdan offline to see if it is possible to format a discussion board. In the meantime I will continue posting as time permits. I do appreciate the suggestions (rnn - I will open a topic on Wauwatosa theology soon).

Do feel free to go where the discussion leads. If you have a new topic I will just cut and paste your comment as a new blog post. By all means if you have a "hot" button issue or a "newsworthy" item please post it.

I will allow the comments to post automatically. This does help me immensely but beware that spam or trolls may post a comment. So I will monitor the comments as time permits. For the one or two that suggested the blog go on a permanent vacation I guess you can keep posting or not return to this site.

November 14, 2007 5:03 PM

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Guest review on the '07 C & C Conference

wswelstar said...

I was at church and change. I thought the conference was wonderful and very encouraging. I told people who asked me that it was like a ministry candy store- so many wonderful ideas for sharing the gospel.

I went to JP's workshop. I thought it was insightful and well done.

I thought the keynote speaker also said some insightful things. He also gave good reasons for change. There was a doctrinal survey of our people that was done recently. The results were disappointing.

Was anyone else present at C&C 07 that can add to the discussion? I'd be happy to try to answer any other questions.

Who's the guy who thinks Church and Change is divisive by its name alone? Why do you think that?

Pastor Fred Guldberg
Star of Bethlehem
Winston Salem, NC

Monday, November 5, 2007

Effective vs. Efficacious - explained

Below is an explanation of the 3 relevancy scenarios from the Church and Change presenter.

1. Information that does not address your felt need is perceived as irrelevant. For example offering an investment seminar for a congregation of young people who carry a great deal of credit card debt. Yes, they will need investment planning in the future but their immediate need will be getting a handle on their debt.

2. Informaton that you aren’t convinced you will ever need is perceived as irrelevant. For example, people who volunteer to lead a small group Bible study may understand they need biblical training but not training in group dynamics. After one meeting, they then realize they need some training in group dynamics and realize it is very relevant.

3. An uncomfortable context can distract us to the point where we perceive relevant information as irrelevant. For example, distracting church decor, cleanliness issues, bad PA, too cold, no nursing mom, or a confusing worship format.

To be relevant . . .

1. We have to be aware of current felt needs.

2. We need to elevate the awareness of unfelt needs (sin, need for a Savior, real purpose in life) of our audience before we start to address these needs.

3. We need to address needs in a way that people consider helpful.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Don't confuse "effective" with "efficacious".

Currently the Church and Change group is responding to the recent article --
A Shocking “Confession” from Willow Creek Community Church
By Bob Burney
Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Here is a post from the C&C discussion board. This WELS C&C presenter wants to be sure "effective" and "efficacious" are not confused.

Don't confuse "effective" with "efficacious"
. The Gospel is timelessly efficacious, the church and its
representatives may or may not be effective. I pray we are all seeking better methods of delivering God's truth. The Means of Grace demand an audience.

We do want to seek to be effective as we share THE efficacious. To fail to differentiate these two will likely cause one to either fall into the liberal left ditch of "Church Growth Theology" or into the loveless right ditch of "Us Four, No More, Shut the Door" or "All I Have To Be Is Faithful" mentality. If it is not important for us to be effective communicators and ambassadors of THE efficacious in our 21st Century culture, then the Seminary needs to stop requiring homiletics and education classes (I have a hunch that's also why we switched from German to English and today translate our materials into Spanish).

The WillowCreek study was to examine how to help people better mature in their faith -- the very thing Scripture wants all of us to do. I believe we would all agree with this same need for self-examination in our own churches and church body.

Below are the three senarios I had used at the C & C conference as I discussed relevance.

Three scenarios

1. You are on the side of the road with a flat tire and someone pulls up behind you, pops open his trunk and approaches you with a set of jumper cables . . . .

2. The previous week, your boss offered an optional seminar in the parking lot on tire-changing techniques and roadside safety . . . .

3. You’re on the side of the road with a flat tire at night and a car pulls up behind you. Three really big, scary looking guys jump out speaking a foreign language . . .

Church and Changer presenter - jp

Friday, November 2, 2007

A New Poll

A new scientific poll has been constructed by a guest WELS pollster.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The most important or controversial issue facing the WELS today?

The results are in from the very valid and scientific blog poll. You can expect a detailed research report in a future issue of Charis. The author will discuss how these numbers will impact the future growth of the WELS.

Maybe what this research shows is that
"the name (Church and Change) itself should tell us something is wrong here."

The Church and Change Group 36 (47%)

Other 20 (26%)
The current financial crisis 14 (18%)

Educational system 6 (7%)

76 total votes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Conference Folow-up page

Mr. Grammarian please help! We most certainly appreciate how you have helped us understand the basics of the English language here on Bailing Water.

I would like to invite you to drop in on the church and change website.

http://www.the conference folow up page

I think that they could use your services too! Scroll down just a bit to folow up. Is this a Freudian slip?

The Lord's Supper

A new thread about the Lord's Supper has started so I have opened up a new post. (post your comments on this topic here)

Devil's Advocate said...

Oh, so technically then we should have Communion every Saturday...the Lord did not change the Sabbath. I think we should banish worship on Sundays as it is just not Biblical. We should also not call Sunday the "Lord's Day" because it technically isn't.

October 29, 2007 8:43 PM
UP said...

"Oh, so technically then we should have Communion every Saturday...the Lord did not change the Sabbath. I think we should banish worship on Sundays as it is just not Biblical. We should also not call Sunday the "Lord's Day" because it technically isn't."

That is an insult to the devil's intelligence. If that's the best you can do, I feel sorry for you.

Take a look at Colossians 2:16-17. Note that Paul writes, "the reality, however, is found in Christ." Christ is the fulfillment of the OT Sabbath laws. I learned that in Sunday school. Surprised you didn't.

I seem to recall Jesus calling himself the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12, Luke 6)

Since Christ rose on a Sunday, I think we can call it the Lord's Day. Seems most of the rest of the Christian church through the last 2,000 years agrees with me.

No, you don't HAVE TO have communion every Sunday. You don't have to breathe every Sunday either. Why would you not want to receive the gift of our Savior's Body and Blood given for the forgiveness of your sins, life, and salvation? Even if you feel no need for the Sacrament every Sunday, the comment above yours says "offer the Sacrament every Lord's Day", not force devil's advocate to receive the Sacrament every Lord's Day. So, even if you do not receive the Sacrament every Lord's Day, why would you deny it to the rest of the congregation?


October 30, 2007 8:12 AM
Devil's Advocate said...

"That is an insult to the devil's intelligence. If that's the best you can do, I feel sorry for you."

No need to feel sorry for me or the devil's intelligience(and let's be honest folks, he wasn't the brightest bulb that ever burnt when he attempted to "tempt" Jesus), I was being sarcastic, but thanks for the sympathy, though it's not needed.

The desire for the Sacrament every Sunday as I am reading it here is becoming a bit legalistic--almost like it is someway makes you more holy if you take it every time its offered. Remember, that even if it is offered every Sunday to be careful to examine yourself--after all you can take it to your damnation if you take it in an unworthy be careful.

Devil's Advocate said...

"Take a look at Colossians 2:16-17. Note that Paul writes, "the reality, however, is found in Christ." Christ is the fulfillment of the OT Sabbath laws. I learned that in Sunday school. Surprised you didn't.

I seem to recall Jesus calling himself the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12, Luke 6)

Since Christ rose on a Sunday, I think we can call it the Lord's Day. Seems most of the rest of the Christian church through the last 2,000 years agrees with me." because *you think* it is appropriate because Jesus rose on Sunday, it is therefore the new "Sabbath" day. Interesting that you would insult my intelligence because I am suppose to based my beliefs off of what you "think."

I actually worship on Sunday. I have not issue with it, but technically it isn't the "Sabbath" day as defined by God. Sunday is the day we choose to worship. Since I believe the 3rd Commandment is about worshiping God and setting time apart to focus on my God, I have no issue with saying that Saturday is the Sabbath technically, but we may worship on any day of the week. Any day that we choose to worship is the "Lord's Day" matter if it is Monday, Wednesday, etc.

If that is true....then shouldn't we have communion everyday? Why is it that we should only have it once a week? Is that truly enough? Why is it that once a week is more "godly" than twice a month...if we use that train of thought that wouldn't it be better to have it offered daily?

As for church history. There is a significant evidence that there was a time where communion was only celebrated once a we ignore that part of church history simply because we don't like it?

October 30, 2007 8:17 AM

mav said...

"examine yourself"

Just curious, what do you think this means?

Devil's Advocate said...

"examine yourself"

Just curious, what do you think this means?"

What does it mean to you?

To me it means focusing on what communion is, repenting of all your sins...etc. Focusing on the real reason for the Sacrament and not just to fufill a legalistic rule in my head that I have to take it when it is offered or I am sinning...the Sacrament is important to me and I refuse to judge another's "faith" based on how often they take it. We've got plenty of people in the pews at our church keeping tabs of who does or does not take's nice of them to help God out don't you think (and yes that was sarcasm)?

Anonymous said...


I think this is a meet, right and salutary topic. I think your fellow, kind bloggers would benefit greatly from reading this article on the Supper of our Lord. It certainly enriched me.

There are wonderful Scriptural truths that are revealed here that are not often heard in our midst.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Come To the WELS

I’m sure most of you received Rev. JD Liggett's letter from the office of the WELS Ministry of Christian Giving. Rev. JD Liggett is the synod official in charge of raising funds apart from CMOs. There are well over a dozen full-time district fundraisers.

http://www.christian giving counselors

Liggett states that this solicitation is part of an effort to build an endowment of $300 million dollars by 2018. Liggett believes this goal is attainable because "predictions are that during the coming years our country will see the largest transfer of wealth ever to take place – as much as $45 trillion passing to the next generation”. The letter states that the Schwan Foundation will match giving dollar for dollar. However, a special yellow insert written after the letter was printed said the dollar for dollar match was up to $500,000 and that number has already been met from one large estate gift. So your dollar won’t be matched.

Two endowments were established last October: Mission and Ministerial Education.

More explanation about this fundraising is part of this month's WELS connection. I know how much you all love the catchy jingle..”Come to the ……”

http://www.come to the wels

I have always been a bit skeptical about the solicitation of money by fulltime fundraisers. Jesus himself wasn’t too loving to the Pharisees.

.. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer; therefore ye shall receive the greater...” Matt. 23:14


comment -

Anonymous said...

This post and its thread seem to be coming to an end. While those of us still here wait for the promised response from Pseudonym, and while I wait for somebody to give me a reason why priesthood and ministry are the same thing, here is something to pass the time:


(Let's see how my HTML knowledge is and if this turns into a link--if not, my apologies to Randomdan. And, doubtless my lack of computer expertise would discredit everything I have written on this site.)

Or, of course, we can jump into the every sunday communion fray. I'd like to stay here until the promised answers arrive, and pass the time with Songs of Praise in the Church of England--or at least the parody of it above.

(Where were you last week?)


Friday, October 26, 2007

AZ/CA Fall 2007 report: - DP Janke

"I attended the ELS-WELS Forum on September 28 as the COP’s representative. The main subject of the forum was “Women Communing Women.” Concerns about this practice arose in both the WELS and the ELS after one WELS congregation called MLC female staff ministry interns to administer communion to female shut-ins. After review of the practice by the COP, the congregation was asked not to continue having women commune women. The congregation complied with the request. The COP conceded in its January 2005 statement on this issue that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this matter, but concluded that for numerous reasons it was not wise to continue having women commune women.

It’s apparent now that the COP’s call to refrain because the practice is “not wise” is not as strong a statement as some in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod were hoping to hear. According the 2006 ELS Synod Report, the ELS has urged its Doctrine Committee, “To continue its discussions with the CICR on the matter of women communing women noting that we unanimously agree that Scripture clearly teaches that women are not to be in the pastoral office, because this presiding office includes the exercise of authority over men (1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-12). Also, when Scripture refers to one who officiates at the word and sacrament liturgy it speaks in male terms (1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 4:13). Therefore women shall not read the Scripture lessons in the divine service, preach the sermon, administer Baptism or distribute the Lord’s Supper, for these things are intimately related to the pastoral office.” (Underlining mine) WELS, through its Commission on Inter-Church Relations, clearly needs to continue talking with our brothers in the ELS on this matter, but I hope it’s also clear that we in the WELS—even if there were no concerns from the ELS—are not in a position to have women read Scripture lessons in worship or to have women commune women."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Synod Issues

A few readers have suggested that I am neglecting important synod issues on this blog. Therefore, I have listed a poll on the right side of the page. Please indicate which topic you believe is the most important or controversial issue facing the WELS today. If I didn’t list your choice please leave a comment about what you see as the most important issue facing the WELS.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dr. Mark Braun's comment in a larger context

I have followed up on Dr. Mark Braun's sermon statement. Dr. Braun had written a longer article about change in CHARIS which is no longer being published. The article written does cite Rev. Bartling as the source for the quote, but in the CHARIS article Dr. Braun does not offer a comment or opinion on Pastor Bartling's statement nor did he in the sermon.

[1] Mark Bartling, “WELS Pastor Says His Church Being Misled by False Theology,” Christian News 43 (November 7, 2005): 1, 10; cited by Mark Braun, “Changes in the Wisconsin Synod,” CHARIS 5 (Lent 2006): 24;

Pastor Bartling and Dr. Braun have communicated regularly. However, they have not spoken directly about the CHARIS statement or the sermon statement.

Dr. Braun did not attend the C&C conference and was only there to give the closing sermon and did not intend the statement to be a joke (and was surprised when they did laugh). We don't always know how the audience or reader will react.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Church and Change group is not divisive – Dr. Mark Braun

In his closing sermon at the Church and Change conference Dr. Mark Braun jokes about Rev. Mark Bartling’s understanding of the Church and Change group.
(if this link doesn't work go the churchandchange site and follow the audio link to the sermon)

In his sermon, Dr. Braun says that he recognizes that over the last decade groups in the WELS have become polarized. He even says that “Birds of a feather flock together” (there you go again..oh those Magpies). He further says that these organized groups could be called an ecclesiastical version of political action groups.

Rev. Braun then quotes Rev. Mark Bartling’s article from the Christian News in which Rev. Bartling said “we now have an official group in the WELS entitled Church and Change. The name itself should tell you something is wrong here.”

Dr. Braun pauses in his sermon and the Church and Change congregation erupts in laughter (at the expense of a nameless WELS pastor)

Dr. Braun goes on with his sermon and says he would like to ask this (nameless) pastor (who we know as the Rev. Bartling), “what is wrong here? Is it that we can’t put church and change in the same sentence? or the same title? Is it that if it is the church it can not change and if there is change it better not be in the church!?”

I wonder why he didn’t ask Rev. Bartling these questions directly instead of in a Conference sermon…hmmm.

Dr. Braun’s sermon goes on to emphasis the changeless Gospel in a changing church. I would invite you to listen to this quote and the entire sermon in context and post your responses.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Church and Change claims Synodical approval

WELS President Schroeder Excited for Church and Change.
(look under the headlines portion of their grandiose web page)

The Church and Change group is claiming the conference was a huge success. I wonder how they are measuring their success?

update -- (Saturday evening)

After doing a bit of research on this issue here is how I see what has happened:

Shortly after the convention, President Schroeder quoted a convention resolution in his letter to pastors and teachers. The convention resolution quoted in the letter called for expanded efforts in world and home missions using both traditional and innovative means. The convention resolution was referring to recent new programs such as daughter missions and out reach programs to ethnic minorities. This resolution was not a blanket endorsement of all “innovative” approaches. The Church and Change leadership must have reached the conclusion that because of the letter to all called workers President Schroeder is “excited” about the Church and Change efforts. I believe that this inaccurate statement on the Church and Change site must be and will be removed.


update -- Sunday 5:30pm CDT

The innacurate claim that President Schroeder is excited is now gone from the Church and Change website.



LM said...

"I am interested in an honest review of the keynote speaker and any workshops if someone was in attendance."

I'd like to see this too. The C&C website has an audio clip of the closing service--I wonder if anyone made audio recordings of the workshops. I'm especially interested in learning more about Pr. Parlow's workshop. The C&C materials say:

"Explore tansferable principles that will help you build a church for outsiders to come to and hear truth that makes a difference now and for eternity. Now is the time to shed ethnic rationalizations, personal preferences, and doomsday attitutdes that are offered as excuses for outreach failures."

I'd like to know what he means by "transferable principles." I've read some his sermons, and I have to say, statements like "The Christian life is a journey closer and closer to the Son. At some point it moves from I’m learning to I’m asking to I’m doing" make me wonder where these so-called "principles" are being transfered from.

The discription of the conference workshops can be found here:

The sermon in refer to can be found here:


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gender Roles - Submission in Society

A recent comment asked about how the WELS deals with the role of women in society.

Gender Roles Submission in the Dhurch (sic) and World?


Gender Roles - Shame on Us!

These recent posts from the WELS Q&A try to address this point but basically dances around the issue and doesn't give me a clear answer.

Over a decade ago a WELS doctrinally statement was issued on this topic: Scriptural Principles of Man and Woman Roles. I realize that through the 1990s much debate occurred on this document.

First of all, I would like to examine this document on the issue of women in society.

…..We reject the opinion that male headship and female submission apply only to marriage or only to marriage and the church (1 Co 11:3; 1 Ti 2:12).

Not long ago I specifically asked a WELS DP if it would be sinning for a woman to go against her husband’s vote in a political election. He asked “why would she do that?.” He also said it would be a sin? (Yet women lectors and Bible leaders are allowed.)

Is the position of submission in society by women taught by WELS pastors or ignored?

A contrary view published by former WELS pastors from:

Here is a link to what they wrote: Heirs Together Of the Gracious Gift of Life

As I'm sure most of you know this document caused a stir in the WELS over a decade ago. The authors were booted from the WELS for disagreeing with the WELS position on the role of women in society.

Church and Change Conference Kicks Off

On the eve of the annual Church and Change conference doesn't the Church and Change website make it look as if President Schroeder has asked the C&C group to carry out a synodical resolution? www.Church and Change

Maybe the president will be in attendance or maybe even speak at the conference.

Remember there is an invitation for a C&C conference review on BW for anyone attending the conference.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I came across a new word today: Churchianity

Some of you might have heard of this before but it is new to me. I wondered what side of the aisle to put this term. Since a search landed me on more WELS church websites than LCMS churches I guess that is the side on which it goes. As Luther would say: What does this mean?

If you want to find out more just drop by this church:


According to the latest online definition it means:

is a pejorative term used to describe practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of a specific Christian denomination than on the teachings of Jesus.

It can also be used to describe churches across many denominations where the central focus has moved from Christ to the church. Hence the replacement of Christ with church in the word churchianity.

So than if if we are leaving behind churchianity how does this term effect our worship practices? We don't need to quibble over Divine Service or Worship Service because I guess there would be no service. With this type of perspective we don't have to worry about churches anymore. Again I'm not making a joke about WELS doctrine. I'm just pointing out what I observe and questions that come to mind.

How about synodianity?

Where is this coming from? It has been said if you want to know what your pastor believes look at his library (today it is his electronic reading list).

Here is one WELS reading

So is Churchianity a problem in the WELS?

Defining Terms --

Missouri ...........................................................WELS Terms


Divine Service ................................................... Worship Service

High Church .............................................................. Low Church

Roman collars ......................................... ................ black geneva

processions with altar boy.............jeans for the blended service

bowing before the altar and all that...........................

Church and Ministry

OHM ..........................................Public Ministry (blue catechism)

Auxiliary roles

DCE ....................................................................... Staff Minister

Innovative Group

Jesus First...................................................Church and Change


St. Louis (Cardinals)..................................... Milwaukee (Packers)

Fellowship Issues

Boy Scouts .............................................................Boy Pioneers

Open Prayer ..................................................................WELS only

Christian News..................................No dissenting voices allowed

I was told that I have been confusing terms that are exclusive to Missouri and the WELS. Not being completely familiar with the usage feel free to correct or add to the list. (pardon the formating problems)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Guest Blogger on Pres. Schroeder's recent visit to MLC

Michael Schottey has posted an excellent summary of Pres. Schroeder's visit to MLC

Follow this link to the report.. Pres. Schroeder at MLC

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rev. Ash's response to a letter Pres. Schroeder sent to all WELS pastors

from the Church and Change discussion forum:

President Schroeder asked us to especially pay attention to a resolution which was passed at the lastest synod convention. One of the resolves reads: "that we commit ourselves to expand mission efforts at home and throughout the world, using both traditional and innovative means of Gospel outreach, as God provides the resources..." We believe our Church And Change convention on October15-17, 2007, is one of the resources which the Lord is providing to help our people learn about "innovative means of Gospel outreach" which they might employ in their own congregation. Each devotional service will include a different format which will allow you to discover various new ways technology can be used such as powerpoint, video clips, etc. You can to go our website for information concerning the convention and to register online

Rev. Ash

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Worship Service VS Divine Service

The past few days I have been reading over the Lutheran Confessions and reflecting on my own spiritual journey and asking myself some questions. How and when did the divine service become transformed into a Worship Service led by a Praise Band? Does doctrine lead worship?

As I read the Confessions a portion of a text jumped out at me:

The impiety and tyranny of bishops cause schism and discord. Therefore, Paul commands that bishops who teach and defend a godless doctrines and godless services should be regarded as accursed. Gal. 1:7-9. (Concordia the Lutheran Confessions, pages 328-331)

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, The Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops

It seems that historically the Lutheran church has clung to the liturgy as a form of worship focused on Christ and the clergy protected this form of church. The center of the service was Christ and his saving work on the Cross. Yet over the last decade or so it seems to me that the WELS theologians turned their focus from the historical Lutheran liturgy to the culture at hand. I imagine this shift occurred slowing and some say the WELS is walking in step with Missouri just a decade behind. Those of you more learned may know when this shift in the focus entered the WELS church service. And so I ask is the focus still “strongly” and ritely focused on Christ.

At a blended or contemporary WELS service I attended not long ago. The service began with the announcement to greet your neighbor. After the worship leader (not the pastor) quieted the people, the children were asked to come up front for their message. The children were ushered out of the service after this children’s message so that they could go have their puppet show elsewhere (children’s church). What I wondered is why even have the children’s message in with the adults. Then I remembered the old show “Kids say the darndest things.” So there usually is a comically moment like the time I saw a young 3 year old sprinting around the room as mommy chased him and the audience (congregation) laughed.

So then the adult praise band began to play as the powerpoint proclaimed “Here I am to Worship.” After a few more pop songs the reverend walked amongst the people and held an interactive Bible study. I recall that the Lord’s Prayer was observed but no creeds or confessions. The blessing at the end did happen but I felt sorry for the young children in the other room missing out on this part.

Is this an example of a godless service? Now I know some readers will scream you are focusing on style again. It is only a worship style that isn't listed in the 10 commandments. But I say don't forget about the 3rd commandment. It is interesting that in the statement above godless doctrine is listed and then godless worship. So is impure doctrine creeping into the WELS as Praise Band worship takes hold?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Throw me a bucket

Through this blog I have highlighted a few “observations” that I have witnessed in the WELS including a pastor allowing a woman to lead a co-ed Bible Study and a young girl giving a children’s sermon. As well as a perceived double standard on how a few on the cop choose to treat or discipline some clergy. The “officials” choose to exercise doctrinal discipline on some yet allow questionable and unscriptural practices to go unchecked and the cry is to put the best construction on his case (cause he’s got a synod name) while someone else gets the boot.

I have also continually brought up the divisive nature of the Church and Change group. I believe, divisive in nature by its very name and its history of inviting heterodox Unitarian speakers.

There have been many comments on the blog about how the WELS perspective on the OHM has shifted (or not). We float along as "every member is a minister" becomes the slogan of the day and then no one is left to shepherd the people.

Some posters have commented about the struggling school system. Is it because of a lack of support from the church? or are the educational standards not high enough? Lutheran schools are struggling.

I have said that maybe the struggles financially are a call to repentance.

So the good ship WELS continues to drift along. The layman is left to bail water. Maybe a Confessional clergy will throw a bucket now and again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Extreme Theology

So do you think the innovative ideas of Church and Change -- could lead to EXTREME theology?

Those that follow maybe led into this relevant type of extreme theology. When a focus is on the works we do instead of what Christ has done for us this is what happens -- Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Dribble which leads to self-fulfillment void of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ.

What denomination is this church? mythbusters

If you still want to register for the Church and Change conference just look on the synod website.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Open Forum

A few posters have asked that Bailing Water address a different avenue of topics.

So I will open up the blog for topics of concerns and issues facing the WELS. I believe that a major transformation that is needed is open lines or forums for communication and discussion.

Communicating clearly, concisely, consistently, accurately

This link leads to Pres. Schroeder’s recent e-mail newsletter and is an attempt to begin filling the information void. Also, here are some news items from

  • After consulting with the Synodical Council and the Conference of Presidents, I've asked all areas of ministry and synodical agencies to give me an opportunity to review plans for filling existing or new positions, even if they are funded by the current budget. I'm thankful to the Board for Parish Services for their recent decision to delay calling for a vacant position in the area of parish consulting.
  • Communications Director Joel Hochmuth has been asked to prepare a comprehensive strategy to improve communications; this e-newsletter is the first step.
  • The Ad Hoc Commission established by the convention to provide long-range plans for the synod's financial health will be appointed in mid-September.
  • A sincere thank you to congregations and individuals that participated in recent efforts to send special offerings to support the synod's budget. Also, sincere thanks to congregations that have increased their Congregation Mission Offerings in response to appeals by their district presidents.
  • September's WELS Connection was sent to all congregations. I would encourage all to use what has proven to be our most effective communication tool.

Let me know what you think are the pressing issues that need to be addressed or discussed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Role of Men and Women

Since no one has jumped into the discussion on whether or not a woman may lead a Bible study in which both men and women are present I looked a bit on the question and answer section on

It seems that the answers are vaguely clear in their position that it would be permissible. Here is a snippet:

The Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from engaging in all manner and types of teaching. The Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from engaging in all manner and types of teaching Scripture. Finally, the Scriptures clearly do not forbid women from teaching Scripture to men in every kind of circumstance and fashion. Colossians 3:16 assumes that the people of God will "teach and admonish one another.

So from what I can perceive the wels (Answer man) does not see anything wrong with this practice. To me this seems to be a significant shift from traditional Lutheranism practice that a woman remain silent (1 Co 14:34) and that a woman should not teach a man (1 Ti 2:11,12).

Yet in returning to the upcoming Changers conference link you will see that this conference is encouraging this shift as there are several training session for women leaders.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who's Who

Church and Change group (C&C):

“Church and Change is a growing group of WELS Christians who desire to think and work like the Apostle Paul who said, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." The Church and Change group is interested in practicing and promoting innovation in ministry methods throughout the WELS especially at the "grass roots" level.”

The perception has been given that this group was endorsed by the previous synodical administration because of the conference registration link and other promotional information found on the official WELS website.

Board of Directors:
Pastor Ron Ash - Chairman
Jeff Davis Vice - Chairman
Sarah Owens - Secretary
Barry Spencer
Caleb Cordes
Pastor Bruce Becker
Pastor John Huebner
James Skorzewski
*Pastor Dave Kehl – synodical administrator / Conference presenter

Issues in the WELS:

“… The purpose of this group is to meet from time to time to discuss these issues. We wish to offer input and give support to our Synodical leadership as they strive for unity of purpose and give direction to our Synodical family.”

This group recently invited newly elected Pres. Schroeder to participate in an upcoming form.

Motley Magpie:

The Motley Magpie was a quarterly journal dedicated to the promotion of Lutheran ceremonia in the evangelical catholic tradition as confessed in the Book of Concord AD 1580/1584.

Rev. John W. Berg: Author and Editor of the defunct Magpie. Berg was suspended by AZ/CA presidium (led by DP Janke) for thoughts written and condoned in the Magpie. Rev. Berg’s congregation was also given the boot when they chose to back Berg. Many clergy / theology professors believe Berg’s views were not unscriptural.

Rev. Peter M. Berg: Contributing author to the MM. Given the boot by his WELS bishop. Pastor of Our Savior Evangelical - Lutheran Church, Chicago and unconditional subscriber to the Lutheran Confessions, who is playing for that other team now.

Bailing Water

A blog originally started by Aaron in order to keep the discussion going about concerns in the WELS.

Please feel free to add your who to the who's who in the WELS ~