Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who's Who

Church and Change group (C&C): www.churchandchange.org

“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.

https://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/WELSForms.pl?&dir=churchChange

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: http://www.issuesinwels.org/

“… 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. http://www.issuesinwels.org/ItemsofInterest07/itemsOfInterest.htm

Motley Magpie: www.motleymagpie.org

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 ~

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was John Berg's congregation really given the boot? Or was Pastor Berg suspended from the WELS ministry and his congregation decided to keep him rather than stay in the WELS? I think it's important to be accurate on our facts rather than to just say the congregation "was also given the boot."

Have you studied and investigated the things that were being written in the Motley Magpie? Maybe the DP had every Scriptural reason for the suspension.

Norman Teigen said...

Hang in there brother. You are doing a valuable service. There are two channels of communication in any organization: the formal and the informal. The formal channels (the Synod's house organ and the like) don't tell the people what is going on. The result is that information passes into the informal channels (blogs for example) and then the officials wonder where the blogger gets his info.

Since the official channels of information don't tell the people what is going on, the blogger sometimes has to take the heat (e.g. "have you studied . . .").

Hang in there, brother.

Norman Teigen
ELS layman

Anonymous said...

Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fremont, CA, where John Berg is pastor, is no longer listed in the Church Locator on the WELS website. That would suggest that the congregation is no longer WELS.

Does one need signed statements? On the official WELS website, one can register to attend a novel convention but cannot find a confessional church.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"On the official WELS website, one can register to attend a novel convention but cannot find a confessional church."

I'd like to respond with something as outrageous as you wrote: "What planet are you living on?" I would hope all WELS churches are "confessional," in the historic sense of the word. They may not all be using a liturgy and music to your personal liking, but they certainly share the Word and administer the sacraments as confessional Lutherans.

Or maybe you write such a thing because you have a personal ax to grind.

Rev. Peter M. Berg said...

A few words for the "brave" soul who hides behind the skirts of "anonymous" and who charged the Motley Magpie with heresy for its advocacy of the practice of infant communion: If you haven't read Fr. James Frey's excellent article on the subject, then shut up. If you have read it, then grace us with a scholarly rebuttal. Better yet, wait for the two-part article on the subject in the next two issues of the MM soon to be put online (www.motleymagpie.org). The piece deals with the demise of the practice in the West, and offers an analysis of the objections to this ancient catholic practice (which are all specious and in the end lead to a denial of infant faith). Incidentally, your namesake did not call the practice heretical, but then again Luther wouldn't pass a colloquy into the wels if he were alive today. Until then, Anonymous, hoist your skirt and stay off the playing field.

Rev. Peter M. Berg

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is exactly the harsh, demeaning, and sarcastic tone that makes the MM (which contains much otherwise good material) such a waste of paper.

Kathryn Goetz said...

At least Pr. Berg had the courage to sign his comment instead of cowardly hurling accusations anonymously. Perhaps the tone was intentional as from much anecdotal evidence, wels pastors' concerns about the synod's doctrines and practices are ignored unless they are stated loudly and obnoxiously enough.

To echo Mr. Teigen: Hang in there. There are many of us who appreciate your work.

Anonymous said...

Some of the people who frequent these blogs have high profile positions in the synod. They can't exactly express themselves in such a format without some repercussions. So I wouldn't be so quick to label all anonymous commenters as "cowards." Some simply have no other choice.

Anonymous said...

Or if you want to stay on the playing field but have been asked to leave, join another team.
"a man has to eat"

Anonymous said...

I've used my real name in the past...I just can't now....due to our position in the WELS...it would be viewed poorly...I know that for a fact.

I'm not a coward though....just wanted to protect my love ones for suffering because I was too vocal...

rak said...

It becomes difficult to separate 'anonymous' from 'anonymous'. Maybe there are more than two?

How about a pseudonym so that we can keep the thought patterns assigned properly? One could use 'high synod 1' or 'lower synod 2' or 'se wisc 45'. Like that.

I use my intials to make 'em work to find me.

Kathryn Goetz said...

How sad that those with high profile positions in the wels can't put their names on their own writing without fear of repercussion/retribution! I will label them as cowards (though I didn't before; I just pointed out that their actions were cowardly). They do have a choice. Our leaders should stand up for what is right and LEAD the wels away from errors and into confessional Lutheranism. That is what they are put into their positions to do.

As for the repercussions, of course they will come. Ask Prs. Berg and Frey. This is the church militant. Through trials and crosses, Christ draws us closer to Himself.

Be faithful shepherds!

Anonymous said...

i guess there is a fine line betweetn repercusions and just deserves

Anonymous said...

I'm another "anonymous" and I'm not in a high position in the synod. Sometimes it's good not to state a name because people will focus on what you're saying and not who is saying it. Kathryn Goetz writes as if Pastors Berg and Frey are like martyrs or something. There are plenty of us confessional Lutherans who disagreed with what they wrote and also agree with the DPs decision. BTW, I thought Pastor Berg's comment was pure sour grapes.

Rev. Peter M. Berg said...

Memo to all the Anonymi (is that a real Latin word?): Where among the prophets and apostles do you find any of these brave men signing their name "Anonymous"? Stand up and be counted. Three very unscholarly wels pastors, who had the epiphany that the wels was never a Lutheran church, signed their name to a rag tag journal. If you are concerned about the course of the wels (a hopeless cause), then show some guts, sign your name. Jesus said that his followers would bear the cross. My cost, due to the efforts of a faithful associate and a courageous board of elders, was not financial, but dues were paid elsewhere (which is my business alone). Tone? Before you chastise the MM for its tone you need to know that before the inception of the MM the three editors wrote assigned conference papers on vital issues, with no tone, and were criticized for promoting what is taught in the confessions. Tone? "You brood of vipers...." Come on now, John the Baptizer, watch your tone!!! Minor point: One of the anonymous cowards accused me of "sour grapes". Let's get this thing straight once and for all. In Aesop's fable sour grapes has nothing to do with a guy who didn't get his way and later on gripes about it. In the fable, if I remember it correctly, the fox couldn't jump high enough to reach the cluster of grapes, whereupon he declared that they were probably sour anyway. It's somewhat like a wels or LCMS pastor,who sort of gets the Lutheran thing, but backs off because he's afraid of the hassle of confessing. He says, "It's not worth the trouble. Besides, depriving my people of the Blessed Sacrament every other Sunday isn't so bad."

Sour grapes? Believe me, pal, I couldn't be happier being out of the cult. My wels cult masters did me a great favor by giving me the boot.

Rev. Peter Anonymous Berg

P.S. Get the full story before opening your yap. OK? OK.

Anonymous said...

"i guess there is a fine line betweetn (sic) repercusions and just deserves"

Huh? I'm not sure I follow--please explain.

LM

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Have you studied and investigated the things that were being written in the Motley Magpie? Maybe the DP had every Scriptural reason for the suspension."

This is what I have seen so far in this discussion:

Some have lamented the fact that good, confessional pastors have been pushed out of the WELS and the reasons have never been made public. In response, these Pastors are then accused of being false teachers by anonymous writers. No explanation or support for this accusation is ever given. When these anonymous writers are asked to prove their charges, the response inevitably is: "Prove that they didn't preach false doctrine. Prove that the DP didn't have a scriptural reason."

Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is? The person making the accusation must prove it is true. He cannot simply make the accusation, then force the accused to prove the accusation is false. It cannot work that way. Think about it. Please.

How can some say that Pastor Berg was removed for no scriptural reason? Because no scriptural reason was ever given. If any of you have one, I'd like to hear it.

Anonymous (same?) also said:

"There are plenty of us confessional Lutherans who disagreed with what they wrote and also agree with the DPs decision."

What did you disagree with? Why did you disagree? Is anything thing "they" said not supported by our Lutheran confessions? Please be specific—if intended as written, your statement implies that what “they” wrote is contrary to the confessions. It is hard to put a best construction on that.

Why do you agree with the DPs decision? What decision are you even talking about?

Yes, if you anonymously accuse someone of being a false teacher (ie. teaching contrary to scriptures and our confessions), you are a coward. If you do so without proof, you are a slanderer. Some of you are both.

-LM

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is? The person making the accusation must prove it is true."
I think most people assume that when someone is kicked out of the synod the accusation has already been made and has been proved true, which would bring us to the appeal process where the convicted need to prove to us that they were falsly accused and convicted.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, if you anonymously accuse someone of being a false teacher...you are a coward."

This coming from the person who gives his name as LM. Giving two anonymous letters in place of your name isn't exactly being brave.

C.L. Merts said...

If all of you are so scared of your synod, why are you still in it? "Come to the WELS" to live in abject terror of setting a toe out of line!?

And if you are so afraid of how you will be treated just for signing your name to a blog comment, how is it you can blindly trust that what all the DPs are doing is Scriptural and truthful? The WELS and its praesidium are not infallible. And it is not a sin to question the synod line.

This all sounds similar to the Roman church your namesake had such a problem with. Don't question or disagree with the synod for fear of persecution. If the synod has made a judgment or decision, it must be correct because it was made by the synod. This kind of nonsense may be why the Wisconsin Synod is degenerating into a general protestant sect instead of being a Lutheran church body.

None of the anonymouses have answered LM's question as to what they disagree with that these pastors have written. Please write in and let us all know what they wrote that you find to be false doctrine. Otherwise, as LM wrote, you are just being cowards and slanderers.

Shanna Wright said...

I've been reading along and honestly I'm totally confused.

So many accusations...so many demeaning comments about who is a coward and what would make them brave, etc.

I was really hoping to learn something---but I can't find what I should be focusing on because there is so much anger, venom and spite present in some of the above comments. I have to dig through the "tone" first to find out what the "real" issues are. It's frustrating.

I do have concerns about the WELS. I believe in checking one's "house"....we need to do that to keep the "house" (in this case the WELS) in order. I think some good points have been made, but again they are occluded by the ugly tone present in the comments (though I think John's posts have been good).

If we want true change and true communication we will have to meet in love and respect (which obviously hasn't occurred in the past). If one can't do that, then no real communication will ever occur and time is just being wasted.

I don't know what the future holds for the WELS. Again, I do have concerns and will continue to "test the spirits" per 1 John.

I have a lot of reading to do and I will be doing that in the future months....due to a very busy life of 5 kids (adopting 2), f/t school, p/t work, etc....it will take me a bit...but I will get there.

For those of us who just aren't as "up to speed" as some of you...please give us a little grace.

As for the stupid name thing....I will post it...though I want to make it very clear that I don't believe the anonymous people are cowards--I don't know them, why would I label them anything?

Oh and my husband is a WELS pastor serving a church in Nebraska...I do feel he is confessional, but I'm fine if some disagree...they don't know us and have never talked to us, so the belief that he would not be "confessional" would be pure conjecture anyways. [shrug]

Anonymous said...

"I think most people assume that when someone is kicked out of the synod the accusation has already been made and has been proved true"

I'm sure many people do assume that--if he was kicked out, the accusation must have merit. But is it reasonable to make this assumption when you don't even know what the accusation is? Is it not slander to accuse someone of being a false teacher purely because, "He was kicked out--I don't know why, but he was kicked out, so he must have done somehting bad--probably false doctrine."

Just think about it this way: how can an accused prove he is innocent? By rebuting the charges and proof offered by his accuser. So what happens whent he accuser offers no proof?

Luther explains this all in the Large Chatecism. You folks should know this:

"False witness, then, is everything which cannot be properly proved. Therefore, what is not manifest upon sufficient evidence no one shall make public or declare for truth; and, in short, whatever is secret should be allowed to remain secret, or, at any rate, should be secretly reproved, as we shall hear. Therefore, if you encounter an idle tongue which betrays and slanders some one, contradict such a one promptly to his face, that he may blush; thus many a one will hold his tongue who else would bring some poor man into bad repute, from which he would not easily extricate himself. For honor and a good name are easily taken away, but not easily restored."


-LM

Anonymous said...

"This coming from the person who gives his name as LM. Giving two anonymous letters in place of your name isn't exactly being brave."

My comment was not directed to all the anonymous posters. I understand that some of you may not hold popular opinions, or that you think staying nameless will protect you and your families. My comment was was only directed to those who make baseless accusations. I do not fall into that category, yet. Do you see the distinction?

Oh, and I never said I was brave. See, I can say, "You're X" without it necesarily meaning, "I'm -X". I can say you're a coward without it meaning that I'm brave. But I promise, if I ever accuse someone of teaching false doctrine, I'll do so with more than the initials LM.

-LM

John said...

It seems the comments are slowing down after some passionate perspectives were shared. What concerns me is the climate of fear (or is it the perceived climate) in the wels. It seems the motto of the day is “keep your head low.” Some posters have taken Pr. Frey to task about his infant communion article. But yet what about the false doctrine practices that go unchecked in the wels; Lady lectors, women serving communion, women leading co-ed Bible Studies and whimsical conferences using Church growth methods?

It seems those in power were out to quiet or boot out the dissenters. So now what?

Rob said...

John, in WELS churches I have not seen the practices you have observed: Lady lectors, women serving communion, women leading co-ed Bible Studies. How wide-spread are those practices?

There are so-called church growth methods that I like in moderation, so I do not condemn them. If my church advertises, is that bad?

John said...

Rob,

I don't know how wide spread these antics are. It is happening. I would hope the new administration is able to calm the climate of fear for the Confessional pastors and reign in the Changers.

Rob, Just look at the Changers latest conference descriptions and you'll get an idea about reformed Church Growth methods.

Anonymous said...

John:
You write: "It is happening." Where? Who? When? And what about "this climate of fear"? I can talk to my DP about anything. I also looked at the latest conference descriptions. My first thought was: "Wow! They're finally catching on. All WELS and ELS people for once!" I was thrilled. Instead of lumping it all as "Reformed Church Growth methods," why don't you specify what is church growth. That would be a much more profitable discussion to have on this blog, rather than all the mud-slinging.

John said...

Anonymous ~

Please read the above posts concerning the climate of fear. And then reread it!! There are posters and viewers of this blog afraid to post an opinion because of what has happened to those that have expressed their dissent in a rag tag journal and elsewhere. So you tell me how this does not breed a climate of fear.??? An esteemed WELS Pastor recently wrote an article entitled “Believe or Not” the WELS is becoming just another protestant church…here is his perspective.
------------------------------
WELS pastor writes…..If some pastor talks about private confession, making the sign of the holy Cross in the name of the Triune God, the sacrament of ordination, every Sunday Communion, wearing full liturgical vestments, and publishes a “motley magpie” (all which, by the way, are taught in our Lutheran Confessions) – well, that is being Catholic and such pastors are quickly excluded from our fellowship. But when other pastors completely omit any type of confession, public or private, use no Trinitarian invocations, continuously confuse law and Gospel in their sermons, practice open communion, with women helping in the distribution, have women read Scripture lessons in public worship, and use every innovation of Church Growth methods, -- well, that is to be highly praised and no one even thinks of calling the practice “too Methodist.”
-------------------------------
"Wow! They're finally catching on. All WELS and ELS people for once!" What are they finally catching on to? Please tell me what Lutheranism has been missing these past centuries. What, who, and how.???? But wait let me guess; you are attending the conference. No maybe you’re leading the presentation on the “extreme Makeover of the church” or is your topic about Dr. Phil and Oprah coming for a visit. Now I get it ~ huh.

Instead of saying they are finally catching on. Please tell me who is catching on. Are you a card carrying member of the, self-proclaimed, growing group belonging to the changers? So maybe we should start drawing up lists – who’s on Jesus First, who is Confessional and on the way out the door?

kent said...

When one WELS pastor talks about wearing full liturgical vestments he must be Confessional. When another WELS pastor talks about using praise songs he must not be Confessional.
I don't think that dichotomy stands up in the real world.
Which man is going to teach about Jesus most effectively ?
I don't think you will know that in this lifetime.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not attending the conference. No, I'm not a presenter. If you've been watching the debate regarding these Church and Change Conferences, it's been focused on the non-WELS/ELS keynote speakers from the past. That's what all the hub-bub was about the last time when three men from outside our fellowship were going to do presentations on evangelism. This time around the keynote speaker and the presenters are all WELS/ELS--that's what I menat when I said they were catching on. All of the topics that are being discussed could be topics in a seminary pastoral theology class. Just because you want to make your worship services more vibrant, or you want to look at new ways for adult education, that doesn't necessarily make one a church growther--I've heard plenty of page 5/15 services that are boring because the Pastor just isn't into it. I've heard other page 5/15 services that are exciting and vibrant becuase of the work the Pastor puts into it. I'm sure we've all sat through extremely boring Bible classes--to consider how we can liven a class or a worship service without changing the message is not church growth, it is simply common sense. I don't see anything on the C and C Conference agenda that could not fall under the category of common sense.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

I'm sorry you find the means of grace boring. What are your sugestions for making the service more vibrant? Do you think any of those sugestions show a lack of confidence in the Holy Spirit?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

One ELS pastor has pulled out of the C&C conference.

Just a thought, how many posting on the blog are life-long Lutherans? How many are former Evangelicals? It was not, initially, the theology that attracted me to the WELS. It was the deep liturgical worship which spoke Scripture clearly at every turn of the hymnal page. After 20+ years of "cutting edge" "seeker sensitive" "outreach oriented" (you get the idea) worship in Evangelical churches, I realized that I was no longer hearing the Gospel. The "high" from the praise band no longer carried me through the week. There was no consistancy, nothing that in the midst of the daily grind that I could grasp from the service the previous Sunday to find solace.

To some of us, the things so loudly proclaimed as necessary for outreach only carry the smell of spiritual death.

Rob said...

On September 14, 2007 at 10:06 AM "Anonymous" said...

After 20+ years of "cutting edge" "seeker sensitive" "outreach oriented" (you get the idea) worship in Evangelical churches, I realized that I was no longer hearing the Gospel. The "high" from the praise band no longer carried me through the week. There was no consistancy, nothing that in the midst of the daily grind that I could grasp from the service the previous Sunday to find solace.


Anonymous, I came to WELS from the opposite direction. I grew up in a domination rich in liturgy and historical church music but bereft of Gospel. The denomination emphasized procedures and details in the worship liturgy, much more than WELS. However, as a teen I was shocked when I heard the head minister say, "Believe whatever you want to believe." The core of the denomination was not Gospel -- it was procedure. In WELS our liturgies point to the Gospel, but when we need an answer we don't turn to the liturgy -- we turn to Scripture.

Anonymous said...

I just love the sarcasm on this site. I was trying to point out that a pastor could conduct the service in a boring way (with a monotone voice, no enthusiasm, etc.) and I get accused of finding the means of grace boring. This isn't a discussion blog, but a place where people can sling mud. I sign in as anonymous, not because of what the leadership might do to me in the WELS, but because of what you, the people on this blog, would probably do with my name.

Anonymous said...

"I just love the sarcasm on this site." - anon

So...do you really love the sarcasm...or are you being sarcastic here? Even if unintended, this made me laugh.

If you're strugling with the Divine Service (any of you on here, not just anon.), I can point you to a few wonderful articles that really explain what we are being deprived of by abandoning good Lutheran rites and ceremonies in favor of more visitor-friendly/outreach-friendly/contemporary/what-ever-you want-to-call-it services.

The Formula of Concord may be a good place to start too.

Just let me know if you are interested.

-LM

Anonymous said...

To anon (who loves, or doesn't love, “the sarcasm”--depending on whether he is being sarcastic):

Another thing just struck me about your post--your concern about Pastors "conduct[ing] the service in a boring way" further emphasizes how important every part of the Divine Service is. The confession, the creeds, the readings, the Lords Supper—these all ensure that us filthy sinners receive the Law and Gospel, regardless of how “boring” the Pastor may be. Now if those are replaced with a praise hymn (where God's sovereignty is proclaimed, rather than the Gospel), with a dramatization of the Epistle reading, with an "innovative creedal chant,” with a power-point presentation on how to be more like Jesus, etc., well, no matter how enthusiastic the Praise Leader is, the congregation may walk away Gospel deprived.

I am curious though, as another anonymous asked, what do you propose doing to make the service more vibrant?

I’m not sure if “vibrance” is the best way to evaluate the worth of a service, but I do believe that some would say a procession, confession and absolution, the creed, a clear pronouncement of Law and Gospel, the forgiveness of sins, etc. is the most vibrant order of service they can imagine.

-LM

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

This isn't a discussion blog, but a place where people can sling mud.

Now I would like to use your comment and apply it to the Church and Change email list.
This ever “growing” group of wels Christian has a discussion group that some of you may be apart of or participate in. Now this is where mudslinging happens or maybe a better term is pile on the Confessional in the name of tolerance and love. It happened to me and it is happening now. Steve Reagels perspective (on this blog) was posted on the Changers list. This brought out the Changers led by Pastor John who wanted to know what a definition of liturgy is because his definition has changed at least three times. Then layman Harvey enters the fray and gives an excellent definition and turns the discussion back to doctrine and liturgy. A few more Changers pile on and say all is permissible in worship. Pastor Don says wonderful God is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth (without a liturgy). Yet Harvey doesn’t back down so more of the Changers jump into the ring and so it goes.

If your on the list you know what I mean. If you’re lucky enough not to be my point is that the Changers want all tolerance towards worship. Yet they aren’t tolerant of the historically, liturgical perspective.

So this discussion blog is maybe an alternative to the Changers. Maybe another group should be started to share and promote historically, confessional, liturgical methods. We could label this a “grass” roots movement.

Anonymous said...

I find the Church and Change discussion forum a lot more civil than this one.

Anonymous said...

"I find the Church and Change discussion forum a lot more civil than this one."

Ah yes, when you have no scriptural or confessional basis for rebutting someone's position, attack their tone. I've yet to see anyone back-up their accusations against the Magpie authors or support Church Growth Theology/Methodology. Ah, but the tone. Well, when the Gospel is being buried and distorted by "innovators" like Pastor John Parlow and his Church and Change cronies, tone is the least of my concerns. Defending the most precious gift we've ever received sometimes demands a more strident tone. So please, pardon my incivility. I know of no other way to mark and avoid.

Mike Schottey said...

Well, here it goes. First of all a word to Rev. Berg, Rev. Berg, and Rev. Frey. I know you men, through either email (Rev. John Berg) or through face to face contact. Rev. Frey I sat through many a MLS baseball game with you. I've gone to synodical schools with all of your children. I respect you dearly.

Next, I will let it be known that I was a subscriber to the Motley Magpie. I discussed it and defended it and its reputation.

However, I cannot subscribe wholeheartedly to either side of the C&C/MM/Issues in WELS debates, because I have seen first hand the blessings of both sides of the issue.

I have been in a park in New York City as a praise band (WELS) played songs from CW and songs of their own design. They did so at a liturgical service, preached in both Spanish and English. My faith was strengthened, not by their talent or enthusiasm, but because that day the Gospel was preached, and Christ was glorified.

I have also been at the beginning services of conventions of the WELS, Michigan District, and ELS. Communion was offered. Liturgies ranging from Common Service to Buganhagen were used. My faith was strengthened. Not because of the staunchness of the confessionalism, but because Christ crucified was preached, and God was glorified among us.

I submit to you that nothing that we humans do on earth is as God intended. We manage to absolutely mess up the one thing his gave us to do. "Go and disciple all nations..." If it were up to us, none would be saved. This is why it is not.

The Holy Spirit works in ways we cannot imagine. We cannot say he does not work when a guitar is playing, we cannot say he doesn't work when the liturgy is "boring".

The Holy Spirit will work in spite of us, and heading into the ministry that is my comfort.

Finally, unless someone will throw the first stone although I'm sure it has been done. None of us can say our side is without fault. I've heard honest respective banter from both sides, and I've heard things that lack the character of love. Defend your position yes, but do not claim to be without fault.

Brothers, I love you. Let our preaching not be about glorifying each other, ourselves, new things or old things. Let us in all things glorify him who has given us unspeakable blessings. Let us preach Christ crucified, and let us understand that while there are truly ineffective ways of preaching, there is truly no one right way.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "So please, pardon my incivility. I know of no other way to mark and avoid."

Romans 16:17,18 does not give us license to be nasty. It tells us to keep on the lookout for persistent errorists and to stay away from them, but I read nothing in the text that excuses or condones nastiness.

If you take the verse seriously in regard to the WELS, are you still in it?

John said...

Mr. Anonymous ~

You asked - Where? Who? When? I will answer but let’s show your hand too since there isn’t a climate of fear in the wels.

1) Is it ok for a woman to lead a Bible study where both men and women are present and learning? I spoke to the wels pastor about my offensive with this practice. I was told that “she” was doing it under his authority. So is this unscriptural?

LM said...

"Ah yes, when you have no scriptural or confessional basis for rebutting someone's position, attack their tone....Defending the most precious gift we've ever received sometimes demands a more strident tone."

Strike the mark and avoid reference and I think anonymous, quoted above, makes a good point. I too have noticed this. What is wrong with the tone? We're not debating what color to paint the narthex, we're defending good Lutheran practices against those who persecute the defenders of our Lutheran Confessions and appear to lack confidence in the means of grace. What is the right "tone" to use?

-LM

John said...

Well, I guess the commenter is searching Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions to see if it is permissible to have a woman teach men in a Bible class.

Or maybe he is reading answers from the WELS Q&A man?

So is it permissible for a woman to do this under the authority of the pastor?

A brother said...

Michael Schottey:

Great post. You should think about being a pastor, IMHO.

Is it true what I heard that you just got married? If it is, I hope you're enjoying it.

Michael Schottey said...

who is this brother? I would like to know, and yes I got married. It is great, and I am indeed in the pastor track of the WELS.

Anonymous said...

"If your on the [church & change]list you know what I mean. If you’re lucky enough not to be my point is that the Changers want all tolerance towards worship. Yet they aren’t tolerant of the historically, liturgical perspective."

According to my understanding, church & change is a forum for the discussion of various approaches to ministry. I have never seen a comment on C&C that suggested that the historic western rite should not be tolerated. In fact, many of the pastors who post to the C&C listserve are pastors who conduct services straight out of CW.

Anonymous said...

Mike Schottey wrote:

"Brothers, I love you. Let our preaching not be about glorifying each other, ourselves, new things or old things. Let us in all things glorify him who has given us unspeakable blessings. Let us preach Christ crucified, and let us understand that while there are truly ineffective ways of preaching, there is truly no one right way."

Thanks for those comments, Mike. If your evangelical spirit represents the general spirit of the current crop of future WELS pastors, this bodes well for our future.