Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Churchianity

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:

www.Churchianity

According to the latest online definition it means:

Churchianity
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 list..www.churchgrowth.com


So is Churchianity a problem in the WELS?



39 comments:

A WELS Pastor said...

It used to be called "synoditis." Years ago this word was used to describe people who were more concerned about maintaining the synod than follow Christ's pure Word. During the 60's it was used specifically to describe people who were going to stay in the LC-MS, in spite of Missouri's doctrinal errors, no matter what Romans 16:17 had to say.

RandomDan said...

John,

I am sorry, but your post didn't define churchianity clearly enough for me. What did I do? I google it and ran into this article. When he started doing the cost-benefit analysis of being a member of a church, I knew where this was leading. Nothing good can come of this.

MAV said...

John,

Both pages reached from the links are horrifying! Here are excellent examples of false doctrine in the wels. Terrible.

A wels pastor,

Thanks for once again bashing the lcms. What would we do if we didn't have them and the RCC to kick around? Goodness, we might have to look at what's going on in the wels! And, FYI: Romans 16:17 is not the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls.

Mark A. Void

Anonymous said...

mav,

"a wels pastor" wasn't "bashing the lcms" as you claim. He was pointing out an historical fact. In the 60s that term was used to describe that group of people. How is pointing to the historical usage of a term "bashing"?

Oh, and FYI: There's no such thing as an unimportant doctrine. Every single doctrine (even the ones we don't care for) are related to the gospel, on which the Church does stand or fall. Thus, rejecting any doctrine gradually works it's way through the entire dough like yeast.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, rejecting any doctrine gradually works it's way through the entire dough like yeast."

You mean like Pietism in the WELS?

Anonymous said...

"'Thus, rejecting any doctrine gradually works it's way through the entire dough like yeast.'

You mean like Pietism in the WELS?"


...or everyone being in the ministry.

...or women serving communion to other women.

...or replacing good, Christ centered cememonies with foolish displays (while screaming, "It's adiaphora!!")

Anonymous said...

"It has been said if you want to know what your pastor believes look at his library (today it is his electronic reading list)"

Why?

Does reading a book imply a person's allegiance to that book and the ideas contained therein?

Or is it possible to read a book, think about it, identify the false doctrine it contains, and only use what is good from it?

Anonymous said...

"You mean like Pietism in the WELS?
...or everyone being in the ministry.
...or women serving communion to other women.
...or replacing good, Christ centered cememonies with foolish displays (while screaming, "It's adiaphora!!")"

Yes, exactly like that. I never claimed that the WELS was any more immune to "little" false doctines than the LCMS.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, exactly like that. I never claimed that the WELS was any more immune to "little" false doctines than the LCMS."

Good. And I hope you don't think I was mocking what you said. In fact, I couldn't agree more (and I like the bread analogy). It is refereshing to hear some thoughtful criticism (as a opposed to closing your eyes and swinging your fists--which would also be a bad way to bake bread.)

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

It was asked, regarding why a Pastor's library might indicate something about his theology:

"Why?

Does reading a book imply a person's allegiance to that book and the ideas contained therein?"

No. But if the book shelf has a copy of the Purpose Driven Life yet is missing the Book of Concord...yes, it may indicate something is amiss. But maybe an equally good place to look is his web-browser history. If every Thursday he visits a site where he can purchase Methodist sermons, that may tell you something too. But hey, if that is what gets people in the pews, who am I to criticize.

LM

A WELS Pastor said...

On my desk I have a Purpose Driven Life right next to my Book of Concord. My BoC is worn and taped after many years of use. It's underlined and marked up on every page. My Purpose Driven Life I haven't even finished reading yet (after 2 years on my desk). It is also marked up on almost every page--in those sections I simply cannot accept on the basis of Scripture. If one of you were to come into my office and see my desk, I wonder what you would think without investigating further? (BTW, I also have Hoenecke's Dogmatics on my desk).

Anonymous said...

"If one of you were to come into my office and see my desk, I wonder what you would think without investigating further?"

No need to wonder--I would think, "If he wants to read something more contemporary, why is he wasting his time eating a dog-crap brownie from Rick Warren when he could be reading something like, 'On Being a Theologian of the Cross.'"

LM

Anonymous said...

LM - have you read it?

MAV said...

Before anyone asks, I've read both Purpose Driven Life and On Being a Theologian of the Cross, and I agree with LM. Are you folks aware that much of Warren's "theology" doesn't even come from Christianity?

Anonymous said...

"LM - have you read it?"

Read what?

LM

John said...

It seems my main point on Churchianity is being missed. I only included the line about what a pastor reads because Pr. Knippel is basing his WELS Churchianity Bible study on a book by Reggie McNeal.

So let's move out of the pastor's library to the pastor's Bible study which is based on McNeal's book. I'm sure the pastor is putting a Lutheran spin on what is discussed but....
Here is a website quote...
McNeil knows that his book may seem demanding, even harsh; so, he has inserted a section meant to thwart negative feelings he may have unintentionally stirred. This book is important reading for anyone with a heart for Christian outreach.

he then asks Do we practice “Christianity” or “Church-ianity”?

Do we?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of trying to "keep up with the Jones" in Christianity. Anything that comes off as superficial to me, is an immediate turn off and I've been raised in the faith (associated with Lutheranism--ALC, LCMS & WELS) since I was an infant.

For me, this is true on either end of the spectrum....be it the "conservative" High church method or the more "liberal" low church method of worship (and the terms "liberal" and "conservative" were used only because I couldn't come up with a more efficient term).

When our method becomes more important that Christ...I see what the term is stating. So, if I view more "right" worship to be x, y or z and I legalistically hold that as my status quo for all people...I think both sides err quite honestly.

I think of John the Baptist...wild, living off the land--wearing clothing that did not fit the societal norm of the time...yet, here was the forerunner of Christ himself. It wasn't about the glitz and the glam--it wasn't about who wore a collar or who didn't....it wasn't about the church building...it was about Christ and only Christ.

Again, I am the person who isn't sure she fits in anywhere in the visible church...everything just feels off and has for a long time. The invisible church though is my comfort place...so feeling awkward here on earth is okay.

So, our focus needs to be on Christ and I often feel that both sides of the "worship" debate actually miss that....we focus so much on the external that we forget Christ in all of it. Our egos...so sure we are the ones who are right...so willing to call names, insult our fellow brothers/sisters in the faith and where is Christ in all of this? Again, where is the love that Christ commands (and I should quantify that I don't mean a generic "love" like so many in this world believes in...I mean true "love" that holds one another in account and in true concern for one another).

Anonymous said...

"putting a Lutheran spin on what is discussed"

The practice of "despoiling the Egyptians" is very dangerous. The theology will to a great extent dictate the methods. It is naive and arrogant to think that Lutherans can take only methods from those whose theology is seriously flawed. Why doesn't this church study the Bible for its Bible class?

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Anonymous,

I am sorry that you are having a hard time finding a place in the visible Church. This is not surprising. Christ never promised His Church happiness and prosperity on earth. In fact, He wondered aloud whether he would find faith on the earth when He returns (before anyone comments, of course He knew and knows what He will find). This is our lot while in the Church Militant. We all find comfort in the invisible Church, however, we are not Gnostic spooks but humans and must deal with other sinful humans until we are called Home.

I hope you know that John the Baptizer was not living in the way he did by his own choice to point ahead to Christ. This was commanded for him. The special clothing and way of living was to set him apart as the forerunner of Christ. Incidentally, it may be a good idea for pastors today to wear collars to show that they don't fit the "societal norm" and are in a special office that points to Christ.

Do you mean that setting any standards or directives for worship is legalistic? The worship/divine service is where Christ comes to us through His Word and Sacrament. There are some definite directives for worship in the Bible and in our rich heritage going back to the time of the Old Testament church. No, the "methods" are not more important than Christ, but this is where Christ promises to be found and where He comes to His people, so the methods or means are very important.

You write,"So, our focus needs to be on Christ and I often feel that both sides of the "worship" debate actually miss that....we focus so much on the external that we forget Christ in all of it." This is Gnoticism. This is a denial that Christ comes to us in the concrete forms of water, bread, wine, and Word and that these external forms are the place where Christ meets us to give us forgiveness and are therefore important. We cannot talk about Christ apart from these.

God, who is love, tells all kinds of people that they are wrong. This shows us that true love is not tolerating all viewpoints and refusing to criticize anybody, but it is doing what the other person needs, even if that means telling them they're wrong. For example, when discussing worship, love does not turn a blind eye to services that put the focus on our emotions rather than Christ's gifts. Love instead points out the error and promotes worship services where Christ's gifts are the focus. This is not legalistic. This is speaking the truth in love.

A Sister in Christ

A WELS Pastor said...

LM-

You just don't get it. I was reading Warren because my people would pick it up at the local Christian bookstore because it was hyped on the Christian radio station they listen to. (You don't need to lecture about how they shouldn't be buying books off the shelf in a place like that or listen to those stations--I warn until I'm blue in the face). When they ask me about Warren--like they were doing a while back--I want to be able to tell them exactly where he's wrong and why they shouldn't read his book.

Michael Schottey said...

I don't see how you guys can deride "A WELS Pastor" What would you have him do? "A purpose drive life/ church" is going to be read by many well-intentioned of the laity.

Do we issue blanket statements? "Don't read that, it wasn't published by NPH or CPH!" Or statements from naivity? Rather, I agree with him, sometimes the best teaching tools are from the negative.

Take Christian radio (Please, take it far away) Some of my better teaching moments have been taking a statement from a "christian" (read: fluff) song and showing how either it was false/ripped out of context or meaningless junk.

God will work even through the Rick Warrens of the world, and rather than seem arrogant by simply telling our members "it is not to be read" Tell them the truth. "You can read it, its just mostly useless, and let me show you why."

For the record, it is on my shelf as well. My sainted father was given a copy by his hospice nurse. After two chapters he exclaimed. "Linda (my mom), if you read any more of that book, i'll end it now!"

I've only skimmed.

Anonymous said...

"God will work even through the Rick Warrens of the world"

Odd. I don't remember God promising to work through heretics.

Michael Schottey said...

God spoke through an ass once...don't think he can't still do so today.

Michael Schottey said...

To a less cheeky point,

God's will is certainly done in and of itself, even without our prayer-Luther

God's holy will, that is, that all men be saved has never and will never happen on account of men. Rather, it graciously happens in spite of sinful man and all of his shortcomings.

The Holy Christian church, exists outside of denominations, it exists without barriers and without visible presence. God's holy and gracious will is done wherever Christ crucified is preached. That is done in churches that span the globe of all denominations, full of heretical doctrines. There will be baptists, methodists, Catholics, and willow creekers in heaven, heretics all.

If you would like further proof that God's work is done, among even those outside of the Holy Christian church.

John 11:50-The Holy Spirit prophecies though the chief priest.

Numbers 22- Baalam, not the donkey

Genesis 37 and following- God's will is done though the sin of Joseph's brothers ("You intended to harm me, but God intended it for Good"), Ishmaelites, Potiphar, an Egyptian cupbearer and pharoh, etc.

Romans 8:28

Try as we might- we cannot help the Holy Spirit. He will work through and in whatever he will. The name of Jesus will be proclaimed (intentionally or not) among faithful, apostate, heretic and heathen here in time and hereafter in eternity.

Loescher said...

This is an interesting distinction being made here. Do we follow Christ or the church? Interesting, but, I fear, misleading.

The church may become an idol and take the place of God. I am sure a good historian could give us plenty of examples when that happened. But to run from that to the opposite extreme--I follow Christ and not the church--misses the point.

The distinction is misleading because it divides Christ and His Church. Churchianity vs. Christianity presents us with a false alternative--follow Christ or follow the church.

The church, as the New Testament tells us, is the body of Christ. To be a member of the church is to be a member of Christ. And one comes to membership in this body throught the means Christ has instituted within His Church--through Word and Sacrament.

Where these are rightly preached and administered, there is the Church, for the Church is created and preserved through these. Or, to be precise, Christ is present in these means to bring men into the church, His own body. There then can be no division between Christ and the church, for the church is Christ's body, in which Christ Himself gathers His children to Himself.

To claim that I follow Christ but will not be part of the church is to cut ourselves off from Christ by cutting ourselves off from His means of grace. To follow Christ is to be a part of the Church, and, yes, even follow that Church when it preaches the Gospel in its truth and purity and administers the sacraments rightly--for in that church Christ Himself is leading His own.

Mrs. Anon said...

"A sister in Christ,"

"I am sorry that you are having a hard time finding a place in the visible Church. This is not surprising. Christ never promised His Church happiness and prosperity on earth. In fact, He wondered aloud whether he would find faith on the earth when He returns (before anyone comments, of course He knew and knows what He will find). This is our lot while in the Church Militant. We all find comfort in the invisible Church, however, we are not Gnostic spooks but humans and must deal with other sinful humans until we are called Home."

*************I know that full well--I was merely lamenting the fact--not denying it. My belief in the invisible church is what I cling to, no matter the battle here on earth.******************

"I hope you know that John the Baptizer was not living in the way he did by his own choice to point ahead to Christ. This was commanded for him. The special clothing and way of living was to set him apart as the forerunner of Christ. Incidentally, it may be a good idea for pastors today to wear collars to show that they don't fit the "societal norm" and are in a special office that points to Christ."

***********I know...I was getting at the fact that if one didn't wear a collar, then he must not be orthodox or has no respect for his office. Honestly, when I see a collar I generally think of priest--though I am aware of several LCMS pastors who wear a collar--the majority that do in the area I live are priests. So, the collar will mean different things to different people depending on their perception. If one wants to wear a collar fine--it one doesn't, that is fine to imo...neither man is sinning.************

"Do you mean that setting any standards or directives for worship is legalistic? The worship/divine service is where Christ comes to us through His Word and Sacrament. There are some definite directives for worship in the Bible and in our rich heritage going back to the time of the Old Testament church. No, the "methods" are not more important than Christ, but this is where Christ promises to be found and where He comes to His people, so the methods or means are very important."

**********No, I didn't say that setting standards or a common practice was legalistic. What I did say was that the tenacity to which we cling to certain standards---holding them so high that anything outside of that standard is labeled "sinful" was legalistic...can you not see the difference?? I believe in what you said above--what worship is...but I am uncomfortable with saying there is only "one" right way. *********

"You write,” So, our focus needs to be on Christ and I often feel that both sides of the "worship" debate actually miss that....we focus so much on the external that we forget Christ in all of it." This is Gnosticism. This is a denial that Christ comes to us in the concrete forms of water, bread, wine, and Word and that these external forms are the place where Christ meets us to give us forgiveness and are therefore important. We cannot talk about Christ apart from these."

************BE CAREFUL....accusing me of Gnosticism is a very HARSH charge (as yes, you are talking to someone who actually knows what Gnosticism is)...be very careful in your words...as you do not know me at all and you are reading a lot into my words which is not there.

How is calling for "love" as defined in the Bible, denying how Christ comes to us in Word and Sacrament?? I am so confused by that--you will have to explain yourself.

I pointing to when we debate over more superficial matters such as what type of gown a pastor should wear or if he should have a collar or if we should use PowerPoint or if we should sing hymns or contemporary song...THAT, my dear sister in faith is what I am talking about. I was NOT talking about Sacraments or the power of the Word. I am more than a little offended by the Gnostic charge...do you understand Gnosticism--how harsh of a charge that is??

Again, THIS is how I clarified what love was in the above--maybe you missed it?? "Again, where is the love that Christ commands "and I should quantify that I don't mean a generic "love" like so many in this world believes in...I mean true "love" that holds one another in account and in true concern for one another."

We can talk all about keeping doctrinal purity--but if we don't approach each other in Christian love we will get NOWHERE!! It's funny how some people see love as a bad thing, I suppose that is because the word "love" is used so improperly...but remember what Scripture says:

"1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:13 **************

"Mrs" Anon. :)

Mrs. Anon said...

"To claim that I follow Christ but will not be part of the church is to cut ourselves off from Christ by cutting ourselves off from His means of grace"

I agree...I don't think anyone is advocating leaving a church. I struggle for a place to fit, but that doesn't mean I'm headed out any door. We are to meet together and we aren't to give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.

Anonymous said...

"Again, THIS is how I clarified what love was in the above--maybe you missed it?? "Again, where is the love that Christ commands "and I should quantify that I don't mean a generic "love" like so many in this world believes in...I mean true "love" that holds one another in account and in true concern for one another."

It is because I don't know you that I answer based on what you wrote, which was Gnostic. Don't feel bad, this is a rampant heresy in Lutheranism, especially in the WELS with our focus on being the only true visible church on earth but with other "invisible church believers" in heretical churches (all other churches except the ELS). This is not taking a shot at the WELS; this is what I've been taught by more than one WELS pastor.

Nothing in the worship service is superficial. Everything has meaning. The pastor's vestments, the music, and visual aids are exactly what should be discussed because they have meaning. BTW, I do understand Gnosticism, and this is another of it's entry points into the WELS.

"I mean true "love" that holds one another in account and in true concern for one another.""6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." Based on what you have written, I have serious concern for you. Would you rather I console and confirm you in your error?

Your Sister in Christ

Mrs. Anon said...

Sister in Christ,

******No, I like the truth....But you will have to explain to me in detail how I am a Gnostic and why my very soul is in danger...I am missing something. You tell me I am a "gnostic"...but you told explain why...which is why I am wondering if you understand the charge. It's a serious one that you seem to be flinging around with great ease...which in turn makes me concerned for you.

As for the vestments and all....hmmmm, I guess the apostles were totally sinning by not wearing vestments...espeically Paul?? I am not saying that we should not consider all points of worship--that they all have meaning. We SHOULD analyze "WHY" we do x, y or z...I never said that we shouldn't. However, a pastor who wears a vestment is no more a real pastor or a better pastor than the pastor who does not. The Gospel's work is not based on the vestment...it's power comes from the HOLY SPIRIT Himself.

If that makes me a gnostic..well...than our Synod truly is screwed up! I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit via the Word and Sacraments---it's a point I am very solid on...so is that how you define a gnostic?

" Don't feel bad, this is a rampant heresy in Lutheranism, especially in the WELS with our focus on being the only true visible church on earth but with other "invisible church believers" in heretical churches (all other churches except the ELS). This is not taking a shot at the WELS; this is what I've been taught by more than one WELS pastor."

****Confused again, your language isn't really clear here. So what is the heresy? That we are the "true" visible church or that there are other believers in ALL denoms across the world or both?

Could you please clarify this?

Also...define love...I'm confused by your negative reaction to the word...especially as it was a word that was defined clearly in Scripture.

Thank you.

Mrs. Anon

Mrs. Anon said...

"Don't feel bad, this is a rampant heresy in Lutheranism,"

I was cleaning and this phrase made me laugh in wonder and amazement that I was accused of a heresy---it was labeled as some sort of generic "gnosticism" and then I was told to "not feel bad" about it...so very confusing.

I don't get it--it's laughable and sad all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

"than(sic) our Synod truly is screwed up!" Amen!

"I don't get it--it's laughable and sad all at the same time." More sad than laughable.

You do seem confused, so my advice would be to find a confessional Lutheran congregation and, to paraphrase a wise but perhaps too earthy confessional Lutheran pastor, get your *behind* to the *worship service*.

YSIC

Mrs. Anon said...

I'm already in a confessional Lutheran Church....worshipping every Sunday. Though a call to regular worship is always good..thank you

It is only here that I am confused...where I am called a gnostic. In my own little irl bubble..totally ignoring the Synod at large...all is well.

Anonymous said...

"As for the vestments and all....hmmmm, I guess the apostles were totally sinning by not wearing vestments...espeically (sic) Paul??"

Who said anything about sinning? If you really want to make this discussion productive, you need to stop responding to arguments that no one is making. The same goes for your discussion of love.

Carefully re-read what YSIC is saying. She makes many good points.

LM

Mrs. Anon said...

LM,

I got called a gnostic and it was not explained to me why I was called a gnostic. Basically it was stated that I was a gnostic because I didn't value every single part of the service--that was my understanding, so indeed it was relevant.

Obviously you know YSIC better than I do because I fail to see the wisdom in her (it's a her?) words outside of encouraging me to go to church, which I do on a regular basis. Of course the assumption must of been that I didn't attend church?? Who knows...

As for the love issue, fine address each other as you have been throughout this entire blog..carry on with the rudeness...fine...say it's not wrong to call people names and question their very salvation (as if I am a gnostic, I am going to hell because it would mean I believed in the duality of good & evil, I denied the Trinity, etc--if I am a gnostic I am an unbeliever and NOT your sister in Christ)--whatever. I am so done here.

I was actually willing to listen--that is the funny thing. But again, I question the WELS and it's a deadend. I question anything here and I am on the bandwagon to hell. Great spot to be in.

So, I am labeled by one side as a gnostic, a liberal, an idiot, not spiritually mature and the other side labels me a traditionalist, close minded, divisive and the like.

What a spot to be in.

Personally you can all take you piety and keep it...I want nothing of it. The truth is, no one really gives a crap about one another--not really...we are too busy trying to be right and so willing to put others down that we fail each other in the Lord and that is indeed sad...but yeah it's all done because we love Christ so much...what a joke.

Respond all you want...I won't be back to read.

John....you have some really good points...but to respond here...well, it's virtually impossible...there is so much anger and bitterness here. Anyways, keep it up...which I could follow on, but I'm just thick skinned enough it would seem and I refuse to get nasty. I won't call people names nor will I put others done..I just won't.

One final word....check out that 8th Commandment...taking other's words in the "kindest possible way"...I would have appreciated the consideration...maybe a good reminder for the future.

Anonymous said...

To Mrs. Anonymous (or anyone else since she's taken her toys and gone home),

"(it's a her?)" I am indeed a "her", as my husband, children, and OBGYN will confirm. What an odd question. So, my friend, what does the 8th commandment mean to you? As I do not know you and can only go by what you have written and my frequent contact with other WELS women (sorry to lump them all together; there are many who don't fall into this; Praise the Lord!), here's my guess: The 8th commandment means that I must take YOUR words and actions (however snide, rude, condescending, and whiny they may be) in the kindest possible way and never correct you when you are in error, but you will attempt to rip me to shreds if I disagree with you.

"I got called a gnostic and it was not explained to me why I was called a gnostic. Basically it was stated that I was a gnostic because I didn't value every single part of the service--that was my understanding,"

Nope. Go back and read what I wrote, please.

"as if I am a gnostic, I am going to hell because it would mean I believed in the duality of good & evil, I denied the Trinity, etc--if I am a gnostic I am an unbeliever and NOT your sister in Christ)-"

Wrong again. You do not understand Gnosticism or what I wrote. You only have a partial definition.


"I was actually willing to listen--that is the funny thing. But again, I question the WELS and it's a deadend. I question anything here and I am on the bandwagon to hell. Great spot to be in."

No. From what you wrote, you were not willing to listen, you were willing to complain and respond to what you thought I was writing instead of what I wrote. Not helpful. Don't put words in others' mouths. Listen and then you might learn something.

"Personally you can all take you piety and keep it...I want nothing of it. The truth is, no one really gives a crap about one another--not really...we are too busy trying to be right and so willing to put others down that we fail each other in the Lord and that is indeed sad...but yeah it's all done because we love Christ so much...what a joke."

Here's a good place to start. It is not that "we love Christ so much"; it is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. TAKE THE FOCUS OFF OF US. My friend, it's all about Christ. Once it's all about Christ, then it becomes all about us, not before. We bring nothing to the table but our sins. Christ fills us with his Word, his Body, and his Blood. This is not a joke. It is deadly serious.

"John....you have some really good points...but to respond here...well, it's virtually impossible...there is so much anger and bitterness here. Anyways, keep it up...which I could follow on, but I'm just thick skinned enough it would seem and I refuse to get nasty. I won't call people names nor will I put others done..I just won't."

You've been very rude to me by not reading what I wrote and have responded with a fair amount of anger, bitterness, and nastiness. As Christians, if we see a brother or sister in error, we correct them.

You say you already attend a confessional Lutheran church. First, I hope you know what that means. Second, from your writing, I would guess that your church is more Pietistic than confessional. Nevertheless, I hope you do continue attending regularly to receive Christ's gifts in Word and Sacrament.

I remain,
Your Sister in Christ

A WELS Pastor said...

Mrs. Anon wrote:

"Personally you can all take you piety and keep it...I want nothing of it. The truth is, no one really gives a crap about one another--not really...we are too busy trying to be right and so willing to put others down that we fail each other in the Lord and that is indeed sad...but yeah it's all done because we love Christ so much...what a joke."

Zing. She hit the nail right on the head with this blog and others. You go girl!

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog recently, and I've been reading several of your articles as well as responses. All I have to say is this, quoting from Gandhi:

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Anonymous said...

John,

How about a new post? No one seems to be talking much about your original thoughts on Churchianity. How about something about Christology in the WELS?

Thanks for your continuing work!

Joanna L. said...

A WELS pastor, Pastor Nathan Pope (how's that name for a Lutheran pastor!) once said we should not be so quick to defend our own name but God's, that is his Word. How true! So here on BW everyone is taking offense rather than talking about the issues. A while back someone mentioned a magazine called the Motley Magpie. And a bunch of you jumped on it in a vicious way, but no one brought up a thing they said. Now I could care less if you pick on the authors, I am sure they can defend themselves, but what about what they have said. I have been reading it and I can see why WELS people are angry at them, they show how the WELS is wrong in many areas. The last issue on their web site had an article call "WELS Gerry-mandering." Wow. Could someone, maybe the anonymous "WELS pastor" show us where that article is wrong (and the other article the author wrote on the issue. He convinced me.

Anyway, let's talk issues here and not be so thin skinned. Read the letters to the editors in that Motley Magpie magazine. They never get angry or take offense. (They do pick on each other and themselves though, in a fun way.) The one Berg said he was more than willing to talk to you all. Why not?

Jo