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

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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:

link

(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?)

RNN

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the planned giving people are now being compared to "Pharisees" and "hypocrites" who will "receive the greater damnation"? Don't you think that's going just a bit too far John? Perhaps you should be more careful about some of the things you say before you damn fellow Christians to hell.

Perhaps you should also watch your grammar. That second to last paragraph ought to read: "...about the solicitation of money BY fulltime fundraisers. Jesus himself wasn't TOO loving to the Pharisees." Just a pet peeve I've been struggling with as I read your blog posts here.

Or have you been overindulging with Beez again?

X

John said...

X

Gee thanks for the grammar help. I have made the corrections. You know us simple folk in the pew don't have the edumacation like you seminary grads.

I guess I should also let you know that my Matt. 23 quote and reference to the planned givers preying on the widow's home was taken from an article a WELS pastor wrote in the Christian News several years ago.

Anonymous said...

John,

I'm a layman too, but that's no excuse for improper grammar.

I don't care where you took the quote from, it's still highly inappropriate.

X

Anonymous said...

X,

I think that maybe John hit it on the head. Remember if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck.

But then again maybe Thrivent will bail out the WELS.

Anonymous said...

"I think that maybe John hit it on the head. Remember if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck."

So you're saying that WELS giving counselors look and sound like hypocritical Pharisees bound for eternal suffering in hell?

That's a deadly serious accusation. Care to back it up with facts? Or are you just casually questioning the salvation of a fellow Christian with no actual evidence?

Look, I'm not exactly comfortable with all the "money people" we have in the WELS now, but I'm not about to question their faith or salvation.

X

Y said...

Mr. X,

You sure do wave that synodical flag high. The WELS headquarters is so bloated that John is making a valid point. When a church is having money problems there is a much deeper spiritual problem. The giving problem won't be solved by hiring pastors to be full-time money grabbers.

Yet the October WELS connection was all about fundraising. No talk at all about the Lutheran Reformation.

Y

rlschultz said...

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. Let's just call all of these synod money guys what they really are - "Tetzels". Speaking of Reformation, at Luther's time, there was only one John Tetzel. The WELS has over a dozen of them. As a side note, the alleged $45 trillion wealth transfer was a figure cited by many of the sharks in real estate to get the unsuspecting to engage in speculation. When this doesn't pan out, Thrivent probably will have to bail the WELS again.

Anonymous said...

Y,

Give me a break. I'm not waving any synodical flag. I even said that I'm not comfortable with the money guys either. But there's a huge difference between questioning synodical structure and questioning whether these people have saving faith or not.

If you can't see that difference, then we have a much deeper problem than money guys.

X

Anonymous said...

But there's a huge difference between questioning synodical structure and questioning whether these people have saving faith or not.

You are a bit too sensitive about this. I think that John was highlighting a point not damning a soul. Jesus condemned the Pharisees.

Anonymous said...

You can call Planned Giving Counselors whatever you want, including Pharisees and Tetzels,though I doubt it's God-pleasing. How many of you who oppose this ministry have sat down with one of these faithful men?

I, for one, will always be thankful for my local counselor for helping my wife and I plan our will. Our children will be well cared for in the event that we die. And yes, many of our most beloved ministries will inherit our last offering, including our dear synod. While some condemn such a ministry, I thank God for it. We can discuss, in a God-pleasing way, whether the synod budget supports too many counselors and ways they can better minister. We can even argue about specific instances where a will was challenged and how the synod should react to challenges, but I hope we can use better sources than a tabloid like Christian News.

Z

LM said...

"If you can't see that difference, then we have a much deeper problem than money guys."

What are "money guys"? Did you mean "money, guys" or were you referring to those who collect (or have) money? Hmmm, this may put your self-proclaimed mastery of grammar in contention.

Oh, and I don’t think John has the authority to do that which you accuse him of (or is it…to do that of which you accuse him…oh crap, my eyes just crossed). He’s just analogizing. And I must say, it is far more apt than that other grammaratician’s accusation of Romanism.

LM

Anonymous said...

"What are "money guys"?"

Umm, guys who go around asking for money.

"Did you mean "money, guys"

No, I meant "money guys".

"or were you referring to those who collect (or have) money?"

Yes exactly. How is that hard to understand? You know, guys who party are "party guys". Guys who who like sports are "sports guys". Get it?

"Hmmm, this may put your self-proclaimed mastery of grammar in contention."

No, actually I think it's more likely that it puts your mastery of reading comprehension in contention.

"Oh, and I don’t think John has the authority to do that which you accuse him of"

That was exactly my point. John doesn't have the authority to judge the eternal fate of the "money guys". That's exactly why he shouldn't have applied the words "you shall receive the greater damnation" to them.

"He’s just analogizing."

So? If I draw a comparison between you and Lucifer himself, implying that your fate will be the same as his, does than excuse me for my lack of Christian charity simply because it's an analogy? I hope not.

X

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the revisionist version of your post, John. Were you planning on apologizing for the "greater damnation" thing, or were you just going to delete it quietly and hope no one would notice?

X

LM said...

"So? If I draw a comparison between you and Lucifer himself, implying that your fate will be the same as his, does than excuse me for my lack of Christian charity simply because it's an analogy?"

Are you the same person that often accuses others of Romanism (see the comments under John's previous posting)? You sound like that person, and you have a deep love from grammar as well. If you are--well, what will be the fate of the Papists?

But to answer your question-- if I'm acting like Lucifer, then yes, the analogy would be apt. See, that's the whole purpose of an analogy.

LM (In case there was doubt, the "L" does not stand for Lucifer).

John said...

X,

I deleted the "damnation" portion of the passage because I felt it was causing you offense. But if it isn't I will repost it. I won't apologize for the assumptions you are making. I certainly knew that the grammarian would notice my repost.

Rick said...

John, LM, Pastor Schultz and others,

After reading your points of view on the various issues discussed, if you are in the WELS, I wonder why because you have nothing positive to say about any issue raised. Your opinion comes across as this: the planned giving counselors are Tetzels and money grubbing Pharisees on the road to perdition, the district presidents are at the best incompetent and the worst heretics, Church and Change is filled with people who want they Synod to go to hell in a handbasket and so on. Why are you still in the WELS if that is your belief. Should not your understanding of fellowship be cause for you to find a church body to your liking and one in which your beliefs are championed, if there is one at all.

If you are not in the WELS, then maybe you should state it so that readers know that this is an LCMS lay person or pastor's opinion.

Anonymous said...

rick,

Based on the comments on several posts (specifically the one right below this one) it seems that the majority of the people who comment here are, in fact, not WELS. It seems pretty clear that this blog has transitioned from being a place for WELS members to discuss issues within the synod to a place for other Lutherans (mostly LCMS and independent) to criticize the WELS and to promote their own doctrinal positions. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but it makes me wonder why so many other Lutherans feel the need to hijack a WELS blog to promote their own positions. I don't know of any WELS members hijacking LCMS blogs to promote WELS doctrine. I'd be curious to know why that is.

ABC

UP said...

"I wonder why because you have nothing positive to say about any issue raised."

The issues raised here are ones that some WELS folks have major concerns about. Why should this blog be a pat on the back to the WELS? The official website can do that just fine.

"Should not your understanding of fellowship be cause for you to find a church body to your liking and one in which your beliefs are championed, if there is one at all."

Maybe. Leaving is not always the answer. If some want to stay in a synod that has problems (which is all of them) they can make that decision without sinning. There is no perfect church on Earth. Of course, that doesn't mean they turn a blind eye to errors in the church. The disagreements here are useful to more clearly examine and define doctrinal positions and seek to correct errors if they are present.

"If you are not in the WELS, then maybe you should state it so that readers know that this is an LCMS lay person or pastor's opinion."

Why? Is everyone in the LCMS wrong? There's been a lot of quoting of Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and other writings by Luther. Does it matter if the person doing the quoting is WELS or LCMS?

Thanks be to God that the WELS and other Lutheran church bodies are still preserved by His grace. However, if the synod devolves into a general American Protestant sect while we're all busy singing about how "we keep its teachings pure", we are in serious trouble.

UP

John said...

UP -

Thank you for your response to rick and abc. This blog is raising serious issues that plague the WELS. These 2 individuals are welcome to turn a blind eye to these issue. As you suggest, they can also get the whitewashed version on the wels.net. Or they can get information from the inaccurate church and change website.

I have posted comments that show both sides of each issue. Sometimes there are even three sides to the coin.

Several times I have also contacted various WELS "officials" based on comments posted on this blog. In fact, I was waiting for one of you to tell me to run off and talk to JD. And I do know JD. In fact, I think I'm a better golfer than he (or is it him – x will tell me).

Feel free to comment, question, and answer for the hope that you have in Christ.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, I was waiting for one of you to tell me to run off and talk to JD."

Well, if you really believe that JD is a hypocritical Pharisee bound for hell (as your analogy seems to indicate) then you are bound by Christian love to run off and warn JD that he is engaged in unrepentant sin and in danger of condemnation. Or did you just quote that verse, not because you actually think that, but simply to be sensationalistic?

XDYLTG

LM said...

Rick,

I am a member of a congregation that belongs to the WELS, but I agree with UP that in these discussions synodical affiliation is largely irrelevant. Moreover, I don't believe I have ever expressed any of the opinions you attribute to me, namely, that "the planned giving counselors are Tetzels and money grubbing Pharisees on the road to perdition, the district presidents are at the best incompetent and the worst heretics, Church and Change is filled with people who want they Synod to go to hell in a handbasket and so on," nor do I currently hold those opinions.

That being said, you may have a point about leaving the WELS. For example, a few weeks ago when I questioned the WELS position on women communing other women, I was either (1) admonished for making a big deal about an aberrant practice or (2) told that no such position exists because it doesn�t happen so the discussion was pointless. More recently, that practice has been referenced by a WELS DP, and defended and linked to the WELS doctrine on the Church and Ministry.

Sadly, as UP noted, leaving is not always an option. I can't just go the LCMS church next door (or across the street, in my case). While I may find their doctrinal statement on the Church and Ministry more credible, of the 10 LCMS churches even remotely nearby, several are without Pastors and all but one have abandoned Liturgical Worship. So what should we do? It seems like the discussions and debates initiated by John are a good start.

LM

John said...

..are bound by Christian love to run off and warn JD that he is engaged in unrepentant sin and in danger of condemnation.

I am off and running ~