Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Defining Terms --

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

Church

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

Headquarters

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)

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have an LCMS background and I've never seen an "altar boy."

Anonymous said...

"I have an LCMS background and I've never seen an 'altar boy.'"

I think the prefered term is acolyte--and they come in both genders. If I'm not mistaken, the Greek word from which it comes means follower or attendant.

I've seen them in the WELS too, but only in the last few years.

Anonymous said...

You need to add a category: the role of women.

LCMS - women voting in the church, women lectors, women serving communion, LCMS does not follow the order of creation as it relates to their role in society.

WELS - no women voting in the church,it is ok for women to be pastors of women. WELS does follow the order of creation as it relates to their role in society

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg said...

Good sir:

(I tried posting this comment earlier but must have done something wrong, if this appears twice, my apologies.)

If you would be so kind, could you please remove the Motley Magpie from the "wels" side of your list. The Mapgie never was and is not a wels thing (probably the only thing on which the Mapgie and the wels agree). It is a journal which discusses and promotes Evangelical Lutheran ceremonia (per the Book of Concord) and that which is a detriment to that (and so naturally the wels and its teachings and practices were discussed.) We dealt with that which was in the public realm, we judged no one's heart and we printed every letter critical of our journal that the writer allowed us to print (and answered them). We sent the Magpie to all synodical officials, the wels seminary and to anyone whose work we critiqued in the journal. We even offered a wels district president, Paul Janke, as much space as he wished to write a rebuttal article to Fr. Peter Berg's "That Jesus Christ was Born a Man" which he labeled as false doctrine, which errors he failed to note, despite my requests. He did not respond to the offer other than dismissing me from the sect for not recanting that article, which in its own way was a response. Ispe dixit, it seems, is enough in the wels. Anway, check it out on the web. We have just posted the latest revision of a past issue which also includes several new articles, which I am sure will be of interest to your readers, even the wels readers (who may enjoy the article "Wisconsin Synod Gerrymandering." Comments and corrections, as always, are welcome.

Pax,
Rev. Fr. John W. Berg, editor
The Motley Magpie

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg said...

Thank you!

And a correction in my post, that should have read, ipse dixit. No Latin in my spell check.

Fr. Berg

A WELS Pastor said...

I had sent you a lengthy comment, but you saw fit not to publish it. Why?

RandomDan said...

I have read the list with amusement, especially since I have been on both sides of this divide now. No matter what, trying to nail Missouri down in terms of practice is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. There's probably more low church than high church (even though those Anglican terms fall flat when applied to Lutheranism) with more jeans than acolytes.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm 30 and the WELS had acolytes too in the church I was in.

Oh and for the record....Herman Otto is not on the LCMS pastor list..he was never ordained in the LCMS....so to call him LCMS is a misnomer really. He's a wannabe LCMS and not LCMS.

And I'm glad the Motley Magpie isn't for in the WELS spot...I've read through most of the issues and was saddened by the MM's tone and pov on various subjects.

Anyways, the list is okay...but overly simplistic and honestly just muddles everything all the more.

Anonymous said...

John Berg,

Just read that particular article. In it, you unequivocally state that the WELS doctrinal position is wrong. When you claim that the WELS position is false doctrine, how could you be surprised that you would be accused by them of false doctrine? It's really just the other side of the coin that you minted. Besides, why would you want to still be in a synod that, according to you, held to false doctrine? In other words, if, according to you, there was little chance of your words having any influence, then why not take a stand and leave the synod rather than waiting for the synod to do the dirty work and then complaining about it later.

(Notice that I didn't claim that you were promoting false doctrine--I was just arguing from that point of view.)

John said...

wels pastor

I have published all comments that have come through. So either it was a mistake or it didn't come through.

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

I am not sure which article you are referring to, mine or Fr. Peter Berg’s, or what particular wels position. Regardless, I was not surprised at all, as you write, (nor did I write that I was) by the reaction for I know well the ways of the wels. I was not so naive to think that such “errors,” if there were any in our articles, would be shown to be so - by the way, simply offering a catena of Bible passages without answering an article doesn’t do it, nor does saying “it doesn’t agree with the wels.” Don’t wels pastors say “if we are wrong we would correct it?” I know I used to say and believe that lie. What you may not know is that we have in the past (pre-Magpie) spoken up about many of these matters and have not been answered. In fact, in the two meetings I had with my district president on these matters I was told in advance that I would not be permitted to ask him questions (and I have the letters to prove that). How’s that for dialogue?

Also, one does not measure his confession based on the likelihood of it being accepted - ask John the Baptizer. I had absolutely no illusions about the wels ever accepting the idea that it may not have it right, that is God’s providence to do so. Also, my vow was not to teach in accord with the wels doctrinal and other public statements but to teach in accord with the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. So what does one do when he finds that his church body which makes similar claims does not do so? (Recall all those Reformation Day sermons about nailing stuff to doors?) Should one cut and run as you suggest, or, present the truth as he sees it (and accept the inevitable persecution that comes from doing that) and/or, if wrong, to expect to be corrected? I was not given that latter courtesy, just the former. Of course, its theologians could not refute that article or others in our journal from the Scriptures or Confessions, so we were not surprised that none of them responded to us. But finally the rule is: confess and be crucified, not confess and run. Additionally, I did not “complain” at all about it, as you write, but I simply noted how it went down and that was quite dirty, at least according to those who were there.

Pax,
Rev. Fr. John W. Berg

P.S. To Anonymous #1,

Magpie: “I think the wels is wrong.”
Welser: “I don’t like your tone.”

Anonymous said...

I agree that this list is quite simplistic and overly broad and counterproductive. There are people and groups in both synods that fall on both sides of your chart. Missouri especially spans the entire spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

You wrote the following to Pr. John Berg:

"When you claim that the WELS position is false doctrine, how could you be surprised that you would be accused by them of false doctrine?"

Are you talking about Fr. Peter Berg's article "That Jesus Christ was Born a Man"?

If so, the diference is that, assuming for the sake of argument that the charge of "false doctrine" is as unequivocal as you claim, Fr. Peter Berg's article is well reasoned and supported. Pr. Janke's charge of false doctrine was never supported. Now, had Pr. Janke said more than, "You're article teaches false doctrine because it accues the WELS of false doctrine" (paraphrase) maybe you would have a point. For example, he could have (1) argued that the WELS position is not what Fr. Peter Berg's article says it is or (2) shown that Fr. Peter Berg's position is unscriptural. But he did neither. Don't you think that if you are going to accuse someone of false doctrine you should be able to articulate why it is false?

As to your question:

"Besides, why would you want to still be in a synod that, according to you, held to false doctrine?"

I don't purport to answer on their behalf, but if you saw your fellow Christians blindly clinging to error, wouldn't you try to correct them?

To Anon who said:

"...I've read through most of the issues and was saddened by the MM's tone and pov on various subjects."

The tone!! We in the WELS are such sensitive souls (but only until someone questions the WELS, then we don't care much about tone--in fact then we try to be as derisive, vindictive, and petty as possible.)

Jesse D. Phillips said...

"Additionally, I did not “complain” at all about it, as you write, but I simply noted how it went down and that was quite dirty, at least according to those who were there."

In anticipation that some on here will ask for proof beyond Fr. Berg's own words--I was there and it was dirty.

Cheers,

JDP

Anonymous said...

Sorry for attributing a paper by Peter Berg to John Berg. I tend to get my High Holy Most Reverend Fathers mixed up.

Anonymous said...

"The tone!! We in the WELS are such sensitive souls (but only until someone questions the WELS, then we don't care much about tone--in fact then we try to be as derisive, vindictive, and petty as possible.)"

Oh please, I am not sensitive and it's nasty little quips like the above that is making me lose hope that we will ever recover as a Synod. I love sarcasm--but there comes a point where it crosses the line and we need to be able to self-regulate ourselves.

Also, I'm in the middle of all of this. I enjoy questioning...I did after all leave the LCMS for solid reasons and if I ever left the WELS, it would be for solid reasons as well.

I've been abused and mistreated by the "powers that be" in the WELS as well...a DP and some pastors in the area (and I'm not fully a lay person nor am I a called worker). However, I won't let bitterness claim me--I won't...I can't. I won't let Satan get in and work in my heart. If those in the WELS don't want to self-evaluate themselves and get upset over the smallest criticism--that is their burden to carry. Let us not take on a burden ourselves through sinking to their level of closemindedness.

The interesting thing here, as a person caught in the middle is that I don't fit anywhere. I don't fit with the those who identify with the Magpie. I don't identify with those who claim total loyalty to the WELS (and as for Issues in the WELS...maybe they would be a better fit as they aren't truly represented on this blog..who knows?).

So, where does that put me and people like me?? Especially when it seems both sides are more than willing to slam us at any hint of confusion or questioning.

I may feel the WELS is not as open as they should be...but I am finding the same is true on the other side of the spectrum as well. So where do people like me go?? Can anyone tell me?

rlschultz said...

Addendum to Pastor Berg's P.S to anonymous #1:

Magpie: "I think the wels is wrong".
welser: "8th Commandment violator! I hereby invoke Matthew chapter 18.
(This is known as being flogged with the "8 & 18 switch".)

Anonymous said...

"Sorry for attributing a paper by Peter Berg to John Berg. I tend to get my High Holy Most Reverend Fathers mixed up."

Speaking of tone, that's pretty sarcastic. So, you won't argue with what either of the Frs. Berg wrote, in fact you can't even distinguish one name from another, but you're going to criticize them? Oh wait, that's the same thing their respective WELS DPs did. Carry on.

If you have any, I'd really like to see some more substantive criticisms.

Anonymous said...

I (the one who criticized their majesties, the Most Awesome High and Mighty Berg brothers) was not the same one who had a problem with tone.

I guess getting anonymous confused with anonymous is akin to getting Berg confused with Berg.

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg said...

Kind bloggers,

And if anyone would actually wish to discuss/refute etc. what we wrote, even show us how nasty we are (which no one has, to date), they are welcome to e-mail me at jwhberg@juno.com. We will print your letter in our next reissued Magpie, with our reply, of course.

Pax,
Rev. Fr. John W. Berg, a.k.a.
The Most High and Mighty Berg (but don't look behind that curtain!)

Anonymous said...

And still no actual criticisms of what the "Most Awesome High and Mighty Berg brothers" wrote. Just name-calling. By the way, I didn't say you were the one who had a problem with their tone, I just pointed out that yours was pretty sarcastic. Keep up the work on that reading comprehension, friend!

Rev. Fr. Peter M. Berg said...

The hell you are, Johnny! I'm The Most High and Mighty Berg!

Rev. Fr. Peter M. Berg

rlschultz said...

The final entry under defining terms is Christian News (LCMS) vs. no dissenting voices allowed (WELS). Say what you want about either synod, this is a point well taken. There may be much disunity within Missouri, and probably there are at least several different camps. One may argue that CN is a rag, but at least it is a well established outlet for opposition. My perception of long-standing opposition within the WELS amounts to secret e-mail lists and private phone calls. Ichabod and this blog seem to the most popular public voices of opposition to shenanigans in the WELS.

JDP said...

"Sorry for attributing a paper by Peter Berg to John Berg. I tend to get my High Holy Most Reverend Fathers mixed up."

Anon, have you ever gone by the name Jeremy Carlson on another site? Your comment has a familiar ring to it.

JDP

Rev. Fr. John W. Berg said...

Rev. Fr. Peter M. Berg,

Frankly, I don't like your tone. Jerk.

Sincerely,
Rev. Fr. John W. Berg

Anonymous said...

"Keep up the work on that reading comprehension, friend!"

Me not need to read--WELS tell me what to think.

Anonymous said...

rlschultz wrote:

"Ichabod and this blog seem to the most popular public voices of opposition to shenanigans in the WELS."

Ichabod is published by Greg Jackson, the PhD who can't get along in any denomination, not because of his doctrinal books which NPH has even published, but because of personal integrity issues. If one were to go back and personally check the accusations he made over the years on the pages of CN regarding WELS pastors and officials, you'd be amazed at the half-truths and actual untruths he printed. So how can any of you take Ichabod seriously? On top of that, "Dr." Jackson denies objective universal justification. I, for one, wouldn't place any stock in anything the guy wrote.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, I haven't checked this blog much since Aaron Peders stopped writing it, but this place has gotten out of control.

So much for civil and constructive discussion. And that applies to both sides.

Anonymous said...

John,

I thought you've discussed this issue enough--the MM and what happened to its authors. Enough already! If you want to keep harping about it, why not change the name and purpose of your blog?

John said...

anonymous ...

Oh ok it is a dead horse. But I keep beating it. Well the horse (or birds) might be gone but the unresolved issues are still there. I have now read what the MM editors have said, maybe the other side could provide a rebuttal and not just keep shooting pot shots from the tall weeds, than I would be satisfied. Better yet write a letter to Rev. J Berg as he asked above and he can put it in the MM.

Mr. anonymous what else do you want to discuss? (I hate to be the one who keeps harping on these doctrinal issues)

John said...

Yikes, you took a left and then a right and ended up back here. (thanks for the little lecture)

Ok guys watch your language.

Now I knew that my little chart on terms would raise some fur and (magpie) feathers. I did ask for additions and corrections. Someone wanted the role of women divided between Missouri and Wisconsin views (but I'll leave that for another post).

Then I did pull off MM because the editor wants no link to the WELS although I put it across from CN because they do/did offer a differing view than the one from Synod headquarters.

I'll wait for Rev. Otten to drop a note before I pull his "rag."

I am interested in the point at hand about the MM. I have only been involved in one excommunication (as a voting member). The member was publicly excommunicated after several months because of a public sin. The voting assembly was made aware of the public sin in a tactful way.

Why hasn't the sin of the MM authors been made clear and public at least to those in the district and especially those involved.??

So maybe this is where the civil and constructive discussion should start.

Anonymous said...

1. Removal from the pastoral ministry is not the same thing as excommunication. There doesn't necessarily need to be a public sin involved for a pastor to be removed. And thus, there isn't necessarily a public sin that can and should be publicly rebuked.

2. How can you be so sure that the reason for their removal wasn't made clear to the district? Were you at the district convention at which their removal was announced? Have you heard from anyone who was? (Besides the Berg boys who are just a bit biased.)

3. If this is really a WELS blog, then why are those who don't agree with WELS doctrine given the "home-field advantage" while those who do hold to WELS doctrine are the ones forced to defend their doctrine and not the other way around? (I think that was the original point of the person who complained about the standard use of LCMS terms.)

Anonymous said...

"3. If this is really a WELS blog, then why are those who don't agree with WELS doctrine given the "home-field advantage" while those who do hold to WELS doctrine are the ones forced to defend their doctrine and not the other way around? "

I could not agree more. The WELS needs such an advantage here. This has turned into a dangerous place where the word of the WELS is questioned. This is not like the safe havens in Milwaukee, New Ulm, and Mequon, where the word of the synod or a respected member of the synod is accepted as true without question. Here it is not sufficient to cite WELS doctrinal statements as the final word on the matter.

How very sad, for does not Jesus say, "I will not leave you as orphans, but I will send you doctrinal statements of the WELS that will lead you into all truth." Sad also that this site is not a place where those who disagree with the WELS can be shouted down with "We're right. We're right. We're right."

That's the kind of stimulating, thoughtful dialogue that we need.

And enough with the sarcasm already!

Anonymous said...

Look, I agree that we can't blindly and simply rely on WELS doctrinal statements to solve all disagreements. That's not what I was saying. I was saying that just as we can't take all WELS doctrinal statements as canon law, this site also can't simply go the other direction and say, "It's WELS doctrine so obviously we know it can't be true at all. Let's make fun of it." That seems to be the general assumption of many people here.

Anonymous said...

"If this is really a WELS blog, then why are those who don't agree with WELS doctrine given the "home-field advantage" while those who do hold to WELS doctrine are the ones forced to defend their doctrine and not the other way around?"

I'm glad someone put this in writing. Now I have something to cite to next time someone denies WELSgroupthink exists.

Anonymous said...

"'It's WELS doctrine so obviously we know it can't be true at all. Let's make fun of it.' That seems to be the general assumption of many people here."

I disagree. Nice straw man though. But lets find out if this is true. Does anyone assume what Anon says we assume?

John said...

"It's WELS doctrine so obviously we know it can't be true at all. Let's make fun of it.",

What doctrine is being made fun of? Some hard questions are being asked about situations and events. You are free to start a blog entitled "Defender of the WELS,"or are free to post your thoughts and perspective here.

I think we need to ask hard questions about questionable practices that are occurring and have occurred in the WELS. These practices may stem from a doctrine that is being eroded away.

Anonymous said...

"Now I have something to cite to next time someone denies WELSgroupthink exists."

Wow, talk about a straw man. Yes, I have been brain-washed and lack even a basic ability to think for myself. Give me a break. My simple point was that instead of being a place for discussing WELS doctrine and practice and raising honest questions about it, it has turned into a place for promoting non-WELS doctrine while assuming that WELS doctrine must be wrong rather than asking if it might be wrong.

"What doctrine is being made fun of?"

John, I don't think that you personally are making fun of the WELS, but you are allowing your blog to be used by people who have no desire to discuss WELS doctrine, but rather have already made up their minds that WELS is a brainwashing sect without hope of having true doctrine. For example, allowing promotion of the MM is akin to making fun of the WELS, since the MM does just that profusely.

A WELS Pastor said...

An example of how WELS doctrine is attacked on this blog: There are a number of participants that have clearly promoted the "LC-MS position" of church and ministry. The "WELS position" of the public ministry, as taught in our blue Kuske catechism and as expressed in our official doctrinal statements, is attacked. What is our doctrine? Just read "This We Believe." I don't need to restate it here so it can be attacked again.

Anonymous said...

"My simple point was that instead of being a place for discussing WELS doctrine and practice and raising honest questions about it, it has turned into a place for promoting non-WELS doctrine while assuming that WELS doctrine must be wrong rather than asking if it might be wrong."

So let me get this straight--you want honest discussion about WELS doctrines which will not promote anything contrary to WELS doctrine. In other words, we should honestly discuss how we all agree with WELS doctrine. Can we then sit around the Camp Philip campfire holding hands and singing We All Are One in Mission?

From what I have seen, no one here simply "assumes" the WELS is wrong. Those who disagree point out why they disagree and how the doctrine in question is in error.

Your posts have not returned this courtesy. The more I read them, the more tempted I am to assume that everything the WELS says is wrong, based on your inability to articulate (look it up) a cogent (ditto) defense of the WELS' doctrinal positions.

If the WELS position is so obviously right that it need not be defended, you and anyone else ought to be able to easily refute those who disagrees with the WELS; to be able, for instance,to shoot holes in three old birds and their droppings. When instead you simply cry "unfair--we shouldn't have to defend our positions" you give the impression that you have no defense for your position.

Michael Schottey said...

Man...all of these Anonymouses (Anonymice?) make things really confusing.

Take a cue from the Brudern Berg and sign your names to some things. As my sainted father used to say, "If you can't stand by your beliefs, they must not be very strong beliefs.

Finally, this isn't a WELS blog...neither is mine. If you'd like such a safe haven try the Imprint blogs on WELS.net, otherwise if you're stepping into the blogsphere, do so ready to stand behind what you believe in no matter what side you're on. I tire greatly of polemics, but it helps when your purpose is based on the Scripture and Confessions.

While I believe that the WELS is Orthodox and do not have the ire that some seem to (Verily I have been accused of towing the synod line) I am not so rosy that I believe everything spewed from a WELS pulpit is true. (I save my "quia subscription" for the Book of Concord alone)

PS I was an acolyte as both a WELS and ELS member (do I get bonus points)

Anonymous said...

Dear a wels pastor,

"What is our doctrine? Just read "This We Believe." I don't need to restate it here so it can be attacked again."

Is this what God tells us in Peter? If so, when he says "Always being prepared to make a defense (check the Greek, not the NIV)for a reason for the hope that you have" what he meant was "Always being prepared to refer people to the right doctrinal statements." Wonder if this fits the method of exegesis laid out in Biblical Interpretation: The Only Right Way.

Seems that Jesus missed the boat; he took the time to teach rather than refering everybody to the righ doctrinal statement. Nor did he keep his mouth shut to avoid being attacked.

Anonymous said...

"So let me get this straight--you want honest discussion about WELS doctrines which will not promote anything contrary to WELS doctrine."

There is a HUGE difference between questioning and promoting. The former means having an open mind; the latter means having a mind already made up.

"The more I read them, the more tempted I am to assume that everything the WELS says is wrong, based on your inability to articulate (look it up) a cogent (ditto) defense of the WELS' doctrinal positions."

Yup, your caricature is right on. I'm a stupid WELS member and have no idea what big words like "articulate" and "cogent" mean.

"If the WELS position is so obviously right that it need not be defended..."

Never said the WELS position need not be defended. My concern was that ONLY the WELS position seems to need defending around here. Other viewpoints are simply accepted as true and unassailable.

"he took the time to teach rather than refering everybody to the righ doctrinal statement."

Come now, this isn't exactly a fitting forum for teaching in any sort of thorough way. Thus the beauty of referring people to doctrinal statements. They're basic statements of what we believe so that we don't have to reiterate everything here. Why bother with any confessions or doctrinal statements at all if we are forbidden from ever pointing anyone to them or referring to them?

Anonymous said...

We won't get anything done as long as there is so much anger, bitterness and hatred floating around.

If I agree with the WELS on doctrine, I will be told that I'm a simpleton who doesn't understand basic words...such as "articulate."

If I agree with the "other" side who seems to have a lot of emotion felt towards the WELS, I run the risk of not fitting in there either.

Seems to me like there is nowhere to go.

Personally, I am thinking it is best to just split and move rather than fall into sin with bitterness, name calling, anger and the like.

I'm not sure what my future is here in the WELS. One thing I do know is that I'm not going to become bitter...I just won't...I don't want to sound like some of the posters above me.

I want a place to fit, apparently--that may not be found here on earth and maybe that is okay.

Anonymous said...

Oh and as for pointing out the error so the MM....not interested. Tbh, the idea of dialoguing with them makes my stomach turn. I understand the desire to want to be witty and quick in word...but it crosses the line into just being mean at times.

Why is it that to communicate with either the WELS or the MM, I would have to subject myself to abuse?? It's so frustrating...which is why, as I said above...there is no place that my family fits...which is sad.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that to communicate with either the WELS or the MM, I would have to subject myself to abuse??"

As a layperson, I've also been shocked at the way that WELS pastors communicate with each other. I'm told that they pick it up at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary where vicious sarcasm and verbal abuse is the normal method of communication. It is so ingrained in them there that they have no idea how hideous it sounds to the rest of us. How that sort of thing has any place at the Seminary, I have no idea. Although I suppose wild drinking parties and women sleeping in the dorms has no place at the Seminary, and yet that happens too.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it may have revolved around "initiation"...which no longer exists from what I am told. In 2002 (I believe that was the year), the students at Seminary built an effigy of "initiation," burnt it and buried it in the ground.

Initiation was meant to "solidify" the brotherhood. It was very secretive--not even the wives of the men were supposed to know what occurred during initiation.

For those few men who REFUSED to participate (and I'm privileged to know one personally) they were mocked, told by the Dean of Students at NWC that they would never become a WELS pastor, physically handled, etc.....it was a total disgrace in my opinion.

Can you imagine Jesus Christ treating his disciples in such a manner? No--you can't because he didn't use shame and degradation to solidify the unity they had. Using shaming methods only increases negativity and devalues our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Again, initiation is NO LONGER at the Seminary....praise be to God!!!

Another thing that I think we need to look at is what is "servant leadership?" I see a lot of ego among our pastors...and in those who left the WELS as well. They are so certain that they are right--so postive their actions are justified that they have no self-regulation of their behaviors.

We NEED to see humility in our pastors....we need to see servant leadership...we so need that!! If we could focus on that I really think a lot of other things would fall into place because our hearts can truly focus on God's Word when we aren't on our high horses.

To keep doctrinal purity we can have love. I know some feel it has to be one or the other--but we can have both.

What I am missing in the WELS and in some of the groups like MM is humility, servant leadership and the greatest thing of all...love that flows from the Holy Spirit Himself. Until we address that, we are just a house of cards...

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous:

Please do not take what you read here as representative of the WELS in general. You are reading the comments of people who are ticked at the WELS for a variety of reasons--this is a place for them to vent.

Also, there is no perfect church body on earth. There never has been and never will be. That's why heaven looks so good! But we worship and fellowship and do our church work with those who as best as we can see cling to the clear Word of Scripture, and whose main focus is on Christ and his gospel.

Legal Man said...

"The "WELS position" of the public ministry, as taught in our blue Kuske catechism and as expressed in our official doctrinal statements, is attacked."

Anonymous WELS pastor, if you look back over the comments I think you will see that this it not a fair statement. I have pointed out perceived inconsistencies between our confessions and certain practices in the WELS, asked for clarification about those practices, and questioned why the WELS doesn't approach the Ministry from a Christological perspective. I hardly see how that is attacking the WELS. And you should know what attacking means, as you, on the other hand, have publicly speculated as to my motives, decency, and normalcy as a person.

Look, if you are a pastor, you should be apt to teach. I�ve looked at the WELS statements in question�they do not answer my questions. I�m asking you to help me understand. If you don�t want to put your unexpressed thoughts in writing, that is fine. But say so, don�t pretend that we don�t really want to understand.

To the anonymous who said: �My concern was that ONLY the WELS position seems to need defending around here. Other viewpoints are simply accepted as true and unassailable.�

I don�t think anyone is accepting other view points as unassailable. They are saying, �This is my understanding. This is my support. Am I wrong?� or �You said this, but our confessions say this�am I wrong?� Yet the response they receive is �Yes you are wrong because the WELS teaches X.� How is that a helpful answer? I can figure out on my own WHAT the WELS teaches (well, most of the time), but I�m having hard time finding out WHY. So stop dodging the issues. If you don�t want to discuss these things, fine�just say so. But do not accuse those who do of being dishonest, thoughtless, WELS bashers.

LM

Anonymous said...

"But we worship and fellowship and do our church work with those who as best as we can see cling to the clear Word of Scripture, and whose main focus is on Christ and his gospel."

With due respect, this is where there seems to be some differences. Why do you go to church? Is it for your actions or Christ's? Your statement is subtly focusing on what we do only. (we worship, we fellowship, we do church work, we see, we cling to Scripture, we focus on Christ) This is very common through all of WELS education. As a WELS teaching college grad, this is what I was taught, but now I'm not so sure it's quite correct. When the focus is on us keeping Christ in focus, we are going to have problems because we can't do that perfectly. The WELS was born of Pietism and has never been able to break free of its roots.

The greatness of the true Evangelical (Lutheran) Church is that we have Christ with us. When pastors don't just preach ABOUT the gospel, but actually preach the Gospel, there is heavenly comfort for hurting souls. When Christ and all the heavenly host are with us, including our loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord, at the communion rail, as we are fed His Holy Body and Blood, which are forgiveness, life, and salvation, there is great comfort. From there, we can go do our duty in our vocations and give praise and thanks to God, but it doesn't start with us. In my experience in the WELS, these wondrous comforts are glossed over in favor of what WE DO.

I heartily second your statement that there is no perfect church body on earth. Jesus said that a man's enemies would be the members of his own family. In the Church Militant, there will be no end to strife and troubles. I would suggest that the anonymous person concerned about a place for his or her family read some of the sermons available from the named pastors on this site or from churches in his/her area. That might be a better way of making a decision than going by comments on this blog.

Sorry this is so long, but instead of more name-calling and sarcasm, could someone please tell me why he/she attends Divine/Worship Services?

Thanks

MLS Veteran said...

"Initiation was meant to "solidify" the brotherhood. It was very secretive--not even the wives of the men were supposed to know what occurred during initiation. "

I often wondered why initiation rights were such a big thing at prep schools and the colleges of the WELS. While I did not attend NWC or DMLC (I was college age before the merger), I did attend a prep school (MLS). The first year, the "Zex" year, could be pretty rough and humiliating at times. If anybody has ever read Pat Conroy's "The Lords of Discipline" (based on his time at the Citadel), you get a pretty good idea of what it could be like.

I always thought it strange that people considering the public ministery would gravitate to such things.

I came away feeling that WELS was doctrinally sound, but had some pretty major issues with fellowship.

MLS Veteran

DMLC veteran said...

I attended DMLC and I wasn't apart of and I didn't observe any type of initiation.

I do know that there certainly was a prep school inner circle.

I have heard about the initiations at NWC and WLS. I wonder if it is true and if it helps build and maintain the good ole boy club mentality.

MLS Veteran said...

I suppose sometimes initiation rights do build character.

Frankly, I think most HAZING-type initiation rights tend to be somewhat sadistic in nature, and are generally neither good for mental health or Christian character. Just my opinion.

Sometimes stuff is passed off as being fun. However, it is way too easy for a person with a bullying or sadistic nature to easily manipulate "traditions" like this for their own devious ends. I have always been a little suprised in modern times that no one has ever brought a law suit against one of the schools for hazing type incidents. In our legal-happy society businesses and other organizations are often brought to court for actions EXTREMELY MINOR compared to things I saw in prep.

Michael Schottey said...

MLS Veteran,

I'm sorry for whatever happened to you. I know many "veterans" of MLS, none of whom have expressed the angst that you have, here and on other sites.

By the time I got to MLS, I was the last class of the "rital" as it stood. We sang a song in tribute of the singers, I had to eat a "goldfish" (it was a peach dipped in vinegar- I then ate the real fish to show up the senior friend of mine)

The next year it was moved to the day time, no one knew why...probably pressure from a parent. It lost a lot of its meaning over the next two years and was dropped.

My initiation was one of the most memorable and treasured moments from a action packed freshman year. My dad (class of 1590 or somewhere around there) always said the same thing about MLS/NWC/WLS

Anonymous said...

How bout WELS-Miller
LCMS-Busch

Gretchen in St. Louis said...

I agree with the person who hadn't looked at this blog in a while and found it totally out of control. I don't think this blog is accomplishing anything.

And a brief correction--Milwaukee is the home to the Brewers, not the Packers. But then to the shallow baseball fans of Milwaukee, the Brewers great season was only another excuse to wear Packer and Badger apparel.

With that deep, sarcastic thought I bid you infighters adieu.

John said...

Gretchen,

Thanks for trying to help us gain control. I realize Milwaukee is the home of the Brewers but the Packers are the WELS mascot. Didn't you know that most Wisconsin pastors can be found wearing a packer tie on Sunday's if they aren't wearing jeans and a polo.

So in Wisconsin we say "would you like some cheese with that whin." :)

A WELS Pastor said...

John wrote:

"Didn't you know that most Wisconsin pastors can be found wearing a packer tie on Sunday's if they aren't wearing jeans and a polo."

Hmmm. The Packers aren't my team. And our pastors still wear suits on Sundays. You're no better than the other sarcastic axe-grinding people who post on this blog.

John said...

And our pastors still wear suits on Sundays.

This is not true. All WELS pastors do not wear suits for the Sunday church service.

Anonymous said...

They do under their albs or genevas. ;) At minimum a shirt & tie, but suits aren't uncommon. :)

I think that is what "wels pastor" meant.

Anonymous said...

Ah, just read the above in context...sorry for the above statement (the one with the alb and geneva comment).

As for the jeans/polo comment...I don't know. I've been a member of churches in GA, CA, WI, MN, MI, NE & AZ (yeah, I've moved a lot)and I've never seen "jeans and a polo" on Sunday.