Saturday, November 17, 2007

2007 WELS HYMN WRITER CHALLENGE


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

http://www.hymnwriterchallenge.com/index.html

"Kumbaya, my Lord"

96 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't get it.

Who is sponsoring this challenge? That information is conspicuously absent. The only information given is a PO Box. It obviously has no official connection to the WELS or NPH. The website also makes no mention of the purpose or use of the submissions. Very fishy.

John said...

I found the contest on this WELS blog..

http://dalewitte.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"2007 WELS HYMN WRITER CHALLENGE"

It never says it is sponsored by WELS as your title would imply.

"and you may even have your very own hymn tune in the next WELS hymnal."

I can't find anywhere that the website even claims this. In fact, the hymn list for the CW Hymnal Supplement, coming out this summer, has already been finalized and published on the WELS website. The next complete hymnal is many years away.

"Kumbaya, my Lord"

Why would you even suggest this? To stir the pot?

John said...

"2007 WELS HYMN WRITER CHALLENGE"

It never says it is sponsored by WELS as your title would imply.

I didn't say it was sponsored by the WELS either. The website is the one that implies it is a WELS contest.


Why would you even suggest this? To stir the pot?


I guess you don't find the hymn writer challenge funny. I thought it was rather amusing. I don't think the pot needs any stirring it seems to be simmering just fine on its own.

Anonymous said...

Yes, because only hymns written 100years plus ago are good ones, even the ones we sing that were written by the likes of the Wesely brothers.

You don't like modern worship..but you mock attempts at increasing interests in hymns. I am very confused.

Is there really anything that is going to make anyone happy. Maybe it's time to just say "I'm done with the WELS." We criticize the "faithful" in the LCM for sticking with the LCMS...but we are all headed down the same road.

Anonymous said...

And yes, I am aware I had spelling errors. No need to point them out. I hit the post button by accident.

John said...

I mock attempts at increasing interest in hymns? No this is what I mock:
The theme for this contest is false doctrine. The hymn text should teach these two contrasting truths:

* Even the "smallest" false doctrine is a great danger to a person's saving faith
* Even churches that tolerate plenty of false doctrine can bring people to saving faith through the gospel of Christ.


How can one write about 2 contrasting truths in a hymn format?

Anonymous said...

You mean, stating that the power of God's Word is stronger than the ploys of Satan and the degradation of false teachers is wrong?

False doctrine is so very dangerous. I know that first hand. But I refuse to to believe that the power of the false prophet can bind the power of the Holy Spirit as He works in the Word. The Word is, after all the "sword of the Spirit" and it never comes back void.

Do you believe in the invisible church which is the Holy Christian Church (not the WELS--*shock*).If you do (as Scripture teaches it), then you have to accept the fact that God's Word works,even in the hands of the undeserving.

Anonymous said...

Yes, John, you are stirring the pot, whether you want to admit it or not. You can defend your actions all you want, but there's a difference between fighting false doctrine and being contentious. You're definitely contentious.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about it. The thing I can agree on is that it's not the "church" bringing anyone to faith--that is blasphemy.

But the Gospel is powerful, even in the hands of the false prophet who will be held accountable beyond belief for trampling on the very Word of God.

A WELS Hymnwriter said...

Here's one entry for the contest. The tune is Dear Christians One and All Rejoice

We thank you Lord that we are WELS
And have all of our doctrines right.
For if we erred in just one point
That would become an awful blight
It would our saving faith destroy;
We would lose all our heav’nly joy
We’d be just like Missouri.

We thank you Lord we’re not Miss’ri
Who must plead for your mercy.
The unit concept they deny
And mess up public ministry.
But what else ought we to expect
From men who did not go to prep,
To New Ulm or to Mequon.

We thank you Lord for abstract truths
That we alone have perceiv-ed,
For function, gospel, ministry
Whose forms must be conceiv-ed
By your church as it deems it best,
So phys ed, science, and the rest
All count as public ministry.

Don’t get us wrong; we will not say
That we alone will be in heav’n.
For though our faith would be destroyed
By just the slightest leaven,
Yet some who are in churches wrong
Will join us in the heav’nly throng
In spite of their false teachings.

For these are they who do not know
That their beliefs are not quite true.
Their ignorance gives them a pass
God lets those in who have no clue.
But those who know Wisconsin’s creed
And think that it is wrong indeed
Are damned forever. Amen.

John said...

A wels hymnwriter

I think that you should enter the contest. Who knows your lyrics might win.

But, remember too, some might think that you are being contentious.

No You're definitely contentious.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, so funny...I seem to be missing the point in all of this.

What are we doing?? What are you doing??

This is all pointless. Thanks for adding to the pointless. I'm not impressed by the WELS or you--neither of you guys are good alternatives. It's all just "bicker, bicker"..no point whatsoever. No plan of action. No ideas for change. No hope...just bitching.

Anonymous said...

"No plan of action"

What do you suggest as a plan of action?

Talking about problems in the church is not pointless.

Anonymous said...

"This is all pointless."

I agree. John, if a harmless (though strange) hymn-writing contest not affiliated with the WELS at all is considered a major problem with the WELS worthy of it's own blog post, then I think that the WELS is doing pretty well and that your blog isn't serving a useful purpose.

Oh, welshymnwriter, that hymn was awful. The rhyme and the meter were completely off. Stick to bashing the WELS in prose form. Poetry isn't your thing.

UP said...

Anonymous at 7:17am,

The hymn-writing contest seems to be for WELS members according to the website, even if it is not from 2929. That makes it affiliated with the WELS. And, yes, it is very strange. The fact that such a contest is going on does make one wonder about the WELS. Sadly, I think the submission from the welshymnwriter above might be what the contest judges are looking for. It is not pointless to discuss such weirdness. Turning a blind eye for years is what has gotten us into the situation where we currently sit as a synod.

UP

Anonymous said...

"The fact that such a contest is going on does make one wonder about the WELS."

What?! Why?

To me, it looks like something an individual setup, looking for lyrics that he could write a tune for.

I don't get why such an individual's actions are being scrutinized so much. What is so "weird" about it anyway?

Anonymous said...

*What do you suggest as a plan of action?

Talking about problems in the church is not pointless.*

To the above anon, you call the above talking?? Really? See, I call it complaining, bitching, mocking, agitated chatter...but not talking, discussing, etc.

As for a plan of action, I have no clue...all I know is that what is going on here is pointless because it is too wrapped up in anger. Oh and let's all be honest here--I really don't think the WELS is going to be able to redeem itself in the eyes of many here. So, if it cannot redeem itself, then just leave--move on. That is what we are thinking about doing.

UP said...

Anonymous at 8:58am,

There are a panel of judges, so the contest seems to involve more than just an individual. And we are big on being united in doctrine and practice, so if one small group creates a hymn contest it applies to all of WELS.

How is it weird? Look at the theme for the contest. From their website: "Even the "smallest" false doctrine is a great danger to a person's saving
faith. Even churches that tolerate plenty of false doctrine can bring people to
saving faith through the gospel of Christ." That's weird. The text of Lutheran hymnody is a great heritage of the Lutheran church because of its objectivity in presenting our need for and God's plan of salvation. This contest isn't looking for that.

The contest makes me wonder if the self-imposed isolation of the WELS from the rest of Christendom is coming around to bite us. The six-fingered children of all the theological inbreeding are popping up everywhere. One of those offspring would be this hymn contest.

To Anonymous at 9:16am,

Chill out, Junior! Do some reading on the Theology of Glory vs. the Theology of the Cross.

Peace,
UP

Anonymous said...

UP,

Is the contest a little weird? Yeah. Is the wording a bit strange? Yeah. Could the topic of the hymn be a tad better? Maybe.

But I simply don't see how this warrants some broader condemnation of the entire synod or the labeling of our synod as inbred. You yourself point to the theology of the cross. Every church will always have people who make mistakes, don't word things correctly, or have their focus in the wrong place. It's something to approach with patience and gentleness, not with insults on a blog.

And I can't fathom your suggestion that out theological isolation is causing bad choices in music. You really think we're going to find better in the great world of Christianity? The WELS can never win. If they use music from other church bodies they are lambasted for exchanging their Lutheran hymnody for cheesy CCM music. If they try to write their own hymns, they are lambasted for being isolated and inbred. What's a synod to do?

Look, there are some serious problems in the WELS. But when people get worked up over little stuff like this, it only detracts from their overall credibility. Much like when environmentalists blame every single thing that happens on global warming. It keeps me, and others, from taking any of their claims seriously. Or like when Democrats blame every single terrible thing in this country on George Bush. Keeps me from taking even legitimate criticism too seriously.

This blog shouldn't cry wolf so much.

Anonymous said...

Those on this blog who think this contest is legit are nuts!

UP said...

Anonymous at 11:20,

This is not a condemnation of the entire WELS (I never wrote that it was), but the contest is a symptom and a good example of what goes on in the WELS. Yes, theological isolation and inbreeding have produced some very strange things in the WELS. WELS profs ignore large chunks of church history. WELS pastors have no idea what is going on in the other Lutheran church bodies and so use out-dated generalizations to describe them, or go to a source of dubious credibility like Christian News. Very few professors or pastors study outside our educational system for advanced degrees. The majority of the sem profs have no advanced degrees other than their M.Div. from Mequon, so they regurgitate what they learned at Mequon. That is theological inbreeding. When a sem prof came across Pia Desideria a while back, he concluded that the WELS agreed with parts of it, therefore Pietism isn't so bad. That is theological inbreeding.

FYI: Most hymnody used in the WELS was not written by WELS members. Much was around before the WELS existed. Perhaps, when looking for hymnody, WELSers should use their discernment.

My reference to the Theology of the Cross was not about people in the synod making mistakes or having the wrong focus. There are serious issues here, and yes, even something as small as a hymn writing contest can be a sign of them. BTW, I recommend Gerhard Forde's excellent book "On Being a Theologian of the Cross" to help you understand.

UP

UP said...

"Those on this blog who think this contest is legit are nuts!"

Do you know whether it's real or a joke? I'd be interested if you do.

I thought it was a joke too, but could only find the PO Box in Waupun for contact info and I'm not going to mail something just to find out.

Thanks,
UP

LM said...

"Much like when environmentalists blame every single thing that happens on global warming."

Where's the Beez when we need him?

"BTW, I recommend Gerhard Forde's excellent book "On Being a Theologian of the Cross" to help you understand."

I second that.

LM

PCK said...

UP Said:

"Very few professors or pastors study outside our educational system for advanced degrees. The majority of the sem profs have no advanced degrees other than their M.Div. from Mequon, so they regurgitate what they learned at Mequon. That is theological inbreeding."

I found this comment interesting because many people lambaste those who have gone to get higher degrees because it's wad done at a non-WELS/non-confessional/non-whatever -you-want-to-say institution.

So which is it? Do you want our Sem profs and pastors to be "inbred" and sheltered in WELS, or do you want them to get advanced degrees which may end up sending them to non-WELS institutions? There seems to be a double standard.

Anonymous said...

pck,

You're absolutely right. Most people who comment on this blog already have their minds made up that the WELS can do nothing right, no matter what.

If they write their own hymns, it's weird. If they use other hymns, they're abandoning Lutheran hymnody and becoming CG.

If they work closely with other synods, they're too lax on fellowship. If they don't, they're close-minded.

If they get degrees at other schools, they're leaving confessionalism to learn from false prophets. If they don't, they're inbred.

If they make cutbacks, it's evidence that the synod is dying. If they add to the budget, they're being irresponsible.

I could go on and on.

Come on people, this is just bitching for the sake of bitching. This blog is no longer a forum for honest and productive discussion and debate (if it ever was).

Is the WELS perfect? No. But thank God for the WELS! Christ is accomplishing great things through the WELS, despite our flaws and those who hate us no matter what we do.

Another observer said...

"You're absolutely right. Most people who comment on this blog already have their minds made up that the WELS can do nothing right, no matter what."

Pck, mind-reader and master projectionist,

Why don't you stick to what is in your own mind and heart rather than telling others what is in theirs.

Thanks,

Another observer

Another observer said...

"You're absolutely right. Most people who comment on this blog already have their minds made up that the WELS can do nothing right, no matter what."

Pck, mind-reader and master projectionist,

Why don't you stick to what is in your own mind and heart rather than telling others what is in theirs.

Thanks,

Another observer

Anonymous said...

LM,

A word to the wise, start buying desert land in Arizona, it will soon be ocean front property.

Gore in '08,
The Beez

Anonymous said...

"Another observer"

I'm just going by what people here have said. I pointed out the numerous contradictory complaints that have been made. Considering such words and complaints, it is pretty clear what people are thinking. If you go on an on and on about how bad something is without once saying something positive, it doesn't take a mind-reader to discern one's position.

UP said...

PCK,

If you'd like to respond to me and what I wrote, that's fine. When you respond to me and "people" who say things that I didn't say, you seem to get confused.

If sem profs have discernment, they should be able to study in schools outside the WELS. (I never said they couldn't.)

Call off the pity party. You're arguing against things that weren't written.

UP

Anonymous said...

"it is pretty clear what people are thinking."

Apparently not to you though....

Anonymous said...

UP,

You said: "If sem profs have discernment, they should be able to study in schools outside the WELS. (I never said they couldn't.)"

You never said they couldn't, but others have. My point wasn't that one individual was arguing 2 contradictory positions, but that the WELS is being lambasted from both sides (by different people) and can't possibly win, no matter what they decide to do. I'm not looking for a pity party, just some understanding that the WELS will never be able to please everyone all the time with all its decisions.

Anonymous said...

"If sem profs have discernment, they should be able to study in schools outside the WELS."

Couldn't you make the same argument for WELS churches using CG materials?

Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

Do you want to reform the WELS?

Do you like the WELS?

Is the LCMS better in your opinion?

Do you like hymns or don't you?

I guess, I just don't see what you are getting at here on this blog and I don't even know how to post. I'm not sure what I'm grasping what you believe as the blog owner. Like others above me, you are all over the place and it leaves me scratching my head.

"WELS pastors have no idea what is going on in the other Lutheran church bodies and so use out-dated generalizations to describe them, or go to a source of dubious credibility like Christian News."

I'm know pastors in the ELCA, LCMS and the AFLC. To be fair, they know little to nothing about the WELS or anything outside of their own church body. The same can be said of the Presbies, Baptists and what not.

So, to pick that out as a shocker, is beyond funny.

PCK said...

UP Said:

"If you'd like to respond to me and what I wrote, that's fine. When you respond to me and "people" who say things that I didn't say, you seem to get confused."

I tried to pick my pronouns carefully, but obviously did not do well. I said "many". In the question I raised, the "you" was meant to be plural, not singling you out personally because I don't recall any specific instance in which you stated opposite of your view point. But your (singular) comment still piqued my interest considering there are many on this blog who condemn WELS pastors and professors who study at institutions not WELS. Would you agree with that much?

UP Said:

"If sem profs have discernment, they should be able to study in schools outside the WELS. (I never said they couldn't.)"

I completely agree with you. However there still remains a remnant that would strongly disagree. They tend to think that anyone who goes to a non-confessional, non-WELS institution will automatically turn into non-confessional nincompoops. They truly believe that these men will come away from their added education believing everything they are told as if they are naive children. People condemn men in our synod for being "Fuller disciples" etc. Yet these people fail to think the way you do, that these pastors and profs have been trained to discern between what is false doctrine and what is not. Very rarely do we give anyone the benefit of the doubt. But that is what I try to do, and that is what I sense you attempt to do as well.

UP said...

"Couldn't you make the same argument for WELS churches using CG materials?"

I don't know what you mean by CG materials. If (and please correct me if I'm wrong) you mean using CG methods or style, then I'd say no you can't make a similar argument. CG is a theology. There is a big difference between a sem prof getting his Ph.D. at for example, Marquette, and a congregation using methods or styles basd on and steeped in bad theology.

UP

UP said...

" just some understanding that the WELS will never be able to please everyone all the time with all its decisions."

Nor will any church body this side of heaven. This is life in the Church Militant.

UP

UP said...

"But your (singular) comment still piqued my interest considering there are many on this blog who condemn WELS pastors and professors who study at institutions not WELS. Would you agree with that much?"

I don't remember anyone on this blog saying this but I do know it goes on. Part of using discernment is also choosing which school to attend, but the "Fuller disciple" line is overused by some (or is it just one?) and sometimes uncalled for.

UP

Anonymous said...

So CG is a theology, but Marquette has nothing to do with theology? Interesting. We trust pastors to have discernment in one case but not the other? Interesting.

(By the way, I believe that several sem profs do indeed possess advanced degrees from Marquette. And other institutions. In fact, off the top of my head, I would say that a large majority of the professors have or are working toward advanced degrees. I don't think we can expect pastors to come into sem with degrees already. What congregations would allow their pastor so much time off to pursue one? How many would see a pastor pursuing a degree and accuse him of angling for a teaching spot?)

UP said...

"So, to pick that out as a shocker, is beyond funny."

Not trying to use it as a "shocker", just a fact. Glad you're amused.

:)UP

UP said...

"So CG is a theology, but Marquette has nothing to do with theology? Interesting. We trust pastors to have discernment in one case but not the other? Interesting."

Not what I wrote, but kind of the response I expected. First, yes, CG is a theology, a Theology of Glory.

Marquette has much to do with theology. I used that example because I was a student there once upon a time. However, in advanced degree programs there and other places, the students don't do as much sitting at the feet of the teachers being brainwashed as they do reading for their chosen field and defending themselves and their position, so if someone is already a sem prof, I'd assume he knows enough about Lutheran theology to be able to hold off some Jesuits.

I would sure hope that a pastor would use discernment in his congregation.

"By the way, I believe that several sem profs do indeed possess advanced degrees from Marquette. And other institutions. In fact, off the top of my head, I would say that a large majority of the professors have or are working toward advanced degrees."

Really? Which ones? This was not the case a few years ago. If true, it will be a help in the training of future pastors.


"I don't think we can expect pastors to come into sem with degrees already. What congregations would allow their pastor so much time off to pursue one? "

Ummm, benevolent congregations?

It can be and has been done. Part-time studies take much longer, but if a pastor has the interest and patience, I don't see why he shouldn't be able to pursue more education from the parish.

"How many would see a pastor pursuing a degree and accuse him of angling for a teaching spot?"

Hopefully none, but probably some.

Cheers,
UP

PCK said...

UP Said:

By the way, I believe that several sem profs do indeed possess advanced degrees from Marquette. And other institutions. In fact, off the top of my head, I would say that a large majority of the professors have or are working toward advanced degrees."

Really? Which ones? This was not the case a few years ago. If true, it will be a help in the training of future pastors."

As far as I know, Brenner went to Marquette to get an advanced degree in Church History. Sigglekow went to Marquette to get an advanced degree in Counselling. Geiger went to UW-Madison for further Greek study. Professor Gurgel last year was finishing up a Thesis paper for something, not sure what. Those are just a few that I know of. There could be more that I am not aware of.

Anonymous said...

"Really? Which ones? This was not the case a few years ago. If true, it will be a help in the training of future pastors."

Perhaps it would have been a good idea to do that research before making charges of "theological inbreeding", don't you think? I'm sure the Seminary would have been more than happy to provide you with that information. Doing a quick count, based on my admittedly incomplete information, I believe that at least 12 of the 17 faculty members have or are working toward an advanced degree of some kind.

UP said...

"Perhaps it would have been a good idea to do that research before making charges of "theological inbreeding", don't you think? "

Nah. Since they're still teaching from former professors' notes I'd still say we got us some theological inbreedin', wouldn't you? Well, we have a list of 4 who have gone back to do some kind of schooling. That's not an overwhelming majority. And what kind of advanced degrees are these? That makes some difference too. It would be wonderful if all of them would pursue Ph.D.s so the sem could be accredited to help out the students.

And do watch the tone, Anonymous. You might hurt my sensitive feelings.

UP

PCK said...

The Seminary has looked into becoming accredited, but to make a long story short, the accrediters said there was no need for WLS to become accredited, and WLS was not comfortable with the thought of the accrediters being able to dictate what they teach. What I mean is that the accrediters could threaten to pull accredidation if Seminary continued to teach something they didn't like. So Seminary will not become accredited.

As far as the fixation on PH.D.s, I don't see why they are that important. It makes me think of when I visited with some LCMS sem students, and the first question they asked was "So what kind of PHd's to your prof's have?" They based their opinion on their profs on their PHd's, and to me it was a bit shallow.

Since it seems you have no real association with the Seminary (and of course I could be wrong) I find it interesting that you seem to know a lot about Seminary (Profs who are "inbred" and don't "get advanced degrees"). Yes, the prof's use former professor's notes. But they aren't religously bound to them The prof's add to the notes if in their own personal study they find something worth adding. They subtract from the notes when necessary. Why would they re-invent the wheel?

Anonymous said...

"Why would they re-invent the wheel?"

Becuase it is the Wawatosa way.

UP said...

"and of course I could be wrong"

Yup. Sorry, but you are wrong.

UP

UP said...

pck,

I'm not sure you understand accreditation. There are basic academic standards that must be met, but the accreditors would not be dictating what the seminary taught. Remember, MLC is accredited. I don't think anyone in New Ulm has been told not to teach the Lutheran faith because of it. From my information, one of the big obstacles to the seminary's accreditation was the lack of Ph.D.s among the faculty. For an institution to hand out M.Div.s they need professors with degrees above the ones for which they teach. This is part of what makes Ph.D.s a big deal. They lend credibility in the academic and theological world and help with issues like accredited seminaries.

Another reason I'm concerned about Ph.D.s is because it demonstrates that someone has become an expert in his field. The letters in the degree aren't that important, but the years of study in the field qualify that man to teach at the seminary. The same is true with using old notes. If you are an expert in the field, you are going to put together your own notes about it. Why not say the same with sermons? Why reinvent the wheel? Why not preach former sem profs sermons over and over? You wouldn't be happy with your pastor if he did that, why are you happy with sem profs doing the same thing?

UP

Anonymous said...

UP,

Once again you are severely uninformed. The primary reason that WLS chose not to pursue accreditation was because it would require them to broaden their aim/mission. In other words, they wouldn't have been allowed to restrict admission only to those with an intent to serve as a pastor in the WELS. They would have had to accept those with merely an intellectual interest in theology, with no plans to pursue the ministry. The faculty felt that this would water down the Seminary's curriculum and focus too much. Once again, a simple email or call to the Seminary could have provided you with this information, saving you the trouble of making uninformed assertions once again. Perhaps this would be a good time to do some research or to be quiet, lest you continue to reveal your ignorance in these matters.

UP said...

Oh Great Ignorant Anonymous,

The seminary does not currently restrict admission only to those with an intent to serve as a pastor in the WELS. From the seminary website, under Master of Arts in Religion Degree: "This advanced degree is designed for synodically certified teachers and staff ministers who have not met the language requirements for the Bachelor of Divinity or Master of Divinity degree."

Maybe you should look at the sem's website before insulting me. Or I can just keep correcting you. Either way....

Go Warriors!

UP

Anonymous said...

Oh, UP,

You keep digging yourself in even deeper. The M.A.R. is an ancillary program. Obviously what I meant was that they would have to open up the M.Div. program to anyone. The M.Div. is the main program--the reason for their whole existence as a seminary. Nice try though.

UP said...

"Obviously what I meant"

Please do write what you mean.

Ok, if they did open up the M.Div program who do you think would enroll who didn't want to become a WELS pastor and how would the focus of the curriculum change? If, hypothetically, others are there to get an M.Div., they will be in the M.Div. curriculum. The WELS doesn't have to change anything. It's our seminary. Students who want to get an M.Div. are part of the M.Div. curriculum. If they don't like the curriculum, they can go elsewhere. If graduates do not want to be certified as WELS' pastors, then they graduate with their M.Div. but will not become WELS pastors.

UP :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, anonymous is correct. The M.A.R. is a summer school degree. It has no connection to the regular seminary program. Students in it don't go to any regular classes. The concern was having to remove the emphasis on preparation for the pastoral ministry from the regular program. It's hard to train future pastors when half the guys in the class are just there for the academic degree and have no plans to enter the ministry.

Anonymous said...

UP,

You still don't get it. If the seminary would become accredited, they would have to open their M.Div. program to the general public. This would also mean (and pay attention here) that the M.Div. curriculum would also have to be changed to fit the standard masters curriculum for academic seminaries. The faculty isn't willing to give up control of the curriculum or admissions like that. And so when you said, "The WELS doesn't have to change anything. It's our seminary." you were completely wrong. Changes would have to be made.

UP said...

"the M.Div. curriculum would also have to be changed to fit the standard masters curriculum for academic seminaries. "

Goodness, our seminary's curriculum isn't up to the standards of academic seminaries? That's not good.

"when half the guys in the class are just there for the academic degree and have no plans to enter the ministry."

Why do you think half the class would just be there for the degree? That seems highly unlikely.

UP

Anonymous said...

"Goodness, our seminary's curriculum isn't up to the standards of academic seminaries? That's not good."

Actually it's very good. Our Seminary actually has classes on things like Greek and Hebrew and doctrine rather than classes like "Comparative Religions" or "Feminism and the Church" or "Religious Tolerance 101".

Anonymous said...

I don't know about all of the specifics here, but during the course of my life I've been a member of many different religious bodies. I just have to say that Wisconsin Synod pastors are by far the most well-trained pastors I've ever known. It's not ever close. There's always room from improvement, but I don't think it's accurate for you, UP, to suggest that the sem isn't doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

Oh uh, anonymous. You actually said something positive about the WELS! Watch out, I don't think you're allowed to do that here at Bailing Water.

Anonymous said...

No, no postive comments allowed. We wouldn't want to appear "loving" or anything as that is gnostic and liberal.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I heard that being loving was really just a church growth tactic. The only way to prove one's orthodoxy and confessionalism is to be as obnoxious and insulting as possible.

RNN said...

Greetings all!

Seems to be a lot of confusion here on accreditation. Meeting the academic standards for institutions giving an M. Div. does not give control of the curriculum to the accrediting body. For comparison's sake, I checked the Ft. Wayne website (www.ctsfw.edu). They are accredited, but have no classes on "Feminism and the Church" or "Religious Tolerance."

Besides, as has been pointed out here already, MLC is accredited, but also does not offer such classes. Of course, MLC does offer this class: REL3020 World Religions 3 credits. A survey of the major religions of the world. Perhaps this qualifies as "Comparative Religions." If so, anonymous of 7:25, you might want to place a phone call or email to MLC inquiring as to why they are promoting such a liberal curriculum.

It seems odd to me that WLS is not accredited and does not want to seek accreditation. If their education is truly top-notch, they should have no trouble getting accreditation. It would certainly help their students in many ways. Perhaps the bigger hurdles of faculty degrees and faculty teaching courses based on their own work and not others' notes led the Seminary to not pursue accreditation. That makes more sense than the other concerns raised here.

I am surprised to hear that the WLS professors teach from class notes that are not their own. Seems to me that that's similar to teaching the Southern novel from Cliff Notes rather than reading the books themselves and creating your own notes. Given the choice between two such professors, I would want the one working from his own material.

RNN

Anonymous said...

It would help with loans--it would help a ton in getting subsidized loans from the gov't.

Also, the Masters would actually mean something. Right now, it's a Masters in "name" only as outside of the WELS, it means nothing.

UP said...

Hi Anonymi!

The ELS seminary, which is run by the church body in fellowship with the WELS, is accredited. Yet, they haven't been forced to teach a liberal curriculum and aren't full of people just coming for the M.Div. without intending to become pastors. Why do you think these things would happen at WLS?

To Anonymous 7:34 p.m.,

I've also been blessed with some excellent WELS pastors in congregations of which I've been a member and I'm very thankful for them. However, as you said, you don't know the specifics, and yes, the issues raised here regarding the seminary are serious.

UP

RandomDan said...

I was told by my congregation's former vicar (now in his 4th year) that the reason WLS decided not to pursue accreditation was because of the lack of Ph.D's among the faculty. I think he would know more than many of us on this blog.

I do believe our sem profs should pursue higher learning, and I also believe they need to be careful about where they receive an education. I know of a local LCMS pastor who went to Fuller to get his D.Min. (a degree created to line a seminary's pocketbooks more than anything academic) and went from a good Lutheran pastor to a church growth advocate.

A good route for profs to take might be earning a research doctorate in England. You get a nice piece of paper from Cambridge or Oxford, you don't have to take classes, and you get to visit England twice a year. I know one prof at Ft. Wayne (sorry, I'm a former LCMSer) who did that, and the guy is as solid as granite. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

It was said many years ago that when the Missouri Synod started allowing her seminary professors to study outside of the Missouri Synod (Walter A. Maier Sr. at Harvard, J.T. Mueller at Xenia Presbyterian Seminary), that Missouri would "die by letters".

Perhaps this is why WELS would prefer her theological professors not to study theology elsewhere.

Methinks WELS seminary professors aren't out for academic credibility. These men want to keep their theological integrity strong; an impregnable stone wall of orthodoxy compared to other Lutheran faculties worldwide.

Academic credibility or a united front against every form of unionism and syncretism. WELS will choose the latter every time. In that milieu, could you blame them?

WRJM

Anonymous said...

Well said, WRJM.

Anonymous said...

WRJM:

A seminary is more than a place to train pastors. It is an academic institution.

The men that graduate from a seminary (be it in Mequon, Mankato, St. Louis, Fort Wayne, etc.) are more than church workers, they are scholars and theologians. They have tools to help them go farther along in their education should they desire.

A pastor should desire to study elsewhere. He should consider the opportunity not so false and unionistic teaching will infect him. He should consider the opportunity because he would have the opportunity to know what others teach and defend the Truth of Holy Scripture when Truth is attacked.

Who knows, that man could be salt and light where he's placed. That's vocation. That's distinctly Lutheran.

Let's tone down the triumphal rhetoric, take a step back, and examine the situation.

Question: Can a pastor consider studying theology at another institution outside his fellowship as unionism? Or can a pastor consider it an opportunity to put to work the God-given tools of discernment sharpened at seminary to improve not only his academic endeavors but the integrity of the doctrine he is sworn before God and His Holy Angels to defend?

Yes, he can.

Saying otherwise leads to purposeful academic myopia. You can call it an "impregnable stone wall of orthodoxy". You can also call it rank isolation for the sake of isolation.

Forgive me, I ramble.

RMC

Anonymous said...

WRJM writes,

"an impregnable stone wall"...

Indeed! But one of pride that prevents the Wisconsin Synod from correcting its theological errors or even reasonably discussing them (as shown on this blog in past threads). The WELS is a conservative protestant church body, conserving both good and bad.

TBG

Anonymous said...

RNN,

Ego te absolvo.

The B.

Anonymous said...

RMC and TBG,

So then you would agree that it's a wonderful thing that so many of our pastors and professors have studied and earned degrees at places like Fuller Seminary, home of the Church Growth Movement?

Anonymous said...

UP said earlier in this discussion:

"If sem profs have discernment, they should be able to study in schools outside the WELS. (I never said they couldn't.)"

Prayers ascend for better discernment among professors of theology (WELS, ELS, and LC-MS) in these gray and latter days.

Praying John 17:17,
RMC

Anonymous said...

RMC,

So if we trust our pastors and professors to use discernment in what higher education they seek, why can't we trust their discernment when decide not to seek higher education? Or do we only trust someone's discernment when it happens to agree with ours?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:07,

And that so many WELS cutting edgers do the Fuller "thang" shows how little discernment there in among its leadership about where to study. However, Robert Koester also studied there and came away warning the WELS about the theology there, warnings that have fallen on deaf ears.

TBG

Anonymous said...

TBG,

So if Fuller is not "where to study", perhaps you could enlighten the pastors and professors about which schools are the right schools for them to go to. How is a pastor going to a Catholic college different than a pastor going to an Evangelical college? Isn't the same level of discernment necessary in both cases? Is it maybe that some people on this board are just more comfortable with one of those theologies than the other?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:53,

Where the WELS professors ought first of all study is at the feet of Luther, Chemnitz and the early Church Fathers, which they only marginally do. I know, I am a product of the system.

By the way, I am not the one who has been talking about their outside study. They can study where they wish. It is Lutheran Confessional theology that the WELS is terribly weak on. WELS does not have a strong Christological and thus Sacramental hermeneutic. This translates into Pietistic sermons and practices where the Law overwhelms the Gospel. There are many within the LCMS, even ELCA and in Romanism who see this in many respect far better than many Biblistic WELS professors.

TBG

Anonymous said...

Thanks, TBG. You just confirmed my last point.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 12:24,

You (whichever Anon you are and whatever you last point was) are welcome.

TBG

Anonymous said...

"The sky is falling!!"

Wise words from Chicken Little. Please remain calm and take cover.

I've always wanted to say that and since the productivity here is lacking, I thought, why not use it now??

Anonymous said...

Oh and I also think all WELS pastors should go to secular colleges--my pastor did.

MLS Veteran said...

Oh and I also think all WELS pastors should go to secular colleges--my pastor did.

Just out of curiosity, anonymous, why do you say that?

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, another positive comment about the WELS. Watch out, anonymous, you said "wonderful" and "WELS" in the same sentence. You're about to get torn apart. Positive statements aren't allowed here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's all be thankful for a Pietistic, legalistic sect. Next year maybe it can officially achieve cult status.

Anonymous said...

"Just out of curiosity, anonymous, why do you say that?"

Because they were debating earlier about what "type" of college a pastor should attend *if* he wants to get an additional graduate degree. The "types" of colleges mentioned were all Christian ones (i.e. Fuller, various Catholic institutions, etc), so I threw in the secular comment as a joke--althogh its true, my pastor is finishing up a degree at a secular college.

Anonymous said...

Positive statements are great. Insipid ones like the above from 10:44 are not.

John said...

Dear Uh oh,

Please don't be contentious on this blog! Positive statements are always welcome. In fact, don't worry be happy!!

{I've been out of town and in checking back the blog seems to be spinning along happily. I am still looking into the discussion board format.)

Carry on with those wonderfully positive WELS statements. :)

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

"Uh oh, another positive comment about the WELS. Watch out, anonymous, you said "wonderful" and "WELS" in the same sentence. You're about to get torn apart. Positive statements aren't allowed here."

He's being sarcastic.

Bespoke said...

John, good work. Keep it going. I mean it.

Anonymous said...

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

What's wrong with thanking God for visible church bodies and groups? Paul did it all the time--thanked God for specific churches.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh! Awful sensitive there, 6:15p.m.

Relax, have some turkey!

:)

Anonymous said...

"What's wrong with thanking God for visible church bodies and groups? Paul did it all the time--thanked God for specific churches."

The Holy Christian Church IS the true Body of Christ because it is the church that God sees (as only He can judge the heart). It spans across denomination--it reminds me that I have brothers and sisters in the faith who I may not see on this earth, but I will one day in heaven. How is that not a joyous thought?

How that is anti-denominational, I have not clue. By giving thanks to God for the Holy Christian Church, I praise Him for protecting all believers.

Why would I only point to certain visible churches? Why be so exclusive when the Body of Christ is bigger than one denom as God's Word works despite the attempts of Satan to twist it with false teachings, false prohets, etc.

I did nothing wrong...

Anonymous said...

"The WELS can never win. If they use music from other church bodies they are lambasted for exchanging their Lutheran hymnody for cheesy CCM music. If they try to write their own hymns, they are lambasted for being isolated and inbred. What's a synod to do?"

Well, since you did ask: They can write their own cheesy CCM music.

Michael L. Anderson MD, PhD

Anonymous said...

Read the Motley Magpie.

tophergopher said...

Just wondered if y'all got to see the winning entry . . . Info for the 2008 contest should be up within a month or so.