Saturday, December 1, 2007

Members not allowed

The "new" perspective on ministry is to do away with church membership. Several WELS churches no longer claim members but rather partners. Membership is too inclusive and has an elitist connotation. So the latest trend is to turn members into partners. So what are the ramifications?

http://www.stmarkpartners.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=49

https://www.timeofgrace.org/partner.asp

Remember churchianity is also being taught. Is it time to move the worship service from the sanctuary into homes?

http://www.churchfromscratch.net/

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the first link:

"Although we are God’s special cre­ation, created in His image, we missed the mark. We often want to play God instead of honor Him. We often want God’s place instead of God’s love. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s holy standards. Our sin cost God’s Son dearly. His Son, Jesus, came to our world and lived a holy life so He could perfectly satisfy God’s requirements for salvation. He succeeded and was then sacrificed on a cross. It was the only way to remedy the wall between God and us. But Jesus conquered death. Shortly after the cross, He physically rose to life. Through faith alone in Jesus we can live in relationship with God again -- forever."

I'm no fan of much of what happens at St. Mark in Green Bay, but can't we at least rejoice in this clear confession of the truth?

If they want to call members partners, so what? Both terms are used by Scripture. I think this is a case of crying wolf over nothing.

John said...

The sky is falling...

St.Mark's ministry philosophy..

3. While St. Mark wants to minister to anyone, the target audience for our outreach is young adults and young families.

Whom did Jesus say should be our target audience?

Letting off Steam said...

Holy Cow (no offense to any Hindus...)

These are the web sites of WELS associated congregations?

I haven't reviewed the entire web site, so I do not have any judgment regarding the message being portrayed.

I will say that I understand the frustration felt in the WELS.

As a member of the baby boom generation, I do wonder why my generation left the WELS en masse (although there are SOME of us left).

Do you think WELS will need to mimic the mega-churches in order to survive (or thrive)? Doesn't anyone think that there is still a healthy "market" for traditional worship and instruction versus the praise band and multimedia approach?

Admittedly, the older I get the more I appreciate our traditional services, but maybe I am just getting old.

Bespoke said...

We have to look at the whole picture, not just one term. Then the implications of "partner" become obvious. That is why the term "disciple" has become popular among the same heretical leaders.

Husbands and wives often refer to the other as a partner, but now there is a new meaning: Life Partner, often LP. It means...whatever they want it to mean, but probably not a marriage between a man and a woman.

IT said...

Time of Grace isn't a church, it's a media ministry, so the term "partner" is common in that regard as those types of ministries aren't a "church" so therefore there are no members.

St. Mark's, I don't care what they call the people, but I was bothered by the fact they are only really there for a certain "type" of people...if you are young or have young kids....but if you are anything other than that--you can come, but we really don't want you here--we really won't serve you. I think that is a joke.

The more we segregate ourselves by age, sex, life situation, etc....the more divided we become.

As far as home churches, there is nothing inherently sinful or wrong with them; however, there are several negatives with doing a homechurch. They actually talked about the pros and cons of home churches on the C&C listserv, it was a good conversation. John, you are on the C&C, you should check it out.

IT

John said...

Cousin IT..

I guess I was thinking that Time of Grace was connected to:

http://www.crossroadschicago.org/

But I now realize TOG is based out of Milwaukee and isn't connected to a church.

I will look back to the discuss on home churches from the C&C list.

John said...

I see that Jeske is at St. Marcus in Milwaukee.

It is interesting to note that most of the teachers at his Lutheran Elementary School aren't from (D)MLC but most are from WLC or elsewhere.

I guess they aren't following the synod mandate to only call synod certified teachers.

Anonymous said...

Woah, John... stay on topic. Which topic do you want us to follow?

Jeske is at St. Marcus. Time of Grace, although filmed at St. Marcus, I do not believe is a ministry of St. Marcus.

Re: the teachers. Yes, that is true, and has been a point of contention in the past. St. Marcus' school is unique, and MLC probably wasn't preparing students adequately for teaching in an inner-city school. I believe MLC has been working on ways to deal with that... as much as they can being in New Ulm. You'll notice most of the newer teachers are from MLC. In fact, they just assigned a graduate from MLC this past year (I don't see the website updated with her on the staff list yet).

Mad Dog said...

The problem with St. Mark's, Depere, is not in what they call their members, but in what they teach their members. Read the sermons, and weep, as the angels.

Mad Dog

Anonymous said...

John,

Yeah TOG ministries was formed by business men who wanted to make Jeske the face of "confessional Lutheranism." I know there is a thread about that too on C&C, in one of the articles about Jeske being on "Godtube" I think. Check it out.

If you check Jeske's blog, go back to when Dr. Kennedy (pastor of Coral Ridge down in FL) died. He states that it after a visit to Coral Ridge that he and some businessmen decided to start TOG. I can't remember when that blog post was, but he only posts a blog once a week on Monday, so it shouldn't be too hard to find. I think Kennedy died in Sept/Oct.

Personally, Kennedy was a stand up man, not an ego maniac...Jeske will never be him.

Cousin IT although I wish I was an information technologist as my computer is busted again.

Anonymous said...

After reading info on St. Mark, I recently visited St. Mark De Pere and to my surprise was impressed with their statement on closed communion and the vision statement they read responsively in the service. Here is the vision statement they used to explain "partners":

Pastor: Lord, move us to use your means of grace, Word and Sacraments, to establish a dynamic Christian congregation that is an inspirational magnet for every member of our community . . .

Congregation: Providing an opportunity to grow a meaningful personal relationship with Jesus, that makes a difference now and for eternity.

-- St. Mark vision statement

What's wrong with this? I think some need to go and do what I did; visit a Sunday and see for yourself what is going on. I may not be a fan of contemporary music but I haven't heard better declarations of truth throughout the whole service in any other WELS churches - plus they had three baptisms in one service. Pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with this? Ummmm....it isn't Lutheran.

proud WELS said...

6:39 PM

I have read this blog and several of its threads for some time, tell me, can the WELS or churches like St. Mark or TOG do anything right?

Stressing the means of grace and asking for the Lord's empowering for ministry seems very biblical to me but maybe not your version of "lutheran".

I would hope all of our congregations (WELS) would eagerly seek more people with which to share the Gospel. What God does with them after that moment is his work.

I have no problem stressing "partnership" over "membership" if the emphasis encouraging people to identify and then use their spiritual gifts in Christ's service.

Anonymous said...

Personally, there are WELS churches I wouldn't worship in and there are LCMS churches I wouldn't worship in. There are WELS churches I would worship in and LCMS churches I would worship in.

Personally, it is not longer the denomination that really matters, it's breaking down to the individual church.

Fellowship as taught in a corporate sense as a denomination as a whole is a joke. There truly is no such thing and maybe there really never was.

RNN said...

John,

Thanks for bringing this up--an excellent question.

I think that this change in vocabulary points to an underlying shift in theology. Calling a person a "member" points to the fact that God has made them a member, joined them to Christ and his church in that place. Being a member is being a part of the body, thereby sharing in the forgiveness and life that Christ gives to those he joins to himself.

Calling a person a "partner" places the emphasis on what they do. They are now working to serve God, and this work is important enough to identify them as on who does such work--a partner.

That is the shift that is made in church growth theology. The emphasis is not on what God does in Christ Jesus, but on what we can do to bring other people to church--a shift from the Gospel to the Law. That is the shift that St. Marcus has incorporated into their theology.

This is seen also in the vision statement read during the service. First off, why read a vision statement in church? Is this a proclamation of the word? No. Is it our response of prayer, praise, and thanks? Not really. It here is described as a prayer, which it sort of is, but a poor one. Calling it a vision statement shows that it is not just asking for God's help--it's also casting a vision of who we want to be, creating a horribly confusing thing to put in a church service. If you want to pray for God's help, good! That call it a prayer and pray for his help apart from all the buzz-words (inspirational magnet, meaningful personal relationship, dynamic congregation) that take our attention off of the objective realities of Christ present in his congregation to offer them life.

By putting the vision statement in the service, St. Mark's again shows its emphasis on what WE do, not what God does. This morning in our congregation we confessed the Creed, heard scripture, sang hymns that testified of Christ's coming to save us, received his body and blood. We sang the liturgy that speaks of Christ coming to save us; we sing the same words as he comes to us in communion that Jerusalem sang to welcome him as king. (Here in the LC-MS the first Sunday in Advent has Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as the Gospel reading.) That is a much clearer confession of the truth and the gospel than putting in a vision statement.

By the by, we also had four baptisms (no infants) and five adult confirmations in our service (thought we would NEVER get out of there)--without the praise band or vision statement. But of course, effectiveness is not the criteria for anything. Faithfulness and receiving God's gifts are what count.

RNN

Bespoke said...

That seems to be splitting hairs - TOG is Jeske's hobby, funded by businessmen, but his congregation is separate. That reminds me of the dealership who said they were not responsible for the van they sold me. The conversion was done down the road - talk to them.

Jeske - TOG. Jeske - parish pastor. Jeske likes Pietism. That's a clue, partner.

Anonymous said...

RNN,

Just curious--if you're a member of the LCMS, what are you doing on a WELS blog? Why are you so active in promoting LCMS doctrine here? There are many, many LCMS blogs that you could be a part of. I don't spend my time on LCMS blogs criticizing them and trying to promote WELS doctrine.

Anonymous said...

"I haven't heard better declarations of truth throughout the whole service in any other WELS churches -"

Don't your WELS churches confess their faith with the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds anymore? Those are three far superior declarations of truth than the drivel from St. Mark's coming out of Pietism and Enthusiasm.

How is RNN promoting LCMS doctrine? That comment from RNN was Lutheran doctrine. If the WELS is no longer Lutheran, then that's a valid complaint.

Anonymous said...

"How is RNN promoting LCMS doctrine? That comment from RNN was Lutheran doctrine. If the WELS is no longer Lutheran, then that's a valid complaint."

I wasn't referring specifically to that comment. I was referring to many comments on other topics.

Mad Dog said...

"I wasn't referring specifically to that comment. I was referring to many comments on other topics."

Example, please, and how, however you label it, it is contrary to The Faith (fides quae).

Mad Dog

Anonymous said...

Mad Dog,

I'm referring specifically to the fact that RNN clearly holds and has been promoting the LCMS view on church & ministry and on fellowship.

I don't go to LCMS blogs and promote the WELS view on those topics. I don't understand why RNN would feel the need to come to a WELS blog and promote LCMS views.

At least RNN has finally come forward and admitted that he/she is an LCMS member.

It seems to me that this blog has undergone quite a shift in content and focus. It began as a place for WELS members to come and discuss issues in the WELS. It has become a place for LCMS members to come and discuss why the WELS is wrong.

If LCMS want to criticize the WELS, that's fine. Such things have been happening for decades (in both directions). (Though I would think that RNN and other LCMS members would have plenty to complain about in their own synod. Maybe this would be a time to take the plank out of one's own synodical eye before trying to remove the speck from another synod.) But perhaps they should start their own blog to do that, or John should make it clear that this blog is now an LCMS blog.

Mad Dog said...

Anon.

Please, where does RNN contradict that which is contrary to The Faith (fides quae)?

Thank you,
Mad Dog

Anonymous said...

I'm Wels and I think RNN is one of the few who has exercised clear thought regarding what is going with Church and Ministry in Lutheranism in general and from an historic understanding of The Lutheran Confessions.

As for the Depere St. Mark (yes I've been there too)confession:

Although we are God’s special cre­ation, created in His image, we missed the mark.

_MISSED THE MARK? HOW TRIVIAL. WE ARE TOTALLY ROTTEN TO THE CORE. I THINK THE FORMULA OF CONCORD CALL IT CONCUPISANT. SAY IT WITH THE SERIOUSNESS IT DESERVES. LESS SEVERITY OF THE LAW NECESSARILY CAUSES THE GOSPEL TO SUFFER FROM LACK OF ITS SWEETNESS.

We often want to play God instead of honor Him. We often want God’s place instead of God’s love. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s holy standards.

STANDARDS? PLEASE. HIS HOLY, COMPLETE WILL. HIS UNMOVEABLE COMMANDMENTS. WE HATE GOD.

Our sin cost God’s Son dearly. His Son, Jesus, came to our world and lived a holy life so He could perfectly satisfy God’s requirements for salvation. He succeeded and was then sacrificed on a cross. It was the only way to remedy the wall between God and us. But Jesus conquered death. Shortly after the cross,
( HOW ABOUT 3 DAYS! YES IT IS STILL A POINT OF ARGUMENT FOR THOSE WHO HATE CHRISTIANITY. BE CLEAR FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE.

He physically rose to life. Through faith alone in Jesus we can live in relationship with God again -- forever."

O.K. GOOD.

There are many here who are so influenced by CGM and the NEW PARADIGM that WELS has proclaimed that they are trying to shift to, that many are still confused as to what to do. Welcom RNN's service to you. Yes the focus should always be on Christ and the sacraments and what He has done for us. And not with just a polite nod toward them. Some WELS pastors have called it DEAD ORTHODOXY.

Come on Pardners! Giddy up and go.

Tico

Anonymous said...

"Please, where does RNN contradict that which is contrary to The Faith (fides quae)?"

Huh? If you contradict something that is contrary to the faith, wouldn't that mean you agree with the faith? So you're asking me where RNN agrees with the faith? Almost all places, I'm sure.

Now, if you were to ask me where I thought that RNN does "contradict the faith," I have already pointed to the copious discussion on church & ministry and fellowship. Feel free to reread those discussions on your own. I won't take the time here to rehash them all here.

Yet my point remains--why would an LCMS member feel the need to come to a WELS blog and criticize the WELS? I as a WELS member don't feel the need to go onto LCMS blogs and criticize them. It just smacks of proselytizing to me. With the Yankee Stadium fiasco and Ablaze! and nonsense like that I would think that LCMS members wouldn't even have the time to worry about what's going on in the WELS, much less to come to a WELS blog and complain about it.

I also think it's funny that LCMS members on this blog and elsewhere try to claim that the WELS doctrines on church & ministry and fellowship have directly led to all of the CG foolishness in the WELS. They seem to forget that the LCMS has 10 times more CG foolishness and had it much earlier than the WELS did. What does that say for the LCMS doctrines? Or are the two totally unrelated in the LCMS?

Anonymous said...

"MISSED THE MARK? HOW TRIVIAL."

Umm, that's actually a direct, literal translation of the main Hebrew word for sin. I guess Scripture is the trivial one.

"HOW ABOUT 3 DAYS! YES IT IS STILL A POINT OF ARGUMENT FOR THOSE WHO HATE CHRISTIANITY."

So every confession of faith must include the fact that Jesus rose again on the third day? I've heard a lot of Easter sermons that didn't specifically mention "3 days". I guess they were faulty confessions of faith. Maybe you could come up with a list of every detail that must be included in every confession.

I wonder if people are trying just a bit too hard to find fault with that statement simply because they know it comes from St. Mark.

Anonymous said...

Just answering for one, I read both WELS and LCMS information in an attempt to learn what it means to be a confessional Lutheran. Aren't the CG movements of both synods opposed to tradition? I currently attend a WELS church (LCMS before that), but would be pleased to find one of any in our area that was more confessional, if that is a correct assessment.

That's what brought me to this blog. But if there is another blog that discusses issues such as these apart from requiring a specific-synod membership, please point me in that direction. No offense if I've misinterpreted this blog's intentions and don't belong here.

Rob

John said...

Rob and others,

You don't need to be a member (or partner) of the WELS to post on this blog. This blog is a way to discuss issues in the WELS as it is connected to Lutheranism.

The issues that are being discussed do involve concerns many in the WELS have with the shift some pastors and churches in the WELS have taken away from the historical Lutheran perspective.

I have purported that the WELS view of OHM has shifted from what it once was.

There is much wrong in the LCMS. There are discussion boards and other blogs that do discuss the LCMS issues at length.

Rob, you said it best. This blog is an attempt to learn what it means to be a confessional Lutheran

Anonymous said...

"This blog is a way to discuss issues in the WELS as it is connected to Lutheranism."

Huh, what does that actually mean? That we're only going to be discussing things that are wrong with the WELS, but that all Lutherans are welcome to come and pile on with the criticism?

"This blog is an attempt to learn what it means to be a confessional Lutheran"

Then why not post about things that are happening in all confessional Lutheran church bodies--including the LCMS? Why not post some quotes from LCMS leaders and churches and let WELS people pick those apart worb-by-word, looking for things to criticize? It only seems fair.

Anonymous said...

We can always hope and pray for a "better" church/synod/denomination...

Maybe that's the goal here. (Big dreams, right?) But I appreciate people taking the time to discuss these issues and feel like I am learning some.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Yes, "miss the mark" is actually a literal translation of the Hebrew. So, though I am no fan of St. Mark's in De Pere and would not be able to worship there, they are fine in that part of their confessional statement.

Mad Dog said...

Anon.

Please, where does RNN contradict The Faith (fides quae)? You ask me to take it on faith that he has because you say he holds to a Missouri position on Church and Ministry. So, I am to simply trust you and your dig at RNN. Not bloody likely. You see, I believe in this crazy thing call proof when it comes to man. Faith in God, yes, but proof for you. If his errors are so evident, show it. Otherwise it stands, RNN has nowhere, at no time and at no place contradicted the Faith. (The Mad Dog Canon).

Mad Dog

Mad Dog said...

Whoops, I cut the Canon short, it should read,

RNN has nowhere, at no time and at no place contradicted the Faith, on this blog.

Mad Dog

Sick and Tired of Bailing Water said...

John wrote:

"Rob, you said it best. This blog is an attempt to learn what it means to be a confessional Lutheran."

I beg to differ. If what I see on your blog defines confessional Lutheranism, I want nothing to do with it. From what I've seen on this blog, you are simply causing contention where there doesn't need to be any. In other words, John, I perceive you to be a trouble-maker. You are causing contention in areas that are non-doctrinal--such as contemporary vs. traditional worship. I'm so glad you're not a member in my church. Have you ever met a man who is always angry at someone? That's how I perceive you and those who comment on this blog. Anger over false doctrine is one thing. Anger over adiaphora is something very different. If you and your ilk feel WELS is teaching falsely, then you so-called confessional Lutherans need to mark and avoid (Rom 16:17). There are some smaller (yes, smaller than even the ELS) church bodies where you'd fit in nicely.

Anonymous said...

Sick & Tired,

If you don't like Bailing Water, then don't read it. It's not really hard to do, just avoid this site and your world can function as you wish it to.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

" they are fine in that part of their confessional statement."

Thank God St. Mark has passed your test for Lutheranism or is it legalism!? Just for the record they also use a confession of sins, the creeds, the Lord's Prayer, and the Scripture lessons every service.

Some of you need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, if we are so pathetic, than why are you reading and writing here?

You needs a life? Maybe it is you?

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Leitourgia Divina adiaphora non est.

C said...

Mr(s). Angry Anonymous,

As you were reading through RNN's previous comments (where s/he spouted all this false doctrine you can't seem to find to quote), do you recall s/he writing that s/he grew up WELS? It's there.

Lots of folks have family or friends or have themselves been in both synods. And please do honor Mad Dog's request for proof.

To John, please ignore the people complaining about this blog. It's been helpful to so many of us. (I don't understand why the complainers don't just stop reading it. They can stick their head in the FIC, wels.net, or the facebook group for WELS if they're offended here. They sound suspiciously like spoiled children who haven't gotten their way, haven't been able to provide proof from Scripture and the Confessions for their posts, and are now trying to take EVERYONE'S toys and go home.)

C

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anyone is saying that we can't discuss issues in the WELS. I think what troubles some people here is that ONLY WELS issues are discussed, and much of the discussion is being done by LCMS members. Is anyone surprised that LCMS members have problems with WELS doctrine? Of course not. If this blog really and truly believes that its purpose is to examine what confessional Lutheranism is, then why not post some questionable material from the LCMS and discuss that too? There's plenty of questionable LCMS material. Right now this is just a one-way punching match. John holds up something from the WELS and then the LCMS people start wailing away. And since the author and most commentors here have an LCMS bias, the basic assumption is that WELS is wrong and LCMS is correct. This always puts the burden of proof on the WELS and never on the LCMS. The WELS is always guilty until proven innocent, and the jury is stacked with LCMS members.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we should discuss issues in the LCMS too. Let's start with an officially sanctioned and distributed LCMS worship service promoting their Ablaze! program.

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/
assets/media/World%20Mission/
HeartsAblaze-WorshipService.pdf

That's the link. Make sure you check out the official contemporary worship options, including a praise band playing "I Am Here to Worship" and "Shine Jesus Shine". The person who had such a problem with a confession not mentioning "three days" will want to note that the Ablaze! confession doesn't mention the resurrection at all. I also like the suggestion that a "worship leader" pray spontaneously throughout the service.

There's plenty more too. Check it out! Whoever said that LCMS members should worry about the plank instead of the speck was right on.

Anonymous said...

Ahem!

"You are causing contention in areas that are non-doctrinal--such as contemporary vs. traditional worship. I'm so glad you're not a member in my church. Have you ever met a man who is always angry at someone? That's how I perceive you and those who comment on this blog. Anger over false doctrine is one thing. Anger over adiaphora is something very different."

If it causes offense it's not adiaphora. Many of us are offended about this type of thing even if is coming from nowhere other than hearing contemptable statements towards the Orthodox Lutheran church, it's form, ministry and means. I would ask that the offense cease.

Tico

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,
"But if there is another blog that discusses issues such as these apart from requiring a specific-synod membership, please point me in that direction."

www.ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great Lutheran worship service that is! I enjoy the fact that ABLAZE is in all capital letters, even during the confession of sins. Too bad they didn't confess the sin of focusing so much on being ABLAZE and not as much on Christ. I thought the LCMS was all about putting JesusFirst. Oh wait, that's a whole other can of worms.

Anonymous said...

"John holds up something from the WELS and then the LCMS people start wailing away."

Nope. I'm not LCMS. And to call it "wailing," unless you mean sobbing, is a bit misleading. Everyone has an opportunity to question and respond here--in other words, no one is holding your arms behind your back.

LM

Anonymous said...

My family and I are leaving the WELS for a conservative LCMS church in the next few months (women don't vote, strong liturgical statement, etc).

The LCMS has issues...so does the WELS. To me it's not the denom as a whole one really needs to look at anymore, but the individual church.

Again, fellowship as a denomination whole is a joke because neither the LCMS or the WELS has a uniform form of practice or theology. The LCMS at least know that, the WELS will soon have to admit to that as well.

I don't hate either denom and it may be that one day will go back to a WELS church, I don't know. I'm just realizing that as time goes on, never say never.

Anonymous said...

Tico-

Ahem!

This blog is causing me offense. I would ask that the offense cease.

Anonymous said...

For the one who recommended the ichabod site--it's promoted by a guy who couldn't get along in any synod--not because of his doctrine, but because of his demeanor. As a result, he bashes everyone. Read everything he writes with a grain (or two or three) of salt.

Anonymous said...

I'm ELS. Can I post here? Many of us worry greatly because our fellowship with the WELS is creating conduits for for the C&C "cancer" to enter our synod. At least two ELS pastors were at the C&C conference, one as a presenter. This within less than a year of the ELS giving the left boot of fellowship to pastors and congregations who were not entirely convinced of the scriptural validity of the new church and ministry doctrinal statement.

Problems in the WELS have a way of becoming problems in the ELS.

By the way, I left WELS for the ELS to get away from C&C. It took less than five years for it to show up again.

ELSer

Anonymous said...

"This blog is causing me offense. I would ask that the offense cease."

If your eyes offend you, I think you know what to do.

Anonymous said...

To start, I was raised WELS but joined an LCMS church based on the congregations in this area.

I noticed reading through the comments here that the LCMS person (people?) writing here are not defending the LCMS and its doctrinal statements, but are defending Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

In my experience and here, WELS defenders seem to have an inferiority complex. Very few in the LCMS are convinced there are no problems in this synod. There are huge problems! However, many more in the LCMS are openly fighting against the errors in this synod, while it seems many WELS members are keeping their eyes tightly shut to the errors creeping into their church body. Sometimes it helps to have someone from outside open your eyes to what is really going on. I grew up in the WELS, my family is still WELS. I have WELS friends. The unity in confession and practice that is the pride of the WELS is not there. You will be in the same boat (bailing?) or worse as we in the LCMS if you do not deal with your theological problems now.

John said...

Mr. Grammarian - you are no longer a member of this site! :)

John said...

Dear Rev. Anonymous,

In other words, John, I perceive you to be a trouble-maker. You are causing contention in areas that are non-doctrinal--such as contemporary vs. traditional worship.

What kind of trouble am I causing you? Is it that you don't like what I say? Then as has been mentioned don't visit this blog. If you want to add your thoughts join in the discussion. Much of what is offered in contemporary worship is milk toast. I fear for the next generation because what is being taught today is “milk toast” theology.

I'm so glad you're not a member in my church. Have you ever met a man who is always angry at someone? That's how I perceive you and those who comment on this blog.

So if I were to seek a transfer into your congregation you wouldn't accept me as a member or partner?

Was Jesus angry at the Pharisees?

I have continually stated that this blog is open to anyone. Someone above wants to discuss the LCMS so have at it.

John said...

Oh..Mr. Grammarian,

Please stay on topic. If you want to provide grammar lessons please head over to MLC.

Mr. Bored,

Go outside once in awhile.

Mr. I cause offense,

Reread the part about if your eyes offend you...

Anonymous said...

The offense comment was directed at Tico, who claimed that contemporary worship caused him offense and therefore it should be stopped.

Your sarcasm meters must be off today.

Anonymous said...

Could someone direct me to some confessional WELS churches' Web sites which have online sermons? I have several LCMS that I enjoy listening to (Petersen, Cwirla) and have been searching for some in Wisconsin. I know all say they are confessional, but ... nothing contemporary, please.

Thanks.

Rob

RNN said...

To those who have spoken up for me while I have been tending to other matters, thanks! Your comments are appreciated.

To the Why-are-you-here anonymous (Dec. 2, 10:25pm),

On a thread a while back I had explained that I am now LCMS after growing up in the WELS. And, as I stated then, I think that both Synods would benefit from mutual conversations. I see this blog as one opportunity to do such in a very small way.

As for discussing problems in the LCMS, you will get no objection from me. Yes, we have many, many, serious issues in the Missouri Synod. ABLAZE! is one of them. However, we also have many faithful pastors and congregations who speak up against such things. Our congregation is taking no part in ABLAZE!. I would appreciate the input of those on this blog as to the difficulties we have in Missouri.

Yet this too points to a benefit of cross-synodical conversation. Both synods are facing the challenges of church-growth theology and contemporary worship and the questions that go along with it. Conversation among those committed to the Lutheran Confessions in both synods will be an aid to identifying the errors in church-growth methods and contemporary worship and confessing the truth in light of the challenges raised by these issues.

I myself have learned much and profited greatly from the time spent on this site. I thank all the thoughtful posters who are participating in the conversations here.

And, for the record, I am not proselytizing for the Missouri Synod. I have never encouraged anyone to leave the WELS, and certainly not on this blog. Nor have I been arguing for a "Missourian" view. I have sought here to confess the truth of Scripture and the Confessions. So I have not operated with the assumption that Missouri is right and Wisconsin is wrong. I have held forth Scripture and Confession--the doctrinal standard of both synods. This alone gives us plenty of common ground for mutually beneficial conversation.

That's why I am here--not to bash the WELS, but to engage fellow confessional Lutherans in ongoing theological conversation.

And John,

Thanks again for running this! I am benefitting from your work and hope that you continue.

RNN

Anonymous said...

RNN makes great points. Maybe it's time for a new synod to be born of all those who love the Confessions both in teaching AND practice. Maybe those in ELS, LCMS, WELS and others, who know what the issues are, should be willing to come together in agreement in the Word and Confessions and be a standing testimony to all others. Enough is enough. Come out come out wherever you are!

It does appear that a new synod -the ACLC has been born today from booted ELS Churches according to
ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com

Tico

Oh ROB, you might want to check out:
www.markvpublications.com
good online stuff as well as publications.

Anonymous said...

Rob,
Woops!
MarkV is an LCMS pastor's site.

Sorry for not reading you post more clearly.

Tico

Rob said...

On Dec 1 at 11:02 p.m. John posted,
I see that Jeske is at St. Marcus in Milwaukee. It is interesting to note that most of the teachers at his Lutheran Elementary School aren't from (D)MLC but most are from WLC or elsewhere. I guess they aren't following the synod mandate to only call synod certified teachers.


With all due respect, IMHO John's knee-jerk comment (above) is typical of those who harbor a destructive narcissistic prejudice that (sadly) exists in some corners of our WELS, especially amongst those elements who want to be closer to the "inner circle" of Synod power themselves, who want to defend the "inner circle" from unwashed heathen who did not choose ministerial education at age 14, who oppose pursuing excellence in all studies including doctrine, and who see the Synod as a "jobs program" with life-long guaranteed entitlements. There is no cure for narcissism because those who harbor it refuse to acknowledge that they are affected.

John, after reading your comment I did some fact-checking. Looking at the St Marcus School web site, the faculty at St Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee have impressive academic credentials, including some Masters Degrees. Reviewing the WELS Yearbook, I see that most of the teachers at St Marcus ARE, in fact, Synodically Certified (including those who graduated from WLC and elsewhere), and those "asterisks" who are not appear to be working on Synodical Certification at this time. According to those familiar with the Synod's post-baccalaureate program for Synodical Certification, the post-baccalaureate certification program at MLC is deliberately more difficult than the undergraduate doctrine program at the same school -- MLC, therefore your implication that the teachers at St Marcus are doctrinally unqualified to teach in a Lutheran school is unfounded. Further, there is no "synod mandate to only call synod certified teachers." Who told you there was such a mandate? According to MLC administration, all (D)MLC grads have blanket Certification for all teaching positions in WELS; however, there are other paths to WELS Certification, such as the Religion program at WLC, the post-baccalaureate program at MLC for teachers of Grade 1 and higher, and the Certification-lite program at MLC for teachers of Kindergarten and below. The COP have issued policy statements regarding teacher call practices, but there is no mandate as you claim. Each calling body has the freedom to call as the Spirit leads them. < / rant>

. . . the other Rob

John said...

Rob,

Please read what I wrote. I said that synod mandated (encouraged maybe a better word) that churches only call WELS certified teachers. I didn't say only those that go through (D)MLC.

Realize that there is a lot of friction between MLC and WLC in regards to extending calls to WLC graduates.

If you have read my other comments, I don't believe that this policy pushed by MLC is beneficial. I believe that WLC has a solid education track. But MLC does not want to allow WLC graduates to be certified and called upon graduating from WLC.

So IMHO your response to my comment is a knee-jerk comment. ;)

Rob said...

John, thank you for your calm response to my hyperbolic rant.

Yes, I would agree with your revision "synod . . . encouraged . . . that churches only call WELS certified teachers."

I have read that about 20% of WELS teachers are "asterisks," that is, not fully Synodically certified. Their calling bodies extended calls to them even though they were not certified. Frankly, I don't think that's a problem -- most of the uncertified are actively pursuing certification, which means that they are steeped in cerebral, ongoing doctrinal discussions with MLC professors while their teacher peers who are MLC grads have not touched the same material in 10, 20, or 30 years. I have reviewed MLC doctrinal coursework, and my observation is that little of it has application in an LES classroom, so if a teacher has not yet completed all 8(?) doctrine courses, he or she is not missing anything critical. In many schools upper-grade religion and confirmation is taught by the pastor, and primary grade students ask only questions that any mature Christian can handle. MLC doctrine courses are more a rite of passage requiring college students to memorize Greek and Latin terms for shades of doctrine debated in the 16th century. There is no "AP" exam that would allow students to prove competency in doctrine and skip courses. There is no bar exam equivalent. Why not? Because doctrine courses are a rite of passage.

This is a sensitive subject. In my former congregation I saw two called teachers drummed out of the teaching ministry because they were not MLC grads. These two teachers were working on Synodical certification and getting wonderful grades in their doctrine coursework, but some MLC graduates in the congregation resented non-MLC grads holding divine calls, so the MLC grads created a hostile and abusive work environment and forced them out.

I think that non-MLC teachers are a blessing to the Synod because their training complements the training of MLC grads. I have done side-by-side comparisons of curriculum at MLC, WLC, and other teacher colleges, and I have concluded that MLC grads have certain strengths and certain weaknesses. Calling non-MLC grads shores up the weaknesses of MLC grads.

. . . the other Rob