Wednesday, January 2, 2008

WELS in 2008

I trust that all had a blessed Christmas with family and friends. I had the chance to travel a bit and attend several different WELS churches (even one church that still uses TLH).

I would like to open up the discussion forum once again. You may post on whatever topic you feel is important.

You might want to address what you think is the most important issue or topic that the WELS will face this new year.

Again, please sign your comments (and be consistent with your signature - or alias). Please keep the comments focused on Lutheran topics. All viewpoints are appreciated and members of any churchbody may post.

65 comments:

Wisconsin said...

Last summer, the WELS convention elected a new synod president and emphasized the importance of missions and ministerial education. The convention also stressed the importance of re-establishing the connection between the congregations/people of the synod with the synod itself. Any reaction on how this is going?

MLS Veteran said...

I haven't really heard anything definitive, at least at my congregation.

Basically, we were just told about the emphasis on keeping the current prep schools and mission fields going.

The previous months of "mass panic" just kind of dissolved.

To be honest, I think most people have pretty much forgotten the "crisis" of the previous summer.

I heard that the current synodical budget is actually ahead by about $500,000 from where they thought it would be (as per the WELS web site).

Was there ever really a financial crisis, or was this just a political play by some at headquarters?

Interesting....

rlschultz said...

Perhaps this is a bit off-topic, but I feel that this is an important issue. It has to do with Bible studies in congregations. Recently, our WELS congregation did a Bible study on getting along with In-Laws. I did not attend as I felt that the subject matter was lame for a Bible study. I also beleive that the material came from the synod. Several years back, The Purpose Driven Life was very popular. Since then, Rick Warren has been proven to be a total apostate. Some WELS friends of ours gave us a couple of the "Power of Praying..." books by Stormie Omartian. Her pastor is Jack Hayford, a foursquare gospel penntecostalist. My question for the other bloggers is - what kind of Bible studies are being done in their WELS churches? I find the literature out there with the Reformed perspective to be fairly useless. I have never seen my WELS congregation offer anything from the Lutheran Confessions. My pastor asked me a couple of years ago if I had any ideas for a summer Bible study. When I suggested something from the Book of Concord, he just chuckled. Am I alone in observing this phenomena?

John said...

rlschultz,

This post is open to all topics.

Awhile back I also asked my WELS pastor about doing a Bible Study on the Lutheran Confessions. His reply was that it would be too deep. His Bible Studies usually explore a New Testament Epistle.

I would also be interested in hearing what Bible Studies are being offered.
------------------------------

MLS veteran,

The financial crisis did certainly seem to dissolve. All that I heard from our synodical rep prior to the convention was that things will not be the same in the WELS.

Bespoke said...

Are there any other blogs (besides this one) that really deal with WELS issues? Why the reluctance?

Willie B. said...

Bespoke timidly writes,

"Why the reluctance?"

Well, then, open up, boy.

Willie B.

Anonymous said...

John,

It's too bad that your pastor thinks something the Lutheran Confessions are too deep to study.

When the new Readers Edition of the Book of Concord came out, our church encouraged every member to buy at least one, which we used for the next two years during an in-depth study of the Augsburg Confession.

CL

John said...

CL -

Wow. I am encouraged that your church took the time to study this new edition. I fear that the next generation will have no idea what Lutheranism is.

I actually bought the new Readers Edition (the 1st edition) about 3 years ago. That's when I brought it to my pastor's study. He actually had not heard a new edition was out. Gasp! I fear he might have been afraid because it was from Missouri.

Kat said...

I don't think the Synod is doing much to connect with the congregations. In our area, we have had or are having (not sure which) a "Synodfest" thing (actually I think we had it in the fall or something). It was okay I guess, didn't mean much to me.

As for Bible studies--it's not the pastor that isn't willing to dig deep, it's the members. They complain about anything about a 4th grade level it would seem.

Oh also, I don't get the "Reformed" comments. "Reformed" to me is Calvinistic in nature...you know, PCUSA, PCA, and the like. A "Foursquare Pentecostal" is not "Reformed" and would freak out if you applied the term "Reformed" to them.

To me in Protestism, we have 3 general groups...the Arminians, the Reformed on polar ends with the Lutherans in the middle. I think the term "Reformed" is being used as a "catch all" in an erroneous manner.

rlschultz said...

kat,

I place the Foursquare Gospel folks within the Reformed camp because they have several teachings which place them into that group. Perhaps my brush is too wide or my umbrella too large. I would not know how else to categorize them. I understand that your definition of Reformed is a bit more strict.
I would agree that many members really don't like a Bible study that is too deep for them. I am not going to cut them any slack. I think that they just want to be spoon fed for an hour a week and are unwilling to even learn on their own. That is part of why I asked the question. Are the Bible studies strictly what the pastor chooses or are there members pushing him to cover a certain topic or book? My impression is that it seems to vary a lot from one congregation to the next.

Sir Paul said...

Wisconsin wrote,

"Last summer, the WELS convention elected a new synod president... Any reaction on how this is going?"

President Schroeder is a conservative. Conservatives try to conserve things and therefore nothing will really change in the Wisconsin Synod. The Wisconsin Synod will remain a marginally Lutheran Protestant church body with its doctrines of fellowship ("every" expression of a common Christian faith forbidden), ministry ("everyone" a minister) and adiaphora ("everything" allowed as long unless expressly forbidden in the Bible). Notice the conservative "think" tank "Issues in WELS" now has no issues to whine about (they got their man in), so it really was about politics after all!

Sir Paul

John said...

Sir Paul,

I think that you are right about the WELS struggling with fellowship, ministry, and adiaphora.

You say, Conservatives try to conserve things and therefore nothing will really change in the Wisconsin Synod.

What change do you think needs to happen in the Wisconsin Synod?

Wisconisn said...

Sir Paul wrote: "Notice the conservative "think" tank "Issues in WELS" now has no issues to whine about (they got their man in), so it really was about politics after all!"

From what I have heard, Pres. Schroeder was not a part of the Issues in WELS group and never attended their meetings. How is he "their man?" And even if he was, since Issues in WELS seemed to be concerned about doctrine and practice, by what definition is this "politics"?

New Ulm said...

Wisconsin..

Pres. Schroeder did put forth a proposal about how to keep MLS open (politics or not). MLS remains open and the financial picture seems brighter.

Issue in WELS was mostly concerned with fellowship issues and money management.

Since the money "crisis" has seemingly dissolved so has IIW. Funny huh..

Now if Schroeder can reign in the rogue contemporary pastors and the Church and Change group, I will then say progress is being made.

Smitty said...

Well, Parish Assistance is exapanding under Prez S (check the WELS website)....money is up--nothing will change. No "rogue" pastors will be reigned in either. Life will go on per the standard status quo.

rlschultz said...

The rogue contemporary pastors will not be reigned in. They are too deeply entrenched and intertwined within the WELS power structure. Many of them have served on various boards and committees throughout the years. Their connections run quite deep within the synod. I also believe that many of the concerned laity within the WELS will be hoodwinked into thinking that conditions are on the up and up within the synod. They will look at the increased giving and an improved financial picture and use that as a gauge to measure the health of the WELS. Until the doctrinal issues are addressed and resolved, it will be business as usual within the WELS.

Anonymous said...

rschultz:

You mention doctrinal issues. Can you be specific? I simply want to know. Can you list them for me?

Wisconsin said...

Smitty, Parish Assistance is not expanding. The position for which the call was made was one of two vacant positions. Be sure about your facts before you post them.

The fact that money is up may show the start of renewed confidence. Don't you think that leadership can function more effectively when the confidence is high? I don't see how increased offerings will guarantee the status quo. It may do just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Who can tell me about the Church of the Lutheran Confession? From what I've heard, they excommunicate members who belong to Thrivent and the American Legion.

Anonymous said...

rschultz,

"The rogue contemporary pastors will not be reigned in." Please expand.

John said...

anonymous please identify yourself (or use an alias)..

Smitty who is living the dream!! said...

Wisconsin,

I think it's you that needs to check their facts (not to get into a pissing match with you--but be careful before you make harsh accusations). I got the term "expand" from the WELS website. It wasn't a word I assigned to Parish Services.

My mistake is that I didn't post the link (oh and notice the word "expand" in the link title), so here you go. Our Synod now has a regular newsletter online...check it out sometime Wisconsin.

http://together.wels.net/2007/12/17/parish-assistance-expands-special-services

Wisconsin said...

Smitty the Dreamer:

I checked out the post you provided. While the headline does say "expand," the end of the article states: "Neither the work Heins will be doing, nor the call for a third full-time consultant requires new budget dollars." In other words, they are replacing vacant spots, but the overall scope is not being expanded from what was previously in place.

WELSBOT said...

Smitty,

I think the problem here is that you assumed "expand" meant "expand," but as Wisconsin (hereinafter WI) has pointed out it doesn't.

In conclusion, words don't mean what they mean unless we mean them to mean what they mean, but here we don't mean it to mean what it means because we mean it to mean the opposite of what it means. Is that about right, WI?

WB

MLS Veteran said...

Not to get off track, but they just posted (on the WELS web site) that the Schwann foundation will be giving $8,000,000 (eight million) to WELS in 2008, up a bit from $7,600,000 in 2007.

Does this mean the financial crisis is over?

It seems to me that either:

#1. There was simply faulty accounting and faulty projections as per last summer's immediate financial crisis (I hope this is true, this would mean there was no intentional manipulation of the numbers for covert means).

OR

#2. There was intentional misinformation, with the goal of swaying synodical initiatives along a certain path (although I do not know what those paths would be). This would be EXTREMELY dangerous if try.

OR

#3. We still have a looming financial crisis coming and simply have not faced issues in a substantive way.

What are others hearing out there?

California on my mind said...

As to your #1- I think that accounting at the SAB is much better now since Mr. Poppe is in charge of such things.

As for #2- This is not putting the best construction on things. No one should think such things, UNLESS there was clear evidence to the contrary.

#3 should be discussed further, since the report mentions that the Schwan money supports 25% of the synod budget. YIKES! Didn't we learn our lesson six years ago?

MLS Veteran said...

Agreed on your response to point #2, California....

There just seemed to be so much venom during the debates last summer.

Point well taken...

Smitty...still living the dream...yeah baby!! said...

Oh, so the word "expand" is different in the WELS. Silly me, I guess I am the ignorant one because when I attended WELS schools I'm pretty sure "expand" meant...well.."expand"...get bigger.

But of course, I'm the idiot...just like we all were when we assumed Clinton had sexual relations with that intern...in reality, he didn't....because "sexual relations" meant something different to him than it did to the rest of the country.

Thanks WI...lesson learned...words mean nothing in the WELS.

Wisconsin said...

Let's imagine a congregation with three pastors. One takes a call, leaving two pastors in the congregation. If the congregation votes to replace the third pastor, I suppose it's accurate in a sense to say that the congregation is expanding its pastoral staff from two to three. But in reality, they merely brought staffing levels to where they were before. I think that seems to be what happened in Parish assistance. They merely called to fill a vacant position, but because the position had been vacant for some time, the headline described the move as an expansion.

I'm simply trying to reflect what happened. But I'm assuming that I'll just get more sarcasm. Looking forward to the entertainmnent . . .

Smitty who is church shopping said...

Whatever, it was poor wording...let's just admit that.

As for sarcasm or entertainment...it's just not worth the time. Sorry to dissappoint, but life is short and I have other things to do. Besides, we are leaving the WELS in the next few months here, so honestly I guess it really doesn't even matter.

Off to go listen to some Smitty music (and if you know anything about contemporary Christian music, you will know who I am talking about).

John said...

Why is it that a few WELS churches are still trying to shed their Lutheran identity.

I recently spoke to a friend who belongs to a WELS church and he said "if you attended our service you would think we are non-denominational."

I think this is a huge issue for 2008 that needs to be addressed.

WELSBOT said...

WI,

Expand means go back to where we were before we shrank. Thanks for clearing that up.

"it's accurate in a sense"

Indeed. Also, I think you've illustrated, perhaps unintentionally, what frustrates so many of us in the WELS the most. Our Leaders and Teachers seem to be more interested in proving that past institutional statements are "accurate in a sense" than really examing their doctrine and practice to make sure that they are accurate in every sense. That's my sense anyway.

WB

Anonymous said...

RE:Who can tell me about the Church of the Lutheran Confession? From what I've heard, they excommunicate members who belong to Thrivent and the American Legion.

ANSWER regarding American Legion -

"We thank the pastors for the 2001
CLC General Pastoral Conference
report, which they unanimously adopted.
"With regard to The American
Legion, we concur that it would be
inadvisable to provide 'a synodical rule
or precedent that must be mechanically
or legalistically applied.' We likewise
share the concern expressed in the
General Pastoral Conference Report
that confessional Lutherans of good
faith have wrestled with this issue for
over 80 years. In view of this and in
response to the many concerns raised
among us regarding this issue, we submit
the following:
"Whereas God's Word is unambiguous
on the necessity of remaining faithful
to Scripture and presenting a clear
Christian witness; and
"Whereas the religious elements of
The American Legion identified in the
General Pastoral Conference Report are
in conflict with God's Word and therefore
with our Christian confession; and
"Whereas The American Legion
publishes, distributes, promotes, and
uses prayer manuals, handbooks, and
other materials that endanger souls;
and
"Whereas membership in The
American Legion risks compromising
our Christian witness and may provide
an occasion for offense; and
"Whereas we trust that God's Word,
rather than synodical resolutions, will
serve to bind consciences where and
when they are to be bound, and that the
Gospel will move Christian hearts in a
God-pleasing direction; therefore be it
"Resolved that for the spiritual welfare
of souls, patient and evangelical
guidance be given to any in our congregations
who are members of The
American Legion, with the goal of
leading them out; and be it finally
"Resolved that all essays and study
papers addressing this subject heretofore
have no standing among us as an
expression of our position on the subject.
The 2001 General Pastoral
Conference Report and other documents
on the subject previously accepted
by the CLC Convention are not
included in this resolution."

Anonymous said...

RE:Who can tell me about the Church of the Lutheran Confession? From what I've heard, they excommunicate members who belong to Thrivent and the American Legion.

ANSWER regarding Thrivent:

The question can be summarized in this way: "Is it pleasing to our Lord to be a member of a fraternal, faith-based society that, in addition to its other activities, supports and promotes false teachers?" The answer from Scripture is "no," and that is why membership in Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is not compatible with our Christian life and witness.

Anonymous said...

I've been in WELS for about two years. It seems most everything is geared towards mission work for new members. WELS Connection, Forward in Christ, the lower church service, etc.

For me, I pray they would concentrate on the best ways to feed the sheep they have in the fold during 2008. But I'm afraid they are more concerned about clarifying their synodical identity and preaching to the lost. I know there's supposed to be balance in all of this, but I can tell you I'm often left quite hungry. I'm not sure what I'm going to do this year.

Rob

California on my mind said...

Regarding the anonymous comment about the CLC and Thrivent:

I guess I better not shop at Target anymore, since they provide money to Jewish schools.

Is this legalism or what?

WELSBOT said...

"Is this legalism or what?"

The CLC aproaches fellowship the way the WELS doctrinal statement does. But to them, any joint expression of faith really means any joint expression of faith. As your comment shows, some in the WELS (or many) aren't really on-board with what their (the WELS) church teaches.

WB

Anonymous said...

How is buying insurance an expression of joint faith? I'm really tired of welsbot's distortions of the WELS position. When someone knowingly distorts and speak something patently untrue, it is neither helpful to those seeking the facts nor to those who wish to have honest discussion about issues. If you loathe WELS so much, just say so, and go away. If you have any conscience at all, you know that you are acting and speaking in a way that is neither brotherly nor honorable.

And no, don't accuse me of being someone who says that WELS is perfect. It is not. There are real challenges and issues that should be discussed and addressed. Point those out if you will. If they are valid, then you will have done something constructive. Just stop deceiving people with untruths.

WELSBOT said...

"I'm really tired of welsbot's distortions of the WELS position."

Then you tire quickly (and for no reason), because WELSBOT hasn't made any distortions--unless quoting a WELS doctrinal statement is a distortion. But wait, that is only one--where are the other distortions (distortions is plural)?

So take it easy, fella. I'm not bashing the WELS. I'm just trying to keep her doctrine and practice consistent. If you wan't to buy insurance from a fraternal, faith-based society that supports and promotes false teachers, so be it. If you want to say that is not a joint expression of faith, so be it. But you are not acting very WELS. If you want to deceive yourself about what you confess as a member of the WELS and what is compatible with our Christian life and witness, there isn't much I can do to stop you. But please, don't pretend I don't have a conscience. I at least have enough of a conscience not to give those wolves at Thrivent a single penny of my money so that they can turn around and give it a gay women minister in the ELCA.

WB

Anonymous said...

"If you wan't to buy insurance from a fraternal, faith-based society that supports and promotes false teachers, so be it."

How is that different than buying any product from any dealer or at any store? Before I buy a gallon of milk do I need to check to see if the store has ever made any charitable contributions to any religious organization? If that were true, I could never buy anything from anyone. It's the same principle as buying meat sacrificed to idols in Corinth.

"I at least have enough of a conscience not to give those wolves at Thrivent a single penny of my money so that they can turn around and give it a gay women minister in the ELCA."

Then I hope you're consistent and don't shop at any of the major retailers in the country, since every single one of them gives money to churches and organizations that promote false doctrine.

Look, I despise Thrivent because of the way they try to weasel into churches and simply because they're a terrible financial company. But to say that buying a policy from Thrivent is sinful or wrong is foolishness. It's no more sinful than buying a gallon of milk from the grocery store or meat sacrificed to idols in Corinth.

X

X said...

Person who purports to be X,

No fair. You reference scripture. We're talking about the WELS doctrinal statement.

X

(I'm the real X. Pick a new letter, imposter.)

Anonymous said...

RE: How is that different than buying any product from any dealer or at any store? Before I buy a gallon of milk do I need to check to see if the store has ever made any charitable contributions to any religious organization? If that were true, I could never buy anything from anyone.

ANSWER PER CLC:

Question - But isn't membership in Thrivent just a business deal? How is this different from buying insurance with Allstate, for instance?

Answer - It is not necessary -- nor is it possible -- to investigate how every company spends its profits before we buy something from them. But Thrivent is not just a company from which you buy a product. You cannot buy insurance from Thrivent unless you are a member of this faith-based organization. When you belong to this fraternal society, you are not simply a customer of a company; you ARE the company, by reason of your fraternal membership and voting rights. Therefore, you bear responsibility for how the company's profits are spent. That makes it much more than just a "business arrangement." One of the stated purposes of this organization is to "Financially help Lutheran churches, schools and organizations." [8] Because one's Lutheran faith is the basis for membership in Thrivent, mutual support of this church work is an exercise of Christian fellowship. Thrivent calls itself your religious "brother" in many ways. In fact, that's what the word "fraternal" means -- "brotherly." The Bible says that brotherhood (i.e., fellowship) should be based on complete agreement in doctrine -- which we certainly do not share with liberal "Lutherans"!

WELSBOT said...

Anon @ 11:31,

"How is that different than buying any product from any dealer or at any store?"

Anon @ 1:23 answers this question as well as I could. You should be able to see this distinction, but in case you can't, I'll paraphrase: Target doesn't hold itself out as a fraternal, religous organization. Thrivent does. Just because most WELS people don't see a problem with Thrivent doesn't mean that involvement with Thrivent is a very WELS thing to do. It just means that our pratice is moving away from our doctrine. Both the doctrinal statement and the common practice can't be right. Which ever is wrong should be brought in line with which ever is right.

WB

LM said...

Rob,

I've been having the same struggle. I've been a member of a WELS congregation much longer than you, but it is only in the last few years, upon cracking open that Book of Concord, that I've started to feel the same.

I now realize that it has probably always been that way--I don't think the WELS has drastically changed in the last 10 years, but I think I have a deeper understanding of what it means to be Lutheran. Sadly, the more I look around, the less Lutheran the Lutheran churches I see around me (with one outstanding exception--though it isn't practical for me to attend there every Lord's Day) seem to be.

LM

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but that answer from the CLC is riddled with errors. Here are a few:

"But Thrivent is not just a company from which you buy a product."

Actually, it is. Thrivent has repeatedly stated that is is a purely secular corporation. Donating money to churches does not make an organization a church. Secular organizations do it all the time.

"You cannot buy insurance from Thrivent unless you are a member of this faith-based organization."

Again, Thrivent is not a "faith-based" organization. It has said so repeatedly. Therefore, you don't need to be a member of any such organization to purchase from Thrivent.

"When you belong to this fraternal society, you are not simply a customer of a company; you ARE the company, by reason of your fraternal membership and voting rights."

The exact same thing could be said of any credit union or neighborhood co-op. Yet, no one claims we need to investigate the background and the donations of those groups. Would it be equally wrong for me to invest my money with a credit union that happened to have Catholic roots?

"Because one's Lutheran faith is the basis for membership in Thrivent"

That's a ridiculous statement. One's monetary investment is the basis for membership, just like it is in a credit union. If one's Lutheran faith was the basis, then every single Lutheran in the world would be a member of Thrivent simply because of their Lutheran faith.

"Thrivent calls itself your religious "brother" in many ways. In fact, that's what the word "fraternal" means -- "brotherly." The Bible says that brotherhood (i.e., fellowship) should be based on complete agreement in doctrine -- which we certainly do not share with liberal "Lutherans"!"

This is the most ridiculous of them all. "Fraternal" is a legal term used for tax purposes. It has nothing to do with Biblical fellowship. To equate "fraternal" with "fellowship" because they sorta mean the same thing is simply ignorant.

In short, the CLC has created a caricature of what Thrivent actually is. I don't thing they're purposefully doing this. I'm guessing that they're basing what they write on what AAL/LB used to be decades ago--not necessarily what Thrivent actually is today. I think if they were to honestly go back and take a new look at the situation (including research into how corporations and fraternal organizations and tax codes work) they would come to a different conclusion.

ASTGAWGHAGF

Anonymous said...

lm,

I think you're right when you say WS has probably always been this way. The more I've researched it, the more that seems to be the case - though I've heard there are a couple of rogue confessionals out and about still in WS. I certainly didn't know when I joined.

As horrible as it probably sounds to many on this blog, I'd jump to an LCMS church around here if they were any better. We just happen to be in a very confessional Lutheran-poor area. Thank God for online sermons, articles, blogs, the BOC, etc.

I know God provides but it's hard not to covet what other areas have. I've found it so depressing that the Lutheran Church (or catholic - little c church) is so fractured, divided and confused. Satan has been very successful.

One day...

Rob

Mr. C said...

I just read this in the WELS Q&A. I remember my pastor mentioning something about this not too long ago also:

"A committee preparing Christian Worship Supplement (set for publication in July 2008) has revised the CW set of lessons somewhat. The same Gospel selections will be offered, but some of the Old Testament prophecies will be replaced by Old Testament "Bible stories" (narratives). This revised lectionary will also offer a set of Epistle readings that more closely match the Gospel theme and do not rely on lectio continua."

What do you all think about this? Replacing prophecies with bible stories? Similarly, do any of your churches use the one year lectionary cycle (I don't know if that is the right word/phrase)?

Mr. C

Anonymous said...

Right from Thrivent's website:

We are committed to serving LUTHERANS, their families and congregations … and we have been for 100 years! As a FAITH-BASED organization, we value our relationship with the LUTHERAN CHURCH. Because of that, we help many programs that are supported by the Lutheran Church.

Anonymous said...

THRIVENT says:

We are committed to serving LUTHERANS, their families and CONGREGATIONS … and we have been for 100 years! As a FAITH-BASED organization, we value our relationship with the LUTHERAN CHURCH. Because of that, we help many programs that are supported by the LUTHERAN CHURCH.

Anonymous said...

Per THRIVENT:
About membership -

Thrivent Financial members share a
common LUTHERAN connection (they
are Lutheran, family members of
Lutherans or closely affiliated with a
Lutheran institution), and THEY SUPPORT THE ORGANIZATION'S MISSION.

Anonymous said...

PER THRIVENT:

Though the organization’s membership is limited because of its FRATERNAL BOND, its outreach is not. Like all fraternal benefit societies (not-for-profit life insurance organizations), Thrivent Financial is required to serve a specific group of people with common bonds of interests or beliefs. Thrivent Financial is organized for LUTHERANS and their families. EACH INDIVIDUAL APPLYING FOR MEMBERSHIP MUST DEMONSTRATE A LUTHERAN CONNECTIOIN AND SUPPORT THE ORGANIZATION'S MISSION. That said, many of Thrivent Financial’s charitable (fraternal) programs touch individuals of all faiths and backgrounds, and some financial products offered through the organization’s subsidiaries—like mutual funds and banking products—are, by regulation, available to anyone.

California on my mind said...

It's obvious we now have some CLC participants on this blog. The question still wasn't answered: Would you excommunicate a member who REFUSED to get rid of his Thrivent policy or who REFUSED to leave the American Legion? Just answer the question. You don't need to overwhelm us by quoting CLC convention resolutions!

WELSBOT said...

I'm not CLC. I'm WELS. CLC is wrong because they say WELS is wrong. If you say WELS is wrong you are wrong. WELS doesn't have to prove you're wrong because WELS teaches the Word in its truth and purity. So, if you say WELS is wrong, you must be wrong. But at least with the CLC they practice what they teach about fellowship.

WELSBOT

California on my mind said...

welsbot:

All I'm looking for is an answer from the CLC people on this blog. Will they excommunicate someone who refuses to rid themselves of their Thrivent or American Legion membership? I'm not looking for your trite remarks, just an answer right from the horse's mouth, so to speak. If they choose not respond, I know what their answer is.

WB said...

California,

Will the WELS excommunicate someone for refusing to not preach Gospel free, methodist sermons?

I'm not looking for trite remarks, just an answer from some end of the horse, so to speak.

WELSBOT

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this essay may be helpful:

http://wlsessays.net/authors/G/GullerudAAL/GullerudAAL.rtf

Anonymous said...

QUESTION:
Does a WELS congregation excommunicate members that keep their sons in Boy Scouts?

Anonymous said...

RE: CLC and THRIVENT -

Perhaps the highest hurdle for many to master
was the realization that continued involvement with fraternal benefit societies rendered
them guilty of promoting error. After long hours of discussion in conventions,
conferences and congregations whereby the membership was made aware of the unionism
involved, we as a body resolved to “`all speak the same thing,’ and obedient to
instruction and admonition in the word of our Lord, in an evangelical manner eliminate
the leaven of unionistic fraternal benefit societies from our midst.” Again we were
saddened when some left our fellowship with the charge that we were legalistic and others
with the charge that we were not being faithful to the gospel.
*_*_*_*_
also in CLC congregations'constitutions - qualifications for membership -
Not become members of any society or fraternal organization, either for adults or youth, which has religious principles or practices at variance with the teachings of Holy Scripture

not x said...

"QUESTION:
Does a WELS congregation excommunicate members that keep their sons in Boy Scouts?"

After being confronted with this sin, according to strict WELS fellowship principles, if the parents don't have their boys leave the scouts the parents would be excommunicated.

I highly doubt if this has happened.

not x

California on my mind said...

anonymous CLC person:

You still haven't answered the question: in the CLC, after your "evangelical manner" your member REFUSES to give up his Thrivent membership or he REFUSES to leave the American Legion, will he or she be excommunicated? Why do you keep beating around the bush? Please just answer the question "yes" or "no."

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous person I think you are referring to. I am NOT a member of the CLC so the answer from me is "I don't know". I just posted the information that was readily available online about the subject.
I would actually like to know the answer to your question too.
Perhaps there is a CLC pastor or member that is reading this that might be able to give the answer.

PlagPatrol said...

John,

Someone above mentioned plagiarized sermons. Check out this recent sermon (Dec. 23, 2007)from Parlow's church in Green Bay. It doesn't say who "wrote" the sermon, but as has been mentioned on this site and others, Parlow has plagiarized at least one sermon in the past.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the sermon:

"'Joy' is clearly a Christmas
word. Those other activities can make us happy but don’t confuse happiness with joy. They are
not the same thing. Happiness is temporary; joy is lasting. Happiness is on the surface; joy is
deep down. It is not unusual to have joy without happiness and even have happiness without joy.

A few years ago there was a book published entitled, The Progress Paradox. It documented the enormous improvement in American lives over recent generations. Average life expectancy has doubled since 1900. Undernourishment was a major problem in our country and now we are “over nourished.” How many of us aren’t officially overweight according to the national BMI
scale? Central heating was unusual and air conditioning unknown. Medical care is much more
sophisticated and available."

Here is an excerpt from Lieth Anderson of "Faith Matters":

"'Joy' is clearly a Chirstmas word....We sometimes confuse joy and happiness althout they are not the same. Happiness is temporary; joy is lasting. Happiness is on the surface; joy is deep down inside. It is not unusual to have joy without happiness and it is not unusual for some who have happiness not to have joy.

The progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook documents enourmous improvement in the American way of life and standard of living over recent generations. Average life expectancy in the United States has doubled since 1900. Undernourishment was a major problem, but now we are 'over-nourished'. Central heating used to be unusual and few homes had central air conditioning. Today medical care is much more sophisticated and available."

The St. Mark's sermon is here:
http://stmarkpartners.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=110

The "Faith Matters" article is here:
www.oneplace.com/common/transcripts/fm/ADV-03.pdf

PP

PlagPatrol said...

Ha! The Sermon from the week before is the same way. From "The Gif of Peace - Dec. 16":

"In the great depths of the oceans the pressure is enough to crush a submarine like a can of Coke. In order to explore down deep the oceanographers have built bathyspheres. They are like miniature submarines constructed out of steel plates that are several inches thick. They have thick "skins" to stop the crushing power of the pressure on the outside from getting to the scientists on the inside. When those bathyspheres finally settle on the ocean floor and turn on their lights for exploration, the scientists see fish—fish with very thin skins. Why don’t they implode? Those fish have pressure inside them equal and opposite to the pressure outside. They are able to swim freely and easily where we would be destroyed."

Type "In the great depths of the oceans the pressure is enough to crush a submarine like a can of Coke" into Google and you find this:

"In the great depths of the oceans the pressure is enough to crush a submarine like a can of Coke. In order to explore down deep the oceanographers have built bathyspheres. They are like miniature submarines constructed out of steel plates that are several inches thick. They have thick "skins" to stop the crushing power of the pressure on the outside from getting to the scientists on the inside.
When those bathyspheres finally settle on the ocean floor and turn on their lights for exploration, the scientists see fish—fish with very thin skins. Why don’t they implode? Those fish have pressure inside them equal and opposite to the pressure outside. They are able to swim freely and easily where we would be destroyed.
That is what peace is like. Peace on the inside is equal and opposite of all the stresses and pressures crushing us from the outside."

myflock2.com/orgs_pub/church838/caldb/sermons/Peace_for_Our_Hearts.doc

PP

Stan said...

I don't think anything will improve this year. The synod can talk and say they're going to do this or that, but status quo is the name of the game.

I'm seeing non-denominationalism creep into various congregations, and frankly, it's disgusting. No confessional Lutheran churh should use, buy, or reccommend any book written by pastors of other denominations, let alone Purpose Driven nonsense. A lot of people in my congregation went out an bought it. I've argued till I'm blue in the face with people in my church. To no avail.

People in Lutheran congregations have bought into the church growth movement too much. They read nonsense from Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and they want contemporary music in the congregation. How in the world is Shine, Jesus, Shine more effective a hymn than A Mighty Fortress? I'm half tempted to look for another congregation. The pastors should know better, but they are catering to everyone in fear of possibly offending someone. I honestly believe the people that want this kind of "worship" should just leave the church and seek a non-denominational church that teaches how they worship is more important than the content.

Fact is, the liturgy is rapidly disappearing and it's horrible.

Some friendly fire said...

RE: Thrivent and American Legion

As a CLC member I was there at the 2001 convention where we wrestled with the Legion issue. In fact, the synod had been wrestling with it for quite a few years before 2001. The ironic thing is that the party that brought up the whole issue in the synod eventually left (I can't remember why) and we were left to deal with the mess it caused. Some were very, very vocal in saying that the synod needed to making that being a member of the American Legion is a sin, while many others were saying that would be legalistic.

So in the resolution, as was posted previously, you can see that dealing with such a person in an evangelical way with the goal of leading them out is the right way to go. It is only the Gospel that can move a Christian to do the God-pleasing thing. The law can only condemn, but the Gospel reminds us that we have died with Christ, rose with Him, and now can live to serve Him.

As to what one of our churches would do if a member refused to stop membership with the Am. Legion?

It hasn't happened yet, so I wouldn't know.

With Thrivent I do believe that it would stand in the way of membership and a member would be put under church discipline because of it. I would pray that it wouldn't lead to excommunication.