Saturday, March 14, 2009

Making a stronger and clearer Confessional stand ?

One cannot deny that over the last two years the tide of the Church growth movement has been slowed in the WELS. For the past decade the Church and Changers had free reign in the synod. Those that sought to discuss and question what was occuring in the synod were tossed out and others had to hide in the weeds. The battle continues and progress is slow.

The Church and Change crowd believes that the WELS confessional position has only been trying to Germanize rather than Lutheranize people. A leading changer said that, "in order to get things done one has to break a few rules and look for mentors outside of the Lutheran circle." Yet this rule breaker is the current spokesperson for the WELS (although he only identifies himself with the WELS by saying that's "my tribe.")

This type of attitude leads a few pastors to take a trip down to see Stetzer and contract him for the next C&C conference. The grants are drying up and the battle lines have been drawn.

Can the WELS maintain its Confessional integrity?
1) by denying the importance of the Holy Supper,
2) tossing aside the Church calendar,
3) looking outside of Lutheranism for mentors,
4) funding the ministry of the Word with "alternative sources?"
5) ....

As we look to uphold our Biblical principles we must ask - is this wise? is this beneficial? is this brotherly?

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are crick-jumpers trying to justify where their loyalties really lie.

B. Spoke

Brett Meyer said...

John, you ask, "Can the WELS maintain its Confessional integrity?"

It takes effort and indviduals, by God's grace, that are willing to risk fellowship, unity, comfort, their 'good name', being derided by those who were their friends and to stand with Christ to the point of death in order to maintain Confessional integrity.

You can't even get WELS Pastor's to sign their full names to statements on this blog which they claim are Christ's own Words.

The majority of laymen don't want to be bothered with reading the BOC or experience the hardships which come from rightly applying it.

The WELS has laid themselves bare before the Church Growth New Age crowd having disregarded the Full Armor of Christ. The New Age Emergent Church could never have made such enormous inroads into the WELS if laymen hadn't looked the other way and the WELS leadership (CA/AZ DP and all) hadn't handed it to them.

The money hasn't dried up. It's been redistributed. The New Age apostasy has the money and when the armorless WELS needs it they will kneel at the feet of the Antichrist for their share thinking to themselves, "Well, if we don't take it someone else will. At least we'll use it to do God's work. At least we're not like the LCMS and ELCA." Much like Benke from the LCMS who knelt at the feet of the Antichrist and said, "Holy Father, I am most privileged to represent the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (insert WELS here) and its members."

The C&C'ers will walk away with the WELS and those who oppose it will be told to stop causing divisions or go start their own Synod with their outdated and contentious Confessions and Holy Scriptures.

The WELS can't even point to a universally accepted, concise definition of the Central Article of their faith, Universal Objective Justification.

And their supposed to maintain their Confessional integrity?

Brett Meyer

Anonymous said...

I am uncomfortable with some of the tactics with the church and change folks. However, if we want to move these folks out, I hope we also move out those called workers were are hiding behind their calls and not motivated to share the Gospel. We don't need these guys who spend time talking about how busy they are and frankly are killing churches with ineptitude. It's easy to criticize those who do something different. It's a lot harder to remove the guy who isn't a false preacher but is failing to serve faithfully either. Those folks need a mirror just as much as the church and changers.

Anonymous said...

Brett Meyer wrote, who is a persisent errorist when it comes to the biblical teaching of universal justification: "You can't even get WELS Pastor's to sign their full names to statements on this blog..."

Brett, I wonder why? Your buddy Greg Jackson over on Ichabod likes to schmear what's written on John's blog and "crucify" by name those who write here.

Anonymous said...

Brett Meyer said, "You can't even get WELS Pastor's to sign their full names to statements on this blog..."

Not only that, he's assuming all these posts are by WELS Pastors. I post on here from time to time and I'm just a layman... but he has assumed in the past that I (and others) are all WELS Pastors. In fact, there is a lot of assuming going on around here...

I don't post my full name anywhere on the internet as a matter of principle.

Brett Meyer said...

Anonymous WELS pastor, what's to smear if what is written is Confessional and Scriptural? You label me a persistent errorist and I expect that and worse from those who defend UOJ but having the Confessions, Scripture and the refuted UOJ writings I have nothing to fear. I stand in the Word and not on my own sinful flesh. If the WELS pastors who post anonymously had the Holy Spirit's faith which gives the courage to take a stand and knowing that they truly write and speak Christ's Words from Scripture and rightly expounded in the Lutheran Confessions they would post their names no matter what anyone said or did. You have made part of my point above in that the fear of being smeared is greater than the command of Christ to stand firm in him and give full account of the hope that they have and doctrine they confess. Why would anyone think that they could maintain Confessional integrity?

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Freddy Finkelstein said...

John writes: "The Church and Change crowd believes that the WELS confessional position has only been trying to Germanize rather than Lutheranize people..."

It is funny you should write this. This is exactly the sermon we had today, from the Gospel lesson. Apparently, corporate worship is about God's people removing everything from their practice that might be offensive (like driving out the money changers), and specifically this means that we are not to make people "German" in order to make them Lutheran.

I've heard this line of reasoning from the likes of Dr. James Deotis Roberts, father of Contextual Theology. The Western Church is European, and Confessionalism is a distinct product of the Classical Western mind. In the rest of the world, such thinking is unknown – hardly fitting the needs of the modern globalist Christian. Moreover, in terms of today's post-modern individualism, Confessionalism is passe, to say the least. Therefore, the pejorative “Germanizing” is offered in reference to Confessional subscription and catholic practice, and instead, something a little more “contextual” is called for, something more “liberating” and more “indigenized.” Read J. Deotis Roberts – here is a representative article – and tell me that such sentiments are not tantamount to base syncretism.

The fact that this idea can take root among the WELS minsterium is evidence of an education deficiency, to say the least. In Ch. IV of C.P. Krauth's Conservative Reformation, he writes concerning the “German-ness” of Lutheranism:

“[quoting Goebel] 'The Lutheran Church has a great pre-eminence of the Reformed in regard to its internal theological development. German theological science comes forth from the Lutheran Church. The theology of the Lutheran Church supported by German diligence, thoroughness, and profundity, stage by stage, amid manifold struggles and revolutions, arose to an amazing elevation, astounding and incomprehensible to the Swiss, the French, and the English.' 'The Lutheran Church,' says Lange, 'is the Church of theologians'” (pg. 151).

So let's get rid of that nasty German influence, shall we? Who needs good theology and sound Confession, anyway – especially if it is construed to impact practice? Isn't this precisely what the de-Germanizers are getting at? But, Krauth immediately goes on:

“At once as a cause and a result of this greatness in the highest form of learning, may be regarded the fact that the Lutheran Church is an Educating Church from the humblest sphere of the children of the poor to the highest range of the scholar's erudition [referring to 'catechetical instruction, congregational and public schools, and universities']” (pg. 151, emphasis mine).

Again, let's get rid of that nasty German influence – like learning, catechizing and educating. Perhaps those who dislike the "Germans-ness" of Confessionalism have already set aside their great learning...?

Krauth, again:

“Many embarrassing circumstances prevented the Lutheran Church from developing her life as perfectly in her church constitution as in her doctrines and worship... But especially in sacred song has the Lutheran Church a grand distinctive element of her worship. 'The Lutheran Church,' says Schaff, 'draws the fine arts into the service of religion, and has produced a body of hymns and chorals, which, in richness, power, and unction, surpasses the hymnology of all other churches in the world.' 'In divine worship,' says Goebel, 'we reach glorious features of pre-eminence. The hymns of the Church are the people's confession, and have wrought more than the preaching. In the Lutheran Church alone, German hymnology attained a bloom truly amazing. The words of holy song were heard everywhere, and sometimes, as with a single stroke, won whole cities for the Gospel'” (pp. 152-154).

Yes, get rid of that nasty German hymnology and the uplifting influence of the fine arts, that “German-ness,” virtually alone, has brought to the Christian religion. Let's replace it with the degenerating influence of “folk-” and “pop-art” – after all, the sectarians are doing it, and seem to like it a whole bunch...

And here, Krauth begins by quoting Nevin, a contemporary of his in the German Reformed Church, and nemesis of Charles Hodge in Reformed circles of the time:

“'We have no wish to have the Lutheran Church overwhelmed in this country by the reigning unhistorical spirit of our American Christianity – no wish to see it Americanized, in the sense of anything like a general rupture with its original theological life. The whole Reformed church here, whether it be perceived or not, has a vast interest at stake on the power of the Lutheran Church to remain true and faithful to her confessional mission.' ...That such a Church has a mission of extraordinary importance in this land [America] in which exist such dangerous tendencies to sectarianism and radicalism, and whose greatest need is the cultivation of historical feeling, under the restraint of a wholesome conservatism, requires no argument. ...The catholicity of the range of our Church among nations, in which she is entirely without parallel among Protestant Churches, does, indeed, make the problem of the fusion of her elements very difficult; but it is the very same problem which our nation [America] has had to solve” (pp. 158-160).

“[R]equires no argument...,” says Krauth – except to defend against the rhetoric of self-proclaimed “Lutheran tribalists,” quoted by John, above. America, for a time, made great strides toward solving the problem of which Krauth speaks, with the perspectives of cultural assimilation – and it was these perspectives which threw-back Socialism in the late 19th century as its popular importation to America was first attempted via the solidarity movements of that time. As the demise of assimilation ideals has opened the door to Socialism today, with the creation of innumerable cultural sub-categories and, further, by the pitting of them against one another in competition for the government's limited resources, so too have those in the Lutheran Church, who are apparently equipped to think only with the mind of the day, created division within our ranks by forcibly introducing their distinctively "indigenized" practices. In their liberation – in the name of supposedly driving out offenses – they in fact jeopardize our unity by creating whole new categories of offense, from competition for funds, to burdening others with propaganda for their innovations, to entering into ministerial association with the heterodox (like WCA).

The “unhistorical” perspectives of American Christianity, known already over a century ago to represent a dangerous “tendency to sectarianism and radicalism,” according to Krauth, are precisely the undisputed danger of treating the catholicity of the Lutheranism with disdain. To summarize and condense Krauth from a later chapter, the Church Catholic represents the outflowing of 2000 years of Christian faith and practice into the present, and projects it into the future (Ch. V, pg 176). Catholicity is the mind of the One True Church – in it is found her collected wisdom. When we are exhorted in the Scriptures to exercise wisdom in our freedom, and later enjoined to remember and imitate the faith of our predecessors, it is not the narrow wisdom of the day to which we ought to run, but the mind of the Church which ought to be given the weightiest consideration. To ignore it, or otherwise fail to honor such wisdom, is to exhibit the ignorance and youthful arrogance of Solomon's son, Rehoboam – who, preferring the wisdom of his day, ultimately destroyed the unity of Israel.

Gentlemen of the clergy – yours is a life of study. Study hard...

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have Synod President Schroeder's home address? I'd like to communicate with him outside of the WELS' channels.

John said...

I would suggest you contact him through email. You can find this on wels.net in the synod directory. I'm not sure if his home address is listed.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad this blog is becoming more and more like Ichabod where decorum has gone out the window.

Church and Change has never been about changing anything to point of elimination; but offering options and alternatives while validating what other folks were thinking around the Synod and giving them permission to try new things as long as they weren't un-scriptural. No one is taking anything away from anyone.

To your points...

1) Who is denying the importance of the Lord's Supper? And can you please at least spell it right?

2) Making a Sunday liturgy much less a 'yearly liturgy' mandatory is hardly Biblical. If this is what Confessional Lutheranism is by YOUR definition, then maybe you folks ought to think about breaking off if it is that important to you. I would be first in line to offer you God's Blessings. I mean that sincerely. Obviously y'all have taken offense when none was ever intended.

3) You are sounding more like Greg Jackson every day. Since when is it a sin to listen to another point of view in a NON-WORSHIP SETTING???? To call it mentoring is a lie.

4) Ya lost me on this one. Define "alternative sources" and why this is wrong.

5) What was the point? Are there more to come or did you run out of ideas? #4 was a stretch.

Biblical principles? When you say things in this fashion, you really are equating the Lutheran Confessions with scripture which is I think what you really wish for. Luther would roll over in his grave if he read this blog.

JK

Anonymous said...

BTW...Who is this 'leading changer'? I think you made that up since you didn't attribute it. I doubt anyone WELS in high standing would even say something like that. I know I wouldn't much less think it. Listen yes. Mentor no.

JK

John said...

"To call it mentoring is a lie.."

Pr. Mark Jeske said, "that if you can't find a mentor in your own tribe look outside of Lutheranism."

You must agree that Jeske is a leading changer. So I guess you might want to stop listening to Jeske.

Anonymous said...

So which quote is the correct one? Because the one quote in the original post is different than the comment one to me. And since they both start with a lower case letter I would say that these were probably extracted from somewhere and most likely taken out of context.

I can see where this is going...

I'll have no more part in this. Back in the day we would call this "bush league".

JK

John said...

JK - both comments are valid.

Why don't you start your own blog. Oh wait, you tried that.

It is ironic that liberals scream for tolerance. Yet they're the most intolerant people.

Anonymous said...

Aw c'mon, John. It's nothing about tolerance. It's about playing fair.

So now they are comments and not quotes? You crack me up...

JK

Anonymous said...

John, what is the source and context of the two quotes?

John said...

The source of the quotes is Rev. Jeske. The context of the quote is part of his oral presentation on how the WELS has been Germanizing people as a means of self-preservation. He proposes that to win souls for Jesus you should focus on the "language of the heart." This language varies from culture to culture. His current culture enjoys the language of contemporary worship.

He did go on to suggest to have impact you find a mentor (inside or outside of Lutheranism).

Anonymous said...

I think you need to post a transcript instead of making us take your word for it. Or a link to the file of the oral presentation.

JK

Anonymous said...

Mark Jeske, I mean Oral Roberts....zzzzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

In other words, you have no citation for us, and cannot (or refuse to) give us the context as he presented it.

There have been some good discussions on this board. This isn't one of them.

John said...

If you don't feel the WELS can make a stronger and clearer Confessional stand don't comment.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Jeske is WELS anymore.

Brett Meyer said...

JK made this statement above (caps are my emphasis), "Biblical principles? When you say things in this fashion, YOU REALLY ARE EQUATING THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS WITH SCRIPTURE which is I think what you really wish for. Luther would roll over in his grave if he read this blog."

JK doesn't equate the Lutheran Confessions with Scripture. This is most definitely a Confessional stand. A Confessional stand that says the Lutheran Confessions are not representative as equivalent to Scripture. Disdain for Luther's faithful writings and the Lutheran Confessions is rampant in the New Age church growth movement.

The Lutheran Confessors said this, "39] These and like articles, one and all, with what pertains to them and follows from them, we reject and condemn as wrong, false, heretical, and contrary to the Word of God, the three Creeds, the Augsburg, Confession and Apology, the Smalcald Articles, and the Catechisms of Luther. Of these articles all godly Christians should and ought to beware, as much as the welfare and salvation of their souls is dear to them.

40] Since now, in the sight of God and of all Christendom [the entire Church of Christ], we wish to testify to those now living and those who shall come after us that this declaration herewith presented concerning all the controverted articles aforementioned and explained, and no other, is our faith, doctrine, and confession, in which we are also willing, by God's grace, to appear with intrepid hearts before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ, and give an account of it; and that we will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to it, but, by the help of God's grace, intend to abide thereby: therefore, after mature deliberation, we have, in God's fear and with the invocation of His name, attached our signatures with our own hands."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-sects.php

"8] But the other symbols and writings cited are not judges, as are the Holy Scriptures, but only a testimony and declaration of the faith, as to how at any time the Holy Scriptures have been understood and explained in the articles in controversy in the Church of God by those then living, and how the opposite dogma was rejected and condemned [by what arguments the dogmas conflicting with the Holy Scripture were rejected and condemned]."
http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Anonymous said...

Brett - John asked you not to comment.

John said...

Brett can comment if he can add to the discussion on how the WELS might make a clearer Confessional statement.

Anonymous said...

Could some of the called workers here comment on the stats announced in the Together newsletter today? What should we take from these numbers? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Could some of the called workers here comment on the stats announced in the Together newsletter today? What should we take from these numbers? Thank you."

I don't think there's much at all to take from the stats. The WELS is shrinking slowly, as is every other Christian denomination in the US. (Hmm, didn't Jesus saying something about people falling away in the end times?) Actually, the WELS is shrinking much more slowly than almost all other denominations.

If you buy into the Church Growth heresy, you will try to use these numbers to justify further apostasy, saying, "Well, this might not be Biblical, but we have to do something to make the church grow!"

If you trust in God's Word, you will take comfort in knowing that God's Word accomplishes what he wishes, when he wishes, and thus statistics are almost completely meaningless in God's Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

What's there to say? You can make stats say anything you want. Some will say it's proof our churches aren't doing enough outreach and evangelism. But many (a majority?) of our congregations are in small towns or rural settings. Many are in Michigan where the economy is in the dumper and I'm sure people are moving out. I know of some churches in large cities that are growing. In spite of our spread into the West and Sunbelt the past few decades, aren't we still a largely small town, rural Midwestern synod? When we consider demographic changes in our country, the gradual decline in numbers shouldn't surprise anyone.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster. I have a few thoughts here I'd like to share.

Instead of concerning ourselves with what pastors would say about a numerically shrinking church, why don't worry about what Scripture says:

II Timothy 4:3-4: For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to says what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myth.

Matthew 24:12 [Jesus said]: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold."

Luke 18:8b: [Jesus said]: "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Instead of pulling our hair out over declining numbers and implicitly (or even explicitly) blaming pastors' lack of evangelism work for the decline, why don't we listen to what God's Word says? We are in the Last Days. This is going to happen, despite our best efforts. Should we be giving our best effort? Of course. But we should not lose heart when numbers decline.

A couple more points: Isn't every member in our synod supposed to be doing evangelism themselves? Don't laypeople far outnumber pastors? Then why do laypeople so quickly point their finger at pastors for the decline? "Because the pastor's the leader, that's why!" you'll say. "Because our congregation has taken on our pastor's lazy personality!" you'll say. I say: You're making excuses, the same way lots of pastors do for their lack of effort in evangelism. The irony is so overwhelming I can barely go on typing. Stop blaming pastors and making excuses for YOUR OWN failure and find a friend to tell about Jesus.

Finally: I cringe when I watch Church and Change fulfill Paul's prophecy in II Timothy. We invite false teachers in. We pay them. We sit at their feet. We give them standing ovations at the end of the heresy session. "But don't worry, they're not mentoring us. Don't worry, we're not supporting their ideas or ministries with our dollars. It's a non-worship setting." Give me a break. Since when is worship the only way to express fellowship?

What does this have to do with a more confessional stand, you ask? Declining numbers are often used as a "crisis excuse" for resorting to "outside mentoring." "After all, we have to do SOMETHING, right?" How about this for a start: Return to Scripture first and see what Jesus and St. Paul say about our current situation, and take heart. Use the Bible's faithful witness, the Confessions, to reinforce these truths. And for goodness sake let's not pull our hair out and let it fall on our ears, causing them to itch. If we already have, let's scratch the itch with God's Word, not Ed Setzer. That will not help us "solve this problem." Only a return to Scripture and their faithful witness, the Confessions, will. They will give us perspective, the proper attitude, and the only true power availabe to evangelize.

Anonymous said...

The economy in Michigan is in the dumper? Small town, rural Midwestern synod? These are not valid excuses. They are just excuses.

Anonymous said...

Brett, I harbor no disdain for the Confessions. My disdain is for the legalists in our midst. I'm sorry, but I missed your affiliation. Are you even WELS?

JK

Anonymous said...

"Brett, I harbor no disdain for the Confessions. My disdain is for the legalists in our midst."

When you label as legalists all those with a quia subscription to the Confessions, you show disdain for the Confessions.

Anonymous said...

No, they are not excuses! If you're a pastor in a small rural town of 200 and no one new has moved in in ten years, you're the only church in town and you already are on a first name basis with everyone who lives there, who is the outreach going to touch? Yes, you will share your Lord's Word whenever you have the opportunity, and that will probably happen on a daily basis. Will it register in numerical growth in the congregation? Probably not. But in situations like this the congregation will do their outreach and mission work through their offerings for home and world missions than any other way.

Anonymous said...

"When you label as legalists all those with a quia subscription to the Confessions, you show disdain for the Confessions."

What irony.

I never labelled all those with a quia subsription as legalists. Only those who are legalists. Why is it so hard to make these separations? I can see why you have trouble separating music style now. Will you be telling me now that sin can not be separated from the sinner? Ugh!

JK

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments on the stats. I would like a few thoughts on the school enrollment decline. If the enrollment declined at 10%, does this beg of crisis? There has been a lot of criticism toward voucher schools and charter schools, yet it feels like they are growing. What are the implications for the sharp decline...does this influence whether we need MLS....do we need to expect better results from the area Lutheran high schools for called workers in the future...what are the implactions for area high schools with this sharp decline? Thank you for your postings in reponse to my earlier questions and the civility.

Anonymous said...

JK - ALL WELS congregations, pastors and members have a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions.
This is the Constitution of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and ALL its member congregations:

Article II
CONFESSION OF FAITH
Section 1. The synod accepts the canonical books of the Old and New Testament as the divinely
inspired and inerrant Word of God and submits to this Word of God as the only infallible
authority in all matters of doctrine, faith, and life.

Section 2. The synod also accepts the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church embodied in the
Book of Concord of 1580, NOT INSOFAR AS, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE A CORRECT PRESENTATION AND EXPOSITION OF THE PURE DOCTRINE OF THE PURE DOCTRINE OF THE WORD OF GOD.

If your congregation is a member of WELS, your pastor and your congregation have a quia subscription.

If you do not have a quia subscription then there needs to be a division.

Anonymous said...

About the numbers:

There can be a lot of reasons why there are a decline in numbers:

--laziness by Pastors and laity
--cold-heartedness by Pastors and laity
--people who are the soil the seed feel on, believed for a time, then fell away. In fact, I would argue that a big part of the problem is that we have many back-door losses. If you think that is caused by the liturgy you better evaluate your theology.
--There are churches that are growing--from the very traditional to the very contemporary.

To summarize, we are bringing people in through the front door, but we need to do better at regaining the straying. That will take a lot of work that we are not currently always undertaking. If we took regaining the straying as intently as outreach we might be getting somewhere.

As far as the school numbers go:
-It could be because our members are simply having less children. -It could also be because schools have closed and there is no other LDS close enough to go to.
-It could also be because some of our schools stink at the academic side of things and they are not striving for excellence.

There could be a lot of reasons for all of this--but its a lot more complex than most people seem to make it out to be.

But blaming the liturgy or being too tied up in your "tribe" (which in our case means preaching and teaching the truth in accord with the Lutheran Confessions)or rejecting outside false teachers and their often false assumptions about the sinful state of man and how we can affect conversions and spiritual growth by our methodolgy or by blaming the coming New Age World Order are casting blame in the wrong place.

A good place to start? Not by pointing the finger but by looking in the mirror. IMHO, There doesn't seem to be enough of
that.

Anonymous said...

Pastor,

This comment actually belongs in another category....

On the current WELS internet site, there is an article regarding the continuing decline in the enrollment in WELS elementary schools. The link is posted below.


http://together.wels.net/


Here is my question to you and the other users of this blog...

Over the past several years I have met several WELS families who, while financially able, prefer to homeschool their children rather than send them to the local WELS school.

Why is this, and is this at least partly responsible for the decline in WELS grade schools? I know it probably also has a lot to do with the lower birth rate among white families in general (which compose the majority of the WELS population).

Does anyone care to comment on what the short comings of WELS grade schools might be? One family I talked to, who actually send their children to a public school (although it is in a very nice section of town), said our local WELS school was too much like a one room school house, with multiple grades being taught by a single teacher.

Can someone else share their perception or experience with their local WELS grade schools?

Gods Blessings.

Brett Meyer said...

The WELS can make not only a clearer Confessional statement but the one true Confessional statement by only being concerned with faithfully teaching the pure doctrine of Scripture. When tempted to figure out why people leave, why they attend or why they won't attend the WELS should do nothing but to confirm that what is being taught is the full and complete Word of God. If what is being taught is in accord with Scripture then it's in accord with the Lutheran Confessions. If what is being taught is in accord with the Lutheran Confessions then it's in accord with Scripture. Faithful teaching needs to be commended, supported and promoted. Failure to teach according to either is a failure to uphold both and WELS pastorate and laymen need to ensure the error is corrected. If public then corrected publicly. If private then privately. Reprove, rebuke and instruct. The true Word and Lutheran Confessions need to be taught to WELS congregations in order to help them put on the full Armor of Christ. False teaching and false teachers should be pointed out and Scripture and the Confessions applied to teach the congregations why they are false and help them learn to discern between true and false doctrines and practice.

JK, I was ELS and WELS. By the grace of God I now have no synodical affiliation.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Anonymous said...

Anon 612,

I get that. I'm not an idiot. The problem is the interpretations (legalists) of the Confessions is what I have problems with.

JK

Freddy Finkelstein said...

JK,

Out of curiosity, how would you distinguish between a legalistic and non-legalistic interpretation of the Confessions?

Freddy Finkelstein

Anonymous said...

So Brett: Were you kicked out for denying the biblical and confessional Lutheran truth of universal justification?

Brett Meyer said...

I left the WELS because Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Des Moines, WA defends and tolerates false doctrine and practice.

UOJ is neither Biblical nor Confessional. It is a man made doctrine from what most see as a 'thought' of Scripture. It's a perversion of what it means to be justified and of the Holy Spirits faith. The contradictions, lies and perversions can be seen in the WELS defense of UOJ in Bailing Waters' WELS WOES discussion and in the WELS confession of UOJ in the Becker and Buchholz essays.

I would be glad to discuss this again if John creates another topic. Otherwise please try to stay focused on the topic at hand.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Anonymous said...

The assumption that the battle in the wels is between church growthers and confessionalists is laughable. The wels has never been confessional, nor ever will be. It's a battle between liberal and conservative Presbyterians who happen to have "Lutheran" on their church signs (at least most of them).

Anonymous said...

I view the statistics this way. The Bible speaks of "strengthening our stakes and lengthening our cords," which has been understood is nurture (of our members) and outreach (to the unchurched and those seeking the truth). In my ministry as a WELS, I have tried to keep a solid balance between the two, striving for give half my time and effort to each of them. Even in years when up to a third of our congregation moved away, we were always able to "make up the losses" through law and gospel outreach - in a program led by the pastor and supported wholeheartedly by the congregation.
This was true both in larger congregations and a smaller one, both in cities and in smaller towns. There is no such thing as a "maintenance ministry." Every field is a mission field. Farmers who don't work their fields, plant their seed, and water their crops will not expect God to give an increase. I believe that the statistics reflect a synod which has not reached in to its absent (from worship) members for too long and which spends a disproportionate amount of time on nurture at the expense of outreach.
What percentage of time do we spend "off campus" and with our members and potential members? We are shepherds (pastors), not executives. Read the Gospels and learn from the Master. They are the best "church growth" guide available. In fact, Jesus' example is church growth 101. It's also the graduate course.

PS. I saw a cartoon once. The scene is a busy Christian book store. The caption was, "It is amazing how much money Christians will spend on books, just to get out of reading the Bible."

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:43PM.
That is an interesting statement. Could you lay out some specifics? I was confirmed into WELS as an adult and I would have no way of knowing if WELS was confessional except the pastor told me so and I believed him. So if WELS is not confessional where should I be looking for a confessional Lutheran church.
Thank-you.

Brett Meyer said...

http://www.bookofconcord.org/

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this eye-opening blog!

Please tell me more about this church calendar that the Bible commands us to use. I am afraid that our church doesn't use it. We didn't even have a service at our church on Christmas Day, or on Epiphany Day. I want to worship at a church that worships on all the same days that Jesus and Martin Luther worshipped on.

Thank you again for all your hard work!