web space | free website | Business Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting

Chapter Six: The Efficacy Of False Doctrine

 

 

 

 

Entrance to Hell

 

The entrance to Hell is not an ugly, frightening edifice of black obsidian, obscured by clouds of sulfurous smoke and guarded by Cerberus, the hideous three-headed dog of legend. Instead, Hell’s gate is a building of great beauty, adorned with the finest marble and inlaid with gold. Choirs sing solemn anthems inside, while banks of candles add warmth and beauty to the incense filled chambers. Its halls are filled with men of great learning and outward virtue. This enchanting entrance is the Church of Rome, standing guard over the gates of Hell, welcoming the multitudes, eagerly training the curious and the confused, sternly warning the erring, confirming her doctrines with deceptive signs and wonders, blinding the world with her works of charity. The pope sits enthroned in the Basilica of St. Peter, infallible in all of his official communications. According to Roman dogma, the Holy Spirit will not let him err in doctrine, making him godlike. His pronouncements all war against the Gospel, as shown below in this chapter, but he claims to be the ultimate judge of the Scriptures. We cannot begin to think about false doctrine unless we first acknowledge that the papacy is the Antichrist prophesied in the Scriptures. In reality, all false doctrine contributes to and leads to the work and ultimate purpose of the Antichrist.

In considering the Church of Rome in the context of all false doctrine, we need to understand that the Scriptures teach us about efficacy in two forms: 1) the pure Word is God’s effective method in saving souls; 2) false doctrine is Satan’s effective method in destroying souls. Many will credit gambling, alcohol, vice, drugs, and other carnal seductions for bringing people down, but nothing is more powerful in damning people than the Word of God twisted for the benefit of Hell. No religious institution has more resources—money, property, traditions, societies, liturgies, prayer books, theological works, graduate schools, priests, brothers, bishops, nuns, theologians—dedicated to this end than the papacy.

The Biblical doctrine of the Antichrist reveals itself more clearly now than ever before. The term Antichrist is explained as “opponent of Christ,” but he is also regarded as the one who stands in the place of Christ, supplanting Him. The papacy continues to be the largest, best organized, and most efficient agency in subverting the Gospel, that is, in using the name of Christ to undermine and destroy the meaning of forgiveness through the cross. The Antichrist must come from within the visible Church and be treated as a God, as taught by the apostle in 2 Thessalonians.[1] Notice that the Greek word group for “being effective” appears in this section no less than three times, in English as “work”, “working”, and “strong” in the KJV.[2]

 

Man of Sin

 

KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

BYZ 2 Thessalonians 2:3 mh, tij u`ma/j evxapath,sh| kata. mhde,na tro,pon o[ti eva.n mh. e;lqh| h` avpostasi,a prw/ton kai. avpokalufqh/| o` a;nqrwpoj th/j a`marti,aj( o` ui`o.j th/j avpwlei,aj 4 o` avntikei,menoj kai. u`perairo,menoj evpi. pa,nta lego,menon qeo.n h' se,basma w[ste auvto.n eivj to.n nao.n tou/ qeou/ w`j Qeo.n kaqi,sai avpodeiknu,nta e`auto.n o[ti e;stin qeo,j 5 Ouv mnhmoneu,ete o[ti e;ti w'n pro.j u`ma/j tau/ta e;legon u`mi/n 6 kai. nu/n to. kate,con oi;date eivj to. avpokalufqh/nai auvto.n evn tw/| e`autou/ kairw/| 7 to. ga.r musth,rion h;dh evnergei/tai th/j avnomi,aj\ mo,non o` kate,cwn a;rti e[wj evk me,sou ge,nhtai 8 kai. to,te avpokalufqh,setai o` a;nomoj o]n o` ku,rioj avnalw,sei tw/| pneu,mati tou/ sto,matoj auvtou/ kai. katargh,sei th/| evpifanei,a| th/j parousi,aj auvtou/ 9 ou- evstin h` parousi,a kat evne,rgeian tou/ Satana/ evn pa,sh| duna,mei kai. shmei,oij kai. te,rasin yeu,douj 10 kai. evn pa,sh| avpa,th| th/j avdiki,aj evn toi/j avpollume,noij avnq w-n th.n avga,phn th/j avlhqei,aj ouvk evde,xanto eivj to. swqh/nai auvtou,j 11 kai. dia. tou/to pe,myei auvtoi/j o` qeo.j evne,rgeian pla,nhj eivj to. pisteu/sai auvtou.j tw/| yeu,dei 12 i[na kriqw/sin pa,ntej oi` mh. pisteu,santej th/| avlhqei,a| avllv euvdokh,santej evn th/| avdiki,a|.

 

The Term Antichrist

 

We find the term Antichrist in the singular and the plural because the unique Man of Sin is imitated by those who admire his power. The little Antichrists come and go, all having their sparkling moment of glory. They seem to amount to nothing at all. Most theologians cannot name the principal heretics of the early centuries. Some heretics are remembered only because they have been named and attacked in orthodox works.[3] The minor Antichrists actually do play their distinctive roles in sharing the destructive work of the Man of Sin. They prepare the way.

The absolute collapse of Protestant opposition to the Church of Rome, its cowardly retreat into toadyism, the Lutheran surrender on the doctrine of justification—all would be impossible today without the preparatory work of the earlier false teachers who dumped the Majority text of the King James Version, embraced shoddy translations, enthusiastically attacked the inerrancy of the Bible, endorsed the philosophy of evolution, and worked tirelessly for Christian unity based upon doctrinal indifference. Although the work of the papacy does not require joint declarations and other displays of servility from the Protestants, surrendering the doctrine of the Protestant Reformation has certainly made it difficult for ordinary believers to develop any discernment about doctrine.[4]

 

New Testament Passages Using the Terms Antichrist

 

KJV 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 

BYZ 1 John 2:18 Paidi,a evsca,th w[ra evsti,n kai. kaqw.j hvkou,sate o[ti o` avnti,cristoj e;rcetai kai. nu/n avnti,cristoi polloi. gego,nasin o[qen ginw,skomen o[ti evsca,th w[ra evsti,n.

 

KJV 1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

 

BYZ 1 John 2:22 Ti,j evstin o` yeu,sthj eiv mh. o` avrnou,menoj o[ti VIhsou/j ouvk e;stin o` Cristo,j ou-to,j evstin o` avnti,cristoj o` avrnou,menoj to.n pate,ra kai. to.n ui`o,n.

 

KJV 1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

BYZ 1 John 4:3 kai. pa/n pneu/ma o] mh. o`mologei/ VIhsou/n Cristo.n evn sarki. evlhluqo,ta evk tou/ qeou/ ouvk e;stin\ kai. tou/to, evstin to. tou/ avnticri,stou o] avkhko,ate o[ti e;rcetai kai. nu/n evn tw/| ko,smw| evsti.n h;dh.

 

KJV 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

 

BYZ 2 John 1:7 o[ti polloi. pla,noi eivsh/lqo,n eivj to.n ko,smon oi` mh. o`mologou/ntej VIhsou/n Cristo.n evrco,menon evn sarki,\ ou-to,j evstin o` pla,noj kai. o` avnti,cristoj.

 

Antichrist Quotations

 

Lutherans have not honored God nor promoted the Gospel by adopting a conciliatory attitude toward the Church of Rome in the name of love, unity, and similarities in worship. In spite of the new methods of concealing Roman doctrine in order to deceive more people into joining the Church of Rome, the papacy has not moved a millimeter toward the Gospel since the Reformation. Quite the opposite is true. The current pope, John Paul II, is a fine man of great courage, but he has increased the power of his global rule by extending the doctrine of papal infallibility to cover all of his official pronouncements, not simply those delivered ex cathedra, since the most formal pronouncements are delivered "from the chair” of the pontiff.[5]

Central to all teachings of Rome is the doctrine of Purgatory, the pagan notion that virtually all people must undergo a period of suffering after death to pay for their sins. Although this may seem charming and quaint in Plato, it is utterly contrary to the Gospel of Christ Jesus. If Purgatory exists to allow people to pay for their sins after death before entering heaven, then the atoning death of Jesus was insufficient. If I must pay for my sins, then I am ultimately my own savior.

The doctrine of Purgatory destroys the substance of the Gospel while replacing it with a dangerous amalgamation of law-based piety. The names remain the same. The Trinity is invoked. The Gospels are read and cited. But everything is twisted into obligation, an obligation never fully met. If many or most people could fulfill all the requirements of Roman religion, then Purgatory would have no motivating power. Mother Angelica, the famous TV nun, counseled her listeners that she would be happy to die and end up in Purgatory. She said, “I would say – I’ve made it!” If the saintly and loyal Mother Angelica would be relieved to make it to Purgatory, what chance does the ordinary sinner have? Imagine how terrifying that can be for a contrite sinner. Or, someone might say, “I cannot equal Mother Angelica’s piety, so I might as well have some fun.”

Every aspect of Roman Catholic practice centers around Purgatory. The Mass does not offer genuine forgiveness. The Roman Catholic doctrine of Atonement is described as sins being forgiven, but not paid for. If Christ has not paid for our sins (one meaning of redemption in the New Testament), then someone else must pay them. If an individual is not released from the penalty of sin (another meaning of redemption in the New Testament), then he is still a slave. The priest cannot truly absolve someone from his sins if the Atonement must be completed in Purgatory, so the Mass is only described as lessening the years spent in a tortured afterlife. Private confession does not confer complete and full forgiveness, in part because the priest may attach a requirement to be fulfilled in payment of the confessed sins. Therefore the power of the Word is denied, since the promise of complete forgiveness is withheld and conditions are linked to a pardon yet to be earned after death.

Whenever someone talks about the beauty and splendor of Roman worship, we should immediately think of the portrait they paint of the afterlife. According to the Church of Rome, even the most saintly nuns are happy to reach Purgatory instead of Hell, but Roman preaching and teaching lifts Hell up to the entrance of Heaven, making Purgatory a slave-camp where eternal life is bought with centuries of pain and suffering.[6] Therefore, by twisting the Word, the Church of Rome sends more souls to eternal punishment than any other religious group. Religious fervor about the Virgin Mary is closely connected to Purgatory. She is the comforter who visits the “dear souls in Purgatory.” She is the gentle lady who implores her Son to spare the sinner. She is the branch used to reach Christ.

The Church of Rome does not teach the Gospel of forgiveness, but the Law of obligation. Necessarily, the doctrine of Christ is perverted in the worst possible manner. The true Son of God, in suffering and dying for our sins, could not do enough for God to pronounce forgiveness fully and freely upon all those who trust in Him. A faithful Romanist must spend his entire life in fulfilling obligations: confession, mass, reparations (payment for sins), good works. Nevertheless, the obligations are never enough. Christ is not the comfort of sinners, but a lawgiver, a new Moses.

By preaching Purgatory and denying Heaven, by making Mary the comforter and Jesus the lawgiver, by teaching obligation instead of justification by faith, the Church of Rome motivates people with salvation through works (fides formata, literally faith formed by love, which really means faith with good works added). The ideal Roman Catholic accepts the pope as the infallible ruler of doctrine and practice, but he is taught in Catholic dogma that the Bible is unclear, insufficient, and needful of a single interpreter, the pope. In addition, he knows from his Catholic training that Jesus had so much to teach that much of it could not be crammed into the New Testament. The teaching of the insufficiency and lack of clarity of the Bible explains why new doctrines, such as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary, popped up centuries after His public ministry. According to Rome, Jesus gave His apostles this deposit of faith, and they passed these oral traditions along through the bishops until the right time for their revelation.

One of the tragic outcomes of Roman Catholic teaching is the state of mind in former members, whose doubt and skepticism may lead to the rationalism of the Reformed or the irrationalism of the Pentecostals. Former Catholics cannot believe that the priest offers “an unbloody sacrifice” in the Mass, so they also reject the Real Presence of Christ. They imagine the Bible is unclear and incomplete, so they do not trust the Scriptures. They have been tyrannized by priests, so they distrust all ministers. They have been taught the Law and suffered from legalism so long that trust in the Gospel—in complete forgiveness—must break through the veil with much patient teaching. Luther said in his Galatians commentary that the Law was so much a part of his spiritual life, that it was “in his bones.” In addition, Marian piety so much dominated his thought that he offered prayers to Mary in his outstanding commentary on the Magnificat.[7]

 

Smalcald Articles

 

J-601.1

"Lastly, it is nothing else than the devil himself, because above and against God he urges [and disseminates] his [papal] falsehoods concerning masses, purgatory, the monastic life, one's own works and [fictitious] divine worship (for this is the very Papacy [upon each of which the Papacy is altogether founded and is standing]), and condemns, murders, and tortures all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations [of the Pope] above all things. Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure this apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For to lie and to kill, and to destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his papal government really consists, as I have very clearly shown in many books."

            Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article IV, The Papacy, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 475. Tappert, p. 301. 2 Thessalonians 2:4.[8]

 

J-602.1

"This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist, who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God. That is, properly speaking, to exalt himself above all that is called God, as Paul says, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Even the Turks or the Tartars, great enemies of Christians as they are, do not do this, but they allow whoever wishes to believe in Christ, and take bodily tribute and obedience from Christians."

            Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article IV, The Papacy, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 475. Tappert, p. 300. 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

 

 

 

Treatise on the Pope

 

J-603.1

"Now, it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend [and practice] godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks [all the vices] of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the Pope and his adherents. For Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, in describing to the Thessalonians Antichrist, calls him 'an adversary of Christ, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God.' He speaks therefore of one ruling in the Church, not of heathen kings, and he calls this one the adversary of Christ, because he will devise doctrine conflicting with the Gospel, and will assume to himself divine authority."

Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 515. Tappert, p. 327. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.[9]

 

J-604.1

"Observe, however, what the devil has accomplished through the Papists. It was not enough for them to throw the Bible under the table, to make it so rare that few doctors of the holy Scriptures possessed a copy, much less read it; but lest it be brought to public notice they have branded it with infamy. For they blasphemously say it is obscure; we must follow the interpretations of men and not the pure Scriptures. What else is their proceeding but giving Paul the lie here where he says the Bible is our manual of instruction? They say it is obscure and calculated to mislead."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 41.

 

J-605.1

"Hence the Pope is the true Antichrist, and his high schools are the devil's own taverns and brothels. What does Christ signify if by effort of my own human nature I can obtain God's grace? Or, having grace, what more will I desire?"

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 284.

 

 

J-606.1

"The possessors of the infallibility of the Church are the Holy Father (when he speaks ex cathedra) and the whole body of Catholic bishops throughout the world when they teach in union with the pope on matters of faith and morals."

Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1983, III, p. 136.

 

J-607.1

"So when we see a bishop assuming more than this text gives him warrant for, we may safely regard him as a wolf, and an apostle of the devil, and avoid him as such. Unquestionably he must be Antichrist who in ecclesiastical government exceeds the authority here prescribed."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 65.

 

J-608.1

"In the Papacy we have the most pronounced and greatest imaginable 'falling away' from the Christian religion. Christians know that man is justified and saved only by faith in Christ, without the deeds of the Law."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 465. 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff.

 

J-609.1

[Luther] "There is a vast difference between the sovereignty which the Pope has and all other sovereignties in the whole world. To put up with these, be they good or bad, may do no harm, but the Papacy is a sovereignty that exterminates faith and the Gospel...Therefore what we condemn is not the wickedness of the sovereign, but the wickedness of the sovereignty, for it is so constituted that it cannot be administered by a pious, upright sovereign, but only by one who is an enemy of Christ."

            Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 468f. John 8:31. 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:3f; Matthew 28:20.

 

J-610.1

"That was the time of blindness when we knew nothing of God's Word, but led ourselves and others into misery by our own idle talk and dreams. And I was one of those who indeed bathed in this sweat or in this bath of anxiety. Therefore let us give heed that we may thoroughly grasp and retain this doctrine, if other fanatics and false spirits wish to attack it, so that we may be fore-armed and learn, while we have the time and the beloved sun again enlightens us, and buy while the market is at our door. For it will come to this when once these lights, which God now gives, have departed, Satan will not take a furlough until he raises up other fanatical spirits to do harm; as he has already commenced to do in many places during our generation. What shall take place after we are gone?"

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 192. Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 22:34-46.

 

Examples of Roman Catholic Doctrine

 

Church

The following quotations are only a sampling of what the Church of Rome believes and teaches. Many priests and bishops, especially in America, do not agree with these doctrines, but the existence of cafeteria Catholics, who pick and choose the doctrines they like, does not alter the substance of Roman doctrine. Ultimately one must subordinate his intellect and faith to the dogma of the pope. The definition of the Church is quite sinister. The Church is visible, is headquartered in Rome, and remains the only source of salvation. The Church consists of those on earth, in Purgatory, and in heaven. In spite of the liberal spin about Vatican II, the Church of Rome believes it is the only Church and that all churches have their essence in Rome, whether they acknowledge this truth or not. Recent efforts to have all Evangelicals and Lutherans reconcile with Rome have strengthened this false doctrine, since Catholics see Protestants coming to Rome in abject humility.[10]

 

J-611.1

"The first property or characteristic of the Church that we will consider is her indefectibility. The documents of the Church say clearly that she is indefectible, that is, she is and will remain until the end of the world the only institution of eternal salvation because she was established by the God-Man Jesus Christ for this purpose."

            Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1983, III, p. 131.

 

J-612.1

"Taken in its totality, the Church consists of three parts: the Church Militant on earth; the Church suffering in Purgatory; the Church Triumphant in Heaven."

            Martin Jugie, Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It, New York: Spiritual Book Associates, 1950, p. 39.

 

J-613.1

"It is therefore necessary, in accordance with the will of its founder, that it should be the only Church in the whole world for all time."

[Pope Leo XIII, in the encyclical Satis Cognitum, 1896]

            Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1983, III, p. 133.

 

Papal Infallibility

The infallibility of the pope fulfills the prophesy of 2 Thessalonians that the Man of Sin will set himself up in the temple of God (be a leader in the church) and be treated as God (since God alone is infallible). The papacy rejected infallibility earlier in history, but popes after the Reformation began to claim more and more power for themselves. Pope Pius IX established infallibility first by pronouncing the Immaculate Conception as official dogma, then by having Vatican I declare his infallibility.[11] Lastly, he strictly enforced the new doctrine by savagely punishing all who disagreed, even if they later submitted to his authority, thus setting the stage for the behavior of many little popes in the Lutheran synods today. The parallel between the papacy and the doctrinal boards of the conservatives synods should be clear: if a person or a college of cardinals can determine doctrine by decree, then the Scriptures are no longer the ruling norm.

 

J-614.1

"'The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith - he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals....The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,' above all in an Ecumenical Council. [Lumen Gentium; cf .Vatican Council I: DS 3074] (#891)

Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Paul Books and Media, 1994, p. 235.

 

J-615.1

"If anyone, therefore, shall say that blessed Peter the apostle was not appointed the prince of all the apostles and the visible head of the whole church militant; or that the same directly and immediately received from the same our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honour only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction—let him be ananthema." (Dogmatic Constitution, Vatican I).

Henry T. Hudson, Papal Power, Its Orgins and Development, Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press, 1981, p. 88.

 

J-616.1

Roman Jesuit organ: "the infallibility of the Pope is the infallibility of Jesus Christ Himself." and "When the Pope thinks, it is God who is thinking in him"

Hans Kueng, Infallible? An Inquiry, trans. Edward Quinn, Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1971, p. 98.

 

J-617.1

Mermillod, auxiliary bishop of Geneva, spoke of "three incarnations of the Son of God," in the Virgin's womb, in the Eucharist, and in the old man in the Vatican.

Hans Kueng, Infallible? An Inquiry, trans. Edward Quinn, Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1971, p. 99.

 

J-618.1

"These two articles, the direct authority of the pope in every diocese, and the doctrine of the papal infallibility, completed together the conversion of the Roman Catholic church into an absolute monarchy without constitutional restraints or responsibility."

James Hastings Nichols, History of Christianity, 1650-1950, New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1956, p. 214. [Pius IX]:

 

 

J-619.1

"People want to credit me with infallibility. I don't need it at all. Am I not infallible already? Didn't I establish the dogma of the Virgin's Immaculate Conception all by myself several years ago?"

August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion, Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1981, p. 82.[12]

 

Indulgences

 

An indulgence is a letter of credit to reduce some of the time spent in the agony of Purgatory. The Reformation ignited over the selling of indulgences, but the concept did not go away. The Church of Rome maintains a system in which merit is obtained and credited according to money donated, good works done, and acts of piety performed. We must not overlook the false claim that we can merit graces “for ourselves and for others.” This claim directly attacks the sufficiency of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Because of this system of merits, the Church of Rome motivates people with the Law to do good works, give money, and join religious orders. Purgatorial books and sermons deliberately stir up uncertainty and fear in order to incite the piety that will earn some release from the terrors of the purging fires.

 

J-620.1

"Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life." (#2010)

            Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Paul Books and Media, 1994, p. 487.

 

J-621.1

"If a person dies and has left some part of the 'debt' from forgiven sins, then part of the purification process in purgatory takes care of that. Accordingly, the Church teaches that the living can gain indulgences for the deceased and so assist them in that purification process." Father Benjamin Luther, Catholic Twin Circle, November 4, 1990.

 

J-622.1

"Indulgences are, in the Church, a true spiritual treasure laid open to all the faithful; all are permitted to draw therefrom, to pay their own debts and those of others."

Rev. F. X. Schouppe, S.J., Purgatory, Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints, Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, 1973 (1893), p. 195.

 

J-623.1

"It is 'de fide' that we can help the souls in Purgatory by our prayers and our works, by the Mass and by Indulgences."[13]

            Martin Jugie, Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It, New York: Spiritual Book Associates, 1950, p. 59.

 

Justification

 

The Church of Rome teaches against justification by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law. The recent surrender to Rome by the liberal Lutherans in their Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification did not affect the Catholic view one millimeter. Those who believe the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone—apart from the works of the law—are damned to Hell by the Council of Trent. Moreover, faith is defined by Rome as faith formed by love or faith with good works added. One can find Roman Catholic theologians who agree with Luther and the Bible. For instance, one of our professors in theology at Notre Dame, a Holy Cross priest, said that Luther was right about justification. We were in the seminary building and some of the students were future priests. Nevertheless, one man’s opinion does not overturn the Council of Trent and all the papal pronouncements since that time. The incessant attacks against justification by faith have succeeded. Lutherans seem to have no confidence in the justification article, whether in the radical ELCA or in the supposedly conservative synods. The end is drawing near.

 

 

 

 

J-624.1

Council of Trent, Session Six, Canon XII: "If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than trust in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this trust alone by which we are justified, let him be anathema [damned to Hell]."

            Cited in Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 460.

 

J-625.1

"The justified person can merit congruously for others what he can merit for himself, for example, actual graces. So we can offer good works for others and also pray for them. St. James offers us good advice on this point: 'Pray for one another, and this will cure you; the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully' (James 5:16)."

            Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1982, III, p. 86. James 5:16.

 

J-626.1

"In her Council of Trent (1545-1563) she condemned, as was her right, the new-fangled teaching of Luther and warned her subjects against its entanglements and dangers. Then she proclaimed anew, for the enlightenment of all, the heavenly teaching committed to her keeping from the beginning and insisted that whilst faith is necessary to dispose the sinner to receive grace, it alone is not sufficient for justification."

            Msgr. Patrick F. O'Hare, The Facts About Luther, Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, 1987, p. 103.

Doctrines about Mary

 

All the extra-Biblical doctrines about Mary would fill three books. In fact, they already have.[14] For Protestants, the most shocking Roman Catholic doctrine was the declaration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, that she was conceived without sin and never committed an actual sin in her life. Although the Immaculate Conception had been taught and believed before Luther’s time, the doctrine was debated with some violence for many years after the Reformation and only gradually became accepted, with Pope Pius IX declaring the doctrine in 1854. It helped that the vision at Lourdes said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Roman Catholic piety is based upon devotion to Mary. The various religious orders and Marian societies compete to have new honors declared. Pope Pius XII declared in 1950 that Mary was assumed into heaven at the time of her death. She is called the Mediatrix of All Graces and Patroness of the United States. Mary is also the Co-Redemptrix, aiding her Son in the redemption of the cross, and offering Him up as a sacrifice. Although this last title (Co-Redemprix) is not quite official, it has been used in solemn pronouncements.

 

J-627.1

"'Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.' [footnote #506: Lumen Gentium, 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. Rev. 19:16] The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: 'In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.' [footnote #507, Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, Aug 15]"

            Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Paul Books and Media, 1994, p. 252. Revelation 19:16.[15]

 

J-628.1

"As members of the Church became more aware of Mary's cooperation with Jesus, starting in the fourteenth century various theologians and preachers coined a new title for her and began to refer to her as the 'Coredemptrix' (=Coredemptress) of the human race. The basic justification for the title is to be found in the fact that both the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Redemption of mankind by the vicarious atonement of Christ were dependent on Mary's free assent."

Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1982, II, p. 363.

 

J-629.1

"At first it may seem astonishing that no grace is imparted to mankind without the intercession of Mary."

Kenneth Baker, S.J., Fundamentals of Catholicism, 3 vols., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1982, II, p. 366.[16]

 

The Mass

 

One of the key issues in the Mass involves the priest’s role in “offering Jesus in an unbloody manner,” one of many errors concerning the Mass. According to Rome, the priest has the unique power to convert the bread and wine permanently into the body and blood of Christ. The Mass benefits the priest, the person who pays for the Mass, and those who attend, reducing their time in Purgatory. According to the Church of Rome, every Mass aids the suffering Church in Purgatory, and doubtless a cheer rises up among the groans and agonized cries every time a Mass is celebrated. Nevertheless, the Mass never confers complete and full forgiveness of sins. To use their words, sins are “forgiven but not paid for.”

 

J-630.1

"'In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.' [Council of Trent, 1562: DS 1743; cf Hebrews 9:14, 27."

            Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Paul Books and Media, 1994, p. 344. Hebrews 9:14, 27.

 

Purgatory

 

Mary is the object of Catholic piety, and she visits the dear souls suffering in Purgatory, cheering them up during their centuries of pain, anguish, and torment. Rome’s rejection of complete forgiveness of sin is in harmony with the pagan doctrine of Purgatory, since human reason assumes a need to pay for our sins and cleanse ourselves. The Church of Rome has not abandoned this relatively new doctrine and continues to motivate people through fear by invoking the Monster of Uncertainty. Have you really done enough to qualify for Purgatory? Beware! If you aim for Purgatory, you may end up in Hell with no escape. Dear children, you must aim for Heaven and be thankful that God has been merciful in letting you suffer in Purgatory for only a few thousand years. If you are lucky, all your friends and relatives will do good works and pay money to shorten the time a few moments.

 

J-631.1

"The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture [footnote #605: Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:15; 1 Peter 1:7], speaks of a cleansing fire...This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: 'Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.' [2 Maccabees 12:46] From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences...on behalf of the dead." (#1032)

Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Paul Books and Media, 1994, p. 269. 2 Maccabees 12:46; 1 Corinthians 3:15; 1 Peter 1:7.[17]

 

J-632.1

"This most sacred Synod accepts with great devotion the venerable faith of our ancestors regarding this vital fellowship with our brethren who are in heavenly glory or who are still being purified after death. It proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Florence, and the Council of Trent." (admonition to correct abuses) #249 "The Council of Nicea II (787) and Florence (1439) are ecumenically important because they express points of agreement between the Greek and Latin churches regarding the invocation of saints, the veneration of sacred images, and suffrages for the souls in Purgatory. The Council of Trent (1549-63) treated these questions once more in the context of the Protestant Reformation."

Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter VII, The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott, S.J., New York: Guild Press, 1966, p. 84.[18]

 

J-633.1

"It would be therefore unjust to accuse God of severity, when He hangs over our heads the threat of Purgatory. Rather is this a proof of His infinite goodness."

Martin Jugie, Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It, New York: Spiritual Book Associates, 1950, p. 23.

 

J-634.1

"St. Catharine of Sienna, in order to spare her father the pains of Purgatory, offered herself to the Divine Justice to suffer in his stead during her whole life. God accepted her offer, inflicted the most excruciating torments upon her, which lasted until her death, and admitted the soul of her father into eternal glory. In return this blessed soul frequently appeared to his daughter to thank her, and to make to her many useful revelations."

Rev. F. X. Schouppe, S.J., Purgatory, Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints, Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, 1973 (1893), p. x.

 

False Doctrine Eats Away

 

The liberals cannot tolerate the thought that Paul may be writing about distinguishing Law and Gospel when he says “rightly dividing the word of truth.” That is the traditional Lutheran understanding of the phrase. Two reasons may be given for supporting this explanation of the phrase. First of all, the term rightly dividing could also be translated as “correctly cutting,” using the image of the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6, Hebrews 4:12, and Revelation; see the appendix for Chapter One). The Word does indeed penetrate all matters, the Holy Spirit working contrition through the Law and forgiveness through the Gospel. Secondly, the image of the workman reminds us of Paul’s vocation as a tentmaker. Careless cutting of fabric would make a patchwork out of tents, just as the mixing of Law and Gospel turns a sermon into a harangue, a pep talk, or a stand-up comedy routine.[19]

We should shun the “profane and vain babblings” of false teachers, who only increase ungodliness. The image used by Paul is variously translated as canker, cancer, or gangrene. The Greek word transliterates (letter for letter) as gangrene, but it is a medical term used since Hippocrates for spreading ulcers. The other vivid term, often missed, is “doth eat,” literally “has a pasture” in Greek. The Good Shepherd leads us to green pastures, but the word of false teachers devours all that God gives us. False doctrine devours the Word and twists it into Satan’s word. False doctrine devours whatever nourishes the soul, Word and Sacraments. False doctrine devours the souls of believers, creates conflict, and divides families.

Anyone who opposes false doctrine will be accused of being harsh, tactless, and confrontational. However, as anyone knows who has seen or experienced gangrene and cancer at work, the options are severe. Cancer and gangrene, indeed, all flesh-eating disorders, must be cut away or eliminated immediately. The easy-to-ignore skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, can eat into the bone and spread while seeming to be harmless. When I first noticed something odd on my forehead, I first thought it was a bump from working in the basement on a vent. Later, I noticed that a tiny amount of blood always showed up on tissue. A medical book pointed toward the diagnosis of skin cancer. I tried to wish it away, but ultimately a surgeon had to cut it away and stitch the wound. This was harsh treatment but better than the alternative.

 

2 Timothy 2:15-18

KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodlines 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

 

BYZ 2 Timothy 2:15 spou,dason seauto.n do,kimon parasth/sai tw/| qew/| evrga,thn avnepai,scunton ovrqotomou/nta to.n lo,gon th/j avlhqei,aj 16 ta.j de. bebh,louj kenofwni,aj perii<staso\ evpi. plei/on ga.r proko,yousin avsebei,aj 17 kai. o` lo,goj auvtw/n w`j ga,ggraina nomh.n e[xei w-n evstin ~Ume,naioj kai. Fi,lhtoj 18 oi[tinej peri. th.n avlh,qeian hvsto,chsan le,gontej th.n avna,stasin h;dh gegone,nai kai. avnatre,pousin th,n tinwn pi,stin.

 

 

Mark and Avoid, or Register and Attend

 

Paul’s most important doctrinal letter was written to the Romans, a fact supported by its place as the first Pauline epistle in the New Testament. Romans was not the first epistle written, but the most significant for the Christian Church. At the end of his letter, Paul begged, that is, beseeched the earliest Christians to mark (watch out for) those who caused divisions and offenses by teaching contrary to the doctrine they have learned.

False teachers cause divisions and death-traps. For instance, divisions are caused by conflict, as in an instance when a soft-spoken man begins to teach that the Reformed are Christians too and can teach the Lutherans many things. Actually, the unspoken message is: “I prefer the doctrines of the Reformed, so I will teach them as being edifying for Lutherans.” Then, when the false doctrines are introduced in the name of tolerance and love, hatred toward confessional Lutherans and expulsion of the outspoken soon follow. Every Lutheran synod today is riddled with those who cause divisions: Pentecostals, Church Growth enthusiasts, ecumenists, feminists, activists of every persuasion and lifestyle, crypto-Calvinists, crypto-Romanists, evolutionists, Pietists, male, female, and undecided. The synod leaders continue to support the worst of the false teachers while undercutting those who sincerely love the Scriptures and the Confessions. The situation is the same in the Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and the so-called Church of the Lutheran Confession.

The word used for “offenses” is widely misunderstood. The word transliterates as “scandal,” but the concept is not one of being offended or embarrassed. Stumbling also seems to be too weak of a word. The skandalon (ska,ndalon)was the trigger mechanism in a trap. It was small but deadly, and of course, always hidden away. False teachers create death-traps by introducing cancerous ideas that devour what God has blessed. For instance, those who adore the Church Growth Movement must necessarily deny the efficacy of the Word and the Means of Grace. They believe they can remain Lutheran and simply add what they admire from the Reformed. They are deluded. These false teachers introduce rationalism and irrationalism, the twin poisons that replace the Means of Grace. They murder souls.

 

Romans 16:17-18

KJV Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

 

BYZ Romans 16:17 Parakalw/ de. u`ma/j avdelfoi, skopei/n tou.j ta.j dicostasi,aj kai. ta. ska,ndala para. th.n didach.n h]n u`mei/j evma,qete poiou/ntaj kai. evkkli,nate avp auvtw/n\18 oi` ga.r toiou/toi tw/| kuri,w| h`mw/n VIhsou/ Cristw/| ouv douleu,ousin avlla. th/| e`autw/n koili,a| kai. dia. th/j crhstologi,aj kai. euvlogi,aj evxapatw/sin ta.j kardi,aj tw/n avka,kwn.

 

The style of the false teachers is concisely described. They are not enslaved to Christ, but enslaved to their own bellies, their carnal desires. They make sure that they are highly paid and honored for their services. Most important, their first interest is their own peace, security, and comfort. They are the antithesis of Christians bearing the cross. Moreover, they seduce others into thinking that one must shun the cross in the Christian church and work toward the goal of having “happy campers.”[20] In fact, if sound doctrine causes any kind of strife or conflict, false teachers are quick to use that against the faithful ministers and members as proof that things are not going well. The attitude itself is a death-trap, leading others into the same death-trap.

God has given us only one doctrine, a unified truth—including all that the Bible teaches—in one integrated and harmonious whole. The death-traps are many, as we can see from the many different, exotic notions taught as valid, edifying, and Spirit-anointed. One person will seize upon a fad and spread it with Satanic zeal. Some will follow. For example, many historians have noted that Mormonism grew up in the “burnt out district,” an area of New York repeatedly savaged by revivals producing people made doubly fit for Hell, ready to follow a con artist by the name of Joseph Smith.

Cults offer us good examples of how false teachers present themselves. They use fair words and “blessings” to deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. They quote from the Bible. Mormons, who hate the Bible and call Christianity the “whore of Babylon,” will gladly lean on the Bible for support and call themselves Christians to get in the door. Jehovah’s Witnesses will pass out intellectual tracts by liberal scholars to prove their case against the Trinity. False teachers within our midst are no different. They will use any method (except honesty) to advance their cause. They rely upon the trust built up in the past by faithful teachers of the Word. The unsuspecting are not retarded or uneducated. They are guileless, disinclined to think that an ordained minister can smile so warmly while attacking the Scriptures. The simple believer will frown when he hears the confessional Christian raise his voice against the fair-spoken false teacher who softly invokes love and unity while silently cursing the watchdog.

The antidote from Matthew 10:16 can be translated as: “Stop acting as if you just stepped off the convent school bus.” Instead of being clever politicians who wait for the right moment and an easy victory, we should always use the efficacious Word with confidence in God’s power rather than pride in our own cleverness. The repeated Biblical warnings against false teachers are designed by God to make us alert rather than sleepy, watchful rather than lax, repelled by falsehood rather than attracted to it.

 

KJV Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

 

BYZ Matthew 10:16 VIdou. evgw. avposte,llw u`ma/j w`j pro,bata evn me,sw| lu,kwn\ gi,nesqe ou=n fro,nimoi w`j oi` o;feij kai. avke,raioi w`j ai` peristerai, .

 

Damn That Angel to Hell

 

One of the key passages for orthodox Lutherans has always been Galatians 1:8-9. The epistle was written against legalists who wanted to impose Jewish rituals upon the congregation, chiefly circumcision, to make them true Christians. Peter, the first infallible pope according to Roman Catholic legend, helped create confusion by his contradictory behavior. The Holy Spirit declared, through Paul, that no authority can be claimed above, beyond, or against the pure Word of God. To make this doctrine clear, Paul stated that anyone teaching against justification by faith must be damned to hell (the actual meaning of anathema), whether he is an apostle or even a divinely created angel. The fierce warning is repeated for emphasis.[21]

We only have one Gospel. Any variation upon that message is another Gospel, perhaps truth mixed with falsehood, but all the more dangerous because of the amalgamation. In the past, mercury was used to mine precious metals because of its amazing ability to bind with silver and gold. If someone plays with a puddle of mercury, a dangerous and foolish gesture, he can easily coat his wedding band with the substance, thanks to this binding quality. Silver tooth fillings are called amalgams because they are an amalgamation of silver and mercury.

False doctrine easily forms an amalgam with sound doctrine. False teachers depend on this quality. They want to add only one thing, their shiny and attractive mercury, to traditional Christianity. They may want to make people a little more indifferent through liberalism or arouse them to a greater degree of legalism through some man-made rules. The opportunities for mischief are endless.

 

KJV Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

 

BYZ Galatians 1:8 avlla. kai. eva.n h`mei/j h' a;ggeloj evx ouvranou/ euvaggeli,zhtai u`mi/n par o] euvhggelisa,meqa u`mi/n avna,qema e;stw.

 

Luther’s Sermon about False Teachers

 

Luther’s description of false teachers is so timely that his insights deserve a special section. These words are just as true in these last days of a mad old world as they were when Luther preached them.

 

 

 

False Teachers Use Work of Others

J-635.1

"Note the master hand wherewith Paul portrays the character of false teachers, showing how they betray their avarice and ambition. First, they permit true teachers to lay the foundation and perform the labor; then they come and desire to do the work over, to reap the honors and the benefits. They bring about that the name and the work of the true teachers receive no regard and credit; what they themselves have brought—that is the thing. They make the poor simple-minded people to stare open-mouthed while they win them with flowery words and seduce them with fair speeches, as mentioned in Romans 16:18. These are the idle drones that consume the honey they will not and cannot make."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 110. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9; Romans 16:18.

 

 

False Doctrine Tolerated

J-636.1

"And such false teachers have the good fortune that all their folly is tolerated, even though the people realize how these act the fool, and rather rudely at that. They have success with it all, and people bear with them. But no patience is to be exercised toward true teachers! Their words and their works are watched with the intent of entrapping them, as complained of in Psalm 17:9 and elsewhere. When only apparently a mote is found, it is exaggerated to a very great beam. No toleration is granted. There is only judgment, condemnation and scorn. Hence the office of preaching is a grievous one. He who has not for his sole motive the benefit of his neighbor and the glory of God cannot continue therein. The true teacher must labor, and permit others to have the honor and profit of his efforts, while he receives injury and derision for his reward."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 110f. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9. Psalm 17:9.

 

God Punishes Ingratitude by Allowing False Teachers

J-637.1

"In the second place such teachers are disposed to bring the people into downright bondage and to bind their conscience by forcing laws upon them and teaching works-righteousness. The effect is that fear impels them to do what has been pounded into them, as if they were bondslaves, while their teachers command fear and attention. But the true teachers, they who give us freedom of conscience and create us lords, we soon forget, even despise. The dominion of false teachers is willingly tolerated and patiently endured; indeed, it is given high repute. All those conditions are punishments sent by God upon them who do not receive the Gospel with love and gratitude."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 111. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9. John 5:43.

 

 

 

 

False Teachers Flay Disciples to Bone

J-638.1

"In the third place, false teachers flay their disciples to the bone, and cut them out of house and home, but even this is taken and endured. Such, I opine, has been our experience under the Papacy. But true preachers are even denied their bread. Yet this all perfectly squares with justice! For, since men fail to give unto those from whom they receive the Word of God, and permit the latter to serve them at their own expense, it is but fair they should give the more unto preachers of lies, whose instruction redounds to their injury. What is withheld from Christ must be given in tenfold proportion to the devil. They who refuse to give the servant of truth a single thread, must be oppressed by liars."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 111f. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9.

 

Avarice in False Teachers

J-639.1

"Fourth, false apostles forcibly take more than is given them. They seize whatever and whenever they can, thus enhancing their insatiable avarice. This, too, is excused in them."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 112. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9.

 

They Lord It Over Us

J-640.1

"Fifth, these deceitful teachers, not satisfied with having acquired our property, must exalt themselves above us and lord it over us...We bow our knees before them, worship them and kiss their feet. And we suffer it all, yes, with fearful reverence regard it as just and right. And it is just and right, for why did we not honor the Gospel by accepting and preserving it?"

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 112. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9.

 

 We Are Dogs and Foot-Rags

J-641.1

"Sixth, our false apostles justly reward us by smiting us in the face. That is, they consider us inferior to dogs; they abuse us, and treat us as foot-rags."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VII, p. 112. Second Sunday in Lent. 2 Corinthians 11:19-33; 12:1-9.


False Teachers Are Peacocks

J-642.1

 

"The peacock is an image of heretics and fanatical spirits. For on the order of the peacock they, too, show themselves and strut about in their gifts, which never are outstanding. But if they could see their feet, that is the foundation of their doctrine, they would be stricken with terror, lower their crests, and humble themselves. To be sure, they, too, suffer from jealousy, because they cannot bear honest and true teachers. They want to be the whole show and want to put up with no one next to them. And they are immeasurably envious, as peacocks are. Finally, they have a raucous and unpleasant voice, that is, their doctrine is bitter and sad for afflicted and godly minds; for it casts consciences down more than it lifts them up and strengthens them."

        What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 642.


 

Doctrine, True and False

 

The quotation below seems to make Lutheranism a brand name, but the statement is correct if we substitute “Christian Church” for “Lutheran Church.” The purpose of the Christian Church has been and continues to be an extension of what God began in the Old Testament and manifested through Jesus, the proclamation of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. The accumulation of treasure, the growth of pension funds, the erection of monumental buildings—all are nothing without the efficacious Word.

 

J-643.1

"The Lutheran Church is a doctrinal Church. She attaches supreme importance to pure doctrine. The preaching and teaching of God's pure Word is her central activity. Say the Confessors: 'The true adornment of the churches is godly, useful, and clear doctrine.' (Triglotta, p. 401)"

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 496.

 

Satan the Exegete

 

Satan’s first efforts at exegesis, that is, the explanation of God’s Word, were entirely successful.[22]

 

KJV Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

 

Satan works constantly to incite people to disobey God’s Word:

 

KJV 1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

 

Satan would like to use personal hardships to cull believers from the Kingdom of God:

 

KJV Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

 

Satan versus Jesus

 

The pride of Satan is so great that he took upon himself the temptation of Christ in the desert. The use of "if” is so full of potential. Doubtless more than one district president has heard this voice. “If you are the district president, then cast these trouble-making swine into the outer darkness. If you are.” Jesus answered Satan’s twisted use of the Scriptures by quoting the Word correctly.[23] The temptation of Jesus reminds us that Jesus too was tempted because of His human nature and that He defeated Satan with the Word, exactly as we should.

 

KJV Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.[24]

 

BYZ Matthew 4:3 Kai. proselqw.n auvtw/| o` peira,zwn ei=pen Eiv ui`o.j ei= tou/ qeou/ eivpe. i[na oi` li,qoi ou-toi a;rtoi ge,nwntai 4 o` de. avpokriqei.j ei=pen Ge,graptai Ouvk evp a;rtw| mo,nw| zh,setai a;nqrwpoj avll evpi. panti. r`h,mati evkporeuome,nw| dia. sto,matoj qeou/.

 

The promise of this verse is also confirmed by a verse all believers should memorize and call to mind when they worry about whether God will provide:

 

KJV Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.

 

Tempted to Avoid the Cross

 

When we are tempted to avoid the cross that accompanies the Word, the prophesy of the Passion of Jesus should ring in our ears. Knowing He would suffer and die on the cross for the sins of the world, Christ told His disciples what would take place. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him in the strongest possible terms. Although we can allow for Peter’s great love for the Lord, we can also see that he was not very adept at interpreting the Word. Jesus rebuked Peter for serving Satan in holding temptation before Him. Notice that Jesus told Peter that he was a skandalon (ska,ndalon), a death-trap to Him.[25] Avoiding the cross belongs to man and Satan. Bearing the cross is godly but hurts the Old Adam in us. The Satanic nature of contemporary Christianity is seen not only in avoiding the cross, but also in advocating the absence of the cross, with Wisconsin Synod and LCMS leaders saying a loud “Amen!”[26] When I visited Willow Creek Community Church to see how shallow the congregation was, our family could not find a cross on the outside of the building, in the worship area (seeker auditorium), the food court, or anywhere else until we skulked around the basement for a period of time. Nevertheless, in the name of being successful, Dan Kelm, Martin Spriggs, and Rick Miller, all WELS pastors at the time, deliberately aped the Willow Creek method.[27]

 

Matthew 16:21-23

KJV Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

 

BYZ Matthew 16:21 VApo. to,te h;rxato o` VIhsou/j deiknu,ein toi/j maqhtai/j auvtou/ o[ti dei/ auvto.n avpelqei/n eivj ~Ieroso,luma kai. polla. paqei/n avpo. tw/n presbute,rwn kai. avrciere,wn kai. grammate,wn kai. avpoktanqh/nai kai. th/| tri,th| h`me,ra| evgerqh/nai 22 kai. proslabo,menoj auvto.n o` Pe,troj h;rxato evpitima/n auvtw/| le,gwn {Ilew,j soi ku,rie\ ouv mh. e;stai soi tou/to 23 o` de. strafei.j ei=pen tw/| Pe,trw| {Upage ovpi,sw mou Satana/\ ska,ndalon mou( ei= o[ti ouv fronei/j ta. tou/ qeou/ avlla. ta. tw/n avnqrw,pwn.

 

Satanic Deceivers

 

One of the most aggravating problems in dealing with false teachers is the cloaking of their actual agenda. The Holy Spirit warns us through Paul that all pseudo-apostles have the same characteristics. Students of Greek will notice that the false-apostles change their schema or outward appearance, following the example of their Father Below. We should not be surprised, because the disciples of Satan use the methods of Satan: deception, murder, flattery, seduction of the spirit. Today we call these ecclesiastic experts “synod spin doctors.” They deliberately use language and emotions to confuse and deceive. Every synod has a distinctive style. The Wisconsin Synod denounces something and then affirms it in the same paragraph, trying to spin both sides of the issue. For instance, in the two quotations below, Wayne Mueller denied there was any Church Growth in the WELS, then said the Lutheran Confessions allowed for Church Growth.[28] In fact, the number of communicants has fallen ever since his denial.[29]

 

No Church Growth Movement in WELS

 

"There is no Church Growth Movement Program in our synod. Our church body is opposed to the false theology of the Church Growth Movement. We have no programs inside or outside the budget with that name. Nor do we have any programs with a different name which utilize Church Growth theology."

            Wayne D. Mueller, Administrator for the Board of Parish Services, WELS, "A Response to 'Saving Souls vs. New Programs,'" The Northwestern Lutheran, February 1, 1992 p. 50.

 

But the Confessions Allow Our Church Growth Programs

 

"There may be pastors or congregations which use methodology which church growth people use. This does not mean they have adopted the theology of the Church Growth Movement. Our Lutheran Confessions allow complete freedom among our churches in methodology that does not conflict with the gospel."

            Wayne D. Mueller, "A Response to 'Saving Souls' vs. 'New Programs,'" The Northwestern Lutheran, February 1, 1992 p. 50.

 

In contrast, the LCMS is more honest about its love of the Church Growth Movement and the Reformed doctrine behind it, but the Missouri leaders claim to have tamed the beast. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod pastors constantly preen and admire themselves for avoiding Church Growth, but the synod leaders do everything possible to defend false doctrine in WELS. ELS Pastor Roger Kovaciny, Thoughts of Faith missionary, has publicly supported Church Growth, mildly criticized it, and loudly praised the orthodoxy of his paymaster Floyd Stolzenburg, a proud graduate of the Kent Hunter Church Growth Institute.

We should not expect any false teacher to admit, “I am really an unbeliever who cannot find work in the secular world. I have decided to get even with people by undermining what they believe and taking over their synod for my selfish purposes. I talk about love all the time, but I simply want to use people to give me an easy living and power. Anyone who talks about my doctrine or my adultery is just jealous of me.” God’s Word teaches us that we should not judge according to our senses but according to the Scriptures. When false teachers become enraged over being asked doctrinal questions or when they avoid answering them altogether, we should zip our wallets shut, hide our daughters and sons away, and depart.

 

KJV 2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

 

BYZ 2 Corinthians 11:13 oi` ga.r toiou/toi yeudapo,stoloi evrga,tai do,lioi metaschmatizo,menoi eivj avposto,louj Cristou/ 14 kai. ouv qaumasto,n\ auvto.j ga.r o` Satana/j metaschmati,zetai eivj a;ggelon fwto,j. 15 ouv me,ga ou=n eiv kai. oi` dia,konoi auvtou/ metaschmati,zontai w`j dia,konoi dikaiosu,nhj\ w-n to. te,loj e;stai kata. ta. e;rga auvtw/n.

 

Their Father Below

 

The entire world is divided into two kingdoms. One belongs to God and the other belongs to Satan. We now live in an age in which conservative Lutheran synod leaders lie routinely, slandering those who get in their way, covering up for their guilty friends, and deceiving those who ask pointed questions.[30] The inner excuse must be, “We have to spin the story to protect the synod,” but all such deceptions come from Satan’s lair, not from heaven. Some of the mischief can be comical when examined closely. WELS has consistently lied about working with ELCA, even though the activities are widely reported in The Lutheran and the fraternal insurance magazines. When the WELS leaders were confronted with the evidence from ELCA, they responded, “Are you going to believe us or those liberals?” WELS President Carl Mischke went so far as to say that ELCA was wrong and had been corrected about the Joy ecumenical radio show. The funniest spin on the religious radio show claimed that the expertise of tiny WELS was needed to help poor little ELCA along.

 

KJV John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

BYZ John 8:44 u`mei/j evk tou/ patro.j tou/ diabo,lou evste. kai. ta.j evpiqumi,aj tou/ patro.j u`mw/n qe,lete poiei/n evkei/noj avnqrwpokto,noj h=n avp avrch/j kai. evn th/| avlhqei,a| ouvc e;sthken o[ti ouvk e;stin avlh,qeia evn auvtw/| o[tan lalh/| to. yeu/doj evk tw/n ivdi,wn lalei/ o[ti yeu,sthj evsti.n kai. o` path.r auvtou/.

 

Armor of God, Methods of Satan

 

We should not let admiration for the power and effectiveness of Satan blind us to the exceedingly great power available to us through the efficacious Word. The false teachers are always trying to explain the Word for us according to their notions and to use Greek to befuddle those who have not studied the language. But here we have an example they will never bring up. What are the “wiles” of the devil in Greek?[31] The Greek word for “wiles” is meqodei,a (methodia), or methods in English.[32] The experts are going to bring in the Kingdom by their crafty methods, such as hiding the cross in the basement, establishing cell groups, playing pop music, and deliberately appealing to the Old Adam. These law salesmen do not describe how God works through the Word alone. They even shamelessly draw upon the doctrine of the efficacy of the Word to argue against efficacy alone.[33]

 

KJV Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 

BYZ Ephesians 6:11 evndu,sasqe th.n panopli,an tou/ qeou/ pro.j to. du,nasqai u`ma/j sth/nai pro.j ta.j meqodei,aj tou/ diabo,lou\

 

God Has Warned Us

 

The 1 Timothy 4:1-3 passage teaches us about the Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3), when those within the visible church lose their faith and yet work within the ecclesiastical structures in the service of Satan. Instead of being shocked that such a thing could happen—“He is my classmate!”—we should pay close attention to the Scriptural warning. This particular passage speaks about two aspects of Roman teaching against marriage and the eating of meat, but it does not exclude all those efforts that build toward the ultimate revelation of the Antichrist.

 

KJV 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

 

BYZ 1 Timothy 4:1 To. de. pneu/ma r`htw/j le,gei o[ti evn u`ste,roij kairoi/j avposth,sontai, tinej th/j pi,stewj prose,contej pneu,masin pla,noij kai. didaskali,aij daimoni,wn 2 evn u`pokri,sei yeudolo,gwn kekauthriasme,nwn th.n ivdi,an sunei,dhsin 3 kwluo,ntwn gamei/n avpe,cesqai brwma,twn a] o` qeo.j e;ktisen eivj meta,lhyin meta. euvcaristi,aj toi/j pistoi/j kai. evpegnwko,sin th.n avlh,qeian.

 

Devils Believe

 

The Epistle of James is neglected by most Lutherans to our harm because the letter warns against phony Christianity.[34] James 2:19 reveals that one can have a faith which is not saving faith, trust in Christ alone for salvation. In the old days, James’ approach was called “preaching against carnal security,” the delusion that being a member of an orthodox church released the individual from the need for saving faith or obedience to the Ten Commandments. Carnal security could be called phony faith, an awareness of God without trust in the Holy Trinity. The Greek text says, literally, “The demons also believe and their hides bristle.” A dog’s hide will bristle in acknowledgement of something he fears. Similarly, apostates in the visible church react to the Word of God when questioned about their doctrine, and their hides bristle.

 

KJV James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

 

BYZ James 2:19 su. pisteu,eij o[ti o` qeo,j ei-j evstin kalw/j poiei/j\ kai. ta. daimo,nia pisteu,ousin kai. fri,ssousin.

 

Devil, A Roaring Lion

 

The lion’s roar is still used today to frighten people. We all know the image of the stalking lion, lying in the tall grass, waiting for the next victim, leaping on a powerful animal and bringing it down with his huge jaws and powerful claws. Those who think that Satan no longer lurks and works in the church should start adding up how many clergy have fallen in the last few years. It has been said that WELS became so embarrassed over the number of pastors forced to leave the ministry over adultery and other failings that terminations were no longer listed on the Internet for the public to view. Doubtless in each and every case, the pastor began his Gospel ministry with the best of intentions and the noblest motives. Conservatives should not think they are less prone to the sins of the flesh or more adept at using the Means of Grace. One can use the Gospel as a pillow, fall asleep, and fall prey to the crafts and assaults of Satan. Many laity have also made a shipwreck of their faith by hoping for a plea-bargain at the end of life, or by serving evil apostates within the visible church to feel important for a moment. I have seen many laity used by synodical manipulators and tossed aside later. The last honor an orthodox pastor or layman should want to have is the love, friendship, and phone calls of a synodical leader.

 

KJV 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

 

BYZ 1 Peter 5:8 Nh,yate grhgorh,sate[35] o` avnti,dikoj u`mw/n dia,boloj w`j le,wn wvruo,menoj peripatei/ zhtw/n tina katapi,h|\

 

Satan’s Work

 

J-644.1

"Just as true doctrine is the greatest gift we can enjoy, so false doctrine is the most baneful evil that can beset us. False doctrine is sin, it is the invention of Satan, and it imperils and destroys salvation. False doctrine is every teaching contrary to the Word of God. Scripture enjoins upon us to proclaim only the truth."

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 501.

 

J-645.1

"Faith is a tender, subtle thing, and we so easily make a mistake and are liable to stumble; but the devil is watchful, and unless men exercise watchfulness, he quickly gains his point."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 265. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12

 

J-646.1

"Thus also the devil is angry because God wants to trample him under foot by means of flesh and blood. If a mighty spirit were opposed to him, he would not be so sorely vexed; but it greatly angers him that a poor worm of the dust, a fragile earthen vessel defies him, a weak vessel against a mighty prince. God has placed his treasure, says St. Paul, in a poor, weak vessel; for man is weak, easily aroused to anger, avaricious, arrogant, and weighed down with other imperfections, through which Satan easily shatters the earthen vessel; for if God would permit him, he would soon have utterly destroyed the whole vessel."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 268. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

 

J-647.1

"The devil does not sleep, he will do many more such things, he looks around and exerts himself to exterminate the pure doctrine in the Church and will finally, it is feared, bring it to this, that should one pass through all Germany he would find no pure pulpit, where the Word of God is preached as in former days. He tries with all his might to prevent the pure doctrine from being taught, for he cannot endure it."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

 

J-648.1

"The devil also is able to present to the factious spirits the idea that they regard themselves as right, like the Arians who thought their cause was right."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

 

J-649.1

"Indeed, more factious spirits shall arise and it shall come to pass that they will not regard Christ as God, nor as the son of a virgin. For the devil is so cunning and skillful that, if one thing is taken from him, he makes use of another. Thus it has been from the beginning, and it will continue to be so in the future."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 269. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

 

Satan and Emotions

 

J-650.1

"Satan torments you until you conclude that you are lost and ruined, that heaven and earth, God and all the angels, are your enemies."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 247.

 

J-651.1

"For that rogue, the devil, has a sharp vision and easily becomes conscious of the presence of a true Christian. Therefore he exerts himself to entrap him, and surrounds and attacks him on all sides; for he cannot bear that anyone should desert his kingdom."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 264.

 

J-652.1

"When you preach or confess the Word, you will experience both without, among enemies, and also within, in yourself (where the devil himself will speak to you and prove how hostile he is to you), that he brings you into sadness, impatience, and depression, and that he torments you in all sorts of ways. Who does all this? Certainly not Christ or any good spirit, but the miserable, loathsome enemy...The devil will not bear to have you called a Christian and to cling to Christ or to speak or think a good word about Him. Rather he would gladly poison and permeate your heart with venom and gall, so that you would blaspheme: Why did He make me a Christian? Why do I not let Him go? Then I would at last have peace."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 928.

 

J-653.1

"Neither is he [Satan] truthful; he is the spirit of lies, who, by means of false fear and false comfort having the appearance of truth, both deceives and destroys. He possesses the art of filling his own victims with sweet comfort ; that is, he gives them unbelieving, arrogant, secure, impious hearts...He can even make them joyful; furthermore, he renders them haughty and proud in their opinions, in their wisdom and self-made personal holiness; then no threat nor terror of God's wrath and of eternal damnation moves them, but their hearts grow harder than steel or adamant."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302.

 

J-654.1

"The deeper a person is sunk in sadness and emotional upheavals, the better he serves as an instrument of Satan. For our emotions are instruments through which he gets into us and works in us if we do not watch our step. It is easy to water where it is wet. Where the fence is dilapidated, it is easy to get across. So Satan has easy access where there is sadness. Therefore one must pray and associate with godly people."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1243.

 

J-655.1

"It is not the devil's aim to plague us physically; he is a spirit who is always thirsting for the tears and the drops of blood that come from our hearts. He wants us to despair and to perish from sadness. This would be his joy and delight. But he will not succeed."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1244. John 15:19.

 

Deception of Satan

 

Satan works primarily as the father of lies (John 8). One famous author, loved by the Church Growth gurus, wrote this:

 

J-656.1

"One day I overheard my stepmother say to my father: 'The only real devil that exists in this or any other world is the man whose business is that of making devils.' I accepted this statement instantly and never have departed from it."

Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 212.[36]

 

We should consider that Rev. Robert Schuller was given a Napoleon Hill medal by the Napoleon Hill Foundation for promoting the wisdom of Napoleon Hill.[37]

 

J-657.1

"Now and again I have had evidence that unseen friends hover about me, unknowable to ordinary sense. In my studies I discovered there is a group of strange beings who maintain a school of wisdom which must be ten thousand years old, but I did not connect them with myself. Now there is a connection. I am not one of them!—but I have been watched by them."

            Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 158. check quote

 

J-658.1

"'I have come,' said the voice, 'to give you one more section to include in your book. In writing this section you may cause some readers to disbelieve you, yet you will write honestly and many will believe and be benefited. The world has been given many philosophies by which men are prepared for death, but you have been chosen to give mankind a philosophy by which men are prepared for happy living...I come from the Great School of the Masters. I am one of the Council of Thirty-Three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane.'" [Hill explains]: "That is the school of wisdom which has persisted secretly in the Himalayas for ten thousand years...From the remotest days of antiquity, the Masters of the Great School have communicated with each other by telepathy."

            Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 158f.

 

J-659.1

"The School has Masters who can disembody themselves and travel instantly to any place they choose in order to acquire essential knowledge, or to give knowledge directly, by voice, to anyone else. Now I knew that one of these Masters had come across thousands of miles, through the night, into my study."

Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 159.

 

J-660.1

[Great School's message to Hill:] "You have passed through the Jungle of Life safely. Now you must give to the world a blueprint with which others may traverse that same Black Forest."   

Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 160.

 

J-661.1

"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 322. Easter Tuesday Luke 24:36-47.

 

J-662.1

"But, being deceived by the devil, we forsake the light of day and seek to find truth among philosophers and heathen totally ignorant of such matters. In permitting ourselves to be blinded by human doctrines, we return to the night. Whatsoever is not the Gospel day surely cannot be light. Otherwise Paul, and in fact all Scripture, would not urge that day upon us and pronounce everything else night."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 17.

 

J-663.1

"The devil does not rest yet, and hence he stirs up so many sects and factions. How many sects have we not already had? One has taken up the sword, another has attacked the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, others that of baptism."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

 

J-664.1

"The devil does not sleep, he will do many more such things, he looks around and exerts himself to exterminate the pure doctrine in the Church and will finally, it is feared, bring it to this, that should one pass through all Germany he would find no pure pulpit, where the Word of God is preached as in former days. He tries with all his might to prevent the pure doctrine from being taught, for he cannot endure it."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266.

 

J-665.1

"The devil also is able to present to the factious spirits the idea that they regard themselves as right, like the Arians who thought their cause was right."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266.

 

J-666.1

"For every sect has always had one or more particular hobbies and articles which are manifestly wrong and can easily be discerned to be of the devil, who publicly teach, urge and defend them as right certain and necessary to believe or to keep For the spirit of lies cannot so conceal himself, but that he must at last put forth his claws, by which you can discern and observe the ravenous wolf."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 282f.

 

J-667.1

"On that day every false teacher will wish that he had never been born and will curse the day when he was inducted into the sacred office of the ministry. On that day we shall see that false teaching is not the trifling and harmless matter that people in our day think it is."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 88.

 

Sound Doctrine, False Doctrine

 

J-668.1

"Moreover, the true doctrine is better understood when the false doctrine is placed in juxtaposition. Hence the Formula of Concord says: 'Every simple Christian can perceive what is right or wrong, when not only the pure doctrine has been stated, but also the erroneous, contrary doctrine has been repudiated and rejected.' (Triglotta, p. 837)"

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 508.

 

J-669.1

"False doctrine is a sin against God's holy Commandments. It jeopardizes the salvation of every person who comes in contact with it. Hence, it is evident that every Christian is to avoid false doctrine and all fellowship with errorists."

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 509.

 

J-670.1

"'If there ever was a strictly conservative body, it surely is the Missouri Synod. Nevertheless, this growth!...It is a mark of the pastors and leaders of the Missouri Synod that they never, aye, never, tire of discussing doctrine on the basis of Scripture and the Confessions. That is one trait that may be called the spirit of Missouri. People who thus cling to doctrine and contend for its purity are of an entirely different nature from the superficial unionists who in the critical moment will declare five to be an even number. God will bless all who value His Word so highly.'" (Dr. Lenski, Kirchenzeitung, May 20, 1922).

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 515f.

 

J-671.1

"' It is not my doctrine, not the product of my mind, but God's gift. Good Lord, I have not spun it out of my head; it did not grow in my garden, it did not flow from my spring; it was not born of men. It is God's gift, not any invention of man.'" (St. Louis edition, VIII, p. 27)

W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 516.

 

Using the Scriptures to Destroy the Word of God

 

False teachers—whether seminary professors, circuit pastors, parish pastors, district or synodical presidents—are so predictable that they follow the same basic procedures to win the skirmish each time. False teachers, especially among the conservative Lutherans, love to invoke two passages against their opponents. The ploy works well in avoiding the main topic. Their false doctrine is no longer an issue, because a horrible sin has been committed. Errorists glare and fume that the Eighth Commandment has been violated! To make matters worse, the dissenter has failed to follow the injunctions of Matthew 18! In addition, even if the faithful person asks questions first, hat in hand, in abject humility, in the mildest way, the false teacher accuses the victim of being unloving and divisive. The last accusation is so subjective in nature that one can only measure its accuracy by the fury in the face of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. The false teacher may even say, if he is well read in the fads of the 1960s, “You are being judgmental!” If the incident is described to another pastor, the defender of the false teacher will probably respond in anger, “He is a nice guy!” Pastor Richard Krause defended the Church Growthism of James Huebner by saying, “I drank a lot of beer with him in college.”

 

Eighth Commandment

 

No commandment is broken more often than the Eighth Commandment, in the very act of citing it. The worst kind of slander comes from quoting the Eighth Commandment inappropriately, especially to cover up for and to excuse false doctrine. As Luther wrote, and we confess:

 

J-672.1

“For honor and a good name are easily taken away, but not easily restored.”

The Large Catechism, The Eighth Commandment, #273, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 659.

 

Exodus 20:16

 

KJV Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

 

J-673.1

"What does this mean?—Answer. We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything."

            The Small Catechism, The Eighth Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 541. Tappert, p. 341. Heiser, p. 160.

 

The Eighth Commandment is a curb against the Old Adam jumping to conclusions about apparent evidence of secret sin. One can take a few facts and turn them into a mountain of lies. For instance, when one minister mentioned that his children offered to loan him money from their piggy banks, it was reported that he was taking money from his children's savings. When I phoned an order of flowers for my bride’s birthday, using the floral business of a church member, the owner asked what address to use for billing and sending the flowers. She expressed surprise that it was the same address! I said, “We live together.” After she sucked in her breath in merry Schadenfreude, I added, “We are married. I am the vicar at the church. Remember me? We just met last Sunday.”

Gossips and busy-bodies we will have with us always. The most dangerous and subtle violation of the Eighth Commandment comes from falsely attributing motives to others. The evidence is often elusive enough, when we view or hear something that may be wrong. However, we can never know the motives of another person. Christians can deal with the doctrine itself and measure whether it harmonizes with the Scriptures and the Confessions. Having a doctrinal discussion is edifying for everyone. How can anyone identify the motives of people who question what is wrong?

In the government of the Church we have exactly one way of addressing problems of doctrine and practice, employing the Word. In this regard we are truly one in Christ. No one is a pope. No one is a vassal. The youngest child can and should ask questions, using the Word as the ruling norm (norma normans). Women have just as much right to ask about doctrine and practice as men do. Johann Gerhard and C. F. W. Walther have both made this point, the latter in his essay, “Shall the Sheep Judge the Shepherd?” Unfortunately, in many cases, the men have abrogated their responsibility and left the questioning to the women. Then the men and the pastor cannot hide behind the headship principle and refuse to deal with Scriptural questions because a woman asks.

In an ideal environment, which God has commanded, the pastors are free to address doctrinal issues among themselves at the circuit and conference level. When this happens, the preachers also feel free to deal with issues in the congregation. However, the conservative leaders of today believe Lutheranism is a soap-bubble that will pop if we raise our voices. The divisions in Lutheranism are so great today that every circuit is an ecumenical organization, with tongue-speaking pastors working next to a confessional brother. The circuit pastor may be a Unitarian in doctrine, and the District President a Church Growth advocate or a secret bed-fellow with ELCA. One pastor reported that his entire conference is terrified of bringing up a doctrinal issue, so divided are they, in spite of their posturing about being unified in doctrine. Nevertheless, this sorry state of affairs must not keep faithful men and women from confronting the doctrinal issues with the truth of the Word.

One WELS pastor in a loose circuit gave communion to a visitor who was not Lutheran, let alone a confessing member of the synod. One member questioned what happened. The pastor defended his action as “loving” and used senior members of the synod to defend it. The member persisted and the practice stopped. Happily, the minister addressed the congregation on the issue, not in an arrogant spirit of popery, but in the spirit of correcting a wrong. Every minister should treasure such members and not work to get rid of them, because the person who will stand his ground on the Scriptures and Confessions is using the Sword of the Spirit, not against the pastor, but against falsehood. Every pastor should thank God for members who care about sound doctrine.[38]

Ministers and laity from all synods have found that the moment they raise a doctrinal issue, the false teachers shout, “Eighth Commandment!” I heard the ploy used so often that it became a joke around our house, a response to legitimate observations and complaints. If my wife Chris mentioned I forgot to bring home groceries, I replied, “Eighth Commandment! Apologize at once!” Discussing a doctrinal issue is not a violation of the Eighth Commandment. At the very worst, a discussion may take place where an issue is clarified, due to a misunderstanding or an ambiguous statement. For instance, in a sermon I gave, I said that Christ is no longer physically present. I knew I said something wrong at the moment, but I was tongue-tied. After the service, a visiting pastor said, “I think you meant to say ‘no longer visibly present.’ He is certainly present, especially in the Sacrament." I thanked him and made the correction in public the next Sunday. All errors must be corrected, even when unintentional, to honor God and defeat Satan. The hearers are not obligated to filter false doctrine out of the sound doctrine they hear. The teacher must teach in clear and unmistakable words.

 

Public Retraction

 

J-674.1

"If a minister who is otherwise conscientious has had the misfortune of putting something into his manuscript that is wrong and even saying it from the pulpit, he must, if he notices his mistake while preaching, immediately correct himself and tell his hearers that he really did not mean to say what they have just heard from him. If he notices his mistake later and the matter is of considerable importance, he must make the correction later, lest his hearers be led utterly astray. Yea, he may not only have to correct his wrong statement, but solemnly to revoke it. That will not lower him in the esteem of his listeners; on the contrary, his conscientious striving for accuracy will rather impress them favorably. He must not rely on the ability of his hearers to give the correct interpretation to incorrect statements of his, but must speak so as not to be misunderstood in what he says."[39]

            C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 296f.

 

Being slandered is a normal occurrence for someone who believes in the Word of God and applies the Sword of the Spirit to doctrinal problems. Three things war against the Word: 1) our old Adam; 2) the unbelieving world; 3) Satan. Addressing a doctrinal problem can only be done through the Law. No one is so pure that he enjoys the preaching of the Law in all its severity, but it is easier to admit being carnal than to confess being in error about the Scriptures. Secondly, nothing in the material world supports the correct understanding of the Christian faith. The world loves, encourages, and protects the natural man. Finally, Satan will never rest from protecting his kingdom, from seducing people into his way of thinking about God.

 

Expect Personal Attacks

 

J-675.1

"Next, it extends very much further, if we are to apply it to spiritual jurisdiction or administration; here it is a common occurrence that every one bears false witness against his neighbor. For wherever there are godly preachers and Christians, they must bear the sentence before the world that they are called heretics, apostates, ye, seditious and desperately wicked miscreants. Besides, the Word of God must suffer in the most shameful and malicious manner, being persecuted, blasphemed, contradicted, perverted, and falsely cited and interpreted."

            The Large Catechism, The Eighth Commandment, #262, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 653. Tappert, p. 400. Heiser, p. 186.

 

The false teachers will always declare that any discussion of their preached or published doctrine is a violation of the Eighth Commandment and Matthew 18. In their view, each dissenter from their position must make an appointment, bow down, and humbly ask to be corrected, apologizing in advance for being so much trouble.[40] Anything less is a multiple violation of the worst kind. Retribution follows. The very fact that false teachers wrongly cite the Eighth Commandment and Matthew 18 is proof that they have the wrong foundation, fueled by their ignorance of—and hatred for—the Large Catechism. The gunslinger use of Matthew 18 and the Eighth Commandment contribute to doctrinal and moral decay among the clergy. The worse the offense, the more likely the synod will cover up for the false teacher and the felon.

 

J-676.1

"All this has been said regarding secret sins. But where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it, you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judgment or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it."

            The Large Catechism, The Eighth Commandment, #284, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 660. Tappert, p. 403. Heiser, p. 188.

 

False Doctrine Promoted by Conservative Lutherans

 

Lutherans of this era have disgraced themselves with their repeated denials of the efficacy of the Word alone. The attacks against justification by faith, noted in Chapter 5, paved the way for the Reformed Pietistic agenda of works converting people to Christ and qualifying them for salvation. One Pietistic program seduced the Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod from the beginning: lifestyle evangelism. The theory, proposed by a non-Lutheran but endorsed by Lutherans, argues that people will become Christians when they find out how loving we are.

 

Denial of Efficacy

 

J-677.1

"When was the last time you kissed a frog?...'Lifestyle Evangelism and Follow-up,' a Navigator video seminar for the church, makes a solid case for Christian frog kissing as a way of life."

James A. Aderman, TELL, The Evangelism Life Line (WELS), Summer, 1986, p. 2.

 

In the Wisconsin Synod, the chief culprit in promoting Reformed doctrine was TELL, a channel for lauding the publications and pop theologians of Fuller Seminary.

 

J-678.1

"The publication TELL ('The Evangelism Life Line') has been inaugurated to promote the cause of church growth."

Ernst H. Wendland, "Church Growth Theology," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, April, 1981, 78, p. 105.

 

TELL did such a good job in promoting false doctrine and unionism that WELS upgraded to a fancier format to fool even more people. Wendland and Hartman both confessed that TELL was a Church Growth organ, but no one told Wayne D. Mueller, who denied Church Growth in WELS in no uncertain terms. No one else seems to use a database to match the claims with the denials, so these deceptions work well with the faulty memory of ordinary people.

 

J-679.1

"TELL has served the church faithfully for 15 years. Three editors have served; Ronald Roth (1977-84), Paul Kelm (1985-88), and the undersigned since 1989...The lead article in the first issue of TELL was titled 'Church Growth - Worthwhile for WELS.'...The author of this article in April 1988 issue of TELL concludes, 'It's obvious by now that I believe we in WELS can profit greatly from the writings of the church-growth leaders.' ... TELL as a separate publication ends with this issue. Nevertheless, the focus of The Evangelism Life Line will continue for years to come as an integral part of the new Board for Parish Services journal - PARISH LEADERSHIP.

            Rev. Robert Hartman, TELL (WELS Evangelism), Summer, 1992.

 

Once TELL had sown its weed seeds for 14 years, the official magazine of the Wisconsin Synod, The Northwestern Lutheran, was free to come out in the open, promoting Church Growth by name while abusing the parable of the Sower and the Seed. This is typical of the work of false teachers, using gradualism. How can we say that we believe in the Means of Grace and then say that God’s Word will be effective if we test the soil using methods invented by man. It is difficult to imagine anything more arrogant than using a parable of Jesus about the effectiveness of God’s Word alone to teach the Fuller doctrine of soil testing.[41]

 

J-680.1

"What do people mean when they talk about effective church growth principles? Do we make God's kingdom come? 'God's kingdom certainly comes by itself,' Luther wrote. Ours is to sow the seed. We hamper the kingdom if we sow carelessly or if we do not sow at all. But we do not make it grow."

            Mark Braun, “The Growing Seed, What Do People Mean When They Talk about Effective Church Growth Principles?” The Northwestern Lutheran, September 1, 1991, p. 300. Mark 4:26-29.

 

J-681.1

"In my opinion, therefore, Church Growth receptivity and 'soil testing' techniques are often unfairly criticized as if they were by definition synergistic. It is a fact that some fields are, for various historical and sociological reasons, more receptive to the preaching of the gospel and church planting than others. Our home and world mission boards make these judgments all the time in deciding where to begin churches or send missionaries."

Rev. Curtis Peterson, former WELS World Mission Board, "A Second and Third Look at Church Growth Principles," Metro South Pastors Conference Mishicot, Wisconsin, February 3, 1993 p. 12. [Peterson left the ministry.]

 

Church Growth Team

 

WELS pastors James Huebner, Lawrence Otto Olson, and Paul Kelm team up in teaching the doctrines of the Church Growth Movement.[42] When Northwestern College questioned the promotion of Church Growth at the WELS seminary, the trio were called to a special meeting to defend their Helen of Troy. David Valleskey and another seminary professor supported them. James Witte not only teaches Church Growth, earning a degree in it from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, but also sold a Paul Y. Cho book to WELS pastors at a special, all expenses paid, cell group conference in 1990.

 

J-682.1

"'Church growth.' I've seen people cringe when they hear those words. I think I know why. They react negatively because they feel 'church growth' implies an obsessive fixation with numbers and statistics."

            Pastor James Huebner, Spiritual Renewal Consultant, Notebook, School of Outreach IV, Seventeen Ways to Keep Your Church from Growing, p. 178.

 

Olson teaches at the only surviving WELS college, but he teaches against the Word. He agrees with the Reformed that God’s Word requires man’s help to be effective.

 

J-683.1

"While only the Word is efficacious, the methods we use to minister to people with that Word may vary in their effectiveness."

Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 2.

 

J-684.1

"We cannot add anything to the Word, but we may be able to remove the human barriers which might be in the way of the Word."

Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 3.

 

J-685.1

"Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people."

Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

 

J-686.1

"Contemporary social and behavioral sciences are a working out of the reason which God has given to humanity. Granted, the assumptions of some sociologists or anthropologists may be inconsistent with the Christian faith. That calls for discernment, but it does not invalidate the proper use of the social sciences by the church; it is, however, essential that they be used in a 'ministerial' manner."

Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 3.

 

The Church Growth groupies all sound alike, whether they are the Church Growth acolytes of WELS, the LCMS, or the ELCA. Huebner’s haughty prose—quoted below—

shows the effect of scouring books by the Enthusiasts while avoiding the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. Luther and the Concordists would be impressed to learn that the Gospel of Christ needs false teachers to make the Wisconsin Synod effective.

 

J-687.1

"We can't do a thing to make his Word more effective. But surely we can detract from its effectiveness by careless errors and poor judgment. It just makes good sense to utilize all of our God-given talents, to scour the field for appropriate ideas, concepts, and material, to implement programs, methods, and techniques so that we do not detract from the effectiveness of the gospel we proclaim. Church growth articles, books, seminars, and conferences can offer such ideas and programs."

            Pastor James Huebner, Spiritual Renewal Consultant, Notebook, School of Outreach IV, Seventeen Ways to Keep Your Church from Growing, p. 178.[43]

 

The Zwinglians believe that the Holy Spirit wanders around independent of the Word and sacraments, making some people receptive to the Gospel. As one liberal Calvinist told me, “The Holy Spirit goes in the back door to open the front door.” Receptivity ratings, endorsed by Valleskey, Witte, and others, reflect this doctrine, which is also behind the concept of soil testing. Such nonsense is the essence of Enthusiasm, denying the Holy Spirit’s work through the Word alone.

 

J-688.1

Finding the Receptive: People in Transition, by James Witt - "The Bible illustrates the people-in-transition receptivity principle very well. Converts such as Naaman, a leper; Ruth, a widow; the woman at the well, a five-time divorcee; the thief on the cross, a convict near death; were all people who in a period of transition were receptive to hearing the Gospel. The Receptivity-Rating Scale shown at left...

Paul Kelm, editor, The Evangelism Handbook, WELS Evangelism Appendix III.

 

Ashamed of Being Lutheran

 

When Lutherans are ashamed of the Gospel but trust in man-made methods, they also become embarrassed by the Lutheran name on their missions. Kuske and his good friend Floyd Luther Stolzenburg started a Wisconsin Synod mission named Pilgrim Community Church. ELS Pastor Jay Webber objected loudly about this effort and Crossroads Community Church, another Michigan District effort. Even the most sluggish in WELS were alarmed over Kuske obeying Stolzenburg’s ideas. As Roger Zehms explained it to the Lutheran Parish Resources board, they did not want Lutheran transfers to the mission or even Lutheran visitors to the worship services. Naturally, the service was Reformed. When worship attendance reached the total of three, they decided to close the mission and find another way to make Stolzenburg a WELS pastor.

 

J-689.1

"Our decision not to use the name Lutheran in the name of the congregation seems to have caused some concern. We point you to the Lutheran confessions which clearly state that a name is an adiaphoron. So only when not using the name is a denial of what the name stands for is there a problem. We reject the inferences that have been drawn that have been drawn [sic] that it is our intention to deny the biblical teach [sic] (ibid. conservative Lutheran teaching). Put in very practical terms our question is: Can we reach more of the unchurched if we can begin with sin and grace, guilt and forgiveness, rather than having to deal with lodge, scouts, the vagaries of ELCA, etc. at the beginning."

WELS Michigan District Vice-president Paul Kuske, Letter to the Ohio Conference, Pilgrim Community Church, sponsored from Grove City by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Fall Conference, Gibsonia, 1989.[44] [emphasis in original]

 

J-690.1

"We have discovered that the Early Church was an institution that unknowingly saw its world through Church Growth eyes. We have some benefits they did not have in that we can look back today and analyze their successes and failures."

Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "Church Growth - the Acts of the Apostles," Taught at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio.

 

When Lutheran Parish Services finally closed down, after doing enormous damage to the Gospel, Stolzenburg began looking for a church to call his own. He promised Emmanuel in the name of a WELS para-church agency that he would commune Masonic Lodge members. He got the job.

 

J-691.1

"I would also convey to you that I will continue to commune lodge members as long as I feel assured that they know and believe that their salvation is by faith…Please feel free to contact Pastors Kuske or Schumann or come and hear for yourself."

Floyd Luther Stolzenburg Letter to Emmanuel Lutheran Parish Resources. September 20, 1991. Letterhead: "Serving the congregations of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod."[45]

 

Once Kuske was out of office, retired, and moved away, WELS members in Columbus thought they were done with his friend Stolzenburg.[46] Ukraine seminary rector and ELS Pastor Jay Webber even thanked me for keeping Stolzenburg out of the WELS and ELS ministry. But wait. Webber and Kovaciny are living from the proceeds of Stolzenburg’s Masonic, Church Growth, open communion, feminist congregation. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod, WELS, and Thoughts of Faith all regard Stolzenburg as one of their own (for pay, of course), and he uses their names to justify his unbiblical call and his unscriptural second marriage. Kovaciny poses as an orthodox Lutheran in Christian News.

 

J-692.1

"In the midst of all the positive, exciting things Pastor Kovaciny had to say about the mission work being done in the Ukraine, he constantly mentioned the most pressing problem, a lack of space...As he spoke to us about the many needs, he mentioned the possibility of building a church of the approximate square footage of our sanctuary (though not nearly as elaborate) for $50,000...Pastor Kovaciny, obviously excited about the possibility, has agreed that the new church would be named Emmanuel Lutheran and would have a picture of the 'mother church' prominently displayed in the new building."

Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "From the Mission Committee, Kremnetz, Ukraine,” Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Cornerstone, #899, August, 1999 1500 South Third Street, Columbus, Ohio 43207-1000.[47]

 

WELS Michigan District President Robert Mueller supported Stolzenburg and Pilgrim Community Church with great enthusiasm. He got behind an even more bizarre scheme, Crossroads Community Church. Rick Miller quickly took the congregation out of Lutheranism. Later, Pastors Marc Freier and Kelly Voigt came to serve Crossroads. Both of them had left Lutheranism, taking people out with them. Freier and Voigt were poster boys for the Church Growth Movement in WELS, praised by synod leaders and given workshops to lead.

 

J-693.1

"Since several brothers have asked about the status of Rick Miller, I provide the following information. Rick has asked for a release from his call at Huron Valley Lutheran High School in order to serve a group of people as their pastor and to help organize them as an independent Christian congregation. The group is composed of some former members of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Plymouth, of some former members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Livonia, and some people who have left LC-MS churches. The group has stated that it has a different philosophy and style of ministry, which includes drama, contemporary music and a thematic form of worship and liturgy, which allows for greater personal participation by its female members. The group has also stated that it would like to retain fellowship relations with our Wisconsin Synod…."As an independent group it does not plan to use the name 'Lutheran' in its title. It will be known as The Crossroads Christian Church...For the present, Rick Miller is still a pastoral member of the WELS...At that time [January 31, 1992, submission of a constitution] the fellowship question will be determined on the basis of the group's doctrinal statements and practices."

WELS District President Robert Mueller, President's Report to the Conferences, Fall, 1991, pp. 2-3.

 

Paul Kelm’s brother Dan, a leader in cell groups in WELS, became a media star when he confessed how a videotape from Willow Creek converted him to Seeker Services. Although it is difficult to believe that watching a tape did so much for Dan, we have to accept his word and not be tempted to believe he was formally trained at Willow Creek with many other WELS pastors.[48]

 

J-694.1

"The role model for this carefully choreographed and rehearsed service, referred to by Rev. Kelm as a 'seeker service,' is Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Ill., near Chicago, an independent congregation formed 14 years ago...Rev. Kelm said he viewed a videotape of a service at the Chicago-area church before planning the first seeker service for Divine Savior, which is affiliated with the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod…When planning the service, Rev. Kelm and the worship committee decided immediately that there wouldn't be any organ music and that the usual Lutheran liturgy wouldn't be used."

            Carol Elrod, "Pastor Hopes Seeks Will Find Way to Special Church Service," Indianapolis Star, May 12, 1990 Reprinted in CN.[49]

 

Kelm is clever enough to state that we cannot argue people into the Kingdom, but the following statement promotes that very method. The Lord, Liar, Lunatic form of evangelism is very simple. Either Jesus was the Lord, or He was a liar, or He was a lunatic. Pick the right one and you are a Christian. I recall WELS missionary to Japan, James Sherod, giving me his seminary paper where this idiocy was argued. At one point, I said, “Where are you getting all this Church Growth crap?” Later, the development of my database showed how extensive the corruption was.

 

J-695.1

"Thesis Seven: Sound Apologetics Can Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good...Logic never converted anyone; but Christianity is logically defensible, once one makes reason ministerial to God and His Word...Read C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Josh McDowell for practical apologetic tools. In fact, lend your copy to the prospect whose intelligence and education have become his curse. Once you've read Josh McDowell's 'Lord, Liar, or Lunatic' argument for the deity of Christ, you'll find yourself using it."

Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 14.

 

J-696.1

"Our synod now has a fulltime executive secretary for evangelism. He's the Rev. Paul Kelm; and we need him. We need him to be our evangelism advocate."

Rev. Ron Roth, The Evangelism Life Line (WELS), Winter, 1985 p. 2.

 

J-697.1

"There is no Church Growth Movement Program in our synod. Our church body is opposed to the false theology of the Church Growth Movement. We have no programs inside or outside the budget with that name. Nor do we have any programs with a different name which utilize Church Growth theology."

Wayne D. Mueller, Administrator for the BPS, WELS, "A Response to 'Saving Souls vs. New Programs,'" The Northwestern Lutheran, November 1, 1991, February 1, 1992. p. 50.

 

J-698.1

Dr. Robert Preus to Pastor Herman Otten on a Church Growth brochure: "Please display this [Church Growth brochure] prominently. The WELS is more committed to the church growth movement than LCMS."

Brochure from the Church Growth Institute P. O. Box 4404, Lynchburg, VA, 24502, 800-553-GROW.

 

From time to time, my articles in Christian News evoked some emotional responses from WELS pastors. One brave opponent of Church Growth wrote a long letter to me and his circuit pastor, making sure that no one thought he knew me or approved of his paper being quoted.[50] Kovaciny and Kuske put aside their mutual animosity to threaten me, uniting against a common enemy, the Means of Grace. Some people, like the head of WELS missions, Norm Berg, phoned me. Others contacted members of my congregation. A few wrote their deepest thoughts in letters. Pastor Tullberg, a stranger to me, revealed how Church Growth thinking has made WELS pastors think that revivals are much better than worship services.[51]

 

J-699.1

"Last Fall we did try to 'pander' to the black community in which we are located. We had a Revival = 'a stirring up of religious faith' (Webster) about 150 visitors were in church and 8 have since joined who were at the big revival. I think Siloah is the first WELS church to try a Revival (as far as I know) Gospel songs, testimonials, and singing on the church lawn with a trumpet accom. all went with the service. It was so inspiring that we are having Revival #2 the last Sun in Oct, 1990. Maybe if Wather [sic] had used Revival meetings to spread the Gospel in the last century the WELS would have more than 3 black pastors in the U.S., and so few blacks in the pew. Just food for thought."

WELS Pastor Keith Tullberg to Gregory L. Jackson, 4-19-90. Siloah Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, 3721 N 21st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206.


 

Part Two

My Experiences

 

Many people have had exactly the same experiences as I have, so the following quotations are offered merely to show how church officials react to doctrinal issues. In this case I was dealing with the promotion of Church Growth doctrine in the Wisconsin Synod and fellowship with the radical Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 

J-601.2

"In reading Prof. Valleskey's article, I did not see him practicing the art of exegesis when he referred to ‘spoiling the Egyptians,’ but merely using that incident as an illustration to make his point…Your article published in the Orthodox Lutheran Forum leaves little room for the reader to conclude anything but the inference that Prof. Valleskey is an inept exegete, at least on this point. And that he advocates borrowing false doctrine from false teachers…In so doing, I feel constrained to tell you that you have violated the Eighth Commandment in this matter and have slandered Prof. Valleskey's good name...By extension, then, you have taken on our Seminary, a most serious matter. Because this is a public matter and out of my jurisdiction, I am sending a copy of this letter to District President Mueller."

            District President Marcus Nitz, Letter to Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, October 23, 1991.[52]

 

The threat came from District President Nitz because I dared to publish an article, “Figs from Thistles,” in which I took issue with Valleskey’s paper published in the Wisconsin Synod journal. Valleskey asked for responses to his article.[53] It was my obligation as a pastor to object to Valleskey’s paper when it was given, and to address his errors when the same false doctrines were published. I spoke to Valleskey during the question and answer period, as the conference minutes indicate, which quoted my spoiling the garbage of the Egyptians remark. After the discussion, I also blocked Valleskey’s flank speed exit from the room so I could talk to him some more.[54] Lastly, I sat at dinner with him and tried to discuss the same issues. A group of pastors phoned someone else—not me—and claimed that I never spoke to Valleskey first. I do not know who reported this falsehood to so many of them, but they did not observe Matthew 18 when they failed to ask me before making a spurious charge. In fact, in making this accusation repeatedly to the same man, they convinced him of something patently false. When I pointed this out in a later article, pastors in the Ohio conference reacted by trying to find out who gave me the conference minutes. Was it possible that I, as a member of the conference, had my own copy of the minutes?

 

Stealing the Precious Jewels of Fuller…Or Its Garbage?

 

J-602.2

"There is a fourth option, which is the choice of this writer. It is the same kind of approach Lawrence Crabb, a Christian counselor, advocates over against the use of secular counseling resources. He calls it 'spoiling the Egyptians' (Exodus 12:36, KJV), after the action of Israel at the time they left Egypt, when they took from the Egyptians what would stand them in good stead on their journey."

            David J. Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement: An Evaluation," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1991, 88, p. 115. Holidaysburg, Pa, 10-15-90. Exodus 12:36.[55]

 

J-603.2

"Yet this writer is confident we won't go astray in adopting a 'spoiling the Egyptians' approach to the various Church Growth Movement sociological principles and the research that produced them."

            David J. Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement: An Evaluation," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1991, 88, p. 116. Exodus 12:36.

 

J-604.2

"Introduction to the Church Growth Movement by Lutheran authors, Hunter, Kent R., Foundations for Church Growth (New Haven, MO: Leader Publishing Co., 1983) - the author, an LC-MS clergyman who has now set up his own church growth consulting service, performs the valuable service in this 204 page book of presenting an introduction to church growth goals and terminology. Werning, Waldo, Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1977) - Werning, active for years in LC-MS stewardship work, explains the foundations, presuppositions and principles of church growth and then shows how a congregation can benefit from making use of certain church growth principles - of the two books listed in this category, Werning's is the more practical."

Seminary Professor David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Pastoral Theology 358A p. 6.[56]

 

Later, when I published a critical review of Valleskey’s Church Growth book at the request of a WELS pastor two ministers from the Church of the Lutheran Confession, David Koenig and Paul Tiefel Junior, began attacking me in an organized letter writing campaign, joined by Paul Tiefel, Senior.[57] Bethany Lutheran Seminary organized a special meeting with my son, railing at him and demanding to know if he agreed with my review of Valleskey’s book.[58] Who said that WELS, the CLC, and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod cannot work together? They certainly can when they need to support their Church Growth leaders.

The topic being debated is: How does the doctrine of the Church Growth Movement affect the doctrine and methods of Lutheranism? Someone may attend a Roman Catholic school and write many articles and a book against Roman Catholic doctrine. Someone may attend Fuller Seminary and write a book against Church Growth doctrine. Robert Koester’s Law and Gospel, Northwestern Publishing House, based on his study at Fuller Seminary, is used as an argument that it is safe for WELS pastors to attend the Church Growth hothouse. According to Reverend Lawrence Otto Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), almost no one from WELS has gone to Fuller. It is painful for WELS, Missouri, and the ELS to admit that Church Growth doctrine dominates and subverts their agenda. Instead of trusting in the efficacy of the Word alone, they rely upon the following: secular methods, gimmicks, salesmanship, felt needs, cell groups, user-friendly worship, seeker services, lay ministry, women teaching men, making disciples, receptivity rating scales, and soil testing. Similar to the Missouri Synod, and even ELCA!, WELS sent its mission board members to various Church Growth beehives to learn how to fix Lutheranism.[59] The ELS is not innocent in this matter of promoting false doctrine. The publication of William B. Kessel’s "The Theology of Church Growth," in the (ELS) Lutheran Synod Quarterly, June, 1992, was obviously designed to be a seven-fold Amen to Valleskey’s effort of spoiling the Egyptians, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1991.[60]

Once a WELS pastor phoned and said he did not understand the value of the chapter on logical fallacies in Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure. Later, he claimed, he found all of those rhetorical tricks being used against him whenever he talked to synod officials. Extensive discussions with various pastors and officials revealed that the district mission boards of WELS were sent through Fuller Seminary, the Win Arn Church Growth Institute, or other Church Growth hothouses to be trained in the new methods. The letter below from Norm Berg is a goldmine of logical fallacies. One is a tu quoque: (You are too! You went to Notre Dame!) Another is the ignoratio elenchi: (Change of subject. Let’s not talk about my promotion of Church Growth. Let’s talk about your need for repentance.)

 

Logical Fallacies from Berg

 

J-606.2

"Neither things I shared with you nor any of my writings, published or not, substantiate the implications that I am an advocate of Church Growth theology. I did attend a Pasadena forum on Church Growth featuring Win Arn and others...I therefore request a public apology from you for making an unfounded accusation against me based on the fact that I attended a Church Growth conference. My attendance is no greater proof (by association) of my alleged Church Growth advocacy than your attendance at and degree from Notre Dame is proof of your acceptance of Roman Catholic heresy!"[61]

            Rev. Norman W. Berg, WELS, former mission board chairman, Letter to Gregory L. Jackson, 3-27-96.

 

ELCA/WELS/LCMS Leaders Work Together

 

WELS was quite secretive about its work with ELCA and the LCMS, even when the Lutheran Brotherhood Bond magazine described the leadership conference at Snowbird involving the leadership of all three synods.[62] The Lutheran, (ELCA) September 4, 1991 p. 33, published a photo of the WELS president, Carl Mischke, conferring with President Ralph Bohlmann (LCMS), and Bishop Herb Chilstron (ELCA). The Snowbird conference was organized by all three synods, just like the cross-cultural project, the Joy radio show, and the Church Membership Initiative. The WELS hymnal is a clone of the Lutheran Book of Worship, except in crucial areas where it is worse.[63] Anyone with a library card, a phone, and an IQ above room temperature can find out these facts. Verbatim quotations from the sources are listed at the end of this chapter.

 

Less Joy

 

Missouri leaders, including Al Barry and Paul McCain, have no problem in working with ELCA, in conducting joint worship services with ELCA, and engaging in other forms of unionism. WELS leaders are just as lax, but the pastors and members still believe some of what they were taught, so the Wisconsin Synod simply lies about all its work with ELCA and the Missouri Synod. When WELS worked with ELCA and Missouri to produce a pan-Lutheran religious radio show, I commented upon it, after phoning ELCA about the effort, and got this response from Paul Kelm.

 

J-607.2

"Your September 21 article in Christian News perpetuates a lie, slanders leaders of your church and risks spiritual offense to weak brothers and sisters. You describe a conference on leadership in which fellowship lines were clearly drawn and at which testimony to the truths which separate Lutherans was publicly given as 'a joint ministry conference with a liberal agenda.' Then you add, 'Months later, the three groups [ELCA, LCMS, WELS] joyfully announced a joint religious radio show, Joy, also funded by Lutheran insurance money. WELS participated in 'Joy' from the beginning and continues to be a part of the project.' The mistaken announcement by a reporter from another Lutheran body was clearly repudiated in the March 15, 1992 issues of The Northwestern Lutheran. Yet you boldly state that the WELS continues to be a part of this project, in which it never participated. Dr. Jackson, I ask you to repent of your slanderous lie and retract it publicly. Galatians 6:1-2 leads me to ask this of you, for the sake of your spiritual life. Titus 3:10 urges me to ask this of you for the sake of the church.

 

cc: District President Robert Mueller, Vice President Paul Kuske, Vice President Gerald Schroer, Rev. David Grundmeier, Rev. Gary Baumler."

Pastor Paul Kelm (WELS), Letter to Gregory L. Jackson, 9-23-92.

 

Do You Believe Me or Your Lying Eyes?

 

One of the arguments used to support the innocence of WELS at the Snowbird conference was that people cannot trust what ELCA reported in their magazine. As the adulterer said to his wife when caught in the act, “Are you going to believe me or those lying eyes of yours?” More than one WELS pastor objected strenuously to the image, not to mention the reality, of the WELS synod president conferring with an ELCA bishop about anything.[64]

The extent of the hypocrisy in WELS is simply astounding. The Wisconsin Synod has published a book (modestly titled WELS and Other Lutherans) stating that the ELCA is not a Christian denomination.[65] More than one person has seen a WELS leader curl his mouth in disgust at the thought of learning anything from the Missouri Synod. The Wisconsin Synod often speaks about not being in fellowship with the LCMS. Supposedly women do not teach men in WELS. WELS leaders also allege that they oppose Reformed doctrine. The description of the teachers at the Snowbird conference offers a completely different perspective.

 

No Lutheran Taught the Lutherans

 

J-608.2

"Four speakers prominent in the field of leadership research shared their perspectives. Frances Hesselbein of New York City, president and chief executive officer of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, spoke on 'The Challenge of Leadership.' She noted, 'The church shares the same bottom line with all voluntary and human service organizations: changed lives.'"

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.[66]

 

The letter from Kelm takes issue with the ELCA announcement of a joint religious radio show called “Joy.” When I received a copy of the letter written by WELS president Mischke, I phoned the ELCA leader about it. At first I talked to his secretary. She was flabbergasted that WELS was denying involvement in Joy. She said, “John Barber comes to all the meetings!” I knew John Barber as one of Kelm’s colleagues, who works closely with him. Is it possible that Barber crept out of the office and secretly attended meetings with ELCA and Missouri, telling Kelm and Mischke that he was golfing or fishing?

 

ELCA Version of Joy

 

J-609.2

"A new sacred classical music radio program soon will be available to radio stations across the country. The hour-long, weekly program, called "Joy," is an inter-Lutheran project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. "Joy" will be produced by KFUO-FM in St. Louis and will be funded by Aid Association for Lutherans, a fraternal benefit society. 'I'm excited about being involved in this project which is the first joint venture into ministry that has ever been done by these three Lutheran churches,' said the Rev. Richard Jensen, a member of ELCA communications staff and the Joy Advisory Committee. 'Joy is a program of sacred music. The focus is on the classics of sacred Christian music..."

            ELCA Newsbriefs, Christian News, 12-9-91, p. 2.

 

WELS Version of Joy

 

J-610.2

"The article in Christian News to which you refer escaped my attention until one of our other pastors called it to my attention soon after it appeared. Initially I even had difficulty relating to it. After thinking about it for a time I remembered that I was asked about a year ago whether the WELS would endorse or be in sponsor of such a program. My answer then was 'No" and still is. I have consistently taken the position with the fraternal benefits societies that 'pan-Lutheran' projects almost inevitably exclude us from participation because of our fellowship principles. The leadership of the fraternals has respected our position. So the statement by a member of the ELCA communications staff that this is the 'first joint venture into ministry' ever done by these three Lutheran churches is simply not factual. It has been called to the attention of those who made this statement."

            President Carl H. Mischke (WELS Synodical President), Letter to Pastor James Sherod, 1-3-92. [I have a Xerox of the letter, which was written on WELS letterhead.]

 

The official denial in The Northwestern Lutheran made the amusing claim that John Barber was needed by ELCA and Missouri as a consultant. He only attended the meetings as an observer.

 

Just Consulting

 

J-611.2

"Rev. Brenner tells us how unionists in the General Council chloroformed the conscience of the body. When they entered into working arrangements (in the distinctly religious sphere) with the Reformed churches, they glazed the matter over by reporting that 'the object of these conferences is purely that of counsel concerning the problems of foreign mission-work.' Only counsel; no fellowship; just consulting with one another. Thus does the camel push its nose into the tent. Let us keep our eyes open" (p. 98ff.)

Carl Lawrenz, Chairman, Commission on Doctrinal Matters, “Fellowship Then and Now, Concerning the Impasse in the Intersynodical Discussions on Church Fellowship,” no date, p. 23.

 

The synodical mindset is well illustrated in a message sent from a WELS pastor. The occasion of his correspondence was an essay I wrote about the secret initiation rites of the Wisconsin Synod. I wrote chiefly about GA, where the first year seminary students are misled, verbally abused, humiliated, and then, when welcomed into “our Masonic Lodge,” told to never divulge the secrets of the week. The essay never appeared in Christian News. It was sent out on the Martin Chemnitz Doctrinal Bulletin and then copied to the WELS discussion group by a pastor deeply concerned about hazing abuses.[67]

 

Telling the Truth Violates the Eighth Commandment

 

J-612.2

“I just saw an expose that you wrote on WELS initiation abuses. I read it on the 'net. I'm under the impression that it appeared in CN, but I don't know that for certain because I don't get CN anymore. They publish nearly anything and one cannot be sure about the veracity of what one reads in that publication. It used to be an excellent source for reliable information. I'm not so sure any more. But that's not why I wrote you.
I wrote to ask whether what I read was really what you wrote. If so, I'm shocked that you would write it! I can't understand why you would — your motivation escapes me, except perhaps as a way to get back at those who you believe hurt you in the past. It appears vindictive, and is clearly not ‘putting the best construction on everything,’ as we are taught in Luther's explanation of the Eighth Commandment.”

            WELS pastor, anonymous by his request. Email. November 2, 1998.[68]

 

The intriguing contradictions of the message are not unique to the writer, who first denied knowing my motives (which were spelled out in the article), then attributed base motives to me, and finally informed me that I violated the Eighth Commandment. This man’s worship professor, James P. Tiefel, writing on seminary stationery, wrote a letter to Pastor Otten (and cousin Paul Tiefel, Jr.) which climaxed in a claim that I needed a complete medical exam “from a caring physician” to deal with my violations of the Eighth Commandment.

This brief summary of Eighth Commandment abuses serves simply to illustrate how synods treat anyone who dares to question their doctrine and practice. When a WELS leader wrote an essay against Church Growth and amalgamation, his brother pastors told people the man was brain-damaged. When a retired seminary president opposed the amalgamation of the two colleges, the story was spread that the elderly man was senile. The WELS pastors who thought abuse was aimed only at outsiders, especially those who published articles, found themselves in a state of shock as they started to receive the same kind of treatment from their leaders.

Nothing is meant to suggest that only the Wisconsin Synod abuses the Eighth Commandment. It happens that publishing so many articles created a significant number of written reactions. Most pastors and laity do not publish articles, so the bogus use of the Eighth Commandment and Matthew 18 does not get recorded. However, I can verify from the stories of many different laity and pastors that the same methods are used repeatedly in all synods. Lutheranism has driven many pastors out of the ministry, kept some of the worst false teachers and predators in business, and now faces a meltdown in membership and a critical shortage of ministers.

 

Foundation of the Abuse

 

Many false approaches to the Scriptures contribute to the pathetic state of Lutheranism today. All of them are derived from lack of faith in the efficacy of the Word. The following are cited as primary reasons for avoiding discussion about doctrine and practice:

The synod comes first. Therefore, whatever might hurt the synod is a sin.

1.     My career comes first. If I become known for conflict, I will be denied the position I want. I may be removed from the ministry by vindictive leaders.

2.     The synod may take away my pension now that I am retired, so I will keep silent.

3.     I want to retire in peace and not become embroiled in conflict.

The excuses listed above have been offered to me or to my friends at various times. The excuses reveal a materialistic attitude toward life, a lack of trust in our Heavenly Father, and a rejection of the efficacy of the Word. No one is going to say that he is not tempted to give in to the same fears and delusions. Whenever conflict begins, a minister is going to think about how to provide for his family, the enormous cost of health insurance, and the immediate loss of friendship when forced out. No one wants to help the unemployed minister who has almost no marketable skills. Living on a minister’s salary is not easy, but trying to live without it is far more difficult. Higher salaries and pension funds have contributed to the entrapment of ministers. Although the pension funds can no longer be taken away as they were in the past, the fear of losing so much in benefits can paralyze the conscience.

When we are tempted by materialistic concerns, we should remember the Scriptures:

 

1.     KJV Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

2.     KJV Psalm 56:11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

3.     KJV Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

4.     KJV Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

5.     KJV Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

6.     KJV Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

7.     KJV 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

 

In the Name of Love

 

If I could name one gambit that has proved successful in undermining orthodoxy in recent years, it would be the improper invocation of love. If someone tries to raise an issue about doctrine, and he persists, he is called “unloving.” One conservative pastor was called Loveless Leonard for arguing the very position his denomination confessed on paper. Who gave him that nickname? The pastors in his own synod! Although his congregation was strong and unquestionably Lutheran, the neighboring pastors were able to cast a pall over traditional Lutheranism, in the name of love. One of the sins of “Loveless Leonard” was committed when he objected to a neighboring pastor who invited an Episcopalian choir to sing at his congregation and then communed them. The ecumenical pastor hung up the phone on Leonard. The district president refused to act. Once again, we can ask, “Who caused the strife? Who divided people? Loveless Leonard or the loving liberal and his lax district president?”

 

KJV 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

BYZ 1 John 3:18 Tekni,a mou( mh. avgapw/men lo,gw| mhde. th/| glw,ssh| avllv evn e;rgw| kai. avlhqei,a|.

 

The men who talk most about love often express themselves rather sharply, as we can see from the citation below.

 

J-613.2

Harkey: "We want love as much as orthodoxy, yes, a thousand times more than what some men call orthodoxy."

F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 2 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 121.

 

Harkey represented the position that love was to be preferred to orthodoxy. In this particular instance, he did not openly argue for a weak or compromising approach to Lutheranism, but cleverly boasted about his love while questioning orthodoxy. The barb implies that an abundance of love is true orthodoxy and that the unloving opponents of doctrinal laxity are not really orthodox.[69]

 

J-614.2

"In the Lutheran Observer, January 2, 1863, H. Harkey wrote: 'Some say that unity must precede union. But the Bible demands that we unite. Hence those who magnify these differences [among Lutherans] are the greatest sinners in the Church.' This has always been the view of the General Synod: union, irrespective of doctrinal differences...all endeavors at union which disregard the divine norm of Christian fellowship are anti-Scriptural."

F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 2 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 19.

 

American Lutherans have shown little interest in history, even less in Lutheran history. Therefore, people are vulnerable to the love strategy when they do not know how successfully it undermined sound doctrine in the past. The best example is Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s co-worker, a man of great ability. Unfortunately, Melanchthon was far too willing to compromise about doctrine, both with the Reformed and the papalists, in order to achieve peace. His example and teaching led to a division that still plagues Lutheranism.

Every liberal or apostate has a special advantage. He can work secretly to undermine the established confession of faith by suggesting some small improvements or by pointing out how a clear position alarms and offends others. Others with the same spirit can work together with him in the name of love. As one recent apostate said, “I have had a lover’s quarrel with my church all my life.” What he meant was, “I have devoted my life to subverting the teaching of my church.” Anyone who opposes the liberal must argue against the error and thereby appear unloving. For instance, the proponent of open communion wants to include everyone, since Christ died for the sins of the whole world. The first stage may be, “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.” The bulletin announcement of close communion is omitted. The pastor does not say anything. The ushers do not wish to embarrass anyone. No one says, “We have open communion.” If a traditional Lutheran tries to reverse the trend, angry members will list all the reasons why that would be bad for evangelism and unloving. Someone will cry at the meeting.

Whatever people may claim, doctrinal slippage does not increase love, but strife.

 

J-615.2

"As a rule, it is assumed that only the genuine Lutherans indulged in unseemly polemical invective, and spoke and wrote in a bitter and spiteful tone. But the Melanchthonians were, to say the least, equally guilty...The 'peace-loving Melanchthon started a conflagration within his own church in order to obtain a temporal and temporary peace with the Romanists; while the loyal Lutherans, inasmuch as they fought for the preservation of genuine Lutheranism, stood for, and promoted, a truly honorable, godly, and lasting peace on the basis of eternal truth. And while the latter fought honestly and in the open, the Philippists have never fully cleared themselves from the charges of duplicity, dishonesty, and dissimulation."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 104.

 

The Pietists all believe that their works, lifestyle, or love will convert people to Christ. Several Lutherans, endorsed by Lutherans of all synods, even produced a national dog-and-pony show on “Lifestyle Evangelism.” The appealing thesis of their program was that people will be attracted to the church by the lifestyle of church members, by their love. Unfortunately, all the synods involved, virtually 99% of Lutheranism, experienced membership declines from that time on. “But,” one can imagine the promoters saying, “think how bad it would have been without Lifestyle Evangelism.”

Luther found that the key to this entire argument was the efficacy of the Word. The Holy Spirit does not work through love but through the Word. Love is a fruit of the spirit, the greatest of the theological virtues (Galatians 5; 1 Corinthians 13). The advocates of love confuse the power of the Word with its results. Love is produced when the Law and the Gospel are properly taught and preached. For instance, no one is more thankful, joyous, and loving than one who has faced the enormity of his sins, the uselessness of his own efforts, and the depth of God’s mercy revealed in the crucified Messiah. The Law does not produce love, so one does not spawn a loving congregation by telling them to be more loving. Members do not become more loving by being told they are unloving. The Gospel of forgiveness produces love, the first fruit of the Spirit.[70]

 

Word of God Brings Eternal Life

 

J-616.2

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1411f. Ephesians 6:10-17.

 

Reversal of Fortune

 

Our normal reaction to conflict in the congregation or synod is often the wrong one. If we are offended in any way, our Old Adam wants retribution, justice, and then some. However, when God’s Word is attacked, whether boldly or subtly, we tend to suffer in silence. The pure Word of God will always bring the contempt of the world, the scorn of friends, and the assaults of Satan. The reaction is often so fierce that we are tempted to say, “I would rather have some peace and let all this go.” If someone tries to obtain justice for every single personal slight and all harm done to him, he will soon be a dog chasing his tail or rolling in the dirt with others. Instead, we should fight for the truth of God’s Word and accept the hardships that will certainly come our way as a result. Bearing the cross cannot be separated from following Christ. Pastors and laity must be patient with each other’s faults but unbending about sound doctrine.

 

J-617.2

"In like manner we will also do to our princes and priests; when they attack our manner of life, we should suffer it and show love for hatred, good for evil; but when they attack our doctrine, God's honor is attacked, then love and patience should cease and we should not keep silent, but also say: I honor my Father, and you dishonor me; yet I do not inquire whether you dishonor me, for I do not seek my own honor."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 176.

 

J-618.2

"To love God with all the soul is to devote your entire bodily life to him that you can say when the love of any creature, or any persecution threatens to overpower you: All this will I give up, before I will forsake my God; let men cast me away, murder or drown me, let what God's will is happen to me, I will gladly lose all, before I will forsake Thee, O Lord!"

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 25.

 

If someone wishes to follow Luther’s advice below, he will be scolded by church officials, shunned by fellow pastors, disciplined by adulterous members, but loved by God and His holy angels.[71] If a congregation truly follows this admonition, the members will enjoy among themselves great peace, genuine love, true harmony, and amazing advances in their ministry to the community and the world.

 

J-619.2

"In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412f. Galatians 2:8.

 

J-620.2

"Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in une parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 414. Galatians 5:10.

 

J-621.2

"But this tender mercy is to be exercised only toward Christians and among Christians, for toward those who reject and persecute the Gospel we must act differently; here I am not permitted to let my love be merciful so as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. Then it is my duty to contend in earnest and not to yield a hairbreadth."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 637f.


 

Closing of the Formula of Concord

 

Lutherans should not be surprised that the finest statement about love and sound doctrine should be found near the conclusion of the Formula of Concord, 1580. The word “concord” means harmony and it stands for the unity created by many voices who believe, teach, and confess the same doctrine. Horrible strife followed the death of Luther in 1546 and the effort of the Catholic emperor to destroy Lutheranism. In this passage, love is expressed for the unity created by a sincere, open confession of faith, and trust is placed in the Holy Spirit’s work through the pure Word. This statement is in large print to stop and arrest the attention of anyone paging through the book.

 

J-622.2

 

"We have no intention of yielding aught of the eternal, immutable truth of God for the sake of temporal peace, tranquility, and unity (which, moreover, is not in our power to do). Nor would such peace and unity, since it is devised against the truth and for its suppression, have any permanency. Still less are we inclined to adorn and conceal a corruption of the pure doctrine and manifest, condemned errors. But we entertain heartfelt pleasure and love for, and are on our part sincerely inclined and anxious to advance, that unity according to our utmost power, by which His glory remains to God uninjured, nothing of the divine truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to the least error, poor sinners are brought to true, genuine repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience, and thus justified and eternally saved alone through the sole merit of Christ."

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI. Election. #94-96. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1095. Tappert, p. 632. Heiser, p. 294.


J-623.2

"When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice. That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by few men during their lifetime. Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God. They are regarded as men worthy of contempt. But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace. Therefore, woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, sound the alarm whenever a foe threatens to rush the walls, and rally to the banner of Jesus Christ for a holy war!

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 28.

 

Unionism

 

The modern term “unionism” expresses what the Bible teaches about religious work with others who have a different confession of faith. The term is derived from the damage piously wrought by the Prussian Union of 1817-1830. The ruler, in a mixed (Lutheran/Reformed) marriage, thought it would be worthwhile to have the Lutherans and the Reformed in one united church. No one thought to make the Reformed give up Enthusiasm, to have them stop teaching against the efficacy of the Word, the Means of Grace, baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. The goal of that union movement was to have the Lutherans give up those Biblical doctrines previously attacked by Zwingli, Calvin, and their followers. Unionism did not start with the Prussian Union or stop once the European Lutheran Church was completely adapted to the suppression of truth, that is, absolutely indifferent to Biblical truths in the name of organizational peace. The original Prussian Union encouraged the founders of the Missouri Synod to escape to America, and these founders had a profound and positive influence upon American Lutheranism.

 

Indifference and Unionism

 

Unionism has been defined as exhibiting religious unity where none exists. The problem has been with pastors and church leaders taking part in worship services and formal prayer meetings (so designated to avoid the reality of joint worship), even though no unity exists. Unionism also describes any religious activity where discordant confessions of faith come together to work in the name of Christ. Joint board meetings, joint evangelism programs, joint religious radio shows, and joint religious leadership meetings all qualify as unionism. Some have claimed that “fellowship in externals” or joint work in the area of relief does not count as unionism. Nevertheless, it can be shown that fellowship in externals has consistently led to old-fashioned unionism by the process of increasing apathy and indifference.

 

J-624.2

"Doctrinal indifference is at once the root of unionism and its fruit. Whoever accepts, in theory as well as in practice, the absolute authority of the Scriptures and their unambiguousness with reference to all fundamental doctrines, must be opposed to every form of unionism."

M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 20.

 

Not every one in Europe surrendered to unionism, but the exceptions have been rare. The sainted Herman Sasse found little support for traditional Lutheranism in Europe or in America after World War II. Nevertheless, his articles and books have inspired many Lutherans to reject unionism and the corpse-cold doctrines of liberalism. Wherever unionism has attacked Biblical doctrines in the name of love, the Word of God and the Book of Concord have awakened people to guard the spiritual treasures being stolen away by craft and stealth, fraud and deceit.

The following passages from the Bible can be argued away, if we place no emphasis upon the clarity and unity of the Scriptures. However, if we believe that the Word of God is one complete and integrated truth without error or contradiction, then the injunctions against any kind of compromise with falsehood must be regarded as central to the Christian faith and not residue from an un-mourned past.

Unionism can only be described as a violation of the First Commandment, the one commandment hardly mentioned among Lutherans. What does this commandment mean? “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”[72] That must mean above all synods, above all bishops, above all pension plans, above all methods.

 

Exodus 20:2-3

 

KJV Exodus 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

The prophet Hosea loved and married an unfaithful woman, who served as a visual symbol of God’s love for His unfaithful people.[73] The danger to Israel and later to Christianity has been a longing for, an adulation of, and an imitation of false religion. Following false gods is a matter of forgetting, just as a spouse forgets vows of lifelong fidelity in order to commit adultery. The promises and blessings of God are not remembered and valued because they come in such abundance, while the glittering vices of false religions appeal to the senses by being different, exotic, and carnal.

 

Deuteronomy 8:19

 

KJV Deuteronomy 8:19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

 

People do not simply look over the fence and begin copying a false religion. First, a fine, good-looking, well mannered, soft-spoken, intelligent and articulate false prophet stands near the fence, pointing out how much better everything must be on the other side. We are harsh. They are loving. We are barely surviving. They are thriving. We are lost. They have a vision for the future. We are clods. They are cosmopolitan. We are poorly paid. They enjoy all the finest things in life. “The church council of a Christian congregation in a middle class community came to the stark realization that every church in town had grown—but theirs!”[74]

God’s antidote to the silken words of the false prophet is: "Kill him.” This may seem to be a severe remedy, but the false prophet of the Old Testament introduced such improvements in worship as sacred prostitution and infant sacrifice. More importantly, the false prophet murdered souls then as he does now by destroying faith in the one true God.

 

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

 

KJV Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

 

When Paul described the work of false prophets, he said, “Watch out for them and lean away from them.” Some conservative Lutherans have recently claimed, “They are Christians too. We can lean toward them.” But these progressive Christians reject salvation through Christ alone, mock the Means of Grace, endorse homosexuality and abortion, and teach their disciples to get in touch with the spirits who run our universe.[75]

 

Romans 16:17-18

 

KJV Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

 

The pan-Christians argue that we must not be too narrow or be “legalistic” in rejecting the wisdom of those who have a different confession. They have not heeded the motto of F. Pfotenhauer, the last truly orthodox Missouri Synod president, “Resist the beginnings.” One type of religious fellowship leads to another. Why would any orthodox Lutheran want to be yoked together with an ordained pastor or seminary professor who makes fun of his confession of faith and offers a false confession as an improvement? This mocking attitude can only happen when someone does not value the Word, forgetting how God is honored by our love for His Scriptures.

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

 

KJV 2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 

BYZ 2 Corinthians 6:14 Mh. gi,nesqe e`terozugou/ntej avpi,stoij\ ti,j ga.r metoch. dikaiosu,nh| kai. avnomi,a| ti,j de. koinwni,a fwti. pro.j sko,toj 15 ti,j de. sumfw,nhsij Cristw/| pro.j Belia,r h' ti,j meri.j pistw/| meta. avpi,stou 16 ti,j de. sugkata,qesij naw/| qeou/ meta. eivdw,lwn u`mei/j ga.r nao.j qeou/ evste zw/ntoj kaqw.j ei=pen o` qeo.j o[ti VEnoikh,sw evn auvtoi/j kai. evmperipath,sw kai. e;somai auvtw/n qeo,j kai. auvtoi. e;sontai, moi lao,j 17 dio. VExe,lqete evk me,sou auvtw/n kai. avfori,sqhte le,gei ku,rioj kai. avkaqa,rtou mh. a[ptesqe\ kavgw. eivsde,xomai u`ma/j 18 kai. e;somai u`mi/n eivj pate,ra kai. u`mei/j e;sesqe, moi eivj ui`ou.j kai. qugate,raj le,gei ku,rioj pantokra,twr.

 

False teachers glory in their success, in the material trappings of their power. One anecdote about the liberals in another setting rings true about Lutherans today, “What do they hold?” The answer – “The best congregations in the land.” An evil desire for the things of this world creates a double jeopardy. First of all, it confirms false prophets in their error, since they look around and calculate that God must surely bless them …or perhaps that He cannot possibly be watching closely. Secondly, the worldly success of false teachers serves to attract and seduce ministers who think that their weakness, poverty, and lack of esteem need a man-made remedy.

 

1 John 2:15-16

 

KJV 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

BYZ 1 John 2:15 Mh. avgapa/te to.n ko,smon mhde. ta. evn tw/| ko,smw| eva,n tij avgapa/| to.n ko,smon ouvk e;stin h` avga,ph tou/ patro.j evn auvtw/|\ 16 o[ti pa/n to. evn tw/| ko,smw| h` evpiqumi,a th/j sarko.j kai. h` evpiqumi,a tw/n ovfqalmw/n kai. h` avlazonei,a tou/ bi,ou ouvk e;stin evk tou/ patro.j avll evk tou/ ko,smou evsti,n.

 

 

The apostle John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a Gospel so filled with love that it is called the Gospel of love. His first epistle is also filled with tender injunctions for the believers to love one another, for “God is love,” contrary to the modern notion that love is god. The apostle’s description of love makes it impossible to love what is false. “Put the spirits on trial” is just the opposite of pleading for someone because he is “a nice guy,” or worse, “a friend of mine,” or worst of all, “my classmate.” Friendship and love are best exemplified when someone objects to false doctrine coming from his best friend, his pastor, his district president, and even his seminary professor.

 

1 John 4:1-3

KJV 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

BYZ 1 John 4:1 VAgaphtoi, mh. panti. pneu,mati pisteu,ete avlla. dokima,zete ta. pneu,mata eiv evk tou/ qeou/ evstin o[ti polloi. yeudoprofh/tai evxelhlu,qasin eivj to.n ko,smon 2 evn tou,tw| ginw,sketai to. pneu/ma tou/ qeou/\ pa/n pneu/ma o] o`mologei/ VIhsou/n Cristo.n evn sarki. evlhluqo,ta evk tou/ qeou/ evstin 3 kai. pa/n pneu/ma o] mh. o`mologei/ VIhsou/n Cristo.n evn sarki. evlhluqo,ta evk tou/ qeou/ ouvk e;stin\ kai. tou/to, evstin to. tou/ avnticri,stou o] avkhko,ate o[ti e;rcetai kai. nu/n evn tw/| ko,smw| evsti.n h;dh.

 

Christianity spread through hospitality, and the faith is also opposed through the use of friendships and bloodlines.[76] We should not expect Satan to despise something so convenient to his plans. Many people will listen to their friends and give up sound doctrine. More than one person has been threatened with being cut out of the family estate and responded by modifying his views.[77] Foolish people even listen to the cult members who knock on doors and spread poison from house to house. The worst fools pay huge sums to be trained in falsehood.

Unionism is now so accepted that one conservative pastor allowed a Mormon, someone trained in hating Christianity, to give a long eulogy at a Lutheran funeral. The same denomination claims that a Mason could not enjoy the trappings of his lodge at his funeral, since the Masonic orders teach salvation through works. But the Mormons deliberately imitate the lodge and go another step in calling Christianity “the Whore of Babylon,” teaching that Jesus is the brother of Satan, and declaring that the Savior had wives and spirit children. How can a conservative Lutheran pastor share a religious service with a Mormon?[78] The Church of the Lutheran Confession makes a fetish of denouncing the unionism of other Lutheran bodies, but it is easy to identify CLC pastors who violate their own guidelines. One very hip CLC pastor participated in an Episcopalian funeral, because the boy who died had been attending the church school. The same pastor publicly accepted as members two people living together but planning to get married.

 

2 John 1:10-11

 

KJV 2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

 

BYZ 2 John 1:10 ei; tij e;rcetai pro.j u`ma/j kai. tau,thn th.n didach.n ouv fe,rei mh. lamba,nete auvto.n eivj oivki,an kai. cai,rein auvtw/| mh. le,gete\ 11 o` ga.r le,gwn auvtw/| cai,rein koinwnei/ toi/j e;rgoij auvtou/ toi/j ponhroi/j.

 

Many false teachers are named in the New Testament so “naming names” must not be a sin, contrary to the claims of some.[79] Diotrephes loved to be top dog and caused all kinds of evil.[80] Although false teachers want to be considered apostles of love, their self-love (a modern word for conceit) leads them into the worst kind of back-biting, fueled by their Father Below, the master of deceit. Once again, the remedy can only be avoidance. The outward behavior illustrates what is happening in their hearts. Hatred of God’s Word will always bear the bitter fruit of hatred toward the brothers. We should not be surprised today that so many false teachers, firmly entrenched in false doctrine, cannot abide a word of correction, but labor night and day to drive out of the church all those who love God’s Word, laity and ministers alike. Diotrephes has many children today.

 

3 John 1:10-11

 

KJV 3 John 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

 

BYZ 3 John 1:10 dia. tou/to eva.n e;lqw u`pomnh,sw auvtou/ ta. e;rga a] poiei/ lo,goij ponhroi/j fluarw/n h`ma/j kai. mh. avrkou,menoj evpi. tou,toij ou;te auvto.j evpide,cetai tou.j avdelfou.j kai. tou.j boulome,nouj kwlu,ei kai. evk th/j evkklhsi,aj evkba,llei 11 VAgaphte, mh. mimou/ to. kako.n avlla. to. avgaqo,n o` avgaqopoiw/n evk tou/ qeou/ evstin\ o` kakopoiw/n ouvc e`w,raken to.n qeo,n.

 

Fellowship

 

Unionism can be called a false fellowship, because the term fellowship in the New Testament is only used for fellowship with God. Now that so many musty church basements have been enhanced with the name of Fellowship Hall, people think that fellowship means friendship, coffee, doughnuts, and comparing golf scores. The Corinthians were surrounded with paganism, as we are today, so the members had to deal with the issue of meat offered to idols. One aspect of the issue was avoiding an association with pagan worship, which was demonic.

 

1 Corinthians 10:20

 

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

 

BYZ 1 Corinthians 10:20 avll o[ti a] qu,ei( ta, e;qnh( daimoni,oij qu,ei kai. ouv qew/| ouv qe,lw de. u`ma/j koinwnou.j tw/n daimoni,wn gi,nesqai.

 

Paul’s warning to the Ephesians concludes a longer passage about the shameful practices of the pagans who accepted homosexual behavior as normal, fulfilling Romans 1. The apostates of Lutheranism have progressed so far that they have cloned the Satanic doctrines and perverse practices of paganism.

 

Ephesians 5:11

 

KJV Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

 

BYZ Ephesians 5:11 kai. mh. sugkoinwnei/te toi/j e;rgoij toi/j avka,rpoij tou/ sko,touj ma/llon de. kai. evle,gcete.

 

Some conservative Lutheran leaders have professed to be hurt that they have been called liars for their unionism, promotion of false doctrine, and malicious work against the Lutheran Confessions. One cannot defend falsehood and claim to walk in the light. One cannot profess to love Christ while despising His Word. If the Word of the Lord is too weak to be effective, while man’s methods are powerful, then the Savior is dishonored.

 

1 John 1:6-7

 

KJV 1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

 

BYZ 1 John 1:6 VEa.n ei;pwmen o[ti koinwni,an e;comen met auvtou/ kai. evn tw/| sko,tei peripatw/men yeudo,meqa kai. ouv poiou/men th.n avlh,qeian\ 7 eva.n de. evn tw/| fwti. peripatw/men w`j auvto,j evstin evn tw/| fwti, koinwni,an e;comen met avllh,lwn kai. to. ai-ma VIhsou/ Cristou/ tou/ ui`ou/ auvtou/ kaqari,zei h`ma/j avpo. pa,shj a`marti,aj.

 

Luther and the Triglotta

 

J-625.2

"Dr. Luther, who, above others, certainly understood the true and proper meaning of the Augsburg Confession, and who constantly remained steadfast thereto till his end, and defended it, shortly before his death repeated his faith concerning this article with great zeal in his last Confession, where he writes thus: 'I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all [other] saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone, and hope for no fellowship with me; this is not going to be altered [thus my opinion stands, which I am not going to change]."

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 33, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 983. Tappert, p. 575.

 

J-626.2

"And all these are established by the words by which Christ has instituted it, and which every one who desires to be a Christian and go to the Sacrament should know. For it is not our intention to admit to it and to administer it to those who know not what they seek, or why they come."

Fifth Part, Of The Sacrament of the Altar, #2, Large Catechism, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 753. Tappert, p. 447.

 

J-627.2

"And Paul commands that godless teachers should be avoided and execrated as cursed. Galatians 1:8; Titus 3:10. And 2 Corinthians 6:14 he says: 'Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what communion hath light with darkness?'"

Marks of Antichrist, 41, Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 517. Tappert, p. 328. Galatians 1:8; Titus 3:10; 2 Corinthians 6:14.

 

J-628.2

"If one associates much with heretics, one finally also makes oneself partaker of their false doctrine, their lies, and their errors; for he who touches pitch soils his hands with it."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 646.

 

J-629.2

"The orthodox character of a church is established not by its mere name nor by its outward acceptance of, and subscription to, an orthodox creed, but by the doctrine which is actually taught in its pulpits, in its theological seminaries, and in its publications. On the other hand, a church does not forfeit its orthodox character through the casual intrusion of errors, provided these are combated and eventually removed by means of doctrinal discipline."

(A Brief Statement of the Missouri Synod's Doctrinal Position, 1932) Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 2.

 

Reu: Three Marks of Unionism

 

J-630.2

"Here we discover the first mark of unionism: A difference in doctrine which hitherto has been regarded as divisive, is suddenly made to lose its divisive significance." (About the Augsburg Confession, Variata, Real Presence)

M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 19.

 

J-631.2

"The second mark of unionism, therefore, is this: Differences in doctrine are made to lose their divisive significance with a view to uniting hitherto separate churches." (about unification of all Protestant forces)

M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 19.

 

J-632.2

"The third mark of unionism, therefore, is this: A formula of unification is found which each of two hitherto separate churches may accept but which each of them interprets differently. An external bond is found for internally divided groups." (About Melanchthon using 1 Corinthians 10:16 as the basis for uniting the Reformed and Lutherans, Luther's favorite text against the Reformed.)

M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 19. 1 Corinthians 10:16.

 

Luther’s Rebuke to George Major

 

American Lutheranism has declined dramatically due to a lack of trust in the efficacy of the Word, unchecked unionism, and massive indifference toward doctrinal apostasy. Many men enter the conservative Lutheran seminaries with an idealistic view of the Word. The seminaries, staffed by church politicians, replace trust in the Scriptures with faith in the synod and a professional attitude toward a "career in the ministry.” In one room the men are taught the errors of Zwingli, Calvin, Pentecostals, and the Pietists. In another room, the same students are told they must study the books written by Zwinglians, Calvinists, tongue-speakers, and Pietists.

Proof of the decline of Lutheranism can be found in the complete lack of theological leadership among the synod presidents. In the past, such writers as Walther, F. Pieper, A. Pieper, Krauth, Lenski, and Ylvisaker were denominational leaders, professors, or both. The current synodical leaders have published nothing of value while their predecessors’ books are valued classics in theological and pastoral libraries. The current seminary professors of all the conservative synods have published only a little more than the denominational officials. In fact, many of the professors are singularly unqualified to teach by virtue of their slavish devotion to Reformed doctrine, their intellectual laziness, and their Majorism. By Majorism I do not mean his doctrine of the necessity of doing good works, but the professors’ amazing likeness to the portrait of George Major, as preserved in his rebuke by Martin Luther.

 

J-633.2

"It is by your silence and cloaking that you cast suspicion upon yourself. If you believe as you declare in my presence, then speak so also in the church, in public lectures, in sermons, and in private conversations, and strengthen your brethren, and lead the erring back to the right path, and contradict the contumacious spirits; otherwise your confession is sham pure and simple, and worth nothing. Whoever really regards his doctrine, faith, and confession as true, right, and certain cannot remain in the same stall with such as teach, or adhere to, false doctrine; nor can he keep on giving friendly words to Satan and his minions. A teacher who remains silent when errors are taught, and nevertheless pretends to be a true teacher, is worse than an open fanatic and by his hypocrisy does greater damage than a heretic. Nor can he be trusted. He is a wolf and a fox, a hireling and a servant of his belly, and ready to despise and to sacrifice doctrine, Word, faith, Sacrament, churches, and schools. He is either a secret bedfellow of the enemies, or a skeptic and a weathervane, waiting to see whether Christ or the devil will prove victorious; or he has no convictions of his own whatever, and is not worthy to be called a pupil, let alone a teacher; nor does he want to offend anybody, or say a word in favor of Christ, or hurt the devil and the world.”

            F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 94.

 

The poor example of the synod officials and professors contributes to the mental sloth and spinelessness of many conservative pastors. Imbued with the theology of glory, these pastors skip their Biblical studies in favor of attending practical seminars on how to be successful, always choosing their words and actions carefully to benefit their standing in the denomination. They are coffee hour conservatives at best, piously denouncing the apostate trends of their synod during the break, but silently nodding assent to those same spiritual atrocities during the meeting itself. They will gladly betray the friends they egg on “to do something about this problem,” forgetting that they too wanted the newest error to be stopped. Doing an about-face and betraying former friends is often rewarded with the long hoped-for call. No wonder it happens so often!

Misguided toleration is the best way to explain the catastrophic decline of Lutheranism: what do we find tolerable and what do we consider intolerable? The Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, and Evangelical Lutheran Synod all denounce ELCA for being so radical and pro-abortion, so eager to ordain women, and so quick to revise the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. But are all these marks of apostasy intolerable to those conservative synods, those heirs of Walther, Pieper, and Ylvisaker? Not at all. If ELCA’s habits are so atrocious, then why are the conservative synods so eager to attend the same joint conferences with ELCA and carry out joint work in worship, evangelism, leadership, and “cross-cultural ministry?”

American Lutherans no longer tolerate an open discussion of doctrinal error, for various reasons. The foundation was torn down in the 1930s, when Biblical errancy was allowed to supplant the orthodox doctrine of Scriptural inerrancy. The Word of God does not contain errors or contradictions—that doctrine was the accepted norm of all Christian confessions until the advent of the historical-critical method of interpreting the Bible.

In the past, American Lutherans differed in their confession, varying from the orthodoxy of the Missouri Synod to the unionism of many Pietistic groups. But they had the same foundation which contributed to trust in the efficacious Word. Once the authority of the Word was weakened, the conservative Lutheran groups began holding joint theological conferences with their liberal Lutheran opponents who openly mocked the Biblical views of the conservative. Those who truly believed in Biblical inerrancy would not sit down with the scornful (Psalm 1).[81]

Many historical reasons can be given for the self-destruction of Lutheranism, all of them illuminating to some degree, but the decline happened because Lutherans allowed it to happen. They tolerated professors and ministers who mocked the Bible, because they were nice guys, classmates, and blood relatives of synod officials. Ancestor worship is more widely practiced in the old Synodical Conference than among the primitive tribes of Africa and the bluebloods of Connecticut.

When Lutheran pastors objected to the horrible errors of the New International Version of the Bible, they were expelled from the ministry. Others were put out for complaining about unionism or doctrinal indifference. Still others walked the plank for rejecting the crafts and assaults of the Church Growth Movement. I know a pastor who was fired illegally for having a pancake dinner on Shrove Tuesday.


Appendix: Joint Work in WELS, ELCA, LCMS

 

Unionism: WELS Definition

 

J-634.2

"Before God every activity of our faith is at the same time fellowship activity in the Communion of Saints."

Doctrinal Statements of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Authorized by the Commission on Doctrinal Matters. p. 27.

 

J-635.2

"In selecting specific individuals or groups for a joint expression of faith we can do this only on the basis of their confession."

Doctrinal Statements of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Authorized by the Commission on Doctrinal Matters. p. 29.

 

J-636.2

"Unionism is characterized by these marks: It fails to confess the whole truth of the divine Word; it fails to reject and denounce every opposing error; it assigns error equal right with truth and creates the impression of church fellowship and of unity of faith where they do not exist." (Wisconsin Synod, Prayer Fellowship, Tract No. 10, 1954)

Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 64.

WELS Pan-Christian Worship Conference

 

J-637.2

“A Vision—a revelation, really—of what worship would be. What worship would be in heaven. Jesus offered it; St. John saw it..."

            Rev. James P. Tiefel, WELS professor of worship, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, chairman of the WELS national worship conference at Carthage College (ELCA), 1996.

 

Conference Leaders Included

1 ELCA parish staffmember.

1 Episcopalian staffmember, who led the Lutheran children’s choir in worship.

1 Roman Catholic businessman.

1 Evangelical.

0 Evangelical Lutheran Synod pastors.

5 Missouri Synod pastors and professors.

5 WELS women who taught men about worship and music.

1 Future WELS seminary president, David Valleskey, keynote speaker.

 

Recognition of Women’s Ordination by Missouri And WELS

 

J-638.2

"In 1970 there were 500,000 more baptized members of Lutheran congregations than was the case in 1990. The Church Membership Initiative project was undertaken to understand and address this decline... Contact:

 

Rev. Mary Ann Moller-Gunderson, Executive Director, Division for Congregational Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 W Higgins Road, Chicago, IL, 60631, 312-380-2570;

 

Rev. Lyle Muller, Executive Director, Board for Evangelism Services, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1333 S Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO, 63122-7295, 314-965-9000;

 

Rev. Wayne Borgwardt, Administrator for Worker Training, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2929 N Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI, 53222, 414-256-3236; Mr. Douglas Olson, Aid Association for Lutherans, 4321 N Ballard Road, Appleton, WI, 54919, 414-734-5721."

 

Church Membership Initiative, Narrative Summary of Findings, 1993, Aid Association for Lutherans, 4321 N Ballard Road, Appleton, WI, 54919-0001, June 30, 1993. Multiple copies of this report can be found at Martin Luther College Library, New Ulm, Minnesota.

 

J-639.2

"Its 'overall objective' is: 'To set in motion forces that will result in annual increases in the number of members of Lutheran congregations.' Why would any confessional Lutheran wish to 'set in motion forces' for 'annual increases in ELCA membership? The introductory page already alerts one to the hollowness of the talk about 'faithfulness to the substance of Lutheranism' (p. 3), by listing an ELCA official, a pastoress, as one of the sources of further information. 'Unchurched people feel good about their faith,' we are told, and the implication is that we should too."

            Professor Kurt Marquart, "Church Growth" As Mission Paradigm, A Lutheran Assessment, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Houston: Luther Academy Monograph, 1994, p. 142.

 

Joint Religious Broadcast

 

J-640.2

"A new sacred classical music radio program soon will be available to radio stations across the country. The hour-long, weekly program, called ‘Joy,’ is an inter-Lutheran project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. ‘Joy’ will be produced by KFUO-FM in St. Louis and will be funded by Aid Association for Lutherans, a fraternal benefit society. 'I'm excited about being involved in this project which is the first joint venture into ministry that has ever been done by these three Lutheran churches,' said the Rev. Richard Jensen, a member of ELCA communications staff and the Joy Advisory Committee. 'Joy is a program of sacred music. The focus is on the classics of sacred Christian music...’"

ELCA Newsbriefs, Christian News, 12-9-91, p. 2.

 

Denial by Mischke

 

J-641.2

"The article in Christian News to which you refer escaped my attention until one of our other pastors called it to my attention soon after it appeared. Initially I even had difficulty relating to it. After thinking about it for a time I remembered that I was asked about a year ago whether the WELS would endorse or be in sponsor of such a program. My answer then was 'No’ and still is. I have consistently taken the position with the fraternal benefits societies that 'pan-Lutheran' projects almost inevitably exclude us from participation because of our fellowship principles. The leadership of the fraternals has respected our position. So the statement by a member of the ELCA communications staff that this is the 'first joint venture into ministry' ever done by these three Lutheran churches is simply not factual. It has been called to the attention of those who made this statement."

President Carl H. Mischke (WELS Synodical President), Letter to Pastor James Sherod, 1-3-92. [WELS staffmember John Barber did attend the meetings, as a ‘consultant,’ according to the revised denial in The Northwestern Lutheran.]

 

WELS, ELCA, LCMS at Joint Leadership Conference

 

J-642.2

"CHIEFS CONFER: Waiting their turn to speak at a recent Lutheran leadership consultation are Dr. Carl Mischke, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church...Bohlmann...and ELCA Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom. At the July 18-20 event in Snowbird, Utah, in the Wasatch Mountains, 130 Lutheran leaders gathered to articulate a 'vision of leadership' for their respective church bodies."

The Lutheran, (ELCA) September 4, 1991 p. 33.

 

Jointly Planned by ELCA, WELS, LCMS

J-643.2

"The Lutheran Leadership Consultation, facilitated by Lutheran Brotherhood in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran-Church Missouri Synod (LC-MS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), was the first meeting of this type that included the three major Lutheran Churches as planners and participants."

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.

 

ELCA Bible Study Leader

J-644.2

"Throughout the Consultation, Walter F. Taylor, Jr., Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, explored principles and examples of leadership in the Pauline epistles."

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 13.

 

Church Growth Loves Druckerism

J-645.2

"Four speakers prominent in the field of leadership research shared their perspectives. Frances Hesselbein of New York City, president and chief executive officer of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, spoke on 'The Challenge of Leadership.' She noted, 'The church shares the same bottom line with all voluntary and human service organizations: changed lives.'"

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.

 

Reformed Professor

J-646.2

"William McKinney, dean and professor of religion and society at Hartford (Connecticut) Seminary, disagreed with the popular view that conventional Protestant churches have moved from mainline to sideline."

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.

 

J-647.2

"George Barna of Glendale, Calif., president of the Barna Research Group, a marketing firm specializing in research for Christian churches and parachurch organizations, laid out 'The Context for Leadership' with rather challenging facts about the society the church faces today."

Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.[82]

WELS Money for LWR and C.A.R.E (United Nations)

 

J-648.2

"$60,000 General world relief (through C.A.R.E. and Lutheran World Relief).”

Rev. Kenneth Strack, chairman, WELS Reports and Memorials for the Fifty-fourth Biennial Convention, Milwaukee: WELS, 1997. p. 165.[83]

 

J-649.2

One of many LCMS Congregations in the Willow Creek Association[84]


Saint John's Lutheran Church

Address:

 


15808 Manchester Road

City, State, Zip:

 

Ellisville, MO 63011

Country:

 

 

Church Phone:

 

(314) 394-4100

Church Fax:

 

(314) 394-9853

 

Website Address:

 

 

E-mail:

 

josh1V7@aol.com

Nearest Metropolitan Area:

 

 

Directions to Church:

 

 

www.willowcreek.org

 


 

A Troubled Conscience

 

J-650.2

"We find this attitude of tolerance quite frequently among unionists. It is often used to assuage a troubled conscience, one's own as well as that of others; for the unionist declares that every one may continue to hold his own private convictions and merely needs to respect and tolerate those of another. This attitude is totally wrong, for it disregards two important factors: (a) in tolerating divergent doctrines one either denies the perspicuity and clarity of the Scriptures, or one grants to error the right to exist alongside of truth, or one evidences indifference over against Biblical truth by surrendering its absolute validity; and (b) in allowing two opposite views concerning one doctrine to exist side by side, one has entered upon an inclined plane which of necessity leads ever further into complete doctrinal indifference, as may plainly be seen from the most calamitous case on record, viz., the Prussian Union."

M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus: The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 20.


 



[1] [Marks of the Antichrist: the falling away, avpostasi,a (apostasia), verse 3; seat in the temple of God, verse 4; acts godlike, verse 4; works have the power of Satan (also see John 8:44); will remain until Judgment Day, verse 8.] Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 463f. 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff.

[2] Examples of the word for efficacy are in bold print in the English and Greek.

[3] Those who enjoy reading Francis Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics are forever asking, “Who is Kalnis?”

[4] When the Wisconsin Synod seminary’s worship professor, James Tiefel, organized a synodical worship conference at Carthage College in 1996, he invited a Roman Catholic to share in teaching the sessions. Tiefel also invited an Episcopalian and a staff-member of an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregation as teachers of the Word. The current seminary president of WELS, David Valleskey, served as the keynote speaker. Five WELS women taught the men about worship. Michigan District President John Seifert urged his pastors to attend the ecumenical, feminist extravaganza.

[5] Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant covers the four major areas of disagreement more completely: justification by faith, Purgatory, Mary, and papal infallibility.

[6] A good slogan above the entrance to Purgatory would be: Arbeit Macht Freiheit.

[7] I overemphasized Luther’s Marian piety in Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, not giving enough space to his move toward accepting the true Biblical portrait of Mary in his later years. In his later sermons we can find references to Mary as a sinner, a dramatic break with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the notion that Mary was conceived without sin and never committed an actual sin. "In 1532 he denied any notion of a special conception of Mary. 'Mary is conceived in sin just like us....'" WA 36, 41 Thomas O'Meara, O.P., Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1966, p. 116.

[8] "Having ascended Mount Carmel and having met the monks there, Saint Louis [Louis IX of France] is astounded by the account of a most unusual tradition. The saintly monks say that they are the descendants of the Prophet Elias and call themselves 'Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel' because the fiery prophet, whom they imitate, had beheld, in a foot-shaped cloud that had divinely soared from the sea below them, a prophetic image of the Immaculate Virgin Mary who was to bring forth man's Salvation and to conquer the pride of Satan with Her heel of humility." John Mathias Haffert, Mary in Her Scapular Promise, Sea Isle City, NJ: The Scapular Press, 1942, p. 5. Genesis 3:15.

[9] "But the only thing that was taught and advocated was: Invoke the Virgin Mary and other saints as your mediators and intercessors; fast often and pray much; make pilgrimages, enter cloisters and become monks, or pay for the saying of many masses and like works. And thus we imagined when we did these things we had merited heaven." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 191. Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 22:34-46.

[10] I heard that the late Robert Preus told his Evangelical friends to stop this unbecoming reconciliation with Rome on Rome’s terms. He was ignored.

[11] [Polish Count Wladislaw Kulczycki reported in several dispatches that Cardinal Guidi, who resisted the infallibility drive, was the son of Pope Pius IX.] August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion, Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1981, p. 92. "Bishop Flavian Hugonin of Bayeeux had to go into hiding for months to escape the wrath of the Infallibilists in his diocese [in France, after the Council was over]." August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, p. 204. [In America, the Jesuits "incited" clergy and laity against the opposing bishops, after Vatican I.] "Before long, one of the key figures in the resistance movement, Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick of St. Louis, succumbed to the pressure." August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, p. 205.

[12] "When Yussef kissed the foot of Pius IX in the traditional fashion, the pope placed his foot on the patriarch's head (some said his neck) after the manner of a pagan conqueror, and said, 'Gregor, you hard head you.' Then he rubbed his foot about on the patriarch's head a while longer. After Pius had died, the Holy Synod of the Greek-Melkite church...filed two separate reports of this event in Rome in order to block the pope's canonization [as a saint]." August Bernhard Hasler, How the Pope Became Infallible, Pius IX and the Politics of Persuasion, Garden City: Doubleday and Company, 1981, p. 89. Some of us have had similar experiences in dealing with Lutheran synodical officials.

[13] De fide means that Catholics must believe it. When two priests were discussing Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, the younger one said about Purgatory, “It isn’t de fide, is it?” The older priest said to him, with some disgust, “It definitely is de fide.” The older priest also tried to say that Purgatory was not central in Roman Catholic doctrine. I should have asked, “Is that de fide?”

[14] "The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is a classic example of the development of doctrine." [3 stages: implicit acceptance; discussion and controversy; reception and solemn definition] E. Caroll, "Mary in the Documents of the Magisterium," Mariology, 3 vols., Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1961, I, p. 18. Yale church history professor Jaroslav Pelikan was stunned that the modern Roman Catholic Church published a three volume work on Mary.

 

[15] "Even in the literature we do have, Marian references are extremely rare before the year 150 and are difficult to interpret in works written between 150 and 200." Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism, 2 vols., Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1980, II, p. 869f.

[16] This is a reference to the claim of Mary being the Mediatrix of all Graces.

[17] "The doctrine is reaffirmed in Pope Paul's Credo of the People of God (1968) and by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's 'Letter on Certain Questions Concerning Eschatology' (1979) and is assumed by the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 51." Richard P. McBrien, Catholicism, 2 vols., Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1980, II, p. 1144.

[18] "That first ground of reason for the existence of the intermediate state between Heaven and Hell, was appreciated by the pagans themselves. The philosopher Plato speaks of it in truly remarkable words, in which the Catholic theologians need hardly make a change. 'Immediately on separation from the body,' he says, 'the souls come before their judge to be attentively examined. Does he see a soul disfigured by sin? Heaped with ignominy he will send it to the dungeon where it will suffer the just chastisement of its crimes. But there are some who profit by the pains which they endure...(See the Georgias and the Phaedo)" Martin Jugie, Purgatory and the Means to Avoid It, New York: Spiritual Book Associates, 1950, p. 21.

[19] False teachers often exclaim that it is a sin to “name names” in a doctrinal paper. In the following passage, 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul names two men. We know of Hymeneus from 1 Timothy 1:20. We do not have any additional information about Philetus, immortalized in the Scriptures for being one of many little Antichrists.

[20] Fuller Seminary organized a big conference in Columbus, Ohio. One Church Growth conference leader repeatedly gave tips to 1,000 ministers on how to have “happy campers.” He would say, “Do this and you will have happy campers.” The one-day event garnered $80,000 just for the basic fees, but many ministers left with $100 or more in books. The second event, the day after, also had a large crowd, this time learning about cell groups, paying a similar sum of money. Conservative Evangelical ministers were glassy-eyed with joy. WELS Pastor Robert Schumann came with Dr. Paul Leithart, a member of his congregation.

[21] Those who study Roman Catholic documents will notice a staggering number of anathemas pronounced upon everyone who disagrees with their doctrines. We should not forget that anyone who doubts Roman Catholic doctrine is damned to Hell, even if these curses are hidden away in dusty volumes of dogmatic history.

[22] Two Wisconsin Synod leaders invoked the term devil: (I)"THE DEVIL'S DIRTY DOZEN: TWELVE WAYS (AND MORE) TO KEEP YOUR CHURCH FROM GROWING..."Limit worship experience only to pages 5 and 15...Bulletin should be 'worship service' oriented rather than 'announcement oriented'...Expect unchurched to accept traditions as though they were doctrine." School of Outreach IV, Notebook, WELS Evangelism Commission. p. O-1.

(II) "Several of our brothers have been warning us to be careful about the leaven of The Church Growth Movement and the insidious Reformed doctrine contained within. Not a few of us have heard their warning and have thought to counter the danger by saying we will weed out the erroneous material and use only that which is proper and beneficial to the Lord's work in our congregations. Fellow-shepherds, there is some evidence to show that that is exactly what the devils wants us to think. That seems to be used to lull us and our members into sleep, and without our intending it, the soul-harming false doctrines creep in undetected, under the guise of religious printed materials and programs." Michigan District President Robert Mueller, (WELS), "President's Report to the Conferences, Spring, 1991, p. 2.

[23] The passage is also directly related to Romans 16:17-18. Belly worshipers do not realize that man lives by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The false teachers serve their bodily needs, not trusting in God to provide. They have forgotten: KJV Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The Word admonishes: KJV James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

[24] KJV Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

[25] In the KJV the same word, offense, is used for a number of Greek words. That is one reason why knowledge of Greek is so useful in studying the New Testament.

[26] "The building is modern, but features no crucifix or other religious symbols that might alienate newcomers." WELS Evangelism Workshop IV, LOCATING THE LOST, Tom Valeo, "Market Wise Pastor Strikes Deep Chords with Soft-Sell Pitch," Crain's Chicago Business, January 16, 1989 p. C-2. WELS and LCMS leaders pay their pastors to study at Willow Creek. "'I hate God,' the woman screamed, 'Who have I been praying to?' Or the sketches can be comical...Only after 30 minutes of such entertainment does Mr. Hybels appear, prepared to deliver an upbeat sermon that, he says, has 'high user value.'" WELS Evangelism Workshop, p. C-3.

[27] KJV Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

[28] Someone leaked a fraudulent use of a Luther quotation to me, a mailing from WELS trying to justify aping the Reformed. I was already free of WELS, so I parsed the complete quotation for a brief comment in Christian News. Soon after, Wayne Mueller told a gathering of WELS pastors, “If I ever get my hands on the person who leaked that to Gregg Jackson…”

[29] The Very Unoffical WELS site on the Internet has just what the Church Growth advocates love, Excel charts showing the rapid loss of members in WELS, accompanied by an astonishing growth in highly paid administrators.

[30] A WELS leader told lawyer Mary Dinkins that he did not know that a WELS district president was in state prison for molesting little girls. The WELS attorney told the court in the lawsuit against Fred Adrian that they knew of no sexual abuse by WELS church workers. When the judge received contrary evidence from the plaintiff’s lawyer, Dinkins, he ordered WELS to come up with the facts. WELS then provided a long list of cases.

[31] methodia “This noun, which in the NT occurs only in Ephesians 4:14, 6:11, in the sense of ‘scheming,’ ‘craftiness,’ is said by Grimm-Thayer to occur ‘neither in the O.T. nor in prof. auth.’ It is found, however, in late papyri in the more primary sense of ‘method,’ e.g. P Oxy VIII. 1134.9 (A.D. 421) where certain rents are said to have been collected…’in method corresponding to the account given by you of receipt and expenditure…” J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1930, p. 394.

[32] "Paul...is speaking about methods of preaching the Gospel. He means to say that you can introduce methods into your Gospel work which on the surface do not appear as shameful, but which in reality disgrace the Gospel. He is harking back to 2:17, where he spoke about kapeleuein, about 'selling' the Gospel. To use a coarse illustration: Some ministers in their eagerness to bring the Gospel to the people, resort to entertainment to attract the crowds, in order to get an opportunity to preach to them. If you would tell such ministers that they are ashamed of the Gospel and that by their methods they disgrace it, because they manifest a lack of trust in its efficacy, they would resent the charge. Are they not doing all in order to promote the Gospel? The disgrace their methods bring upon it does not appear on the surface; that is why Paul speaks of secret things of shame." John P. Meyer, Ministers of Christ, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, pp. 62f. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2:17. "Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23. "Your church will grow by God's grace because members will want it to grow in obedience to God's will and because you are using strategy and methodology in making disciples. Then nongrowth will be called nongrowth, and growth will be accepted as a gift from God." Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 159. [emphasis added]

[33] Note the examples above, especially the quotation from Lawrence Otto Olson.

[34] David Scaer’s commentary on James is one of the few modern Biblical books I would recommend buying and using.

[35] The Greek word for being watchful and vigilant transliterates as Gregory. Do people become their names? My archeology professor at Waterloo was named Lawrence Toombs, a grave man who dug up many sites in the Holy Land.

[36] It is not surprising that Hill is so popular in the Church Growth Movement.

[37] Hill’s theology is remarkably void, even for a Church Growth leader: "Faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used by man." Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, New York: Fawcett Crest Books, 1937, revised 1960, p. 51. "I do not even attempt to guess the over-all purpose or plan behind the universe. So far as I can tell, there is no plan for man except to come into this world, live a little while, and go." Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 213.

[38] No pastor is always correct about practice and every minister can make doctrinal statements that need clarification, if not correction and repudiation. The Scriptural approach to such problems will build up the congregation. Unfortunately, individuals will clobber the pastor at a public meaning, often over a minor or imaginary problem. Pancakes come to mind, but other silly things have wrecked congregations.

[39] One of the shameful habits of conservative Lutherans today is excusing bad or ambiguous doctrinal statements by saying, “This can be understood correctly,” and then spinning the statement. One could not invent a better way to advance false doctrine.

[40] One reader said, “Who must apologize?” The person who questions the false teacher must apologize for troubling him. The best way to survive such a confrontation is to brighten up at the end and say, “Oh, now I understand!” Persistently correcting a doctrinal error is suicidal in all established synods today.

[41] "Soil Testing. An evangelistic strategy that seeks out those people who are open to receiving the gospel at the present time." C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 300.

[42] The same trio traveled all over WELS as paid Church Growth consultants and expected every WELS pastor to attend their expensive and worthless Church Growth seminar. Most of the pastors fell into line, as usual. Seminary graduates have to return after one year to be re-programmed by the trio, in case they escaped the influence of Church Growth from college, seminary, the mission board, and the synod evangelism (Church Growth) people, such as Robert Hartman.

[43] Huebner was thrust as a consultant upon Shepherd of Peace, Columbus, Ohio, at the urging of another Church Growth disciple, Richard Krause, whose D. Min. mentor was Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary. A congregational meeting with District President Robert Mueller pointed out that Huebner was a disaster. It was obvious to members that he was trying to get even for my published criticisms of Church Growth. Huebner admitted that he, Olson, and Paul Kelm were trained as consultants by Fuller Seminary.

[44] "BUT I would suggest that some of the essential criticisms that have been used by Pastor Jackson and published are invalid. Please, examine the three column layout on the cherry sheet." [After conceding that Church Growth is Reformed] Note: the cherry sheet sets up a straw man argument which bristles which sarcasm, such as: "If Pastor Jackson is consistent with the criticisms he has published, he would have to say:...Paul really goofed. Look how few were converted. (Oops! I don't really mean to put a CGM argument into Greg's mouth.)" WELS District Vice-president Paul Kuske, Letter to Michigan District Mission Board, April 21, 1990 p. 5.

[45] Soon after this letter was written, Schumann became an AAL insurance agent. Kuske was voted out of office, an extremely rare event in WELS. As the first vice-president of the district, Kuske was in line to inherit the job of district president.

[46] Stolzenburg came to Kuske’s going away party. The local WELS pastors, free of Kovaciny and Schumann, were disgusted. “What’s he doing here?” they wondered.

[47] KJV Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

 

[48] Rick Miller told me he was trained at Willow Creek and saw a number of WELS pastors there at the time. A missionary in Canada told me he was offered training at Willow Creek, all expenses paid, through the WELS mission board.

[49] ELS Pastor Jay Webber gave me a marked up and badly Xeroxed copy of the story. Apparently it made the rounds of the ELS, secretly. My wife Chris obtained a clear copy from the newspaper company and I sent it to Christian News. Dan Kelm is the brother of Paul Kelm. Dan left his Seeker Service WELS congregation, became a missionary, and then came home to join the LCMS. Paul Kelm’s son also joined the LCMS.

[50] When he was asked why he did not speak out against the Church Growth Movement, he said, “I am nominated for a teaching call in WELS. I don’t want to ruin my chances.” He is still silent.

[51] WELS now works with ELCA and the LCMS on cross-cultural ministry, after co-habiting at the Snowbird Conference. Fuller Seminary teaches cross-cultural ministry and the Lutherans follow Fuller’s lead.

[52] When I finally met Marcus Nitz at a WELS conference in 1999, he could not remember writing this letter. Instead, he wrote asking for a copy of his letter. WELS district presidents have photogenic memories, airbrushing their memories or wiping them out, to improve the past. Nitz has never apologized for his false accusation, but the WELS pastors say their district presidents are too proud to admit being wrong about anything. No one ever explained why he decided to meddle in Michigan District matters. The article I wrote was “Figs From Thistles,” Orthodox Lutheran Forum, September 27, 1991.

[53] "At the end of the lively discussion, Professor Valleskey again pointed to his summary theses and requested any input anyone has concerning them." Pastor Earl Noffsinger, Minutes, Ohio Conference, 10-15-90, Holidaysburg, PA p. 2. [emphasis added] Isn’t it strange to request input, avoid a personal discussion, and then fly into a rage when the input is provided?

[54] I asked Valleskey if he studied at Fuller Seminary. He looked very alarmed and said no. Later, he admitted to CLC Pastor David Koenig that he did attend a seminar at Fuller on Church Growth. Koenig was furious that I named him as my source in Christian News. Another source told me about how Valleskey bragged in his congregational bulletin about going to Fuller Seminary, when he was serving a congregation in San Jose, California.

[55] I pointed out in the discussion that the Israelites spoiled the gold and jewels of the Egyptians, not their garbage. My observation was preserved in the minutes and therefore in my database, Megatron.

[56] Hunter and Werning were both named to the Church Growth Hall of Shame in Church Growth: State of the Art. "I would not say this publicly, but I will tell privately that I received a phone call from a WELS pastor who said that some claim that there are several WELS pastors in your Circuit who are into church management and some kind of church growth (and possibly even funded by some agencies) and that some believe that you are trying to get at them and a few others in WELS, and that is why you are writing the articles. Whatever the facts are, your entering into this fray, it seems to me, will not open up channels for God to use your very good talents in WELS in profitable ways." Waldo J. Werning, Letter to Gregory Jackson, August 23, 1989 (Letter stamped in red: CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL).

[57] The circuit pastor in Minnesota, Steve Kurtzahn, pointed out that Koenig and Tiefel were simply reflecting their doctrinal problems. He made a long list of their errors for the CLC board of doctrine.

[58] One LCMS man took the review with him, went out to dinner, and chuckled throughout the entire article.

[59] ELS leaders do not like to be reminded that they are in fellowship with WELS, that they say nothing while WELS endorses Reformed doctrine.

[60] According to Jay Webber, George Orvick tried to pacify the ELS pastors before the paper was given, because the essay was “weak.”

[61] Attendance at Fuller is not proof by itself, but advocacy of Church Growth strategies instead of the efficacious Word – that is proof. Berg was a pioneer in New Mode congregations, claiming that people would come to church for “felt needs” and stay for the Gospel. Paul Kelm still argues that position. Moreover, Berg admitted to me that all the district mission board members were sent to Fuller or to the Church Growth Institute in nearby Monrovia.

[62] Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.

[63] The LBW, dubbed the Liberal Book of Weirdness, was remarkable for feminist hymns in 1978. Christian Worship added a feminist creed, avoiding the term “and became man.” The LBW published some bad hymns but nothing as tacky as “Take My Hand” or “Take the World but Give Me Jesus.” CW is a very pretty hymnal with great graphical design, showing the influence of the art community in ELCA.

[64] "CHIEFS CONFER: Waiting their turn to speak at a recent Lutheran leadership consultation are Dr. Carl Mischke, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church...Bohlmann...and ELCA Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom. At the July 18-20 event in Snowbird, Utah, in the Wasatch Mountains, 130 Lutheran leaders gathered to articulate a 'vision of leadership' for their respective church bodies." The Lutheran, (ELCA) September 4, 1991 p. 33. Pictured together: Rev. Carl Mischke, Rev. Ralph Bohlmann, and Bishop Herbert Chilstrom (ELCA). Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68, p. 12.

[65] A statistical title would have been: Other Lutherans in America (95%) and WELS (5%).

[66] Church Growth enthusiasts love Drucker management books and the bottom line. The four leaders of the conference were: a woman, a CG icon (in the words of Rev. James Schaefer, NWL), an ultra-liberal Reformed theologian, and a historical-critical expert from an ELCA seminary which once boasted of Lenski and Leupold as professors. The reference to the “same bottom line” is a good indication of the poverty of the advice given.

[67] A number of WELS pastors wrote me to condemn me for publishing their secrets in CN, the ad hermanem argument. If someone has written for CN, he is evil. Others accused me of never witnessing a GA initiation at the seminary, even though the article stated that I did witness the event.

[68] The WELS conference chairman also stated that he did not need to know anything more about a clergy sex predator, that discussing a public scandal of that sort would tarnish the man’s reputation! His refusal to know anything has contributed to the cover up.

[69] See Chapter Seven for a description of Pietism.

[70] KJV Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. It is worth noting that the effects of the Holy Spirit are almost always three-fold in the Bible, reminding us that this work is accomplished by the Holy Trinity. See Jack Cascione, In Search of the Biblical Order.

[71] I got tired of Paul Kuske always referring scornfully to an interest in sound doctrine. He would say, “He has a Luther complex.” Finally, I said, “That’s better than a Melanchthon complex.”

[72] Small Catechism, Concordia Triglotta, p. 539.

[73] Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

[74] Church of the Lutheran Confession Pastor Stephen C. F. Kurtzahn, “Let Your Light Shine, An Evangelism Program for Those who Want to Share the Savior with Others,” p. 1. The program is typical Fuller Pietism, emphasizing prayer rather than the efficacy of the Word. CLC Pastor David Koenig is a champion of this approach. He gave a one hour sermon in Madison, Wisconsin, denouncing Lutherans for being no good at evangelism. In the sermon transcript sent to me by Christ Williams and Peter Press, who left the congregation, Koenig praised the Reformed and the Jesuits for their mission efforts.

[75] The facts about Fuller Theological Seminary are easily available in Harold Lindsell’s The Battle for the Bible and its sequel. Paul Y. Cho, the occult leader, has been a featured speaker at Fuller. The conservative Lutherans gladly work with ELCA, whose pagan ideas about homosexuality and abortion are well known.

[76] Blood is thicker than doctrine in Lutheranism today.

[77] One prominent Church Growth leader in WELS left his synod for doctrinal reasons. He father-in-law, a prosperous farmer in southern Minnesota, said: “If you leave the synod, you will never be welcome in this house again.” The prodigal came back and rose to prominence supporting false doctrine. Carob pods do not taste very good, compared to Godiva chocolate, he must have reasoned. KJV Luke 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the [carob] husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

[78] The Mormon probably went to his brothers and bragged that he was able to witness to the Whore of Bablylon. One Augustana Synod professor wrote a fine critique of Mormonism. Whenever a pair of Mormons showed up at the Augustana College Library, where I worked, the librarians hid the booklet, since the missionaries invariably stole the booklet. In the past, Mormonism could not get a foothold in America because ministers trained their members against the cult.

[79] John Lawrenz, now a Mequon professor, denounced an outstanding paper by Pastor Harold Sauer, because Sauer “named names” who were not there to defend themselves. Of course, Sauer was there to defend himself from Lawrenz, who also attacked the paper because Sauer’s congregation was “dead.” I wondered if Lawrenz ever learned the Marks of the Church.

[80] 3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

 

[81] KJV Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

[82] "A number of experts on church growth principles added muscle to the conference. Among the experts were George Barna, George Gallup Jr., Lyle Schaller, and Tom Sine—icons in the church growth movement...Of the four church growth experts mentioned above, I have heard three of them speak at some length." James P. Schaefer, The Northwestern Lutheran, October 15, 1991, p. 363. "Marketing churches to reach people is consistent with biblical principles and doesn't mean the message needs to be watered down or compromised, according to researcher George Barna...Church growth is primarily accomplished by word of mouth. Barna advised clergy to see themselves as cheerleaders rather than leaders, as laypeople carry out the practical marketing of the church." News From Around the World, The Northwestern Lutheran, November 15, 1991 p. 395. "MEDIA RESOURCES. Marketing the Church (George Barna), Navpress." WELS Evangelism Workshop IV, LOCATING THE LOST, Marketing the church is a key Church Growth concept. p. 96. "George Barna is a Christian researcher/author/marketer/social analyst who tends to 'turn a lot of heads' when he speaks. He usually couches his provocative and interpretive comments to the church with honesty and reality. On occasion he has been retained by leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to facilitate mission interpretation from an outside perspective." Rev. Michael Ruhl, "Here Are Five Evangelism Myths..." The Michigan Lutheran, January 1996 Board of Evangelism and Church Growth.

[83] WELS Pastor Tim Buelow refused to believe that WELS had been secretly supporting Lutheran World Relief while he was growing in in the synod. He was stunned to learn that District President Robert Mueller was on the LWR board and knew all the ELCA leaders by name. Mueller mentioned his work with ELCA on the LWR board to defend the Snowbird Conference.

[84] This was copied directly from the Willow Creek website. The same information is now very hard to obtain from the same site. When I first looked up LCMS congregations in the Willow Creek Association, I found them in every state. Supposedly, the conservative LCMS, under the confessional leadership of Al Barry and Paul McCain, look down on ELCA for unionism with the Reformed.