Unionism: What Is It?

In the comments section of Friday’s post by Pastor Rossow titled “Per DP’s Advice LCMS Pastor Cancels Participation in Joint Service but Still Supports Unionism,” arguments were made that having a joint worship service with congregations of other fellowships, such as Methodists, or Baptists, or Presbyterians, is not unionism.  Holy Scripture, our Confession, Lutheran theologians, and our own synodical statements disagree with that position.  Here are a few quotations from across the centuries to illustrate the point.

From the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Constitution:

“Article VI Conditions of Membership

“Conditions for acquiring and holding membership in the Synod are the following:
1. Acceptance of the confessional basis of Article II.
2. Renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description, such as:
a. Serving congregations of mixed confession, as such, by ministers of the church;
b. Taking part in the services and sacramental rites of heterodox congregations or of congregations of mixed confession;
c. Participating in heterodox tract and missionary activities.” [emphasis added]

The official position of the Synod from “Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod”:

“28. On Church-Fellowship. – Since God ordained that His Word only, without the admixture of human doctrine, be taught and believed in the Christian Church, 1 Pet. 4, 11; John 8, 31. 32; 1 Tim. 6, 3. 4, all Christians are required by God to discriminate between orthodox and heterodox church-bodies, Matt. 7,15, to have church-    fellowship only with orthodox church-bodies, and, in case they have strayed into heterodox church-bodies, to leave them, Rom. 16,17. We repudiate unionism, that is, church-fellowship with the adherents of false doctrine, as disobedience to God’s command, as the real cause of the origin and continuance of divisions in the Church, Rom. 16,17; 2 John 9.10, and as involving the constant danger of losing the Word of God entirely, 2 Tim. 2,17 ff.”

From the Christian Cyclopedia on the LCMS website:

“Religious unionism consists in joint worship and work of those not united in doctrine. Its essence is an agreement to disagree. In effect, it denies the doctrine of the clearness of Scripture.” (Quoted from The Concordia Cyclopedia, St. Louis, 1927)

From the 1974 CTCR document “A Lutheran Stance Toward Ecumenism”:

“C. On the Congregational Level

“When congregations become members of the Synod they voluntarily accept certain limitations of their autonomy. For the sake of good order and the benefit of all, congregations consent to regulate the exercise of their rights according to a compact freely entered into and mutually accepted. Congregations, for instance, agree to be served only by such pastors as have been certified for placement by the Synod’s seminary faculties and who are members of the Synod. Similarly, congregations agree that they will practice fellowship only with those congregations which belong to a church body with which the Synod is in fellowship. Once such an agreement has been made, confusion and disorder result when congregations act
independently by practicing selective fellowship. The Synod has, therefore, on several occasions stated its position on selective fellowship. Key sentences from a resolution adopted in 1969 give the Synod’s position:

“WHEREAS, The members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod have voluntarily united in a fraternal agreement to determine fellowship relations with other church bodies or congregations, not individually but through convention action (Handbook 1.21) . . .
   ” Resolved, That the Synod urge all its members to honor their fraternal agreement with all members of the Synod by refraining from practicing altar and pulpit fellowship with congregations of church bodies with whom the Synod has not yet declared fellowship.

“D. On the Individual Level

“1. In the exercise of their office pastors will follow synodical policy. Except in emergency situations and in such cases where their action cannot rightfully be construed as disregard for pure doctrine, for the responsibilities of their office, or for the concerns of their brethren in the ministry, pastors will ordinarily commune only those individuals who are members of the Synod or of a Lutheran church body with which the Synod is in fellowship. Pastors will not participate in joint worship services with pastors of denominations with which the Synod has not established fellowship relations. When pastors affiliate with ministerial alliances or associations, they will participate in such activities and service opportunities as do
not imply ecclesiastical fellowship where it does not yet exist.”

From the 2001 CTCR document “The Lutheran Understanding of Church Fellowship”:

“The promise not to participate in worship services with those not in church fellowship with the LCMS applies particularly to pastors, who are the official representatives of both their congregations and the LCMS. Their solemn commitment to the scriptural and confessional position of the LCMS must be their guide and will supersede personal feelings or preferences. Trust among LCMS pastors, congregations, and leaders allows everyone to carry out their commitment to fellowship practices to which they have mutually agreed. This trust is undermined when these commitments, as they are set forth in the official documents of the LCMS, are openly violated. Public knowledge of such violations strains relationships and makes reasoned discourse of real issues difficult. This in turn hinders pastors from exercising discretion in unclear situations.”

The following quote is taken from the September 18, 1917 edition of The Lutheran Witness. It points out that the LCMS would have no joint worship services with other Lutheran synods on the Reformation Jubilee, because there was no unity in doctrine. Obviously, this refusal to hold joint worship services with other Lutheran synods would also apply to other non-Lutheran denominations:

“Joint Reformation Celebrations. — Many of our congregations will take part in joint celebrations of the Jubilee. The churches of the Synodical Conference in many centers of population will gather in imposing union services. But there will be no participation of our churches in general Lutheran or Protestant gatherings.
“The reason for this position of our Synod has been stated before, but in view of the approaching celebration demands restatement.
“We hold it to be self-evident truth that, where there is no unity of faith, there ought to be no unity of worship. If the texts of Scripture which forbid unionism (for example, Rom. 16, 17; 1 Tim. 6, 3 ff.) do not apply here, they are devoid of meaning.
“We hold it to be a truth that may be readily verified by investigation that there are real differences in doctrine between the synods composing the Synodical Conference on the one hand and, for instance, the Ohio Synod, the Iowa Synod, the General Synod, the General Council, and the United Synod of the South, on the other. [The predestinarian controversy is mentioned.]
“…There are other differences, as, for instance, on the Sabbath question and other adiaphora (liquor question, etc.). The evolution doctrine is taught in some church-papers. For a full discussion of these differences and others read Prof. Bente’s book: Was steht der Vereinigung der lutherischen Synoden Amerikas im Wege? which contains a sufficient array of facts to convince the Christian reader that there are very real and effectual bars to Lutheran union. But where there is no unity, there can be no joining worship nor joint celebrations of the Jubilee.
“The question is not: What do individual Christians in these bodies believe? but this: What is the public and official stand of these synods in matters of Christian doctrine? We believe that there are true Christians in all these Churches, because the essentials of the Gospel are still preached. Even so there are, no doubt, children of God in the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, even in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches. But all these Christians are permitting men who have departed in some point from the Gospel of Christ to determine the public and official doctrine of their bodies. These Christians are misled. They follow blind leaders. We may make every allowance for human weakness, and thus, in a measure, condone their fault. We recognize the stress of circumstances. But we cannot do one thing: we cannot enter into relations of fellowship with them so long a they do not obey the word of Jesus and proclaim their undivided adherence to His teachings.
“These words are not written for the purpose of instructing our own people, to whom all these statements are commonplaces, but for the benefit of the outsider. No Missouri Synod Lutheran rejoices in the fact of division. But he recognizes the fact. And by dispassionately exhibiting this fact, we appeal to the conscience of all good Christians who are now separated from us because of affiliation with men who teach falsely, and would have them remove the offense from their midst in order that there may be Lutheran unity throughout the length and breadth of the land.
“There is no other possibility of the removal of division except by speaking plainly to Christians concerning the error which they support by their membership. In the performance of this duty we must not grow negligent, not even in this year of Jubilee.”

Hermann Sasse, “Concerning the Unity of the Lutheran Church,” Letters to Pastors, No. 25, translated by Matthew C. Harrison:

“True ecumeny, which sees the one church of Christ wherever the means of grace are yet preserved—through which the Lord calls to His church—even beyond the boundaries of one’s own ecclesiology, stands opposed to false ecumeny, which treats Christians of all denominations as brothers in faith. This false ecumeny tries to make visible and tangible that which we humans cannot see and touch, the church as the people of God, as the Body of Christ, as the temple of the Holy Spirit. This false ecumeny changes the ‘article of faith’ about the church into an ‘article of sight.’ It understands the unity of the church, which only the Holy Spirit can create and maintain, as something which we humans can produce. And it tries to produce this unity, in that it works to realize the one faith, the one baptism, the one sacrament of the altar as a compromise of various forms of faith, various interpretations of baptism, and various understandings of holy communion. In so far as it does that, this false ecumeny overlooks [the fact] that the various understandings of the means of grace are not only different possibilities of understanding the truth, but rather that soul-murdering errors and church-destroying heresy also hide among them. True ecumeny sees this. Therefore, it is able to recognize the true unity of the church only there, where it recognizes the one correct faith, the one correct baptism, the one communion of the Lord Christ. True ecumeny asks, therefore, not first about unity, but rather about truth. It knows that where the true church is, there, and there alone, is also the one church. In this sense it understands the high priestly prayer of the Lord, too, in which the ‘that they may all be one’ is linked inseparably with ‘sanctify them in Your truth; Your Word is the truth’ (John 17:17, 21).”

Wilhelm Loehe in Three Books About the Church:

“Let the great ‘It is sufficient’ with which the Augsburg Confession insists upon unity in doctrine and sacrament be our war cry, our watchword, our banner.”

Dr. Franz Pieper, from “Unity of Faith”, an essay delivered at the 1888 Convention of the Synodical Conference, translated by E.J. Otto:

“We dare not allow any other concept of unity to arise among us than the unity of faith which is in harmony with Scripture, the agreement in all articles of Christian doctrine.”

Charles Porterfield Krauth, from “The Right Relation to Denominations in America,” in Lutheran Confessional Theology in America:

“When the Lutheran Church acts in the spirit of the current denominationalism it abandons its own spirit. It is a house divided against itself. Some even then will stand firm, and with the choosing of new gods on the part of others there will be war in the gates. No seeming success could compensate our church for the forsaking of principles which gave her her being, for the loss of internal peace, for the destruction of her proper dignity, for the lack of self-respect which would follow it. The Lutheran Church can never have real moral dignity, real self-respect, a real claim on the reverence and loyalty of its children while it allows the fear of the denominations around it, or the desire of their approval, in any respect to shape its principles or control its actions. It is a fatal thing to ask not, What is right? What is consistent? but, What will be thought of us? How will the sectarian and secular papers talk about us? How will our neighbors of the different communions regard this or that course? Better to die than to prolong a miserable life by such compromise of all that gives life its value.”

Johann Gerhard, quoted from Cyberbrethren, trans. by Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes:

“Not just any unity of faith and doctrine is a mark of the Church, but only the unity of true faith and doctrine, that is, of prophetic and apostolic doctrine, for that alone is of immovable and perpetual truth. Therefore the unity of faith that is a mark of the Church must be based on one foundation of doctrine: the apostolic doctrine. Accordingly, the Church is said to be ‘built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles’ (Eph. 2:20). It is said about the heavenly Jerusalem that “its wall has twelve foundations and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”( Rev. 21:14). Accordingly, in Zech. 8:19 ‘truth and peace’ are joined. In fact, truth is set ahead of peace so that we may understand that God approves of only that peace, concord, and unity which enjoys the foundation and bond of truth. John 8:31: ‘If you remain in My Word, you are truly My disciples.’ John 17:21: ‘That they may be one in Us.'”

Johann Michael Reu, from the pamphlet “In the Interest of Lutheran Unity'”:

“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.”

Dr. Theodore Graebner, from his essay “The Leprosy of Unionism”:

“No one believes that any Missouri Synod man would dare to propose at this time (1918) official synodical collaboration with the Reformed sects in church-work. That is a late development at which one does not arrive at a jump. On the other hand, the danger is ever present that on the specious plea of advancing the cause of “Lutheranism,” we be tempted to enter into fellowship with members of synods Lutheran in name, but only partly Lutheran in doctrine and practice. There is danger that we get a taste of applause and flattery; that we become eager for “recognition” as a great church-body; that we compromise our doctrinal stand for the purpose of meeting emergencies. And the time to become aware of that danger is NOW.

“It is a bad sign when hearers become angry at their pastor for “preaching against other churches.” It is a worse sign when pastors, bowing to such disapproval, begin to withhold instructions concerning the errors of the sects. It is a most alarming symptom when pastors and parishioners fraternize. . . with those who represent a different conception of Lutheranism. It becomes denial of the Truth when they associate with such for the purpose of “making church-work more effective” or “keeping the Lutheran Church on the map.”

“As we love our church, let us so teach our people so that they will fear the contagion of error as they would fear to breathe the air of a small-pox hospital. Let us exhibit to them the damnableness of false doctrine. Let us preach Luther on this point, who saw only the work of Satan in every deviation from the truth of Scripture. If our people learn to recognize every false doctrine as a snare of the devil, spread to catch victims for hell, they will not need to be held with a rein lest they stampede into unionism. .. .

“Let it be understood that any undertaking or activity which is, in effect, the doing of religious work jointly with those from whom we ought, according to Scripture to separate, is unionism. Here, if ever, the old sayings must apply: “Nip the evil in the bud.” Our first duty is that of watchfulness. There is no higher duty now because there is no greater danger.”

Dr. Martin Luther, quoted in F. Bente’s Historical Introductions to the Lutheran Confessions:

“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.”

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.


Comments

Unionism: What Is It? — 71 Comments

  1. Thanks, Pastor. Very helpful post. It’s sad and frustrating when pastors within our communion act in ways that are clearly contrary to our Confessions, the Scriptures, and our own Synodical rules. I truly hope and pray that we can achieve true doctrinal unity in our Synod. Thanks for being a strong voice for God’s truth. Blessings to you, my friend!

  2. But Scott, you must understand. The only definition of unionism that counts is my personal definition.

    Here’s how it works: since Lutherans have occasionally disagreed on the definition of unionism, that means I can make up my own definition (one that, coincidentally, fits exactly what I want to do) and then act like everyone else is being completely unreasonable for not recognizing my personal definition.

    TW

  3. I may have missed it in the really long post, but most LCMSers are completely ignorant of the technical terms that found its way into our Synodical constitution. I was too until Dr. Rast shed some light on this at a CSL Symposium lecture a few years back (search unionism on iTunesU and you can watch it). So here is the quick and dirty definitions that were intended to be understood in our constitution

    Syncretism -Glaubensmengerei – a mixing together of the faith (fides quae) or teachings of Lutheranism with heterodoxy.

    Unionism – Kirchenmengerei – application or actualization of such a theological mixture in the worship life of the church.

    Note the distinction is NOT that one is getting friendly with other religions and the other is getting friendly with other denominations.

  4. Wow. How does this play, with the Sems & Thrivent?
    There seem to be so many things, on levels laity would never know, yet how many of the average laity, ever hear this? Or hear it in Voter’s meetings or it being written in their own Constitutions?
    I’m beginning to understand there is more than one avenue of disconnect here.
    How does this begin to be changed back to what is written above?

  5. Todd Wilken :
    But Scott, you must understand. The only definition of unionism that counts is my personal definition.
    Here’s how it works: since Lutherans have occasionally disagreed on the definition of unionism, that means I can make up my own definition (one that, coincidentally, fits exactly what I want to do) and then act like everyone else is being completely unreasonable for not recognizing my personal definition.
    TW

    Ahhhh, Postmodern Theology! “And you shall know YOUR truth, and YOUR truth will make you free” (John 8:32). “I am A way and A truth and A life…” (John 14:6). “Instead, speaking OUR OWN truth in love, we will in all things…” (Eph. 4:15).

    Now I get it!

    Thanks, Scott for a comprehensive, if not exhaustive, look at Unionism. However, I think the correct reading of Matthew 28:20 is “All I have SUGGESTED….”

  6. J. Dean :
    So would attending a non-Lutheran church (without participating in the sacraments) be considered unionism?

    Technically, no, because, assuming you are a layman, you are NOT a member of synod–only pastors and congregations are defined as members.

    @Dutch #10

    You asked, “How does this begin to be changed back to what is written above?”

    It will be painful and potentially disruptive, but DP’s need to apply “Joe’s Law #1: Bad News Early.” That is, recognize it for what it is, and deal with it quickly. Don’t let it continue. Avoid publicity, call in the offending party or parties in, and exercise your presidential obligations and power. Painful? Yes. Necessary? Yes. To do nothing is to do something. Not to decide is to decide.

    “Bad News Early” is good policy, and saves tons of trouble.

  7. Joe,
    There are buzz words, that accompany the justification of unionism & postmodern/emergent, (whatever flavor of the month title it does by at the moment).

    Scott wrote a great series about all this, a few years ago, maybe someone could link it?

    Quia vs quantenus, objective vs subjective, absolute vs etc, etc, etc. The one I can catch now, is “intrepretation”. I, me, my, “intrepretation”.
    Scott’s series was great, if my memory serves, this is maybe touched on in that.
    Yep, know well the “bad news early” principal, I think we call that, tellling the whole truth, not just omitting the hard bits. Best to know the whole truth, it is the building block, trust is built by! lol
    Abstaining in an adult, is what little kids do, when they don’t want to be corrected, Christ dealt with that rather well, I think. Your either for Me or against Me, Thou shalt not lie, etc. Abstaining, w/whatever the excuse is trying to justify it show a lack of Faith, lack of the Courage He gives us, and we are Children of the Living God, not ostriches. Although, some may appear to be closer up.

  8. Perhaps a little historical perspective would be instructive, and help us to understand, at least in part, the reasons for the LCMS’ stand on unionism. Here’s a quote from F. E. Mayer’s “The Religious Bodies of America (CPH, 1961):

    “During the period of rationalism and the Napoleonic Wars, many Germans felt that the cause of Christianity in Germany could be preserved only by a merger of the two Reformation Churches. In 1817 King Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia issued the proclamation which gave formal and legal status to the Evangelical Church, a union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches without doctrinal and confessional agreement. The king and his chief theological advisor, Friederich Schleiermacher, placed purity of life into an entirely false relation to purity of doctrine by so emphasizing subjective and personal piety that the doctrinal differences between the Lutherans and the Reformed appeared to be entirely irrelevant (Mayer, p. 367).

    Mayer continues, “The union was at first accepted without protest, inasmuch as the confessional status of an individual person, a local congregation, or a provincial church was left intact. But the compulsory introduction of the new Agenda (1830) [Orders of Worship] which clearly taught the Reformed doctrine of the Real Presence brought forth many protests, especially in Silesia…the Union ws in reality abortive, since it did not unite the two existing churches, but merely added a third, the Evangelical or United, Church.”

    Herman Sasse gives this account of an episode in the Silesian village of Hönigern in 1834:
    “In the meantime, the congregation in Hönigern continued its resistance, even though several people had been thrown into prison…Several attempts by the local council to seize the church by means of a surprise ambush were thwarted by the watchfulness of the alert congregation. For three months, the church was watched day and night… Finally the king, in order to restore the authority of the state, came to what to him seemed a highly desirable resolution: he ordered military action against the rebellious congregation.

    “On December 22 another commission, which included among others the chief of police, the district magistrate, and the chairman of the consistory, Hahn, failed in its attempt to come to a peaceful understanding. On December 23 the military, which had positioned itself ready for action in the vicinity of Hönigern, advanced upon the town with four hundred infantry, fifty dragoons, fifty hussars, and two cannons. In the early morning of December 24, the soldiers surrounded the church and the two hundred congregation members who were keeping watch. After repeated, albeit fruitless demands to clear the area, the command was given to load the rifles. But as the assault was ordered, blows with rifle butts and the flat sides of swords sufficed to put the crowd to flight. A few who were wounded remained lying upon the ground. The rifle of one soldier accidentally discharged, but without inflicting any injury. The church doors were broken down with the butt end of rifles. The authority of the state was thus secured, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Hönigern was opened to the new Agenda and with it to the Prussian Union.” (Sasse, “The Lonely Way” Vol. 1, page 162)

    Is it any wonder that the founders of the LCMS were so adamant in their opposition to Unionism? We should be no less vigilant.

  9. Joe,
    Great post! I’d love to see, more Sola Scriptura, that is what all this is based upon, is it not?

    I’d love to see the link to BibleGateway!!!!

    Not based on any so called “interpretation”, mind ya, lol. Our God & Lord, speak plainly, for the simple, even the most, to understand.

    Because He said so, is a blest answer, or…at least it used to be.
    This is where I think or see, the confusion comes in; these are the quotes of men, not Him, not Sola Scriptura. They those blest men, did so & said so, so the simple could understand Scripture. If ya won’t pick up His Own Word, why would anyone else’s matter?! It only does, if it fits to suit.
    We as Lutherans, weigh all, by the Solas, not these. It’s become apparent, that these can be “interprated”. His Word, says what It says, & means what It means, as written, for the least & the most simple.
    Why?
    Because He said so, when His sweet feet, walked in the dust of this realm. That should be enough for any child of His.

  10. @Joe Strieter #14

    But Joe, you must understand. The founders of the LCMS were modernists and thus trapped in the false dichotomies of black and white thinking. Nonetheless, in their context, they were right to resist unionism of every description. They knew no better.

    We, however, do know better today. In our context, we embrace what they would have called “unionism” as a necessary expression of the invisible unity we share with those they would have regarded as “heterodox.” (as long as you only worship with them occasionally, and not too many times in a row, and only on really special occasions, and don’t include mormons, yet.)

    TW

  11. Todd,
    Didn’t the Living God & His Risen Son, & the Holy Ghost, dictate & set the line to hold?

    I know ya well, I know how you speak & what you are to get at, but not all do.
    Use Scripture to support, few do in this subject. You know, I know ya do.

    List them & list the link!!!!!

    Some here, do speak & share what goes on here, & they are not anything close to Lutheran, though they may have a degree from a Concordia U!!!!!

    We can do, if He allows & chooses so!!! You can do far more, than most of us!!! Lutherans, did not begin, w/the new world. Many lost their lives, in the old, it’s why the New World held such promise.
    Goodness grapes, have mucked & muddied the whole thing up!!!
    Use His Word first! They use it, to argue against, we only have our Armor!

  12. @Todd Wilken #16

    As my former pastor used to say, “The church is being discipled by the culture.”

    @Dutch #15

    You said, “I’d love to see the link to BibleGateway!!!!”

    Not sure I understand that one. BibleGateway? Missed the reference.

    Uh-oh. I just googled “BibleGateway.” Now I get it. Very funny. Could not find the NPMGNV translation (“New Post Modern Gender Neutral Version”)
    I’m still chuckling. Thanks, Dutch, whoever you are.

  13. @Joe Strieter #18
    I think that what Dutch is saying is that she would like to see the Bible passages that support our stance on Unionism in addition to the historical information already presented.

  14. Carol,
    Spot on!!!
    We can list anything above Sola Scriptura & Concord, all we like. If that is relative & open to intrepration, should we all, try to start there?!

    We did not author It, The Father, Son, & His Holy Ghost did! Start there!

    Luther nailed a piece of paper to a door, to make sure the simple had It in hand, we do, let us use It as was intended!!!! We are Lutherans, because of that 95 item list, are we not?!
    Well said & thank you Carol!

  15. @Todd Wilken #6
    It’s called doing the “semantic sidestep boogie.” There’s three steps: Shoehorn ambiguity into well established and commonly accepted definitions, re-write a little history to emphasize any smallest detail that supports your cause, and bunker down with a stockpile of mud balls for anybody who doesn’t tollerate your new justification.

  16. Joe,
    I really am Dutch Stoeberl. It is my nickname, rarely answer to the given one, anymore. All my friends, call me Dutch. It was supposed to be Duch, short for Duchess, the cat from the Disney Aristocats.
    My handwriting made it look like Duck. I added the T, for clarifications purposes only.
    I answer, best to Dutch. Many I think here at BJS, can vouge for me, I hope, lol!

  17. @Dutch #20
    Luther nailed a piece of paper to a door, to make sure the simple had it in hand, we do, let us use it as it was intended to be!!!!

    Umm… The “paper nailed to a door” was in Latin, intended for the scholars to debate.
    Luther had no intention of getting the “simple” into the argument, at least at that point.

    Your appeal for Scripture to support the LCMS stance on unionism/syncretism is sensible, but I think you should be able to find it. It’s “Small Catechism” Lutheranism; check the Scripture supporting baptism and the Lord’s Supper and you have enough for most situations. The Sectarians simply did not/do not believe what Christ said about the sacraments.

    (You are not so “simple” as you are projecting these days, Dutch!)

    [But I am apprehensive, as I think you are, about another child going off to the “worship wars” in a clerical collar.]

    @Scott Diekmann #23
    Scott, thanks for your extensive contribution, and those following!

  18. @Carol Broome #19

    Here’s a start:

    From the 2010 Handbook, p. 13, Synod Constitution

    Article III Objectives
    The Synod, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, shall—
    1. Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Eph. 4:3–6; 1 Cor.
    1:10), work through its official structure toward fellowship with
    other Christian church bodies, and provide a united defense against
    schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy;

    You could look it up: http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=928

  19. Helen,
    Yes Luther most certainly did, in post haste.
    Was he not the driving force behind the Scriptures in German? Was he not consulted for them in the King’s English? Haven’t you read Henry VIII’s entrity, against Luther? History, the Crown still hold what the Pope gave Henry, Defender of the Faith. Sir Thomas Moore? He’s a RC martyr, yet he burned how many Lutherans?
    Tyndale, doesn’t ring a bell?!
    It should Helen. None of the other protestant churches, would have lasted let alone hopped the pond, w/o that 95.

    I learned that in Public School History, not at my LCMS. How many in Congregations, know any of the above?
    Have you forgotten? Lutherans in World History, are not all German, Helen.

  20. Carol Broome :
    @Joe Strieter #25
    Yes, I know. I was just translating.

    Translation understood and accepted. Although I still wonder about the NPMGNV translation (“New Post Modern Gender Neutral Version”).

    Droll-but-nevertheless smiley face inserted here.

  21. Helen,
    This is the treatise, in Latin,
    Assertio Septem Sacramentorum. For this, Henry was given, Fide Defensor, Defendor of the the Faith.
    Anne Bolyen, was a secret Lutheran, fyi. As was Thomas Cramner. When Mary Tudor, took the Throne, after Edward & Jane Grey, died, do you know what happened to Lutherans in the English Realm?
    No, some do. Heard the term, White Horse Inn? That is a Lutheran underground group, from England, in post Henry times.
    Lutherans, spread far quicker across Europe, than we learn, here or in Sunday School. Latin it was, revolution Luther didn’t call for, but that is what happened. Latin, went far quicker than German or the King’s English have.

  22. Oh Dutch,
    Latin was my worst subject (don’t tell Richard Dinda, my first Latin Professor). Thank goodness English is now the lingua franca.
    But, I have a suspicition about Luther and the 95 Theses. He mailed or sent a copy to Halle (about 30 miles distance) to ArchBishop Albrecht of Mainz and Magdaburg.

    I think he sent the original to Albrecht, wanting Albrecht (the primary and instigating simonizer who started the whole fracus, to respond directly to him, but Luther could not have been unaware that the unbrave (gutless wonder) Albrecht would forward them directly on to Rome, which is exactly what happened. It’s entirely possible that Luther knew that that was exactly what Albrecht would do.

    Our history for Luther nailing the theses, since there never was a debate on them, not even Wittenberg University sponsored a debate, that Luther was already working at what only seems like the beginning but was really already in medias res, so to speak. He was already prepared to take on the Pope over indulgences.

    The churches in Wittenberg by the Wettiner Electors, had over the years acquird independence from their local bishops and a direct supervision from Rome. Technically, the Bishop at Frankfort an der Oder, just south of Berlin would have been the Bishop of Wittenberg, he wasn’t, but Luther also sent him a copy of the 95 Theses as well and at the same time he sent what I think was the original copy to Albrecht.

    Luther was 34 when he agitated for this debate, better educated than almost all of his piers, and extremely assertive. He was the Wittenberg Professor of the Bible and over his life time he mainly taught the Old Testament with a strong emphasis on how Christ filled the Old Testament, everything in the Old Testamen was about Christ.

    When he publish articles that used the OT and NT as basically the same book, on a few occassions some Talmud Jewis Scholars would complain bitterly and pubically and unkindly to Luther’s adamant understanding. This is when you get Luther, almost always reacting in kind.

    He treated Judaism as any other pagan religion and wrote that way to them. He said he felt sorry for their plight (diaspora and still no messiah), but they had brought it on themselves (militarily attacking the Romans and rejecting the Messiah when he did come and killing him. This of course would make the Talmud scholars even madder and on it went.

    However, any Jew who converted to Christianity was to Luther merely another Christian with all the rights and previleges of any other Christian. You simple cannot find Luther in any of his polemical writings treating the Jews as a separate ethnic/racial group. It was their religion, the preaching of the religion, and the possible prosilization of their Judasim (turning Christians into Judaists that would set Luther off like a volcano. It was not going to happen under his watch.

    And Luther did not believe that persons of different religions should live together in the same jurisdictions. If he found Jews living where the law did not allow them (Mansfeld 1546) he sent a letter to the female noble woman who was allowing what the law did not allow. The mixing of different religions in the same parish districts did not happen except with the ratonalist Brandenburg Hohenzollern Electors as they slowly gobbled up all of Germany to turn it into their own family empire.

    Don’t ask me about Imperator Wilhelm II unless you want to hear abuive language. But, just think, Lutherans who have made their little Fuertentums into one religion reserves were suddenly taken over by the Berlin Mob so then anyone could live in such as city as Braunsweig. As a rule, people dont have opinions about people they never think abut. Now, because of those screwy Brandenburger Rationalists, Braunsweig will have a Jewish quarter and a synagoge. It happened again the same way in Mecklinburg. The Hohenzollern Rationalists, styling themselves as the Kings of Prussia and then as Emperors of Germany, were resentful fo the changes that were forced upon them. As good Lutherans, they believed that only one religion should be allowed in a jurisdiction. Those cossetted tiny Lutheran princedoms were forced into diversity, and that lasted only so long, as the bloody 20th century so vividly portrays.

    But, I digress. This whole entry has been a digression. Except to demonstrate the complexity that could have been behind that epiphany Luther caused with his 95 These.

    I believe he was already working on his Heidelberg Disputation to happen at a very large meeting of the Augustinian Order just a year later, 1518. That the thesis list that he cleary wants and does have debated officially, while the 95 just dissappear as if no debate had ever really been intended. But to twist the tale of Albrecht, to shoot a cannon ball across Albrecht’s bow to warn him to proceed no further, or maybe not.

    Luther was young and impetuous then. He know that Thomas More had really written the English King’s Defense of the 7 Sacraments and he responds as he would have to More, not to Henry.

    And, just for the”remember this” basket: There were 16 translations of the Bible into German, 4 into Platt Deutsch, before Luther’s Bible. His bible was different and anyone reading the Bible instantly wanted to switch to Luther’s for several reasons. For instance, Luther’s bible was not just a German version of the Vulgate.

    Bit I digress and go to sleep,
    Night-night.
    May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  23. Joanne,
    I think, maybe your post copied more than you intended. I’m not in for a debate of English History, Converted Jews. Yet, I did learn a bit more German History than I knew before, thank you for that. The subject is unionism.

    My point was (badly put), we tend to focus on our German Heritage as Lutherans, which is a bit narrow. We tend to miss, those who defended Luther & the Lutheran doctrine with their lives, w/o compromise, outside Germany as well.

    Which leads to the article above, unionism. Leven is great for making a starter dough, but polluting & harmful, if we are speaking of Lutheran Foundations, which is the Solas & Lutheran Doctrine. Pastor Crandall, made a great post, on another thread relating to unionism.
    We tend to be far too concerned w/upsetting others or upsetting the status quo of others, or the relative individual acceptance of what constitutes adiphoria. Unionism is a root issue on many fronts, as that is what leven does. We have & allowed laity, Pastors, & even Districts, not just allowing but encouraging it. Those who can see, something is amiss, and seriously wrong, can do nothing, are not allowed to say so, or if they do, are punished for the doing.

    That, to me, smacks of why Luther penned so much, was unafraid to confront the corruption on an Ecclisiastical level, firstly. When we have entire Districts, sanctioning, supporting, and writing in bylaws allowing for carte blanche, w/o the ability of dissent in question, that smells like Popery to me.

  24. @Joe Strieter #28
    Although I still wonder about the NPMGNV translation (“New Post Modern Gender Neutral Version”).

    That might be the NIV (undated) or the NIV “Readers’ Version”… I didn’t open them to ascertain which. [Note that the NIV 1984 is dated; that’s the one which is projected to be “obsolete” as soon as they run out of them.] 1984 is the text LCMS used but they couldn’t swallow NIV 2011. Most of us would have gone back to KJV first. (So now we have ESV, with mixed feelings about that.) 🙁

    @Dutch #27
    Have you forgotten? Lutherans in World History, are not all German, Helen

    LOL! How could I forget, Duchess? I’m a Dane and the product of a Norwegian Lutheran College. 🙂 Ample doses of history there, too.
    [At least, the college was Lutheran, then.] 🙁 A Swede (Gustavus Adolphus) saved those Germans Lutherans’ bacon, and gave his life for the cause. [He’d be very sad in Sweden today.]

    I think Carol Broome was answering your lectures to me, and I thank her. (I’m glad I read the whole string before repeating it.) Duchess, now that you’ve been stung into writing comprehensible English (for the most part) please continue. [“Ya” as substitute for ‘you’ may be an addiction in the upper Midwest (one I’ve never been able to shake) but it’s not used in written communication (unless you are creating a character in dialect). I won’t mention the nursery euphemisms.]

    When we have entire Districts, sanctioning, supporting, and writing in bylaws allowing for carte blanche, w/o the ability of dissent in question, that smells like Popery to me.

    You have not “lost” me again this time. (But for that I owe thanks to an SED Pastor, who brought me up to date.) Why do you say “that smells like Popery”? It smells much worse of the sectarianism which mulches it all around the southeast, and the garbage dumps of Staten Island!
    The Pope can’t be blamed for most of what goes on in liberal Lutheranism these days!

    Least of all, “unionism”! And now we are back on topic! 🙂

  25. Helen,
    Please, in the King’s English! I’m a only a quasi Dane on one side!!!

    Duchess, is from Disney, the Aristocats, Helen!!!

    Helen, in the last 15 years, I’ve had every holder of the Office, everyone who taught me what we hold & defend so dear, ripped out from under my feet! I’m a Mumma w/2 young boys & now our young men, which none here can know how large a feat that is!!!!

    Unionism is like standing up to your ankles, in a lake or ocean, when the white caps reach the shore. The sand under your feet flees, it is all ya can do to keep your feet & stand.

    This is what unionism does to us! I never wanted nor asked to know any of this. Nor did anyone older than me, or younger, but we all have learned it. If those who are elected or held any Office, only knew the fear, this breads, when the tempests & trial come, they would have NEVER ALLOWED THIS ONCE, LET ALONE OPENED THE DOOR.

    I know far too many good & godily, who have been driven or asked to depart, for what?!
    The cushy, tushie, comfort that is far too fleeting, under the guise of unionism.

    Helen, if it was packaged under unionism, false teaching or heresy, would anyone want it or bother?!!!!

  26. What about having non Lutherans speak at our DCE conference? Is that unionism?

    http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1137660

    http://www.fuller.edu/academics/faculty/kara-powell.aspx

    How many of our youth have heard the DCE at their church tell them that there is a lot of really false teaching out there and that it really isn’t a good idea to just go to a Christian bookstore to look for a devotion book or gift for a friend? How many DCE’s believe that it is not a good idea for youth to just look for something interesting at a Christian bookstore because so much of it has one or another thread of false teaching woven into it? Are we warning our kids off false doctrine and non-Lutheran study materials? Isn’t the loving thing to do to at least tell them that not everyone who is a teacher is a good teacher? But do they believe that themselves? How critical are they of non-Lutheran teachers? What is it the conference organizers think our DCE’s can gain from listening to Kara Powell?

  27. Resurrection Church’s (even they don’t call themselves Lutheran) “Associate Pastor” Matt Duddleston is not listed on the LCMS roster. Pastrix Kim Kyle is also not listed on the roster as a commissioned teacher, DCE, or any other type of minister.

    Will DP Jon Diefenthaler or SP Matthew Harrison do anything about it?!?

    crickets

  28. Pastor Brandt, If they hired these 3 non-rostered persons to sweep the floors and to mow the Grass, then it’d be like helping convicts adjust after getting out of prison.

    However, these 3 should have no positions of authority or of teaching in any manner.

    Gosh, I hope they are just mowing the grass and sweeping the parking lot. That’s all, right Pastor?

  29. I learned in a biology text book/class in the 60s that there are a set number of things that tell us if a thing is alive. Excreting is one of those signs. That would lead, of course, to eating.

    It is a sign of life and health when a church removes those who do the things Paul says should not be done. Then the church excretes those who do wrong and refuse to do right. Arguing about what Paul says should not be done among us except within a controlled time and space, is should be defined well, with a very limited window for the straying sheep or shepherds, to get back into line by getting it right. A proof of the health of a church is how long do they tolerate false doctrine before they excrete it.

    A church that does not excrete ever, is dead, scientifically and spiritually. You can’t stay alive if you don’t excrete. It’s a sign of physical and spiritual health. Something would be terribly wrong with us if false shepherds did not come among us to secretly lead us astray as St. Peter promises us they will do. If we can’t detect and excrete these noxious poisons, we will die both physially and spiritually.

  30. Carl @ #37,

    I don’t see thier Sr. Pastor (Miller) on the roster either. Am I missing something?

    BTW – The lady is not a pastor. She is a staff person.

  31. Rev. Hoffman,

    How do you know she is preaching? I do not doubt you. I would just like to see the proof. I haven’t dug through the website that much. Is that evidence on the website or some other evidence you have?

  32. There is a Rev. Eric O. Miller at Ascension Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC, on the LCMS roster, but there is no “Billy Miller” listed.

    According to the church’s history webpage, former head of school (?) Billy Miller became (no mention about a Divine Call) “Pastor Billy,” senior pastor of Resurrection Church in March of 2007.

    There are some Wayback Machine links to church newsletters during 2007, but they were not archived.

    According to its LCMS webpage Resurrection Church has a baptized membership of 157 and an average weeklyworship attendence of 200. However, from 2005 through 2010, Resurrection Church had a listed baptized membership of over 1,000 (mega-church size), with over 600 communicant members, and annual contributions over $1.1 million. Yet during that 6-year period, there were only 11 youth confirmed.

  33. @Dutch #34
    Helen,
    Please, in the King’s English! I’m a only a quasi Dane on one side!!!

    Duchess, is from Disney, the Aristocats, Helen!!!

    Even the Brits haven’t had “King’s English” for the last 60 years, Dutch….

    You brought “Duchess” up… I didn’t.

    [For the rest, I don’t see what you are getting at, again!
    And you are back to baby talk.]

  34. Rev. Brandt Hoffman :You want Unionism?This LCMS congregation hired 3 non-rostered Pastors (http://locator.lcms.org/nchurches_frm/c_detail.asp?C148363), one of which is female.
    http://www.resluth.org/ministry_staff.htm
    One of Kim Kyle’s Sermon: http://youtu.be/Dss9I5J6_eMWe talk the talk… the walk? Eh… not so much.

    Oh, but that’s OK in the Southeastern District. Here you’re supposed to “a priori” assume the pastor knows best what the congregation needs — and just mind your own business!

    Here is our guidance on earning trust in the SED. Oh, wait. You don’t have to earn it. You just have to trust…

    CO 02-12-07
    Resolved, that pastors of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod be encouraged to “go the extra mile” in establishing mutual trust, collegiality and respect; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that any matters of difference in the practice of ministry, if neither commanded nor forbidden, be respected as matters of freedom; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the pastor loci in a given context be regarded as the one best able to discern the needs of the congregation he serves; and be it further
    RESOLVED, that the Southeastern District regard it as inappropriate for pastors to meddle in the ministry of another; and be it finally
    RESOLVED, that the Southeastern District express its a priori understanding that its pastors are to be trusted and affirmed in their ministry, and that a climate of mutuality and trust be the norm among professional workers in the church.

  35. Ok, that you tube link, was wow, what to say?

    Now, besides it looking more like a bar/comedy club, and it being a lady, there was one thing that struck me. On the left hand said, almost hidden by the “set backdrop” is a candle, lit & burning.
    I know what that is, & isn’t that only to be lit during an actual service? On 11/18/12 the am sermon was listed & given by whom?
    You can find it, on their list for past sermons.
    Pastor Crandall, thanks for posting that here.

  36. Not only is a woman preaching a sermon, but the sermon itself is infected with enthusiasm, with references to what the Lord “asked” her, what she “very clearly heard the Lord say” to her, what she “really felt the Lord told” her, etc. And this is just in the first minute and a half of the sermon. Further into the recording, an altar table with lit candles on it is clearly visible in front of her – indicating that the context of this was a public worship service.

    This woman obviously erred in preaching this sermon, although it is also obvious that she is sincere in wanting to serve the Lord and his people. But she has been underinstructed and misinstructed, and has been put into a position that God’s Word prohibits to her. Those in the congregation who have the responsiblity to instruct her and others in matters pertaining to the means of grace, the order of creation, and the order of vocation, and to supervise the worship life of the congregation; and those in the district and synod who have the responsibilty to oversee the instruction that takes place in this congregation, are accountable before God and the larger church for this offense. And the brazenness of this offense is truly breathtaking!

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