An example of broken dialogue by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Editor’s Note: It doesn’t take long trying to wade through the muddy mess of doctrine and practice in the LCMS before you are accused of violating “dialogue” or that solutions to problems can only happen through such “dialogue”.  Recent examples include the Six-Day Creation debate between the Wyoming and South Wisconsin Districts and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  At other times, it was thought that dialogue would fix any problem.  This is untrue of course.  Then there is a temptation to make “dialogue” into a procedural trick to bury truth and make sure nothing happens again (this is part of that Second Step in C.P. Krauth’s great quote on how error seeks eventual dominance in the Church – from tolerance to equality to domination).  This is worst case, but it does happen.  The following example comes from Rev. Mike Grieve, pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Golden, Illinois.  I share it with his permission to show how sometimes the call for dialogue is empty talk.

Information Regarding CSL Passiontide Service With Woman Publicly Reading Scripture by Rev. Mike Grieve

In the spring of 2017 CSL had a Passiontide chapel worship service in which a woman was publicly reading the Scripture.  Various pictures, including the woman reading, were publicly posted on its FB page.  There was a widespread reaction to the woman reading the Scripture, indicating the division that exists in our synod over this issue.  CSL then posted that it requested anyone having questions or concerns about the issue to email them to the Rev. Dr. Kent Burreson, dean of the chapel at CSL.  In an email dated April 7 to Dr. Burreson, with CC to Rev. Mike Burdick (Quincy Circuit Visitor); Rev. Pres. Mark Miller (CID); and Rev. Pres. Matthew Harrison (SP), I stated my concerns over this unbiblical practice, citing both 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 as the clear Word of God to this issue.

Rev. Pres. Harrison responded to me, asking when the service had taken place, also stating that he thought this had ceased.  I responded to his inquiry.  In future emails I also CC Rev. Pres. Dale Meyer (CSL Pres.) and Rev. Shawn Kumm (CSL BOR).  Dr. Burreson responded to me in an email on April 19.  His response included the admission that we are not clearly interpreting the Scriptures, even though the Scriptures are clear.  He gave no indication that the practice would cease at CSL.  I responded to Dr. Burreson’s email on April 28, stressing the perspicuity of the Scripture on the issue regardless of the synod’s position of the last 30 years, and re-sent the same email on May 9, since I had not heard from Dr. Burreson.

On May 9, Dr. Burreson responded with a brief email, simply stating that he would respond eventually as he had opportunity.  In the meantime, I also received an email from CV Pastor Burdick, with whom I met regarding the letter for some fruitful discussion, and prayer.  Having heard nothing further from Dr. Burreson, I emailed him on June 6, thanking him for the email saying that he would respond, and stating that I looked forward to his response.  I emailed him once again on July 10.  All these emails were also copied to the previously mentioned names.  I sent another email on Sept. 8, calling for repentance on the unbiblical practice, and citing 1 Cor. 14:34-36 and 1 Tim. 2:11-13 as clear Scriptures on the matter.

Despite Dr. Burreson’s email on May 9 stating that he would respond, he never has.  This is particularly troubling, given the fact the CSL, as an institution of this synod, has stated that it wishes to dialogue on issues.  Also, Dr. Burreson himself stated in an email on April 20, that he is “happy to interact in whatever way would bless the ministry of Christ’s Word.”  Apparently, that is not true with this issue, as there has been no interaction since his email on April 19, despite numerous attempts by me to keep the dialogue going.  It is precisely this issue that has direct ramifications on the ministry of Christ’s Word, and the life of His Church.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Mike Grieve, Pastor, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Golden, Ill.

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.


An example of broken dialogue by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis — 12 Comments

  1. @Noye Balmer #1

    Yes, but what if the pastor of the unrepentant is unwilling to use the keys?

    I’m confused how church discipline works among church workers. Do the ecclesiastical supervisors act as the pastor who uses the keys or is it simply a boss/employee type relationship?

    Is the only real way to carry out church discipline in cases like these through convention?

    Pray for the professors at our seminaries and for their pastors and ecclesiastical supervisors. The unholy trinity is always hard at work among us, but our Triune God reigns.

  2. You are numb-skulled interpreters of God’s Word if you think for a minute that 50% of the baptized believers simply reading Scripture, and not providing any Law/Gospel application, admonishment, or homily of any sort is violating the passages cited in the letter. Oh, and I notice that this half, the female half, comprises…what?…75% of our congregations now? So, really? You people are going to persist in this needless prohibition of participation in sacred liturgy? There is absolutely no proof that “women reading Scripture aloud in church directly from the Bible” is a slippery slope into false preaching, false teaching, false practice, or all three. And none of you corn-cob liturgists have been able to provide that evidence. As usual, it all depends on the attitude and heart of the person serving in that capacity.

    I would surmise that Dr. Burreson and others are trying to be LOVING toward you and take into consideration your viewpoint(s) on the Scripture passages. But I am sure that privately they are wondering about the future of our Synod if you are so threatened by any humble, normal, servant-recitation of Scripture in the context of the Divine Service, properly overseen by an overseer who is about to preach, right there in The Service of the Word.

    It does open my eyes, however, to why you people cannot seem to construct a proper diaconate. You are fixated on the role of the Pastor for the administration of Word and Sacrament. Well, why are you getting burned out? Why do you also stink at evangelism? Maybe it is your heart and your attitude that you need to look at, and be so punctilious about.

    Both male and female deacons are needed for the triumphal procession of the Church through one of the darkest and most pagan, post-modern and destructive ages She has ever seen.

  3. @Rev. Joel T Dieterichs #4

    Matthew 5:21–22 (ESV)
    21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

  4. @Rev. Joel T Dieterichs #4

    It has been my [limited] observation that women who feel entitled to a position in the chancel rapidly lose that “humility” you mention. They tend to represent themselves as “better than” other women, as well as the men (and may be the reason for decreasing numbers of men in the pews)?

    If a Pastor really cannot handle his duties in the chancel, surely he can request the assistance of male Elders.

  5. Pastor Joel –

    Why such anger? And why does your anger take you so far off the rails? Perhaps Jesus should have ordained Mary Magdelene, or Martha and her sister, Mary, who sat and sought that which is most important? He did not.

    And check your grammar, Good Brother – your opening sentence was rather convoluted. But beyond that, you, my good man, ought to be observant enough to see and realize that every church-body that has gone the way you “suggest” has become a shell of what it once was.

    I suppose I will qualify now as one of the “numbed-skulled interpreters” of the Word. But one need not be ordained, as are you and I, to understand the extremely simply words of I Cor. 14:34-35:

    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    We are all above our pay-grade trying to explain gender. It is beyond us to do so, and we must take the Divine Word at its face value on such a subject. We have the command of prohibition against women speaking in the Church – that should be enough, or rather . . .

    It is enough.

    Your other false accusations are just that – false – and you smear your own Church and honest men with the wide swath of your smear. My good man, I could tell you stories of “actual evangelism” that would make your hair stand on end. That was way out of place! Who appointed you the new “evangelism sheriff” in Missouri? No one, simply put.

    Try corralling your own theological understanding before you attempt to “correct or instruct” the rest of us.

    Pax Domini –

    Rev. Jeff Baxter, Em.

  6. You are numb-skulled interpreters of God’s Word… you corn-cob liturgists… you also stink at evangelism

    Other than the Lutheresque tongue lashing received from Rev. Joel, notice the mandate of calling for all hands on deck:

    Both male and female deacons are needed for the triumphal procession of the Church through one of the darkest and most pagan, post-modern and destructive ages She has ever seen.

    Did you hear that? God needs our help without which the Church as we know it will surely fail! It is imperative that we intervene on behalf of God to rescue His Church and that will take the concerted efforts of us all, including women lectors (whom by the way we don’t want to anger because they are 75 percent of our congregations now that the men have vacated and abdicated their duties in the Church). By now they have earned the right!

    Maybe it is your heart and your attitude that you need to look at…

    Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about you. Rev. Joel, isn’t it interesting that someone who is supposed to conform his life to 2 Timothy 2:24-26 becomes so irate when he is duly called out for correction? Do you see how pathetic you are when confronted with your error to feminize the Office of the Holy Ministry you react by throwing a temper tantrum?

    There is absolutely no proof that “women reading Scripture aloud in church directly from the Bible” is a slippery slope into false preaching, false teaching, false practice, or all three.

    Are you a blind guide? Do you parse St. Paul’s words to say that reading Scripture in the DS doesn’t infer teaching or exercising authority over a man? Even if I spot you that, what do you say to 1 Cor. 14:34-35 as previously mentioned above?
    Rev. Joel, you can put me in the basket of Dale’s Deplorables but I’m afraid you’ve hit the wall trying to influence the rest of us in your own winsome way.

  7. “You are fixated on the role of the Pastor for the administration of Word and Sacrament.”
    God be praised for this joyous reminder. We’re focused on Jesus doing His work.

  8. When a Pastor is very inappropriate on public media, he should be ashamed as one in the Office and fittingly rebuked, but also to be pitied by all. Pray he has the strength to get help for his either poor treatment of others and/or poor theology.

    And if a Pastor were to live in Colorado Springs, please go see your local brothers Schaibley or Dr. Hein to have coffee or a beer and talk; or take a vacation to Pagosa Springs and have a beer with Bolland and Packer; or go see Wolfmueller in Aurora. Please, please get help.

  9. Or, one might take one or two others and visit Rev. Joel T Dieterichs.

    Rev. Dieterichs, if your public statement is a confession of your belief then it is of you that Christ spoke:

    ” “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.”

    Take heed for yourself and those whom you serve of the rest of what our Lord spoke.

    “2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

    7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

    19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

    Rev. Joel, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

  10. @Rev. Joel T Dieterichs #4

    Dear Pastor Dieterichs,

    In the name of Christ, repent. Name-calling breaks the 8th commandment. How is it that you can take such offense to the Word of God as you do in your comment? Do you not see that the Holy Spirit clearly makes a difference between male and female, and that these differences come from the God who is love? Your reductionism of the authority of the Word is most alarming, and the vast majority of this 75% female of whom you reference would be offended at your stance on these Words of God.

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