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Editor’s Introduction Blog

The Real Reasons LCMS Pastors Want to be like American Evangelicals, by Pr. Rossow

October 12th, 2014 53 comments

In a post yesterday Martin Noland quoted John Hannah asserting that an aversion to Roman Catholicism is what makes LCMS’ers want to look like Evangelicals. I am sure that is a part of it but I think it is a lot simpler than that. It’s not theological. It’s personal. It has to do with the personal experience in junior high, high school and college of the young men who became pastors in the LCMS in the last generation. I have identified seven things in the life of the pastors of the last generation that have caused them to want to   More…

Some Thoughts on Synod, Mercy, the Divine Service and a Restored Church, by Pr. Rossow

September 9th, 2014 33 comments

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, Illinois dedicated its restored sanctuary on Sunday. It was devastated months ago by a fire in the church basement. The smoke from that fire ruined the sanctuary. (You can see some pictures of the restored sanctuary here on the blog of former St. Paul Pastor William Weedon.) I learned of the dedication when Pastor Ben Ball sent out a message to the email list of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans. He mentioned that the redo would be highlighted in LCMS communications. I emailed him back congratulations on the dedication and also mentioned that it is too   More…

Updates from St. Louis on Work of Task Forces, by Pr. Tim Rossow

September 5th, 2014 8 comments

A few months ago I complained that most of the email coming out of synod and district was weighted toward the mercy end of our denominational theme of “witness, mercy and life together.” I was pleased to get a mass email the other day from President Harrison with updates on the work of the task forces appointed by the last synod convention. You can see these updates by clicking here. Two of the four task forces deal with the doctrine of the office of the ministry. I have not had time to study the details of each task force so   More…

BJS Holds Church Growthers Ransom for One Million Comments, by Pr. Rossow

July 30th, 2014 4 comments

“Church Growthers, release your home spun creeds and liturgies, your felt needs, your sermons on ten keys to do this or that and your missional minded leader or we will unleash one million comments from a Confessionally Lutheran blog on you!” He raises his index finger to his pursed lips in the manner of Dr. Evil and says “Yes, I said one m-i-l-l-i-o-n comments.” Of course it is not about the numbers but it is nice to know that we are just 40,000 comments shy of reaching one million. There may be Lutheran blogs with more than that but probably   More…

Rev. Klemet Preus Called Home to Heaven, by Pr. Rossow

The brotherhood of our Lord’s shepherds has lost a beloved comrade. Rev. Klemet Preus died in the Lord today. He will be greatly missed by those of us still waiting for Jesus to take us home to heaven. In the meantime we shall keep our feet to the fire and use judiciously the staff the Lord has given us to tend the flock with the strictest words of the law and the sweetest words of the Gospel, as Klemet showed us how. BJS owes a debt to Klemet. When we were nothing more than a blip in the internet cyberspace   More…

The U. S. Army has its Own Praise Band? By Pr. Rossow

June 14th, 2014 8 comments

The morning news shows will often feature military bands on patriotic holidays. This weekend the U.S. Army is celebrating a birthday and true to form the morning show on Fox News featured a military band. Only it wasn’t a marching band, it was a pop band much like a church praise band and it really did not fit the occasion. I don’t care if military people form a band and play pop music. I don’t care if church people form a band and play pop music. What is out of place is when military people, outfitted in full dress uniform play   More…

Dr. Gard Accepts Call to Presidency of Concordia, Chicago, by Pr. Rossow

June 13th, 2014 No comments

Dr. Daniel Gard has accepted the call to be president of Concordia University, Chicago. We are very pleased with this outcome here at BJS. You can read our earlier commentary here. For more on the decision click here.

Confessional Leader Elected President of Concordia Chicago, by Pr. Rossow

Dr. Daniel Gard, Professor of Exegesis at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the new president of Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois. This is a wonderful blessing that is very positive for the proliferation of our Lord’s Gospel in the LCMS. President elect Gard is both confessional and a leader. That is a way too rare combination in our LCMS bureaucracy. This is a watershed event for the LCMS. It is a watershed event because this is the first big ballot that has been cast on the coattails of LCMS President Matt Harrison. Harrison is in his   More…

Pastors Protest Rev. Walter Obare’s Dictatorial Leadership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya, by Pr. Rossow

Several pastors, evangelists, deaconesses and laymen have released a video of their protest outside of the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) over the alleged dictatorial leadership of Rev. Walter Obare (video shown below).   Click here for a collection of documents that they have published to support their accusations: For years the darling of LCMS mission work, Rev. Walter Obare of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) has been in and out of court and accused by pastors of the ELCK of corruption. This is important news since the ELCK has received so much aid   More…

Personal Guinness Boycott Grows out of Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues, by Pr. Rossow

Bill Donohue (you might recognize him as one of the talking heads from Fox News) and The Catholic League have put together a petition to boycott Guinness Beer. I just signed it and I invite you to give it some thought as well. This grew out of my own little Lutheran/Catholic dialogues. One of my closest friends is a traditional, conservative Roman Catholic. He is the husband of one our members. My wife and I have traveled extensively with him and his wife and a few years ago we started meeting once a month for some imbibing and discussion of   More…

Lutherans In Africa Trip to Southwest Michigan is Fruitful, by Pr. Rossow

The marine layer from Lake Michigan, the dunes and the sandy soil make Southwest Michigan a cornucopia of various fruits: apples, peaches, raspberries and most importantly Riesling grapes that are turned into that delicious German wine. It was also a fruitful place for a recent Lutherans in Africa (LIA) promotional trip. The Director of Lutherans in Africa, Rev. James May and I traveled for two days in Southwest Michigan and met with fifteen pastors and were warmly received by all. Several of the pastors have agreed to host an LIA Sunday to raise funds for the annual budget and the   More…

A Great Place to Order Classic, Rich, Historical Parish Certificates, by Pr. Rossow

April 30th, 2014 1 comment

I just finished signing about 30 of the most beautiful and meaningful confirmation certificates I have ever seen. They are from Agnus Dei Printing. I have always used CPH products and have been pleased but there are some great little shops out there that are putting out wonderful material and heading the list is Agnus Dei. As the name suggests, these are liturgically oriented traditional certificates that lend weight and seriousness to these church events. Agnus Dei is run by Rev. Jeffrey Bloom of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He takes old certificates and reprints them. Each certificate is customized   More…

Anybody Else “Mercied” Out? by Pr. Rossow

April 24th, 2014 99 comments

Is anybody else “mercied” out? I know I am. I and the parish I serve embraced the three-fold ministry emphasis of synod (witness/mercy/life) when it was introduced and still do although we have a different take on mercy as I will explain below. Having said that I will also say that the emphasis on mercy coming out of synod is getting tiresome. Four of the last five emails I received from the synod and district were about mercy efforts. The other was on missions. My synod and district have taken the time to connect with me on the following five   More…

Dear Pastor, Why Don’t We Give More to Synod? by Pastor Rossow

April 24th, 2014 41 comments

I recently got an email from an older member who asked me why our commitment to the synod in our annual budget is shrinking. I wrote him the following response. (It is edited a bit for sake of clarity for a larger audience.) Dear ___________, I understand your point. I was the last hold out on the staff and board of elders for reducing what goes to district/synod. It made more sense in the “good ole days” when our giving to synod actually went to the things the synod originally intended them to go toward: missions, educating pastors and teachers,   More…

Another Reason to Have the Corpus on the Cross, by Pr. Rossow

April 18th, 2014 61 comments

We have all heard it from our protestant friends and sometimes even from our Lutheran acquaintances – “Why do you have Jesus on the cross, that is so Catholic? That is so negative. We believe in the resurrected Jesus so we have empty crosses.” That last phrase is quite profound. They do indeed have empty crosses. I and the other two pastors here at Bethany Lutheran Church and School, Naperville, Illinois, have taken to pointing to the processional cross during the sermons when we speak of Christ crucified for our sins. In some sermons that can be as many as   More…