Great Stuff Found on the Web — President Harrison Quotes Wyneken on Unity

March 30th, 2011 Post by

“Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison” is LCMS President Matthew Harrison’s personal blog. His latest post is a lengthy quote from LCMS President F.C.D. Wyneken, culled from the book “At Home in the House of My Fathers.” It talks about church unity and the role of the Lutheran Confessions in holding the church’s members together.

Read it here.






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  1. mames
    March 30th, 2011 at 14:51 | #1

    I am confident that this treaties is correct; I am equally convinced that we do in fact NOT enforce our confessions in a Biblical and Godly manner. All manner of doctrinal error and unacceptable behavior is being tolerated to the detriment of the body. We seem to have a unbiblical view of forgiveness without consequences in this life and so we scold and maybe even see repentance but we do not enforce consequences. David had Gods heart but he also received Gods discipline. This is especially true among those who wear the collar. There is no need to repeat these problems, this site has cataloged dozens of them.

    Although the article here accurately describes the problem it does not provide a solution and our Synod needs a house cleaning. Nobody likes this kind of housework but without it we will continue to live in confusion and clutter that can’t help but breed further conflicts.

    Oh what the heck I will name a few:

    rampant open communion, women’s ordination, extreme CG methods, sermons devoid of Law, use of healing services and anointing with oil, three time admitted adulterer now a circuit counselor, Synodical leaders injecting themselves into DRP without authority in order to protect a fellow pastor, verbally manipulative and abusive Pastors, etc. …. We cannot let these behaviors go unaddressed and yes they must receive discipline, even expulsion. I doubt that this will provide short term unity but in the long run it will.

  2. Lifelong Lutheran
    March 30th, 2011 at 15:14 | #2

    rampant open communion, women’s ordination, extreme CG methods, sermons devoid of Law, use of healing services and anointing with oil, three time admitted adulterer now a circuit counselor, Synodical leaders injecting themselves into DRP without authority in order to protect a fellow pastor, verbally manipulative and abusive Pastors, etc. ….

    Are these things really happening in the LCMS? Are they rumors? Are you exaggerating to make a point? I really want to know because I have never heard of these things happening. I also don’t understand how a lot of the posters here seem to know what is going on at other churches all over the country. I mean, don’t you usually attend your own church? Are you traveling all the time visiting other congregations? I’m not being critical or flippant – I really am wondering.

  3. Rev. Roger D. Sterle
    March 30th, 2011 at 15:53 | #3

    @Lifelong Lutheran #2
    Yes these things are happening in the LCMS. We have a booklet from the COP [Council of Presidents] concerning divorce. Once upon a time a man who divorced left the active ministry. Now, if he is not guilty he may remain but should probably leave that parish [however many do not]. If he is at fault he must leave the ministry but may apply for reinstatement in seven years. Open Communion where non Lutherans, Lutheran of another confession commune at certain altars–certainly! And so much more that you have probably not seen or heard about.

  4. Rev. Don Kirchner
    March 30th, 2011 at 17:04 | #4

    “‘…sermons devoid of Law…’

    Are these things really happening in the LCMS? Are they rumors? Are you exaggerating to make a point? I really want to know because I have never heard of these things happening.”

    I’ve never heard nor heard of a sermon devoid of the law. But I have heard and heard of innumeral sermons devoid of the gospel.

  5. Jason
    March 30th, 2011 at 17:22 | #5

    @Lifelong Lutheran #2

    Yes, because I have been a member of a ahndful of coingregations through out my life. And when visiting firends and family, I am smoewhat up to speed on at least a good half dozen churches in my area.

    The lack of anything beyond a bulletin announcement means no discipline/discernemnt in many of these churches pretty much means open communion. If you go to the rail, you will receive. My previous congregation (and part of why I left) had a big-time CGM-CoWo guy, and I though he was overbearing bordering on bullying. He had some cohorts that were true bullies. His sermons were very Baptist, toward Gospel reduction that getting the church to DO the goods works swung around to actually being Law heavy in their own perverted way. They did a quarterly healing service, sometimes with oil. When I was in college one friend had a dad who was a pastor that was an adulterer, and was protected for the longest time by the fraterninty, until new district leadership eventually came in. She really didn’t care for her dad much for abandoning the family (wife & four kids).

    Sadly it happens. When I ctriticize clergy as often as I do it is because I do respect the offcie and Divine Call, and get very upset by those who horrendously abuse their position, and I wish for their removal to stop further damage and discredit.

  6. Carl Vehse
    March 30th, 2011 at 17:52 | #6

    “Are these things really happening in the LCMS? Are they rumors? Are you exaggerating to make a point? I really want to know”

    Wow! Great questions.

    If only some pastors and congregations, who are concerned about evangelical Lutheran confessions, would get together, maybe in some kind of association or something (the association would probably need some kind of related name).

    And this whatever-it’s-named organization could work hard to gather evidence of these kinds of errors going on in the Missouri Synod and document this evidence of errors, maybe in .pdf files available on some internet website. And maybe the organization could have a conference where they present the problems they found and put these presentations on the internet, too. Oh, of course, they should also work toward cooperation with representatives of the Synod in their goal of correcting such errors and bring the Synod into a closer confessional fellowship (I suspect there’s some Greek word for that).

    Such an association of confessing evangelical Lutheran congregations (and whatever name the organization eventually decides to call itself) would be a real benefit in helping Lutherans understand what’s really happening in the LCMS and that the errors the organization found are not exaggerations.

    Is anyone interested in starting such an organization? ;-)

  7. mames
    March 30th, 2011 at 18:13 | #7

    @Lifelong LuDheran #2

    I was not as aware of all of this until we became involved in a DRP with our Pastor. In an effort to do our homework we contacted many long time “intervention” type Pastors around the country as well as legal experts. What we learned as we dug in further was disillusioning at first but it is what it is. We are no longer naive regarding our leadership and after 3 years of involvement with DRP and still not having found support on the Synodical level to discipline this Pastor I can tell you I often question even the faith of some of these men of the cloth. I can also tell you that we have been treated more callously and dismissively by these men than by some of the worst “bosses” in our secular careers, all while maintaining their holier than thou attitude. There seems to be no more difficult thing for some of these men to do than to recognize ow n problems. These are some of the most self righteous, self enamored men you will ever meet. All the more reason to be thankful for true shepherds of The Word. Yes all of this is true and much more.

  8. Mark
    March 30th, 2011 at 18:30 | #8

    Kind of on topic, but, does anyone have any leads on where one can find Pastor Harrison’s book, “At Home in the House of My Fathers”? Neither Amazon or logia.org have it in stock.

  9. Lifelong Lutheran
    March 30th, 2011 at 19:41 | #9

    @Carl Vehse #6
    Where do I find this .pdf file that documents the errors?

  10. Carl Vehse
    March 30th, 2011 at 20:23 | #10
  11. Walter R Wagner
    March 31st, 2011 at 09:12 | #11

    @Lifelong Lutheran #2

    I can address two of these issues from first hand observation. First, open comunion. I have been a member of three LCMS congregations over the past 16 years, and I have witnessed folks being communed at each who I knew to be members of non-Lutheran churches. In one instance, the communicant raised the Body of our Lord to his mouth with a hand decorated with a huge Masonic ring. How much more error could you ask for?

    With regard to pastoral divorce without Scriptural basis… that too I observed. The pastor remained in the congregation for a short time, but took a call to another congregation not too far away. He was not removed from the ministry as he should have been. In my conversations with him I suggested that he should resign from the ministry, but he would not.

    I am also aware of two pastors who were unjustly removed from their congregations because they were remaining faithful to Scripture and our doctrines, but the discipline he was imposing was causing social conflict within the congregation. Another case of the laity not having been properly catechized

    W.R. Wagner

  12. Rev. Don Kirchner
    March 31st, 2011 at 10:37 | #12

    “In one instance, the communicant raised the Body of our Lord to his mouth with a hand decorated with a huge Masonic ring. How much more error could you ask for?”

    Plenty. Your context is LC-MS congregations in which you were a member. So, I assume that your pastor communicated that man. Do you know whether or not the man had talked to or was under the pastoral care of your pastor either before or after he communicated? Do you know the belief of the man at the time that he communicated?

    These and other questions are the sorts of issues that need to be addressed before condemning out-of-hand a person who wears a masonic ring and before running the risk of condemning pastoral care out of ignorance. I’ll not condescendingly give you an assignment, but you might want to peruse the following:

    http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/Lodge%20Membership-FINAL-03-2009-Updtd%2008-2009PDF.pdf

    Note in particular footnote 24 that references Walther’s letter regarding pastoral care to those in The Lodge. “In this letter, Walther insists that ‘publicly and privately, we must with zeal speak against the secret orders.’ ‘But,’ Walter continues, “let us not push away those who are still enmeshed in them and cannot at once convince themselves of the sinfulness of these orders and free themselves from them, but otherwise show themselves to be penitent Christians.”

    I have that letter in a volume of Walther’s letters. If you’d like the name of the book contact me and I’ll find it on my shelf and get you the title.

  13. Carl Vehse
    March 31st, 2011 at 13:41 | #13

    The Lehre und Wehre (Sept. 1913, Vol. 59 (9), pp. 385-395) article, D. Walther über Behandlung der Logenfrage (Dr. Walther on the Handling of the Lodge Question) contains Walther’s August 16, 1864, letter on pages 394-395. The 1913 article was written by someone with the initials, F. B. (I thought Franz Pieper was the editor of L&W at that time.)

  14. Walter R Wagner
    March 31st, 2011 at 14:44 | #14

    @Rev. Don Kirchner #12

    Pr. Kirchner,
    Thank you for your admonision concernining my statement regarding observing open communion being practiced in several congregations.

    Yes, I am familiar with the document to which you were so kind to have posted a link. In that document you will find the following….

    “How seriously the LCMS considers this matter is especially clear from guidelines for ministering to prospective members who are already members of such organizations. ‘The responsibility of diligent and conscientious pastoral care requires that pastors of the Synod do not administer Holy Communion to nor admit to communicant membership members of such organizations who, after thorough instruction, refuse to sever their affiliation with such organizations.’”

    In the particular instance cited, the man was a visitor with a family that were members. It did not appear that the communicant had not “severed his affiliation” (denied his affiliation with the Masons), since he was still adorned with the Masonic symbol. Had he been duly convinced by a discussion with the pastor, he surely should have demonstrated his understanding by removing such an item from his person (hand). You are absolutely correct to note that no one except God knows the heart of the communicant… even those who are members of the congregation. In all of the instances to which I referred, there was clearly no opportunity for a discussion to have taken place with the pastor prior to beginning of the WS, and none following, since they left immediately upon exiting the WS. It is remotely possible that they could have met with him, or phoned him, at an earlier time, or had been given a “heads up” by the host family.

    I did not confront the pastors in any of the three congregations, since it was their duty/responsibility to follow the practice of the LCMS regarding communion. The problem was their’s to deal with. They are educated folks who know what they should be doing. It’s symptomatic here in the SED.

    I’m sorry that my observations do not seem credible to you; I can only relate what, to me, have been clear cases of open communion having been practiced. I will concede that,”putting the best construction on the matter,” there are many scenarioes that could be speculated that would prove my assumption to be wrong, but let’s not play “lawyer games.” I don’t think that the issue of open communion has been based on faulty observation by a few.

    Regards,
    Rudy Wagner

  15. Walter R Wagner
    March 31st, 2011 at 14:51 | #15

    @Rev. Don Kirchner #12
    I have that letter in a volume of Walther’s letters. If you’d like the name of the book contact me and I’ll find it on my shelf and get you the title.

    @Carl Vehse #13

    Sorry. I don’t read German, Latin or Greek

  16. Rev. Don Kirchner
    March 31st, 2011 at 15:09 | #16

    It’s in English. Note the stated translator in the footnote.

    No lawyer games intended. It was your “How much more error can you ask for?” conclusion when it appears that you did not have all the facts. If you had/have questions about what you see, it’s always a good idea to have asked/ask your pastor about it. He might only be able to give you a “He’s under my pastoral care” or “I’m dealing with it” answer due to a confidentiality. IOW, maybe the “thorough instruction” or some other such case is ongoing and incomplete.

    Peace.

  17. Rev. Loren Zell
    March 31st, 2011 at 15:30 | #17

    Yes, Open Communion is rampant in the LCMS. I’ll just relate one story. My Presbyterian in-laws went on a holy land trip led by a LCMS pastor. On a boat in the Sea of Galilee, he gave everyone on the trip communion, including my father-in-law who was a 32nd degree Mason, and the nice Jewish couple that was in the group

  18. Carl Vehse
    March 31st, 2011 at 18:17 | #18

    A nearly complete copy of the Walther’s August 16, 1864, letter (with a reference section and the ending part missing) may be found in Rev. Kirchner’s January 4, 2007, LutherQuest post.

    The letter is in Walther Speaks to the Church: Selected Letters by C.F.W. Walther, edited by Carl S. Meyer, CPH 1973, pp. 78-80.

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