Benke participates in worship service with ELCA, according to ELCA news release (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

September 23rd, 2011 Post by

It was ten years ago today, on September 23, 2001, that Atlantic District President David Benke participated in the interfaith prayer service “A Prayer for America” in New York City.

Benke had previously participated in an interfaith prayer service on September 9, 1998. On October 22, 1998, he signed a public apology in which he stated:

“My participation in this service was a direct violation of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, and consequently, violation of the Constitution, Bylaws and doctrinal resolutions of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I also recognize that my participation in this interfaith prayer service was a violation of my duties and responsibilities as an elected officer of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

“While well-intended, what I did was wrong. I therefore sincerely and publicly apologize to the Synod for my actions in this connection. I assure the Synod that I will not repeat this error in the future by participating as an officiant in ecumenical services.”

Now this year, on September 11, 2011, Benke participated in a joint worship service with clergy of the ELCA, according to an ELCA news release.

In the news release below, the “Prayer and Remembrance” commemoration is referred to as a “service” several times. And it is noted that this service was patterned after a “worship service” that took place at the same ELCA church ten years earlier. That worship service took place on September 19, 2001, and Benke participated in it also (ELCA joint service of September 19, 2001).

Here then is the text of the ELCA news release, dated September 12, 2011:

Commemoration at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Manhattan, hosted a “Prayer and Remembrance” organized by Lutheran Social Services of New York. Members of the ELCA, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the public gathered to remember lives lost, acknowledge survivors who are moving forward and celebrate the response efforts of both denominations in New York.

“I felt great warmth, especially in seeing the relationships of collaboration and shared service that the ELCA and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod displayed while responding to Sept. 11,” said the Rev. Kevin A. Massey, program director for Lutheran Disaster Response.

“We gathered at Holy Trinity to commemorate 10 years passing. The lost are remembered. The tears often flow anew. While time assuages some of the sting of the pain, the ache remains. We will always miss those whose absence leaves a space in our souls,” he said.

The commemoration included speakers and participants from the ELCA and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod including Hanson, the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, executive director of ELCA Congregational and Synodical Mission, and the Rev. David Benke, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Atlantic District.

The Rev. Robert A. Rimbo, bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod, participated and noted that the service was patterned after a worship service that took place at Holy Trinity shortly after the attacks.

“The service was very moving,” said Rimbo. “It provided a time to remember and reflect what happened 10 years ago here.”

“The service propelled us to move into the future together. While we will never forget what happened, there is new life as God’s people move forward,” he said, adding that the anniversary is a turning-point and gateway to engage in new opportunities for service.






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  1. September 27th, 2011 at 15:51 | #1

    Rev. Clint K. Poppe :@John, an Unlikely Pastor #80
    2 Corinthians 6:14-18
    1st Commantment
    2nd Commandment
    If these are not clear enough on the matter please see the Schulz Report, which goes into great detail on the matter (see number 61).
    In Christ, Clint

    @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #84
    Pastor Poppe
    To accuse someone of breaking the first two commandments seems pretty strong.
    But then I started thinking, I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have trouble with the first commandment. To accuse DP Benke of breaking first commandment is no different than accusing anyone who has the guilt of original sin on their person of breaking the first commandment.
    As to the accusation that he broke the second commandment I’d sure appreciate seeing a copy of his remarks or the order of service and have you point out to me where DP Benke dishonored the Holy Name.
    thanks
    John

  2. Rev. Steven W Bohler
    September 27th, 2011 at 16:17 | #2

    John,

    As has been suggested, read Wallace Schulz’s report on the 2001 Yankee Stadium worship service. He goes into some detail as to how unionism/syncretism is a violation of the First and Second Commandments.

  3. Johannes
    September 27th, 2011 at 16:18 | #3

    @Daniel L. Gard #100
    “If a unity of faith could be expressed by joint worship with the ELCA then the exact same unity of faith could be expressed by joint worship with Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, etc.”

    Inasmuch as the ELCA is in fellowship with several other liberal Protestant bodies, including the Presbyterian (PCUSA), UCC, Episcopalians, etc., then the implications of this joint worship are patently evident.

    The purposes of this event were made clear in the ELCA press release, but based on all the accompanying verbiage, the most important thing was good feelings. Pres. Benke’s appearance certainly gave Rev. Massey a warm feeling. I hope there was more to it than that, and that Pres. Benke gave a vigorous proclamation of the Gospel in no uncertain terms and plain English.

    Johannes

  4. September 27th, 2011 at 17:15 | #4

    Rev. Steven W Bohler :John,
    As has been suggested, read Wallace Schulz’s report on the 2001 Yankee Stadium worship service. He goes into some detail as to how unionism/syncretism is a violation of the First and Second Commandments.

    I know you and others here appreciate Wallace Schulz’s report and believe it’s truthful.
    But I’d like to here your own words explaing just how DP Benke violated the 1st and 2nd Commandments.
    thanks
    John

  5. September 27th, 2011 at 17:32 | #5

    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #104

    John,

    I have a question for you, if you don’t mind of course. You remain in the ELCA which has some terribly deep doctrinal differences with the LCMS that can’t be ignored. Do you think there is a Scriptural explanation anyone in the LCMS can offer you as to why it is wrong for Pr. Benke to publicly participate, as an official representative of the LCMS, in a worship service with ELCA clergy and representatives?

  6. Pr. Don Kirchner
    September 27th, 2011 at 17:43 | #6

    John is asking a very simple question. I have not seen here or anywhere exactly what President Benke did or did not do at the Commemoration at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. who started this So, John is asking how President Benke violated the 1st and 2nd Commandments. As Pr. Henrickson stated, there “are questions that need to be answered.” They haven’t been.

    Normally, John’s question would be rhetorical because the normal person would not be able to answer the question without having facts. . But given that some have already convicted President Benke of wrongdoing without knowing what he did, they also probably can tell John how President Benke violated the commandments.

    And if that doesn’t work, they can always simply re-convict him for 2001.

  7. September 27th, 2011 at 19:58 | #7

    Jim Pierce :
    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #104
    John,
    I have a question for you, if you don’t mind of course. You remain in the ELCA which has some terribly deep doctrinal differences with the LCMS that can’t be ignored. Do you think there is a Scriptural explanation anyone in the LCMS can offer you as to why it is wrong for Pr. Benke to publicly participate, as an official representative of the LCMS, in a worship service with ELCA clergy and representatives?

    Jim,
    I see 2 issues here
    the first issue is an accusation that a pastor has violated the first 2 commandments by his presence with other Christians. I have yet to see a clear explanation of how he violated these 2 commandments.
    the second issue here is the interpretation of scripture that underlies these accusations. I ask for those who make such accusations to explain themselves using scripture. To date most here have sited the reports of others or doctrines espoused by Walther and Pieper but haven’t made a clear and simple explanation from scripture.
    that’s what I’m asking for
    thanks
    John

  8. Rev. Steven Bohler
    September 27th, 2011 at 20:12 | #8

    I’m sorry, but I understood John’s question to be a theoretical one (how is unionism/syncretism a violation of the 1st and 2nd commandments) and not a reference to this 2011 service. I am not making any statement that this 2011 service was unionistic, syncretistic, or that Dr. Benke is guilty of any such thing (that is why I have asked if anyone has seen an order of service for this event). However, I do agree with what Dr. Schulz wrote in his report on the 2001 Yankee Stadium service — both in terms of how unionism and syncretism are violations of those commandments AND how that applies to Dr. Benke’s participation in that service.

  9. September 27th, 2011 at 20:19 | #9

    @John, an unlikely pastor #107

    Thank you for the clarification, John. I do appreciate it. In reviewing the claims about breaking the 1st and 2nd commandments, I believe the claim is that acts of syncretism and unionism break those commandments. Pastors Henrickson, Poppe, and Noland have provided quite a few scriptural references to support the LCMS teaching against syncretism and unionism.

    Of course, there are some questions that do need to be answered in this particular case as to whether or not Pr. Benke was actually engaged in unionism, but I think the pastors I list above have provided the Scriptural basis as to why such unionism is wrong even if it turned out Benke wasn’t engaged in unionism. That is where I was going with my question.

  10. helen
    September 27th, 2011 at 20:42 | #10

    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #104
    Rev. Steven W Bohler :John,
    As has been suggested, read Wallace Schulz’s report on the 2001 Yankee Stadium worship service. He goes into some detail as to how unionism/syncretism is a violation of the First and Second Commandments.

    I know you and others here appreciate Wallace Schulz’s report and believe it’s truthful.
    But I’d like to here your own words explaing just how DP Benke violated the 1st and 2nd Commandments.
    thanks
    John

    If you believe Wallace Schulz’s report is truthful, I hope it will be sufficient for you to say that I agree with Wallace Schulz, who agrees with Lutheran doctrine, which agrees with Scripture.
    If you are the same kind of elca as my relatives in clergy there, you don’t believe in Scripture. ITC, I don’t expect to convince you of anything.

  11. Rev. Clint K. Poppe
    September 27th, 2011 at 20:48 | #11

    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #101

    I have accused no one of anything in this matter. You asked a simple question, or so I thought, of how unionism and syncretism violate Holy Scripture and I have provided that for you. Time will tell if Rev. Behnke has publicly sinned in this matter, or if the ELCA Press Release was misleading. Many people have contacted President Harrison regarding this matter and I trust he will follow through appropriately.

    And dear brother Kirchner, I know of no one who wants to re-convict Rev. Benke for his actions in 2001 as no re-conviction is necessary. His actions speak for themselves. God’s Word is clear on the matter. He was not “cleared” of any charges, he simply “beat the rap.”

    Clint

  12. Johannes
    September 27th, 2011 at 21:35 | #12

    Pres. Benke has many defenders on this thread, and plenty of detractors, and it seems, nobody really knows what he was doing in that service. Did he “preach?” Did he pray with other non-LCMS Christians? Did he boldly proclaim the Gospel, clearly and unequivocally? Was it worship? Nobody knows.

    I am puzzled by Pres. Benke’s actions. Given the controversy and division generated by his Yankee Stadium appearance, why would he join in another similar service? Why would he take the chance of alienating many in the LCMS, and of re-opening the wounds from 10 years ago? In giving the ELCA clergy “warm feelings” what kind of reaction did he expect from their counterparts in the LCMS, (not including BJS)? Did he consider the effects that his participation would have on the ongoing talks between the LCMS and ELCA?

    It’s apparent that, until we know the facts, there’s no way any of us can either criticize or defend Pres. Benke, for our opinions are based on conjecture of one kind or another. In the meantime the questions keep mounting.

    Johannes

  13. Rev. Don Kirchner
    September 27th, 2011 at 21:59 | #13

    Dear Brother Poppe,

    John asked,

    “1) What specific offense deserves tough love here?
    2) Exactly what scriptural directive has been violated?”

    The operative word is “here.” IOW, what has he done in this instance?

    Your response,

    “1st Commantment

    2nd Commandment”

    It certainly seems to me that you have accused President Benke of violating the 1st and 2nd Commandments “here.” Hence, John’s follow-up, asking how he violated them.

    You now say that “Time will tell if Rev. Behnke has publicly sinned in this matter…” Fair enough. One may always reconsider and adjust one’s position accordingly.

    As for re-conviction:

    Indeed, he was not cleared of any charges. But he was convicted by most, just as he already has been convicted by many for the recent event, including you before you un-convicted him. As for “sentencing,” in the 2001 events, however, you are correct. He “walked.”

    Let us not confuse 2001 events with 2011. As you state, “Time will tell.”

  14. Rev. Don Kirchner
    September 28th, 2011 at 07:45 | #14

    Dear Brother Poppe,

    This morning I took another look at the posts on this thread. Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment!

    I note that John’s original post was somewhat ambiguous. Although He asked what President Benke did “here” that was so wrong, I see that the post started out referencing the LCMS response 9 years ago. I.e.:

    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #73

    “The response of the LCMS to DP Benke has intrigued me for 9 years. I personally look at his actions and wonder why anyone is so angry at him.”

    So, I can see where you would be referring to “why anyone is so angry at him” for something 9 years ago in your response of a violation of the 1st and 2nd Commandments (which I agree with, btw.) I can see, therefore, why you would state that you are accusing no one of anything in this matter.

    I am sorry that I jumped on you last night. Others have blatantly accused President Benke of wrongdoing with little facts, some just for his showing up at the function, but you have not.

    It is so unfortunate that Pr. Henrickson needlessly opened old wounds by extrapolating from the 2001 “Prayer for America” in his opening statement, which is needlessly prejudicial to the issue here, to the present issue.

    Again, my apologies to you.

  15. John Rixe
    September 28th, 2011 at 08:15 | #15

    @Johannes #112

    Good point.  I think we should spend another six days gossiping among ourselves and exchanging “mounting questions.”  Facts would just interfere and annoy.

  16. Michael Mapus
    September 28th, 2011 at 08:46 | #16

    @John, an unlikely pastor #107

    Romans 16:27, “I appeal to you brothers, to watch out those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them”.

    Points of divisions that create obstacles: universalism (1st Commandment), Her Church (2nd commandment), evolution, JEDP, Higher Critical Method, is God male or female (?), women’s ordination, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, pulpit & altar fellowship with the reformed, Gospel Reductionism, Liberation Theology, denial of the 3rd use of the Law, liberal pietism, The so-called social gospel, gay pastors, the list could go on.

    I’m afraid to think of what’s next.

  17. a-political
    September 28th, 2011 at 08:56 | #17

    talk about a dead horse. come on, people.

  18. Jason
    September 28th, 2011 at 09:33 | #18

    @a-political #117

    It would stay dead if it didn’t keep happening…

  19. Wm. Schulz
    September 28th, 2011 at 10:09 | #19

    Go to the top of the chain of command. Contact President Harrison directly for the facts in this case. He needs to deal with it anyway, as our president, whether there was sin or not. It is a public matter and should be handled likewise, according to God’s Word.

  20. September 28th, 2011 at 10:45 | #20

    Michael
    thanks for the thoughtful reply, you and I will disagree but I sure appreciate the sincerity of your words. I find a balance in Christ Words and the confessions between being seperate from the world and others and being at one with the whole body of Christ inspite of current human divisions. That’s the reason why one can site Paul’s admonitions against division and see in Christ the simple reason why we are church together often without official approval or agreement on all things.
    We are blessed to remember 2 things from God’s Word today.
    1) Christ’s promises to be with the body in all its forms even when it is just a gathering of 2 or 3 asking something in in his name in Matthew 18:19-20
    2) Paul’s insights in 1st Corinthians 12 about the nature of the Body of Christ are quite helpful to understanding why a divided church could and should come together. Paul wrote,

    Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. ?15? If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. ?16? And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. ?17? If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? ?18? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. ?19? If all were a single member, where would the body be? ?20? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.
    1 Corinthians 12:14-21 NRSV.

    I Imagine Paul having a belly laugh as he wrote these words. How rediculous is it to insist that only one part of the body is the whole. Paul understood from day 1 that the body is made up of many parts. Clearly unity comes not from uniformity but from Christ, and for that I give thanks.
    Pax, John

    Michael Mapus :@John, an unlikely pastor #107
    Romans 16:27, “I appeal to you brothers, to watch out those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them”.
    Points of divisions that create obstacles: universalism (1st Commandment), Her Church (2nd commandment), evolution, JEDP, Higher Critical Method, is God male or female (?), women’s ordination, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, pulpit & altar fellowship with the reformed, Gospel Reductionism, Liberation Theology, denial of the 3rd use of the Law, liberal pietism, The so-called social gospel, gay pastors, the list could go on.
    I’m afraid to think of what’s next.

  21. Johannes
    September 28th, 2011 at 10:45 | #21

    @John Rixe #115

    The questions that keep collecting are legitimate questions, and hardly gossip. The rush to judgment or acquittal (for lack of a better word), are gossip. Why accuse someone when you don’t really know what he has done, and why excuse him when (surprise!) you really don’t know what he has done. Keep asking questions and, fer cryin’ out loud, sumbuddy get us some answers, awreddy!

    Johannes

  22. September 28th, 2011 at 12:35 | #22

    Lana,
    Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 12 and 13 directly challenging a church that was splintering to come together not around human righteousness but around Christ like love 1 Cor 12:31-13:2. In truth the whole 1st Letter to the Church at Corinth was written to a church that was splintered. Saddly the church is still splintering today. Paul’s invitation to be church church together is still there. History is a pretty clear teacher that no human attempt to create unity through uniformity has yet succeeded. The product of these attempts has more often been more division and more splintering.
    Paul’s inviting us to a more excellent way of being church together until the completion of this age. Paul’s clear in 1st Corinthians 13:12-13. The apostle is teaching a lesson of humility and compassion towards one another in the church and the world just as Christ showed compassion towards us and still does. In the end Paul was telling the church at Corinth the way things really are in the church and what.
    Paul’s response to those who see themselves as separated from others is clear in 1st Corinthians 1:13. Christ has not and will not be divided. I give thanks that because Christ is one you will always be one with others in the body of Christ. You will always be one with those who Christ has died to save.
    Pax, John.

    lana :Dear John, If the rejection of the means of grace are a part of other groups, whether Word or Sacrament, we cannot say we are one with them in Christ. The text you brought up was always preached in the context of the group gathered together in agreement on Word and Sacrament.

  23. Michael Mapus
    September 28th, 2011 at 12:44 | #23

    @John, an Unlikely Pastor #120

    It is true; all believers in Christ are part of his body. The text you bring up, deals with the diversity within the Corinthian congregation and that diversity not being a difference of opinion on the interpretation of scripture. Saint Paul is showing these Christians that each plays a unique part in the Corinthian congregation. Being ELCA free for ten years now, I never forgot the exegetical hula hoops and indoctrination on unity in my old congregation. This passage was one of them. Question, if a Lutheran, and a reformed pastor went out together for shut in visits to administer the Lord’s Supper, would it be his real physical body and blood? Or would it be something else? Or If a Lutheran and a Baptist pastor visit a family, and the parents came to faith, do we baptize the children also? If an LCMS and a ELCA pastor visits a homosexual who has no intention of repenting and receiving the forgiveness of sins, do we affirm or confront with the full weight of the Law? Or if an ELCA and LCMS pastors are teaching Genesis to young children, did God create in literal six, twenty four hour days or did he use evolution and Adam and Eve are just theological stories? I was taught that it was evolution and Adam and Eve were myths to tell a theological story, which almost wrecked my faith in my teenage years. Here’s one more, what if a family is sitting in a pew watching a commemoration on 9-11, and a Flaming Gay ELCA pastor with rainbows all over his vestments, saying the Lord’s Prayer with “Our Mother” and the families LCMS pastor standing right next to him, how will the parents respond to their children’s questions? Dear Pastor John, save your unity talk for another board.

  24. Mrs. Hume
    September 28th, 2011 at 13:39 | #24

    “Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 12 and 13 directly challenging a church that was splintering to come together not around human righteousness but around Christ like love 1 Cor 12:31-13:2. ”

    That is what the many of us in the LCMS would like to do with regards to denominations like the ELCA, but the ELCA steadfastly insists on the doctrines of human righteousness above Christ like love. The ELCA claims the Bible is full of errors instead of inspired and useful as in 2 Tim 3:16. In the ELCA everyone was interested in discussing stuff like women’s ordination until after it happened. Now it is taboo to challenge it. Will rescinding it be on the agenda in the foreseeable future? How about a “conversation” about it? Why not? Because the popular wind and not God’s word holds sway in the ELCA. God’s word is challenged and dismissed constantly in the ELCA but human understanding is not. Human understanding is relabled Christ like love, when it is nothing of the sort. Jesus tells us we are wrong and calls us to repent. Human understanding tells us we have no sin. Humans love sin. Christ doesn’t. For the sake of unity, the ELCA could rescind all of its errors and be reconciled to fellow Christians, but they are not willing to do that because they aren’t interested in unity based on the word of God.

    Okay, I just went to the ELCA main web page and did a search for the words Christ and gospel.
    Not there.
    http://www.elca.org/

  25. September 28th, 2011 at 15:46 | #25

    Rev. Don Kirchner:
    It is so unfortunate that Pr. Henrickson needlessly opened old wounds by extrapolating from the 2001 “Prayer for America” in his opening statement, which is needlessly prejudicial to the issue here, to the present issue.

    President Benke’s history is quite relevant in providing context for the present issue. The news release itself brings up that history by referring to the “worship service” at Holy Trinity in 2001, in which Benke participated, and it says that this 2011 service was patterned after that 2001 service. If it turns out Benke has once again participated in such a service, his history would make this current situation all the more serious. If it turns out that the news release is incorrect–i.e., that either Benke did not participate in leading this service or he did participate but this “Prayer and Remembrance” commemoration was actually non-religious in nature and thus not a “service”–then we all can rejoice that President Benke has kept his word and refrained from participating in a joint service. I would much rather that that be the case.

  26. Carl Vehse
    September 28th, 2011 at 16:19 | #26

    One person’s “needlessly prejudicial” is another person’s “Bayesian inference.”

  27. Rev. Don Kirchner
    September 28th, 2011 at 16:55 | #27

    What I said, Rev. Henrickson, was that the reference to “Prayer for America” was needlessly prejudicial. To analogize to legal proceedings, evidence of prior bad acts is generally not admissible to show that a person acted similarly in the present case, not based on relevancy but, rather, because it is unreasonably prejudicial. It leaves one to conclude that he did it before and, therefore, he probably did it again, without first looking to the evidence- the facts- to see if he did.

    That’s exactly what has happened here. He did it before. It is alleged that he now did something similar. Many assume the worst and trash him. But we can rejoice if it is later determined that he engaged in no wrongdoing?! That’s like banging your head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop.

  28. September 29th, 2011 at 00:11 | #28

    Perhaps something like 5 Years Ago . . . ?

    http://www.ldrny.org/topnews/topnews_HolyTrinity.html
    http://www.ldrny.org/TopNews_91106.asp
    http://www.ldrny.org/News/News3.asp

    7 years ago . . .

    http://www.ldrny.org/TopNews_91106.asp

    I agree with Dr Gard.

    And I trust President Harrison to know and do the right thing — if anything is to be done. President Harrison knows how to provide charity and mercy while also making the good confession.

    I loathe syncretism and unionism as much as anyone because they obfuscate the Gospel. If there has been a public offense, then it should be dealt with appropriately.

    Given his past track record, it would be easy for me to default to the belief, especially based on the press releases as mentioned by Pastor Wilken, that Dr. Benke has participated in joint worship once again. I certainly hope he hasn’t. I’d prefer to wish him well, asking the Lord to bless whatever relief efforts Dr. Benke is able to muster.

    Kyrie eleison.

  29. September 29th, 2011 at 12:58 | #29

    FYI

    Dr. Benke is my DP. As a pastor in the District, I received an e-mail stating his involvement in this service. I then responded with a lengthy letter (e-mail) stating my concerns, especially in light of President Harrison’s recent pronouncement of pulling out of the joint chaplaincy program with ELCA. My other concern was that men like Bp. Rimbo, a known progressive, was going to be involved in this commemoration event. After sending my concerns to Dr. Benke, he responded with a gracious e-mail stating his case. We then met the next day at a Circuit meeting and discussed the matter further. I stated my concerns and he assured me that his involvement had been cleared by President Harrison. In addition, he told me that this service was a conclusion to the joint efforts of the LCMS and ELCA cooperating in externals. Since the event was specifically an LDRNY (Lutheran Disaster Relief, New York) service reflecting on all that transpired during 9/11, it was a reflection and conclusion of these efforts. Whether or not you agree or disagree, this is the response that he gave. My own opinions on the matter will be kept between my DP and me.

  30. September 29th, 2011 at 14:37 | #30

    Wade Miller:
    As a pastor in the District, I received an e-mail stating his involvement in this service. . . . he assured me that his involvement had been cleared by President Harrison. In addition, he told me that this service was a conclusion to the joint efforts of the LCMS and ELCA cooperating in externals.

    As a pastor in the Synod, I would like to have received an e-mail about his involvement in this service. Did President Benke himself use the word “service”? Did he describe the content of this “service,” i.e., whether or not it would be religious in nature, with prayers, hymns, Scripture readings, homiletical reflections, etc.?

    As to Benke’s assurance that his involvement had been cleared by President Harrison, I wonder what exactly Harrison was told–or not told–about this event, and what he said in response.

    And since this event was about “cooperating in externals,” did the event stay on that level, externals, or did it rather involve sharing in a worship service together?

  31. Paul
    September 29th, 2011 at 15:29 | #31

    @Martin R. Noland #95
    “I don’t know anything about you but let me start by calling you ignorant.” Nice.

  32. John Rixe
    September 29th, 2011 at 15:58 | #32

    @Paul #131

    When I first read it, I also thought Pr Noland’s introduction was unintentionally pretty funny.  His comments are always kind and thoughtful, however, although a little over my head.  I don’t read Latin, and my theological training has been limited to Sunday School.

  33. Rev. Fritz Baue
    September 30th, 2011 at 09:13 | #33

    I commend Pastor Wade Miller for his reasonable and churchmanlike response to this most recent action of DP Benke.

  34. Carl Vehse
    September 30th, 2011 at 09:26 | #34

    So now, in addition to ongoing questions on details regarding various news releases about the “Prayer and Remembrance” commemoration service, we now have questions on details about statements made in Rev. Wade Miller’s post.

  35. September 30th, 2011 at 09:42 | #35

    I did not attend the service (for obvious reasons). We had our own 9/11 service utilizing Evening Prayer and the Litany from LSB. I can’t speak to whatever else might have happened on that evening. I did not get into specifics on what the event was called or how involved Dr. Benke was in this service. My concern involved the participants (Hanson and Rimbo) and the location of the event, which is a “Reconciling in Christ Congregation” (LGBT friendly parish).

    Thanks, Pr. Baue. I tried to state my concerns clearly and honor the 8th. Only the Lord knows if my actions were the appropriate response. My course of action was to remember 9/11 with a service that emphasized Law and Gospel, as we prayed together in the context of Trinity’s, and the Synod’s confessional position.

  36. Johannes
    October 1st, 2011 at 09:21 | #36

    @Wade Miller #135
    “I did not attend the service (for obvious reasons). We had our own 9/11 service utilizing Evening Prayer and the Litany from LSB.”

    What a great thing to do! I have always wondered why Pres. Benke did not host a service in his own congregation in 2001, rather than jumping into Yankee Stadium. Now, ten years later, he had the opportunity to host another service, inviting all to come, altho not sharing the altar and pulpit with him.

    Seems an opportunity lost.

    Joe

  37. Martin R. Noland
    October 5th, 2011 at 23:32 | #37

    @Paul #131

    Dear Paul,

    I am sorry that I was not clearer in my explanation. I did not say you were “ignorant” in a general way, but that you might have been “ignorant of” one point of exegetical theology. Here is what I was trying to say

    When I deal with someone who espouses an error in theology, I first try to determine whether they are doing so intentionally or unintentionally. How I approach the matter will depend on their knowledge of the subject matter and their intent. When I said I didn’t know you, that is what I was saying.

    If you are a layman who has heard John 13 to deflect a theological correction (as is typically done by ecumenists), but are not aware of the continuity of the Supper Discourse, then you would be unaware of how the “love” command is balanced by the “keep my Word” command. Then all I would have to do is point you to the many Supper Discourse passages and you would understand the Lutheran position in this matter.

    If, on the other hand, you are a lifelong student of the Gospel of John and know the Supper Discourse almost by memory, my repeating those verses to you would be pedantic and patronizing to your intelligence. Then you would have other reasons for your opinion, possibly based on a higher critical approach or a generalized disregard for the Word of God. The point is not that you hold these positions, but that I don’t know you or your attitudes in such matters.

    I am not so smug to think that I can change your mind or anyone else’s mind. Changing minds and hearts is the work of the Holy Spirit. But I do have an obligation to make a defense for the faith and theology to which I have pledge my life and vocation.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  38. John Rixe
    October 6th, 2011 at 09:35 | #38

    @Martin R. Noland #137

    Respectfully, I think you are getting me and Paul mixed up.  I am more concerned with our attitude and behavior toward other LCMS folks (not so much ELCA).  Does our treatment of each other prove we are disciples?  Please see comment 95 and 98.

  39. Martin R. Noland
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:15 | #39

    Dear John and Paul,

    Yes, its looks like I got the two of you mixed up. Sorry about that. Paul was saying in his comment #131 that I was insulting your intelligence. But that is precisely what I was trying to avoid, so I apologize both for the offense and the mix-up, to both of you.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  40. Ernesto
    October 21st, 2011 at 15:21 | #40

    Don’t you people have congregations or something to look after. Blogs and pastors, the pulpit that never ends…

  41. October 22nd, 2011 at 20:29 | #41

    Have either President Harrison or President (not “Bishop”) Benke released any statement about this “event”?

  42. October 22nd, 2011 at 21:52 | #42

    Ted Crandall : Have either President Harrison or President (not “Bishop”) Benke released any statement about this “event”?

    Not that I’m aware of. And I have not seen a copy of the bulletin, either.

  43. Carl Vehse
    October 22nd, 2011 at 22:20 | #43

    As noted in #61, President Harrison will probably not say anything about the “event.”

    One recalls in early 2001 that 1stVP Daniel Preus recused himself from being the designated ecclesiastical supervisor of Atlantic District President David Benke after making some comments on the YS Prayer Service back in October 2001. President Keischnick was recused from handling the case by the Praesidium. Thus 2ndVP Wallace Schultz ended up as Benke’s ecclesiastical supervisor.

    BTW (FYI) President Matthew Harrison and Missouri District President Ray Mirly are the ecclesiastical supervisors of each other.

  44. Michael L. Anderson
    October 23rd, 2011 at 14:45 | #44

    On another thread, at this website, an observation is made which purports to distinguish between the historical behaviors of so-called “liberal” and “conservative” factions, within the LCMS.

    The writer of such opines: The “liberals” did not seem to realize that they were running a nasty gossip mill; and that their accusations could never be confirmed or disconfirmed. The commentator continues The weirdest thing is where a “conservative” will accuse a “liberal” of false public doctrine and then the “liberal” accuses the “conservative” of breaking the 8th commandment because he criticizes false doctrine. The “liberals” always seem to forget that the 8th commandment forbids “FALSE” testimony, not testimony about FALSE DOCTRINE.

    From this, I get the feeling that “conservatives” are not given to the profanity of gossip, or “FALSE” testimony. Our hands are clean, then; cleaner than Pilate’s. We proclaim that the Truth shall make us free, and do not in any way sacrifice to Lord Speculation or Duke Innuendo, and much less to Storm-King Ba’al, of course.

    When it comes to decisions, we choose God over Ba’al. Count on us, here. And that goes for Speculation, too. Well, no. That doesn’t sound quite right.

    Allow me clarify things. LCMS “conservatives” eschew Speculation, too. True!

    With that as background, I acknowledge that an individual cleric’s 2001 record can rightfuly be interpreted as a documented instance of his compassion/love trumping a confessional faithfulness to the Triunity (who alone saves, period). Still, the absence of a bulletin or any confirming statements which bear elderly authority, regarding this affair in 2011, does raise a pertinent series of questions.

    1.) Are “conservatives” able to realize that they are as fully capable of running a gossip mill, as nasty as any of those ever-rascally “liberals?”

    And

    2.) Can the “conservatives” repent better? Puh-leez?

    Michael L. Anderson

  45. October 23rd, 2011 at 19:49 | #45

    Speaking of repentance and others recusing themselves and leaving it to Synodical Vice President Schulz to call District President Benke to repentance for his public sin, has the Lutheran Layman’s League apologized yet for what they did to Pastor Schulz?

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