Great Stuff — Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker: Nature Interprets Scripture

April 16th, 2012 Post by

Found on Scott Diekmann’s blog, Stand Firm:

 

As a professor at Valparaiso University, Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker  wields a tremendous amount of influence on young minds. Dr. Becker is also a Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) rostered pastor, concurrently serving as vacancy pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Michigan City, Indiana. While there are some things on which we would agree, at least on a superficial level, his crusade for women’s ordination wouldn’t be one of them. He is also an evolution proponent, rejects a literal six-day creation, and is a vocal critic of the LCMS positions on these topics. (At the end of the post is further information regarding Dr. Becker’s formal dissent with the LCMS, as well as references for further investigation.)

Dr. Becker has voiced his views in numerous forums, and submitted his formal dissent to the LCMS, which included two of his essays titled “A Case for Female Pastors and Theologians” (excerpted from the book A Daystar Reader) and “The Scandal of the LCMS Mind” (hereafter called The Scandal). One of the LCMS documents with which he takes issue is the 2004 Convention Resolution 2-08A. Questioning the qualifications of the responsible committee members, he opines “which members of Committee Two are experts in the sciences of geology, paleontology, biology, and genetics, to be able to speak so authoritatively about this scientific  [evolution] issue.” And what are Dr. Becker’s qualifications? He is an Associate Professor of Theology. It seems reasonable to hold him to his own standard. He’s certainly no expert in any of the areas he mentions either, which renders him no more qualified than they to speak to the scientific aspects of the topic at hand.

Dr. Becker insists in The Scandal that

…Scientific data about the reality of physical death in the animal and plant kingdoms prior to origin of human beings (e.g., fossils of animals that lived long before the origin of human beings) must lead those who interpret the Bible in light of scientific knowledge to restate the nature of God’s good creation prior to the advent of human sin (e.g., such a good creation must have included the reality of death prior to the existence of human beings) and the character of the historical origin of sin (e.g., the advent of sin is to be traced to the first hominids who disobeyed God’s will but not necessarily to their having eaten from a tree in an actual place called the Garden of Eden several thousand years ago).

His reasoning allows him to ask such questions as these, quoted from his essay:

  • “Was Adam literally formed from the ground?”
  • “Did the snake really speak?”
  • “Did God really walk in the garden?”

With this in mind, it becomes obvious that while Adam and Eve were the first hominids to disobey God’s will, they may not have been the first hominids, and they certainly had evolutionary precursors. In other words, Adam and Eve had parents – call them Jack and Jenny, and Barney and Betty. To ward off a potential problem, let’s just say that Jack, Jenny, Barney, and Betty weren’t homo sapiens. Though they looked just like Adam and Eve, they had some minute evolutionary disadvantage, a lack of some obscure or obvious mutation that Adam and/or Eve possessed, that allowed God to draw an evolutionary line in the sand. Adam and Eve surely proclaimed “Our parents may have looked like us, but we’re the dawn of a new branch on the evolutionary tree.” Thus, we can now honestly say that Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, because “everyone” that came prior to them weren’t hominids. Be careful though. From now on, when you read Genesis 2:7,

then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

you must read it with a wink and a nod in your heart. Of course, this means that St. Paul fouled up when he wrote his letter to the Romans. Apparently Paul wasn’t much of a metaphorical thinker. Writing “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—,“ what he should have written to cover his bases was

Therefore, just as sin ALLEGORICALLY came into the world through one manhominidand death through sin though all non-hominids already experienced death,and so death spread to all men hominids because all sinned….

One point Dr. Becker uses to undermine the arguments of those individuals who reject evolution is to equate them with those who rejected the Copernican heliocentric universe in the 16th century. If you reject evolution, you’re a medieval rube. (My words, not his.) When J. Gresham Machen wrote his now classic book Christianity and Liberalism, perhaps he was presciently thinking of Dr. Becker’s ideas when he penned these lines:

By them this little book, if it ever comes into their hands, will soon be flung aside as only another attempt at defence of a position already hopelessly lost. There are still individuals, they will say, who believe that the earth is flat; there are also individuals who defend the Christianity of the Church, miracles and atonement and all. In either case, it will be said, the phenomenon is interesting as a curious example of arrested development, but it is nothing more.

Once the creationists have been dealt with, and evolution coronated, women’s ordination becomes all the more easy to tackle. A “figurative” interpretation of Genesis 1-9 is used to redefine the order of creation, and presto chango, women’s ordination is okey dokey. A figurative interpretation of Genesis and women’s ordination go together like peanut butter and jelly, like homosexuality and the ELCA. (If you don’t understand the relationship between women’s ordination and homosexuality, listen to Dr. Al Collver discussing it on Issues, Etc., and read the excellent CPH book Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Perspective.)

Dr. Becker calls evolution and its related subset of “truths” “venerable, commonly-held scientific theories” (quoted from ALPB Forum). Evolution is certainly a commonly held theory, but venerable it’s not. To base theological arguments as weighty as these on a theory as weak as that of evolution is risky at best, irresponsible or negligent more likely. Just because a theory is accepted by a broad swath of society doesn’t mean it’s correct. Faulty reasoning regarding nature should not be allowed to interpret Scripture.

Dr. Becker states “I am a strict Lutheran confessionalist” (same ALPB comment). He says that his views do not undermine the articles of faith. The LCMS CTCR would seem to disagree:

…Dr. Becker’s essays reflect a view of and approach to Scripture that are clearly incompatible with the Synod’s doctrinal position on the authority and interpretation of Holy Scripture….

While Dr. Becker does not espouse materialism, his views on these issues are certainly synchronous in many ways with those who hold to a materialistic worldview, and bring to mind the words of G. K. Chesterton in his book Orthodoxy:

Scientific materialism binds the Creator Himself; it chains up God as the Apocalypse chained the devil. It leaves nothing free in the universe. And those who assist this process are called the “liberal theologians.”

We do not “walk together” as a synod in the LCMS by walking in opposite directions. Dr. Becker’s ideas steer him in a course that’s on the tail of the synodical compass needle, not its head. His acceptance of unproven scientific theory and subsequent faulty theologic reasoning is disheartening. What may be more disturbing is that we as a synod allow him to do so, apparently unmindful of our Constitutional duty as a synod to conserve and promote the unity of the true faith and provide a united defense against schism, sectarianism, and heresy, especially when it is within our own ranks. I’d encourage you not to take my word for it, but rather examine what Dr. Becker has to say and decide for yourself. As Charles Porterfield Krauth said in The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, “A Church which contends for nothing, has either lost the truth, or has ceased loving it.”

 

Click below for quotes from the CTCR response to Dr. Becker and references.

The response of the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) to Dr. Becker’s dissent states in part:

Dr. Becker’s dissent does not provide a sufficient scriptural or confessional basis to support his claim that the doctrinal position of the Synod is in need of revision on the issue of the ordination of women to the pastoral office or on the issue of creation and evolution.

Their response continues,

…Dr. Becker’s essays reflect a view of and approach to Scripture that are clearly incompatible with the Synod’s doctrinal position on the authority and interpretation of Holy Scripture…

They further state:

The CTCR therefore appeals to Dr. Matthew Becker, by the mercies of God, to reconsider his dissent and to reexamine, on the basis of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, his positions on the authority of Scripture and the two issues concerning which he has expressed dissent, even as the Synod expects him to honor and uphold the doctrinal positions of the Synod.

The CTCR’s response concludes

A doctrine of Scripture remains a doctrine of Scripture despite the fact that it is formulated in synodically adopted resolutions. If a member cannot for conscience’ sake accept a doctrinal resolution of the Synod, he has the obligation and opportunity through mutually approved procedure to challenge such a resolution with a view to effecting the changes he deems necessary. Failing in that, he is completely free by reason of his wholly voluntary association with the Synod to obey his conscience and disassociate himself from the Synod. Meanwhile every member of the Synod is held to abide by, act, and teach in accordance with the Synod’s resolutions.

 

References

Dr. Becker’s essay “A Case for Female Pastors and Theologians” can be found in the book A Daystar Reader, available here:
http://www.thecreatorstapestry.com/2010/11/596/

Dr. Becker’s essay “The Scandal of the LCMS Mind” can be found here:
http://thedaystarjournal.com/Archive/2005/becker_scandal_lcms_mind.html

The CTCR document “CTCR Response to Matthew Becker Dissent of 6/29/11” can be found here:
http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1676

The follow-up CTCR document “Statement of the CTCR Executive Committee Re: CTCR Response to Matthew Becker Dissent of 6/29/11” can be found here:
http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1675

The ALPB Forum Online contains a 33 page thread titled “Commission on Theology and Church Relations’ Response to Matthew Becker,” which begins here:
http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=4311.0
Comments made by Dr. Becker’s can be found on pages 8, 9, 11, 12, 22, 28, 30, and 31.

The book Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Perspective can be purchased from CPH here:
http://www.cph.org/p-19258-women-pastors-third-edition.aspx?SearchTerm=women%20pastors


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  1. Jason
    April 16th, 2012 at 19:10 | #1

    I read so much last summer on ALPB, when Becker had time before teaching started. He actually engaged in a couple of threads that get very long. It was a lot to keep up ith all the posts. Why is this guy still an LC-MS pastor? Even from his own unfiltered mouth, he practically begs (dares) to be admonished. I think he believes he will win the fight, and change the LC-MS forever. And with our screwed up DRP, who can blame him? Seriously, he needs to be removed.

  2. Daniel
    April 16th, 2012 at 19:50 | #2

    I couldn’t agree more! The man needs to be removed. How can he be a rostered pastor if he clearly does not unconditionally subscribe to the Book of Concord? The fact that he can get away with saying he’s a confessionalist on his own right undermines the entire reason for the Book of Concord. If one can toy with the confessions in this manner without church discipline what will stop one from doing the same with Scripture?

  3. Win
    April 16th, 2012 at 19:53 | #3

    As a Lutheran pastor, this man is not building faith, but weakening it. He has lost sight of his vocation, and is leading people away from Christ. Teaching his brand of theistic evolution at a school which is at best, marginally Lutheran, nontheless leads his students away from faith in Christ, as the promise of Genesis 3:15 and its fulfillment become meaningless. Prof. Becker is a dangerous man.

  4. Carl Vehse
    April 16th, 2012 at 21:32 | #4

    But given what happened to Rev. Wallace Schulz, who would have the courage to try removing Becker from synod membership?

    Who would not mind getting hog-tied with DRP minutiae, slandered by low-life Lufauxrans, and then thrown under the bus by flat-lined convention delegates?

  5. April 16th, 2012 at 21:42 | #5

    This is a very good example of the public sin aspect of the eighth commandment:

    Where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it, you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it. (LC, 284)

  6. Lumpenkönig
    April 16th, 2012 at 22:06 | #6

    Given that ELCA Lutheran theology dominates this “independent” Lutheran university, Dr. Becker’s positions on many issues do not surprise me. The theological positions promoted by Valpo are hostile to LCMS doctrine. Therefore, why would any LCMS parent want to send his/her child to such a school. Why would any LCMS church member want to donate money to Valpo. I don’t get it.

    Dr. Becker knows that the LCMS has not clearly defined what women may or may not do in the Church. Trying to pit more liberal LCMS congregations against conservative ones is clever. Some congregations allow women to assume many traditional “men only” roles. For example, should women be ushers or elders? The LCMS needs to define the Office of Holy Ministry in a clear and concise manner. Until that happens, people such as Pastor Becker will continue to lobby regarding the “gray areas” within LCMS theology.

    Why is this pastor still working at an LCMS congregation? He should not be allowed to do so. The ELCA would love to have him. Another district president must be sleeping on the job.

  7. April 16th, 2012 at 22:25 | #7

    To quote Pastor Paul Rydecki:
    “A synod can only claim to be as orthodox as the least orthodox teacher or teaching it chooses to tolerate.”

    I wonder if he is ever expelled if we will try somehow to correct his errors among the hundreds (or thousands) of students and parishioners who have learned his lies since it has taken so long (if ever) to expel him.

  8. Robert
    April 16th, 2012 at 23:08 | #8

    I recant.

    Earlier I had prophesied privately to a friend that the BJS blog wouldn’t last
    another two years.

    Now after the Schauer Shutdown, and with yet another post so quickly and publicly to excoriate another member of the LCMS, I reduce that to six months.

    Controversy can satisfy habitues only so long.

    It’s Time.

    Robert C. Baker

  9. April 16th, 2012 at 23:20 | #9

    @Robert #8
    Robert,

    What’s your point?

    Are you saying that BOJS is wrong to call out Becker?

    Or, are you saying that LCMS Inc. will shut BOJS down for doing so?

    And, what are “habitues”?

    TW

  10. Carl Vehse
    April 16th, 2012 at 23:27 | #10

    Save your posts, just in case BJS gets another call from St. Louis.

  11. Scott Diekmann
    April 17th, 2012 at 00:52 | #11

    @Carl Vehse #10

    I’m pretty sure I’ve already got a copy of the post, although I did take a screenshot of Pastor Baker’s comment. ;>)

  12. April 17th, 2012 at 05:03 | #12

    @Carl Vehse #4
    Did the Lutheran Layman’s League ever apologize for the sinful way they treated Pastor Schulz?

  13. Win
    April 17th, 2012 at 06:55 | #13

    @Robert #8

    “…and with yet another post so quickly and publicly to excoriate another member of the LCMS…”

    False doctrine is false doctrine–Dr. Becker is teaching heresy. He makes no bones about his false teaching–so why is he any different than say, Arius or Pelagius? If nothing else, Scott and BJS have simply called attention to what he has been teaching for all too long.

    When a minister of the church teaches “doctrine” that leads young people away from Christ, as I have said above (#3), then he should be exposed. I have seen what theistic evolution does to faith–I have sat thru Genesis classes that made me shudder–and there is no doubt that evolution as taught by Dr. Becker is inimical to faith. When teaching threatens people’s eternal welfare, then “excoriation” of such teaching is in order.

    This has nothing to do with “tolerance.” The Church cannot tolerate heresy.

  14. Carl Vehse
    April 17th, 2012 at 07:41 | #14

    @Ted Crandall #12 ,

    If LHM Executive Director Rodger Hebermehl didn’t apologize for what he did to the Rev. Wallace Schulz, it’s too late now. Hebermehl’s dead.

    As for Bruce E. Wurdeman, current Executive Director at Lutheran Hour Ministries, you can read his noncommittal reply to a query by Matthew Gunia. Wurdeman and LHM “have moved on.”

  15. April 17th, 2012 at 08:00 | #15

    @Robert #8

    I don’t think that any of the posters or commentors at BOJS would even notice Dr. Becker if he weren’t still a member of the LCMS, publicly teaching things contrary to Scripture, flagrantly practicing unionism, impudently gaming our toothless system of dissent and dispute resolution –all under the ecclesiastical supervision of not one, but two District Presidents.

  16. Roger Gallup
    April 17th, 2012 at 09:51 | #16

    @Todd Wilken #15
    I would add to Tood’s point the fact that it is Valpariso University has always tried to sell itself as associated with the LCMS. I can remember the day when most LCMS congregations had “Valpariso Sunday’s” The back cover was always a large ad for Valpo. The universtiy is now at the point where few LCMS pastors will recommend it and is danger in becomming a place that we will have to warn young people and their parents against. Allowing Matt Becker to teach their shows their abandonment of the faith.

    This should be a warning to all of us about our own LCMS schools. They too are in danger of being cut off from the church. Only four of the possible sixteen members of the Boards of Regents for our colleges are now elected by the synod at large. Four more are elected by the district in which they reside. What will they be saying about our LCMS schools in twenty years?

  17. Rev. Roger D. Sterle
    April 17th, 2012 at 09:56 | #17

    @Roger Gallup #16
    Too late!!

  18. April 17th, 2012 at 10:37 | #18

    @Robert #8

    Dr. Becker has excoriated Scripture. He has excoriated our Confessions. He has excoriated the LCMS and several of its doctrinal positions. And this not privately or secretly, but most publicly – and proudly. He has also excoriated our Constitution and Bylaws, continuing to enter public forums and spew forth his false doctrine, even though he is obligated as a member of the LCMS not to do this while his formal dissent is being considered. Nobody has gone “heresy hunting” and stumbled upon his false teachings; he has been proactive in bringing his heresy into the public square time and time and time again, and again, he has done so proudly and vigorously.

    If responding to this very vocal and public false teacher is controversial, then we are far worse off as a synod than any of us imagines. Good grief! And, if LCMS Inc. has the power to shut down BJS, but is powerless to remove from its roster an unrepentant and proud false teacher like Dr. Becker, then we really should just fold up our tents and call it quits.

    How far we have fallen from Dr. Luther’s “Here I stand.” “Here we stand,” we say, “but you may feel free to stand elsewhere and remain a member in good standing among us, for the only thing taboo among us is to point out that you are standing somewhere else.” Lord, have mercy!

  19. mbw
    April 17th, 2012 at 11:35 | #19

    Robert :I recant.
    Earlier I had prophesied privately to a friend that the BJS blog wouldn’t lastanother two years.
    Now after the Schauer Shutdown, and with yet another post so quickly and publicly to excoriate another member of the LCMS, I reduce that to six months.
    Controversy can satisfy habitues only so long.
    It’s Time.
    Robert C. Baker

    Robert,

    I’ll take that bet, and I’m setting a reminder to myself to check your false prophet status on 2012-10-16.

  20. mbw
    April 17th, 2012 at 11:37 | #20

    Carl Vehse :Save your posts, just in case BJS gets another call from St. Louis.

    I just requested http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=18436 at archive.org
    Presumably that will trigger an archive action there

  21. Carl Vehse
    April 17th, 2012 at 11:52 | #21

    If Becker’s ecclesiastical supervisor doesn’t take hard action (and it doesn’t appear over the years that he has), then that ecclesiastical supervisor will have to be taken behind the woodshed by his ecclesiastical supervisor until he gets his act together or is suspended and and replaced by the next in line who will be responsible.

    It is the ecclesiastcal supervisor’s responsibility to suspend Becker and, unless he repents, wait for the DRP to make the decision to throw him out of the Synod.

    This is all theoretical, of course.

    And as they say, in theory there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice there is.

  22. Carl Vehse
    April 17th, 2012 at 12:02 | #22

    @mbw #20 ,

    The Wayback Machine takes 6-24 months to get its archives posted for public access. And the completeness of the archive will depend on when they collected.

    In the meantime, you can sometimes use the cache options on Google or Bing to retrieve recently deleted threads, at BJS for example, you are interested in.

  23. April 17th, 2012 at 13:09 | #23

    Ted Crandall :@Carl Vehse #4 Did the Lutheran Layman’s League ever apologize for the sinful way they treated Pastor Schulz?

    I’m still waiting to hear one. Our congregation no longer supports LLL/LHM.

    A couple of years ago I was expecting Steadfast Lutherans with Issues, Etc. to replace LLL/LHM as a Synodical Auxiliary. Our old Men’s Club recently disbanded so I hope we start a BJS chapter soon.

  24. April 17th, 2012 at 13:19 | #24

    Roger Gallup :@Todd Wilken #15 I would add to Tood’s point the fact that it is Valpariso University has always tried to sell itself as associated with the LCMS. I can remember the day when most LCMS congregations had “Valpariso Sunday’s” The back cover was always a large ad for Valpo. P>

    My congregation’s archived minutes from the 1960s to early 1970s shows that we used to contribute to Valpo and the ALPB, upon the advice of their pastor! I couldn’t imagine that now.

  25. April 17th, 2012 at 13:22 | #25

    Carl Vehse :@mbw #20 ,
    The Wayback Machine takes 6-24 months to get its archives posted for public access. And the completeness of the archive will depend on when they collected.
    In the meantime, you can sometimes use the cache options on Google or Bing to retrieve recently deleted threads, at BJS for example, you are interested in.

    Also, some websites can’t be archived at archive.org if their webmasters place a certain file in their directory that keeps that from happening. A website I used to work on did that.

  26. April 17th, 2012 at 13:29 | #26

    Everyone knows that Dr. Becker is doing this to provoke action from the District or Synod. What I want to know is why isn’t whatever congregregation he holds membership in isn’t disciplining him over this. Congregations are also required to subscribe to Holy Scripture and The Lutheran Confessions and his own pastor and board of elders would be expected to begin church discipline over this public sin.

  27. Jason
    April 17th, 2012 at 15:26 | #27

    Matthew Becker has been at Valparaiso since 2004. http://www.valpo.edu/theology/faculty/matthewbecker.php According ot the LC-MS website, he is attached to the Northwest District. http://locator.lcms.org/nworkers_frm/w_detail.asp?W4841
    Form surfing the internet, Dr. Becker is at Valpo as a missionary form the Northwest district, so as a teacher his supervisor is DP Paul Linnemann (since 2009). At the time of his “sending,” Warren Schumacher was his DP. Considering that the DRP is b***s***, it might need to be someone in the jurisdiction to file a complaint, like Matthew Mills.

    However, he is also filling in a vacancy at Immanuel in Michigan City. This congregation is under the supervision of DP Daniel May, who Pr. Osbun raves about. As such, Pres. May might have some pull here, since Dr. Becker is operating in a capacity in the Indiana District. Again, a local like Pr. Osbun might be a better person to inquire about concerns.

    Currently, the DP’s are the people to deal with this situation, but I am under the impression that Northwest isn’t likely to do anything. (may even be protecting him, in a sense) Pres. Harrison can’t really do much, unless he gets convention to vote for something, a mechanism or permission or something.

    As someone who lives on the East Coast, I’m not sure I can do anymore than share this public information. (and commentary)

  28. Joanne
    April 17th, 2012 at 19:40 | #28
  29. Rev.Paul T. McCain
    April 17th, 2012 at 19:53 | #29

    Joanne, yes, Becker is the short brown haired man with glasses, laying hands on her.

  30. Rev.Paul T. McCain
    April 17th, 2012 at 19:59 | #30

    Deleted, repetitive material.

  31. April 17th, 2012 at 20:53 | #31

    @Tim Schenks #23
    “I’m still waiting to hear one. Our congregation no longer supports LLL/LHM.”

    Considering how their sinful dismissal of Pastor Schulz led to his proclaiming “the Gospel in the United States and more than a dozen other countries by writing and editing the highly-acclaimed Good News Journal” (http://www.lhfmissions.org/page.aspx?pid=233), I can only say that Genesis 50:20 applies: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

    I can’t help but wonder if those who should take action in cases like Becker’s lose courage when they look at what happened to this former Vice President of the LCMS when he took proper action. If so, they are short-sighted, for God will not be mocked forever.

  32. Jason
    April 17th, 2012 at 20:53 | #32

    @Joanne #28

    Yes, he is. I saw this picture last summer during the heated threads on ALPB. Quite honestly, according to LC-MS written rules (if we ever follow them), that picture is damning evidence of ecumenism, and could very well be enough to remove him from the roster. If only…

  33. April 17th, 2012 at 22:44 | #33

    For those who are talking about The Lutheran Hour stuff, you may want to look at this previous posting:
    http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=13242

    In this posting Mr. Bruce Wurdemann gave comments about the situation (comment #55 and following) and other objections to LHM. His openness was much appreciated.

  34. Ted Crandall
    April 18th, 2012 at 05:11 | #34

    @Pastor Joshua Scheer #32
    Thank you, Pastor Scheer. I see that in that post Mr. Bruce Wurdemann writes, “I am always open to your helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. We always want to do a better job of communicating that saving Gospel message and I’m open to listening to your ideas. My office phone number is 314-317-4101. Focused suggestions and specific criticism helps us do our job better—sarcastic comments and generalizations don’t. Help us serve you better.”

    On the off chance he’s not following these discussions still,, perhaps I should call him with my suggestion that it’s not too late for those representing LHM and still carrying the responsibility for what it did to Pastor Shulz to add credibility to its preaching by repenting of that sin. “Moving on” without repentance amounts to continuing in sin.

  35. Win
    April 18th, 2012 at 07:10 | #35

    Joanne :http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/valparaiso/article_3c7957fe-61c1-5f4c-85a6-f5e681a76c5c.html
    Can anyone tell if Wetzstein or Becker are in this picture?

    This sentence from the article is interesting: “The Rev. James Wetzstein, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod University pastor, said the VU community was delighted the new pastor was here. ‘We are looking forward to days of good collaboration that are certain to be ahead,’ said Wetzstein.”

    What is that all about?

    As far as I’m concerned, Notre Dame is more LCMS than Valpo.

  36. Carl Vehse
    April 18th, 2012 at 08:45 | #36

    @Joanne #28 ,

    That question was previously asked and answered by Rev. Messer in a Sept. 9, 2011 post: “I believe Dr. Becker is the fifth man from the white-haired man in the lower left going clockwise in the pic of clergy laying hands on the newly installed female ‘pastor’.”

    Other photos of the XXXA pastrix installation are linked in a later post on that thread.

  37. Hofman, M. C.
    April 19th, 2012 at 11:23 | #37

    “Did the snake really speak?”

    Years ago, in response to a young whipper snapper reverend, who asserted that the snake could not have spoken because a snake has no vocal cords, my normally very patient father replied: “The Bible tells us of an ass that spoke like a man. Some men speak like asses. That snake had to speak, even if it had to speak through its —hole.”

    In case animal skins are needed by two ecclesiastical supervisors, I know of a couple of elk hides.

  38. Johan Bergfest
    April 20th, 2012 at 06:25 | #38

    How is it that every year, even though Lutherans remember the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord, some Lutherans consistently miss the fact that the first apostles, ordained to proclaim the good news of the resurrected Christ were women?

    I understand the conflict between Darwin and Bishop Usher, but can someone please explain the conflict between the theory of evolution and Luther’s explanation of the first article? Evolution does not challenge divine creation and those who would use science to question the reality of the Creator are practicing bad science. Evolution only describes the creation, after the fact. Creation is a continuous, not a one time event. Luther’s explanation describes God as continuously involved in the work of creation (as well as continuously involved in the work of redemption and sanctification). Parenthetically, Luther also describes a God who is far greater than the limits of either our own imagination or our literal understanding of Genesis 1 and 2.

  39. Win
    April 20th, 2012 at 08:19 | #39

    @Johan Bergfest #38

    A new doctrine? The first apostles were women? Ordained? Yes, they were “sent” to tell the disciples, but apostles? Hardly.

    As any evolutionist will tell you, evolution requires (1) death and (2) time. This is in direct conflict with the straightforward account in Genesis–creation was accomplished in six literal 24 hour days, and there was no death until the fall. To say that God “uses” evolution as his creative tool is neither biblical nor scientific. The scientists laugh at such an amalgam (no “divine foot in the door”) while the idea that God didn’t “get it right” the first few times puts his ominpotence into question. Evolution does indeed challenge divine creation–and to attempt to blend the two is “perilous” as the following quote makes clear:

    “Perhaps this is a good place to acknowledge that there are people who advocate theistic evolution. They confess to a creator God who used evolution as the way life came to be as it is today. The explanation usually given is that the Bible tells us the who, while science tells us the how. They have assumed a compromising position that, in the end, is neither theological nor scientific. At best it is transitory.

    “On one hand, the theistic evolution may be a transitory stop for an atheist on the move from pure atheism to an admission that a god is in control. In contrast to the transitory atheist, the transitory Christian has moved from a position that believes God created the universe in six, consecutive, 24-hour days (both who and how) to a confession of faith that denies a part of God’s Word (the how of creation). This move is spiritually dangerous because it moves away from God’s Word and to human reason. Theistic evolution is a perilous doctrine for the Christian to hold.”

    Michael McCoy, “A Christian Perspective on Creation vs. Evolution”, St. Louis, CPH, 1996 pp. 26,27.

    Mr. Bergfest, please be careful–you are treading in dangerous territory.

  40. Johan Bergfest
    April 20th, 2012 at 11:24 | #40

    Win :
    @Johan Bergfest #38
    A new doctrine? The first apostles were women? Ordained? Yes, they were “sent” to tell the disciples, but apostles? Hardly.

    Curious. You insisted on literalism in responding to my comments about evolution but you ignored literalism in responding to my comments about women.

    Apostle = sent one. And, the first persons sent to proclaim the resurrection were three women.

    I suspect many scientists would challenge the notion that evolution requires death and time. A more correct statement would be that evolution is change over time. And, many such changes have been observed and documented in yours and my lifetimes. The only substantive issue in dispute is the length of time. My Bible did not come with a clock. If yours did, I’d suggest that it is someone’s interpretation of a Biblical clock.

    I believe that God gave us the Scriptures to reveal to us His plan of salvation for sinful people. That message is too important to corrupt with silly arguments about whether the earth is flat, the earth is the center of the universe or evolution.

    By the way, I am not an atheist. I am a lifelong Lutheran who daily remembers his Baptism. And, interestingly, my first exposure the the concept of evolution and the fossil record was in a grade school classroom – a Lutheran grade school. And, that lesson was reiterated in greater depth in a high school biology class – a Lutheran high school.

    It has been my observation that the change – evolution – that entered the LCMS several decades ago with the adoption of a non-Lutheran understanding of Scripture has carried with it some decidedly non-Lutheran teachings, one of which is creation science.

  41. Win
    April 20th, 2012 at 12:54 | #41

    @Johan Bergfest #40
    You said, “Curious. You insisted on literalism in responding to my comments about evolution but you ignored literalism in responding to my comments about women.
    Apostle = sent one. And, the first persons sent to proclaim the resurrection were three women.”

    I stated that the women were indeed “sent.” But it is semantical sleight-of-hand to imply that by sending them to tell of the resurrection qualifies them as the first apostles. Scripture nowhere identifies them as such.

    You have set up some false antitheses. “Change over time” is not the same as apes to humans, no longer how much time it takes. “Change over time?” You and I are changing over time as we age, but nobody would say we’re evolving–if anything, we’re devolving. Adaptation is not evidence for evolution, but design. Darwin’s finches, for instance, change over time, then change back as climate fluctuates. Are they evolving? No matter how large or small their bills, they are still finches. The “change over time” that is observed is driven not by the environment but by the design of the finches’ DNA.
    As far as “suspecting” that many scientists would dispute the death and time requirements is concerned, I have yet to read of any evolutionist who so believes. I suspect that few, if any evolutionary scientists disagree with the death-time scenario. It is part and parcel of their faith–evolution is their transcendence. But you have your suspicion and I have mine.
    “First day,” “second day,” are clearly 24 hour days–even the “clockless Bible” knows no other ordinal day.
    Nobody has introduced “silly arguments” such as a flat earth-as-center-of-the-universe. Why bring such red herrings into the discussion? Yet evolution has been introduced by Dr. Becker and yourself. But, I do agree that evolution is itself a silly argument, as it depends on blind chance (i.e. DNA happened by accident) –but to make it part of God’s means of creation is not silly, but dangerous.

    Here’s an evolutionist’s “silly” argument: “Time is in fact the hero of the plot… given so much time, the ‘impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs miracles.”
    GEORGE WALD, HARVARD PROFESSOR,
    “THE ORIGIN OF LIFE”, 1955

  42. Rev. David Mueller
    April 20th, 2012 at 14:43 | #42

    @Johan Bergfest #38
    Actually, reading St. Mark and St. Luke, the *very* first proclaimers of Christ’s resurrection were men. In Mark, it’s one “young man” (neaniskos) robed in white, sitting on the right hand side of the tomb. In Luke it’s “two men” “andres duo”. In Mark, that “young man” is even wearing a “stole” (which is simply that gleaming white festal robe, to be sure).

    Beyond that, this is a non-starter when it comes to the idea of women in the apostolic/pastoral office. No one ever said that women ought not confess Christ (in the case of these particular women, even “bear witness” to His resurrection). There is a difference.

  43. Rev. David Mueller
    April 20th, 2012 at 14:54 | #43

    @Johan Bergfest #40
    Sent: The women were sent, in a sense–true. However, the Scriptures never refer to them as “Sent Ones”–apostolai. Your use of the resurrection accounts is just plain tiring.

    As for your theistic evolution idea–it’s tired, too. The *entire* point of the theory of evolution is to explain the existence of life, the universe, and everything *without the component of “God”, ala Occam’s Razor. The term “theistic evolution” is logically oxymoronic. The evidence “for” evolution is hardly unequivocal. Have you read McCoy’s little book, Mr. Bergfest?

    Disclaimer–in my previous post, please note that I am *not* denying that Mark and Luke realized that those *very* first witnesses of the resurrection were *angels*. However, they do not call them angels. And one ought to consider possibilities as to why.
    Also, Lenski hints at the “official” status of Mark’s “young man” by interpreting “stolee” as “a magnificent festal robe… such as is worn by priests and noble personages.”

  44. Rev. David Mueller
    April 20th, 2012 at 15:00 | #44

    Looking at Just’s commentary on Luke, he connects the “andres duo” “two men” in Luke 24 with the Transfiguration–Moses and Elijah–both of whom clearly are in the prophetic Office.

    so, once again, if we’re going to drag out that old argument about women as the first proclaimers of the Resurrection, then we’d best *really* look at the text and see if that actually works for the sake of women preachers. It doesn’t.

    Wrt your having been exposed to evolution in Lutheran schools–so? Such mistaken teaching by even our synodically-trained, rostered teachers has been going on for a *long* time. That does not demonstrate the orthodoxy or even the good *logic* of the theory of evolution–or more precisely, the theory of theistic evolution.

  45. Win
    April 20th, 2012 at 15:11 | #45

    @Rev. David Mueller #43
    “The term “theistic evolution” is logically oxymoronic. The evidence “for” evolution is hardly unequivocal.”

    Theistic evolution, oxymoronic though it may be, has been the cause of many a fall–as McCoy says, it often represents a transitional stage (not “form”) from faith to unbelief, and sometime vice-versa. Theistic evolution is the most faith-threatening of the attempts to compromise Scripture with evolution (which is not science– knowledge–but mostly conjecture and imaginative story-telling). The evidence, by the way, is the same for both evolution and creation–one’s world-view determines the interpretation.

    By the way, I have never questioned the faith of those who believe that God somehow used evolution in His creative activity. I have only said that such a view is dangerous, or “perilous” as McCoy so eloquently puts it, and ultimately here is the reason for the danger:

    “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!” G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution,” American Atheist, February 1978, pp. 19,30

    Nothing has changed….

  46. Win
    April 20th, 2012 at 15:36 | #46

    @Rev. David Mueller #44
    You said, “Wrt your having been exposed to evolution in Lutheran schools–so? Such mistaken teaching by even our synodically-trained, rostered teachers has been going on for a *long* time. That does not demonstrate the orthodoxy or even the good *logic* of the theory of evolution–or more precisely, the theory of theistic evolution.”

    Yes, indeed, and it was taught at Concordia Seminary. See Paul A. Zimmerman, “A Seminary in Crisis”, pp. 332-342 (Original “Blue Book”, pp 90-96): “Permissiveness: Creation and Fall of Man.” The statements of the various professors are chilling, and serve as background for Dr. Bertram’s errant teachings.

  47. Mike Brugge
    April 22nd, 2012 at 17:20 | #47

    I certainly hope that Lutheran students learn “evolution.” This is not to say that they should be taught that is true, but they will need to know the outlines of what it says. There are two reasons. First, since it is so pervasive, they will need to know its serious flaws so as not to be pursuaded by the assaults of the devil that come through the work of the skeptics. Second, since the entire system of biologic taxonomy is built around the Theory of Evolution, it is essential knowledge for anyone headed into a field that requires classes in biology. There is nothing about understanding how the taxonomy is derived from evolutionary theory that requires any Christian to believe that there is any truth to the theory.

  48. Win
    April 22nd, 2012 at 18:03 | #48

    @Mike Brugge #47

    Of course, you are correct. We should learn about evolution, just as we learn about any false doctrine or errant teaching. My point in #46 above was that, based on the testimony of the professors at the seminary, evolution was taught as “truth”, “fact” and as compatible with Scripture, in fact, overruling Scripture, as Dr. Becker teaches. On the other hand, Philip Johnson understands evolution and sees right through it, in his “Darwin on Trial,” a book I highly recommend. Required reading, in fact.

    “The Story of human descent from apes…is the secular equivelant of the story of Adam and Eve, and a matter of immense cultural importance. Propagating the story requires illustrations, museum exhibits, and TV re-entactments. It also required a priesthood–thousand of researchers, teachers, and artists who provide realistic and imaginative details and carry the story out to the general public.”

    Philip E. Johnson, “Darwin on Trial” P.85

  49. John Eberhart
    April 23rd, 2012 at 09:56 | #49

    Becker’s Daystar Journal
    http://www.thedaystarjournal.com/

  50. John Eberhart
    April 23rd, 2012 at 19:09 | #50

    There are literally hundreds of people like Matthew Becker and Martin Marty in the LCMS. Those that deny the inerrancy of the bible, promote evolution, women pastors etc. But the one person that has been tracking them since Seminex has had his newspaper thrown away like junk mail. It’s a persons own fault that they have listened to the LCMS bereaucrats on ostrisizing Pastor Otten. Herman Otten has been covering it for years and it won’t go away and no one has been paying attention. Pick up a copy of Christian News or visit his web site for more information.
    http://christiannewsmo.blogspot.com/

    Or subscribe to the paper and/or archives of Christian News for the last 50 years. Information that is priceless.
    http://www.christiannewsmo.com/Default.asp

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