Seminex: A Debt of Gratitude(?)

November 30th, 2012 Post by

I stumbled upon this video a while back. The Reverend John S. Damm was once Academic Dean of Concordia Seminary under John Tietjen’s administration. He was one of the 35 professors who exiled themselves from Concordia Seminary in February of 1974 to begin Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex), later Christ Seminary-Seminex. Damm later became Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the borough of Manhattan, New York, NY. He is retired, but has been given the honorific title “Pastor Emeritus”.

The video is worth your watching. The one thing Damm rightly points out is the doctrine of Baptism and how it permeates the Christian life. One can hear him speak of the Lord’s Supper as well. Of course, he speaks of being an “evangelical catholic”, a term that has no basic definition and could be used by a confessing Lutheran as it could by a Roman Catholic.

Almost 39 years after the bitter days of the creation of Seminex, we in the Missouri Synod still feel the ripples in the pond of this cataclysmic event. There is much good that has come from the so-called “Exodus from Concordia”. Gone are the days of form criticism, social-scientific criticism, and whatever else kind of higher critical thinking from Synod’s oldest seminary. God’s Word is taken at face value again. The world no longer sets the agenda at “801”.

However, I submit we do owe Seminex a debt of gratitude. Many of these men were liturgically minded men. In spite of all the false teaching that went on in their classrooms, they helped the Missouri Synod understand what it means to be a liturgical church rather than a church with a liturgy. Men like John Damm, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, John Tietjen, John H. Elliott, Robert Bertram, and others were unafraid to preach and teach the fact that Lutherans were liturgical Christians. Yes, we rightly quibble with them over many things they taught that are not in accord with Holy Scripture and the Symbolic Books. Nevertheless, if it weren’t for some of these men, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod could still be a church body that offers the Lord’s Supper once a month with pastors wearing talars. We could be a church body that puts baptismal fonts in closets when not needed instead of putting them in a prominent place in our chancels (or in the narthex, as it is in my congregation). We could be a church body that never encourages pastors to teach their congregations about private confession and absolution, moving their flocks toward recovering this time-honored practice.

While there is much to malign these men who were later removed (or removed themselves) from our fellowship, we should also thank them for planting the seed that has grown today into full bloom. More congregations frequently offer the Lord’s Supper more than once a month, even once a quarter(!). More pastors proclaim the gift of Holy Baptism in sermons and Bible studies. More congregations offer individual confession and absolution, even if occasionally rather than regularly. We have come a long way toward recovering a genuinely Lutheran liturgical-sacramental practice. And we have Seminex for the most part to thank for that recovery.


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  1. Rev. McCall
    December 3rd, 2012 at 09:50 | #1

    I think an important point mentioned here is that adherence to liturgy does not cover over the fact that the content of what was preached and taught was wrong. This is simply the reverse argument of COWO where the content is supposedly the same yet the “liturgy” different. It may be a simple analogy, but I always reference doctrine and practice to folks via a relationship. If I tell my wife all the right words but my actions don’t support that what am I really saying? Likewise if I act appropriately but say horrible things to her how is that any different or better? Both my words and actions should say the same thing just like with doctrine and liturgy. Simply looking like church just doesn’t cut it. If that’s the case we should be praising the Church of England as well for their fine liturgy (even if it is a woman leading it).

  2. December 3rd, 2012 at 11:44 | #2

    @Rev. Eric J. Brown #50

    “Our contemporary worship stuff today isn’t spinning out of Seminex, it’s spinning out of those who were opposed to Seminex and thought that “believing the bible” was the end all be all of everything — so let’s worship like those bible believing baptists down the street — their style doesn’t matter — we’ll just toss in some extra Lutheran substance.”

    Sorry, I disagree. The Seminex folks I have encountered have eschewed the lilturgy, embraced the baptists down the street (“They believe in Jesus–that’s what matters”), teach the “Purpose Driven Life” (and all the other “purposes”), to say nothing of their attraction to the charismatics, whose interpretation of scripture is more like h/c than h/g. And much of the preaching is right out of Harold Senkbeil’s “Sanctification.”

  3. December 3rd, 2012 at 11:54 | #3

    Just what is wrong with these? Please tell me. Why do Pastors and Churches look for material that just destroys. When there is some truth in the “new” material it takes a Doctor of Theology to make sense of the material! (eg. A confession of sin before Communion from some half baked supplement. )

    http://www.cph.org/searchnew.aspx?SearchTerm=Lutheran+Service+Book

    IXOYC

    Please say the black; do the red. Just what s so hard about that.

    Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

    (2 Timothy 2:14 ESV)

    [Preach the Word]

    I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

    (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

    Ave verum corpus, natum
    de Maria Virgine,

    vere passum, immolatum
    in cruce pro homine,

    cuius latus perforatum
    fluxit aqua et sanguine:

    esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine.

    Iesu dulcis, Iesu pie, Iesu, fili Mariae.

    Miserere mei.

    Amen.

  4. Martin R. Noland
    December 3rd, 2012 at 12:50 | #4

    Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I hope that some of you have noticed that Pastor Juhl’s title ended with a question mark. That is like “scare quotes,” which leaves the matter up for debate and discussion. So don’t assume that Pastor Juhl was expressing gratitude for Seminex. Read carefully.

    To some of your questions and comments:

    Did the AELC influence the formation and theology of the ELCA? Yes. See Carl Braaten’s memoirs titled Because of Christ, published by Eerdmanns. Braaten does not think that the influence of the AELC and Seminex was a good thing, either for LSTC (where he used to work) or on the ELCA.

    Were Seminex faculty, their disciples, and pro-Seminexers also non-liturgical? Yes. See Robert Preus’ review of John Tietjen’s memoirs, published in LOGIA 1 #1 (Reformation 1992). Check out page 67, left column, fourth paragraph, where Preus says that the Saint Louis seminary in the Tietjen years had a “preoccupation with un-Missourian and un-Lutheran theological fads emanating from just about any source and touching just about any topic.” That would have included liturgical topics and stupid “contemporary worship” fads.

    For a free electronic copy of LOGIA 1 #1, go here: http://www.shop.logia.org/1-1dlfree-Vol-1-No-1-Reformation-1992-1-1dlfree.htm

    If you have a copy of LOGIA 11 #3 (Trinity 2012), you can find Preus’ review and my quote from it on page 91, right column, first paragraph.

    Was the false teaching of Saint Louis seminary in the Tietjen years its most troubling aspect? Yes, absolutely. I appreciate the question and comments about this from Joe Strieter, who comments here regularly at BJS with the voice of experience in such matters.

    Joe gets to the heart of the trouble when he notes that the Seminex crew were anti-doctrinal. They wanted to pursue their “higher critical scholarship” without the constraints of the doctrine of the Lutheran church. This pitted the exegetical faculty against the dogmatic faculty. The exegetical faculty considered themselves to be the “living voice of the Gospel” and the dogmatic faculty to be the “dead voice of the Law of doctrine.” And people believed that rhetoric, which is why they threw away their catechisms, Pieper’s dogmatics, and Book of Concord. It wasn’t merely an attack on this or that doctrine of the Lutheran church–it was a wholesale attack on doctrine in principle, and thus a full-scale attack on the revealed Word of God in Scripture.

    After the Word of God is gone, what is left? That is where Joe is correct that what was left was “love for the neighbor,” something that is not unique to revelation, and was expressed in the “Social Gospel,” that is defense of the poor and the powerless. That is really all that is left in the ELCA today.

    Were Tietjen and his allies some type of demons, or by other accounts, wicked men? No. Look at the same book review I quoted above by Robert Preus and hear what he said:

    “The reviews I have read of Dr. John Tietjens Memoirs have not been kind or fair to him nor empathetic to his struggles and situation. . . . With this review I wish to give John Tietjen and his many colleagues, friends, and followers a fairer hearing and fairer commentary on his memoirs. . . . For John Tietjen is without doubt a principled, sincere, and honest man–that is clear from his Memoirs and his history. . . . Anyone who went through these struggles, as I did, a foot soldier on the other side, bitter struggles between good friends and colleagues and Christian brothers [my emphasis], cannot fail to be impressed by Tietjen’s story. . . . I lived through these events of Tietjen’s tenure at the seminary, and never saw him bend or compromise. From his book I see something different: how hard it is for a man and how hard it is on a man to go through five years of bitter theological and ecclesiastical warfare and then to be put out of his divine call.”

    What did Robert Preus see as the dangers facing the LCMS in 1992? See the end of the same book review:

    “Today Missouri stands in grave danger of being affected by this amorphous, emotional, non-credal, undefinable, increasingly neo-Anabaptistic movement which now permeates American culture. Not that the synod will succumb or capitulate overnight. But the influence of what can be accurately called the Methodization of American religion is quite apparent in Missouri’s church life and programs. The historic liturgy is being abandoned in some congregations. Laymen without calls are carrying out the work of the public ministry of the Word. Though called “church growth” principles, the fundamental tenets of this movement are more compatible with Erasmian humanism and the blatant synergism or the coarse fanaticism of Luther’s day. Sadly such principles are preferable in some quarters to a Lutheran Word and Sacrament ministry. Open communion is becoming common if not rife, in many congregations. Missouri’s historic doctrine and practice of Church Fellowship seems to be changing to a more latitudinarian position. The doctrine of the Ministry of the Word and the divinity of the call to that office are eroding and being challenged in certain quarters. Church officialdom is claiming and gaining more power. The people are listening more and more to TV evangelists and don’t like being criticized for doing so. Most of these gradual development would have been opposed by Tietjen, all of them by Jack [Preus].”

    * * * * * *

    I have to say that I learned a lot from Robert Preus about trying to be fair when assessing one’s theological opponent. This book review is just one example of his general attitude and approach to such matters. I hope that the readers of this blog might learn from Robert Preus’ example–and no one can question his orthodoxy!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  5. Rev. McCall
    December 3rd, 2012 at 13:01 | #5

    @Joe Strieter #2
    But there is something to what Rev. Brown is saying. Ask any advocate of CoWo (or read some of their comments on BJS). The most common argument by far for CoWo is “Style doesn’t matter, only content. We’re still Lutheran in our content and liturgy is all adiaphora so…” The CoWo cry is that it only matters what you say, not what you do. Now is that fair to link that to Seminex? I’d be willing to debate that and hear more on it. It at least strikes me as a fair assumption that coming out of Seminex the prevailing attitude could have been, “It doesn’t matter what the liturgy looks like as long as we believe the right stuff.”
    So my question to any BJS folks with more history on this stuff would be: “Is it fair to say that the attitude coming out of Seminex was hyper focused on doctrine to the extent that practice fell somewhat by the wayside?”
    Follow up. “If yes to the above question, would or did that shift have any bearing on the rise of CoWo within the LCMS?”

  6. David Preus
    December 3rd, 2012 at 13:41 | #6

    In the spirit of Robert Preus, I should say that the text which served as the basis for Pastor Damm’s sermon (linked above) was great!

  7. Martin R. Noland
    December 3rd, 2012 at 13:47 | #7

    @Rev. McCall #5

    Dear Pastor McCall,

    Please read my comment above, page 2, #4 for some answers to your questions.

    The fact is that the Seminex crowd and the contemporary worship crowd had this same principle in common – neither one wanted to be constrained by doctrine in the Book of Concord. For the Seminexers, that opposition to doctrinal constraint was very broad. For the contemporary worship crowd, they did not want to be constrained by the doctrinal statements about worship in the Book of Concord; and many of them felt uncomfortable with other doctrines, such as AC XIV.

    Both the pro-Seminex-folks-who-didn’t-leave and the contemporary-worship-folks were opposed to the Book of Concord, but for different reasons. Both thereby revealed their opposition to the confessional article of the LCMS, Articles II & VI, which require unconditional (and thus not partial) subscription to the Book of Concord. That is why both groups could find common cause, for awhile, in the organization known as “Jesus First,” which was composed of leaders from both groups.

    This statement of yours is simply an assumption: “coming out of Seminex the prevailing attitude could have been, “It doesn’t matter what the liturgy looks like as long as we believe the right stuff.”” The conservative leaders who took over the seminaries and national offices after the Seminex walkout did not say that, either publicly or privately, and I never detected that attitude in the 1970s or very early 1980s. Just look at Robert Preus’ quotes in my page 2, #4 comment.

    One of the main reasons Robert Preus was put out of office was because he supported the traditional liturgy and hymns of the Lutheran church, and he had faculty who did the same. The persons who got rid of Robert Preus would have also gotten rid of the rest of that faculty, if the alumni of Springfield and Fort Wayne had not come to their defense.

    The faculty at the Saint Louis seminary were put under the same pressure in those years, as I later discovered in conversations with them. They had the advantage, however, of being located in the same city as the national offices.

    I hope this helps the discussion a bit.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  8. Rev. McCall
    December 4th, 2012 at 09:08 | #8

    @Martin R. Noland #7
    Thank you! I did try to freely admit that anything I was saying was nothing more than an assumption. I am not as familiar with all the circumstances of Seminex and was looking for clarification, which you provided! Thank you again Pr. Noland!
    The connection between the pro-Seminex and CoWo folks coming together, in part, in “Jesus First” is interesting. Forgive me if you have already answered this, but did the pro-Seminex folks who stayed in the LCMS then switch gears once Preus came into office? In other words since they were unable to change the doctrine did they begin trying to change the practice instead, with the hope (expressed or not) that it would eventually change the doctrine?

  9. Martin R. Noland
    December 5th, 2012 at 08:28 | #9

    Dear Pastor McCall,

    Re. the question in your second paragraph.

    JAO Preus was elected in 1969. His opponents soon thereafter formed an organization known as ELiM to support their church-political causes. The walkout and Seminex-foundation happend in 1974. The emigration out of the LCMS into the AELC happened in 1976.

    The ca. 950 pro-Seminex pastors in the LCMS, who stayed after 1976, did not change their ideas or church practices, as far as I know. They just resigned themselves to working within the system, to subvert it if possible, and if not, to make their own congregations and associations move in their preferred direction. Where they had influence, they tried to denigrate or distort traditional LCMS doctrine and practice, and institute their own ideas and practices.

    David Luecke, who was an advocate of Evangelical worship (I don’t know his attitude to Seminex), advocated for Evangelical style worship with Lutheran teachings. But he distorted the Book of Concord’s teaching about worship, by only quoting a selective portion of Formula of Concord SD, Article Ten, and not quoting the rest of the Book of Concord’s statements on worship.

    As you should have learned in doctrine class, the history of doctrine demonstrates that there were as many theological errors that were distortions of doctrine as there were errors that were outright rejection of a doctrinal article.

    Regarding Jesus First, I have never had an “inside” source inside the Jesus First organization, so I have only been able to assess its work and purposes based on two things.

    First, they used to publish on their website a list of all their “members” who signed up to their “Affirm Jesus First” statement. There were hundreds of folks on that list, and many of them were publicly known to be associated with 1) previous pro-Seminex groups, 2) RIM (a pro-charismatic group), 3) DVDV (a pro-women’s ordination group), 4) Lutherans Alive (a more moderate group in favor of open communion and broader fellowship), and 5) several LCMS groups that were in favor of Evangelical styles of worship.

    Second, they used to publish a newsletter, later online, and also published many things prior to synodical conventions. By reading all that stuff, you could tell what they intended for the synod and how they intended to accomplish it. The names of the organization leaders were usually published in these periodicals and publications.

    The Jesus First website no longer functions, so the only place to find that information now would be the “Wayback Machine” online or at Lutheran libraries or archives.

    I hope this helps.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  10. Rev. McCall
    December 5th, 2012 at 09:44 | #10

    @Martin R. Noland #9
    Thank you, it does help! You are correct, we were taught that the best way to change or subvert doctrine is to do so with subtle distortions rather than outright challenges (all the way back to the serpent in the garden). Also, our one history professor used to say that “No one sets out to deliberately become a heretic, they all think they are doing the right thing.” That has helped me to look at the Seminex guys as not outright evil men with evil intentions even though their results have not been so desirable.
    I have tried to read some books on the Seminex events, but find that I am woefully not as up to speed as I would like. Dr. Voelz used to say that the seminary should make it mandatory that all students take a full one semester class on nothing but the walk-out (the events prior to and the fall-out afterward). He said that those people and those events influenced and still influence the LCMS more than anything else. I believe he was right, but unfortunately we never got the class. We got a little background in “History of the LCMS” but nothing substantial. By and large those groups (Seminex, Jesus First, etc.) were, IMO, not taken seriously enough arond campus. My only familiarity with RIM, Jesus First, Daystar, and other groups was when about once a year they would mail every seminarian a collection of their essays advocating their positions (I think it was called “A Daystar Reader” or somthing along those lines). Clearly there was wrong doctrine espoused in them, but no one ever told us who they were or what they were trying to do or even why they were allowed to send us their material in our on-campus mail boxes. We may have been better served had we spent time discussing in class such groups and their impact.
    That being said, is there any book or resource that chronicles the movement of the Seminex folks who remained in the LCMS? What impact they had? What groups they formed? Who was able to secure leadership positions? If and how they have shaped the course of the LCMS since the walk-out?
    Thank you again for your insight and comments!
    -Pr. McCall

  11. December 5th, 2012 at 14:04 | #11

    @Rev. McCall #10

    You asked, “That being said, is there any book or resource that chronicles the movement of the Seminex folks who remained in the LCMS? What impact they had? What groups they formed? Who was able to secure leadership positions? If and how they have shaped the course of the LCMS since the walk-out?”

    I don’t know of any single resource that would answer all your questions, however there are a couple of books that would shed light on things. “No Room in the Brotherhood” by the late Fred Danker is an instructive read, altho he goes after the conservatives/confessionals in the LCMS with vigor. If I remember correctly, there is an index called something like ‘The Hall of Heroes” or perhaps “The Hall of Martyrs”. There are a great many names in this list, and perusing them will be enlightening and perhaps a bit dismaying. I also suggest “A Seminary in Crisis” by Paul Zimmerman, which contains the entire “Blue Book.” Of course, there’s always Marquart’s “Anatomy of an Explosion” and Dan Preus’ “Holiday from History” which can be accessed at http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/dantalk.htm.
    Finally, Armand Boehm’s “Smokescreen Vocabulary” on the CTSFW website at http://www.ctsfw.net/media/pdfs/boehmesmokescreenvocabulary.pdf.

    That should fill a few evenings.

    @Rev. McCall #5
    You said, “So my question to any BJS folks with more history on this stuff would be: “Is it fair to say that the attitude coming out of Seminex was hyper focused on doctrine to the extent that practice fell somewhat by the wayside?”
    Follow up. “If yes to the above question, would or did that shift have any bearing on the rise of CoWo within the LCMS?”

    I’m reluctant to connect any dots. I’m simply reporting on what I have observed, which would indicate that the seminex folks are NOT particularly interested in doctrine–my experience says just the opposite. Rather, they seem to be anti-doctrinal or at the very least anti-orthodoxy. About the same thing. From there it seems to devolve to “whatever works” and “Works is where it’s at.” But once again, I’m loathe to connect the dots. If I were to guess, I’d say the rise of CoWo in the LCMS is related to de-emphasis of both doctrine and catechesis. Just a guess, however.

  12. Rev. McCall
    December 5th, 2012 at 14:12 | #12

    @Joe Strieter #11
    Joe thank you so much for your response and the list of resources! I just ordered “A Seminary in Crisis” from CPH, due to me next week. I had a book from sem. called, “Authorty Vested” by Mary Todd which doesn’t directly touch on the walkout but certainly talks about some of the moods and movements prior to it. She is definitely not pro-conservative LCMS though.
    Thank you again for your responses and recommendations! Post-Advent evenings will be filled with reading for quite some time now!

    In Christ,
    -Pastor McCall

  13. Joe Strieter
    December 5th, 2012 at 20:58 | #13

    @Rev. McCall #12

    You are very welcome. I believe that Paul Zimmerman and Walter Dissen are the last two living members of the CSL Board of Control of that era. Listening to their personal accounts of the goings-on during those days is, well, almost hair-raising. Zimmerman’s book is very straightforward and fully one-half of it is devoted to the “Blue Book.” I strongly suggest that you read the Blue Book carefully, as it will give you good insights into the teachings of the profs, couched in their typically mushy and vague language. If you can get your hands on “No Room…” just to view the referenced appendix, it will open your eyes.

    I’d like to wish you “happy reading” but I’m not sure that will be the result. However, I can confidently wish you “AHA! reading!”

  14. Joe Strieter
    December 5th, 2012 at 21:07 | #14

    @Joe Strieter #11
    I said, ” I’m simply reporting on what I have observed, which would indicate that the seminex folks are NOT particularly interested in doctrine–my experience says just the opposite. Rather, they seem to be anti-doctrinal or at the very least anti-orthodoxy.”

    Let me correct this confusing statement. Here goes: “I’m simply reporting on what I have observed, which would indicate the the seminex folks are NOT particularly interested in doctrine. My experience says that folks coming out of seminex were NOT hyper-focused on doctrine, except that they were anti-doctrine, or at the very least anti-orthodoxy.”

    Sorry for the garbled syntax. Looks as tho I have synned.

  15. December 6th, 2012 at 08:10 | #15

    Martin R. Noland :Dear BJS Bloggers,
    Were Seminex faculty, their disciples, and pro-Seminexers also non-liturgical? Yes. See Robert Preus’ review of John Tietjen’s memoirs, published in LOGIA 1 #1 (Reformation 1992). Check out page 67, left column, fourth paragraph, where Preus says that the Saint Louis seminary in the Tietjen years had a “preoccupation with un-Missourian and un-Lutheran theological fads emanating from just about any source and touching just about any topic.” That would have included liturgical topics and stupid “contemporary worship” fads.
    For a free electronic copy of LOGIA 1 #1, go here: http://www.shop.logia.org/1-1dlfree-Vol-1-No-1-Reformation-1992-1-1dlfree.htmYours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

    Or go buy the ENTIRE Logia run on CD for Christmas this year. http://www.shop.logia.org/20th-Anniversary-CD-CD20thAnn.htm :)

  16. Martin R. Noland
    December 6th, 2012 at 09:53 | #16

    Dear Pastor McCall,

    Regarding the Seminex event, its precedents, and aftermath, the reading recommendations from Joe Strieter and Tim Schenks in the comments above are excellent. You should also go to the Lutheran Concerns Association website ( http://www.lutheranclarion.org ) and download their September and November 2012 issues. Read in those issues the articles by Meyer and Dissen that talk about the Preus era.

    Regarding the pro-Seminexers that stayed after 1976, and their organizations and influence, there is no one book or single source that deals with that topic, even though it has been almost forty years now since the formation of AELC. I can tell you from personal experience of twenty-five years that is a dangerous topic for a church-worker to address in public. That explains the relative paucity of articles, books, and courses on the subject.

    The best source, I think, though it is not compact, is to read the issues of the “Affirm” magazine, which was published from ca. 1970 to 2002 by “Balance, Inc.”, later named “Balance Concord, Inc.” That group is still in existence (see http://www.balanceconcord.com). You can probably only obtain the old “Affirm” issues at a Lutheran library or archive.

    The guys that published Affirm were the same guys that helped elect JAO Preus, and then helped inform the LCMS about what was going on at the Saint Louis Seminary, and related issues. After 1976, “Affirm” continued to keep conservative laymen and pastors informed about liberal trends and factions in the LCMS. The editors stuck to the facts and practiced good journalistic ethics, so their reports on LCMS issues and events are reliable.

    Although Balance Concord no longer publishes directly, they do support the “Lutheran Clarion,” which is similar in editorial outlook, style, ethics, and content to “Affirm.” The Balance Concord group has also responded to the student loan issue by offering scholarships to LCMS church-worker students. I think details of that are on their website.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  17. Lumpenkönig
    December 6th, 2012 at 10:27 | #17

    @Martin R. Noland #16
    Why don’t these groups (LCA, Balance Concord) merge with Steadfast? All three parties seem to want the same things. Just wondering…….

  18. Martin R. Noland
    December 6th, 2012 at 11:12 | #18

    @Lumpenkönig #17

    Dear Lumpenkonig,

    I don’t know why they don’t merge. I am not on the board of any of those groups, and the board of directors of these organizations would have to be the ones who would want to do that.

    I agree that the theological outlook is the same, but that doesn’t make merger the right thing to do. Non-profits are about getting things done, not “control” by one or a few persons.

    Just think about the LCMS. It is really one organization. But over the years, for several reasons, it has divided its operations into several “synodwide corporations”: CPH, LCEF, LCMS Foundation, CPS, CUS, CHI. Each has a different function that it concentrates on.

    Non-profit organizations are complicated affairs. Sometimes the best policy in a non-profit organization is to stick to one or two things you do well, instead of trying to do a bunch of things. You can keep better control of operations and budgets that way. Donors know that their gifts go to those one or two things. The smaller, more focused an organization is, the better that it serves its real purposes. This is really important when you don’t have a full-time executive director, and the people running the “show” are all volunteers.

    As far as I know, right now the LCA does its print magazine and annual conference. Balance Concord does its scholarship and helps fund the LCA magazine. BJS does this website and an annual conference, and helps support Issues,etc. At least that is what they talk about on their websites.

    The real question is: Where’s Jesus First? It’s website is gone and has issued no publications since Summer 2010. Some of its previous associates now are connected to “Daystar” which has a website ( see http://www.thedaystarjournal.com ).

    Maybe they have “turned their swords into plowshares.” I hope so. It would certainly help toward LCMS stability, morale, and future growth–not to constantly have to struggle against people in the LCMS who don’t want to be Lutheran or follow the Book of Concord in their doctrine and church practice.

    These are better days in the LCMS, but we can still hope and pray for improvement and more peace in the house.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  19. helen
    December 6th, 2012 at 12:08 | #19

    @Martin R. Noland #18
    Maybe they have “turned their swords into plowshares.” I hope so.

    Better pray!

    These are better days in the LCMS, but we can still hope and pray for improvement and more peace in the house.

    Yes, better days… at the top. That’s like saying the country is improving because the stock market is up…

    Down here at the bottom, nothing seems very different yet.

    I pray the “…us1st” isn’t busy loading IED’s for the 2013 convention!

  20. December 6th, 2012 at 15:35 | #20

    Martin R. Noland :The real question is: Where’s Jesus First? It’s website is gone and has issued no publications since Summer 2010. Some of its previous associates now are connected to “Daystar” which has a website ( see http://www.thedaystarjournal.com ).

    [blech!]
    I just followed the link. Matthew Becker… David Benke… Marie Meyer…

    And a banner that proclaims them to be “Gospel Voices in and for the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.”

    How odd that Confessional Lutherans are criticized for implying that the other Lutherans are not Confessional — by the same people who imply that we do not live the Gospel.

  21. Joe Strieter
    December 6th, 2012 at 17:18 | #21

    @Pastor Ted Crandall #20
    You said, “And a banner that proclaims them to be ‘Gospel Voices in and for the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.’”

    Scott Murray’s “Law, Life, and the Living God” should give one a perspective on how these folks use the word “Gospel.” It has an entirely different meaning to them–another example of using words that give one impression but mean something entirely different. The recently concluded Presidential campaign is a case in point.

    I won’t try to explain it–Murray’s book does a good job. What I find so interesting is how those who use this term so carelessly seem to fall back into Law-based teaching.

  22. Tim Schenks
    December 7th, 2012 at 00:29 | #22

    Lumpenkönig :@Martin R. Noland #16 Why don’t these groups (LCA, Balance Concord) merge with Steadfast? All three parties seem to want the same things. Just wondering…….

    Because they’re not the same thing.

    LCA is concerned with keeping the LCMS faithful to Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.

    BJS is a Confessional Lutheran (any Church body) organization dedicated to promoting Confessional Lutheranism, pro-vocation/”father as spirtual head of household”, anti-pietism, etc. focusing on the newer forms of Lutheran media such as Issues, Etc. Note that the BJS blog is not the organization itself, or at least it wasn’t originally advertised that way. I assume that 90% of the people who post on the BJS blog are not actual members of the BJS organization.

    Balance Concord is more of an endowment fund/trust administrator these days, donating to LCA/Lutheran Clarion and seminarian scholarships.

  23. R.D.
    December 14th, 2012 at 04:58 | #23

    @Pastor David Juhl #25

    “…we should also thank them for planting the seed that has grown today into full bloom”

    So David deserves credit for knocking off Uriah thereby preserving the line from which the Messiah would come?

    So the Mormons deserve credit for promoting strong, loving families?

    Pr. Juhl, why don’t you ask “why?” Answer that and you will see that like David and the Mormons, the seminexers as seminexers deserve neither credit nor thanks.

    Also, perhaps citing some research to support your assertions would be helpful for those of us who cannot see what you see.

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