Anybody Else “Mercied” Out? by Pr. Rossow

April 24th, 2014 Post by

Is anybody else “mercied” out? I know I am.

I and the parish I serve embraced the three-fold ministry emphasis of synod (witness/mercy/life) when it was introduced and still do although we have a different take on mercy as I will explain below. Having said that I will also say that the emphasis on mercy coming out of synod is getting tiresome.

Four of the last five emails I received from the synod and district were about mercy efforts. The other was on missions. My synod and district have taken the time to connect with me on the following five topics: Refugee Sunday, the Korean ferry tragedy, typhoon Haiyan, World Malaria Day and missions in Asia. Am I wrong to say that something is out of whack?

The original constitution of the LCMS has 14 objectives and none of them, not a one, is about mercy. Even our current constitution (which is suspect since it is in part a product of the last forty-five years of conventions which includes eras dominated by liberalism and church growth-ism) lists ten objectives and only one of them is about mercy. It ain’t no four to one ratio like the last five emails I have gotten from synod and the obvious omission in those five emails is the number one objective of synod, conserving and promoting the true faith. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember ever receiving an email from synod or district on the topic of preserving the true faith.

The fourteen objectives of the original LCMS constitution are a thing of beauty. (Here is where I found part of the original constitution.) Ten of the fourteen objectives are about retaining pure doctrine, supporting the office of the ministry, giving theological opinions, and the sort. They remind me of Walther’s six duties of the church which are also dominated by the need for pure doctrine and the administration of word and sacrament.

We like the three-fold ministry emphasis. If you clicked on the duties of the church link above you noticed that we even included it in our most recent parish logo. It does need to be kept in the broader context of Scripture though. It really wouldn’t be so bad to dwell on mercy if all the false doctrine and practice was adequately addressed in our synod. But that is just not the case.

It also wouldn’t be so bad if Scripture supported it to same degree as the email barrage. Read the Scriptures on mercy. I did a few years back. I read the Bible cover to cover looking for everything on mercy. You will be shocked that 80% or more of what is said about charity is clearly spoken about believers supporting fellow believers. This is the reason the original LCMS constitution said nothing about charity. It is the work of each congregation, as Paul says in I Timothy 5, to care for its own members.

One of Walther’s six duties of the church is about mercy. That’s good. That’s one sixth and not five of six like the current string of synod/district emails I’ve received.  But wait, there’s more to the story. Walther’s duty on mercy is all about caring for the workers in the church and the widows and orphans in the local congregation, just as St. Paul teaches us.

Mercy is a good thing. If you do not love others, you have not tasted the love of Christ. I am not “mercied” out of the love of Christ but I am getting a little “mercied” out by the multiplication of the signs of the end – hurricanes, floods, malaria, etc. I think we need a “five e-mail mercy rule” sort of like the old “ten run mercy rule” in little league. Synod/district email patterns should follow Walther’s six duties. For every one email on mercy, send out five on the other duties of the church and most of those emails on mercy ought to follow the dictates of Scripture and be about Christians showing mercy to their fellow members in need in their own congregation. Mercy!






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  1. April 26th, 2014 at 15:41 | #1

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #43

    Tim, Kevin enjoys dropping names. In his parish less than six months, he had already had posted a video of Harrison on his new church’s Web site, along with mentioning his close ties with Harrison and Obare.

    He enjoys the limelight, and perceives himself as an unpaid spokesman/defender of the Harrison Administration.

    That being said, it could also be the case that when Harrison’s henchmen scour this site, LutherQuest and others, one of them contacts Kevin, requesting him to support the Administration’s position.

    I know that that happens here on Steadfast Lutherans.

  2. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 15:55 | #2

    @R.D. #47
    So what you are saying now is that you are indeed unidentified here, but there was a time when you were not, and there are other areas of life (like your business) in which you do not conceal your identity, as you do here.

    That makes a little more sense than to claim not to be unidentified while remaining unidentified.

  3. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 16:11 | #3

    Big Boy :
    I will quote Pastor Vogts:
    “God will not bless us, either individually, or collectively as a congregation or Synod, for neglecting external works” […] If I were to diagram that sentence for you, it would clearly state he told you: in order to receive a blessing you must do the good work of giving money.

    Not true. That is what you untruthfully claimed Pastor Vogts said, not what he actually said.

    Big Boy :
    It may come as a shock to you that our seminaries use more than the bible in their study.
    Not really. I read a lot of other books while at Seminary. Although I must admit that I am puzzled as to what the seminaries have to do with this. But it is definitely news to me that Forde’s “On Becoming a Theologian of the Cross” should have a such authority as to override the Biblical teaching that we do not obtain blessing from God on account of works – particularly having read what I have read about Forde’s rejection of the Biblical teachings on such topics as the Atonement and the place of the Law in the lives of Christians.

    Big Boy :
    Moreover, Theology of the Cross is thee central tenant to our denomination. You can indeed find the basis of this theology throughout the Old and New Testaments.

    The theology of the cross, which is the central tenant to our denomination is not that God will bless us individually, or collectively as a congregation or Synod, for neglecting external works. So I fail to see the relevance of the observation …

  4. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 16:30 | #4

    Big Boy :

    You mentioned a serious sin, is there another kind?

    It certainly does not seem that you consider it a serious matter to attack a Pastor’s reputation by untruthfully claiming that he has expressed opinions that he has not expressed.

    Which brings me to your question of divine revelation. God does indeed speak to me directly everyday! Through His written word

    Again, it is not in His written Word that God teaches you that He will bless you for neglecting external words, nor is it there He warns you against those who say that He will not.

    And your next statement is a wonderful example of circular logic. You blame me of the very thing I am trying to defend.

    Exactly! It is just absurd to set the claim that “We as humans are incapable of “good works” of our own merit” (which is, by the way, true) up against a statement saying that that God will not bless us for the good work of neglecting external works – which is what I pointed out.
    It might not be circular reasoning. I am not sure if it is reasoning at all. But if it is, more sophisticated geometric shapes than the circle are probably involved.

    I was tempted to think that bringing your dislike for the name my parents gave me into the discussion was a new low.
    But then again, when it all comes down to it, childish and undignified as it is to do so, ridiculing another commenter for his name is really not at a lower level, ethically speaking, than lying about what a Pastor has said and has not said. So go ahead. If you would like, you could also poke fun at my weight.
    Or make references to my “ugly momma”. Or whatever rocks your boat. I think it is your problem, rather than mine.

    Somewhat revealing, though …

  5. Jais Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 17:11 | #5

    @Robert #1
    Now, that is a new low.
    Ad hominem; judging of motives; pure speculation – and worthy of Webster’s on all counts.
    Pretty impressive, in fact, in that regard – in a strange way.

  6. helen
    April 26th, 2014 at 17:38 | #6

    @Robert #1
    That being said, it could also be the case that when Harrison’s henchmen scour this site, LutherQuest and others, one of them contacts Kevin, requesting him to support the Administration’s position.
    I know that that happens here on Steadfast Lutherans.

    Ouch! That might be a worse remark than the other one.
    And who might you be that you are in a position to know that?

    [I may wonder, (in some other cases), but it’s best not to make undocumented assertions on a public forum, don’t you think?]

  7. Big Boy
    April 26th, 2014 at 17:48 | #7

    Jais, I wish you well. I can see trying to discuss this with you is futile.

    I was serious about liking your name. I am sorry you took offense. I’m just a big dumb country boy with a big dumb name.

    You may want to take a look at what I wrote sometime when you’ve had a chance to calm down some.

    Please do look into circular logic and confirmation bias. I think it will help to have a more productive conversation in the future.

    God’s peace.

  8. R.D.
    April 26th, 2014 at 18:14 | #8

    Rev Tinglund,
    You are incorrect. My name is still available on this and LQ’s site. Seek and you will find, then you’ll say, “ive never heard of him” and move on with your life. The unfortunate thing here is that the real issue is overshadowed by this silliness. Helen can contact me (she has my personal email address) if she wants to know the things she claims I conceal. But if she does, then she has nothing else to distract her from the unfortunate truth that augustana ministerium is led by eldona.

    I wish eldona did not deny objective justification, but I cant wish away the truth.

  9. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 18:42 | #9

    Big Boy :
    You may want to take a look at what I wrote sometime when you’ve had a chance to calm down some.
    Please do look into circular logic and confirmation bias. I think it will help to have a more productive conversation in the future.
    God’s peace.

    O, I am pretty calm, actually. I have been having a pretty good day. And, considering what I now know about the source, I am not even bothered by your insinuations that I am unintelligent, uneducated and ignorant, incapable of reading and understanding a text, and unfamiliar with the basics of logic. It is not really that important to me whether or not you think so. And I do not really think that my reputation will be affected all that much by you insinuating so.

    Nevertheless, I think you should read what Pastor Vogts has actually written. I think, in fact, that it would have served you well to do that before you responded to it with your false accusations.

    Antinomianism is not the only alternative to works righteousness. And Holy Scripture teaches neither.

    And it is absolutely correct according to Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions that “God will not bless us, either individually, or collectively as a congregation or Synod, for neglecting external works”.

    Rather, God will bless His Christians on account of the atoning sacrifice of Christ (which Forde denies).

    And those who deliberately and persistently neglect external works grieve the Holy Spirit and separate themselves from the blessings of God.

    You might not find this with Forde.
    But there are some other books I read while at the Seminary, and have read through a couple of times since then, and still consult on a regular basis, that all present this brilliantly – like the Book of Concord – and Holy Scripture.

  10. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 18:50 | #10

    R.D. :
    My name is still available on this and LQ’s site. Seek and you will find

    So you are not unidentified on this site, because your identity is already known by all those who know already, and because information as to who you are is available to all who know where this information is hidden – although, as you explained, you are deliberately not using your real name so as to not divulge your identity.

    Not that I care all that much, really. But the logic escapes me.

  11. April 26th, 2014 at 20:37 | #11

    I think there are some misconceptions about the work that we are doing in Kenya, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya and its leadership. I traveled throughout the country, and met and had detailed theological discussions with nearly all their pastors and leadership, as well as hundreds of laity. Some vignettes:

    An ELCK pastor right out of seminary working among the Masai tribe—an extremely difficult group to reach—of which he himself is a member asked me if I use Luther’s Small Catechism, which had recently been translated into their language by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, for evangelism work. When I responded positively, he gushed, “The Catechism is the greatest thing ever for evangelism! It was when I started using Luther’s Small Catechism that there was a revival among my people!” His first group of baptisms was over 600, including his own mother.

    Another young pastor quizzed me at length in the back of a land rover for five hours, much more in depth than my theological interview upon leaving the seminary. He wanted reassurances that we truly believe, teach, and confess in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, as compared with the Scandinavians and ELCA with whom they were previously associated.

    At Matongo Lutheran Seminary I was taking a shortcut through the forest. Though they have nice classroom buildings they apparently had decided that day to have a class outside, which had just adjourned. There in the middle of the African forest—and the seminary itself is in the middle of nowhere—was a chalkboard with a diagram of the communication of the attributes, in Latin and Greek. Their pastors get an excellent seminary education, including the languages, with no shortcuts.

    The pièce de résistance was a Masai village we visited. Because of poor communications they didn’t realize we were coming that day and all the men were out with the herds. So we were given tea by the matriarch of the village, at least in her 80’s, in her igloo-like hut (made of manure, their standard building). You have to understand we were among the first LCMS representatives to ever visit and the whole time they were “checking us out” having been burned by the ELCA and Scandinavians. Overall I was extremely impressed how well the laity as well as the pastors knew the Lutheran Confessions. But I was still surprised when in excellent English this little old lady asked President Harrison: “Do you follow the altered or Unaltered Augsburg Confession? Because those others we were with altered the Confessions and we don’t want to get involved in that again.” (I know that is perhaps a technically incorrect way of stating the problems with those bodies, but that’s how she said it.)

    So, yes, I think it behooves us to “help and support” these confessional Lutheran “neighbors” in not only their mission work but also “in every physical need.”

    I hardly think it is controversial to say that we will never receive the financial advantage we imagine if we selfishly rob God of His tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8). In my opinion the problem with many congregations and the Synod as a whole is that we are too inward focused, and not directing enough of our efforts and resources outward toward works of mission and mercy.

    My present congregation received an extremely large insurance settlement from a fire which destroyed their former parochial school. In addition, a separate rider very generously paid to upgrade other existing space to replace the lost facilities and equipment. So the congregation determined (prior to my tenure) that they want to “tithe” a large proportion of the settlement to causes outside the congregation. At the last Voters Assembly many members repeatedly emphasized that they don’t want that money “to just sit there” or be put in an endowment or used to subsidize operating expenses, but to be put to work. I am very pleased that they have this attitude—though “by the books” I suppose it would make sense to save it up to ensure my salary and benefits, buy things we would like for the church, do work on the parsonage, etc. But I really think if we did that we wouldn’t gain a thing.

  12. helen
    April 26th, 2014 at 21:19 | #12

    @Rev. Kevin Vogts #11
    I hardly think it is controversial to say that we will never receive the financial advantage we imagine if we selfishly rob God of His tithes and offerings.

    True, and while I have seen that done in a congregation or two, (to their detriment, I think) there are other channels to give to God when you truly feel that your district is not serving Him with the money. I don’t think that anyone here has said they wouldn’t give at all, have they?

    Possibly by-passing District, but earmarking funds sent to synod for missions and seminary would make a point? (I’ve sent directly to sem. myself.)
    Or “adopt” an individual missionary, seminarian, or one of the RSO’s I mentioned?
    [AM is not an RSO, so can we put that to rest here?]

  13. April 26th, 2014 at 21:41 | #13

    It is nice to see that the thread is getting back to the topic.

    By the way, how many of you out there are getting the book I suggested above: “We Are Not the Hero: A Missionary’s Guide to Sharing Christ, Not a Culture of Dependency.” The author describes how mission groups raise money by telling some interesting and moving stories, then make the jump to say something like we read is a recent post:

    “So, yes, I think it behooves us to “help and support” these confessional Lutheran “neighbors” in not only their mission work as well as “every physical need.”

    My point is very simple: if there are so many Lutherans, and so many pastors, and such a good theological education system, and little old ladies who know the difference between the Altered and Unaltered Augsburg Confession, that why do we, the LCMS, have to help and support them in their mission work and in every physical need?

    Sounds to me like they can do pretty well on their own, oh oh, not on their own, but looking to the Lord of the Church and of the Harvest to supply their needs, just as we do in the LCMS and in our local congregations and in our daily life. Or is it that we have to get “one up” on those nasty Norwegians and ELCA people, who “burned” them? (What does “burned” mean?) Is “mission” some sort of competition to see how much area we can control, how many countries we have on our list? One last question: How much money is LCMS sending to ELCK? And not only via official channels, but also from individuals from congregations, Lutheran Heritage, LWML, LLL, etc, etc.

    Rev. Vogts, you may contact me by email. I have a missionary friend in Kenya who does not see the same picture you saw. He has been there for more than 20 years. He says outside resources have made the people poorer both materially and spiritually. This is my experience in many other places.

  14. Jais Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 21:59 | #14

    It is news to me that any Scandinavian church uses the Altered Augsburg Confession.
    Which one would that be?

  15. Amy
    April 26th, 2014 at 22:02 | #15

    @Jais Tinglund #41

    Rev. Tingland,
    Thank you for correcting me. As I reread Rev. Vogt’s statement, “God will not bless us….. for neglecting external works of missions and mercy….,” I agree that this is not works righteousness.

    Rev. Vogts,
    Please accept my apology. I should have read it a few more times before replying. Works righteousness is so often preached in LCMS churches in my area that I’ve come to expect it. Please forgive me for misinterpreting your comment.

  16. April 26th, 2014 at 22:03 | #16

    I have spent most of my ministry in mission congregations and have served several district-sponsored missions that received significant subsidy from their respective districts. Indeed, for much of my ministry I have been “employed” on and off by various Districts until my respective congregations were developed to that point.

    So, personally for myself, my perspective is the same as our treasurer at my last congregation, who when it was suggested that we direct mission funds elsewhere would say, “The District helped us when we needed it. Now we need to give back so they can help others.”

    However, the Synod itself has strongly encouraged congregations and individuals to directly support missionaries, educational institutions, and other organizations, so obviously there is nothing wrong for those who choose that approach.

  17. April 26th, 2014 at 22:07 | #17

    Kevin,

    Theodore is exactly right. You did nothing to defend LCMS Inc. from the accusations. As a matter of fact, you furthered them. From what you wrote it is the Scandinavians and the Lutheran Heritage Foundation that has made a theological difference in the ELCK, not the LCMS.

    You did not describe a single example of LCMS Inc bringing the Gospel to the Kenyans that is because what they primarily do is bring goodies and the goodies spoil the Gospel.

    I will repeat, despite all the LCMS efforts in the ELCK, including translating a confessional hymnal, although I think that actually may have been LHF, Obare and his parish practice charismatic worship.

    As I mentioned above, the abuse of power and money in that church would make your head spin.

  18. April 26th, 2014 at 22:11 | #18

    >>why do we, the LCMS, have to help and support them in their mission work and in every physical need?

    Why did St. Paul take an offering for the poor in Jerusalem?

    “Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” (Romans 15:25-26)

    Why did the other Apostles ask St. Paul and his associates to “remember the poor,” and why was he “eager to do” so?

    “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10)

    Why did Jesus Himself urge works of mercy?

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35–36)

  19. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 22:11 | #19

    Rev. Kevin Vogts :
    I hardly think it is controversial to say that we will never receive the financial advantage we imagine if we selfishly rob God of His tithes and offerings.

    Now, that I do not know about. It seems to me that many greedy and ungodly entities make a lot of money – and that it might just as well be from other (and more important) blessings Christians and congregations separate themselves when they choose the path of selfishness over that of love and godliness

  20. April 26th, 2014 at 22:17 | #20

    Now that we are back on thread, so much for Kenya, anybody want to discuss Ghana?

  21. April 26th, 2014 at 22:20 | #21

    >>I have a missionary friend in Kenya who does not see the same picture you saw. He has been there for more than 20 years. He says outside resources have made the people poorer both materially and spiritually.

    I would agree definitely that was the case with the model followed by those with whom they were previously associated. It was the leadership of the ELCK itself that explained these negative effects, and they made clear that they do not want the LCMS to step into that role.

    Is every work of mercy always improperly giving “goodies”? How does that square with the Biblical examples of St. Paul’s collections for the poor at Jerusalem, and of course Jesus Himself commending those who “gave me something to eat,” “gave me something to drink,” and “clothed me”?

    From what I have seen, the work of the LCMS with the ELCK in Kenya is carefully being conducted so as not to continue the harmful culture of dependency that the previous bodies they were associated with did indeed engender.

  22. April 26th, 2014 at 22:30 | #22

    >>and that it might just as well be from other (and more important) blessings Christians and congregations separate themselves when they choose the path of selfishness over that of love and godliness

    Yes, what I meant was, “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17)

    I definitely agree that from a worldly perspective it may appear that we may “gain” through such maneuvers, but that gain is in reality a loss. Sometimes that loss will eventually become evident, but even if not, it is a loss nonetheless. That’s the problem with “running the Church like a business.” Lots of things the Church does makes no sense from a worldly, business-like perspective. We need to run the Church like a Church.

  23. April 26th, 2014 at 22:31 | #23

    Pretty much Kevin. People don’t need goodies, they need the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins.

    Think about Paul for a moment. We are talking about mission work. Paul’s work for the famine in Jerusalem was not mission work.

    It is very important to divorce mission work from dropping lots of cash and goodies on a country.

    There can be mercy associated with mission work of course but it ought to be done by the local pastor and not with large sums of money or projects being done by the Church Inc.

    Besides, getting back to the point of the post, large scale mercy is not the job of the church. Just as it is not your job to be a psychologist, a money manager, or social worker. It is your job and the job of teh church to forgive sins. That is the authority we have been given. It is our job to bring the Gospel to the heather, establish churches and pastors and then let them care for widows and orphans in their congregations. That is what the Bible describes. It is not the work of the church to be a social service agency.

  24. April 26th, 2014 at 22:47 | #24

    >>It is news to me that any Scandinavian church uses the Altered Augsburg Confession.

    As I said, I don’t think she meant that in the technical sense. She had evidently had heard that there was an altered and Unaltered Augsburg Confession, and she knew that her church followed the Unaltered. So, in her simple way she assumed that must mean the bodies that they were previously associated with, which had veered from Scripture, must be following the altered Augsburg Confessions. Though not technically correct, given the circumstances—from an 80+ year-old lady, in full Masai native garb, in her manure hut on the African plains—I still found the question quite striking! When she asked that question you should have seen the big smile that broke out on President Harrison’s face!

  25. April 26th, 2014 at 22:54 | #25

    >>It is very important to divorce mission work from dropping lots of cash and goodies on a country

    From my perspective the LCMS is NOT “dropping lots of cash and goodies” in Kenya, but rather is engaging in appropriate Christian works of mercy.

    We have Confirmation tomorrow, Examination last week, so the Small Catechism is on my mind. I assume your comment “pretty much” was in response to my question, “Is every work of mercy always improperly giving ‘goodies’?” If so, I don’t see how you square that with the Small Catechism:

    “What does God require of us in the Seventh Commandment? . . .

    “We should help our neighbor in every need.

    “Matthew 5:42 Give to one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

    “Hebrews 13:16 Do not forget to do good, and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

    “1 John 3:17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

    “Bible narratives: Zacchaeus promised to give back four times what he had taken dishonestly and to give half of his goods to the poor (Luke 19:8). The good Samaritan helped his neighbor but the priest and Levite did not (Luke 10:29-37).”

  26. Jais Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 22:55 | #26

    Fair enough. You did say that.
    Just struck me.

  27. Mrs. Hume
    April 26th, 2014 at 23:09 | #27

    Mercy work is good. Working for pure doctrine is good. The LCMS was not organized because the churches of the Prussian Union were not doing enough mercy work. The LCMS was organized to pass on a true confession of Jesus Christ to the church and the world because as far as the members could see, it was a work not being done by others and that meant that the members own children were in danger and eventually more would be as well. I belong to various groups that do no mercy work. It is not what the groups are organized to do. The members themselves do mercy work individually and through whatever other groups they may belong to. The LCMS needs to embrace its mission of preserving and presenting its true confession of Christ. There are many other groups doing mercy work. They have tons and tons more means to do it. There are no where near as many doing the work of proclaiming a pure confession.

    Matthew 10:28

  28. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 26th, 2014 at 23:16 | #28

    @Mrs. Hume #27
    I really like what you are saying here.
    You pretty much said it all, I think.
    Or at least a lot of it …

  29. April 26th, 2014 at 23:21 | #29

    Thank you, Mrs. Hume.

  30. R.D.
    April 26th, 2014 at 23:23 | #30

    @Jais H. Tinglund #10
    Ha! Rudimentary search skills can locate it. I always find it amusing how much people freak out over “anonymity” on these forums yet never actually ask the person who they are.

    But that’s convenient, isn’t it, Helen?

    @Mrs. Hume #27
    Right on, Mrs. Hume!

  31. April 26th, 2014 at 23:34 | #31

    I think passages such as Matthew 25:34-40 and 1 John 3:17 indicate that we do works of Christian mercy because of who we are in Christ. And I don’t see any antithesis between works of Christian mercy and maintaining pure doctrine. Indeed, without the motivation of true faith which comes from pure doctrine, nothing, no matter how grand, even qualifies as a Christian work of mercy (1 Corinthians 13:3).

    On the other hand, it is wrong to be discouraged by our apparent lack of means to do works of mercy as compared to others, as seen from the story of the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4). It is a work of Christian mercy in God’s sight not because of the size but because it is done out of faith in Christ.

    Long before other organizations or the government got involved, it was the Church that for nearly two millennia performed works of mercy in the name of Christ. I don’t think largely turning this over to other organizations or especially the government has been an improvement.

  32. R.D.
    April 26th, 2014 at 23:48 | #32

    @Rev. Kevin Vogts #31
    “And I don’t see any antithesis between works of Christian mercy and maintaining pure doctrine. ”

    I don’t either, but I think at least one of Rev. Rossow’s points is there is an emphasis of mercy while the pure doctrine is flying out the window, or at least downplayed. At least that’s what I see.

    Further, I question the headline-grabbing feel-good acts of mercy while those pastors wrongly in crm status go hungry (helping out wrongly-fired pastors does not get you in front of a congressional committee, I know). I question the missionaries having to go around the country spending time being a fund-raiser for themselves:

    “Indeed, without the motivation of true faith which comes from pure doctrine, nothing, no matter how grand, even is a Christian work of mercy.”

    You got that right.

    @Theodore Kuster #13
    Rev? Mr? Kuster’s comments are worth reading and rereading.

  33. April 27th, 2014 at 00:09 | #33

    >> I belong to various groups that do no mercy work. It is not what the groups are organized to do.

    However, in contrast, one of the specific objectives for which the LCMS is organized is precisely to, “Provide opportunities through which its members may express their Christian concern, love, and compassion in meeting human needs” (LCMS Constitution, Article III).

    That objective is based on the clear testimony of Scripture, many passages of which I have cited above. Perhaps I am misunderstanding some of the comments here, but it seems incongruous to be earnestly concerned about preserving the correct doctrine and following the objectives of Synod, except seemingly not with regard to what both Scripture and the objectives of Synod say about Christian works of mercy. Pure scriptural doctrine is a package deal, and Christian works of mercy are a part of it.

  34. Jais Tinglund
    April 27th, 2014 at 07:46 | #34

    R.D. :
      I always find it amusing how much people freak out over “anonymity” on these forums yet never actually ask the person who they are.

    Again, I don’t really care. It is just that the logic escapes me, of not identifying oneself in order to keep the general public from knowing of the beliefs one holds – while claiming that this is not to be unidentified – because it is possible to find out one’s identity – for those who will take the time to investigate, and know how to …

  35. R.D.
    April 27th, 2014 at 10:54 | #35

    It’s not that hard or that inteteresting. What shocks me is you’d rather talk about whether someone is identified or not rather than talk about the implications of eldona’s teaching and relationship with Augustana Ministerium.

  36. Randy
    April 27th, 2014 at 13:27 | #36

    Rev. Kevin Vogts : Perhaps I am misunderstanding some of the comments here, but it seems incongruous to be earnestly concerned about preserving the correct doctrine and following the objectives of Synod, except seemingly not with regard to what both Scripture and the objectives of Synod say about Christian works of mercy. Pure scriptural doctrine is a package deal, and Christian works of mercy are a part of it.

    Rev. Vogts,

    I see your point. However, from my perspective, the LCMS puts Pure Doctrine in the back seat, or trunk, or in some cases, leaves it altogether behind. Therefore, the “package deal” you referenced really isn’t a package deal when “Pure Doctrine” is neglected.

    Mercy can be a wonderful and needed endeavor. However, an atheist can be merciful. Without Pure Doctrine, practice suffers – including the practice of mercy.

    At least that’s how I see it.

  37. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 27th, 2014 at 14:08 | #37

    R.D. :
    It’s not that hard or that inteteresting.

    You are right about that, I guess; about your identity not being all that interesting, that is.
    I am sure I would not have bothered to bring it up.

    R.D. :
    What shocks me is you’d rather talk about whether someone is identified or not rather than talk about the implications of eldona’s teaching and relationship with Augustana Ministerium.

    I know next to nothing about eldona’s teaching and relationship with Augustana Ministerium – so it escapes me also how it can be so schocking that I do not have much to say about it.

  38. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 27th, 2014 at 14:11 | #38

    Randy :

    Rev. Kevin Vogts : Pure scriptural doctrine is a package deal, and Christian works of mercy are a part of it.

    the “package deal” you referenced really isn’t a package deal when “Pure Doctrine” is neglected.

    Very sharply and succinctly put.

  39. helen
    April 27th, 2014 at 21:46 | #39

    @R.D. #30
    Ha! Rudimentary search skills can locate it. I always find it amusing how much people freak out over “anonymity” on these forums yet never actually ask the person who they are.
    But that’s convenient, isn’t it, Helen?

    It saves my time, R.D.. Some have legitimate reasons for a pseudonym. I figure the moderators know who they/you are so I don’t ask. My original point was that you were on a rant about a group which I consider to be doing a good work. Given that I know some of those people, I do not accept your opinion about them. That’s all, as far as I am concerned.

    You seem to be saying that I must take your advice.
    Thanks, but no thanks.

    You want me to know who you are, introduce yourself.
    I haven’t changed my name since I started posting.

  40. David Hartung
    April 28th, 2014 at 08:17 | #40

    I too often tire of the never ending requests to give to “mercy works”, and like many of you, not only do I receive them at the Church office, but I receive them at home as a private citizen. Years ago I learned to give to a few select organizations and causes, and to never respond to unsolicited requests for help, even if that help comes from our Church body. Pastor Rossow and others, all you need do is to ignore, these requests and to file them in the appropriate round file.

    As tiring as these requests are, they are sent out because there are those who respond to such appeals. On the subject of Synod expenditures, keep in mind that our synod government is open and democratic; the synod expends resources in the areas it does because that is what its members wish it to do.

    One last thing, for the 6 or 7 years I have been in these forums, I consistently see whining about a problem of men being improperly removed from their calls, but as yet I have seen zero evidence that this is the rule rather than the exception. I suggest that such accusations are improper unless you have evidence to support them.

  41. April 28th, 2014 at 10:46 | #41

    As my doctor always begins by saying: “Research has shown that” mission churches supported by outside resources most often are sterile and internally antagonistic, those people supported by outside resources are often apathetic, jealous, good actors, excellent cross-cultural brokers . . . Yes, there are also, in those churches some very fine, doctrinally sound, confessional knowlegeable, wonderful giving, missional outreachers, etc. However, I maintain, there would be more of the latter if the LCMS did not resource those locations, and if the US church allowed the local people to apply their God given resources to whatever they needed or wanted to do in their own area.
    (Most of the countries in which the LCMS does “mercy work” contain a substantial portion of very wealthy people, Haiti included.) (Earthquakes and other disasters are, of course, another issue.) “Praise God from whom all blessing flow”; not, “Praise the LCMS or Joe/Sue missionary from whom all blessings flow.”

    I believe the stories of those who travel out and visit the locations where LCMS resource is received. I have done that also. Been there, done that, I have many pictures of smiling kids. But, did you talk to those who have been “burned” (to use a term from a previous post) by the LCMS rep, or by those locals whom the LCMS trusts to distribute the funds? Or, have you talked to those who see the LCMS mission as merely a way for some of the more “gullible” (From WikiPedia: Gullibility is a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into an ill-advised course of action), of their society to get on the “gravy train.” (From WikiPedia: [idiomatic] An occupation or any lucrative endeavor that generates considerable income whilst requiring little effort and carrying little risk.) In the old days of missions these people were called “rice Christians.” (From WikiPedia: Rice Christian is a term used, usually pejoratively, to describe someone who has formally declared himself/herself a Christian for material benefits rather than for religious reasons. The term comes from Asian countries, such as China and Japan. Concerns have been expressed both by Christian missionaries and by those opposed to Christian missions that people in these situations are only nominally converting to Christianity in order to receive charity or material advancements.)

    Is this the mission method you use at your local LCMS church here in the USA?

    From a previous post: “The synod expends resources in the areas it does because that is what its members wish it to do.”

    My question is simply: Is that what the people in those areas want, or need; is expending resource where the LCMS member wishes the best for that particular church or mission? Let us continue to look at the “mercy” and “outside resource” issue from the point of view of the people on the receiving end. What impact does this have on the presentation of the Gospel message?

    Sometimes it is not a pretty picture. Here are some examples.

    The “liquidation” in December of 2013 of the official LCMS mission structure, and cancellation of all missionary visas, in Kazakhstan might be partly due to the fact that the KZ government saw the organization as a foreign entity, i.e. hugh sums of money and material were received each year from the USA. This also happened in Cuba during the Communist revolution in the 50s. LCMS lost all property in Havana and on the Isle of Pines, other locally owned churches did not suffer the loss of their property. The example of the Nazarene mission in Lima, Peru, during the 1960s, a bitter split over control of foreign funds. The same which happened to the ELS funded mission in Lima, Peru, recently. The terrible split in the LCMS Phillippine mission during the 1970s, including the murder of the treasurer. The disapperance of a dozen or so small Lutheran congregations in Panama over the past 20 yrs, leaving only two tiny groups there today. I could go on. I wasn’t in Cuba or the Phillippines, but I can document the other examples, I was there.

    Unhealthy dependency in missions is not something that has just recently been discovered. Please look at the old classics (yes, I know the authors are not Lutheran). They help us see missions from the point of view of the missionee. All are free and found on the InterNet:

    “Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours” Roland Allen
    http://www.gospeltruth.net/miss_methods.htm

    “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder it” Roland Allen
    http://simplechurch.eu/images/uploads/The_Spontaneous_Expansion_of_The_Church.pdf

    “Methods of Mission Work” John Nevius
    http://www.newchurches.com/mediafiles/uploaded/m/0e1512161_MethodsofMission-Nevius.pdf

    “Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission” David Bosch
    http://www.orbisbooks.com/chapters/978-1-57075-948-2.pdf

    And yes, all these passages are applicable IN THE MISSION AREA, as well as any other place on earth, and I have mentioned them often to the people, (Malachi 3:8, Romans 15:25-26, Galatians 2:10, Matthew 25, Matthew 5:42 Hebrews 13:16, Luke 19:8, 1 John 3:17, Luke 21:1-4). However, only after the work described by Martin Luther in the Explanation of the 3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed has taken place.

  42. R.D.
    April 28th, 2014 at 12:03 | #42

    @helen #39
    “Given that I know some of those people, I do not accept your opinion about them.”

    I don’t want you to accept my opinions. Read the documents for yourself and see augustana ministerium’s leadership and dean of education, Paul Rydecki, deny objective justification and see ACLC’s refutation of their error.

    The danger of an erring organization’s acts of mercy is that those giving to and receiving from become more pliable and more receptive to subtle errors.

    I hope eldona repents of their error. If they do not, the augustana ministerium needs to remove the eldona folks from its leadership. Fail that, we need to start a new organization or act on our own.

  43. helen
    April 28th, 2014 at 13:54 | #43

    @R.D. #42
    Fail that, we need to start a new organization or act on our own.

    As I’ve told you several times now, one site or the other, I think LCMS should take care of its own. But I’m not waiting, as the convention was willing to do, for another “study” by (as Fiene says), “the people who started the fire”!

    As far as I can see, you and “convention” both major in “talk”. It doesn’t feed people or pay medical bills. I don’t think it qualifies as the “fruits” Christ had in mind, either.

  44. David Hartung
    April 28th, 2014 at 14:39 | #44

    @Theodore Kuster #41

    I strongly recommend a book entitled “Toxic Charity”. If this is the model of our missionary work, and our relief, it does need to change. What little I know of the Synod’s missionary work comes from the Facebook posts of Seminary professors who spend the quarter breaks teaching in African and other seminaries. This does not sound to me like a toxic model.

  45. John E
    April 28th, 2014 at 14:54 | #45

    Interesting that Justin Martyr mentioned one of the ministries in the early apostolic era and the Divine service were ministering to the congregation and not the community. Right directly in line from the apostles and probably from their mouths.

  46. R.D.
    April 28th, 2014 at 16:36 | #46

    Helen,
    If my left hand does not see my works of mercy, neither will you.

  47. Jais H. Tinglund
    April 28th, 2014 at 17:06 | #47

    R.D. :
    Helen,
    If my left hand does not see my works of mercy, neither will you.

    That’s a good one.

  48. April 28th, 2014 at 23:40 | #48

    Yes, get “Toxic Charity.”

  49. April 30th, 2014 at 23:29 | #49

    @Brad #10 “…like most of the other marketing spam the filter doesn’t catch.”

    @R.D. #46 “If my left hand does not see my works of mercy, neither will you.”

    It does seem our Mercy Works are as much an advertising campaign as anything else.

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

    Matthew 6:2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

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