More on the Preus Era — Waldo Werning and David Settje review Burkee’s Book

December 20th, 2011 Post by

By Martin R. Noland, December 20, 2011

The recent history of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, i.e., the internal ecclesial conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s, continues to garner interest from those who want to make their “interpretation” of that history the official and enduring one.  James C. Burkee’s book, “Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod:  A Conflict that Changed American Christianity” is the present center of this historiographical hurricane.  Earlier this year, Mollie Ziegler-Hemingway posted two articles on the book and its reviews (see here and here).  Now two more reviews have surfaced, one from Waldo Werning, retired Professor of Stewardship at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne and David Settje, Professor of History at Concordia University, Chicago.

Settje’s review is found in the “Lutheran Historical Conference Newsletter,” Volume 49 No. 3-4 (August-November 2011), pp. 2 & 11.  Settje is the book review editor for this newsletter, which is the official quarterly publication of the pan-Lutheran “Lutheran Historical Conference” (see http://luthhist.org).  Those interested in membership in the organization may send a check for $35.00 payable to the “Lutheran Historical Conference” to:  Marvin A. Huggins, Membership Secretary, Lutheran Historical Conference, 5732 White Pine Dr., Saint Louis, MO  63129-2936.

Settje agrees with the essential interpretive framework of Burkee’s book.  Settje states: “Burkee points to the influence of J.A.O. Preus and Herman Otten as most significant in propelling the LCMS to the right. . . . Both well-known figures appear vindictive, selfish, and power hungry in Burkee’s telling of the story.  Burkee is especially critical of Preus and rightfully so.”  Settje also states:  “Conservatives therefore manipulated LMCS polity and ran roughshod over the liberals and moderates, even when resorting to infighting among themselves and eschewing a spirit of Christian civility in order to maintain power.”  Settje’s primary criticisms of Burkee’s book are that he did not let Oliver Harms and John Tietjen speak for themselves, and that he overlooked the writings of more liberal interpreters, such as Mary Todd, Kathryn Galchutt, and Jon Pahl.

Werning’s review was published, only in short excerpts, in the “Christian News,” Volume 49 No. 46 (December 5, 2011), pp. 1, 5, & 6.  A copy of the entire 25 page review is available from:  Dr. Waldo Werning, 8220 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa, WI  53213, phone 262-782-9900, email: wjwern1 (at) aol.com.  A printed copy is $10.00, an electronic copy is $5.00.

Werning fervently disagrees with the essential interpretive framework of Burkee’s book.  Werning states: “Most of [Burkee’s book] is a sideshow about the Jack Preus-Herman Otten private struggles . . . A significant part of the book came from draining the political swamps of anonymous opinions especially of liberal supporters of the St Louis seminary faculty at that time.”  Regarding the larger picture of the LCMS conservative movement, Werning writes:  “The confessing activity was seen as part of the LCMS polity and governance required by the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and the LCMS constitution and bylaws.  This was not a right-wing political party, but a movement of LCMS members within the Synod.  Since the presence of false doctrine by the St Louis seminary professors was not being addressed or halted by the LCMS administration, at least 22 District Presidents encouraged a response.”

Here is the bottom line:  Werning’s summary interpretation of the LCMS conservative movement, as stated in the previous three sentences, is correct and Burkee’s is wrong.

The problems at the Saint Louis seminary were first addressed in a major and wide-ranging way by the “Faith Forward – First Concerns” (hereafter FFFC) group in 1965, which was led by ten LCMS District Presidents.  They issued, along with ten parish pastors, “A Plea of Concern in Christian Love” expressing concern about the teaching of biblical higher criticism and theistic evolution in many parts of the church.  The second FFFC thesis in “A Plea of Concern” also stated “We are saddened by the action of independent groups within our church who in taking upon themselves the expose of doctrinal aberrations in our midst are undermining the work of our synodical leaders!  We regret the conduct of these critics, even though their intention may be a concern for the truth.  It is regrettable that some objectors have gone beyond the limits of ordinary alarm and have made rash and reactionary statements which have beclouded issues.  We disassociate ourselves from such groups that have pointed to personalities as much as to basic issues.” (see Waldo Werning, “Making the Missouri Synod Functional Again” [Fort Wayne:  Biblical Renewal Publications, 1992], p. 56).  This “Plea of Concern” was circulated and signed by about 140,000 people that year.

The FFFC statement led to intensive study of these issues by all congregations, pastors, and laymen in 1965 and thereafter.  It led to the election of Jack Preus, the organization of Balance, Inc., and the publication of “Affirm,” which focused on issues, not personalities.  Preus, Balance, and Affirm followed the path blazed by the ten FFFC district presidents when they worked WITH the synodical leadership, confessional articles, and structure, not AGAINST or AROUND them.

To date, the most balanced and objective treatments of this subject remain:  Kurt Marquart, “Anatomy of an Explosion” (Fort Wayne:  CTS Press, 1977; available here) and Paul Zimmerman, “A Seminary in Crisis” (Saint Louis:  CPH, 2007; available here).  I urge you to read Marquart’s book, pp. 88-95, for the true story of LCMS church politics in the Harms and Preus eras.  Then read Zimmerman’s book for the results in Preus’ Fact-Finding Committee investigation of the seminary.

I am looking forward to the presentation on January 16, 2012 by two laymen who personally witnessed most of these events, Dr. Scott Meyer, President of the Concordia Historical Institute and Attorney Walter Dissen, Esq., member of the Saint Louis seminary Board of Control during the Fact-Finding Committee investigations and the Walkout. They will speak about the Preus era at the conference of the Lutheran Concerns Association in Fort Wayne.  More information on the conference can be found here, on pages 6 & 7. If you attend the Lutheran Concerns Association conference, plan to stay for the CTS Symposia the following days, January 17-20.  Current information on the Symposia and registration is available here:  http://www.ctsfw.edu/Page.aspx?pid=974

 






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  1. Richard Lewer
    December 20th, 2011 at 14:29 | #1

    Settje from Concordia University Chicago (history department) says that Burkee’s book is not liberal enough but is right in condemning the conservatives as evil power grabbing people? I wonder what the good folks in the theology department of CUC think about that.

    Of the multitude of new staff and professors who were installed at the opening service at CUC only 2 participated the installation where they promised to teach according to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

  2. Carl Vehse
    December 20th, 2011 at 14:35 | #2

    Are either “Faith Forward – First Concerns” or “A Plea of Concern in Christian Love” available on the internet or through CHI, and are the documents copyrighted? Who were the ten district presidents who issued the documents?

  3. Jason
    December 20th, 2011 at 15:49 | #3

    Well, considering Settje is at CUC, which we have expressed concerns about before, he is also an editor at a pan Lutheran conference. BJS stives to be confessional, LutherQuest is headed up by a staunch conservative (in Lutheranism). But look at ALPB. Anything trying to be “pan” ends up being liberal. It has to be, in order to bring in all who claim the Lutheran name, and all their diverse if not contradictory views. Sorry about the guilt by association, but seeing these credientials, I expect Settje to praise the Burkee book. Sad that Seminex has to still live…

  4. December 20th, 2011 at 18:23 | #4

    #1: “Of the multitude of new staff and professors who were installed at the opening service at CUC only 2 participated the installation where they promised to teach according to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.”

    Hmmm… What is the best construction we can put on this? A flu epidemic?

  5. December 20th, 2011 at 19:32 | #5

    I will never forget the day the Seminex students and facility came to the University of Georgia in Athens Georgia!

    I was a freshman. I grew up in the LCMS church. I had a “Passing” knowledge of scripture.
    I sat in our college church nave as the students and faculty answered questions about what had occurred.

    I sat in stunned silence as they discussed the Bible and various interpretations of scripture.

    The day must have been very cloudy or it was at night. All I remember is I felt dark and cold.

    That day was the defining moment for me. As a young man I made a promise that no matter how long it took I would know as much about scripture as I was capable of learning! I would never again be at a disadvantage in a discussion about scripture or original bible languages.

    As luck would have it my campus LCMS Pastor was a biblical solar, he had majored in seminary in biblical exegesis and languages. I asked him the next day if he would help me “Go through the Bible” He looked at me a minute and said, “OK” ;a rather costly mistake on both our parts in terms of time and energy! I was going to UGA under a special state program where I would get a special degree in science enabling me to teach any science from grade 7 through junior college. A very rigorous program that was discontinued after only 3 years! I was one of about 5 who made it to the degree: B.S.

    Some 40+ years later I am still studying! On rare occasions I still call on my LCMS tutor!

    The reason I am saying this is I lived through the early Seminex years. In my humble opinion the only good that came of this sorted affair is a profound sense of sadness. The issues of right and wrong aside. Lives in tatters.

    My Pastor many years later said he thought I would last about a month at the most. Today I still often think about the day Seminex came to town!

    If I was asked what was the most important thing I learned from 40+ years of intense Bible study my answer would be: “ At a press conference, someone asked, ‘Dr. Barth, what is the most profound truth you have learned in your studies?’. Without hesitation he replied, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so’. Karl Barth, perhaps the greatest mind of the 20th century “

    Yes Seminex [and the Holy Spirit, ( I did not know it at the time but the LORDGOD had something in mind for me to do.)] drove me to the scriptures but at what terrible cost!

    What can and I hope be learned from the “Seminex Affair”?

    Do not let this type of “Problem “ get out of hand! In practical terms know what is being taught in your seminaries! “Constant vigilance!”  . But the LCMS must have educated persons from little child to Synod president! I openly wonder is it too late?

    IXOYC

  6. Richard Lewer
    December 20th, 2011 at 20:14 | #6

    #4

    All of the new professors and staff (about 100 as I recall) were there and installed. Only two were then installed as Lutherans taking the promise to be faithful to Scripture and the Confessions.

    On the other hand, the theological faculty and the campus pastor are solid people.

    The essence of Lutheran education is that all subjects and learning must be taught from the Lutheran Christian perspective.

  7. December 21st, 2011 at 06:24 | #7

    #6
    Why didn’t the other 98 promise to be faithful to Scripture and the Confessions?

    #3
    Thank you for making me smile so early in the morning. Behold, a noble Berean!

  8. Johannes
    December 21st, 2011 at 08:23 | #8

    @Jason #3
    You said,”Sad that Seminex has to still live…”.

    False doctrine will always be with us. We are paying the price for the teaching that went on there, we are paying for the laxness (laxity?) with which many of the graduates were treated, we are paying for the reaction to the false teaching (jumped in bed with the Evangelicals and CG-ers), and the LCMS is sorely fractured.

    In many ways, altho there is a strong confessional movement within the LCMS, there’s still a lot of false teaching around–in fact there may be more. The Evangelicalism that infects our synod today is just as dangerous as the Liberalism of the 60′s and 70′s. The number of Rick Warren wannabe pastors is appalling–and their sermons are far worse than some I’ve heard from the liberals. The Unity of the True Faith is severly eroded. And the Seminex crowd is getting older but no less strident, and remains all too influential.

    Thanks, Dr. Noland, for the report.

    Johannes

  9. December 21st, 2011 at 08:32 | #9

    @Mark Huntemann #5
    I thank you for your heart-felt posting. I began to study for the ministry in ’72 at then Concordia Junior College, Milwaukee. I too had a passing knowledge of Scripture but I thought the liberal Biblical interpretation was reasonable. “Did God actually say…” and my answer was yes and no, like many. But I am back in the LCMS. And in my readings, as scant as they are, on the history of the schism, this is clear to me that the historical long-view of it is important. The LCMS was fighting higher Biblical criticism at the beginning of the last century. The group of evangelicals who published The Fundamentals was a response to it (and hence our word “fundamentalists”). The LCMS fought the German school of historical-critical interpretation for all of the 20th century! (Along with many other Christians) A dear colleague, age 84, this past Sunday joined our LCMS mission and the LCMS after being an ELCA, and before that, the Lutheran Church in America, pastor since graduation from seminary in ’59. In his seminary, he told me he was taught liberal Biblical interpretation back then. The LCMS knew this was going on. He had a call to the mission field and went to the Caribbean and there with nothing to read, he read the Bible. The Scripture changed him. And the longer view is this probably all began with the Enlightenment in Europe, Voltaire and the philosophes, in the 18th century.

    My point: yes, I agree it’s sad that it happened, but in one sense I am glad it did. Lives have been in tatters all along the dark corridors of the bloodiest century in human history, physically and spiritually. It is a trembling proposition to say, here I stand. But thank the Lord, some did! We ardently desire that none of this ever happened. I am reminded of this dialogue from Lord of the Rings:

    Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

    Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

    Maybe we were meant to find out and I think this is an encouraging thought; and we found out what our predecessors in the faith also fought so nobly of old.

  10. December 21st, 2011 at 09:29 | #10

    “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active.

    The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance;

    which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

    — John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election for Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.) as quoted in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

  11. Wallenstein
    December 21st, 2011 at 10:16 | #11

    @Johannes #8
    The LCMS flirted with liberal Christianity for approximately 25 years. Today, no one takes the Jesus First/Daystar platform seriously anymore. No one seriously thinks that homosexuality and Women’s ordination will ever be adopted by the LCMS. I am glad we can now focus on other issues.

    When will the most steadfast LCMS supporters of TCN and Willow Creek have that “Saul on the road to Damascus” moment and realize that despite their best efforts to imitate Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, their own congregations are not growing numerically as promised. Recall that the entire purpose of replacing Lutheran worship and study materials with Evangelical materials is the perception that young people do not like that “old people” stuff. If the church is still not growing numerically even after the radical changes have been made, then will enough LCMS pastors please admit that the Church Growth experiment has been a failure.

    I recall Pastor Harrison speaking about his onetime fascination with Evangelicalism as a young pastor. Does every LCMS pastor go through such a rite of passage before rediscovering the Lutheran confessions. How are seminarians within the LCMS being trained? Will they be spared from going through such a phase.

    May I humbly ask how much longer the love affair with Church Growth theology will continue?

  12. Johannes
    December 21st, 2011 at 13:28 | #12

    @Wallenstein #11
    You said, “Today, no one takes the Jesus First/Daystar platform seriously anymore. No one seriously thinks that homosexuality and Women’s ordination will ever be adopted by the LCMS. I am glad we can now focus on other issues.”
    I’m not as sanguine as you. One should never underestimate the influence of a vocal, well-organized minority.

    You asked, “May I humbly ask how much longer the love affair with Church Growth theology will continue?”
    Until our laity once again become well-catechized, I don’t think the love-affair with CG or with Evangelicalism in general will be over. TCN is alive and well, and many Fuller grads are in positions of influence. Many congregations are promoting “Purpose” in all its manifestations, some pastors’ preaching is full of it (“purpose”, that is). You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it. Worship is more I-centered than ever. When congregations, new and established, refuse to call themselves Lutheran, or identify with LCMS, we’ve got a long way to. And when the district gurus of growth sell the Lutheran de-emphasis, it’s not a pretty picture. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you…

    Johannes

  13. Martin R. Noland
    December 21st, 2011 at 13:57 | #13

    @Carl Vehse #2

    Dear Mr. “Vehse,”

    The “Plea of Concern” was published in Werning’s book, mentioned above, “Making the Missouri Synod Functional Again.” I don’t know if that book is still in print, or if “Plea of Concern” is in any other published resource. You can always obtain these type of things, for a fee, from CHI. Contact their staff at: reference@lutheranhistory.org

    Regarding who was on the “Faith Forward-First Concerns” Executive Committee in 1965, the letter that went out in early 1965, indicated the following persons. Where positions are indicated, they are only the positions they held at that time, not prior or later:

    Rev. Karl L. Barth
    Rev. William T. Eggers
    Rev. John E. Lutze
    Rev. Walther H. Koenig
    Rev. Manfred E. Reinke
    Rev. John W. Ott
    Rev. Orville E. Krohn
    Rev. Max E. Heinz
    Rev. Jack T. Robinson
    Rev. Robert W. Harms
    Rev. Ellis Nieting
    Rev. Ottomar Krueger, D.D., District President of Ohio Dist.
    Rev. Carl A. Heckmann, District President of Texas Dist.
    Rev. Victor L. Behnken, District President of Southern California Dist.
    Rev. Henry W. Niermann, District President of Southern Nebraska Dist.
    Rev. Fred H. Ilten, District President of Iowa East Dist.
    Rev. Paul M. Freiburger, District President of Montana Dist.
    Rev. Elmer E. Luessenhop, District President of South Dakota Dist.
    Rev. Carl H. Bensene, D.D., District President of Northwest Dist.
    Rev. Gustav W. Lobeck, D.D., District President of Iowa West Dist.
    Rev. Lewis C. Niemoeller, District Presidnet of Central Illinois Dist.

    The letter they signed stated that they “represent over 100 professors, pastors, teachers, laymen, and executives–many holding prominent positions.”

    In a letter that followed on March 30, 1965 from Waldo Werning (at that time, Executive Secretary of Stewardship and Missions in Southern Nebraska District) , he indicated that the first meeting of the Faith Forward – First Concerns “Church Planning Group” in Saint Louis would include “fourteen district presidents, eight college presidents, nine professors, seventeen parish pastors (not District Presidents), six Synodical officials, and six district officials.”

    All this is primary evidence that the “Faith Forward – First Concerns” group contained numerous prominent persons, was wide-ranging geographically, and became the seedbed for much action that was to follow.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  14. Martin R. Noland
    December 21st, 2011 at 17:13 | #14

    @Wallenstein #11

    Dear Mr. Wallenstein,

    You ask good questions that are difficult to answer, from where I sit, but I will do my best. I think that our LCMS professors at our colleges and our LCMS district presidents would be better placed to answer those questions.

    Our colleges have always been the seedbeds for the future theology and practice of our church. In the 1940s-60s, our church made a big push to get our most capable youth to attend Valparaiso. You can see this in the materials from the Walther League of the era. Future leading pastors and deaconesses attended there–and were met by biblical higher criticism and a social agenda that was far to the left of the rest of the church. (see Valpo’s history by Richard Baepler, and articles on Strietelmeyer in the CHIQ). Then the Valpo pre-sem students attended Concordia Seminary, where they gravitated to the most liberal of the professors there. This prepared the way for the more extreme liberal students and professors of the 1970s that were involved in the walkout. So, in that respect, regarding liberal trends, I would say. . . .

    LOOK AT OUR COLLEGES, and see what our young people are being taught there, in and out of class.

    If Burkee’s book (CU Wisconsin) and Settje’s review (CU Chicago) are any indication, it looks like our college faculties are trying to vilify the conservative personalities and heritage of our church-body. Considering the fact that Burkee is the chairman of the faculty at CUW and Settje is the chairman of the history-political science-philosophy faculty at CUC, these are reasonable conclusions, conservative theology faculty notwithstanding.

    Then there was that business not too long ago about the gay agenda at CU Chicago; and about Dr. Becker (Valparaiso) trying to convert LCMS women to an ELCA way of thinking. But that could just be appearances. All I know is what I read about our colleges. I don’t have any immediate contacts there these days.

    I think that the women’s ordination issue will be the most difficult issue to face us. This is because both conservative and liberal Christians in the USA have women ministers. Catholics and conservative Lutherans, and only a few others, are the rare exceptions. “Everybody’s doing it” is always the most persuasive argument for people who have few convictions.

    On the “Evangelical-style” side of things, I believe that our district Presidents would be better placed to tell us how far gone in this direction our congregations and pastors are or might be in the future.

    Many of the folks who promote Evangelical style worship got into the charismatic movement in youth groups or in college. They won’t admit it–they are known as “closet charismatics.”

    Other pastors are in it simply for the sake of mammon. Evangelicalism is where the growth is today (comparatively speaking) in the religion industry, growth means moving up the career ladder (a Yuppie value), and moving up the career ladder means more salary, benefits, and perks. So as long as “Evangelicals” are considered a success in the USA, pastors are going to be drawn to that way of doing things. If the “Evangelicals” hit the skids politically, as it looks like they might, their way of doing things might suffer a big decline.

    “Their way of doing things” is the main thing. Most LCMS pastors who get into “Evangelical-style” have not abandoned LCMS doctrine as a belief or a teaching. They just don’t use that doctrine to guide their practice, which is either ignorance or a type of hypocrisy.

    “Church growth” doesn’t have a theology. It is a series of practices, in the field of Practical Theology, that can be adopted by any religion or church-body. Where the problems come are areas where Lutheran doctrine actually DOES dictate practice that is at variance with church growth practices or recommendations.

    I do not think that any of these problems, or potential problems, are beyond hope. They just need to be addressed by our church leadership in a fair, faithful, and effective way. I am confident that President Harrison and his people at the national offices want to do this. I am confident that our seminaries want to do this. I don’t know whether our universities and district presidents are on board with this, or not, or which ones are. That remains to be seen.

    I think the results of the Koinonia Project will be very revealing, to see just how diverse we folks in the LCMS have become–or maybe how much alike we really are. Then when its recommendations are published, even more revealing will be how many people are willing to sign on, for the future of our church and our children. I still think that the LCMS is the best religious option for my kids and theirs, as far as I can see into the future. Micro-synods have little effectiveness for the long haul.

    Thanks for excellent questions and comments!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  15. December 21st, 2011 at 19:33 | #15

    #11: “When congregations, new and established, refuse to call themselves Lutheran, or identify with LCMS, we’ve got a long way to. And when the district gurus of growth sell the Lutheran de-emphasis, it’s not a pretty picture. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you…”

    Now that you mention it, look what just arrived in my DP’s “missional” newsletter:

    “This effort in 2012 includes the four new missions we have highlighted for you. The Emmanuel Lutheran Child Development Center in Hampton, VA. The Baltimore Muslim Outreach. The Embraced By Christ Mission in Ladysmith, VA. The Spotlight Listeners Club for Spanish-speaking persons in Kernersville, NC.”

    On the bright side, one of the four does have “Lutheran” in its name…

  16. Richard Lewer
    December 21st, 2011 at 21:11 | #16

    #14 Thank you for your insightful presentation.

    “Look at our colleges.”

    Amen.

    The president of Concordia U Chicago addressed the the “golden” alumni (mostly retired pastors and Lutheran teachers) for about 20 minutes at the alumni celebration in August. He spoke glowingly about the financial improvement, the increasingly diverse student body with a much larger % of non-Lutherans and needy students. He did not say anything about the opportunity to present the Gospel to them through their classes or otherwise. In fact, neither Gospel nor cross nor resurrection were mentioned. This from a former seminary president! Putting the best construction on everything one could say that he thought he could take that for granted. However, the same type of thing was true for his address to the alumni the year before. Pray for the theological faculty and the campus pastor and the impressive group of actually Lutheran students being God’s people in this situation.

    It seems very doubtful that any false teaching by any of the faculty will be addressed.

  17. Wallenstein
    December 21st, 2011 at 23:21 | #17

    @Martin R. Noland #14
    Dr. Noland,
    I have often wondered whether Christian Universities have lost their sense of direction. I see that this is not exclusively a “Lutheran-only” issue:

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/11/08/a-tale-of-two-colleges/

    At least the Southern Baptists are smart enough to cut all ties with those universities that no longer identify with Southern Baptist doctrine.

    Would the LCMS be smart enough to make the right decision by selling all of the Concordia universities. The LCMS could have more effective ministries by building campus religious centers within walking distance of state universities.

    I recall my wife and I attending a ballroom dance at a local senior citzens center. As a couple under the age of 40, we were easily the youngest people there. The live four piece band took notice of us doing the Foxtrot, and it decided to take a break from the traditional routine of playing tasteful 1930s-1950s dance music to play Bob Segar’s “Old Time Rock N Roll”. Imagine 50-something year olds playing a song out of tune with the singer screeching with a shaky voice. No one requested that song, but the band thought that is what us young people liked and wanted to hear. (Wrong!). The district presidents of the LCMS remind me of that music group at the seniors center: Horribly out of touch with what young people may tolerate (or even like!). If we really wanted that style of music, we would go to the other place down the street where the songs sound better and the coffee is tastier.

    You tell me that “Church Growth” does not have a theology, and yet the pastor of my LCMS church will be leading an all-church study featuring Rick Warren’s latest book. Many of the pastor’s sermons are often based on the latest book recommended by the Willow Creek Association. Open any small group study guide and note that all the questions pester participants to volunteer dirty-laundry secrets of their personal lives to the rest of the group: “Describe an embarrassing situation in your life;” and “How did that make you feel?” What ever happened to talking about scripture in a good old fashioned CPH bible study?

    I blame clueless district presidents for pushing LCMS pastors to dump LCMS worship and study materials. Such aging baby boomers believe that young people won’t come to church if Lutheran doctrine is taught. Many of these executives need to retire or be removed from office ASAP. They are so out of touch with reality. I would wager that none of them were ever forced to sit through a small group study featuring one of Bill Hybel’s latest books. Most of the materials contradict Lutheran doctrine, but I guess it does not matter if you are running the church as a business (and still failing to grow the church numerically).

  18. John Eberhart
    December 22nd, 2011 at 00:55 | #18

    As with most of the authors mentioned above I would be more apt to take Marquart’s eye on the LCMS history without a grain of salt. I’ve posted a link to his short synopsis of the “walkout” years. Having walked through the halls of Seminex on North Grand Ave in St.Louis’s “midtown” area I came away with a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I’m a baby boomer but I figured if this was the future of the LCMS then I didn’t want anything to do with it. After 30 some years I found my way back to conservative/confessional part of LCMS and am still not sure if it was the correct thing to do but will stay none the less. Better than the reformed though.

    Here is the link for Kurt Marquart’s short synopsis. I know if I looked harder I could find his historical take on the LCMS from Walther’s time up until Marquart’s death. I’ve read the paper before but can’t seem to get my hands on it.
    http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/dantalk.htm

  19. Johannes
    December 22nd, 2011 at 12:15 | #19

    @Ted Crandall #15

    The outreach efforts ought to be commended. The non-Lutheran approach ought to be addressed by the DP.

    Dr. Noland summarized very well what I said above (#12). As a late 50′s grad of Valpo, I concur with his analysis. Sad that we can no longer even attend chapel there. We used to be supporters of our alma mater. No more. The dollars still go someplace in Indiana, but not there.

    Johannes

  20. Pastor Stephen Schumacher
    December 22nd, 2011 at 15:55 | #20

    Here are three points Albert Mohler makes in his article (see above for link). These are important for our Concordia’s:
    1. As time goes on, colleges and universities that choose to identify with the ethos and standards of the secular academy will inevitably increase the distance from their founding churches and theological commitments.
    2. Colleges and universities attempting to maintain accountability to churches and Christian denominations will discover that specificity and clarity in terms of worldview commitment and lifestyle expectations is required, and not optional.
    3. The issue of homosexuality now presents an unavoidable test of conviction for Christian institutions of higher learning. The pressure to normalize homosexual relationships and behaviors will be strong, and the cost of resisting this pressure will be steep.

  21. Pastor Rick Pettey
    December 22nd, 2011 at 16:08 | #21

    @Wallenstein #11
    The LCMS flirted with liberal Christianity for approximately 25 years. Today, no one takes the Jesus First/Daystar platform seriously anymore. No one seriously thinks that homosexuality and Women’s ordination will ever be adopted by the LCMS. I am glad we can now focus on other issues.

    I truly wish this were true. The sad reality is that there are those (and not just one or two) within the LCMS who do desire to ordain wormen, that do not read all of Scripture as authoritative. And where a church body flirts with the ordination of women, can the acceptance of homosexuality be far behind? For it is the same false reading of God’s Word that “permits” such a view toward the ordination of women that disavows Scriptures’ condemnation of homosexuality. As bad as church growth theology is, if that were all we had to deal with things would be much better than they currently are within the LCMS.

  22. Rev. David Mueller
    December 22nd, 2011 at 16:20 | #22

    @Martin R. Noland #13
    John Ott. I didn’t know this about him. Cool. I only knew him for the 9 months or so before he had a heart attack and “Went Home” (Sept. 1976; and I was only 10 1/2 at that point). I know my dad had a ton of respect for him.

  23. Wallenstein
    December 23rd, 2011 at 19:13 | #23

    This Church Growth theologian mocks those who demand more than the usual mush found at the non-denominational seeker-churches:

    http://www.alittleleaven.com/2009/12/youre-a-jackass-if-you-want-to-go-deeper-in-gods-word-says-perry-noble.html

    Why does the LCMS want to emulate such churches?

  24. Johannes
    December 24th, 2011 at 07:06 | #24

    @Wallenstein #23

    I clicked on the link, but didn’t listen to the message. Couldn’t get past the non-verbals: when my pastor gets up to preach, he is shaved his hair is combed, and he is properly vested. That’s just for openers–he hasn’t said a word yet, but he shows proper respect for the Word and for us, his congregation. Never, ever casual–never–about his calling.

    As for Perry Noble, no thanks. I’ll pass.

    Johannes

  25. Wallenstein
    December 24th, 2011 at 14:35 | #25

    @Johannes #24
    Johannes,

    Perry Noble would state you aren’t missional.
    ;-)

  26. Johannes
    December 25th, 2011 at 20:27 | #26

    Wallenstein :
    @Johannes #24
    Johannes,
    Perry Noble would state you aren’t missional.

    The ultimate put-down. I can live with it.

    Thanks,

    Johannes

  27. December 25th, 2011 at 22:08 | #27

    John Eberhart :
    As with most of the authors mentioned above I would be more apt to take Marquart’s eye on the LCMS history without a grain of salt. I’ve posted a link to his short synopsis of the “walkout” years. Having walked through the halls of Seminex on North Grand Ave in St.Louis’s “midtown” area I came away with a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, I’m a baby boomer but I figured if this was the future of the LCMS then I didn’t want anything to do with it. After 30 some years I found my way back to conservative/confessional part of LCMS and am still not sure if it was the correct thing to do but will stay none the less. Better than the reformed though.
    Here is the link for Kurt Marquart’s short synopsis. I know if I looked harder I could find his historical take on the LCMS from Walther’s time up until Marquart’s death. I’ve read the paper before but can’t seem to get my hands on it.
    http://www.confessionallutherans.org/papers/dantalk.htm

    HELLO……..

    Have you read this!

    How can anyone who has at least looked at that paper not understand the depth of what is occurring in the LCMS!

    “I suspect that since that time there has been an undercurrent of discomfort, a subconscious, nagging fear in the minds of many that our problems really didn’t end in 1974. Of course there were some who never thought they had and there were others who came to the same conclusion as the years passed and they witnessed new battle lines forming in the synod, battle lines focusing on the issues of closed communion, unionism, church growth and so on. How will we fare in these battles? I’m convinced that we will understand today’s issues and be able to deal with them far better if we go back and review again the problems facing our church in the 1970’s. We’ve been on holiday from our history for too long. Let’s go back and learn our lessons.
    By Daniel Preus – April 7, 1999 Soli Deo Gloria”
    @John Eberhart #18

  28. Sharp
    January 3rd, 2012 at 15:34 | #28

    @Ted Crandall #15
    Baltimore Muslim Outreach is common work between LINC-Baltimore (Lutheran Inter-City Network Coalition; please don’t blame me for the acronym), which is an auxiliary of the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland, and Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

    So… there’s three Lutherans in there for you.

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