Response to the Texas District President, by Pastor Rossow

I will be sending President Hennings a personal e-mail and giving him a phone call on Monday to address the issue that we have been discussing for the past few days here concerning the Texas District Youth Gathering. This is a public event as you all know, with promotion broadcast over the internet, which is why we have been discussing it in a very public way here on the website. I hope he and I can have a more private exchange in which I also hope he will answer the concerns I list below.

As Pastor Wilken has stated elsewhere on this site, it is important to focus on the facts. [scroll down to comment # 35]

This is as much about the sloppy use of language by synodical leaders as it is about women pastors and Baptist preachers taking leadership roles at our youth gatherings and eleswhere around the synod. Here are two examples of language that are critical in this matter.

1) The website put up by the Texas District to promote the gathering said that Kari Jobe would be the “Lead Worshiper.” These are their exact words. What does that mean? In plain English this means that this woman, who is a Pentecostal Pastor by her own definition, will take a lead role in the worship at the gathering. No matter how you define what she is doing (more on that below), based on plain English and the common sense use of language,  this is a problem for a church like the LCMS that holds to the Biblical teaching of proper separation from heterodox theology (false unionism).   President Henning can fill these words with any meaning he likes, but the common sense usage of these words states that  a Pentecostal woman pastor will be the Lead Worshiper at an LCMS youth gathering. By the way, for those of you who are new to this matter – after we started raising concerns about this matter, they changed the website and now call her the “Song Leader.” The plain English analysis of this still stands – when the leaders of the LCMS Texas Youth Gathering promoted the event on the internet they called the Pentecostal, woman pastor the gathering “Lead Worshiper.”

2)  Consider these straight-forward facts as I presented them on the earlier post on this matter. Here is a list, right from the website for the gathering, of the speakers for the conference:

  1. The Lead Worshiper is a Pentecostal woman pastor.
  2. Speaker Ron Hall is a member of Union Gospel Mission.
  3. Speaker Fred Lynch is a non-denominational pastor.
  4. Pastor Pete Luedeman – Worship Pastor. As I detailed on the initial post, he is an LCMS pastor but on his congregation’s website, under their statement of beliefs, they do not mention the sacraments. Again this is a matter of language in our synod – whatever you want to say about the synod, we are not using the language of Biblical, Confessional Lutherans. In plain English, this pastor’s church does not think that the sacraments are important enough to put in thier statement of belief.
  5. The DCE who is teaching the gathering Bible study is described as a supervisor of his parish’s satelite ministry/congregation located  18 miles away. In plain English, this is describing the work of a pastor, not a DCE. DCE’s, according to our synod roster, are in  an office auxiliary to the office of the ministry. Even if the Texas District officials give some fancy explanation that asserts that this DCE is not doing the work of a pastor, they are flying in the face of common sense language from thier own website describing the work of this DCE.
  6. The other two pastors listed as speakers are from an LCMS congregation that follows the model of the emergent church. As Issues, Etc. has demonstrated through the years, the emergent model is an unhealthy model to follow.

So, in plain English, three of the seven main speakers  are not Lutheran. The  four remaining speakers are LCMS rostered workers of whom it can be said that they have  serious plain English language issues associated with their work. In plain English, there are some serious questions about the roster of speakers for this gathering. Grandpa and Grandma Schmidt would read this list and say,  this does not sound like a Lutheran gathering. It sounds like an interdenominational gathering.

Now, on to the substantive issues. We could say much more about emergent churches, insufficient statements of faith on LCMS congregation websites and the confusion of the office of the ministry in our new and false world of “everyone a minister.” Instead, I will focus on the Lead Worshiper issue.

Kari Jobe is to be the Lead Worshiper, or as the website reads now, ‘Song Leader’. What does that mean? In plain English this means that this woman, who is a Pentecostal Pastor by her own definition, will take a lead role in the worship at the gathering. Is this like  an organist as President Henning claims it is? No, because in this new-fangled synod of ours, at national gatherings and district gatherings, as in local parishes,  contemporary worship is practiced, which is a style that has come out of  traditions that  do not have much of a view of the office of the ministry. Song leaders and pastors alike are up on the “stage” together. They are interchangeable, which is why Kari Jobe is called a pastor in her church. These Lead Worshipers/Song Leaders introduce songs with little mini-sermons, offer prayers during these introductions, and preside over other matters. As Pastor Wilken points out, they will also be singing thier heterodox songs (false theology mixed in with true theology)  as well as give their little testimonies and mini sermons. I have been to hundreds of synodical gatherings, contemporary worship services, etc. and have seen thi s kind of worship leader in action. It is not the same role as an organist. And, even if it was, why would we bring in a woman pastor of a heterodox denomination, to lead the songs at an orthodox gathering? This is an affront to Christ and His pure Gospel!

Let’s focus on the facts here folks. On the basis of  plain English, this is not a Lutheran youth gathering but an interdenominational gathering. Beyond, the plain English analysis, looking at the substance of the matter, this is even more problematic because we are introducing heterodox theology to the youth of our synod. We here at John the Steadfast call this synod back to the steadfast truth upon which it was founded. Let’s stop being interdenominational and in plain, common sense language, be Scriptural and Lutheran.

Pastor Rossow

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Response to the Texas District President, by Pastor Rossow — 14 Comments

  1. Why is a password required to go to the threads of previous discussion?

    May we all just copy this and send it along to the various listed organizers of this gathering?

  2. I’ve found where you had to enter passwords and corrected them; sorry about that! We’ll try not to do links like that in the future.

    Norm Fisher
    BJS Staff

  3. Pastor Rossow,

    I am grateful for your concern for confessional integrity. I warn you, however, not being meant as an insult, that I am seeing flashes of Cascione. He was often right, but he was out of control by the end, from what little I’ve read. Rebuke, please, for the sake of the Church! But do so in a gentle spirit and with a clear conscience, standing firm in the confidence of Christ’s crucifixion and forgiveness and promise that His Church will not be overcome. As you lovingly point out a brother’s sins, and so snatch him from the flames, never forget that we are all sinners and may have a plank in our own eye. I hope that everyone involved repent of every real sin and stand firm in any reasonable areas of Christian liberty.

    This is public on both sides, now, and BJS’s actions will be watched by me, helping to determine any involvement I may have in the future. I hope these following verses may strengthen, encourage, and guide you:

    Romans 3:23: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

    Ephesians 4:1-3: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

    Col 3:12-13: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

    1 Pet 3:15-16: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

  4. I just realized that what I have said could be interpreted as uncharitable to Rev. Cascione. I did not mean it in that way. I meant that I wish he had gone about things differently that they may have been more readily resolved and not ended in the way they did. I am personally grateful for some of the concerns he brought up.

  5. Not a Member Yet,

    Thank you for your encouragement to speak the truth in love. We can never hear that enough.

    Do you think I have been unloving in what I have written? If so, please point to specifics.

    I have been straight-forward and direct but not harsh or unloving. Help me out if I am missing something.

    I will be out of connectivity for a day or so, so do not take my silence as indiffernce if I do not respond right away to posts in the next 24 hours or so.

    Pastor Rossow

  6. I also am interested in learning which of Rev. Rossow’s statements somehow remind Not-a-member-yet of the “flashes of Cascione”, which he cerebrally then characterized “from what little I’ve read.” Specifically, what flashing statements of Rev. Rossow does Not-a-member-yet warn as being “often right” and what flashing statements of Rev. Rossow does Not-a-member-yet warn as being “out of control by the end”?

  7. Pr. Cwirla has posted a theological analysis of Kari Jobe’s “Revelation Song” ( ) as a comment to one of his own blog postings ( ).

    Some of Kari’s fans have posted the lyrics (or something close to them as the words are not always clearly) to some of her songs at . While part of “Revelation Song” hints at “Jesus is my boyfriend,” “Pure” seems to be nothing but that. It’s the first song that starts playing when you go to her website, . Below are most of the lyrics (at these those I could understand). I haven’t included all the repetitions.

    Your love is pure.
    Your love is precious.
    Your love is all I need.
    Your love surrounds me.
    Your love astounds me.
    Your love is everything.

    I run to you.
    My heart is weak.
    I cling to you.
    You’re all I seek.
    It’s my heart’s desire
    To be close to you
    ’cause here in your arms
    I’ll find my strength.

    [Some of the words from this point on are unintelligible to me]
    Safe in your arms,
    Safe in your arms,
    I’ll find my strength.

    Find my strength in you.

    I’ll look to you, Lord Jesus.
    I’ll look to you, Lord.

    Everything I want,
    Everything I hope in,
    Everthing my heart cries out for.

  8. I understand the blogsites are often little more than high tech versions of gossip-over-the-back-fence (as I lean over the back fence to write this). But could something more constructive be done, more with a view toward building up, at least for the future, rather than tearing down? A lot has been said to protest the current Texas District youth gathering, but what about future events? Can readers and contributors to this Steadfast webiste make resources available for future youth event planners? It may be sometimes that the non-Lutheran speakers and singers are better with PR and self-promotion than the Lutherans are, and so a lot of Lutheran talent remains hidden and so unavailable. Do you know the names of talented speakers and musicians and can you make that information readily available for event planners?

  9. Carol,

    You make an excellent suggestion. But I think the real problem is, the people planning this thing already have all these good Lutheran resources available to them. There’s a wealth of them, as Higher Things has shown. The planners of these gatherings, though, just don’t want to be Lutheran. By their choices, they’ve shown where their real theology is at.

  10. Thanks, Stan, for posting some of Ms. Jobe’s lyrics. Whatever anyone may think of South Park, the creators of that show really nailed what a lot of contemporary Christian music is all about in the episode “Christian Rock Hard.” Just take a love song & replace the word ‘Baby’ with ‘Jesus.’

  11. I agree with Carol. Maybe this is too idealistic, but the members of the Texas district who are appalled by this youth conference could get together and encourage some changes.

    “How is this to be done?”

    Glad you asked.

    Every district has a theological chat list. Although they have been around since 2001, most of them have not gotten much use. As our synodical leadership becomes bolder and more brazen, I see the laity waking up more and more. They are recognizing the need to do something. Now, I’m not suggesting a vigilante group, but rather laymen from around the district hooking up with each other online and discussing what is happening in their district; laymen who seek other concerned laymen in other circuits; laymen who seek to become delegates to the district convention, and delegates for their congregation to the circuit forums so they can become delegates to the synodical convention.

    I understand West Texas is almost a different district from the rest of the district. But I’m sure there are confessional Lutherans in the east and central parts who are dying of loneliness. Some of them are in good congregations, others aren’t. See if you can find each other and band together.

    To recruit, it will call for blowing a whistle and getting others to recognize what they are losing. But some are already out there, and it would be less recruiting than simply mustering. This is networking. It can be done.

    This district youth gathering is pretty much a done deal, but more like it will follow if the leadership at the district level is not changed or at least challenged. The faithful pastors of the district can only do so much without bringing undue heat upon themselves for getting politically involved, but the laity can do a lot more than they realize.

    I hope to be able to address this lay movement a little further later on BJS, maybe in a column.

  12. Pr Jarvis wrote: “Every district has a theological chat list.”

    How would one go about finding these lists?
    Is there a page of links?
    If not, can someone in the know get one started?


  13. Jim,

    Check out It will give you an opportunity to connect with people in your area.

    I don’t know if you will see this, since I found out you had responded to my post through someone else, and then had to go through archives to find this. Even if you do, I plan to include this address in other places.

    Your address clicked me into St. Paul, Evansville IN. I assume that is your congregation. Is that correct? If so, that tells me you are in the IN District, which has quite a few active laity. If you should respond to this, we’ll have to figure out how to get in touch with each other.

  14. From Texas so this is concerning to us. I would like Pr. Wilken and Pr. Rossow especially to respond to this comment.
    We have followed the discussions here since last week, have studied the links we found about the speakers, read the email/letter from DP of Texas, and we felt that this event was unionism. We understand that not all agree since the worship will be led by only LCMS pastor on Sunday, with communion. It has been pointed out that not only youth events, but district conventions, workshops, presentations for pastors, and more have been like this for decades: in other words speakers from other denominations come to speak, present, etc. So it ‘could be’ unionistic in a broad sense but not in what we consider ‘worship’ . I believe that sending youth to this type of event is not something that should happen. But what I wish to discover from others, pastors, is do you consider this to be unionism? The ‘song leader’ (I cannot find where she is on the schedule) …will she lead praying? Will she share messages? that to me is concerning given her background and bio. Will a LCMS pastor be on stage with her? Plainly those concerned seem to be in the minority in synod and there seems little that will change.

    (as an aside: in the 70’s we attended an Evangelism Explosion event in Texas with Dr. Hoffman speaking, along with some non Lutheran speakers presenting as well. Tho we have become more confessional as years have passed , at the time we felt we had learned much those 3 days and did not consider that event to be unionistic. The worship on Sunday clearly was not since the non Lutheran speakers were not in attendance. As I say we are different people today and the Synod /District is as well.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.