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.”
- The Lead Worshiper is a Pentecostal woman pastor.
- Speaker Ron Hall is a member of Union Gospel Mission.
- Speaker Fred Lynch is a non-denominational pastor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.