Where do I start? Pastor Wilken has introduced us to a nightmare called the Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering. The problems with this event go far beyond the fact that they have chosen a non-Lutheran, woman pastor to be the Lead Worshiper of the gathering, which Pastor Wilken ably pointed out for us. A simple review of the program for the event reveals several other problems that demonstrate the failure of the current leadership of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to lead this church body as the confessional Lutheran synod that is intended to be and as required by Scripture.
After reading this post I encourage you to go to the website of the gathering and the other links provided below and see that this is not some lunatic rant about obscure, fringe liberals in the LCMS. The following is a description of the largest district youth gathering in the largest district in our synod and how it is, from top to bottom, a heterodox (false teaching mixed in with the truth) event targeted at the most fragile of all Christians, our teenage youth. Everything cited and asserted below is open to public scrutiny and I welcome anyone and everyone to use the data available on the listed websites to disprove my thesis below that the LCMS is in big, big trouble, if indeed it thinks it is a confessional Lutheran synod.
I thank BJS website reader and regular commenter “Carl Vehse” for alerting us to the conference website: http://www.gloryboundtexas.org/speakers.htm .
Here are some major issues that I have discovered just from a cursory reading of the website’s program of speakers and with a few searches on the internet.
First Issue: A Woman Pastor from a Charismatic Church as Conference Lead Worshiper
I won’t say anymore about this. Pastor Wilken has already offered incisive critique on this matter.
Here is the website for the doctrinal statement at her church (read Article 1, Pt. 3)
Second Issue: Speaker Denver Moore is a Baptist Pastor
Denver Moore currently serves as a volunteer at the Fort Worth Union Gospel Mission. He is also a guest minister as Riteway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, and is pursuing a new career as a fine art painter. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Third Issue: Speaker Ron Hall is a Member of Union Gospel Mission
If you haven’t read the book, you simply must. It is the moving story of Ron, a wealthy art dealer, whose wife, Deborah, brought him into the Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth, Texas, where he met Denver, a former sharecropper from Mississippi who had been homeless for forty years.
Fourth Issue: Speaker Fred Lynch is a Non-Denominational Pastor
Fred is a dynamic communicator who uses the art of rhythm and rhyme to share the truth of scripture in a relevant way. At the age of 18 Fred help found P.I.D. (Preachers in Disguise) one of the first gospel rap acts and went on to record 6 albums. Fred is the author of The Epic, an artistic translation of the Gospel of John in rap. After 20 years of service in youth evangelism, Fred has now accepted a position to Pastor in the same community where his ministry was originally launched! Today, Fred serves as a Campus Pastor at The Oaks Fellowship in Dallas, Texas where he lives with his wife D-Ann and their two children Jordan and Asia.
Fifth Issue: The Worship Pastor’s Congregation Website does not List the Sacraments as Core Beliefs
Pastor Peter Luedemann is the worship leader for the Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering. The statement of belief for his home congregation does not mention the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I have always figured this would eventually be the case, that is, that LCMS congregational websites would start recording statements of belief that leave out the sacraments and sure enough, as if there is not enough questionable theology connected with this Texas Lutheran Youth gathering, the website of the Worship pastor for this gathering does just that. LCMS Lutherans do not “believe” what we claim to believe anymore. We say that we believe that the marks of the church are word and sacrament (Augsburg Confession Article VII) but then we preach, teach and worship as if it is only the protestant belief in scripture that matters. Such is the case if one were to draw a conclusion about the role of the sacraments in the beliefs of Pastor Luedemann’s church, Beautiful Saviour Lutheran Church, LCMS, Portland, Oregon.
(from http://www.bslc.com/beliefs.html )
I do not know Pastor Luedemann personally. This is not a criticism of him personally. I am merely trying to get people to consider the LCMS in her own words and the parish that he serves chose to write a statement of belief for their community and the world and it does not mention two of the scriptural hallmarks of the church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This is a huge problem.
Sixth Issue: The DCE who is Teaching the Gathering Bible Study is Described as a Bishop of His Congregation’s Satellite “Ministry.”
The gathering website describes DCE Peter Couser, the Bible study teacher for the gathering, in these terms:
Peter grew up in the Chicago area watching the Cubs and aspiring a career in sports broadcasting. He graduated from TCU in 1995 with a degree in Radio-TV-Film, but within a couple of years he was led by God into full-time ministry. Peter joined the staff of St. Paul, Fort Worth, in 1997 where he started a ministry to college students. In 2005 he led St. Paul in the launch of The Summit, a new worship site that meets 18 miles west in Aledo. He oversees ministry at this site, and is the Director of Summit Ministries as St. Paul looks to launch more sites. (from http://www.gloryboundtexas.org/speakers.htm )
Why is a DCE overseeing ministry? This is the Biblical definition of a pastor/bishop according to I Peter 5:1ff. and is not the God-given role of the auxiliary office of DCE, an office created by the LCMS to assist the office of the ministry, not to oversee the ministry of satellite congregations.
What do we learn of the LCMS from her own words based on the website of the LCMS Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering? Of the six speakers and worship leaders described above, four are not from the LCMS. The two that are from the LCMS have been shown, in the LCMS’s own words, to have problematic doctrine connected with their home congregations.
For additional issues, you might want to check out the website of the two speakers we did not highlight above (Pastor Schaeffer and Pastor Miller). It is located at http://www.watersedgefrisco.com/ . Do a little sniffing around on this website and see if it strikes you as a Lutheran church.
How is it that Higher Things, a national LCMS youth organization, is able to have inspiring youth gatherings and do so with LCMS pastors and speakers? Why can’t the official youth gatherings of our synod do such?
The rundown of speakers at this youth gathering demonstrates that key leadership positions in the LCMS are occupied by people who are not vigilant about training our impressionable teenagers with Biblical and confessional Lutheran theology. The picture drawn of the LCMS in her own words is not encouraging. Something needs to be done so that we can all together in the LCMS, walk in synod, confessing the same life-giving truth of Christ’s Gospel rather than turning to heterodox speakers to train up our youth.
Pastor – Bethany Lutheran Church, Naperville, Illinois
Editor – BJS Website