Special Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering Edition of “The LCMS in Her Own Words” by Pastor Rossow

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.

(from http://www.alivecom.com/authors_detail.asp?bookcatid=4&authorid=64 )


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.

(from http://arloasutter.blogspot.com/2007/01/ron-hall-and-denver-moore.html )


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.

(from http://www.gloryboundtexas.org/speakers.htm )


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.


Tim Rossow

Pastor – Bethany Lutheran Church, Naperville, Illinois

Editor – BJS Website

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.


Special Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering Edition of “The LCMS in Her Own Words” by Pastor Rossow — 69 Comments

  1. Confession: 100% as far as I can tell. Yup…mom and dad had a sense of humor…

    Worship was great…raised my hands during “Life High the Cross” and clapped along to “This is the feast of victory…” (not as easy as it sounds)

  2. Martinus Animus #43
    After reading through all of the posts on both of these threads, I can’t find anybody who holds the Confessions to be “equal” to Scripture. That dog won’t hunt, Brother.

  3. “100% as far as I can tell.” I’m not sure if I should be thankful that you’ve finally admitted that much, or disappointed in the time it took as well as the condition you put on it.

    But Pastor Rossow originally brought up the percentage issue, so I’ll leave it alone. If he wants to comment more, he can.

    Surely you can understand, Martin, that even though we do not make the Confessions “equivalent” to Scripture, nevertheless we demand that those who lead worship adhere to the Confessions as well as the Scriptures? I don’t see how this could be a confusing concept. Any theology that deviates from Scripture endangers souls. “Teach them all things I have commanded,” and “A little leaven leavens,” etc.


    Rev. Andrew Eckert
    Wellston, OK

  4. I can’t find anybody who holds the Confessions to be “equal” to Scripture….nevertheless we demand that those who lead worship adhere to the Confessions as well as the Scriptures…hmmm…

    “Teach them all things I have commanded,”…evidently Jesus meant the confessions as well?


  5. VDMA=The Word of the Lord endures forever (an old slogan of the Reformers)

    ““Teach them all things I have commanded,”…evidently Jesus meant the confessions as well?”

    Jesus certainly meant that the Scriptures should be rightly understood. Holding to the Scriptures but interpreting them falsely is not really holding to the Scriptures at all.

    Since (as you have admitted, have you not?) the Confessions are 100% accurate with respect to Scripture, then for someone to object to the substance of the Confessions would be to object to a pure exposition of Scripture.

    A person may, in fact, have a pure understanding of Scripture without subscribing to the Confessions. But as long as we don’t know exactly where a person stands, (or worse, we know that they hold to an unscriptural confession) why would we trust them to teach and/or lead worship, especially with our precious children?

    Do you think Jesus would object to the Lutheran Confessions? How could you, if you believe they are 100% in line with Scripture?

  6. Correction: I should really write, “DOES Jesus object to the Lutheran Confessions?” He of course is aware of them.

  7. Rev. Eckert,

    You are doing a great job of upholding the cause of Scripture and the accurate expostion of Scripture known as teh Lutheran Confessions.

    I share your exasperation with brother “Martin.” Let me try an example. Let’s say my grandmother records an old family recipe in a letter that she wrote a generation ago. The recipe is not given in instructional form but interspersed with the list of ingredients are stories she remembered about those ingredients and other detals. The question is, can I extract from that story, the exact recipe? Yes I can if the recipe is indeed in the stories. Language works that way.

    The Confessions are like the extracted story (systematized doctrine) and the letter of Grandma is like the Scriputures. Please do not extend the example any farther than I am – if so it will limp like all analogies do. The point is that two documents can give rise to the same understanding. Of course, Grandma’s original letters are superior but the simple list format of the recipe is also valuable in a different way – because it is simpler and systematized.

    Brother “Martin” just does not seem to accept this simple little character of language.

    Keep up the good work. I enoy your posts and learn from them.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. Believe me…I understand where you are all coming from. At the same time as a conservative confessional I feel free not to wear a collar (or even a robe should I chose) or follow the historic liturgy or to sing nothing but hymns from the LSB or TLH or LW or whatever is currently being used, and free not have an organist or piano, but a praise band if desired, using contemporary songs where suitable, and not always following the pericopal system, etc. With that I bid you adieu and wish you joy in the journey.

    As lutheran as Jesus

  9. Rev. Rossow,

    Some wise words, and a nice analogy. (Although now for some reason I’m hungry for some cookies.) Perhaps Martin’s problem is also that he is woefully ignorant of the content of the Confessions. He says he is free not to wear a stole, which implies that he is a pastor. Yet he feels free to ignore the historic liturgy, in spite of the Confessions’ clear words on the subject. In any case, some wires are not connecting somewhere.

    Peace in Christ,

    Rev. Andrew Eckert

  10. While I did not mention a stole (only robe and collar), you may assume what you will. But yes…I feel very free to ignore the so called historic liturgy….whatever that may be…TLH pages 5-15-32, or LW page 158 or whatever, or LBW or LSB or whatever other alphabet one can toss out. Perhaps John 4:20-24 speaks to this. Or maybe Ephesians 5:19? How far back do we go to have “historic liturgy”? Why not go back to the days of Jesus? Seems to me the rabbi (pastor) sat and everyone (parishioners)stood. Who decides when it is historic enough?

  11. Martin, I thought you bid us adieu. My mistake. Also, yes, I inserted “stole” where you wrote “collar” and “robe.” How inaccurate of me.

    You misunderstood the thrust of my words (I am assuming this as the more charitable interpretation, rather than that you are deliberately changing the subject). My point was that you seem to know nothing of what the Lutheran Confessions say about the historic liturgy. Your response does not address that point, sir.

  12. “Martin,”

    Please order Dr. Just’s video on the liturgy from CPH and you will see that the historic liturgy is derived from what Jesus did. The basic form of the liturgy is taken out of Hebrew worship.

    Pastor Rossow

  13. From Texas so this is concerning to us. I would like Pr. Wilken and Pr. Rossow, our pastors here, 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’ .Also, I felt that this event for all the reasons discussed by Dr. Rossow and Pr. Wilken, was not in keeping with our confessions and the Word of God but I have been challenged on this observation. Have I overstated this?

    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.)

  14. Dear Lay,

    You ask some profound questions. I will not be able to give a full-fledged theological answer to your questions. That would take some study, soem time, and some undrestanding of specifics that we may not have entirely. In light of those concerns let me give you the best answer I can off the cuff.

    You may have overstated it a bit, but again that all depends on the details and for sure you are in the ballpark. In the 1980’s the CTCR defined unionism as consisting in joint participation in a worsship service. That was a slick way to allow for other sorts of activities (e.g. a non-Lutheran speaker at a youth event) and at the time I went along with this understanding. Now, years later I am beginning to see that such a by-laws, legalistic approach misses the mark and gets abused by people. For example, the leaders of the LCMS Texas youth gathering are able to have 3 of their highlighted speakers/song leaders be non-LCMS folks and yet they can hide behind this theology of the CTCR of the 1980’s by saying that they are not involved in leading worship.

    Good, their not leading worship but don’t you get it, when three of your seven major speakers are not Lutheran and are from a Pentecostal church (as well as being a woman pastor – an affront to God and the order he has created in the universe and then sanctified in the church) – a Baptist church and a liberal social gospel church, the event can hardly be called a Lutheran youth gathering anymore. So, by the 1980’s definition this does not qualify as unionism, but it is clearly unacceptable unionistic behavior because we are feeding our children on the heterodox teachings of other denominations.

    Speaking of heterodox, (which means false teachings mixed in with the pure), do you suppose when these speakers are introduced that they would be called “heterodox?” Imagine how rude that would be. Invite someone to take one of the seven lead positions at your gathering and then introduce them by saying – “Young men and women, we now introduce to you “Bob Smith” of the First Baptist church but we must remind you that he is heterodox, that is to say, he mixes false teaching into the truth that he is about to teach you.” Of course, the leaders of the Texas district would never do that. They do not even use the word “heterodox.” I am not even sure they know what it means or even care. One of their own defenders admitted as much on this website (see comment 145 on Pastor Wilken’s post from August 5).

    Enough of that. Hopefully it demonstrates that we have found ways to get around the rules but that does not mean what we are doing is right. I like to go back to my “plain English” and “common sense language” argument. Even Grandma Schmidt could recognize from the list of speakers that this is not a genuine Lutheran gathering.

    “Lay” – you are right that what is going on here is wrong. Is it unionism by our latest definition of it? Maybe not. Is if unionistic? Yes, I believe it is. Our definition is not working to maintain Lutheran teaching in our denomination.

    Concerning some of the missing information I referenced above – President Hennings defends the decision to have a Pentecostal woman pastor as the song leader for an LCMS youth gathering by asserting that she will not do pastoral acts but only act like a song leader. That is just now how things work in the contemporary world (as I argued before). All during the gathering, whether it be for official worship or just warming up the crowd (sic and sick!), she will most likely be introducing her songs with poor or non-existent theology, giving her testimony, using the language of Pentecostalism and not Lutheranism, so forth and so on. And even if President Hennigs tells her to her face that she is never to utter a word beyond the chosen songs (which he will not do – by the way President Hennings, if you are reading this, and apparently you are – at the very least have this conversation with Ms. Jobe and then tell us you did and then report to us after the event that just like an organist, she never opened her mouth but merely accompanied the music), even if he does that, it is still just plain ‘ole wrong to march a Pentecostal woman pastor up in front of our LCMS youth and have her lead the music for the divine service. As Pastor Wilken pointed out in the original post – this is the fundamental problem.

    So, “Lay” you are on the right path. Keep up your concern and over time, let’s all figure out a way to get President Hennings and our entire synod back to a place where Higher Things as gotten – where Lutheran speakers and pastors teach and lead our youth at their gatherings.

    Thank you for your specific question. I hope I have been specific enough in return. If not – let me know and I will try to answer further questions.

    Pastor Rossow

  15. Pastor Rossow, I so appreciate your response. It does answer many of my questions and concerns. Of course the concerns continue. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!!!

  16. Have you taken these issues up with the Texas District?
    What was their reply?
    If not why not???

    Surely this is the appropriate approach…
    Or is it scripturally ok to doing the Lutheran thing by jumping to assumptions and drawing our own conclusions based on partial information and our own perception of things, because it appears easier than getting into dialogue with our brothers (and sisters).

    I think Matthew 18 says something about this…

  17. jk,

    We are in contact with the Texas District but that is not the whole story in regards to your concern.

    Here are some questions and considerations for you to which I hope you will give some thought.

    If you are such an expert at applying Matthew 18, shouldn’t you have refrained from criticizing us in this public forum? Shouldn’t you have sought out one of us privately instead of posting an accusatory comment in public?

    Secondly, please give a closer look to Matthew 18. It says, if your brother sins against “you.” These are not personal and private sins against me or any other individual. These are open and public statements. No one has assumed anything. We have simply taken the words that were written and critized them for what they stated. Words carry meaning. Words are how we communicate. I do not know what you beleive until I hear or read the words that you speak or say. If you speak or say words that contradict scripture, it is my responsibility to point that out. The Texas Lutheran Youth Gathering website announced to the world that the Texas District was conducting a gathering for our youth that involved numerous heterodox Christians in key leadership positions. That is harmful for the spiritual health of our youth.

    Please let me know what you think about these points, whether you agree with them or not.

    Pastor Rossow

  18. Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » A Worship Model for Presidents Kieschnick, Hoesman, Mirly, Hennings and The Alley to Consider

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