For Jefferson Hills’ next trick . . . (Mollie)

Here’s the latest on the JeffersonHills Church (apparently affiliated with the LCMS and best known for their Satan billboard campaign):

If you missed this weekend you missed something huge that God has called JH to launch. Beginning in September we are offering another venue along with our Sunday morning opportunities to take communion that will take place in special homes in our community lead by our God ordained elders.

By the way today was amazing when we asked our elders to come forward and have people lay hands on them to prepare them for leading communion nights. What was so amazing was the number of people who came forward to lay hands. Almost everyone in attendance came forward to agree that this is what God is calling us to do and that these men were Godly men who love and follow Jesus. It was not a position they were elected for or nominated for. This was a calling that each man had to prayerfully except or reject. And it was confirmed with the number of people who came to lay hands.

Now, Missouri DP Ray Mirly still hasn’t responded to any my questions about what the heck is going on at JeffersonHills.

But the questions remain. What is he doing? How is he helping out this congregation that is ashamed to be affiliated with the Lutheran Church and yet takes precious mission funds that could be spent on, well, missions?


Comments

For Jefferson Hills’ next trick . . . (Mollie) — 65 Comments

  1. Todd – let’s review:

    1 – JH Church is a model Ablaze! (! – this you know about) outreach congregation.
    2 – Their hermeneutic is outreach – not Christ cruicified for sinners.
    3 – They partner with church growth movement churches – lifechurch.tv, Elevation Church, etc.
    4 – They regularly demean organized, denominational religion in their messages.
    5 – They have been in place for over 5 years doing this same stuff.
    6 – The Rev. Dr. Mirly, LCMS Missouri District President, has apparently done nothing to deter, correct, redirect, rebuke, or remove those operating/leading JH Church.

    So – whether or not these “ordained” elders come under the Rev Dr. Mirly’s supervision or not doesn’t really matter. The problem is with Dr. Mirly, Dr. Kieschnick, the Ablaze! movement, and the whole direction things are moving within the LCMS.

    My Pastor had the best comment for me when I ws getting pretty disappointed in the whole thing – which I still am but… He reminded me that our Synod is not Church. Church is where the Word of God is correctly preached and the Sacraments are rightly administered and these gifts are received through faith. Christ’s Church will stand no matter what sinful men and our Synod choose to do.

    I’m still concerned and disappointed but remaining steadfast in Christ!

    Paul

  2. Paul,

    Nice summary.

    “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6

    It’s laissez-faire Lutheranism. Fine.

    So… someone explain to me, why are we paying these district presidents?

    TW

  3. Well – my congregation significantly reduced the $$$ going to Synod and District due to all this stuff going on and I know others have done the same. We’re designating what would have gone to them to go to specific organizations we know are utilizing the resources in a Christ-centered manner. If they want to operate like a business then affecting their financial resources is the most significant “vote” we can exercise.

    Paul

  4. So… someone explain to me, why are we paying these district presidents?

    TW

    Well – my congregation significantly reduced the $$$ going to Synod and District due to all this stuff going on and I know others have done the same. We’re designating what would have gone to them to go to specific organizations we know are utilizing the resources in a Christ-centered manner.

    Paul

    If I might interject a suggestion for offerings at this point: I know of a pastor whose salary will disappear as of 10/1/08. (Indeed, I know of another, but he found a job that will take care of his family’s needs, while this pastor has not yet been able to do so.) I know of others in similar situations. I know of one and only one organization who is trying to do anything to help such men: The Augustana Ministerium.

    If any of you—or your congregations—are looking for a way to help pastors and to help congregations keep their faithful pastors if they aren’t able to pay them in full, I urge you to visit the Ministerium’s website at http://AugustanaMinisterium.org, where you can find information about this group and what it does to keep pastors and their families alive and, if possible, serving parishes. Check out the ‘Confraternity’ tab on their menu, too, and download their bimonthly newsletter for an accounting of what was accomplished through this group in the past four years (including their teaming up with Lutheran Church Charities of Addison, Illinois in LCC’s fantastic work after Hurricane Katrina).

    If The Augustana Ministerium received even a tenth of what is being wasted by LCMS, Inc., the assistance provided would be too amazing to recount (i.e., the need is that huge, beyond most folks’ reckoning).

    Well, that’s three ‘if’s in a row…will the reality be that this pastor of more than a decade will lose all he owns while he tries to find a low-paying job just to keep food on the table, and that he goes on CRM status, never to be in a parish again, or will he receive whatever aid he needs, perhaps to start a new mission somewhere (maybe across the street from Jefferson Hills…) and to continue in service to the Church as God has prepared him to render?

    EJG (please note that I, as a non-LCMS pastor, am asking you to assist a rostered LCMS clergyman by this request…though I would like to be up front in saying that we wish to help any Confessional Lutheran pastor; now is the time for those disgusted with Synod, Inc. [whether Missouri, WELS, or whatever] to ‘step up’, in my opinion)

  5. Rev Stefanski – thank you for alerting me and many others to another wonderful opportunity to support confessional Lutheran pastors.

  6. Rev Stefanski – thank you for alerting me and many others to another wonderful opportunity to support confessional Lutheran pastors.

    My pleasure. I’d like to mention another one, if I might: the education of pastors in The Lutheran Church in Lanka. This is a deep need that we are seeking to meet (in conjunction with the Confessional Lutheran Education Foundation) for this tiny but courageous church body. For information, please consider my ‘travelogue’ (and the links therein) found at our congregation’s website http://HolyTrinityLC.com, where you can click on he “Sri Lanka” menu item at the top of the page.

    It is time to complete one of the candidate’s education so he can be ordained, but it’s looking like the trip to accomplish this will have to be postponed due to a shortage of funds (we not only pay for our own travel, food, and lodging, but for that of the pastors and theological students, some of who spend as much or more time on the bus trying to get across the country as we would in flying around the world to get there). Encouraged by the ‘beer reviews’ on another part of this website, I am offering to share some good Sri Lankan stout (Lion Stout) with those who contribute $300 and either visit me or let me come and speak about the education of Sri Lankan pastors and some (they like it, but most of you probably won’t) arrack with those who give $1,000 (individually or congregationally…I hate to set the number that high, but I don’t know what Customs is going to charge me for bringing multiple bottles of arrack into the country, and I haven’t found anywhere in the U.S. to buy it).

    At any rate, if you’d like to see the pastors and students of The Lutheran Church in Lanka studying Luther’s “Theology of the Cross” in the near future (as I would), I encourage you to support us. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m very tight with other people’s money…that’s why I can host dozens of domains (everything from Confess and Teach for Unity/CAT 41 to VoxVisuals to the Augustana Ministerium, bunches of congregations, and, at one time or another, Pax-Domini, Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood, and all of the email lists for Consensus, Higher Things, the Faithful Alliance, and so forth, at no charge, having a few faithful pastors who trust my management of things donating to my shoestring budget. The folks at CLEF and I promise you nothing less with any funds you contribute to this effort.

    BTW…a quick glance at The Augustana Ministerium’s figures for this year tell me that they have disbursed $21,600.00 from 1/1/08 through 8/31/08, roughly half of which went to pastors in financial crisis and half went to ongoing sustenance of pastors who are only able to serve their parishes because of this aid. Something I know to be true: TAM disbursed $21,600 in such aid because TAM took in 18,015.39 towards such aid; if TAM had taken in $40,000, it would have all been disbursed. In contrast, less than $2,000 has been spent ‘administratively’–that is, for putting together a theological conference and for printing and mailing costs for a newsletter (all of which money came from members’ dues, not at all from the gifts that come in for aid to pastors).

    IOW: the needs at home and abroad are great, and the money your Lord has entrusted to you shouldn’t be abused by going to self-serving bureaucracies and bureaucrats with anti-confessional theology and goals. Thank you for your prayerful consideration of these suggestions.

    EJG

  7. In contrast, less than $2,000 has been spent ‘administratively’–that is, for putting together a theological conference and for printing and mailing costs for a newsletter (all of which money came from members’ dues, not at all from the gifts that come in for aid to pastors).

    It was pointed out to me that this might not be clear to everyone: what The Augustana Ministerium means by ‘administrative costs’ includes a national theological conference…and that conference cost in $1,556.24 this year, all of which was covered by the dues payments of our members. The rest of the administrative costs were printing and mailing—a total of $102.50 so far…which I reckon will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $450-500 in the next year, simply for the printing and mailing of the newsletter, brochures, and the like—once again, all covered by the dues of our members without anything coming out of the gifts that we receive from our members, from congregations, etc.

    The point is, our administrative costs (outside of the conference expense) should end up being about 1% of our budget, and no one gets a salary or any other benefits for being an officer, etc., of The Augustana Ministerium.

    I hope that the above will make my previous posts clearer.

    EJG

  8. Originally posted by Paul, communicated to Steve Benke:

    “I guess it is easy to remove dissenting opinions by simply blocking them.”

    I also briefly communicated with Ben Gonzales, Teaching Pastor at JHC, and that was the same attitude I sensed from him–“encourage us, share new ideas, but don’t disagree, that’s just not right”

  9. JHC is simply following the model that PLI and Pres. Kieschnick wants the synod to head (see Leadership Notes/Sept. Reporter)

  10. If I am reading this correctly, certain men (is it only men) put themselves forward as elders at Jefferson Hills. They certify that they are keeping all the requirements of an elder, including tithing their income, then they are ordained by a laying on of hands by the people of the church, and then they are able to preach and hold communion services?

    I don’t know why, but it sounds to me a lot like what the northern kingdom of Israel was doing in 2 Chronicle 13, especially verse 9.

  11. The role of the Elder is identical to the role of the Pastor—to minister to and watch over the people of God. While the Elder is not a Pastor, he is responding to the call of God on his life to assist the Pastor, who also has a calling of God on his life, in the spiritual care and leadership of the church.

    Really, this is so smart that it is stupid, so close that it is far away.

    What it points up is the grave danger of using a Biblical term for a non-biblical (i.e., man-made) office.

    ‘Elder’ in, say, acts 20, is “identical to the role of the Pastor,” because, in Acts 20, it’s just another title/description of those who were to shepherd and oversee (i.e., to be pastors/bishops). As Dr. Collver’s article in Logia a couple of years ago showed, Lutheran churches did not have ‘lay elders’ as they do today…and as the Rt. Rev. Heiser’s little booklet (available from Repristination Press, I think) shows, in the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy the office of Deacon was considered a role for ordained clergy (fully trained, not SMP’d or District disabled). Really, if you consider the wars over this manmade office in Missouri today (e.g., whether or not women can serve in this role), the division tends to play out along these lines:

    1) The CTCR, recognizing that what exists has Biblical names but is not a Biblical office, says that it is open to women, etc.

    2) The Church-growthers/PLIers, etc., see the manmade office as if it were the God-ordained Office and do as Jefferson Hills is doing. (Some, agreeing with the CTCR’s conclusion without understanding their reasoning, go the extra step of saying that women can also serve in this role.)

    3) The stick-in-the-muds/speedbumps say that both 1 & 2 are wrong…yet in their constitutions, etc., they will have Biblical language/stipulations applied to this non-Biblical office, as well, showing that, really, the adopting of this manmade office in the first place (and investing it with the God-given terms for another Office) is a large part of the cause of the abuse. I.e., you can’t have it both ways: either this is the Biblical Office and it ought to have both the Biblical qualifications and the Biblical duties, or it is not and should have neither.

    Interesting (to me) side note wrt #3: If you look back at John H.C. Fritz’s Pastoral Theology (CPH 1932), you will find that he says absolutely nothing about any ‘office of lay elder’, but only about a ‘Church Council’. Isn’t amazing that barely 75 years later probably none of us remember a time in Missouri where we didn’t have (mis-named) ‘elders’ or (equally mis-named) ‘deacons’? It is like unto the fact that so many women have told me that there has always been women’s suffrage in the LCMS…when we know that it will only be forty years old next year. (Oh, the parties that will ensue! Perhaps CPH can use that as a theme for VBS materials! Everyone can have special offering envelopes and celebrate ‘Different Voices, Shared Vision Sunday’! Of course, considering the topic, perhaps the parties should have been held this year, and then every year hearafter it can be ‘the anniversary of the thirty-ninth anniversary’… 😉 )

    EJG

  12. FROM JEFFERSON HILLS TEACHING PASTOR (Hmmm…wonder who has been sending him those cranky emails???)

    I know I am going to offend someone and I have a sneaky suspicion it will be Christians. And the interesting thing is I won’t lose sleep on how Christians respond to this. But I just don’t get it.

    I don’t get why people send an email and at the end of the email they attach the infamous BIBLE PASSAGE.

    What is the purpose of the “end of the email BIBLE PASSAGE?”
    -Do you think you are going to convert someone?
    -Is it your confirmation verse?
    -Do you think it makes you more spiritual?
    -Are you more special because you have a personal BIBLE PASSAGE?
    -Do you think it validates your ungodly email simply because it has a BIBLE PASSAGE attached?

    I can’t tell you how many people send our church hate mail and they think it is ok because they attached their favorite bible verse. By the way if you send hate mail with a bible verse at least know the context of the bible passage you send. Don’t use a bible verse simply because you have been brainwashed by a church, pastor, or denomination. Never mind don’t even send it, we won’t read it.

    The point…we don’t need another christian bumper sticker. We don’t need another fish decal. We don’t need another T-shirt. The church needs people who will live out the scripture and not just use them as a punch line or to use them out of context to prove our traditions.

    I could be totally wrong but I just want to know why we include the infamous BIBLE PASSAGE to an email.

  13. I can’t tell you how many people send our church hate mail and they think it is ok because they attached their favorite bible verse. By the way if you send hate mail with a bible verse at least know the context of the bible passage you send. Don’t use a bible verse simply because you have been brainwashed by a church, pastor, or denomination. Never mind don’t even send it, we won’t read it.

    The point…we don’t need another christian bumper sticker. We don’t need another fish decal. We don’t need another T-shirt. The church needs people who will live out the scripture and not just use them as a punch line or to use them out of context to prove our traditions.

    Looks like the pot is calling the crystal “black,” once again. Of course, this is what one ought to expect from those who are theologians of glory. (Cf. the 21st of Luther’s theses for the Heidelberg Disputation.) Such arrogant vitriol…I shudder to think what the cartoon version of such a letter would look like! 😉

    EJG

  14. I’m surprised that someone who is supposed to be a teaching pastor would not know the reason for, or even get upset at the quotation of scripture. It seems the practice that is being referred to is the practice many people have, like our past President Barry or our current President Kieschnick, of appending a reference or quotation under their name. Many e-mail programs allow a “signature” that will be appended to an e-mail automatically. While I don’t do this, and I know many who don’t, I know many who do and it never bothers me. I think that people who do it just see that as fulfilling what God told Moses to tell his people to do in Deut 6:4-9, to keep God’s Word front and center in their lives. It is how they “live out the scripture,” so to speak, kind of like what people do when they put scripture passages up in their homes.

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