Texas LCMS Youth Gathering Website Link Rejects Baptismal Regeneration, by Pr. Rossow

There are five  links highlighted on the “Student page” of the Texas Lutheran youth gathering website. One of the links is to a website called ChristianAnswers.net.  The Texas District calls this a “sweet” link. I would call it a link of spiritual death. In the question and answer section on baptism this recomended site  says this:

While we should preach that all people are commanded to repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), adding any other requirement to salvation by grace becomes “works” in disguise.

Even though numerous Scriptures speak of the importance of water baptism, adding anything to the work of the cross demeans the sacrifice of the Savior. It implies that His finished work wasn’t enough. But the Bible makes clear that we are saved by grace, and grace alone,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
—
Ephesians 2:8-9

Baptism is simply a step of obedience to the Lord following our repentance and confession of sin. Our obedience–water baptism, prayer, good works, fellowship, witnessing, etc.–issues from our faith in Christ. Salvation is not what we do, but Who we have.

Baptism is our obedient act for God and not his new birth of us? The authors of ChristianAnswers.net need to read  I Peter 3:21, Acts 2:35ff, Romans 6:1-4, Titus 3:4-5, John 3, etc.

Why are our Texas Lutheran young people being sent to a website that denies baptismal regeneration and the means of grace? Check out what the Small Catechism says about baptism. (Click page 5 on the guide on the right hand side of the link and it will take you right to the section on baptism.) How about if we send them to the Book of Concord site or to the Higher Things site?

We have argued on this site that there is a crisis of supervision in our synod.  This is not some out of the way little church website. This is the Texas District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod website for the upcoming youth conference. Who is minding the store? This is more evidence that Bapticostal-Arminianism continues to march into the church of the Lutheran Confessions.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy 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.

Comments

Texas LCMS Youth Gathering Website Link Rejects Baptismal Regeneration, by Pr. Rossow — 20 Comments

  1. When we are talking about a crisis of supervision do we mean the leadership sees the problem but doesn’t do anything about it, or doesn’t see or know about the problem and thus doesn’t do anything about it, or is it in agreement with the various falsehoods we can see? I suppose it varies from case to case.

    How do you correct people in authority in the Church if they won’t listen to the authority of Scripture?

  2. Can’t anybody in Texas spell h-e-r-e-s-y?
    No one is “minding the store.” That’s painfully obvious…and has been for a long time.
    And, since you and I (particularly “I”, since I’m just a layman) aren’t in Texas, the store is not ours to mind…according to current ?CMSInc. rubrics. Unless, of course we want to, and have the time and energy to, jump through a gazillion Matthew 18 hoops.

    Ed…Crusty curmudgeon.

  3. Califiowan (my new favorite former Hawkeye),

    I would respond with something profound but I am busy watchimg the Hawkeyes take it to the Goophers from Minnesota on the Big Ten Network.

    Catch up with you after the game.

    Pastor Rossow

  4. ah, come on. Can’t you dig it? Get down with it. Shake it but don’t break it. This must be a totally hip cool website they’re sending the youth to, so who can object? It’s relevant, man. Lighten up. Tune out them old fogies & tune in the church of what’s happening now. Ain’t it groovy? Or perhaps in modern parlance, sweet?

  5. Quite sad, too, that this website touts salvation by grace & says making anything a requirement becomes works but misses completely the fact that baptism is God’s work & His gifting. They’re good at obeying commands but not at receiving gifts apparently.

    But I’m sure the TX District response will be, oh, we just direct them to some good sites but don’t necessarily endorse everything these sites teach. Isn’t it strange that officials from the TX District have a problem with baptismal regeneration? Didn’t President Kieschnick deny on the Hank Hannegraf show that Lutherans believe in baptismal regeneration?

    Oh, but what am I saying? Doctrine divides, love unites. Deeds not creeds, you know. Tell it to the goats & sheep for this Sunday’s lesson.

  6. Anonymous Comment #1,

    I would say it is a combo platter as you describe. Another way to look at it is this way. The synodical president, the district presidents (bishops, i.e. “overseers”) and the circuit counselors, in general, do not see maintaining pure doctrine as the number one job of the church and of the overseer. They see the job of the church to be getting the word out at all costs and they see their job as overseers to be the purveyors of programs.

    They just are not looking at the church through the eyes of doctrine. They are products of their age and not products of the word.

    Pastor Rossow

  7. So, what do we do? Who can we tell about this? Is there anyone we can petition? The CTCR? The Seminaries?

  8. We have everything from a totally relevant ‘devotion’ book for pre-teens asking how you ‘feel’ about God, to Beth Moore Bible study for the ladies.

    If we could only get a coffee bar, we would be really cool.

  9. I have been in “Communicado” for the last couple of weeks – taking part in our witness protection program for synodical folk who know and preach correct doctrine and report misdeeds. And the first time I access BJS what do I find but another brother (the whistle blower) possibly in need of our program. It should come as no surprise, I suppose, but it does get a bit old. Is there no end to the stupidity, arrogance, and malfeasance of office? Wait don’t answer that question – I want a shred of hope for the future!

  10. I have to believe that when you are synodical president and feel you are presiding by mandate and also believe that $171,000 salary + benefits is woefully low compared to professional athletes, then you must not stand on what Luther and Walther and those old timers preached, but you must forge ahead in “new order” thinking to be relevant. With the exception of Todd Wilken, we could compare Texas to Nazareth. Can anything good come out of there?

  11. Steven Bobb asks:

    So, what do we do? Who can we tell about this? Is there anyone we can petition? The CTCR? The Seminaries?

    Asking questions of those whose theology and practice are questionable is probably not a good thing to do. Remember the CTCR and ‘serial prayer’? Remember ‘SMPP’? Remember the seminaries’ presidents (both of them) saying that Ablaze![tm] is fine and dandy?

    Revgeorge says, “But I’m sure the TX District response will be, oh, we just direct them to some good sites but don’t necessarily endorse everything these sites teach,” but surely you’ll get even more than that–“We put a warning on the webpage, saying that these were ‘sweet’, i.e., highly addictive and of no nutritional value”! 😉

    EJG

  12. “A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the things what it actually is.”

    It’s certainly telling (perhaps even helpful) that the organizers of this event have called it “Glory Bound.” The title itself is like a big red warning flag, or the “Mr. Yuck” sticker on a bottle under the sink. Perhaps it’s too late, but I’d suggest that any Lutheran pastor considering sending the youth entrusted to him to a conference entitled “Glory Bound” needs to dust off AE vol 31 and re-read the Heidelberg Disputation.
    Just a thought,
    -Matt Mills

  13. I sent a short email to the contact link at the bottom of the “Glory Bound” Texas youth site pointing out the website and asking, “Will you please remove this problem link from our youth page site? I have no idea why we Lutherans need to get answers from a nondenominational website that promotes false doctrine.”

    Maybe if others email and ask them to remove the link they will?

  14. As a Texas college student considering the ministry, I take great offense at the remarks that “nothing good comes from Texas”.

    Many good things come out of Texas — we have many great confessional pastors, parishes, and parishioners. Although our district office may be on weak theological footing, don’t forget Lawrence White, Scott Murray, Jim Woelmer, Carl Ficksenscher, and countless others who have dedicated themselves to the proclaiming the the Gospel in its purity and administering the sacraments properly.

    Let’s be nice, here.

  15. Tory S. is right, there are a good many faithful parishes in Texas. I actually look forward to visiting my inlaws in central Texas because we have a second church home to go to.

    It’s easy to make broad statements such as above when the district leadership presents itself to both youth and adults as it has.

    That being said, it would serve us well that to remember that there will always be tares growing with the wheat and there is no need to burn down the whole field because of the actions of the elected staff.

    An attempt to paint the district with such a broad brush will not serve anybody well.

  16. An attempt to paint the district with such a broad brush will not serve anybody well.

    Indeed. However, we must also remember that no one is well served by painting the Texas District as a great bastion of orthodoxy, either. The confessional folk are very much in the minority…but those that are there do tend to be both sharp and active.

    BTW, Gayle: it’s Kansas that is the modern Nazareth, not Texas.

    EJG (now on a quest to see if he can [intentionally] offend a pre-sem student from every district)

  17. I sent an e-mail to the organizers of Glorybound and explained to them the error and false teaching that was contained in the webpage at Christiananwers.net and they responded back that they would have the link pulled from the site.

    And as a side note as some one serving in TX, yes the broad sweeping statements are not fair and certainly don’t show much love or concern for the brother.

  18. To quote a confessional Pastor who has spent a long life in Texas (and has scars to prove it, I think) the people of Texas are one-third Kieshnickites (or UsFirst, as you please); one-third Confessional and one-third ‘clueless’ as to what’s going on beyond their local congregation.

    Confessionals do not send/take their youth to district sponsored events. You’ve heard why.

  19. The “leadership” of Glory bound was complained of fairly early on, in Texas. Our DP was reported to have backed it.
    Where do you think “discipline” will come from?

    [This having been the last Sunday of the church year you will have had that question answered, if your church still clings to the “antiquated” practice of the liturgical service.]

  20. Helen, your wonderful comment (#19) brought to mind the last part of the sermon delivered the Last Sunday by a Confessional pastor friend (one with out a parish):

    “Well, there you have it. We’ve done it once again. It’s taken an entire year to tell the story—the story of the Gospel of God’s salvation, the story of Jesus, His human birth in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, His active earthly ministry of preaching, teaching and healing, His passive obedience unto death, even death on a cross, His rising from the tomb on that first Easter Day, His ascension into heaven and the sending of His Holy and life-giving Spirit; the story of the struggle to live the baptized life and to remain faithful to the end, looking for our final deliverance when our Lord comes to judge the living and the dead and to take His own unto Himself, new bodies for old into the eternal life of the new heavens and the new earth. And just in case someone came in in the middle of the story we will begin to tell it all over again, God willing, in a new Church Year beginning next Sunday.”

    Now, that story DOES bear repeating.

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