Interesting Development ““ Bethlehem Renton Website is Down, by Pr. Rossow

This is a followup to our previous post on this topic.

Yesterday afternoon I started to dial the phone number of the Northwest district in order to check in with President Schumacher to see if there was any action being taken at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (LCMS) – Renton, Washington where the bio of the music director touted his work as the artistic director of the gay and lesbian choir of Seattle. The church website also linked to the music director’s personal blog which promoted more gay and lesbian activities.

Just before I finished dialing I realized that it had been a few days since I had checked the website. I hung up the phone and checked the internet and much to my surprise, the website was down. I waited until today to see if this may be a fluke but sure enough it is still down. What are we to make of this? There are several things that could be at play here.

(We did save the pertinent webpages in pdf’s. If you are new to this story you can click here to see the original biography page of the church’s website and if you click here or here you can see what one finds when you click the link to the music director’s personal webpage, then click here or here to see his personal blog.)

First, it may just be a coincidental technical situation that has the site down. That is unlikely but possible. Secondly, it could be that President Schumacher has exerted ecclesiastical supervision and pressure to see to it that this disgrace to the LCMS is taken down. We will continue to seek information from President Schumacher but as of yet, all we have heard from him is a verification that he got both our phone message and our e-mail last week asking that this situation be handled. He has chosen not to discuss this situation with us even though it is a public matter. Thirdly, it may be that President Kieschnick asserted some ecclesiastical authority in the matter although the response from his office to our call and e-mail was that these things are best left to the local supervisor. (As we noted last week that seemed like an ironic response given his jack-rabbit like willingness to involve himself in the unionistic and syncretistic worship service at Yankee stadium a few years ago.)

The right thing to do at this point is to put the best construction on things and assume some good supervision has been practiced. If this is the case, we are pleased that the Brothers of John the Steadfast could have a positive impact on this situation. We will also continue our contact with both supervisor’s offices to see if they will provide an explanation. Of course they will protest that this is a private matter.

This is not a private matter. It is a public, world-wide internet sort of thing. The congregation arrogantly allowed these sinful things on their website, it was discovered publicly and now the manner in which it is addressed needs to be made public. You and I and all other LCMS members have been publicly shamed by this and we deserve an explanation as to what is being done about it.

Beyond that, taking down the website or taking off the references to homosexuality and lesbianism is not the end of the story. This music director is clearly a homosexual and lesbian activist and ought not to be leading the Divine Service. If he is to continue as music director in this confessional church of ours, he must renounce his association with such a sinful cause. We will keep you posted on any updates and any progress we make on this matter. We also encourage members of the Northwest District to contact their bishop and hold him accountable for an explanation.

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.


Interesting Development ““ Bethlehem Renton Website is Down, by Pr. Rossow — 5 Comments

  1. That personal blog hasn’t been updated since Aug 2007.

    Does anyone know for sure that this man is still involved in activism? Perhaps he’s left those days behind him.

    I know that some churches are horribly lax on keeping their websites current. Church websites tend to get forgotten about.

    At any rate, some clarification from the church would be nice. I certainly hope it’s a situation of a man who has changed his associations and a lazy webmaster who simply cut-and-pasted the biography of their music director without considering the implications of his past associations!

  2. We can only hope the DP took appropriate action. I agree with Pastor Rossow that since it was a public promotion of homosexuality on the web site, and that it brought shame on the entire LCMS, that we are owed an explanation.

  3. It is refreshing to see things handled in a biblical manner where those involved do not get self-righteous and holier-than-thou. Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the scriptures but often the way it is dealt with by fallen individual leadership in the Church has a bit to be desired. Homosexuals can get very aggressive and nasty and now have some political clout too. It gets to be a complex issue in the state but should be dealt with swiftly in the Church. We often confuse the kingdoms when dealing with this issue. Do we disregard all the rights of homosexuals in the state? Is it a form of prejudice and bias to completely disregard then and not give them any rights? – they often get beat up and harrassed in the culture. It is a difficult issue to deal with in the state.

  4. John Y,

    You are right, it is a very complex matter. As I think through this thing and how it is to be handled I have found several trap doors and hve tried to steer clear of them. I appreciate your comment and support.

    Pastor Rossow

  5. Sodom and Gomorrah were secular items on God’s radar screen
    or were they an abomination no matter how you looked at it. HE destroyed them both in both worlds; secular and spiritual.

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