United Lutheran Mission Association Added to Our List of Confessional Groups – Meeting January 10 in Indianapolis

 In our on-going efforts to bring confessional groups together we are pleased to announce that the ULMA (United Lutheran Mission Association) will be submitting regular updates about their work to our site.

This is a very active group that is working hard to start new confessional Lutheran congregations. They began with two congregations that left the LCMS because of doctrinal reasons. Since leaving just a few years ago, they have already started two mission congregations.

One of the doctrinal areas that confessional Lutherans find themselves  differing on is the role of the pastor and the role of the voters assembly. One of the ULMA’s basic principles is to support active and strong voters assemblies. Not all readers of this website will agree with every tenet of every other confessional group and this is one issue on which  we have groups on opposite ends of the spectrum. In the end, there is much more that unites confessional groups and it is our hope at BJS that we can focus on those things while working through our differences.

ULMA is a group of confessional Lutherans that have taken a strong stand against the doctrinal compromises in the LCMS and we are pleased to have them reporting here on our site. Here is their latest news release. (This and future postings will be cataloged on our “Regular Columns” page under the heading “Church News and Confessional Groups.” Their website has more information and can be found here.)

The next regular meeting of the United Lutheran Mission Association will be on Saturday, January 10, 2009 from 7:30am – 1:00pm EST. We will be meeting in the large conference room at:

Drury Inn – Indianapolis
9320 N. Michigan Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
(317) 876-9777

The cross streets for the hotel are I-465 and US-421. Most of the ULMA Commission members and mission representatives will be staying there. Those who wish to stay at the Drury Inn can call 1-800-DRURYINN. As of this writing, there are plenty of rooms available. Since there are two Drury Inns in Indianapolis, be sure to specify the one at 9320 Michigan when making your reservation. (You can realize a nice discount when booking if you ask for the Vacation Rate.)

We will be hearing from both of our mission congregations, Sola Scriptura in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Agnus Dei in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We anticipate visitors from congregations who are interested in supporting ULMA as well as those who wish to establish new mission congregations. Though we are facing economic challenges, the Lord is still presenting us with interested laymen and pastors around the country who want to plant and maintain Lutheran churches.

As in the past we are including an informal Question and Answer (Q&A) session at 11:30am where ULMA members will talk about the organization, outreach, mission plans, and anything else of interest to those in attendance.

Past visitors have commented on the benefit of attending our meetings in person. It provides the best opportunity for exchanging ideas, fellowship, and getting to know the ULMA members and pastors. However, we understand how distance and lack of resources can limit travel to our meeting sites. There are other options available. Anyone interested in participating as an observer at our next meeting and/or Q&A session should contact one of the ULMA Member Congregations by Thursday, January 8, so that we may plan accordingly. Our member congregations are:

Pilgrim Lutheran Church
(217) 877-2444

Redeemer Lutheran Church
(586) 294-0640

We look forward to seeing you in Indy!

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.


United Lutheran Mission Association Added to Our List of Confessional Groups – Meeting January 10 in Indianapolis — 21 Comments

  1. I am truly sorry to see this group added, as I understand that one of its leaders is Pr. Jack Cascione. I have met him on more than one occasion and he is a certainly a pleasant person to meet. But he sometimes makes things up, as he did when Pr. Ron Hodel read an essay at the Las Vegas Theological Convocation in 2004. Pr. Cascione stated that it was a prayer against Pieper. He later said he thought it was a prayer because his back was turned (he could have turned his chair around). He could also have contacted Pr. Hodel and asked for clarification before sending out erroneous information in one of his press releases. I am not saying that Pr. Cascione was deliberately trying to deceive people, but that he failed to do necessary fact-checking.

    I also recall that a few years ago he publicly offered to commune an unrepentant fellow who had been excommunicated from Pr. Zill’s congregation.

    Pr. Cascione also has an odd way of determining whether to accept a call to another congregation. He has the voting members of his current congregation vote on it. I don’t think this is representative of of confessional Lutheranism.

  2. Stan,

    I appreciate your comments on ULMA.

    One way of seeing the different “factions” of confessional Lutheranism is through the continuum which has the voters assembly on one side and the office of the ministry on the other. ULMA is clearly on the voters assembly side of this contimuum and that is an issue that remains unresolved in confessional circles. By putting ULMA on our website we are not assumeing that issue is resolved. Far from it. We are however, trying in a small way to bring different confessional groups together, again if in just a small way so that discussions like this can take place.

    Concerning Pastor Cascione, I have spent several hours with people from ULMA, including Pastor Cascione and it has been my experience that their meetings are very open and not scripted by any one personality. Institutions are usually larger than the personalities behind them. I believe that is the case with ULMA. I do not agree with everything that Pastor Cascione says and you probably do not agree with everything that I say but I do know this, we have far more in common than we hold in disagreement.

    Thank you for your comments. This will need to be an on-going discussion.

    Pastor Rossow

  3. we have far more in common than we hold in disagreement

    More of our DNA is the same as a chimps than is different.

    Simply put, the inclusion of Cascione and ULMA is a confession against those whom Cascione has repeatedly slandered, misrepresented, and belittled; it is a denial of history, and the relegating of known facts to the status of opinion. Such is not a bringing together, but an assurance of division. It shows an even greater lack of discernment than BJS’s acceptance of membership in the Society of the Holy Trinity.


  4. I would be very careful in making a 1 to 1 equation of ULMA to Pr. Cascione.

    There are many people in ULMA and Pr. Cascione is not their leader – he is a member – some statements here are close to “I wouldn’t hang out with the LCMS and Kieschnick”.

    Pres. Kieschnick has 20 times the influence and power in the LCMS than Pr. Cascione does in ULMA.

  5. We ought not to bury our head in the sand and ignore personal issues of its leaders when judging an institution but it is far more objective to judge official writings. To that end I suggest we have a discussion about the constitution that ULMA requires its mission congregations to adopt. It can be found here:


    I encourage our readers to check it out and share the pros and cons you find there.

    By putting a regular report from ULMA on this site we are not proclaiming that we are in altar and pulpit fellowship with them nor they with us. However, there is much to be admired in this group. The two founding member congregations took a strong stand for confessional theology by leaving the LCMS.

    We foster a free and open discussion on this site and are happy to publish people’s concerns. The readers of this site should also be aware that in the case of ULMA there is much to be admired. I know several of the laymen involved in this group and they are solid Biblical men. Interestingly, despite the concerns raised here about Pastor Cascione, I have had no interaction with him concerning the report submitted for this post. All of my communication has been with laymen from the group. Also, they were quite deliberate about making a decision to post on our site. It was not a given that they would unite with us in this way but they gave it much consideration.

    I pray that confessional Lutherans everywhere continue to discuss the important matters of the Gospel in all of its articles and live in that unity given by God.

    Pastor Rossow

  6. When will you be adding Renewal in Missouri, Different Voices/Shared Vision, Word Alone Network, Daystar, or even Jesus First? They are all quite “Steadfast” in their positions too.

  7. Rev. Kozak,

    Your comparison does not make sense. The groups you list are diametrically opposed to what we are doing here. ULMA supports confessional Lutheranism as we do. We may not agree on everything, particularly the role of the voters assembly, but I do believe we are pulling the rope in the same direction whereas the groups you list are pulling the rope in the opposite direction.

    I am interested in your comments on the congregational constitutional guidelines that ULMA has published and that I referenced in my last comment. I think that is a good place to see what ULMA is all about.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. Rev, Kozak,

    I don’t know you but my guess is that I am probably more like you than like the pastors who lead ULMA churches. I believe it was Pastor Cascione who coined the phrase “Hyper-European Lutheran.” If not, I believe he has used it in a derogatory way. I am a proud card-carrying member of the “Hyper-European Lutheran Club.” I am a staunch supporter of the liturgy, I believe we ought to have bishops, etc.

    Of course bishops ought to be bound by the word of God and held accountable to it by the church – but that is a discussion for another time.

    Pastor Rossow

  9. We ought not to bury our head in the sand and ignore personal issues of its leaders when judging an institution but it is far more objective to judge official writings.

    Simple principle: Your confession is not just what you teach, but what you allow.

    Allowing Cascione filths you up, no matter what your official position is.

    (In ‘picking on Cascione’, of course, I am hoping that the pastors of ULMA’s only other member congregation have learned not to have vicars consecrating the Lord’s Supper anymore. Oh, wait: they’ll never have vicars anymore, because they’ll not train their own pastors, but trust in the training provided by the LCMS, WELS, and ELS, plucking, I suppose, the only real Lutherans from such heterodox seminaries…)

    Simply, you are legitimating a really bad joke.

    As to their bloated constitutional requirements, it’s a symptom; surely you can figure out what it is a symptom of.

    Then again, as a non-LCMS, non-BJS member, I have no say and my advice is neither asked for nor heeded, as is seen in BJS’s maintaining that Society of the Holy Trinity membership is acceptable. Gathering a huge body of people by ignoring real differences in doctrine is not unifying, other than in the sense that the ALC and LCA are united in ELCA, which hardly seems like a good thing


  10. If one where to take a very objective look at the public development of Pr. Cascione’s public persona, there were many incidents in which “hyper-euros” (if there was a card for it I would have one in my wallet too) did not acquit themselves in a manner befitting their confession.
    History shows us that many times there are figures who took a stand for something, were margainalized, and ended up being put into a ditch.
    The man was publicly ridiculed and made a joke by many confessionals – a different approach to him would have lead to a different public persona.
    My 2 cents.


  11. If one where to take a very objective look at the public development of Pr. Cascione’s public persona

    I have 500 pages of his ‘development’ on my hard drive…wars that he started by means of ludicrous ambushes. He was shown wrong again and again (by men like John Wohlrabe and Kurt Marquart). I have witnesses to conversations and non-conversations that he turned into the grossest of fabrications.

    In short: “No.” He has become what he always was.


  12. And this is going to be rough…but have you ever asked yourself how much of that same spirit that you criticize in Pr. Cascione is a part of you and your public persona online?

    You’ve documented him as if you were some kind of police agency for loud and controversial Lutheran pastors.

  13. Rev. Stefanski,

    I am a layman in the LCMS, and am relatively new to the inner discussions of Lutherans, having recently come to understand in some small way the Confessions, and to agree with them.

    I have seen some of the back and forth between yourself and Pastor Cascione. Right now I don’t know what to think of the main issue you two argue over, as I don’t feel I understand it enough. But I do know this, both of you are extremely harsh, and I don’t understand why. I do understand that the only thing we can truly unite under is Word and practice as given to us by Jesus Christ. One question I would have for you is will you see your fellow pastor in heaven? Will he see you? This isn’t a rhetorical question I am asking. I truly am interested in your response. I can understand that you disagree with each other, but is this issue really so important that you needed to treat each other like that?

    With respect, Ron.

  14. Ron, which of the “back and forth” have you seen? I haven’t corresponded with Pr. Cascione in at least half a decade. I’m not sure what you are labeling “harsh”; is calling a liar “a liar” harsh? When a man has done what he has done in public, warning against him is the right thing to do.

    Will we see Pr. Cascione in Heaven? Ron, I hope that Pr. Cascione is simply blind to what he is doing and trusts completely in Jesus for forgiveness even of all sins of which he is blind. I think that such is his trust, as I can’t imagine myself having any other position myself.

    As to the importance of the issue of church polity: I really couldn’t care less about this issue. What I care about is some misinformed zealot running around falsely accusing great numbers of pastors (LCMS and otherwise) of false doctrine and immoral life (quest for power, etc.), based on his own false teaching. If you want bishops (actual bishops, not wrongly calling LCMS district presidents “bishops” when they a) don’t serve congregations and b) are not selected by the clergy), or presidents, or some hybrid, it doesn’t matter to me, because, with Walther, I claim that the choice of polity must always be taught to be the in/unalienable right of the congregation(s) (Synodical Address of 1848). For that position, I am condemned as a hyper-euro, etc.

    Again, if you want the actual 500 or more pages of correspondence, and the testimony of those who witnessed personal conversations about which Cascione later lied, let me know. I guess it is somewhat “harsh” to tell the truth about people who have acted vilely over the course of so many years, but one would think that the fault in that lies with the demagogue and his own actions, not with those who warn against him.


  15. And this is going to be rough…but have you ever asked yourself how much of that same spirit that you criticize in Pr. Cascione is a part of you and your public persona online?

    You’ve documented him as if you were some kind of police agency for loud and controversial Lutheran pastors.

    You make a mistake here: I haven’t gone out of my way to document what he has done elsewhere; I simply kept the trash that he threw out on our mail list…the false accusations he made, the false teaching he promotes, etc. I kept that, because when you’re going to talk about a liar as a liar, you do well to keep the evidence.

    As to your perceptions or misperceptions, Mr. Townsend, I am sorry that you’re having trouble making the distinction between Cascione and me, so I will help you: if you ever meet us in person, Cascione is the one you will like better. Otoh, you will find that I have written honestly, and not nearly as stridently as you think.


  16. have you ever asked yourself how much of that same spirit that you criticize in Pr. Cascione is a part of you and your public persona online?

    Y’know, I’ve been going over this ever since I read it, and the more I do, I wonder what part of my criticism of Cascione you’re not understanding. I have never criticized his ‘personality’; I’m sure that anyone who meets him will find him quite charming. (That is not sarcasm; I say it because I have met him.)

    What, then, do I criticize, and is that “same spirit” within me?

    To the best of my recollection:

    1) I have not made matters of adiaphora (e.g., church polity) into matters of doctrine and condemned those who refuse to say, “The voters are supreme.”

    2) I have not fabricated conversations and posted them on the internet or in newspapers.

    3) I have not contradicted a properly-executed excommunication of an unstable man by a confessional Lutheran congregation (LCMS) because I maliciously labeled its pastor a ‘hyper-euro’.

    4) I have not tried to run an LCMS seminary president into the ground because some of his graduates have defected to Rome, or the East, or to the Methodists, or whatever, or, again, because they agree with Walther that polity is a matter of congregational choice.

    5) I have not refused to answer simple questions that have been put to me, or to clarify my answers, or even to say that I misstated something or made a factual error. (Cascione, right now, on his discussion board, [I think it’s called SpenerQuest], is being called to task for saying that pastors don’t represent Christ, and is not answering.)

    6) I have responded with mild sarcasm, such as is seen in #5, above.

    In short, if you are speaking to personalities and things such as #6 confesses, I guess I and a great number of folks on this site are ‘harsh’ and ‘Cascione-like’…but that doesn’t accord with your comment, because I haven’t “criticized” Cascione for such things, but, rather, for such as are found in nos. 1–5, above.

    BTW, there’s a lot of history here, more than should be rehashed on this site….so I am going to delete the rest of what I wrote. Interesting tidbit, though: Cascione’s congregation left the LCMS over something that was done to my congregation and the congregational autonomy-destroying answer the CCM provided when I questioned it.


  17. Rev. Stefanski,

    Thanks for your answer. You take the time to carefully respond to those that are commenting here, that is appreciated. In my ignorance on this issue, I would it seems agree with you in that you agree with Walther.

    I have been led to understand – in somewhat simplistic terms I admit – that this issue was over voters vs ‘priests’. That is, the clergy being always ‘right’, more of what I understand the Romans to operate under. The other side is that the congregation through the voting members, are always ‘right’.

    I expect the right answer is somewhere in between? If anyone wants to suggest some good reading on this issue, please let me know.

    As to the back and forth I mentioned, it was some old Cat 41 dialog I believe, and yes it was from a number of years ago. A friend was trying to enlighten me on the issue and thought that might be helpful to read. I was simply struck by the tone of the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a time and a place for passion and zeal, but the dislike between the two of you simply seemed to be palpable. That happens in this fallen world I suppose.

    Again, thanks for you time to respond to my comment.


  18. Ron, if that was the ‘back and forth’ of around 1999-2001, I’d have to say that, yes, I was profoundly irritated with the way that Pr. Cascione was treating people on our mail lists. His accusations were so over-the-top and he refused to answer for anything he said, so that I ended up having to remove him from the lists. When it comes to “the priest is always right,” that sure seemed to be his mode of ‘communication’ in spite of all his claims to the contrary. The dialogue was nasty simply because I allowed there to be a dialogue–which I allowed because he had attacked me personally and I wouldn’t remove him unless it was proven that I wasn’t removing him for that, but for his violation of the list rules and attacks upon others. (That may be a warped way of dealing with things, but I a) expect more from my friends than from those I don’t know or those who are against what I teach and b) will quickly remove someone to defend someone else, but don’t do so if I’m the only one being attacked. To me, that just seems fair.)

    That said, our difficulties are not really ‘personal’, but that we each think the other is a great danger to Lutheranism. He has a tendency to go out and find (and/or make) enemies, like the supposed “priest is always right” sacerdotalist/hyper-euros that he sees behind every windmill, and I have a tendency to defend those whose theology hasn’t been proven deficient…but, at the core, it is that I don’t think that Walther’s polity is essential to Lutheran orthodoxy (or necessarily even beneficial to it), whether on a congregational or ‘synodical’ level. Nonetheless, as a non-LCMS parish, we have an all-male Voters Assembly that can be called on to make decisions if we find ourselves unable to come to a unanimous agreement in the normal course of things…and I have free range to teach, preach, and do/institute whatever measures accord with pure doctrine and practice, with the knowledge that our parish knows exactly how and why to remove me if I err and do not repent.

    Of course, when I first came back to Arkansas, one of the first things I taught in Bible class was how to remove me and how to replace me. For those who listened and took the lesson to heart, there is a bond of trust that allows us to act as shepherd and sheep, rather than arguing about who the boss is, etc. I love them enough not to let them err and they love me enough not to let me err; when that’s the case, the specifics of polity are pretty much a non-issue…but I think that our constitution is far better than that promoted by ULMA.


  19. I agree with Pastor Stefanski in post #19. We passed a new constitution and by-laws a few years ago (one of the models we used was Stefanski’s). It is very clear that the pastor is accountable to God’s word. I constantly remind the congregation that even a 3rd grader armed with God’s word can rebuke me for false teaching or preaching. Putting the people at ease with this bit of polity really does help to build trust in the pastor.

    Pastor Rossow

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