Website Highlights A. D. 2008 and Thoughts on A. D. 2009, by Pr. Rossow

We would really appreciate your comments on this post as we reflect on the past six months and look ahead to the coming year. Let us know what we have done well and what needs improvement.

Before we review the stories that got the most attention it is important to remember the regular efforts we make to help the Brothers and all of our readers better understand the Lutheran Confessions, the liturgy and our role as heads of the household and in the church. There are so many juicy story lines going on in the synod that it is easy to get caught up in the headlines and forget that our primary job is to promote and understand the Lutheran Confessions. To that end we will keep up with our Confessions weekly readings, our teaching on the parts of the liturgy, and Rev. Hein’s regular column on headship.  Take some time in the new year to explore our “Confessional Growth” page on the website for more information on the Lutheran Confessions. We will also try to offer more confessions quizzes in the coming year. If you haven’t taken quiz two  you can check it out by clicking here. We are most proud of our work to start confessions reading groups. We have 22 recorded on our ticker  with a few more to add that have come in since our last update. Most of these were in existence before BJS but some of them have come to be by inspiration of this website. We hope in the new year to more than double that number to at least 50 groups.

No review of our first six months would be complete without reference to our major project, Issues, Etc.  Pastor Wilken and Jeff Schwarz are great gifts from God to the confessional cause. We have already been able to support them with advertising money, a $750 gift from our first chapter fundraiser, and individual gifts. Very soon into the new year we will start our rolling, annual, member fund drive for Issues. Click here for information on how  BJS finances are  organized and for information on how to become a dues paying member.

We are very enthused about our upcoming national conference. Click here or on the conference poster logo for more information.

Now for a review of our most interesting stories from the first six months. If you missed any of these you may want to click and read the string of stories from each topic. (Each bullet point below takes you to the primary story on the given topic. From that story you will see links to other posts on the same story.)

Our first six months have been graced by the regular blogging of Pastor Klemet Preus and Mollie Ziegler Hemingway. We are pleased that they will continue into the new year and indefinitely. Pastor Preus’ series on closed communion  is typical of the clear, concise and engaging writing that we get from our two primary  bloggers.

We have also been able to meet dedicated confessional Lutherans in the Pacific Northwest, at the Walther Conference, in Texas and elsewhere. Speaking of the Walther Conference, we are very enthused about exploring the candidacy of Pastor Matt Harrison  who many are promoting for the synodical presidency in 2010.

One of the best benefits of membership in the Brothers is a free subscription to our quarterly. We also post it online after it has been mailed out to each dues paying member. Be sure to check out Martin Noland’s article on the restructuring plan in issue #2.

We encourage you to explore the site for other stories of interest. It’s been a great first six months. Be sure to pass the web address on to everyone you know ( so that we can grow our readership and keep increasing the understanding of the Lutheran Confessions so that the Lutheran Church can continue to be built on the truth of God’s word.

For the Year of Our Lord 2009 we are committed to the same approach in this last year. The organization is committed to promoting and learning the Lutheran Confessions, supporting new Lutheran media, upholding male headship, and encouraging appreciation for the historic liturgy. The website will support those goals. We will keep looking for the stories around the synod that promote these things and those that threaten Confessional Lutheranism. We will also continue to feature our regular columnists who have done such a fine job in this first six months. We will also continue to do what we can to bring the various Confessional groups together.

I need to get this story posted so I can devote my full attention to the Iowa Hawkeyes football game in the Outback Bowl. As long as we are talking about 2009 how about a few sports predictions. My beloved Big Ten will continue to have a tough bowl season. The Hawkeyes will win big but they may be the only Big Ten team to win. Penn State will lose to USC and I pity Michigan State against a much tougher Georgia Bulldog team. (Bethany Associate pastor and longtime Georgia fan Stephen Schumacher will appreciate that call.) Actually all of this is just an excuse to make one last prediction to get under the skin of Mollie. Yes, Mollie, the Cubs will will the division again in 2009 and if your lucky that Red team from the holy city may finish second.

We have a great steering committee working behind the scenes. We thank them all for their hard work, particularly Norm Fisher and his computer work for us. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read the website. Please post your comments, both positive and negative, on our first six months. We look forward to serving the confessional cause in 2009.

Pastor 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.


Website Highlights A. D. 2008 and Thoughts on A. D. 2009, by Pr. Rossow — 20 Comments

  1. The Cubs will win the division, take the World Series, & immediately Jesus will return. But then I always live in eschatological hope. 🙂

    On the main stories of 2008, strangely & sadly, none of them are surprising. The continuing collapse of the LCMS into the generic pool of American Evangelicalism & culutral relativism, both at the same time, is nothing new. What might be a little surprising is the number of people willing to defend & even promote this collapse, all while still claiming to be Lutherans.

    But on a positive note, the emergence of BJS & the number of articles on this site promoting & defending orthodox doctrine & practice, despite some vehement opposition & criticism, is a welcome breath of fresh air. Also, the renewed willingness to actually delve into what our bureaucracy is doing & shooting for some accountability instead of hiding behind a misuse of the 8th Commandment is also a welcome change.

    The resurgence of confessional Lutheran media, namely, the return of Issues Etc & also the proliferation of other good podcasts is a blessing to the church.

    And the most positive note, our Lord Jesus Christ is still Lord of His Church & He will preserve it unto the end despite our best efforts to muck everything up.

  2. Great content, thank you for that.

    Is there a way, Norm, for you to use users and authors on the posts? They parse properly into the RSS Feeds and the writers don’t have to manually input their names into the titles of the posts. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who writes the posts.

  3. I love the content, love the twin-focus on our confessional nature and the deterioration of the bureaucracy.
    Mostly, though, I appreciate the engagement of you bloggers yourselves with all of us who post and pose questions or comments. The accessibility of your minds and your knowledge is a great thing.
    I used to always wish certain enlightening, knowledgable people had 1-800 numbers (way-back, before the internet and blogs), for access to answers 24/7. This is even better than that way-back wish.

  4. My wife thinks I’m addicted to the BJS site and to Issues Etc. I ask her if she would rather have me addicted to something else and she just smiles. As a recent convert to the LCMS, I figured these two sites should make me a veteran Lutheran in about six months. Seriously, just keep everything the way it is. I can’t think of anything to make it better. And the only other candidate I could think of for Synod President would be Todd Wilken but I don’t know if he could handle that and Issues Etc. too.
    Happy New Year Everyone

  5. Gene G.,

    As far as I am concenred it is a fine pair of addictions you have!

    I think Pastor Wilken would make a great synodical president, however, he is clearly behind Matt Harrison. As as matter of fact, he concluded his presentation at the Walther Conference by exclaiming “Harrison in 2010.”

    Thanks for reading the site.

    Pastor Rossow

  6. Pr. Rossow,

    This is a great site. I appreciate the information presented here and learn quite a bit from reading BJS.

    The only thing I would change though is that I think BJS should add a tap handle and a keg of ale off of my computer so I can enjoy my reading experience that much more! Do you think Norm can write that kind of code? 🙂

  7. Good to hear from you Jim! Has the snow melted out there yet?

    Would you like a pilsner or something a little stronger? I think Norm is so good you could probably specify your favorite.

    Pastor Rossow

  8. Way to go Hawkeyes!
    Pastor Rossow, as a fellow Iowa fan I know you’ll agree that it sure is great to be able to celebrate the thrill of victory instead of the agony of defeat.

    Now to the topic at hand, the BJS organization and website have been a blessing to me this past year. Thanks for all of your hard work and for sharing your God given talents to help organize Lutheran lay people so that we might better defend the truth of the Gospel. I like the way BJS brings so many confessional Lutherans together and educates and informs us about Christ and His Church while helping us to serve our neighbor as God so mercifully grants that we may.

    The Lord has been as merciful to me as ever this year with among so many other things the return of Issues Etc., inclusion in BJS online and at a local chapter, and most importantly by bringing me and my family to the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Lockport, where Christ nourishes us and keeps us safe in Him through His Word faithfully preached, taught and served by Pastor Hein and Vicor Schleider.

  9. I have one small design criticism: It is not obvious how to get to the archives from the front page. I know I can get to them by clicking on any article and looking in the sidebar, but someone unfamiliar with the site won’t know that.

    Also, the archives are unorganized and cumbersome to navigate (but most blogs have unorganized archives).

  10. I come to this site because it tells the truth about what goes on the synod. LCMS publications whitewash everything, presenting a rosy, “don’t-worry-be-happy” picture of a shiny church where everybody gets along.

  11. Adino (#8): We have recently added a “Related Posts” section on the sidebar when you are reading an article. This should help with navigation somewhat. We are aware that it can be confusing, and would love any further suggestions that would help to make it easier.


  12. Pr. Rossow.

    Well, the BJS site does for us bloggers and posters what Pirate Christian Radio is doing for Issues Etc., TTR, Fighting For The Faith, etc. It brings the discussion of the truth to the best place possible. Not only do I get to hear folks as guests on Issues aand so forth, I get to read and interact with them on this site, et al.

    Thanks as always for the keen insights you and others bring as we all desire to remain grounded in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions and with j our eyes cross-ward at all times!
    David Rosenkoetter
    Matt. 28:19-20

  13. Pr. Rossow,

    “Good to hear from you Jim! Has the snow melted out there yet?”

    Yep. ( <— That is a technical term, btw. 🙂 )

    The snow created havoc for Seattlites. So, thankfully, we have had heavy rains in Seattle that has pretty much erased any evidence that it had snowed. We have seen a good accumulation of snow for skiing, though. Although, it looks like over the next couple days we may see a little snow in the higher hills of Seattle and the suburbs.

    I’ll take the Pils, btw. 🙂

    God’s blessings to you!

  14. Your navigation bar lists “Pastor Blazek’s Cartoons” but nothing has been posted in 2.5 months. Any way we could get a monthly cartoon? Surely there must be no shortage of foibles to satirize.

  15. A search feature would be a helpful addition to the site.

    By the way, I like the wiktionary. That was a great idea.

  16. I am commenting here as a fairly new Lutheran (have only been a member of a LCMS confessional Church for about 6 months now)but one who has been very interested in theological issues and have read quite extensively on the subject for almost 30 years now. It seems to me that the most promising movements in the evangelical Church in regards to orthodoxy are the confessional movements in the Reformed and Lutheran Church bodies. Both are trying to stay faithful to their historical confessions and both are seeking to make the confessions more relevant to issues that we are confronting in the culture we live in today. Many in the Refomed movement are talking about updating and revising their confessions to include some of the issues that we are battling and struggling with today (for those interested in how the Reformed are doing it you can read Scott Clarks new book Recovering the Reformed Confessions- Our Theology, Piety and Practice. Scott Clark is a Historical Theology Professor at Westminster Theology Seminary in California). Kim Riddlebarger’s web site The Riddleblog keeps the reformed and other intersted layman up to date on relevant issues much like this BJS website is doing for confessional Lutherans. Scott Clarks book is full of wonderful insights into the struggles the reformed are facing within the Church and outside in the Culture. The battles and struggles are the same ones we confessional Lutherans are facing. Both are dealing with issues in their governing denominational structures that are frighfully similar. Bureaucratic types never seem to take their historical confessions very seriously and become more interested in marketing programs that will raise money and attract people for their denominations. So, marketing types seem to rise to the top quite swiftly with their engaging and attractive personalities which quite often hides their subtle and subversive thirst for power and authority. How to prevent these people from doing damage is an issue all the leadership in the denomination have to be concerned with and one in which came to the forefront with the elimination of Issues, etc. this past year.

    I also think that getting a better understanding of Two-Kingdom theology should be a priority of all confessional Christians. When a denomination loses its focus on doctrinal faithfulness and adherence to its confessional standards this always gets replaced with a renewed emphasis on political activism in a denomination (for an insightful historical study of this issue you can read the book Seeking a Better Country by D.G. Hart and John Muether).

    Lastly, being able to defend confessional Christianity and compare and contrast it with other movements in the evangelical world (the emerging Church movement, the Word/Faith movement, the Church Growth movement. the Charismatic movement, the movement of evangelicals leaving their respective Churches and joining the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Churches or Eastern othodox Churches) seems to me to be an issue we should concern ourselves with.

    Confessional Christians need to be able confess their views into the culture at large and take this faith into their vocations. Is not this the least we can do for the one who died for our sins and who will eventually come back to set up His eternal kindom forever. The sufferings, struggles and sorrows we face today will eventually be turned into an eternal joy forever. And we can even enjoy the process along the way as we do our part to absorb the wounds we see all around us by pointing them to the man of sorrows who was well aquinted with grief.

    To turn too more important matters (ha,ha) a few sports predictions. The Cubs are cursed forever and will never win a world series. They give hope to all us losers who never seem to get on top in this life. We all can relate to that so God keeps them losing. There is always something weird that takes place at critical moments which proves that divine intervention is thrwating their best intentions and efforts. Even Lou, who claims to not believe in such things, was scratching his head after their swift playoff loss this year. I am picking the Rays in 09. They are going to have a great pitching staff and they play all phases of the game well. I still hold pipedreams for a subway series here in Chicago though.

    The Lakers will win the NBA this year although I like the character and personalities of the Celtics players much more than their antagonists. The Celtics seem to be more mentally and physically tough then the Lakers and that matters in the playoffs so it will be a rough road for the glitter and finesse boys in LA. The Zen Master’s main project this year seems to be getting Gasol much more aggressive, stronger and meaner in order to compete with the Celtics. If he succeeds the Celtics will lose their crown.

    I could go on and make predictions for the Super Bowl and NCAA basketball tournament (which I have a vested interest in becasue my son plays Div. 1 basketball) but I have written too much already.

  17. John Y,

    Great post! The theological analysis is excellent but since it is the eve of my day off I am taking more interest in your sports predictions. I like RevGeorge’s eschatological reading of the Cubs situation better than your divine interevention theory but who knows, maybe you are right.

    You did not write too much. Tells us more about your son’s basketball career. Sounds great. Feel free to use this space, our “No Pietists Allowed” page or even send me an e-mail at [email protected].

    Pastor Rossow

  18. A couple more sports predictions before it is too late. I am picking Oklahoma to beat Florida in the BCS championship game Thursday night. Tim Tebow is getting way too much media attention and seems too good to be true (both in his football playing and personal life; he has to be either an Arminian baptist or some kind of revivalist charismatic). I always pick against the team that gets the most media attention. The media never covers stories about religion properly. They never get that their are numerous theological perspectives among those in the sports world. They just group those who are “religious” into one big group with not many differences between them.

    The teams which make it to the Super Bowl may be a big surprise this year. I am picking Philadelphia or Carolina in the NFC and then Tennesse in the AFC but the Colts may pull it out again. I am going to go out on limb and pick Philadelphia to win it all over the Titans. Donavan McNabb seems to be on a mission. It may turn out to be one of the least watched Super Bowls in its history.

    I will save my prediction for the NCAA basketball tournament for sometime in March. Too many variables can take place before then (injuries, suspension of players, violations of NCAA recruiting rules, etc.)

  19. The Colts cannot make it to the Super Bowl because they have already lost- I meant to say the Patriots. Belichek (sp?) is always a force to be reckoned with (even though his cold and calculating personality is very unattractive to me- much like John Calvin even though the Reformed claim he was not really like that but I’m not sure I buy that yet) and they still have a lot of talent on the team.

  20. Okay, I made a mistake again. The Patriots already lost. I did not watch the games last weekend. This gives me a chance to revise my predictions.

    First, I have revised my theories about Tim Tebow and media coverage. I still hold that excessive media coverage means that the team usually loses- however, if one of the main players adheres to a revivalistic and arminian theological position then that overides the excessive media coverage and they usually win the game. If Tim Tebow was Reformed or Lutheran then they would have lost. I know this is baloney but I am just having fun with it. Florida was the better team last night although it could have gone Oklahoma’s way if they had been able to punch into the endzone when in the redzone those times in the first half. Also, that pass reception that got called back in the first half because of the holding penalty also changed the momentum of the game.

    The Ravens are looking tough for the playoffs and may be the AFC winner. So, it could be the Giants vrs. the Ravens which probably would be a much better game and one in which a lot more people would watch.

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