(Editor’s Note: The following is a very powerful testimony as to what is actually going on at Woodbury Lutheran Church and its offspring, The Alley. We have have devoted a lot verbiage to this issue in the last week but nothing has been as insightful as the following that we pulled off the comment section of our last post on The Alley. President Kieschnick – we know you read this website – I hope you read this. The things described below are going on under your watch and apparently this is just more of the LCMS moving away from our grandfather’s church as you desire. On another matter, I think Kyle is going to turn out all right. Ironically, one of the most generous financial supporters of BJS is a physics graduate from the bay area – you will know what that means when you read the post script at the end of the comment.)
A Comment from Kyle K. (for all the original post and the other comments click here; Kyle K.’s comment is #25.)
I have not had the time to read every single comment that has been made regarding the Alley. So much of what I have to say is probably superfluous…but it may be of interest to some.
You see, unlike Pastor Messer, whose comments have been spot on, I HAVE talked with Pastor Ben personally. In fact, I was a member of Woodbury Lutheran Church (WLC) for 10 years. I was there in my formative years (I’m 26 now), when Pastor Paul Pfotenhauer retired and Pastor Dean Nadasdy replaced him. I was there when Pastor Ben Griffin was called and before the Alley came into existence.
As long as I can remember, WLC has always been about making you “feel” close to God. Sure, they want you to grow in your faith, just as honestly as any confessional Lutheran church would…but how that happens from a WLC stance is decidedly different than simply being nourished by Word and Sacrament.
The WLC “worship style” was always one of praise music, where the music director prayed ex corde as he played twinkly music; we were encouraged to lift up our hands to glorify God as we sang these songs; Lenten services always included a “testimony” from a member of the congregation about what God has done in their lives. In 4th grade, I was taught in Sunday School that if I had never asked Jesus into my heart, then I was not saved.
Each of these points above can be explored in some detail–we don’t need to talk about them here. All this to say, “experience” was the name of the game. I despaired not being able to find a special place in my life where God had turned my life around–that is, I had no testimony. I despaired because I was told I should “feel” a peace at knowing that I had been born again–but I felt no peace. I was grumpy on a Sunday morning and didn’t feel like lifting up my hands in praise–was I not saved?
Between my junior and senior years of college, I had to choose between several career routes–was I going to the seminary, or was I going to do something else? I talked with Pastor Ben to discuss these options. And although I can’t remember exactly what we had discussed, I remember him being very thoughtful and very encouraging (sad to say, I can’t remember what about, though). Upon leaving his office, I was given a book called “The Emerging Church” by Dan Kimball, which he thought was wonderful.
I didn’t mean to get personal here about the pastor; I have no intention of impugning his character. But to Mr. Boatman: Yes, I have talked with Pastor Ben. But that’s not the point. What more is there than Christ and Him crucified? I go to church not to get others saved, but to be served by our Lord and Savior Himself. As for saving others, may we boldly confess Christ in our vocations at work, at home, and everywhere else, and then let’s rely on God’s Word to do the work (Isaiah 55 all the way).
I’m now in a wonderfully confessional church in Cupertino, CA, [in the Bay area] blessed with pastors who hold steadfastly to the Word and acknowledge our Lutheran Confessions as a true exposition of the Word of God. I’m, of course, still learning what it means to be a Lutheran–but now I don’t “feel” peace, I KNOW peace because I can point to something outside of myself as my salvation.
My testimony now? Christ died for my sins. That’s all I need.
I am baptized,
P.S. I chose particle physics instead of the seminary.