Defending President Obama’s Visit to Notre Dame and Concordia Professors Signing the Ayers’ Petition ““ Sadly Similar Arguments, by Pr. Rossow

On one of the talking heads news programs this morning there was a debate between a liberal and conservative over the issue of President Obama, who is openly pro-abortion, appearing at Notre Dame University, a fairly liberal institution but none the less a university of the Roman Catholic Church, which is clearly pro-life.

The liberal’s arguments in favor of Obama appearing at Notre Dame included the fact that many non-Catholics attend the university and the need to defend academic freedom. Sadly these are the same arguments that are being used to support the signing of the William Ayers petition at Concordia Chicago by seven of the professors. William Ayers is an unrepentant terror-bomber and teacher of a humanistic, godless philosophy of education while the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod denounces anarchist-terrorist activities and professes a Christian philosophy of education.

Our Concordias have been expanding in the last decade with graduate programs that are not Lutheran and in many cases are not taught by Lutherans. One of our former principals completed his masters of education at Concordia Chicago nearly ten years ago and only had one Lutheran instructor (not LCMS) for the entire program. This secularization of the Concordias is being done simply for money. It is unacceptable and eerily similar to the argument being made to have a baby-killing president speak at a life-supporting Roman Catholic University. When we spoke to the president of Concordia Chicago (John Johnson) he defended his faculty on the basis of academic freedom. Again this is eerily similar to how the political liberals are defending Obama’s visit to Notre Dame.

The Brothers of John the Steadfast and all of our readers need to stand up against this secularization of the LCMS that is going on under the not so careful watch of President Kieschnick. He has stated that this is not your grandfather’s church and he does not want his grandfather’s church. He is doing a good job of achieving that goal but at the expense of our Scriptural and conservative heritage.

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.


Defending President Obama’s Visit to Notre Dame and Concordia Professors Signing the Ayers’ Petition ““ Sadly Similar Arguments, by Pr. Rossow — 11 Comments

  1. If you have been paying attention to some of the “spin” which we see in LCMS emailings (I do not recall seeing it anywhere else but I’ll bet that it’s out there), it would also seem that the “new direction” for our parochial grade (and high) schools is to get into some sort of marketing (man, they love that business lingo) so that our schools are postured not so much as “Lutheran” or even as generically “Christian,” but private. This, it is suggested, will be better for our schools and will make them more “viable” (I’m not sure if that is their word or just my word – but it’s a word that I do not like) in their communities and for their own futures. Frankly, this will spell the demise of who we are. Just take a look at Notre Dame and realize that there is not all that much which is still Roman Catholic about that school — and now they would take that away, too. When will we ever learn?

    One can only guess at the motivation for such thinking, but I believe that a huge part of doing what is done is because of fear for the future. Hmm, that sounds frighteningly familiar . . . it goes this way . . . if I am frightened about my future, then I must become less of who/what I am so that I can have a future which is not who/what I am. Then all who have known who/what I am will be that much poorer b/c I have sold out . . . for the sake of my future. And everyone loses.

    When WILL we ever learn? The cure is NOT in the worldly business model but in the theology which Christ has given to us and which is, by God’s grace, our wonderful heritage!

  2. It’s a tough audience when being president of the US isn’t enough to get you in the door.

    The explanations may be bad, but the situation is a bit different from Ayers. This is a man whom Romans calls God’s servant and who is presumably due respect and honor.

    Although I admit that there are presidents whom I would not have crossed the street to go hear even if they sent a litter to come pick me up.

  3. I have four children that will be reaching college age in 4 or 5 years. Will there be any good Lutheran schools for them to go to, or will they all be just ‘private’? I live near St. Olaf college, an ELCA school, and I know several whom have graduated from there, and they tell me stories of professors there openly denying the gospel, and even Christian beliefs, one wonders if that is the fate of the Concordia schools? It sounds like it is headed that way.

  4. The reaction to the anger over Obama’s invitation to speak is puzzling. It’s not a question of whether abortion is right or wrong. That’s a different conversation. Nor is it a question of what the Roman church’s policy on abortion is. That’s already established. It’s a matter of hypocricy. An institution which wants to sell itself as Roman should adhere to Rome’s teachings. If instead, they would like not to be shackled by Roman dogma, all they need to do is stop calling themselves a Roman Catholic institution. You don’t get to pick and choose what parts of Roman dogma you prefer (or is it just Roman studens’ tuition?). All anyone is calling for is honesty.

    Soemwhere in there is an application to the LCMS. If you don’t want to adhere to Lutheran doctrine and practice, that’s your prerogative. Just don’t try to trick people by calling yourself a Lutheran.

  5. This discussion almost points to Newsweek’s recent article about the decline of Christian America. I do not think that Christians in America are necessarily in decline there will always be a remenant that do not bow the knee to Baal or kiss his lips. What is not mentioned are those who still hold to their churches doctrine and practice and value for life and unfortunately all we seem to be seeing are those who are disaffected by the church and what they consider as impediments on their lifestyle, and those bodies who think union with non Christian bodies is ok. For example, there is an ELCA Church that I know of that has a bookstore that sells books related to all “Religions” this includes polytheistic idolatry, feminist theology , and everything else you can think of. This so called decline has been the result of the compromises of churches to no longer be who they are inorder to become like the world. This is precisely what we are not to do!

    However, what is distressing it seems that some are doing just that and in our midsts. The question now is what is to be done? We now know that Seminex and other purges did not work as these are many of the people filling jobs at LCMS schools or at least people who are influenced by them.The LCMS hierarchy is no star in the confessional universe either as they did nothing related to Benke or others like him. It is not only them but the ELCA and secular deniers who seem to have been given a job to teach all sorts of false things all in the name of sinful “relevance” brought on by liberalism of old and the new emergent movement(Gospel denying heretics and there alter egos those who teach falsehood in movie theater churches.) What is the next stop after “relevance”? The next stop, is worldly philososphy and eventually apostasy like what is happening at St. Olaf College.

    On the other hand, I would also consider those with good motives that are promoting things like intelligent design are giving ammo to the enemy. Some of these men are agnostics and not Christian this would not make them for us but rather against us. These are people who need to be brought to Christ by the Word and not have the deism they believe. Believe it or not this worldly attitude will influence some as it is has in many of our academic institutions and it might as well be atheism. The crime here is using science to try and prove an already know fact God created the earth in six days and on the seventh day he rested. In many cases, ID proponents are just deistic or theistic evolutionists

    I think most would agree that the temptation to be relevant in the world’s context to become wealthy and wise leads one straight to enmity with God. I believe it was once said that fellowship with the world(“Relevance” in a worldly sense)is enmity with God.

  6. Bubbles writes: “This is a man whom Romans calls God’s servant and who is presumably due respect and honor.”

    If this is a reference to Romans 13, it is an an eisegetic misapplication of Scripture. Clue No. 1: We no longer live in the Roman Empire with a Roman Emperor.

    In this country for over two centuries the understanding of government and governing authority has been that the citizens are the government (as well as being the governed), and the elected and appointed officials are part of the form of government. Thus we, the government, are God’s servants in that we are responsible for those we elected to serve on our behalf.

    Barry Sotero (aka Barack Hussein Obama) has been elected President, which has certain privileges, responsibilities and honor from us, as the governed, but being treated as an Emperor or a Romans 13 version of “ruler” is not one of them.

    The President is subject to the laws, he is subject to elections every four years, he is subject to impeachment and conviction, and he is subject to criticism, which is our right and responsibility as the government.

    Now, before we, the government, get too comfortable with our title as “God’s servant,” we need to recall that for over 35 years we have let our elected and appointed representatives butcher 50 million unborn people here in the United States. We have failed and continue to fail to act, in Romans 13 terms, in our role as “an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

  7. Bubbles,

    President Obama is certainly due respect and also our prayers. At Bethany, we pray for Barack every week. But Notre Dame could have respectfully said, “No.” Imagine what a glorious confession of life that would have been! And what a powerful rejection of the pseudo-Christianity to which Obama subscribes.

    Ayers’ terrorism was rinky-dink compared to the societal destruction being brought about by Obama and his ilk. Sure, we are “subject to the governing authorities”, as you allude to from Romans. But in a republic such as we have in the United States (while it lasts), WE are the ultimate authority, and have a duty to stand up and oppose those who fail to be God’s servants on our behalf. For “rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” (Romans 13:3)

    This is not about the amount of taxes Caesar wages or the wars he wishes to fight. Those are his affairs. This is about issues on which Scripture is clear. These are God’s affairs. And His body, the Church, needs to make a clear confession of this.

    And in a republic, where each voter is a co-ruler, members of His body have a duty to exercize their citizenship so that our government is indeed “God’s servant.”

    The Obama agenda of abortion-on-demand, gay marriage, cloning, scientism, and relativism does not serve God.

  8. Carl, if you are correct and Rom. 13 isn’t about Obama, then thank you. I have always felt guilty that I was not able to respect and honor many of the politicians who are given authority over us, but now I am free to feel the revulsion and disdain that I do towards any number of them, miserable failures that they are.

    Cantor Magness, Notre Dame was certainly within bounds not to invite the President. I was thinking that the holder of of such an office was deserving of more respect than to be disinvited to speak – such shinanigans might be the kind of thing in which the chicago city council might participate.

    Ayers was directly involved and his illegal activities were done as a private citizen. Obama’s support for killing the unborn, as reprehensible as it is, is done legally and as a public servant. Those are the differences of which I was thinking.

  9. “I am free to feel the revulsion and disdain that I do towards any number of them, miserable failures that they are.”

    I feel the same way, but at the same time I realize I (along with my other fellow citizens) am the government, and I have to ask myself if I am doing what I should do as part of the government to help improve this mess. Harry Truman’s reference to the sign, “The Buck Stops Here,” should be sitting on my desk and the desks of each citizen as well, including those citizens who are Christian, and particularly Lutherans, who are aware of the three uses of the Law.

  10. My understanding is that the Bishop did not criticize the Univ. of N.D. for inviting Pres. Obama to deliver the commencement address, but for awarding an honorary doctorate. Inviting a distinguished speaker does not necessarily imply the same level of endorsement as the conferring of an honorary degree.

  11. Bubbles is right that a distinction should be made between Obama’s promotion, expansion, and enforcement of the legal terrorism of abortion vs. the “private citizen” terrorists acts of a Bill Ayers. But the distinction actually makes Obama WORSE. The Gulags were legal in the Soviet Union and the Nazis passed laws against the Jews. All that did was make their evil even more pernicious. Governmental tyrrany perverts the authority of the sword given to earthly rulers to restrain evil and turns it into an instrument of evil. THIS is where the Romans passage is definitely applicable.

    People like Ayers are restrained and punished in a properly functioning civil society (which, alas, the US is no longer). And every society has them. They are like the poor who will always be with us. Rulers who wield the power of the sword for evil, on the other hand, are not unavoidable and it is our civic duty as Christians to oppose those who do.

    Let’s get real here. Presidents only have so many commencement addresses they can put on their schedule. And they are not two-way streets, so ‘academic freedom’ and ‘dialog’ do not apply here. The President makes his speech, and then leaves with a stamp of approval from the institution, usually conferred in the form of an honorary degree. Obama been getting MAJOR flack from the Roman Bishops for his actions in the ethical realm, particularly on issues surrounding human life. The Administration was looking for some liberal Catholics to give him a symbolic ‘stamp of approval’ in order to give him some political cover. Notre Dame is playing that role as a favor to their fellow liberals. It’s that simple.

    I’m glad the Bishop of South Bend sees through this and will be boycotting the event. Every Christian at Notre Dame should do the same.

    I agree with Bubbles that it would be like city council ‘shennanigans’ to disinvite him after inviting him. And the ensuming controversy would not serve the pro-life cause well in the typical mushy American mind. But if thousands of students, faculty, family members, and alumns stayed away………THAT would be AWESOME!

    But all this stays from Pastor Rossow’s point: that the arguments used to defend Obama is the same language we hear from Concordia in defense of Bill Ayers.

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