According to the Synod President “There is Overwhelming Unity of Doctrine in the LCMS” – The Northern Illinois District Convention Part V: More Summary and Review of President Kieschnick’s Presentation, by Pr. Rossow

(The other posts in this series can be viewed by clicking on the Editor’s Blog in the Brother’s Cafe.)


President Kieschnick told the Northern Illinois District convention that “the synod is overwhelmingly in doctrinal unity…We are not debating major issues.” This was after he had given his legalistic recitation of the true LCMS doctrine to which he holds. (See Part IV of this series for details.) He then went on to say that there are differences in our synod but that we are only debating minor issues such as open communion, the role of women, worship practice and inter-Christian relations. I was shocked that President Kieschnick called these things secondary matters.


In my last post in this series I asserted that President Kieschnick came off like a Fundamentalist because like the Fundamentalists what he portrays as his ultimate concern is the moral decay in our culture. With his listing of fundamental and secondary doctrinal matters he once again comes off as a Fundamentalist. Understanding Fundamentalism and President Kieschnick’s eerie similarity to it will help us all in part understand how the LCMS has gotten to where it is today.


Fundamentalism flourished in the first half of the last century. The Fundamentalists identified a common enemy and then circled the wagons around a few “fundamental” doctrines. The common enemy was liberal Christianity and the fundamental doctrines were things like the blood atonement, the inerrancy of Scripture and the doctrine of the Trinity. Fundamentalism is Protestantism in its most essential form. There are three basic expressions of Christianity in the Western world, one true and two false. The false expressions are Roman Catholicism (belief in the means of grace but with a false connection to penance as the key to overcoming guilt) and Protestantism (rejection of the means of grace which leads to trust in emotions and low liturgical expression). The Fundamentalists properly rejected Roman Catholic penance but they created a false piety that was not fundamental, but impoverished because it rejected the crucial Scriptural teaching of the means of grace.


The means of grace are God’s word and sacraments. Fundamentalists do not believe that God works solely through his Word and the Sacraments. For all their faults Roman Catholics at least accept the means of grace which is why they have a rich liturgical piety. The Fundamentalists falsely teach that God comes to them immediately (the Holy Spirit apart from the word) and that he does not bring forgiveness of sins through baptism and the Lord’s Supper and so their worship style is simple and fundamental, but unbiblical because it does not revolve around the preaching of the powerful word of God and the administration of the sacraments. One does not see pure Fundamentalism so much anymore since Protestantism has now morphed into the church of Rick Warren and the Church Growth Movement which are interested in meeting the culture’s felt needs.


The problem with Kieschnick’s fundamentalism is the basic problem in the LCMS today. We are sacrificing historic Lutheranism to the gods of culture and outreach. Communion practice, worship style, women’s issues and inter-Christian relations are not secondary matters but are at the heart of historic Lutheranism. For example, I can say that I believe in the real presence of Christ in His supper, as President Kieschnick did in his legalistic recitation of pure doctrine, but if I assert that the question of who communes is a secondary matter like Kieschnick does then I really do not believe in the real presence. If I assert that the Bible does not allow women’s ordination but then slowly but surely increase the role of women to include activities that overlap the authority of the office of the ministry (as Kieschnick’s LCMS has done allowing women elders, communion assistants and congregation chairs) then I really do not believe in the Scriptural definition of the role of women. If I claim to allow only theologically acceptable music in worship but then in practice allow the use of emotion based contemporary models of worship like Kieschnick does, then I really do not believe in a true Lutheran worship ethos.


Ironically Fundamentalists tout their belief in the inerrant word of God. The historical Fundamentalists left out the guts of the authority of God’s word – the means of grace. President Kieschnick does likewise. According to the Bible our common enemy is the devil and his chief tactic is to twist and pervert the word of God. He did this in the Garden of Eden (“Did God really say…”), he did it when tempting Jesus, he did it in the early church (see Galatians 1:1ff) and it is still his chief tactic today in the Lutheran church (e.g. sexual tolerance in the ELCA and the use of church growth principals in the LCMS). President Kieschnick’s claim that we have an overwhelming unity of doctrine in the LCMS is just not true. Do we all pay at least lip service to Lutheran doctrine? Yes we do. Do we all practice the faith in ways that genuinely express that doctrine? No we do not and that is the real story about the unity of doctrine, or lack thereof in the LCMS.


President Kieschnick has chosen to ignore the fact that we are doctrinally fractured in the LCMS. We hope that the Lord will raise up candidates for the LCMS presidency that will be honest about this problem and address it. One has already done so. In his paper “It’s Time” Matt Harrison does not hide his head in the false sands of Fundamentalism but openly admits that we have doctrinal disunity and proposes a plan for addressing it.


Once again, I find that I am not able to finish my critique of President Kieschnick’s presentation to the NID convention. There is more of interest. In the next installment I will share with you his Fundamentalist approach to LCMS history.

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.


According to the Synod President “There is Overwhelming Unity of Doctrine in the LCMS” – The Northern Illinois District Convention Part V: More Summary and Review of President Kieschnick’s Presentation, by Pr. Rossow — 40 Comments

  1. When you don’t know your theology in the first place and you can only list fundamentalistic “doctrines” and must always defend your “conservativeness” you’ll see unity in doctrine quite easily. I would not be able to stop laughing if it were not so sad. It is getting harder to keep sticking our heads in the sand over fellowship among LCMS parishes and remaining in the LCMS when we know better that we should not be in fellowship if we do not have doctrinal agreement. “Synod” (walking together) is recognized not enforced or manufactured. Fellowship is recognized but is not enforced into a positive.

  2. Beware of the pastor who says, “I’m a pastor, not a theologian” as you would, “I’m a physician not a student of medicine and its research.” Shouldn’t an “ecclesiastical supervisor” be a theologian of high calibre?

  3. This past weekend as I traveled I attended the Divine Service at an LCMS congregation I have been familiar with for over thirty years. I was shocked to see that they now practice open communion. According to their bulletin and communion cards they allow anyone to the alter who says they believe they are a sinner, believe Jesus died for their sins, believe Jesus body and blood are really present, and are repentant. They did not require that you be an active member in an LCMS congregation. I found this to be a major division in my synod and even leading to division within my family.

    When a congregation practices open communion do they not have alter fellowship with members of any synod or denomination as long as they say they agree with that congregations four point list? This would include many Catholics, members of the ELCA or people of any denomination who agree to the list even if they haven’t been taught what it means. Are congregations in the LCMS who practice open communion really in fellowship with us in the LCMS or not?

  4. To paraphrase the Bard (I think): “Methinks thou dost protect thy conservatism too loudly.” In other words, if you have to keep saying that you’re conservative (or confessional), it raises red flags. Similarly, if a husband daily tells his wife that “Honey, I’m a faithful husband, really I am! Honest! No kidding! . . .” she will probably rightly deduce that she had better keep her ear to the ground and her eyes wide open.

  5. “Communion practice, worship style, women’s issues and inter-Christian relations are not secondary matters but are at the heart of historic Lutheranism.”

    Precisely. There is no hierarchy of doctrine in the church.
    Some are not “more important” than others. All doctrine is based upon the inerrant Word of God–we cannot pick and choose which are more “essential” and which are “secondary”.
    If we were to do that, we would be making ourselves “God”.
    [That would be breaking the First Commandment.]

    How arrogant!
    Once again, I am “heartbroken” at what Kieschnick says.

  6. You are right Jack B. It is laughable but so, so sad. I know I should not be surprised by anything anymore in the LCMS but this really did shock me a bit as I sat there on teh convention floor listening and taking notes.


  7. I agree with Heartbroken. ITS ALL DOCTRINE!

    Pr. Rossow, perhaps you can comment in a future post on Kieshnick’s assumption that, “as far as he can tell, there is only one difference between us and the Word Alone Network, and it’s a big one, they support womens ordination…” I personally believe they are still holding on to some historical-critical methodology, although it has been awhile since I have snooped around their website.

  8. The statement about communion practice policy that the LCMS’ CTCR officially endorses is a little wiggly on this matter I have come to realize. I recently had a member of a Baptist congregation at my church for a wedding who had read the above mentioned statement and thought that it allowed him to commune. So I guess this “official” statment isn’t good enough, huh? Maybe the “official” statement should have been run through some other church’s members for their interpretation of it before it was adopted as our “official” one.
    Bob E.

  9. Bob E.,

    Do you have the text of the “official” statement from the CTCR? I would need to see that before commenting on your thoughts.


  10. Iggy,

    You are exactly right. There is a reason behind their acceptance of women’s ordination and that is the higher critical approach (and they have even gone beyond that to post-modern reader/response hermeneutics) that also is used by them to endorse all sorts of heterodoxy.


  11. “Fundamentalism” and what is now called “evangelicalism” both emerged from the same movement in reaction to classic liberal Protestant theology. The difference between the two groups was that the fundamentalists tended to be separatists. They left the “mainline” Protestant denominations and often withdrew from the mainstream of American culture altogether to form their own enclaves (much like the first wave of modern Pentecostalists). The “evangelicals” continued to work within existing denominational structures and through parachurch organizations (much like the “charismatics” of the 1960s and 1970s).

    To be sure, it’s all different flavors of Reformed theology, and they all reject the visible means of grace. One might note the theological and moral confusion that typifies popular “evangelicalism” today as to how one might go overboard in “engaging the culture.”

  12. David,

    Intersting point. Do you recomend any references that I could use to bone up on my family tree of contemporary denoms and movements?


  13. Bob E: Is this the statement that you were refering to? This is the 1993 statement from the CTCR; I don’t know if there is any published after that. Note: page 2 on the link below gives some history on it.


    The Lord’s Supper is celebrated at this congregation in the confession and glad confidence that, as he says, our Lord gives into our mouths not only bread and wine but his very body and blood to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins and to strengthen our union with him and with one another. Our Lord invites to his table those who trust his words, repent of all sin, and set aside any refusal to forgive and love as he forgives and loves us, that they may show forth his death until he comes.

    Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and yet desire to receive the sacrament, are asked first to speak with the pastor or an usher.

    For further study, see Matthew 5:23f.; 10:32f.; 18:15-35; 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:17-34.

  14. Open communion is the thing to do today in the LCMS–afterall we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Prof. Marquart’s articles about Church Growth as a Mission paradigm speaks volumes about this. The CTCR said women can hold any office in the congregation as long as it “doesn’t impinge upon the pastoral office.” Those wishing to adopte constitutions that would allow for women to be presidents of a congregation “should” keep in mind the brothers of the circuit so as to not cause offense. [I know I am rambling] So what happens? Many congregations some with the okay of their DP’s [RMD] allow women presidents [one congreagtion in the RMD had their constitution all readyfor the adoption]; some have women “elders” but male “deacons.” Some practice an open communtion which they state is not open. i.e. in an LCMS congregation near to me, at which one of my members regularly worships,[she has family there] she has seen LCMS, ELCA, Medhodist, Catholics and “generic Christians” all commune at the same altar!!!!Now she becomes mad when I will not allow the same thing [to at least let her Lutheran children] –after all Pastor ??? of Blank LCMS congregation does! It will only end when the DP’s and the SP all get on the same page and remind with force the synodical stance as stated in many different conventions. After all–special pastoral circumstances were never meant to be Aunt Mary from the ELCA or Catholic, or any other group, could commune since she is here on vacation. This I heard from one of the main authors of the CTCR document–yet was also told that this point would not be allowed in the document itself. Rambling stopped.

  15. Funny that President Kieschnick can say, in May 2009, “the synod is overwhelmingly in doctrinal unity. . . . We are not debating major issues.” Funny, because in August 2000, while he was president of the Texas District (and Al Barry was Synod President), this same Jerry Kieschnick said, in a letter to the Reporter, “our synod appears to be, and actually is, far from united in some areas of doctrine and practice.”

    I’m puzzled. How did we get from “far from united” to “overwhelmingly united” in less than nine years–most of which, coincidentally, happens to correspond to Kieschnick’s time as SP? Did I miss this great unification he accomplished?

  16. “People, this is NOT a game. Our incessant internal purification at the expense of the eternal destiny of the souls of men and women for whom Christ died must stop!”

    Group hug?

  17. Is it true that President Kieschnick stated that the only difference between the LCMS and the Word Alone Network is women’s ordination? Even I find it hard to believe our President is unaware of the more fundamental differences that give rise to the divergence on WO. Of course, in terms of practice, the Word Alone people are probably generally closer to those seemingly favored the the current Synodical administration: i.e., pietistic, low-church, low Eucharistic piety. Don’t get me wrong, Word Alone is fighting an important fight in the ELCA right now for maintaining the Biblical witness on sexual ethics, but I think there are significant differences between us. I say this primarily on the basis of discussions with a friend who was active in Word Alone before leaving the ELCA to join an LCMS congregation.

  18. George Tiller, the abortion doctor, was shot and killed in a Lutheran church.

    So, let’s say that the church was an LCMS church.

    Would none of y’all be surprised by that? Would you think “Well, we have churches that practice open communion–of course we have churches that allow world famous abortion doctors!”

    It is nice to try and streeetch the differences of the Synod. But it just does not ring true to pretend as though we have a dis-unity that does not exist.

    But come now: would y’all really not have been surprised if it were an LCMS church? Is that really the level of disunity that you see in your Synod?

  19. Pastor Louderback,

    Indeed, I would have been surprised had it been an LCMS church. Luckily, the LCMS has not yet slipped into toleration of pre or post-Christian morality. However, this is not too much to cheer about since even a non-Christian society should be able to intuit God’s law not to murder. It is certainly wonderful that the LCMS has relative unity on moral matters [and has roundly condemned Tiller’s murder], but, in any case, morality is really not relevent. Moral decay is a different beast than doctrinal error or perceptions of it. Also, it doesn’t really make much sense in my mind to say that since I’m not a serial killer like the guy down the block, it’s really, relatively speaking, OK to go mug someone. The unity of the church (by AC definition) is based on agreement on the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Some of the questions at issue seem to me to impinge on our agreement of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. So these do seem like disagreements worthy of serious consideration to me. In fact, the fact that we in the LCMS like to argue over whether or not there is a disagreement seems to me to settle the argument itself! I honestly cannot figure out what is gained by denying the existence of substantial disagreement. But lest I get called out as a Gospel-reductionist, yes, disagreement in the Law in the LCMS would also be highly problematic to unity since you cannot get the Gospel right without also getting the Law.

  20. We probably shouldn’t be surprised if we have an abortion provider in one of our LCMS congregations? We have at least one LCMS congressmen who supports the practice of abortion as well as some parishioners and pastors.

    As far as I can tell Dr. Tiller would have been welcome to come to the Lord’s Supper at the LCMS service I attended last Sunday as long as he responded yes to the four questions they had listed. The church didn’t say you have to be a member of an LCMS congregation.

    I wonder if many of our ecclesiastical supervisors would do anything anyway if we did have an abortion provider as a member of one of our congregations.

  21. Okay. The Lutheran Church of Sweden elected a lesbian bishop.

    Same question: would you be surprised if this were a District in our Synod? Or would you simply expect that a Synod that allows open communion, would allow Lesbian presidents?

    Or make it a practicing homosexual–since our Synod is remarkably united against women’s ordination.

    Would electing a practicing homosexual as District President surprise y’all?

    But once again, our Synod doesn’t have any practicing homosexuals as pastors, do we? Once again, that whole united thing…

  22. Or let me ask this in another way:

    We currently have district presidents who support contemporary worship.

    We have no district presidents that support abortion.

    We have district presidents who support the legitimacy of a women to serve as President of a congregation.

    We have no district presidents who are practicing homosexuals.

    So, since all doctrine is the same, then it would be no worse or better for our synod if the positions were reversed right?

    We currently have no district presidents who support contemporary worship.

    We have district presidents that support abortion.

    We have no district presidents who support the legitimacy of a women to serve as President of a congregation.

    We have district presidents who are practicing homosexuals.

    This would be no better or no worse than our current situation?

  23. I hit return a bit early: that is to ask, since most of you are in a Synod that allows contemporary worship, would you be equally comfortable in a Synod with a homosexual district president?

    That is, not that you would like it, but you could see yourself staying in a Synod that allowed a DP to support abortion?

  24. Mark L.,

    “The worst case scenario” argument that you are using is one of the weakest arguments of logic.

    Here is a better exmple a real life one. There is gay activist allowed to be a music director of an LCMS church. President Kieschnick is aware of this (I have spoken with his assistant directly) and yet he lets it continue. You think that we are united against homosexuality because President Kieschnick says that we are but his actions prove that we are not united.


  25. Mark L,

    Concerning your argument concerning contemporary worship I offer these two things:

    1) You seem to pitting what you think is a lesser of two evils against each other. This is not about gradations of error. How much error are you willing to allow? 49%? 10%? Maybe even just 1%? Confessional faith does not allow any error. Is there error in the church? Yes. Is there error in what I preach? Yes. It needs to be constantly pointed out and corrected. We do not ever rest and allow any error in our Lord’s church.

    2) Contemporary worship is much more problematic than a practicing gay bishop. The practicing gay bishop is a much more obvious error that is straight-forward to deal with. The sort of romantic era of contemporary worship that we are dealing with in this period of church history slowly sucks the doctrinal purity out of the church over a generation or two like the heat being turned up slowly on the frog in the kettle.


  26. Mark L,

    In response to your comment in #24 the answer is yes, you are right. It would be no worse. I do not know where you get this notion of ranking sin. See my first point in #27.


  27. It is laudable that the Synod is united in its confession of the 5th and 6th Commandments. But to make *that* unity the beginning and end of the discussion is foolishness.

    “I neither sleep with men, nor murder babies, nor ordain women, therefore I get a free pass on everything else”???

    After all, there are eight other commandments.

    And of course, the Gospel…

  28. I would like to know how Mark Louderback is certain (beyond his oft made and inaccurate assertions on LQ) that we have NO people in high places supporting some of the more popular immoralities of the day (or women’s ordination).

    Twenty five years ago, an lcms pastor was arrested and tried in Iowa for participating in a homosexual ring. Subsequently it became obvious that he had been active in one at a former parish in another district that included some of his older parochial school boys.

    Mark Louderback may “guarantee” me that neither DP knew what this guy was, but I reserve my right to an opinion, which is all that he can provide.

    Now Iowa has voted for “same sex marriage”. Do you think that NO lcms lutherans up there are approving?

    Go back to usFirst, Mark. Nobody here is going to believe anything just because you say so.

  29. Pastor Louderback,

    I have to admit that when I saw your name yesterday it run a bit of a bell. The reason I found it so bizarre that you think there are not serious divisions within the LCMS is because (after a quick google search to confirm the name) I can remember a few weeks ago reading a very lengthy debate you had on a Pastor William Weedon’s blog with (among others) Pastor Weedon and a Pastor Larry Beane. In fact, my fiancee and I discussed the merits of the arguments later that night. In any case, the disagreement, if memory serves, centered around the understanding of ordination vows and confessional subscription. These are questions of the most fundamental importance! Regardless of who is right or wrong in that particular argument, it was obvious that you and your debate partners held incompatible views of confessional subscription. If that is indeed the case, I find it hard to believe that you honestly believe there are no serious theological divisions in the LCMS. And, just for the record, I think the Weedon/Beane view of subscription is the soundest and that you have accidentally mis-read Walther by divorcing him from his historical context.
    Bethany Tanis

  30. Tim Rossow

    I’m just pointed out the absurdity of saying “Differences don’t matter; all differences in doctrine and practice are the same.”

    Because there is a gradation of evil. Simply put, there is no way that you can get around the fact that there is a distinction between allowing abortion or homosexuality to occur and women voting.

    We have honest disagreement and differences about women’s suffrage in a few of our congregations. And we allow this. But we don’t have difference and disagreement on abortion and homosexuality. And we don’t allow this.

    The issue is not “allowing error to remain in the church.” The issue is “Does the word of God speak clearly to this issue? How hard of a stance can we take on this?”

    Does the Word of God clearly speak as to whether women can distribute communion? It doesn’t. Not as clearly as it speaks on homosexuality.

    And what’s more, the very fact is that in our Synod we are absolutely united about where we go to find the answer and solution to these disagreements: the Word of God. That is where our differences are going to be worked out.

    The very fact that we all know this and agree to it is even greater proof of our unity.

    Why can’t we admit and be happy that we are as doctrinally united as we are?

    I would suggest Tim, that you need to re-examine your own Scriptural interpretation and really ask yourself if having a DP who allows Contemporary Worship is worse than one who is gay.

    The problem with your position is that you simply do not see that there is any possibility for disagreemnt with your position.

    With abortion, in the LCMS, there is indeed no possibility for disagreement. For Contemporary Worship, there is indeed.

  31. Helen,

    Well, the very fact that they are not open about it is sorta proves my point as well–that they themselves know that they can’t hold to the position openly and remain in the Synod.

    The is issue is one of public statement and public support. As well as unity in teaching.

    I’m sure that the homosexual clergy that we have probably actually agree with our position; they just have fallen into a trap of sin.

  32. Bethany Tanis,

    ” In any case, the disagreement, if memory serves, centered around the understanding of ordination vows and confessional subscription. \\\”


    Weeellll, that’s Pastor Beane’s read on the situation.

    A question of “How am I saved?” is of fundamental importance. The question of “Can a woman be the vice-president of a congregation?” is simply less so.

    “If that is indeed the case, I find it hard to believe that you honestly believe there are no serious theological divisions in the LCMS.”

    Women’s Ordination
    Seven Day Creation — I mean, my gosh, this makes us an intellectual laughinstock, but we hold to it.

    I can go on. Do we have differences? Sure. In the ELCA, some churches allow abortionists to go to the altar rail, some don’t.

    So, you know, I tend to look on the bright side. I think we are pretty unified.

    ANNN-Duh, in addition, we as a Synod have a blue ribbon committee, or task force, or something like that, working on the issue of unity.

    So, you know, I’m just not all into this exaggeration that having a woman be an elder is tantamount to a denial of Christ. It just does not fly.

    At the same time, I would encourage frank and honest discussion on the disagreements in our Synod. I think that we can come to agreement–or as we did/do in the case of women’s suffrage, co-exist quite fine.

  33. Scott,

    But to make *that* unity the beginning and end of the discussion is foolishness.


    I just wanted it to be the beginning.

    As you can see, Pr Rossow disagrees with your contention.

  34. Hey, Bethany, in his address to the NID, President Kieschnick said something to this effect:

    As far as I can tell, there is only one difference between us and the Word Alone Network, and it’s a big one…they favor women’s ordination. In fact, the organization was founded by a woman. I asked her if she had studied this issue and she said, No. Of course it has never occurred to her to study this, she was ordained in the ELCA.

  35. Pastor Louderback,

    Well, I guess you see no serious theological differences in the LCMS. I do sincerely wish I could agree with you! I think you have a different conception of how doctrine hangs together than I do, but, in any case, I certainly don’t see the point in arguing about whether or not there is an argument. Again, I do wish I thought you were right!
    All the best,

  36. Mark L,

    We are clearly not unified. President Kieschnick said we weren’t in 2000 and there is even less unity now than then. Stop trying to defend a campaign claim by President Kieschnick.

    We do not all hold the same teaching from scripture. For just one example, some of us follow I Cor. 11 and believe that those who do not discern the body and blood of Christ are bringing condemnation upon themselves by communing and some of us don’t. I might as well throw in another example based on President Kiescnick’s own words from a few days ago at the NID convention. Some of us follow I Cor. 10 and believe that praying with pagans is offering food to idols and some of us do not.


  37. Mark L,

    Having a woman as an elder is a denial of Christ’s word. His word clearly states that a woman should not have authority over a man. Now, if you want to equivocate and say that an “elder” in your church has no authority then we are just talking past each other. We are not talking about the same thing nor are we talking about what the LCMS has traditionally considered to be an elder.


  38. Pastor Rossow,

    The book that first sparked my interest in this subject was Harold Lindsell’s classic “Battle for the Bible”. This was, of course, because of his chapter on the “Seminex” controversy with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Lindsell (a Presbyterian) placed “Seminex” within a broad historical pattern of liberal theologians taking over denominational seminaries and forcing more orthodox representatives of various confessional traditions to either leave their respective denominations or accept second-class status. Interestingly enough, Lindsell concluded that the LCMS was the first
    battleground where conservatives scored a victory.Much water has passed under the bridge since “Battle for the Bible” was first published (1978). But it still gives a good outline of the rise of classic liberal Protestantism in the early 20th Century and the varied responses to it.

    Another classic book related to this theme is “Why Conservative Churches are Growing” by Dean Kelley (first published in 1977). Kelley was a little ahead of the curve in predicting the decline
    of “mainline” liberal Protestantism and the growth of “evangelical”

    A more recent work is George Marsden’s “Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism” (1991).

    Here are a couple of on-line articles that briefly summarize the difference between “fundamentalism” and “evangelicalism”:

    One is the October 2000 Atlantic Monthly cover story by Alan Wolfe,

    Then there’s this from PBS Front Line,

    You may find references to “fundamentalism vs. evangelicalism” in the many, many historical books and articles on any of these topics;

    1. Creationism vs. evolutionism (the reality of the Scopes “monkey trial”, by the way, is very different from what´s presented in “Inherit the Wind” in both stage and motion picture versions).

    2. Modern Pentecostalism and the “charismatic” movement.

    3. The “Jesus Movement” of the 1960s and 1970s.

    4. Closely related to the “Jesus Movement”, the history of contemporary Christian music.

    5. The development of “Christianity Today” magazine (of which Harold Lindsell was once the editor).

    6. The politics of the “religious right”.

    There are many exhaustive catalogs of various denominations, sects and cults, many of which were in my late father’s library. I do not have easy access to those titles right now, as I live in Venezuela and most of what I read these days is in Spanish.

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