“NOT political” Jesus First sends out more political spam (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

                          The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
                                                                                –Shakespeare, Hamlet

Jesus First is at it again. Earlier this month the liberal/church growth political action committee sent out a political mass e-mail, as we noted in our column, Jesus First, “Spamming the Globe . . .”. Now, this past Thursday, they have sent out another political mass e-mail, denying that they are political, even as they make a political appeal.

(By the way, the e-mail was sent by their mass marketing firm, Unified Resources, Inc., of Houston, Texas. The “From” line reads: “Jesus First,” [email protected] The President/CEO of URI is Paul Feucht, whom Jesus First endorsed for office at the last synodical convention.)

Here’s what the e-mail says (the bolding is theirs):

Recently Jesus First sent out a note concerning the election of convention delegates. This e-mail was directed toward a group of pastors who support our current leadership. The intent of this e-mail was two fold. First, we wanted to share how a small, but vocal group continues to disparage our current leaders. This group is intent on replacing our leaders. Second, we wanted to encourage you to help retain the leadership and direction of the LCMS. If we caused confusion, we sincerely apologize. If you asked to be removed from this mailing list, we have already removed your name, but wanted to share this brief apology. If for some reason you would prefer to continue receiving Jesus First information, please let us know to add you back onto the mailing list.

Finally, there are some who have attacked this e-mail stating that it is “of a party spirit”. Jesus First is NOT a political party. Rather, we have clearly and consistently stated that we exist, “for Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven, Future-Oriented Leadership in the LCMS.” We believe supporting our current leadership, particularly supporting President Kieschnick and First Vice President Diekelmann is appropriate and something all LCMS churches should embrace. Furthermore, we call on others to stop attacking God’s duly elected leaders of the LCMS.

God’s Peace,

Jesus First Leadership

A couple of observations:

1) They claim, “Jesus First is NOT a political party.” Yet look at what they emphasize (literally) in their e-mail: “support our current leadership“; “retain the leadership and direction of the LCMS“; “supporting President Kieschnick and First Vice President Diekelmann.” If that is not an overt political appeal, I don’t know what is. (Incidentally, the “Jesus First is NOT a political party” line reminds me of the Ablaze!â„¢ program’s insistent disclaimer, “Ablaze!â„¢ is not a program, it’s a movement.”)

2) They want people “to stop attacking God’s duly elected leaders of the LCMS.” Since when is it going against God to want somebody else in office who you think would do a better job? Isn’t that why we have elections? When these same Jesus First folks (in their earlier incarnation) opposed President Al Barry, were they “attacking God’s duly elected leader”?

For the record, I think politics is a good thing. It’s how we persuade people, influence direction, choose leaders, and make group decisions, in any human organization. I just wish Jesus First would be honest and admit that politics is what they are doing. Oh, and maybe get the guy who writes their stuff to sign his name–that would be a good thing, too. Me, I’m . . .

Charles Henrickson


“NOT political” Jesus First sends out more political spam (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 13 Comments

  1. If Jesus First would admit their letter was political, they would have to admit they are still campaigning for the office their guy currently occupies. It’s very sad to see them borrowing the tactics put forward by folks who occupied the White House from 1993-2001. They never stopped campaigning either.

    After almost nine years of fuzzying eccumenical lines and centralizing power, yes, change in the Synod’s direction is certainly in order. To quote Pr. Matthew Harrison’s paper, “It’s Time.” Then, we can continue praying for our Lord ‘s message, His Gospel and His mission to be synonymous publicly, even in LC-MS efforts at evangelism, etc.

    After all, for us Confessional Lutherans, Jesus isn’t just First. By God’s grace, we are saved by Christ alone.

  2. During the 2007 Convention, a Jesus First leader, Pr. Rogers, moved that anyone who had been a plaintiff in “The Lawsuit” should be identified as such during nominations for Synod Board of Directors. This motion passed, and the chair immediately whipped out the list of those who had been plaintiffs–he had it at his fingertips. This was the low point of the convention, as Jesus First plainly showed itself to be about “Politics-centered, Politics-driven, Politics-oriented leadership in the LCMS.” And they have had their way–politcs is what they wanted and politics is what they got. A day later, the motion was rescinded, but not before the “Scarlet Letter” had been hung around the neck of many candidates for BOD. BTW, none of those so identified were successfully nominated. “Politics First” strikes again!

  3. stop attacking “God’s duly-elected leaders”

    What a fascinating statement!

    A. I didn’t know that instituting an election process guaranteed us a means of discerning the voice of God.
    B. I thought the purpose of elections with terms was so that if we didn’t like the leader, we could voice dissent and remove him/her.

    Very very interesting. I really don’t know what to make of it.

  4. “Jesus First is NOT a political party. Rather, we have clearly and consistently stated that we exist, “for Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven, Future-Oriented Leadership in the LCMS.” “

    Technically it might be true that they are not a “political party”, but that certainly does NOT mean they they are not political.

  5. This is a classic example of political speech. Claim to be exactly what you are not. Accuse your opponents of being a small group who only wants to attack and disparage. This is about reinforcing the “narrative” of “Jesus First.” We are good. Pres K is good. Other side is bad. This also indicates that the “small group of attackers” is beginning to effect some change. Does this group do push polls?

    If actually having a marketing firm does not indicate where this group is taking the LCMS, then what does?

  6. It appears that “Jesus First” is beginning to notice the pendulum swinging away from them. The “small, but vocal group” is growing.

    I wonder if any confessional Lutheran pastors and laymen would be interested in starting up a political action committee of their own. It could be called something like “Lutheran Political Action Committee” or LPAC. I am sure someone could come up with a better name.

    This committee could be an honest alternative to JF in that it would openly admit its political activity and teach the church the benefits of good politics in the synod. It could emphasize our life lived together in humility under the cross of Jesus rather than life lived under the power of political coercion.

    Then again maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Church politics seems to be taboo to most LCMSers. Based on this apology letter by JF they must have gotten quite a negative reaction to their first letter. Maybe we should just continue to let them keep shooting themselves in the foot while confessional Lutherans work in the background as a “small, but vocal group” without a an organized political action committee to attack. Any thoughts?

  7. It appears that “Jesus First” is beginning to notice the pendulum swinging away from them. The “small, but vocal group” is growing.

    Their continued success depends on getting you to believe this.

    The vocality is growing; the numbers are not.


  8. Rev. Stefanski,

    You are right and I know I shouldn’t be concerned about power and numbers in the first place. I am afraid my sinful flesh wants to hold on to vain earthly hopes. I want to fight and defeat these people instead of go the way of the cross.

    God’s people have always been a small remnant of martyrs and the Bible indicates that our numbers are only going to decrease the closer we get to Judgement day. The only place for us to be is under the cross of Christ, trusting in Him for salvation.

    Forget the LPAC idea. Let us only defend the Truth and pray that God will have mercy upon us.

  9. You know the drill: “If it walks like a duck…..” JF is purely political. Backed by Ralph Bohlmann, well funded, and well organized, it’s all politics. 4th VP Buegler (JF)invited the nay-sayers to leave the Synod in his “Funding the Mission” report. They hope this vocal minority goes away.
    How is it that CTSFW supports PLI? JF politics, Wayne Graumann, JF-er and Chmn of BOR.
    It’s all about politics, and they’re very good at it.
    They should stop insulting our Lord and call themselves “PoliticsFirst.”

  10. Since my ELCA “membership” no longer represents my beliefs, I was investigating other alternatives. I’ve been searching, as are many life-long Lutherans, for a new home. Wow – I’m learning a lot. The devil does enjoy the playground, even when the topics are not the hot button headline issue of the day. I know no sect is immune to problems, and we live in an “instant reply” time, but this has been very revealing. May God help us all to better discern His will in our lives. I’ll pray for your ministry as I pray for the remnants and concerns of the ELCA.

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