“Why I am No Longer a LCMS Missionary” by Dr. James Tino – A New Blog Revealing Hard Truths About Ablaze and LCMS World Missions

The reason I am not a missionary today is because I wanted to send LCMS missionaries overseas  to preach the Gospel and plant churches, plain and simple.  Any assertation to the contrary is just plain false. (Click here for the full comment. This quote is the last paragraph of the page.)

This is just one of many quotes on a new blog/website by a former LCMS missionary that reveals a lot of hard facts about Ablaze and LCMS World Missions. I encourage you to check out this website and share your comments below.

The website was put up by Dr. James Tino, an LCMS pastor and former missionary  in Mirimar, Florida. He states that he is not trying to be political. He knows both President Kieschnick and Rev. Harrison and likes and respects them both. He simply feels compelled to let the sun shine on what is being done with LCMS World Missions and Ablaze. One of the main foci, is the stunning truth that we have so few ordained missionaries in the field these days and the silly ways the LCMS is using to count “missionaries.”

I can vouch for the last concern. I know of a deaconess intern in Asia who is counted as an Ablaze missionary. She is teaching English as a second language courses and yet is counted as a missionary. This is plain and simply equivocation in order to pad statistics. It is this sort of chicanery that Dr. Tino uncovers and we thank him for it. (For more on this check out this page of Tino’s website.)

Be sure to let us know what you think of his website/blog with your comments below.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy A. 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.


“Why I am No Longer a LCMS Missionary” by Dr. James Tino – A New Blog Revealing Hard Truths About Ablaze and LCMS World Missions — 19 Comments

  1. I guess the Great Commission, has been thrown over, along with the rest of our “grandfather’s” church…or rather Our Father’s Church. Vile, abjectly & positivily vile. What can one say, but “for shame, for shame on them”.

  2. Sorry, the “them” in my for shame comment, would be LCMS WM & the powers that be at Synod.

  3. Rev. Dr. Timothy A. Rossow — that wouldn’t happen to be an EARNED PhD now, would it?

  4. My “interview” consisted of the following: Dave Birner (then the newly-appointed associate executive director for world areas) called me on my cell phone and said that LCMS WM was going to go in the direction of Ablaze, and was going to de-emphasize church planting. He asked how I felt about that. I replied that I believed the role of LCMS WM was (and is) to send cross-cultural, evangelistic, church-planting missionaries. The phone call ended, and a few months later I got my severance papers to sign from LCMS Human Resources. Quoted form Dr. Tino’s blog

    What exactly is the direction of Ablaze?

  5. I guess the direction is Missional, without missionaries of course. Trained missionaries, that is.

  6. Just Curious,

    Why do you ask?

    Yes, it is an earned doctorate. Doctor of Ministry, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, 2007. It took me 5 years driving 8 hours round trip for 42 credit hours, all on campus, plus 9 hours for a dissertation. I would recomend it for all pastors. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and is probably one of the life experiences that best prepared me to run this website.

    See http://www.ctsfw.edu/Page.aspx?pid=507 for more information.

    Again, why do you ask?


  7. According to Lutheran World Information, No. 02/2008, a publication of Lutheran World Federation:

    The conversations at the LWF included meetings between the LWF/DMD area secretaries for Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean and the LCMS regional counterparts. Through its regional and international desks, DMD assists, coordinates and accompanies the 140 LWF member churches, their related agencies and other bodies to develop and maintain holistic ministries that affirm the church’s participation in God’s mission to all creation.

    The St Louis (Missouri, USA)-based LCMS is the second largest Lutheran church body in North America with some 2.5 million members. It has altar and pulpit fellowship with 29 other confessional Lutheran churches on every continent except Antarctica, including 12 LWF member churches.

    LCMS Associate Executive Director for International Mission David C. Birner, who attended the LWF secretariat meeting in Geneva on January 21-24, 2008, was quoted by LWI as saying:

    “The visit to the LWF helped us to affirm the common strands of our identity in the Reformation, and that this identity needs to be constantly reaffirmed in so many different ways including open dialogue between us and our partner churches. Our discussions were marked by mutual transparency, open communication, a spirit of collaboration and open information exchange.”

    “The meeting has encouraged us to see Lutherans together becoming part of the solution to global issues.”

    BTW, Birner was colloquized in 1986. Does anyone know what seminary he attended?

  8. LWF material principle: “Participation in God’s mission to all creation.” Has a nice emergent ring to it – could mean just about anything. It would be nice to have the transcript of Rev. Birner’s conversations with LWF. Perhaps the LWI quote gives a one-sided view of things, because it certainly doesn’t mention areas where the LCMS and LWF have differences. Some day I’d like to read something that said “The discussions were marked by sharp debate on areas where we disagree on a theological basis, and the LCMS called upon the LWF to return to the document to which the Lutheran church has historically subscribed, The Book of Concord. We look forward to further dialogue on these important theological issues.”

    Sorry about the thread drift.

  9. LWF material principle: “Participation in God’s mission to all creation.”

    Well, Scott, maybe all dogs do go to heaven! 8-^)

  10. Regarding the deaconess teaching English, this is usually in countries where formal spreading of the Gospel is illegal, but agreements have been made with those countries to allow the LCMS to teach ESL classes.

    Typically, you can share your faith only if you are asked about it first, so a church-planting mission with open evangelism techniques is not feasible.

    As to whether the person teaching the ESL class should be ordained or not, I will leave that up for discussion.

  11. In SOME countries overseas, missionaries are forbidden by the gov’t to plant churches. This was the case at the time my parents worked in West Africa. The charter/ permissions granted to the organization we worked for allowed that organization to work in Bible translation ONLY. We would have been thrown out of the country had our org. started a church plant. In fact, we had to be careful how we met together even as a group of coworkers for church several times per month, lest the gov’t think we were PLANTING church.

    There are boatloads of mission work OTHER than planting churches: yes, even other than teaching English as a second language.

    That does NOT mean, however, that it’s a-ok to tie the hands of pastors who ARE working where they CAN plant churches and baptize.

    And it does NOT mean that it’s ok to pull ordained pastors off the field.

    It does NOT mean that it’s ok for the entirety of our mission presence overseas to be be teacher’s aides andthe running of VBS programs. 🙁

  12. @Pastor Tim Rossow #6
    Pastor Rossow –

    I asked with my tongue planted in my cheek knowing the answer would come back in the affirmative.

    On the other hand, there are many in supervisory and directorial positions of our Synod who often have Dr. in front of their name. Unfortunately, many seem to be honorary and, as a general observation, they tend to look down their noses at those who actually spend time studying God’s word and instead favor “results oriented” pragmatism dressed up in pious sounding words.

    To cite two specific examples, the current Executive Director of the Board for Mission Services has an honorary doctorate from a Synodical institution as was the Executive Director when Pastor Tino was so unceremoniously released from the organization.

    This is not to question the zeal and intentions of these men, rather it does draw into question how well “equipped” they are to strike a balance between “results oriented pragmatism” (such as, getting a title in front of your name) and the hard word involved in, say, earning a doctorate.

  13. OK, got it. I know someone a while back was snarky about it and could not remember who. In that case, ignore my response. Thanks for the explanation.

    I rarely use the title but was inspired by Dr. Tino.


  14. No excuse for being “snarky” about an earned doctorate!

    No reason to avoid using the title… except that there are so many “tin stars” in lcms inc. (starting at the top, which is probably the reason for the abundance of them).

    God bless you for all your hard work!

  15. as an aside, do men with honorary doctorates actually list themselves as Dr. So and so? That is just bad form.

  16. That’s bad form, Joe Olson, but it’s intended to impress the innocent.
    Not many would think of asking whether a doctorate had hard work and scholarship behind it; most would assume it did or you wouldn’t have the nerve to use it.

    The sainted Prof./Pr. Kurt E Marquart never used his honorary doctorate, from one of the Concordia’s, so I would (being “snarky” I suppose?) say, “No, men don’t.”

  17. Beset by internal actions that exhibit a lack of trust in God’s efficacy through His gospel and by external ELCA efforts to fully release us from God’s Word as inerrant the LCMS is crumbling in every way.

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