Interesting Outsider’s Take on the KFUO Sale

(This comment was placed this morning on Mollie’s KFUO story  from October 17. It is written by Sam Glasser.)
November 18th, 2009 at 23:46 | #27
I’ve enjoyed this site’s coverage of the proposed “sale” of KFUO-FM to Gateway Creative Broadcasting, Inc. (aka “JOY-FM”) as there are some very sharp-minded contributors on board.

Although not a Lutheran, I grew up the son of a devout Christian missionary to China who went on to service in several ecumenical settings, becoming, prior to retirement, Dean Emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Although not a regularly practicing Christian myself, I am therefore somewhat familiar with religious settings. I am a retired businessman and, unfortunately, familiar with the likes of Kermit Brashear. I am also a passionate lover of classical music, which prompts this post.

I thought you might enjoy my “take” on the situation for it is my opinion that Kermit Brashear has snookered the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the “sale” of KFUO-FM. It is my guess that, in “executive (i.e., secret) session” at the LCMS Board Meeting last February 2009, Kermit persuaded Tom Kuchta and his fellow Board members to let him find a purchaser of KFUO-FM in exchange for a fee equal to a percentage of the purchase price he obtained. Like a real estate agent, Brashear’s fee depends solely on the total purchase price payable – in this case $18M – regardless of how much of the price is ever paid to the Lutheran Church. And like a real estate agent, his fee would be payable at closing, again regardless of whether another nickel (on account of the $16.5M Note) is ever paid to the Church. This “deal” has the earmarks of Kermit Brashear all over it. Google this character and you will soon see how it is in keeping with his “MO” and reminiscent of other “deals” he has engineered (read, for example, about “Sarpy County” Nebraska’s baseball team….).

Let’s say I’m right and Brashear is getting a fee of, say, 6% of the purchase price Gateway (JOY-FM) has agreed to “try to” pay. Assuming there is a closing, Brashear would be entitled to a fee of $1,080,000 (6% x $18,000,000) payable at closing. Interestingly, a review of the Purchase Agreement between the LCMS and Gateway (JOY-FM) shows that at closing, Gateway is required to pay $1,500,000 cash – more than enough to pay Brashear’s fee plus his firm’s legal fees – but little more. Under the Agreement, Gateway is not required to pay another nickel until the end of the 24th month following closing when it is obligated to pay an additional $1,500,000 in principal and interest at 5.25% on the unpaid balance ($16.5M) for the second year’s interest (with the first year’s interest being deferred for 10 years!). Obviously, Brashear personally could care less whether or not Gateway (JOY-FM) ever pays a penny after closing; his fees will have been paid in full and back to Nebraska he goes, smiling all the way.

Why, you might ask, would Gateway ever agree to pay the astronomical high price of $18M for KUFO-FM when it is worth by any professional estimation approximately $8-9M in a straightforward, cash-based transaction? The answer is because Gateway has nothing to lose and everything to gain. {Parenthetically, JOY-FM doesn’t have a “dime” ($200K on hand as of May 31, 2009), has lost money for the last 2 years on annual revenue of $1.5M according to its Form 990 filings for the past two years and is now engaged in a massive fund raising effort to raise the $1.5M necessary to close (see its website)}. After that – and as for the remaining $24,500,000! in principal and interest payments over years 2-10 following closing, well, “We’ll be praying…and hard”, you can hear them say.

For only $1.5M, JOY gets ownership and use of this valuable Church asset for 2 years. If it can’t raise the funds to continue the payments under the $16.5M Note, it figures that worst case it can sit down with the LCMS and try to renegotiate terms. For would the LCMS really stoop to an expensive and undoubtedly much publicized and embarrassing lawsuit against this “fine” Christian undertaking to enforce its unrealistic deal or to try to recover its station due to JOY’s default…or at least recover what’s left of it?

My theory explains many things. It explains the absurdly high price ($18M) Gateway is agreeing to (try to) pay; it explains Brashear’s bristling issuance of a “gag order” – he doesn’t want his percentage fee-based arrangement to get out; it explains his refusal to answer the very pointed and appropriate letter written to him by Bob Duesenberg in an effort to bring to light the nature and terms of his relationship with the LCMS Board; it explains Brashear’s breaking off of negotiations with Naomi Neidorff and friends – for after all, when your fee is based on a percentage of the purchase price, who cares about pursuing a $6-8 million deal when some hard praying “Christians” out west will agree to $18M?

A derivative action brought by Lutherans against their Board is the only way this deal can ever be “stopped” and the parties brought back to Square One. Apart from the loss of this excellent classical music in St. Louis, the proposed “sale” to Gateway – assuming Gateway can raise the $1,500,000 to close – represents the squandering of a very valuable Church asset by your Board which, one must conclude, was asleep at the switch when this snake Brashear entered its chambers….

Good luck to all of you.

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.

Comments

Interesting Outsider’s Take on the KFUO Sale — 475 Comments

  1. In a very early post, I stated, “Todd said that Classic 99 was ‘doing no gospel ministry’. Come on, Todd, that is a sensationalized claim, if not an untruth.”

    I woke up to Classic 99 this morning at 7 AM. Come on again, Pr. Wilken, right is right and wrong is wrong. There was a very strong ministry attesting to, as explained through with and under the music, the Christmas story.

    As I understand it, Broadcast Services guidelines have not been violated in the programming of Classic 99. Could other approaches have been attempted? Sure. Perhaps, for example, since the Jewish community of St Louis are a sizable chunk of the listenership, Apple of His Eye Ministries could have been appropriated some air space which they could then customize for their mission endeavor.

    I think the powers that be made a huge miscalculation here. Management could have done many things differently, but now is not the time for the confessional/conservatives to dissociate into factions. That is how we conservatives have made a habit of defeating ourselves.

  2. Hermann,

    If Classic 99 is airing the explicit Gospel message, then it can be said to be doing ministry. But for that matter, so can the local Country music station when it airs a church service on Sunday morning.

    And, I agree right is right and wrong is wrong. What the KFUO management has been doing in putting the FM before the AM in budget, staffing and development for years, to the detriment of the AM, is wrong.

    TW

  3. Hermann’s Arts Statistician :
    Perhaps, for example, since the Jewish community of St Louis are a sizable chunk of the listenership, Apple of His Eye Ministries could have been appropriated some air space which they could then customize for their mission endeavor.
    I think the powers that be made a huge miscalculation here. Management could have done many things differently, but now is not the time for the confessional/conservatives to dissociate into factions. That is how we conservatives have made a habit of defeating ourselves.

    This is tangential enough to be almost off topic, but since you mentioned it… I have a hard time relating those two paragraphs. As I recall, Apple of His Eye has proclaimed Christians and Jews to worship the same God, which is certainly contrary to God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Now is not the time–indeed, it is never the time–for Confessional Lutherans to participate in what denies or compromises that confession. Of course, the LCMS mission folks proclaimed that same thing in one of their bulletin inserts in the late ’90s/early ’00s (and may still be doing so, I don’t know), saying that they worship the same God, just ‘deficiently’.

    Again, Pr. Wilken is correct in his #452. Our Springfield, MO not-for-profit NPR- and MSU-affiliated station ‘does ministry’ like KFUO by playing the same sort of music as KFUO and airing things created by churches (“St. Paul Sunday,” etc.). Yet, if they ran identical programming, the folks at the Springfield station would in no way claim to be functioning as “a Christian radio station”.

    (Funny, us out of town people refer to it as KFUO and those in St. Louis refer to it as “Classic 99.” That, in itself, says a lot about the emphasis, the programming, and the perception of what the station is or is not by ‘Lutherans at large’ and by the St. Louis community.)

    EJG

  4. Rev. Eric J. Stefanski :
    This is tangential enough to be almost off topic, but since you mentioned it… I have a hard time relating those two paragraphs. As I recall, Apple of His Eye has proclaimed Christians and Jews to worship the same God, which is certainly contrary to God’s Word and the Lutheran Confessions.

    Could you point me to specific scripture and examples of confessions? As far as I know, the God of Abraham is the same God of both the Jews and the Lutherans. Come to think of it, Jesus was Jewish. Bear with me, I’ve only been a member of a church in the LCMS for 18 months. If we are going too far off topic, you can send me an email to gary (at) cellolee.com.
    Regarding the references to KFUO vs. Classic 99, I think of KFUO as referring to both the AM and FM. Otherwise, I try to be specific–AM or FM. If referring to FM, I find saying “Classic 99” is easier than saying “KFUO-FM”. When I played at Christ Memorial on Christmas Eve, an announcement was displayed that their Christmas Day service was being broadcast on KFUO and my immediate response was thinking “Which one?”

  5. @sam glasser #402

    @lccm #403

    Sam, LCCM,

    The FCC has what I sent them. It is part of the file, the staff has included it for the Media Bureau, and it has some notations about it. So anyone who has gone through the file (at the FCC in Washington) has seen it.

    At least one of the firms tells me that they do not serve, or use process servers, to notify licensee buyers and sellers. They do send them items by mail, in case of a petition to deny.

    The Media Bureau usually decides these things, unless they decide to send it to the full commission, or there is a successful appeal to do so.

    But, unfortunately from my point of view, the FCC usually limits itself to matters closer to their own regulatory purview. If a matter can be adjudicated in state or federal court, they tend (“tend” is operative here) to not deal with it.

    That’s just what I learned today, and that’s sketchy, and rough. But the source is good, so it’s probably accurate.

  6. @Pastor Tim Rossow #445
    Yes, that does make me happy. It’s good for brain development, too.

    lccm :
    I will say this: I respond much better to comments that are gentle in tone when it comes to enlightening my knowledge. I generally shut down otherwise.

    I’m with you on that. Years ago, when I was still Methodist, I’d hear broadcasts of Jack van Impe that would absolutely terrify me. (It doesn’t help that I’m physically sensitive to adrenaline, caffeine, etc.) Rather than draw me to faith he drove me into fear. I certain don’t buy into his eshcatology. [My wife likes to say jokingly that I’m pan-mil, that is, it will all pan out in the end.]

    BTW, I don’t like to be beaten over the head with a musical beat, either, although there are exceptions (like Stravinsky).

    I suspect that pastors are confronted with a variety of people, ranging from those who need a subtle message to those who really need God’s Word beaten into their heads. It must take discernment as well as guidance from the Holy Spirit to determine which approach to take in a given situation.

    LCCM, are you in St. Louis? If so, you might find me. You see the instrument I play and my surname in my identifier (I use the same on other boards), first name Gary. If you are in St. Louis I’m curious to know who you are and what instrument you play. I’m in the union (MASL/AFM) directory.

    Peace and blessings to all from Gary (Cello) Lee.

  7. Cellolee :
    Could you point me to specific scripture and examples of confessions? As far as I know, the God of Abraham is the same God of both the Jews and the Lutherans.

    The God of the Jews at the time of Abraham (and at the time of Christ) was triune; the false god of modern Jews is not.

    Verse-wise, things like John 5:23 come to mind: “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

    Confession-wise, the Athanasian Creed says “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.”

    Etc.

    The Muslims also claim to worship the God of Abraham while disowning Christ; we rightly say that their claim is incorrect. Were this not so, there would be no reason to bring Christ to the Muslims and Jews (something that van Impe–thank God you ran from him!–would think is the case for the Jews, anyway).

    EJG

  8. @Rev. Eric J. Stefanski #457
    Thanks so much, Pastor Stefanski. This is very helpful. Would the Jews from the time of Christ thought of God as triune? In the past, I have thought of the Jews as having an incomplete view of God, missing out on the Trinity and the Covenant through Christ.

    Sometimes I’ve questioned whether the Muslim Allah really lines up with the God of Abraham because of what attributes are connected with him as compared to what is in the Old Testament. Also, someone once preached that the name “Allah” came from a pagan god. (Was it moon? I’ve forgotten, as well as who it was who said it–maybe Pat Robertson, although I don’t normally watch his programs.)

    I almost referred to van Impe in my post above as a heretic. Am I out of line? I feel that way and have referred to him that way when talking about him. I rarely use the term “heretic”. I haven’t seen him on TV lately, but I reached a point where I’d turn him off or change the channel the moment he came on. His doom and gloom stuff would give me an awful physiological response, but that happens with thrillers, horror, and action movies also–my arrhythmic heart would go into palpitations. (Now more often I just get dizzy.)

    I’ve only recently become aware of the Athanasian Creed and looked it up. If I’ve heard it in a church I don’t remember, but I think it would have stood out to me. One of the standards we held during the two years we searched for a new church home was regular use of the creeds (particularly the Apostles and Nicene Creeds) and the Lord’s Prayer in their services. We visited an ELCA church that didn’t have creeds in the services. We asked the pastor and she said they only said the creeds during Lent. Obviously, we nixed that church from our list.

    Every day I’m learning something new and I thank God for that.

    GKL

  9. I have read every entry in this string and am impressed by the intellectual acuity and emotional sincerity I find. My assessment of the situation basically corresponds to that of Sam Glasser. I find myself doubly saddened–first by the potential loss of Classic 99 ( a true cultural assest for all of St. Louis) and secondly by my dimished respect for the LCMS (a conservative Christian organization my Saxon ancestors had a small role in helping to found in 1838-39)due to it’s handling (mishandling)of the sale. I pray that somehow, classic music can remain on the air in St. Louis, the LCMS can address it’s financial problems, KFUO-AM can continue broadcasting religious content and Joy FM can gain access to a more powerful airwave. This would present a win-win-win for all. There must be ways this can be accomplished if all parties would commit to this goal. LCMS is the linchpin of this scenario and has the opportunity to illustrate true Christian leadership to the entire St. Louis community. LCMS-please step up to the plate. This is a great opportunity to turn a public relations debacle into a public relations coup. You can do it!

  10. Cellolee :
    Would the Jews from the time of Christ thought of God as triune? In the past, I have thought of the Jews as having an incomplete view of God, missing out on the Trinity and the Covenant through Christ.

    Yes, at least those who were still faithful to God’s Word (cf. Simeon and Anna, Zaccharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary); the problem of the Jews of Jesus’ day was not with the doctrine of the Trinity, but with this Nazarene (who championed the Word over Tradition) claiming to be God the Son. In this respect it is like the resurrection: just as no one (at that time) ever questioned whether the body of Jesus was (“were”? sorry, not feeling well enough for grammar today, but that ‘feels like’ a contrary to fact clause that should get the imperfect) gone, just how it had gotten that way, so no one seems to have had any problem with “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” or John’s talking about Jesus’ baptizing them “with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The problem was…”Oh, good grief, not HIM!”

    Sometimes I’ve questioned whether the Muslim Allah really lines up with the God of Abraham because of what attributes are connected with him as compared to what is in the Old Testament. Also, someone once preached that the name “Allah” came from a pagan god. (Was it moon? I’ve forgotten, as well as who it was who said it–maybe Pat Robertson, although I don’t normally watch his programs.)

    I wouldn’t give much credence to the moon god argument, considering that Biblical critics try to make YHWH a storm god, etc. The case for it simply being a related root to the Hebrew and Aramaic words for ‘a god’ are better, with the initial ‘al’ having become affixed to the point that Allah is considered a proper name…but I’m no Arabic scholar. As to the attributes, not only do they not line up, but the Muslims deny the historical record, too, as to, e.g., which son Abraham was going to sacrifice. It is just like Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witnesses: a made up religion giving worship to either demons or figments of Man’s imagination that have been dressed up with either some of the same names as the true God or some of the same stories.

    I almost referred to van Impe in my post above as a heretic. Am I out of line?

    I really haven’t studied him enough to say; I simply dismiss him out of hand with the rest of those who reject the sacraments and screw up eschatology. Whether he actually stands apart from the Church altogether, though, I couldn’t say at this point.

    EJG

  11. Cellolee in #456:

    Back in business after a long hiatus!
    I have sent you a message to the email address on your website. Looking forward to your response.
    LCCM

  12. @lccm #430

    Hello, LCCM (and everybody else!),

    I’m sorry this took so long, but I’ve been a transcontinental ping pong ball for several weeks now. I thank you, LCCM, for your kind words, but I don’t think I can live up to the assessment. I don’t think I have said or done anything out of the ordinary for the other pastors on this thread, we just differ on the issue of the sale of KFUO FM.

    I also know that you realize that your faith is a gift of God, which He gives you through the means of the Word and the Sacrament. I don’t have much to do with that, because this thread is a limited context and a narrow venue. You get those things from the divine service.

    There is, however, some confusion on this thread, but it’s not a confusion on your part. It might be mine, but I’ll try to follow up on a few more things.

  13. Rev. Eric J. Stefanski :

    lccm :
    Thank you for the clarification, Todd. No misrepresentations intended. I disagree with your position, that’s all.

    That’s a shame; his position is that of the Lutheran Confessions.
    More importantly, however, it would be good if the childish vilification of Pr. Wilken would cease. Every time one of you paints him as the enemy, in league with Kieschnick, Brashear, or whoever, you are both sinning and losing credibility.
    There are plenty of good doctrinal reasons to leave the LCMS; the sale of a radio station is not one of them.
    This thread has just devolved into sickness.
    EJG

    Eric,

    You admit elsewhere that you may not have read this thread in its entirety, so perhaps doing that would help you. As far as I can tell, the participants on this thread have been quite good, and have made some excellent points.

    So what do you mean by sickness? I may consider your reasons for leaving, or joining, the lcms to be silly or trivial, or perhaps not, but I don’t know. But that doesn’t make you sick.

    So would the sickness be your contribution, or are you referring to what others have written?

  14. Rev. Eric J. Stefanski :

    lccm :
    Thank you for the clarification, Todd. No misrepresentations intended. I disagree with your position, that’s all.

    That’s a shame; his position is that of the Lutheran Confessions.
    More importantly, however, it would be good if the childish vilification of Pr. Wilken would cease. Every time one of you paints him as the enemy, in league with Kieschnick, Brashear, or whoever, you are both sinning and losing credibility.
    There are plenty of good doctrinal reasons to leave the LCMS; the sale of a radio station is not one of them.
    This thread has just devolved into sickness.
    EJG

    Eric,

    Here’s the second question I have about your comment: how is Todd’s position that of the Lutheran Confessions? Have you read his reasons for selling KFUO FM above? They do not mention the confessions.

    I think this is the confusion. Let’s consider the proposition stated elsewhere:

    “Classical Music is not the Gospel”.

    That’s not an argument about buying or selling anything. When it is invoked in this context, it is a tautology, not an argument. Consider:

    “Poor relief is not the Gospel”, therefore we should eliminate poor relief (Human Care).

    “Medical missions are not the Gospel” so we should eliminate and not pay for that either.

    “Disaster Relief is not the Gospel”. Now we’re saving lots of money for the LCMS.

    “Buildings and seminaries are not the Gospel”. You bethca.

    “Church buildings are not the Gospel”.

    “Salaries are not the Gospel”.

    I think I have solved everyone’s budget problems here. And I could on, and much further.

    Nothing but the Gospel is the Gospel. That’s true, but when used in this way, it’s Gospel Reductionism used in a new context, that of Ablaze, of Church Growth, of Success theology.

    You can make an argument for selling KFUO FM, like Todd has. But would claiming the confessional “mantle” for arguing for the sale be another form of vilification directed at those who oppose it?

  15. Rev. Eric J. Stefanski :

    lccm :

    See, I would consider him to be sinning.

    Consider how Gordon Bynum has approached things.

    Not to take anything away from what he has done, and admitting that I may have missed a post or two, I don’t recall him calling you (or CGO) to repent for mischaracterizing Pr. Wilken, nor for your contradicting the Smalcald Articles. Doing such a thing automatically makes one seem much more caustic; I know, as I’ve been on the receiving end of such posts, too.
    EJG (whose classical music ponderings–and daughter’s Christmas gift–are now whether ‘Concert Ukulele’ is [or should be] a contradiction in terms…)

    Eric,

    I think you have some interesting ideas in the full comment on the thread, but I want to make it clear that no, I have not called upon you to repent of calling this thread “sick”, nor have I asked Todd to repent of wishing for the demise of a marvelous asset (KFUO FM) that had, and could have, so much potential for teaching the genuine doctrine and practice of the church (present tense may or may not be included here), and I have not suggested that LCCM repent, nor have I asked you to repent for asking LCCM to repent…

    I suppose I could have done all this, but I have not. Perhaps you can change my mind on this, but were I to do this, my fear would be that it would devalue and belittle something that is very important, namely, confession and forgiveness, and turn these things into a cheap debating trick when I’m losing an argument that I can’t win on the facts or merits. So I’m not calling for repentance from anyone on this thread. That might change, and certainly repentance, confession and forgiveness are wonderful things.

    I would have a similar difficulty about injecting the Confessions into this thread. Evidently, Todd appears to share this hesitance, because in the thread which he started:

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=4343#comment-69105

    “Classical Music ISN’T the Gospel, by Todd Wilken”

    he does not include a single quote from, or mention of, the Confessions. Todd will chime in here if he likes, but I would certainly say that his position does not contradict the confessions. And that’s about as far as we can go here; to claim more than that would be “Confessional Positivism”, which (like the law in Prussia) would tell you that if the Confessions do not explicitly command a thing, it is forbidden. I’m not sure how your church handles that, but the position of Lutheran Orthodoxy (and the historic Missouri Synod) is otherwise.

    I think I see the point you are trying to make with the Smalcald Articles (Part III, Article 8). Faith always is given by means, and the means are the Word and the Sacraments, not the enthusiasms of the heart, or reason, or some other individual or group faculty or means. But the context for Smalcald III, VIII, is the “the enumeration of sins”, which “ought to be free to every one, as to what he wishes to enumerate or not to enumerate.” That’s the actual text from the Smalcald Articles. I think I can see where you are trying to go with this (and I might agree with you) but the text you quote cannot be stretched that far.

    Why not let Todd’s argument stand on its own, without confusing or obfuscating it with quotes from the Confessions?

  16. Todd Wilken :
    LCCM,
    Please don’t misrepresent my position on Classical Music. Also, please don’t misrepresent Dr. Kieschnick’s view either –I believe he has claimed agnosticism regarding the sale of Classic 99.
    My position is that the explicit Word of the Gospel creates saving faith. If classical music (or any music for that matter contains that explicit Gospel, then it is a tool of the Holy Spirit. If it is instrumental or has no explicit Gospel, it’s just music. If you don’t agree, take it up with the Lutheran Confessions, not me.
    Here’s my position, and a response to those who equate classical music with the Gospel:
    https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=4343
    TW

    Todd,

    I tried to take it up with the Confessions, but I am unable to find the phrase “the word of the Gospel”. I’m sure the phrase is in there somewhere, but to make it simple, my position is that faith is given by God by the means of grace, the Word and the Sacraments, in whatever way and in whomever, the Holy Spirit decides. I don’t think you disagree, but just checking; you might want to include Baptism.

    In spite of what he would like to be the appearance, I don’t think President Kieschnick’s position is one of agnosticism. Anyone who voted (secretly or otherwise) to give a cloaked committee sole discretion to sell KFUO FM is responsible for their decision. So he is responsible, like the other directors, for the sale. I believe he would like to avoid that responsibility, and that may convince some people, but that’s not accurate.

    You can read what I have above this post, but in short, I don’t think challenging or exposing a position, or its weaknesses, is a misrepresentation. I think the give and take here is pretty good, and like Pastor Rossow says, the people here are not all that bad at thinking. This may also be the longest thread on JTS (460 plus postings?), and it has contributions from those who are outside of the LCMS and Lutheranism entirely, and they have made some stellar contributions.

  17. Todd Wilken :
    LCCM,
    You wrote, “but I frankly am appalled by the anger from pastors like you”
    Really? Where is my previous post do you detect anger? Perhaps you assume it, I don’t know. I was just trying to clarify my position that you misrepresented, that’s all.
    Frankly, the only anger I’ve encountered in the FM mess has been from those trying to thwart the sale. Would you like to read my email from them?
    CGO,
    You wrote, “You and the CCM folks win.”
    You may not know this, but I’m a critic of CCM; I think most of it is insipid, theologically hollow and has been detrimental to the life of the Church and the LCMS in particular. So, please don’t lump me in with the “CCM folks.”
    And, I have stated here several times that I would prefer that the FM signal remain the home of classical music in St. Louis –just not under LCMS ownership.
    TW

    Todd,

    I would like to read your email from the people attempting to “thwart” the sale, but I don’t think that would be ethical. I, personally, would like to “stop” the sale, not “thwart” it. But you can see my comments above about “stalling tactic”.

    I think there is, probably, quite a bit of justifiable anger over the sale. Now that the facts of the compensation for Mr. Brashear are coming out, I can’t say I would blame anyone for expressing outrage. So that anger you’re seeing, or reading, may be perfectly understandable; a sitting director on the board of a church might get a large sum of money selling an asset that the board controls. But that was Sam’s guess at the beginning of this thread, and it turns out he may be on the button.

    You, too, may have good reason to be angry, but you are in the unfortunate position of defending an action that you support (justifiably) when it was done in a morally (and perhaps legally) indefensible way. So, yes, I get it, you do not defend the way it was done, but you may be getting the flack from those who don’t make that distinction. I’m sorry about that, and I empathise.

  18. @Gordon Bynum #464 & #465

    Personally, I had lost interest in this topic while you were gone; KFUO is, of course, not my asset and has absolutely no effect on my life here; the only thing that really had me hanging on was the bad theology and the attempts to make Todd Wilken the enemy.

    In reading your posts today, I thought, at first, that I would correct you; in the end, however, I have decided that wading through your smart-alecky tone and the multiple aspersions cast is simply not worth my time. The thread got “sick” when when people started misrepresenting Todd Wilken–and continued to do so even after being shown that such is what they were doing–and when there was insistence on music converting people apart from the “external word”; your not seeing how the Smalcald Articles addressing that latter point is by no means a “stretch” leaves me without any desire to continue in this discussion, as it is simply dismaying to see LCMS folks twist the Confessions into submission.

    As to repentance, I am glad that you value it so highly that you refuse to call upon those who publicly slander a pastor of your church body to repent for having done so, lest confession and absolution be cheapened. (Wait, no, somehow that just doesn’t make sense…but, then again, that makes it utterly fit for this thread.)

    EJG

  19. lccm :
    I’ve been warned by a Confessional pastor I greatly admire about this and other sites. He has said that things can get rough, especially if I offer an opinion that either makes people think or perhaps is not doctrinally correct. So I enter the fray at my own risk, I realize.

    This was my quote and I wish to clarify. When I say ‘makes people think’, I should have added ‘about classical musicians and music in ways they might not have thought about previously’, for that was my intent and the context of my conversations with one confessional pastor.

  20. Rev. Eric J. Stefanski :
    @Gordon Bynum #464 & #465

    In reading your posts today, I thought, at first, that I would correct you; in the end, however, I have decided that wading through your smart-alecky tone and the multiple aspersions cast is simply not worth my time. The thread got “sick” when when people started misrepresenting Todd Wilken–and continued to do so even after being shown that such is what they were doing–and when there was insistence on music converting people apart from the “external word”; your not seeing how the Smalcald Articles addressing that latter point is by no means a “stretch” leaves me without any desire to continue in this discussion, as it is simply dismaying to see LCMS folks twist the Confessions into submission.

    Eric,

    Well, please, do correct me if you find you have the time and inclination to do so. I would suggest that these threads are a discussion, and they require a response back and forth. I’m interested in what you have to say, but that has to be reciprocal for a discussion, or a thread. You can read what I wrote about external means above:

    @Gordon Bynum #467

    And the precise passage you wanted to reference from Smalcald III, Article 8 is, I think, 10:

    “Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments.”

    But I already made that point above. Luther starts Smalcald pt. III, art. VIII stating his opposition to what is called Auricular Confession, and concludes it by criticising the Spiritualists. Both are forms of enthusiasm; the papacy happens to be a mass enthusiasm by many in a more organized fashion, the spiritualists are a less organised form of enthusiasm.

    As to repentance, I am glad that you value it so highly that you refuse to call upon those who publicly slander a pastor of your church body to repent for having done so, lest confession and absolution be cheapened. (Wait, no, somehow that just doesn’t make sense…but, then again, that makes it utterly fit for this thread.)
    EJG

    Well, Eric, should you ever decide to continue the conversation here on this thread, I would be pleased to read what you have to write on the actual topic at hand, and the substantive discussion. But you will be challenged, and you might consider that sick, or smart alecky, or casting aspersions, but the rest of us seem to do OK with being questioned, and clarifying and correcting our position.

  21. @LCCM #470

    Hello, LCCM,

    Strangely enough, your Confessional Pastor is correct, but Pastor Rossow is more correct (how’s that for splitting hairs!). I’m glad you decided to enter the fray here, at your own risk, and yes, it did (and does) get rough, but you have greatly helped my thinking on the matter, and I think Pastor Rossow would agree that you made this discussion that much better.

    I don’t know who is still following this (Sam, I hope), but I should have a series of questions for the Board of Directors for the LCMS next week, and I’m hoping to get congregations and pastors to send it to them for their written response. It appears that the FCC part of the process is going to continue, and there may not be that much of an impediment to the sale, but we won’t know until their process is over. It may be that the best hope now is to give as much exposure as possible as to how this was done, and the members of synod (congregations mostly, but also pastors) have to push the issue.

    I think you already alluded to this above, so I’ll post here when I have the questions on the internet, and hopefully sent off to the Directors in Saint Louis.

    And, to all here, a Glorious Christmas of the Gentiles, that is, Epiphany! Another of my favorite philosophers, Yogi Berra, opined that “It ain’t over till it’s over”. We may start Christmas way too late for Walmart and the retail industry, but we don’t stop, really, until the “Gesima” Sundays (or whatever the new hymnal does with that).

  22. Gordon Bynum :

    And the precise passage you wanted to reference from Smalcald III, Article 8 is, I think, 10:
    “Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments.”
    But I already made that point above. Luther starts Smalcald pt. III, art. VIII stating his opposition to what is called Auricular Confession, and concludes it by criticising the Spiritualists. Both are forms of enthusiasm; the papacy happens to be a mass enthusiasm by many in a more organized fashion, the spiritualists are a less organised form of enthusiasm.

    No, you didn’t actually make a point. You attempted to make that statement of the Confessions non-applicable, as if it only applies to the enumeration of sins, etc. That simply doesn’t wash.

    Well, Eric, should you ever decide to continue the conversation here on this thread, I would be pleased to read what you have to write on the actual topic at hand, and the substantive discussion. But you will be challenged, and you might consider that sick, or smart alecky, or casting aspersions, but the rest of us seem to do OK with being questioned, and clarifying and correcting our position.

    Y’know, anybody who knows me, anybody whose read anything I’ve done over the past couple of decades in the Ministry, knows that I have no problem being questioned, challenged, or what have you. What’s irritating is your snotty little accusations–such as the “I don’t know if your diocese is into Confessional Positivism” crack–and the continuation of the same behavior in the above-cited. The simple fact is that Todd Wilken’s theological statement accords with the Confessions and LCCM’s does not…and that said theological statement neither determines that the station should be sold, nor that it shouldn’t. At any rate, thinking that one is converted by music apart from the Word is also enthusiasm.

    Again, what’s sick about this thread is that some of the posters have misrepresented Pr. Wilken and the rest of the posters have thought it well to let Todd defend himself, which is just unseemly. I know it’s unseemly, because I’m having to do it myself, too, because you seem unable to discuss the issue without making statements that personalize it and seek to misrepresent the theological position of others.

    When you stop engaging in such things, a discussion could take place; until then, I see no real point in giving you things to misconstrue and use to mischaracterize me or anyone else. With the hatchet job you guys are doing on Wilken, a wretch like me doesn’t stand a chance; if Todd were the fabricator of information that he’s been portrayed as, I think we all would have supported his firing instead of opposing it.

    But, here I’ve been baited into responding to you because, again, you could not deal with what has been said without making an accusation. And, yes, whether you ask a theologian, a psychologist, or ‘the man on the street’, that’s sick.

    EJG

  23. To change the tone of this thread if only for a moment……
    A dear friend gave this to me today from his church:

    A Word From Pastor (Dr.) Joel Biermann
    The creation and celebration of feelings of awe, delight, and even reverence are things that we expect of art. Art should move us in the center of our beings and resonate in some almost mystical way with our thoughts and our emotions. And so people may conclude that art is not only highly subjective (“in the eye of the beholder”) but something quite optional–nice, but not necessary–something for people with too much time and too much money. But this misses the essence and significance of art.

    The Christian faith has always understood that art is not a diversion of the elite, merely optional, or a matter of whim or personal taste. St. Paul made it explicit in his letter to the believers in Philippi: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8) Truth and beauty belong toggether. They must not ever be pulled apart. What is true is beautiful. What is beautiful is true.

    This premise invites a number of observations. First, it means that if it is to be good (that is, beautiful and true), art must conform to God’s reality. What glorifies evil and what sympathizes with sin is neither good nor true. It is not good art. The inseparable union and correspondence of art, truth, and beauty also mean that art–the expression of beauty and truth and the invitation to relish and embrace beauty and truth–must always accompany our proclamation of God’s truth. It cannot be otherwise. God’s truth must eventuate in the expression and glorification of this truth. So it is that the Gospel generates art…always. It is not an option.

    The lively and indivisible relationship between God’s truth and human art should also make clear that art is not its own justification. It is not “art for art’s sake” but art for God’s sake and for man’s sake. Art must serve a purpose other than itself. Still, one must not succumb to the tyranny of pragmatism that demands some “useful” function for art. To be the human creature that God intended, man will commune with his Creator and savor the truth and beauty that belong to God, and he will do this with art. Yes, art will teach. Even when it doesn’t intend to do so, good art will always teach about God’s truth; but a “moral” or lesson need not be apparent for art to be good. Whether in the form of music, prose, poetry, or the visual arts, art finds its justification when it echoes and reveres God’s truth and beauty. When art does this, those who encounter it will be enticed and even compelled to participate in the contemplation and enjoyment of God’s truth and beauty.

    Of course, this encourter will not always be easy. God’s truth is often difficult. It confronts. It challenges. It is sometimes altogether unpleasant. So when art is faithful, it will prompt similar responses. Art is not always easy. It is not always comfortable. It may be unpleasant. The one considering it may conclude that he does not like it. Yet, regardless the reactions it provokes, it si good art and it is beautiful because it is true.

    With awe, and joy, then…and with humility and wary reverence…we receive the gift that God gives: truth and beauty confronting the senses. Such is the gift of art.

  24. This thread has gone on long enough with enough false accusations and assertions. I’m closing this thread. If there is any new news about this topic feel free to email us and we may create another post on this site for further discussion.