(Editor’s Note by Pastor Rossow: Carol Wysocki is a lay-woman from the Chicago area. After enduring the saga detailed below she began doing countless hours of research into the loss of the traditional Lutheran church. She has as business background and has noticed that a lot of warmed-over corporate trends are being followed in the church. We are hoping that she will be able to take the time and expand on each of the significant points below so that we and others can benefit from her study on how LCMS leaders, pastors and layman are hi-jacking the historically strong Biblical and confessional church and turning it into a feminized, trendy community determined by market forces and cultural preference.)
Here is the saga of my recent experience in a LCMS church. I was the victim of a “bait and switch” in the Northern Illinois District. I thought I was joining a LCMS church and I ended up in a Willow Creek style clone church. Thank you for the opportunity to warn or alert other unsuspecting Lutherans.
I was catechized back in the day when LCMS pastors did not hold back on teaching difficult doctrines to their catechumens: like syncretism, ecumenism, and unionism. I was taught properly. I remember the material. I drifted away from the church, and I put myself in the “unchurched” classification for a long time. In 2003, I commenced a five-year period of confinement taking take care of an aged parent. It was during that period with a lot of discretionary time that I renewed my mind and read the Scriptures.
When released of my caregiver responsibilities I attempted to reconnect to the church and checked into the local LCMS parish. The LCMS is still generally reputed to be a faithful denomination. I chose the brand, not the church. I was not acquainted with anyone in that church or either pastor. My time there lasted about 15 months and my experience began in the June 2008.
Upon completion of my re-education class in Lutheran doctrine in December 2008, I was made to pledge to join a Bible study or Small Group. I chose Bible study. The small group idea did not appeal to me. Small groups are not consistent with my recollection of LCMS church practices. From that time forward I would see a lot of things not consistent with my childhood experiences in the LCMS church.
Traditional worship was familiar to me except for the big Jumbotron screen in the front of the sanctuary and an empty pulpit. The biggest inconsistency with what I knew of the “old” LCMS was the semon content delivered to the congregants. I kept waiting for the pastors to proclaim the full gospel and never once did I hear any mention of sin, repentance, justification, heaven, or the certainty of God’s future judgment. Instead the senior pastor would regularly deliver a “sermonette” with sentimental platitudes and a superficial exposition of the NT reading. I began to notice there are not a lot of men attending worship, and my own husband of 37 yrs. would never sit through a “relational”, “nurturing” feminized sermon.
Sermons accompanied with ‘fill in the blank’ outlines are passed out to worshippers. There are almost always three big fill in the blank statements like: â€¨”God will bless me if I _______ and ________.” and â€¨”To overcome your fears, you must _______ and _____.” It is not my experience to have a pastor say, “Can I get an Amen?” for affirmation of a statement that he made during sermons or do hand holding prayers.
(In the second and concluding post of this telling saga we will hear how the sermons are focused on good works, how Chuck Colson, George Barna and other non-Lutherans are the “mentors” of the congregation, and the “contemporary service” that has very few young people attending and other bothersome characteristics in this parish that has rejected our grandfathers’ church.)