Wisconsin Synod Updates its Website – Liturgy and Lutheran Confessions are Front and Center, by Pr. Rossow

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has recently updated its website. It is attractive and  easy to maneuver but best of all  it puts the Lutheran Confessions and traditional liturgical worship front and center. Those are two of the major works to which  the Brothers of John the Steadfast are committed and so we like the new WELS  website.

Those of you who listened to Pastor Wilken interview Mark Schroeder, the new WELS president a few months ago will not be surprised by the new look of their website because he is clearly a strong leader and is both godly and churchly. President Schroeder also has a twice-monthly newsletter that outlines newsworthy items that he addresses for the members of the WELS. You can check it out and even subscribe  by clicking here.

It is good to see President Schroeder  forthrightly promote the Lutheran Confessions and  liturgical worship  in the WELS. They of course have their problems with congregations  making use of harmful  tactics from the Church  Growth Movement and frankly speaking their new hymnal is not as liturgical as the new LCMS hymnal  but at least their president is working to do something about   the abuse of Church Growth principles in the WELS and is openly speaking in favor of traditional liturgical worship.

A quick review of the “Worship” section of the WELS website makes it clear that they are light years ahead (or behind as the case may be) of our Council of Presidents (COP) in promoting the historic liturgy. We are pleased that our COP began to address the issue of worship with their recently released theses but they fall short of actually supporting liturgical worship as the WELS folks do. As I recall, the COP theses do not even use the word “liturgical” in describing Lutheran worship. They talk about the liturgy but do not commend “liturgical worship.” The operative words for the WELS are “liturgical” and “traditional.” The operative notion for the COP is “freedom.” In an effort to not impose a worship “style” on anyone they err on the side of freedom. As I  have argued in the comments section on our post on the  “Laramie Project” issue, Christians are not free but are servants, even slaves of righteousness, to quote St. Paul. It is refreshing to see a Lutheran synod that sees itself as a servant of historic liturgical worship rather than as free to rule over it. The COP theses are a good start but until our district presidents get over their dedication to “freedom” the LCMS will be in a world of hurt and will not be a historic and traditional church.

On matters of worship and the promotion of the Lutheran Confessions the WELS is a model that the LCMS leadership can look to for guidance. The new WELS website can be viewed here: www.wels.net.

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.


Wisconsin Synod Updates its Website – Liturgy and Lutheran Confessions are Front and Center, by Pr. Rossow — 3 Comments

  1. On a related matter, I visited an ELS congregation in a Chicago area suburb one Sunday this past Summer, and just a few pages into their hymnal I found the complete Augsburg Confession. I liked that a lot and was careful to tell them so. The service, of course, was completely liturgical. I viewed it as a little oasis in the middle of what has largely become a vast evangelical wasteland.

  2. The new site is wonderful! (was good before too) The new Q & A section was started from scratch, but should fill quickly. When you ask a question, you get a post haste personal answer & most seem to be posted. Asked one about missions in EU & UK, was promptly posted on the Q & A.
    President Schoeder has quite the uphill battle, but what a blessing this man is!
    I pray the LCMS can right the ship, there is truly a marked difference in sites, & well…in denoms at this point. ( Church & Change WELS form of Emergent/CGM is being held somewhat at bay, LCMS…not so much)
    Prayfully, after this coming summer, change will come to the LCMS, in more than just to the LCMS website!!!

  3. I chuckled when the God Whisperers joked (?) in the opening of their interview with Pastor Harrison (posted Nov 24) that LCMS was the last Lutheran church. Oh, Isaiah! The Remnant is far bigger than you think!

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