More Good Stuff Found by Norm – Wild Boar Clarifies the Purpose of Circuits

The Wild Boar posted a helpful description of the purpose for circuits in the synod. (The LCMS is organized into districts and districts are organized into circuits – collections of about 10 neighboring congregations.) You can view the Boar’s blog by clicking here. This is his recent post on circuits.

The Primary Purpose of Circuits  is????

The BRTFSSG has recommended that we “Restore Circuits to Their Primary Purpose”. This sounds like a really good idea to me. I have long argued for the title “circuit visitor” over “circuit counselor”. After all, they were originally visitation circuits, and restoring that would be of great benefit to the synod.

But what do I find when reading through the report? Not one mention of visitation. None.

This “critical to the success of this restructuring proposal” would simply change the way that circuit visitors are nominated. They would be nominated by the District President, rather than by the circuit. According to the Task Force, since they are an extension of the District President’s office, the District President should have input in their selection. This is the exact opposite of the primary purpose of the circuit.

The circuit is the place for the CONGREGATIONS of the circuit and their pastors to meet, discuss theological matters, and yes, receive visitations from a trusted local pastor who can inquire in to the life and practice of the congregation and her pastor to insure that all is working according to our common confession. What a nice utopian idea.

The idea that the Circuit Visitor should be appointed from above (and idea that the TF admits was dear to its heart and only given up unwillingly) shows that, instead of restoring the circuit to its primary purpose, they plan to enshrine the current administrative practice, thereby reducing the congregational nature of circuits.

I’m not an MBA (but I play one on TV), but even to me this is an obvious attempt to gather power centrally. How can you claim that it increases the congregational focus of circuits to have the leader of the circuit appointed from above? And why is this specific proposal critical to the success of the entire venture?

There is only one reason that I can conceive of to explain this. The District Presidents no longer want congregations to have a voice in selecting Circuit Visitors, because too often the Circuit Visitors are not aligned visionally with the District President.

A look at Rome would be instructive. The American Roman Church is, by and large, very liberal. Yet the leadership is almost exclusively conservative. Why is that? The pope appoints all officials. And the last two popes, covering a period of thirty years, have been very conservative.

Are most District Presidents elected after serving only in a parish? No. Most are elected after years in a parish, serving as a circuit visitor, eventually being elected to the District Presidium or Board of Directors, etc. By making the Circuit Visitor an appointed position, the District President chooses the future leaders, making sure that all future leaders of the district are “in his image.”

How they can justify this as a proposal to be more congregation-focused is utterly beyond me, but I believe that defeating this proposal is critical to any attempt to restore the congregational nature of our synod.

Final note : The idea that requiring circuits to meet and discuss theology would have any effect at all is ludicrous. They are supposed to do that now. We have, black letter, a requirement that all congregations be visited every triennium. Aside from one or two stubbornly Paleolithic districts, it simply doesn’t happen. So, circuit forum by fiat will be no more successful under the new proposal than under the current one.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

More Good Stuff Found by Norm – Wild Boar Clarifies the Purpose of Circuits — 27 Comments

  1. First, I agree with your basic premise that returning to circuit visitors would be a good and healthy thing to do and that the claim that their suggestions about circuits are not a return to a better and older model. However, there are a few points I would like to make.

    1) Technically, they are called “Visitation Circuits” (5.1.1) with a “Circuit Counselor” placed as the chief officer “of the circuit.” (5.2.1.) This is notable as they are called upon to only assist the District President. Under our current system the Circuit Counselor is not an arm of the DP (although some may view their office as being this) but rather as an officer of the circuit working with and to assist the District President as he is often many miles away and sometimes even residing in a different culture than the circuit. This distance, I believe, is the strongest point for a circuit choosing their own man, as they understand their circumstances better than anyone outside their circuit.

    2) The District Presidents right now select a Circuit Counselor in the case of a vacancy. So the suggestion by the task force is really not making something new as much as it is making an exception to be the norm. In this point, it would be like making emergency baptisms the norm instead of the exception.

    3) In defense of the circuit counselors, they (according to by-laws) are only to do visitation “when requested to do so by the district president). The thought behind this is that there should be a visit every 3 years and this can be by the DP, an Area V.P., the circuit counselor, or a representative of the president. In the understanding of the By-Laws, a large percentage of churches are inded visited, although this may not be the circuit counselor who does this.

    4) Finally, as for the serving in other areas within the Synod., all those that you mention are additional responsibilities that are taken upon pastors, usually as they are continuing to serve within a congregation. Many of the DP’s were elected out of full-time parish work while also serving in other positions within the Circuit, District, and Synod. Among that list you could also add the auxillaries LWML Counselor, working wiht the LLL or working with other agencies while also serving your church like LFL, Bethesda, our many camp ministries, or even this organization.

  2. Thanks for posting the wild boar!!! Confessional’s Bytes, Jim Pierce’s site, is also stellar!!! He speaks lovingly, but with such great Truth!!! I wonder that he hasn’t been posted at BJS before!!! His last 4 posts, are rather telling, in referrence to what articles have been posted here as of late.
    How is it, we have such a tendency, to be so guarded (1st, comes me) but not willing to speak the Truth we cling to, in such open honesty. I do hope to see his posts here, soon! They are much needed & would profit the Church much!!!!

  3. Given the argumentation that circuit counselors are functionaries/assistants to the district president, our circuit memorialized the district at its last convention that the district pay these men for their work. Of course, this came out of the floor committee as the circuits providing a stipend. I moved that the original memorial be substituted for the floor committee’s version, but it did not pass. The convention then passed the version as moved by the floor committee (circuits be encouraged to provide a stipend for circuit counselors). But if circuit counselors are DISTRICT officials then district funds should pay for them (stipend, mileage, expenses, etc.), not circuits.

  4. If circuts & districts, actually did what they were to do, we wouldn’t have churches like Lake Point, Hot Springs, AR. Baptism after conversion by immersion, & doesn’t recognize infant baptism? What a stellar job our circuit counselors & district presidents are doing. Not.

  5. Careful, Dutch. There are confessional circuit counselors who are doing their best to influence their brother pastors to be faithful. Some circuits are a real mix of theologies, so the work isn’t always easy. I’d far rather have a faithful Lutheran pastor as circuit counselor guiding the agenda for study, avoiding purpose driven junk and leading and encouraging in depth study of Scripture and the Confessions than the alternative. And if circuit counselors have a tough job, district presidents who want to promote confessional Evangelical Lutheranism rather than “Lutheran” evangelicalism have it even more difficult. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush. There are men out there who have a tough enough job swimming against the current LCMS flow. It would be a lot worse without them.

  6. John, I read the article over at the original site, when it was posted. There are a few things that should already be going on & done, that, well aren’t. I know it’s a tough job for the few who do it. I can’t imagine knowing what should be done, but being powerless to actually execute their duties. But John, those who you refer to, are few in number. If this change goes through, they’ll be an endangered species, if not close to extinct.
    You are blest, you have such, many do not.

  7. John,
    Kids are now at school, so now I can post. I have a challenge for you, friendly & fact finding only, mind you.

    The LCMS has 34 districts, + one subset Synod/district, SELC. Go to each district website, & read their news, views, upcoming events, and statement of mission or faith, etc.

    Now, try to see, what you read, hear or watch, through the eyes of someone who has come out of Emergent Christianity/ Emergent Church Movement/Church Growth Movement. What would you see & recognize (fear) if you read these 35 district’s sites? How many, would or could you truly say are “confessional” as in holding true to what they say they teach or believe? From what you know to be “confessional”.
    What our/their constitutions & bylaws. as written state. What events do you see.. that fit what you have just left behind? What congregations, are held up as examples & why? Who, are the watchmen & gatekeepers? Protectors & shepherds?
    Mr Magness, in an interview, used the “Forest Gump” quote. “The LCMS is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what your going to get”. Is that, what someone who has flown, from what they saw, as apostate or false teaching, going to look to, for safety? No.

    Is someone, who grew up LCMS, & departed (for whatever reason), who is looking for what they once knew going to find it?
    In which districts, based on published material & verbage, where would, what you see, send you, for “confessional worship or fellowship?

    It would send you, John, somewhere else. The LCMS has no clue who it is, so if I would be looking to see who I was in Christ, or what I was raised to believe the LCMS was…why go to somewhere…who has no clue who they are or as a Synod has no clue what it is?

    Would you seek out what Districts, Circuts, & Congregations, based on what you see, hear & read? No, your eternal being, is worth more than is offered or valued there, at this place & time.

    After you try that, ask me again how well the job/s are being done. Authority, always comes with great weight, responsiblity, cost & consequence. It is why the Scriptures say we are at war & fight battles. What battle, do you think isn’t tough & comes at great cost & price? None compare to the One we fight for or on the behalf of Him! It’s hard, oh bother. You should know, full well, what you accept & take on, PRIOR to doing so, & to whom you answer to & for!
    Those you say are confessional, do the members of the congregations they shepherd & visit see & know it? If so, they are on the endangered species list, and ready to move to the extinct list.
    Try it, see what you see, through they eyes of someone…
    who doesn’t know what or who, you know.

  8. Having eperienced a complert breakdown of District and Circuit discipline in dealing with a seriously manipulating, narcissistic pastor I think it would be most helpful if the Circuit could deliver prompt discipline where needed. ‘Obviously regarding theology and doctrine but also the manner in which a Pastor treats people. Thier early involvement could prevent some of the lawsuits over these issues.

  9. Mames,
    You can’t say that word. We don’t “do” discipline. We embrace diversity to promote unity.
    Sounds just as silly when I type it, doesn’t it?

  10. Dutch,

    It seems my brief comments weren’t clear. I’m not sure I’ll be successful, but I’ll try once more.

    You said in post #4: “What a stellar job our circuit counselors & district presidents are doing. Not.” As far as I’m concerned, that paints with far too broad a brush. There may only be 7,000 faithful left in Israel, but they don’t deserve to be grouped with the hundreds of thousands who have bowed the knee to Baal. I’m as concerned as you are about the direction of the LCMS, probably even more. But it doesn’t do to condemn every circuit counselor and every district president. I think Johannes would agree with me.

    In post #6 you write: “I can’t imagine knowing what should be done, but being powerless to actually execute their duties.” If you double check the LCMS constitution and bylaws and, if you can get your hands on one, the Circuit Counselor’s Handbook, you’ll see that you used a pretty good word there. Powerless. The fact is that Circuit Counselors don’t have any power. The only authority they have is that which their district president may delegate to them in a very particular circumstance, and then only to the limits he allows. They can’t even make an official visit a circuit congregation without an invitation from the pastor and congregation. The only thing circuit counselors have is influence, the ability to give direction to circuit studies, to encourage confessional topics and discourage the worst excesses of evangelical Christianity. But it’s a lot like herding cats. They can’t force anyone to to anything, not even to attend meetings of the circuit pastors.

    Regarding post #7, I’m afraid I don’t have the time or inclination to read all the district websites. Fortunately they don’t reflect what’s going on in many congregations. Unfortunately, at the years have gone by, more and more LCMS congregations seem to have adopted church growth, American evangelical, non-denominational worship and theology. If you want to find your grandfather’s church, you need to look at congregational websites and be willing to drive. They’re out there, but they may not be close and certainly aren’t being heralded as “model congregations.”

    Later in post #7 you write: “Authority, always comes with great weight, responsibility, cost & consequence. It is why the Scriptures say we are at war & fight battles. What battle, do you think isn’t tough & comes at great cost & price?” Becoming circuit counselor, as I noted above, doesn’t bring you any authority. Shoot, in many cases circuit counselors don’t even have their expenses reimbursed. But confessional circuit counselors accept the position anyway because they love the Lord and the pure teaching of God’s word found in the historic Lutheran church. They’re willing to step up and contend for the Gospel. And yes, they’re willing to suffer–and do suffer–for doing what’s right. So go easy on the blanket condemnations. They don’t need another reason to throw in the towel.

    (By the way, I agree with everything the Wild Boar wrote. His blogpost is right on target.)

  11. John,
    I did understand what you said, and are trying to convey. Really I do. I just don’t happen to agree with what you are saying. I’ve seen too much damage done, to too many, who did go to the circut and /or district for help & counsel. Those who called here for encouragement… received neither. My husband or I, should not be the one’s doing their job, nor should those like us, throughout the Synod.

    Right now, I think most, of those who hold these positions, are trying to ride a fence, that isn’t really there. You do or you don’t. You execute your duties, or you don’t. It isn’t about pleasing or appeasing, it is about doing what is right, good and true.
    I’m not giving them a reason to throw in any towel, I’m trying to give them a reason to fight what they know isn’t right, and for those, placed in their charge.

  12. John :
    They can’t even make an official visit a circuit congregation without an invitation from the pastor and congregation.

    Not true. (emphasis mine in the following)

    Question Regarding the Relationship of the Circuit Counselor
    to Member Congregations (04-2387)

    In an e-mail sent April 30, 2004, an ordained member of the Synod submitted a question regarding the Circuit Counselor’s relation to member congregations.

    Question: Since the Bylaw [5.13 j] envisions only visits with “congregation[s],” is it appropriate for the Circuit Counselor to meet with a dissident faction within a congregation to receive accusations against other members or the pastor of the congregation, and does meeting with a dissident faction within a congregation constitute such “extraordinary circumstances” that it is permissible for a Circuit Counselor to schedule such a meeting without prior consultation with the president or other officers of the congregation (much less the pastor), much less without ‘inviting’ them to be present to answer accusations against them?

    Opinion: One of the functions of a District President is to inquire into the prevailing spiritual conditions of the congregations of his District and he may call upon the Circuit Counselor to assist him (Bylaw 4.73). Bylaw 4.75 states that a District President, even without a formal request therefor, may through the proper channels arrange for an (a) official visit or (b) investigation when a controversy arises in a congregation or when there is evidence of a continuing unresolved problem in doctrine or practice in order that the District President “may have a clear understanding of the situation.”  The same bylaw further recognizes that a District President may authorize another person (such as the Circuit Counselor) to represent him in the matter.  The Bylaws do not define the term “proper channels” and thus the procedure to be used in the investigation is chosen by the District President or his representative and does not necessarily require the initial contact or meeting to be with any particular person or group. In such an investigation, any meeting is to carry out the purposes as set forth in these Bylaws.

    Your attention is also directed to the provisions of Article XII 7 of the Constitution, which provides:

    7. The District Presidents shall, moreover, especially exercise supervision over the doctrine, life, and administration of office of the ordained and commissioned ministers of their District and acquaint themselves with the religious conditions of the congregations of their District. To this end they shall visit and, according as they deem it necessary, hold investigations in the congregations. Their assistants in this work are the Circuit Counselors, who therefore shall regularly make their reports to the District President.

    Commission on Constitutional Matters
    May 20−24, 2004

    The fact is that if the CC has the DP’s permission/instruction, he may enter your parish and talk to anyone he wants without the consent of anyone in the parish. So, for instance, if someone in your parish complains to the DP that you are a Romanizer (because you follow sound Lutheran practice in not having anything remain after the Lord’s Supper), he can send the CC in to do as he pleases. If some rump group decides that they want to control the church, he can advise them to form an ongoing conventicle to ‘meet their spiritual needs’ while they plot the overthrow of the officers they elected and the pastor God called…and before they come and meet with the parishioners, they have absolutely no need to talk to the pastor or the officers of the congregation. Instead, they can slither into town whenever they choose; Jerry’s almighty CCM has spoken…and all of the good and pious LCMSers put forth how many resolutions to overturn this shameful opinion that “proper channels” doesn’t mean “congregational structure” but “however it pleases the DP”? Absolutely NONE. (The excuse: “Jerry won’t let them come to the floor, anyway.” That excuse is nothing other than saying, “Jerry was right; he knew we’d give up on fixing the CCM and abandoning their errors, and we did.”)

    Btw, for the history lovers here: this is the CCM Opinion that led Redeemer, St. Claire Shores, MI to leave the LCMS, since the Opinion ratified the ability of the DP to overrule a Voters’ Assembly and to interfere in the self-governance of a congregation. Redeemer and its pastor hadn’t asked for the Opinion, either; rather, it was asked for by a pastor who saw the Meta-South DP use this “ends justify the means” approach. (If you want seven or eight hundred more pages on this, just let me know…)

    EJG

  13. John :
    Regarding post #7, I’m afraid I don’t have the time or inclination to read all the district websites. Fortunately they don’t reflect what’s going on in many congregations. Unfortunately, at the years have gone by, more and more LCMS congregations seem to have adopted church growth, American evangelical, non-denominational worship and theology. If you want to find your grandfather’s church, you need to look at congregational websites and be willing to drive. They’re out there, but they may not be close and certainly aren’t being heralded as “model congregations.”

    BTW…and this is not just for John…while you reject the church growth, etc., nonsense, you remain in fellowship with it. Why is that?

    EJG

  14. John,
    Don’t misunderstand me. I “if they are”, not all, & also stated they are an endangered species, which they may well be. I did, have the time & inclination to browse the district sites, beginning last January. Your right, it takes a great deal of time, but I believed then & now, it was well warranted & worth the effort. But that, is just me. I wanted & needed to know. You may not, no worries.

    As far as you making mention of Johannes. Now, he & I bantor back & forth a fair bit. We have great giggles, & some in depth discussions, I greatlly repect him as I do all who post here. With 97% accuracy, I understand what he says. That does not mean, I always agree with him. I wager, Johannes knows that. (water wars)

  15. Pastor Stefanski,
    Well done, first of all. Let us remember though, that we are not, all called to do the same thing. We are part of a body, & it could never be all leg or toes. (that is what enables you to walk, if you follow me).

    We may have & have been forced to do so, but that does not mean all should or are meant to!!! If watchmen & guardsmen, are few, it is up to Him, to choose who is worthy & up for that task, not us.

    Please, do not chide, those who choose to stay, to protect what has been entrusted to them. The same could be said for our departure (or what is sometimes called, abandonment), I know I’ve heard that, I wager, so have you.

    Be loving, EVER TRUTHFUL, but loving, as a proper brother should. You know more & I know a bit, but many know not much at all. Be kind, so what you say & how you say it, is not misunderstood by those who read here. We follow commands given from Above first & foremost, and then what is given from those placed in authority, by His Hand, over us.
    In that short but perfect order. Many, do not know that, but are learning, to their grief & sometimes….to their misstep or naivete’. Please, I know you, be kind & understanding, those who post may not know what you do. John may never have read your posts before, be an example of what is right, good & true, not what is falsely put forth…by others.

  16. EJG,

    I wrote (#10): “The fact is that Circuit Counselors don’t have any power. The only authority they have is that which their district president may delegate to them in a very particular circumstance, and then only to the limits he allows. They can’t even make an official visit a circuit congregation without an invitation from the pastor and congregation.”

    You responded (#12): “Not true.” Then you went on to confirm what I wrote. Apart from specific authorization by the District President, the Circuit Counselor has no power or authority. As you helpfully quote the CCM opinion: “The same bylaw further recognizes that a District President may authorize another person (such as the Circuit Counselor) to represent him in the matter.” That is, the Circuit Counselor has no authority [b]on his own[/b] to make such an official visit or investigation.

    With regard to fellowship, I saw an episode of Star Trek, the Next Generation the other day. An alien life form tricked the whole crew of the Enterprise to abandon ship (of course for the drama the captain and first officer happened to remain behind). So the aliens took off with the ship to use for their purposes. They had it free and clear without having to fire a shot. I’m not about to voluntarily abandon ship. I’ll leave the LCMS when the Lord calls me home or when I’m expelled as a troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17). Of course if article VII.B of the proposed constitution is adopted, it will be a lot easier to get rid of troubling people like me and most of the other LCMS pastors who post here. But I will not willingly abandon the sheep the Lord has called me to shepherd.

  17. John :
    EJG,
    I wrote (#10): “The fact is that Circuit Counselors don’t have any power. The only authority they have is that which their district president may delegate to them in a very particular circumstance, and then only to the limits he allows. They can’t even make an official visit a circuit congregation without an invitation from the pastor and congregation.”
    You responded (#12): “Not true.” Then you went on to confirm what I wrote. Apart from specific authorization by the District President, the Circuit Counselor has no power or authority.

    Unfortunately, that’s not what you said; you said that he had to be invited in by the pastor and congregation. That is not true.

    With regard to fellowship, I saw an episode of Star Trek, the Next Generation the other day. An alien life form tricked the whole crew of the Enterprise to abandon ship (of course for the drama the captain and first officer happened to remain behind). So the aliens took off with the ship to use for their purposes. They had it free and clear without having to fire a shot. I’m not about to voluntarily abandon ship. I’ll leave the LCMS when the Lord calls me home or when I’m expelled as a troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17). Of course if article VII.B of the proposed constitution is adopted, it will be a lot easier to get rid of troubling people like me and most of the other LCMS pastors who post here. But I will not willingly abandon the sheep the Lord has called me to shepherd.

    Leaving the LCMS does not abandon sheep. Staying in the LCMS does abandon God’s Word. It’s funny how Romans 16:17 meant something while fellowship with the ALC was being debated, but now it is simply another forgotten verse of the Bible.

    Keeping the flock one serves in harm’s way is not really serving the flock. Staying in a starship that is irreversibly contaminated with a virus is not a good thing, but the alien life form that has already taken it over is now tricking you into staying, so that it can feed off of the sheep entrusted to you…as it surely will when you leave or die and all they have to choose from for a pastor is the errorists with whom you are in fellowship.

    I really wish you Missourians would be consistent and follow C.F.W. Walther with regard to fellowship or be honest about your disowning him.

    EJG

  18. @Dutch #16

    Dutch, simply put, some of them are simply rejecting what God has called them to do. Those who are “Missouri for life, no matter what,” are proclaiming an unfaithful position and, quite often, proclaiming their ever-so-pious (false) martyrdom in the so doing. Any of them who thinks he is going to be kicked out of Missouri is thinking of himself way more highly than he’d ought.

    EJG

  19. Dutch :
    John,
    I did understand what you said, and are trying to convey. Really I do. I just don’t happen to agree with what you are saying.

    Dutch, could you clarify what you don’t agree with. John seems to be pointing out that there is nothing that a circuit counselor can do about an aberrant congregation unless he is given some authority by the DP. There doesn’t seem to be anything to disagree with on that point.

    I’ve talked about this with my pastor, a circuit counselor. Any ecclesiastical oversight has to come from the DP. The best he can do is influence through study and prayer at circuit meetings. He told me several stories about congregation with practices counter to our confessions. Some of the pastors just didn’t come to the ciruit meetings. A vacancy pastor practicing open communion was a friend of the DP and the way they got rid of him was to get the congregation to not renew his call. As much as we would like to see confessional circuit counselors as the first line of defense, our polity just doesn’t support it.

  20. Brian Yamabe :John seems to be pointing out that there is nothing that a circuit counselor can do about an aberrant congregation unless he is given some authority by the DP. There doesn’t seem to be anything to disagree with on that point.
    As much as we would like to see confessional circuit counselors as the first line of defense, our polity just doesn’t support it.

    I think two things are being mixed here: what the circuit counselor properly can and can’t do and what some of them do nonetheless.
     

    • • A circuit counselor can be called in by the pastor and congregation without contacting the DP (though the CC should report his work to the DP, since he is the DP’s representative).
    • • A circuit counselor can be sent in without the knowledge or consent of the pastor or congregation if the DP wants him involved (violating congregational autonomy and making the DP effectively the replacement of the pastor and the officers/parish assembly).
    • • Some circuit counselors have gone in and done damage with neither of these things being the case.

     
    Since this last thing is not really proper, Confessional CCs won’t do it; they know that it is not their office, and they ‘play by the rules’ regardless of whether or not anyone else does, taking as their model the God who remains faithful even though we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). Thus, while blame can be laid at the feet of the liberals who abuse this office, it cannot be laid at the feet of Confessional pastors who rightly live within its limitations.

    EJG

  21. Okay, lots of questions have been directed at me, I will do my utmost to answer them, as best I can w/the time I have.

    Firstly, what district you reside in, has everything to do with how things are handled. It is actions, not words or chats, actions speak for what a person is worth, in any position they hold. Whether in the workplace (your position depends on your preformance there), or in the church (not the case, as far as I have seen). I won’t touch on what Scripture say to what they are held to account by God for. That is His domain, not mine.
    I have seen & heard a fair bit, from those inside my district, and those who are part of my state’s northern district. I have a few questions to ask:

    -if a Pastor, was transfered or asked to begin receiving calls, because of physically menancing behavior, & the circut/district was called for said same, does that not warrant counselors doing their job and giving cause to watch him or that congregation?

    -If a Pastor or his family, takes gift cards, meant to earn funds to pay electric bills, water bills, etc….w/o paying for & using for his own, is that not something a circut/district should address? Isn’t that stealing? From what he accepted as his call?

    -If a Pastor, has been convicted of check kiting (by that state’s court system), and his wages garnished by the congregation for doing so, is that not something they should address? Does he still qualify under Paul’s/Scriptural precepts for those who hold the Divine Office?

    -If a Pastor calls in a consultant, who redefines sin as a “Divine Designed Flaw” wouldn’t that warrent a visit? Words, are cheap, actions speak volumes. It depends on what district you reside in, not just stating, “they can only do” when what the bylaws state the SHOULD do, isn’t being done. Is that not false teaching, or do all these things no longer apply?

    Pastor Stefanski,
    You know full well, by now, the sorrowful situation, in which I found my family. I know what the Scriptures say, to do, when I see, hear & are taught things that depart from our first love or the Gospel which what were once taught. If they depart from the Truth, you flee. But…I will not fault, Pastors, Elders, District Presidents or Counselors, who choose to stay, NOT FOR COMFORT, but to be a watchman, as they are now few indeed. Soneone has to do it, why not them? We are all called according to His Purposes, mine, is not yours, ours are not theirs. I left, because I could no longer justify staying, knowing what was coming down the pike, with a 12 year old boy, committed to being a Pastor. I HAD TO FLEE, I could not sit every Service, trying to figure out what to explain or answer to my sons, “yes, I know what the Bible says, & no, what we heard today, isn’t what that says”. It weighs on one, my soul is valued Above, not so much in the LCMS, at this point, neither our my little boys’. But I am an adult, I can weigh, understand, & use discretion & discernment.
    Little ones, don’t have that switch engaged, & if they do, they actually, see more than we tend to admit.

    My 12 year old, reads what I post & the responses I receive. Why? He wants to be an undershepherd for His Lord & he wants to see what his Mummy posts & discusses with his Daddy & him, inside his home. He has watched the heavy toll paid by his parents & those he loves, by what was done in the LCMS, prior to our departure. He knows too much for a 12 year old boy, but that is a Mummy’s take on this, our Father’s is always, quite different.

    He knows why we left. Why, we went where we went, and he knows the reasons for it. He sees things, through innocent eyes, what Christ referred to so often, using a reference to children. I need to protect my eternal soul & as a Christian parent, what a poor steward would I be, if I didn’t protect theirs. My son knows that, what he does not understand, is why those who are charged & accepted that duty & privilige, are not doing as they were commanded.

  22. Dutch :
    Pastor Stefanski,
    You know full well, by now, the sorrowful situation, in which I found my family. I know what the Scriptures say, to do, when I see, hear & are taught things that depart from our first love or the Gospel which what were once taught. If they depart from the Truth, you flee. But…I will not fault, Pastors, Elders, District Presidents or Counselors, who choose to stay, NOT FOR COMFORT, but to be a watchman, as they are now few indeed. Soneone has to do it, why not them? We are all called according to His Purposes, mine, is not yours, ours are not theirs.

    No one is called by God to keep the flock under his care in fellowship with false teachers. No one is called by God to give tacit approval (as you say earlier, actions speak) to false teachers by remaining in fellowship with them and teaching the sheep that it’s okay to be in a state of communion with those with whom you are not to commune. To care for the flock, one has to fight both the wolf and the bear, and if the sheep are going to be consumed, he is to take them to where this will not be the case. (Note: at this point, someone normally objects that there is “no perfect church body” or similar nonsense. I would hope that eventually the Missourians would ‘evolve’ beyond such excuse-making.)

    Missourians: Fight the enemy while you remain–and not just locally. But realize that the day will come when you will depart, and that whether you fulfilled your responsibility when you were with that flock will be known by what happens after you are gone. I had an excellent pastor when I was confirmed. The guy who came after him was not so excellent. The guy after him was a disaster of epic proportions. Why? Because they remained in a church body where every passing year influences from what the ‘synod’ allowed changed them more and more. In 1987, that parish was arguably the most confessionally solid in the district; by the mid-90s, it had devolved into a contemporary/liturgical split, and by the end of the aughties, the liturgical have ended up in another parish, which is just a little bit behind where they’ve left (LSB is used, but vestments have been removed, etc.).

    But to say “Missouri ’til I die” or “’til they kick me out” is both wrong-headed and haughty…and bringing in an anachronistic reference to Luther as a defense just shows a lack of understanding of the difference between the Church and the synod, as well the situation then and now (yet, Missourians constantly make this ridiculous comparison).

    And please, for your son’s sake, if he wants to be a pastor: get out of WELS.

    EJG

  23. Pastor Stefanski,
    I’m confused, what you wrote on in post #23, seems to be about LCMS, why leave WELS for the sake of my son?

  24. Dutch :
    Pastor Stefanski,
    I’m confused, what you wrote on in post #23, seems to be about LCMS, why leave WELS for the sake of my son?

    WELS teaches falsely wrt the Office of the Ministry and is barely behind Missouri in its other errors. It may make for a nice stop-gap solution for a time, but it is not the place for a Confessional Lutheran to remain.

    EJG

  25. Pastor Stefanski,
    That is exactly what we think at this point. Options, are well, very few in our area & we also had to contend w/school for our boys. Yes, I know, it was eeking in there too. However, at a much slower pace.
    Pastor Harrison had a great analogy about this. WELS is the last car in the train, and we know that. We are praying for time, just a wee bit of time, for our boys and for, & well, all of us. I thank you so very much, for the heartfelt concern for our son/s. Who would have ever thought, there would come a time, a parent would worry about this? I never did, that’s for sure. I am beginning to understand the verse that says, “if those days were not shortened, even the very elect would be lead astray.”
    Which is more frightening, that I understand it or that I am watching it happen?

  26. Dutch :
    Options, are well, very few in our area

    Everybody thinks this, but it’s really not so. When the existing congregations and bodies are unfaithful, it is not all that difficult to start new ones…as long as you have pastors who are willing to work, to suffer, and to be creative. I know of several ‘starving’ ones right now who would probably fit that description.

    EJG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.