BJS 2010 Conference — more audio

We are uploading audio from the BJS conference as quickly as we can — we’ve had some problems with the audio recording hardware but the technician is working hard to get around it.


The following is the Evening Prayer service from Friday Evening (there is an audio glitch in it; sorry about that!)



Mollie Hemingway’s presentation:



Todd Wilken’s presentation – The Myth of LCMS Exceptionalism:



And finally, the Divine Service that closed the convention!


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,, 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


BJS 2010 Conference — more audio — 14 Comments

  1. Re: Pastor Wilken’s talk. He makes it clear that we have forgotten who we are. I have attended a few of Harold Senkbeil’s “Equipped to Serve” retreats at Fort Wayne, and his first session is always a review of “who we are.” It’s a wake-up call, and I never tire of hearing and re-learning those truths. President Mueller’s counsel was pastoral and wise. And it is no doubt that we need an informed and pro-active laity. However, it is in the pastoral office where “reform” (or “revitalization”) must first take place. The laity needs faithful preachers. The heresies being taught in the 50’s and 60’s still haunt us today–we heard witnesses speak to that. Give us faithful pastors who can preach!

    Thank you, Pastor Wilken for an insightful message.


  2. I just finished listening to Pastor Wilken’s speech. Pastor Wilken sends out a warning that all confessional Lutherans in all synods should take note of. He talks about confessional complacency, and the dangers of allowing pentacostal worship. He talks about the importance of remaining Lutheran.

    A few other highlights that I liked, were the comment by Wil Weedon that the denomination is fiction and the confessions are real. How true, indeed! Pastor Todd makes the great point about how many Lutherans have put their confessions in a locker many years ago, and have not read them since. It is so important to study our confessions–all Lutherans, the pastors and the laity alike.

    I found it interesting that Pastor Wilken commented on how crazy it is that he cannot commune with WELS Lutherans that he is in fellowship with, but that he has to commune with some LCMS folks that he is not in fellowship with.

    And finally, the pastor ask’s the question, “What is a Lutheran?” It is a great speech, that all confessional Lutherans should listen to and take note of–in all Lutheran synods!

  3. A couple of more things:

    During the speech, Pastor Wilken say’s that he doesn’t like the term “Lutheranism”, as he noted, there are enough “isms” out there.

    As our WELS synod President Schroeder has noted; Wilken’s program is both “educational and interesting.”

    At least there is one Lutheran synod President out there that is a fan of Issues, Etc.!

  4. An interesting situation. My better half, attended a funeral over the weekend. He happened to enter into conversation w/a childhood friend. Who, interestingly enough, sees the current trend in “american mainstream evangelicalism” in the LCMS. How? A few tenured teachers were let go, from an LCMS HS. Not because of the “supposed cutbacks” but most in the know, know it is for their conservative Confessional based views. My better half, passed on BJS website, as “his wife is on it & writes daily. I didn’t think it what she wrote was important, but I guess, what she does, really is.” I do pray, D, visits, as Dutch is M’s wife, so should he do so, he knows who I am!!!!

    Most striking, of the presentations, ( Molly was ab fab & Pastor Preus, was breathtaking) but Todd Wilken’s & the Q & A that followed, was telling. That poor, vexed, sweet man, who asked “what should I do”, I felt greatly for, as it was us, a year ago.
    I do, truly believe, this event will grow, by leaps & bounds next year. I pray it doesn’t take 10 years to right the ship LCMS. If we, who have departed, couldn’t wait, how do we tell those, who suffer under this apostasy, to…”wait, just a bit longer.” As their response, is understandable, ” I have waited, for x-amount of years, how long must I be asked to wait?”
    We are not brand loyal, we are loyal to the Confessions, on which most Protestant denoms are birthed from. The two are not the same. Our edification & souls depend on this one, professing confession. I did not have the time to…tarry. I am sad to admit, I & my better half, are not alone.

  5. @johannes #1

    I just finished listening to Dr. Loius Bringhton’s lectures on Revelation from itunes U. He stated a couple of times, that one of the things troubling the LCMS is the lack of good old preaching. Our current preaching is not bad, but I think it lack that urgency or seriousness of the moment. I read alot of pre 1940’s Synodical Conference sermons, and WOW! What a difference there is. They called out sin (all three use’s of the Law were mentioned), they weren’t politicly correct, called a spade a spade. There thundering forth of the Law would make back woods fundamentalist tremble in fear and make the church secretary curl her toes. Which in turn made the Gospel so much sweeter, with the shed blood of Christ mentioned in every other sentence.

    I do believe many of our young men coming out of seminaries are good men, but with alot of debt! The burden of paying off that debt with trying to provide for there families, I believe hampers the preaching of the full counsel of God (Law & Gospel). Why? I have visted Fort Wayne and had conversations with some of the seminarians and how I would function with that much debt, provide for my family, while preaching the truth of man’s sin and his salvation from the pulpit. While at the same time fignting off the wolves of pop evangelism, romish popery and liberlism. I have a crazy idea, let’s trash ablaze and take all that millions of dollars going up in smoke and start taking care of our seminarians. Then send missionarys to every town in America.


  6. Michael,

    I think your basic point is correct. Our law preaching is weak. I am not sure that the debt is that much of a contributing factor but our law preaching is indeed weak.


  7. I notice that although the audio files were there earlier, they are now missing. I tried to download them starting around 2215 PST last night and got a few, but when I got up this morning Mollie’s and Todd’s talks had not finished downloading. I tried stopping and restarting the downloads and got a message “File not found.” Did a server go down?

  8. Talking about the Law and the Gospel, I love the old Lutheran hermeneutic for it. I use this when reading the Bible or in the hearing of a good sermon.

    The Law: Any imperative or command, or any passage which show’s God’s wrath, judgment or hatred of sin.

    The Gospel: Any passage which show’s God’s love, grace, mercy, comfort and salvation.

    We use S.O.S. for the Law: Any passage which “show’s our sin”.

    We use S.O.S. for the Gospel: Any passage which “show’s our Savior”.

    Law: Do and Don’t.

    Gospel: Done!

  9. Wilken’s point about LCMS exceptionalism is similar to a point Cantor Magness was making at the Model Theological Conference: Does the label “LCMS” on whatever sausage is coming out of St. Louis mean that the stuff inside is declared to be good by the label, or does LCMS mean that we can expect certain things like sound doctrine and hymnody?

  10. I finally managed to download all the audio, but it required stopping and resuming the download several times. I think there may be a problem with the server.

  11. I have just finished listening to Wilken’s presentation on “The Myth of LCMS Exceptionalism.” As always in rhetoric, he who defines the issue wins the argument. If I understand his point, Pastor Wilken suggests an error in our denomination that allows us to take “non-Lutheran” and perhaps pan-Lutheran sources and “lutheranize” or “Missouri” them to utilize the best of their content among us to the detriment of the proclamation of the pure Gospel.

    While I stand for the pure preaching of the Word of God and the administration of the holy Sacraments in accordance with their institution by Christ, Pastor Wilken seems to exempt us from the revelation of Scripture, our agreed theology and our experience in the LCMS.

    For instance, let’s just look to our current hymnody. Maybe I missed it, but when exactly was Isaac Watts confirmed in the Lutheran Church? Was Charles Wesley certified by the Fort Wayne or the St. Louis faculty? Aren’t their hymns standards in our hymnal? Didn’t we have a fight in the early part of last century regarding the use of metrical hymns because of the infusion of their accompanying theology? And don’t we now sing the theology (melody and words) of the Methodists we railed against in the preceding century and call it our own (oh, yes – we “altered” some of the words to make the hymn “doctrinally pure” but others, like LSB 814, we didn’t). Isn’t this a case from our LCMS history that runs counter to the speaker’s point?

    Pastor Wilken’s major theses also miss the revelation of Scripture and the experience of the early Church regarding the Body of Christ. Read Acts 10 and 11 (Peter’s revelation that God can speak to him though a gentile like Cornelius and the new revelation for the Church that God’s Holy Spirit can pour out even on unbaptized Gentiles – especially Acts 11:17). Read Acts 15 again (how the Church faced the revelation of God from “outside” the Jerusalem church of “true believers” regarding circumcision).

    Are we exempt from the work of the Holy Spirit among those outside the LCMS – or has God’s Spirit stopped leading the invisible Church and only leads us? Wilken’s theses also speak against our theology in “Kirche und Amt” (see especially Walther’s latter theses on the Church). Has God revealed Himself in truth and purity only to the LCMS? Is God only in our synod (and those who are in fellowship with us)? Are there not members of the true “invisible” Church within heterodox churches? Will we be alone in heaven because the Holy Spirit does not work outside our denomination – that the true visible church seen among us is also the true and only invisible church on earth?

    In other words, does the Holy Spirit through the means of grace only speak to the LCMS? Unless that is true, perhaps we ought to listen to the whole Christian Church on earth, determine what is doctrinally sound and pure from among it, and apply it to our lives today, adapting and adopting that which is in use in the Church with our faithful, confessional filter so that God’s Word might be taught in truth and purity.

    By the way, check out John Wohlrabe’s January 1988 CTQ article “The Americanization of Walther’s Doctrine of the Church” to see how we’ve used influences and ideas outside of our denomination to mold who we are today.

  12. The Holy Spirit among people are everywhere and I am convinced Pr. Wilken see this as true. Non-Lutheran in the past did present confessions of faith that led to hymns of praise and the building up of the invisible church. But Wilken is correct in speaking to those things which do not build up the church.

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