Good (?) Stuff Found on the Web – Faith Lutheran Church, Geneva, IL

This section of the BJS site is intended to point out the good and odd things found on the web. We can’t possibly find everything ourselves, so we request your help in pointing out things that we may want to feature for our readers. Please contact me if you come across such items.

One reader (Thanks, Harold L!) pointed out the website of Faith Lutheran Church in Geneva, IL (NID, LCMS), that has some odd things on it such as Faith Healings, Contemporary Worship, and a Pastor’s Wife as Worship Leader. As another commentator replied, this represents a “new way of doing church” that is not Lutheran.


Found on Testimonies:

The Worship leader gave a word about dancing for joy before the Lord. My knee was hurting for months after a bad fall. I was in pain but felt like I should dance a little. As I started to dance the pain went away and I have still have no pain two weeks later.

More faith healings by Pastor’s Wife, worship leader Dawn Okpisz (her email address is “earlydawnministries” is found on a Women’s Retreat in 2007:

God led me to pray over someone who was out under the power of the Spirit on the floor. After awhile (in a VERY QUIET room) she burst out with uncontrollable laughter. God continued to have me pray for her. Eventually she tried to get up with several of us assisting her. The weight of the glory was still on her and she struggled. I heard God ask, “Are you sure you want to get up?” So I asked, “Are you sure you want to get up?” to which she responded, “That’s what God just said to me,” and BAM…we both hit the floor.

Their definition of Worship evidently includes dancing in the chancel:

We gather to worship Jesus as our Savior, Lord and King. This brings out of our hearts a great desire to celebrate all that God is doing in our lives. So we have come to worship God with great energy. We don’t hold anything back that will bring God glory.

Our worship is all contemporary music lead by a praise band and singers. We have the words on screens so our hands are free to worship. We worship by standing, singing, clapping, raising our hands, waving flags. We do this because we are excited about God and his love. Our worship is heart-felt, vibrant and never boring. Kids and adults love to worship at Faith.

I’m sure you can look around their site and find other very unLutheran things that are happening in churches in our Synod.


Please click here to call our attention to things you find on the web that our readers would appreciate hearing about or discussing.

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

Good (?) Stuff Found on the Web – Faith Lutheran Church, Geneva, IL — 35 Comments

  1. Based solely on the information on the website, this congregation looks very much like the charismatic church that I left when I became Lutheran.

    RIM = this was the charismatic movement in the LCMS? That was before my time, but I was part full blown charismatic churches before becoming Lutheran.

  2. This LCMS website scared me. I spent 60 seconds scanning the front page. Here is the messages I gathers in that short time.

    Point A) The Easter Egg hunt is more important than Christ crucified.
    Point B) No mention of our sins as human beings.
    Point C) A message of acceptance of things like an ELCA church might state.
    Point D) No message of what God does for us in Jesus; just encounters, healing & hope in what?

    Faith is a place that:
    you will be accepted, loved and encouraged
    you will encounter a loving God who wants to touch your life
    children, youth and adults will find a life-changing relationship with Jesus
    will help you find healing from hurts and will give you hope for your heart

  3. Pietism run amuck–experience trumps everything–even Spener and Francke are turning over in their graves. (No, spinning!)

    It’s all about “us” (or “me”) and the bottom line is that it’s very very sad. But at least nobody could say it qualifies as Lutheran Exceptionalism.

    johannes

  4. Just re read Bonhoeffer’s definitions of “cheap grace” and “costly grace”, the Cost of Discipleship. I wonder if this is what he had in mind…..not.

  5. @Iggy Antiochus #7
    Iggy,

    If I am correct it is not that they ended–just that they quit asking for meetings to have a “let us come together” party. Sort of like “we will agree to disagree.” When did they stop seeking constant meetings–with the election the second time around of the current synodical President who seems to have no problem with continuing to state that we have no doctrinal problems just practice problem.

  6. Things haven’t changed much at “Faith” since I visited there one Sunday 30 years ago as a member of the local LCMS high school choir. Pastor’s last name then: Dorpat.

  7. RIM may be disbanded, but the conferences on the Holy Spirit still go on and on (I think they are held in Minnesota someplace). RIM’s effects continue to be felt throughout the synod, and many RIM people are active in PoliticsFirst.

    Experience trumps everything.

    j

  8. Here is the URL for their last newsletter.

    http://home.comcast.net/~gracelife/rim/sept2005.pdf

    From Del Rossin, Director of RIM,

    Our plan is to close RIM at the end of 2005. During 2006 I’ll continue to coordinate the
    “Congregational Prayer Network” and the “Prayer Letter” in addition to personal
    ministry to pastors and congregations, etc. I will also be serving on the “Lutheran
    Renewal” board of directors as well as pastoring a mission church in Rome,
    Wisconsin. If you are a financial supporter of RIM, please continue to do so till the
    end of 2005. After that I encourage you to redirect your giving to UEMI, Lutheran
    Renewal or ARM.

    I don’t know these other groups, they may still be active in the LCMS in some capacity.

    Kieshnick would have been elected in 2001, 2004 and 2007. RIM “closed” in the middle of his 2004 term.

  9. Maybe this is the new wave of new and improved for the Synod on prayer.
    Reclaiming Prayer in the LCMS.

    http://reclaim.stjohnmansfield.org/Speakers.php
    Check out the link and the bios of the speakers.
    Did any Confessional Pastors attend this workshop?

    I know of a church where pastors attended and since then have stepped aside from distributing the Sacrament, the elders and lay ministers do that, and the pastor offers to “pray a blessing” upon communicants at the prayer rail, AFTER receiving communion from the elders and lay ministers. Pastors no longer distribute sacraments, only give the Words of Institution.
    Also, after a five week sermon series on “Prayer” there was a Prayer and Anointing service during the service at all three of the weekend services. About a third of the people at each service went forward to the prayer rail for prayer and anointing. This is a large congregation.
    Then there was another 5 weeks of messages on Prayer.
    Just thought I would share this with you so you would know what’s new in the LCMS if you weren’t aware.

  10. The pastor’s wife. Ah…
    http://earlydawn.blessedbereans.org/words.html

    Now, I don’t know her, haven’t met her, and bear not an ounce of ill will against her personally. I simply personally abhor what is being taught, and she does say, her husband listens, and asked her to share her “word” corporately at a service.

    I have a very hard time, understanding how no one, not the surrounding LCMS churches, Pastors, or the DP, didn’t know what was being taught or done at this church.
    The Pastor has been there, according to the Directory (LCMS) since 04. His wife’s “articles and prophectic word” and intinery, was in 07. And, we are supposed to believe no one knew, no one spoke out, and the DP didn’t know anything? Please. It’s called abstinance & lack of boldness. They did know, they do know, and so it goes.

    Things that make you cry, “rank heresy”.

  11. @Dutch #15

    Dutch, you hit upon a huge problem within the LCMS, and that is of discipline. For some reason, the men in charge have wussied out of their duty to lead the church. This has been the problem since the Fall of Man. Men who are derelict in their duties to the household, society and the church bring harm to everyone.

    Kiley

  12. Forget about RIM – it looks more like Benny Hinn is alive and well in that congregation….

  13. RIM doesn’t need to be a separate group anymore because LCMS also joined in altar and pulpit fellowship with the charismatic lutheran church (2004 AALC? check your Proceedings on that).

    JF, RIM, AALC is all mainstreamed in the LCMS because of POtS GK. God help us all if he’s re-elected this summer and we get the BRTFSSG passed in whole or part. Who knows what trick he has up his sleeve to wake the sleeping giant.

  14. Well,

    After perusing the pastor’s message and his wife’s site all I can say is that if this is a Spirit led congregation in which those messages were laid on them by the Spirit then the Holy Spirit’s literary and theological skills have sadly deteriorated in the last 2000 years.

  15. Anyone from the NID telling the DP of this “public” sin that needs not a “face to face” as per the Large Catechism, Commandment 8, and he, as the elected Ecclesiastical (Churchly) Supervisor of the Doctrine of the Pastors, etc in his district needs to deal with it? Remember, Confessions trump ByLaws, although many in the LCMess don’t think so.

  16. @anyonymous #14

    Re: Reclaiming prayer. So what is your point? Don’t you know that prayer is a means of grace? This is part and parcel of pentecostal teaching, by whatever name it calls itself in the LCMS. Just read some of their stuff, and you can’t miss it.

    j

  17. @Dutch #15

    “Rank heresy?” Did you mean “rank” the noun, adjective or verb?

    OK, I’ll rank (verb) heresy. I’d say it’s way down on the list, well below “error”. When you open the adiaphora door, heresy slips in unnoticed. There are no heretics in the LCMS: Romans 5:13b and a paraphrase of Judges 21:25 pretty well sum it up.

    j

  18. When I sent an e-mail to the LCMS asking if this conference was in agreement with the LCMS Confessions I was told that the District President was a main speaker in the event. If I had any questions I could contact him directly. So, in other words, if the District President is involved, it must be ok.

  19. Johannes,
    I meant “rank” as in adjective, very offensive in smell or taste, putrid:
    “the stench from the decaying carcass was ‘rank’.” Heresy always smells that way.

    Of course, there are no heretics in LCMS… LCMS is in complete blissful unity and worship wars, are long since past. LCMS are all under the banner & in complete unification under the Confessions & Solas. What proof is there LCMS is not so?

    So, do I get the crabby Lutheran award yet? Wait, we’re only on #26 and it’s only 1:00pm in my corner. Best to wait for the award. As far the verses you listed (thank you !) I prefer the entire book of Jude.

    Jude 1:3-24

    I think that sums it up, for at least me. Where is our courage and bravery? Where is our confidence in the blood shed for us, by Christ Jesus? That we would be silent or abstain in this, or many a thing, we know exists & heresies perpetuated? I was a coward, truth be told. No more, and this is not far from where I am. I am a mere sheep, where were those charged in this stead?

  20. @anyonymous #23

    If the DP is involved, then maybe it would behoove some/all of us to question not only him but the COP, so the rest of the DP’s are aware, if they are not already, what is going on. This is my plan anyway, I am pretty tired of it and am to the point of ruffling feathers.

    Kiley

  21. Kiley,
    This is the response I received to two question I asked.
    #1. Is it proper for the pastor to consecrate the elements and then step aside to pray a prayer of blessing upon the communicants AFTER receiving the Sacraments from Elders and Lay ministers? Communicants that desire that prayer are to stop and kneel at the prayer rail after receiving communion and the pastor and a couple of elders pray a prayer of blessing upon them.
    #2. The SMP Vicar consecrates the Sacraments. Does he have the authority to do so? Are we truly receiving the Sacraments rightly and the forgiveness of sins?

    [email protected]
    CC: [email protected]
    Sent: 3/5/2010 2:40:46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
    Subj: FW: Prayer Workshop in accordance with LCMS confessions?

    Dear Friend in Christ,

    Thank you for your inquiry, forwarded to our office.

    We would suggest first of all, that since the President of the LCMS’s Texas District (where the workshop occurred) was a major presenter, you contact President Hennings regarding your specific questions. We are confident that he would be pleased to provide you with information and clarify any questions you may have.

    Regarding your specific inquiries it may be helpful to note the following in general.
    First, it is not contrary to LCMS practice for congregations to use laypersons (e.g., elders) in the distribution of the sacrament. There is historical precedent for this in the church. You may want to review question 13 at the end of the CTCR’s 1983 report on Theology and Practice of the Lord’s Supper, where the Commission answers in the affirmative (with some qualifying counsel) the question, “Can a qualified male assist with the distribution of the elements in the service of Holy Communion?” (http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/CTCR/Theol_lord_supper1.pdf)

    Second, you may want to contact one of our seminaries for its policy on the propriety of vicars consecrating the elements. It is our understanding that the seminaries advise against this practice, except in certain special circumstances and in keeping with certain provisions. Finally, since the validity of the sacrament depends on the Word of God, and not on the administrant, communicants need not doubt that through this means God gives the forgiveness of sins. That is to say, the question you have asked relates to proper church order, not to the validity of the Sacrament itself (provided, of course, that the Words of Institution are used in the consecration of the elements, which is a matter of divine institution)

    We hope that these brief comments are helpful to you.

    CTCR staff

  22. This practice of Distributing the Sacrament by the elders/ lay ministers occurred after the pastors and an elder attended this Reclaim Prayer in the LCMS Conference.

  23. RIM is not dead or even sleeping. “Names have been changed to protect the [not so] innocent.” A correspondent I “met” on LQ identified himself to me as “RIM” in 2009.

    He hoped I’d go to Mansfield since he couldn’t afford to do so. (I knew Bill Dasch when he was in Houston.) I believe this interest in “healing prayer” stems from his son’s leukemia. A Texas district newsletter said that the boy had had a bone marrow transplant from his brother which did not succeed as hoped. I don’t know what condition he’s in now but I believe that information was subsequent to the “retreat”.

    [To the inevitable, “Why don’t you ask him?” : I have inquired and got no answer.]

  24. It disgusts me to read how far our churches have slipped away. My question is why are they still a church in the LC-MS fold and how much more apostasy will be tolerated by our synod before somebody does something about cleaning it up? Is it time for another split? I think so.. sad but true.

  25. @Matt #33

    Interesting LCMS church, an also interesting date that this Pastor “Paul” graduated, 1976. I’ve run across this type of leader before and they are big into this Alpha (http://alphausa.org/) program. Under the “Get Connected” tab you will find Pastor Teske allows and encourages the Alpha program at his church, basically brainwashing his sheep into this false belief. Very sad that this occurs.

    Kiley

  26. @Helen #30
    I was a member of Pastor Bill Dasch’s congretation in Houston before his subsequent move to Mansfield to St. John……just a lil correction……Pastor Bill had an interest in and was already immersed in the Healing Prayer concept before his knowledge of his son’s disease. He is an insightful and charismatic Pastor with a lovely family who deserve a hand greater than they have been dealt. You know, I remember watching ‘SIGNS’ with Mel Gibson and he was asking his brother in the movie, when talking about faith, “…..do you believe that things happen randomly, with no rhyme or reason? or do you believe that all things happen for reasons greater than whan we know?” Mel’s character’s wife died, and she told him what he considered to be nonsense things at the time……but in the end, her death was responsible for saving her son’s life, which would have been her will. Anyway, I doooooooo tend to go a billion ways in conversation, don’t I ? ** sigh**

    If you managed to get thru all that, thanks for reading and have a good life……Patty

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