LCMS Council of Presidents Chooses to Focus on a Functionally Non-Lutheran Parish as a Model for the Synod, by Pr. Rossow

The LCMS Council of District Presidents (COP) has chosen to view a functionally non-Lutheran LCMS parish as a model for others to follow. You can click here to read  the story from the LCMS newservice. After you read it you can come back to this post and I will explain the basis for my bold assertion that they are viewing a functionally non-Lutheran parish as a model for the rest of us.

Here is the quote from the story that identifies Carmel Lutheran Church and Pastor Luther Brunette as a model to look at for what the church ought to do in the post-church era.

As part of its “Ecclesiastical Leadership in a Post-church Culture” working theme, the COP heard Cook, an assistant professor of practical theology and director of distance curricula at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and a presentation by staff of Carmel Lutheran Church in Carmel, Ind., which has planted four congregations and formed two satellite ministries since 1989.

If you take some time to peruse  Carmel Lutheran’s website you may notice what I noticed. (I did not read every last single word of the website but I looked in quite a few nooks and crannies. If my characterization can be proven wrong please let me know so we can set the record straight.) The website basically describes a contemporary American protestant “evangelical” church. Why do I say this? Because of the things I find and the things I do not find.

Here are the things I find:

  • An emphasis on transformed living
  • An emphasis on discipleship
  • Contemporary worship
  • An emphasis on the Word but in a funamentalist manner devoid of sin and grace/law and gospel
  • An emphasis on caring for and meeting people’s needs
  • The   ministry of everyone
  • “Sports ministry”
  • Beth Moore materials are used in women’s Bible studies

Here are some things I did not find:

  • The words “Christ crucified”
  • The word “cross”
  • The word “baptism”
  • Any mention of the Lord’s Supper beyond the monthly worship schedule
  • Any mention of sacraments

The LWML was mentioned prominently on the website and in the bulletins and newsletter but with the manner in which the LWML has embraced contemporary worship that no longer means as much as it did in the past. This reminds me of Pastor Wilken’s thesis about LCMS exceptionalism. Many  still embrace the institutions of “LCMSism” but  they do so uncritically. This church’s website which  reveals a parish that is more American protestant than genuinely Lutheran demonstrates and the fact that it is held up as the pathway to the future is quite disturbing.

Maybe after reviewing this church and pastor and the manner in which they “do church” the Council of Presidents, who are to be chief amongst us for discerning doctrine and practice, will issue a warning against entering the post church era in the manner of Carmel Lutheran.

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.

Comments

LCMS Council of Presidents Chooses to Focus on a Functionally Non-Lutheran Parish as a Model for the Synod, by Pr. Rossow — 299 Comments

  1. Pastor Gilbert,
    I very quickly realized you were on staff at Carmel. Google is a wonderful thing. It was a courtesy, that those who knew this, didn’t state such. That Pastor, was a courtesy, done for a brother, and a servant at Carmel. The courtesy extended to you, you sadly, did not extend to others.

    I don’t understand, you take such great issue in many things here, but as a Pastor, and considering this is the church you serve in, why would you not boldly state the fact, in your first post? There are a great many reasons, those here post as pseudo or anon (or in my case nickname), and that is graciously accepted by the site, it’s editors, and those who post here. You hid & chided others, why?

  2. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #249

    Pastor Gilbert – Eric Schlade, here. Sorry, I had used initials previously, wasn’t seeking to necesarilly remain anonymous. And I had to wait until after work hours to reply… which I’ll be offline here again to travel home.

    The “inspiration” for the question comes from completely outside of Carmel’s website – really more of the root of what I see as so much of the discussion apparently both in and out of Synod’s walls – in part the “direction” in which the LCMS will continue to move.

    Based on that, I (personally, maybe not everyone) do see Carmel’s website as very “growth-oriented.” Based on the LCMSenews article – I’d think that’s intentional. Is growth bad? I’d say no – on the contrary, quite healthy. But does healthy growth have anything to do with healthy doctrine? There I’d have to shrug. Even in the “Worship” page, the information shown is very much highlighting distinct styles of worship, “traditional” and “contemporary.” So I go to the “traditional” link (I’ll submit here that I’m categorized by the enews article as a gen-X-er, born in ’68) – here I see “traditional AND new liturgies, traditional AND new hymns… variety of music ensembles”… I thought it was traditional, which is it? – maybe not that “new” can’t be traditional, but… I think it’s a bad choice of phrasology to be categorized under “traditional” worship. And, contrary to the article, as a “gen-X-er,” I find no interest in the cultural worship draws… nor, I will add do the youth of our congregation. I think because they haven’t been exposed to experimentation in it. We’ve visited and gone to CW with them (retreats, servant events, etc.) – they flat out don’t like it. Back to the website – “Celebrate Christ’s presence through Word and Sacrament” – while I do enjoy the celebratory aspects of our worship (I check out the hymn selections some weeks to see if I’ll really want to attend both our early and late services!) – the celebration is not why I think I or our church should worship – the Word & Sacrement are – as I’m glas to see listed. (My worship comments divest somewhat from my original “portrayal” that you quoted.) But as you pulled from my post – those comments are taken from Carmel’s “About Us” page. That’s a pretty common (and good) page name that I look for if I want to see what a group is about – whether it’s a church or a business. The sentence that most bothers me on this page is “Here you will grow in God’s grace and find your purpose and place in the body of Christ.” To me, that sentence was specifically written around the word “purpose.” I think it was written to attract a “purpose-driven” browser. My qualm with the site is not one page or one word, but that’s the “feeling” I get from the site.

    When it comes to “words/text” – on the basis of language – is “Christ-Centered, Cross-Focused” a cliche? Perhaps. But on the basis of doctrine, I would have to say it is quite healthy.

    From the surface, I have no idea what the heart of the website information is (with regard to turning back on history or self-praise). But if Carmel’s heart lies in a Christ-Centered, Cross-Focused heritage, why is that not the heart of the info? I’m not “into” web reviews, but being that this was directed from LCMSenews… As being such (directed from the article), I suppose too that anyone directed to view the site because of the article is looking at it being predisposed to the notion that Carmel Lutheran is a model – specifically for church growth. I’m confident (through scripture) that the Holy Spirit will grow the church. Why ahould we be trying to make our churches sound like “feel-good”, “do-good” places? Not that these are bad feelings… As I mentioned, I think the many activities and services Carmel Lutheran provides are great! But these are not what I see as our Lutheran Doctrine. I see a “draw” in the website to cultural “desires.” Many cultural desires may well include fruits of the Spirit.

    I don’t know – I feel like I’m starting to get defensive… defending the faith is good – being argumentative (which is not a goal in any way) is not. Now I’m starting to ramble. I’d much prefer to have these conversations in person or over the phone (which I’m not opposed to either). Indy is only a couple hrs… either way, in the Lutheran world, I’m confident in saying we may likely meet one day. I’m sure through some limited degrees of connection, we could be closer than we think! I have to go for now. < Peace

  3. @Dutch #251

    Dutch,

    A courtesy would be to send an e-mail or make a phone call to any pastor or church being discussed by name at this website. This is an appropriate practice for anyone seeking true understanding or repentance. The unspoken understanding of where I serve as pastor in this context was fine, but was not necessary.

    When an LCMS pastor uses his real name at this site, it is very easy to find where he is serving. I don’t believe this is a surprise for any of them. Be assured, I was hiding nothing. Please consider again the nature of this article and the assumptions and accusation made simply by looking at portions of a website. I hope you can see clearly what I was doing. Please know that I am very happy to serve as a pastor in the LCMS. Given your words in comment 45, I see a need to prevent you from making a similar accusation against me. I hope in the future you would reserve such accusations for contexts in which you know a great deal more than a simple comment on a website.

    I have posed a question to Pastor Rossow with respect to the healing power of this website for the sickness he has diagnosed. You are more than welcome to give your opinions on how this site is a healing agent, rather than a means to widen the chasm between two differing views in the LCMS. Please take note of the issues I have highlighted, and what type of enviornment these practices create at this website.

    @EDS #252

    Eric,

    Thanks for expanding and clearing up my confusion. I want to assure you that any growth experienced at Carmel Lutheran Church is all by God’s doing and to His glory. We praise Him daily as He works through our parish, as any LCMS pastor should. If you see “feel good, do good” in the website, I hope you would see a better understanding in the congregation if you saw it in person. In my sermons, I preach Christ crucified and I expose God’s Word through Law and Gospel. I preach Christ, not Christians. If you or anyone else feels differently, I would be happy to discuss my shortcomings (though I would prefer to do it in a context where anonymity is nowhere to be found). I refuse to hide behind my seminary education and believe that I know all there is to know. This is one of the reasons I turned to this website in the first place. However, it hurts to read the accusations from those here who have admittedly not listened to sermons, seen the church in person, or talked to any of the pastors. I acknowledge that Carmel Lutheran is not a good fit for everyone. We have members transfer out like any other church, for many different reasons. I care deeply about what I am teaching, and I want others to know that. Feel free to contact me in the future if an opportunity to meet should arise.

  4. Rev. Gilbert, all of us are passionate about defending the truth and that is a good thing. Your church uses female readers. Your answer before was that this is adiaphora, I believe Scripture says otherwise. Having women readers is in violation of Scripture according to 1 Timothy chapter 2. Do you agree? If not, then give your Scriptural defense for the use of female readers.

    Kiley

  5. @Kiley Campbell #254

    Kiley

    > Your church uses female readers. Your answer before was that this is adiaphora, I believe Scripture says otherwise.

    The synod divided itself over this, indirectly, in 1969. It is very hard to find anybody, anywhere in the synod, who will discuss it. You might be extremely surprised at the men who won’t touch it.

  6. mbw :@Kiley Campbell #254
    Kiley
    > Your church uses female readers. Your answer before was that this is adiaphora, I believe Scripture says otherwise.
    The synod divided itself over this, indirectly, in 1969. It is very hard to find anybody, anywhere in the synod, who will discuss it. You might be extremely surprised at the men who won’t touch it.

    Someone please expound on this, but I believe this is one of the major reasons that WELS ceased fellowship with the LCMS.

  7. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #248

    “Fellowship in the Body of Christ should be a strong motivator to have the courtesy to let fellow pastors know they are being labeled ‘non-Lutheran.'”

    Pr. Gilbert, first I have to wonder why you didn’t reveal you were on the staff of Carmel and now I suspect you will agree that the fact you are on staff and here responding to the points raised in this thread undermines any idea that a pastor or representative of Carmel could not come to BJS and publicly correct misconceptions and errors regarding their congregation. That was the point I made to you earlier (“Where’s the beef?”) and your very presence here simply makes my point for me.

    Now, I do understand your point and I hear you, but I believe you are perhaps raising a standard high enough from which to clearly pitch stones down onto proverbial glass houses. I suppose we could raise a standard that would obligate you to have revealed your position prior to commenting upon Pr. Rossow’s remarks so that it was clear a bias was involved? It is interesting how these sort of things “shake out” and I certainly have it within my nature to stand upon standards from which to pitch stones. Thank the Lord we all have His forgiveness of sins.

    “It’s quite a stretch to assume that every pastor in the LCMS searches this blog, waiting for his name to appear and be accused of various things. “

    I agree that would be quite a stretch and if I had stated as much it would have been an error, but I made no such comment and neither did I infer as much. What I did write is that because this forum is public, that pastors (such as yourself) can easily access this blog and set the record straight. Indeed, I even suggested that you invite the pastor of Carmel to read the remarks here. Little did I know you were actually on staff. So, it looks to me like the issue for you is getting the “courtesy call” before the criticisms go into print and I have pointed out that due to the public nature of the information involved no such call is necessary and it is not even a lack of courtesy to editorialize over news that has been published. However, of course it is unpleasant being on the receiving end of correction, and if you believe that the correction is unwarranted then, and if you don’t mind my suggesting, deal with the facts that have been raised and explain why your brothers and sisters in the Lord shouldn’t be concerned about the practices of your church? Please tackle the hard issues rather than sidetracking the conversation, as you have done, into making this personal about Pr. Rossow.

    Indeed, getting back on topic, please explain to me why I shouldn’t be concerned about what is reported by LCMS news of Carmel’s bent towards “emerging Christians”, or the Emergent Church? Please answer why I shouldn’t be concerned with their report that Carmel is a “church within a church” focused on “contemporary worship”? Do you agree with Rev. Cook’s statement that subjectivism should be the focus while objective truth is not focused upon?

    Thank you for being bold enough to reveal who you are at Carmel and for posting your thoughts here.

  8. Pr. Gilbert, I also want to add a question regarding Beth Moore. Why is your church using Beth Moore materials? Why would you even recommend a woman who claims to be a pastor and mangles the scriptures as often as she does?

  9. Rev. Gilbert:

    Eric Comstock here. I left the comment early in this post series about my personal experiences with Carmel Lutheran (I have also experienced all of Carmel’s LCMS church plants near my home – which are all just clones of Carmel). You are welcome to contact me, we can meet for coffee and I can share with you all the reasons why I believe that Carmel is no longer a Lutheran church.

    You can also come to my Church and talk with all the former Carmel members who have left over the years as Carmel has embraced the church growth, Baptocostalmethodist theology and worship practices. Without looking your name up on the LCMS website, my guess is that you are a graduate of the St. Louis seminary. In my neck of the woods, if you see Power Points, Praise Bands and Beth Moore Bible Studies, you know the LCMS pastors are from St. Louis. I know not all St. Louis grads are like this, but from talking with LCMS Lutherans all over the U.S., I believe St. Louis is largely responsible for the problems in the Synod.

    Our LCMS church has members who drive great distances because of the sad state of affairs in our district.

    Some additional criticism I will offer of Carmel Lutheran is that, at least when I attended, their worship styles broke up families. My first day visiting Carmel, we dropped our daughter off at the child area and the women asked us which service we were attending. We told her ” the traditional”. She said, “Oh, I don’t like that one, buy my husband does. I go to the contemporary service with the kids and he goes to the traditional by himself.” She further added, “This is really common here. Most of the families I know split up and go to different services.” She then added, “This is what makes us a great church”.

    On my second visit, I was asked by a person sitting next to me how long had I been a Christian. I asked “what do you mean?” and he said – “When did you accept Christ as your personal savior?” I said “at my Baptism” and he got a very puzzled look on his face. Fortunately, the service started and the conversation ended.

    Pastor, Carmel is really no different from Northview Christian Life down the street. In fact, when I was at Carmel I remember groups at Carmel participating in joint events at Northview. If someone attended Carmel’s CW service and then went over to Northview for their later service on the same Sunday, all they would notice is that Northview does the CW thing much, much better (and has better coffee, bookstore and kids area).

  10. @mbw #255

    mbw, sadly I am aware of the loose practice of allowing women readers within Synod. Scott Diekmann linked to a paper (http://www.gloriachristi.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/frahmgiveattentiontoreading.pdf) by Pr. Frahm that speaks to this, so there are those brave men who will tackle it. My point in asking of course, is tied to the Reporter article on a model church. I find it interesting that this article promotes unbiblical practices of a church of which all of LCMS should be modeled.

    I am so thankful for BJS for allowing such tough topic debates, I only wish more detail was given to topics at hand rather than the berating of the faithful. I know there is a semblance of picking on one particular church, but the arguments transcends Carmel as loose doctrine/false teaching has infiltrated the Church as a whole. So lets go forth and debate 🙂

    Kiley

  11. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Pastor Rossow raised an important issue and I am glad he brought this particular report to our attention. Getting past all the trendy verbiage, the issue is how we will evangelize the next generation that is not going to church.

    I am very glad that the Council of Presidents and other synodical leaders are talking and thinking about these things. I appreciate Pastor Cook’s insights, as much as I saw of it from the web. I have never been to Carmel Lutheran Church or met its pastors, so I can’t say much of anything there.

    I think that, most of the time, when our professors and synod officials use the term “emergent generation” or “post-church culture” they do so in a trendy and not too careful way. It is hard to tell whether or not Cook did that, because we only have brief quotes and reports from his lecture. I know Pastor Cook, so I will assume he said the right thing, and was not advocating that the LCMS become a “post-church-church” or “emergent church,” or anything like that. I assume he was just asking “What are we going to do about these young folks who feel out-of-touch with the church?”

    Why do young folks feel out-of-touch with the church? Hmmm. Could it be that, where they live in outer suburbia, all they notice are huge mega-churches that are intentionally as “non-communal” as possible, since “seekers” don’t want the commitment and mutual accountability that comes with community? The one thing that seems to be a common theme among the young folks is that the Willow Creek Community Church and the Saddleback Church models are passe. They want to go to a church where they can have friends and fellowship, while the super-mega-churches are only about performance. This is what Barna and Christianity Today have been reporting over the last couple of years. “Emergent church” seems to offer what mega-church lacks.

    To be fair to the mega-churches, they did try to offer community with their small group ministries and cell groups. But what they have found is that most people who are attracted to mega-churches want to be anonymous audience, not committed and mutually accountable communities. So that is why the young folks feel “out-of-touch.”

    What I don’t get is why synod is looking at an Indiana District “mega-church” for the answer to this problem, when the smart evangelicals have already realized that “mega-church” is already passe, if not the problem itself. It probably tells you that our synodical leadership is really only listening to our LCMS “mega-churches,” and that said leadership is about twenty years behind the times.

    I am not against mega-churches, per se, if they don’t let their size or a focus on numerical growth obscure the real Gospel ministry to their members.

    That said, what I saw of Professor Cook’s prescriptions were going in the right direction. I hope that his entire presentation is published somewhere, hopefully in Concordia Journal. He may not have all the answers, but I think he is asking the right questions.

    Actually, confessional Lutherans have what the “emergent generation” is looking for, and in spades. We never lost it. Our present synodical leadership is like Aesop’s fable of the dog with the piece of meat in its mouth. The (LCMS) dog dropped it into the pond in order to get the meat the (Evangelical) reflected dog in the pond was carrying. Modern evangelicalism is a brittle reflection of the meaty Reformation theology, sacraments, worship, and church practice that is still found in most LCMS, WELS, ELS, LCC, SELK (etc.) congregations, because it is a brittle reflection of the meaty Calvinist and Puritan churches that preceded it.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  12. “When did you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior?” This is not Lutheran. I will not fault the laity here, as this appears to be a case of poor (or errant) Catechesis/instruction. When I completed Lutheran instruction, it was very clear that we were objectively justified at the Cross (and empty tomb) and subjectively justified at the font, not by a “decision” we made in our own righteousness (Rom 5:6-11). This is only one example, so perhaps it’s just a fluke (lest the flak jacket adorned boogie be accused of not “putting the best construction on it”); but this certainly awakes the “Arminian-o-meter,” just like when I enter an LCMS parish and see Ablaze banners on display.

    By the way, I liked your answer, Eric, to when you “accepted” Jesus. This reminds me of the Lutheran reply to, “When did you get saved?” “Oh, about 2,000 years ago at the Cross.” It is a slap in our Savior’s face to teach or believe that our Salvation is anything but passive. Perhaps it is poor wording or ignorance, but if someone in my parish said that they “accepted” Jesus, they would get a talking to in loving correction. This, in my opinion, is the symptom of a much larger problem.

  13. @Jim Pierce #257

    Jim,

    I have been reading here since before I was issued a call from Carmel Lutheran Church. My name is readily available at the LCMS website as an ordained minister. The Carmel Lutheran website was being loosely studied and heavily attacked. Readers had ample opportunity to put my name and the church together. I must have falsely assumed that if the website was under such scrutiny by writer of this article and the commenters, everyone could figure it out on their own. I fear that this only proves that people weren’t even looking at the website, but only looking at Pastor Rossow’s assessment. His assessment was shown to be lacking to some degree, as shown in comment 199. I also assumed Pastor Rossow knew where I was serving as I posted that comment. Is it possible that this serves as an unintentional point that people here should really look at the issues before commenting? I do not see revealing myself as a pastor at Carmel Lutheran as “bold” in any way. I figured people here could see that for themselves, with only a small amount of work.

    I cannot agree that my being here only makes your point for you. As I mentioned earlier, I came to this website before I began serving at Carmel Lutheran Church, when I found interest in an article dealing with seminary finances. I believe it was a coincidence that the church where I am serving was highlighted at this website. Again, I do not consider this a public forum. I say this and acknowledge the technically public nature of the Internet. I do not believe that most of the pastors in the LCMS know about this website, let alone read it regularly. As a result, I believe the writers should, out of courtesy (at the very least), inform those whose names and churches are being discussed, even if there are public articles or writings in use. Please know that I voiced this concern before this article was posted. I have seen a number of articles in which pastors’ names are used and they come in halfway through the conversation, in an attempt to explain the context. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for them to know before the article is posted, especially considering that we are all part of the Body of Christ? Do you disagree that this a proper thing to do between believers? If so, could you explain your disagreement? Should pastors be expected to perform a daily Google search to see if some blog somewhere is questioning their Lutheranism?

    You shouldn’t be concerned about Carmel Lutheran being “bent towards emerging Christians or the Emergent Church” because you are mistaken on this subject. There was nothing in the article that said this was the case, just as there is nothing about that at the Carmel Lutheran website. I have said many times that Professor Cook’s presentation was independent of our presentation. I hope this confusion is cleared up. Also, Carmel Lutheran is described as a “church within a church” because of simultaneous worship services. With the number of people coming to worship each week, this was considered the best approach to make room for all of them. The same sermon is preached at every service, as was explained above. Carmel Lutheran is not “focused on contemporary worship” (this was not in the article either), but there is contemporary worship at Carmel Lutheran Church. You are of course free to disagree with this practice. I believe that Professor Cook is looking at the attitudes and inclinations of a specific generation and is then considering ways to preach the Gospel to them. You should contact him if you have disagreements, as he even suggested above. With respect to using Beth Moore materials, I agree with Pastor Rossow in post 216, “There is nothing wrong with listening to the heterodox…” I have stated earlier that we studied a great number of non-Lutheran writings at the seminary, but that we had professors who were able to use them to teach where these writers were mistaken and what Lutherans properly believe.

    I am sorry you feel that I have made this a personal issue with Pastor Rossow. By your logic, do you believe I should have taken his highlighting my church’s website and claiming it to be “Functionally Non-Lutheran” based on a brief perusal as a personal attack? I have not, and will not, because I find that you are mistaken. I see Pastor Rossow as a leader at this website, and I feel that he is an appropriate source for answers regarding the medicinal value of this website in respect to the sickness of our synod. I welcome your opinion on the issue, as well as anyone who has seen my question.

  14. boogie :

    mbw :@Kiley Campbell #254 Kiley> Your church uses female readers. Your answer before was that this is adiaphora, I believe Scripture says otherwise.The synod divided itself over this, indirectly, in 1969. It is very hard to find anybody, anywhere in the synod, who will discuss it. You might be extremely surprised at the men who won’t touch it.

    Someone please expound on this, but I believe this is one of the major reasons that WELS ceased fellowship with the LCMS.

    MO voted in 1969 to allow female suffrage in what had been the ‘supreme’ authority in congregations (who had voluntarily joined the synod as peers). WELS saw unbelief and rejection of Scripture in MO in the early 60s I believe. After 1969 many in MO who did not support women taking authority over men felt that a hierarchical church body might be even worse than the false doctrine codified in 1969. Now MO has both problems.

    But as I said it is eye-opening how even the best and most orthodox leaders in MO consider congregational authority, for example in excommunication and the pastoral call, to be an absolute adiaphoron. I have not seen anyone prove that it is such. All that is said is that the synod says it is.

  15. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #263

    Pr. Gilbert,

    Let me point out the LCMS news reported the following, “In addition to planting four congregations in the region, Carmel Lutheran added a second worship facility on its campus for “a church within a church” with intentional contemporary worship.” “[C]hurch within a church” does not refer to “intentional contemporary worship”? That isn’t the focus? It sure looks like they are being described as a “church within a Church” for creating a new “worship facility” for the purpose of delivering contemporary worship. Perhaps you should write LCMS news and correct their reporting, since you think “this was not in the article either”. It clearly is in the article.

    You also write that I am mistaken on the subject of the Emergent church. Can you point out the mistakes? It is one thing to claim a mistake has been made and yet another to clearly demonstrate it.

    You write, “I agree with Pastor Rossow in post 216, “There is nothing wrong with listening to the heterodox…” ” and knowing Pr. Rossow as I do, I don’t think he agrees that a church claiming to be Lutheran should be presenting the teachings of Beth Moore. But the question is, why is Carmel using Beth Moore at all when we Lutherans have far better materials at hand?

    As for studying non-Lutheran writings at seminary, that is definitely a good place to study such writings so you are prepared to show where we agree and disagree with the heterodox. But I hope you don’t think training pastors to recognize doctrinal errors is the same as endorsing the teachings of the heterodox? Maybe I am wrong and your seminary professors did endorse the teachings of heterodoxy? That would be disturbing on many levels.

    You ask, “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for them to know before the article is posted, especially considering that we are all part of the Body of Christ? Do you disagree that this a proper thing to do between believers? If so, could you explain your disagreement? “ And I have already sufficiently explained why you are mistaken. I have pointed out that this is a public forum, you simply want to deny that it is. BJS is open to the public for reading, searching, etc. and that makes it public. I also pointed out that the comments being made are in reference to BOTH the LCMS news article and Carmel’s website content. There have been some comments from former members of Carmel posted here, too. So, again, it isn’t discourteous for an editor to offer an opinion regarding publicly published news without first contacting all parties involved. Now, you disagree with me and that is fine, but I believe you are raising up a standard that simply doesn’t exist and from there you are criticizing Pr. Rossow. You are deflecting from real issues by focusing upon what you think should be a courtesy.

    Finally, you are a representative of Caramel. When you happened upon this site is inconsequential. You are here responding to issues raised about your congregation and you have had ample opportunity to do so. I think the “mad process” is working. You don’t like what you have been reading and I definitely understand why. I do think we can all learn something from this discussion. I don’t think it would be wrong for editors to offer an email with a copy of the article to be published to all involved and it could be a nice touch, but I don’t see “the beef” you keep raising. In fact, I have had plenty negative written about me without being notified ahead of time, I stumbled upon those words, I have read them, and moved on. But I am a blogger and know it goes with the territory. We all know the old saying about opinions. Everyone has one.

    I have more I could write, since I didn’t touch on every point you raised, but I want to head out to dinner with the family. 🙂

  16. In addition to Beth Moore Bible Studies, Carmel Lutheran has:

    1. Divorce Care http://www.divorcecare.org/about/experts/

    2. Grief Share http://www.griefshare.org/about/experts/

    Look into the backgrounds of the “experts” in both Divorce Care and Grief Share. You will find mostly “decision theology”, denial of the real presence, advocates of “Believers’ Baptism, Pentecostal beliefs and a confusion of Law & Gospel.

    3. Your Small Group Resources page lists resources from Saddleback (Baptist), LifeWay’s Serendipity Series (Baptist) and Zondervan (generic evangelical). http://www.carmellutheran.org/318487.ihtml

    4. You use the SHAPE Discovery Tool with your members (developed by Rick Warren at Saddleback (Baptist)

    5. You have a chapter of the American Heritage Girls. This organization is the main girls organization for the Free Will Baptists.

    6. You use a “spiritual gifts” inventory (http://www.chrisjenweb.com/CLC/SpiritualGifts.php) that has questions like:

    I am repeatedly able to lead others to embrace God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ.

    I have directed others to implement Biblical principles in dealing with their affliction or suffering.

    I often have a strong sense of what God wants others to be clear about when it comes to certain matters.

    I am able to explain God’s Word in such a way that others understand it.

    Praising God in song is one of my favorite spiritual exercises.

    I feel that I have a special spiritual insight in selecting the best alternative in a difficult situation.

    I feel that I have a special spiritual insight in selecting the best alternative in a difficult situation.

    Motivating others to a higher level of spiritual commitment comes easily for me.

    I proclaim God’s message of salvation to where unbelievers are drawn into a connected relationship with Jesus.

  17. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #263
    “You shouldn’t be concerned about Carmel Lutheran being “bent towards emerging Christians or the Emergent Church” because you are mistaken on this subject. There was nothing in the article that said this was the case, just as there is nothing about that at the Carmel Lutheran website. I have said many times that Professor Cook’s presentation was independent of our presentation. I hope this confusion is cleared up. “

    Please disregard my question above regarding pointing out a error concerning the Emergent Church. I see that by “mistaken on the subject” you probably don’t mean the subject of the Emergent Church, but rather the subject of Carmel. In which case, you should take note that early on in this discussion I limited my remarks to the article and have made no comments regarding what is happening at Carmel other than to ask questions based upon reports found in this thread. I can say given Eric’s reports and information from your church’s website, my concern is not over Carmel’s possibly being Emergent, but on the severe lack of discernment being exercised by you and the senior pastor.

  18. @Eric #267

    > Carmel Lutheran

    This is starting to get a little wierd. I don’t like how this congregation is being singled out.

    Some of these practices are happening at churches where you won’t get any clue about it on their website. Places that would surprise you.

    Picking on Carmel is really not the right direction to go any further in, on these topics.

  19. @mbw #269

    mbw,

    Why is this seen as picking on Carmel? Carmel Lutheran is proud of this information. They put it on their website and use it as part of their publicity. They know that they have caused division among many of their brothers and sisters in the LCMS because of their innovations, but they are willing to do this in order to bring more people to Jesus. They think our criticism is sinful, but they obviously don’t think their doctrine and practice are in error. This church is a good case study for the way most of the largest congregations in the LCMS believe and practice. These churches are looked to by many in our synod as the model for how to save the lost and the LCMS and insure her future viability.

    If we can study Beth Moore or Rick Warren and his church, why can’t we study Carmel?

    I have a few questions I would like to ask Pastor Gilbert or anyone else who knows about Carmel Lutheran.

    1.) Are their Lenten services contemporary or traditional or both?
    2.) Are their weddings and funerals contemporary or traditional services or both?
    3.) Do all of Carmel’s services emphasize that we are all poor miserable sinners and do all of their services focus on the body and blood of Christ given for us for the forgiveness of our sins?
    4.) Is Jane Hoeppner, the former Indiana football coache’s wife who is giving a presentation replacing all of the Bible studies on April 11th, a member of the LCMS?

    Just curious.

  20. mbw:

    Our Synod has already singled Carmel Lutheran out as a model to follow. I am just sharing info about what really goes on in this “model LCMS church”. Notice I provided links to everything above.

    Just download Carmel’s March Newsletter (http://www.carmellutheran.org/138228.ihtml) and you will find books used in their Bible studies:

    1. Fingerprints of God by Rothschild.
    2. Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech by Kassian.
    3. A Faith That’s Real: A Study of the Book of James by Precept Upon Precept (Precept Ministries).
    4. Creative Correction by Whelchel

    Rothschild is a Baptist (and who often speaks at conferences with Beth Moore)

    Kassian is a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary.

    Precept Upon Precept (Precept Ministries) – Reformed Theology

    Whelchel attends the Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Pentecostal) and her husband is the pastor.

    So, here is a review of Carmel Lutheran:

    1. Beth Moore
    2. Divorce Care
    3. Grief Share
    4. Rothschild
    5. Kassian
    6. Precept Upon Precept
    7. Whelchel
    8. Saddleback small group resources
    9. Life Way’s small group resources
    10. Warren’s SHAPE discovery tool
    11. American Heritage Girls
    12. Open Communion
    13. Contemporary Worship

    This is why I say that Carmel Lutheran just needs to be honest and change their name to Carmel Baptist Church.

  21. @Eric #271

    > This is why I say that Carmel Lutheran just needs to be honest and change their name to Carmel Baptist Church.

    So it’s gone from “Lutheran substance, [heterodox] style” to “Lutheran name, heterodox substance” ?

  22. Some may want to read an excellent post on Cyberbrethren by Pastor McCain about this topic:

    http://cyberbrethren.com/2010/03/20/worship-and-adiaphora/

    And a Lutheran congregation cannot justly divorce herself, not only not from the doctrinal, but also not from the historical side of its Church. It is a matter of expediency, as well as of charity and edification, that every Lutheran pastor and every Lutheran congregation have outward significant symbols of the inner union, of the one mind and the one spirit.

  23. As Eric posts in #271, where is the Lutheran in all this stuff? I don’t see any and I do not see what is taught at Carmel as defensable for a so called Lutheran church. False teaching is false teaching and should be avoided. If the leadership of Missouri Synod is advocating this, why do so many remain in a heterodox, and possiblely an apostate church body. I say possibly apostate because it appears Scripture has been abandoned for the world.

  24. Folks, we need to highlight the “Doctrinal & Sola Supporting” vs the “Lutheran or “non Lutheran”. Non Lutherans, have no clue what you are talking about (as well as many a Sem student), & many here are not fighting for & supporting “all being Lutheran.” Obviously, this post have invited, non Lutherans. Think, before you speak & use your eyes to edit before you hit the submit comment. If you stand, think. Heaven is not soley populated by Missouri Synod Lutherans.

    Just as an aside, I think it the height of ignorance, for a Synod, District, or Pastor to expose their flock to “easy listening of heterodox”. You will be called to account for the flock you where entrusted & blest with. If you cannot protect me, then you, by your own choices, have not been a wise steward, and if I esteem the Office, I should leave. Better I leave, then knowingly have you held to account, for me. If I knew, heresy was being allowed, it is best for me (captain obvious) and as many do not see it, my presence, holds them accountable. The Office is Divine, you are not. Choose wisely, souls Eternal hang in the balance, of your choices.

  25. @Bill Kope #275

    Well, Bill, we are hoeing about the roots of the fig tree, applying manure (surely you recognize some of the manure being brought in here!) and watering for another year.
    If God wills, we may have fruit in the form of more Lutheran leadership.

    If not, I hope the Pastors and laity will seriously consider chopping down the connection between us and this methobaptocostal fantasy which is spending itself into bankruptcy and self destructing. And can’t see itself in a mirror!

    It would be nice to get back to a Christ centered, cross focused Lutheran Christianity in all churches under the same name, even if they were a fraction of the present total.

  26. @Jim Pierce #266

    Jim,

    You said that the focus of Carmel Lutheran is contemporary worship. I explained that you are mistaken. Contemporary worship is practiced at Carmel Lutheran (though not its focus). You are welcome to disagree with this practice. I correct you in your terminology, because seeing the “church within a church” explanation, you appear to be ignoring the traditional worship services. Please understand my point.

    I will try to again clarify my point on using non-Lutheran sources. Please don’t see my words and conclude that I’m deflecting your critique of using non-Lutheran sources and sending it to the seminary. Far from it. I am simply saying that I believe Lutherans can learn from non-Lutheran sources, and can highlight the false doctrine while at the same time point to proper doctrine. This is what we did at the seminary, and I believe it can be done in LCMS parishes as well. Your question of why these sources are currently being used is one I cannot answer, but it is one I will investigate. Remember please, I haven’t served here for very long. Either way, I hope you see my point.

    It seems clear that we will not agree with respect to the “public” nature of this website. I’m saddened that we won’t agree on the notification issues either. Yes, this website is technically open to the public, but how are people to know their names or parishes are being discussed if they don’t do a daily Google search to see which blogs are accusing them of what? Even if it is based on “public” articles or writings, don’t you think the conversation would be strengthened by further understanding the context, rather than seeing only what the authors here choose to highlight? Pastor Rossow claimed that there is no mention of the Word and sacraments at the Carmel Lutheran website in this article. I showed this to be false. He welcomed this with his words: “If my characterization can be proven wrong please let me know so we can set the record straight” (NOTE: Pastor Rossow has not yet set the record straight). Why not put that in a quick e-mail to the pastors first? Instead he welcomes readers here, some of whom didn’t look at the website enough to recognize my name as a pastor there! This is the heart of my question. As I have said, when considering interactions within the Body of Christ, notification by the authors seems more than appropriate. Refute me again if you must, after all, I spelled out my same old argument again. Things are getting very circular, but what should we expect with 275+ comments?

    In closing, I welcome you and any reader to answer the questions I first posed to Pastor Rossow in comment 202 (over 3 days ago) and then plainly again in comment 248.

    If you agree that the synod is sick, and believe this website is beneficial in curing that sickness, please help me understand how these practices are helpful:

    • This website welcomes anonymous and pseudonymous comments, unless a detractor is being addressed. (See the post script on comment 6: //steadfastlutherans.org/?p=164#comments . The context here is important to note of course, because it seems likely that one commenter was using two names. Still, his detraction was attacked and written off because he was using a pseudonym. Note that he was attacking the editorial policy of the website.)

    • This website claims to be a “public forum” and therefore an appropriate place to call out “public” sin even though most of the people whose names are used here are most likely unfamiliar with the website, and repentance is a near impossibility.

    • This website uses mockery and satire far too quickly, rather than striving for open communication between disagreeing parties. I understand the historical use of satire between Luther and the reformers against the papacy. Do you feel that a great number of LCMS pastors are truly leading people to hell? Do you believe that they will not listen to you no matter what, and that it’s not worth trying to talk with them on these issues before harshly labeling them on a website that many of them do not know about or do not feel comfortable responding, possibly because of the practices I have highlighted here?

    Pastor Rossow has explained that this website has a “very liberal editorial policy.” Does anyone here believe this website and its “very liberal editorial policy” is the medicine needed to heal the sickness? I think this website would be much more effective in reaching its goals and fostering healthy communication between differing parties if these practices were done away with.

  27. @Dutch #276

    Non Lutherans are welcome to visit, Dutch, but what makes you think they will understand “Doctrinal and Sola supporting” better than “Lutheran and non lutheran”?
    I would have to explain that to people who regularly attend traditional worship (but skip adult Bible class). 🙁

    I grant you that you can’t tell the Lutherans without serious study, there being so many LINO’s (the majority synod and others) in the land.
    That’s the first problem!

    “Heaven is not solely populated by Missouri Synod Lutherans”, I freely concede.
    The purpose of this site, as I see it, is to educate Missouri Lutherans who are hopefully on their way there, though, lest they be under represented, having been misled as to the way by “well meaning” ecclesiastical supervisors.

  28. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #278

    No, Pr. Gilbert you aren’t correcting my terminology, you are denying that the LCMS news report is accurate. Your issue is not with me, but LCMS news. Perhaps you should write to them and ask for a public retraction of their statement which I provided above?

    As for the rest of your posting I think it can be summed up with the question “Can the editorial policy of BJS be better?” The question is leading and the answer sought after is clearly “yes, we can”. But this isn’t really the issue. The issue has been stated by you, “I am simply saying that I believe Lutherans can learn from non-Lutheran sources, and can highlight the false doctrine while at the same time point to proper doctrine.” Your statement is sufficiently vague that disagreement with it looks unreasonable. Of course we can learn from non-Lutherans. That isn’t at issue. What is at issue is if Lutherans can remain true to their confession of faith while promoting the works of heterodox teachers. That is the point you continue to fail to see, Pr. Gilbert. Your congregation is holding up to the public the likes of Beth Moore as credible sources of learning the one true faith. That is a real issue and displays a failure in discernment.

    At this point I have written quite enough and will end here.

  29. For those who are interested in learning more about Beth Moore and her doctrinal errors, please listen to this segment of “Fighting for the Faith” by Chris Rosebrough. Listen closely to Beth Moore’s message and ask yourselves why a congregation claiming to be Lutheran would ever want their members exposed to Beth Moore’s teachings for anything other than exposing her errors? In addition, ask yourselves what is it that Beth Moore is teaching that we can learn from? Is she offering anything a Lutheran doesn’t already have available to them in our confessions and rich theological heritage?

  30. Rev. Gilbert
    I understand why you are so upset with this list. Your ox has been gored and you feel you must protect it from those nasty folks that cannot see beyond the Lutheran Confessions. I feel for you, but must warn you what Scripture says about the shepherds being held to a higher standard. Do you really want to stand before Christ at judgement and try to explain why you led you flock away from the truth?

  31. Helen,
    We here, myself included, tend to mention the phrase “Lutheran” or “non Lutheran”. I think the orginal article, proves the point, “anyone can say anything, but that don’t make it so”. It is obvious to me, that those in “high places” within LCMS, have no clue, (as I choose to believe) or have willingly departed from what makes us different, what MAKES US LUTHERAN.
    Helen, until 1 1/2 years ago, I had no clue, nothing had changed since the mid ’80’s. Many are waking to the same, we must choose our words carefully, if we don’t, those who we fight or try to wake up, will take away the same mindset, others “characterize Confessional Lutherans” as. It is a falsehood, you’d never know or spot me as your typical “Confessional Lutheran.” I doubt, they would with you either.

    When I was in England, looking for a church, for the Sunday I was in London, I looked for days, at LCMS, WELS, ELCE. What did I find? The Lutheran Presence there, was so busy, trying to make the distinction of being “different” than the COE, they forgot to explain what WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE. Diswading, in way, means I will know what I know, if I walk thru your door. Ck #’s Helen, see what the Lutheran presence is in the UK.

    What they should have been doing all along, is speaking as to what WE AS THE LUTHERAN CHURCH, WHICH IS & SHOULD ALWAYS BE CONFESSIONAL, believes, teaches & preaches.
    If the LCMS is having an identity crisis, we confessionals, cannot afford to use the same language. Lutheran is a broad term, ck out Nadia Bolz-Hintz. Many outside the Lutheran denom, have not clue there is any difference, betwixt ELCA, LCMS, or WELS. If we desire, to be known, but what we have known & cling to, we have got to be willing to be specific. The world won’t wait for us to define it. Luther already did it. And the SOLA’S SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

  32. Jim,
    Thanks for re-posting the link I referred to, very early in this thread. I saw Beth Moore, 6 years ago, I am sad to say, she has bought the lie (I would like to think, I would have seen what Fighting for the Faith did, prior to now). When I saw her, she had very little available in print, she had little to gain, little to loose. She is now a comodity, as many are now.
    I can now go to Wally World, & choose any book, she speaks on. Law of supply & demand. You don’t like it, don’t buy or use it, & tell others to not use said same.
    From my vantage point, she is a reason, WOMEN SHOULD HOLD NO POSITIONS OF TEACHING, PREACHING OR AUTHORITY, in His Church, ooo, yes, that does sting, but it is true.
    To put this in context, my Mum, was the sole woman, who brought the women’s vote, into our Congregation, when I was little. I disagree, with her now, & always will. One of many bright spots, I can now rest within WELS. If I know & am content in my place, knowing Who, set that place, if I don’t like it, or if anyone else should not, take it up,
    WITH THE AUTHOR. That is not Luther or Walther, that was Paul.

  33. @Dutch #283

    I really was refraining from adding to this list, but Dutch, when you said “those who we fight or try to wake up” – are you referring to waking a sleeping giant? Godspeed with that!
    😉
    <

  34. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #278

    Rev. Gilbert you still have not answered my question about the women readers. Is this a violation of 1 Timothy chapter 2. According to the the verse, and others, women should not teach within the pastoral office, which reading the lessons is included, yet your church does so. How do you defend your practice with Scripture?

    There is a huge difference in learning about heterodox theology and using heterodox theology to teach the flock. Not only does Carmel use heterodox material to teach their flock, it also invites heterodox preachers and teachers to teach the flock. Case in point is Carmel’s invitation to Pastor McPhearson.

    With reference to the article written by LCMS News, Carmel is being touted as the model church. How does Carmel’s use of heterodox material qualify as being model for the rest of our churches?

    Kiley

  35. @Rev. Jack Gilbert #278
    I’m referring here to Rev. Gilbert’s questions. I am enclosing his comments in [brackets] and then answering them one at a time.

    Rev. Gilbert said:

    [In closing, I welcome you and any reader to answer the questions I first posed to Pastor Rossow in comment 202 (over 3 days ago) and then plainly again in comment 248.
    If you agree that the synod is sick, and believe this website is beneficial in curing that sickness, please help me understand how these practices are helpful:]

    For a moment, I’ll grant Rev. Gilbert his bullet points. Does that mean that there is nothing good at BJS and we should all throw up our arms and go home? I don’t think so. There are many fine discussions on BJS where theology and items of interest are discussed that I’ve benefited from greatly. He seems to be unaware that one of the goals of BJS is to start Chapters, one of whose goals is to support the study of the Lutheran Confessions. Another goal is to support the new Lutheran media, which is highly commendable. He totally discounts the caliber of BJS writers such as Pastor Klemet Preus, who is a first rate theologian, the apologetics acumen of Pastor Todd Wilken, and the writing skills and wit of Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, just to name a few. I doubt he’s read through a copy of the Brothers of John the Steadfast quarterly, or been to a BJS Chapter meeting. It’s unlikely he read through the dialogue between Pastor Preus and District President Forke. He chooses to ignore all of these things and focus on the “negatives” only. Discussing the issues that confront Lutheranism is necessary in order to avoid them. That is one of the things this site does. No, it’s not perfect. We’re working on it. I’ve yet to find the site that is perfect. BJS isn’t going away – much to the chagrin of the people who want to adopt non-Lutheran practices (most people who read here understand what that means Dutch, especially seminary students, and if they don’t, they can keep reading). Rev. Gilbert is using faulty logic. It appears that he assumes that since BJS (in his opinion) has unhelpful practices, that there could be nothing good about BJS.

    [• This website welcomes anonymous and pseudonymous comments, unless a detractor is being addressed. (See the post script on comment 6: //steadfastlutherans.org/?p=164#comments . The context here is important to note of course, because it seems likely that one commenter was using two names. Still, his detraction was attacked and written off because he was using a pseudonym. Note that he was attacking the editorial policy of the website.)]

    I don’t like anonymous and pseudonymous comments either. There is some advantage to the practice in that it allows someone who wouldn’t otherwise post for fear of retribution to be able to post. I don’t personally agree with that thought, thinking instead that we are called to confess, which might very well involve great personal risk. Nevertheless, at least for right now, that’s the way it is, so get used to it.

    [• This website claims to be a “public forum” and therefore an appropriate place to call out “public” sin even though most of the people whose names are used here are most likely unfamiliar with the website, and repentance is a near impossibility.]

    Rev. Gilbert is here chasing his own tail. He found out about the post didn’t he? I agree that, as an example, it would be beneficial to give the person or congregation the chance to respond, ideally before something is posted about them.

    [• This website uses mockery and satire far too quickly, rather than striving for open communication between disagreeing parties. I understand the historical use of satire between Luther and the reformers against the papacy. Do you feel that a great number of LCMS pastors are truly leading people to hell? Do you believe that they will not listen to you no matter what, and that it’s not worth trying to talk with them on these issues before harshly labeling them on a website that many of them do not know about or do not feel comfortable responding, possibly because of the practices I have highlighted here?]

    Mockery and satire are definitely things to avoid. It’s been my experience that in speaking with people that have diverged from our confession, the attempts I’ve made for a meaningful dialogue are usually met with resistance. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, but the response to such offers of dialogue are sometimes ignored entirely, and sometimes met with defensive comments or denials rather than meaningful dialogue.

    [Pastor Rossow has explained that this website has a “very liberal editorial policy.” Does anyone here believe this website and its “very liberal editorial policy” is the medicine needed to heal the sickness? I think this website would be much more effective in reaching its goals and fostering healthy communication between differing parties if these practices were done away with.]

    BJS is one way in which “the sickness” can be healed – it’s certainly not the only way. There is room for improvement at BJS in some of the areas that Rev. Gilbert mentions, and, up until we find people without original sin, the comments will always fall short of the ideal we’d all like to see. So we discuss things, bear one another’s burdens, and repent and forgive as needed.

    Rev. Gilbert, you greatly weaken your own argument. I think your original comments in this thread were an attempt to defend your congregation, which I would do as well if I agreed with the direction the congregation was taking. But when you appeal to “divisive words” and emotion (“I was deeply hurt”), and point to anonymous comments and debates about “public forum,” it gives the impression that you can’t actually defend the position of your church and are therefore trying to deflect the criticism by distracting people from the topic at hand.

  36. I have been criticized for not contacting Carmel Lutheran before posting the story that got all this started. Please consider these two things (in addition to the other good defenses of this above) in light of that criticism:

    1. My beef has never been with Carmel Lutheran. My beef is with the council of presidents for considering a congregation like Carmel Lutheran to be exemplary. I stand behind my characterization of Carmel Lutheran but the real target is the counicl of presidents.

    2. A member of the council of presidents, no less than the Rev. David Behnke, a bishop, has criticized this posting over at the ALPB blog. Now the good bishop has not contacted me personally about this and yet discerns that he has the right to criticize me publicly without speaking to me. I agree with the Bishop on this matter. This is a public debate over public issues. Interesting too, that Rev. Gilbert, who played the Matthew 18 card, likewise did not contact me personally before publically criticizing me on this string.

    BTW – This is the same Bishop Benke who tried a power play against the “4 Interested Laymen” when they first posted their fair and balanced survey for the Blue Ribbon proposals. (//steadfastlutherans.org/?p=4779)

    BTW.2 – On the same blog post mentioned above Bishop Benke predicts that Matt Harrison will get more nominations for president than President Kieschnick. Hmmm, very interesting since historically the person who gets the most nominations wins.

    TR

  37. @Pastor Tim Rossow #290
    My beef is with the council of presidents for considering a congregation like Carmel Lutheran to be exemplary.

    It is a good beef to have. How many District Presidents are left who really stand with Confessional Lutherans. I know only of President Mueller in the Southern Illinois District. I trust there are others.

    If Pastor Harrison is elected to be the SP in July the next need will be to call back or replace those District Presidents who have wandered off the Lutheran trail. These men can have a lot of influence regarding the way the LCMS runs and how Word and Sacrament Ministry is carried out in their districts.

  38. @Pastor Tim Rossow #290

    (not that I criticized you for posting without contacting, which I did not, but)

    Thank you for super-clarifying what should have been clear to me anyway. I griped about beating up on a single congregation based on their website. Your point about COP is very well taken.

    The word ‘bishop’ in our voluntarily-walking-together unsynod falls unfamiliarly on these ears. I’m sure you’ve researched this and can justify it, but just so you know.

  39. MBW,

    I use District President and Bishop interchangeably. That does bother some. The Biblical definition of “bishop” is supervisor. Every pastor is a bishop because it is his responsibility to supervise doctrine in his congregation. (BTW – the pastors at Carmel Lutheran shirk this responsibility by using materials by the heterodox Christian Beth Moore.) The District President, by policy, is the supurvisor of doctrine in his district (Handbook 4.4.4) and so is the bishop of his district.

    However, even though he is a bishop, a third grader armed with scripture can rebuke him if he is in error, and the same applies with the pastor in the parish.

    TR

  40. @Pastor Tim Rossow #293

    Thank you. I’m sure I should research this more. If even the confessional MO guys start moving toward a hierarchical church body, I for one will need to see where that’s required or allowed by Scripture. I apologize in advance for not searching this site and other MO-related places (not WELS and related) for that. So, if you could provide some doctrinal references within our communion, it’s a good time. Let’s just agree that in MO the burden of proof is on anyone who wants to depart from Walther. (Not that I’ve read him as thoroughly as you no doubt have!) I’m really a pretty simple layman and Walther has been a trustworthy guide so far.

  41. MBW,

    There is no authority in the church but the word of God so I am not talking about any authority other than Scripture. The question is simply, who is resoponsible for making sure that we stick to God’s word. Of course, we all are, pastors and laity. In the district it is the District President’s job to see that there is doctrinal supervision in the district. He is the first line of defense so to speak. If he does not do it then all the rest of us should hold him to this responsibility. (I for one have done so numerous times in our district with usually good results.)

    Do you have a copy of Walther’s Church and Ministry? I am writing from home and have my at the office so I cannot remember which thesis it is but one of them says that laity owe their pastor absolute obedience when he is speakng the word of God truly. That is all that I am talkin about, that and the fact that in the parish the pastor is responsible for this and in the district it is the DP.

    TR

  42. I want to thank Eric for digging up all sorts of stuff from Carmel Lutheran that supports my original assertion in this post and that I did not have time to investigate. It is amazing how much Methobapticosptal stuff you found!

    Rev. Gilbert’s only response is lame: we looked at non-Lutheran resources at the seminary therefore it is OK to do it in the parish. That is just absolute foolishness and stupidity! Yes we looked at non-Lutheran resources at the seminary so that we would know their errors and be able to spot them once we got into the parish. We also use non-Lutheran resources but only as theological professionals who know what we are doing. We were never taught to put non-Lutheran resources into laity’s hands.

    TR

  43. @Pastor Tim Rossow #295

    I do have Church and Ministry and I certainly recall the thesis you mention. I’ll start reviewing it again just as I have been doing with Law and Gospel. I just found a very interesting nugget there this morning.

    I mention Walther as a shorthand to Scripture. Even if we were to somehow be able to improve upon him in some way, we should shun anyone who is dismissive or disrespectful of hi m. But of course it all comes from Scripture.

    Ultimately the responsibility for people sticking to God’s Word is the Triune God, and He will take His Word where it will be honored and believed.

    What I don’t know is when it’s time to start a new church or just have home church, if I am convinced that there is heterodoxy in every church body. Right now I think that the heterodoxy surely inhering in me (as sin) is not any better than some congregations I know of (and one of which I am a member of).

    I’ve had in interesting discussion in private about the notion of orthodoxy and heterodoxy and whether you can claim orthodoxy by pointing to and avowing the right confessions, or whether heterodoxy is also something that is part of even strong confessionals, as sin.

    It seems to me that the new man / old man situation is heterodox. The new man can only utter truth; the old man can only lie, in spiritual matters.

  44. I was interested to know if anyone had contacted Rev. Cook in followup to his offer to discuss the presentation in question, but see that no one has. Either that or Rev. Cook doesn’t return phone calls.

    Any word? Any word at all?

  45. I just noticed that the May devotions in Portals of Prayer are written by Pastor Brunette, so, congratulations to him on that.

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