President Kieschnick’s Letter to Pastors, August, 2010

Here is President Kieschnick’s last official letter to the pastors of the synod. His other letters can be found here.

A Pastoral Letter to
Pastors of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
From President Jerry Kieschnick
August 11, 2010

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Grace and peace be with you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

This will be my last “Pastoral Letter” as president of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. My term officially ends Sept. 1, so I’m spending some of the days of August moving out of the fourth-floor International Center office, not an insignificant challenge!

My thoughts and feelings these days are many and varied. I’m thankful for the privilege and humbled by the burden of having served as president of our beloved Synod, which has been led by men whose names are fairly familiar to many: Walther, Wyneken, Schwan, Pieper, Pfotenhauer, Behnken, Harms, Preus, Bohlmann, Barry, and Kuhn. Kieschnick is now leaving and Harrison is coming. Men with feet of clay, touched by God’s Spirit with a variety of gifts, recognized and asked to serve by people with hopes and dreams for the church body we all know and love – The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

My hopes and dreams for our Synod have not been fully accomplished. No surprise there, for we are still the church militant, not yet the church triumphant. During my time in office, I’ve been perplexed by a number of things, some of which I identified and described in my verbal report to the Synod Convention a few weeks ago. One matter in particular continues to be a concern for me and for many. Here are slightly paraphrased excerpts from my report dealing with that specific concern:

This spring, at a pastors conference in Minnesota, I talked about the report of our convention-mandated Task Force on Synod Harmony, specifically, the seven “Aspects of the Present Disharmony in Synod.” As I listed them, you could hear a pin drop. The men in the room sat silently, some with heads bowed. I think what made them so still, so pensive – even melancholy – was that they realized just how much truth was contained in these points. Here are those seven aspects of disharmony among us:

1. An “inability to deal with diversity” in such issues as admission to Holy Communion, worship substance and style, the Office of the Public Ministry and the role of laity, and the service of women in the church.

2. A “lack of civility” that leads to rumors, lies, slander, sarcasm, and cruel satire, doing violence to the Eighth Commandment and sorely wounding our church.

3. A “politicized culture” that has turned our Synod into “a denomination of parties.”

4. These problems are “primarily a clergy problem.” Pastors “seem to be in the forefront of practices and attitudes unbefitting God’s people.”

5. “Poor communication across ‘Party Lines'” hampers the ability, or the will, to listen to one another.

6. A “lack of accountability” for “sinful attitudes and behaviors,” falling on the shoulders of district presidents and circuit counselors to “admonish, teach, encourage, and model ‘churchmanship.'”

7. “Distrust,” particularly among clergy, resulting in increasingly partisan politics.

Delegates to this convention have witnessed or experienced some of these firsthand. As disconcerting as these aspects of disharmony are, it is important that we acknowledge them. For only by facing up to our problems can we hope to fix them. Unity, harmony, and concord among us are not what they ought to be and need to be improved significantly.

This will not be accomplished by changes in structure and governance, but by the Spirit of God working within us through Word and Sacrament. That does not make structure and governance improvements insignificant or unnecessary. All problems we face must be addressed. A person who has both heart disease and kidney malfunction cannot ignore either of those conditions.

From my perspective on this side of the convention, those words have not diminished in importance. Unless and until these matters are addressed and resolved, our Synod will continue to be blown about by the changing winds of political persuasion. We are not at our best when finding fault with each other, when believing rumors and promulgating innuendo, when failing to “defend, speak well of, and put the best construction on everything.”

Satan delights at these failures, which I’ve described elsewhere in these words: “It is my own sense that the propensity for political propaganda that seems imbedded in our denominational DNA all too often divides our well-trained clergy, dispirits our godly lay men and lay women, weakens our witness to the world, and leaves us feeling torn and empty.”

In the place of such division, may God find us faithful in fulfilling vigorously the ONE Mission of seeking the lost for Christ, by communicating the ONE Message that Jesus Christ, and He alone, is the Savior of the world, as ONE People – Forgiven, striving side-by-side for the faith of the Gospel.

To that end I share with you these words of biblical encouragement and counsel:

  • “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
  • “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:24-25).
  • “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9).
  • “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:5-6).

The peace of the Lord be with you all!

Jerry Kieschnick

Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick, President
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
e-mail: [email protected]
Web page:

“Transforming lives through Christ’s love … in time … for eternity …” John 3:16-17

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


President Kieschnick’s Letter to Pastors, August, 2010 — 127 Comments

  1. @Andrew Strickland #100

    OK. You did refer to it, since you brought it into the discussion. Let’s recap our discussion from post #89 for clarification, I defined “Confessional Lutheran” in #89 as those who unconditionally hold a quia (I didn’t use that Latin term, but I did use its English meaning) subscription to the Book of Concord, and you responded “Not quite”, quoted my definition, and then asserted you aren’t opposed to it, but you would “differ on the way to go about it.” When I asked for clarification you introduced Ablaze!™ and explained how you would talk to people about Jesus.

    So, is where you would differ with me is over methods of evangelism (hence bringing up “Ablaze!™), or do you differ with me on holding a quia subscription to the Lutheran Confessions? Or maybe both?

    Thanks for helping to clear up my confusion over what you are stating.

  2. @Jim Pierce #101

    “So, is where you would differ with me is over methods of evangelism (hence bringing up “Ablaze!™)” Ablaze was the easiest way to say it in the time alloted. The ™ always makes me laugh. Anyway I am a “convert” to Ablaze, but I will not go any further. -insert old can many worms discussion

    I tend to comment when I do not have time to think it out. I tend to react and not think. Thank you for keeping it up to get to root of things 🙂

  3. @Matthew Mills #96

    Mr Mills,

    In regards to your comments here I do not think we are in disagreement.

    So, what does Matt 28 say, and how does it square w/ the methods of the Church Growth proponents in the LC-MS? Matt 28 says that as we are going along our way, we are to make disciples of all ethnic groups by baptizing, and teaching the entire council of Jesus Christ. There is no other option, no other way to go about making disciples. The Bible doesn’t give you the latitude to pick your own method. Evangelism based on something other than Word and Sacrament ministry, or evangelism that dumbs down Law and Gospel, or evangelism that avoids controversial doctrines, or consumerist marketing “tarted up” as evangelism all represent our great omission, not Christ’s great commission.

    I do not see church growth as a negative because what I see is making sure that we are properly teaching: Law & Gospel, Word & Sacrament.

    The Evangelism that I am talking about is not a program or any of the other items you noted, it is the Pastor and the Lay People when they are in the world talking with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors or anyone that they come into contact with using that opportunity as it arises with the Holy Spirits words that He will give me, taking that opportunity to share Jesus with them and invite, pick them up or whatever it takes, to join you at a Bible Sudy or attend church with you. At that time you have planted the seed, or watered it after someone else planted, knowing that if they come to faith it will only be because of the Holy Spirit. Then they get the opportunity to learn more about Jesus, who He is and what He has done for them.

    The best Evangelism program is not to have a Professional one, if you love Jesus you would want everyone else you come into contact with to have the same Grace and fantastic Eternity you have as promised by Jesus and invite them to your church. Can you imagine the opportunities we could open up for people to hear about our fantastic Savior.

    When I hear the Great Commission I truely believe the word GO and it is an important mission intrust to us by our Lord. It is a hard concept to get , however the more opportunities that are placed in front of you over time make it easier to do with the Holy Spirit’s help. I always marvel when a little child talks aout Jesus because as we grow older it seems to be harder for us to share him with others. I remember a conversation with my grandson as I was taking him to school when he was 4, the question that he asked me was why did God make the trees green? As we talked it was one of the best conversations I have ever had being able to discuss his question about God and tie it together with Jesus with him. I firmly believe that it is not me doing the conversion it is 100% the Holy Spirit and our thank you to Him (When a gift is recieved we neeed to say thank you) for what He does for each of us that have Faith, is to GO.

    I pray that this explains more clearly what I mean.

  4. @Scott Diekmann #99

    Mr. Diemann,

    I will try to explain with examples what I mean.

    The worlds population grows.
    The United States population grows.
    The LCMS declines in membership.

    Something is wrong there as we have the best and most important message to share with people we come into contact with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and our community. Do we talk with them about Jesus and the faith that the Holy Spirit gives us and there is nothing we have to do or can do. It is a Gift and the most important thing that we can share.

    Over my life I have been a member of a number of LCMS churches of varying sizes. It did not matter what the size was it was where the focus of ministry was. Was it focused inward on the members or if the focus was to share Jesus with our family, friends, coworker, neighbors or our community.

    Currently, I have observed two churches that were almost 100 years old close their doors because there were very few members left to support the church, however there were thousands of souls needing to hear about Jesus living right outside the doors of the church they were just different people.

    I have been a member of a church that what was important was what color to paint the fellowship hall but no it could not be used by the youth because they might hurt it.

    It is entirely where the congregations focus is inward or outward. I feel that too many of the LCMS congregations focus is inward and not outward. We need to reach outward and teach inward to grow our members in their relationship with their Savior. Every congregation needs to do both (it is not either or), however it becomes to easy to focus inward. That is what I mean about the LCMS seeming to not care.

    I pray that this clarifies what I meant.

  5. Thank you Mr. Rokenbrodt,
    I suspect that either we have very different experiences with the church growth movement, or the two sides have drifted so far apart that we have ended up with different concepts of what constitutes “Law and Gospel,” or “Word and Sacrament.” In my 24 years in the Air Force I moved over a dozen times, and deployed a bunch more times. I’ve seen a lot of LC-MS congregations and chaplains (and some Lutheran Church of Korea, and Evangelical Lutheran Church of England ones as well.) I’m only one person, but I have truthfully never ever heard a clear Law and Gospel proclamation from a church growth pastor or chaplain. Never. I think I see some of this mixing of Law and Gospel in what you write as well. What I hear you saying is: God saved me and now I gotta evangelize to pay Him back. That looks as though, the sacrament of baptism, and the proclamation of the Gospel have become “law” for you. The Gospel in Word and Sacrament is so much better than that, and I hope that you get an opportunity to hear it some day soon in all it’s beauty and comfort.
    Another personal observation from my military-induced pew-hopping: Confessional Lutherans aren’t anti-evangelism. From my experience, it’s impossible to keep them from faithfully sharing the reason for the hope that they have. Not because they gotta, or should, but because they can’t keep quiet. Oddly enough, the only LC-MS church that’s numerically growing in my circuit is the traditional Confessional one. The funny thing is I believe my Pastor would be doing and saying the exact same things if they were getting him ignored, abused, arrested, or executed.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills
    It might not be a big point, but the word “GO” (present active imperative) isn’t in the great commission, it’s a bad translation. I’m not the Greek expert on this site, but verse 19 starts w/ a passive aorist participle, which ends up something like: “as you are going along your way,” rather than “go.” That seems pretty consistent though w/ what you’re saying when you write about “opportunities being placed in front of you over time.”

  6. I don’t want to “poach Scott’s deer” Mr. Rokenbrodt, but when the focus of a church is inward, it strengthens the congregation to reach out. When a church focuses outward, the poor starving sinners leave by the back door to find someone who will feed them. The LC-MS is shrinking numerically from the back door, partially because many pastors have traded the “cure of souls” for a marketing approach.
    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  7. harley Rokenbrodt :@Mrs. Hume #73
    The LCMS hasn’t grown because people have smaller families.
    I do not understand what the size of families have to do with the growth or decline of the LCMS.

    That’s exactly how it happened. The Missouri Synod had somewhat more than one million members in the 1930s. Families were having more than two children each. We didn’t double in size because of a mission project.

  8. @harley Rokenbrodt #104
    I have been a member of a church that what was important was what color to paint the fellowship hall but no it could not be used by the youth because they might hurt it.

    I have been a member of a church which gave its youth a room to decorate as they would. They made it so comfortable with family castoffs that LWML and other groups were borrowing it to meet there. 🙂 [Just to trade anecdotes]

    Aside from the smaller families, we have given our youth the impression (also obtained elsewhere) that it doesn’t matter what you believe, (or marry), so they are likely to drift off to other churches or none.
    We’d be bigger if we’d just kept what we produced…
    (and their spouses and children).

  9. So far as I know, none of us has seen the Holy Spirit’s annual report on how the Church has been doing. We can “point with pride” or “view with alarm,” but the fact is, we don’t know why the LCMS is declining, even tho the world’s population is increasing. Maybe God is telling us that bigger is not better. There is no possible way that we can predict that the LCMS will grow (or decline, for that matter) under Harrison’s leadership any more than during Kieschnick’s tenure.

    The Holy Spirit “works faith when and where He pleases in those who hear the Gospel.” The LCMS has had any number of evanagelism programs, the latest of which is Ablaze, with its “critical event” score-keeping. Is the LCMS growing? Are our pastors preaching the Gospel, and are our members “giving a reason for the hope we have?” Are people hearing the Gospel, some for the first time? Is the Holy spirit working faith? Some plant, and some water, but the H.S. gives the growth. We simply continue to plant and water, and leave the growth up to Him.

  10. Gerald Kieschnick listed the following problems in his farewell “pastoral letter” addressed to the pastors of the synod. His list contains some genuine problems but other complaints are problems only because many among us cannot bring themselves to follow biblical and confessional practices.

    An “inability to deal with diversity” in such issues as admission to Holy Communion, worship substance and style, the Office of the Public Ministry and the role of laity, and the service of women in the church.
    By the way in which Kieschnick phrased the problem he has transformed what Lutherans have for centuries confessed to be theological error into something that is neutral, that there is merely a neutral choice between styles or approaches. It would a totally different matter if the problem had been truthfully labeled as “inability to deal with error.”
    Consider as an example just one of the topics Kieschnick mentioned, the admission to Holy Communion. Ever since the Marburg Disputation in 1529, Protestants have refused to acknowledge that the Lord’s very body and blood in the respective physical elements of bread and wine of Holy Communion. The rift between Lutherans and Protestants has continued to this very moment because Lutherans acknowledge the Lord’s “real presence” and Protestants do not. Unless I am greatly mistaken, in almost all instances when admission to Holy Communion is disputed in our parishes, there is no substantive doctrinal controversy. Both those who campaign for something less restrictive than closed communion and those who insist on closed communion confess the Lord’s body and blood are present in the respective elements of bread and wine. The actual problem is that those who seek open communion are really saying that the substance of the Marburg Disputation is insignificant. Whether they admit it or not, they are by their actions saying C.F.W. Walther and the other Saxon Lutherans were fools to leave Europe over a trifling matter as a union agenda. The real battle is between adherence to unpopular biblical practices and satisfaction of human emotions that results in doctrinal error. If this is “diversity” we might as well call the commission of murder a “choice.”

    A “lack of civility” that leads to rumors, lies, slander, sarcasm, and cruel satire, doing violence to the Eighth Commandment and sorely wounding our church.
    Does not Kieschnick suffer at least a modicum of hypocrisy by voicing this accusation? Are not those who seek to convince all of us to abandon our confession and practices so that LCMS becomes more “friendly” to those who will not tolerate sound teaching by asking us, “don’t you care that people out there are dying and going to Hell,” guilty of sarcasm and resorting to ad hominem attacks? One is also left to wonder whether Kieschnick would have brought charges against Christ for his “whitewashed tombs” comments in Matthew chapter 23.

    A “politicized culture” that has turned our Synod into “a denomination of parties.”
    Is Kieschnick guilty of the very accusation he voices here? Let us hear from our pastors in Texas District on whether they have heard him say that he was “working the room.” Isn’t that how politicians talk? (No, this is not hearsay because we are not in a courtroom and the statement is not being introduced for the truth of the matter asserted therein.)

    These problems are “primarily a clergy problem.” Pastors “seem to be in the forefront of practices and attitudes unbefitting God’s people.”
    Kieschnick did not provide any details here. It was good that he did not accuse specific persons but he failed to even name specific practices and attitudes as examples. Without specifics, how is the reader or hearer to understand what he is complaining about. This is what those with real, earned law degrees respond to with “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

    “Poor communication across ‘Party Lines’” hampers the ability, or the will, to listen to one another.
    Perhaps things are different in other places, but where I am the confessional pastors show up and the others do not. When they did make an appearance and problems of doctrine and practice were discussed they would not answer questions honestly. Most times they responded with nothing more than, “how dare you question my ministry.”

    A “lack of accountability” for “sinful attitudes and behaviors,” falling on the shoulders of district presidents and circuit counselors to “admonish, teach, encourage, and model ‘churchmanship.’”
    Perhaps there is some truth to this accusation, but the problem may lie in the failure of the synodical president to himself admonish, teach, encourage and model churchmanship. That’s difficult if not impossible to do when, as Kieschnick admitted, he is not a theologian.

    “Distrust,” particularly among clergy, resulting in increasingly partisan politics.
    Kieschnick here identifies a genuine problem in that clergy distrust one another. However, the problem is much broader. Trust between clergy and laity in the same congregation sometimes seems to be more the exception than the rule. Members of the same congregation who have known each other since childhood do not trust each other. Contrary to what Kieschnick wrote, the greater problem is not partisan politics. The tragedy is that we are the kingdom divided against itself as Sts. Matthew, Mark and Luke reported the Lord warning against.

    Kieschnick ended his farewell letter by quoting four biblical passages: Acts 20:28, Mark 11:24-25, Philippians 4:8-9 and Romans 15:5-6. If Jerry Kieschnick was one thing as synodical president he was consistent. All four passages are law: no Gospel, no forgiveness.

    Allow me to provide an alternative reason for the pastors’ silence and bowed heads when Kieschnick read the task force report. It was not because they realized that the report truthfully accused them. They were silent because they were trying their utmost to bite their tongues. Their heads were bowed because they were praying, “O Lord, deliver us.”
    Perhaps the Lord heard and has answered those prayers.

  11. Johannes,
    So very well said in #109. This is like the parable of the Sower. A sower’s job & only job, as he is a “sower” is to throw seeds. He didn’t till the field, he does not turn it. He does not cause the sun to rise & shine “softly” on that field. He does not cause the rains to come or fall “softly”. (Jim, your so right Matt. 28 IS for the Church.)

    The sower has no control or command. He cannot command plague or pestilence to flee, he cannot cause seeds thrown on roads, rocks, or when weeds invade & out number the wheat, to flee or fail. His job, the sower, is to throw seeds. I was taught, that Parable is like bearing witness to the Truth, which is the Word, which is Jesus Christ. How many seeds found fertile ground? Only some, it that was the rarest.

    Does the parable continue, and condemn, dock pay, berate, or belittle the sower for lack of harvest? No, it does not. Does it cause him to feel sting & throw more seeds or does it reteach him to have better aim by new & improved methods? No, it does not. Does it say he was told if he did “something else or more” that the harvest would be bigger & better, and this would be a bigger & better farm? No it doesn’t.

    We’ve stopped singing doxologies over the ones that found fertile fields, and started grumbling over lack of shoots, not healthy plants, shoots. Are we only willing to sing & praise the Holy Spirit ONLY for greater #’s of Baptisms, or when a congregation breaks the 500 mark now? No, we should never, but that is what this seems & that is a huge problem in the numbers debate & the posted letter in this article.

    Is it possible to have a harvest, w/o separating wheat & chaff? No. It is quality that is meant by what is brought into the barn & celebrated that is the harvest. Only the quality wheat constitutes success, not quantity.

  12. Ooo, too cute. My boys, said, that sounds like Johnny Appleseed’s song. The Lord is Good To Me. You Tube has it. We have the VHS, of that. YouTube has the clip from the Disney Short. If you look at apples, as people, and listen to the words, ya get what I poorly said in #111.

  13. @harley Rokenbrodt #90

    > I do not understand what the size of families have to do with the growth or decline of the LCMS.

    Presumably more children born to Lutheran parents will become Lutherans than children born to non-Lutheran parents.

    The pope and Mohammed understand this, anyway.

  14. @harley Rokenbrodt #104

    > The worlds population grows.
    The United States population grows.

    These are happening largely by births in non-Christian societies.

    The US is just barely at replacement rate – 2.1 births per couple as I recall.

    Spain, an old-ish part of Christendom, is at I think 1.1.

    Christendom is dying. Muslim families are not producing Christian babies.

    Inviting unbelievers to church is a part of how the church gets new members, but family connections are the main way. It has always been so.

    So, if you want the church to grow, advocate something really crude like HEY HAVE MORE LUTHERAN BABIES.

  15. MBW,
    Mohammed & the Pope? Ah…those “hypothetical” children are already in bondage, slavery, and without choice, prior to birth, with Allah/& the Prophet & the Pope.
    No way. Or am I misunderstanding, your naivety?

  16. @Dutch #116

    Dutch, I think I failed to make the irony clear. But it’s not irony if you make it too clear!

    The pope and Mohammed understand (well, ‘the’ Mohammed isn’t grokking much these days as he moulders but the Mohammed-juniors are) that more Romanists and Mohammedans come from Romanist and Mohammedan familes than not. Well, except where you convert them by the sword, but we’ll leave that out.

    So with Lutherans (make more babies = make more Lutherans). Mr. Rokenbrodt’s quandary – isn’t.

    You don’t go down the street yelling hey y’all come to my Lutheran church it’s great it’s just like yours and expect all that much good to happen. The constant grinding from CG would-be evangelists is for some other reason.

  17. @harley Rokenbrodt #104
    Hi Mr. Rokenbrodt.

    Your “inward focused” arguments sound like a theology of glory. The big outward focused LCMS church near us had 3,000 members in the year 2000. Now I’m told by one of its members that it has 1,000 members and is shrinking. Bigger, or growing, doesn’t necessarily equate to faithfulness. The “inward focused” argument also sounds just like the Transforming Churches Network Law-driven message to me, especially when you use guilt-motivated phraseology like “thousands of souls needing to hear about Jesus.” For a further discussion of what I mean, if you’re interested, you can refer to part 3 of the series of articles I wrote on the Transforming Churches Network:
    I note that you say we need both an inward and an outward focus. What I’ve seen is that the “inward focused” label, as it is now being used in our Synod, is a means to label a church that isn’t growing as a failure, and then apply TCN methods to “revitalize” it. You can’t revitalize a congregation with the Law in the long term as TCN does. Perhaps what we need is a proper Law and Gospel focus that catechizes us laymen in our own Lutheran theology. That’s what was going on when our synod was growing the most rapidly. I get the sense that many laymen in our Synod don’t share the true Gospel message with their neighbor because they really don’t know what it is. When you don’t see the significance of what Luther wrote on the table top in chalk to Zwingli, “Hoc est corpus meum/This is my body” (which many of our pastors apparently don’t see either, since open communion abounds), there’s nothing to get excited about – at that point we’ve got nothing more to offer than the evangelical church down the street. If you aren’t excited about what it is you believe, you’re certainly not going to share it with your neighbor or anybody else.

  18. @Scott Diekmann #118
    You are right and church growth methods do not work, I do not advocate them. If the church grows it has to be as a happy unintended side effect of evangelism.

    Funnily enough, as Christianity turns to the world to provide the answers for the problems within the church and in some cases changes to meet the world the CEOs of the world are borrowing from Christianity to improve their companies. They are evangelizing the world with their respective brands. Evangelize the brand is a common theme within the company for which I work (a second job)

  19. @ Scott #118

    Scott, you are SO right when you say “Perhaps what we need is a proper Law and Gospel focus that catechizes us laymen in our own Lutheran theology.” With so many people joining our congregation who are new to Lutheranism, I am afraid that the basic 7-12 week course is just NOT enough! We do have the start of more “advanced Lutheranism” classes, but I would love it to be on a more regular basis and more in depth. I believe it is Pastor Fisk who has Friday night classes. I am going to suggest that to our pastor and our elders.

    Just checked Pastor Fisk’s church’s website: “Friday nights are an open forum for learning and debate as Pastor Fisk leads a study of the writings of Dr. Luther, the Lutheran fathers and the Book of Concord, geared towards discussion and learning, all while sipping the tasty beverage of your choice.” Fellowship along with learning! What a great combination!

  20. Luke 12:51
    “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”

    Why are we surprised at all the problems? Fire cleanses.

  21. Agreed. Having been raised Methodist, and having had instruction from the elders prior to being confirmed (as we had an emiritus pastor), I can vouch for poor catechesis being problematic. It took a good five years and re-instruction from our new pastor to get that “decison to accept Jesus” and “what I do” out of my head and become truly Lutheran. This is probably why I am so adamantly against Ablaze and the Arminian crapola that has infected the LCMS.

    By the way, if two of us tell the same person about Jesus on the same day and enter it on the Ablaze website, who gets the credit? Is it the one who told the person first? Is it the one whose “testimony” was more effective? Do we split the credit 50-50? We rightly know here to whom the credit goes.

  22. @boogie #122
    if two of us tell the same person about Jesus on the same day and enter it on the Ablaze website, who gets the credit?

    Better get those “credits” in fast, folks. I have a feeling and a hope that scoreboard has a limited life. (What will you do with the “credit” by the way… give yourself a day off from purgatory? Or, in honor of your own virtue, skip church some Sunday?)

  23. Whoa! My reply to 122 was sarcastic, as the question may also have been.
    But apparently you can’t just bracket parenthetical remarks with “leaning v’s” here.

  24. @Matthew Gunia #49
    “I am aware that Herman Otten has called for Rev. Kieschnick to take a call into a parish. I have mixed feelings on this.”

    I like your off topic post more than the nit picking and surmising about “tone”. Given Rev. Kieshnik’s own complaints about clergy in this synod, I would guess he’s looking more for a District or CUS position than a parish one. I hope I’m wrong. A return to the parish can be good for all presidents, professors, and synodical bureaucrats.

    I do find it ironic that the very Church Growth model that GK has endorsed advises churches to take older, emeritus pastors (like the 68 year old former president) and assign them to doing shut-in calls (free up the “lead pastor” to do more important things). I think it would be terribly ironic for GK to spend the rest of his ministry visiting hospitals and nursing homes, doing TLH page 15 with grandpas who he verbally wrote off (“This is not your grandfather’s church”).

    I’m not saying this to bash GK or mock him. Basically, the Church Growth model he encourages doesn’t have much affinity for a pastor of his age. I think it would be a blessing to him to spend the rest of his years visiting our Senior Saints, soon to join the Church Triumphant. After all, visiting the sick and needy is one of the most blessed aspects of ministry and truly highlights the magnificence of the Liturgy and Confessional Unity. GK’s views on our inability to accept diversity may change if he spends his days with crippled old Lutherans who can’t hold a hymnal and their blind eyes couldn’t read it, yet they can chant the entire service of the Sacrament. Let’s not rob future generations of that good fortune!

  25. If I’m not mistaken, GK got himself into the position of head of the International Lutheran Council a year or two ago. We’ve not heard much about that. So far.

    “young blood”,
    People who pigeonhole others into secondary positions like that never look to a time when they will not be “top dog”, CEO, “Sr. Admin. Pastor” or the like themselves. Age and illness may make the necessity obvious to everyone else, but, as I have seen, they will deny it.

    You might be a little more merciful to those aged Lutherans whose memory may be failing, but not so much that they can’t repeat Page 15. When I’m one of them, don’t bring me a “praise” song!

  26. There is so much division among the Lutheran denomination. No wonder your not growing! From what I have studied of Martin Luther he certainly was not a conservative and in-fact would have been a bleeding heart liberal compared to today’s time. I’m pretty sure the poor guy would roll over in his grave seeing how his challenge of the Catholic’s has been turned into a mockery. My suggestion would be to stop focusing so much on being “Lutheran” and focus more on just connecting people to Jesus, no matter what it takes, connect people to Jesus. The Bible I read is pretty clear about that and makes little reference to the petty things you tend to argue about in this site. I ran across this site after having a beautiful conversation with a Lutheran student who had just returned from a LCMS youth gathering in New Orleans and was doing service work at my grandmothers house. Is it the book of concord that Lutherans follow or the Holy Bible? I pray God continues to bless you and your families and that the struggles you have within your denomination will not blind you from a Christ centered mission of connecting people to Him

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