The Two Kinds of People Who Cannot See the Error of Unionism and Syncretism, by Pr. Rossow

blindThere are two kinds of people who cannot see the error of unionism and syncretism. The first are those who allow what we call today “Contemporary Worship” (CoWo). The second are those who are theological liberals. If you look at those arguing in defense of Pastor Morris’ sin on the various blogs they are the same usual suspects who are defending CoWo and also those who support the various hallmarks of liberalism such as open communion, women’s ordination, and the like.

Before we get into the details on why each cannot even see the error, let’s begin with a definition of unionism and syncretism.

Unionism is “taking part in the services and sacramental rites of heterodox congregations or of congregations of mixed confession.” (Constitution, Article VI., Paragraph 2. b., LCMS 2010 Handbook, p.15). The emphasis is on “services and sacramental rites.” That means that a pastor saying a prayer at a Fourth of July rally to start the annual community parade is just fine but saying a prayer at Fourth of July community worship service is forbidden. We will say more about why it is forbidden below. Unionism is when a pastor does this with heterodox Christians (those who mix false teaching in with true teaching such as Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, etc.). Syncretism refers to the same only with pagans (Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc.).

When I listen to the CoWo and liberal crowd talk about the motivation for their unionistic and syncretistic urge I hear them give various reasons including a need to demonstrate unity with other Christians (unionism) and other religious types (syncretism), to be loving, and to reach out to them so that we can make progress toward unity.

Each of these reasons is lacking. Unionism and syncretism do not demonstrate unity. They do the exact opposite. Unity is based on agreement in God’s word. Unionism and syncretism gloss over true unity and demonstrates diversity, not unity. Likewise it is not a loving thing to do. It shows a lack of care for the heterodox and the pagans. The loving thing to do is to teach them the right doctrine. Also, to make progress toward unity with the heterodox and pagans one does not need to confuse the matter by joining them in the worship of a co-mingled god. There are countless other ways to do this.

All three of these things can be done without entering into services and sacramental rites of the heterodox and pagans. I can demonstrate the unity I do have with them by talking over coffee rather than by joining in the false spiritual intercourse of services and sacramental rites. I can teach them and make progress toward unity by leading seminars, meeting with them in their homes, inviting them to my church, etc.

So why is it that the CoWo crowd can’t see these things? CoWo is caused by a desire to get more from worship than what the 2,000 years of forms and orders that traditional, liturgical worship and preaching provide. In worship the CoWo crowd wants the emotion and feeling that comes with pop culture. They want this because they see worship as our work for God rather than His Divine Service to us of the forgiveness in Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution (confession/absolution and preaching) and Holy Communion. Emotion is fine in the Divine Service. I know of nothing more emotional and intimate than receiving His body and blood. You cannot get any closer to God than what happens in Holy Communion. For that matter the same can be said of preaching and baptism. In baptism the Holy Spirit joins himself to you and in preaching we are feeding on the Word of Christ, but emotions are not the main thing in worship.

When you say “I am not getting enough out of the traditional liturgy. I need to add a pop culture vibe to it. I am not really worshipping when I am stuck in a traditional form.” you are inherently saying that you never did understand the means of grace that the traditional liturgy revolves around. The means of grace are what it is all about and the traditional liturgy provides a time tested format that keeps the means front and center and not me, my emotions, my cultural taste in music and my felt need to worship God. There is room for pop Christian music in the traditional liturgy. The LSB has some time-tested and doctrinally pure pop Christian music in it. The problem with a totally CoWo service is the emphasis mentioned above and the fact that most CoWo music is written by heterodox Christians who do not know the Biblical doctrine of the means of grace and who think that worship is all about them coming to God and getting lathered up in an emotional experience, not to mention the subtle works-righteousness in most of CoWo music.

How about the liberals? Why can’t they see the errors of unionism and syncretism? It is because at the heart of their false spirituality lies a doubt in the inerrancy of God’s word. They allow current social mores to determine their practice rather than the word of God. Where God’s word says something that is difficult, like “a woman is to keep silent in the church,” “one is not to commune without the ability to discern the body and blood of Christ,” or “mark and avoid them” (false teachers), they choose the easy path offered by the culture rather than the difficult path taught in God’s word. If you do not commit to the fact that God’s word is true in every single phrase, word, jot and tittle, (inerrancy) then you will cave to the culture and which is nothng mroe than starting down a long “slip and slide” that eventually leaves you with no truth at all.

Faith in God brings one into the most intimate union with God. Holy communion makes us the bride of Christ. As Paul and the prophets teach, to take Christ into the heterodox and pagan lair is to prostitute Him. There was a whole generation of us Lutherans, maybe even a generation and a half of us, that took the sacrament of Holy Communion for granted. That is what led to so many of us dabbling in CoWo (myself included). We did not realize that we had all that we needed in the historical, traditional liturgy. We went searching for more. Liturgical renewal has taught us the proper piety of the Lord’s Supper. There is no more greater union with God than that of His Supper, His Baptism and the eating of His Word in preaching and absolution.

It is going to be a long road back to this in the LCMS. Some will just never swallow their pride and accept it. They are the 15% mentioned in the Koinonia project who will need to be left behind in their false evangelicalism, liberalism, millennialism, and spiritual narcissism. If you will, keep your eyes open to the false spirituality of unionism and syncretism and help our synod president get us back to the truth and purity of the Gospel.

(In case you have not seen it, the BJS video on the unionism and syncretism of Newtown, Connecticut, you can view it by clicking here. To view our original post on this matter click here.)

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

The Two Kinds of People Who Cannot See the Error of Unionism and Syncretism, by Pr. Rossow — 97 Comments

  1. @Johan Bergfest #48

    It is very common to cry Matthew 18 when someone discusses or dares even rebuke public sin publicly. We should all be reminded of the reason why our Lutheran Confessions teach that public sins are to be rebuked publicly; for the sake of the Gospel…

    All this refers to secret sins. But where the sin is so public that the judge and the whole world are aware of it, you can without sin shun and avoid the person as one who has brought disgrace upon himself, and you may testify publicly concerning him. For when an affair is manifest to everybody there can be no question of slander or injustice or false witness. For example, we now censure the pope and his teaching, which is publicly set forth in books and shouted throughout the world. Where the sin is public, the punishment ought to be public so that everyone may know how to guard against it. Large Catechism, 8th Commandment, paragraph 284 (Tappert p. 403).

    We also have CTCR document “Public Rebuke of Public Sins” (May 2006) which clearly states that “Matthew 18 does not speak specifically to cases of public sin…” (p. 27).

    To publicly contend for the truth of God’s Word will often get you a bullseye on your back!

    In Christ, Clint

  2. @Johan Bergfest #50
    Mrs. Hume – please explain how talking about Pr. Morris on a public internet bulletin board and on a matter for which there is disagreement regarding its sinful nature equates to confronting the sins of another in a Scriptural and God-pleasing way.

    See comment 51.

  3. @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #1

    “While Pastor Morris explains that he does not believe he acted in joint worship, and took steps to avoid it, he does readily admit that his action was offensive, and he has no intention of repeating it…To those who think his apology insufficient, I would encourage you, as the commandment enjoins us, to “put the best construction on everything,” and to accept with gratitude and forgiveness in Christ’s name the real apology given you.”  – Pr Harrison

    The Bible references quoted in the CTCR document seem to talk mostly about public rebuke of those who persist in public sin or am I misreading them?  How much public rebuke is enough?  Thanks, Pr Poppe.

  4. @Rev. McCall #39

    I don’t think that people don’t care is the issue as much — a lot of it is that the act itself was much less publicized. 9/11 was in New York after a country changing effect with Oprah. Newtown was very sad and tragedic, but while the service was televised… who watched? What sort of ratings were there?

    One was in Yankee Stadium, the other was in just some building. And it’s not lot we have a lot of folks in the LCMS today who are going to say, “Oh, look, the President is going to speak, oh, I must make sure I watch this.” It just wasn’t that big of an event. Talking to my circuit and other neighboring pastors – most of them (8 of 10) hadn’t heard a thing about it.

  5. Once again I think it is important to clear up an error in the original article. To state it simply, the definitions of Unionism and Syncretism are wrong. The distinction between the two are not that one deals with heterodox and the other with heretical religions. The difference is between teaching and practice. This is much more clear in the original German LCMS constitution which forbids “Kirchenmengerei” and “Glaubensmengerei”, unionism and syncretism, respectively.

    More historical background can be found here
    http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1710

  6. @Albert Hughes #46
    In the spirit of Koinonia, when will Pastor Schulz finally be given a high position by the LCMS as compensation. I suspect that the same LCMS executives responsible for firing Pastors Wilken and Schulz are still in power. Sad.

  7. Johann,

    So you are saying that I need to repent because my calling out public sin, which led to the perpetrator to apologize, was sinful?

    Are you also saying that I am to confess the sin of stating that my arguments on this blog followed Matthew 18 because I have had numerous personal email exhanges with the guy who would eventually apoloze for his public sin?

    Wow, you got me coming and going! I surrender. You have succesfully turned Pastor Morris’ problem into my problem even though I was following the Matthew 18 passage that you liberals like to beat us confessionals over the head with. (See Poppe’s comment above.)

  8. @Eric Brown #4
    I’m not sure it’s all that less public. Newtown has set the agenda for our President and has been the talking points in most new media for at least the past month. The service with the President was broadcast on most major networks. I think that the more likely scenario is that by and large the LCMS has been worn down from all the CoWo and liberal practices. Like dealing with a continually misbehaving child the LCMS has simply thrown in the towel when it comes to parenting. For example, I spoke with a person who asked if they could submit my name for a call list at their church. I noted to them that their church was all CoWo and I was not interested in presiding over or supporting CoWo. Their response? “Oh come on pastor, every LCMS church has at least one CoWo service now, that’s just how it is these days.” I think that’s really the true attitude of most people. Participation in joint worship? Oh come on, that’s just how it is these days. CoWo? Open Communion? Oh come on pastor that’s just how it is these days. By tolerating such attitudes and actions for so long most people now see them as acceptable and the norm. I think this service in Newtown is just another example. For instance, now that you have made your circuit and fellow brothers aware of it, how many seem to care? How many are devoting a Bible study one Sunday to talk about unionism and syncretism? Like I mentioned before, the silence in the LCMS is deafening and speaks volumes.

  9. @Eric Brown #4
    So, your criteria for discipline is whether it’s a big building/event? Are you saying that it’s a matter of what WE see going on, rather than, what God sees and has called His church to deal with? Is not the criteria for dealing with such offenses as unionism/syncritism the Word of God? I’d be very interested in your answers.

  10. I believe that it is good for the participants of Brothers of John the Steadfast to discuss theology. It allows for the provision of various viewpoints. However, I am concerned when it is turned into a forum to attack other people (even those perceived to be in error). In such instances it shows itself to be the lovechild of Christian News.

    If you see someone sinning … follow the steps found in Matthew 18. Pick up the phone and call the person who is erring. I do not recall any step suggesting that we turn on our computers and discuss an individual’s error. Besides … the pastor has apologized for his perceived error and the president of the synod has accepted it. What are we to do now? Answer: Move on with our lives and stop attacking the man! For even describing so and so’s sin after the fact that he apologized does not follow the ways of the Lord.

    My two cents.

  11. Pr Poppe,

    I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.  How would you respond to pg 2, #3 and #10?  Thanks.

  12. @Jon #10

    Sorry, can’t move on. Some do not see his apology as complete. And then there is the infamous Benke inviting him to Atlantic to talk about his experiences in Newtown. Is that to raise up his actions? Which actions? The community prayer? I wan tto give Pres. Harrison encouragement. his hand sare tied with very idiotic synod resolutions, and I believe he is doing everything he can within the framework he is dealt with. But if others wish to keep feet to the fire, I totally understnad that. I mean, look at Rev. McCall‘s comment. Error has been allowed for so long, too many don’t know the difference. I got to be honest, it is the ungrateful servant, who didn’t learn a thing after the king’s mercy, and had his fellow debtor tossed into jail. That is what we are dealing with.

  13. @Jason #12
    “I wan tto give Pres. Harrison encouragement. his hand sare tied with very idiotic synod resolutions, and I believe he is doing everything he can within the framework he is dealt with.”

    I agree. I would hate to see him leave the presidency. Are the resolutions you are referring to in keeping with God’s word? If not, what is one to do when the resolutions and bylaws of his synod are not in keeping with God’s word? Acts 5:29

  14. @LW #14

    The DRP (which I think is a fiasco and a farse) is refered to by “LC-MS Quotes” indicates that Robert Prues didn’t think so. And then some new stuff/interpretations came out of the Benke affair. So there are some resolutions in 1992 and 2004 that seriously need to be looked at. And not just the DRP, but how the CCM rules and functions (binding?), how CTCR is set up and interprets things… Personally I would place more emphasis on these and get them done first, before I dealt with Wichita 89 and lay ministry, 2007 SMP, 2004 ‘s expansion of women’s leadership, eventually some would like to revisit 1969 and women’s sufferage… Unitl we can have effective BIBLICAL discipline, we will not be able to enforce any other given issue we have. And I really don’t think we want to turn into e_ca.

    At least some district conventions have submitted overtures about some of these issues. Let’s see how some can hopefully make it ot the floor (there are competing resolutoins) and let us vote for the better BIBLICAL options. Even if not perfect, let’s at least move in the right direction.

  15. @Jason #15

    The post following LCMS Quotes [by Dr. Strickert] indicates that Robert Preus was not saying that he was satisfied with DRP, but with the way his problem at CTS was settled. (In that, I agree with the person who said Dr. Preus was being very charitable.)

    Didn’t DRP come later? DRP forbids lawsuits by individuals or congregations against each other or synod (but “interestingly” allows some loopholes for Synod or District to sue congregations or individuals!)
    Dr. Preus had sued in civil court to force Synod to follow its own rules!

  16. John Rixe :@Rev. Clint K. Poppe #1
    “While Pastor Morris explains that he does not believe he acted in joint worship, and took steps to avoid it, he does readily admit that his action was offensive, and he has no intention of repeating it…To those who think his apology insufficient, I would encourage you, as the commandment enjoins us, to “put the best construction on everything,” and to accept with gratitude and forgiveness in Christ’s name the real apology given you.”  – Pr Harrison
    The Bible references quoted in the CTCR document seem to talk mostly about public rebuke of those who persist in public sin or am I misreading them?  How much public rebuke is enough?  Thanks, Pr Poppe.

    John,

    Thank you for the kind comment.

    I would simply point you back to the CTCR document, page 9:

    “Several points emerge from a close reading of Luther’s ‘public rebuke’ paragraph: 1) the occasion of public rebuke is sin; 2) all, including authorities, are aware of the sin; it is very public; 3) given the demonstrably public nature of the sin, there is no question of slander, injustice or false witness; 4) the result should be public punishment; and 5) the goal of such punishment is the instruction of the community.”

    How much public rebuke is enough? I would simply pint you back to the word’s of Jesus in Luke 15; there is much joy in heaven over one sinner who repents!

    In Christ, Clint

  17. @John Rixe #11

    John, again thank you for the kind remarks.

    I’m not sure what you want me to comment on regarding post number 10. The Christian News comment is not worthy of a response in my humble opinion. If someone has a problem with Pastor Otten, why slander him on this blog?

    I have seen nothing that is a personal attack on Pastor Morris. I believe he sinned by particpating in a syncritistic worship service, as do many others. Some, including Pastor Morris, do not see his participation as sin (as President Harrison clearly states). It would appear to me, in light of this event and other events that have caused great turmoil in our synod, that the topic of what exactly constitutes unionism and syncretism sould be paramount for our continued discussion.

    If memory serves me, isn’t there a very clear definition in Walther’s Church and Ministry, which we as a synod have approved on more than one occasion?

    In Christ, Clint

  18. @Rev. Clint K. Poppe #17

    I’m still a little confused.  Right now I’m more interested in what the Bible says.  Matt 18, Matt 23, Gal 2, and 1 Tim 5 to me all seem to be talking about persistent public sin.  Pr Morris says he has no intention of repeating his mistake.  I’m just a layman, but it seems to me the reaction is disproportional to the one-off error.  I realize I’m just prolonging the reaction. 🙂

  19. @John Rixe #19

    If I have an affair amd my wife catches me, I can apologize for causing her pain and promise never to do it again. She would probably appreciate that, but might also want to hear that I was actually sorry for cheating.

    John, please, never apologize for being “just a layman.”

    In Christ, Clint

  20. @wineonthevines #9

    You wrote: “So, your criteria for discipline is whether it’s a big building/event? Are you saying that it’s a matter of what WE see going on, rather than, what God sees and has called His church to deal with? Is not the criteria for dealing with such offenses as unionism/syncritism the Word of God? I’d be very interested in your answers.”

    To your first question – not at all. I was simply stating that part of the reason why this particular civic event hasn’t draw as much attention as Yankee Stadium was because… less people paid attention to the service. It wasn’t a major television event. Even at my winkle yesterday there were pastors who didn’t know what was going on (in terms of this scandal) when Newtown was brought up.

    To your second questions – No, that is a false distinction. The Church has the duty of correcting error – but then again, there is order even within that. If there is some scandal in my neck of the woods — even something that is open and public, makes the news – I still think it would be best for me to deal with it quietly, and then if I fail, to pass it up the line to the DP and let him work – and if necessary up to the Synodical President.

    See, I still contend that even if something was done in the open and public — if you tell someone about it and they didn’t know of it… that’s not condemning a public sin… that’s gossiping.

    To your third question – Yes. I’m not saying that discipline should not be done — it’s just that it should be done as quietly as possible. It is not Scriptural to spread news of sin.

    Consider for a second Joseph. When he learns that Mary is pregnant, he assumes sin, and if she’s pregnant, one that would be obvious to the public. We then hear, “And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” Even though he knew she was wrong, even though he was going to act and deal with the situation… because he was a just man he set about doing it quietly… he did not want to add to her shame.

  21. Eric Brown :@wineonthevines #9
    You wrote: “So, your criteria for discipline is whether it’s a big building/event? Are you saying that it’s a matter of what WE see going on, rather than, what God sees and has called His church to deal with? Is not the criteria for dealing with such offenses as unionism/syncritism the Word of
    See, I still contend that even if something was done in the open and public — if you tell someone about it and they didn’t know of it… that’s not condemning a public sin… that’s gossiping.
    To your third question – Yes. I’m not saying that discipline should not be done — it’s just that it should be done as quietly as possible. It is not Scriptural to spread news of sin.

    @Abby #24

    Careful how far you wna to take that one. This coudl be stretched into an argument against history, something moderns/post-moderns abuse. (dead theologians, etc) Prime example is that King David’s sin was pretty darn quiet. Seems like Nathan might have only known through direct revelation from God. But then it got recorded in 2 Samuel, for all to learn from.

    Sometimes examples need to be public. So far we have Benke and now Morris. But I guarentee you that a good number of other situations have happened that are still mostly private. We can’t keep sweeping them all under the rug, and then dillusionally believe these things never happen, because we no longer see evidence of them.

  22. @Jason #25

    Jason – you make a few jumps there. You write: “Prime example is that King David’s sin was pretty darn quiet. Seems like Nathan might have only known through direct revelation from God. But then it got recorded in 2 Samuel, for all to learn from.”

    1. “David’s sin was pretty darn quiet.” Not necessarily – a king’s movements tend to be known in the palace — but not in the city. It was probably something that the palace folks would know — and thus…

    2. “Seems like Nathan might have only known through direct revelation from God.” That’s a jump there – Nathan has access to David’s palace, so again, that’s a jump.

    3. “But then it got recorded in 2 Samuel, for all to learn from.” And here is the most dangerous jump — yes, it was recorded for all to learn from… in GOD’S WORD. Does… Nathan publicize it. Does Nathan walk around Jerusalem decrying the immorality of the King, or does Nathan go and speak to David himself?

    Also – dealing with things privately isn’t “sweeping them under the rug” – it’s dealing with things privately.

  23. @Eric Brown #23

    If it is sin, then list whom the sin is against:

    1.
    2.
    3.

    How is each of them a victim?

    After answering that, reassess the degree of privacy and publicity that is appropriate or needed.

    So far, no scriptural reference propounded as support for privacy in this case has proved to be applicable to the current case, and since the thread is winding down, that portends that no applicable scripture can be found supporting privacy. Instead, personal preference or temperament is being imposed as if it were God’s law for all.

  24. @T. R. Halvorson #28

    Who said anything about “privacy”? This isn’t about privacy – it’s about protecting your neighbor’s reputation… even from that neighbor himself. You can address and admonish a person without dragging their name through the mud.

  25. There are two kinds of people who think like rossow.
    Idjits and damnable idjits.

    O, you whited sepulchre, with the stench of rotting bones coming from your insides….
    get real, or get out.
    How you can not see how you represent, nearly exactly, the role of the Pharisee in (or out, might be more apt) the Lord’s church, proudly playing the gate keeper over who is sinning by not being pure enough in their allegiance to your view of the truth…. for it’s YOUR view involved here, not some “objective” case of the Word of the Lord – who is known for slapping down his self-righteous disciples trying to push people away from Him, and inviting even the lowest sinners, ones that LCMS clergy in all their glorious vestments and collars would never deign to allow anywhere near one of “their” altars….
    why not fire that sinning pastor, put him in stocks, maybe stone him for a while, till he repents enough, eh?
    well, hope the blind and deaf get with it….
    I said, “I HOPE THE BLIND AND DEAF GET WITH IT!!!”

  26. @Eric Brown #26
    It is very kind to be so concerned about the precious reputation of a pastor, but it’s too late, since he already soiled his own reputation on national television. Now it’s time to be concerned for the precious souls of those who witnessed Jesus being presented as just another valid option at the spiritual smorgasbord.

    “All this has been said regarding secret sins. But where the sin is quite public so that the judge and everybody know it, you can without any sin avoid him and let him go, because he has brought himself into disgrace, and you may also publicly testify concerning him. For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.”
    (Large Catechism, Eighth Commandment, paragraph 284)

  27. @Eric Brown #31

    The Pope published books that some people hadn’t heard about, yet our Confessions boldly encourage publicly testifying concerning him. Some people hadn’t heard about this joint worship with other religions that was nationally televised. With your standard, would this counsel from our Confessions ever be allowed?

  28. @Pastor Ted Crandall #32
    Sure. All the time — as long as people know or have heard about it before you respond. I get asked about things people have seen or heard happen – and those I respond to. Because then that sin is public, it’s known. But if it is some juicy tidbit or error that they have no clue about – well, I don’t air someone else’s dirty laundry to warn them about the dangers of dirty laundry — at least certainly not by name.

    As to the idea that “some hadn’t heard about the Pope” – I’d say that there was still a response in kind. The Pope writes books and has decrees issued in Churches — and the response is done by books and preaching in churches. If Luther happened upon some folks who hadn’t heard that the pope was selling indulgences, etc – I doubt his first words would be, “THE POPE STINKS!”

    Not to try to artificially sound all hip or something – but we have a bunch of different media, different social networks and the like. I think responses are best kept within the media in which they occur.

    For example – let us say that you read this and conclude that Eric Brown is an idiot and wrong. Fair enough, engage me here. However, if you were then to, I don’t know, preach a sermon calling me out by name, that would be out of bounds. Keep things in the medium in which they arose. And don’t assume that just because you have seen something EVERYONE has seen it.

  29. Remember that great scene in “League of Their Own,” (about 1940s women’s baseball?) when schleickmeiser Jon Lovitz trying to convince a talented farm girl to jump on his train gets interrupted by a loud cow (it looks like a great ad lib) and turns, “Will you SHUT UP!”… makes me laugh every time…
    well, in a kinder, gentler way, I want to shout the same to so many of you about
    “unionism” and “syncretism,”……. do you realize, at all, that you guys are the only people in Christendom that even USE those words, much less give a flying french fry about them????
    Does that tell you anything about how weird you have gotten???>> ; and do you notice there aren’t any women in your discussions?? does that tell you anything??? (as in, I think they are all keeping their heads down, humbly, doing the real work and sighing every so often hoping you all come to your senses.) really, I’m not feminazi, but does it strike you how difficult it must be to keep any women from feeling like commenting your this site???
    Unionism and syncretism are weird artifacts of a specific historical deal in 19th century America….. if you only could get next to the Lord, and protest to him how much you worry about and kick against the pricks of those Unionists and Syncretists, He would have the countenance of Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive when the innocent doc first says in the dam, “I kdidn’t kill my wife,”…. and Jones shouts over the water fall: “I DON’T CARE!!!!!”
    This is the word of the Lord: Jesus does not care about unionism and syncretism!!! get off it, over it ,though it… past it… ; and get on with something about the life of Christian faith…
    gads, people…. ;
    ] What do you think Jesus meant when the said the gates of hell will not prevail against His church…. not that that would happen only if his collared clergy spent all their time twisting their knickers about whether Unionism or Syncretism was breaking out somewhere somehow among somebody……
    The truth of God is not going to be hurt by somebody erring on the side of kindness, compassion, love in preaching and living the gospel….
    Quit spending all your time cataloguing who is IN, and who is OUT; who are the lepers, those we can’t be seen praying with, because, “Lord, we thank you that you did not make us as those there, over there, those OUTSIDERS… thank God they ain’t US?””

    .

  30. @tim johnson #35

    You kinda defeat your own arguement. I nthe Fugitive, Marshal Sam Gerard says I don’t care, in that he was being legalistic, and blindly obeying rules. He didn’t care about truth, nor is showing any mercy to Dr. Richard Kimble. Debatable on a Christian witness there, and a sloppy analogy.

    That the world doesn’t know about these things is its loss, by the mechanization of the Devil. And our own incompetnece in catechizing the faithful. We might not need to or always use big type words, but the realities behind them still exist. There are many false prophets out there claiming to do the Lord’s work, which Jesus will say in the end, “I do not know you.”

  31. @Pastor Tim Rossow #7

    Pastor,

    Please learn to included all letters when spelling words in your posts please. Your credibility will be greatly increased with us “liberals” if you can type better.

    To all of you who find it ok to beat your own drum and advance your own position I leave you with this.

    1 Corinthians
    10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    Please find a way to stop bickering, I loved the Lutheran church at several points in my life.. but its the stupid fighting back and forth and back and forth that has caused me to choose to leave it. I plan on practicing my Christianity privately until i can find a solution to my dissatisfaction with the church.

    The Lutheran church is shrinking, and its the people like me that you are loosing. That alone should be a lesson to you all.

  32. @Ex Lutheran #38 : “Please learn to included all letters when spelling words in your posts please. Your credibility will be greatly increased with us “liberals” if you can type better…. The Lutheran church is shrinking, and its the people like me that you are loosing.”

    Point noted. We don’t want to risk losing any more liberal misspellers bickering over misspellings.

  33. @Carl Vehse #39
    Thank you Carl for taking my bait and proving my point. Do you really think something like that would be posted without checking and rechecking the work? I was not bickering, I was stating that there is constant argument over many issues that are alienating the general body of the church. Your lack of care of loosing someone that refers to them self is a liberal shows you lack of caring for your church body. And its that close minded, lack of care for anything other than to listen to yourself speak that you have just shown that has caused church membership drop from 2.5 million in 2001 to 2.2 million in 2011.

    Thank you again Carl!

  34. REV. ROSSOW

    ALLOW ME TO RESPOND TO YOUR COMMENTS RE WORSHIP AND LIBERAL.

    FOR YOU TO MAKE A GENERALITY HOOKING CW WITH LIBERAL IS NOT CORRECT.

    YOU DO NOT DEFINE LIBERAL CW. CW IS A RESPONSE TO GOD GIVEN TALENTS TO SHARE THE WORSHIP SETTING IN A FORM THAT REFLECTS THE MUSIC INTEREST OF OUR TIMES. IF THE MUSIC IS SCRIPTURAL AND MERELY AN UPGRADE TO CURRENT WAYS OF DELIVERING THE MUSIC YOU CANNOT CONDEMN IT OFFHAND. IT IS VERY NARROW THINKING TO SAY THAT THE WORSIP MUSIC OF HE 15TH-17TH CENT IS SCRIPTURAL AND LOCKED IN FOREVER. LUTHER MUST HAVE USED THE MUSIC OF HIS TIME TO MOVE IT OUT OF THE DRAB LITURGY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SO HE COULD APPEAL TO MORE PEOPLE WOULD YOU HAVE CRITICISED LUTHER FOR WORSHIPING IN CONTEMPORARY GERMAN INSTEAD OF LATIN??. WAS HE A LIBERAL. I DON’T THINK SO. YOUR ATTITUDE AND COMMENTS COMPROMISES THE MISSION OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH SINCE IT COMMUNICATES A REBUFF TO A WHOLE GENERATION. OR MAYBE THATS YOUR INTENT TO PERPETUATE YOUR LITTLE TRADITIONAL APPROACH AND THEN DO NOT HAVE TO STEP OUT IN FAITH AND DEAL WITH THE REAL WORLD. IT’S EASY TO SIT BEHIND THE LAW AND FORGET THE SPIRIT OF WHAT JESUS WANTED TO DO AND THAT WAS TO RELATE TO SINNERS AND UNBELIEVERS. HE WAS CONDEMNED BY THE SADDUCEES AND PHARISEES FOR EATING WITH SINNERS,(MARK 2:16,17) FOR HEALING ON THE SABBATH(MARK2:26-27) AND THEY COULD NOT HANDLE THE MAN BORNED BLIND BECAUSE IT CHALLENGED THEIR POWER(. I HOPE THIS IS NOT YOUR MOTIVATION TO PROTECT THE INSTITUTION AT THE EXPENSE OF SOULS.

    I AM A LIFE LONG LUTHERAN AND GREW UP WITH THE LITURGY AND WORSHIP AS WELL WITH IT. BUT IF I HAD NOT GROWN UP WITH IT AND I STEPPED INTO A LITURGICAL SERVICE I WOULD BE LOST. THIS BECAME OBVIOUS TO ME WHEN I GOT INVOLVED IN EVANGELISM WITH A VERY CONSERVATIVE PASTOR WHO A PASSION FOR OUTREACH. HE VALUED THE LITURGY BUT SAW THAT TO FULFILL HIS MISSION HE WENT AHEAD WROTE HIS OWN ORDER OF SERVICE WHICH HE KNEW WOULD BRING VISITORS INTO THE FLOW OF WORSHIP. JESUS DID NOT SPECIFY A PERFECT ORDER OF SERVICE SO HOW CAN YOU. I ABHOR LIBERAL THEOLOGY AS IT IS BEING PROLIFERATED TODAY BUT THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT FOLLOWING THE WORD OF GOD BUT ARE SETTING UP THEIR OWN GOD. SO TO EQUATE THEIR HERESY WITH CW IS TO SEVERELY LIMIT THE MISSION OUTREACH OF THE CHURCH.

    WE MUST EXAMINE OURSELVES TO BE SURE PRIDE( PROV.16:180) OF OUR RELIGION DOES NOT GET IN THE WAY OF MISSION. THE CW WORSHIP CHURCHES I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH ARE DRAWING UNBELIEVERS AND PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ATTENDING CHURCH. WE HAVE A MANDATE TO REACH HE WORLD WITH THE GOOD NEWS WHICH MAY REQUIRE US TO FORGO OUR FAVORITE TRADITIONS AND REACH OUT TO THOSE WHO NEED THE PURE WORD OF GOD TO DEAL WITH THE HERESY IN OUR COUNTRY . TRADITIONAL LUTHERAN CHURCHES ARE DECLINING NOT BECAUSE THEY HAVE COMPROMISED THE WORD BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE STEEPED IN TRADITIONAL WORSHIP. CW CAN BE DONE WITH SOUND SCRIPTURAL CONTENT AND SHOULD NOT BE EQUATED WITH LIBERAL THEOLOGY. TELL ME HOW USE OF GUITARS, DRUMS, AND ELECTRIC PIANO THAT PLAY SCRIPTURAL BASED HYMNS EVEN LUTHERAN HYMNAL HYMNS WHICH ARE PLAYED WITH OTHER INSTRUMENTS THAN AN ORGAN IS NOT SCRIPTURAL. TELL ME THAT THE EMOTION THAT I FEEL WHEN SINGING TRADITIONAL HYMNS LIKE “AWAKE MY SOUL TO JOYFUL LAYS” (#340 OLD HYMNAL) THAT CONVEY THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS GRACE AND MERCY OF JESUS SET TO MODERN INSTRUMENTS IS UNSCRIPTURAL. FEAR OF CHANGE SOMETIMES CLOUDS OUR JUDGEMENT BECAUSE IT CHALLENGES POWER,IS UNCOMFORTABLE, AND REQUIRES A DEGREE OF STEPPING OUT IN FAITH.

    IN JESUS NAME

  35. 13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. [14] [b]

    15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
    Matthew 23

    16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

    23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

    27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

  36. Pastor Tim Rossow, what’s with that cat you are holding all the time? Can’t you put her down, or something?

  37. When you point out CoWo as being “a problem” what exactly are you saying–Do you take issue with the music ? The expression of parishioners ? The demonstrative raising of hands ? Were there situations where sections of the typical service were eliminated (which I am having a hard time trying to envision anyway) –Opening prayer, Scriptural readings, Sermon, Confession/Absolution, Words of Institution, Lord’s Prayer, Benediction. Are you looking into the hearts of those supposedly getting into “a lather” and judging them on their faith ?

    Please explain the criticism of CoWo in specifics.

    Pertaining to liturgy:

    Suppose many here supporting ” traditional” Lutheran liturgy (The Lutheran Hymnal) are aware of this…..but if you are not:

    The traditional Lutheran liturgy and format are from the Catholic Mass, with some obvious changes by Luther….were, hence, CoWo

    Pertaining to music:

    Luther’s hymns used some chant melodies from the Catholic tradition in his composition, including A Mighty Fortress.

    Some of Lutheran tunes were non-Lutheran pilgrimage songs; others, secular songs passed via nomadic musicians. Even a number were old drinking tunes. The tunes made it easier for parishioners to sing along, naturally. In essence — “pop” music. (By virtue of your dialogue, then, Luther wasn’t using the “traditional” means of song, which would have been chant).

    Regarding the outcomes of a CoWo service–

    Is the premise that worshippers using traditional Lutheran hymns don’t get as fired up in a lather as CoWo singers? That’s not logical. I can get as fired up singing the melody or descant to “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” as I do singing “Worship of the Cross.”

    We integrate CoWo and occasionally a traditional Lutheran hymn tune (not always) at my church in the same service, and outward worship includes people , not all, lifting of palms, lifting of arms, smiling, as the Spirit moves them, which I think God pretty much wants to see. No one seems to take issue with it as much as the many who are posting here. Guess I am the odd man out.

  38. I meant “Power of the Cross.” My bad. (For your listening pleasure. We do it with 4 part singers and a full band behind…)

  39. @Jay #45

    The claim that Luther used “drinking tunes” is pure propaganda that has been thoroughly refuted.

    The Lutheran Church is catholic.

    Raising arms and palms during the CCM songs has to do with emotion generated by the music and is purely psychological. It originated in pentecostal/charismatic churches. It has nothing to do with the Spirit.

    We will continue to fight the spread of the CoWo and seeker-driven diseases in the LCMS. A church that embraces these is no longer Lutheran, and will eventually lose any semblance of having ever been a Lutheran church.

Leave a Reply

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

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