Liberals and their changing the meanings of words…

teamwork-concept-1382435-mSo now with Wiki14 conference over and everyone hyped by the likes of the FiveTwo folks in the LCMS, bringing in the latest and greatest (read: too old to sell to the evangelicals but the “lutherans” are still buying) of church growth nonsense into the LCMS – it is time to see the fruit of their conference.

One thing is notable that these folks have changed to the meaning of “sacrament” to something totally new (ahistorical, but these folks have never sought after true catholicity anyways).

They seem to like changing the meaning of words…

 

Another word meaning they have changed for a lot of folks….

 SYNOD.

And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.    Augsburg Confession, VII, 2-3.

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

Liberals and their changing the meanings of words… — 48 Comments

  1. I hope you go next year to see what wiki is trying to do.

    Personally I don’t get what a “sacramental entrepreneur” is, but I do get wiki is trying to engage people back to what matters: The Great Commission.

    For me, attending the wiki conference didn’t leave me with fads or tactics to try and boost my churches attendance. It left me with what discipleship means according to God’s Word, and how to live out discipleship in my everyday life. It left me with the comfort of seeing God at work through my brothers and sisters in Christ, and the peace of knowing in Jesus’ grace I am forgiven. It left me also with the peace I am not the only one struggling to reach others for Christ, and the encouragement to continue with my calling God has given me, but also realizing one should not walk alone. It also gave me many tools and ideas to use in my community to love and to reach out despite who the person is that sits across from me. It broke down some of my prejudices and helped me to see the person God loves despite their sin.

    For me wiki is about equipping disciples and encouraging disciples to do what we are called to do, make other disciples and proclaim the good news of Jesus taking away our sins, appeasing God’s wrath through Jesus’ bloody sacrifice out of His love for us. Wiki does this as Christ crucified as the primary focus, and the empty tomb as the primary reason for celebration.

    I understand for those who didn’t attend how wiki is confusing, but know it is a conference not without great benefit.

    I will listen to you as a loving brother in Christ, and I just wanted to reach out to you and ask you to be careful before saying this conference is an attempt of using cheap tactics to grow attendance or as an absolute joke. I don’t believe it is. It has truly challenged me to live more for Christ and less for myself as Christ has commanded us to do.

  2. @DavidStruss71 #1
    Thank you for your comment.

    This conference was a great divider for those looking, reading, tweeting, and facebooking on (and not from our mother’s basement either).

    The redefining of words was horrible. The use and intentional mixture of business and theology is exactly that – the creation of the world’s theology.

    The inclusion of a lot of non-Lutheran speakers only reflects the very low view of Lutheran theology that is at work here.

    The many noted uses of “sacrament” and its derivatives without actually talking about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper was quite telling.

    Stay tuned, there may be a few more things coming from BJS about this conference and FiveTwo materials and speaking.

  3. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #2
    Thanks for your reply Josh. I admit I am a bit ignorant and ill equipped in this debate at hand in the LCMS. I believe I have much to learn because I feel like I am missing something here. One thing I know is that I do not doubt the love for Jesus by those on either side, nor the love Jesus has for those on either side. Certainly an important time to pray and keep our eyes fixed on Him as discussion continues. Hoping this dialogue does not lead us into sin nor create lost love between us.

  4. @DavidStruss71 #3
    David,
    There is a long history of this fight between the Scriptures of God and the Visions of men. Most of the stuff you just encountered is from the 90’s-early 2000’s of evangelicalism. The problem – we confessional Lutherans have a lot of converts coming in from evangelicalism who saw this then and reaped the fruit of it on both a physical and spiritual level. This is the offense to them.

    The offense to me is that I take my ordination vows seriously, and neither Scripture nor the Lutheran Confessions were running the show down there. It was of a different spirit.

  5. So…. What’s the new defition of “sacrament” and “meaning” to them? The article seems rather incomplete without knowing how the terms are being redefined.

  6. Pastor Scheer,

    Thank you for this article. As I weave my way through the “wiki conference / Five-Two” information one thing came to mind. Luther’s preface to the Smalcald Articles seems fitting even now:

    4] ……. [and] yet there are found such spiteful men, not only among the adversaries,
    but also false brethren that profess to be on our side, as dare to cite my writings and
    doctrine directly against myself, and let me look on and listen, although they know well that
    I teach otherwise, and as wish to adorn their venom with my labor, and under my name to
    [deceive and] mislead the poor people. [Good God!] Alas! what first will happen when I am
    dead? (SA Preface 4)

  7. Dear friends in Christ:

    I saw the Five-Two threads the other day, and something in it struck me. Perhaps I am the only one it has struck, because so far I am the only one that has even responded to this aspect on the sites I visit. (I could be mistaken, I don’t go everywhere. I just haven’t noticed anyone else talking about this yet). That said, I intend to re-post this comment about one of the Twitter comments and my reaction to it, in every social media site I regularly visit that has made reference to this wiki-conference.

    Out of all of the Twitter comments from this Five-Two wiki conference that are questionable or confusing, one stood out as the most serious and saddening. It was this comment: “We don’t go in preaching the gospel because we are the gospel.”

    NO, PEOPLE ARE NOT THE GOSPEL! No one can believe in you and I and these five-two folks to inherit eternal salvation and be forgiven of their sins! The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, lived a perfect life in our place and died on the cross for us to pay for our sins. By God’s grace alone, Jesus took our sins upon Himself and put them to death, so that we would not have to stand before God in His wrath and anger, but could stand before Him in confident trust as His dearly beloved children who are redeemed by Jesus’ blood.

    THIS ALONE IS THE GOSPEL. And the five-two group by this quotation does not understand it. They have said that they themselves as people are the Gospel. Dear friends in Christ, this is not the Lutheran teaching. I do not think this can even be called a CHRISTIAN teaching. It certainly is not Biblical. And anyone who trusts in man will not be saved.

    Let this be a serious wake-up call for us all. The very Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is at stake. It is being redefined before our very eyes. God grant us courage, because it is as if we were still living at the time of the High Middle ages…

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  8. As I understand it, a number of DPs were at the wiki conference. It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again now: Ecclesiastical supervision really doesn’t exist within the LCMS anymore. Also, I have to think that the Praesidium, and the synod president, are well aware of “Five-Two” and the “wiki-conference.” I’ve given up on these men. While they all seem to be confessional men of character, their lack of action is scandalous. I will retract these words if they actually do something about this VERY PUBLIC heterodox movement. However, based on their track record, I don’t imagine I need to practice my apology.

  9. @Randy #10
    Hi Randy,

    I just went to the website of the Five-Two Wiki Conference and noticed that one of the preachers was David Schmitt of Concordia Seminary. I’ve listened to him interview Dr. Jeff Gibbs about his new Matthew commentary. It’s up on the CS website. Does this Five-Two group have the blessings of the LCMS? Why are we just hearing about it now? I think Issues,Etc. should do a program on them.

    In Christ,
    Diane

  10. @Rev. Robert Mayes #9
    This is what immediately struck me about the proceedings, and I’ve heard the “you are the Gospel” schtick promoted by non-Lutherans (I think Rob Bell has even done it). This is possibly the most egregious thing to come out of this. With a resounding “nay,” we are NOT the Gospel, and we are NOT “Jesus’ Sacrament”–we may provide His sacraments through our churches, but we are not a sacrament. For how can beings such as we are be this?

    I am hoping that someone among the higher-ups will lovingly rebuke Woolsey and the other organizers for this error. They should no that this is not Lutheran teaching, nor is it historically orthodox. If anything, it’s Christian Science.

  11. For an orthodox Lutheran’s view of this, I strongly suggest listening very carefully to Pr. Rick Stuckwisch’s “A Sacramentally Focused Life,” posted elsewhere here on BJS. Revealing.

  12. Interesting,

    I did a quick look at the website for the Wiki-conference and what struck me was that it seems to treat the church as a commercial enterprise. That Jesus needs to be marketed like a sack of Potato’s or better said, as a Smart Phone or tablet.

    What happens then is you live by the marketing and die by the marketing. When people find out that forgiveness is free, purchased by Jesus on the Cross, people become jaded with the marketing of the church and stay home or start looking for the next best deal. When you market the church, doctrine is not important. The number one factor becomes, “is the church meeting my needs.” Needs that are based on moral relativism then the objective truth of God’s Word and will.

    Also one of the word’s used in a previous blog was the world discipleship. That he learned more about discipleship from the conference. This is not a historic Lutheran or I believe scriptural word. It is a word of law rather then of Gospel. I see discipleship being unknowingly taught a pharisaic practice where a person justifies their worth before God, that they are worthy of salvation and thus worthy of Jesus dying for them. Rather We are called to be faithful as represented in the Small Catechism under confession and under “What are these?.”

    For now Enough of my incoherent rambling.

  13. I share some of the concerns expressed here. However, sincere question–given that the LCMS is “not an ecclesiastical government exercising legislative or coercive powers … but an advisory body” as explicitly stated in Article VIII of its Constitution, how would President Harrison and/or District Presidents properly go about “rebuking” in a situation like this? I am not sure that our polity is even conducive to the kind of oversight that many of us observe to be lacking. Furthermore, Walther’s Thesis XXIII on Law and Gospel seems to indicate that we should seek to persuade fellow believers to do the right thing by exhorting them in an evangelical way, rather than trying to coerce them with legal commands.

  14. aletheist,

    Just taking a stab at this. I always appreciate your dialogue.

    Article II states:

    1. The Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice;

    Article III states:

    The Synod, under Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, shall—
    1. Conserve and promote the unity of the true faith (Eph. 4:3–6; 1 Cor.
    1:10), work through its official structure toward fellowship with
    other Christian church bodies, and provide a united defense against
    schism, sectarianism (Rom. 16:17), and heresy;

    So, I believe it’s completely within the roles and responsibilities of the COP and Praesidium/Synod President to uphold unity by ensuring doctrine and practice are maintained in accordance with scripture and our confessions. “Five-Two” refers to themselves as “Sacramental Entrepreneurs.” I don’t believe that concept would stand the test, but perhaps I’m wrong. So much these days seems to be up for debate. I also don’t believe that playing a “Cheap Trick” song during worship would pass the test either. I believe that DPs and the Synod President are called, among other things, to be the chief defenders of our doctrine and practice. If they are not, then who is?

    Anyway, just my stab at addressing your post. You and I are layman. Perhaps another could weigh in.

  15. @Randy #18

    These kids are pretty talented, but what on earth do the songs have to do with Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation?  Are you sure this was part of a divine service?  It certainly isn’t representative of any COWO that I’ve ever seen. I’m totally weirded out – SMH.

  16. @John Rixe #20

    Hey John,

    I hope your day is going well. First, I agree that they can play. My son plays the guitar and I love listening to him do his thing, especially on his retro Gibson Flying-V.

    To answer your question: Yes, these were part of a worship service, although I wouldn’t call it a Divine Service since it seems like people serving themselves more than anything. I posted this video on another thread, but here it is again. At the beginning the worship leader clearly states that it’s part of their service. My point that I’m tring to make is that for those who wish to defend Woolsey, Crosspoint, the wiki conference, and “Five-Two”, I ask that they look at what happens in that movement.

    [vimeo 104941405 w=500 h=281] I Want You To Want Me from crosspt media on Vimeo.

    And here’s one of their pastors talking about communion. Maybe this is just fine, but seems really odd to me.

    [vimeo 12119143 w=500 h=375] Mark Junkans Communion from FiveTwo on Vimeo.

  17. @John Rixe #20

    Hey John,

    My apologies if this is a repeat post, but my response to you had 2 videos in it and was “marked for moderation.” Perhaps this will get through without the videos………

    ____________

    John,

    I hope your day is going well. First, I agree that they can play. My son plays the guitar and I love listening to him do his thing, especially on his retro Gibson Flying-V.

    To answer your question: Yes, these were part of a worship service, although I wouldn’t call it a Divine Service since it seems like people serving themselves more than anything.

    I posted a video on the “Highlights from Wiki14” thread. At the beginning of the video the worship leader clearly states that it’s part of their service (The song is, “I want you to want me” by Cheap Trick). My point that I’m trying to make is that for those who wish to defend Woolsey, Crosspoint, the wiki conference, and “Five-Two”, I ask that they look at what happens in that movement.

  18. @Randy #19
    My sense is that our polity is just not set up to facilitate “rebuking” members of the Synod (pastors, commisioned ministers, congregations) who teach and/or practice something that does not sit right with us. If we want to demand rigid adherence to a certain way of saying and doing things, then we really need a more hierarchical than congregational structure. Of course, what happens when someone rises through the hierarchy teaching (or even just tolerating) something that does not sit right with us? I worry that a lot of energy is wasted trying to bring everyone else into line, rather than focusing on preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments in each of our own congregations.

  19. @aletheist #23

    First, Pastor Asburry just posted an excellent article on this:

    https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=38143

    I have a different opinion than you on a couple of topics. Regarding the concept of rebuke, I believe that the only thing preventing DP’s and the synod president from rebuking the “Five-Two” movement is their willingness to do so. I don’t believe anything is stopping Rev. Dr. Harrison from posting/publishing a public rebuke online and in the LW right now.

    Next, I don’t believe that an isolationist posture is in any way right when it comes to a synod. If we don’t confess and practice the same things in the same way then how can we walk together? I’ll add that we live in a very mobile society. While I often want to just ignore the insanity out there and focus on what my own congregation is doing, I believe ignoring those who stray is wrong for numerous reasons. First, it ignores the fact that we ARE a synod. Second, appeasement will only allow the heterodox teaching and practice to spread. Third, all may be well with your/my congregation, but what if you or I move? What if our kids move to a location where “Five-Two” is the only option? Finally, the last reason is the most important one of all. Both scripture and our confessions require us to call out error. Why? One of the most caring/loving things we can do is to correct those who have strayed. We need to do all we can to help them. Another reason is to make it known to others to avoid those who refuse to repent.

  20. @Randy #24
    My point is really just that neither of us has the vocation to issue an “official” rebuke or otherwise work toward bringing other pastors and congregations into line. I generally find it counterproductive to tell other people how to do what God has called them to do, rather than focusing on trying to do what God has called me to do. We can certainly exchange and promote our ideas and perspectives in an effort to persuade others to see things the way that we do, but according to Walther, seeking to coerce the regenerate into the good through legal commands is not rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel; instead, we exhort them in an evangelical way.

  21. aletheist :@Randy #24 We can certainly exchange and promote our ideas and perspectives in an effort to persuade others to see things the way that we do, but according to Walther, seeking to coerce the regenerate into the good through legal commands is not rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel; instead, we exhort them in an evangelical way.

    (emphasis added)

    The definition of EXORT:
    1.To urge by strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal.

    I believe that is exactly what we are trying to do.

  22. @aletheist #26

    One more thing.

    ESV 2 Timothy 4:2-5 states:

    2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

    What gets my attention is that exhort is the third of a series of words: “reprove, rebuke, and exhort.” I believe our synod is greatly lacking in all three areas. However, I do see a lot of itching ears being served…………….it’s hard to comfort the “penitent” sinner with the Gospel when the sinner believes that he or she IS the GOSPEL and/or a “Sacramental Entrepreneur.”

  23. @Randy #26
    I was simply highlighting the distinction between coercion (commanding/demanding) and exhortation (urging). I have no problem with “strong, often stirring argument, admonition, advice, or appeal.” By all means, make the case in a convincing way.

    @Randy #27
    I will just note that Paul was writing to an individual pastor, not a synod or other collective group. My sense is that “reprove” and “rebuke” are terms of the Law, while “exhort” is a term of the Gospel; but I am open to being corrected on that perception. Unfortunately, there are always “a lot of itching ears being served” in every age. To be clear, I am by no means endorsing the FiveTwo approach; the materials that I have read so far do not manifest much concern for rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel.

  24. Alethist,

    Do you believe that each of your members has the responsibility to listen for the voice of Christ coming from you? Luther did. He and Walther taught that that the sheep know the voice of the shepherd and when they hear an alien voice they are to rebuke him.

    This is not about polity. Polity does not give authority. The Word of Christ is the only authority in the His Church.

    We are all to listen for the voice of Christ in all of us. Parish “boundaries” do not inhibit the authority of the Word. A DP or a SP has the authority to suspend or whatever is they can do, but that does not excuse you or me from correcting our brother according to Matthew 18, etc.

  25. Randy,

    You have a lot of good points. I also think Pastor Messer does as well (Google Abide in My Word)

    Aletheist,

    You have a good point to. However, if the Synod leadership determined that there needed to be a cut-off point – after earnestly attempting time and again in patience to get groups like this to stop making egregious statements, for example, it would hardly be “legalistic” to exercise some form of church discipline. Or do you disagree? In full disclosure, I will admit that the reason I suspect you might is that the gripe you mention about five-two is that they “do not manifest much concern for rightly distinguishing Law and Gospel”!

    Pastor Mayes,

    “NO, PEOPLE ARE NOT THE GOSPEL!”

    This is most certainly true. Just like we can’t say we are sacraments (even if we can, and should, as Pastor Stuckwisch says, live a “Sacramentally Shaped Life”). Of course we cannot talk this way and I don’t see how we can avoid saying that the five-two group should simply disown such statements (but this was a tweet from a layperson and I believe the context of the quote was also explained on another post). Even if there were a serious theological case someone would want to make here about us being sacraments (which the group clearly does say) – perhaps akin to the whole “ordination is a sacrament” idea – this simply introduces confusion.

    “No one can believe in you and I and these five-two folks to inherit eternal salvation and be forgiven of their sins!”

    What if we say, as you go on to say: “The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, lived a perfect life in our place and died on the cross for us to pay for our sins.”

    I hope they believe you, trust you, when you say that! Still, here we would be right to say that they are not really “believing in you”, but believing in the one you point to. So this is a fine line where we should be careful: here, we need to admit that while men will fail us and God never will, we still do trust men… even trust in men… even as we must finally look to them alone… “Believe *in* them” in this sense.

    I note Exodus 15:31 states: “And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”

    Why must I challenge five-two? Because we trust in God who has used reliable men in his plan. Men who value the truth and tradition handed on. Men who respect those who desire to hold tenaciously to the “old time religion” – and to engender love for it and to pass it on – because it so beautifully and wonderfully adorns and carries the truth.

    Herb Mueller has recently blogged:

    “When one of us develops an idea that may be different from what has been commonly accepted doctrine or practice, we do not simply go forward on our own, but we bring it to our brothers, remembering we are committed to the same confession and remembering how easy it is to develop blind spots. We are not alone. God has given us brothers. And here it is disingenuous to go only to brothers we are sure will immediately agree with us.”

    To any five-two folks reading this: is this true? Is this what brothers do? Are you my brother? Is there, in you, a part of you, that really wants me to “go to you”? (you know, I don’t want to give you that option!)

    Because brothers, I agree with you, we must trust men… But the men I want to trust more than any other men are those who really, really want to take seriously the faithful brothers who have gone before us, and paid the prices they have paid to give us the treasures we have received….

    I want to trust men. I want to trust my brothers. Even as, yes, ultimately, I trust no man but God.

    Because of God, there is no one on earth who should be able to trust men as much as Christians do. This is the way it should be. Please give me a listen by going to my blog and reading my post: “Put not your trust in men? Overcoming the Cretan’s paradox in Christ”.

    Are you with me?

    +Nathan

  26. @Pastor Tim Rossow #30
    Just for the record, I am a layman, not a pastor.

    @Nathan #31
    I did not completely follow your comments directed at me. I have no problem with the Synod leaders carrying out their duties as defined by the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws, including ecclesiastical supervision. My two main points were (1) that the Synod, as an advisory body, has self-imposed limitations on its ability to govern individual members (pastors, commissioned ministers, congregations); and (2) that we would do well to focus our time and energy on carrying out our own vocations, rather than worrying about whether and how others (e.g., Synod leaders) are carrying out theirs.

  27. @Randy #23

    Wow I watched the video.

    Does anybody have an answer or comment on my two following questions.

    #1, Is/was the Wiki Conference experience driven?

    #2 Is this a replacement for the “Charismatic movement” that was happening in the LC-MS up to the time president Keishnick was elected?

  28. aletheist,

    (1) Such discipline can and is carried out – but normally only in egregious cases. The costs of each decision are weighed, and the will is exercised. There is a constitution of the Synod which all congregations must agree to which provides the basis for responsible and loving pastoral action. (2) False dichotomy, but one that has become all too typical in our antinomian times (yes, I’m one of those who keeps using this word). The point is not “me” or “you”, but how, in fact, “me and you” relate to each other within the church of Christ – especially when sin occurs. In the LC-MS “Adjudication” morphed into “conflict resolution” and everything changed. In short, now all is paralyzed because the risk is far too great for the person who is “concerned” (you just want to be right and oppress me) about another’s actions to risk (jobs, reputation, etc.) really addressing them in a brotherly, thoughtful and meaningful way where resolution is a real possibility.

    +Nathan

  29. @Nathan #31

    @Nathan #32

    Hi Nathan.

    I haven’t been ignoring your thoughtful post, and I do want to respond. Just know that I have been under some fatigue, also we had our circuit forum meeting this week and I have a funeral on top of everything. If I have some time next week, I’ll try to respond as your post deserves. And I would appreciate it if you would put my remarks also on your blogsite too.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  30. aletheist :
    @Pastor Tim Rossow #30
    Just for the record, I am a layman, not a pastor.
    @Nathan #31
    I did not completely follow your comments directed at me. I have no problem with the Synod leaders carrying out their duties as defined by the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws, including ecclesiastical supervision. My two main points were (1) that the Synod, as an advisory body, has self-imposed limitations on its ability to govern individual members (pastors, commissioned ministers, congregations); and (2) that we would do well to focus our time and energy on carrying out our own vocations, rather than worrying about whether and how others (e.g., Synod leaders) are carrying out theirs.

    (1) Synod is only advisory, true. The point is that many leaders in the synod are not advising as they ought — and can, even within the limitations.

    (2) Your advice here sounds essentially like, “None of your stinking business!” Since the advice and leadership from the leaders of synod affect our beloved synod, how is their leadership not the business of all her members?

  31. Altheist,

    Let’s try it this way.

    Synod has no power to demand money from any parish. That is the great limiting factor we have put on ourselves.

    The power that we have not limited is the power of the Word because we cannot. We have put people into elected positions to make use of the power of the word to supervise the synod. They are working at it but are pretty much failing. They are not fulfilling their vocations.

  32. @Pastor Ted Crandall #39
    (1) No argument here; but just as the Synod leaders cannot force members to do anything, likewise we cannot force the Synod leaders to do anything.
    (2) If I had wanted to say that, I would have. I just think that we need to adhere to Walther’s Thesis XXIII on Law and Gospel by exhorting our fellow believers in an evangelical way, rather than seeking to coerce them into the good through legal commands.

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #40
    @Pastor Tim Rossow #41
    My screen name is actually aletheist, from aletheia, the Greek word for truth. Synod not only has no power to demand money from any parish, it also has no power to demand anything from any parish–including adherence to its doctrinal positions. It can restrict/suspend/expel members for violating its permanent confession, but not (currently) for violating its resolutions that are adopted by majority vote at conventions, since the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws explicitly make them non-binding if they are judged by a congregation to be contrary to the Word of God, or even just inexpedient or inapplicable to it. No exception is made for doctrinal resolutions.

    “Walking together” is a voluntary activity. I strongly believe that all members of the Synod should adhere to its doctrinal positions as expressed in doctrinal resolutions and statements, and those who disagree with them should either initiate the formal dissent process or resign their membership. However, the LCMS Constitution does not (currently) say that they must do so, and it is not my place to insist otherwise. If there is consensus within the Synod that adherence to doctrinal resolutions and statements should be a condition of membership, then the Constitution needs to be amended accordingly; a CCM opinion is not the right way to bring this about.

  33. aletheist,

    “I just think that we need to adhere to Walther’s Thesis XXIII on Law and Gospel by exhorting our fellow believers in an evangelical way, rather than seeking to coerce them into the good through legal commands.”

    I am trying. New post, after meeting with a FiveTwo attendee the other day: http://infanttheology.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/to-those-who-confess-i-am-a-lutheran-one-more-appeal-to-my-fivetwo-brethren/

    That said, you said,

    “It can restrict/suspend/expel members for violating its permanent confession, but not (currently) for violating its resolutions that are adopted by majority vote at conventions…”

    That is my understanding as well, but in your post you did not address what I talked about above. The founding charter of the Synod does in fact require some things of all congregations (I don’t recall if it is just new ones) and is currently being ignored. That, to my knowledge, could in fact be used as a basis for church discipline and or excommunication if those in leadership determined it was necessary and had the will do so.

    +Nathan

  34. @Nathan #43
    I am not sure what you mean by “founding charter of the Synod”; it is currently governed by its Constitution and Bylaws, which I referenced above. Article VI of the Constitution establishes the conditions of membership: acceptance of the confessional basis of Article II (Scripture and Book of Concord), renunciation of unionism and syncretism of every description, regular call of pastors and other church workers, exclusive use of doctrinally pure agenda/hymnbooks/catechisms, and a congregational constitution that contains nothing contrary to Scripture or the Confessions. Article XIII establishes that acting contrary to Article II and Article VI or persisting in an offensive conduct are the only grounds for restriction/suspension/explusion.

  35. Synod isn’t as advisory as modern thinkers claim it to be.

    Especially note renunciation of unionism and cretinism OF EVERY DESCRIPTION. If applied harshly, all pastors and congregations in the Willow Creek Association, and any promoting fellowship and communion practices with e_ca are likely to be in big trouble. Seminex and their sympathizers will kvetch about “A Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles” not being doctrinal and inappropriate to use, but the document is trying to reaffirm and describe this problem. Missionals hate anything that points back to Art. II.

    Also about exclusive use of doctrinally pure books. I can name a nearby church that opted to buy ELW instead of LSB when getting new hymnals. (I’m grateful that pastor is looking to retire in a year) What about CoWo services? The easy majority of those do not past the smell test.

    Some parts of our governing documents give an SP authority to act. However, other structures are set up in conflict, trying to shift ‘power and control’ to the COP, or the tangled mess that DRP has become. Add to the CCM sometimes giving clear opinions (and also correct ones) and other times being vague or really stretching Scriptural understanding. I pray for Pres Harrison as he deals with the Gordian Knot we as synod have created, particularly the last 40 years.

  36. Alltheist,

    In the end it really does not matter what our constitution says. If there is a violation of Scripture then you, I and any other confessional Lutheran must stand against such false confession on the authority of the Gospel and seek to win back the brother or if that is not possible, expel them from our midst.

    Besides that, our constitution does give the authority to expel those who hold to false doctrine. Article II states we all confess what is Scriptural and Article XIII says that those who do not shall be expelled from synod.

  37. @Pastor Tim Rossow #46

    A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope
    Of the Power and Jurisdiction of Bishops.

    60] [In our Confession and the Apology we have in general recounted what we have had to say concerning ecclesiastical power. For] The Gospel assigns to those who preside over churches the command to teach the Gospel to remit sins, to administer the Sacraments and besides jurisdiction, namely, the command to excommunicate those whose crimes are known, and again to absolve those who repent.

    61] And by the confession of all, even of the adversaries, it is clear that this power by divine right is common to all who preside over churches, whether they are called pastors, or elders, or bishops. . . .

    65] But since by divine authority the grades of bishop and pastor are not diverse, it is manifest that ordination administered by a pastor in his own church is valid by divine law [if a pastor in his own church ordains certain suitable persons to the ministry, such ordination is, according to divine law, undoubtedly effective and right].

    66] Therefore, when the regular bishops become enemies of the Church, or are unwilling to administer ordination, the churches retain their own right. [Because the regular bishops persecute the Gospel and refuse to ordain suitable persons, every church has in this case full authority to ordain its own ministers.]

    QUESTION: What does this say if the regular bishops [Ecclesiastical Supervisors] are unwilling to administer discipline re false teaching or practice?

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