Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — Theological Crossdressers



Theological Crossdressers

This pick is from an episode of Table Talk Radio entitled “Beware! Theological Crossdressers.” Pastors Wolfmueller and Goeglein critique a video from the Five Two Network’s Sacramental Entrepreneurship series.


Preamble starts at 13:40 and the main discussion starts at 19:50.

Video being critiqued.


Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — Theological Crossdressers — 94 Comments

  1. [youtube

    And here’s a great teaching moment as the song, “Holy Is The Lord” is sung. Wonderful doctrine here.

    We stand and lift up our hands
    For the joy of the Lord is our strength
    We bow down and worship Him now
    How great, how awesome is He

    And together we sing

    Holy is the Lord God Almighty
    The earth is filled with His glory
    Holy is the Lord God Almighty
    The earth is filled with His glory
    The earth is filled with His glory

  2. Ted Crandall :
    “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.”
    –Luther’s Large Catechism, The Eighth Commandment (in the Confessions)
    I pray regularly we show as much concern for the precious souls of the sheep being led to the slaughter as we do for the precious reputations of the false teachers leading them there.

    Thank you, on behalf of my children and grandchildren. May they dodge the lures of the likes of Woolsey.

  3. I would just like to point out that Wurdeman has not chosen to defend Woolsey’s words. He just offers the usual yada yada yada about being quiet while the air is filled with the blah blah blah nonsense of folks like Woolsey.

    What Woolsey’s church has going for it is similar to what many suburban fast growth churches have going for them: location location location.

    Middle to upper middle class Christians are moving into those neighborhoods and looking for a church to attend. They often do not have friends in the area and are indeed looking for a church family/community to join. A well run friendly church will grow if it even sort of tries a little. The problem is that guys like Woolsey attribute the growth to something other than the obvious phenomenal growth caused by many businesses moving in and bringing lots of well paid church goers to the area. So these guys sell all these books and videos, etc. about how to grow churches by doing whatever it is they do, but I think we all know none of it has much at all to do with the real reason their churches grew. The real reason is that those people were going to join a church anyway and these churches were there. It really is about that simple.

  4. @Bruce E. Wurdeman #48


    Thanks for sticking around to duke it out, but I can’t believe you both Eighth-Commanded me AND First-Timothy-Four-Twelved me in the same post! If you would have played the Pharisee Card it would have been the Theological Ad-Hominem Trifecta!

    If you can over-look my youth, I’ll over-look all the time you spent in church administration!

    I am, as you point out, arrogant, young, and sophomoric, and probably rude and dismissive, altogether unchurchmanly. I often times don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. I am impulsive. And the kind of church-growth nonsense (especially of the sort we saw from Pr Woosley) sets me off (which is why Evan was laughing so much in this episode: he knew I was ready to explode). I’m sorry about that, and I hope that you will bare with me in love. I’m not interested in defending myself, and I also try to avoid attacking other people personally when it can be avoided. I think we even managed that in this episode; we were only talking about what Pr Woosley said, and not about his person.

    I’m wondering, though, was I wrong? Especially, were Evan and I wrong in our critique? While I don’t what to use the “I’m right” to escape the accusation of being rude, I am especially eager to repent of being wrong.

    Regarding the theology of ridicule, are you saying that it is okay to ridicule the false teachers outside the church, but not to ridicule the false teachers inside the church? I don’t think this is true, especially because Jesus begins His harangue “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat,” (Matthew 23:2, and see the reference to this text in AC VIII). His ridicule was squarely directed towards teachers in the church.

    I’ve gone back and listened to the episode (a painful exercise), and the critique is that we didn’t get after Pr. Woosley enough! There are all sorts of dangerous things that we let slide. And there is something more; I don’t Pr Woosley is the typical Church-Growth-gone-Emergent church consultant. There is something more sinister in his ecclesiology. There is a moment in the episode when I am struggling to words to describe what he is teaching, and can’t get there. That is what I was working on, and I still can’t put my finger on it.

    Anyhoo, if you want we to call Woosley, I’ll give him a ring this afternoon. Maybe a conversation will help me sort out what’s off.

    If it doesn’t work out, do you want me to let him know that you suggested I press charges? *wink*

  5. John Rixe :
    @Randy #2
    Sounds like it came word for word from the book of Psalms. If it didn’t, it sure is a close paraphrase. (compare to the Sanctus in DSIII)

    I heard the “gloria in excelsis”

    “Lord God, heavenly King,
    almighty God and Father,
    we worship you, we give you thanks,
    we praise you for your glory.”


    We stand and lift up our hands
    (1 Tim 2:8)

    For the joy of the Lord is our strength
    (Nehemiah 8:10 )
    “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

    We bow down and worship Him now
    How great, how awesome is He
    (Luke 2:14)

    I don’t believe either of these songs make the focus on “what WE are doing.”

  6. Bruce E. Wurdeman :
    @Ted Crandall #47

    LHM is the most aggressive, most efficient and most effective international Lutheran outreach agency that I know of. People are meeting Jesus through this organization. They are becoming your brothers and sisters in the faith at the rate of some 40,000+ per year around the world through the work of LHM. I am proud–and humbled–to have served as her executive director. It was rewarding to work with such a gifted, committed, energetic and creative staff! They know their Savior and are sold out to helping others get to know Him, too.

    You all should know that Table Talk Radio ™ (c) is the least aggressive, least efficient and least effective theological Lutheran game show that I know of. We barely meet our own low standard of mediocrity. It is, in fact, dangerous to listen. At least two people and one laptop have been injured (Jane, who fell off her treadmill, and another guy who started laughing so hard that he dropped weights on himself, and a computer that suffered from spewed juice). But we don’t cost a lot of money.

    A few months back we invented a little game called “Kick the Dog, Console the Child.” It has an interesting premise, namely, that there are different ways to deal with false teaching. (We got the image from Luther’s introduction to Galatians in the Greater Galatians commentary.) The false teachers need to be dealt with sternly (that’s the kick the dog part), while the falsely taught need to be handled with compassion and gentleness (console the child).

    It is always a danger that we treat the falsely taught with unnecessary sternness. If that is the case here, I’ll report back.

  7. @quasicelsus #10

    OK, I’ll give you this one. I cast my net the wrong way. This PRAISE BAND did a neat job bringing a clear and concise message to the audience – as they sang the lyrics over, and over, and over in an attempt to elicit an emotional response.

  8. @quasicelsus #10

    Excellent – thanks

    I was wrong about the Psalms

    Holy is the Lord God Almighty
    The earth is filled with His glory
    Holy is the Lord God Almighty
    The earth is filled with His glory
    The earth is filled with His glory

    This comes from Isaiah 6:3

  9. Bryan Wolfmueller :
    It is always a danger that we treat the falsely taught with unnecessary sternness. If that is the case here, I’ll report back.

    There is also a danger that we become too comfortable, when we think we are talking exclusively amongst ourselves and forget that others might be listening also, and too careless about what we cannot by come off to others as arrogant and immature and insincere, and we make it impossible for everybody other than those who already agree with us to take us seriously, and we can be of no help to anybody else, and we are of no service to those whom our testimony might otherwise have helped to flee the idols and embrace the Gospel and be set free to serve the living God …

    I think I often disagree with you, Mr. Rixe, although I am not exactly sure exactly how deeply and how often. But I do appreciate your efforts to keep the rest of us honest in that regard – which I have come to think of as an important part, if not the main thrust, of what you are trying to do.

  10. @John Rixe #21
    Others want to reach the flip-flop and barefoot crowd. Don’t forget Jesus spent a lot of time with the flip-flop crowd.

    Crosspointe isn’t looking for the “flip-flop” crowd— unless they’ve also got fat wallets.
    That’s a new and fairly upscale neighborhood out there.

    Has Woolsey ever quoted Jesus on “love of money”?

  11. Randy :
    @quasicelsus #10
    OK, I’ll give you this one. I cast my net the wrong way. This PRAISE BAND did a neat job bringing a clear and concise message to the audience – as they sang the lyrics over, and over, and over in an attempt to elicit an emotional response.

    Let it be said i prefer page 5 and 15 over all other services.

    Lyrics over and over don’t bother me much. (in and of itself)
    e.g. psalms 136 – and his mercy endures forever

    Praise band doesn’t bother me much. (in and of itself)
    e.g. psalms 150

    Calling others to joyful praise doesn’t bother me much. (in and of itself)
    e.g. psalms 95

    Electing to use selections within psalms/texts doesn’t bother me much. (in and of itself)
    e.g. psalm 95 in the venite on page 32 of TLH doesn’t include
    ” Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

    in the same way “holy is the Lord” doesn’t match the gloria in exelsis for each section.

    but yeah, i have no doubt that a praise band can influence the congregation in non-lutheran ways. As can an organist.

  12. @quasicelsus #18

    Regardless, you were right to call me out on it. I was far to quick to click. There were so many other options I could have used as examples, but I will stop. Praise bands aren’t the topic of the thread. I’m surprised that Miguel didn’t show up and hit me over the head with a Fender Stratocaster.

  13. John Rixe :…so the Holy Ghost is out of the picture, Mrs Hume

    John, knock off the passive aggressive act of being the simple, loving peacemaker — while you lob cheap shots and then say, “What? I didn’t mean that…” As you well know, the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God, not the tripe of false teachers. True peacemaking is true to God’s Word.

    “Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace…”
    Ezekiel 13:10a

  14. @Bryan Wolfmueller #23

    I’m sure that if you talked with Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Beth Moore, you’d have “fine and friendly” conversations. So what’s the point? Based on my review of two of his pastors’ sermons, and looking at his website, his congregation is basically Baptist that serves wine at communion and baptizes infants. That’s the problem. Not a laughing matter.

  15. Mr. Bruce Wurdeman, as someone pointed out, is Chair emeritus of the BOD of Transforming Campus Ministries (TCM), whose website is here:

    Their address is 2811 NE Holman St., Portland, OR 97211 – which is also the address of Concordia University in Portland.

    The TCM mission, values, and vision are here:–vision.html

    Mr. Wurdeman is retired, and was the Executive Director of Lutheran Hour Ministries. He seems to take doctrine seriously. The TCM recommended reading page is here:

    I’m wondering how others on BJS view this list. Are these books doctrinally sound, and is it the list you’d use to transform a campus? If so, why or why not? I think the list is apropos to this conversation because in some ways it seems to be similar to the paradigm that Pastors Wolfmueller and Goeglein are critiquing in their “Theological Crossdressers” episode. Here is the entire book list:

    – Winning on Purpose: How to Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission
 by John E. Kaiser
    – Hit the Bullseye: How Denominations Can Aim Congregations at the Mission Field 
by Paul D. Borden
    – Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders
 by Aubrey Malphurs
    – Effectiveness by the Numbers: Counting What Counts in the Church
 by William R. Hoyt
    – Raising More Money
 by Terry Axelrod
    – Crisis on the Horizon: How to Rescue Your Ministry from Financial Meltdown by 
Kenneth M. Fleck

  16. I’ve read enough Borden to know that his theology is basic church growth. He has no understanding of Justification dFaith. It’s all about works. Transforming Churches is his brainchild. It turns the congregation upside-down, making the pastor a CEO. That’s enough for me.

  17. @Scott Diekmann #25

    Excellent approach, Scott. At a minimum, I recommend folks search for these books in AMAZON.COM, then use the “Look Inside” function to read the forewords. Very enlightening, heavy on Church Growth Movement tactics, and lots of Baptist theology.

  18. Joe,

    I hear you. But, I look at it a different way. I’m knee deep in this CGM baloney where I live. I’ve fought it like crazy for years using “the system.” Nothing has ever made a difference and the insanity continues. Furthermore, I get really frustrated and ticked off when these CGM folks try to shove this stuff down our kid’s throats. With no recourse, it helps to sometimes get a chuckle out of the insanity. TTR serves a great purpose IMO. Rev. Wolfmueller and Rev. Goeglein do a superb job of lightening the mood. It’s a necessary outlet. I guarantee you that Rev. Wolfmueller and Rev. Goeglein take doctrine and practice very seriously. Yet, we all need to laugh at the issues sometimes or we’d go crazy.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me give you my perspective.


  19. @Randy #28

    After reviewing the websites in my district, and finding some with “Four Spiritual Laws” I do not find false doctrine a laughing matter. Our people are being spiritually starved. You can’t baptize Four Spiritual Laws, and you can’t baptize CGM. Watching those pastors at Crosspoint treat the Gospel as Law, just like Beth Moore, makes me ill. Listening to sermons in my district that tell you to “Invite Jesus into your heart” is not funny. Seeing TCN turn the office of the Ministry into a corporate power trip is a disgrace. When a pastor hands his confirmands Luther’s Small Catechism, and says, “If you have any questions, you can look in here,” then teaches them mushy touchy feely faux theology, I get pretty angry.

    I understand your perspective, but I simply can’t laugh at this stuff. Thanks for your comments.


  20. @Joe Strieter #30
    Good Morning Joe,
    After reading your last post, I too can get pretty angry and it’s only 7am in the morning. This business of the so-called ‘Four Spiritual Laws’ and pastors who from the pulpit are telling their people to ‘invite Jesus into your heart’, is heterodox at the least. I suppose you can’t tell me what district you’re in, it might bring the 8th commandment cops out of the woodwork.

    Lord, have mercy.


  21. @Diane #31

    I posted up above (Post #15) that I’m in the Ohio District. I’m not revealing any confidences, as this stuff is on the Internet for all to see. I suspect that every district has their share of such stuff.

    I did a complete report on all the working websites in our district. I also did a report in the same format for posting here, but haven’t heard back from Norm yet about how to post it. No matter–I’ll contact him again. You can go to your district’s website, I expect, and can find the websites of your congregations quite easily. If you look at subsequent posts of mine on this thread, you’ll see the parameters I established, and you’ll also see how Crosspoint (no “e”) came out. If you want to do your own “visits” to the congregations in your district via their websites, I’ll be glad to send you my template. Norm can send you my email address. Warning: You’ll have to listen to a few sermons to get the full flavor. I listened to over 80, some of them twice.


  22. @Joe Strieter #32
    Thanks. The district I’m in use to be quite liberal, but things are slowly changing for the good. We have an excellent new president of Concordia, Chicago in Dr. Gard. We also have Pastor Rossow and Pastor Fiske who are trying to turn things around.

    In Christ,

  23. @Bruce E. Wurdeman #48, page 1

    “I’ve spent 43 years in Called positions in the LCMS and am now retired. You have many years ahead of you. Think about the kind of church you want to live in. The standards for treatment of your fellow servants in the church that you are setting may well be the ones that you will have to live with for many years. What goes around, comes around. The chances are good that someday you will be on the receiving end of whatever standards of churchmanship (or lack of standards) you may be establishing now. Think hard about what you want your church body to look like 20 years from now and how you want to be treating each other then.”

    I’ve spent 45 years as a member of various LCMS congregations and attended four of her schools. Apart from what happened with the expulsion of false teachers during Seminex, when I was 4 years old, I”m under the impression that the LCMS’s idea of good churchmanship is rewarding or at least ignoring false teachers within her midst. The idea of correcting false doctrine among members of the LCMS is either a joke or the best kept secret ever. Churchmanship be damned when it permits false doctrine to lead Christ’s sheep away from him.

    Most of the churchmanship I’ve seen in the LCMS is the back slapping of false teachers and firing of confessional pastors. I don’t have to wait 20 years from now to see what my church body will look like. I see it now and it stinks. I don’t want to attend worship or communion at what appears to be over half of her congregations because they practice open communion and teach and practice all kinds of other forms of false doctrine. If this is where churchmanship has gotten us, forget it. If the LCMS keeps heading in this direction without any correction I doubt that my family will remain in LCMS congregations in the next 20 years.

  24. @Bruce E. Wurdeman #50
    Questions for Bruce Wurdemann:

    1. What churches do those 40,000+ people who have “met Jesus” through the Lutheran Hour belong to? Have they been baptized? Are they in Lutheran congregations? Does LHM think that matters?
    2. How many of the Lutheran Hour offices around the world are staffed by, well, Lutherans? Does LHM think that matters?
    3. Is the perceived lack of professionalism in LTT any worse than what is found here?
    4. How Lutheran is an organization that doesn’t allow those who preach on the Lutheran Hour to mention the saving power of Baptism and the forgiveness that is ours in the Holy Supper? And the bodily presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Supper? Does LHM think that it matters?
    Perhaps there are not specific things that ARE said by LHM that are false teachings in and of themselves. No, perhaps what should be considered is what is NOT being said that is more telling of the theological leanings of the organizaion.

  25. Katie, thanks for asking those questions. They are good ones. Before I answer, I need to make a disclaimer. I am the RETIRED Executive Director of Lutheran Hour Ministries–I no longer work there and no longer speak for that fine organization in any official capacity. So you are getting Bruce’s take–not necessarily the official answer.

    1. Those 40,000+ people (actually some years there are nearly 60,000) are all referred to the nearest participating Lutheran congregation except in countries like Vietnam where there is no Lutheran church. In those countries, referrals are made to churches that are the nearest to the LCMS in their confession. It works like this. A person responds to a program or an event sponsored by a Lutheran Hour Ministries ministry center and asks for more information on the Christian faith (there are probably about 250,000 people in this category). They are then enrolled in a Bible correspondence course or an in-person course that takes them through the basics of the Christian faith. Upon completion of that course, they are asked whether then believe that Jesus is their Savior and if they would like to be contacted by a Christian church (Lutheran, when possible) in their area. If the answer to both of those questions is “yes”, then they are referred to the nearest participating Lutheran church or, if that isn’t possible, the closest thing we can get to a Lutheran church in that area (this is the 40,000-60,000 people per year). In recent years, LHM has made serious attempts to follow up on those referred to local churches. It appears that, follow up is quite good and most are being welcomed into a local church–and stay with it. LHM doesn’t baptize anyone–that’s the local church’s job. By the way, it has been my privilege to see this process at work in Thailand, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Guatemala and India, especially.

    2. Almost all are led by indigenous Lutherans. The exceptions are in countries where there is no or no significant Lutheran presence–again, like Vietnam. As in LHM, LCMS, CPH, Seminary, and University offices in this country, some of the support staff in those international ministry centers may be of another Christian faith, but the ministry center leadership is Lutheran and the theology is Lutheran. It is significant to note that LHM sends no US personnel to staff international offices. All of those offices are staffed by indigenous people–members of indigenous churches. They generally do a much better job of proclaiming the Gospel in their own cultures and their own languages than we would. Staff in St. Louis have oversight of those offices.

    3. Baloney Shop is a bit hokey–granted. It was designed as a discussion starter for men’s groups and is no longer in production. And it’s not sophisticated video. But it was very popular and used widely. It wasn’t the level of professionalism I was concerned about with Table Talks. It was a public attack on a brother pastor in the LCMS that bothered me greatly. I don’t think Baloney Shop ever came close to doing that.

    4. LHM is fully supportive of our confessional Lutheran stance–including our belief in the regenerative power of baptism and the real presence in the Lord’s Supper. Almost all LHM programs assume that the listener/reader is not a Christian. Just as you would probably not lead with baptism and the Lord’s Supper in your first conversation with your non-Christian neighbor over the back fence, so LHM doesn’t lead with that. Instead LHM leads with Law and Gospel–another good Lutheran and biblical approach. LHM never has a goal of teaching the whole counsel of God to new believers. Their role is to introduce people to Jesus and pass them off to your congregations so you can do that–or to help your congregation introduce non-Christians to Jesus. As I recall from my graduate work, there is one Primary Doctrine–justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. All other doctrines are Secondary Doctrines–not at all unimportant and certainly contributing to the efficaciousness of the Primary Doctrine. LHM focuses on the Primary Doctrine. Ideally, it is a partnership. LHM makes the initial contact. Congregations welcome and catechize them.

    Thanks again, for the questions, Katie. I always welcome the opportunity to talk about the amazing things God is doing through an exceptionally gifted, talented and dedicated staff. When I led that organization, I was impressed by that staff and I still am. My prayers, my heart and a good chunk of my change still are focused on that important and highly effective ministry. God is doing great things.

  26. Lutherans have an incarnational, sacramental theology, because that’s how Christ comes to us. You can’t avoid the sacramental nature of our theology without distorting the message.

    “Luther, as seen above, sees doctrine as an organic whole, not a linear progression of ideas. It is at just this point that Lutherans in name deviate from each other: Lutherans following the linear, pietistic, and fundamentalistic model, separate the articles of faith, trying vainly to classify them according to some order of importance or logic; the true and confessional Lutherans, following their mentor, see all the articles as essentially one. Christ is the center and focal point of every article of faith, and this fact in the paradoxical context of law and gospel, simul Justus et peculator.”

    Robert D. Preus, “Luther: Word, Doctrine, and Confession,” available here:


    ross :

    “I’m under the impression that the LCMS’s idea of good churchmanship is rewarding or at least ignoring false teachers within her midst. The idea of correcting false doctrine among members of the LCMS is either a joke or the best kept secret ever. Churchmanship be damned when it permits false doctrine to lead Christ’s sheep away from him. Most of the churchmanship I’ve seen in the LCMS is the back slapping of false teachers and firing of confessional pastors.”

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