The Real Reasons LCMS Pastors Want to be like American Evangelicals, by Pr. Rossow

In a post yesterday Martin Noland quoted John Hannah asserting that an aversion to Roman Catholicism is what makes LCMS’ers want to look like Evangelicals. I am sure that is a part of it but I think it is a lot simpler than that. It’s not theological. It’s personal. It has to do with the personal experience in junior high, high school and college of the young men who became pastors in the LCMS in the last generation.

I have identified seven things in the life of the pastors of the last generation that have caused them to want to look like Evangelicals. Early in my pastoral career I had a lot in common with these Evangelical wannabes and so part of this is personal reflection but I have also known dozens of LCMS pastors with similar stories and I am currently involved in an ecclesiastical debate with a fellow pastor and my district president and I am seeing most of the experiences I list below to be in play in our disagreement.

Here’s my list:

  1. Many of the young Lutherans of the late 60’s and early 70’s were bored with church mostly because there was no instruction about the liturgy and the bronze age pastors did not embrace and proclaim the mystery and power of the sacraments.
  2. Boomers like me started going to contemporary Christian concerts. The bands playing were usually Pentecostal (Second Chapter of Acts), legalistic pietists (Keith Green), flowery praise types (The Imperials) or even counter cultural Jesus freaks (Larry Norman, Phil Keagy, etc.).
  3. To supplement the concert culture local Christian bookstores popped up everywhere (even in my little home town of 6,000 people in rural Iowa) and we good Lutherans were reading the non-Lutheran stuff because it was written on and marketed at a far more popular level than the CPH stuff.
  4. Most of us who became pastors went to a Concordia for pre-sem work and the dormitory culture of the Concordias was loaded with this same non-sacramental theology.
  5. The sexual and cultural revolution of the 1960’s of course changed everything.
  6. Television captivated our generation and along with the rest of the new media, destroyed nearly all of the healthy parochialism of the LCMS. We were no longer isolated.
  7. The seminaries worked hard to reorient us to pure Lutheranism but they also contributed to the problem and in the end and were also helpless to counter the cooperate and graduate mentality.

Here is some additional commentary on the seven causes.

  1. Many of the young Lutherans of the late 60’s and early 70’s were bored with church mostly because here was no instruction about the liturgy and the bronze age pastors did not embrace the mystery and power of the sacraments.

The liturgy had become something that we just did in church. It was traditional. It was never taught to us. We never learned where it came from and why it was the proper expression of faith and prayer. The pastors of the bronze age of the LCMS (1945-1970) did not seem to embrace the mystery and power of the sacraments and so they did not pass the joy of the sacramental life. We did not stand in awe of the power of the sacraments. We just did them with no emotion or intensity.

  1. Boomers started going to contemporary Christian concerts.

Our parents were good Lutherans but they sort of embraced this dangerous ecumenism because they were just glad we were doing something religious and not joining the counter culture of tie-died shirts and Mary Jane.

These contemporary Christian concerts titillated us in ways that the sacramental-less bronze age faith did not. Most significantly these concerts led us to begin to embrace the theology of pietiesm, legalism, charismania and Arminian free will theology.

  1. To supplement the concert culture local Christian bookstores popped up everywhere (even in my little home town of 6,000 people in rural Iowa) and we good Lutherans were reading the non-Lutheran stuff because it was written on and marketed at a far more popular level than the CPH stuff.

Like many future LCMS pastors, I gobbled up dozens of the Evangelical offerings of these book stores as well as bought countless cassette tapes of my favorite contemporary Christian artists.

  1. The dormitory culture of the Concordia Colleges was rife with bad theology.

There were charismatic groups on the campus of every Concordia as far as I can tell and many of the future teachers and pastors attended these “ecclesiai in the ecclesia.” Even more influential were the Campus Crusade types who were discipling all sorts of students in decision theology and a thorough smack down of anything remotely ritualistic. (This is where Hannah’s theory gets some traction.) I had a well-intentioned fellow student teach me the four spiritual laws of Campus Crusade and ask me to give my life to Jesus. He is currently and LCMS pastor.

  1. The sexual and cultural revolution of the 1960’s changed everything.

Of course behind all of this were the larger cultural movements. The cultural revolution of the 60’s brought an anti-authoritarianism that challenged all institutions. We were all affected by this. Amazingly, I was taught values clarification in my high school in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in Iowa in the mid 70’s. We had twenty minute home room sessions to start every day and a fifty minute session on Fridays. We were being taught to value ourselves and our own freedom over anything else which meant that the extra nos, Christ-centered liturgy was superfluous. Unbeknown to us we were being taught to re-make church in the image of our personal pop tastes and likes.

  1. Television captivated a generation and along with the rest of the new media, destroyed parochialism in the LCMS. We were no longer alone.

An unexplained liturgy, vacuous sacraments, and crucifix and procession-less Divine services were no competition for the pleasure and visual stimulation of television, videos and ultimately our laptops, smart phones and game boxes.

  1. The seminaries did not help.

I will be very careful here because I owe the seminaries so much because of the rich deposit of faith they placed in me but they also have some blame in all of this. After we won the battle for the Bible the St. Louis Seminary replaced the liberal but mostly liturgical faculty with men for the most part who were the bronzies who did not embrace the mystery of the sacraments. They were safe but they were not models of the sacramental life. The Fort Wayne seminary was better but I still must say that even though I nearly worship Robert Preus, if I am not mistaken, he was not as sacramental and liturgical as many of the men he brought into teach at the Fort.

In addition, believe it or not, both seminaries had nearly one fourth of their faculties (the Practical Department) who were devoted to the Church Growth Movement. (Can anyone say Waldo Werning? I forget the name of the professor at St. Louis who taught the required Church Growth class. Yes, in the early 80’s there was a required Church Growth class at St. Louis.)

Another nasty phenomenon at the seminary was the “cooperate and graduate” principal. We all know classmates who simply said what the profs wanted to hear, graduated, and then went off on their little church growth path in their first call. The seminaries cannot be blamed for such violations of personal integrity but they are affecting the church today.

There were also those who sincerely embraced confessional Lutheranism but caved when pressure was applied to them in the parish. I can recall countless times in the first few years of being a pastor where I was tempted to go down the path of tolerance so as to avoid confrontation. Fortunately I stood my ground more than I compromised and after engraining that as a habit it became much easier to stand strong. That has not been the case for many pastors.

In conclusion, there are certainly countless pastors who were never greatly affected by the seven causes I listed above. But there also many who fit this description, enough to make a huge difference in our synod. I am surrounded by these type of pastors and sadly, even my District President is one. Will the LCMS survive as a confessional synod? Sometimes I wonder. Lord have mercy on us.

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 Real Reasons LCMS Pastors Want to be like American Evangelicals, by Pr. Rossow — 54 Comments

  1. This article will be appearing in which upcoming issue of The Lutheran Witness did you say?

    (…if only.)

  2. “cooperate and graduate” I think this can be said for many professions from Law to Medicine to Pastoral education. There is always that final faculty vote real or rumored that hangs over the heads of the student body. In my education I sat in awe as the fourth year class president gave a speech at a major event for our college where he spoke of our dean during his formative years ” Now it was said that the dean was not slow nor was he particularly fast but rather it was said he was half fast”. It was not lost on us First years that that individual did not graduate ” on time” as the faculty slowed down the part of his education they had complete control of. The power the faculty hold is mighty. On one hand they are the gatekeepers, weeding out those who do not belong. On the other hand they can make your life miserable if they do not like you or you misstep in some way. Cooperation is a part of Graduation.

  3. Pastor Rossow,

    I’m in the same district you are in but out in the northwestern part of the state. About twenty years ago I organized a sunday school teachers workshop for the district. We had a good turn out from all over. The western suburbs of Chicago were even represented. I distinctly remember the district’s education representative suggesting a ‘Group’ publishing curriculum rather than using CPH. Also, a few years later when CPH had just published Hymnal Supplement ’98, the district education executive for the western region suggested to me that we look into ELCA’s supplement rather the LCMS one. It appeared to me that there was a concerted effort on the part of district representatives to disregard anything coming out of synod when Rev. Dr. Barry was president.

    Unfortunately, the damage done by the church growth-type pastors to congregations will take a long time to fix. You are absolutely correct when you say that the pastors got bored with the liturgy. I could write so much more. Thank God for all the young pastors that at least understand the liturgy and will help the laity see the great value in it.

    In Christ,
    Diane

  4. Pastor, with all due respect, I think you missed one. Perhaps a case can be made that it may be included in the first seven reasons, but I doubt it. Here goes:

    8. Poor catechesis. During the 2001 Convention, (“An evening with the President”), President Kuhn claimed that we were paying the price for “40 years of poor catechesis.” More than a decade later, things haven’t gotten any better. For one thing, much of this evangelical bogosity gets right past the poorly-catechized laity. As this laity attends college and seminary, they take their ignorance with them into the classrooms, and from there into the parish as teachers and pastors. Add to this that many pastors are converts to the LCMS, and so don’t have the background in sound catechesis. You can add the decline in the number of day schools for this trend as well. The H/C method being taught at the Seminary in the 50’s & 60’s de-emphasized systematics, and what is the catechism but systematics? When a pastor (trained in H/C) hands his confirmation class Luther’s Small Catechism, and tells them, “If you have any questions, you look for the answers in here,” you know something’s terribly wrong. Several years ago, one of the faculty at CTSFW told me that a great many of the students there showed a horrific lack of knowledge of the catechism. He said that he had to spend the first part of each quarter on the catechism. Without this essential basic knowledge, pastors are easily influenced by every strange wind of doctrine, and there’s plenty of that wind blowing out here. If our clergy and laity don’t know what we believe, teach, and confess, no wonder there’s so many baptist churches in LCMS–churches that happen to serve wine at communion and baptize infants!

  5. The mention of The Imperials, Phil Keagy, Second Chapter of Acts and Keith Green really brings back some memories. The influence of contemporary Christian music is tremendous. What finally help my wife and I wake up and smell the coffee was the Issues, Etc program called: What Is Driving Contemporary Christian Music? with Warren Cole Smith. My wife and I have broken away from the grip this had on our lives. It’s funny but sometimes when scanning the dial on the radio it will stop on a CCM station. It takes sometimes awhile to notice what you are listening to, but a few buzz words & phrases that you hear a lot soon gives it away. Fire, deeper, holier, higher, “make me more like you,” etc.

  6. @Joe Strieter #5
    Several years ago, one of the faculty at CTSFW told me that a great many of the students there showed a horrific lack of knowledge of the catechism.

    Now, according to a Prof there, CTSFW has to teach liturgy to some incoming students. How a student who never heard Lutheran liturgy in his home congregation gets to CTS is something we didn’t explore.
    [At CSL the student would apparently continue in ignorance, from what I read here.]

  7. Joe Strieter :
    Add to this that many pastors are converts to the LCMS, and so don’t have the background in sound catechesis.

    Of course I cannot speak for all those of our Pastors who have abandoned the false teachings of other churches or movements after having consciously and deliberately studied and embraced the Lutheran faith – but I doubt that it is generally among them you will find the greatest ignorance and indifference as to what is Lutheran faith and what is not.

    On the contrary, it seems to me that those Pastors who grew up being force fed the grass on the other side of the fence – regardless of which fence -will usually be among those who know only all too well that although it might look greener, it is really not any better than that solid Gospel diet which is our Lutheran heritage.

    It seems to me, and would make sense to me, that such convert Pastors will usually be thankful for getting the taste of the supposedly greener grass out of their mouths, and having had it replaced with the sweet taste of the Gospel – and for finally being able to stop vomitting, and having the opportunity to both preach and teach Biblical truth instead …

  8. Pastor Rossow,

    Thank you for this thoughtful analysis. As Lutherans, we have a superb resource in the Confessions that, if they were properly revered, would largely prevent pastors and laity from succumbing to fads, movements, and trappings of the here-and-now that you eloquently spelled out above. Yet, here we are with no real end in sight. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the majority of folks who are in favor of President Harrison’s Koinonia Project (KP) as the answer to our disunity are either those in leadership positions that were perhaps architects of the KP or those who promote and encourage enthusiasm and charismaticism within the Synod. The former are too involved to be objective and the latter rejoice in the freedom of movement that the KP affords them.

  9. Another thing that they miss is that any culture in itself can be an idol when it obscures the gospel. Like all good things it can be abused and worshiped as a false god.

    Taken to its worst extremes most modern contextualization is nothing more than enabling idolatry for the sake of getting along with a group or subgroup. At what point are you worshiping a culture? No church planter wants to ask that question and when you ask that question for them they get angry and engage in ad hominem.

  10. Joe Strieter is correct about poor catechesis contributing to an ill-informed
    laity. Take an honest look at youth confirmation classes. How many LCMS
    pastors actually teach those classes? Too many pastors delegate this very
    important task to other less qualified people. In many parishes you will
    see an layperson teaching youth confirmation classes instead of the pastor.
    It could be an church council member, an elder, a Sunday School teacher,
    or some other warm body who likes kids.

  11. @Joe Strieter #5
    Joe, I would never presume to speak for Pastor Rossow, but for me, the lack of proper catechesis is a result of those things listed in his main post. Remember what the title of the post is: The Real Reasons LCMS Pastors Want to be like American Evangelicals. Those who have succumbed to the “here-and-now”, as a result of the reasons that Pastor Rossow pointed out, simply place little value in proper catechesis. With that said, I agree completely that a lack of proper catechesis is a significant issue and a key reason why we are where we are.

  12. @Jais H. Tinglund #8
    You said, “Of course I cannot speak for all those of our Pastors who have abandoned the false teachings of other churches or movements after having consciously and deliberately studied and embraced the Lutheran faith – but I doubt that it is generally among them you will find the greatest ignorance and indifference as to what is Lutheran faith and what is not.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that the greatest ignorance/indifference to Lutheran is among such pastors, only that such indifference/ignorance is a part of the problem. The lack of catechesis cuts across all segments of the LCMS. Seminarians who grew up in other traditions have a lot of catching up to do–so do many from LCMS backgrounds. Based on what I’ve observed, some don’t seem to get it, no matter where they started out.

  13. One of the things about Keith Green that, unfortunately, is often ignored by his supporters is that he really backed off from a lot of his pietism near the end of his life (listen to his song “Grace by which I stand”). And his stance on missionaries and being “missional” nearly drove me to despair, essentially saying that if you’re not enrolled in full-time ministry, then you’re out of the will of God.

    If only somebody could have explained to him the doctrine of vocation…

  14. Reading this list makes me kinda glad I went to a state school instead of going through the Concordias which is kinda sad.

    And I will definitely give you the books that are written at pop level. We need more books written at a pop level. Don’t get me wrong – I love the intellectually challenge materials we have produced, but we need more things written at the level of people who think Max Lucado is deep. Something I realized when our congregation struggled with Harrison’s “Lord, Have Mercy”

    I’d also add another reason.

    -Evangelicals are answering questions that we can’t seem to be bothered answering.

  15. @Rev_aggie #15

    “-Evangelicals are answering questions that we can’t seem to be bothered answering.”

    Would you give us some examples of the questions, and their answers that the Evangelicals are providing? And–how are the “Evangelical Lutheran Pastors” answering those question?

    When I see the “Four Spiritual Laws” (or a version of same) posted on an LCMS website, I cringe. Here are two examples (yes, they can be found on LCMS websites):

    “Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. Receive Him as Lord and Savior.” The suggested prayer follows, which says in part, “I now invite you to come into my heart and life….” Then this: “Did you sincerely ask Jesus Christ to come into your life?”

    And from another website:

    “I believe, as the Lord of my life, Jesus requires full surrender and devotion.”

    The sacraments do not get so much as a mention on either of these two links.

  16. @Rev_aggie #15

    Pastor – you are so correct. I have several friends who prefer Our Daily Bread to Portals of Prayer because PofP is too deep. Most of us running around are pretty simple folks and need to be reached at the pop level.

  17. Very Good Pastor Rossow on your analysis.

    A note on contemporary christian music, your point # 2. It is interesting to note that much has changed in contemporary Christian, it does not seem to have the draw it used to have. For example the Jesus People USA Cornerstone Festival is no more, nor can I name a new contemporary Christian artist. I could expand on the list you gave from the 70’s and 80’s, some who I enjoyed and still listen to i.e. Daniel Amos. (Yes I know their theology is often bad, but never would I ever consider using their music in worship.)

    I believe this is because modern Day American Evangelism needs to be always changing so life stays relevant with meaning. Some Lutheran’s are attracted to this because many seem to believe life needs new emotion to be relevant.

    All this forgets Jesus has done. When one looks for life to be relevant, it is about what they do and not what Jesus had done and continues to do through Word and Sacraments.

  18. @John Rixe #17

    However, the theology, the doctrine, the practice should in no way be dumbed down. Here are two examples of how to do it right: The sainted Klemet Preus’, “The Fire and the Staff,” or Rev. Fisk’s, “Broken,” are superb books written in today’s language that remain solid confessional resources without watering anything down.

  19. Not kidding.  Our Daily Bread is commonly preferred around here because it’s simpler and “more relevant.”

    I personally am a sophisticated PofP reader. 🙂

  20. @Randy #22

    I looked up RBC ministeries, which publishes “Our Daily Bread”.
    It appears to be another case of ABL… “Anything But Lutheran”.

    I wonder how many of the [Lutheran] users attend Bible class…
    or what the Pastor does with the time there. 🙁

  21. @helen #24

    I just looked it up too, Helen. I couldn’t find any kind of affiliation with a denomination of any kind. You are right about ABL..’Anything But Lutheran’. I really dislike it when organizations such as RBC Ministries obfuscate their identity. If I recall it’s out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans publishing is located there.

    As far as my opinion of Portals of Prayer, I stopped reading it a long time ago because it was so light weight. I heard it has become better since President Harrison became SP. I don’t have any letters behind my name, just have had a steady diet of good Lutheran teaching over the years and avoided non-denominational stuff like the plague!

    In Christ,
    Diane

  22. @Diane #25
    As far as my opinion of Portals of Prayer, I stopped reading it a long time ago because it was so light weight.

    It varies. Some authors aren’t bad; others…….. 🙁

    There are several “Read the Bible in a year” (or two years) out there. One I used for a couple of years had daily Pastoral comments and a Q&A segment. You could ask questions anonymously (as far as the readers were concerned) by e-mail and be answered on-line.

  23. Don’t think you folks have much contact or interest in us unwashed masses 🙂  
    Rev_aggie nailed it when he implied confessional-liturgicals couldn’t care less about reaching folks at the pop level.   Evangelicals do.

  24. @John Rixe #27
    Hi John,

    You want to learn more about the Lutheran faith? Get
    The Lutheran Study Bible, which also has the Small Catechism in it. Look at CPH’s website – the Lutheranism 101 series is great and it is at the so-called ‘pop’ level. Do you have Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions, a Readers Edition? Listen to Issues,Etc. on KFUO, attend the Divine Service at your local LCMS church each Sunday and the adult Bible Class too and in no time you will be an educated Lutheran rather than a ‘pop’ one:)

    In Christ,
    Diane

  25. John Rixe :
    Rev_aggie nailed it when he implied confessional-liturgicals couldn’t care less about reaching folks at the pop level.   Evangelicals do.

    That’s because Lutherans have de-emphasized the doctrine of vocation. If vocation was brought back to the forefront of Lutheranism, you’d see that Lutheranism is FAR SUPERIOR to evangelicalism (which essentially tries to parrot the world in order to reach it, a theological and psychological blunder).

  26. Rev_aggie :
    -Evangelicals are answering questions that we can’t seem to be bothered answering.

    I politely call “baloney” on that assertion. Matter of fact, you should ask those of us who are ex-evangelicals (like me) as to whether or not evangelicalism really “answers” those questions.

    I fear, Rev_aggie, with all due respect, that you’re looking at greener grass on the other side, but missing the rotting roots which are submerged below the soil.

  27. @John Rixe #27

    John,

    You’re joking, right? First, evangelicals rarely, if ever, are concerned with reaching folks with God’s means of Grace, and you know it. Evangelicals are knee deep in enthusiasm and the Charismatic Movement, and you know that too. Evangelicals are not concerned with the purity of doctrine and the Word, and you know that. You are currently posting on BJS, a site dedicated to reaching out to people with the truth, and you know that. However, Reaching out is just a part of the equation. In order to learn (notice I said LEARN, NOT justified) one must get off their @ss and care enough to gain more knowledge. So, did you ever approach anyone who believed that “Our Daily Bread” was a superb resource and encourage them to look at the many resources that Diane listed above?

  28. @John Rixe #32
    You were the one who said that “orb” was “simpler” and “more relevant.” This isn’t about P of P or odb, it’s about the concept of seeking watered down theology. BTW, what on Earth did you mean by “more relevant?” That statement is troubling. What part of Scripture and our confessions are less relevant? It was a bizarre statement to me. Don’t you think so too?

  29. What part of Scripture and our confessions are less relevant? It was a bizarre statement to me. Don’t you think so too?

    No parts are less relevant.  I wasn’t talking about Scripture and our confessions. I was talking about a little magazine called Portals of Prayer.  Those who prefer ODB think (right or wrong) that ODB has content more relevant to their daily life.

    Sorry for the confusion and thread drift.

    @Randy #33

  30. @John Rixe #34

    No thread drift, just concern. I know you were talking about P of P and I know you said others, not you, think P of P was too deep and not very relevant. I’m not defending or condemning P of P. That’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that you made two statements that are troubling. In the first, you gave no indication that you thought it was disturbing that someone would find that little magazine “too deep.” Next, and more to the point, you agreed with Rev. Aggies by saying:

    “Don’t think you folks have much contact or interest in us unwashed masses….
    Rev_aggie nailed it when he implied confessional-liturgicals couldn’t care less about reaching folks at the pop level.”

    Are you sure that you meant to accuse confessional-liturgical Lutherans of being uninterested in the “unwashed masses” and that such Christians who are confessional-liturgical “couldn’t care less about reaching folks at the pop level?” Are you sure about that, or would you like to retract the accusations?

  31. @John Rixe #37

    John, great example! Rev. Fisk is a blessing for the LCMS and does amazing work to bring God’s Word to a cross section of society without compromising the truth in any way!

  32. @John Rixe #27
    Rev_aggie nailed it when he implied confessional-liturgicals couldn’t care less about reaching folks at the pop level. Evangelicals do.

    You may prefer “pop” (or you may not know any better). [I rather think though that you are not nearly as simple minded as you put on, here.]

    We’d rather not reach you at the “pop” level because too much pop is very bad for you! Move on up to milk and at your age, meat, at least now and then.

  33. John Rixe :
    @Randy #35
    I overstated and retract.  Rev Fisk, for example, communicates well at a pop level.

    I have to say as an older person that when my son took an interest in watching Fisk, I listened too because I wanted to know what my son was hearing. I also listened to many of Fisk’s sermons because they were available online. I mean, it is not like I knew who he was so, I was just doing the parent thing, but ended up with a lot of benefit from listening. Obviously Fisk’s sermons are not pop style but my son would listen with me sometimes and took quite an interest in the content. That is how I came to discover these Lutherans that I could understand. So often when I was in the ELCA, I would say to my husband that the sermons just made no sense and often I felt like they sucked the life out of me.

    John Rixe :
    Not kidding.  Our Daily Bread is commonly preferred around here because it’s simpler and “more relevant.”
    I personally am a sophisticated PofP reader.

    How about these fine Lutheran devotions. The are very accessible:

    https://www.cph.org/p-2745-my-devotions-winter.aspx

  34. Another way that we prefer to have devotions is by using “The Treasury of Daily Prayer.” You get a goodly amount of Bible readings, plus a comment from one or another Church father. If that is still too much meat, maybe one could sign up with Pastor Robin Fish’s blog of a daily reading from Luther. I would discourage anyone from slowly poisoning their hearts and minds with a daily dose of erroneous teachings.

  35. I attended a state university rather than one of the Concordias, back in the 1970s, and I assure we got the full brunt of everything Pastor Rossow has mentioned. Well, maybe not “contemporary Christian music”, because in those days the CCM industry had not become the enormous enterprise that it is now. The concept of a “Christian rock concert” was still novel. But at one point the “collegiate Bible class” at the LCMS church I attended was led by two guys who were deeply involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. Eventually one of them graduated and the other left the Lutheran church to become a Southern Baptist. Still, the Campus Crusaders were constantly knocking on one´s dorm room door, as were other evangelical groups, such as InterVarsity. Every year when you finished the enrollment process, you had to exit through a lobby where you ran the gauntlet of campus organization recruiting booths, which included all the evangelical groups. When I learned of the extent of evangelical influence at the Concordias, it was something of a shock only because I (perhaps naively) expected something different from institutions with a distinctly Lutheran identity.

  36. @helen #39

    Thanks for making my point. 🙂 As Pr Rossow observed:

    To supplement the concert culture local Christian bookstores popped up everywhere (even in my little home town of 6,000 people in rural Iowa) and we good Lutherans were reading the non-Lutheran stuff because it was written on and marketed at a far more popular level than the CPH stuff.

    This trend continues as a reason for the Evangelical wannabees IMO.

  37. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Let me give my perspective on Pastor Rossow’s #7, regarding the seminaries.

    Both seminaries had to suddenly develop a new faculty following the departure of the Seminex faculty and the reconstitution of both seminaries. When you have to add faculty with a short time frame, and with no time for a thorough vetting process, you are liable to make an error or two.

    I can’t say how that worked out at Saint Louis, except that I have always been impressed with their faithfulness to the synod and its theology, in the post-Seminex era.

    I CAN say how that worked out at Fort Wayne. The faculty that served there post-Seminex were brilliant and faithful, with a few exceptions. One exception—a faculty member that came on staff while I was there soon made clear he supported women’s ordination. I am not sure how he made it past the vetting process, but he did not last long.

    Another exception–a Fort Wayne faculty member that many assumed was conservative and supportive of synod’s doctrine was actually subversive–Dr. Waldo Werning. Just read his book “Making The Missouri Synod Functional Again” to see what I mean. I won’t rehearse that whole story, except to say that he threatened and intimidated many young seminarians and young pastors who wanted to be Lutheran, not Evangelical. Waldo filed charges against me for supporting Robert Preus and other faculty members when Robert was terminated. Waldo wanted to get rid of me by any means possible. He made that perfectly clear. I survived all that somehow. Others didn’t . . .

    So I would not blame the seminaries in general, or the vast majority of their faculties, but there were a very few subversive “elements” at Fort Wayne–who ganged together to get rid of Robert Preus. Maybe there were a very few subversive “elements” at Saint Louis, too, but of that I cannot say due to ignorance.

    Today both seminaries are more solid and consistent. This is progress, for which reason I continue to be optimistic about the LCMS and its future . . . 🙂

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  38. @Pastor Dave Likeness #11
    Some of us lay teachers try pretty hard…but that’s beside the point. The job of instructing to the point of confirmation should have already been done before the kid gets to “confirmation class.”

  39. Maybe I’m wrong about this, since I can only offer an anecdotal response. I am serving in a pretty conservative (politically and theologically) part of the country; one of my “brothers” is the Sr. Pastor at the only “contemporary” LCMS church around. In a couple of different conversations, I believe he gave away his main reason for wanting to be “evangelical”: he wasn’t very popular in HS. He wasn’t in sports, fine arts or particularly good at “school”. I believe that there is a segment of the ordained population that want to be popular- and are using their office as the means to achieve that. Eh… just a thought.

  40. An observation with regard to point #1 — not only was the liturgy not really understood, but the hymnody of the TLH includes some overt decision theology (TLH 650) and some pietistic/Methodistic hymnody, including two “child dedication” songs in the Baptism section. The much beloved TLH was not as Lutheran a hymnal as it should have been, and depending on the tendencies of the pastors using it, could itself lean people toward an openness to certain pietist and/or evangelical tendencies.

  41. I am a recent listener to Issues Etc. and have really been blessed by the teaching and insightful analysis. I am working my way through the program archives with mp3 player in hand. At 58, being aging Baby Boomers, we are survivors of several church groups gone bad. It is only because of KFUO and websites that I learned more about Lutheran teaching. Besides the Hal Lindsey dispensationalists, one more *big* influence on the evangelical groups who have now crashed and burned is Bill Gothardism with its Scripture twisting and abuse of authority that turned many people off. I am sure some of this flakey theology has found its way into most groups, and probably affected some Lutherans as well since it has become so pervasive in Baptist, Charismatic and NonDenominational circles. People quote it when they don’t even remember where the phrases and concepts originated. See for yourself at http://www.recoveringgrace.org. May the Lord bless your steadfastly following Christ and teaching others to get back to the Scriptures.

  42. @Martin R. Noland #43
    Today both seminaries are more solid and consistent. This is progress, for which reason I continue to be optimistic about the LCMS and its future . . .

    “More” …consistent leaves a lot of room for improvement, and I’m not sure that CSL has been ‘improving’ in recent years! The graphs related to “52” seem to justify my doubts.

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