FiveTwo: Spiritual Montanans

On a flight from Nice to Amsterdam, the man next to me and I talked about our work. After a while he exclaimed, “You have four companies.” “Four companies,” I said as a question, not knowing where he got that idea. “You talked about your farm?” “Yes,” I said, never having though of the farm as a company. “And you talked about the software you produce?” “Yes,” I said. “And then there is your practice of law?” “Uh huh.” “And you talked about writing, speaking, and consulting in the online legal information industry?” “Sure.” “Well, you have four companies.”start your business

“Companies,” I asked. “Well sure. You’re required to have permission in a charter for all those things.” “Uh, no, not in Montana. If I get up in the morning and jolly well decide I want to learn how to develop software in my spare time, and sell applications, I just do it. If I decide I want to write reviews of new online legal information systems and submit them to editors, I just to it. The only thing to stop me is the market, if what I offer doesn’t sell.”

He had explained his boat building business, and now he showed me his business card, The Royal Dutch something or other company. He said, “We have to get a charter to do this business. If my business should go bankrupt, still the charter itself as a bare shell would be worth a great deal of money, because it provides permission to build these boats. I could sell the charter.”

“Permission,” I exclaimed in disbelief. “We never would put up with that in Montana. We do what we jolly well want when we jolly well want. Sure, we form a corporation, but that’s not permission. That’s just part of sound business operation for which we need no permission.”

So, there we were, both stupefied. We couldn’t understand each other’s world.

And that is what’s going on between confessional Lutherans and the FiveTwo network. In a manner of speaking, my new yacht builder friend had been called into an office of yacht building by royal charter. That is a serviceable picture of Augsburg Confession, Article XIV, “Order in the Church.” The King of Holland has the prerogative to say how the economy will be ordered, and he expresses that through charters. The King of the Kingdom of Heaven has the prerogative to say how the Church will be ordered, and He does that through rightly ordered calls into the office of public ministry.

In the economic context, I like being a Montanan. Nobody’s telling me I can’t do something without a charter or a call. But in the context of the Church, I become Dutch. We’re not building yachts. We’re leading people to heaven or hell. We’re shepherding defenseless sheep. The Devil, the world, the sinful self, and the Law misused are out to kill, and they’re good at it.

So, while I love entrepreneurship in economics, I can’t afford “sacramental entrepreneurship,” the meaning of which is now clear. It means spiritual Montanans who don’t want anyone telling them they can’t do something without a rightly ordered call. They want to teach in the Church and administer the Sacraments contrary to the confessions.

In other words, it’s a glossy marketing campaign for rebellion, a rebellion against the King.

About T. R. Halvorson

T. R. Halvorson was born in Sidney, Montana on July 14, 1953, baptized at Pella Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sidney, Montana on November 8, 1953, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota in 1968. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Sidney, Montana. They have three sons and six grandchildren. T. R. farms at Wildrose, North Dakota, and is Deputy County Attorney in Sidney, Montana. He has been a computer programmer; and an author, conference speaker, instructor, and consultant to industry in online legal information. He is among the authors of the religion column in the Sidney Herald at Sidney, Montana. He is the Editor of


FiveTwo: Spiritual Montanans — 24 Comments

  1. GOOD explanation… which might apply equally to some of the other deviants from Lutheran doctrine and practice, who nevertheless want to claim the Lutheran “Charter”!

  2. In other words, it’s a glossy marketing campaign for rebellion, a rebellion against the King

    And LCMS, Inc is a witting agent in the rebellion.

  3. I pray for the arrival of a modern day Luther who will rebuke and discipline the rebels for the sake of the sheep and for peace in the Church? I know there are may faithful pastors who do so among the flocks they oversee and who speak out in the Church at large, but I pray for a national or international Lutheran Church official who will do the same.

  4. ross :I pray for the arrival of a modern day Luther who will rebuke and discipline the rebels for the sake of the sheep and for peace in the Church? I know there are may faithful pastors who do so among the flocks they oversee and who speak out in the Church at large, but I pray for a national or international Lutheran Church official who will do the same.


    On the other hand, Pastor Wally Schulz did exactly that in response to President Benke’s unionistic rebellion — and look at what happened…

  5. @Ted Crandall #11
    I know. If a modern day Luther popped up in the LCMS today he would probably be kicked out in short order.

    Look what happened to Martin Luther. He had to go into hiding for a year just to spare his life because he pointed out the rebellion of the pope, his predecessors and their minions. In the midst of that he risked death by coming out of hiding in order to stop the rebellion led by new false teachers like Thomas Muntzer. From a human perspective being faithful is a dangerous thing.

  6. There are still many men of high confessional character and strong leadership within our synod. A number of them post on this website. However, no such men seem to hold high office at this time. With that said, there are far worse things than being booted out of a heterodox organization. In fact, I’d consider it an honor to force unorthodox men to have to boot me out for doing what’s right. I double dog dare you.

    It’s the least a high level Lutheran could do in support of the Word and Sacraments. It’s the least such an individual could do for the good men forced out of their call by a heterodox and spiteful congregation. It’s the least such an individual could do for the congregations that were cherry-picked, transformed, or closed due to movements like FiveTwo.

    However, the least one could do has become “out of the question.”

  7. I am having a hard time understanding who your battle is really with.

    The comments appear to be painting LCMS as a rebellious corporation. Why would Martin Luther be upset by the sharing of the gospel. His writings have shown that he is against our laws coming before grace.

    During the last supper did Jesus say that only his disciples should celebrate communion often and anyone else who does so is not called and therefore is a “sacramental entrepreneur”?

    Did the great commission start out as “Go ye therefore to the most conservative Lutheran seminary and adhere to the bylaws of your current church as how many votes you need for a calling. Once you have spent multiple years studying and taking the appropriate test, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” If the commission was only for the disciples, wouldn’t the spreading of the good news stop after one generation?

    I ask honestly because I am missing some pieces of information. I do not work either of the affiliations the post or comments are talking down to. I am an innocent third party that is honestly confused.

    Thanks for your time.

  8. And I have read many of the other posts on this blog regarding fivetwo. I understand where you are coming from in a way. I am just slightly confused by some of the posts that make it sound like only pastors make disciples. I am also having a hard time with the hesitance to allow saints who are filled with the holy spirit to spread the word.

    I read something like Ephesians 4 and feel that Christ has given gifts through the Spirit to all Christians, not just called pastors, to build up his church.

    These gifts seem to also be given to people like fivetwo to spread the gospel in new ways. I do not completely agree with their means, but it appears that good work is being done.

  9. @BA #15

    If you start with Augsburg Confession Article XIV about order in the church, about the requirement of a regular call, and then proceed to the Apology of the Augsburg Confession where the confessional thinking on that article is expanded, and then consider the Scriptural reasons for that article of our faith, it will all come clear.

    Are you familiar with that article? With the Augsburg Confession?

    And, while FiveTwo may be within the LCMS, it is not synonymous with or coextensive with the LCMS. Only FiveTwo is being evaluated in the posting, not the rest of the LCMS

  10. @Bee A #16

    Hi Bee A. Your heart comes through in your writing. A heart for the spread of God’s Word and hope for many to come to repentance and faith. Let me see if I can fill in those missing areas you are asking about.

    slightly confused by some of the posts that make it sound like only pastors make disciples

    Every believer can and should give an account of the reason for the hope that lies within them. Every Lutheran pastor I have ever known taught this. All the confessional Lutheran literature I’ve ever read, including here at Brothers of John the Steadfast, teaches this.

    We do that in our vocations, as we go about our business.

    I read something like Ephesians 4 and feel that Christ has given gifts through the Spirit to all Christians, not just called pastors, to build up his church.

    I think you’re probably referring to verses 11-12. The idea one gets from those two verses in English and in modern translations is quite different from reading them in Greek or older translations, such as the KJV.

    Here those verses are in the ESV:

    11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

    From that punctuation, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors) and teachers are given:

    1. to equip the saints for works of ministry

    In the ESV, it seems to be saying that the five (probably actually four, pastor-teacher being one, not two) offices are given by Christ to, all of them, do one thing, equip the saints, and the saints in turn have the general ministry, with the five offices only having one specialized ministry of equipping the saints. Now we’d be excluding EVANGELISTS from EVANGELIZING! That cannot be the right interpretation. WE’d be excluding pastors from evangelizing. We’d be excluding apostles from evangelizing.

    Here the verses are in the KJV

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    From that punctuation, they are given:

    1. for the perfection of the saints
    2. for the work of the ministry
    3. for the edifying of the body of Christ

    In the KJV, those five offices do three things. This accords with the whole counsel of God when we bring to bear upon Eph 4:11-12 the rest of Scripture. Those two verses don’t float above the rest of Scripture unaffected by anything else the Scriptures say.

    In Hebrews 5:1-6, quite a point is made about no one taking on the office of priest himself. To be a proper priest, one must be appointed. To really underline it, emphasis is laid on the fact that even Christ did not put himself in to the office. Instead He was called and appointed, like Aaron was. Think of that. Christ needed a call and an appointment as priest.

    In Korah’s rebellion (which is why I used the term), Numbers 16, consider what the rebels said: “all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” The question was put to them, “And would you seek the priesthood also?” In other words, they sought to perform the office of priest without a regular call. Moses said, “it is against the Lord that you and all your company have gathered together,” which is why I said the rebellion of FiveTwo is against the King.

    Now, this applies to the priestly office, to the offices of pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, and teachers. It applies to teaching in the church and administering the sacraments. It does not exclude every believer from “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Pet 3:15. In fact, all believers are exhorted to be ready and to give an answer as, while they are going about their vocations, occasion arises. But that is quite a different thing from teaching in the church and administering the sacraments.

    My controversy with FiveTwo, well, one of them, is that they are promoting teaching and administering the sacraments in the church by persons without regular calls as required by Augsburg Confession Article XIV, which is based on the Scriptures I have mentioned and others too voluminous to examine in a single blog comment.

    So, to sum up, in reply to your inquiry, I say yes and no. Yes, all saints spread the Word as in 1 Pet 3:15 and through their vocations, but not all saints exercise the offices of priest, pastor, apostle, prophet, or evangelist.

    Not to worry. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” He will. Ordering the church as He has ordered it will not restrain him in building his church. Conversely, not ordering the church as He has ordered it may produce what looks like growth, and some of it might be as even the false preaching to add to Paul’s chains gave him joy, but the message of the Gospel itself becomes altered in the process, so invisibly, this might not be growth of the Kingdom. Makes sense, since if we are trying to proclaim what the Evangelists so repetitively call the “gospel of the kingdom,” notice, of the kingdom, not just gospel, but in the proclamation itself we have eliminated the kingdom element, because we won’t follow the King’s order for the church, how can that help but alter the message of a Kingdom? It’s not the “gospel of the democracy” or the “gospel of the republic” or the “gospel of the committee consensus” or the “gospel of entrepreneurship.”

  11. @T. R. Halvorson #18

    You are a gifted teacher! Thank you, especially for the reminder that God will have his way, Jesus will build his church — so often despite us…

    “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’” (Numbers 16:23)

  12. @T. R. Halvorson #18

    Thank you so much for that well thought out and informative response. It looks like I have some reading to do.

    I will catch up and let you know if I have any further questions.

    While I am not sure yet if i completely agree with the stance, I appreciate your ability to point to scripture and the Kingdom.

    I’ll be back soon!

  13. @Bee A #20
    Oh, I am so glad it turned out to be helpful. I dashed that of more or less on the run, and when I do that, my comments tend to have a lot of run-on sentences. Fortunately, you were able to plow through my endless commas. As I re-read my comment this morning, I feel like saying, “Find that man a period to end that sentence.”

    Your questions and comment are helpful. For one thing, they register the places where writings and teaching are leaving gaps. Our exhange has inspired me to write a whole new post titled, “Why do I grovel beneath pastors?” that I hope will be coming to a blog near you soon.

  14. @T. R. Halvorson #21

    Thank you. I would love to see a blog related to individuals vs. a congregation and when a group of people become a congregation. While reading, I found one Lutheran explanation of the Article that reads:

    “The apostle Paul wrote: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30). Because of this calling, every Christian is a priest before God and possesses the office of the ministry. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Every Christian should exercise this priesthood in their homes, with neighbors, and in the world as witnesses of Christ. We can and should confess Christ, teach, admonish, comfort, forgive, pray, and even baptize (in case of emergencies).

    But there is also a distinction between the actions of an individual Christian and the called minister of a congregation. One is done privately (not on behalf of the church) and the other is done publicly (in the name of the church). The public ministry has been established by God for the purpose of proclaiming the Word of God for the salvation of souls. It also serves to keep order within the church.”

    I was wondering what your take on the biblical answer to the following is:

    If someone within a group of Christians meets the requirements of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 2:24-25 and Titus 1:5-9 and the small group that meets regularly appoints/votes/ casts lots (Acts, 1, 6, and 14) to determine their leader based on how God has called that person, can that person institute the sacraments? I know ordination is mentioned in the bible but I am not sure it has been required.


    What restricts me as a husband, father, and leader of my household, in conjunction with 1 Peter 2:9, from having communion in my home as the called leader of my home. It kind of goes along with my first question. This one is more of a stretch, but God has called me as a minister to my family and I am not doing it in the name of my congregation.

    I think this could be a very powerful post

  15. Hmmm, to be called is truly (via AC) only for the ordained clergy. Others like teachers, etc., are not truly set apart, but should work under the pastor.

    OK, I lean on the debate that called is ordained alone. At least this is they way I am leaning via teaching and fellow instruction.

    In our Churches, we allow proper teaching by others under our care. So if I allow Mrs. Jones, or Deacon Graves to teach, they teach under my call, by my authority; as the ordained and installed pastor of that flock.

    So can any small group do Holy Communion, yes, but only if Pastor is there.

    Can they have a Bible Study? Sure, but if teaching of authority is to occur, pastor must be informed to set all that err toward correction.

    I look forward to the BJS editors as they answer “who holds the call.”

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