The Church Militant: A Confessional Cadence

For centuries, marching (drilling) in a formation has been the most fundamental training tool for any military. There’s a very good reason for this. Marching in a formation teaches unity and unity translates to victory on the battlefield. Essentially, many are able to act as one. The mechanism used to maintain good order and discipline while drilling has always been a cadence. The cadence keeps the formation unified. The cadence keeps the troops acting as one. One might argue that such an old method is outdated and irrelevant. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Even in today’s world of stealth technology and smart weapons, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines continue to drill. The church is actually no different. Unity is vital and we’ve been blessed with a uniquely Christian cadence that enables us to stay in step. Our Confessions found in the Book of Concord serves as our cadence.

shutterstock_167107985As the Church Militant we face a cunning and disciplined foe. The devil will use every means to break our cadence. Unfortunately, I fear that the tactic of breaking unity has gained a significant foothold within the LCMS. As many now know, a rift has been created by the movement known as the FiveTwo Network. FiveTwo has taken on a life of its own by creating its own language and practice. The FiveTwo network openly violates AC XIV by encouraging and allowing laymen to preach. But a new and possibly damaging revelation has just occurred. In the latest installment of FiveTwo’s “All Network Call,” Rev. Bill Woolsey showed one of his cards. At approximately the 3 minute point of the video call, Rev. Woolsey stated:

“The thing we’re really scratching our head about, and we’ve been told by a number of, a, of individuals, that a FiveTwo imprint, a FiveTwo kind of publishing arm would be a really, a, helpful and productive way to go. And so, we’re, we’re kind of kicking the tires on that, talking to some individuals about that, what would that look like? ” (Rev. Bill Woolsey, All Network Call, Nov 2014)

In and of itself, nothing is wrong with starting a publishing enterprise. The troubling component of the equation is that FiveTwo is an unchecked heterodox cabal within the LCMS. The addition of a publishing arm would equate to what’s known as a force multiplier for FiveTwo, and they surely know it. The unfettered ability to author, market, and distribute their theological doublespeak to unwitting sheep could result in significant damage.  Woolsey’s movement would gain yet another foothold in their advance on the orthodox church.

One might ask, what can be done? At this point, knowledge is power. Knowing that the FiveTwo network is in the planning stages of a publishing arm is important. Despite the existence of convoluted and paradoxical bylaws and bureaucratic processes with the LCMS, we need to always remember that we are the Church Militant and that the battle rages. We always must strive to keep the cadence.

Image credit: Shutterstock



Welcome to our new BJS author, Randy is a lifelong LCMS layman who briefly took a dive into the shallow end of the CoWo pool and almost drowned. He’s a husband, dad, pilot and connoisseur of Hatch, New Mexico chili. After a full career in the USAF, Randy retired and moved on to other commercial aviation endeavors.


The Church Militant: A Confessional Cadence — 12 Comments

  1. Talk, talk, talk. When will our conservative confessionals take action to excommunicate these folks. We simply cannot stand by and tolerate this. This forum would be a good place to organize and take action steps. Time to act.

  2. @mames #1

    I think you’re right. Time to publicly mark the Woolsyites, Hybelites and Warrenites, and sadly show them that they are outside the fellowship of the historic church.

  3. @Brad #2

    All true, but those in elected office refuse to speak up. LCMS leadership is doing nothing more than shoving bubblegum into a hemorrhaging fissure in the keel of the good ship Missouri. I have no idea why.

  4. Hooah! (US Army)
    OO-rah! (USMC)

    (Not sure if USN, USCG, USAF have battle cries, but they would go here. USN/CG = “Swim!”? USAF = “More takeout!”? “Flannel sheets!”?

    Knowledge (intel) comes first, then strategy, then action.

  5. @Scott Diekmann #3
    I don’t know. I think, on a functional level, the Divine Service is really our cadence. BoC is our doctrine, and I do believe the military has a parallel for that, too. But our worship patterns, as spiritual disciplines, are what form us into the kind of disciples that fight the good fight. We draw strength, unity, and identity from the means of grace, which enable us to believe sound doctrine.

  6. I like your thought Miguel. Perhaps there’s a both/and in there somewhere, since it is unity in doctrine which we share. Certainly the “rhythm” of our lives in Christ start with daily repentance and forgiveness, which flows from the Divine Service.

  7. @mames #1
    It’s not going to happen, and it can not happen, until the LCMS is willing to consider leaving behind congregationalist polity. So long as individual congregations can assert their autonomy, attempts to reign them in will continue to splat against the wall of bureaucracy. Our structural issues have fostered the kind of environment where these kinds of issues can thrive. Our American individualism has made us too adverse to the discipline of oversight, which we justify by the faux-politeness of non-confrontationalism.

  8. I believe it is time for our good pastors, who properly preach the law and gospel, to talk to their elders and congregations and have them pick up their pens and begin to flood their district presidents and president Harrison with letters asking them to do their duties. I applaud the Pastors that are trying to bring the synod to perform it’s duties, but one letter or e-mail is easy to ignore. Hundreds and thousands are much harder to ignore. Lead your flocks and get them involved. My own congregation has recently written a district president to remove a heretic pastor from his position. Please don’t give up the fight, keep up the good work and effort.

  9. @Jack Darnell #9

    Good words. Right now the LCMS leadership refuses to come out in the open on any of this. As a result, the error continues and expands. In fact, if anyone believes issues are being handled behind the scenes please take a look at the latest from Rev. Woolsey’s Crosspoint Church in Katy, TX. He again has a Layman preaching. Also, please be aware that according to the LCMS locator, Crosspoint has FIVE rostered pastors serving. They’re not exactly hurting for men with Rightly Ordered Calls.

    [vimeo 113409483 w=500 h=281] Unbroken Light Wk 1 (Frank Hart) from crosspt media on Vimeo.

  10. @Randy Yovanovich #10
    Just incase you actually didn’t know this (which I highly doubt), the two loopholes that Woosley can and will effectively hide behind for this situation are:
    1. Congregational autonomy. The synod has no power to enforce AC XIV.
    2. The nebulous concept that these lay men are publicly teaching “under the authority” of the ordained clergy of the congregation, who supervise their doctrine to ensure its purity, therefore guaranteeing that the teaching that comes forth is as orthodox as if it were from Woolsey himself. (…and that last part might be actually true.)

    Of course, the irony of the whole thing is that if you reject AC XIV, on what grounds do lay preachers need to be “under the authority” of anybody? If you’re so hell bent on not being a “doer and oppressor,” isn’t the best solution to not have any ordained, seminary trained minsters at all? Then everybody would be free to “minister” “as the spirit leads.”

    But don’t think for a MOMENT that there is anything remotely unique about this congregation doing this. The practice is FAR more widespread than anybody will ever admit to, to the point that it may very well be impossible to correct. You see, the thing is, LCMS Lutherans throw away AC XIV because they are ignorant of it’s true meaning and value. They think it is a “tradition of man” imposed by legalist control freaks to prevent them from effectively “ministering to our culture.” The truth is, the Gospel is the only thing we have to offer our culture, and AC XIV is all about prioritizing the Gospel too much to let those untrained in the Scripture and the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles give the official public proclamation of it on behalf of our church body.

    But don’t tell that to these progressive types: They think that any Joe shmoe with a Bible can get up there and preach just as faithfully as a CSL grad. Unfortunately, they are, in many cases, correct on that one.

  11. @Miguel #11


    As always, you make total sense. And yet, even another loophole is the one in the DRP (I believe) that states if the supervisor is aware of one’s actions and doesn’t disapprove then that individual is beyond reproach (I obviously paraphrased). Regardless, nothing is stopping the so called confessional leaders from actually confessing. Yet, silence………………..

    I still think that a key way to wake up the sleeping confessionals would be to showcase FiveTwo’s Practice and Doctrine at the next synodical convention. It would be hard to ignore the “Crazy Train” when forced to stand on the tracks.


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