FiveTwo’s Wiki Christianity is Foolish and Dangerous

Every September the shadow synod within the LCMS, FiveTwo, hosts a gathering in Katy, TX. The organization’s WikiConference recently concluded and, once again, rang every alarm bell and raised every red flag imaginable for Confessional Lutherans as well as LCMS office holders. The proceedings of the entire conference are available to view online.

This is a brief list of the most obvious problems that require FiveTwo to be cauterized out of the LCMS before its mutations spread deeper into the Synod’s nervous system:

RSO status is increasingly meaningless

The LCMS maintains a list of Recognized Service Organizations “which are in harmony with the doctrine and practice of the LCMS”. The reasons are obvious for having a formal qualification and good-standing process for independent organizations doing work with LCMS members.

FiveTwo is not an RSO, yet that has not stopped some districts within the LCMS from flipping off the Synod’s structures and processes to deliver significant cash and in-kind support to the organization. Texas (including a formal greeting from President Hennings…), Michigan (deeply embedded), and Northwest (53 delegates sent) Districts are the most visible supporters, and there are several others that contribute in various ways. There are also rebellious churches within sound districts which have decided to deliberately walk out of fellowship when it suits them.

Escaping LCMS oversight but holding on to the collection plate

FiveTwo head Bill Woolsey has resigned his pastoral calling. That frees him from ecclesial oversight yet provides a privileged alumni status that fosters FiveTwo’s continued insinuation into the Synod. The complicity of District Presidents and other synodocrats makes a mockery of the Synod’s ability to determine its polity. 

Soft syncretism and unionism are the new tolerance

Woolsey teaches that FiveTwo’s “sacramental entrepreneur” ideology dissolves all distinctions – the purpose of the movement is to “ground you in a divine way of life” that lets you “live out the sacramental presence of Jesus” 24x7x365. Apart from the obvious doctrinal errors and dangers inherent in this recasting of the meaning of sacramental along with the general departure from orthodoxy, it has left FiveTwo painted into a corner on the issue of syncretism and unionism.

FiveTwo’s ideology nullifies its own attempts to distinguish between teaching and preaching. You cannot posit a theology of doing for every waking moment but expect an audience to separate the female pastor invited to speak about God from the rightly called and ordained pastor preaching about God. You cannot say the main sessions are the “business stuff” whilst the preaching is the “doctrine stuff”. In FiveTwo’s ideology everything is the same thing, and it affirms it with the conference’s deliberate interweaving of preaching, worship and keynote speaking (which includes Scripture-based teaching).

Remembering that FiveTwo is deeply embedded within the LCMS and draws considerable support and funding from it, and claims to hold to orthodox Lutheran theology, how do we reconcile that information with these keynote speakers:

  • Bill Woolsey: rejects rite vocatus; rejects a traditional understanding of the sacraments; disdains LCMS tradition; has rebelled against ecclesial oversight.
  • Jo Saxton: She is a “pastor” of Mission Point Church, which is a member of the LCMC. The LCMC is an ELCA break off that rejects the ordination of homosexuals, but does ordain women.
  • Gemechis Buba: Assistant to the Bishop for Mission for the NALC. The NALC is also an ELCA spinoff that ordains women and holds a quatenus subscription to the Lutheran Confessions.
  • Carlos Whittaker: self-described as “something unique in the church”, he is perhaps best classified as a revivalist entertainer. He is on staff at an Andy Stanley network church with all the accompanying theological problems.
  • Kirbyjon Caldwell: credits all the growth in his pentecostal / Hebrew roots flavored Methodist church to his leadership and “effective social entrepreneurship”. His church boasts four female pastors on staff, and plenty more heterodox wackiness.
  • Drew Dyck: is a church leadership guru who helps edit Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. This would be the same Leadership Journal that last week published a piece by Karl Vaters entitled: “Why ‘Just Preach the Gospel’ Is Naïve, Unbiblical Advice”. Interestingly, Vaters’ notion that the gospel must be lived before being preached is foundational in the FiveTwo movement. It is a movement of doing rather than hearing, of the subjective over the objective, and where everyone is required to be a minister without any sense of sending and calling. 

 

FiveTwo has produced a fruit we can examine

During last year’s Wiki2014 Conference, Bill Woolsey, who was then also the Pastor of CrossPoint Community Church said:

“So, get this. If I get a good guy who has a preaching gift and I work with him, and I pour good theology into him, and I help him try it, so that he can learn it, you know I’m going to start new, to reach new, here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to start new to reach new by raising him up so he gets to do new. And maybe I’m going to give him a little pulpit, or a bigger pulpit, or maybe even THE pulpit.

One of my favorites in our ministry is our director of youth ministry who’s not ordained, but, but God has given him this ability to preach circles around many of the ordained men that I know. I mean, you’re all sitting there going, ‘dude, that, that boy can preach.’ So, I’d be derelict to not let him preach.”

The Augsburg Confession has a contrary position, where article XIV states: “Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.” This is also the constitutional position of the LCMS, although it has abandoned it somewhat by tolerating lay deacons and other irregular calls.

Woolsey’s threat to send ministers on his own initiative has manifested at NewChurch. CrossPoint’s former frontman for the church “house band”, and occasional preacher, Frank Hart, is the “Lead Minister” for “an exciting new thing Jesus is doing in Katy” with people “who want to be on mission”. The site includes a picture of Hart conducting what appears to be a baptism.

It is a textbook FiveTwo example of “start-new-to-reach-new” with all the coded language and symbols. However, its close proximity (5 miles) to the mother church has potential for sheep stealing; ironic.

NewChurch claims an undocumented association with the LCMS, and presents a truncated and misshapen definition of what it means to be Lutheran.

Despising vocation and the power of God’s Word

At its root FiveTwo despises the Office of Holy Ministry and the church as an institution; probably because of the constraints. FiveTwo seeks instead to liberate leaders to build movements based on either business school models or mass media / entertainment ideas. At the apex of each movement is a leader who is only as accountable as he or she wishes to be – it is designed to throw off the checks and balances inherent in a synodical polity.

Pr. Bryan Wolfmuller reminds us that the vocation of pastor is difficult and unique:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. (1 Timothy 3:1)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:7)

Distilled to its essence, FiveTwo implicitly rejects justification by faith alone. It relies on key performance indicators to determine whether God is present and active. It is not accidental that many of the Wiki Conference speakers have resumes boasting some extraordinary numeric achievement. Achieving viral notoriety or slipstreaming Western urban cultural evolution appears to be the material principle of these movement churches and their leaders.

Lest you consider my comment about justification too harsh, consider this approving tweet by Bill Woolsey for a speaker comment:

Jesus clearly disagrees based on his statement in Matthew 16:17-19.

We are either divine monergists or we are not. Dr. Normal Nagel might remind Bill Woolsey and Gemechis Buba that the role of the pastor is to move his lips to preach the Word of God, and to move his arms and feet sufficiently to deliver the body and blood of the Lord to communicants.

Astroturfing grass roots support

FiveTwo is notoriously resistant to dealing with correction and reproof — it blocks critics and shuts down communications very quickly if you dissent.

It was, therefore, of little surprise to learn recently that the Facebook group “LCMS Encouraged and Encouraging” is a thin-skinned intra-Synod influence operation partly designed to prop up FiveTwo. One of the criteria for membership in the Facebook group is that you may not be a public critic of FiveTwo.

The censorship and control effort went so far as to share with senior LCMS officials copies of posts and comments deemed offensive, and with an expectation of discipline.

Not ‘fessing up

FiveTwo has announced a new logo. The rationale is that university students thought it was a football and, consequently, that FiveTwo was sports related. Color us skeptical. Why not come clean on what happened that FiveTwo ended up taking its cue from South Korea?

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Comments

FiveTwo’s Wiki Christianity is Foolish and Dangerous — 131 Comments

  1. Randy,

    I believe that there are elements of truth in each of your reasons. In my thinking, the institutionalist Confessionals, want to retain Harrison simply because he is better than Kieschnick (and I certainly agree that he is.) I think that they believe that as long as Harrison remains POTS, that he will slowly address issues and slowly correct issues, but thus far that simply hasn’t happened. Unfortunately, the Koinonia Project is not going to produce the results it once promised. It is hopelessly bogged down in a seemingly endless time frame that will never actually resolve any identified issues of disagreement in any other fashion than we have seen previously…that is in the crafting of pious sounding statements that essentially keep all parties happy. We will happily pronounce our theses, but remain quite vague with respect to our antitheses.

    For the liberals in Synod time plays into their hands. It plays into their hands first because finally time will eventually bring about another POTS down the road after Harrison and they will then take the opportunity to seize power if they can. Second, time plays into their hand because they will continue to foster and promote their heterodoxy without reprimand, deceiving more and more laymen and pastors to their thinking. Third, time plays into their hands because the forces of cultural accommodation and political correctness will continue to put pressure on our Synod to conform to prevailing norms.

    What actually needed to happen was a house cleaning. It needed to happen within the first six years of Harrison’s administration. He needed to do it just as C.F.W. Walther did it: Clearly state what God’s Word says, back it up with Scripture and our Confessions, the witness of the early Church Fathers, and our Reformation/American Fathers and plainly call false teaching what it is AND condemn it! Then those holding to the false teachings need to decide if they can repent of their errors or if they need to move on to greener pastures where their errors will be welcome.

    Unfortunately, that is not going to happen. The LCMS is getting pretty comfortable with her errors seeking to develop a “theology of diversity”, and never, never, never seek a division of the house because that will up-set the institutional “peace”.

    The LCMS, as a result, makes a mockery of being a Synod which actually walks together in doctrine and practice, and is far more held together by the Concordia Plans than a common confession.

    This is precisely why the work of the ACELC is so important! It is the Synod’s last, best hope for forcing the hand of the Synodical leadership to actually deal with our errors. This is precisely why folks don’t like the ACELC because they want to avoid rocking the institutional “boat” at all costs. After all, if there’s a split in Missouri, then numbers will drop and dollars will drop and the bureaucracy will have to shrink! Of course that would look “unsuccessful” and nobody wants that!

    Whether or not the ACELC will be successful remains to be seen. However, remaining silent in the face or error is simply unacceptable. The ACELC at least gives orthodoxy a voice in our Synod. If the Synod will not listen, then when that becomes clear, then it’s time for the ACELC to close up shop and support efforts to form a new and orthodox Synod leaving Missouri to its own slow theological demise. At least the ACELC gives us some hope and a measure of a clear conscience as we continue to live life in a heterodox church body.

    One thing I do know is that the larger the membership of the ACELC, the greater the possibility that the Synod will be willing to hear our concerns and deal with them. Right now we are small enough for them to ignore. If there were 500 congregations instead of 30, then the ability of the Synod to maintain its current indifference and silence would be less and less likely.

  2. @forty-two #99

    Thank you, excellent analysis of the Sacramental Entrepreneur position paper. You’ve hit the nail on the head about where our neighbor finds their assurance. Woolsey has not just misappropriated that assurance, but goes a step further by making the motivation (measured by things) of sacramental entrepreneurs a mark of their own assurance.

  3. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #101

    Pr. Bolland,

    As a well wisher of ACELC in their efforts to correct or resist things ike 5/2, I would offer that I think there are legitimate reasons why it is only 30 congregations and not 500 or more joining the movement. Because of the large slate of topics they have formed to address, they are easily painted in the public sphere as a political entity concerned with the political issues of the Synod. Very few people enjoy politics mingled with Christ’s Church, and very few will ever want to sign on to a broad political campaign that smells like the formation of a new syond.

    If ACELC really wants to have more popular support in the LCMS and be resistant to appearing political, they might take a lesson from military training and deployment– you rarely give a soldier more than two or three things to think about at a time in a campaign. Frankly, large numbers of people don’t get passionate about whole slates of issues, and they don’t stay focused on whole slates of issues in order to implement them. The commanders and war planners have broader, more holistic strategies (one woulod hope– current military campaigns in the Middle East excepted) but whole strategies are not effectively communicated to the troops on the ground for execution. Get your war planners (the pastors and professors) on-board with how you want to manage the broader campaign to restore the Synod, and put out the more narrow tactics to the troops for taking the next hill.

    I think you’d get a lot closer to your 500 number, and have a shot at incremental change in the LCMS, if the ACELC settled on it’s top two or three issues they wanted to rally around, and called people to join them. For example, I bet you’d find 500 congregatins willing to support a call to return to the synod’s condition of membership relative to orthodox worship materials, and reject the use of others. You might find 500 congregations that would return to the constitutional requirement of closed communion, rejection of unionism and syncretism, and/or re-establishing of AC XIV. Those three or four all tie together, have clear and obvious voice in the synod constitution, and clear support from the majority of seminary faculty. If the ACELC succeeded in getting those breeches in our ecclesiastical hull patched, the stage would be set for further work in righting the good ship Missouri. Wthout them, we just keep bailing water out of a sinking ship.

    My two cents, for what they are worth. 5/2 is mobilizing a pretty large force on gibberish. They need to be met on the field by a coherent and executable battle plan that confessional troops will rally around. Rather than blame the troops for failing to rally around the ACELC banner, I suggest the ACELC figure out why Confessionals haven’t flocked to them, and fix it.

  4. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #101

    Let me throw something out. The original goal was something like 85% agreement. Current SP was elected with 54% then 65%. What if he gets close to 85% next year? There will be no excuse for not ejecting some people then. I know this is “wait till next year” again. Sorry about that.

  5. mbw,

    Thinking that one could achieve 85% agreement within the LCMS in matters concerning doctrine and practice is like saying that 85% of Americans will agree on who should be the next U.S. President. It just ain’t gonna happen! Wish it could, but it is totally unrealistic.

  6. @Rev. Richard A. Bolland #109

    Let me clarify and amend. All I was talking about was percent of convention votes for SP. If it went 54%, 65%, 77% (for 2010, 2013, 2016) then if I were the administration, I would really start thinking about a split after the 2016 election. I am making several simplistic assumptions here. It was never the case that, say, 95% of lay people were very knowledgeable about doctrine. However, 95% of congregations (I’m guessing) were compliant with orthodox teaching and practice. If an orthodox leadership gains enough voting support, it can make a change (meaning a severance of the rebellious minority). My points, not very well made, are: 1. The trend of convention election support of the SP has been upwards (see numbers above); 2. people follow strength and majority, even when individuals are not strong nor very well informed about doctrine or practice; and 3. 77% (for example) of the current size of the synod is a decent number and would allow retention of the most important assets. With the rebels cut loose to join ELCA or whatever, the 77% (for example) could continue and grow as an orthodox church body.

  7. @mbw #110

    I appreciate your thinking, bmw, but I would caution you that thinking the majority of LCMS congregations are well catechized is not realistic, at least from my experiences. My empirical knowledge started when I became a member of LCMS at the age of 21 and have been involved in lay teaching for a good part of those years, starting in about 1965. I have been a member of 14 plus congregations in 5 different districts over that time period. Add on to that the 20 plus seminars I taught for CLCC from 2008 through 2014 (when I retired), in 11 different districts.

    If such a percentage existed there would be a lot more congregations belonging to ACELC at the present time. On the other hand, I agree with your premise that many would follow the majority because that is exactly how the Synod has gotten into the mess it is in. I also agree in that I too would forecast a split after 2016 if some major changes are not made to the supervision of DPs and some real heresy trials take place among the LCMS pastors and teachers. Funny how the word “heresy” has fallen out of the vocabulary in the church, along with the demise of the word “sin” in and out of the church due to cultural changes. I choose to stand for something and that would be as an orthodox Lutheran.

  8. @Gene White #111

    No – I do _not_ think the majority are well catechized. I even indicated that many individuals didn’t know much in the “golden age” when very few congregations were troublemakers. I was only suggesting something this simple: The trend of support for the SP has been upwards. If that continues next year, that would be the time to cut out the cancer. Actually, the same argument can be made even if support declines in 2016, if the current SP is reelected at all.

  9. @mbw #112

    Unless, of course, his approval ratings have improved steadily, precisely because he hasn’t addressed heterodox worship and movements within the Synod. When he was elected, there was a lot of fear communicated by these heterodox churches and districts, that he would drive out their various non-Lutheran usages. Now, having shown no particular will to speak against heterodox worship and practice across the Synod (the Becker issue excepted– good on him for that one!) nor curtail these various groups with their supporting district presidents, what’s not to like?

    Confessionals can like him for what he is and represents personally, and Enthusiasts can tolerate him because he leaves them alone to grow their sectarian movements. That sounds like a recipe for about 75-80% approval ratings… until the Enthusiasts hit critical mass, and the Synod is lost.

  10. @Brad #113

    Brad, I hate to bust your bubble but other than the public statement he made concerning Becker not much else seemed to be envisioned. I attended the MT District convention as a vendor and was present in the assembly when SP Harrison gave his report to the District. In the Q & A he explicitly said he planned to do nothing about Becker because it would take care of itself in another year when he fell off the roster automatically. That did not sit well with me or the convention and later they passed two resolutions, one calling for the expulsion of Becker and one for Linnemann. Other districts I understand did something very similar. That is what forced the action by DP Linnemann, as some would say, to save his own skin and let Becker take one for the team. This was not my view of correctly standing up to the heretical teachings long practiced by Becker, or the poor oversight of Linnemann, who is a big backer of 52 and every other “Protestant” fad that has come down the pike since he was elected. After all he has a tradition of the district to uphold.

  11. How can we not see the 2016 National Convention as an opportunity, possibly the last, to propose and effect a radical return to orthodoxy in the Synod? Just as the loyal opposition in the U.S. Congress should be sending bill after bill to the POTUS irrespective of the outcome, whether it garners his signature or veto, the LCMS Districts who are so inclined should inundate the Convention with overtures that from every direction tighten the noose on heteropraxy. Do not allow there to be a façade of unity where there is no unity. The one thing that everyone should take away from this convention is that those who would flout the Confessions, not to mention the Constitution, are on notice. Feathers will be ruffled and the media will have a field day but which is worse? With God’s help and in Christian love for the prodigal and lenient Synod that has been feeding on the pods in the far land of CoWo, let’s either bring them home in repentance or commend them to God’s keeping away in a heretic’s exile.

  12. I’m in Michigan and I’m hearing my congregation may be moving in this direction. What do I do? Please email.

  13. @Wendy Essenburg #116

    Don’t worry. Stay calm. The LCMS leadership and the 2016 synodical convention will take care of everything.

    Remember President Harrison told the LCMS Board of Directors in its November, 2015, Minutes (p. 125) that “the Synod is remarkably calm for a convention year.”

    … or was that the Captain of the Titanic who said, “The seas are remarkably calm for tonight; full speed ahead.”

  14. @Wendy Essenburg #116

    Wendy,

    I’m not sure if anyone responded to you or not. Being that I don’t have any way to email you, I’ll briefly respond here.

    The first thing to do is pray for your church, the pastor(s), and the leadership. That’s an obvious one, but necessary to mention.

    The second step is to actively figure out why your congregation (or pastor) wants to move in such a direction. Is it with the hope that it will bolster attendance? Are they simply thinking of numbers and finances… or is it a genuine (though misguided) “desire” to reach out to the unchurched? Perhaps they believe it will draw in younger members and young families? Maybe they just think that the worship service is boring and needs to be brought up to the pop-culture standards found in the reformed traditions of worship. You have to understand why the people want to move that direction in order to address why they shouldn’t.

    The third step is to get the pastor to start teaching the Confessions, the differences between Lutherans and other denominational bodies, and the purpose/theology of the liturgy/hymnody. Most people fail to realize that worship is not about making us feel good because we are creating something for God or offering something to Him, but that it is a time in which God serves His people by providing His blessed gifts of grace, and we in the service respond with His own Word in thanksgiving (It’s called “Divine Service” for a reason). That’s a rather simple statement, but people who tend to not understand the nature of worship are more likely to want to change the nature of worship.

    Surely, the people who really want to go more “5/2” will likely have no interest in such instruction. In time though, the ship can be slowly turned as a few people here and there get fired up / excited about actual Lutheran doctrine and practice. But, it is a moot point if you can’t get the pastor on board to even try.

    If it becomes the case that the pastor has no desire to correct and teach the congregation away from error, then it is merely a question of how long are you willing to be starved of good theology and teaching before finding a different congregation?

    There is no fast way to fix this problem. If such poor practices and doctrines are on the radar of the people, it indicates that a large number of people have been poorly catechized for a considerable period of time. That, or the pastor and leadership are intentionally leading the people towards a “5/2” model. Whichever the case may be – I won’t assume either way, the only way to fix the problem is by dusting off the Bible, the Book of Concord, and teaching the faith. Talk to your pastor and ask if he will do these things, namely teaching the faith as found in Scripture and our confessions to the people.

    Hope that helps give you some insight or direction.

  15. @Wendy Essenburg #116

    Hi, Wendy,Rev, Ringer gave some good advice, it really is all about Word and Sacrament. On the other hand as an old Lutheran I can attest from personal experience that even the moderate pastors have not been teaching their flock about the confessions, church polity, the call process, etc. This has been going on for decades. This makes the siren call of 5/2 interesting because Synod doesn’t have a good alternatives available as yet. They are working on them but they are not here.

    You will find that what is available is provided by private Confessional Lutheran websites and there are many to choose from but you have to go looking for them.

    It has also been my passion and activity over the past 10 years to help produce and make available studies and presentations to help teach the laity some of these fundamentals, at their level. For examples of what I am talking about go to churchmatterssolutions.org and have a look at the Educational Resources and Outreach pages. I would be more than happy to correspond with you on this topic and to do so use the Contact Us page, or [email protected]

  16. Thanks for your responses. We (my husband and I) are praying and will con’t to do so. We have not been told of these plans directly, word is eeking out. Our church is quite large and uses primarily contemporary music for worship. There are bigger churches in the area and I’m thinking it’s to compete, maybe? It’s obvious we’ve lost some membership- services aren’t quite as full. The short story is that our senior pastor of 40 some years just retired and what I hear is that one of the associates is planning to be senior (despite his lack of experience), implement 5/2 and has the council (who are conducting the pastoral search) on his side. I think this pastor believes more people would be reached- I want to believe this is why. Nothing has been told to me directly but since the senior pastor retired, some unexpected things have happened, including the dis-inclusion of our most doctrinal associate pastor in all but the minimum of sermons. It’s all so secretive.

  17. @Wendy Essenburg #122 Very sorry to hear of your travails, Wendy. There is much to be concerned about. Specific steps to take:

    * As everyone has said, pray.

    * Read and know your church constitution. Very often leadership ignores or rides roughshod over the Constitution if it wants to get something done. They need to abide by the law the congregation has bound itself to

    * Speak with the elder who has been assigned to care for you. Be very specific with your concerns (in writing if necessary) and ask for them to be addressed in the same way within a reasonable time. Say, 5 weeks.

    * Do the same with the call committee. If there is no call committee, that’s a big red flag

    * Don’t speculate – stick with the facts

    * Don’t entertain gossip. Someone is spreading those rumors. Challenge them to take it to an elder or the pastor for confirmation.

    * At some point they have to go public. Be prepared to speak at meetings using all the facts you can muster. Ask lots of questions to help get everyone thinking. Challenge them on the law if necessary.

    * Be prepared to transfer your membership to a church that preaches Christ and Him crucified, and delivers forgiveness, life and salvation to you by Biblical means.

    God bless you and your husband as you wrestle with this.

  18. @Wendy Essenburg #122

    Wendy, you mentioned the council is doing the pastor search, which is another red flag. Your constitution should speak to how the call process takes place, hopefully in specific terms. Here is a process not well understood by many laity. One thing I would say clearly the call committee should be made up of representatives of the congregation, not the leadership only. Any member of the congregation has the privilege to place a name on the call list so do your duty and find a good confessional pastor or two outside of your congregation to add to the list. Also, add the confessional associates name on the list. It is an insult not have his name considered.
    If your leadership is violating the constitution and bylaws in this process of calling you can and should complain to your district president. Depending on which district you are in it may not do any good, but do it anyway.

    Tim Wood has also given you good advice. The only way to respond to someone grabbing power, which is very evident from your description, is to fight back with facts and your constitution and bylaws. Be prepared for it to get ugly because it will. Also, revisit the 8th commandment and speak out when it is broken and be rest assured that it will be.

  19. @Wendy Essenburg #122

    some unexpected things have happened, including the dis-inclusion of our most doctrinal associate pastor in all but the minimum of sermons. It’s all so secretive.

    If this is likely to be the preference of your DP, you may have to consider leaving with your good Pastor. I’m hoping enough members are of the same mind to create a viable confessional
    alternative.
    But first try everything…including asking your Elder why the good Pastor isn’t in the pulpit more, as he used to be.

    It may be that enough people can be waked up to change things.

    If the doctrinal Pastor suddenly springs a resignation on the Voters, don’t let it be accepted w/o a paper ballot… and if the meeting is unusually small, demand an advertised voters for this purpose so everyone has a say.
    [Last advice is the fruit of bitter experience with “secretiveness”. We got caught flat footed and a good Pastor was lost.]

  20. Thank you all for your counsel. I’m praying about and considering different actions. I think most important at this point is to let others in the congregation in on what’s happening. I’ve considered contacting the Michigan District, but there is a 5/2 person on staff there. I’ve read our constitution and there is nothing in it about a pastoral search. I’ve left an email for the head of the search committee/church council.

    Something my husband and I are discussing and I wanted thoughts…we are considering holding our tithe to the church until we see what is going to happen and I was going to be open with the powers that be that this is our action. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  21. @Wendy #126

    I wouldn’t waste time contacting the District office. While I have had certain opportunities to read things and interact with certain people, some of what Pres. Maier says/does is public. He was the missional challenger to Pres. Harrison 3 years ago, has 5-2 resources promoted at the District office… (has and promotes a lay deacon ministry program) I wouldn’t want to alert them so that they pump up and support the innovating pastor taking over.

    Like other advice given here, be a good Berean. Develop of good sense of nonsense certain leaders might be attempting. Share your concerns with others, but not in a gossipy, 8th Commandment bad way. Speak truth in love, truth to power. And definitely pray to God for comfort as you navigate through this trouble, and to give you peace if you have to make/endure changes.

  22. Any thoughts and opinions on contacting Synod headquarters? I was told the person to speak with there is Herb Mueller?

  23. @Tim Wood #123

    Hi Tim- I know this is a big request…I wondered if you were able/willing/interested in viewing some of the sermons from a couple of the Pastors at my church and helping me to discern 5/2 influence. I caught one thing from the 2/7 sermon. If so, I can give you the website to the church. My email is [email protected].
    Thanks for considering.

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