Issues, Etc. Anniversary

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Dear Pastor,

June 30 marks the eight-year anniversary of the return of Issues, Etc. In 2008, Issues, Etc. was being heard on more than 100 radio stations nationwide, on Sirius-XM satellite radio, and worldwide via the Internet. It was shut down and silenced during Holy Week of that year. The previous leadership of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod cancelled Issues, Etc. Click here to read a Wall Street Journal column written shortly after those events in 2008.

Jeff Schwarz and I learned the hard way that it really does matter who we elect to lead the LCMS.

Two years later, we learned that lesson again – but in a much better way. In 2010, the LCMS elected the Rev. Matt Harrison to serve as president, and he has served most faithfully. During the last six years, we have witnessed a renewal in the LCMS in proclaiming the pure Law and Gospel, both domestically and abroad. President Harrison has provided bold leadership in standing up against encroaching governmental efforts to infringe on our religious liberties. We have witnessed excellence in sending out missionaries, providing disaster relief, and in providing passionate pro-life leadership. The LCMS is, for the first time, engaged in serious discussions with our former partners, the Wisconsin Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and is in serious conversations with other church bodies who share our respect for the Bible and our concern over the devastating trajectory of social issues in this nation. In fact, the LCMS is leading a shift toward biblical fidelity in world Lutheranism as has never been seen. The LCMS has come a long way since 2008!

However, there are current and aspiring leaders in the LCMS who would like to turn the calendar back to 2008 – back to a time when an outreach program like Issues, Etc. was silenced without warning. Let’s not allow that to happen!

If you’re a voter for the LCMS presidential election, please vote to re-elect President Harrison. Voting takes place June 11-14, 2016. If you’re not a voter, encourage your pastor or your congregation’s lay voter to vote for President Harrison.

Thanks for your consideration!

Wir sind alle Bettler,


Todd Wilken, host

Issues, Etc.



Issues, Etc. Anniversary — 10 Comments

  1. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    I am glad to see Pastor Wilken publicly supporting Harrison. But you should know that this is risky business for him and Jeff Schwarz. If either President Harrison is not re-elected, or the LC-MS Board of Directors does not maintain a majority of people who support Harrison, Issues etc. could be cut off at the throat again.

    To prevent that, the 2016 electors and delegates will need to elect both Harrison and pro-Harrison Board of Directors members. The United List ( ) gives the names of the candidates who support Harrison, namely, Michael Kumm (present chair), M. Alan Taylor, Ed Everts, James Carter, Larry Harrington, and Keith Frndak. If these men and Harrison get elected, Issues etc. will be “in the clear” for another triennium. If not, who knows?

    No matter what President Kieschnick said, or says, he was directly responsible for the cancellation of Issues etc. David Strand was merely doing what he was ordered to do–David is an obedient servant of the church, and the church elected Kieschnick, so he had to follow orders.

    Anyone who has watched the LC-MS for any length of time will notice that our anti-conservative members are always ready to get rid of people in office, much more so than our conservative members are. That is because our conservative members know that our Lord will hold them accountable for how they treat people, especially their brothers and sisters in His church (Matthew 25:31-46). Our anti-conservative members are either ignorant of this, or they presume they will be saved no matter how they treat people.

    Some folks will point to the “walkout” as evidence of conservatives “terminating at will.” But the fact is that all those professors and students walked out voluntarily, as a form of 1960s protest. See the book by Paul Zimmerman, “Seminary in Crisis” (CPH) for the true story there. They were not removed or terminated, they left voluntarily. The only folks who were fired at that time were protesters who refused to do their job; and some missionaries who refused to cooperate with Waldo Werning, interim director of the Mission Department. Personally, I think Waldo was “trigger happy” and not fair in how he treated those missionary folks; but then I am biased because of how he treated me.

    Look at the Lutheran Hour. For years, Ozzie Hoffman was a favorite of the anti-conservative side, and ran for LC-MS President several times, but the LLL conservatives–who were in the majority at that time–never thought to “pull his plug.” The conservatives knew it was the wrong thing to do, so they didn’t terminate him.

    But then, when Wallace Schulz did his synodical duty, the anti-conservatives who were in the majority in the LLL at that time threatened him, and then fired him when he did not act contrary to the LCMS constitution in the Benke case. He received no apologies from the LLL folks then or later. Dr. Schulz recovered vocationally and financially only because of the good graces of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation and the Concordia Mission Society (publisher of “Good News”).

    As to my own situation at Concordia Historical Institute, some conservatives in the synod were calling for the termination of my associate director, due to his prior involvement in the Jesus First organization. I had a discussion with some members of my board about this, and we agreed that Daniel Preus had dealt with the issues properly during his tenure at CHI, and the associate director was following that agreement. So I and my board members did not see a reason to terminate him or even confront him, even though he had been in sympathy with the anti-conservative faction of synod and had assisted one of the anti-conservative political groups at times. We knew that it was wrong to terminate him, unless he refused to follow the agreement made with the previous director.

    But then, when the Jesus First organization elected three new members to my board, they got rid of me as fast as they could.

    So you see there is an imbalance in the dynamics here. Unless you protect the “good guys” in the synodical organization, the anti-conservative folks will attack the good officers and good employees and eventually force them out.

    You see—that is the nature of “anti-conservatives.” They are not really “for” anything positive. They just love attacking confessional-and-conservative Lutheran theology, confessional-and-conservative Lutheran practice, and confessional-and-conservative Lutherans in general.

    So don’t be bashful about telling your local electors how to vote and to vote for Harrison and the United List in 2016; unless you want the anti-conservatives to terminate Issues, etc. again and/or cause similar havoc.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  2. As I understood it, Issues, Etc. now has lay ownership of its trademark and is operating independently of LCMS, on direct donations, not on salary from any Synodical entity. They have been on KFUO recently, by contract, and no doubt a liberal could cancel that.

    But could they really put an end to Issues, Etc.?
    Its KFUO audience is probably a small fraction of its internet listeners.

    I’ll grant you the “similar havoc”; some of that never stopped.

  3. Dear Helen and Pastor Prentice,

    Pastor Wilken or Mr. Schwarz would have to explain their precise corporate-legal connection to the LC-MS. I cannot do that for you, because I don’t know. These sort of business relationships change regularly, based on contract, change in state laws, regulatory minutiae, etc.

    Although now a separate business organization, Issues etc. has a significant broadcast channel through its daily weekday programming at KFUO. I can tune into KFUO-AM when, on occasion, I travel to Saint Louis as soon as I meet the Interstate at Mount Vernon, Illinois. So KFUO covers not only the Metro Saint Louis region, but reaches halfway across the states of Missouri and Illinois. We have a large concentration of Lutherans in these areas, as any map of LC-MS demographics will prove.

    Furthermore, Issues Etc. is, I believe, also using the broadcast channel of the LC-MS-related “Good News Broadcasting Corporation” KNGN in McCook, NE, which also reaches a large population of LC-MS Lutherans in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.

    You can put a business entity “out of business” several ways, the most common of which is restricting their sources of income. If it lost KFUO and KNGN, Issues Etc might survive on donation-basis-only-related-to-its-world-wide podcast, but it would be very hard-pressed to do so. If that happened, they might be able to find a local radio station willing to pick them up again, but there would be no guarantee of that. Joyce Meyer has a lot of clout among Evangelical institutions in the Saint Louis metro region, and she probably doesn’t like Issues etc.

    As it is, Jeff Schwarz is a brilliant man when it comes to fund-raising. He has invented new ways to do that, and he might be able to come up with more ways if they were in dire straits. But that is no reason to put the present relationship in jeopardy by electing hostile presidents or Board of Directors.

    As to who listens to Issues Etc, that is one thing. As to who donates to Issues Etc and how much, that is another thing. Again that is business data only Jeff and Todd would know.

    In any event, they always need your donations. The Issues etc poster and business cards are on our church bulletin board closest to the entry-exit way, so people see it every Sunday. Every church who cares about its ministry should at least do the same. Issues etc. always needs your financial support and your prayers!

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  4. @Martin R. Noland #4

    Todd Wilken would have to say, if he wants to, but when they went back on KFUO, I understood they were buying time, not being paid.
    Of course, listeners may well be supportive financially.

    I only began listening and contributing, in Texas, when Issues, Etc. arrived on my computer.

    I have no problem with your basic argument in favor of retaining our SP and Directors!

  5. Dear Helen,
    They probably have to buy airtime wherever they broadcast, including KFUO-AM. That is one reason donations and 300 club members are needed. My point is that a hostile board could shut down their KFUO channel, and maybe go after the KNGN one too. KFUO hAs the right of refusal to renew contracts when they expire, and that decision is made by LCMS board of directors or its committee.
    Yours in Christ, Martin R Noland

  6. ‘Issuesetc’ is more popular than ever. This weekend they are having another Making the Case Conference in Collinsville and it has been sold out for weeks (a limit of 400 people). My husband and I attended back in 2014 and the place was packed back then – so many former evangelicals! We live in northern Illinois and I listen everyday via the internet. It is such a blessing that God has bestowed on His church. The LC-MS should pay THEM for providing such solid Biblical/Lutheran teaching to the world!


  7. @Diane #8

    The LCMS did ‘pay them’ up to a few years ago, when they were dismissed without reason on Tuesday of Holy Week by a regime that wasn’t interested in keeping Missouri doctrinally sound. [We were all supposed to be too busy to notice, but it didn’t work out that way.] The end result is that Issues Etc. still does its thing but independent of LCMS politics. Nonetheless, it will be better for Issues (and us Lutherans) if Harrison is re-elected.

  8. @helen #9

    Yes Helen that is true. Personally, I really can’t express in words how Issues,Etc. has blessed my family. I have become a better apologist of Christ and the salvation He has won for us just by listening to the likes of Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller. Listening to Dr. Carl Fickenscher go over the lessons for the coming Sunday is such a privilege.

    Thanks be to God!

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