LCMS Trained Pentecostal Pastor Exits Synod With His Congregation

kao

Pr. Elias Kao

West Baltimore’s Bethany Lutheran Church and its pastor, Rev. Elias Abite Kao, have taken their leave of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). Bethany plans to reconstitute as an independent non-denominational church following a direct revelation from God to Pastor Kao.

Reasons for Leaving

Pastor Kao spoke with me via telephone in late May, and was gracious with his time for a long interview. He confirmed to me the details of the Pentecost Sunday voters meeting where it was agreed to exit the LCMS. At this time, Kao remains on the Synod roster, and the church also remains listed.

He explained that the Elders of Bethany had, over the course of the last five years, spoken of disbanding the congregation. “The church got meager and small, and could not support a pastor as members declined,” Kao told me.

“As pastor, I encouraged them to believe and allow the Holy Spirit to grow the church. They have been battling to close the doors. They had no hope! They were only focusing on the material and not the spiritual”.

Kao added that he had not asked for a salary increase even though he was being underpaid. “I was willing to stop taking payment until the final close. I didn’t want to walk away.”

Apparently, that did not satisfy the Board of Elders who asked him to give a date when he wanted to be released. Kao accuses the Board of Elders of not telling members of the plan to close. “People were shocked and crying when they found out. They said they would follow me. People are so innocent,” he added.

According to Kao, the Elders presented four options to the congregation:

  1. Find a new pastor – still unaffordable.
  2. Share a pastor – there are already a number of churches in the area without pastors.
  3. Disband and liquidate the assets.
  4. Give the people, service, and place to a new ministry to allow Pastor Kao to continue.

 

Kao said the congregation voted for option four 30-2. He was unable to explain how the change of ownership would change the financial condition of the church beyond saying that he was now free to grow it.

Direct Revelation and the Problem With Missouri

Amidst the stress of the impending closure, Kao said that he sought the Lord who, “Audibly spoke to me with a detailed plan that I wrote down.”

“The Lord gave me a new vision to start a new church. It will be a non-denominational independent church,” Kao said.

Kao says that he is open to preaching with “anyone who believes in the Holy Spirit”, but prefers to remain an independent church rather than joining with any other denomination. The Cellar-Door blog says that Kao “regularly preached at a Pentecostal church in Washington D.C.”, but he did not confirm or deny this in his discussion with me. However, Bethany’s video sermons indicate that syncretism has been a problem for some time.

He was happy to expound on his reasons for departing rather than seeking another call within the Synod.

“The LCMS is the major problem. Mainstream churches have no vision for the 21st century. They are not open to working with other congregations. There is too much repetition in the services – the order of service is not appealing to the young people. [The LCMS] is not open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit from operating in the church. The are just worried about colors and distribution [of the Lord’s Supper]. These are technical things; just outward appearances.”.

I asked Pastor Kao how he reconciled his revelation and theology with being called and ordained within the LCMS, which is cessationist.

“I come from Mekane Yesus (The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus) where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in the church. We have many Coptic and Muslim converts because of this,” he explained, adding, “the LCMS does not have an open door for the charismatic gifts.”

Kao maintains a YouTube channel where he has a six-part series that teaches people how to speak in five types of tongues.

Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology and a Victorious Life

Kao was certified for ministry in 2008 after being trained at the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

He says that he and his fellow students at EIIT often discussed the charismatic gifts, and that most of them came from backgrounds that employed the gifts. “We allow God to work in any manner, and we have apostles, prophets and evangelists,” said Kao.

Asked about the reaction of his supervisors and instructors at CSL to this charismatism, Kao said that they “only preached on errors in pentecostal churches. They did not say it was wrong.”.

He is adamant that he upholds his ordination vows, including a full subscription to the Lutheran Confessions, “but [the LCMS] is stuck on being saved by grace through faith.”

Requested to clarify that statement, Kao said, “Our walk is not up to our salvation, but beyond it. We must grow and mature. There is power to overcome sin in the world, but we just lead people through confession. It is just a routine, and people are not living a victorious life – they are just living.”

Kao continued, “I am so tired of people coming back every Sunday exhausted and looking for help. I want them to be exuberant and bubbling. They must claim the grace of God and victory; immediately! There is more than just confessing. There is walking in the light; victorious!”.

“Even at the winkel meetings they just pray the same prayer as we do with the congregation,” he added.

Kao was asked whether perfect sanctification was achievable in this life. He responded hesitantly, before saying, “My point is, there has to be a point in future where what God is saying about me is true. In the LCMS people are the older son in the parable of the prodigal – they don’t know the love of the father.”

Next Steps

According to Kao, the Southeastern District (SED) has been supportive, if not necessarily helpful. He described Southeastern District President John Denninger as an “amazing man of God” with whom he had a short conversation before the final voters’ meeting. “There was no effort to stop us,” he said.

Denninger, declined to comment, “Out of respect for the confidentiality of the parties involved and the process they are working through”. Likewise, Kao’s Circuit Visitor, Rev. Martin Schultheis, declined to comment without permission from Denninger.

Denninger’s use of the present tense, and the retention of Bethany’s roster information, may suggest that the congregation is being kept on board. However, there is actually little that can be done once a congregation opts to divorce the Synod.

Kao and his flock are out of the LCMS, and the congregation’s assets belong to Kao’s new ministry. One might reasonably say that this has been the case with Bethany for many years.


Comments

LCMS Trained Pentecostal Pastor Exits Synod With His Congregation — 50 Comments

  1. There was a lot of this in the LCMS back in the 70’s & 80’s. When I attended St. Louis from 1982-86 this was a huge topic that was dealt with frequently and thoroughly. This was the reason theological interviews were introduced prior to certification. As the issue declined perhaps the emphasis lessened. The faculty may need to emphasize this whole matter again.

  2. Thank you, Tim. Very well done article.

    It seems that troubling indicators existed for quite some time. Syncretism being one, if not the, biggest. This is exactly what happens when LCMS leadership fail to properly address err in a timely and proper manner.

    The LCMS is great at touting her achievements and patting herself on the back. Just read the LCMS website, the Lutheran Witness, or the Reporter to see her blow her own horn. But the LCMS is quite horrible at admitting her sin, repenting, and correcting err. Perhaps Pastor Kao could have been corrected in a brotherly, confessional, and scriptural manner before his little bit of leaven germinated into an all-out poisonous meal for his entire congregation.

  3. “I come from Mekane Yesus (The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus) where the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in the church. We have many Coptic and Muslim converts because of this,” he [Rev. Elias Abite Kao] explained, adding, “the LCMS does not have an open door for the charismatic gifts.

    “Kao maintains a YouTube channel [Speaking in Tongues: (There are 5 types) Part 1 of 6] where he has a six-part series that teaches people how to speak in five types of tongues.”

    It has long been known from their website that the pastrix-ordaining EECMY is a charismatic, syncretic church body. Comments and links about the EECMY’s deviant “holistic theology” and practices have regularly been censored from the Reporter blog, even though the Reporter surprisingly admitted in a November 14, 2014, article, “LCMS and pastrix-ordaining, charismatic EECMY leaders sign revised top-secret, classified working-partnership agreement,” that the EECMY does not unconditionally subscribe to the Book of Concord of 1580, and therefore is NOT a Lutheran church body.

    Despite all of this, the Purple Palace has funded the multimillion-member EECMY for years, sent missionaries to teach at their seminary along side of heterodox NALC missionaries, is conducting formal A&P fellowship discussions with the EECMY, and even had the pastrix-promoting General Secretary of the EECMY (a rostered LCMS member) speak at the LCMS convention last week.

    There has been no indication that the EECMY has given any hint they are even entertaining the notion of not ordaining women or shedding their many heterodoxies and syncretic associations. Reporter articles on the EECMY continue to blow smoke.

  4. Trying to correct the Pentecostals in the LCMS is frustrating and almost futile. Once they get these “direct revelations,” they are on the way. Their experience outweighs any doctrine. I tried telling Del Rossin and his followers that, and I may as well been talking to the wall. The Gospel just isn’t enough for these folks–“We want something MORE,” is a common refrain that I heard.

    I suggest a reading of Carter Lindberg’s “Third Reformtion” to get a handle on our pentecostals. Another thing–typically a foray into pentecostalism, whether by clergy or laity, is usually a prescription for abandoning our confessions, and from there, to leaving the LCMS. Just sayin’……..

  5. [Kao said, “Our walk is not up to our salvation, but beyond it. We must grow and mature. There is power to overcome sin in the world, but we just lead people through confession. It is just a routine, and people are not living a victorious life – they are just living.”
    Kao continued, “I am so tired of people coming back every Sunday exhausted and looking for help. I want them to be exuberant and bubbling. They must claim the grace of God and victory; immediately! There is more than just confessing. There is walking in the light; victorious!”]

    Sounds like this pastor could really use a copy of “The Hammer of God” by Bo Giertz.

  6. I’ll be surprised if the same thing doesn’t happen to the synod’s Five Two congregation.

  7. @LW #9

    Unfortunately, the 5-2 crowd is attempting to take our next generation with them under many of the same false doctrines as Pastor Kao did with his congregation. As we speak, the LCMS Youth Gathering is happening in New Orleans and the list of presenters/speakers is packed full of 5-2 cronies.

  8. I am stunned that Pastor Kao was ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry when he eve denies salvation by grace through faith? He is in such error that I fear for his soul. The Synod should investigate the spiritual formation of seminarians at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. He should never have been ordained. The LCMS is in communion with an Ethiopian Lutheran Church that ordains female clergy?

  9. “The Lord gave me a new vision to start a new church. It will be a non-denominational independent church,” Kao said.

    Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

    I am more convinced than ever that Lutheranism needs to distance itself more from mainstream American evangelicalism. The more association with heterodox theologu occurs, the more likely bad theology such as this will infiltrate confessional churches.

  10. @jwskud #7

    Does he not understand that it is exactly this course of action he is undertaking that will LEAD to his congregation being exhausted every Sunday and looking for help???

    The Christian who cannot rest in the gospel is the Christian who will eventually stray from the gospel.

  11. @Robert Placer #11: The Synod should investigate the spiritual formation of seminarians at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. He should never have been ordained.

    Yeah, the newly created Pastoral Formation Committee (per Resolution 6-01) will get right on that.

    The LCMS is in communion with an Ethiopian Lutheran Church that ordains female clergy?

    With a rostered LCMS member as its General Secretary, the EECMY and LCMS have been in de facto fellowship since 2009 (what the top secret Agreement says is not known; maybe one of Hillary’s emails on her bathroom server mentions it).

    But besides the EECMY, since 2001 the LCMS has had official A and P fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, which has about a half-dozen ordained pastrixes.

    Until last month, the ELCL’s Constitution, Article 133, stated (in Latvian of course) that “anyone who according to the regulations set by the ELCL is called by God and trained for ministry can seek ordination.” This June, ordination was restricted to only “any male candidate,” although Janis Vanags has not ordained any women since he became the ELCL Archbishop in 1993.

    How did the LCMS get around all this? Easy. In Resolution 3-05A (LCMS 2001 Convention Proceedings, p. 136), the LCMS concocted:

    Resolved, That this declaration of fellowship does not acknowledge that those women who have been ordained are recognized as ordained clergy who can serve in the capacity of ordained clergy in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.”

    Expect an even more grandiose, concocted Resolved when A and P fellowship with the pastrix-ordaining, charismatic EECMY is proposed.

  12. Thank you Carl for this explanation. At least the Latvian Lutheran Church is moving in the doctrinally correct direction under the Archbishop’s leadership. I understand that correcting error takes time. We cannot be too careful about keeping charismatics out of the Office of the Holy Ministry.

  13. Thank you Carl and Tim for your helpful informed response to this problem of syncretism in the Church. I understand the need to extend fellowship to other Lutheran Churches and that sometimes error in these churches needs correction. Women’s ordination is rebellion against God’s Word, a denial of creation and the order of creation, male headship of the wife and children, and ultimately denial of the Incarnation. We cannot ignore female clergy within these churches. Female clergy must not be grandfathered in or grandmothered into any agreement. The pastrix must become a deaconess.

  14. I will compliment the membership and pastor of this church, at least for their seeing the obvious, and acting on it. They are not Lutherans confessionally, so they should be honest and leave. I wish that more LCMS congregations that reject the Lutheran Confessions would do the same.

  15. @Rev. Loren Zell #17: “They are not Lutherans confessionally, so they should be honest and leave. I wish that more LCMS congregations that reject the Lutheran Confessions would do the same.”

    Submitted to the 2016 Convention, Overture 4-29, To Call for Members with Confessions Contrary to That of the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions To Leave Synodical Union Voluntarily, resolved to request such Lufauxran members do just that.

    The overture was derailed in the Omnibus Overture “Circular File” with the the Floor Committee 4 remark, “Already addressed by Synod Constitution.”

  16. @J. Dean #12

    J. Dean – I know you meant to spell the words, “heterodox theology” instead of “heterodox theologu” in your original post. But now after seeing it, I like the term. I think I’m going to use that term “heterodox theologu” for any teaching that is not based on the firm Word of God and the correct exposition of the Lutheran Confessions, and instead is based on the mushy opinions and enthusiastic Schwaermer nature and mind of man. “Theologu” it is!

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  17. @Robert Placer #11

    “The Synod should investigate the spiritual formation of seminarians at Concordia Seminary St. Louis.”

    Ah, where have we heard that before? Someone might point out that they have plenty of Enthusiasts on staff, teaching Enthusiast worship, and undermining Lutheran orthodoxy. Of course, some synodical organ would probably come out quickly with some kind of doctrinal statement that gives them top-cover to keep up what they’ve been doing for years, and squash into silence anyone foolish enough to accuse the seminary of teaching false Enthusiast doctrine or practice.

    Gotta love it… especially if they tell you to.

  18. Correct me if I am mistaken but how we worship should be a liturgical expression of what we believe, teach, and confession not only in reference to AC 24 but the whole Book of Concord wherein there is no place for charismatic expression. Enthusiastic speaking in unknown tongues were rejected at the Reformation. The seminaries are entrusted with training men for the Holy Ministry and so we expect the seminary faculty to drive out strange and erroneous doctrine; this is their duty to protect the Church.

  19. “Blessed Subtractions” has been a favorite phrase of mine for a bit.
    Everyone involved is happier, everyone involved is permitted to practice in accordance w/ their confession. This is a feel-good win-win.
    Matt Mills

  20. “Blessed Subtractions” has been a favorite phrase of mine for a bit.
    Everyone involved is happier, everyone involved is permitted to practice in accordance w/ their confession. This is a feel-good win-win.

    I’m not understanding this, Matt. Rather than a win-win, it seems like a failure on several levels. The seminary failed in its preparation and certification, the Circuit and District failed in their oversight and correction of the problems with the pastor and congregation.

    It’s like when a heterodox member of one of our congregations leaves to join another denomination. Yes, the troublesome member is gone; but there’s sorrow that that person wasn’t able to be brought to see their errors.

    So, Matt, please explain more fully how the you see that the situation with Rev. Kao and his congregation is a “win-win” situation. Thanks.

  21. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #24

    It’s like when a heterodox member of one of our congregations leaves to join another denomination. Yes, the troublesome member is gone; but there’s sorrow that that person wasn’t able to be brought to see their errors.

    The problem of false teachers has been with the church since the beginning. Judas had as much opportunity as any of the other apostles; he chose his own way to destruction.

    Paul writes of removing false teachers who lead people astray; this man, unlike many in Synod, had the honesty to see that what he taught wasn’t Lutheran and removed himself from the roster. He is no longer a threat to the Lutheran faith of those who remain; that’s a win.
    Would that our leadership were all as honest!

    As far as Kao and his congregation are concerned, it’s not the end of the story. Many of our most articulate laymen and pastors have come out of heterodox churches and know the emptiness there.
    Many who have have been “Missouri for 3-4 generations” have gone running after every enthusiast fad, prodigal sons who started well but had to go away and chew on dry husks to convince them that what they had at home was better. They learned something!

    Those who are allowed to practice their heterodoxy within Synod and without reprimand are the real danger to themselves and to LCMS. They rise in the bureaucracy, are doing very nicely, thank you, and are never forced to confront their error. They are astray and taking others with them, seemingly with the blessing of Synod!

    Kao’s members, even he himself, may return, as the prodigal did.
    Can you say as much for those who are encouraged in false teaching within Synod?
    How about the enthusiasts pursuing “5/2”?
    Or those just offering coffee and donuts and avoiding the mention of sin and salvation?

  22. @helen #25

    Those who are allowed to practice their heterodoxy within Synod and without reprimand are the real danger to themselves and to LCMS.

    How did I imply that should be no reprimand to heterodoxy?

    Kao’s members, even he himself, may return, as the prodigal did.

    Yes, they may, and I pray that they do; but I still don’t see their leaving as part of the “win-win” Matt wrote about. It’s still part of a series of failures on the part of the seminary, Circuit, and District.

    Can you say as much for those who are encouraged in false teaching within Synod?
    How about the enthusiasts pursuing “5/2”?
    Or those just offering coffee and donuts and avoiding the mention of sin and salvation?

    I’m sorry, Helen, if I gave the impression that I was encouraging false teaching within Synod; or that the mention of sin and salvation should be avoided. I think you’ve read enough of my posts on BJS and LQ over the years to know that I wouldn’t take such a position. I believe I wrote (or at least implied) that the seminary, Circuit, and District should have taken more action in regards to Rev. Kao and his congregation.

  23. I just got back in the house after mowing the lawn. While pushing the infernal internal combustion engine around the lawn, Jesus’ words came to me (and no, not audibly or in tongues!): ” “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Matt. 23:37).

    This isn’t exactly a parallel situation to that of Rev. Kao and his congregation, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus didn’t see the apostasy of Jerusalem as a “win-win” situation. I still genuinely want to hear Matt’s further explanation of his comment. I realize that he (unlike some of us who are no longer gainfully employed) may not be able to respond quickly.

  24. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #27
    Dear Brother,
    As I have found out, you are fighting a losing battle here. I know what you say and what you mean, it is sad we lose a brother, a congregation. There is more care for the letter of the doctrine than over the lost soul. Yes, I affirm we should have no false teaching, but I still lament over a loss…and perhaps, one day rejoice in a brother gained back upon confession and absolution.
    Yes, within BJS for many, it is more “good riddance”, do not really care what happens to you. Glad you are gone.

  25. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #24
    With the exception of not expelling this pastor for obvious heterodoxy, from an ACIV perspective, none of the failures you mention are our failures. It’s not w/in our ability to create or maintain faith. The church carries out W&S ministry that God uses where and well He wills to create faith. If we believe that, then neither heterodoxy nor lack of faith are “failures” so long as we have been faithful.

    In a case like this, we shake the dust off our sandals. How much worse to have the erring pastor inside fighting against the means of grace?
    Matt Mills

  26. Hi Matt, thanks for your reply. I agree, certainly, that we can’t create or maintain faith. However, I don’t think that Christian faith is what is in question here; unless you are saying that Rev. Kao and his congregation are no longer Christian. I don’t believe that’s the case. You write, ” If we believe that, then neither heterodoxy nor lack of faith are “failures” so long as we have been faithful.”

    The key here is “…so long as we have been faithful”. What we don’t know, exactly, is how faithful the seminary was in the instruction and certification of Rev. Kao. Mr. Woods wrote in the original post:

    Asked about the reaction of his supervisors and instructors at CSL to this charismatism, Kao said that they “only preached on errors in pentecostal churches. They did not say it was wrong.”.

    There’s certainly some question here about exactly what Rev. Kao’s instructors taught, or what he believed that they taught.

    Then, Mr. Woods writes regarding the District:

    According to Kao, the Southeastern District (SED) has been supportive, if not necessarily helpful. He described Southeastern District President John Denninger as an “amazing man of God” with whom he had a short conversation before the final voters’ meeting. “There was no effort to stop us,” he said.

    According to Rev. Kao’s account anyway, there are certainly some questions regarding the faithfulness of the DP.

    The apparent lack of faithfulness is the failure which I wrote of in my original post. I not saying that we should “have the erring pastor inside fighting against the means of grace”. I’m saying that it seems that more could have been done to a) prevent this erring person from being certified, and b) help to bring back this erring person and his congregation once he was out in the field.

    And yes, there does finally come a time to “shake the dust off our sandals.” I’m not sure that that time had come in this situation, and I still fail to understand how shaking the dust off our sandals is, as you described it, “a feel-good win-win.”

  27. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #30
    Dear Pastor
    I guess I take the heterodoxy of salt water DP’s as a given. Certainly regrettable at some level, but well past either of our abilities to solve. I’d put the unwillingness of CSL to weed out Schwarmer in the same category. I would also agree w/ CFW Walther that our synod is not the “only saving church.” So, faced w/ the potential of an ugly divisive fight brought on be factors beyond our control, I’m realistic enough to call a situation like this a win-win. Both principals get to do their thing in peace, and even honorably and honestly.
    What am I missing?
    Pax Christi+,
    Matt Mills

  28. @Pastor Prentice #28

    Yes, within BJS for many, it is more “good riddance”, do not really care what happens to you. Glad you are gone.

    I think you are sadly missing the point, Rev Prentice. This group which has left may be Christian, but are not Lutheran. Better for both sides if they recognize the fact.

    If the DP in that district recognized and was able to discipline heterodoxy of all sorts [starting with his own, evidently] perhaps he would have had the ability to turn this situation around before it got to the point of separation.

    We have all too many of the same sort. Is it really a “win-win” for Missouri that they hang on and are politically ambitious besides?

    If there is too little care for the “letter of doctrine” all the souls are in danger of being lost. What have you got, to bring Kao or anyone back, but “doctrine”?
    [I mean the Gospel, not CCM decrees written for a political end or synodical resolutions passed by “a 51% majority”.]

    There was a time when, if the vote was 99-1 on a doctrinal issue, the matter was discussed until the 1 understood it. But in those days, it was assumed that the laity could read and understand doctrine: the Augsburg Confession was included in their hymnals.

  29. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #24

    I’m sorry, Helen, if I gave the impression that I was encouraging false teaching within Synod; or that the mention of sin and salvation should be avoided. I think you’ve read enough of my posts on BJS and LQ over the years to know that I wouldn’t take such a position. I believe I wrote (or at least implied) that the seminary, Circuit, and District should have taken more action in regards to Rev. Kao and his congregation.

    Pastor Fischer, I did not for a minute think that you were encouraging false teaching within the Synod.
    What I was trying to say is that Rev Kao and his congregation have a better chance of regretting and returning to the Lutheran faith than do the practitioners of heterodoxy within Synod, who are not only allowed but encouraged to spread their falsehoods and infect others.

    Seminary, Synod, District and Circuit did not assist the Rev Kao in the faith; they evidently did not even suggest that he was straying. I agree with you that they should have encouraged faithfulness.
    My question is “How can they encourage faithfulness, when the leaders and professors have themselves forsaken their vows and wandered from the Way?”

    And their solution is to write yet more by-laws to conceal their unbelief from the laity! Can they really believe that what they do is concealed by an injunction not to talk about it!?

  30. @Matt Mills #31
    Matt wrote, “I guess I take the heterodoxy of salt water DP’s as a given.” I know what you’re saying, but there’s a very “fresh water District” (let the reader understand) that has a lot doctrinal problems as well.

    Otherwise Matt, I think we’re speaking past each other, so this will be my last post on this topic. You mention “heterodoxy of salt water DP’s” and “the unwillingness of CSL to weed out Schwarmer”. Those are part of the failures I was writing about! You write, ” Both principals get to do their thing in peace, and even honorably and honestly.” There may be honesty here, but I’m not seeing the honor. Sorry we can’t get together on this.

  31. @helen #32

    Helen wrote, “But in those days, it was assumed that the laity could read and understand doctrine: the Augsburg Confession was included in their hymnals.”

    Hymnals! Those are “old Missouri”! We have everything printed in the worship bulletins and on the projection screens now! Look at what great progress we’ve made! 😉

  32. @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #35

    Hymnals! Those are “old Missouri”! We have everything printed in the worship bulletins and on the projection screens now! Look at what great progress we’ve made! 😉

    Yes. We’ve made religion as unreal and ephemeral as fantasies on “the tube”!
    Turn off the projector, trash today’s bulletin and go out into your week…. 🙁

  33. @helen #33
    I’m in TX for a week Helen, and I worshiped w/ a confessional liturgical congregation in San Angelo.

    @Rev. Robert Fischer (Emeritus) #34

    Pr Kao did the honest, honorable thing and left. That’s a feel- good win-win in my book. Many of our Synods failures, which you rightly have pointed out, would be improved by similar honest and honorable departures. You ara also right to point out that there are heartland Schwarmer DPs as well.
    The focus of my comment was narrowly on Pr. Kao .
    Blessings+,
    Matt Mills

  34. @helen #36

    I’m in TX for a week Helen, and I worshiped w/ a confessional liturgical congregation in San Angelo.

    Glad you found one! If you should be in Austin on a Sunday, Trinity (on 45th Street, between Lamar and Burnett) is the place to go for a confessional/liturgical service.
    [Just watch your step in the large gathering room next to the narthex; there are more toddlers, creepers & baby carriers than you would believe!]

  35. “The Synod should investigate the spiritual formation of seminarians at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. He should never have been ordained.”
    But now all the lay deacons, etc. will have a quicker path to ordination without even a seminarian’s solid spiritual formation (apparently), so we will have under-educated, but ordained, pastors leading our flocks. After all, ordination makes it all okay, right?
    At least one person in the presidium gets it. Read the Thursday, July 21 “Memorial Moment” from Pastor (First VP) Scott Murray. Ordination does not equal orthodoxy!

  36. @LadyL #40

    “The Synod should investigate the spiritual formation of seminarians at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. He should never have been ordained.”

    Kao didn’t go through the “regular” seminary program (although how regular CSL’s “regular” seminary program is may be debated…by the “peers”.

  37. @LadyL #40

    I have no formal theological training but that doesn’t mean I’m heterodox; at least not anymore. Education, however, may not be the entire solution here. I think some pastors who have graduated from the Concordia system and who have been duly educated and who have vowed fidelity to the Confessions are clearly not without guilt of heterodoxy. If you question their lack of adherence to the Augsburg Confession or the entire Book of Concord they will forthrightly affirm them both and deny any trace of being unfaithful to them. Mostly, they are not being disingenuous, neither are they out to intentionally flout the Confessions but rather believe in their heart-of-hearts that they are only using their Christian freedom to play a variation on a theme. They will even cite from the Confessions and claim that critics are mostly arguing from silence. One such citation from AC VII allows them to justify their turning to and embracing blended or contemporary worship forms:

    1] Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.
    2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4:5-6.

    Education and vows of fidelity, notwithstanding, such rationalizing is what makes the problem so thorny; that men, ostensibly immersed in the Confessions and their historical significance over several years continue on in practice to find a path leading away from them. Are the seminaries infiltrated with professors who are full of themselves; full of their own cerebral prowess which makes them prone to see things that aren’t there or to not see things that are; preferring their own intellectual judgment over against the measured witness of the historical Church? I agree that our clergy should obtain a world-class education but education is apparently no guarantee of confessional rectitude.

  38. I hope no one thinks that I implied a solid theological education always turns out orthodox men. I only wish that were true!

  39. @Mark #43

    Hi Mark,
    I watched a presentation by Pastor Will Weedon some years ago, wherein he was addressing a group of ordained pastors. He talked about visiting our seminaries to speak on the topic of the confessions. Before speaking about them, he’d give a surprise quiz on their contents. Supposedly only about 3 students would receive a passing grade. Coincidentally, the 3 students who passed the quiz were the only ones who had actually READ the Book of Concord. Take from that what you will, but I don’t think we can assume seminary students are closely acquainted with the very confessions they pledge to uphold… Sorry if that sounds cynical!

  40. Mark, I agree with you about how the professors influence the seminarians. You have isolated the heart of the problem of interpreting AC 7 as a good example of not interpreting the article first within its historical context and then applied today as our Lutheran continuity with the doctrine and worship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Knowledge can and does puff up some professors.

  41. ” . . . [the LCMS] is stuck on being saved by grace through faith”? Well, thank goodness–and our historical focus on the message–for that!

    Issues such as charismatic beliefs that come up and lead to such drastic actions surely have been festering for a long time. When these issues arise, does not the church also need to rise to the occasion. We have a generation or two that are not well schooled in the issue, as well as Christians from other cultures who have intimate acquaintance with same. Is either of these groups going to be satisfied to just sit back and accept a teaching they do not understand? Perhaps, because of the intense and seemingly growing interest in the charismatic movement, the LCMS might want to have a series of informative conferences (and debates?) among the brethren and faithful Lutherans. It seems to me that the answers to these problems will need to come from Scripture, not from long-standing church dogma. Just a thought.

  42. @Joe Strieter #6

    Being raised in a Pentecostal environment my first 18 years, there is a REASON why I am in the LCMS. Firm, Biblical doctrine trumps emotionalism any day. The charisms practiced by the Apostles were all done in an orderly fashion. It is clearly not the same 20 centuries later.

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