Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Boy Scouts of America Succumb to the Homosexual Agenda

By: Scott J. Meyer
Christian News, October 21, 2013, Vol. 51, No. 40

After decades of harassment by social and legal activists, one of the nation's most "morally straight" private institutions succumbed to the homosexual agenda, not completely but in part. The Scout Law requires that scouts must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. While scouting recognizes the religious element in the training of the scout to be morally straight and reverent to God, no Boy Scout authority supersedes the authority of the local Pastor and the Congregation. Homosexual behavior was thus held to be incompatible with the Scout Oath and its admonition to be "morally straight." But as observed by Phyllis Schlafly, a leader in the conservative movement since 1954, activists on the left have spent decades "to pry the Ten Commandments off the walls of courthouses, ... seeking to remove God from the pledge of allegiance, ... denying public money for faith-based charities, ... and harassing upright groups like the Boy Scouts ... " 1 Scouting was included in President Obama's war on religious freedom, for on February 3, 2013, Obama publicly stated in a pre-Super Bowl interview on CBS that gays (i.e, homosexuals) should be allowed in the Boy Scouts. 2

The inclusion of the Boy Scouts in the agenda of social and legal activists to promote the homosexual 'lifestyle" as normal, was well documented by William Bennett, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, who wrote:

From books for elementary school children like Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate ... to agitation against the Boy Scouts of America over its standards of membership and leadership ... a concentrated effort has been under way to present the homosexual "lifestyle" as normal, worthy of public support and fully equivalent (if not actually superior) to heterosexual marriage and family life. 3

The social and legal agitation against the Boy Scout ban of homosexuals from its membership and leadership reached the U. S. Supreme Court in a case in which an Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster was asked to resign his leadership role after he publicly acknowledged in a gay magazine his practice of homosexual behavior. He argued that this ban violated New Jersey's anti-discrimination law, which included sexual orientation. In a 5-4 decision the Scouts were held not subject to the New Jersey law. As stated in the majority opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a devout Lutheran, the mere presence of homosexuals in the Scouts would "force the organization to send a message, both to the youth members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accept homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." 4 As concluded in a study by the Heritage Foundation, the Court's decision thus recognized the right of expressive association that "protects private groups that wish to promote ideals and values," within the scope of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... or the right of the people peaceably to assemble .... " 5

Despite the ruling of the U. S. Supreme Court, activists continued their relentless pressure against the Boy Scout ban on homosexuals, 6 which ultimately caused the Boy Scout leadership in May 2013 to capitulate and change its ban so as to thereby allow homosexual youths to openly join the Scout membership. But the ban against adult homosexuals was not removed. 7 As a result some religious denominations, notably the Mormon church and the General Commission on United Methodist Men, supported the decision. Although not threatening to leave the Scouts, Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said in a statement that the vote "ushers in a sea change in the credibility" of the organization for believers "in the principles of biblical morality." 8

As a result of the Boy Scout decision, a coalition including groups such as Faith Based Boys, TrailHead USA, and Frontier Service Corps have met to organize a national "character-development" alternative to Boy Scouts in which youths would be asked to be sexually pure. 9

Ed Vitagliano, staff writer of the American Family Association said that as a result of the decision,

What has clearly changed now is that the BSA leadership no longer acknowledges that homosexuality itself is wrong. In accordance with the Boy Scout Oath, homosexuality is now part of being 'morally straight.' ... Scripture states that the message of Christ should not be mixed with a compromised message. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the apostle Paul asks, "What partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? " The answer in none. And sending impressionable boys to an organization that mixes light and dark is not only wrong but also spiritually dangerous. 10

Vitagliano previously listed five cogent reasons why Christians should leave Boy Scouts: 11

1. BSA failed to stand for traditional values.
2. They have embraced moral relativism.
3. Homosexual men will soon serve as troop leaders.
4. They will promote homosexuality.
5. Boys will be placed at risk.

According to a statement by the Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, the LCMS will honor the Boy Scout policy on homosexuals, but with a key caveat that would allow it to remove from troops boys who are "advocating for a moral view that is inconsistent with the church." In a Memorandum of Understanding between the church and Boy Scouts it was stipulated that no Boy Scout authority "supersedes the authority of the local pastor," who is authorized "to enforce boundaries up to and including removal [of boys] from the troop." 12 Only time will tell how this accommodation will play out in the long run. Although as a youth this writer was not a Boy Scout, as a young adult he served as Assistant Scoutmaster for a Scout Troop. When Scouts in that Troop reached the age of 14, the sponsoring church organized an Explorer Post and appointed this writer as Explorer Adviser. Based on that experience, I am of the opinion that accommodation with the new policy of the Boy Scouts is fraught with difficulties and even danger for biblical Christians because atheists undoubtedly will continue to pursue their anti-Christian agenda in the courts.13
October 10, 2013


1 Phyllis Schlafly and George Neumayer, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom (Washington, DC:
Regnery Publ., Inc., 2012), p. 48.
2 Nedra Pickler, "Obama says Boy Scouts should allow gays," Associated Press, February 4, 2013.
3 William J. Bennertt, The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family (New York: Doubleday,
2001), p. 106. See also: Alan Sears & Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda (Nashville: B&H Publ. Group, 2003), pp.
187-193, "The Attack on the Boy Scouts of America."
4 Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000).
5 The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, Edwin Meese III, Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board. The Heritage
Foundation. (Washington: Regnery Publ., Inc., 2005), p. 318. Edwin Meese is a Missouri Synod Lutheran.
6 Geoffrey A. Fowler and Ana Campoy, "Boy Scouts Rethink Gay Ban," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2013. See also: Robert Knight, "The Boy Scouts flirtation with dishonor and destruction," The Washington Times, February 11, 2013.
7 Fowler and Campoy, "Boy Scouts Decide To Allow Gay Youth," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013.
8 Id.
9 Cheryl Wetzstein, "Boy Scout alternative on course for Jan. l," The Washington Times, July 15, 2013.
10 Ed Vitagliano, "Boy Scout's Blunder," AFA Journal, October 2013, p. 10.
11 Ed Vitagliano, "Broken Promises," ABA Journal, August 2013, pp. 14-16.
12 From Staff Reports, "Missouri Synod will honor Boy Scout policy on gays," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 8, 2013.
13 Cheryl Wetzstein, "Churches warned of Boy Scout legal risks," The Washington Times, August 19, 2013.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


A sermon by Dr. Walter A. Maier
Christian News, Vol. 51, No. 39, October 14, 2013

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. — Proverbs. 1:7

God, most mighty and compassionate: We raise thank-filled hearts this afternoon to praise the love and power that have preserved unto us Thy saving Word. But earnestly do we entreat Thee that this promise of salvation through the blood of Thy Son may continue its blessed work in our hearts, our homes, our churches, our nation. Rise up in Thy strength, O Lord of hosts, to defeat the hell-born counsel of those who would destroy the message of the Cross. Give to the education of the young devout leaders who are not ashamed of Thy Son and His Gospel. Grant unto us Christian homes, as fortresses of Christian faith; pious parents who will teach Thy truth to their children; faithful pastors who seek to please Thee and not to please men. And as this Word now speeds out into Thy firmament, endow it with the power of Thy Spirit, so that it may bless many with the Savior’s promise, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." We ask this in His blessed name. Amen.

THE recent brilliant gathering of American scientists in St. Louis forcefully reminded us that our age has sworn complete hostility to every form of ignorance. As the vast panorama of progress unfolds itself before us, we behold restless research penetrating far beyond the fringe of civilization. In the silence of an Antarctic night a dogsled mushes along, carrying an expedition that would wrest nature’s secrets from her frozen grasp. In a fever-infested jungle a doctor lies in wait to discover a new treatment for the ravages of epidemic. Archeologists remove the debris of the centuries from Mesopotamian mounds; astronomers camp on South Sea islands to observe a solar eclipse; physicists measure cosmic rays; chemists are on the quest of a new element, biologists scrutinize life cells; electrical wizards create superenergies. We are thrilled by the voyages into the stratosphere and by the submarine descents into the bathysphere; we read with astonishment of the revolutionary discoveries in sound and light transmission; and on all sides we behold investigations that daily extend the human horizon and help to make this the age of history’s greatest enlightenment.

The Church views all this as a special benediction from God. It does not hide its head in the sand of ignorance while the pageant of science marches on. Wherever the Cross of Christ is raised, ignorance is banished, and the arts and the sciences are systematically promoted. The greatest schools of the world were founded by the Church, just as the greatest minds of the ages have been Christians. It is only when human reason rules out God and blasphemously raises unholy hands to pull down the Savior’s Cross that the Church voices its uncompromising protest.

This rebuke must be reaffirmed today because avowed atheists are too frequently and too securely enthroned in the high and low places of American education. Your sons and daughters in the plastic age of high-school adolescence or in the four formative years of college life are sometimes exposed to the soul-blighting influence of men who go out of their way to lampoon the Christian religion. In hundreds of tax-supported schools the basic American principle that our public education is to be free from anti-religious influence is willfully swept aside. In hundreds of pulpits — and could any disloyalty more quickly invoke the wrath of God Almighty? — clerical unbelief joins in the away-with-God, away-with-the-Bible campaign to exalt the triumph of reason over religion.

My appeal to you this afternoon, based on the words in the seventh verse, first chapter, of the Book of Proverbs, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge," asks your interest, your prayers, your action, for a wide-spread Christian awakening under the cry: —BACK TO BIBLE TRUTH! an issue which means far more to this nation and its eighth of a billion inhabitants than the absorbing events which mightily engage our attention. THE BIBLE AS THE BASIS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE There is no fear of God either in the beginning or in the end of much that is paraded as the assured results of modern investigation. We read the opening verse of the Bible: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"; but before we have completed the verse, loud objections are raised. "God created the world?" we are challenged. ‘Why, any high-school teacher can tell you that we are too far advanced to believe in Genesis." "We know definitely," they continue, "that this earth came into being at least two thousand million years ago (the minimum figure according to the latest outline of science), when by sheer chance a wandering star approached too closely to the sun and tore off a cigar-shaped filament to form the earth."

We read on in the Scriptures to find man as God’s masterpiece, made in His divine image. But again the voice of denial taunts: "God created man? Don’t you know we have proof positive of man’s gradual ascent — again by purest chance — from primary organisms that clung to slimy rocks? Don’t you know that our natural-history museums offer exhibits which verify man’s ape ancestry?"

We turn to the second chapter of Genesis to learn that, as God’s supreme creation, man was endowed with the intelligent gift of speech. "But," we are warned, "if you believe this, you show a second-rate mentality; for investigation has proved that the first hairy apelike monkey-man could not speak and only accidentally learned to imitate the sounds and cries of his animal world."

As we turn each page of the Bible, new batteries of hatred are trained against God’s Word; and because even churchmen are straddling the issue or are bowing down before the gilded idol of "science falsely so called;’ as sponsored by men whose names leap from head-line to headline in our newspapers and showy magazines, this blatant atheism threatens to warp the mind of America’s rising generation and to hoodwink them into believing they must bid the Bible farewell if they would be enlightened, intelligent, and up to date.

The Church must mobilize; for this stabbing denial strikes deep into the vitals of our Christian faith. If we cannot accept the first pages of the Bible, how can we believe the last? Let there be no mistake about this basic fact: you cannot deny any one statement from Genesis to Revelation without weakening the entire authority of the Scriptures. It is either the whole Bible or no Bible.

What, then, is the Church’s task in this struggle between God and the brute, between the providential guidance of a heavenly Father and blind chance? What else can it be than to reaffirm its faith in the truth that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning" of all knowledge and to show the failure, the insufficiency, the deceit, that lurk in every theory that would pull God down from His heavens?

Remember there is no uniformity in the attacks led by the generalissimos of atheism. For instance, the Exhibit A, the star witness in the defense of evolution, is the Java fossils widely hailed as the remains of the first apelike man. Now, not I nor the Church, but the Smithsonian Institution in Washington lists fifteen major points on which scientists hold contradictory opinions concerning these three bone fragments. They are not even agreed that the fossils belong to one creature. Many hold that they are ape remains. In spite of this wide-spread disagreement and the suspicious way in which these bones have been handled they are employed by imagination, not by science, to construct a slinking, brutish, apelike man, who is to demonstrate that the Bible account of creation is an exploded myth. I ask the members in this audience, entirely apart from the religious issues, whether any court in the land could admit testimony as contradictory as this.

Glaring errors crop out on every page of scientific history. The great Huxley announced that he had found the primary living substance in slimy ooze at the bottom of the sea. Congratulations poured in upon him. The scientific world was agog for a decade or two, until it was found that this gelatine life which was to disprove divine creation and to establish brute origin was concocted when a quantity of alcohol was poured into a bottle of sea water. Medical anesthesia was denied by scientists; the action of microbes ridiculed, the telephone declared ventriloquism, railroad construction branded as an absurdity, meteors ruled out as impossible, the theory that the blood circulates through the body regarded as stupid twaddle.

A lecturer at the American Academy of Science derided the idea of piping water to the upper floors of a building. A German scientist of the last century declared that nerve impulses could never be measured; yet at the recent convention in St. Louis the biology department of Washington University exhibited apparatus that, besides serving other purposes, recorded exact nerve measurements.

Besides, this cutthroat criticism of the Bible has perpetually been marked by misrepresentations. The great Haeckel, who for years dominated scientific biological thought in Germany, stooped to falsehood and fraudulently used the same illustration to picture the embryo of a dog, an ape, and a man.

Now, my purpose in naming a few of these major blunders committed, not by dabbling amateurs, but by recognized research leaders, is not to discredit their work; for we profit even by mistakes and advance by trial and error investigations. I simply want to repeat what the greatest scientists themselves have declared, that a system which has wandered into so many blind alleys, which has repeatedly been marked by mistakes, cannot rightfully claim to offer us the absolute truth now nor demand that its findings be substituted for the eternal Word. Are you ready to build on shifting sands, to base your hopes on theories that are advocated to-day only to be discarded tomorrow? Or do you want that Word of which God Himself says: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away"?

We must hark back to the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom; for without that reverence, crime and godlessness in our nation will run on to ruin. You cannot exile God without banishing morality, virtue, law, and order. Why is it that today crime has followed in the footsteps of each bold advance of atheism; that cold-blooded murder and bestial lust are taking the greatest toll in all American history? Is all this not because the philosophy of the brute has assumed the upper hand in many hearts and lives, because Wanton lecturers are invading our campuses to scream in one of their pointed slogans:

"Animals we are, and animals we remain"? Is it only a coincidence that the terrible World War was fought in an age of highest culture and intellectual advance? You know that behind every declaration of war lurked the obsession of power, the ambitions for profits (and true patriots serve without pay and without 30,000,000 dripping dollars’ commission), the whole cruel survival-of-the-fittest mania that helped to catapult nations into blood, misery, scurvy, starvation, insanity, suicide.

I ask you, the Christian men and women of America, to find in Christian education the first antidote to the double-strength poison. We must do more than train the mind; we must influence the soul, and for that, Jesus says, "without Me ye can do nothing." A college degree may be the evidence of mental cleverness, but it is no certificate to morality. An illiterate murderer kills with an ax and pays the penalty; but the college killer invents slow tortures for his writhing victims and cheats justice through unprincipled attorneys. You will often find that the men or women behind the lust and the filth of the sensuous novel or the debauch of cheap printed obscenity are college graduates. An unlearned thief, shivering in the breadline, will steal food from municipal headquarters; but the sleek, well-nourished college-trained extortioner will steal the city’s treasury.

Now, to provide for Christian education which not only will mold the mind, but strengthen the heart, and which emphasizes the fear of the Lord as the beginning of every branch of knowledge, the congregations of my Church have established almost 1,400 Christian day-schools throughout the nation, where the love of Christ and the principles of true Christianity are taught daily. The facilities of most of these schools are offered free of charge to parents who wish to give their children a moral basis in life, religious reverence, the spiritual hope that comes with Christ. I shall be glad to write to any of you personally and tell you how your children may enroll in these Christian schools, just as I shall consider it a privilege to give you further information on Christian colleges in which the fear of the Lord permeates the lectures and the lives of the instructors. THE BIBLE AS THE BASIS OF SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE In a much more exalted sense, however, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all spiritual wisdom; for it is only when men reverently and penitently approach God in Christ that they find the crystal-clear truth for their everlasting salvation.

Have you ever stopped to realize that there are only two kinds of religion? The one — call it by as many different names as you will, disguise it in as many different ways as you can, — a class of man-made religions, is solidly united in offering heaven as a payment, a reward for character and accomplishment, in demanding of its followers that they earn their way into heaven and pay for blessedness by good works, good intentions, and good resolutions. And on the other side, separated by an unbridged chasm, is that true soul wisdom which proclaims, "Christ died for our sins," and reaffirms the promise of God that, when the "bleeding Head and wounded" dropped into death with the gasp "It is finished," Christ earned all, gave all, paid all, so that His word holds for all the immeasurable glory of this free, unconditioned, unrestricted, unlimited Gospel faith: "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."

Other teachers have left their followers clutched by paralyzing fear of the hereafter; but it is the eternally blessed Christ who offers heaven as a blessed certainty, so that timid and weary souls can do more than yearn for heaven, pray for heaven, hope for heaven; they can rejoice in heaven, repeating the sacred conviction that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus."

Cold-blooded anti-Biblical science makes man a human accident. Under its cruel teachings life becomes a hard, unsolved mystery, full of question-marks, leading through heaped disappointments to a futile end. But Christ’s heavenly wisdom comes to the aid of millions who have felt the cold, hard impact of the last years to tell them that in Christ we are the children of God; that through faith in His redemption He becomes the guiding, strengthening, interpreting, atoning force in our hearts and lives; that whatever befalls us, even broken promises, accidents, sieges of sickness, bankruptcy, and impoverishment, all may serve, through Christ, to refine our faith, purify our desires, and strengthen our courage.

Now, we may not be able to understand all the sacred truths of the Christian faith — the profound mystery that Christ is both divine and human, that His blood is the cleansing power for all human sin, that the Holy Spirit works in human hearts to make new-born men and women. But are there not thousands of factors in our every-day life that we cannot understand and explain? You cannot account for the powers and processes by which a single seed of an elm-tree planted in the ground first decays and then sprouts forth to become a mighty tree, which in the course of its life may produce one thousand five hundred and eighty-four millions of seeds; yet you know that there are elm-trees and that they grow in this way. You cannot understand the processes by which my voice is brought to you through hundreds of miles in the fraction of a second; yet there is no doubt that you in this moment hear these words. Now, if we are surrounded by unnumbered facts, all far beyond the power of our analysis and understanding, yet each real and actual, would it not be a double folly, as Jesus reminded Nicodemus, to spurn the invitation of Christ’s mercies because we cannot explain them by the processes of our slow and narrow reasoning? You cannot prove the truth of Christ’s redemption by laboratory methods. His special blessing embraces those "that have not seen and yet have believed," who have the witness of the Spirit in their own hearts.

This blessing of unshaken confidence would I invoke upon your hearts as I ask you to join that great company of courageous witnesses who have heard Jesus say to His Father, "Thy Word is truth," and who believe it — men of world-wide renown like Virchow, the great pathologist, whose last prayer, spoken in the presence of his fellow-scientists, was the confession: — Jesus’ blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; Pasteur, whose revolutionary discoveries in preventive medicine have saved thousands of lives, yet who confessed: "The more I know, the more nearly my faith is that of a Breton peasant"; Brewster, physicist, showered with international honors, who declared: "It is presumptuous to doubt Christ’s Word"; Fleming, authority in electricity, whose inventions paved the way for broadcasting, who writes: "Nothing in the... facts or principles of science forbids belief in the Gospel miracles."

In the midst of this Epiphany season I ask you, then, to come with the mind of the Magi; and as these Oriental sages and scientists laid their tribute at the feet of the Christ-child, I beseech you in His name to offer the gold of your courageous faith, the frankincense of your abiding hope, and the myrrh of your increasing devotion. Amen. [This Lutheran Hour sermon first aired in January 1936]

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Time for a Lutheran Translation of the Bible

“Can We Trust Modern Versions?” by Professor John T. Mueller in the April, 1948 Concordia Theological Monthly, published by The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and edited by the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, said:

“The objection that we Lutherans should not use a Bible translation different from others no longer holds, since the various churches are divided in the use of various translations. Would, it then, not make for unity, rather than disunity to have a reliable Lutheran Bible translation?”

Mueller is the Editor of the 800 page Concordia New Testament with Notes published by Concordia Publishing House in 1942. His Christian Dogmatics, published by CPH in 1934, is a one volume epitome of Francis Pieper’s 3 volume “Christliche Dogmatik.” J.T. Mueller is the author of many books and hundreds of articles. In 1957 he asked his student, Herman Otten, to inform the top officials of the LCMS about what various liberals were teaching at Concordia Seminary. These reports led to the Concordia Seminary vs. Otten case. Mueller encouraged Otten to become a journalist and then supported Christian News.

Since 1948 many more new translations of both the New Testament and the entire Bible have been published. Scores of them have been reviewed in Christian News during the last 50 years. Christian News has published hundreds of articles showing that Beck’s AAT, while not perfect, is by far the most accurate and reliable modern translation of the Bible in the language of today and closer to Luther’s translation than any other translation. Beck noted that his translation was closer to Luther’s than any other not because he followed Luther, but because both he and Luther followed the Hebrew and Greek text. Some of the many articles Christian News has published on Bible translation are in the Christian News Encyclopedia and Christian Handbook on Vital Issues. The pages of CN have been open to anyone who tried to show Beck’s AAT was not accurate and in the language of today. Defenders of the RSV and ESV have declined to debate the ESV vs. the AAT.

The Cross

Both Luther’s and Beck’s translations more clearly than any other, particularly in their translation of key messianic prophecies, show that Jesus Christ is at the heart and center of both the Old and New Testament.

When Christian News published Beck’s AAT in 1975, CN placed this symbol on the cover CN included this explanation by Beck on p. iii:

This is the word for “cross” in papyrus 75, our oldest manuscript of Luke. It is found in this special form at Luke 9:23; 14:27; 24:7.

If you spell out this Greek word, it is stauron. But the letters au are omitted and their omission is indicated by the line above the word. Then r, which in Greek has the form of a p, is superimposed on the t so that we have a head suggesting a body on a cross.

“Cross” is the only word in the manuscript selected for such a special design. The Savior, crucified for us, is the reason why the Bible was written – and why it is here translated.

x x x

Beck was excited when more than 50 years ago he first showed CN this word for cross in papyrus 75. Beck was the LCMS’s leading textual scholar and combined Greek and Hebrew translator. He could read these languages as fast as he could read English. As the author of Bible Stories in Pictures, regularly mailed to thousands of Sunday schools, Beck used the language of today. When William Arndt died, Beck taught Arndt’s classes in textual criticism. “The Staurogram – Earliest Depiction of Jesus’ Crucifixion” by Larry W. Hurtado, in the March/April, 2013, Biblical Archaeological Review, the “World’s Largest Circulation Biblical Archaeological Magazine” confirmed what Beck wrote about stauron.

Acquainting Congregations With AATA Christian News reader in Minnesota recently wrote to Christian News:

“We spoke two weeks ago, at which time I inquired about the availability of an inexpensive AAT New Testament. I am enclosing a couple of examples of the N.T.s we are currently distributing for your examination. The ESV is available for $1.00 each in case lots; the little shirt-pocket NIV is approximately $1.75 each (both prices include shipping). I seem to recall that the NIV N.T.s were available in the past without the Psalms & Proverbs for about $1.00 each. An AAT version would be a valuable outreach tool, as well as an inexpensive means of acquainting a congregation with this translation.

As soon as funds permit, CN plans to publish an inexpensive paperback editor of the Lutheran translation of the New Testament plus Psalms based on William Beck’s An American Translation of the Bible.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Concordia Publishing House in 1963 published Beck’s AAT. An LCMS convention asked CPH to publish the entire AAT. CPH first said it would. Then CPH announced that a market survey showed that CPH would not make much money publishing the AAT. Liberals in the LCMS also wanted the LCMS to use the Revised Standard Version of the National Council of Churches. If the LCMS published its own translation of the Bible, liberals feared it would keep the LCMS out of the ecumenical movement. Christian News then published the AAT which CPH had intended to publish after CPH spent many thousands of dollars editing Becks’ AAT. Such confessional Lutheran editors as Rudolf Norden, Erich Allwardt, Reinhold Stallmann, and Elmer Foelber worked hundreds of hours at CPH on the translation. Once CPH declined to publish the AAT, they urged CN to publish the translation they had prepared for publication. Their advice was: Publish the AAT now and then invite others to submit revision. CN included in the first editor of the AAT various suggestions made by the LCMS’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations.

In 1975 CN sent a free copy of the AAT to every LCMS congregation. The editor’s preface concluded: “No translation is perfect. Suggestions for any future printing will be gratefully accepted and considered.”

LCMS President Attacks Beck and AATBeck’s AAT was well received in the LCMS. Some 250,000 copies were mailed from New Haven, Missouri. LCMS President Jacob Preus did not appreciate an independent press. He ordered Christian News to cease publication. He feared the AAT was putting “a feather in Otten’s hat.” When CPH published Beck’s New Testament, Preus registered no concerns about Beck and the AAT. After CN published Beck’s entire AAT, Preus went on a vicious campaign vs. Beck and the AAT. One of his public letters to Otten was 19 pages in length. Preus insisted Beck did not defend the scriptural doctrine of justification in his New Testament translation. Christian News published articles by confessional Lutheran scholars defending Beck.

Revision Committee
Christian News formed a revision committee of leading confessional Lutheran theologians and laymen for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. They met at Camp Trinity, New Haven, Missouri and evaluated the many suggestions Christian News had received for improvement. A good number of changes were made.

In preparation for the fourth edition of the AAT, CN asked Dr. John Drickamer, a qualified translator of Hebrew and Greek and an expert in the English language to go through the entire AAT, smoothing out some of the English and incorporating any valid textual changes that had been suggested by various scholars throughout the years. Dr. Robert Preus – former president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana and one of the scholars thanked in former AAT editions for translation contributions, highly recommended Dr. Drickamer as a well-informed scholar.

John DrickamerDr. Drickamer wrote in 1999 in an article titled: “What Do You Want in a Bible?” “The beauty of the AAT is its simplicity. No other modern Bible translation can compare to it for combing in clarity and accuracy. Some are fairly clear but not very accurate. Some are fairly accurate but not very clear. Among modern translations only AAT is very clear and very accurate.”

Drickamer included in the Fourth Edition of the AAT valid improvements of Beck’s work made I The New Testament – God’s Word to the Nations edited by Phil Giessler and other confessional Lutherans.

Louis Brighton of the LCMSFew knew William Beck better than Louis Brighton, now a retired professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He is the author of CPH’s scholarly commentary on Revelation. When Beck died in 1966 Brighton wrote:

“Of all the learned essays and pronouncements and the thousands of words in print from the official offices and theological professional gatherings so little of it means anything at all or has any significant influence in the life of the Church. But the work and words and spirit of this man, William F. Beck, will long speak to the heart and needs of people.”

Henry Koch of the WELS
Henry Koch of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, who taught for some years at the LCMS’s Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, earned his PH.D. at the University of Leipzig at a time when this university was at its height. Koch wrote when CN published the AAT: Dr. Beck “was a Christian scholar and I cherish his translation much more that nanny other, because he is at the same time a truly Lutheran and Christian scholar. For many other scientific renown means more than anything else. I want scholarly and truly Christian fidelity to the text. Dr. Beck serves this cause in every respect.

Dr. Koch wrote in an article titled “Why Lutherans Should Use the AAT – An Evaluation of the AAT and NIV Bible Translations” (The Christian News Encyclopedia, I. 111-3): “I heartily endorse the truly Lutheran translation of Dr. Beck together with the added improvements mentioned above, but I cannot endorse the NIV for reasons of conscience bound by Scriptures and mentioned in my evaluation. Here we have a chance of obtaining a Lutheran translation of our own minting. I hope that we can work together for an even better translation and edition whenever necessary. To me it seems as though our dear Lord of the Church is showing us a way of reaching the noble goal of a truly Lutheran translation of the Bible in these later days.”

Rudolph Honsey of the ELSRudolph Honsey is a retired professor of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s Bethany College. He was a member of the AAT revision committee and the author of the WELS’s Northwestern Publishing Houses’ The People’s Bible Commentary on Job. While the fine People’s Bible Commentary promoted by Christian News uses the NIV, it often points out the weaknesses of the NIV. Commenting on Job 19:23-27, Honsey writes:

“The NIV, in which the text for this book is given, translates the verb in the first line of verse 26 ‘has been destroyed.’ Most English versions translate it similarly. The King James Version adds the word ‘worms’: ‘Worms destroy this body.’ As the italics in the KJV indicate, that word is not in the Hebrew text. The translation ‘has been destroyed,’ as in the NIV, is surely a possible translation.

“Although most versions translate the verb with the meaning of ‘destroy,’ it can be translated differently. In his German Bible Martin Luther translates that word with the German expression ‘umgeben warden,’ which means be surrounded.” William F. Beck also translates it in that manner in his American Translation. That translation has support from two early translations of the Old Testament: the Greek translation known as the Septuagint, a few centuries before Christ, and the Latin translation known as the Vulgate, about A.D. 400” (132-133).

* * *

“The authors of one of our Lutheran confessions, The Formula of Concord, also understood that verb to mean ‘surround’ rather than ‘destroy.’ In his Popular Commentary of the Bible, Old Testament, Volume II, P. E. Kretzmann interprets that word to mean ‘surround’ rather than ‘destroy.’

‘The author of this volume of The People’s Bible also prefers the translation ‘surround.’ While it is certainly true that our bodies will decay and our skin will be destroyed in death, it is equally true that each of us will be raised up with the same body and one’s own skin, but in a glorified condition.

It appears to this w1iter that the entire verse (26) speaks of the resurrection” (133).

Jack CascioneJack Cascione, who worked on revision of the AAT, wrote in “Unique Features of Beck’s Old Testament” (Christian News, August 22, 2001):

“First and foremost Dr. William Beck was an Old Testament scholar. His goal was to have readers gain a deeper understanding of the Biblical text in his An American Translation. Beck’s translation of Micah 1:8-16 is an example of his attempt to translate the meaning of a text rather than present a strictly literal translation. One of the arts of translation is to decide when God is intending a literal meaning versus a figurative or metaphoric meaning.”

“Beck is clearly an innovator. His insights into the Old Testament have no equal in 20th Century English translations, which is why the NIV and others of the borrowed his innovations and incorporated them into their own translations. His daring translation is partly due to the fact that he is more certain of his theology than other translators. We have yet to find a translator who captures the rhythm of the text and intended meaning of the Minor Prophets more than Beck.”

DiathekeMatthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20 1 Corinthians 11:25 AAT, Fourth Edition, KJV: “This is My blood of the New Testament” ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV: “This is My blood of the covenant.”

Baptists, Pentecostals, and nearly all Reformed denominations say the word should be “covenant” instead of “testament.” One new translation of the Bible after another show the legalistic, law-loving, I-gave-my-life-to-Jesus Baptist/Reformed bias, by using the word “covenant.” “Is it ‘New Testament’ or ‘New Covenant’: What does Luther Say” by Jack Cascione, Luther Today – What Would He do or Say, pp. 92, 97: “We have to ask why Concordia Publishing House doesn’t publish a Bible that agrees with Luther on the Lord’s Supper? (Why Does Rev. Paul McCain and CPH now promote the ESV rather than the AAT?),” Jack Cascione. Note what the “New Testament – God’s Word to the Nations” (GWN) says about Diatheke, pp. 531-540.

Scott Meyer, Retired Attorney and President of the Concordia Historical Institute“•As a confessional and orthodox Lutheran layman, I confess the authority, inerrancy, efficacy, and sufficiency of the Bible, and that Scripture interprets Scripture. Hebrews 2:9 clearly teaches that the preceding verses 6-8 which it cited from Psalm 8:4-6, refer to Jesus. Therefore, the confessional and orthodox Lutheran interpretation of Psalm 8, as in Luther and AAT, must be that it teaches of Christ the “son of man,” rather than “man.”

“• The foregoing interpretation of Psalm 8 is consistent with the Confessions of the Lutheran Church, as seen from the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VIII, “Person of Christ,” The Book of Concord, Kolb/Wengert, p. 621. It is also consistent with the Missouri Synod’s leading dogmatician, F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Vol. 11, The Doctrine of Christ,” at pp. 158-159, “Communicated Omnipotence” and p. 329, “Christ’s Session at God’s Right Hand.” According to David P. Scaer, Christology, pp.105-106, in Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics, Vol. VI, Pieper is in agreement with what the ‘older Lutheran teachers-Martin Chemnitz, John Gerhard, John Quenstadt, David Hollaz’ -- have written on this issue. In summary, Christian News has it right.”

Ed. The LCMS’s CTCR and the ESV promoted through CPH in most LCMS churches disagrees with Luther and says Psalm 8 does not refer to Jesus Christ. It’s time for a Lutheran Translation of the Bible which uses Beck’s AAT as a start.
(Christian News, September 16, 2013)

A Comparison of Some Bible Translations
Genesis 4:1AAT: “She said, ‘I have gotten a man, the Lord.”

ESV, RSV, NASB, NIV (New International Version, New American Standard Bible, KJV) “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

Luther: Ich have den Mann, den Herrn.”
Eve was mistaken that she was to be the mother of the Messiah but she correctly understood that Genesis 3:15 referred to Jesus, the coming Messiah.

Genesis 49:10AAT: “The scepter will not pass away from Judah or a rule between his feet Till SHILOH (Man of Rest) comes whom the nations will obey.”

ESV, RSV, NIV: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him and to him shall be the obedience of the people.”

Psalm 8:5AAT: “You make Him do without God for a little while: then crown Him with glory and honor.”

ESV, RSV, NASB, NIV: “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Luther insisted that Psalm 8:5 referred to Jesus Christ. The LCMS’s CTCR in it’s The Creator’s Tapestry, supports the ESV and disagrees with Luther and says it refers to a human man and not Jesus Christ, (Christian News, April 26, 2010).

Proverbs 8:22AAT: “The LORD became My Father at the beginning of His way. . .”
ESV, RSV, NIV, NASB: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work. . .”

Jeremiah 23:6
AAT: “This is the name that He will be called: The Lord-Our-Righteousness.”
ESV, RSV: “And this is the name by which he will be called: The LORD is our righteousness.”

Micah 5:2AAT: “From you (Bethlehem) there will come out for Me, One who is to rule Israel Who comes from eternity.”
ESV, RSV, NIV: “From you (Bethlehem) there comes out for Me, One who is to be ruler of Israel, whose origin is of old, from ancient days.”

(We speak of the “ancient Egyptians” but they are not from eternity)

Hebrews 5:8AAT: “Although Jesus is the Son, He learned from what He suffered what it means to obey.”
ESV, RSV, NIV, NASB: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.”

Philippians 2:5,6AAT: “Think just as Christ Jesus thought: Although He was God: He did not consider His being equal with God as a prize to be displayed. . .”

ESV, RSV, NIV, NASB: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.”

These translations make “equality with God” something that Jesus did not have; it is “a thing to be grasped” in the future. There is no future in the text, which clearly states that Jesus is equal with God without reaching for such equality.

Craig, one the RSV translators, reports that all nine translators of the New Testament agreed on this rendering without a discussion, and he comments on this passage, “ ‘Jesus is Lord’ – not God.” William Beck, We Need A Good Bible, Christian News, December 1, 1975.

John 1:3AAT: “Everything was made by Him.”

ESV, RSV, NIV, NKJV (New King James Version) “All things were made through Him.”

“By” or “through” (Greek: dia) – While the Bible sometimes speaks of Jesus as the agent “through” whom the Father acts, it also presents Jesus as an independent Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. But in all the statements where Jesus is the Creator (John 1:3, 10; 1 Cor.8:6; Col. 1:16) the RSV has changed “by” as it is in the KJV to “through.” “Through” is incorrect as well as awkward language. “By” is correct and idiomatic. Other passages in which Jesus is the original cause but which the RSV translates with “through” are: Rom. 1:5; 5:17, 21; 8:37; 2 Cor. 1:20; Gal. 1:1.
The RSV translates this preposition when it is used with “prophet” and with “Jesus” as follows:

“by” “through”
Prophet 21 1
Jesus 8 46

Here the RSV clearly shows its bias. It uses “by” with ‘’prophet” in all cases except one in order to make the prophets independent, uninspired writers, as far as that can be done by a preposition. It uses “by” with Jesus only eight times and “through” forty-six times: This presents Jesus as far as possible as a dependent agent of God. (The RSV always uses “by” with angels.)

The ESV follows the RSV and similarly translates dia with “through” in John 1:3, John 1, 10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1,16.

ESV also translates dia with “through” in Romans 1,5; Romans 5,17; Romans 5,21; Romans 8:37; 2 Cor. 1,20; Gal. 1:1.

The NIV translates dia with “through” in John 1:3; John 1:10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Romans 1:5; Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21; Romans 8:37; 2 Cor. 1:20.

The New King James Version translates dia with “through” in John 1:3; John 1:10; 1 Cor. 8:6; and Col. 1:16.
King James Version translates dia with “by” in John 1:3; John 1:10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; and Col. 1:16.

I sent Jack Cascione Beck’s “We Need A Good Bible” and asked him to use his computer skills to check how the various translations translate dia. He came up with 18 pages. Enclosed is a summary of his significant findings. They show that Beck’s criticism about the RSV translation of dia were valid and also apply to the NIV and other translations. How is it possible for the WELS to now promote the NIV?

Direct – Rectilinear Messianic Prophecy
Matthew 2:15“I called My Son from Egypt.”

The AAT and NKJV mention that this passage refers to Numbers 24:8 and Hosea 11:1. The NIV, ESV, NASB only list Hosea 11:1. This passage is often cited by those like Paul McCain of CPH who ridicule defenders of direct messianic prophecy and observe that the context in Hosea 11 indicates that Hosea 11:1 refers to the nation Israel. However, as such ancient church fathers as Eusebius and Cyprian noted, the passage refers to Numbers 24:8. The fourth edition of the AAT at Numbers 24:8 cites Matthew 2:15. See “A Solution to a “Problem Prophecy” An Examination of Matthew 2:15” Christian News, March 23, 1992, Christian News Encyclopedia, p. 3321.

The Language of TodayThe preface to the Revised Standard Version of the National Council of Churches Says that “The Revised Standard Version is not a new translation in the language of today” (p. IX). The ESV uses the same archaic language as the RSV. A review of the ESV in the April 2005 Concordia Journal of our St. Louis seminary said that the “archaic English” of the ESV is not helpful and that “the AAT provides a more readable and understandable translation.” The Fall 2006 Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly said that the language of the ESV is “very archaic and hard to understand like the King James” and “In many places sounds quite stilted.” Mark L. Strauss of Bethel Seminary, San Diego, who has been a consultant for several Bible translations, says that the ESV “is not suitable as a standard Bible for the church. This is because the ESV too often fails the rest of ‘standard English’.” A survey (Christian News, August 24, 2009, pp. 16, 17) comparing the AAT and ESV showed that some 90% who responded preferred the language and doctrinal accuracy of the AAT over the ESV.” CN suggested that both the LCMS and WELS publish such a survey in their official publications to find out what more pastors and laymen in the WELS and LCMS say. Neither the LCMS nor WELS were interested. No leaders of the LCMS and CPH (Concordia Publishing House) or leaders of the WELS or NPH (Northwestern Publishing House) were interested in hearing the case for a Lutheran translation based on Beck’s AAT and why the AAT is far superior to both the ESV and NIV or any other modern translation. The LCMS leaders are pushing the ESV down the throat of the LCMS and the majority of the WELS leaders continue to promote the Reformed NIV.

With the approach of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation the time has come for The Lutheran Bible Translation even if the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod have refused to support such a translation and prefer the translations of non-Lutherans whose theology is reflected in the ESV, NIV and other translations.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

21st Century Formula of Concord Opposes Homosexuality

Christian News, July 29, 2013

The Twenty-First Formula of Concord the CN editor attempted to get the LCMS’s 2013 convention to support says in a section on Adultery: “The Bible condemns both homosexual orientation and practice as sin. There is no room in heaven for unrepentant adulterers, homosexuals, etc. churches which allow homosexuals and lesbians to serve as pastors are false churches with which faithful Christians should not fellowship. (Romans 1:26, 27); 1 Cor. 6:9; Romans 16:17; Christian News Encyclopedia, 2366-2403, 1002-1636).

“Gay-friendly trend washes over court,” an RNS report in the July 25, 2013 Christian Century includes a photo (above) with this caption: “A Normal Part of Ministry: Mike Wilker, pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C., said half the weddings he performs at his congregation are for couples of the same gender.”

The report in the Christian Century says in part:

“Sometimes a court opinion is more than just a court opinion. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 26-page decision on June 26 striking down a federal ban on same-sex marriages offers a window into Americans’ rapidly shifting views of same-sex relationships-a shift that increasingly relies on secular views of law and fairness, not traditional moral or religious views.

“At the same time, Justice Antonin Scalia’s biting dissent in United States v. Windsor reflects a set of cultural, religious and social arguments that are losing ground in the court of public opinion and now in the highest court of the land. In the 17 years since Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, many Americans have gained ‘a new perspective, a new insight’ on the meaning of marriage, Kennedy said. As a result, gay marriage is now legal in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

“Kennedy said large swaths of American society had concluded that not allowing gay couples to wed is an ‘unjust exclusion.’ He used a striking string of words to describe DOMA’s impact on gay families: Disparage. Degrade. Demean.

“Allowing gay marriage, he said, is a ‘far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the State worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages. It reflects both the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.’

“A decade ago, it would have been near inconceivable to imagine the nation’s highest court referring to the ‘dignity’ of gay marriage. But things have changed-remarkably so. In 2003, at the time of Lawrence v. Texas, the court’s last major gay rights case, support for gay marriage hovered around 32 percent; today, that figure is 51 percent.

“Why the shift? For one, older generations that are the most opposed are giving way to younger Americans who are far more supportive. Gays and lesbians are coming out younger and more often, and openly gay characters anchor popular shows like Glee and Modern Family.

“In 2003, gay marriage didn’t exist and the Episcopal Church was shell-shocked by the election of an openly gay bishop. On June 26, the bells of Washington National Cathedral pealed in celebration of the court decision, and the election  May 31 of the first openly gay Lutheran bishop was met with mostly shrugs. A recent Gallup poll found a 19-point swing on the ‘moral acceptability’ of gay and lesbian relations since 2001 -the largest shift on any social issue. As Gallup put it, ‘U.S. acceptance of gay/lesbian relations is the new normal.’”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

President/Bishop Benke Sides with the Sacerdotalists

By Jack Cascione
Christian News, July 22, 2013

Like other LCMS Sacerdotalists, Atlantic District President David Benke likes the title Bishop (as seen on the internet).   We are not surprised that he takes sides with LCMS Sacerdotalists over the recent Reclaim News release “Sacerdotalists Taking over the LCMS.”

Benke writes:
“Jack Cascione is bitter-ish, a former Missouri Synod pastor who took himself and his congregation out of the denomination and is now retired.  Although the topic of Bible versions has some importance as a denominational selection, the rest of Cascione's opinions are insubstantial.”
Signed Dave Benke

It is nothing out of the ordinary when members of the LCMS Council of District Presidents distort the truth as Benke does here.  “Insubstantial” depends on whose substance is being gored.

First, Cascione did not leave the LCMS, he was removed from the LCMS clergy roster on December 21, 2004 by COP President and Michigan District President Hoesmann in a 3 sentence letter.  There were no charges of false doctrine, questionable practice, or allegations of any kind, no phone-calls, no meetings, and no conversation from the regional vice-president or the circuit counselor.  There is no paper trail.  The only letter from Redeemer Lutheran Church to the Michigan District President stated that Cascione wanted to remain on the LCMS clergy roster.

Second, Cascione’s crime is that he touched the third rail of LCMS politics, “Thou shalt not expose COP real-estate fraud.”  In response to the CCM Opinion of May 2004 Redeemer Lutheran Church said it was leaving the LCMS unless it was assured that the COP agreed to follow “proper channels” in congregational constitutions that the district had already approved.

Third, CCM May 2004 exempts the COP from following “proper channels” in congregational constitutions, thus nullifying a congregation’s property rights whenever a member of the COP wishes to circumvent a congregational constitution.

Michigan District President Hoesmann refused to answer the congregation’s question.  An LCMS official who makes 6 figures doesn’t have to answer a congregation’s question, even if it means that refusal to answer results in the congregation leaving the Synod.  The question was referred to the Council of District Presidents.  Months later, President Kieschnick wrote to the congregation in behalf of the COP that there was nothing they could do.

The fish stinks from the head.

These events led this writer to advise the four women the LCMS was suing for their church property in Oakland, California.  During the whole processes the Synod denied it was suing anyone.  After bankrupting the church, the LCMS lost the suit.

During the process Herman Otten and I were able to feed questions to their attorney when he deposed President Kieschnick in February 2010 in St. Louis.  Publishing Kieschnick’s transcripts on the internet and in Christian News were a factor in Kieschnick’s removal from office later that summer.

Benke is aware of all this, yet he writes, that Cascione took himself out the LCMS.  This is how the COP sanitizes its malfeasance.  Unless of course Benke means questioning COP real-estate fraud is equivalent to a resignation from the LCMS clergy roster.

When sacerdotalists can’t debate the facts, they simply rely on their holy sacramental rite of ordination to manufacture their own truth.  When the clergy are the church everything they say is from God.

Some Documentation for CN’s Comments on Cwirla and on Sacerdotalism in LCMS

Christian News, July 15, 2009

From the article CN published by Jack Cascione:

"The Rev. William Cwirla is scheduled to be an essayist at the 2013 Convention.  In 2001 Pastor Cwirla testified before Committee 7 that adopting Walther’s 'Church and Ministry' was against the Gospel.  He and many other pastors condemned Walther’s book from the Convention floor."

A comment from Cwirla on Facebook on CN's blog:

"This is a complete misrepresentation of my testimony before Committee 7 at the 2001 synodical convention and my remarks on the floor of the convention. At no time did I 'condemn Walther's book' or imply that adopting his book would be 'contrary to the Gospel.' This is patently false and slanderous. I demand an immediate an public retraction of this statement....

"This article and its insinuations are utterly false and reprehensible. "

Later comment from Cwirla on CN's blog:

"I recognize, of course, that Mr. Cascione does not actually refer to me as a 'sacerdotalist' in this article."

Quotes from Cwirla on Facebook cited by Rick Strickert on CN's blog:

"In response to Pres. Harrison's November 6, 2010, 1:57 PM, Facebook comment, 'Just finished the first pass revision of the first half of JT Mueller's translation of Walther's Kirche und Amt. VERY interesting" Rev. William M. Cwirla stated at 2:02 PM, 'I'm not sure a revision can completely repair it.'

"In response to a November 13, 2010, 7:49PM Facebook comment by Pres. Harrison, Rev. Cwirla stated at 8:14 PM:
"'Here's the even more amazing thing: The synod in convention reaffirmed this as doctrine in the LCMS in 2001. Since most of the delegates can't read German, this is the text they adopted. Hehehehehhe. Gotta love it.'

'Even in German, K&A isn't too hot. Sub-confessional in my estimation.'"

Cwirla responded on CN's blog:
"Yup. I wrote all of that. And more."

(Cwirla complains that CN's article was totally wrong and Cwirla demands a retraction and yet he admits he called Walther's book "sub-confessional," etc.  There was not really a problem or error in what CN published about Cwirla.)

LCMS pastor Lincoln Winter wrote on his blog:
"The synod’s unofficial newspaper (the one that no one reads, but everyone knows what’s in it) arrived today. As I was throwing it in the circular file (goodness knows *I* never read it), I noticed the headline:

Sacerdotalists Taking Over the LCMS.

"To which I say:

"We’ve been working so hard for such a long time, I’m glad someone is finally recognizing our efforts."

From the article CN published by Jack Cascione:

"In three successive Symposium banquets at Fort Wayne, this writer was the primary subject of derision and humorous ridicule for publicly defending Walther’s 'Church and Ministry.'  They were led in song by the current LCMS President and current President of the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne."

Numerous writers did the same thing in 2013 in reaction to CN's article on July 1, 2013 sacerdotalism on Cwirla's Facebook page.  They were a horrible witness.

Cwirla commented on CN's blog:

"Obviously, this article is nothing more than a cheap shot against Pres. Harrison. My name is included just because I'm a convention essayist. The tactic is guilt by association."

Yup, Cwirla's right about the fact that Harrison has said nothing in criticism of Cwirla does not speak well of Harrison.
From the article CN published by Jack Cascione:

"The Convention Chaplain Rev. William Weedon, who once considered joining the Greek Orthodox Church, wrote a glowing review of LCMS Sacerdotalist, Rev. Berthold Von Schenk. He also likes the title Father Weedon."

Weedon commented on Cwirla's Facebook page:

"Weedon has publicly stated more than once he preferred pastor not father. Weedon did seriously consider becoming Orthodox, never Greek though, and years ago recognized that he would believe, confess, and die a Lutheran. Weedon does enjoy Von Schenk's autobiography. Weedon has always been blessed by the writings of Walther (a frequent old Lutheran cited on his blog)."

(The Antiochian Orthodox Church, which some LCMS pastors have left the LCMS for, is in full fellowship with the Greek Orthodox Church.)

In a glowing review of Berthold von Schenk's biography posted on Weedon's blog in 2007, Weedon wrote in part, quoting von Schenk.

“According to St. Paul it is the Eucharistic Community, under the direction of the ordained minister of the church, to manifest the total presence of Christ.”

Weedon commented, "Yes!"

von Schenk was a Sacerdotalist and von Schenk's statement approvingly quoted by Weedon was Sacerdotal.  Nobody has really denied this.

CN also provided documentation that von Schenk from von Schenk's own writings was a theological liberal who did not support biblical inerrancy and other essential doctrines.  von Schenk didn't even agree with Martin Luther in his stand with Zwingli on the Lord's Supper.  Ironically, the concept that von Schenk promoted some correct doctrine and practice on the Lord's Supper is widely accepted.  The facts do not show that that is the case.   Nobody has really denied that von Schenk was a liberal.

On Cwirla's Facebook page, Cwirla likened CN to a fart, unrepentant sinner, etc.  Numerous writers on Cwirla's Facebook page floated the idea of suing CN with the purpose of shutting down CN.  (There would be no basis for it.)  Cwirla has not been similarly critical of the theological liberalism of von Schenk.  There are also numerous LCMS voices supporting Roman Catholics (Richard Neuhaus is the most visible example) and Cwirla has not been critical of that (Cwirla himself has favorably eulogized Neuhaus,, "Richard John Neuhaus fell asleep in Jesus today.  He was among America’s most provocative thinkers, writers, theologians, and pastors." William M. Cwirla).  The first executive director (Dan Woodring) of the Higher Things youth organization, which Cwirla is also on the Board of Directors of and has been a leader of, converted to Roman Catholicism.  Higher Things has sometimes said and done published some good things, but a major thrust of the group is to constantly warn against Evangelicals and thus it's hardly that surprising that a leader of HT became Roman Catholic.  Roman Catholicism advocates an openly Sacerdotal view of the ministry. as well as other false teachings, i.e., indulgences (this does not mean that Christians within the Roman Catholic Church who truly believe in Jesus Christ are not saved in spite of errors to be found in the Roman Church).

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia comments, correctly, "Lutherans reject sacerdotalism. They hold that the New Testament presents only one atoning sacrifice, the Body of Christ offered once for all on the cross by Christ himself, who is both the sinless offering and the sinless priest."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sacerdotalist Taking Over the LCMS

By Jack Cascione 
Christian News, July 1, 2013

“What is a Sacerdotalist?” you ask.  Two definitions are as follows:

Merriam Webster: Sacerdotalism - Religious belief emphasizing the powers of priests as essential mediators between God and humankind. Sacerdotal - Relating to a doctrine that ascribes spiritual or supernatural powers to ordained priests.

“Who believes this false doctrine?” - The Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, the ELCA, and many clergy in the LCMS.

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod at its founding rejected this false doctrine and adopted C. F. W. Walther’s book “Church and Ministry” as the official doctrine and practice of the LCMS.  Walther’s “Church and Ministry” quotes the Bible, the Lutheran Confessions, Luther and other church fathers in support of congregational polity and voter supremacy.

After a 5-year struggle the 2001 LCMC Convention reaffirmed Walther’s “Church and Ministry” as the official doctrine and practice of the LCMS in Resolution 7-17A.  After the untimely death of A. L. Barry, the Convention also elected Gerald Kieschnick as president when Christian News exposed Dr. Dean Wenthe’s refusal to endorse Walther’s “Church and Ministry.”

Kieschnick, a District President, was obsessed with the Church-Growth board-of-directors model of congregational government and was theologically incompetent.  The LCMS lost a quarter million members during his presidency.  Board-directed polity disenfranchises voters’ assemblies in the name of corporate efficiency versus sacerdotal clergy who disenfranchise voters’ assemblies in the name of God.  Regrettably Robert Kuhn and Daniel Preus both refused to allow their names to stand for election in 2001.

Now in 2013 the pendulum has swung all the way back from Church-Growth mentality to Sacerdotal-Episcopal hierarchy.

The Rev. William Cwirla is scheduled to be an essayist at the 2013 Convention.  In 2001 Pastor Cwirla testified before Committee 7 that adopting Walther’s “Church and Ministry” was against the Gospel.  He and many other pastors condemned Walther’s book from the Convention floor.

The Convention Chaplain Rev. William Weedon, who once considered joining the Greek Orthodox Church, wrote a glowing review of LCMS Sacerdotalist Rev. Berthold Von Schenk’s biography.  He also likes the tile “Father Weedon.”

You may ask, “What is this attraction to Sacerdotalism? By the late 1980s many LCMS pastors became painfully aware that women suffrage (adopted in 1969) and voter polity do not mix.  LCMS congregational administration was in meltdown.  Difficult decisions often brought voters into conflict with each others’ marriages.  The clergy divided on two solutions.  Many adopted the closed-meeting corporate board-of-directors model for church administration.  Others decided that Walther was wrong and ordination is a sacrament for clergy on the order of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  They follow early church father Ignatius’s dictum as published in the 2007 Fort Wayne Cornerstone, “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the congregation be; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church.”

Now every time a congregation issues a call, they have to ask themselves “Did we get a CEO or Bishop?”  The WELS and ELS have avoided much of the chaos and maintained congregational polity by preserving male suffrage even though the WELS believes Synod is church.

In 2005 LCMS Sacerdotalists rewrote the Lutheran Confessions until the Wisconsin Synod published a scathing expose and CPH was forced to publish 16 pages of corrections as a paste-in addendum.  In the fallout Paul McCain was demoted, Harrison gave Mark Sell a position in LCMS World Relief, and others were no longer asked to work for CPH.

Now, LCMS President Matthew Harrison has retranslated Walther’s “Church and Ministry” before the 2013 Convention to say that the Synod is Church.  In LCMS doctrine [not WELS], if the Synod is Church, Harrison is the Pastor of the LCMS and is the chief administrator of the Office of the Keys in the LCMS.  In other words Harrison has turned the Synod from being an advisory organization to a divine church body.

Now that the 2010 Convention has adopted the District Presidents’ plan to “reorganize” the Synod there isn’t anything the delegates can do to reaffirm congregational polity and voter supremacy.  The delegates can’t vote, they can’t speak at the floor committees, and they can’t bring up “controversial” resolutions from the floor.  The District Presidents have removed the evils of politics from the LCMS Convention by instituting COP dictatorship.  Many Americans may also presumably prefer to remove the politics out of Congress by making the President the supreme leader.  Lazy laypeople have said, “Let the COP do it.”

During the drama, politics, and conflict of the 2001 Convention (this is how real men make decisions) Floor Committee 7 Chairman, Montana District President Doctor George Wollenburg, directed the entire adoption process of 7-17A through two stormy 45-minute sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.  In the midst of heated debate, Wollenburg held up a copy of “Church and Ministry” over his head and shouted, “This is Synod’s Magna Charta.”

Walther’s “Church and Ministry” was adopted 73.1% to 26.9%.

In 1999, at the Fort Wayne Symposium, this writer, after significant resistance from other pastors, including the current LCMS President, asked the sainted LCMS President, A. L. Barry, with some 700 in attendance, “What is the Synod’s official position on Church and Ministry?”  When Barry answered that it was Walther’s “Church and Ministry” no one applauded as they had for his answers to other questions. 

A few months later, a survey was sent to both seminary faculties, asking if they supported Walther’s position that the congregational assembly was the final tribunal in the congregation.  Only six from Fort Wayne and three from St. Louis agreed.  Many from St. Louis would not reply.

In three successive Symposium banquets at Fort Wayne, this writer was the primary subject of derision and humorous ridicule for publicly defending Walther’s “Church and Ministry.”  They were led in song by the current LCMS President and current President of the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

In 2008 Harrison apologized for his behavior and said he now supported Walther’s position.  We made him the featured speaker at the Walther Conference.

It appears that Harrison has changed his mind again.

What choice does the Convention have?  Either the Synod will be bled dry by District President-CEOs or led back to Rome by paternalistic Bishops.