Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Universalism Destroys True Mission Work

Short Term Mission Trips
Universalism Destroys True Mission Work
Christian News, July 2, 2012

“Mission Trips” is the cover story of the June, 2012 Lutherans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The five page story includes photos of short term missionaries erecting buildings. This is their “missionary experience.” Nothing is said about proclaiming the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost sinners, baptizing, and teaching God’s Word.

Since universalism has infiltrated the major Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church, why should they spend time and energy preaching God’s Word? Universalism teaches that all men, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. are going to heaven without saving faith in Christ.

“Magazine Examines Potential Damage of Short-Term Missions” in the September 13, 2010 CN reported what “Unfinished ,” the quarterly publication of The Mission Society said about Short Term Missions “Universalism Marches On – Missionaries Losing Chariots of Fire” in the July 12, 2010 CN noted that most major denominations today have degenerated into social gospel work and not the preaching of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The chapter on missions in the editor’s Baal or God (1965) showed how “Universalism Destroys Missions.”

CN has asked the LCMS mission department if all LCMS missionaries (long term and short term) and all those on the mission staff are expected to confess that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and that non-Christians who die without saving faith in Christ are lost. Must they believe the word of Jesus in John 14:6 that He is the only way to heaven? Must they accept the Athanasian Creed when it says that all those who do not accept the Trinity as the only saving God “shall perish everlastingly?” CN received the usual response it receives form the LCMS bureaucracy. Zilch, mum.

“Why we can hope EVERYONE WILL BE SAVED,” the cover story of the June 27, 2012 Christian Century promotes “A Hopeful Universalism.” The author concludes “I’ve gestured here toward the legitimacy of hopeful universalism.”

“Hopeful universalists therefore have an opportunity to frame new discussions about the scope of salvation.” Pro-abortion Christian Century editor John M. Buchanan in his editorial “Grace before anything” agrees with “Why We Can Hope EVERYONE WILL BE SAVED.”

He writes: “As soon as I was old enough to think about it, I was uncomfortable with the idea that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is an automatic ticket to heaven, and with the reverse idea—that failing to confess belief in Christ resulted in an eternity in hell, even in the cause of unbaptized infants and all the people who have never heard about Jesus. What about those who heard but were unpersuaded? What about my Uncle Harry? God consigning all those people to hell never squared in my mind with God loving us as a parent loves a child. I wondered how a parent could condemn a child to punishment forever.”

(The Christian Century, long a weekly, is now published bi-weekly (104 S. Michigan Ave. Suite 1100, Chicago, Illinois 60603; $59 per year. Individual copy $7.95.)

Universalist rejects the words of Jesus “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 144:6). They repudiate the Athanasian Creed which says the Holy Trinity is the only true God and all who do not believe in the Trinity are lost.

Mission work in the LCMS has come a long way since the days LCMS missionaries believed Christ was the only way to heaven. They concentrated on the saving gospel of Christ, baptized, communed and taught God’s Word to lost sinners. This editor had relatives who served as long time missionaries in Brazil, India, and China. One served 60 years in Brazil. Another 40 years among the Muslims in India. They are buried in these countries.

After universalism and modernism infiltrated mission work of the major denominations, independent mission societies were formed to proclaim the saving Gospel of Christ to lost sinners. While they also helped with physical needs, hospitals, etc. the major emphasis of the independent societies was on proclaiming the saving Gospel of Christ.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seminary Journal Clashes With CTCR on Emergent Church
Christian News, June 25, 2012

“The End of Theology? The Emergent Church in Lutheran Perspective” in the Spring 2012  Concordia Journal presents a far more favorable view of the Emergent Church than the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s  Commission on Theology and Church Relations and Dr. Carol Geisler in her essay “Reframing the Story: The End of the Emergent Conversation.”
During the last several years Christian News has published many articles exposing the anti-scriptural nature of the Emergent Church. Some are reprinted in this issue.
Chad Lakies, a Ph.D. candidate in Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is the author of “The End of Theology - The Emergent Christian Lutheran Perspective”. He recently accepted a call to serve as assistant professor of Theology at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.
Lakies writes in the Concordia Journal that he wants to show a different kind of evaluation than the CTCR and Dr. Geisler.  The future Concordia Portland Professor
“To return to my criticism of Geisler’s methodology, then, this is the very place that her typical Lutheran approach fails. From the outset, the assumption, which is uncritically employed, is that Lutherans are plainly and simply right. From the very beginning, it is as if confessional Missouri Synod Lutheranism owns the market on theology. There is no question about this. Yet, in the spirit of Luther above, how can Lutherans possibly adopt such a stance, even implicitly? But the tone of Geisler’s evaluation (and that of the CTCR document on the emergent church) seems just so confident. Thus, Geisler proceeds (as does the CTCR document) to evaluate the emergents on the basis of propositional beliefs and whatever apparent confessional position can be cobbled together from their writings in order to point out just how unLutheran (and therefore, unorthodox, dangerous, and heretical) it is.
“It is here that one must wonder if Dr. Geisler and other Lutherans (and those of other faith traditions) who employ a similar methodology are the ones who have put an ‘end’ to the ‘conversation.’ Such a methodology of evaluating the beliefs and confessions of others is problematic for a whole slew of different reasons. But ultimately it assumes that ‘theology is over,’ that orthodoxy has once-for-all been established and is guarded and maintained in our Confession, and thus it is our God-given task to sound the alarm when others get out of line. But is this position not in itself entirely closed? It seems to be the very accusation Geisler levels against the emergents themselves when she says, “Before Lutherans join whole-heartedly in the conversation they may want to consider the discussion’s general direction because it is not an open-ended dialogue” (120).
“Emergents rightfully sense that there should be something more here. For emergent, believing in the resurrection means, for example, responding positively to the person asking for money who lives in the cardboard box and pushes the grocery cart full of his or her only possessions around the neighborhood (that could mean anything from giving money as one passes by to assisting in some way for the purpose of helping the person get off the street). For emergents, not doing so is tantamount to denying the resur- rection.  Believing in the resurrection is not a matter of simply believing in an historical event. Nor should that even be the primary meaning of that statement.  Believing in the resurrection as a Christian means living one’s life in light of the reality of the resurrection. Emergents are trying to say that what one really believes is evidenced in what one does” (121).
“Emergents do not want to end up simply repristinating the kind of ‘violent’ practices and positions from which they are ‘emerging’” (122).
“As for some of the positions which have been made public, such as those which Geisler notes in her article regarding women’s ordination, there is plenty of room for conversation on that topic (remember, ‘theology is NOT over’). But-and this is a significant ‘but’-whatever conversations we do engage in cannot be the kind of conversation which employs the method that I have been trying to show here is inadequate. We must do better than that. Are there good arguments in the Lutheran tradition against women’s ordination? Sure. But they don’t take the form of: ‘We’re orthodox and maintain the historical position of the church on this topic, and you don’t so you’re wrong.’ It requires careful biblical exegesis that flows from the narrative of Scripture itself, rather than treating the Bible as a book of facts, rules, or the presentation of a system of morals and order. It requires attentive awareness to the concerns about the demeaning of women within church culture as well as outside of it. It requires the kind of conversation which exhibits an epistemic humility that admits both sides might have something to learn from the other in order that both might come to agreement and simultaneously strengthen the position and practice of the church” (122).
“Two conclusions then can be drawn from this discussion of history and tradition. First, we can better understand emergents if we think of them as a voice of criticism calling the church to faithfulness. Not everyone is going to agree on the meaning of faithfulness (Luther and the Pope didn’t), but then again, not all emergents agree on what they mean either” (124).
“I have tried to offer here a different way of approaching the movement or sensibility known as the “emergent” church. I have done so by means of criticizing the typical Lutheran approach for critical evaluation of movements or church bodies as exhibited in the work of Carol Geisler and the CTCR. I have tried also to point out along the way various manners in which emergents ought to be perceived as sharing sensibilities built into the historic Lutheran tradition, that they even have something in common with Luther himself and how he did theology. It is my hope that this different approach might prove informative and helpful for those reflective practitioners who are attempting to navigate relationships with the emergent movement, perhaps within their own local context-even as close to home as with other members of the same local congregation. In this way, I also hope that my work has contributed to something of an “overcoming” of the love/ hate perspective on the emergent church. Since in many ways their voice is worth hearing, and there are elements of commonality between our tradition and their sensibility, we might more charitably hear what they have to say, just as we hope they might listen to our rich theological heritage as a strong and capable guide for their visions of the church in the twenty-first century” (125).
CN wrote to Lakies on: 
June 6, 2012
Professor Chad Lakies
Concordia Seminary, St.
Dear Professor Lakies: 
I have just read your “The End of Theology? The Emergent Church in Lutheran Perspective” in the Spring 2012 Concordia Journal.
 During the last several years, Christian News has published a good number of articles on the Emerging Church . At times it is difficult to pin down exactly what the defenders of the Emerging Church believe just as it was 50 years ago. To find out what the young scholars of the time believed, like Pelikan and Marty, who were bringing in new insights to the LCMS, the best thing to do was to ask them questions.
 The Concordia Journal says that you accepted a call to serve as assistant professor of theology at Concordia University, Portland , OR.  Dr. Matthew Becker formerly held such a position at Portland.  Christian News also asked him some questions.
 Would you please answer these simple questions?
Should there be room on the LCMS clergy roster and in the schools of the LCMS’s Concordia University System for professors and pastors who:
 Deny that the Bible is inerrant in all matters?  Yes___ No ___
Maintain that God used evolution to create the world?
Yes___ No ___
Insist that God did not create the world in 6/24 hours days?
Yes ___ No ___
Maintain that women should be permitted to become pastors in the LCMS. Yes ___ No ___
Teach that Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and other non-Christians can get to heaven without saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Yes ___ No ___
Believe there should be room in the LCMS for a theologian like your predecessor, Dr. Matthew Becker, who also wrote for the Concordia Journal. Yes ___ No ___
He makes it clear in The Day Star Reader that he champion’s evolution and women pastors.
 Sincerely yours,
Herman Otten, editor
Christian News
x x x
The LCMS’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations in its “The Emergent Church – An Evaluation from the Theological Perspective of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod -  January, 2011” says that Emergents “do not accept what they refer to as the doctrinal ‘gate keeping’ of denominations.” “Faith is thought of as a ‘journey’ and as a result questions and uncertainty are seen as marks of humility, while certainty and assurance are not highly valued.” “A third aspect of emergent belief and practice is a willingness to accept and celebrate plurality in belief and in the interpretation of Scripture.” “. . . plurality of truth or belief is expected and desirable as many voices contribute to the conversation.” Ones lifestyle “is often thought to be more important than one’s beliefs.” Emergents dislike “doctrinal statements.” “in some emergent circles the Christian message has been so altered that little if anything remains of the saving Gospel or of any stated need for it.”
Dr. Carol Geisler, who works at Lutheran Hour Ministries and the LCMS’s CTCR, writes in “Reframing the Story: The End of the Emergent Conversation”:
“Emergent voices affirm a fluid and plural truth that, along with the authority of Scripture, is subject to the whims of conversational flow. Scripture is thus open to ‘reframing,’ which generally means that if you do not like the answers you have in hand you must ask different questions. The reframing of the Christian story results in a new biblical narrative and new ideas concerning God, mankind, salvation, and the future. On this emerging framework global Christianity is being rewoven into a very different fabric.”
“Along with this desire to be free of institutions, emergents tend toward a selective view of their continuity with historic Christendom.”
“The reframed Jesus announces the good news that God loves all people and wants them to follow a new way and participate in the transformation of the world. In a common emergent narrative, Jesus dies on the cross primarily to show his solidarity with the suffering world and give courage to the oppressed. He does not die to reconcile human beings to God but rather to restore broken relationships among people in the world. The Jesus of the old (Greco-Roman) framework, the Savior sacrificed for the sins of the world, is irrelevant to the social problems of contemporary society. A different Jesus is needed, one who by his teachings and by his life provides an effective model to follow. Within the new frame, Jesus’ redeeming work is accomplished to save humanity only within history. Setting itself up in contrast to the Platonic, Greco-Roman narrative with its goal of  ‘saving souls,’ the new framework tends to champion matter over spirit:”
“Finished Fabric
“For some of the leading voices in the emergent conversation, the Christian faith has little to say about mankind’s rebellion against God or about God’s redeeming love in Christ, a ‘meta-narrative’ considered unbiblical, exclusive, and hopelessly outdated. In the new narrative (which of course is really not all that new) Jesus is an example to follow, a revolutionary who resisted the power of Rome as a model of resistance to the injustice of oppressive power structures, secular or sacred.”
“If Missouri Synod Lutherans wants to join in the conversation, we need to be cautious about the emergent dismissal of history and institutions, about plural truth and individual narratives of personal feeling that obscure the great narrative of salvation in Jesus Christ. We need to approach carefully the sticky web of reframed Christendom that extends no farther than ‘this life only.’ There is no need to be humbly uncertain when we can in all humility express our certain confidence in Christ and the forgiveness found in his name. We do not need to apologize for a confessional framework that, rather than imposing itself on Scripture, provides a biblically anchored safety net (a much more substantial kind of web) that prevents spiritually disastrous falls in Christian preaching and teaching.”
June 6, 2012
Concordia Journal
Dear Editor Scholl:
The June 18, 2012 Christian News will have some articles on the emerging church and comments on “The End of Theology? The Emergent Church in Lutheran Perspective” in the Spring 2012 Concordia Journal.
 Have any of the members of the seminary faculty expressed disagreement with this article? May Christian News have permission to reprint all 11 pages of this article? I do not want to be accused of quoting out of context.
If the Concordia Journal published the CTCR document and Dr. Carol Geisler’s article on the emerging church, please let me know when they appeared in the Concordia Journal.
 Could you please send me the e-mail address of Professor Lakies?
Herman Otten, editor
Christian News
684 Luther Lane
New Haven, Missouri 63068
Dear Mr. Otten:
Thank you for your email.  You have our permission to reprint the full article written by Chad Lakies in the Spring 2012 Concordia Journal, with proper citation and acknowledgement.  The permission is only for printing the article in its entirety and not in selected parts or redaction.
Dr. Geisler’s article was published online at  Here is the link:

The CTCR published its document on its own.  I assume you can get it by contacting the CTCR directly or looking for it on the Synod’s web site.

Chad Lakies has accepted a call to the theology faculty of Concordia University, Portland, and is in the process of moving.  You would need to contact Concordia, Portland, to find out how to contact him there.
Travis Scholl
Rev. Travis J. Scholl, M.Div.
Managing Editor of Theological Publications
Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Place
St. Louis, MO  63105
314.505.7132 office

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Orthodox Christians Confess Athanasian Creed

Orthodox Christians Confess Athanasian Creed
Christian News, June 18, 2012

On Sunday, June 7, Christians celebrated The Feast of The Holy Trinity.

A number of Lutheran congregations have adopted the commendable ancient custom of confessing the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday. We are reproducing on this page the ecumenical Creed from page 53 of The Lutheran Hymnal. Every true Christian should be willing to confess this creed. The Constitution of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod declares that "every member of Synod, accepts without reservation" the Athanasian Creed.

The origin of the Athanasian Creed is somewhat obscure, although it owes its name to Athanasius, "the Father of Orthodoxy." Luther called this creed the grandest production of the Church since the times of the Apostles.

Athanasius was born around 296 and died in 373. The Arian heresy (a denial of the real deity of Christ) was condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325 chiefly through the fearless testimony of Athanasius. He was banished five times and forced to spend twenty years in exile. The great mission of his life was to safeguard the Christian faith against pagan dissolution. The Concordia Cyclopedia comments: " 'Athanasius contra mundum et mundus contra Athanasium' (A. against the world, and the world against A.) well illustrates the commanding position which he held in the controversies of his time. Says the skeptic Gibbon: 'The immortal name of Athanasius will never be separated from the doctrine of the Trinity, to whose defense he consecrated every faculty of his being.' "

The Athanasian Creed is based upon the clear, simple passages of Holy Scripture. There is only one true God. "Hear. O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, "(Deuteronomy 6:4). "There is none other God but one," (1 Corinthians 8:4). This one true God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, but of one and the same divine essence, equal in power, equal in eternity, equal in majesty, because each (person possesses the one divine essence entire. The Apostle Paul writes that in Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,"   (Colossians 2:9). Jesus Christ is God, (John 1:1; John 5:18; John 5:23; John 20:28; Romans 9:5). The Holy Ghost is also God. Peter told Ananias that when he was lying to the Holy Ghost he was lying to God, (Acts. 5:3,4). All three persons of the Holy Trinity appeared at the Baptism of Jesus, (Matthew 3:16,17). Christ commanded his disciples to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," (Matthew 28:l9). The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is beyond human understanding, if Christianity were a faith fabricated by men, its God could be comprehended with our finite minds. However, the Christian God is the God who has revealed Himself in the pages of Holy Scripture and the true Christian accepts this revelation exactly as it reads.

When Christians confess that there are three Persons in the one Divine Essence, "The word 'Person' is to be understood as the Fathers employed the term in this connection, not as a part or a property of another but as that which exists of itself." (The Augsburg Confession, I).

Today many "Protestants" reject the doctrine of the Trinity even though they still retain the terminology of the orthodox faith. They teach that God simply reveals himself successively in three different modes, or forms: In the Father as Creator, in the Son as Redeemer, and in the Holy Ghost as Sanctifier. The ancient church referred to this heresy as modal monarchianism. The Unitarians of our day reject the doctrine of the Trinity. Unfortunately, there are far more Unitarians within the major Protestant bodies than within the relatively small Unitarian-Universalist Association. A Statement of Faith adopted by the United Church of Christ in 1959 (reprinted in the June 1963 Lutheran News) does not affirm the Trinity. The November, 1959 Unitarian Register said that the UC statement “might in fact have been adopted by any Unitarian church of a century ago; “The Trinity is not mentioned. Since the United Church of Christ is a member of the National Council of Churches, it must be recognized by all those Lutherans who are members of the NCC or of any of its divisions as being "one in Christ" with them. This is what the constitution of the NCC demands. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is in fellowship with the UCC.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Avoiding More Important Issues

Avoiding More Important Issues

Christian News, June 11, 2012
“Archdiocese of St. Louis joining other in suing federal government to stop HHS mandate,” the headline of a full page story in the May 24, St. Louis Review, official publication of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of St. Louis had this subhead: “Forty-three plaintiffs are represented among 12 lawsuits nationwide.”

The story begins: Noting that “time is running out,” Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced May 21 that the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Catholic Charities of St. Louis has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the United States government, challenging the legality of its health care mandate to be enforced beginning this August.

Accompanied by Catholic Charities president Brian O’Malley, archdiocesan chancellor Nancy Werner, legal counsel Tom Buckley and others, the Archbishop made the announcement at an afternoon press conference held at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. The archdiocese’s lawsuit is one of 12 separate suits that were filed across the country May 21. Forty-three plaintiffs in total are represented; includes dioceses and archdioceses, Catholic schools and universities, Catholic health systems and Catholic charitable organizations. All are being represented by Jones Day, an international law firm with more than 2,400 attorneys on five continents. During the press conference, Archbishop Carlson stressed that no money from the Annual Catholic Appeal or other ministries of the archdiocese is being used for the lawsuits.

The defendants in each case were Sebelius; Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, along with their departments.

The mandate, which is part of the new federal Affordable Care Act instituted by the Department of Health and Human Services, would require all employers, including many religious institutions, to provide free coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations. The mandate is set to take effect in August.

“The Catholic Church, led by the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) has pursued every imaginable avenue to correct this problem without litigation,” Archbishop Carlson said in a prepared statement. “It is critical that I take legal action now about a serious threat to our first, most-cherished freedom — that is the right to religious liberty.” “HHS Rule Draws Lawsuit – ND, diocese, others oppose birth control coverage mandate.” A front page story in the May 22, sound Bend Tribune said:

SOUTH BEND – The University of Notre Dame, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend and several other area organizations filed suit Monday challenging the constitutionality of a federal regulation that requires religious organizations to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and other services that go against Catholic Church teachings.

The lawsuits here are among dozens that Catholic dioceses, schools and other institutions filed Monday in federal courts around the country. The suits represent the largest push against the mandate since President Barack Obama announced the policy in January.

“First Amendment Freedom,” a story on p. 1 of the February 20, 2012 CN opposed the HHS mandate. “Missouri Synod President says church remains ‘deeply concerned’ about health plan mandate despite White House statement” in the February 20, 2012 Christian News, published the testimony of LCMS President Matthew Harrison in Washington, D.C.

“Totalitarianism” an editorial in the February 20, 2012 CN said in part: Bill Miller Sr., editor of the Washington Missourian wrote in an editorial titled “The Obamacare Mandate” in the February 8, 2012 Missourian: “Did President Obama do this because he believes that the majority of Catholic and members of other faiths don’t follow their religions teachings on social and moral issues today?” Who has more votes, the church leaders who oppose Obama’s position, or the majority of Americans who approve birth control and abortion? The Bishops may howl and scream but the fact remains birth control and abortion has been officially approved by most major Protestant denominations. No disciplinary action has been taken against any Roman Catholic or Protestant congressman for promoting abortion. Even the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) refused to urge the congregation of pro-abortion Senator Paul Simon to excommunicate him for promoting abortion. While the LCMS and most Protestant denominations formerly supported what the Bible and Martin Luther teach about birth control, today very few in the LCMS and all of Protestantism publicly oppose birth control. Read A Handbook of Christian Matrimony – The Blight of Birth Control and a Fifty Year Battle for Church Growth – Back to Luther on the Family and Birth Control on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation published by Christian News.

Today almost all major denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church have become an “anything goes church.” They allow their theologians and clergymen to deny such basic doctrines of the Christian faith as the Trinity, virgin birth, deity, vicarious satisfaction and resurrection of Christ, justification by faith alone, the inerrancy of the Bible, the historicity of the Bible, etc. They permit their clergymen and politicians to promote evolution, birth control, and abortion. As important as it is to oppose the HHS mandate, today it is more important for churches to:

1. Remove theologians and clergymen in their denominations who deny such doctrines as the virgin birth, deity, vicarious satisfaction, and resurrection of Christ. 2. Oppose such destructive notions of Biblical criticism as the J-E-D-P source hypothesis, Deutero-Isaiah, etc. 3. Insist on the inerrancy of the Bible, the historicity of the Genesis account of a 6/24 hour day creation and oppose evolution. Remove from their clergy roster all evolutionists. 4. Show that the Bible opposes Birth Control. 5. Defend the central Christian doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone. 6. Insist that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and that Christianity is the only saving faith. 7. Work for a Twenty-first Century Reformation and Formula of Concord. 8. Remove homosexual, sex abusive, or unscripturally divorced pastors from the clergy roster.