Christian News, Vol. 50, No. 40, October 15, 2012
Former First Things editor, Anthony Sacramone, comments on Dr. Martin Noland’s review of Power, Politics, and the Missouri Synod – A Conflict That Changed American Christianity (Fortress Press, 2011, Foreword by Martin Marty) in Logia. Note “Former First Things Editor – Anthony Sacromone Says That Herman Otten Is a ‘Crank’“, “CN’s Response to Blogger Praised by McCain, Wilken, and Veith”, and “Differences Between Neuhaus and Otten” in the October 8, 2012 CN.
CN has not yet received a response to the questions CN asked the former First Things editor and defender of Father Neuhaus who is being praised by LCMS conservatives critical of CN. (CN, October 8, 2012, p. 13).
Dr. Noland wrote in his Logia review of the Burkee book:
“When Herman Otten saw what the Lutheran Witness was doing, he replied with his own political opinions. Most LCMS conservatives found Otten’s journalistic ethics and political opinions noisome, and his opinions on the Jewish people particularly reprehensible. That is the reason that the synod’s conservatives formed other organizations and other news sources, beginning in 1964.”
Noisom – Disgusting
The unabridged edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language” defines noisome: “1. offensive or disgusting, as an odor. 2. Harmful, injurious, or noxious.”
CN wrote to Logia and Dr. Noland on October 8:
An LCMS theologian during his liberal days wrote a graduate thesis for the Lutheran School of Theology to show that Otten began Christian News to get Barry Goldwater elected U.S. President. “Politics and Religion?”, a front page editorial in the October 19, 1964 Lutheran News (now Christian News), said at the height of this election: “Which candidate does Lutheran News endorse for election. Neither one. This is a Lutheran newspaper, and we intend to keep it that way. We do not publish with the intention of influencing the election.”
CN has for fifty years published many articles opposing communism and socialism and supporting what the Bible says about private property. CN did no more than what C.F.W. Walther did with his Communism and Socialism. CN sold thousands of copies of this Walther booklet. Could you tell me what “journalistic ethics and political opinions” most LCMS conservatives found “noisome?”’
What are “the opinions on the Jewish people” expressed in Christian News which “most LCMS conservatives” found “particularly reprehensible” and for that reason formed other organizations and news sources beginning in 1964? What organizations and news sources did they form?
Here CN broke no new ground. It simply defended what Article XVII of the Augsburg Confession says about “Certain Jewish opinions which are even now making an appearance.” CN has repeatedly offered to publish a statement from anyone who can show where CN has not told the truth about anything including the Jewish people, Israel, war, Millennialism, the Holocaust, Communism, Islam, Mormons, Joseph Barbour, who was defended by Affirm, etc.”
Note CN’s Statement of Policy on page 4 of each issue of CN. It was written by Kurt Marquart. Point 5 says: “The writers of Christian News claim no sort of infallibility for themselves, they therefore invite readers to notify them of any errors of fact, judgment, or theology, which may occur from time to time so that suitable corrections may be made.’
Hopefully, Logia will publish CN’s entire letter and answer CN’s questions.
What were CN’s “noisome, disgusting” opinions which most conservatives opposed beginning in 1964 found in CN and therefore found it necessary to avoid any association or promotion of Christian News. Check the record. What were the “disgusting” journalistic ethics? CN photographed articles written by liberals for purposes of evidence only and not to make money but simply to show CN was not quoting out of context. CN wrote to many liberals to ask them just where they stood on the theological issues in controversy. CN sent a copy of CN to any liberal theologian mentioned in CN and gave him an opportunity to show where CN had not told the truth.
Many did at least at first consider CN’s anti-communist position along with CN’s position that no supporter of abortion, evolution, or higher criticism of the Bible should be permitted to remain on the LCMS clergy “politics”.
The facts show that the conservatives Noland defends were worried about their careers in the LCMS and did not want to name liberals as CN was doing.
When the International Council of Churches held a world congress in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1965, the ICCC placed a copy of CN’s Baal or God in the registration packet of all delegates. They came from scores of nations and denominations around the world. CN soon had readers in more than 60 nations. After the editor spoke at other ICCC congresses on justification, Luther’s theology, the papacy, a Twentieth Century Reformation and Formula of Concord, etc., he was invited to speak in Australia, the Philippine’s, Chile, Holland, Germany, India and throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, he had to refuse most invitations since he was the fulltime pastor of a congregations and also thought it was more important to have a family of children faithful to God’s Word. He noted that the family life of at least some Christian leaders constantly on the road had suffered. While they were trying to save the world they were losing their own children.
Unfortunately, major foundations which helped others send Christian literature overseas were not interested in helping CN fulfill all the requests CN received from overseas for subscriptions and books CN published. The foundations kept their distance from any editor who dared challenge the liberalism at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and elsewhere in the LCMS. Anyone who supported Luther’s scriptural position against birth control was considered “noisome.” CN’s stand on unscriptural divorce and womanizing did not help.
When CN was opposing abortion during the 1960s and insisted that pro-abortionists should be removed from the LCMS clergy roster, few conservatives joined CN. Hardly any complained when CPH published a book supporting abortion, when the LCMS’s Lutheran Family Services of Illinois allowed for the murder of unborn infants, when Lutheran hospitals were performing abortions, and when Jesus First listed a prominent LCMS pro-abortion clergyman as one of its supporters. When CN filed charges of false doctrine vs. a prominent LCMS clergyman who publicly promoted abortion, CN received no support.
In 1977 the editor was invited by the Lutheran Editor’s and Manager’s Association to a meeting at Concordia Publishing House to speak on “Why Christian News?” He concluded: “Why Christian News? If you Lutheran journalists on the staff of official Lutheran publications continue to support abortion or remain silent about this tremendous sin, Lutherans surely need an independent publication which warns that abortion is sinful and which exposes the fact that thousands of unborn infants are being killed in ‘Lutheran hospitals.’”
CN’s position that abortionists among the LCMS clergy should be removed was a “noisome” political opinion.
Bonhoeffer and the Holocaust
During the 1960’s CN said no more about the Holocaust than Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower did in all of their voluminous writing about WWII. The myth of the 6 million along with the Bonhoeffer myth among non-thinking churchmen, who blindly follow the crowd and refuse to study the evidence, came in later years. The index to the Concordia Theological Monthly from 1930-1959 shows that nothing in the journal edited by the faculty of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and published by the LCMS said anything about the Holocaust, Bonhoeffer, or any of his writings.
Now the seminary, the LCMS administration, the conservatives who blast Christian News for its “noisome” views claim Bonhoeffer as the greatest Lutheran theologian since Martin Luther. Was the faculty formerly so ignorant that it failed to recognize this?
The “noisome – disgusting” views expressed in CN in the 1960s was what CN was writing about communism, socialism, the captive nations, Christian martyrs suffering under communism. Some of the hundreds of articles CN published on these matters are in The Christian News Encyclopedia and a Christian Handbook on Vital Issues. A footnote at the end of “The Forgotten People – Stand With Persecuted Christians” lists a few of the CN “noisome” articles on communism (p. 13).