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."