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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why I Am A Trinitarian

From Devotions on the Apostles Creed
by Peter Krey

Christian News, June 24, 2013

A Trinitarian is a person who believes: “There is one God, there are three Persons; these three are one God; and of these three Persons none is the first, none is the last, none is the greatest, none is the smallest, but all three Persons are equally eternal and equally great; yet there are not three Gods, but one God.”

This three-one concept of God is wholly unknown and unspoken of outside of true Christianity.  It is distinctly Christian, embodied in every Creed of Christendom.
The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed state it thus:  “I believe in God the Father...I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son.. I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
The Athanasian Creed has it this way:  “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the Substance.  For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.  But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.”

The Augsburg Confession published in 1530 declares:  “There is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God, eternal without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are co-eternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
I am a Trinitarian, then, because I am a Christian.  I could not be a Christian without being a Trinitarian.  As a Christian I believe that God is a Triune Being.  I believe this, not because I have reasoned it out or discovered it for myself, for this mystery of three Persons being one and the same Divine Being without being parts of it, is beyond human comprehension; I believe it because God has so revealed Himself to man in Holy Scripture, and the sacred writings of the Old and the New Testament Scripture are to me God’s eternal truth.  No man has ever proved the contrary nor ever will, for “the Scripture cannot be broken”, Jesus says, referring to a single word in one of the psalms.  John 10:35.

I am a Trinitarian because the Bible teaches both the Trinity and the Unity of God.  The Bible teaches, there is one God.  “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God (Gods) is one LORD.”  Deut. 6:4.  “There is none other God but one.”  1 Cor. 8:4.  “There is one God,” or rather, “One is God”.  1  Tim. 2:5.  The Bible also teaches the plurality of Persons in God.  “And God said, Let us make man in our image.”  Gen. 1:26.  “The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the LORD lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”

Num. 6:24:  “from the time that it was there am I; and now the LORD God and His Spirit hast sent me.”  Is. 48:16.  Turning to the New Testament we read Matthew 28:19: “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  In his last discourse Jesus says, John 15:26: “When the COMFORTER is come, whom I will send unto you from the FATHER, even the Spirit of Truth which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.”  And the apostolic benediction is well known:  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.”  2 Cor. 13:14.

That the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three distinct Persons is evident also from the narrative of the Baptism of Christ recorded in Matthew 3.  The Father proclaims Himself in the voice from heaven:  “This is my beloveth Son in Whom I am well pleased.”  The Son is visibly present as He stands in the river Jordan. The Holy Ghost descends upon the Son from above in the likeness of a dove.
These three persons of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are, in many passages both of the Old and the New Testament, declared to be equally powerful and equally eternal.  All three Persons receive in Scripture in an equal degree that honor and adoration which is due only to the Creator of all things, the Lord of heaven and earth.  The entire and absolute equality in rank of the Father and the Son is proclaimed in Is. 9:6, where He is called “The Mighty God.”  The omniscience of the Holy Ghost is attested in 1 Cor. 2:10, where it is written in Him:  “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.”

I am a Trinitarian because the Bible teaches me that there are three Divine Persons each of Whom is God only one Divine Being.  This triuneness of three-oneness of God is an incomprehensible mystery to my mind, for the mystery does not lie in the numerical term one-three, but in the relation of the three Persons to each other, the manner in which they are united into one Godhead.  The Trinitarian concept of God, places the Divine Being beyond the reach of the imagination of any creature.  It puts God where God belongs, into the realm of infinity where all human understanding ceases to function, where the creature is lost in awe and admiration, where man must worship and adore.  The true God must be a God whom I cannot comprehend, whom I can only worship and adore, or He is not the true God.  A God whom my mind can measure and of whom I can say:  This is God and this is how he lives and functions, I could not truly worship, and therefore, such a God could never be the true God; he could only be a God of my own creative imagination.  All pagan idols and false gods are of this caliber.  They are but men, or things, or ideas, to whom men ascribe superior powers.  But the Triune God of Holy Scripture is, in the awe inspiring mystery of His Being, far above all human calculations, a God before Whom all the inhabitants of the earth must stand in away; a Being altogether and alone worthy of adoration and worship.

I am a Trinitarian also because among all the gods that men worship the Triune God alone completely fills my needs and expectations of God, to be my God, must have created me and given me life and being; He must also, to be truly my God, whom I can love and trust, have redeemed me from sin, death, and hell; He must move and lead on to holiness in life with the final outlook of a perfect and happy immortality; and He must, to be truly my God whom I can worship and adore, do all these things for me purely out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy without any merit or worthiness in me.  He must be that Being who alone is perfect and who alone can say “I AM.”  Such a God is the Triune God of Holy Scripture, whose name is “I AM THAT I AM.”... “I AM the Lord, the Creator... I AM He that blotteth out thy transgressions...Before Abraham was I AM... I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life...I AM the Good Shepherd...I AM the Resurrection and the life... I AM Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last...”

The Triune God is ineffably sublime in the Trinity and Unity of His Essence, in the absoluteness of His existence, in the perfection of His holiness and glory, in the scope of His power and wisdom, and in the breathtaking condescension of his love and grace.  He is truly a God who calls forth in me adoration, worship, and unending praise.  Therefore I am a Trinitarian, and I join spontaneously in the doxology of millions of my fellow - creatures:

“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

ALPB’s Lutheran Forum - CTCR Document Approved Newtown

Christian News, June 26, 2013

“After Newtown,” an article by Rev. Paul Robert Sauer, second vice-president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri synod’s Atlantic District and  Associate  Editor of the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau’s Lutheran Forum, says:

“There is very little positive that can be taken away from the recent uproar in the Missouri Synod over the participation of one of its pastors, Rob Morris, in a community service following the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Conservatives are upset that discipline was not meted out in what was for them a clear violation of biblical and constitutional injunctions against unionism and syncretism. Moderates are upset that a pastor would even be asked to apologize for participating in what our own Commission on Theology and Church Relations document deems permissible. The great middle of Missouri was forced to shrug their heads yet again as once more the Synod became known in the wider public only for what it is against and the tremendous dysfunction with which it seems to operate.”
“The level of division and entrenchment on each side, coupled with the dismissive attitude toward synodical resolutions and synodical leadership statements that so many in the Missouri Synod seem to have, indicate how daunting the Koinonia task will be. Beyond the theological divides in Missouri that have yet again been exposed and that invariably become the focus of all the argumentation, the larger unspoken problem obvious to everyone- except those inside Missouri- is a systematic organizational dysfunction that threatens to derail any attempt at reasonable theological discussion, to say nothing of forging genuine 'Koinonia.’”
Morris contacted his ecclesiastical supervisor and was given permission to participate in the Newtown community service on the basis of the Synod-commended 2004 CTCR document on civic events. What has been lost in the discussion of Morris's participation in the community service is that our Synod has spoken on this issue, albeit with a divided voice, and that Morris's participation was within those bounds. Individuals are free to dissent from Synod's position and may have the theological wherewithal to make a case against it, but they certainly lack the ecclesiastical authority to demand that others conform to their own personal views on the issue.

“Sadly, Harrison, with the best motivation at heart in attempting to let charity prevail in the Missouri Synod, overstepped his own authority in asking Morris to apologize for something that Synod documents say he was permitted to do.”
“No matter how well grounded in history and theology they may have been, Harrison’s views were not the position of the Missouri Synod at the time when decisions about Morris’s participation were made. Arguably, there was an additional overstepping of the bounds when Harrison operated outside of the normal ecclesiastical structure by asking Morris to apologize – an ecclesial right which belongs, according to Missouri Synod polity, not to Harrison but to Yeadon, Morris’s district president.”

“At the end of the day, the final arbiter remains the individual, disconnected from the consultation of the wider church. That is the very antithesis of what Harrison hopes to accomplish with Koinonia, and that is why I was grateful at his churchmanship in apologizing for the way the situation was handled.”

1. As this article was being written, synodical nominations for president and vice-presidents have just been announced. It is remarkable how few congregations engaged in the nominations process. Although it is outside of the purview of this particular treatment of Missouri’s dysfunction, I can’t help but wonder how much of the ongoing dysfunction has caused congregations to simply ‘check out’ of Synod politics all together.”

(CN editor: “Note “Is Lutheran Forum Really a Lutheran Forum for All Sides,” CN January 5, 2009.” “Hinlicky Judges Heart of CN Editor – Lutheran Forum Refuses to Debate Inerrancy of Bible,” CN May 20, 1991. The ALPB has long promoted women pastors and evolution and has denied the inerrancy of the Bible. ELCA clergyperson Sarah Hinlicky Wilson is the editor of Lutheran Forum. Father Richard Neuhaus had been an editor of Lutheran Forum. Rev. James Loken, a homosexual, was long a columnist for Lutheran Forum. The Lutheran Forum said the editor of CN was “A Jew hater.” It’s predecessor insisted the CN editor was “out for blood.” The ALPB published Lively Stone, the autobiography of Berthold von Schenk in which he denies the basic doctrine of Christianity).

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I Am A Christian

by Peter Krey
Christian News, June 17, 2013

Strange as it may sound, I am not a Christian by my own choice and volition. It is generally believed that becoming a Christian is a matter of one’s own choice.

A person joins a church, any church, and thereby becomes a Christian. But is the matter as simple as that? Can one join the “one, holy, Christian church”, as one joins a social club? Does membership in a church make one a Christian? A person decides with himself to live a better life, or to follow the example of Christ.

Does that volition make him a Christian? The answer is No. No one ever became a Christian by his own free choice and will. To become a Christian involves the believing acceptance of all that the Bible teaches about man and about God. But the Bible teaches that man is a fallen creature wholly unable by himself to turn to God, that is, to trust in God and to love him and do what is morally good in the sight of God. Man, the Bible teaches, is totally self-centered and hostile to God and to his fellowman. The natural state of man’s mind is one of opposition to God; a fact admitted by psychoanalysts today. But St. Paul stated it long ago in these words: “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Rom. 8:7. Because of this ingrained opposition to God man cannot by his own reasoning or volition turn to God in love and confidence. He can only have an abject fear for God. All non-Christians worship of God flows from fear. Abject fear of the Deity is the basis of all pagan worship. Natural man because of the judgment of conscience either flees from God or defies Him. His whole form of worship, if he has any, is but an endeavor to appease the wrath of an angry God with “good works” or self-imposed punishments and privations.

He can proceed no farther in his approach to God. He cannot under any circumstances overcome his guilt-feelings toward God and make himself believe that God is merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

That God as a holy God and a God of love should Himself make atonement for man’s guilt by bearing the punishment of his sin and thus be free to justify man by grace does not occur to man’s mind. The very idea is so foreign to his thoughts and state of mind, that, when confronted with it, he rejects it as foolishness. 1 Cor. 1:18,23; 2:14. Yet, that exactly is the heart of Christianity “that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” That is the essence of the Christian religion that the Son of God became man to be “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities” and to die for our sins, and that therefore man is justified before God his Maker by faith in Jesus Christ his proxy and Redeemer. This divine truth, revealed to man in Holy Scripture, is a stumbling block to the Jews and the self-righteous and foolishness to the Greek and the worldly wise; and this; that God should die on a shameful tree for my sins is also foolishness to my natural mind. I am innately opposed to it.

That I now believe it is therefore not due to any decision of my own volition or reasoning it is the work of God in me. I am a Christian because God made me one.

It was not my choice. He conquered my hostility and persuaded me. He made me willing and caused me to believe in Jesus Christ my Lord. With Luther I must confess: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has called me to faith by the Gospel, by the good news that God has forgiven me in Christ. This Gospel is the Word of God the Holy Ghost and therefore has the inherent power to call my heart out of unbelief to faith in Christ my Lord.

I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has enlightened my mind with His gifts. He has by the Gospel given me the knowledge and assurance that Jesus is my Savior from sin, death, and damnation; and He has filled my heart with the joy and peace that accompanies such knowledge. I am a Christian because the Holy Ghost has renewed my heart. By bringing me to faith through the Gospel He has given me the power to hate and abandon evil and the strength to love and to strive for that which is good and pleasing to God.

I am a Christian because I came in contact with the Gospel, the glad tidings of God’s redeeming love and forgiving grace in Christ Jesus, either in my youth through Holy Baptism or by the instruction of my parents and teachers, or, if later in life, through the Gospel-ministry of the church or the reading of the Bible or Christian literature.
Somewhere along life’s way I came in contact with the Gospel of the grace of God, and somewhere along this line of contact the Holy Ghost caused me to believe by breaking up the darkness of my unbelieving heart with the light of the knowledge that Jesus is my Lord and with the assurance of faith that He is the propitiation for my sins, and not for mine only but also for the sins of the whole world.

I am a Christian, not by my own free will or right reasoning, or good conduct; I am a Christian because God made me one of His dear children through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord.

As it is written: “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Cor. 12:3. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”... “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph. 2:8,10.

Every believing Christian will confess with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am” -a Christian.
I was made a Christian
When my name was given,
One of God’s dear children
And an heir of heaven.
In the name of Christian I
will glory now.
Evermore remember My
Baptismal vow.
I must, like a Christian,
Shun all evil ways,
Keep the faith of Jesus,
Serve Him all my days.
Called to be a Christian, I
will praise the Lord,
Seek for His assistance So
to keep my word.
All a Christian’s blessings
I will claim for mine:
Holy work and worship,
Fellowship Divine.
Father, Son, and Spirit,
Give me grace, that I
Still may live a Christian
And a Christian die.

Devotions on the Apostle’s Creed -Why I Am A Christian and Other Writings. By Peter Krey. Published by Lutheran News, Inc. 684 Luther Lane, New Haven, Missouri. 2005. 299 pp. $9.99.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

LCMS’s Today’s Business – Proposed Resolutions – Big Brother Knows Best - Bureaucratitis Grows

Christian News, Vol. 41, No. 23, June 10, 2013

Today’s Business – Proposed Resolution 2013 of the LCMS’s 65th Regular Convention to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, July 20-25, 2013 shows that “bureaucratitis” continues to grow in the LCMS. Whereas in former years convention committees considered hundreds of resolutions from LCMS congregations, convention committees now spend a major portion of their time following the specific recommendations of the LCMS president rather than paying much attention to overtures laymen and congregations support. In former year’s convention committees heard from congregation which submitted overtures at open hearing in St. Louis before they formed their resolution. Now such open hearings are not held. Instead committees follow the directive of the LCMS president who appoints all committee and committee chairman. LCMS President Harrison has made sure controversial overtures which  show  the  LCMS is divided will not come up at the convention. A 21st Century Formula of Concord in the Convention Workbook has been declined by a Harrison appointed committee before this convention itself can make a decision.

“Curb the Bureaucracy,” a resolution from Trinity Lutheran Church, New Haven Missouri, submitted to the LCMS’s 2010 convention says in one of its whereas’s: “Professor Kurt Marquart said in a speech he presented at the 2003 Walther Conference at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, where he received a standing ovation: ‘Our tragedy is that this absolute priority of divine truth has become displaced in our synodical life. By what? By organizational concerns. Our disease is, you might say, ‘bureaucratitis.’”

The LCMS refused to publish the overture which documented the long liberal theological record of the majority of the LCMS’s Council of Presidents. CN suggested that other congregations, particularly those in the ACELC, submit the overture to the 2013 convention. No such overture appears in the LCMS’s 2013 Convention Workbook. Congregations and the organized conservatives generally fear to challenge the COP.
“President’s Report, Part 2” on page 16-28 has the “Specific Recommendations” LCMS President Harrison submitted to all LCMS committee members. Harrison’s recommendation for LCMS congregations are twice as long as those of former LCMS President Jerry Kieschnick prior to the 2010 LCMS Convention. The LCMS president selects all committee members and committee chairmen. A former U.S. congressman, who was shocked to learn of this great power of an LCMS president, noted that there would be vigorous protest in the nation if a U.S. president had such power.

Trinity of New Haven petitioned the LCMS’s 2010 convention to elect members of the Commission on Constitutional Matters in a convention rather than giving the LCMS president and COP so much power in appointing them. The congregation also sent an overture to the convention seeking to curb the power of the LCMS president in appointing all committee members and committee chairmen. Both overtures were ignored and the power of the LCMS president only grew. Laymen have been kept uninformed as the bureaucracy and episcopacy grows under those who champion such anti-Walther men as Arthur Carl Piepkorn and Richard Neuhaus.

The number of congregations submitting overtures to an LCMS convention has drastically declined. Few congregations now submit overtures. Interest in doctrine is rapidly fading. Overtures from congregations are discouraged.

The Social Gospel
Controversial matters such as disciplining evolutionists and the supporters of women pastors and violations of the LCMS’s scriptural principles of unionism will not come up at the convention. Social concerns are at the forefront when the major denominations tolerate universalists who do not believe Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. They emphasize the social gospel work, teaching English, and building projects rather than preaching the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, baptizing, communing, etc.

The Wittenberg Project
Harrison told Committee 1: “We need a resolution commending the progress on The Wittenberg Project as a mission for the Missouri Synod and for our partners for 2017.”

Neither the LCMS president’s office, treasurer’s office or LCMS communications would tell Christian News how much money has so far been collected for the Wittenberg Project ever since it began several years ago, how much is now in the treasury for the project and for what the money collected during the last several years has been used. Some claim almost all of the money collected has been used to pay for LCMS officials to travel to Wittenberg and to pay the salary of the director. When a group of 48 Lutherans visited the Wittenberg Project in 2010, Director David Mahsmann, former editor of the Lutheran Witness, was in Chile for missionary training. All the disappointed 48 found was a closed building badly in need of repairs. LCMS Communications told CN that whatever the members of the LCMS need to know about the Wittenberg Project will appear in the Lutheran Witness.

Convention Committee 1 is following Harrison’s recommendation. In Resolution 1-07 it is asking the LCMS convention to resolve “That the LCMS in convention encourage all congregations and individuals within the Synod to support the Wittenberg Project  prayerfully and financially.  CN’s suggestion is that the Wittenberg Project be used to begin a Lutheran congregation in Wittenberg which teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and to present reasons and exhibits showing that all of Christendom needs another Reformation as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches in 2017 was turned down. CN has said it is absurd that the director of the Wittenberg Project lives in Berlin many miles from Wittenberg because his wife does not want to live in the small town of  Wittenberg.

Lutheran Malaria Initiative
In his report to Committee 2 – President Harrison recommended “a strong finish to Lutheran Malaria Initiative” (p. 18). Following Harrison, Committee 2, in Resolution 2-06 is recommending “That the LCMS encourage a strong finish of  LMI, as it concludes as planned on World Malaria Day 2014 (April 25th).” When the drive for Lutheran Malaria Initiative began Harrison, who was then with Lutheran World Mission, was a leading supporter for the LCMS to work with ELCA to collect 75 million to fight Malaria. CN was unable to find out from both ELCA and the LCMS just what percentage each of the two said they would collect. Resolution 2-06 says that “To date, the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI), in partnership with Lutheran World Relief (LWR() and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), has received over seven million dollars from US Lutherans to help educate, treat and prevent malaria deaths in sub-Sahara Africa.” (p. 64).

When Harrison went to Washington, D.C. to lobby  the federal government to give money to fight malaria in Africa, David Becker commented in an article titled “Beane Says That the LCMS Is Becoming Enamored with Caesar” (CN, January 21, 2013, p. 1). “It is indeed true that Harrison was absolutely horrible. Totally violating the doctrine of the two kingdoms as taught by Jesus and historic Lutheranism. Harrison in my views actually went far beyond what ELCA and the Roman Catholics do as far as religious lobbying. I think the LCMS should lose its tax exemption based on what Harrison did.”

Enamored With Caesar
Rev. Larry Beane wrote on the Gottesdienst blog (CN, January 21, 2013) I just read through the latest Reporter. I’m concerned that our church body is becoming so enamored with Caesar.
It’s one thing to go to Washington and demand that the state obey the constitution and respect the rights of churches, it’s quite something else for the church to transform itself into a lobbying organization to try to get specific bills passed that would give tax-appropriated funds to the church for its pet projects.
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizing the federal government to collect tax funds from Americans (and taxes are collected by compulsion) in order to fight disease around the world. That is a very good cause indeed - which is why it should be supported voluntarily, out of love, from “cheerful givers” - not expropriated by compulsion through the state apparatus. Moreover, in case nobody has noticed, Washington is broke. Where is the money going to come from for the American people to support Lutherans fighting malaria? If Christians can disagree about certain appropriation bills in congress, does the LCMS leadership have the right to lobby for those bills?

It may make for some good photo ops for our leaders to be seen in the Presence of Senators and Congressmen and in the shadow of Columned Marble Walls - but let’s not forget that our Lord’s Kingdom is “not of this world.”

It is one thing to advocate for protecting human life. Of course, nothing is ever addressed about black-ops and torture and drones and provocative and imperious blowback-ridden foreign policy and the military-industrial complex. It is one thing to advocate for the natural right to private property, though the church never has anything to say about the absolutely fraud-based social programs paid for by morally (and literally) bankrupt ponzi schemes - not to mention the unconscionable practice of devaluing the currency through the federal reserve system - which openly violates Scripture. It is one thing to defend human dignity and human liberty, but the church utters not one peep about the NDAA that allows the president to arrest anyone - including citizens - without trial, without due process, without the right to a lawyer - and hold them in secret prisons indefinitely. Similarly, the church seems to have nothing to say when it comes to the Orwellian surveillance society we now live under - a system that has been used by governments to crush Christianity when the church became the opponent of state worship.

When it comes to such matters, the cat seems to get the LCMS’s tongue. It seems that the church will not make any statement unless it is cleared by its own GOP gatekeepers.

The church should not be shilling for the Republican Party (or any party), nor should she be so enamored of being seen as important in the eyes of the world. The state has a pretty abysmal record when it comes to dealing with the Bride of Christ - and coziness with the state has resulted in chaos in the Lutheran world.

Every state church (and many Lutheran churches were) has become apostate - even to the point where faithful Christians are enduring persecution at the hands of government bureaucrats. This is what happens when you lie down with dogs.

The church ought to understand better than any other institution the pitfalls of dancing to Caesar’s tune and cozying up to state power. John F. Kennedy summed it up best when he said: “In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding on the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

Maybe I should just toss the Reporter into the trash when the next one comes. Posted by Rev. Larry Beane

Koinonia Project and CPH
Harrison asked Committee 3 “Life Together” to “Prepare a strong resolution supporting the Koinonia Project” (19) and “Commend CPH for the resources they have produced” (p. 20).

Resolution 3-01, “To Expand the Koinonia Project” (p. 69) says: “Resolved, That the continued participation of the Council of Presidents, as well as that of the theological faculties of our seminaries, colleges, and universities by encouraged.”

CN has often shown that under the Koinonia Project there is plenty of room for evolutionists such as Matthew Becker, the hundreds associated with Jesus First, who support women pastors, charismatics, who speak in tongues and liberals who reject the inerrancy of the Bible, universalists, who refuse to confess that  Christianity is the only saving faith. Under the Koinonia Project the only person denied Holy Communion is someone who files charges of false doctrine vs. an evolutionist on the LCMS clergy roster.

Committee 3 in Resolution 3-18 is asking the convention to “commend Concordia Publishing House for the resources it has produced, its faithfulness to the Lutheran Confessions, and its support for the Synod’s churches, schools, and families” (82) – While CN has commended CPH for publishing some good orthodox material, CN has also noted that at times CPH publishes and recommends several volumes by the liberal German theologian Albrecht Peters and promotes books by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a  German theologian who denied the resurrection of Jesus Christ and promoted demythologizing of the Bible. CPH also promotes the ESV which undermines direct messianic prophecy and the deity of Jesus Christ.

The International Lutheran Conference and Alister McGrath
Harrison asked Committee 4 to present a resolution “supporting the International Lutheran Conference” (23). Harrison’s appointed committee Four in resolution 4-04 is asking the LCMS convention to resolve: “That we give thanks to God for the International Conference on Confessional Leadership held near Atlanta in the fall of 2012 (with generous support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, as well as from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund), which brought together over 120 Lutheran leaders from around the world for edification and encouragement.” The LCMS repeatedly said the 120 Lutheran leaders represented 20 million Lutherans. The LCMS would not tell CN if any of the 20 million were in the Lutheran World Federation. Neither Thrivent nor the LCMS would release the cost of the conference. The chief speaker on Reformation Day 2012 was Dr. Alister McGrath, an Anglican who supports evolution, women pastors, and undermines the scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone. McGrath was highly praised by Harrison, the CTCR, and some of the LCMS’s organized conservatives. CN published an open letter by LCMS theologian Matthew Becker commending McGrath for his support of evolution. CN also published essays by Dr. John Warwick Montgomery and Dr. Craig Parton showing that McGrath undermines the scriptural doctrine of justification by faith alone. Scott Murray’s Committee 4, following Harrison, expressed no concern for having McGrath serve as the keynote speaker on Reformation Day.

In his report Harrison made no recommendation about Overture 4-71 calling for a 21st Century Formula of Concord. Committee 4 in Resolution 4-16 DECLINED Overture 4-71 “To Produce a 21st Century Formula of Concord.” The only reason given is: “Not necessary.”

When CN attempted to present reasons and documentation showing why a 21st Century Formula of Concord and Reformation was necessary, Dr. Scott Murray told CN that CN would not be permitted to present these reasons and documentation. The 21st Century Formula of Concord recommended that disciplinary action be taken against those who promote evolution. Committee 4 in Resolution 4-15 is recommending the LCMS “To Reaffirm Synod’s Position on Creation.” It is not making any recommendation that evolutionists be removed from the LCMS after proper evangelical discipline. The LCMS has repeatedly reaffirmed its position on creation but has never removed an evolutionist from the LCMS.

Concordia University  System
Harrison urged Committee 5 to “Prepare a resolution giving thanks to God and extolling the positive elements of our Concordia University System (CUS). There are many.” (23) Resolutions 5-01 “To Encourage Continued Faithful Witness to the Concordia University System” asks the LCMS to resolve “That we commend the CUS institutions for their faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and adherence to the teachings of Holy Scripture, especially with regard to cultural challenges faced by their students.” Nothing is said about removing religion and science professors who are now teaching in CUS schools that women may be pastors and God used evolution to form man and the world. A survey showed that hardly any schools in the CUS insist that all professors affirm that evolution and women serving as pastors is contrary to Scripture. Here LCMS evolutionist Matthew Becker, who taught in CUS schools, told the truth. Evolution is being taught as fact in CUS schools says evolutionist Becker who is now at Valparaiso University.

Resolution 6-17 is declining Overture 6-11 “To Make Available International Center Salaries and Benefits”, claiming it “Violates Missouri Law.” Any member of a congregation can find out what his pastor is being paid. There is no reason why members of the LCMS should not know what church officers and executives, whom they are asked to support, are being paid.  Officials should be paid according to the district salary scale for pastors in their district. Yet some of these bureaucrats get paid several times the salary of the average pastor. The LCMS’s “unelected ruler,” CPH’s Paul McCain’s salary is $186,000 a year plus benefits. Harrison’s is about $171,000 a year plus benefits. Why should these church officials be paid far more than the average pastor when the LCMS says the pastoral ministry is the highest calling? There should be full financial disclosure.

Some 50 overtures will not be submitted to the LCMS convention. Among them are Ov. 2-10 “To  Speak Boldly re  Employment of Women in  Military Combat,” Ov. 3-26 “To Reject Use of NIV in Catechism,” Ov. 4-03 “To Evaluate Fellowship with AALC,” Ov. 4-17 “To State that Women Are Not to Have Authority Over Men in the Church,” Ov. 4-20A “To Reaffirm Scriptural Teaching of Women in Congregation and Synod Offices,” Ov. 4-47 “To Clarify  Synod Position re Joint Prayer with Those Who  Deny Christ,” Ov. 4-49 “To Recognize It is Contrary to Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions to Join in Public Prayer with Those Who Deny Jesus Christ is the Only Way to Heaven,” Ov. 5-50 “To Proclaim Boldly Jesus to the World.” Such “controversial” overtures are being referred to the President of the LCMS, CTCR, Council of Presidents or CCM .The Harrison administration wants to keep them off the floor of the convention. The bureaucrats will take care of them without any voice from the laymen and average pastor. Big brother knows best. Bureaucratitis Grows in the LCMS. The pro-Loehe, hierarchilists, anti-Walther Congregationalist, and liberal faction are winning.