An Open Letter to Pr. Dan Gilbert, President of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS
Dear President Gilbert,
You have recently written about how most of the congregations in your district are declining numerically. According to you, three congregations are on average disbanding each year. You also reported that, according to one projection, the LCMS will go from its current 6000 congregations to 1,000 in just 30 years. You also pointed out that the average age of our members is probably above 60. In your concluding statement you said that the possibility of a congregation closing was dreadful and that the possibility of thousands of LCMS pastors with no flock, no call, and no income is staggering.
Given how dire the condition of the church is in your district and elsewhere, we are dismayed that you permitted Resolution 1-05, “To Call the Rev. Becker to Repentance and Implore the N.W. District President, the Rev. Paul Linnemann to Continue Exercising Ecclesiastical Discipline,” to come to the floor of the 2015 Northern Illinois District Convention. As far as we know, there has been only one official, outstanding case against Dr. Becker, and this case was recently dismissed by a Referral Panel in the Northwest District. That panel, comprised of three circuit counselors who were chosen by blind draw, concluded that the facts in that case (having to do with Dr. Becker’s support for the ordination of women) did not constitute a basis to expel him from the clergy roster of the synod. The Referral Panel’s decision not to proceed against Dr. Becker terminated the matter. Period.
May we remind you of Synod Bylaw 220.127.116.11:
Whether made by the district president or the Referral Panel, if the determination is not to initiate formal proceedings, the district president shall in writing so inform the accuser, any other district president involved, and the involved member, which shall terminate the matter [emphasis added].
That any of us knows about this case is the result of the inappropriate action of President Harrison to have given publicity to it at the recent North Dakota District Convention. Only in the wake of President Harrison’s public remarks (which were widely shared on the internet) and his now infamous Facebook posting, which went directly against the spirit and letter of Bylaws 2.14.1b, 2.14.2e (“face to face”), and 18.104.22.168, did people throughout the synod become aware that Dr. Becker had been cleared of this charge against him. Obviously, the Referral Panel did not think that Dr. Becker’s views on the ordination of women form a sufficient reason to expel him from the clergy roster.
Dr. Becker is not guilty of advocating false doctrine. He has merely published some writings in which he levels criticism against the synod’s practice of restricting the office of pastor to men. He has followed the process of dissent in our synod, a process on which the synod has placed no time restrictions. Moreover, Dr. Becker’s dissent does not rise to the level of rejecting any of the articles of faith, as these are clearly exhibited in the Lutheran Confessions. In fact, we think that the biblical and confessional content of Dr. Becker’s dissent ought to be discussed more fairly and given greater consideration within the Synod than it has been so far.
It was totally inappropriate for you to allow Rev. Roger Gallup, a member of the floor committee that brought this resolution to the floor, to give a special address to the convention in order to publicly accuse Dr. Becker of being a false teacher. Rev. Gallup even boasted that the entire floor committee that brought the resolution to the NID convention was unified in labeling Dr. Becker a false teacher. That committee had no standing, legitimacy, or authority to make such a public judgment against a member of the synod from another district. If individuals have concerns about Dr. Becker’s public teaching, these concerns should be conveyed to Dr. Becker himself and to Dr. Becker’s district president, who alone has ecclesiastical supervision of Dr. Becker:
“The action to commence expulsion of a congregation or individual from membership in the Synod is the sole responsibility of the district president who has the responsibility for ecclesiastical supervision of such member (Bylaw 2.14.1b).
May we also remind you of Synod Bylaw 2.14.2e:
Face-to-face: A face-to-face meeting in person between the accuser and the accused in the manner described in Matthew 18:15. Email, regular mail, fax, or telephone call (or any combination thereof) does not satisfy this requirement. (Note: Failure to conduct a face-to-face meeting within 30 days or within such extension as may be established by the involved ecclesiastical supervisors shall result in dismissal if the fault lies with the accuser or movement to the next stage if the fault lies with the accused.)
We have learned that no one from the NID ever met face-to-face with Dr. Becker to discuss their concerns with him privately. Dr. Becker’s reputation has certainly not been protected in your district. He was publicly attacked at your district convention, behind his back, and without any prior communication with him. Bylaw 2.14.2e was not followed. And now your attack against Dr. Becker has been widely shared on the internet. We believe that you and your district have broken the Eighth Commandment. Rev. Gallup’s speech and the resolution against Dr. Becker are slanderous. Neither that speech nor that resolution should have ever been allowed at your convention.
Many people within our synod are putting the worst construction on Dr. Becker’s dissent (“He’s guilty of false teaching!”) rather than putting the best construction on it (“He’s trying to lead us to study the Scriptures and the Confessions more carefully and to evaluate current synodical practices and resolutions in light of the Scriptures and the Confessions!”). Like many professors at Christian colleges and universities, Dr. Becker is daily faced with young people who have given up on the church and may also be in the process of losing their faith. It is estimated that less than 10% of the Millennial Generation have any regular connection with church. Research has also shown that young people are particularly turned off by what they consider to be the anti-science, anti-women, and anti-gay positions of the church.
Dr. Becker shares with you the sadness that if this generation is not reached with the Gospel, such a failure will have eternal consequences for them and devastating results in our congregations. He questions not the essential doctrine of the church concerning God’s creation, our sin, Christ’s work of atonement, salvation by grace through faith alone, the means of grace, and the ongoing work of the Spirit. Rather, he challenges those peripheral, problematic positions of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, that are not clearly settled in the Scriptures and that have been decided merely by majority votes at synod conventions.
In your written reflections, you said that the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Thus, you advocate New Starts – New Believers. Many of us believe that now is also the time to revisit previous convention resolutions that we think are misguided and even harmful to Christ’s mission in the world today, especially as the mission relates to our children and grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Robert Schmidt
Deacon Dr. Douglas Morrison
Rev. Bill Warren
Dr. Don Soeken
Rev. Arnie Voight
Rev. Tyrus Miles
Rev. J. L. Precup
Rev. Dr. Hans Spalteholz
Dr. Elizabeth Goodine
Rev. Dale Koehneke
Rev. Paul Schmidt
Rev. Richard Hill
Rev. Adam Kegel
Rev. Gary Koopmann
Rev. Roger Stuenkel
Rev. Dale Krueger
Rev. Richard Patt
Rev. Robert Martinek
Rev. Dell Schomburg
Rev. Dr. Norman Metzler
Rev. John Hannah
Atty. Myron Allenstein
Rev. Robert Burke
Dr. Jerrald Pfabe
Rev. Edward Scott
Rev. Dr. Christian Just
Rev. Thomas Van der Bloemen
Rev. William J. Meyer
Rev. Dr. William Oehlkers
Rev. Dr. Harold Hitzmann
Tim Ihssen (CM)
Rev. Don Mulfinger
David Crisi (CM)
Rev. Karl Wyneken
Rev. Douglas Johnstone
Rev. Nolan Bremer
Rev. Jerry Groth
Rev. Dr. Warren Schumacher
Rev. Joel Nickel
Dee Koch Lieske
Rev. Peter Alexander
Rev. Dennis Schmidt
Rev. Bob Stuenkel
Rev. Howard Kramin
Dr. Andrea West (atty)
Rev. Jim Metcalf
Rev. Eugene W. Baade
[If you are a member of the LCMS or a member of an LCMS congregation, and you wish to add your name to this list of signatures, please contact Dr. Robert Schmidt at: email@example.com]
69 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Pr. Dan Gilbert, President of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS”
I am saddened and embarrassed with the actions of some within the LCMS, who have unjustly and wrongly accused The Rev Dr Becker of false doctrine and teaching. Those in leadership positions must set an example to follow Scripture first and foremost…not synodical rules and regulations. Synodical leadership is taking a once mission-minded, evangelical church body down a very legalistic, narrow and dark path which, if allowed to continue, will end in the demise of a once vibrant Gospel-oriented church body. Is “being right” really the way to go? I think not!
As I understand, the current issues with Dr. Beckler are his open teaching that the LCMS should ordain women, and his support for macro-evolution. That being the case, be embarrassed all you wish. Becker is a false teacher, and as such should called to repent, failing repentance, Becker should be removed from the Synod.
Be embarrased if you wish, but that does nto change the truth.
Dear Mr. Hartung,
If we are going to use 1 Timothy to start calling out false teachers and justify the pastoral office as limited to men, I would like to suggest the plank in our own eye be examined closely. There are many other directives in 1 Timothy that are conveniently cast aside or minimized by those use this passage to limit the pastoral office to men. If we are going to place that much weight on this passage for such a decision, I want to see every man in the LCMS lifting holy hands in worship without anger or quarreling.
The problem we have in the LCMS is not a ‘purity’ issue with false teaching, it is a leadership issue. We do not have people (Men) who are thoughtful enough or humble enough to lead in a Christ-like fashion. Perhaps the kind of discussion that people like Dr. Becker encourage is needed for intellectual growth to occur. Truth doesn’t change, but perspective does.
The LCMS has examined the issue of women’s ordination, and has made it a doctrinal position that we do not ordain women to the Office of Holy Ministry. We believe that this is what the Scriptures teach, and it is one of the doctrines we subscribe to when we are ordained. To teach otherwise is by definition the teaching of false doctrine; the consistent teaching of false doctrine by rostered clergy has long been understood to be a cause for removal from office.
Not ordaining women was not a part of my ordination vows, nor did I hear about it while attending a recent ordination.
This is truly my brother not a good argument. You and I are bound to the Confessions and the Scriptures that the Confessions are gleaned from.
Even though I did not hear Infant Baptism as part of the vows, it is part and parcel of AC IX, which is drawn from God’s Word. In fact, if you said that in Luther’s Day, He and even the Romanists would swat you in the head. It is simply part of who we are.
Now if you and I do not believe in Infant Baptism, we must walk away.
We do, and have for many years.
I should qualify my previous statement. There are many in the LCMS who lead faithfully. I do not see it in the behavior of Pr. Dan Gilbert or those in the NID referenced in this article. The difficulty we have now, is that open dialogue (especially at University level) has now been quashed by the heavy hand of intolerance to discussion and differing views.
We have lost the art of disagreement in our Synod as well as this country. I do not feel the need to hate those who view the world differently than I do. Why must we chase down and persecute those who ask and question within the bounds that have been set forth? Theology, time and understanding did not stop with Melanchthon. Perhaps we have more to learn.
If we had leaders in place who were willing to lead in a Christ-like fashion, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The inquisition based behavior and rhetoric that was begun by our Synod President in North Dakota continued in the NID and SID conventions and brought us to the point of this letter.
The matter regarding Dr. Becker was examined and handled according to the by-laws set forth in our Synod. All of the talk produced and publicized at the previously mentioned events was demonstrative of poor leadership and understanding of the role that they have been called to. Those who were called upon to perform a job in regard to Dr. Becker’s case, did so. All else becomes an 8th commandment issue.
In His Peace and Understanding,
I’m saddened that those who would advocate false doctrine or support those who do would put so much emphasis on bylaws and so little emphasis on Holy Scripture.
The problem here is culture overtaking the clear word of Scripture, as ALL Pastors in the LCMS have ascribed to, lest they walk away to other denominations like the ELCA, etc.
The role of the overseer, the pastor has always been male, since the beginning to now. Sure, we can have a Deaconess, even a prophetess, etc. that is female. We may not like what YHWH has said in His Word on this, we must and should accept it, or simply ignore it (that is truly the only answer). Culture wants us to ignore His Word, on so many fronts.
I myself would allow Dr. Becker to doubt, seek knowledge, write about, discuss some of his issues. We all do that. But as a rostered pastor in the LCMS, his private thoughts cannot and should not conflict with what we all have agreed to at our ordination and installation vows. He must and should maintain proper conduct as a public preacher, called pastor of the Word.
As for the comment from Rev. Precup, infant Baptism was not part of my vows either, or a proper stance on man and women only marriage, etc.; but that does not mean I disagree with them. These are just many of the doctrines we assume to be proper and good.
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I am not Lutheran but I am married to a Lutheran. I could never join this church because of the closed minded, intolerant nature of this church. Religion should be kind, loving, open, tolerant and willing to hear all voices. You do not always need to agree, but respect all voices. I wish my husband and I could belong together but I could never support a group that disrespected women so much.
Is God of a closed mind? That is truly what you are saying and having a hard time with. Like it or not, the Lord has rules, loving rules, but rules nonetheless.
God heard all voices, but in the end, only His was to be listened to and followed, all other voices are false religions pandering to culture and human wants and needs.
As for disrespecting women, how do you get that?? My wife of 33+ years does not see that, in fact, man is to respect and love his wife utterly; just as God loves His Church, His people utterly beyond bounds. And please do not bring up voting and the like, that is not part of the discussion now.
Yes, we do differ on Scripture, as to the pastoral office and who may take the role of the Elder in the Church.
Dear Pastor Prentice,
I beg you to reconsider, as you are sorely mistaken in your response to Pat. By telling someone who you should be listening to what they can and cannot bring up as points to be discussed, you are already disrespecting the person you should be listening to and discussing with and have placed them in the subservient and discounted position that you claim not to do. By claiming the ability to control what can and cannot be used as points of discussion, you have failed to meet them as a fellow human and have minimized and attempted to shame them publicly. Secondarily, I belong to an LCMS congregation that has not only women elders, but has a head elder who is a woman. We are doing quite well and growing as a congregation.
The fact that your wife does not see things the same way as someone else does not prove a point. It provides an anecdote. Nothing more. If the ‘creation order’ narrative is carried to it’s logical end, the LCMS position would have women in subservient roles across all of society and not just excluded from the office of pastor. If you truly follow the argument of the ‘creation order’ that underlies the LCMS reasoning, then submitting to any woman in an authoritative position (i.e.: Police Officer, Judge, Professor, Administrator, etc…) is outside of the norm set forth in the interpretation of Scripture that you propose.
The ‘Voice’ that the LCMS relies on to justify the role of men occupying the office of Pastor belongs to St. Paul in his letter to St. Timothy. Timothy served the Lord’s church in a very specific time and place. We may have much to learn about Paul’s instruction to Timothy. Both in the specific time and circumstance and how each instruction may or may not apply to our church today. We no longer require women obey the the prohibition to wear braids their hair or wear gold as described in this specific passage. Perhaps other prohibitions need to be reviewed as well.
This is where we must leave off, because it is not only Paul that says this (in fact, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul in Scripture), “all Scripture is God breathed”; the rest of the Bible also sets the tone.
But I am not going to get into an interpretation of Old Testament to New Testament, and how YHWH flushes out the role of the pastor, the overseer.
Yes, you and many are “higher critical thinkers”, and that sets a tone that looks to negate much of God’s Word, leaving it to genre and the culture and times of the day. Yes, our “lens” to interpreting Scripture is different.
It’s very sad that you have painted me and others with such a broad brush. I do not seek to negate the Word of God. I simply seek to have an open and meaningful discussion within the boundaries set forth in our Synod, as Dr. Becker did and explained as well. Perhaps more time spent with the small catechism on this matter is in order:
The Eighth Commandment
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our
neighbour, betray him, slander him,
or hurt his reputation,
but defend him,
speak well of him,
and explain everything in the kindest way.
(Spacing added for emphasis)
Among those who lead faithfully in the LCMS is our Synod president Rev. Matthew Harrison. If the actions of the NID regarding Dr. Becker are the only evidence you have of a lack of faithful leadership, or of the stifling of open dialog in our universites, you have little or nothing.
Becker serves on the faculty of a non-LCMS university, but that does not excuse him from his subscription to the Lutheran confessions, and from adhering to the teachings of the LCMS.
The jingoistic nature of your outlook on how leadership should be executed saddens me greatly. It makes me think that this is leading our Synod into a ‘second coming’ of the Pharisees. The blind legalism and merciless purging of those who want to wrestle with scripture and engage in discussion does nothing for the advancement of the Gospel. I will pray for your hearts to be softened.
In His Peace,
Todd, allow me to ask you a question. At what point would you see that a pastor has crossed the line?
I’ll provide narrative for you from Dr. Becker’s own article on this site to reference so that we can be clear about the timeline and the point at which the line was crossed:
The NW District President, Rev. Paul Linnemann, who has the sole responsibility for my ecclesiastical supervision, investigated this matter carefully and engaged me in extended discussion. We also met with members of the Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations. Eventually, President Linnemann formed a referral panel to investigate and act upon the accusation against me, something he can do according to LCMS bylaw. The purpose of this Panel was to examine the accusation, my public writings on the ordination of women, and written statements from both my accuser and me. The three members of the Referral Panel, each a circuit visitor in the NW District, were chosen by blind draw. To this day, I do not know who they are. I learned later that they met in the fall of 2014 and, for whatever reason, determined not to initiate formal proceedings to expel me from the Synod. According to the Synod’s bylaws, the decision of the Referral Panel was final. It terminated the matter. I was informed of this decision on the day before Thanksgiving 2014. Also informed were the pastor who had brought the charge, the President of the Synod, and the English District President.
[At this point in time, the matter is closed. The accused was afforded due process and the matter warranted no further action according to the decision of the panel. No further discussion is required, or appropriate.]
But President Harrison did not and does not accept the decision of the Referral Panel or the relevant actions of the NW District President in this matter. Instead President Harrison chose to criticize the decision of the Panel publicly at the convention of the North Dakota District Convention earlier this year. He further publicized his criticism of me and the Referral Panel on his personal Facebook page.
[President Harrison’s comments were not only out-of-bounds and disrespectful of the panel’s ability to adjudicate the matter, but also alluded to his desire to have the ability to, or his willingness for the mechanism to reach over the due process and handle matters as he sees fit. There are reasons why we provide structure and procedure for ourselves within organizations. It is for this very purpose. So that one person or group of persons cannot issue vendetta against another for an affront, real or perceived. A good leader respects, understands and follows the guidelines of the organization that they purport to lead. They do not publicly stir ill-will against another or encourage such behavior.]
So in you opinion, Dr. Becker has done nothing wrong?
A very good article many of you should read is this, from a very prominent theologian in the Church. Yes, keep the discussion balanced.
I am “eventually” going to write my own.
The LCMS feels more like a court of men making and enforcing laws than a religion of comfort, charity and peace. As an outsider it feels to me closed, clickish, a little cult-like, and very harsh. There is an obsession with sin, heaven and hell that is used to control your members. You spend so much time and effort with your interpretation of law and rule, and miss the message of love, charity, peace. If women had voice in this organization it would improve greatly.
I understand your feeling, but as many learned men and women theologians will say. “sin, heaven, and hell” are part of the main equation that do highlight the unlimited, unsurpassed love of YHWH, God, the Lord of Hosts.
If we “feel” closed minded, clickish, it is because of the Scriptures that we hold dear, and to the fact, yes, by our Lutheran guided principles, God’s love culminates in the destruction of sin through Christ. Jesus is the Lamb that will be slaughtered, but for what? Yes, for sin.
Yes, even though we sin, the entire OT and NT is filled with sinful men an women running from God, yet He does not run from His promise of Salvation. Yet God does not ever say sin is not in the world, from the fall, it is.And God certainly does punish the sinner, and we cringe at that; but God remains faithful to the faithful.
Now a few weeks ago, I preached on John 3:14-21, one of the final Gospel texts before the Passion and Palm Sunday. Jesus came to really put us in a black and white crisis so to speak. Jesus came to destroy sin and death for those that have faith; yet those that do not will perish.
Love comes down in Jesus (the Word made flesh), yet love still says, you sinners, have faith. Perhaps it is a hard Message, but would you want me or others to sugar coat it?
So yes, do I make a big deal out of sin? You bet because I want every sinner to know that their sin is covered by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ the Lord.
Is your wife allowed to speak with her own voice?
Oh yes, she certainly does.
I believe that there that of God in all men. Jesus message was love and he love equally both men and women. His life, legacy and message of love and charity changed everything and should include our interpretation of the OT laws. Lutheran ministers stay in a thick tenacious bubble of sin and hell. I need a more positive message. My prayer is that some day my husband will see the Light and be happier and healthier. It is not that I do not appreciate the historical significance of OT, just feel strongly that Jesus changed it all.
Oh my, you have been taught some “interesting things”, and I pray your loving husband will guide you to Jesus and His Salvation offered at the cross.
To be blunt, Jesus message was love, charity, etc.; but it was His mission that was the most important. Jesus came to drink the cup, be KILLED for you, me, and the sins we are covered with.Yes, Jesus came to do one main thing, die. Jesus was sent by the Father, to atone, to “fix up” what no one could do. Jesus died, we live.
That is the promise, that is the entire message of Holy Scripture.
Yes, the OT has some historical items, but that is not the purpose, it is a Christological pointer to Jesus.
In fact, Jesus changed noting of the the OT has done or spoken of, Jesus simply fulfilled it.
And yes, we as saved people, whether in the OT times or NT times do love, cherish, care for all people, the best we can.
Yet when we fail, God, Jesus picks us up, forgives and loves His sinful, “stiff necked” people.
Also, and this may come as a shock, we are never promised health, wealth, etc. If you want that, see Joel Osteen. What Scriptures and God points to is this:
Hmmm, read Psalm 23 later, do it aloud, not just to yourself.
Than at the end, notice:
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Psalmist is looking forward to life eternal, in the house of God. Yes, life “may” stink, but we will live eternally. And that was the message of the OT and Jesus too. Nothing changed.
For your information I am not a prosperity Christian, and would in no way appreciate Joel Olseen. My faith is simple, peaceful, charitable and we believe in equality of men and men. We are present day and involved in many social issues. My loving husband had been able to experience open mindedness and inclusiveness. I leave his Lutheran church in a knot because of the depressing message of hell and war. I feel so bad for all these members which are controlled by the depressing messages. No, you are very wrong, I would not fit in the Joel Olsteen crowd, I am mainstream Protestant with a positive, hopeful, loving message. We do not have authoritative clergy making decisions, we all come to consensus after prayer ful thought and study much like our democratic government. Sometimes a slow process but it works well.
So I am overjoyed that you see Joel as “prosperity Gospel”. Great and good. Yet do you think all us Pastors simply preach death, hell, and sin? We do, but with a much louder voice proclaim the Gospel, found both in the NT and OT.
Perhaps you have been to a place that the Law as you call it (yes, the condemnation of a sinner) has been “overly preached”, without the joy of the Gospel coming next.
I am not sure of the Church you attend, but the Gospel is and should be all over the place.
01) In Confession and Absolution, your sins are wiped clean, if for a moment.
02) When you hear the Word proclaimed, both good and well spoken reading of the Holy Word, with feeling (it was written to be spoken aloud). I pray a good sermon.
03) When the Body and Blood of Christ come to you lips, your soul refreshed, sins also forgiven again.
We do the same, the Church works together to make decisions, but the decision of the Word, yes, left to our Confessions and the Word of God that we see.
I am stumped again a bit. Yes, war, hell, cancer, life; IT STINKS at times. The Church is here as a body of loving members that help you in times of need. A Pastor makes sure you hear that Jesus, our Triune God is there to make sure no matter what happens, heaven IS your home.
The minister at my husband”s LCMS makes frequent references to “war” with “enemy” and evil. Any reference to war even metaphorical I believe has a desensitizing effect on the serious nature of war. He also likes to make negative remarks about other faiths and Christain denominations. While I may not agree or unbraced the beliefs of other faiths I do not feel that this has any place in a church service and only strengthens my feeling of the LCMS as cult like and threatened by other faiths. I have also read negative statement by your president about other faith traditions. The best way to win hearts is not by this uncivil behavior but by genuine interest and caring. All faiths have elements in common and plenty to learn from each other. Authoritative figures making negative remarks in public is not appropriate and is just plain irresponsible. This is what the leaders of terrorist group do to modivate their flock and creats group anger, “mobs”. We may be Christisn but it is not responsible behavior by any leader. I am not impressed by the authority and leadership in this denomination at all. The voices of women would make a big difference!
The most important message in the bible for me is the establishment of God’s kingdom here on earth now. While I may live with the hope that heaven, I do not choice to dwell on this matter today. My mission is here and now, trying to do Gods work for my fellow humans, all God’s creatures and caring for the planet. Peace and harmony is what all that call themselves Christain should want to establish. All of your rhetoric about heaven and hell only serves to control your flock through fear and intimidation. No one needs authoritative pastors. We need kind gentle leadership, this is what women can bring to this place.
Jesus as you may know had women around him with very important roles. Women have been very important in the spread of our faith. It is only fear that keeps them out of LCMS leadership. Fear that women can be more sensitive and intuitive spiritual leaders.
I am a Lutheran woman, I am having a hard time with the way the Lutheran feel about women. I was the first woman voted in as a trustee in our church. Three trustee and each advance till you became the no. 1 or head trustee, as I got to the no. 1 our pastor took the second trustee, a male and put him in that position. In our church, only men take up the collection, and only males are deacons. I am not taking communion till I can in my mind allow me to go even if I believe the Lutherans are wrong in thinking a man is above a woman, that we are not equal. I am no better than my husband and he is no better than me. We are equal. If taking communion is ok with the way I feel about this then I will again take communion, but not until. Thank you for your comments on this subject. I believe as you do. Lorretta
You do need leadership, and it needs to come with authority, love, and blessing. We must part from the discussion because you are trying to make your case for women being pastors.
In the LCMS, women hold many, many, many roles; with strong and powerful voices. In my Church, strong women make a strong and powerful voice for God. Albeit, the office of pastor is alone to the man.
We differ, that is the way it is.
You paint a picture of one Church, I cannot comment on your situation, that is not the case at mine or many.
We can certainly use strong Deaconess’s to help us Pastors.
To all here,
May the Lord bless all this Easter. Jesus came to save all sinners, we just need to make sure we know what is sin!
Dear Pr. Prentice,
HE IS RISEN!
A Blessed Easter to you as well. I surely hope and pray that you were able to preach the Joy found in our Risen Savior today better than the greeting left for us here. Leaving a message like yours today was akin to taking your Easter Sermon text from Leviticus. Easter should be a message of peace, comfort and confidence in knowing that He is enough.
Christ is sufficient. I will continue to work, pray and collaborate with all who have faith in Christ Jesus as their Savior and make every effort to empower them to share His Gospel with the gifts that they have been endowed with. (All things to All people) I do not fear that to be sin.
Perhaps you noticed in the readings for today in the Lectionary (John 20:1–18) who was told to preach the first sermon on the Resurrection? (It was Mary Magdalene)
Sorry, but that was NOT a SERMON Mary Magdalene was instructed to “preach.” It was the simple delivery of a message. This is exactly what’s wrong with many in the LCMS today — twisting words to mean what the speakers WANT them to mean. I suggest you read “What’s Going On Among the Lutherans” — from authors who’ve BEEN there. The term used in that book is “double speak” — saying one thing and meaning another. It goes hand in hand with full-blown apostasy!
Well that escalated quickly. Apostasy?
I went from a difference of opinion on one portion of an interpretation of scripture to full blown rejection of Christianity in your eyes?
Perhaps that’s what’s wrong with leadership in the LCMS today. Case in point for not even being willing or able to have rational discussions about differences of opinion or interpretations of scripture.
I’ve got to get back to actually spreading the Gospel to the world. Hope you are doing the same.
In His Peace,
An Analysis of “An Open Letter to Pr. Dan Gilbert, President of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS” from the Daystar Journal
Since this letter to the president of the Northern Illinois District of the LCMS was presented as an open letter, and therefore meant to attract more widespread attention, I considered it fitting to respond. I do so considering individual sections of, or statements in, the letter and replying to each.
“You have recently written about how most of the congregations in your district are declining numerically . . . Given how dire the condition of the church is in your district and elsewhere, we are dismayed that your permitted Resolution 1-05, ‘To Call the Rev. Becker to Repentance and Implore the N.W. District President, the Rev. Paul Linnemann to Continue Exercising Ecclesiastical Discipline,’ to come to the floor of the 2015 Northern Illinois District Convention.” Are numbers the reason we either take action or fail to do so? Is right not right and is wrong not wrong? Shouldn’t the merit of a situation, not fear of numbers-related repercussions, determine what course of action to take? There are terms for those who’d be driven by such ulterior motives to the point of not acting appropriately, and those terms tend to reflect the world’s oldest profession.
“[The NW District Referral Panel] concluded that the facts in that case (having to do with Dr. Becker’s support for the ordination of women) did not constitute a basis to expel him from the clergy roster of the synod.” So you admit that Dr. Becker maintains “support for the ordination of women”?
“Dr. Becker is not guilty of advocating false doctrine.” The ordination of women to the pastoral office is false doctrine. To advocate for such is to advocate for false doctrine.
“He has merely published some writings in which he levels criticism against the synod’s practice of restricting the office of pastor to men.” Would he also “level criticism” against the Holy Scriptures, which also do so? There’s a term for that too — “historical criticism.”
“He has followed the process of dissent in our synod . . . Dr. Becker’s dissent does not rise to the level of rejecting any of the articles of faith, as these are clearly exhibited in the Lutheran Confessions.” First — the fact that the Lutheran Confessions do not address a particular sin does not dismiss the guilt of that sin. The Lutheran Confessions also don’t address automobile theft or cybercrime, so is that cause to assume that we Lutherans can advocate for auto theft or cybercrime and still be in line with the spirit of the Lutheran Confessions? Second — If one wants to look at it that way, Dr. Becker may not be directly rejecting an article of the Confessions, but he’s clearly rejecting an article of God’s Word.
“We think that the biblical and confessional content of Dr. Becker’s dissent ought to be discussed more fairly and given greater consideration within the Synod than it has been so far.” What is the purpose of such “discussion,” but to continue to wear down an already settled point? The Scriptures have spoken; there is nothing more to consider! Any attention given needs to be in support of the Scriptural position, as it seeks to educate and edify, not negotiate or “discuss.” In almost seventeen years of pastoral ministry, I’ve learned that, so often, the intention of opening a Scripturally-settled issue to “discussion” is the prelude to the intention of departing from the Scriptural position in question.
“It was totally inappropriate for you to allow . . . the floor committee . . . to publicly accuse Dr. Becker of being a false teacher. That committee had no standing, legitimacy, or authority to make such a public judgment again a member of the synod from another district.” Given the public nature of Dr. Becker’s heresy (yes, I just called his position “heresy”), consider the words of St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost, Galatians 2:11, 14, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed . . . But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all . . .”
“May we also remind you of Synod Bylaw 2:14.2e . . .” Yes, we need our bylaws in Synod, but it’s as a friend of mine, in a supervisory position in one of our synod’s districts, had once said to me from his own observation: Once the parties involved in such a dispute need to resort to citing bylaws, the damage is done to the relationship. It then becomes a situation of winners and losers.
“Many people within our synod are putting the worst construction on Dr. Becker’s dissent (‘He’s guilty of false teaching!’) rather than putting the best construction on it (‘He’s trying to lead us to study the Scriptures and the Confessions more carefully and to evaluate current synodical practices and resolutions in light of the Scriptures and the Confessions!’).” “Study more carefully and evaluate”? He’s doing so with an agenda you’ve already admitted to!
“Dr. Becker is daily faced with young people who have given up on the church and may also be in the process of losing their faith.” This is what happens when the Scriptures are not allowed to be the authority they are. It’s the fostering of the idea that authority is meant to be questioned that leads to the abandonment of faith or, for that matter, any of a host of other rebellious actions.
“It is estimated that less than 10% of the Millennial Generation have any regular connection with church. Research has also shown that young people are particularly turned off by what they consider to be the anti-science, anti-women, and anti-gay positions of the church.” Are we not governed by God’s Word, over and against what this world would have us do, teach, confess, advocate, etc.? Of special concern is the fact that “anti-gay” was brought up. Is the next step to follow the actions of the ELCA? (which, need we be reminded, is NOT our “partner church body!”). Come to think of it, most of what’s advocated in this “open letter” is very much congruent with the teachings and practices of the ELCA. At least one of Dr. Becker’s confederates finally did the honorable thing and left the LCMS for the ELCA.
“Dr. Becker shares with you the sadness that if this generation is not reached with the Gospel, such a failure will have eternal consequences for them and devastating results in our congregations.” This is exactly what is happening BECAUSE of the teachings of those such as Dr. Becker. It is they who are undermining the authority and meaning of Scripture. What good is it to reach people with the “Gospel” if it’s actually a false gospel or one that compromises the true Gospel?
“He questions not the essential doctrine of the church concerning God’s creation, our sin, Christ’s work of atonement, salvation by grace through faith alone, the means of grace, and the ongoing work of the Spirit.” No, he’s “only” questioning the Word of God, which teaches of and edifies us in our faith, and which is that through which the Holy Spirit works. To consider Luther’s Small Catechism lessons — the Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed, “The Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel . . .” Also, in answer to the question in the Baptism lesson, “How can water do such great things?” The answer, “It is not the water indeed that does them, but the Word of God, which is in and with the water . . .”
“Rather, he challenges those peripheral, problematic positions of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, that are not clearly settled in the Scriptures . . .” Oh, but many of them are. God’s Word addresses the roles of men and women in the Church. The problem isn’t that Scripture doesn’t thus address them, because it does. Rather, the problem is that the people of this day and age think that, somehow, they’re exempt from the standards which have been long upheld and precisely because they do reflect the teaching of Scripture. Remember, proponents of same-sex marriage and other sins often claim the Bible does not address the people or the situations of today!
“Many of us believe that now is . . . the time to revisit previous convention resolutions that we think are misguided . . .” “WE THINK”?!?
” . . . and even harmful to Christ’s mission in the world today, especially as the mission relates to our children and grandchildren.” Does Hebrews 13:8 say, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and until the mid-20th century, when the rules changed,” or does it not say, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever”? It’s the same Lord, the same faith, the same Gospel. So, why should today’s generations expect a different standard when it comes to our doctrinal teaching and practice?
There already is a church body reflective of that which is advocated in Daystar’s open letter. It’s called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Their positions closely match and, where the open letter position isn’t quite that far gone yet, it’s heading that direction.
In the Interest and Service of the UNADULTERATED Gospel of Christ,
Rev. Paul E. Gramit, Pastor
Ev. Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS-UAC), Clinton, Mass.
If it looks like a cult and smells like a cult, chances are it is a cult!
I find this church to be very harsh, closed and very much a cult with authoritarian leadership trying desperately to control the flock. I cannot believe there are so many that just blindly follow and afraid to breakout of this culture.
(I’m presuming it’s the same “Pat” who’s writing each of the comments under that name . . .) Pat, for someone who’s so discontented with the LCMS, you seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time and energy here arguing against it.
You keep using the word “cult’ almost as if, after so many references using that word in different specific contexts, we’re supposed to finally notice it if we hadn’t noticed it earlier. After several notes, you include the phrase, “I cannot believe . . . ” in reaction to people in the LCMS, which gives it away that you’re just trying, trying, trying to use this forum to overhaul the LCMS even where it does not need overhauling and, in the process, it’s a major exercise in frustration.
Please do yourself — yes, yourself — a favor. You really ought to stop!
And, we are NOT a “cult.” A cult traps people in by giving them the sweet candy first, then, when they’ve invested themselves, the reality sets in. Most of them will never learn all the secrets. And, were one to want to leave, he’d be hounded left, right, up, and down to stay, or he’d be personally shunned, etc. At our congregation — and we’re VERY “old” Missouri here (in New England, at that!) — there are no secrets when it comes to doctrine, issues, where we stand, etc. We have many former members we’re personally VERY friendly with. And, there’s no “drive thru” membership program here. Each catechumen spends several months with me on a usually one session a week basis, we go over MUCH detail, I explain the LCMS positions, I also explain our “old” Missouri particulars and how a changing LCMS has put some distance between us and much of the rest of the synod on some particulars (I guarantee, you would NOT like it here), and, IF the people can embrace and accept the congregation as it is in terms of those basics and key points (and state so much), and of course show they’re with us faith-wise and take their Confirmation vows (and be baptized if not already), they’re welcomed and assimilated. I stress that, if they find themselves in disagreement with our “old” ways to the point where they’d want to see something different happening here in that sense, then our congregation is not for them. I’m prepared to point them toward other LCMS options.
As one gentleman years ago — already LCMS (yes, we check with all transfer-ins too on those points — junior confirmands too, by the way) — as he put it (he didn’t join us, but it was for totally demographic reasons — where he was living, about to move to, etc.), he said, “I myself would not write a church constitution to exclude women as voters, were I the one in charge of setting it all up from the start. However, if I were to join your congregation, I’d accept that that’s what was done in your congregation’s domain and would not make issue of it or be part of any effort to change it.” I answered with an emphatic, “That’s ALL I’d ask.” For the most part (the vast majority most part), we’re moving through the 21st century, as an “old order” congregation, in peace and health! as we’re “walking together” (the meaning of the word “synod”).
By the way, that word — “synod” — suggests being on the same page. The idea that the synod exists to constantly entertain diversity (e.g. “discussion” when used out of context) on our doctrinal issues is ludicrous!
As Pastor Prentice had said above, “We differ, that is the way it is.” When it comes down to it, your view differs from that of the mainstream LCMS (as do the views of many involved with Daystar), and that is that. Even if, in your view, it’s totally wrong, you’d save yourself so much grief by accepting the fact that we’re not going to ordain women. There are other issues too, such as that we’re not going to embrace Darwinian evolution as truth, we’re not going to be partnered with the ELCA at the Lord’s table (for certain, not as long as they’re even close to their current positions; they’d have to move WAY right before we’d even start talking), we’re not going to view homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle, and we’re not going to advocate abortion on demand (as in the pro-“choice” way). I am not at all saying that you’re necessarily polar with us on these other positions — in fact, it would not at all surprise me if you were right with us on those others — but many who’d identify with the ordination of women, or other “left” views (or “moderate” to hear the left describe themselves), are polar to us on those others as well.
To conclude — you’re obviously thinking that, by saying “cult” over and over again in various settings, it’s going to make some inroads. It’s not, so again, this is futility. At some point, I will exit this string of discussion, maybe to come back at some point down the road (seeing the open letter in Christian News got me here) on this or, more likely, something else as I become aware. Someone of another view will almost certainly enjoy the “last word” in all of this. It may even be you. But, when the sun goes down at the end of the day, old Missouri will continue to be old Missouri, because we truly believe that, by God’s grace (and HIS grace is the ONLY way!), we’re teaching and practicing faithfully. Ever learning and growing, yes — absolutely! But NOT the direction you’d like to see. For your own sake, please don’t get your hopes up.
Soli Deo Gloria!
One characteristic of a cult is the leadership trolling around looking for members or others with opinions that decent from the dogma. No one can tell me to stop! I will call this a cult all that I want for as long as I believe this to be true. I am married to a member of this cult who has been brain washed by the Lutheran fallible translation of the bible. I pray daily that he will come to realize what a joyful message Christ left us all and that was not what he learned in his church. This is very close to a cult if not a true cult, it is not main stream Christianity.
Your “all that I want” says it all.
Believe me, those with the differing views didn’t exactly have to be sought out by “trolling around.” They’re forward enough with them to where one can’t help but notice them. As I’d written parenthetically in my previous comment (and to elaborate a bit), I wouldn’t have known about this post at all were it not featured in Christian News.
I believe you meant “opinions that DISSENT from the dogma.” As an aside, the word “decent” hardly describes those who hang around a confessional body and have the audacity to try to move it off its moorings anyhow (which is attempted by at least many of the LCMS people who call themselves “moderates”). The DECENT thing to do would be to leave and to ally with that fellowship with which one agrees.
And, would you tell us just what “Lutheran fallible translation of the Bible” you mean? Before you answer, no real Lutheran considers the Lutheran Confessions, or any Lutheran writings, or any teachings of any Lutheran, to be on par with Scripture itself (although we DO recognize the Lutheran Confessions to be accurate in their doctrinal teaching and, therefore, subscribe to them unconditionally, as well as recognize the value of the many Lutheran writings which support the teaching of Scripture and the Confessions), so it’s not any of those. Also, since the LCMS “is not mainstream Christianity,” I’d be very interested to find out which church you think IS mainstream Christianity (or most accurately reflects it) and what ITS view on the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture is.
Very humble if you to correct spelling and use of language. Another cult trait, attempting to make followers or would be followers feel inferior but I will not be made to feel inferior to you or any other Lutheran clergy! There can be error in any bible interpretation, how can you say that you have the one “true” interpretation. I consider most Presbyterisns, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal main stream, conservative translations as opposed to literal translation to be more “normal”, less controlling or cult like than the LCMS.
Let me add one thing. We LCMS have no official Bible translation so to speak. OK, the latest lectionary uses ESV (from NIV), but others do that too.
What we have is a hermetical guideline, (OK, “rules of the road for interpretation”); and yes, the ELCA’s rules are a bit different than LCMS, and Roman Catholic is different, etc.
It is what we bring to the table as we translate.
OK, when I read the Old Testament, I see much of it as Christological, it “looks to Christ” and His coming. A bit different than a Jew who refuses to accept that, they read with a different lens.
01) You truly do not understand translations, but “here goes”. We all use differing translations, and some are closer to the Biblical Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic. Scholars even quibble on ancient language, some translation much harder than others. Moses was a bit different than Isaiah language, but we will not go there.
ESV is my favorite, but we read many, to “get the tone” of the true meaning of God’s Word. In the end, you must pick the one you follow, and the principles you apply are part of that.
02) Yes, we look for error, and all scholars acknowledge that can get in the way. We do not have the “original” so to speak, yet the Holy Spirit still works through, and we always work back to the latest and best understanding of all Biblical texts.
But do you truly want to know all this? Or are you just having a hard time with God and His Message. It is not easy. You need to sit down with your pastor and have a “heart to heart.” Please. Sit with your husband too and discuss, come to a proper understanding together.
You may call us a cult, you are no different than people throughout history. God’s Message for many is complicated, culture wants to run from it. Do not run, please.
If only you could comprehend how demeaning you really are! No, I do understand “Gods” message, I will never understand the Lutheran message which is about controlling women, keeping them in their place. I also understand translation. The LCMS is a cult like organization. Culture is not totally bad and yes it changes. I believe the Bible is a living manuscript, it is not static. You miss so much if the beauty living in the past and standing still putting so much effort in controlling the message. I feel so much grief for the members of this cult.
If only you could comprehend how demeaning you really are! No, I do understand “Gods” message, I will never understand the Lutheran message which is about controlling women, keeping them in their place. I also understand translation. The LCMS is a cult like organization. Culture is not totally bad and yes it changes. I believe the Bible is a living manuscript, it is not static. You miss so much if the beauty living in the past and standing still putting so much effort in controlling the message. I feel so much grief for the members of this cult.
I hope others will chime in.
01) I will pray for you.
02) You need to speak with your pastor, quickly.
03) I will pray for you.
Now if that is demeaning, so be it!
Pastor Prentice, I’m “chiming in,” A very sincere “thank you” for all your comments on this issue. You have approached this whole debate with marked professionalism and great pastoral care. There are those who might see your approach as “demeaning,” but I can’t find anything demeaning about it.
I too will pray for Pat, as I just did. I also pray for her husband, that he may find himself fortified in his confessional Lutheran understanding moving forward.
Thanks. I just wish Pat would understand the love and concern we pastors have for people, all sinful people. “It ain’t easy.” God never said it would be.
While I appreciate all prayer, yours will be for the wrong reason. You should pray for your own opening and comprehension. The reason that others most likely are not chiming in is because of fear of the LCMS leadership retaliation. So far it has only been the spy net work of this cult that chime in. I am not the only one that has the idea that this is cult like in nature.
Cults coerce, force, etc. No one said you must follow God, you can walk away. You choose your path, which is different than the one I see, or your husband.
I urge you, talk with him (your husband) and pray together. Do you?
Also, I am not worried about “the big boys” getting upset. I am called by God, yes, affirmed through the Church.
I’M “chiming in,” and if I’m part of a “spy network,” it’s a pretty inept spy network because I’m using my real name! And, in one or two of my previous notes, I’d also identified my congregation name, city, and state. I’m not exactly hiding here under anonymity.
As I replied to Pastor Prentice, I appreciate his professionalism and his pastoral care approach to this whole discussion. I’d say he’s a pretty patient man.
As for your previous comment (the one in duplicity), no need to feel grief for THIS “member of this ‘cult’ ” (and, as a rostered ordained minister, I AM a member of the LCMS). While we DO have issues here in the LCMS, from my viewpoint they’re not the same as they are from yours, and, in 50 years of life, I’ve found that this church really is home, confessionally speaking. Perfect in every way? No. There are things I’d change (but not like you’d like to see). But home? Yes.
And, I’ll pray for you as well, as I just did, that you’d find the peace you’re evidently searching for. I’d also prayed for your husband, that he may be fortified in his Lutheran confession and, more important, the Gospel of Christ.
Yes, we do not troll, we use our real names, after all, we are in the public ministry.
Arrogance is the sin of the LCMS and so many others!
You were hundred percent correct when you described LCMS as a cultic institution. But, you were wrong in your presupposition because you used the normal societal standard to evaluate LCMS’s attitude.
LCMS has been in America more than 150 years coming from Germany. The earliest group of Germans immigrated to America under the umbrella of “religious persecution” from the Prussian state. The Prussian state at the time wanted Germany to have one unified Christian church, i.e., worship. That is, a union or a confederation of Lutherans, Calvinists, and Zwinglians. For the earlier groups of German Lutherans (the forefathers of the LCMS), this was an insult to their religious freedom because they want things to be done exactly the ways the Lutheran church had been practiced since Luther in the 1500’s. And, this Lutheran traditions is so divine and true to the Scriptures which cannot be compromised. For hundreds of years, the Lutherans had lived in their traditional vacuum, which was impervious to the cultural changes. Thus, to those forefathers, any outside pressure for adaptation, accommodation, or acculturation was labeled as “religious persecution.” Notice that adaptation, accommodation, and acculturation were neutral terms: a change itself does not mean unbiblical––but rather they are highly cultural. So when you, Pat, who is from the 21st century look this history, you would think that those forefathers were a bunch of people who failed to adapt, who were with sickened mind and attitude which modern psychology would labeled with anti–social and narcissistic personality disorder. Perhaps, those forefathers were anti–social and schizophrenic in a way that they thought that other people were so wrong and unbiblical (notice that 99 percent of the Germans at the times were Christians, i.e., Roman Catholics, Calvinists, and Zwinglians) except them, “the few, the proud.”
When those early forefathers arrived in America, together with the Methodists and Catholics and the Native Americans, they viewed people with the same psychic attitude. They gathered and lived in the same bubbles. Worse, those early people were trained and catechized by the same books and the same thinkers; and, their children and grand–children were taught through the same catechetical process. The early generations went through the same preschools (high schools and colleges, which were run by their grandfathers, fathers, aunts, and uncles), and seminaries. The same people went through the same colleges and seminaries, they lived, thought, and acted in clone for about a decade before they graduate. Their children played together, grew up together, and were married to one another. Even today, in the 21st century, LCMS seminaries are the Synod’s brainwash machines: every class is a regurgitation of concepts and ideas from Luther’s and Walther’s. Every class is a duplicate of yesterday’s methodology (1500’s to 1800’s) of reading Scriptures and doing theology. As a result of centuries of regurgitations and quotations, clergy were taught that it is faithful and confessional to wipe out anyone who sounds differently. Seminarian exams have been multiple–choices and recycled from year to year to ensure that the men will repeat the same phrases from the Book of Concord and the Bible. Biblical papers were written using the same references (written by the forefathers) and the same commentaries (Concordia or from those authors who happened to agree with the synod’s policies). If a seminarian references to some authors who disagreed with the synod on his paper, he would be called in to the professor’s office for a catechetical talk.
Pat, you were right to describe LCMS a cult. It is a cult like the Moony and the Mormon. The people in the LCMS are related in some: they were married through the seminaries’ spider–webs, and they graduated through the same colleges and seminaries. They were brain–washed through the same seminary systems. They plant and join churches of their own kinds. They get together to write their own constitutions and by–laws––and they vote and approve whatever sounds traditional. Because of this systemic brainwash machinery, they are intolerable to different voices under the umbrella of “biblical,” they are ignorant and hateful of what is going on around the world and in their surroundings. To the ignorant LCMS people, demographic and culture are static/immutable and impermeable. They read Scriptures through their outdated and sickened cultural lenses. They pick and choose what scriptural text to emphasize and what to deemphasize. They proof text the Bible to support their anti–social and schizophrenic century–long doctrines. Their theologies are underdeveloped to the point that they could not reach out to the young generations––even their children and grandchildren have refused to be in their sanctuaries and listened to their perverted sense of authority. They preached all the pharisaic laws but they have refused to obey one single jot of the law. And, in their perverted thoughts, they will disregard the laws and go after people who disagreed with their traditions, i.e., Dr. Matthew Becker. Pat, if you happen to disagree with those cultic ignorant LCMS people, you are immediately classified has a heterodox or heretic, and you belong to the “liberal” ELCA or the Episcopal Church. Pat, if you are an LCMS clergy and you post or say or teach anything in public that sounds unlike LCMS traditions, i.e. Dr. Matthew Becker, then you are on the Synodical inquisition radar. The LCMS Pharisees will send out their bulldogs, for instance the BJS’s, to attack you and your family. Pat, do you know that there are more Pharisees in the LCMS than in the history of Judaism. Pat, if you want to be remained as “a member of the LCMS in good standing,” you must quack like a brainless duck––otherwise they will send synodical German bulldogs after you and your family. So be it as it may, Pat, you have joined an unpopular cult!
I have not and will never join this organization where women are so marginalized. I cannot go with my husband to the LCMS. Last Sunday we attended a ELCA and this was very comfortable to me and I think he also felt less tense because I was not in such a knot. It is a little closer to his tradition than my own, but still a big step for him. I appreciate your message!
As one who left the LCMS for the ELCA predecessors. Ordain women it is the right thing to do.
The ELCA is much more main stream, open and normal. There is just something really crazy and out of touch about the LCMS. It feels like a cult.
Yes, even Jesus and the early Christians were considered a cult, just because they followed the Lord God and His Word in Holy Scripture. The ELCA has fallen away from good Biblical principles in much of what they confess, so we are the remnant Church that confesses Christ and follow Him. Sad you feel us a cult, but many in the days of Paul, the Apostles, the early Church felt the same way. I will pray for you that you have an open mind to study the Word of God. Blessings on your day.
I live in the present and am not In some ancient time. My faith is a living and present day faith. You miss so much with your narrow interpretation. The ELCA, while still a little to much ritual for me is much more open, friendly and relevant to present day matters. The LCMS is a dying church, my sympathies.
Raised in the LCMS, about half my confirmation class are now active members in the ELCA. The LCMS is becoming the same block to salvation and faith that Rev Martin Luther stood against all those centuries ago. Reading some of his Dr Luther’s sermons and writings — I wonder if the LCMS would kick him off the roll too.
My first day at Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, a young man came up to me and said ” There are rats here, and you know what rats do. Watch your ass!” This was my introduction to sem: a place so entrenched in paranoia and fear of the different and other, a guy was reduced to speaking as he would in a prison to me. Seminary students were sent out to spy on other pastors and report back to certain professors any deviant errors of scripture. Add to this the misogyny that drives those opposed to women’s ordination, God sort of disappears, and the unsaved world looks on, bewildered. Time to grow up and free yourselves.
Lutherans are not Christian. They are like Roman Catholics that have distain for anything feminian. The Roman Catholic church at least has some reverence for Mary as a feminine nature of god. Lutherans revere Martin Luther. The only use they have for women is to organise the pot luck and then clean up after. They claim not to have a pope but their President Harrison is no different than a pope. He has the last word and twists the bible to justify his opinion.
I’m not a pastor, but I’d like to share with you my personal take on this matter, as one who had gone astray for almost 20 years, but was recently fished back again by the grace of God.
How does one become a Christian? By whose power and authority, I mean?
Do you really think it is in the power of a man or a woman to believe in Christ as He is proclaimed and taught in the entire Bible? Because to be a Christian means to believe, trust and follow Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible: that the only Son of the one true God, in order to save all human kind of all times from sin and death and the power of the devil, came down from Heaven and was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, lived a perfect and holy life but was nonetheless unjustly condemned to death on a cross under the legal authority of a Roman governor called Pontius Pilate about 2000 years ago outside Jerusalem, was buried, and on the third day, as prophesied in the Old Testament, was truly raised from the dead – that is no fiction! – and went back up into Heaven to His place of authority at the right hand of His Father the God Almighty, and will come back in glory one day to judge all people, the living and the dead, who at that point will also be resurrected by His power. That historical truth, which is the Christian faith, does not change. This one alone is God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Holy Mary, although an important figure in the church, was just another believing Christian woman, as much a forgiven sinner as Eve, and only human in nature, like you and me, not “a feminine nature of god.” The Bible differs from Roman Catholic dogma on the teachings about Mary, and since the God of the Bible must have the last word on spiritual matters, the LCMS and other church bodies disagree with the Roman Catholic church on that doctrine, because going with them on that particular point would equal denying God’s ultimate authority over the church through His Word and contradicting what God clearly teaches in the Bible (yes, the ultimate author of the entire Bible is God the Holy Spirit, that is why it is eternal and holy in nature). The main reason why Christians are separated in different church bodies is because they do not agree on who’s got the last word on spiritual matters. And it is God Himself who defined what was to be considered a matter of faith to be treated that way, through the doctrine He gave to the prophets and the apostles, all the way up to John, the Evangelist (the apostle that lived the longest). And then the Bible ceased to expand, and the Christian doctrine was closed to any further change. Take it or leave it.
Since Adam and Eve, God’s promises of the coming Christ in the Old Testament specifically identified Him as a male figure. Why? I don’t know, but God chose to do so, and I bow to Him on that. Other religions of that time had goddesses and priestesses as female figures, but the God of the Bible considered that as abominations, so it cannot be considered just a matter of cultural narrow-mindedness of the people of old, but rather a matter of doctrine, a spiritual matter, on which God had the ultimate word. Then Jesus, the promised Christ, chose 12 men as His apostles to build His church – there was no woman in that ministerial circle of His choice. Why? I don’t know the reason, but I bow to His decision on that too. As you have observed above, Jesus had no bias against women and had many women friends as witnesses, but He chose 12 men as apostles nonetheless. Then, when giving instructions on how to further and faithfully build the church as the body of Christ, the New Testament teaches us to choose men for the office of holy ministry. Why? I don’t know that either. My cultural mind would be comfortable with thinking otherwise, but it is not my mind or my culture that should have the last word on spiritual matters, it is God who has it, and that is why also in this case I bow to His holy decision, against my own instinctive opinion. Because I am just a creature, and God is my all-loving Creator, in whom I can trust. If you realize and accept that fact, it becomes clear that either you accept His ruling over your life and the church, or you become a rebellious creature – not a good position to be in, although the great majority of people choose to take that road at their own risk. God is really patient!
The triune God of the Bible must have the last word on spiritual matters (doctrine and moral life) in a Christian church, not its president, bishop or pope, otherwise that church has a different god. But in order for the president, bishop or pope of that Christian church to be faithful to the triune God of the Bible in his vocation, in spite of his own cultural opinion on the issue, which has no saying on such matters, he must echo and proclaim the unchangeable Word that God says, without adding or leaving out parts of God’s doctrine, and actively guard his flock from attacks on that doctrine, including the choice of male figures for the office of ministry. Otherwise, he will himself be giving his last word on that matter, in clear rebellion against the God he claims to be serving.
First, I do not believe that you are not a lcms pastor! Your are from the same cookie cutter production and it is disgusting that you cannot just be honest. This organization is a cult and operates like all other cults. The bible is a collection of writing by ancient people. God did not write the bible. Ancient people in an ancient culture wrote these words, inspired by God. The lcmc controls member by brain washing methods no different than the Mormon church or J.W. Church.