Category Archives: Synodical Doings

Private, Schivate

To the 32 pastors who sent Wilken that letter:

You sent the letter to the Council of Presidents and the Praesidium, about 40 or so guys. That’s not private. Private is when you make a phone call or a face-to-face visit and admonish the person. What you all did was attempting to ruin Wilken’s reputation.

You call down the thunder, now reap the whirlwind.

George Wollenburg’s Letter to the Lutheran Reporter, September 2003

(There is a thread at one of the Confessional websites, and it is about a sainted friend, Rev George Wollenburg. Someone posted a cached copy of Wollenburg’s letter and I want to preserve the letter before the Internet sends it to /dev/null. So, here is Pr George’s letter to the Reporter, dated September 2003.)

“I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim. 5:21).

An article in the June Reporter quotes the Commission on Constitutional Matters: “Subscribing to, or requiring a ‘confessional statement’ in place of or in addition to the confessional position of the Synod … is a violation of the covenant relationship in the Synod (Article VI 1; Bylaw 1.03). …”

President Kieschnick is quoted as citing a document titled “That They May be One” as coming under the CCM opinion and names it divisive. He asks district presidents to exercise ecclesiastical discipline, if necessary, against the authors and signers of the document, which uses theses that begin, “We believe, teach, and confess,” and antitheses that begin, “We reject and condemn ….”

Dr. Kieschnick stated that his concern is over anyone “who does not follow the Synod’s agreed upon procedures for making doctrinal statements or expressing their disagreement with synodical doctrine and practice.”

No mention is made of a document from the Atlantic District, “That We May Be One,” which uses the same language: “We believe, teach, and confess …,” and “We reject and condemn ….” This document also was mailed out to members of the Synod. No ecclesiastical discipline is called for.

A similar appeal was made in the December issue of “Jesus First.” Eight theses were presented with the words “We affirm …,” and one antithesis with the words, “We reject ….” The theses were introduced with the statement, “We call on church members to be advocates for Jesus-First leadership and to endorse these affirmations.” No ecclesiastical discipline is called for.

In 1998, a document titled “Eucharistic Understanding and Practice, a Biblical and Confessional Study” that challenged the Synod’s practice of “close communion” was circulated in the Synod, calling for subscribers. This document also was written with the words, “We believe, teach, and confess …” and “We reject and condemn ….” Eleven former district presidents and a large number of others signed the document. No ecclesiastical discipline was called for.

I do not agree with or endorse use of language that purports to prepare a new “confession” for the Synod by using the words, “We believe, teach, and confess,” or “We affirm,” and the words “reject” and “condemn.” This language has a specific confessional meaning. I said so in 1998, and since then as well.

I am also committed to the words of the brother of our Lord: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17, 18).

Dr. George F. Wollenburg, President, Montana District, Billings, Mont.

Fiel Pero Desdichado

I always think of Sir Winston Churchill as my patron saint despite his lack of spiritual devotion. Recent events at the Fort has not only made me recall a similar and personal incident almost 5 years to the day, but they also reminded me of Churchill’s motto: Faithful but Unfortunate.

At the Fort, we have 21 final-year students not receiving a call. These men are indeed faithful to our Confessions and now unfortunate– for how will they pay back their student loans? How will they support themselves and their families? And will any of them be tempted to gain courage to “curse God and die”– as if God did not care about him in the first place? How horrible was that feeling. Even with medication and psychotherapy, I still have those bouts. I am sure several men are thinking that situation would require “a really futile and stupid gesture be done on [their] part.” Full circle.

Empty platitudes and glib Scripture quoting won’t help. Remember St James? “Faith without works is dead.” No, I’m not appealing to Roman Catholic theology, putting the cart before the horse. Fellow Confessionals, we have an opportunity to express our faith in God and to strengthen these students.

You can help out by contributing to the Student Emergency Fund at CTSFW. The Brothers of John the Steadfast has all the details. Also, if you know any of the 30 men at StL and FW, plus any of the Deaconess students without assignments, offer them help. These people will need help in the basic needs (food, shelter, etc) and they need employment. Let them know that their faithfulness is not in vain.

It’s TIME to Rock This Town!

The Confessionals needed a theme for the recent Harrison article, so here is “Rock This Town” by the Stray Cats.

A sidenote: Bishop Obare preached at Shepherd of the City during the time when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya is entering fellowship with the Missouri Synod. The Prediger picked him up from the Sem where he was staying. From what I heard, we are the first church in Synod to have him preach and administer the Sacrament. He was impressive at the pulpit, and it was an honor to receive the Sacrament from this man. Later that day, I realized that I committed a theological faux pas: his church body has NOT yet entered full altar fellowship! (Facepalms for me.) Yet I realized that I rather be fed by this confessional giant than by the theology of glory jockeys who oversee some of our Synod’s parishes. Sometime later, one of our fieldworkers [Dennis Meeker] was ordained by Obare and now serving with his wife Lorna in Kenya.

Free Conference at my Church!

Redeemer Lutheran on Rudisill holds yearly liturgical conferences (St Michael’s, Lutheran Liturgy Brotherhood) in which we attend the Eucharist, discuss parts of the Liturgy, and ultimately learn how to explain to the laity about the meaning of the Liturgy.

On January 19th, the day before the Fort Wayne Symposia, Redeemer will host a Free Conference on the future of the LCMS.  Here is the information from Pr Petersen:

This is not really a conference. It is just a convenient time to gather, to be absolved, to hear God’s Word, to pray, to learn a few things about Gregorian chant and actually do it, and to also uphold and encourage one another in mutual consolation and with conversation. This is open to anyone interested. Our topic is the future of the LCMS.

9:30 – Private Confession available with Petersen in Redeemer’s chapel
10:30 Low Mass in the Chapel
11:00 – discussion of most significant controversy in the LCMS for the future / most significant current blindess of Confessional Lutheranism
12:30 – lunch – order in pizza, pitch in for costs
2:00 – discussion continues
3:30 – Gregorian choir practice/training with Beisel for the LLPB Vespers
4:30 – LLPB Vespers w/ Treasury Propers
5:30 – ???

There is no cost for this gathering. Dr. Burnell Eckardt and
Dr. Richard Stuckwisch will both give a 5-10 minute, informal speech on the topic to get us going in the morning. The conversation will be lightly moderated, but will remain informal.

More on the topic: What is the real issue dividing the LCMS today and how should we address it? In other words, if the last generation fought the battle for the Bible over inerrancy, what is the current battle, or more importantly, what is the next battle? Where do you see evidence of this? My assumption is that Church Growth and the Emergent movement are effects not causes. But how do we get to the heart of the matter. Do we have a strategy for catechizing the LCMS and our own parishes? Do we need one? Do we have an agenda?

Along these same lines, what is our current blindness? Consider how entire generations of the LCMS swore fidelity the Confessions but failed to actually practice private Confession and Absolution or work toward the weekly Eucharist. What blindness in us will shock future generations?