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Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

6421 W. Poinsettia Drive

Glendale, Arizona 85304-2419

623-334-8014; chemnitz@uswest.net





A message from a WELS pastor, forwarded by an anonymous source:

Just a quick note to keep you up to date on the current "efficacy" controversy in the WELS. Pastor Howard Festerling has now been formally suspended from the ministerium of the WELS, officially for the crime of being "divisive and contentious," contrary to Titus 3:10. But the real issue was his refusal to accept the following statement from a Conference paper by Pastor Bruce Becker, to wit:


"The proclamation of the Gospel is not always effective because of us." 


He labeled Becker's comment as "heresy," and said any, including the DP, who accepted it were heretics also. After a year of maneuvering and wrangling over words, Howard is now out. He is appealing, but since they refuse to talk about the real issue and only want to discuss his "divisiveness," there's not much hope.


Many other men in the WELS know about this – [names omitted] etc... Also, many, even in Howard's own district agree with him, but are afraid to speak up. As they put it to him, "Look what happened to you!"


It is certainly yet another sad day in the WELS. The downhill grade of the slippery slope into reformed theology is increasing almost daily now. Whither WELS? Only God knows!


Have a great weekend.




I know Howard Festerling quite well. He and his wife were always wonderful to be around. Our son went to Michigan Lutheran Seminary with their daughter. Howard had the guts to stand up to Valleskey when the future seminary president gave his atrocious paper asking WELS pastors to “spoil the Egyptians” in learning Church Growth from Fuller Seminary. I also opposed Valleskey at the same conference. The Valleskey faction was outraged that I published my response to Valleskey in the “Orthodox Lutheran Forum,” which Marcus Nitz did his best to shut down. Nitz charged me with slandering Valleskey for disagreeing about “spoiling the Egyptians.” Nitz even huffed and puffed that I had taken on the whole seminary faculty. Thus the liberals always stick together, just as drunks lean on each other as they stagger down a dark alley.


Note what has happened to a few WELS pastors I have known:

  1. Howard Festerling was ousted for teaching Lutheran doctrine. Valleskey was at one conference about this issue but said nothing.
  2. A circuit pastor and a neighboring pastor were both pushed out of the ministry for questioning the WELS mission/vision (Church Growth) statement.
  3. One helper with the “Orthodox Lutheran Forum” had his mission de-funded. He was refused a call and forced to leave the ministry for several years.
  4. Pastor Putz was forced out by the mission board for questioning Church Growth. His congregation did not want to get rid of him, but the mission board forced it by threatening their money supply. His appeal (with Valleskey on it) was turned down. Later, he taught at a WELS school.
  5. One pastor questioned the unionism of WELS, especially one school. Valleskey threatened him, face to face.
  6. One pastor has objected to various doctrinal errors. He dreams about leaving WELS and will no doubt carry out his plans to become independent.


In contrast, when WELS Pastor William D. Tabor served at Salem in Milwaukee and murdered his wife when caught in adultery, he was given a divine call to the WELS congregation in Escanaba, Michigan, and served there several years. He never served a day in prison, but his mistress went to the slammer. The officials knew Tabor was an adulterer when he was taken into WELS in Cape Girardeaux, Missouri. His bastard child is still known in Cape as the fruit of his ministry.


When Al Just murdered his wife, the president of Dr. Martin Luther College went to the trial to defend good ol’ Al. A busload of New Ulmians marched on Phoenix to defend a favorite son of New Ulm. (He had taught at the WELS prep school in New Ulm.) Al’s nephew is now the dean of Michigan Lutheran Seminary and still thinks Uncle Al is innocent. The jury did not think so, but Al spent only a few years in the hoosegow. He married his children’s baby-sitter while incarcerated, but good walls do not make good marriages. They divorced.


ELS Pastor Rolf Preus recently got on the Cascione chat service to denounce my new book, which he has not read. Rolf is always promoting forgiveness without faith, (Kokomo justification), although he claims not to agree with the Kokomo Statements (WELS). However, he does insist that everyone in the world has already been forgiven, the key point in Kokomo justification. He also said he agreed with the quotation I provided from his father’s last book, a statement affirming the traditional Biblical doctrine of justification by faith.


When I pointed out the extreme behavior of WELS clergy on the chat service, the advocates of forgiveness without faith went postal. They did not think one should attribute the behavior of church workers in state prison (a District President and a vicar, also) to doctrine. In other words, there is no connection between doctrine and behavior.


As they said with Nixon and Clinton, it isn’t the crime but the cover-up. Certainly WELS has covered up for the worst criminals, encouraging more crimes, while shunting faithful pastors into oblivion. Christian News has helped too. DP Werner and Vicar Scott Zerbe did not receive any coverage in CN for going to state prison, even though CN covered the adultery/murder scandal at a non-Lutheran college, when the adultery was never proven and no one went to prison. Pastor Fred Adrian neglected to supervise Zerbe, a married vicar who wrote love letters to a minor girl from the church computer while having an affair with her, but Adrian received a call to a much bigger and richer church. The message from WELS is clear: commit a crime and we bury the news; criticize Holy Mother Synod and we will bury you alive.


Note that the Valleskey/Kelm/Olson/Huebner/Bivens/Gerlach coalition has always protected one another. If one Church Growth guru is criticized, the rest pile on the critic. Valleskey heatedly denied that his friend Gerlach went to Fuller Seminary, but Gerlach wrote a letter about it. The pastor who brought up Fuller was the criminal. As one terrorist said when asked about terrorism, “That very question is an act of terrorism.” Asking is a sin, a sin never forgiven (regardless of the Kokomo doctrine). If Valleskey promotes Church Growth, the rest of the sect defend him by trashing anyone who dares to point it out.


But what happens when a pastor is pushed out of the ministry for being faithful to the Word? His “conservative” friends are silent and frightened. They say, “Why should I speak up for you? Look at what happened to you.” The so-called confessional pastors have no confession at all but an instinct for self-preservation. They do not trust God to take care of them if they teach the truth. No, they just hope and pray that Holy Mother Synod does not notice their mental reservations about the newest fads. As one brave pastor whispered to me as he passed me at a meeting, “Good work.”


From the time I left the Lutheran Church in America in 1987 until now I have done everything wrong financially. Publishing a large book has been another effort which the bottom-line types would never do with their own money. But we now live in a valley of sunshine in a beautiful house. My mother lives in a wonderful group home near us. My wife has excellent doctors. God will provide. In fact, He will provide until He provides.


For Father’s Day I got the best present anyone could dream of: Disneyland with our son’s family, followed by almost a week of swimming in our pool with little Josie and Dani, our granddaughters. It was utter delight the whole time, even when our son walked off with my $150 computer tool. He said, “That’s mine. I need that.” I tried to explain that eminent domain does not apply in computers. Somehow I lost that discussion. So then I bought a smaller tool so he could have a holder. I reasoned, “At least I can use the smaller tool.” He explained to me, “I need a backup.” That was fun, too, giving up the tool that was useful for Martin. He more than earned it by setting up a local area network and installing Suse Linux on Chemnitz (my middle computer).


We have had many disappointments but I would rather be the recipient of treachery than the one who practices it. It has been sad to see so much corruption at work in the Lutheran Church, men willing to take money to keep their silence. But I would rather be shunned by such traitors to the Word than embraced by them.


Do not ask me why there are so few decent ministers in the future. By now it should be obvious.


Pastors – get certified in computers before you face unemployment. If you like this bulletin service, you will be ousted in time.