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MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS

A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.

6421 W. Poinsettia Drive

Glendale, Arizona 85304-2419

 

March 11, 1999

 

Prince of Peace Out; Marty In: Unionism in WELS

 

From a reader:

Christian News reports that Martin Marty will give a presentation at
Wisconsin Lutheran Collage on April 26th, 1999. Have I missed something,
or wasn't he anathema in LC-MS for his unscriptural teachings years back?
Do you know of a change on his part? Why WLC? Will appreciate your
thoughts on this, Greg, as you have time.

 

Signed,

Sleepless in Synodland

 

Schroeder Out

Several contacts have reported independently that Pastor Marc Schroeder has been kicked out of the WELS ministerium and that his congregation, Prince of Peace in Columbus, Ohio, has been kicked out for supporting him.

 

About Marty. Martin Marty was in the Missouri Synod and left to join ELCA. He is a professor at the U. of Chicago, a prolific writer, a constant presence in the media, a utility speaker for all pan-Lutheran events. The ever-growing Megatron has a few quotes about Marty:

 

Megatron Quotes

 

"Only recently Dr. Martin Marty, a pastor of the Missouri Synod and an

Associate editor of the Christian Century, outlined with considerable frankness

the program and methods whereby changes may be effected within church bodies

that still are antiecumenical (to him this means, church bodies who decline to

engage in joint worship and church work unless first confessional unity has been

established).  Writing in the Christian Century, he advocates a program whereby

the ecumenically minded remain within their church bodies, but 'work for

constructive subversion, encirclement, and infiltration, until antiecumenical

forces bow to the evangelical weight of reunion.'  Although they remain within

their denominations, with whose principles they do not agree, they will 'somehow

telegraph to the world who it is they serve and where their loyalties already

lie' (Jan. 11, 1961, p. 45).  These are the methods Dr. Marty openly proposes."

Carl Lawrenz, Chairman, Commission on Doctrinal Matters,

Fellowship Then and Now,

Concerning the Impasse in the Intersynodical Discussions

on Church Fellowship,

p. 27.

 

"Dr. Martin Marty is pastor of the Missouri Synod Church of the Holy

Ghost, Elk Grove, Illinois.  At the same time he is associate editor of The

Christian Century, a religious journal which denies the teachings of Scripture

on Jesus Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, the atonement, the virgin birth,

and other cardinal doctrines...Whether or not Dr. Marty as associate editor is

directly responsible for the shaping of editorial policy, the fact remains that

he has lent his name and sanction as a Lutheran to the blasphemies the

unchristian Century prints.  Again the question:  How many may have had a

stumbling block put in the way of their faith by this gross offense?  And what

will the Missouri Synod answer for lending its membership and prestige to that

kind of gross offender?  Luke 17:1, 2."

E. Arnold Sitz,

Entrenched Unionistic Practices, A Record of

Unionistic Practice in the LCMS

Authorized by the Commission on Doctrinal Matters,

Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod.

p. 21.

 

"Rev. Brenner tells us how unionists in the General Council chloroformed

the conscience of the body.  When they entered into working arrangements (in the

distinctly religious sphere) with the Reformed churches, they glazed the matter

over by reporting that 'the object of these conferences is purely that of

counsel concerning the problems of foreign mission-work.'  Only counsel; no

fellowship; just consulting with one another.  Thus does the camel push its nose

into the tent.  Let us keep our eyes open" (p. 98ff.)

Carl Lawrenz, Chairman, Commission on Doctrinal Matters,

Fellowship Then and Now,

Concerning the Impasse in the Intersynodical Discussions

on Church Fellowship,

p. 23.

 

"In an essay on Unionism, Dr. F. Pieper, a former president of the

Missouri Synod and successor of Dr. Walther as president of Concordia

Theological Seminary, St. Louis, in 1924 said to the Oregon and Washington

District:  'The Holy Scriptures very emphatically and in manifold ways teach

that all fellowship with false doctrine is forbidden by God and is harmful to

the Church.'  On II John 10, 11, he said:  'God here forbids Unionism, religious

fellowship with those who are known to be false teachers.'"

Carl Lawrenz, Chairman, Commission on Doctrinal Matters,

Fellowship Then and Now,

Concerning the Impasse in the Intersynodical Discussions

on Church Fellowship,

p. 20.

2 John 10, 11

 

"Front row center, among the 231 ELCA and Episcopal bishops gathered for

a 'class photo' of their historic first meeting to discuss full communion, are

(from left) Martin Marty, Presiding Bishops Browning [Episcopal] and Anderson

[ELCA], and Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey."

The Lutheran November, 1996

 

"Those who defend a false union assert that while practicing unionistic

fellowship one can still cling firmly to the true confession, that unionism is

not then synonymous with indifferentism.  This is an illusion, even as

experience has sufficiently shown that a false union opens the doors wide to

indifferentism.  And how could it be otherwise?"  Adolf Hoenecke, Dogmatik III,

p. 441f.

Carl Lawrenz, Chairman, Commission on Doctrinal Matters,

Fellowship Then and Now,

Concerning the Impasse in the Intersynodical Discussions

on Church Fellowship,

p. 31.

 

"The article in Christian News to which you refer escaped my attention

until one of our other pastors called it to my attention soon after it appeared.

Initially I even had difficulty relating to it.  After thinking about it for a

time I remembered that I was asked about a year ago whether the WELS would

endorse or be in sponsor of such a program.  My answer then was 'No" and still

is.  I have consistently taken the position with the fraternal benefits

societies that 'pan-Lutheran' projects almost inevitably exclude us from

participation because of our fellowship principles.  The leadership of the

fraternals has respected our position.  So the statement by a member of the ELCA

communications staff that this is the 'first joint venture into ministry' ever

done by these three Lutheran churches is simply not factual.  It has been called

to the attention of those who made this statement."

President Carl H. Mischke (WELS Synodical President),

Letter to Pastor James Sherod, 1-3-92.

 

"There is a 'method in our madness' in securing such a high profile

speaker.  Regardless of the value of the message such speakers always bring in

the numbers.  Generally speaking, they seem to double the attendance of a

convention."  [Having Charlton Heston speak at the WELS Lutherans for Life

convention]

Rev. Robert Fleischmann,

Commentary,

National Director, WELS Lutherans for Life,

2949 N Mayfair Rd, Milwaukee, WI  53222

n.d.

 

"If one associates much with heretics, one finally also makes oneself

partaker of their false doctrine, their lies, and their errors; for he who

touches pitch soils his hands with it."

Martin Luther,

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols.,

ed., Ewald Plass,

St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House,

1959,

II,  p. 646.

 

"The greatest single weakness, it seems to this reviewer, in Dr.

Lindsell's battle line is in the area of fellowship.  The soft spot is his

failure to advise a fellowship practice that accords fully with Scripture, a

failure that has ever been a weakness among the 'evangelicals.'

Review of The Battle for the Bible, by Harold Lindsell,  Grand Rapids:

Zondervan, 1976.

Armin W. Schuetze,

Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly,

October, 1976

73,  p. 326.

 

History of WELS Unionism

The Wisconsin Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod did not want to address the obvious problems of LCMS liberalism the 1950s. When congregations and pastors began to leave the ELS and WELS, the two synods broke with the LCMS in the early 1960s. The Preus brothers, Robert and Jack, were famous for making a motion as ELS pastors to break with the LCMS, then joining the LCMS and rising to the top. They have been portrayed as hypocrites but in fact the mediocrities in the ELS were never going to let men with real doctorates get somewhere. (One recent hire at Bethany Seminary, ELS, did not even have a bachelor’s degree. The Bethany Seminary president has a master’s degree from a radical gay activist Episcopal seminary, Nashotah House.)

WELS joined the ALC-LCS-LCMS Lutheran World Relief in about 1978. It was kept secret from members and pastors for a long time, not even appearing in reports. The last annual report shows a donation to LWR and to C.A. R. E. Isn’t CARE a United Nations agency?

WELS started sending leaders to Fuller Seminary in the early 1970s. This was also kept a secret. I have counted three different WELS seminary professors who have admitted going to Fuller and have also denied going to Fuller. WELS first sent world mission leaders to Fuller, then American mission leaders to Fuller. AAL and LB conferences put the synods together with LCMS and ELCA, but Fuller Seminary also accomplished the same goal, and not by accident. Fuller started at the top with mission executives and professors, then encouraged the leaders to recruit for them. Big money. In many cases, your offering money.

WELS seminary professor James Tiefel organized a pan-denominational worship conference at Carthage College. Some of the best quotations I have against such unionism came from booklets given to me by Michigan District President John Seifert. DP Seifert encouraged the WELS pastors to attend the conference, taught by an ELCA staffer, an Episcopal staffer, a Roman Catholic, a graduate of Wheaton College (possibly Reformed or Pentecostal, never disclosed), and FIVE WELS WOMEN!

PRINCE OF PEACE KICKED OUT OF WELS WITH SCHROEDER

WELS is paying dearly for its anti-Scriptural leadership. When I served as pastor of Shepherd of Peace (WELS), Columbus, Ohio (1987-1992), I wondered why I left the Lutheran Church in America for a so-called conservative group. Here is a list of the characters involved:

 

3.     Floyd Stolzenburg was kicked out of the LCMS ministry “for cause” and came to Columbus, where his wife divorced him. He was sued in Columbus by the husband of one girlfriend. He joined St. Paul’s, Columbus, independent but in fellowship with WELS. He started Lutheran Parish Resources with George Skestos’ money and used LPR to promote the Church Growth Movement in Columbus. After LPR folded, Floyd got himself hired at Emanuel, Columbus, a former ALC congregation, now independent but listed on a website with ELCA churches. When Floyd remarried, the service was conducted by all the WELS pastors in the area. My wife and I did not attend; we were chewed out for being absent.

3.Roger Zehms was a divorced WELS pastor when he came to Columbus. He was made head of LPR. Floyd and Roger both worked out of George Skestos’ real estate office. Zehms told the LPR board that he and Floyd were called by the Holy Spirit to serve in their jobs. Zehms remarried while he was in Columbus. He was encouraged to leave Columbus, getting a call to WELS LFL.

3.Roger Kovaciny was pastor of Lamb of God, an advocate of the Church Growth Movement. He let Floyd almost take over congregational meetings. Kovaciny consistently argued that the Bible was wrong about women teach men and women in authority over men. When the congregation was collapsing, Kovaciny got a job as a missionary in the Ukraine. The ELS tried to prevent him from becoming an ELS pastor. Two leaders denied to me that he was in the ELS. I said, “Then why is he listed in your annual as an ELS pastor?”

5.     Paul Kuske was vice-president of the district, under Robert Mueller. Mueller admitted after the Snowbird conference that he was on the LWR board with ELCA leaders, a fact later denied. (Skestos was from Mueller’s congregation and located his Salem Foundation there at first.) Kuske supported Floyd 100%, even after LPR folded. Kuske also supported Robert Schumann (below). Kuske knew all about Floyd’s history but most people in Columbus did not. Kuske was voted out of office, very rare in the WELS.

5.Marc Schroeder, the son of Morton Schroeder (Dr. Martin Luther College) was pastor of Prince of Peace. Skestos was chairman of Prince of Peace. Schroeder divorced his first wife and married the daughter of Professor Johne (WELS seminary). Skestos divorced his wife and married a business associate. (I was not invited to the wedding.)

George Skestos bankrolled the Church Growth Movement in Columbus. He was a member of St. Paul’s (chairman, finance committee) and Prince of Peace at the same time. He seemed to be directly involved in the Greek Orthodox Church and several other denominations as well. He was indicted by the federal government just before LPR was started. The Salem Foundation was involved in the legal action at one point. Salem provided funds for future WELS pastors in school. George also funded the Prince of Peace foundation.

Robert Schumann was called as an assistant pastor under Keith Roehl, when Roehl was near death from a heart condition. Schumann loved the Church Growth Movement, supported Floyd, and completely polarized St. Paul’s. The congregation removed him for false doctrine. He is now an AAL agent for most of the WELS congregations in Columbus and Floyd’s congregation. How delicious for him! He can be found at the AAL site, with his churches listed. ROBERT J SCHUMANN - CHFC, CFP, FIC DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE, NEW ALBANY, OH 43054-8503, Phone: (614) 939-0237, Email: schumar1@fld.aal.org.

Mike Nitz was called to be the assistant with Roehl died and Schumann became the senior pastor. Kuske supported Schumann against Nitz, even though Schumann was teaching evolution and anti-nomianism (the 10 Commandments are obsolete). Nitz left St. Paul’s for an exploratory in Phoenix, in my part of town. We started at the same time, but he has not yet had a worship service. We have had weekly worship since Palm Sunday, 1998, VBS, Advent and Lenten services.

Michigan District vice-president Gerald Schroer (see Schroeder letter) support Floyd and the concept of a known adulterer being called as a pastor.

GRACE WAUKEGAN SUPPORTS SCHROEDER

When Robert Rhyne was pushed out of WELS, he started a new congregation and a website for come-outers. Two pastors still in WELS posted complaints on the site. One was Phil Merten, who claimed in CN that he was not anti-WELS. When I quoted him in CN, his message was pulled. Schroeder’s was also pulled after I publicized it. He said he was willing to die for the cause of unionism. 

 

Right Foot of Fellowship

The defenestration of Schroeder has been posted on the Grace site for some time:

 

BEGINNING OF SCHROEDER LETTER

January 8, 1998

My dear brothers and sisters,

I write to you about a matter concerning our Lord's Church and our congregation.

Yesterday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was suspended (removed) from the ministerium of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The reason given for this action was that my doctrine and practice of Christian fellowship are different from that of the WELS.

The purpose of the meeting in Ann Arbor was not to study Biblical teaching regarding fellowship. The Michigan District Praesidium (district officers) felt that sufficient study had already taken place on the level of the Southern Ohio Circuit. Rather, the purpose was to bring charges of error against me. Essentially, I was charged with disregarding passages of Scripture which call upon Christians to separate from those who promote error and dissension within Christ's church. I was also charged with teaching that errors in nonfundamental doctrines do not break Christian fellowship. I responded to those charges, presented by Circuit Pastor Tom Westra, as follows:

1.) In my personal life and in my ministry I have always sought and continue to seek to be faithful to my Lord Jesus and his holy Word.

2.) In my personal life and in my ministry I seek clearly to confess all of the truths of God's Word and to refute error.

3.) I recognize as fellow believers even those who are captive to some nonfundamental error, and I desire to learn God-pleasing ways to express the Christian fellowship which we share.

4.) I reject 'unionism,' which is the compromise of Biblical teaching for the sake of outward church unity.

5.) I desire to be shown any errors in my teaching and practice, and if shown I will repent.

6.) I recognize that there are differences in the doctrine and practice of fellowship between myself and the WELS, but I do not regard them as divisive of our fellowship.

Of the above responses, the biggest point of conflict was number 3. One member of the Praesidium said, "Pastor Schroeder, I sympathize with your desire to recognize [those outside of our WELS fellowship] as fellow believers. But what you desire is simply not Biblically possible." And yet the Word declares: "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). I praise God that he has called countless people beyond the WELS into the light of his grace. And I believe that as people of God we have both the privilege and the duty to express our fellowship with one another, even as we confess and uphold the truths of his Word as we have come to know them.

Following my responses, President John Seifert, 1st Vice President Gerald Schroer, and 2nd Vice President Paul Naumannn concurred in my suspension or removal from the WELS ministerium.

Their action saddens me deeply. I had hoped and prayed that this matter would come to a mutually agreeable and God-pleasing conclusion. Yet I am confident that our Lord Jesus is with his Church and will continue to bless and prosper his Church.

I bear no ill will to my brothers in the Southern Ohio Circuit and the District Praesidium. They are men of God and men of integrity truly seeking to honor and serve the Lord Jesus. I pray for God's grace and blessing upon their ministries.

I am concerned about the impact of the Praesidium's action on our congregation. In the first place you should know that I have not been removed as your pastor. I serve Prince of Peace on the basis of your divine call to me, which remains in effect. Nevertheless, in his responsibilities as District President Pastor Seifert will inform Prince of Peace that I am no longer eligible to serve a WELS congregation, and he will expect the congregation to replace me.

You, the members of Prince of Peace, will need to make a decision. If you believe that I have departed from God's Word, you should act to rescind my call. If you believe that my ministry remains faithful to the Word, and if you uphold my call, your support of me and the position I have taken will result in our congregation's removal from the Synod.

Please consider this matter seriously and prayerfully. Do not follow Marc Schroeder. Do not worry about Marc Schroeder's (or my family's) personal needs. Prayerfully consider the will of God as he reveals it in his Word, and seek wisdom and courage to follow God's will only. If we all do that, the Lord Jesus, who cares for his whole Church on earth, will also continue to care for Prince of Peace.

I am more than willing to listen to any questions or concerns you may have. The same holds true for our President, Randy Ames; Head Elder Andy Schut; and Elder George Skestos, who accompanied me to the meeting in Ann Arbor. Feel free to call or speak with any of us at any time. Also, I am willing to present additional Bible studies and thoroughly discuss the disputed issues at any time.

Brothers and sisters, challenges lie before Prince of Peace which require mature Christian thought and leadership and love. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus; listen humbly and obediently to his Word; and seek to follow him alone in all things. May our church truly be his church. May he richly bless and keep us all. And may our life and ministry give great and everlasting glory to his name.

Love, in Jesus,

Pastor Marc Schroeder

 

END OF SCHROEDER LETTER

 

 

My Observations

 

3.     George Skestos has supported Schroeder and Stolzenburg, opening up the possibility of a new allignment in Columbus, large Church Growth congregations with a decided hostility toward Lutheran doctrine. Since Floyd started “Pilgrim Community Church” as a WELS mission, with the blessing of Kuske, it would not be a shock to see both congregations drop the Lutheran name. (Let us pray for that day.) Floyd also served virtually as the assistant pastor of Prince of Peace, without having a valid call or passing colloquy. Kuske tried to crowbar Floyd into WELS, but that did not happen.

3.Jay Webber’s Ukraine seminary, somehow related to Thoughts of Faith, was started with money from George Skestos. Roger Kovaciny also solicits funds from Floyd’s congregation, speaking there with his wife. (I received the bulletin from a member, then passed it on to CN, where the information was published.)

3.The ELS tries to deny that Thoughts of Faith is ELS, but I observed the Ukraine people (Jay Webber, John Shep, and another person) being installed at the ELS convention by ELS president George Orvick. 

For a very brief time, Shep actually quit the ELS, when WELS started to push him around. All this raises questions about funding, synodical relationships, and secrecy. The ELS and WELS would like all this to remain a secret. Jay Webber went ballistic when I told the truth about Kovaciny and Stolzenburg. Believe me, a lot more could be said about the whole Columbus situation, past and present.

WHAT CHURCH GROWTH DID FOR COLUMBUS

St. Paul has not been able to get a pastor to accept a call there. The congregation was so divided when Schumann was forced out that his office was kept intact for a long period of time, awaiting his parousia. No one would be surprised to see St. Paul’s go on its own. The congregation has never joined WELS.

Lamb of God, guided by the work of Kovaciny and Stolzenburg, has been rumored for closing.

Prince of Peace, after absorbing a small fortune in mission support, is gone from WELS, along with a major contributor to WELS and the ELS. The irony is that Schroeder has been kicked out for doing what WELS president Carl Mischke did and Karl Gurgel does, work with the heterodox in religious projects. The leadership of WELS has risen to the top while doing what they condemn Schroeder for. The main difference is that they deceive the members and pastors about it, while Schroeder brags about it.

 

Shepherd of Peace, where I served, has sold their property and built an attractive new church that looks like a church. I tried to get this done when I was there, but the district mission board, led by Church Growth fanatics, blocked it.

 

I do not have any information about Beautiful Savior, Grove City, where Kuske served, but I know that Floyd dropped out of WELS activities when Kuske left town.

 

As you can see from my web site, Columbus was my Harvard and Yale College, educating me about the confessions and the dangers of Reformed doctrine. I think it is a pity that the Michigan District pastors did nothing except support false doctrine and clergy adultery, because they betrayed their ordination vows and their own members in order to secure a comfortable life for themselves. But I am glad that I was pushed along by events into independent Lutheran work.