MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS
A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
JOHN SHEP FIRED AS THOUGHTS OF FAITH DIRECTOR, KICKED OUT AS BISHOP OF THE UKRAINE LUTHERAN CHURCH
I have been getting a lot of email about Pastor John Shep being ousted from Thoughts of Faith and removed as bishop of the Ukraine Lutheran Church. He resigned from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod as a result.
I have heard from various people and I spoke with Shep on the phone for about 45 minutes. I have not been a fan of Thoughts of Faith, but I believe this is another case of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod operating in a dishonest and dictatorial way.
I agree with what Gerberding wrote in “The Lutheran Pastor.” If someone must be removed from a call, it should be done for the right reasons and according to Scripture. Whenever this sort of thing happens, it diminishes the concept of the divine call. The end does not justify the means.
I am in no position to judge whether there was anything valid against Shep, but I have never been impressed with the way the ELS and WELS treats pastors. When the WELS teacher Al Just murdered his wife, the president of the WELS college, Martin Luther College, testified on his behalf at the murder trial. Just was convicted, went to prison, married his children’s baby-sitter, and still claims to be innocent.
When WELS Pastor William D. Tabor murdered his wife when caught in adultery in Milwaukee, WELS gave him a divine call to Escanaba, Michigan. Tabor never went to prison, but his mistress did.
So I suggest that you write to the principals involved in this case. Here are the key players with their email addresses. If they respond, forward their response to Pastor John Shep. Thoughts of Faith IS an ELS/WELS organization, so don’t let the leaders deceive you about that. I saw Orvick install Shep and Webber at the ELS convention.
TOF Board /ELS President George Orvick firstname.lastname@example.org
WELS President Karl Gurgel email@example.com
TOF Board/WELS Seminary professor John Lawrenz firstname.lastname@example.org
TOF Board/ELS Pastor Paul Schneider ELSsteward@aol.com
Ukraine Professor/ELS Pastor Jay Webber email@example.com
Ukraine Professor/ELS Pastor Roger Kovaciny firstname.lastname@example.org
John Shep Jnpshep@aol.com