web space | free website | Business Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting

TRUTH ON THE SCAFFOLD:

 

THE FULLER INFLUENCE ON ELCA, WELS, AND THE LCMS

 

 

 

 

          Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.

                 Behind the dim unknown,

         Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.

                    James Russel Lowell, 1819-1891, “The Present Crisis”

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

                             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by

 

 

                                             Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

                                                                  

                                                Martin Chemnitz Press

                                                                  

 

 

 

Copyright, 1996, Gregory L. Jackson

Permission granted to copy within the congregation.

Preface

 

This paper began as the first chapter in Thy Strong Word, to be completed, God willing, late in 1997.  However, I decided to remove it from the book for two reasons:

     1)  Church Growth is fading, although its Reformed doctrines      will remain behind to eat away at Lutheran doctrine;

     2)  The book would be better without being marred by dozens of      quotations from Church Growth gurus.

Some people have read an earlier draft of this essay when it was titled "The Problem."  Those Lutherans who think they can defend the Church Growth Movement or make it harmonious with Biblical doctrines are welcome to criticize this effort in print.

 


 

                        Table of Contents

I.  Proof of Corruption..............................   4

     A. The Gospel Persecuted, Misconduct Rewarded...   4

     B.  Unionism with ELCA..........................   4

     C. Church Growth Movement.......................   4

     D.  Denial of the Efficacy of the Word..........   5

          1.  Pietism, Enthusiasm, Revivalism........   5

          2.  Hidden Doctrines in Neutral Methods....   6

     E. Results of Denying the Efficacy of the Word..   6

          1.  Gadarene Swine.........................   6

          2. Clergy Sex Offenders....................   7

 

II.  Lutherans Have Gone A-Whoring with the Reformed, Again...........................................   8

     A.  McGavran and Fuller Seminary................   8

     B.  C. Peter Wagner, Pentecostal Faith Healer... 10

     C. WELS Sneaks in Fuller and McGavran Slowly.... 10

     D. Ocsar Naumann Promotes TELL.................. 11

     E. Valleskey "Spoils the Egyptians"............. 12

 

III.  Where It Started............................... 12

     A. Fuller Seminary.............................. 12

     B. Harold Ockenga............................... 13

     C. Fuller Attacks Biblical Inerrancy............ 13

     D. Fuller Attacks Salvation through Christ...... 14

     E. Fuller Attacks Pauline Authorship............ 14

     F. Fuller and Pentecostalism.................... 15

          1. C. Peter Wagner......................... 15

          2. John Wimber............................. 15

     G. Fuller, Cho, and the Occult.................. 16

          1. Results of Denying the Means of Grace... 16

          2. No Authority Left to Judge the Spirits.. 16

          3. Cho and the Occult...................... 16

          4. Cho and Robert Schuller................. 18

          5. Schuller, Napoleon Hill, and the Occult. 19

 

IV.  Fuller and Conservative Lutherans............... 21

     A. "Mark and Avoid" Becomes "Register and Attend" 21

     B. Lawrence Olson Boasts about His Alma Mater... 22

     C. Fuller and WELS.............................. 23

     D. Fuller and the Missouri Synod................ 23

          1. Waldo Werning, Fuller Student........... 23

          2. Kent Hunter, D. Min. (Fuller)........... 24

          3. Stephen Wagner, D. Min. (Fuller)........ 25

          4. Elmer Matthias, D. Min (Fuller)......... 26

          5. Roger Leenerts.......................... 26

     E. Selling Pentecostal Books

                   in The Northwestern Lutheran............ 27

 

V.  False Doctrines from Fuller, Endorsed by WELS, ELCA, and the LCMS.................................... 28

     A. Church Growth Defined........................ 28

     B. False Doctrine:  Rejecting the Word Alone.... 28

     C. False Doctrine:  Management by Objective..... 31

          1. Luther versus MBO and SMART Goals....... 32

          2. Doubt in the Word....................... 34

     D. False Doctrine:  Church Growth Eyes.......... 34

          1. Luther versus Church Growth Eyes........ 36

     E. False Doctrine:  Soil Testing

                  and Receptivity Rating Scales........... 36

     F. False Doctrine:

           Entertainment Evangelism, Friendship Sunday,

                       and Seeker Services................ 38

     G. False Doctrine:

                 Community Churches and Adiaphora.......... 43

     H. False Doctrine:

                   Lay Pastors and Cell Groups............ 44

     I.  False Doctrine:  Everyone a Minister........ 47

     J. False Doctrine:

                Women Usurping Authority over Men

                         and Teaching Men.................. 48

     K. False Doctrine:  Making Disciples............ 49

     L. False Doctrine:  Unionism.................... 54

     M. False Doctrine:  Methodist Worship

                    for Lutheran Congregations............. 60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I.  Proof of Corruption

 

          A. The Gospel Persecuted, Misconduct Rewarded

 

The district mission board said to the council of a conservative Lutheran congregation, "Fire your pastor!"  They said, "Why should we?  We like our pastor."  The board said, "Make up something or we will cut off your funds."  Under pressure, the council fired the pastor, who had served faithfully many years in the deep South.  He was not guilty of sexual misconduct or false doctrine, but he was critical of the Church Growth Movement.  He was denied ministerial status, even when he appealed. 

 

In another district of the same synod, a pastor was caught with the wife of a church member.  He was removed from the ministerium but was immediately given a quasi-pastoral job by a synod agency in the same state.  The adulterous pastor has been known for years as the ultimate Church Growth pastor in the district.  He was always held up as the example for other pastors to follow. 

 

                      B.  Unionism with ELCA

 

The Missouri and Wisconsin Synods have become poor imitations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, laying up for them­selves treasures on earth while the Biblical doctrines entrusted to them are allowed to rust and decay (Matthew 6:19-20).  In fact, the leaders of WELS and the LCMS are only too happy to work with and under the leadership of ELCA, in evangelism, worship, and many other areas.  The district presidents and synod presidents of WELS and the LCMS cannot be convinced in their own hearts that their stated doctrinal positions are true, since they are so glad to ape ELCA in thought, word, and deed.  The mission boards leaders of all three Lutheran bodies, 99% of all Lutherans in America, look to Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, for their doctrine.  Walther's dream of doctrinal unity among all Lutherans in America has been turned into a nightmare.  WELS and LCMS leaders pretend to oppose the ordination of women, homosexuals, and lesbians, but they plan joint religious activities with these same people in ELCA, proving their doctrine by default.

 

                    C. Church Growth Movement

 

How can things be so dreadful, even among the Lutheran church bodies which want to be called conservative?  I began looking at the problem in Liberalism:  Its Cause and Cure.  I was serving a Wisconsin Synod congregation at the time and learning how to use a computer and database.  Realizing that the database was the ultimate note card system, I began adding my favorite Lutheran quotations to IBM's Professional File.  Then, when Rev. Wayne Mueller denied that there was any Church Growth in WELS, I started adding citations from Church Growth materials from WELS, Fuller Seminary, the LCMS, and ELCA.[1]  There was and still is a great demand for the comparisons which I continue to assemble from the database of 2200 citations.

 

The exercise was not academic for me.  I wanted to know why supposed Lutherans were so antagonistic toward the liturgy, Lutheran hymns, the Confessions, and Luther's doctrine.  The Michigan District of WELS started two congregations, Pilgrim Community Church and Crossroads Community Church, which tried as much as possible to be non-Lutheran.  The first one flopped under the leadership of an ex-minister who was removed "for cause."  The second congregation left Lutheranism with its WELS trained pastor and 50 former WELS Lutherans.

 

              D.  Denial of the Efficacy of the Word

 

Clearly the LCMS and WELS leaders do not trust in the Means of Grace, adopting instead the position of the Reformed, as will be detailed later.  Even more importantly, they deny the doctrine of the efficacy of the Word, which is foundational for all Lutheran doctrine.  There are only two positions possible about the Holy Spirit.  One is clearly taught in the Bible, the Church Fathers, the Lutheran Reformation, Lutheran hymns, and the old Synodical Conference:  the Spirit never works apart from the Word, the Word never works apart from the Spirit.  (Isaiah 55:8-11)  The other position, which Lutherans call Enthusiasm, separates the work of the Holy Spirit from the Word.

 

               1.  Pietism, Enthusiasm, Revivalism

 

Historically, the denial of the efficacy of the Word in Lutheranism has one primary starting point - a movement called Lutheran Pietism, started by Philip Spener and August Francke.  It surfaced again in American Lutheranism in the 19th century, under the name of revivalism or New Measures.  Enthusiasm has had its most recent and destructive impact in the Church Growth Movement, which has been adopted wholesale by the LCMS and WELS, as well as ELCA.  Pietism, revivalism, and the Church Growth Movement have so much in common because all three deny the same doctrine of the efficacy of the Word. 

 

             2.  Hidden Doctrines in Neutral Methods

 

All three movements (Pietism, revivalism, Church Growth) pretend to be non-doctrinal and therefore pose the greatest danger to Lutheranism.  Lutheran doctrine will defeat any false doctrine, but Lutherans have trouble with a-doctrinal positions.  When a false teacher says, "We are only giving you methods for helping your denomination grow," he is lying.  The actual doctrines are deeply hidden and must be brought to light, just as anaerobic infections need air to be cured.  If an anaerobic infection is not cut open and drained, blood poisoning will soon kill the hapless victim.

 

Those who claim to promote methods and not doctrines are secret unionists.  Either they want all denominations in one visible church, or they have no love at all for pure doctrine.  They slip away from any discussion about doctrine by flattering potential critics.  One pastor said about a Church Growth leader, "It's easier to pick up soap in a shower than it is to find out what he really thinks."  One unionist, who organized the ELCA/WELS/LCMS evangelism program, simply agrees with anyone who disagrees, leaving everyone confused.

 

          E. Results of Denying the Efficacy of the Word

 

                        1.  Gadarene Swine

So many Church Growth pastors have tumbled out of Lutheranism that they have infringed the copyright of the Gadarene swine (Mark 5:1ff).  Pastor Steve Quist (Evangelical Lutheran Synod) started Seeker Services (see Willow Creek and David Valleskey's We Believe) in Naples, Florida, and was ousted by ELS President George Orvick.  The visibility of Quist popped the Church Growth bubble in the ELS.  The Wisconsin Synod still tries to influence its sister church, but WELS is in love with "everyone a minister" while the ELS continues to emphasize the pastoral office and the Means of Grace.

 

Pastor Rick Miller, trained at Willow Creek Community Church, founded Crossroads Community Church as a WELS mission, with the approval of District President Robert Mueller.  Miller left Lutheranism with his members when a few of us objected to his doctrine and practice. 

 

Pastor Kelly Voigt, WELS, trained mission pastors for the synod and conducted Seeker Services before he left Lutheranism with his WELS congregation in Tallahassee, Florida.  The congregation no longer exists.  Voigt was called to  Crossroads to conduct Seeker Services.

 

Pastor Mark Freier promoted Reformed doctrine as a member of the WELS Youth Commission and pastor at St. Peter's in Plymouth, Michigan.  The WELS Kingdom Workers funded a call for him in Coral Gables, Florida, with Pastor Randy Cutter and Pastor Robert Timmerman.  All three pastors became charismatic and left Lutheran­ism with their congregation, leaving the district with a building, a huge debt, and no members.  Pastor Freier is now serving at Crossroads Community Church, mentioned above, a non-Lutheran congregation with three pastors trained in Church Growth by WELS.

 

Pastor Dan Kelm organized Seeker Services in Indianapolis, Indiana, and served as a WELS expert on cell groups.  As a missionary to Bulgaria, he began worshiping with non-Lutherans and was returned to the States.  He announced he had a job with Campus Crusade, but he was called to serve a Missouri Synod congregation one month after he joined it. 

 

Three WELS pastors and a lay worker serving in Taiwan feathered out and began speaking in tongues.  The Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary faculty said it was permissable, as long as they did not promote tongue-speaking.  The charismatics left Lutheranism anyway, and their fate is not known.  Raising the issue with a Lutheran leader will drop the room temperature 20 degrees and stop all conversa­tion.

 

Pastors Richard Stadler, Iver Johnson, and Michael Albrecht circulated their famous screed "Heirs Together" (nicknamed "Errorists Together") for years in the WELS.  The badly written "confession" argued for women's suffrage using the historical-critical method.  Stadler and Mark Freier were featured speakers at the WELS international youth rally in Columbus, Ohio.  Stadler was also the main speaker at a national WELS Lutherans For Life meeting.  Johnson served on the WELS commission which created the feminist Christian Worship hymnal.  Albrecht was formerly listed as on the advisory board of the feminist, pro-homosexual Lutheran Forum Letter (ELCA/LCMS) and simultaneously an editor of the more conservative Logia journal.  Stadler, Johnson, and Albrecht were ousted from the Wisconsin Synod.  They took their congregation out of WELS, and instituted open women's suffrage in place of the covert suffrage of the past.  Stadler is known for his support of Church Growth and women's ordination.

 

Dorothy Sonntag was not the first woman editor serving a Lutheran denominational magazine.  The Lutheran (LCA and then ELCA) had women on the staff, but women did not write editorials for ELCA, as Sonntag did for WELS before quitting and joining the ELCA and serving as a minister of sorts.  Because feminist causes, especial­ly women's ordination, are so important to Fuller Seminary and Church Growth, Sonntag's case is worth noting. 

 

                     2. Clergy Sex Offenders

Many Church Growth pastors, WELS and LCMS, have been caught with their pants down, sometimes with the same sex.  Clergy sexual abuse is not limited to Church Growth advocates, but they seem over-represented on the list.  The pastors with the best people skills are able to blame their adultery on their wives and remain in the ministry, even in the same congregation, with a new victim as a spouse.  Infidelity to the Word is the fuse which ignites marital infideli­ty, as Luther pointed out:

 

     No work is so evil that it can damn a man, and no work is so good that it can save a man; but faith alone saves us, and unbelief damns us.  The fact that someone falls into adultery does not damn him.  Rather the adultery indi­cates that he has fallen from faith.  This damns him; otherwise adultery would be impossible for him.  So, then, nothing makes a good tree except faith."

          Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 475.  Matthew 7:15‑23. 

 

II.  Lutherans Have Gone A-Whoring with the Reformed, Again

 

                 A.  McGavran and Fuller Seminary

The Church Growth Movement is so intimately connected with Fuller Theological Seminary and Donald McGavran that one cannot understand the collapse of Lutheranism today without considering the toxic influence of the man and the school.

 

Donald McGaran is dead, but he rules American Lutheranism from the grave through his disciples in the Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, and ELCA.  He was a missionary in India for the Disciples of Christ, a large, ecumenical, liberal denomination which opposes infant baptism.  McGavran worked with the ultra-liberal denomina­tion and with the radical leftist World Council of Churches all his life. 

 

     Donald C. McGavran died at home home in Altadena, California, on July 10, 1990.  He was 92 years old.  Dr. McGavran is widely recognized as the founder of the church growth movement, a movement which has sought to put the social sciences at the service of theology in order to foster the growth of the church.  In August of 1989 I borrowed a bicycle and pedaled several miles uphill up from Pasadena to Altadena.  I found Dr. McGavran in his front yard with a hose in hand, watering flowers.

          Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller),

     "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991,  Professor, Martin Luther College (WELS), p. 1.[2]             

 

An Enthusiast to the core, McGavran was informed by God that he was not concerned enough about numbers when he was a missionary in India.

 

     I was thinking some hard thoughts about my Presbyterian friends when the Lord said to me, "Donald, you sat on the executive committee of the Indian Mission of the Disci­ples of Christ for twenty‑five years, didn't you?"  I said, "Yes, Sir."  He said, "How much time did you spend describing the growth or nongrowth of your church?"

          Donald A. McGavran and Winfield C. Arn, Ten St­eps for Church Growth, New York:  Harper and Row, 1977, p. 65.                  

 

Unfortunately, McGavran's liberal theological training was worsened when he earned a Ph.D. in education at Columbia University in New York.  The guiding light of education at Columbia was John Dewey, an atheist who signed the Humanist Manifesto.  McGavran was heavily influenced by statistical analysis, which secular authorities claim can predict the future and diagnose current problems.  Unlike peering at sheep entrails, statistical analysis requires hours of tedious work, inspiring awe rather than ridicule.

 

McGavran's first effort at combining mission work and statistical analysis resulted in The Bridges of God, 1955.  His second work, Understanding Church Growth, became the Bible of the Church Growth Movement, very much like the Book of Mormon, often mentioned and seldom read, due to its extraordinary dullness.  McGavran's genius was not in writing books, but in promoting his cause through thousands of letters.  He was ready to give up completely (mark this well) when someone wrote him a letter encouraging him to stay the course.[3]  Letters written to faithful Lutheran pastors can have the same effect.

 

McGavran labored in obscurity for years at Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon, until he was hired in 1965 to head the School of World Mission at Fuller Seminary, where he moved his portable Institute of Church Growth.  McGavran's maiden speech to assembled bigwigs and potential donors was larded with statisti­cal analysis, alarming the master of ceremonies so much that he broke the spell by urging an impromptu group rendition of "Beauti­ful Sunshine." 

 

The leverage of the Church Growth Movement in Lutheranism can best be understood by the clever way it was introduced to all denomina­tions, from the top down.

 

     The conscious attempt to apply church growth philosophy to America was stimulated in the fall of 1972 by Pastor Charles Miller, then a staff member of Pasadena's Lake Avenue Congregational Church.  At Miller's urging, I organized and asked McGavran to team‑teach with me a pilot course in church growth designed specifically for American church leaders. We did it only as an experiment, but the results were remarkable: One of the students, Win Arn, left his position with the Evangelical Covenant Church and founded the influential Institute for American Church Growth.

          C. Peter Wagner (study questions by Rev. John Wimber), Your Church Can Grow, Glendale:  G/L Regal Books 1976, p. 15.     

 

          B.  C. Peter Wagner, Pentecostal Faith Healer

C. Peter Wagner, a Pentecostal Baptist, studied under McGavran in 1967 and became the Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary in 1984, the same year he founded the North American Academy for Church Growth.  Wagner and McGavran converted Win Arn, as portrayed movingly by Arn himself:

 

     To acquire more expertise in Church Growth thinking, I visited the School of World Mission and Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary.  When I inquired concering resources and materials for American Church Growth, I found that Dr. Donald McGavran and C. Peter Wagner were team‑teaching a course applying world principles of Church Growth to the American scene.  I immediately became a part of that group.  As I listened and learned, I realized here was the effective approach to evangelism for which I had been search­ing.  In those hours, I experienced my third birth‑‑"conversion" to Church Growth thinking.  [Winfield C. Arn]

          Donald A. McGavran and Winfield C. Arn, Ten Steps for Church Growth, New York:  Harper and Row, 1977, p. 12.

 

           C. WELS Sneaks in Fuller and McGavran Slowly

There is no doubt that McGavran, Wagner, and Arn successfully recruited the world mission executives in the LCA, ALC, LCMS, and WELS first, then converted the American mission and evangelism board members.  They have left a paper trail which cannot be erased.  The world missions professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary was already taking note of McGavran and Church Growth in 1974.

 

     Dr. Donald McGavran, Dean Emeritus and Senior Professor of Mission at the Institute of Church Growth, Pasadena, California, is very much concerned about the Two Billion.  He severely censures the leaders of the World Council of Churches as having 'betrayed the Two Billion.'

          Ernst H. Wendland, "Missiology‑‑and the Two

     Bil­lion," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, January, 1974, vol. 71,  p. 9.

 

                  D. Ocsar Naumann Promotes TELL

By 1977, Church Growth was being promoted uncritically in WELS through an official newsletter, TELL, from WELS headquarters, the first issue featuring a cover article by Synod President Oscar Naumann.

 

     TELL has served the church faithfully for 15 years.  Three editors have served; Ronald Roth (1977‑84), Paul Kelm (1985‑88), and the undersigned since 1989...The lead article in the first issue of TELL was titled 'Church Growth ‑ Worthwhile for WELS.'...The author of this article in April 1988 issue of TELL concludes, 'It's obvious by now that I believe we in WELS can profit greatly from the writings of the church‑growth leaders.' ... TELL as a separate publication ends with this issue.  Nevertheless, the focus of The Evangelism Life Line will continue for years to come as an integral part of the new Board for Parish Services journal ‑ PARISH LEADERSHIP.

          Rev. Robert Hartman, TELL (WELS Evangelism) Summer, 1992.               

 

The interlocking nature of world missions, American missions, and evangelism can be seen in Wendland's favorable mention of TELL.

 

     The publication TELL ("The Evangelism Life Line") has been inaugurated to promote the cause of church growth.

          Ernst H. Wendland, "Church Growth Theology," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, April, 1981, vol. 78, p. 105.   

 

Professor Wendland also wondered whether WELS should adopt Church Growth principles.

 

     In the light of church growth principles as they are promulgated in many mission schools these days, the question naturally arises as to whether or not our approach to world mission work is in need of reassessment or improvement.

          Ernst H. Wendland, "Church Growth Theology," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, April, 1981, vol. 78, p. 108. 

 

               E. Valleskey "Spoils the Egyptians"

David Valleskey, the new president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, left no doubt about the answer to Wendland's question.

He was already teaching Church Growth in his evangelism course at the seminary and at the 1986 summer school for pastors.

 

     There is a fourth option, which is the choice of this writer.  It is the same kind of approach Lawrence Crabb, a Christian counselor, advocates over against the use of secular counseling resources.  He calls it "spoiling the Egyptians" (Exodus 12:36, KJV), after the action of Israel at the time they left Egypt, when they took from the Egyptians what would stand them in good stead on their journey...Yet this writer is confident we won't go astray in adopting a "spoiling the Egyptians" approach to the various Church Growth Movement sociological prin­ciples and the research that produced them.

          David J. Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement:  An Evaluation," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1991 88, p. 115f. Holidaysbu­rg, Pa, 10‑15‑90.  [Larry Crab is a favorite author of the Church Growth Movement.]      

 

In Valleskey's new book, We Believe, Therefore We Speak, all the major themes of Enthusiasm and the Church Growth Movement are endorsed, including the anti-confessional, anti-Lutheran, anti-Christian Seeker Service from Willow Creek Community Church.  All the pastors who have tumbled out of Lutheranism were trained by Valleskey to "spoil the Egyptians" at Fuller Seminary.

 

III.  Where It Started

 

                        A. Fuller Seminary

Fuller Seminary was founded in 1947 by Charles Fuller of "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour."  Fuller was an orange grower who studied at a Bible institute and was ordained.  His radio broadcast was quite the sensation of its time, and he seemed to be quite unlike the priapic televangelists of our day, men who invent doctrines as strange as their lives.  Fuller was a Fundamentalist, so he began a school which would teach the inerrancy of the Bible.

 

     Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947.  It was brought into being through the efforts of Charles E. Fuller of the "Old Fashioned Revival Hour."  He secured the services of Harold John Ockenga, then minister of the Park Street Church in Boston, as president of the fledgling institution.  The school opened its door with four faculty members:  Wilbur Moorehead Smith, Everett F. Harrison, Carl F. H. Henry, and myself.

          Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids:  Zonderva­n, 1976, p. 106.

 

     From the beginning it was declared that one of the chief purposes of the founding of the seminary was that it should be an apologetic institution...It was agreed from the inception of the school that through the seminary curriculum the faculty would provide the finest theologi­cal defense of biblical infallibility or inerrancy.  It was agreed in addition that the faculty would publish joint works that would present to the world the best of evangelical scholarship on inerrancy at a time when there was a dearth of such scholarship and when there were few learned works promoting biblical inerrancy.

          Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids:  Zonderva­n, 1976, p. 106f.

 

                        B. Harold Ockenga

Rev. Harold Ockenga took pride in not talking about doctrinal differences.  The institutions he was most indentified with in his lifetime, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Christianity Today, and Fuller Seminary, turned liberal with amazing speed.  Fuller Seminary gave up its doctrinal position on Biblical inerrancy only 15 years after it was founded.  Charles Fuller's son, Daniel, who studied under the adulterous Swiss theologian Karl Barth, was instrumental in turning Fuller away from its original position on inerrancy.  The conservative faculty members left (Charles Woodbridge in 1957, Wilbur Smith in 1963, Harold Lindsell in 1964, and Gleason Archer in 1965), making Fuller even more vulnera­ble to the winds of false doctrine.

 

               C. Fuller Attacks Biblical Inerrancy

David Hubbard became Fuller's president with the support of Charles Fuller and his son Daniel.  Charles, like Eli, refused to see his son's error.  (1 Samuel 2:12)  Hubbard also studied in Switzerland and adopted the liberal view of the Bible as "contain­ing God's Word," a vague and self-serving concept.  Daniel Fuller and David Hubbard succeeded in turning Fuller into an anti-inerrancy school in a few years.  Note the hostility in Hubbard's own tract:

 

     Where inerrancy refers to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches through the biblical writers, we support its use.  Where the focus switches to an undue emphasis on matters like chronologi­cal details, the precise sequence of events, and numerical allusions, we would consider the term misleading and inappropriate.  Its dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes;...5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible we have... 6) that it prompts us to an inordinate defen­siveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it.

 

     We resent unnecessary distrac­tions; we resist unbiblical diver­sions.. Can anyone believe that all other activities should be susupended until all evangelicals agree on precise doctrinal statements?  We certainly cannot.

 

          David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California:  Fuller Theological Seminary, 1‑800‑235‑2222, Pasadena, CA, 91182.

 

            D. Fuller Attacks Salvation through Christ

Even if Fuller continued to teach the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the school would still be staffed by false teachers who deny the Means of Grace, the Holy Spirit working through the Word and Sacraments to bring us forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  But the departure of sincere Biblical professors and their replacement by slippery followers of Karl Barth meant that Fuller's fall from truth accelerated.  Charles Kraft, a Fuller professor of world missions, denied openly that Christ was the only way of salvation.  How delicious, to travel around the world for Fuller, denying the message one is called by God to deliver for the salvation of souls.

 

     Similarly, he [the Muslim] doesn't have to be convinced of the death of Christ.  He simply has to pledge alle­giance and faith to God who worked out the details to make it possible for his faith response to take the place of a righteous­ness requirement.  He may not, in fact, be able to believe in the death of Christ...." [Dr. Charles Kraft, consultation in Mar­seilles, France]

          Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 226.

 

WELS seminary president quoted Charles Kraft in his recent essay on Paul as a missionary.

                               ****

 

               E. Fuller Attacks Pauline Authorship

As I have stated above, the Church Growth advocates in WELS and the LCMS are often lobbyists for women's ordination.  Their professors at Fuller were women, which is no problem for someone who denies the inspiration of the Pastoral Epistles.  "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1 Timothy 2:12)."

 

     Ralph P. Martin is Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theologi­cal Seminary...Professor Martin engages in guess work and patch‑qu­ilt organization to explain away the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals.

          Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 228. 

 

                   F. Fuller and Pentecostalism

                        1. C. Peter Wagner

Another repulsive effect of Fuller's apostasy can be seen in the growth of Pentecostalism and the occult along with rationalism at the school.  Rev. C. Peter Wagner, is the best example of these hot air merchants.  In one of his many books, he endorses snake handling and drinking poison:

 

     The preacher, in fact, was a fascinating combination of eloquent and illiterate (by his own testimony).  In the services I saw fervent singing, joyous clapping of hands, dancing in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, testimonies, prophecies, preaching of the Word, and as a climax the handling of deadly poisonous snakes and drinking of strychnine.  I discussed this with several members of the congregation.  When I asked why they handled snakes they replied, simply, "Because Jesus told us to do it as a sign."  Another sign of the kingdom.[4]  

          C. Peter Wagner, Church Growth and the Whole Gospel, New York:  Harper and Row, 1981, p. 23.[5]

 

                          2. John Wimber

Preceding Wagner at Fuller was John Wimber, the founder of Vinyard, a wildly Pentecostal sect.  He is also associated with Promise Keepers, which gathers men into unionistic rallies and cell groups.

 

     In January of 1982, he [Wimber] taught a course at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he is an adjunct professor, called "Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth."  Wimber taught this course for four years and it became one of the most popular courses at Fuller.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 275.        

 

"Signs and Wonders" was so far-out, even for Fuller, that the course was cancelled, as reported in Christianity Today.  However, when Wagner taught one of his own courses later, as Lawrence Olson wrote to me, he began the class with praying and faith healing.  The Church Growth experts reason that their phony miracles will attract people to their services, so little do they trust in the Word. 

 

                  G. Fuller, Cho, and the Occult

Pentecostalism, for all the sweating, dancing, falling on the floor, maniacal laughing, and tongue speaking, gets boring in time.  The only alternative left, besides the Means of Grace, is the occult, belief in using the power of the spirit world.  Fuller has strong connections with Rev. Paul Y. Cho, who was kicked out of the Assemblies of God for false doctrine connected with worshiping the dead.[6]

 

 

             1. Results of Denying the Means of Grace

When religious leaders deny and despise the divinely appointed Means of Grace, two errors will necessarily follow:  rationalism and irrationalism.  Fuller Seminary first promoted rationalism by its attacks on the truths of the Bible and salvation through Christ alone.  Once the canonical authority of the Scriptures was demolished by the son of Fuller's founder and his friend, and the bad old faculty members were gone, McGavran was free to set up a new world missions school which promoted Pentecos­tali­sm.  Is it an accident that the last of the original faculty members left the same year (1965) McGavran arrived?

 

            2. No Authority Left to Judge the Spirits

If we take away the authority of the Scriptures, as Fuller did before McGavran came to the campus, then there is no way to judge the spirits.  "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1)."

 

                      3. Cho and the Occult

The Pentecostalism of Wimber and Wagner seems calm and sedate compared with the occult paganism of Cho, whom I met at Wheaton College.  He was uncommonly flat as a person, which seems to be true of many cult leaders when they are not on stage.  Cho teaches his benighted followers some of the basic principles of Asian occult spiritualism.  One concept is that the spirit world (The Fourth Dimension) hugs our planet, ready to give us exactly what we want if only we know how to ask for it. 

 

     Since the spiritual world hugged the third dimension, incubating on the third dimension, it was by this incubation of the fourth dimension on the third dimension that the earth was recreated.

          Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plain-fiel­d, NJ:  Bridge Publish­ing, 1979, I, p. 39.    

 

This is what happened when when Cho did not get a table, a chair, or a bicycle he had been praying for: 

 

     "Yes," God said, "I have given them to you potentially.  But you have been asking them of me in such vague terms that I cannot fulfill your request. Don't you know there are a dozen kinds of tables, a dozen kinds of chairs and a dozen kinds of bicycles?  Which ones do you want?  Be very clear.  I have so much trouble with my children, because they keep asking me and asking me and asking me, yet they themselves do not know what kind of thing they want.  Make your request very specific, and then I'll answer."

          Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho with Harold Hostetler, Success­ful Home Cell Groups, Plainfield, NJ:  Logos Internation­al, 1981, p. 163f.      

 

The principle of incubation is directly connected with envisioning the results.  They cannot be separated.

 

     After praying for him, I taught him the principle of visions and dreams. I said, "Go back to your bakery, Mr. Ho.  Begin to see its success.  Start to count the money in the empty cash register and look at all of the people lining up outside to get into your crowded store."

          Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco:  Word Books, 1984, p. 107.[7]

 

Cho's perverted concept of prayer would be laughable, if his books were not sold in all the Christian book stores in the country.

 

     Then I said, "Close your eyes.  Can you see your husband now?"   "Yes, I can see him clearly."   "Okay.  Let's order him how.  Until you see your husband clearly in your imagination you can't order, because God will never answer.  You must see him clearly before you begin to pray.  God never answers vague prayers..."  They were happily married in that church, and on their marriage day her mother took that paper written with the ten points, and read it publicly before the people, then tore it up.

          Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plain-fiel­d, NJ:  Bridge Publishing, 1979, I,  p. 20f.       

 

Cho is able to turn the beautiful story of Abraham into a goofy lesson on Management by Objective and occult visioning.[8]

 

     They had a clear‑cut goal ‑ to have a son...Eventually God gave them a promise, and when they received the assurance, God immediately changed their names:  "You are no more Abram, but Abraham, the father of many nations".­..Abraham protested to God, "Father, people will laugh at us.  We don't even have a puppy in our home, and you mean you want us to change our names to 'father of many nation,' and 'princess'?  My, all the people in town will call us crazy."

          Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plain-fiel­d, NJ:  Bridge Publishing, 1979, I,  p. 28f.       

 

                    4. Cho and Robert Schuller

Cho's infantile prattling is no barrier to the growth of his business.  Rev. Robert Schuller endorsed his concepts and preached at Cho's congregation.

 

     I count it a great honor to write these words as a forword to this exciting book by my brother in Christ, Paul Yonggi Cho.  I am personally indebted to him for spiritual strength, and for insights I have received from God through this great Christian pastor. I was minister­ing to his huge congregation in Seoul, Korea...." [Robert Schuller]

           Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plain-fiel­d, NJ:  Bridge Publishing, 1979, I.[9]                

Well known leaders taught by Cho, according to Cho, include:  Charles Stanley, former Southern Baptist president; Jess Moody, whose church was featured in the Newsweek cover story on Church Growth;[10] and Robert Tilton, who claimed to pray over the prayer requests sent to him but simply had his hirelings bank the gifts and throw the requests away, unread. 

 

People may assume that conservative Lutheran synods would have no use for Paul Y. Cho, but I heard the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Olson speak glowingly of Cho and Schuller at a WELS evangelism seminar in 1987.  Another WELS Church Growth leader, Pastor Jim Witt, brought a case of Cho books to sell to pastors at a seminar on cell groups sponsored and paid for by WELS.

 

Cho's influence at Fuller Seminary is continued through his lectures there, his followers on the faculty, and his fellowships which pay for Fuller students to travel to Korea for additional indoctrinat­ion.

 

            5. Schuller, Napoleon Hill, and the Occult

Cho's occult delusions are not unique to Asia.  Another version is promoted by the Napoleon Hill Foundation, where Robert Schuller is a board member.  Hill's Think and Grow Rich can be found in the business section of most book stores.

 

     "I have come," said the voice, "to give you one more section to include in your book.  In writing this section you may cause some readers to disbelieve you, yet you will write honestly and many will believe and be bene­fited.  The world has been given many philosophies by which men are prepared for death, but you have been chosen to give manykind a philosophy by which men are prepared for happy living...I come from the Great School of the Masters.  I am one of the Council of Thirty‑Three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane."  [Hill explains]: "That is the school of wisdom which has persisted secretly in the Himalayas for ten thousand years...From the remotest days of antiquity, the Masters of the Great School have communicated with each other by telepathy."

          Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York:  Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 158f.     

 

One should not be surprised to hear the wisdom of Napoleon Hill quoted at the Kiwani's luncheon:  "Whatever THE MIND OF MAN can CONCEIVE and BELIEVE it can ACHIEVE."[11]  His theological views are worth noting.

 

     FAITH.  VISUALIZATION OF, AND BELIEF IN ATTAINMENT OF DESIRE.  The second step toward riches.  Faith is the head chemist of the mind.  When faith is blended with thought, the subconscious mind instantly picks up the vibration, translates it into its spiritual equiva­lent, and transmits it to Infinite Intelligence, as in the case of prayer.

          Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, New York:  Fawcett Crest Books, 1937, revised 1960, p. 49.[12]

 

     Now and again I have had evidence that unseen friends hover about me, unknowable to ordinary sense.  In my studies I discovered there is a group of strange beings who maintain a school of wisdom which must be ten thousand years old, but I did not connect them with myself.  Now there is a connection. I am not one of them!‑‑but I have been watched by them.

          Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York:  Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 158. 

 

     One day I overheard my stepmother say to my father:  "The only real devil that exists in this or any other world is the man whose business is that of making devils."  I accepted this statement instantly and never have departed from it.

          Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York:  Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 212.

 

     I do not even attempt to guess the over‑all purpose or plan behind the universe.  So far as I can tell, there is no plan for man except to come into this world, live a little while, and go.

          Napoleon Hill, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, New York:  Fawcett Crest, 1967, p. 213. 

 

We must face the tragic fact that Hill and Cho are significant and influential theologians for the Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod, and the Assemblies of God.  All three groups have adopted almost identical mission vision statements which are the fruit of the Hill/Cho thought process: 

 

1)  God will not accomplish anything more than we demand through our SMART goals;[13]

2)  Our goals have to be big, Big, BIG!

3)  We will not tolerate any obstacles to our Holy Spirit anointed plans.

 

SMART goals are technically derived from the business methods of Peter Drucker's Management by Objective.  Mission vision statements seem to be a curious blend of sloppy theology and dated business methods.  Someone who looks around a little will find that mission statements are not religious in origin, since they are found on the promotional literature of school districts, chiropractic clinics, insurance agencies, and schools of naturopathy. 

 

IV.  Fuller and Conservative Lutherans

 

        A. "Mark and Avoid" Becomes "Register and Attend"

Fuller Seminary would not even be a footnote in Lutheran history if the conservative Lutherans had observed and avoided the false teachers there.  The Missouri and Wisconsin Synods have translated this key passage on unionism as "Register and attend, using synod offerings to pay for the inflated tuition charges."

 

     Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. {18} For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:27-28)

 

The pivotal role of Fuller Seminary is noted by a critic of Church Growth who became a Roman Catholic priest:

 

     Then there is the church growth movement, which has made more devastating headway in LCMS than in ELCA (although it is evident enough in the latter).  Today, it is said, Missouri has three seminaries‑‑ St. Louis, Ft Wayne, and Fuller Seminary in Califor­nia, the hothouse of church growth enthusiasms.  The synodical and district mission offices are frequently controlled by church growth technocrats...But the idea that Word and Sacrament ministry is somehow validated by calculable results is utterly alien to the Lutheran Reformation...The triumph of style over substance, however, is all too evident in LCMS congregations that look like Baptists with vest­ments.  As we have noted before, second‑rate Lutherans make fourth‑rate Baptists.

          Rev. Richard Neuhaus, (ELCA at the time), Forum Letter, 338 E 19th Street,  New York, NY, 10003.  November 26, 1989 p. 2.      

 

          B. Lawrence Olson Boasts about His Alma Mater

Olson crowed about the influence of Fuller among Lutherans, but failed to list all his colleagues who attended the school.

 

     The church growth movement has made inroads into nearly every denomination in America.  Once considered only the turf of conservative evangelicals, you will now find church growth practioners in the United Methodist Church, in the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and among the Episcopalians.  The LCMS has more pastors enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller Theological Semi­nary, the seedbed of the movement, than are enrolled in the graduate programs at their Fort Wayne and St. Louis seminaries combined, and most of them include church growth as part of their studies.

          Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGE­LISM, February, 1991.  Parish Consultant for the WELS Board of Parish Services and his district's Coordinator of Evangelism, before becoming Professor of Lay Ministry at Martin Luther College, WELS. p. 1. 

 

                        C. Fuller and WELS

WELS leaders who have admitted attending Fuller Seminary, Church Growth seminars at Fuller, Win Arn's Church Growth Institute, Hunter's Church Growth Center, or other Church Growth satellites are:  Seminary professors Joel Gerlach (now a parish pastor), David Valleskey, Forrest Bivens; WELS consultants Paul Kelm, Lawrence Olson, James Huebner; former home mission board chief Norm Berg; district mission board chairman Wally Oelhafen; TELL contributor Reuel Schulz, and lone WELS Church Growth critic Robert Koester.

 

Olson neglected to say that Church Growth is taught in the evangelism course by Valleskey at the seminary, promoted by the youth, evangelism, stewardship, world and home mission boards, then forced upon the newly ordained after one year of pastoral service, in a special re-education program taught by Olson, Kelm, and Huebner. 

 

                 D. Fuller and the Missouri Synod

There is no question that key Missouri Synod leaders have played a significant role in bringing Church Growth into WELS, which had to be secretive about its love affair with Fuller.  Valleskey noted that five LCMS clergy are listed in the prestigious "Who's Who in Church Growth" chapter in Wagner's Church Growth:  The State of the Art.[14]  The five are discussed below.

 

                 1. Waldo Werning, Fuller Student

     Waldo Werning is director of the Stewardship Growth Center of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and an adjunct professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.  He teaches a seminar course and conducts seminars which focus on 'supply side stewardship,' integrating church growth principles with a stewardship program."

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 274.  Who's Who in CG citation.

 

Delos Miles' gushing tribute to Fuller, Church Growth, A Mighty River, includes an unintentional send-up of Waldo Werning, who draws from everywhere, even the Lutheran tradition.

 

     A second example of this homogenization is Waldo J. Werning's Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, pub­lished by Moody Press in 1977.  Werning is a Missouri Synod Lutheran execu­tive.  Although Werning's denomin­ational publishing house did not publish his book, it is never­theless an attempt by Werning to create an instru­ment for church growth among Missouri Synod Lutherans.  If you read Werning, you can readily see that he is exceedingly eclectic, drawing from everywhere, including his own tradition."

          Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nash­ville:  Broadman Press, 1981, p. 33f.           

 

Werning is highly regarded by WELS Church Growth leaders.

 

     There are other church growth programs which have been developed along more conservative lines.  Here we are thinking of adaptations of McGavran's principles such as developed by Waldo J. Werning of The Lutheran Church‑

     Mis­souri Synod.  In his study entitled "Vision and Strategy for Church Growth" Werning has modified some of McGavran­'s extreme positions.  Using some of his own adaptations Werning has conducted many seminars and workshops in applying church growth principles to a local congrega­tional setting in America."

          Ernst H. Wendland, "Church Growth Theology," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, April, 1981, 78, p. 117. 

 

     Werning, Waldo, Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1977) ‑ Werning, active for years in LC‑MS stewardship work, explains the foundations, presuppositions and principles of church growth and then shows how a congregation can benefit from making use of certain church growth principles ‑ of the two books listed in this category, Werning's is the more practi­cal.

          Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, "The Theology and Practice of Evangelism," PT 358A p. 6.            

 

                 2. Kent Hunter, D. Min. (Fuller)

     Kent Hunter is director of the Church Growth Center, Corunna, Indiana... Hunter sees his major contribution to the Church Growth Movement in the area of theology...Kent Hunter contributed two chapters to this volume: chapter 7, "Membership Integrity: The Body of Christ with a Backbone," and chapter 11, "The Quality Side of Church Growth."

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 240f.  Who's Who in CG citation.

 

Hunter, as I will show later, is far worse than Werning in adopting and promoting the errors of Enthusiasm, yet has even more influence in the LCMS.  I met him when he was going into the LCMS Interna­tional Center, apparently to address the Council of Presidents, who have become his best salesmen for the Church Growth Center.  Valleskey promotes Hunter's books through his evangelism course at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.

 

     Introduction to the Church Growth Movement by Lutheran authors, Hunter, Kent R., Foundations for Church Growth (New Haven, MO: Leader Publishing Co., 1983) ‑ the author, an LC‑MS clergyman who has now set up his own church growth consulting service, performs the valuable service in this 204 page book of presenting an introduc­tion to church growth goals and terminology. 

          Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, PT 358A p. 6.           

 

               3. Stephen Wagner, D. Min. (Fuller)

     Stephen A. Wagner is senior pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Carrollton, Texas.  In addition he serves as chairman of the Church Growth Task Force of the Texas District, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod...He is the author of Heart to Heart: Sharing Christ with a Friend (Corunna, Indiana: Church Growth Center).  He is also a contributing author to the Church Planting Manual (North American Missions Department of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, 1985), and he has written articles for denominational publications. Currently he is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree in church growth from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 274.           

 

Paul Kelm (Fuller) gave Kent Hunter (Fuller) a written endorsement for the pan-Lutheran workshop given by Kent Hunter (Fuller) and Stephen Wagner (Fuller), and funded by fraternal insurance.[15]

 

     Lifestyle evangelism is the merger of visual and verbal witness, by the people Jesus intended, in the way that He modeled.  It's the primary element in a church's strategy to win the lost.

          Rev. Paul Kelm, Evangelism, WELS, "Your Invitation!" Kent Hunter, (D.Min., Fuller; S.T.D., Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, ELCA) Church Growth Center, Corunna, Indiana, 46730.  Phone 219‑281‑2452.  Invitation for Heart to Heart Work­shop.

 

                4. Elmer Matthias, D. Min (Fuller)

     Elmer Matthias is associate professor of practical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, an institution of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod...While serving the parish [Zion, Anaheim, California] he enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program in church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, receiving his degreee in 1977.  At Concordia Seminary he became the first trained church growth seminary instructor in Lutheran circles, teaching church growth, evangelism, and parish administration.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 250.  Who's Who in CG citation.

 

The Doctor of Ministry programs at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Concordia Seminary in Ft. Wayne are heavily influenced by Church Growth.  Pastor J. Kincaid Smith (co-author of What's Going On Among the Lutherans?), Evangelical Lutheran Synod, said to me, "The D. Min. program at Ft. Wayne was all Church Growth."  Bethany Lutheran Seminary (ELS) is critical of the Church Growth Movement, but Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, the two Concordia seminaries, and various ELCA agencies all promote Church Growth methods.  The practical professors with little theological training and the world missions professors seem to be the most vulnerable to Enthusiasm.

 

                        5. Roger Leenerts

     Roger Leenerts is an executive with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, serving as associate executive secretary for North American missions on the Board for Mission Services.  He has been a key instrument in introducing church growth principles and practices into the LCMS through sponsoring church growth seminars and workshops for key denominational personnel.  Under this new emphasis, church planting became the primary mission emphasis for the synod.  In the mid seventies only twenty new congregations were being started per year. Currently the number is over 100, and the goal for 1990 is 500 new congregations per year.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 246.  Who's Who in CG citation.  [Note the SMART goal of 500 new congregations per year.  How many were started in 1990?]

 

The Leenerts citation can be compared to the work of earlier liberals who introduced the historical-critical method to Lutherans through special workshops and to those who promoted the Social Gospel Movement by using the agencies of the Lutheran Church.  We can only guess how many millions of dollars of offerings (from Missouri, WELS, and ELCA) have been diverted to Fuller Seminary, Win Arn's Church Growth Institute, and Kent Hunter's Church Growth Center.  No wonder the Fuller professors are so willing to flatter their disciples.  C. Peter Wagner wrote:

 

     Waldo Werning has made an outstanding contribution to the church growth movement in America with Vision and Strategy for Church Growth...Working out of the models established by Donald McGavran and the School of World Mission at Fuller Seminary, Waldo Werning breaks new ground in developing ways that church growth principles can be applied directly to American churches.

          Waldo J. Werning, Vision and Strategy for Church Growth, Second Edition, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, p. 5.             

 

                   E. Selling Pentecostal Books

                   in The Northwestern Lutheran

C. Peter Wagner has never had anything good to say about Lutheran doctrine.  But Lutherans are only too happy to help him sell his Pentecostal books.

 

     Bob:  "..I'd like to share with you a book I came across the other day. It's interesting, easy to read, and may be the answer to our problem..." 

     "Its title is [C. Peter Wagner's] Your Church Can Grow, and it's filled with all sorts of practical hints that could help us turn things around here."

     Author:  "Bob didn't realize it at the time, but in his browsing he had stumbled upon one of many similar books written from the perspective of the church growth movement, books with such titles as How to Grow a Church, Ten Steps for Church Growth, Church Growth:  Strategies that Work, and Leading Your Church to Growth."

          Prof. David Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement, Just Gathering People or Building the Church?" The Northwestern Lutheran, May 5, 1991, p. 184.          

 

A member in Columbus paid me to attend a Church Growth seminar, where I learned the mathematics of false doctrine.  One thousand people paid $80 to attend the one day affair ($80,000 gross), but many left with more than $100 in Church Growth books and audio tape sets.  The second day, optional, cost a little less, and featured the magic of cell groups.  I estimated that two days of Church Growth nonsense vacuumed $250,000-$350,000 out of the Ohio economy. 

I published a critical article in Christian News and soon got a phone call from Fuller.  They did not want to pounce on me (their disciples could do that for them, and they did).  They wanted me to sign up for their D. Min. program.  The charming saleswoman said, "You'll learn so much that your head will hurt."  I said, with great conviction, "I have no doubts about that."  I left the Columbus seminar sick to my stomach, with a headache registering 7.5 on the Richter scale.  It pained me that so many Lutherans were being seduced by such twaddle, with the encouragement of WELS and LCMS professors, mission board leaders, and district presidents.

 

V.  False Doctrines from Fuller, Endorsed by WELS, ELCA, and the LCMS

 

                     A. Church Growth Defined

     Church growth is that science which investigates the planting, multiplication, function and health of Chris­tian churches as they relate specifically to the effec­tive implementation of God's commi­ssion to "make disci­ples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19‑20 RSV). Church growth strives to combine the eternal theological principles of God's Word concerning the expansion of the church with the best insights of contemporary social and behavioral sciences, employing as its initial frame of reference, the foundational work done by Donald McGavran.

     [Consti­tution, Academy for American Church Growth]

          C. Peter Wagner, Church Growth and the Whole Gospel, New York:  Harper and Row, 1981, p. 75.         

 

     Lutheran members of the North American Society for Church Growth:  Harold S. Drageger, Grace Lutheran, Visalia, CA; Bradley Hoefs, King of Kings Lutheran, Omaha, NE; Kent Hunter, Church Growth Center, Corunna, IN; Elmer         Matthia­s, Emeritus, Concordia St. Louis, MO; Dale Olson, Cross of Hope Lutheran, Ramsey, MN; Waldo J. Werning, Stewardship Growth Center, Ft. Wayne, IN; Gregory L. Jackson, Columbus, OH.

          Doris M. Wagner, Fuller Theological Seminary, December 10, 1991.  [They refused to give me names unless I joined, so I paid $50 and endured Hunter's Church Growth Journal for a year, one of the benefits of joining this distinguished group of clergy, one of whom was arrested for homosexual sex.]

 

           B. False Doctrine:  Rejecting the Word Alone

The Bible teaches that people are converted to faith in Christ exclusively through the Word.  Although some have been converted by reading the Scriptures, most conversions take place among adults through the spoken Word.  Babies are converted by the Word connected with baptism.  The Holy Spirit uses the Law to prepare and soften hardened hearts so that people see the need for a Savior because they are convicted of their sin. 

 

     And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} Of sin, because they believe not on me; {10} Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; {11} Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  (John 16:8-11)

 

The Gospel alone has the power to plant faith in the hearts of hearers, whether in a baby through baptism or in an adult through teaching and preaching.  Ironically, one of the best and clearest expositions of this doctrine of the efficacy of the Word can be found in the conversion of a Unitarian, Grace Payton Fuller, the wife of the founder of Fuller Seminary:

 

     Mrs. Barnhill looked at me and said, with such a loving look in her gray eyes, "Oh, Grace, Christ said, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,' and, my dear, you have no way of approach to a holy God unless you come through Christ, His Son, as your Saviour."  "The Scripture which she quoted," Mrs. Fuller continues, "was the Sword of the Spirit, and at that moment Unitarianism was killed forever in my heart.  I saw the light like a flash and believed at that moment, though I said nothing.  She had quoted God's Word, the Spirit had used it, and, believ­ing, I instantly became a new creation in Christ Jesus.  She might have talked and even argued with me about it, but instead she just used the Word."  

          J. Elwin Wright, The Old Fash­ioned Revival Hour and the Broadcast­ers, Boston:  The Fellowship Press, 1940, p. 54.        

 

The wholesale destruction of Christian doctrine did not come from Charles and Grace Fuller, but from their son Daniel, whom God graciously saved from death when he was a child.  Gratitude is not a common characteristic of our race.

 

Ingratitude for Lutheran education is especially abundant in the published works of Rev. Paul Kelm, who cleverly weaves the Reformed doctrine of the Word into his papers.  The Reformed believe that the Word needs human help in order to be effective, because they separate the Holy Spirit from the Word.

 

     Thesis One:  Sound Doctrine Sounds Good When Good People Sound it.  Normally, people respond to other people before they respond to doctrine.

          Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 7.          

 

Kelm, who endorsed "Friendship Evangelism," (above), selected a Reformed title for his paper and began it with the most obnoxious

works-oriented concept of conversion.  Good people need to make the Word sound good?  What a horifying thought, that the Word of God is so weak that it needs our virtue to make it effective.  People do not respond to the divine Word, but to the appealing qualities of the soul-winners, according to Kelm.

 

     Thesis Seven:  Sound Apologetics Can Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good...Logic never converted anyone; but Christian­ity is logically defensible, once one makes reason ministerial to God and His Word...Read C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Josh McDowell for practical apologetic tools.  In fact, lend your copy to the prospect whose intelligence and education have become his curse. Once you've read Josh McDowell's "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" argument for the deity of Christ, you'll find yourself using it.

          Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 14.

 

Kelm's doublespeak, a familiar feature with Lutheran Church Growth gurus, suggests that logic cannot convert anyone (the Biblical, Lutheran view) while arguing specifically for using the rationalis­tic approach of Josh McDowell, who is Reformed.  Kelm also points WELS pastors to the Reformed works of Clive Staples Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, but not to Lutheran works at all.  Grace Fuller did not have to choose whether Jesus was a) crazy; b) deceitful; or c) the Lord.  The Word convicted her of the sin of unbelief (worse than any carnal sin) and planted faith in her heart at the same instant. 

 

     For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12)

 

In contrast, Rev. Dr. Olson carves away at the efficacy of the Word by promoting the methods he learned at Fuller Seminar.

 

     While only the Word is effica­cious, the methods we use to minister to people with that Word may vary in their effectiveness.

          Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "See How It Grows: Perspec­tives on Growth and the Church," EVANGE­LISM, February, 1991,  Parish Consul­tant for the WELS Board of Parish Serv and his district's Coordinator of Evangelism at that time. p. 2.  [Olson is a professor at Martin Luther College at this time.]

 

How can we explain that a graduate of Concordia Seminary (LCMS) in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, would talk about conversion as "inviting Jesus into your heart," except that the author graduated from Fuller Seminary with a D. Min. degree in Church Growth.

 

     A most revealing illustration has occurred in the great city of Seoul, South Korea.  The Rev. Paul Yonggi Cho was a Budhist youth when in medical school...He asked Christ to come into his heart and to heal him.  He recoverd completely [from TB] and joined a church."

          Kent Hunter, (D.Min., Fuller, Th.D. ELCA's LSTC), editor, Global Church Growth, Jan‑Feb., 1992 Church Growth Center,  Corunna, Indiana Donald McGavran, "House Churches:  A Key Factor for Growth," p. 5f.

 

These methods, which are admittedly from non-Christians, will somehow enhance the power of the Gospel.  We can see the influence of modern education and statistical analysis upon McGavran, reflected in the wide eyes of Olson.

 

     Contemporary social and behavioral sciences are a working out of the reason which God has given to humani­ty.  Granted, the assump­tions of some sociologists or anthro­pologists may be inconsistent with the Christian faith. That calls for discernment, but it does not invalidate the proper use of the social sciences by the church; it is, however, essential that they be used in a "mini-steri­al" manner.

          Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGE­LISM, February, 1991,  Professor, Martin Luther College, (WELS), p. 3.                  

 

           C. False Doctrine:  Management by Objective

Peter Drucker published Management by Objective in 1954, setting in motion forces which would blind Lutheran leaders decades later.  The book was written for businesses, to help them become more successful by focusing their energies.  No one would argue for a badly managed denomination, but one circuit pastor, no longer in the ministry, had this to say, "The more we study how to be a good organization, the worse off we are as an organization.  We were better run when the leaders worried about being faithful to the Word."

 

McGavran fell in love with number crunching, and he passed his passion on to church executives who want to be practical, show results, and computerize their problems.  Fuller trains leaders in Management by Objective and in forming a corporate vision state­ment.  Positive signs of MBO infection are:  teaching pastors about SMART goals, encouraging every congregation and entity to have a mission statement, passing a mission vision statement at the national convention (LCMS, WELS, Assemblies of God).

 

     3.  Establish your goals.  a.  definition:  goals are those things that are required for an organization to carry out its objectives ("How") 1) short‑range targets 2) SMART, Specif­ic, Measur­able, Acceptable, Realistic,

     Time­d....

          Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, PT 358A p. 101.[16]   

 

     "PLANNING, long‑range or short‑range, should be

     S‑M‑A‑R‑­T...specif­ic, measurable, accepted, realis­tic, timed­...." Paul Kelm, editor, The Evangelism Handbook, WELS Evangelism p. 3.       

 

     Mission outreach and church growth are thwarted and retarded by too much dependence on paid workers, by too little training and participation of lay people, by too little sensitivity to the authority and strategy of the Holy Spirit, by acceptance of small results long after the large response should have been expected.  The church is also hurt when goals are inarticulate, inadequate, immeasurable, or unattainable.

          Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christ-ianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena:  William Carey Library, 1975, p. 158.  [William Carey was started as a Church Growth publisher for Fullerites.]

 

These Church Growth leaders allow little room for the efficacious work of the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments.  Some quotations by Martin Luther explain why the LCMS and WELS have lost members and decreased in attendance during the gradual takeover of the Fuller alumni.

 

               1. Luther versus MBO and SMART Goals

 

The difference between a Biblical theologian and a Drucker derivative is plain enough when we read Luther:

 

     Those, however, who set the time, place and measure, tempt God, and believe not that they are heard or that they have obtained what they asked; therefore, they also receive nothing.

          Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 172.  John 16:23‑30.

 

     In like manner, St. Paul says that God's ability is thus

     proved, in that He does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20.  Therefore, we should know we are too finite to be able to name, picture or desig­nate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God.  Let us leave that entirely to Him, and immov­ably and steadfastly believe that He will hear us.

          Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House,  1983, III, p. 179f.  Fifth Sunday after Easter.  Ephesians 3:20.

 

     If the world were willing to take advice from a simple, plain man‑‑that is, our Lord God (who, after all, has some experience too and knows how to rule)‑‑the best advice would be that in his office and sphere of juris­diction everybody simply direct his thoughts and plans to carrying out honestly and doing in good faith what has been commanded him and that, whatever he does, he depend not on his own plans and thoughts but commit the care to God.  Such a man would certainly find out in the end who does and accomplishes more, he who trusts God or he who would bring success to his cause through his own wisdom and thoughts or his own power and strength.

          Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1151.  Luke 5:1‑11.

 

     For people come to the preaching of the Gospel as if they

     were honest pupils. But under this guise they are seeking

     nothing else but a full belly and their own benefit.  They consider the Gospel an economic teaching, designed to teach one to eat and drink in plenty.

          Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 304.  John 6:26‑27.[17]

 

     He who holds fast to the Word alone, trusts and abides in it, does not doubt that what the Word says will come to pass; he who does not dictate aim or time or means and ways, but resigns all freely to God's will and pleasure as to when, how, where, and by whom He will fulfill His Word; he, I say, has a true living faith which does not nor cannot tempt God.

          Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 367.  Epiphany, Matthew 2:1‑12.

 

                       2. Doubt in the Word

Doubt in the efficacy of the Word lies behind the promotion of Management by Objective, SMART goals, and mission vision staements.  A Jewish rabbi proved it to me by saying, "The congregation I am serving has lost a lot of families.  They need to get organized.  They need a mission statement."  If a rabbi thinks the cure is a mission statement, then a mission statement is not the cure for a Lutheran congregation.

 

              D. False Doctrine:  Church Growth Eyes

One phrase of McGavran can be found in many of his followers' writings:  Church Growth Eyes.  The concept is based upon Mc-Gavran­'s faulty understanding of "discerning the body," which concerns the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper.  As an Enthusiast, McGavran interpreted the passages in 1 Corinthians 10-11 as applying to the visible church as the body of Christ.

 

     But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. {29} For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discern­ing the Lord's body. (1 Corinthians 11:28-29)

 

     Church Growth Eyes  Sometimes the term is used in conjunction with the phrase, "discerning the body." Professor McGavran uses the terms almost synonymously.  Both phrases are examples of how church growth science appropriates the medical model to express itself.  Church growth eyes are "a characteristic of Christians who have achieved an ability to see the possibilities for growth, and to apply appropriate strategies to gain maximum results for Christ and His Church."  [McGavran and Arn, Ten Steps for Church Growth, p. 127, recommended by Valleskey in his article in The Northwestern Lutheran.]

          Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nash­ville:  Broadman Press, 1981, p. 51.           

                                

The leading Church Growth thinker of the Missouri Synod fell into line with McGavran's thinking, creating this cocktail of confusion.

 

     Students of Church Growth realize that a good structure for the church that really wants to grow is the organiza­tion of celebration plus congregation plus cell.  When we see the importance of the organization of the church we are looking with "Church Growth Eyes."  We are looking from an x‑ray perspective and understanding the internal organs of the body of Christ‑‑the Church!

          Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congrega­tion, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit:  Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 81.               

 

Werning's magnum opus, The Radical Nature of Christianity, sold by Northwestern Publishing House, is subtitled Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church.  The book endorses a host of Reformed programs and quotes McGavran at great length, almost to the point of xerography.

 

Pastor Floyd Stolzenburg, taught the following at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Columbus:

 

     We have discovered that the Early Church was an institu­tion that unknowingly saw its world through Church Growth eyes.  We have some benefits they did not have in that we can look back today and analyze their successes and failures.

          Floyd L. Stolzenburg, "Church Growth ‑ the Acts of the Apostles," Taught at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Colum­bus, Ohio, (Independent, in fellowship with WELS).[18]   

 

If a Bible study class cannot get across the message of the Enthusiasts, the pastor can always get out a $40 card game.

 

     The Institute for American Church Growth has created a card game called "Church Growth Eyes."  The game may be used in groups to learn how to see through church growth eyes.

          Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nash­ville:  Broadman Press, 1981, p. 51.[19]

 

The worst aspect of this jargon concerns the appeal it has for a special group of Lutheran insiders who "know" what the term means and are convinced they have Church Growth Eyes.  My experience with Church Growth Eyes is that these people have scales over their eyes which prevent them from seeing the efficacy of the Word or the Means of Grace. 

 

               1. Luther versus Church Growth Eyes

     They [the false teachers] fared like a man who looks through a colored glass.  Put before such a man whatever color you please, he sees no other color than that of the glass.  The fault is not that the right color is not put before him but that his glass is colored differently, as the word of Is. 6:9 puts it: You will see, he says, and yet you will not see it.

          Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 644. 

 

                 E. False Doctrine:  Soil Testing

                  and Receptivity Rating Scales

The concepts of soil testing and a receptivity rating scale are so typical of Fuller Seminary that they easily incriminate those who want to apply them to Lutheran congregational work.  The origin of the concepts, which are closely related, is the doctrine of John Calvin and Huldreich Zwingli, both of whom separated the work of the Holy Spirit from the Word.  It is easy for rationalistic followers of Zwingli and Calvin to imagine the Holy Spirit making people receptive before they hear the Word.  They also believe they can judge the soil, when the point of the Parable of the Sower is precisely the opposite (Mark 4).

 

     Soil Testing.  An evangelistic strategy that seeks out those people who are open to receiving the gospel at the present time.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 300.  

     Winnable People.  Those who are considered receptive to the gospel; those who will respond.  See HARVEST PRINCI­PLE; RESISTANCE­‑RECEPTIVITY AXIS.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 302.      

 

     Felt Need.  Describes the conscious wants and desires of a person; considered to be an opportunity for Christian response which stimulates within the person a receptivity to the gospel.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 290.    

 

     Fluxuating Receptivity.  The responsiveness of individu­als and groups waxes and wanes due to the Spirit's peculiar activity in the hearts of people.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 290.      

 

No one should be surprised that a Win Arn/Fuller student would teach future Lutheran pastors about the Zwinglian receptivity rating scale.

 

     ...a receptivity rating scale (adapted by Win and Charles Arn in The Master's Plan for Making Disciples, p. 91...."    Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, PT 358A p. 58.          

 

Even worse, the Bible is misinterpreted to support the concept of soil testing the felt needs of receptive people.[20]

 

     Finding the Receptive: People in Transition, by James Witt ‑ "The Bible illustrates the people‑in‑transition receptivity principle very well.  Converts such as Naaman, a leper; Ruth, a widow; the woman at the well, a five‑time divorcee; the thief on the cross, a convict near death; were all people who in a period of transition were receptive to hearing the Gospel.  The Receptivity‑

     R­ating Scale shown at left..."

          Paul Kelm, editor, The Evangelism Handbook, WELS Evange­lism Appendix III.  

 

The official magazine of WELS insinuated Zwinglian principles into one of the primary parables about the efficacy of the Word, brazenly twisting its meaning in the search for "effective Church Growth principles."

 

     What do people mean when they talk about effective church growth principles?  Do we make God's kingdom come?  "God's kingdom certainly comes by itself," Luther wrote.  Ours is to sow the seed.  We hamper the kingdom if we sow carelessly or if we do not sow at all.  But we do not make it grow."

          Mark Braun, "The Growing Seed, What Do People Mean When They Talk about Effective Church Growth Principles?" The Northwestern Lutheran, September 1, 1991, p. 300. Mark 4:26‑29.  [emphasis added]

 

Mark Braun fooled some students at Northwestern College (WELS) into thinking that he taught the Biblical doctrine of the Word, until I pointed out the phrase: "we hamper the kingdom if we sow careless­ly."  The article is meant to promote "soil testing" and undermine what Martin Franzman­n, a professor for WELS and the LCMS, taught clearly in his great hymn.

 

     (1) Preach you the Word and plant it home To men who like or like it not, The Word that shall endure and stand When flowers and men shall be forgot. (2) We know how hard, O Lord, the task Your servant bade us undertake: To preach your Word and never ask What prideful profit it may make. (3) The sower sows; his reckless love Scatters abroad the goodly seed, Intent alone that men may have The wholesome loaves that all men need. (4)  Though some be snatched and some be scorched And some be chocked and matted flat, The sower sow; his heart cries out, "Oh, what of that, and what of that?" (5) Preach you the Word and plant it home And never faint; the Harvest Lord Who gave the sower seed to sow Will watch and tend his planted Word.

          Martin H. Franzmann, 1907‑76, "Preach You the Word," Lutheran Worship, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982, Hymn #259. Mark 4.       

 

Braun is trying to say, in another way: "Winning the winnable while they are winnable seems sound procedure."[21]  In contrast, Franzmann trusts that the "Harvest Lord Who gave the sower seed to sow will watch and tend His planted Word."

                                

                        F. False Doctrine:

           Entertainment Evangelism, Friendship Sunday,

                       and Seeker Services

The most disgusting outgrowth of Satan's relentless assault on the efficacy of the Word can be seen in all its horror in its impact upon the Lutheran worship service.  An ELCA pastor with a D. Min. degree from Fuller Seminary is considered the most eloquent spokesman for entertainment evangelism.

 

     The key to reaching our world with the "good news" of Jesus is entertainment evange­lism...  Entertainment‑

     orie­nted churches are growing.  The do‑what‑we‑have‑alwa­ys­‑d­one‑b­efore churches are dy­ing...Entertainment is a gift of God.  Entertainment evangelism will fill up our churches.  Augustine said empty churches do not please God...If Jesus were here today walking the face of the earth, he would without a doubt use the No. 1 medium of the day to tell his story.  Jesus would become all things to all people to save some.  He would use entertainment.      Rev. Walther P. Kallestad, "Enter­tainment Evange­­­­­lism," The Lutheran, (ELCA), May 23, 1990 p. 19.  Kallestad is pastor of Community of Joy Church.

    

The model for entertainment evangelism is Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, where I observed a "seeker service."  Needless to say, Willow Creek is quite prominent among Church Growth leaders  and also in the fast-growing Promise Keepers system of cell groups.  The style of the Sunday service is obvious from an article copied for study and use in the WELS evangelism program.

 

     "I hate God," the woman screamed, "Who have I been praying to?"  Or the sketches can be comical...Only after 30 minutes of such entertainment does Mr. Hybels appear, prepared to deliver an upbeat sermon that, he says, has "high user value."

          WELS Evangelism Workshop IV, LOCATING THE LOST, Tom Valeo, "Market Wise Pastor Strikes Deep Chords with Soft‑Sell Pitch,"  Crain's Chicago, p. C‑3. 

 

The Lutheran magazine offered an interesting description of Willow Creek.

 

     On a wintry Sunday morning in January, the auditorium at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., is filled with more than 3,000 people settling into theater‑style chairs.  The upbeat music introduces an energetic six‑man singing group.  The rest of the service is fast‑paced and entertaining: a Scripture reading, a Broadway style dramatic skit, an offertory (where visitors are asked to contribute only if they want to), and a lengthy, but compelling "message" filled with practical steps for living. This service is aimed at "seekers," those looking for answers to life's big questions.  At Willow Creek, prime‑time Sunday is aimed at getting people in the door.

          Daniel J. Cattau, The Lutheran, April, 1992 "Out­reach Experiment, 'Megachurch' to start in California," p. 30.

 

When the ELCA tried to start a meta-church in Texas, a pastoral rebellion forced them to move their experiment to Yorba Linda, where their Community of Hope Church, lavishly funded by Lutheran Brotherhood, failed miserably, in spite of injecting it with all the viruses known to the Church Growth Movement.[22]  At Fuller Seminary, Carl George teaches eager but gullible Lutheran mission executives that they must build huge (meta) churches with large staffs, entertain­ment evangelism, and cell groups, dropping all references to the denomination. 

 

     Before going to Yorba Linda, the team will receive about six weeks of training at Community Church of Joy, whose pastor, the Rev. Walther Kallested has achieved notoriety in some Lutheran circles for his "entertainment evange­lism."  With its 6,000 members, the Arizona church is unapologet­ic about relying on contemporary music, drama and practical sermons.

          Daniel J. Cattau, The Lutheran, (ELCA) April, 1992 "Out­reach Experiment, 'Megachurch' to start in Califor­nia," p. 32.

 

ELCA officials had everything figured out, using all their earthly wisdom.

 

     Years ago, the Southern Baptists tried the "flagship church idea," which is roughly similar to the megachurch proposal.  But it did not have the same kind of financial backing that the ELCA plan has from Lutheran Brotherhood.  Ten missions were targeted, Graham said, and "in almost every case it did not turn out as happy as it could have."

          Daniel J. Cattau, The Lutheran, April, 1992 "Out­reach Experiment, 'Megachurch' to start in Califor­nia," p. 30.

 

No one would imagine that the crusty old Wisconsin Synod, with such strict fellowship principles, would fall for the Willow Creek/Fuller model.  Pastor Dan Kelm, brother of WELS Church Growth leader Paul Kelm, fell hard.

 

     Bored with church?  Think it's irrelevant?  Turned off by religion because of a bad experience in your child­hood?  Well, Divine Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church has a deal for you.

          Carol Elrod, "Pastor Hopes Seeks Will Find Way to Special Church Service," Indianapolis Star, May 12, 1990.

 

We are supposed to believe that Dan Kelm, who left WELS and joined the LCMS, was converted to entertainment evangelism by watching a video tape.[23]

 

     The role model for this carefully choreographed and rehearsed service, referred to by Rev. Kelm as a "seeker service," is Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Ill., near Chicago, an independent congregation formed 14 years ago...Rev. Kelm said he viewed a videotape of a service at the Chicago‑area church before planning the first seeker service for Divine Savior, which is affili­ated with the Milwaukee‑based Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

          Carol Elrod, "Pastor Hopes Seekers Will Find Way to Special Church Service," Indianapolis Star, May 12, 1990.

 

Worship is a good indication of doctrine.  Those who love Enthusi­asm will get rid of the historic liturgy, just as their mentor Huldreich Zwingli did in Switzerland.

 

     When planning the service, Rev. Kelm and the worship committee decided immediately that there wouldn't be any organ music and that the usual Lutheran liturgy wouldn't be used.

          Carol Elrod, "Pastor Hopes Seekers Will Find Way to Special Church Service," Indianapolis Star, May 12, 1990.

When the Michigan District of WELS formed a new congregation, the new congregations's love for Willow Creek was public knowledge.  The pastor and congregation left Lutheranism in a formal sense, not long after forming.[24]

 

     You may not have noticed, but Crossroads has changed its name!...Why the change [from Crossroads Christian Church]?  First, we were told that the original name implied a denominational affiliation.  Also, we believe that the "community" label identi­fies us more closely with the philosophy of ministry at Willow Creek Community Church.  We want to begin referring to ourselves more and more as a "community" of fully devoted followers of Jesus.

          Pastor Rick Miller, (former WELS), Crossroads Community Church, News and Information for January, 1992, p. 1.

 

WELS Pastor Kelly Voigt did not accept the call quoted below, but he later joined the staff.  Voigt left Lutheranism in Florida and took his congregation out of Lutheranism as well, before it disbanded.  A third pastor at Crossroads, Mark Freier, also left WELS with his congregation in Florida.

 

     CROSSROADS CALLS SECOND PASTOR.  On January 5th, Cross­roads extended a call to Kelly Voigt, currently pastor of a mission church in Tallahassee...Kelly would be respon­sible for heading up outreach activities and the prepara­tion needed before Seeker Services can begin.  He would be the speaker for the Seeker Services, while Pastor Rick would continue delivering the New Community messages."      Pastor Rick Miller, (WELS), Crossroads Community Church, News and Information for February, 1992.

 

The reason why so many WELS pastors and congregations have fallen for the Willow Creek model of Enthusiasm is that Professor David J. Valleskey has said kind words about the seeker service in his classes, seminars, and his book.

                                

The LCMS has also promoted the seeker service and entertainment evangelism, especially through the writings of David Luecke, who once held a faculty position at Fuller Seminary.  Luecke promotes services which consciously apes the Assemblies of God while avoiding any distinguishing marks of Lutheranism.  The marks of the Church, according to the Confessions, are preaching the Word in its purity and truth and administering the Sacraments according to the Scriptures.  The marks of Luecke's own Community Church are:  a stage band, pop music, a Gospel singing group, no Creed, no liturgy, no robes, and no Lutheran hymns.

 

                        G. False Doctrine:

                 Community Churches and Adiaphora

The zeal for creating Community Churches is directly connected to the Church Growth Movement, Fuller Seminary, Willow Creek Community Church, and Schuller's Garden Grove Community Church.  Rev. Lyle Schaller, who is highly respected by Church Growth advocates,  also favors hiding the denominational affiliation.

 

     Schaller urges churches to downplay their denominational affiliations  and begin new life in geographical areas where new Christian prospects are  moving if they really want to attract the fencesitters in the church market.  He  applauds United Methodist churches, for example, that leave the words "United  Methodist" off the signs in front of their new buildings.

          Laura Haferd,  "A Place Where Men Can God, People not creeds, attract, churches told,  Akron Beacon Journal,  October 8, 1988,  p. C‑3.

 

Deceiving people for a good cause was excused with the odd notion that the name Lutheran was an adiaphoron, a matter of indifference, even though we are living in a time of doctrinal crisis.

 

     Our decision not to use the name Lutheran in the name of the  congregation seems to have caused some concern.  We point you to the Lutheran  confessions which clearly state that a name is an adiaphoron.  So only when not  using the name is a denial of what the name stands for is there a problem.  We  reject the inferences that have been drawn that have been drawn that it is our intention to deny the biblical teach [sic] (ibid. conservative Lutheran teaching).  Put in very practical terms our question is:  Can we reach more of the  unchurched if we can begin with sin and grace, guilt and forgiveness, rather  than having to deal with lodge, scouts, the vagaries of ELCA, etc. at the  beginning.

          Pastor Paul Kuske, WELS, Letter to the Ohio Confer­ence, Pilgrim Community Church, sponsored from Grove City by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Fall Conference, Gibsonia, 1989.[25] 

 

I pointed out to the Ohio pastors, to no avail, that Community Church was not a good name to use, since it has always meant "anti-confessional."

 

     Interdenominational Churches.  The Community Churches.  The community  churches, also known as union or federated churches, are described as  follows...No one is asked to give up any religious opinion or loyalty already  formed.  The only new thing in such a situation is the new spirit of toleration  of religious opinion. (from What is a Community Church, by O. E. Jordan, p. 2)." 

          F. E. Mayer,  The Religious Bodies of America,  St.      Louis:  Concordia Publishing House,  1954,  p. 368.     

 

Pilgrim Community Church may have failed so quickly because people thought it was a homosexual congregation.

 

     One other church‑‑Metropolitan Community Church, 1253 N. High  Street‑‑exists specifically for homosexuals, but many of its members' backgrounds are with mainline Protestant churches.

          Debra Mason,  "For Gay Evangeli­cals,  Worshiping Without Preju­dice,"  Columbus Dispatch, Religion Page  March 4, 1989.

 

The Michigan District of WELS had two embarrassments with their community churches, but the LCMS and ELCA have had some large congregations develop with the Fuller/Willow Creek concept.  For those who add up numbers, this is proof enough that it is a good idea.  But we will see later, in looking at Lutheran history, that all union churches (where Reformed and Lutheran doctrine is merged, always in favor of the Reformed) become rationalistic and therefore atheistic.  As Luther said in Galatians, the barren churches (small, orthodox) will be fruitful and the fruitful (large, Lutheran Community Meta-Churches) will be barren, producing no believers.

 

     For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. (Galatians 4:27)

 

                              

                        H. False Doctrine:

                   Lay Pastors and Cell Groups

 

When the history of Pietism is studied, one can easily see what lies behind the frantic promotion of cell groups--also called koinonia, share, care, affinity, prayer, and home Bible study--by ELCA, LCMS, and WELS officials.  Lutheran Pietism, dependent upon the Reformed for its insights, disparages the Means of Grace and substitutes prayer for the Word and Sacraments.  Lutheran Pietists consider their lay-led cell groups the true church and think of the congregation, with its pastor, liturgy, preaching, teaching, baptism, and communion a convenience for organizing their cell groups.  The divinely called pastor is tolerated if he supports the cell groups, but the real clergy in a Pietistic congregation are the cell group leaders, men and women.

 

     We probably think first of such groups coming into being in the late 1600s in connection with Pietism.  Spener promoted them as a vehicle by which pious laypeople could be a leaven for good in reforming the "dead orthodoxy" of a congregation and its pastor.

          Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.  

 

The cell group is the organizing force of Pietism and continues to be at the center of Pentecostal, Methodist, and Baptist churches, as well as the Promise Keepers.  Fuller Seminary has consistently promoted cell groups as the only way for a congregation to grow.

 

     In an article on the small group movement, J. A. Gorman notes that "both the Church Growth Institute of Fuller Seminary and the American Institute of Church Growth became centers for influencing the use of this means for evangelizing."  (Christian Education, Moody Press, 1991, pp. 509, 510) Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.  

 

     Cell.  Sometimes called a kinship circle; a small group of 8‑12 believers; an important part of the church's struct which has the primary functions of spiritual accountability and intimacy and secondary functions of Bible, prayer, and healing.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.  

 

Cho's occult church in Korea is known for relying upon cell groups and prayer as a means of grace.

 

     The unrelenting growth is based on a multiplication of home cell groups led by lay leaders."

          Harry Genet, "Big Trouble for the World's Largest Church," Christianity Today, January 22, 1982 p. 30.      

 

Cho does not hide his dependence upon cell groups.

 

     A cell group is the basic part of our church.  It is not another church program‑‑it is the program of our church." Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco:  Word Books, 1984, p. 42.      

 

Cho's promotion of his ministry has added to the impact of Fuller's love for cell groups.[26]

 

     The cell groups have probably become the universal trademark of Full Gospel Central Church...A cell group is a cluster of church members who meet weekly in a home, factory, office, or other place for the purpose of evangelism and Christian fellowship through singing, prayer, Bible study, offering giving, announcements, sharing of needs, and praises and ministry to one another.

          John N. Vaughan, The World's Twenty Largest Church­es, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1984, p. 44.  [Written with "church growth eyes."]

 

According to the Missouri Synod's main thinker on evangelism, cell groups require Church Growth Eyes.

 

     Students of Church Growth realize that a good structure for the church that really wants to grow is the organiza­tion of celebration plus congregation plus cell.  When we see the importance of the organization of the church we are looking with "Church Growth Eyes."  We are looking from an x‑ray perspective and understanding the internal organs of the body of Christ‑‑the Church!

          Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congrega­tion, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit:  Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 81.                  

 

Another Missouri Synod leader, Waldo Werning, has discovered the cell group as the secret of growth in the Apostolic Age.

 

     The New Testament tells of this koinonia as a together­ness to share, to participate together, with Jesus in the center.  This it is that makes it the church and not just another organization.   

          Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christiani­ty, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena:  William Carey Library, 1975, p. 92.                  

 

The Wisconsin Synod, after years of quietly promoting cell groups, especially Serendipty, had a seminary professor trained by a false teacher and then had him endorse cell groups.[27]

 

     Home Bible study groups can and will be a blessing for all concerned only when the reason why they are formed truly supports this mission of the congregation and they way they are organized is planned and carried out by the congregation's leaders.

          Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 131.  

 

             I.  False Doctrine:  Everyone a Minister

Rev. Oscar Feucht's 1974 book, Everyone a Minister, provided a slogan for Lutheran devotees of cell groups.  Once the cell group concept has been adopted by leaders with Church Growth Eyes, the pastoral office ceases to have any significance other than to form and administer the lay-led groups which are "the real church," since those Lutherans who attend church without joining cell groups are not considered real Christians.  Because prayer is counted as the cause for conversion (the "Sinner's Prayer" of the Reformed, inviting Jesus into their hearts), the Word and Sacraments are no longer the power of the Gospel.  Therefore, the Pietistic need to pray fervently replaces the Lutheran desire to proclaim and teach the Gospel with the proper emphasis on all Biblical doctrines in the right balance of Law and Gospel.

 

WELS Professor David Valleskey has endorsed the Feucht slogan of "everyone a minister" in We Believe--Therefore We Speak.  The same theme has been sounded in WELS for many years.

 

This frantic ad was mailed to churches and serves as a good reminder of what cell group promoters desire.

 

     Wouldn't it be terrible to sleep through the Second Reformation?  Cell Group Churches.  The New Lifestyle For New Wineskins.  Cell Group Churches Are Really Different!  A "Cell Group" Church is built on the fact that all Christians are ministers, and that there is no "professi­onal clergy" hired to do the work of ministry.  According to Ephesians 4, God has provided "Gifted Men" to equip "Believers Who Are Gifted" to do the work of minis­try...The life of the church is in its Cells, not in a building.  While it has weekly worship events, the focus of the church is in the home Cells."

          Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888, Houston, TX, 77079, 1‑800‑735‑­5865.

 

The Fuller Seminary emphasis upon cell groups and spiritual gifts leads to other false doctrines as well.

 

                        J. False Doctrine:

                Women Usurping Authority over Men

                         and Teaching Men

Too much emphasis has been placed on the issue of women's suffrage in the Lutheran Church, one application of doctrine, instead of defining the issue as St. Paul does, women usurping authority over men and teaching men.

 

     But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12)

 

The Lutheran who cannot place his trust in the efficacy of the Word will naturally be at the mercy of every fad which blows through the visible church.  Too proud to accept God's will from the results of preaching and teaching, the anti-efficacy leader will always be anxious to achieve the the most impressive numbers.

 

We live in the first age in which women are assumed to have a right to serve in the pastoral office, in spite of 19 centuries of teaching and practice to the contrary.  The Pentecostals and cults were the first to have women pastors, followed next by the mainline or liberal denominations.  Lutherans have been somewhat tardy in marrying the spirit of this age, first officially ordaining women (in the Lutheran Church in America) in 1970.

 

The Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod have tried to hold themselves apart from the doctrine and practice of the ELCA, in their public relations efforts, while working closely with ELCA and adopting practices which place women in authority over men.  The LCMS allowed women to usurp authority already in 1969 and now fights a losing battle over the ordination of women.  Women have preached the Word in LCMS pulpits and administered Holy Communion.

Examples abound and no one is disciplined in the least.

 

The Wisconsin Synod's Church Growth leaders have been promoting women's suffrage and women's ordination for years with impunity.  For instance, Dorothy Sonntag not only served as an editor of the official WELS magazine, The Northwestern Lutheran, passing judgment on the work of pastors, but also served in leadership positions at the synodical level, before joining the ELCA as a lay minister.

 

     Then the Lord distinctly answered me, "Yes, that is your idea.  My idea is to use the women."

          Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho with Harold Hostetler, Success­ful Home Cell Groups, Plainfield, NJ:  Logos Internation­al, 1981, p. 25.      

 

     The promise of the Holy Spirit giving the ability to prophesy was not a promise to just men but also to women...I also noticed that women were more loyal and faithful than men in the ministry of Jesus...My advice to you then is, "Don't be afraid of using women."

          Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco:  Word Books, 1984, p. 43f.   

 

               K. False Doctrine:  Making Disciples

Another direct result of Reformed influence upon Lutheranism is the current passion for "making disciples." 

     The term "disciples" could be an innocent word, but it has been subsumed and subverted by the Church Growth Movement.  Pietism is the origin of the false concept of disciple, because Pietists have different levels of Christianity, even though the Bible only distinguishes between a) believers, and b) unbelievers.  Pietists may have 3 to 7 levels of Christianity, something we see in Pente-costalism, where they talk about "just being a church member" and then later "being baptized by the Holy Spirit," and still later, "going to the top of the mountain."

 

     Follow‑up Gap.  The difference between the number of persons who make decisions for Christ in a given evange­listic effort and those who go on to become disciples.

          C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns,

     Church Growth:  The State of the Art, Wheaton:  Tyndale House, 1986, p. 290.  (emphasis added)

 

The Word and Sacraments are not enough. 

 

     This means that the great commission is not merely to go to the ends of the earth preaching the Gospel (Mark 16:15), nor to baptized a lot of converts into the Name of the Triune God, nor to teach them the precepts of Christ, but to "make disciples"--to build men like them-selves who were so constrained by the commission of Christ that they not only followed, but led others to follow His way.

          Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism, Old Tappan:  Power Books, 1963, p. 108f. (emphasis added; over 580,000 copies in print)

 

At the former WELS congregation modeled after Willow Creek Community Church, discipleship is a key term:

 

     PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY AT CROSSROADS...Conduct seeker services... Provide small group leadership.  At Cross­roads, as people come to know Jesus they are encouraged to participate in groups of 8 to 10 people who meet weekly for 2 years of fellowship, holding one another accountable, discipleship training, encouragement and support.  1 Thess. 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

          Pastor Rick Miller, (former WELS),

     Crossroads Community Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.  (emphasis added)

 

The parachurch group started by the Michigan District of WELS also emphasized "making disciples."

 

     Lutheran Parish Resources, Inc. (LPR) is dedicated to the concepts of the Church Growth movement only insofar as they agree with the Scriptures and as taught by the WELS‑‑that is, Church Growth with Lutheran theology rather than Evangelical, and without the typical Church Growth emphasis on quantitative measurement of growth.  Kent R. Hunter's definition of "Church Growth" justifies the use of this term in describing LPR: "Church Growth:  That science which investigates the nature, function and health of Christian churches as they relate specifically to the effective implementation of God's commission to make disciples of all peoples (Matt. 28:19).  Church Growth is simultaneously a theological conviction and an applied science,...."  Foundations for Church Growth, p. 187.

          David G. Peters, "Lutheran Parish Resources: Pilot Program in Church Growth," Mequon:  Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, April 27, 1987 p. 1.  (emphasis added)

 

     Your church will grow by God's grace because members will want it to grow in obedience to God's will and because you are using strategy and methodology in making disci­ples.  Then nongrowth will be called nongrowth, and growth will be accepted as a gift from God.

          Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christiani­ty, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena:  William Carey Library, 1975, p. 159.  (emphasis added)

 

A movie frequently shown by WELS leaders is "For the Love of Pete."

 

     "For the Love of Pete,"...presents "The Master's Plan for Making Disciples"...."Planned Parenthood for Church­es"...Church growth principles are communicated with warmth and humor.

          Donald A. McGavran and Winfield C. Arn,

     Ten Steps for Church Growth, New York:  Harper and Row, 1977, p. 132.  (emphasis added, humor noted)

 

"For the Love of Pete" and The Master's Plan for Making Disciples have had quite an impact on WELS training.  Pietists "make disciples" not through the Means of Grace but by creating lay led cell groups:

 

     Introduction to Small Groups.  Purpose of This Segment.  1.  To introduce the concept of small group ministry.  2.  To present the rationale (benefits and need for) small groups.  3.  To impart a vision for small groups as a strategy for accomplishing our disciple‑making mission.

          WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Confer­ence, Jan. 7‑9, 1991, Madison. p. 2.  (emphasis added)

 

     As men, women, and children united in faith and worship by the Word of God, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod exists to make disciples throughout the world for time and for eternity, using the gospel to win the lost for Christ and to nurture believers for lives of Chris­tian service, all to the glory of God.   (WELS Mission Statement, emphasis added.  Any Reformed sect could say the same thing.  Nothing is mentioned about the Means of Grace or the efficacy of the Word.)

 

The Wisconsin Synod has turned a Gospel mandate into Law.  It is more apparent if we paraphrase the statement and say, "The WELS exists to do good works throughout the world..."  The pattern becomes even clearer when a Fuller alumnus writes about another Fuller alumnus' congregation, where they have hired a layman as a "Minister of Discipleship."

 

     When Frederick Horn faced that situation, the Holy Spirit moved him to accept the call, and for the last few years he has served as the [lay] Minister of Discipleship for Grace Lutheran in downtown Milwaukee." (James Huebner, is pastor of Grace.)

          Professor Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "Another Kind of Minister, There's a lot to do in a church, and a staff minister can do a lot of it," The Northwestern Lutheran,  March, 1994, p. 9, emphasis added. (Olson is director of staff ministry at Martin Luther College, WELS.)

 

The difference in the translation of Matthew 28:19 may seem small at first, but it is life and death when we consider the Reformed view of the Word as opposed to the Lutheran view of the Word.

 

     All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  (Matthew 28: 18-20, NIV; the NET and RSV are similar)

 

     And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye there­fore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  (KJV)

 

     euntes ergo docete (teach) omnes gentes... (Latin Vulgate)

 

     Darum gehet hin und lehret (teach) alle Voelker... (Luther's German Bible)

 

The verb is related to the noun for disciple,  so some  translate it as "to make disciples."  However, it would be more honest to say "to disciple all nations," since we do not have a compound verb in the Greek which includes both "to make" and "disciples."  Nothing in the original Greek suggests "making" or "producing."

     Some WELS pastors have openly opposed this disciple-making mania of WELS, but they have been silenced by the seminary, the Council of Presidents, and the doctrinal board.  All three entities support the Reformed translation and its implications.

     The distortion in English is quite apparent to Lutherans.  The object of the verb in Mt. 28:19 is not "disciples" but "nations."  The apostles were not commanded "to make disciples," that is, not "to produce disciples," which is translated by Fuller as "to manufacture soul-winners who will build a megachurch as big as my ego."  The apostles were commanded to teach all nations and trust the efficacy of the Word.

     The error in Greek is hinted at by Valleskey himself, who acknowledges that in Matthew 13:52, the same Greek verb can only be translated as "instructed."

 

     Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.  (KJV; RSV, NIV, NET similar)

 

It would be nonsense to make the verse say "every scribe which is made a disciple into the kingdom."  If the participial form is "instructed," then the transitive form should be "to instruct, to teach."

     Another example of the same verb is also found in Matthew.

Was he "made a disciple by Jesus" or was he a disciple of Jesus?

 

     When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimath­aea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: (Matthew 27:57, KJV; RSV, NIV, NET similar)

 

The verb and the noun forms tell us that we are dealing with teaching and those who are taught, not with making someone into a disciple, that is, a convert.  Some would have us believe that a disciple is always one who wins souls, follows Christ, and leaves his estate to the synod, but a disciple is a "learner" in some cases, someone who may fall into the Slough of Despond and make a fast exit.

 

     From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  (John 6:66, KJV)

 

     We can also compare the last of four examples of the verb found in the New Testament.  The NIV is very free with the sparse words used, creating a Fulleresque scene, winning the winnable while they are winnable (Win Arn).

 

     And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, (Acts 14:21, KJV)

 

     They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. (NIV; NET, RSV, Lenski similar)

 

Considering the passages in Matthew, the best translation would be that the apostles "preached and taught many," which is the Biblical method of converting people with the efficacious Word and teaching them the whole counsel of God, which is more than can be done in a sermon or series of sermons.

     Valleskey claims that:

 

     matheteusate can mean nothing other than to make disci­ples, to turn unbelievers into believers; for that is the Spirit-produced effect of baptism. (p. 127)

 

So we would have to translate Matthew 28:19 as:

 

     Go, therefore, and turn all nations into believers...

 

Soon after, Valleskey quotes Ylvisaker with approval, where Ylvisaker correctly translates the passage as "make all nations his disciples by baptizing..." (p. 134)  I cannot harmonize Valleskey's explanation on page 127 with his approval of Ylvisaker on page 134.  On page 137, Valleskey claims that to make disciples means both to reach out to unbelievers with the means of grace and to nurture believers with the means of grace.  That is the correct interpreta­tion of Matthew 28:19, but it is not what he claimed before, when he said it means "to turn unbelievers into believers."

(I should add, "into believer beavers," a new puppet program cloned from Fuller and sold by WELS, oblivious to the meaning of slang.)  The ambiguity is caused by Valleskey weaving together good Lutheran texts and his favorite Church Growth authors.  Oil and water do not mix.

 

In looking for Luther's ideas about "making disciples," we find the following citation, which will not be quoted in the Missouri Synod or WELS in the near future.

 

     Firstly, we read that this was the disciple whom Christ loved. This means that faith alone makes the truly beloved disciples of Christ, who receive the Holy Spirit through this very same faith, not through their works. Works indeed also make disciples, but not beloved disciples:  only temporary hypocrites who do not perse­vere.  God's love does not uphold and keep them, for the reason that they do not believe.

          Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 250. John 21:19‑24.         

 

                   L. False Doctrine:  Unionism

 

The term unionism comes from the Prussian Union which was forced upon the Lutherans by the Reformed rulers who professed to find no significant difference between the two camps of Protestants, except that the Lutherans were to give up their distinctive doctrines:  the efficacy of the Word, the Means of Grace, baptismal regenera­tion, the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper.

 

The Prussian Union accomplished what Melanchthon dreamed about:  unification of the Lutherans and the Reformed, rejected by the Formula of Concord and by Martin Luther.  The LCMS was formed in America to escape the Prussian Union and therefore rejected unionism in the strongest possible terms.  The Wisconsin Synod began as a Pietistic, unionistic denomination, where a congre-gation might have a Reformed Lord's Supper one Sunday and a Lutheran Lord's Supper the next Sunday.  The ELCA began in Colonial days as a Pietistic, unionistic federation (the General Synod) and merged with various Pietistic Lutheran groups which formed in the 19th century.

 

A unionistic attitude is obvious in the following dedication, which was written by one of the better writers in the General Synod tradition.  The dedication lists orthodox Lutherans, mild Luther­ans, Pietistis, and rationalists, as if each confession had something good to offer.

 

     Dedication: to a holy ministry, orthodox as Chemnitz, Calovius, Gerhard, and Krauth; spiritual and consecrated as Arndt, Spener, and Zinzendorf; active in the Master's service as Francke, Muhlenberg, Orberlin, and Passavant, this book is hopefully dedicated.

          G. H. Gerberding, The Lutheran Pastor, Minneapolis:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1902, p. 2.  

 

The best statements about unionism are found in an essay by Professor M. Reu, who became more conservative as he continued to study the Scriptures and Luther.

 

     Doctrinal indifference is at once the root of unionism and its fruit.  Whoever accepts, in theory as well as in practice, the absolute authority of the Scriptures and their unambiguousness with reference to all fundamental doctrines, must be opposed to every form of unionism.

          M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 20.  

 

Any religious activity with someone who has another confession is a form of unionism.  The worst kind of unionism is that practiced by clergy, since their joint activities create a federation, even if temporary, which suggests doctrinal agreement where none exists.

 

     We find this attitude of tolerance quite frequently among unionists.  It is often used to assuage a troubled conscience, one's own as well as that of others; for the unionist declares that every one may continue to hold his own private convictions and merely needs to respect and tolerate those of another. This attitude is totally wrong, for it disregards two important factors: (a) in tolerating divergent doctrines one either denies the perspicuity and clarity of the Scriptures, or one grants to error the right to exist alongside of truth, or one evidences indiffer­ence over against Biblical truth by surrendering its absolute validity;and (b) in allowing two opposite views concerning one doctrine to exist side by side, one has entered upon an inclined plane which of necess‑ ity leads ever further into complete doctrinal indifference, as may plainly be seen from the most calamitous case on record, viz., the Prussian Union.

          M. Reu, In the Interest of Lutheran Unity, Columbus:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1940, p. 20.      

 

The Wisconsin Synod, under Synod President John Brenner, opposed unionism and spoke out against the Missouri Synod for its laxity, which began with the replacement of Synod President F. Pfotenhauer with John Behnken.

 

     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.                 

 

At one time, the Wisconsin Synod was somewhat critical of Martin Marty, who later left the LCMS for the ELCA.

 

     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 reamin 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.      

 

Only 30 years later, the same Martin Marty, as an ELCA theologian, led the WELS and the purified LCMS and the radical ELCA in a joint evangelism conference in Orlando, Florida.[28]

 

     In 1970 there were 500,000 more baptized members of Lutheran congregations than was the case in 1990.  The Church Membership Initiative project was undertaken to understand and address this decline... Contact:  Rev. Mary Ann Moller‑Gunderson, Executive Director, Division for Congregational Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 W Higgins Road, Chicago, IL, 60631, 312‑380‑2570; Rev. Lyle Muller, Executive Direc­tor, Board for Evangelism Services, The Lutheran Church‑­Missouri Synod, 1333 S Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO, 63122‑7295, 314‑965‑9000; Rev. Wayne Borgwardt, Adminis­trator for Worker Training, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2929 N Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI, 53222, 414‑256‑3236; Mr. Douglas Olson, Aid Association for Lutherans, 4321 N Ballard Road, Appleton, WI, 54919, 414‑734‑5721.

          Church Membership Initiative, Narrative Summary of Findings, 1993, Aid Association for Lutherans, 4321 N Ballard Road, Appleton, WI, 54919‑0001, June 30, 1993.[29]      

The extensive Church Membership Initiative was not even the first unionistic activity involving WELS, ELCA, and the LCMS.  Nor is AAL alone in funding Church Growth unionistic gatherings, this one attended by the district presidents of WELS and the LCMS.

 

     The Lutheran Leadership Consultation, facilitated by Lutheran Brother­hood in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Lutheran‑Church Missouri Synod (LC‑MS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), was the first meeting of this type that included the three major Lutheran Churches as planners and participants.

          Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68,  p. 12.

 

The LCMS and WELS claim that ELCA is liberal, even unChristian, but their district presidents, synod executives, and seminary profes­sors were taught by an ELCA professor from Trinity Seminary, where an insurance funded gay seminar was once held.

 

     Through­out the Consultation, Walter F. Taylor, Jr., Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, explored principles and examples of leadership in the Pauline epistles.  

          Lutheran Brotherhood, Bond, "Preparing the Church for the Next Century," Fall, 1991 68,  p. 13. 

 

Snowbird was portrayed as innocent by WELS and ignored by the LCMS, which routinely works with ELCA.  However, the unionism which was tolerated by the WELS pastors and members grew faster than cancer, as the Scriptures rightfully claim.

 

     But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. {17} And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; {18} Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.  (2 Timothy 2:16-18)

 

An ELCA officially joyously announced the first joint ministry of ELCA, WELS, and the LCMS, although Snowbird preceded the religious radio ministry of the Big Three.

 

     A new sacred classical music radio program soon will be available to radio stations across the country.  The hour‑long, weekly program, called "Joy," is an inter‑

     Lut­heran project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. "Joy" will be produced by KFUO‑FM in St. Louis and will be funded by Aid Associa­tion for Lutherans, a fraternal benefit society.  "I'm excited about being involved in this project which is the first joint venture into ministry that has ever been done by these three Lutheran churches," said the Rev. Richard Jensen, a member of ELCA communications staff and the Joy Advisory Committee. "Joy" is a program of sacred music.  The focus is on the classics of sacred Christian mu­sic..." ELCA Newsbriefs, Christian News, 12‑9‑91, p. 2.

 

When a WELS pastor objected to former Synod President Carl Mischke, he received this letter:

 

     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.[30]

          President Carl H. Mischke (WELS Synodical Presi­dent), Letter to a WELS pastor, 1‑3‑92.   

 

In July of 1996, WELS hosted a national worship conference with speakers from the LCMS, ELCA, the Episcopal Church, and Roman Catholicism!  In addition, five WELS women taught sessions on worship.  WELS is in fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, but not with ELCA, the Missouri Syonod, or the Church of Rome.  No one from the ELS spoke.  WELS seminary professor James Tiefel organized the conference.  David Valleskey served as the keynote speaker.  Forrest Bivens gave a major presentation.

 

** cn quote

 

The Scriptures do not advise us to work with those who openly despise the most basic doctrines of the Christian faith, and it warns us about the character of false teachers, even if they are outwardly nice guys.

 

     Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. {18} For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  (Romans 16:17-18)

 

     McGavran leaned toward me and said, "The fields are white unto harvest. But you can't harvest a field of wheat with a penknife‑‑­you need a sickle, you need a scythe.  Har-vest intelligently."

          Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, (D. Min., Fuller), "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991.  

 

Lutherans must ask themselves now:  "Do we need to be advised by a Pentecostal (C. Peter Wagner), a Disciples of Christ theologian who worked with the World Council of Churches (the late Donald McGavran), or an ELCA church historian who plotted in print the takeover of Lutheranism by unionism (Martin Marty)?"[31]  If the answer is "Yes," then we must live with the results, concisely portrayed below:

 

     Wherever Lutherans unite with the Reformed, the former gradually sink to the level of the latter.  Already by declaring the differences between the two Churches irrelevant, the Lutheran truths are actually sacrificed and denied. Unionism always breaks the backbone, and outrages the conscience, of true Lutheranism.  And naturally enough, the refusal to confess the Lutheran truth is but too frequently followed by eager endorsement and fanatical defense of the opposite errors.

          F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 4 vols., St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 68.              

              M. False Doctrine:  Methodist Worship

                    for Lutheran Congregations

 

The true nature of the attack upon the efficacy of the Word is revealed when Church Growth Lutherans lay their hands on the historical liturgy.  Because they believe that the Word of God needs human aid to be effective, they see the worship service of Luther and Walther to be a hindrance to their schemes.

 

     Initial services will be less formal than our tradition­al worship  services.  LPR Director Roger Zehms has been requested by Beautiful Savior to  serve as pastor of the new mission with Floyd Stolzenbu­rg serving as evangelist  and music consultant.  Please include this new approach project in your  prayers.

          LPR UPDATE  October, 1989.   

 

The Lutheran hymn and the organ must also be jettisoned.  In the name of freedom a new law is set up, and it is definitely carved in stone.       

 

     Church music doesn't have to sound "different."  It can sound just like  the music people listen to every day.  At Crossroads you won't find a pipe  organ, but you will find great music appealing to a variety of tastes...Who says  church has to be boring?  In many of our services the Crossroads Drama Team  makes us laugh or cry, and take a hard look at ourselves.

          Crossroads Community Church,  Pastor Rick Miller (former WELS).[32]

 

The following ad suggests that a traditional Lutheran service is unfriendly, impractical, irrelevant, and threatening.  The key word is Seeker Service, invented by Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago.  The service I observed at Willow Creek had no Gospel message at all, no real singing, just light entertainment and a talk which began and ended with the Law.  Those who think that Willow Creek is an improvement over Lutheranism might consider the deliberate lack of a cross in the worship, or rather, the seeker area.  The cross is a "turn-off," according to the Willow Creek gurus.

 

     Would you be interested in a church that

     of­fers...Practical and Relevant  Messages?  Contemporary Music and Drama?  Friendly People Who Are Interested in  You?  A Non‑threatening Environment Where You Can Investigate a Relationship  with God?  Maybe Crossroads Is For You!...Targeted for September, '92, Sunday  morning 'seeker' service designed to introduce Christian­ity in the most practical relevant way possible!   Crossroads Community Church,  Pastor Rick Miller (former WELS).

Nicholas Selnecker, who contributed to the Formula of Concord, was driven from his pulpit by the unionists of his day.  He wrote in his great hymn:

 

     The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain

     Who o'er Thy Church with might would reign

     And always set forth something new,

     Devised to change Thy doctrine true.

 

     A trusty weapon is Thy Word,

     Thy Church's buckler, shield, and sword.

     Oh, let us in its power confide

     That we may seek no other guide!

          "Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide," #292, verses 6 and 8,         The Lutheran Hymnal (verses omitted from the WELS hymnal,        Christian Worship, #541).

 

Samuel Wesley's hymn, "The Church's One Foundation," contains this verse about the true, invisible Church:

    

     The Church shall never perish!  Her dear Lord, to defend,

     To guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.

     Tho' there be those that hate, false sons within the pale,

     Against both foe and traitor she ever shall prevail.

          The Lutheran Hymnal, #473, verse 3, which was altered in          Christian Worship #538, verse 3.

 

     Though there be those that hate her

     And strive to see her fail,

     Against both foe and traitor

     She ever shall prevail.

 

The new version not only removes an anti-Church Growth phrase, but even turns it into a verse which rebukes the Church Growth critics, at least in the eyes of evangelism experts.  The original version is about the true, invisible Church (which cannot fail, while the new version is positively denominational).

 

The corruption of the new Lutheran hymnals (especially Christian Worship and Lutheran Book of Worship, its model) signifies the descent of Lutheran doctrine and worship into the abyss of pragmatism, management methods, statistical analysis, unionism, doctrinal indifference, and a pathetic effort to ape the Reformed and Pentecostals. 

 

Lutheran Church Growth leaders never tire of speaking about methods, although the only method God uses is the efficacious Word.

Luther saw their methods and wrote about them in his great hymn, "O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold:"

 

     With fraud which they themselves invent

     Thy truth they have confounded;

     Their hearts are not with one consent

     On Thy pure doctrine grounded.

     While they parade with outward,

     They lead the people to and fro,

     In error's maze astounded.

          The Lutheran Hymnal, #260, verse two, a verse omitted        from Christian Worship, #205.

 


 

 

                              INDEX

Affinity  44

Assemblies of God  16, 21, 31, 42

Baptism  8, 28, 29, 45, 53

Baptist  10, 19, 45

Calvin  36

cell groups  7, 15, 17, 19, 27, 39, 40, 44‑49, 51

Cho  16‑19, 21, 30, 45, 46, 49

Christ  8, 9, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 25, 28‑30, 32, 34, 46, 49, 51, 53, 54, 56, 60, 62

Christian Worship  7, 62, 63

Church Growth  1, 4‑12, 14, 15, 19, 21‑28, 30‑32, 34‑40, 43, 45, 46‑51, 54, 57, 60, 62

Communion  45, 48

conversion  10, 29, 30, 47

Dreams  17

Drucker  21, 31, 32

efficacy  5, 6, 29, 30, 34, 36‑38, 48, 51, 52, 54, 60

ELCA  1, 4‑8, 22, 25, 26, 28, 30, 38‑40, 43, 44, 48, 54, 56, 57, 58‑60

everyone a minister  6, 47

Fuller  4, 7‑10, 12‑16, 19, 21‑32, 36‑38, 40, 42‑46, 48, 51, 52, 54, 60

Great Commission  49

Hill  19‑21

Holy Spirit  5, 13, 14, 21, 28, 29, 32, 36, 49, 51, 52, 54

Home Bible study  44, 45, 47

Hunter  23‑26, 28, 30, 34, 35, 46, 50

Kelm  7, 11, 21, 23, 25, 29, 30, 32, 37, 40, 41

Koinonia  44, 46

LCMS  4‑7, 10, 14, 22‑24, 26, 28, 30‑32, 38, 41, 42, 44, 48, 54, 56‑59

Leenerts  26

Luecke  42

Luther  5, 8, 15, 22, 30‑33, 36, 37, 43, 44, 51, 52, 54, 55, 57, 60, 62

Management by Objective  18, 21, 31, 34

Matthias  26, 28

McGavran  8‑11, 16, 24, 27, 28, 31, 34, 35, 38, 50, 60

Means of Grace  5, 6, 14, 16, 36, 44, 45, 51, 53, 54

Melanchthon  54

Methodist  22, 43, 45, 60

Miller  6, 10, 41, 42, 50, 61

mission statement  31, 34, 51

Olson  8, 9, 15, 19, 22, 23, 28, 30, 31, 51, 57, 60

Pietism  5, 6, 44, 45, 49

Prussian Union  54, 55

Reformed  1, 5, 6, 8, 19, 29, 30, 35, 44, 47, 49, 51, 52, 54, 55, 60, 62

revivalism  5, 6

Sacraments  14, 32, 42, 44, 47, 49

Scriptures  13, 14, 16, 28, 42, 50, 55, 58, 59

Seeker Service  12, 39, 41, 42, 61

SMART  21, 26, 31, 32, 34

The Lutheran Hymnal  62, 63

Unionism  4, 22, 54, 55, 58, 60, 62

Valleskey  6, 12, 21, 23‑25, 27, 32, 34, 37, 42, 47, 52‑54, 59

Visions  17

Wagner  10, 15, 16, 23‑28, 36‑38, 45, 46, 49, 60

WELS  1, 4‑8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 19, 22‑26, 28, 30‑32, 35, 37, 38, 39‑44, 47‑52, 54, 56‑59, 61, 62

Werning  21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 32, 35, 46, 50, 60

Wesley  62

Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary  7, 8, 11, 12, 24, 26, 50

Word  1, 4‑6, 8, 13‑17, 22, 28‑34, 36‑38, 41, 42, 44, 46‑49, 51‑54, 58, 60‑62

Zwingli  36, 41

 



    [1]  "There is no Church Growth Movement Program in our synod.

Our church body is opposed to the false theology of the Church Growth Movement.  We have no programs inside or outside the budget with that name.  Nor do we have any programs with a different name which utilize Church Growth theology."

Wayne D. Mueller, Administrator for the BPS, WELS, "A Response to 'Saving Souls vs. New Programs,'" The Northwestern Lutheran, November 1, 1991, February 1, 1992, p. 50.

 

    [2]  "Please stop exaggerating the amount of study that I have done at Fuller. After four years of study at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, which involved sixty‑two different courses and a year of vicarage, I graduated in 1983.  From 1987 to 1989 I took four courses where I was in a classroom with a Fuller instructor.  That is the extent of my Fuller coursework...In addition, I have taken two courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and one at the University of Wisconsin‑‑Madison.  Because of Fuller's liberal (would you expect anything else?) policy on transfer of credit, and because of two independent studies I undertook, I could complete the degree by simply writing a dissertation." Prof. Lawrence O. Olson, D. Min. (Fuller), "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3‑28‑94, p. 23.  Olson has a point.  His D. Min. degree is considered a master's degree by graduate schools.

    [3]  God, Man, and Church Growth, A Festschrift in Honor of Donald Anderson McGavran, A. R. Tippett, ed., Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans, 1973,       

 

    [4]  Footnote ‑ See C. Peter Wagner, What Are We Missing?, formerly Look Out, The Pentecostals Are Coming, Carol Stream:  Creation House, 1973, 1978.

    [5]  Professor Lawrence O. Olson, Martin Luther College, WELS, studied under C. Peter Wagner.

    [6]  "Big Trouble with the World's Largest Church," Christianity Today,

    [7]  "'But Honey, I've got all these five million dollars inside of me. They're growing now!  Oh, inside me it's growing.'  Suddenly those five million dollars had turned into a small pebble on my palm." Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plainfield, NJ:  Bridge Publish­ing, 1979, I,  p. 27. 

 

    [8]  Pay attention to this shakedown of a bank president, from the pen of Cho himself:  [To bank president]: "'Pick up the phone and call the police.  Ask about the name Yonggi Cho, and you'll find he is the pastor of the lagrest church in Seoul...He can have all of them transfer their bank account to your bank for the new year.  I will do this tremendous favor for you if you do one for me...' 'You write me a $50,000 check,' I told him."   Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plainfield, NJ:  Bridge Publishing, 1979, I, p. 145.

 

    [9]  Schuller's mentor, Norman Vincent Peale, borrowed many of his "power of positive thinking" concepts from an occult author, according to a Lutheran journal.  Peale's Guideposts magazine replaced the Bible and Lutheran magazines at the WELS Lutherans For Life pregnancy counseling center.  When I objected to Peale's anti-Christian propaganda, Reformed women's magazines showed up next.

    [10]  December 17, 1990, issue.

    [11]  Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, New York:  Fawcett Crest Books, 1937, revised 1960, p. 32.     

 

    [12]  "There comes, now, a statement which will give a better understand­ing of the importance the principle of autosuggestion assumes in the transmutation of desire into its physical, or monetary equivalent; namely: faith is a state of mind which may be induced, or created, by affirmation or repeated instructions to the subconscious mind, through the principle of autosuggestion."      Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, New York:  Fawcett Crest Books, 1937, revised 1960, p. 49f.

 

    [13]  For additional information on SMART goals, see Valleskey's We Believe, Rev. Paul Kelm's conference papers, Peter Drucker's Management by Objective, etc.  "Small thinking churches typically budget to remain small."  Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 7.  [Did the Apostles know this?  They spent virtually no money and took the Gospel to the whole world.]  "Mission outreach and church growth are thwarted and retarded by too much dependence on paid workers, by too little training and participation of lay people, by too little sensitivity to the authority and strategy of the Holy Spirit, by acceptance of small results long after the large response should have been expected.  The church is also hurt when goals are inarticulate, inadequate, immeasurable, or unattainable." Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena:  William Carey Library, 1975, p. 158.                

 

     [14]  David J. Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement:  An Evaluation, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, vol. 88, Spring, 1991, p.90.

     [15]  I mentioned Kelm's endorsement in a paper given to the Northern Conference of the Michigan District, WELS, "The New Lutheran Church and Its Implications for Confessional Lutherans," p. 11.  Bivens said he "wanted to defend Paul Kelm's good name," as if telling the truth about his endorsement was a violation of the Eighth Commandment.  District President Robert Mueller virtually called me a liar when he denied, with great emotion, that Lutheran Parish Resources, Columbus, had anything to do with the Church Growth Movement.

     [16]  The Lutheran Church in America trained pastors and laity in evangelism by having them learn how to lead their congregations in forming SAM goals:  specific, achievable, measurable.

     [17]  "Must Lutheranism be shorn of its glory to adapt it to our

times or our land?  No!"

     Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its

Theology, Philadelphia:  The United Lutheran Publication

House, 1871, p. 208.

 

     [18]  Stolzenburg studied Church Growth under Kent Hunter.  Stolzenburg recruited around 45 members of St. Paul (including the pastor and vicar) to attend the Win Arn Church Growth seminar which was held in Columbus.  He convinced George Skestos to fund Lutheran Parish Resources, which hired him and Roger Zehms to promote Church Growth among the WELS churches in Columbus.  Stolzenburg also began Pilgrim Community Church with District Vice-President Paul Kuske.  When that flopped and LPR ran out of support, Stolzenburg was hired as the pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, formerly ALC, in Columbus.

     [19]  "Some persons are blind to possibilities for growth, while others have eyes like eagle Scouts.  If you can see the potential for growth, you have church growth eyes.  If you are blind to the possibilities, you need church growth eyes."  Delos Miles, Church Growth, A Mighty River, Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1981, p. 51. 

 

     [20]  "Non‑Christians usually become good prospects for personal reasons or as I like to say:  'They come for sociolog­ical reasons and stay for theological reasons.'"  Rev. Paul Kelm, (WELS), "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 4.               

 

     [21]  Donald A. McGavran, Understanding Church Growth, Grand Rapids:  William B. Eerdmans, 1980, p. 291.  McGavran and Wagner teach their disciples that sociological analysis will determine when people are "winnable" or "receptive."  Did the risen Lord know Saul was winnable on the Road to Damascus?  (Acts 9:3)

     [22]  "Outreach officials are well‑aware that some Lutherans are quite skeptical of the megachurch idea.  These critics say the ELCA's flirtation with the church growth movement shows a failure of confidence and they believe these megachurches are not really Lutheran in liturgy or substance." Daniel J. Cattau, The Lutheran, April, 1992 "Outreach Experiment, 'Megachurch' to start in California," p. 33.

     [23]  When WELS tried to convert people with videotapes in Brazil, results were dismal.  A farmer said incredulously to the head missionary, "People come in and you give them a videotape to watch?"  The argument was that preaching and teaching the Word would take too long to build up a huge mission.

     [24]  "Since several brothers have asked about the status of Rick Miller, I  provide the following information.  Rick has asked for a release from his call  at Huron Valley Lutheran High School in order to serve a group of people as  their pastor and to help organize them as an independent Christian congregation.  The group is composed of some former members of St. Peter Lutheran Church in  Plymouth, of some former members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Livonia, and  some people who have left LC‑MS churches.  The group has stated that it has a  different philosophy and style of ministry, which includes drama, contemporary  music and a thematic form of worship and liturgy, which allows for greater  personal participation by its female members.  The group has also stated that it  would like to retain fellowship relations with our Wisconsin Synod."  District President Robert Mueller, WELS, President's Report to the Conferences,  Fall, 1991  Note: the congregation has women lectors  p. 2f.     

 

     [25]  A major part of LPR involvement currently centers around assis­tance with Beautiful Savior's establishment of a new experi­mental mission on the west side.  Named "Pilgrim Community Church" by the committee from Grove City, the new  congregation will maintain solid Lutheran doctrine without an up front emphasis on the Lutheran name.  All materials identify sponsorship by Beautiful Savior  Lutheran Church.  [note: in very, very small print.  On the same page, artwork for the area Reforma­tion service at St. Paul's:  "STANDING WHERE LUTHER STOOD"]  LPR UPDATE, October, 1989.

 

     [26]  "Some 15 years ago, Peter Wagner's equation read 'Cells + Congrega­tion + Celebration = Church.'" Ken Sidey, "Church Growth Fine Tunes Its Formulas," Christianity Today, June 24, 1991, p. 46.      

 

     [27]  "This writer's acquaintance with this current phenomenon is threefold: 1) he has attended one of the workshops held by Lyman Coleman [a false teacher]; 2) he has read about a dozen books in the last ten years coming from evangelical sources [i.e. false teachers] that deal with small groups either wholly or in part; 3) he has also inquired about why a number of WELS congregations have begun to conduct small group Bible study and how they have structured these groups." Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.               

     [28]  "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.      

 

     [29]  "Its 'overall objective' is: 'To set in motion forces that will result in annual increases in the number of members of Lutheran congrega­tions.'  Why would any confessional Lutheran wish to 'set in motion forces' for 'annual increases in ELCA membership?  The introductory page already alerts one to the hollowness of the talk about 'faithfulness to the substance of Lutheranism' (p. 3), by listing an ELCA official, a pastoress, as one of the sources of further information.  'Unchurched people feel good about their faith,' we are told, and the implication is that we should too." Professor Kurt Marquart, "Church Growth" As Mission Paradigm, A Lutheran Assessment, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Houston:  Luther Academy Monograph, 1994, p. 142.

 

     [30]  I spoke to the ELCA official's secretary and then to him on the phone.  She insisted that I call him, even though he was home sick.  When I read Mischke's letter to them, they were aghast at the implications.  WELS media expert John Barber had been meeting with them at ELCA headquarters all along.  Rev. Richard Jensen told me that he had not been informed about his supposed error.  A story appeared in The Northwestern Lutheran which claimed that WELS only had an "observer" role.  It was also claimed that ELCA and the LCMS, representing 94% of all Lutherans in America, needed the help of WELS in getting the radio show going.  It is currently claimed that the radio show is no longer being produced.

     [31]  "C. Peter Wagner writes that 'the indispensable condition for a growing church is that it must want to grow.'" [C. Peter Wagner, "What Makes Churches Grow?" Eternity (June 1974), 17.]

Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena:  William Carey Library, 1975, p. 158. 

 

     [32]  "As an independent group it does not plan to use the name 'Lutheran' in  its title.  It will be known as The Crossroads Christian Church...For the  present, Rick Miller is still a pastoral member of the WELS...At that time  [January 31, 1992, submission of a constitution] the fellowship question will be  determined on the basis of the group's doctrinal statements and practices."  District President Robert Mueller,  President's Report to the Conferences,  Fall, 1991  p. 3.