MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS
A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
6421 W. Poinsettia Drive
From: DANIEL M WAGENKNECHT <email@example.com
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com
Date: Monday, November 30, 1998 2:48 AM
Subject: Re: GA again
If it were possible, I would be more comfortable discussing this
one-on-one with you, rather than among scores of people most of whom I
don't know. Would you grant this concession? You know as well as I do
that email communicates emotion poorly, and is apt to be misconstrued
because it is fairly impersonal.
[Pastor Gregory L. Jackson - One WELS pastor wrote to me
personally and asked me to keep his comments confidential, so I did. However,
Wagenknecht wrote about me to the WELS email chat service, but he did not send
me a copy. I do not know most of the people he contacted about me. Email does
not need to be any different from a letter delivered by the post office. The fortunate
or unfortunate aspect of email is that falsehoods can be sent all over the world
in seconds and forwarded to even more people. I asked specifically for what was
false in my GA article, as he indicated to all of WELS. No response on the
I think that you pick up on the negatives within wels. Many of the
things you have said about wels are criticized by those within the synod,
too. Your warnings about CGM are well founded and are well taken. You
often have criticized men like David Valleskey and Wayne Mueller for
being church growth advocates. These men are very much Law and Gospel,
Lutheran confessions to the core. Is there something in Valleskey's
Evangelism textbook that you find unscriptural?
[Pastor Gregory L. Jackson – I do not criticize men; I criticize false doctrine and methods used to promote false doctrine. Many people remember Wayne Mueller’s article in the Northwestern Liberal, denying that there were any Church Growth programs in the WELS. I wrote to Wayne and asked if we belonged to the same synod, since all the materials from Paul Kelm and Robert Hartman were lavish in quoting and supporting Church Growth authors. TELL was begun by WELS to promote the cause of Church Growth. WLQ supported Church Growth in several articles and reviews. I reviewed Valleskey’s Church Growth article in the Orthodox Lutheran Forum. I reviewed Valleskey’s “We Believe-Therefore We Speak” in Christian News. Both works are full of false doctrine and contradictory claims. I wonder how many Lutherans could say, with a straight face, as Valleskey did, that the Reformed “downplay the Means of Grace?” I think I have done my share in showing, chapter and verse, how Valleskey is wrong.
I have a question for you, Pastor Wagenknecht. Did Valleskey
attend a seminar or forum on Church Growth at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena? He
denied ever being on the campus to many in WELS. But Valleskey told CLC Pastor
David Koenig, one of his fans, that he did attend a seminar, just to see what
was going on. Is this a fruit of GA, like Wayne Mueller’s denial of CG in WELS?
Which story is true? Did Valleskey tell the truth when he denied even setting
foot on the campus or when he told Koenig he did go there?]
As for the things you said about initiations, you realize that I was at
Sem during a different time than you, so our experiences were different.
Point by point, I would have to say "I have no idea" to most. I can't
prove a negative. And we will not change each other's minds about things
like "Christian Worship" (We still use TLH by the way)
[Pastor Gregory L. Jackson – This is quite different from
what Wagenknecht wrote to the WELS chat service. There he made claims of
falsehood. All I asked for was a list of the factual errors.]
Greg, I have been carrying on a very cordial chat with Lynda Roper. Does
that make me an atypical WELS pastor? I don't think so. I think most of
us care for souls. If we didn't, there are better professions for us to
pursue. You characterized the conversation as being like this:
<<The person who wrote him wanted to know his
opinion about the secret WELS initiation rites. That would be a good time
for Wagenknecht to indicate what is true and not true. This is typical
banter: I won’t debate, but I will tell you this. Some is true, but it is
exagerated, mixed with falsehood, etc.
Touchee. Our conversation had gone well beyond just GA, I think. Lynda
told me there were rumors that you were distraught over the death of your
daughter and that's why you left WELS. I never heard those rumors. My
sympathy to you and your family. I only meant to tell Lynda that I don't
know you personally. This is what I wanted to avoid. I am sorry I
brought up your name without pinpointing my differences.
[I’m glad you brought up the Erin Joy issue. Recently several of your fellow WELS pastors said that I went crazy when my daughter died. They do not know me, have never met me, have never made an attempt to find out the facts. They were rebuked by another pastor who does know me. I have nothing but pity for pastors who will listen to slander from their church leaders and then repeat it as factual. Why do your WELS leaders still try to use my dead daughter against me? When I found out that they lied to me about Floyd Stolzenburg (Lutheran Parish Resources – “the first Church Growth institute in WELS” according to WELS vicar David Peters), I objected to the people in charge. They first apologized, then started claiming that I lied about Floyd. They never admitted that the lawsuit against him was begun just before he started LPR with their blessing. They never admitted that their “donor” for LPR was indicted by the government just before LPR started. I found out later. So I objected to the whole Church Growth/adultery situation in Columbus. I quoted the Scriptures and the Confessions. The reaction by the district and mission board leaders was pure hysteria.
I think you will find many positive remarks about WELS in my articles, our family book about our daughters, “Angel Joy,” and in my bulletins. However, I am not going to praise false doctrine and spiritual abuse.]
But, isn't the nature of your GA article mostly based on
things that are very
intangible. Were you an eyewitness to it all? Did you get two sides to
stories? Again, I cannot answer for what I haven't experienced.
[Pastor Gregory L. Jackson - I think forcing the freshman class (NWC) to feign anal intercourse with the Runner on His Mark statue is tangible. I think having the freshman class buck naked in a public place (Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary) is tangible. Yes, I was an eyewitness to Bonecruncher and to GA. Yes, I have heard from many people who love the secret initiation rites of WELS, and I have heard from many who were disgusted by it. The people who love GA are quite abusive toward me and others in their defense of GA.
One person said he never would have joined WELS if he had
known of the disgraceful activities of GA. Many have thanked me for exposing
the abuse, although your worship professor, James Tiefel, refused to comment on it. Pastor Wagenknecht,
you have now backed away from your initial claims about my article. Are you now
going to admit that you found no factual errors in the GA article? Please tell
your original readers, since I cannot reach them.]
Thank you for reading this second "odd" letter from me.
PS Now I read another letter from Lynda. She expects me to be angry with
her. What would give her that idea?
[Pastor Gregory L. Jackson – Is that question directed at me? I think Lynda can come to her own conclusions based on her experiences with WELS pastors. If you look at all the comments from men who support GA, since you are on the WELS chat service, you will see that WELS pastors respond to constructive criticism with anger, insults, and evasion. Several of your clergy recently started attacking my son and his family, too. All denominations engage in abuse of one type or another, but I find the WELS approach to be especially obnoxious.
I have a program of reform (not Reformed doctrine) for the WELS and the ELS.
1. End all initiation rites and apologize in the Northwestern Liberal for the harm caused by Bonecruncher, GA, and prep school abuses.
2. Hold seminars to help WELS pastors overcome the problems caused by their love of GA and Bonecruncher. Ask bullies to leave the synod if they do not repent and ask for forgiveness.
3. Issue a joint declaration with the ELS, repudiating the Church Growth Movement, its crafts and assaults, errors and empty promises.
4. Retract and repudiate all published materials supporting the Church Growth Movement.
5. Insist that David Valleskey, Forrest Bivens, Larry Olson, Wayne Mueller, Ron Roth, Norm Berg, Paul Kelm, James Huebner, Robert Hartmann, Joel Gerlach, and mission board leaders tell the truth about their study at Fuller Seminary, Fuller’s School of Evangelism, Fuller’s Mission School, Win Arn’s Church Growth Institute, or other CG satellites, such as Kent Hunter’s in Indiana.
6. Publish an article about your district president, Ed Werner, in the state prison, and explain how he was able to molest little girls for years and continue to be re-elected as a WELS leader.
7. Tell the truth about lawsuits lost, such as the $400,000 judgment against WELS district mission board chairman Fred Adrian. Or the widow who sued WELS and won in court - $1 million.
8. Break fellowship with ELCA. Stop having joint events with their pro-abortion and pro-homosexual clergy: WELS worship conference, Church Membership Initiative, Joy radio show, Orlando, Snowbird, LBW.2 (aka Christian Worship).
9. Teach the efficacy of the Word.
10. Ask David Valleskey to correct his WLQ article, where he falsely claimed that the Reformed “downplay the Means of Grace.” They reject the Means of Grace, do they not?
"When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice. That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by few men during their lifetime. Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God. They are regarded as men worthy of contempt. But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace. Therefore, woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, sound the alarm whenever a foe threatens to rush the walls, and rally to the banner of Jesus Christ for a holy war!"
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, p. 28.