MARTIN CHEMNITZ PRESS
A MIGHTY FORTRESS LUTHERAN CHURCH
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
6421 W. Poinsettia Drive
Source: new WELS video to promote the Forward in Christ offering. Each congregation has received one. In one recent case I viewed the WELS video about the Easter commercials before a WELS pastor did. He was sickened by the false doctrine on the tape and the sleazy promotional methods articulated.
The setting of the FIC tape is a large, beautiful, but empty church [appropriate enough, given the alarming decline in WELS worship attendance, especially in the large congregations]. The script is narrated by a calculating, unctuous man in a suit. He is never introduced, although he is clearly in the role of teaching God’s Word. Two named WELS couples and a couple of identified WELS clergy speak, but the narrator has most of the lines. The narrator and the laity share in teaching pagan doctrine.
I am not going to try to give a verbatim transcript of the whole video, but it is the most awful, Pentecostal-occult health and wealth glory tape ever produced by Lutherans. My comments are in [square brackets].
Some samples below:
“God owns everything…It’s all His.” [God has indeed created everything and given us everything we need, as we confess in the Small Catechism, Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, First Article. But “God owns everything” is presented first as Law, as if we are being greedy for keeping anything. In fact, the oily narrator tells us that this insight keeps us from materialistic. OK, but it has not worked for WELS, has it? No church administration is more willing to sell out God’s Word for a few bucks. WELS went to Snowbird with ELCA “because of the money.” WELS hired an adulterous ex-pastor “because of the money.”]
Narrator: “He wants us to faithfully maximize the resources He has given us…God can increase our responsibilities.” [This is presented as if God arranges an increase in our income so He can increase His yield. But I thought it was a reward for making Him happy, for taking care of Him. According to this other pagan theory, God is just maximizing His offerings through our increased prosperity.]
Layman George Zaferos – “God helps you organize your time.” [In fact, He gave me my Gloria Dei Timer.]
Narrator: “It’s not the amount that God is concerned with, it’s the proportion.”
[This line is delivered with wily grin of a coffin salesman, as if he were saying, “Your loved one is not concerned about the budget coffin you are buying, but your whole family and all your business associates are.” Gulp. I will take the Mahogany Silver Executive with the inner spring mattress.]
WELS businessman Wally Voight and his wife. The Scripture is shown: “Give and it will be given to you.” [The substance of this tape is that we should give more money to God, via WELS, to increase our income, to improve our health, to kick our social status up a notch, to get us more grandchildren. My wife turned to the grandmother and great-grandmother of many and said, “That’s it. You are giving too much.”]
Narrator: It’s not a zero sum game. It’s a win-win situation. “He will give us more than we return to Him…Health, improved relationships, a better job…even more money.” Narrator: He’s not attempting to bribe us, but His grace is so pleased by what we give that… [If you think this is too subtle, read the statement below. Giving is not based upon thanksgiving to God but it is a work to earn His good pleasure. It is a transaction that give us more than we get.]
Voight: “He says that if you take care of Me, I will take care of you.” Examples given are health, money, grandchildren. The other couple adds: The car’s working.
[Now I know what to say to people whose cars are stalled. “Give more money to WELS. God will maintain your car!” This particular section is pure paganism and has no Gospel motivation whatsoever. It is absolutely ghastly. I can imagine someone saying some idiotic things in candid interviews. But this is a carefully scripted and edited video tape with the Imprimatur and Nihil obstat of the Wisconsin Synod.]
Narrator: Big pitch for FORWARD IN CHRIST as an outreach offering.
[He failed to mention that WELS has lost 15,000 souls in recent years, under the guidance of its Church Growth leaders. About 3,500 said goodbye to WELS last year alone. The best view of WELS is in a rear view mirror.]
Narrator: “We have the answer. We have the truth…Now is the time to act…An extraordinary opportunity to glorify God.” [These once in a lifetime giving opportunities seem to occur every other year. The one was nicknamed “Life High the Wallet.”]
Three “outreach projects:”
Extra-budget items are easier to manipulate. Insurance grants are solicited in an interesting scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours approach. The apostates running WELS, Missouri, and the ELS want unionistic meetings, so they say that the insurance grants forced them to work on religious projects with ELCA. No doubt a Russian assault weapon was held to their heads. No members or lowly pastors vote on these projects. If anyone objects to an insurance project, the leaders bleat, “They forced us by the parameters of their grant. We are helpless.”
The FIC offering has its dollars lined up already. Want to visit Africa or Russia? Friends of the synod will get free trips where they get to play at being missionaries. Object to the MLC cathedral and you can tear up your ticket to the Caribbean mission team conference. [OK. I don’t know where it will be, but you can be sure it won’t be in International Falls, Minnesota in January, or in Phoenix in August.]
I could go on, but I won’t. WELS says that they have the truth. I would like to know one Christian confession, any given denomination, that says with a straight face, “If you take care of God, He will take care of you.”
I heard talk of recalling the video.
Will the Evangelical Lutheran Synod protest the new WELS paganism? Not likely.