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Beginning at noon on February 3 CHARiS will host a series of luncheon speakers discussing their experiences and perspectives on urban ministry and the role of religion in the city. The series will be held in the Siebert Center of the Recreation Complex at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

 

Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend. Cost is $5 per date or pay $35 for the entire series. Detach and mail the registration form or call 443-8849 orfax 443-8514.

 

The 1999 spring semester topic is:

RELIGION IN THE CITY

Wednesday, February 3:

·  MILWAUKEE MAYOR JOHN NOROUIST

Elected as Milwaukee’s 37th mayor in 1988, Mayor Norquist earned his undergraduate and mastert degrees from UW-Madison, and served as Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UW­Milwaukee. He is author of The Wealth of Cities and a strong proponent of the role churches play in enriching urban life.

 

Wednesday, February 17:

·  PASTOR JOHN HERNANDEZ

Pastor Hernandez is director of the

Waukegan Gang Outreach in Waukegan, Illinois, a ministry that reaches present and former gang members with the Gospel of

Jesus Christ.

 

Wednesday. March 3:

·  DR. ALLEN SORUM

Pastor of Garden Homes Lutheran Church in Milwaukee since 1983, Pastor Sorum earned a doctor of ministry degree in urban missions at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He serves as a member of WELS Multicultural Ministry Committee and is the author of Change: Mission and Ministry Across Cultures.

Wednesday. March 17:

·  BROTHER BOB SMITH

“8rother Bob” has brought about a revival in learning as principal of Milwaukee’s Messmer High School, and as a strong supporter of the school choice program.

 

Wednesday. March 31:

·  PASTOR PATRICK VANDERBURG

Ordained in the Baptist church, Pastor

Vanderburg has been at the Milwaukee

Rescue since 1986, serving as Executive

Director since 1992. His rhaster’s thesis from

Trinity Ev. Divinity School in Deerfield, IL was

entitled, ‘The Church’s Role in Urban Ministry”

 

Wednesday. April 14:

 ARCHBISHOP REMBERTWEAKLAND

Dr Weakiand was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee in 977, overseeing an archdiocese that contains 260 parishes and 680000 Catholics in 10 counties He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and Vice-President of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

 

Wednesday. April 23:

·   DR. STEVEN AVELLA

Dr Avella completed an M Div. at the Franciscan School of Theology Berkeley CA, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. His areas of specialization include American social and cultural history, and religion in American life.

 

Wednesday. May 12:

·   MR. TOM PLAKUT

Mr Plakut serves as co-director of the St. Benedict Community Meal, where he has worked since 1980. He earned an undergraduate degree in theology at St. Francis College, Milwaukee, and a masters degree in theology from Maryknoll School of Theology New York.


***


The announcement above is directly from Wisconsin Lutheran College (Wisconsin Synod). Mr. and Mrs. Norm Woehrle have published a letter in the new issue of Christian News, protesting the invitation of Martin Marty. But look at the complete list of speakers for CHARIS. The official WELS position is that the pope is the anti-Christ, but WELS seminary professor James Tiefel had a Roman Catholic teaching worship at the WELS worship conference at Carthage College. Will the Evangelical Lutheran Synod protest? Not likely. Their own Erling Teigen had a Roman Catholic bishop speak at Bethany Lutheran College (ELS) in Mankato. Bethany has also had women leading in the worship service at their chapel.

 

I am glad that two WELS pastors actually protested Martin Marty speaking at WLC, but Marty spoke to WELS before, at the pan-Lutheran Church Growth conference in Orlando, Florida. That was around 1992, seven years ago. No one protested that. That conference was planned with ELCA and the Missouri Synod. Wayne Mueller and Wayne Borgwardt of WELS planned the Wisconsin Synod side of the ecumenical event. (An Episcopalian led them in prayer.)

 

The Michigan District President of WELS, John Seifert, urged his pastors to attend the Carthage ecumenical event. He gave me the booklets I have quoted from--on how evil the Missouri Synod

was to tolerate the liberal Martin Marty. Marty was trained as a Missouri Synod pastor and eventually joined ELCA.

 

I am sure that the Wisconsin Synod is pounding into the ground those pastors who dared to leak information to Christian News. The WELS approach is to have one person after another one phone them or visit them and scream at them that it was wrong to deal with Christian News. One of the leakers is a long-time friend of Herman Otten, a man who has preached at Otten’s LCMS congregation when Herman has been gone. Objections to WELS and Missouri unionism with ELCA and the Church of Rome have been weak, scattered, and brief.

 

Synod officials leak to Otten all the time. They have been remarkably successful in spiking stories or in spinning information for their benefit. Paul McCain secretly funneled information to Otten when Al Barry first ran for LCMS president in 1992. McCain is probably still Barry’s backdoor to Otten. However, it will not get Otten onto the LCMS list.

 

Someone wrote to me that I was jaundiced about the Missouri Synod. My response was that I am jaundiced about all the synod leaders. It is obvious that none of the “conservative” Lutheran leaders can even claim to have a confession equal to the mild Lutherans of the past. If you attend WELS, LCMS, or ELS seminary, they will sniff about the doctrinal weaknesses of such Muhlenberg tradition (General Synod, General Council) men as Krauth, Jacobs, or Schmauk. But the current synod presidents (Barry, Gurgel, Orvick) have never contributed a thing to Lutheran doctrinal writings and could not argue for the efficacy of the Word with a Dummies book in their hand. They are traitors to their synods, leading the members into the bog of Reformed fanaticism and Roman legalism.

 

One person asked, rather crossly, how I could connect the homosexual activism of ELCA to WELS and the LCMS. The news announcement I copied from ELCA, giddy with gay progress, did not mention WELS or Missouri at all. Did it need to mention that WELS and Missouri work with ELCA leaders on a wide variety of religious projects? For years I have mailed out and published in Christian News the absolute proof that ELCA, Missouri, and WELS are virtually one apostate synod. The ELS says nothing about WELS unionism with ELCA, although it once stood up to a much more conservative Missouri Synod.

 

(When I find the open letter sent by the ELS, I will quote from it. The current ELS leaders are nothing more than lapdogs for WELS. The WELS leaders are in awe of ELCA. They admire the size and urbanity of ELCA. One also has twice the opportunity to get a date at an pan-Lutheran conference.)

 

So what is left? Look at terrain. The bomb-scarred wilderness and mountains of Yugoslavia are more welcoming.

 

The pee-wee synods—Church of the Lutheran Confession, Concordia Lutheran Conference, Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, etc.—are legalistic, inbred cults. They do a lot of posturing, but one is better off in WELS or Missouri than the minor leagues. At least the Missouri and WELS leaders have a slight sense of shame over their evil deeds. I am not defending or promoting Missouri and WELS. I always warn people against the legalistic cults as WORSE than anything they have encountered in Missouri and WELS. I think most people are better off worshiping and studying at home if they cannot find a confessional Lutheran pastor.  Most people cannot find a mild Lutheran congregation within 100 miles of their home. Most “conservative Lutheran” parishes are in doctrine and practice simply a version of the LCA in the good, old days: lodge membership, open communion, women in leadership roles, Reformed doctrine, and so forth.

 

There are no easy answers for those pastors within a synod. Colloquy is suicide. The best deal is for ELCA pastors who join the LCMS. They are absorbed easily and need not change at all. A conservative ELCA pastor can get along well in the Missouri Synod. In seven years, Al Barry has done nothing about 200 Pentecostal ministers (Renewal in Missouri) in his synod. I remember when that was a charge against the evil Ralph Bohlmann, who did as much for conservative LCMS members as the old Soviet Union did for the American military. Do you remember when Bohlmann was panned for promoting women’s ordination? Recently Barry participating in a Missouri event where husbands and wives together led the event, which included Sunday worship (not billed as worship). Spin doctors think that they can fool everyone by changing a few words around. They can! Did anyone object?

 

American Lutheranism has no theological leadership. The highly touted confessional Lutheran journal, Logia, was funded by Marvin Schwan (secretly, of course). ELCA leaders were put on the masthead from the beginning. I believe one or two have left Lutheranism. Teigen, the current editor, had a Roman Catholic bishop speak at Bethany. When an old classmate phoned him about it, he said, “I thought we were friends.” Friends don’t let friends drive their synods into the arms of the anti-Christ.

 

I would not have left the Lutheran Church in America if I had known that WELS and Missouri spent so much time kissing up to the liberals and following their lead. OK, I would have left the LCA regardless. I could not tolerate their frantic attacks against the Scriptures, their love of abortion and sodomy. My experience with “conservative Lutheran” pastors has been extremely disappointing. They are cowardly, spiteful, and intellectually lazy. If one tries to engage them in a doctrinal discussion, they fly into a rage and start name-calling, while citing the Eighth Commandment. (I have an Eighth Commandment letter from Teigen, among many others. In fact, I have a whole notebook full of such letters. I named my email Eighth Commandment. When our son was growing up, I made a point of citing the Eighth Commandment anytime he or my wife made an accurate but critical comment. “Dad, you forgot your promise.” My response, “Eighth Commandment! Apologize at once.” It was good for a laugh.)

 

I have been amazed at the energy expended by “conservative Lutheran” pastors in getting rid of each other and in trying to silence people. For instance, Kincaid Smith, whose name appears on the WELS published book, What’s Going on among the Lutherans?, led a campaign to get rid of Erling Teigen. He and his pals circulated a petition in the ELS against Teigen. Obviously I am not impressed by Teigen, but I think back-stabbing is a juvenile way to deal with doctrinal issues.

 

Lutheran pastors and laity should be engaged on the circuit level in dealing with doctrinal issues. Instead, they get together in political clubs and imagine that electing a different synod president will change things. That is the triumph of hope over experience. One WELS pastor told me that Gurgel was the dream candidate to replace Mischke. Once Gurgel was elected and the liberals removed his spine, the same pastor moaned to me that those who supported Gurgel were now praying for Mischke to come back.

 

Barry was the dream candidate of Christian News. Everything would change when the evil Ralph Bohlmann was out of office. Now a conservative in the LCMS is someone who actually thinks he should use a hymnal and the liturgy. Barry has in his actions (unionism with ELCA, participation in the husband/wife teaching and worship event) supported all the goals of ELCA. The difference is that Bohlmann was honest about it; Barry is not.

 

I was in Paul McCain’s office when he spoke with total loathing about Robert Preus. He made it clear that he and Barry would undercut Preus, who was still trying to regain his position as Concordia Ft. Wayne president. Recently I saw a photo of him giving an award to Robert Preus’ widow. She deserved one for putting up with Robert Preus’ friends.

 

So, there you have it, another collection of facts and opinions. The facts are appalling. In spite of the best efforts of many synods, people still leak information to me. Many times I tell pastors what is happening in their own districts and synods, thanks to a network of informants. Thanks be to God, no synod leader tries to phone me and spin the news. They must think their time would be wasted on me, or that, heaven forbid, I would quote them. They may think I dislike them. No, I worship the very ground they slither across. I marvel at how they keep all their stories straight. I do not have enough memory to keep so many contradictory versions going for each audience.

 

MY CONCLUSION: Things are much worse than anyone imagines. This is the great apostasy predicted in the Scriptures. Someone who is in good physical shape can run, dig holes, lift heavy objects, swim. But when we stop working our muscles and let them get flabby, we not only lose the ability to work hard but the very will to labor. This has happened on a national basis to American Lutheranism. A mere liberal speaks at Wisconsin Lutheran College. It will be forgotten in a few weeks.  An outspoken advocate of the anti-Christ is speaking, a Roman Catholic archbishop, teaching at the same WELS college, but nothing is even said!