John Stephenson

  "What is done to the consecrated elements of the bread and wine is done directly to Christ Himself" ... "Dogmatically speaking, 'individual cups' are as adiaphorous as the divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." ... "As we go out of our way to put up with the idiosyncrasies of each other, there is no room for compromise when the honor of Christ Himself is at stake" -John R. Stephenson, "A Retraction Issued Thirty Years Too Late", Gottesdienst , Christmas 2023

Rethinking synodical affiliation...

  If you go to the WELS Congregational Services site and click on the bright yellow " The Foundation " button, you will discover (and you probably already knew) that synod puts together "themes" for each season in the church year corresponding with the three-year lectionary. (The season after Pentecost, of course, gets broken up into five or so themes because we have to keep things "fresh" and "relevant").  The resources include not just artwork but a podcast sermon for each week, "publicity checklists", worship planning resources including summary paragraphs and hymn recommendations, and so on. I encourage you to dig for yourself and see whether your pastor is merely parroting synodical recommendations and cribbing off the podcast for his sermon, or if he's just utilizing the art and doing his own homework. Certainly, there is value in "walking together" and listening to brother pastors may add a wrinkle to sermon develop

Luther Preparatory School caught posting cringe

" herstory "

On those who blush at Luther and Their Lies

So there's a really fascinating book entitled "Martin Luther and the Jewish people" by Neelak S. Tjernagel. Tjernagel graduated from our Thiensville Seminary in 1932. He taught for a number of years at what is now Concordia University, Chicago, and authored the 1984 Synod Convention Essay for the ELS. You can read a brief biographical sketch written by none other than Herman Otten at Steadfast Lutherans . His book was published by Northwestern Publishing House, the publishing arm of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. This book provides and antidotes to the common refrain among some that Luther was an antisemite, that Luther was senile in his old age when he wrote On the Jews and their Lies. (One thing I should mention up front: the version of the on the Jews and their Lies you probably read, or more likely didn't read but are talking about it, was an abridged version. Yes, that includes the version published in Luther's Works. Additionally, regarding the t

Fisk: English-speaking Lutheranism

  "the small catechism of Dr Luther held us together in German for 500 years and in English we fell apart in one generation" - Rev Fisk

Man and Woman Roles update

God be praised! I've been able to confirm from multiple sources that the WELS COP (Conference of Presidents) has decided not to replace the current Man and Woman Roles document with the proposed restatement " God's beautiful and balanced design for male and female ," I know many including myself wrote letters to the COP on issues with the proposed restatement which include: - The repeated use of "complementary" (24x) exceeding "head" and "headship" combined, as well as "submit" and "submission" combined. This might lead some to infer that the WELS are complementarians, which we are not. - The fact that the language is not rooted in Lutheran theology (the original document goes through creation, the fall and justification as pretexts to headship; the new document does not) and instead latches on to the modern catch-phrase of servant leadership (which is derived from the business world). - It is conciliatory and limp-wr

Must Watch: Biblical Worldview Conference

2023 Biblical Worldview Conference ( I commend to your consumption the Biblical Worldview Conference linked above. This conference took place on November 4th of last year at St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELS) in Lombard, IL. It was recently made available online for free.  Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller (LCMS)  presented on the Theology of Pronouns, an updated version of a presentation he gave in 2022 and shared on the podcast. One of Pastor Wolfmueller's insights is that historically martyrs have been made such for defending the second article of the Creed (John the Baptist excepted) while today martyrs are and will continue to be made for defending the first article of the Creed. Another interesting point on how our mentality has changed with time: looking back at the writings of 1917 (the 400th anniversary of the 95 theses) most commentators wrote about Luther and the Holy Spirit with only one mention of Gutenberg's printing press. In 2017 at the 500th

WLHS Update: Executive committee to replace governance committee

Jeff Bezos has a quote, "You don't get to choose your passions, your passions choose you." Apparently WLHS drama has chosen me.  So your humble host has managed to obtain several documents of interest... Truth be told, no Bothans died. These documents were intended for a "pre-read" ahead of the next WLHS delegate meeting which would seemingly  give legs to my pious speculation that this was not merely pandering to the feminists but a power grab. If you recall, the organization chart I shared last month showed how there was an all-male governance committee consisting of five men that would deal with 'headship issues' on the board which would include women by taking those issues from the board and dealing with it themselves. My speculation was that this was actually a power grab by Ken Fisher while pandering to 'the base'. Part of that pandering potentially could be bringing on Joan Prince as a board member to encourage innovations like the DEI

More on Minnesota's Teacher Certification Standards

Image Following up on BLC's letter and the Minnesota District's report , Allen Quist (former 3-term Minnesota state legislator and retired professor from Bethany Lutheran College) has written a six-page memo reacting to the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) standards. Read the whole thing. I'll leave you with the closing paragraph The newly adopted Standards for Effective Practice are a smokescreen for indoctrination into the beliefs of cultural Marxism... Colleges that wish to maintain their academic integrity must refuse to teach the PELSB standards and establish their own certification based on academic integrity. They should inform the public they are genuine institutions of higher learning devoted to academic excellence and have not been bullied into becoming pawns of the political left. Private schools at all levels need to demonstrate that they remain cities set

Critical Theory: The Good, The Bad and the Absurd

Rev. Dr. Michael Berg is a professor a Wisconsin Lutheran College and a co-host of the podcast Let the Bird Fly . Last year at about this time he gave a presentation on Critical Theory at the 2023 WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership, which you can view here .  I'm engaging this content (a year late) because it's clear this presentation was not a flash in the pan.  He's been taking it on a road tour having presented at  Hillsdale  and at various WELS district conferences. Let's go! Introduction (first 13 minutes) Berg's introduction from Heraclitus to John to Descartes and Kant is fair, as far as I understand those individuals. I feel that Berg begins by soft-pedaling Derrida. Ultimately, he reaches the correct conclusion that Derrida is attacking the Christian worldview, but it takes him awhile to get there. Just to be clear, this is Derrida's view of Scripture: 'For me, there is no such thing as "religion." Within what one calls relig