Dear Eli

 Dear Eli,

 Thank you for being the first commenter on the blog! 

>>> Although you claim to be taking Dr. Prince's words in the kindest possible way, I do not believe you have actually done that. In "Real Talk Virtual Summit on Racial Injustice", Dr. Prince did not support the riots. She says, "the first two days of total chaos... took away from the message." She says that the riots were not in support of the message that they wanted to convey.

And if you continue listening, she said if she didn't have health concerns related to COVID she'd be 'out there marching with them.' The riots were happening as Dr. Prince was speaking and went on for weeks thereafter. If you want to nit and say the first two days were 'riots' and the subsequent days were 'protests', I disagree with that characterization.

>>> Dr. Prince has spoken out on some issues about which others might disagree. But disagreeing with someone's political stances does not give the right to attack one's faith. Dr. Prince, as a fellow Christian, has Christian freedom to stand for these ideas.

I never once attacked Dr. Prince's faith, and as I think I've made clear in every post in this 'Woke in the WELS' series, my beef is not with Dr. Prince, but with Synod leadership. Four posts so far, only one speaks of Dr. Prince. I question their decision to platform someone who has political stances that, I feel, pose a conflict with scripture. Holding a stance that conflicts with Scripture is not a Christian freedom, and if Synod is platforming views that conflict with Scripture, we must sound the alarm (Ezekiel 33).

>>> The Eighth Commandment states that "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor" What does this mean? "We should fear and love God that we do not tell lies about or neighbor, betray him, or give him a bad name but defend him, speak well of him, and take his words and actions in the kindest possible way." This post has not spoken well of Dr. Prince but has instead spoken poorly of her character.

Eli, I think I provided sufficient proof that Dr. Prince supported the George Floyd riots in Milwaukee. Is there anything else you think I got factually incorrect? If so, please let me know because you are correct insofar as if I am not factually correct, then I am breaking the eighth commandment with respect to Dr. Prince. 

However, if your concern is regarding 'tone,' then I disagree that I have spoken poorly of her character. I believe I have spoken accurately of her character, based on her public statements and her status as a public figure. If you go back to post #3, I make the case that based on the WELS Doctrine of Church and Ministry, this conference is a convocation of Church (complete with worship and the Lords' Supper), and that they are elevating her to a position of leadership within the Church. If I'm right about that, then she is a public figure not only in her profession but within our fellowship. And if you read the slides she presented with Dr. Fisher, specifically slide 12, I believe there are legitimate concerns (expressed in post #1) regarding treating truth as relative and not absolute and in problematizing the skin color of some of God's children. I was not at the conference but know several people who were, including called workers who took issue with the presentation. At least one pastor walked out. The presentation was recorded, and I look forward to seeing it released so we can assess for ourselves.

Furthermore, if she is a public figure then Matthew 18 does not hold. Quoting Dr. Luther, Large Catechism, Part 1, Paragraph 284:

"But where the sin is quite public, so that the judge and everyone knows about it, you can without any sin shun the offender and let him go his own way, because he has brought himself into disgrace. You may also publicly testify about him. For when the atter is public in the daylight, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying. It is like when we now rebuke the people with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. Where the sin is public, the rebuke also must be public, that everyone may learn to guard against it."

But again, let us be clear - I don't charge Dr. Prince with a sin. And I don't rebuke her. I rebuke Synod. The point in bringing to light Dr. Prince is to have sufficient standing to make that rebuke of Synod, no more. I talked with my pastor, my council, and synod leadership before the conference - several of us did - and when these facts were presented no one challenged their accuracy. One might say I was following Matthew 18. These blog posts were distilled from those conversations - in fact the paragraphs in that post are copy/paste from the document I provided them - in which several pastors and lay men disagreed with the implications, but not with the facts as presented. 

And that, I believe, is in keeping the eighth commandment.

>>>In Leviticus we read, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself." Your post is not a show of Christian love for our sister in Christ.

I like Lenski's definition of love: "To call brotherly love the articulus stantis aut cadentis ecclesiae ['the article on which the Church stands or falls'] is to think that apples can grow where there is no tree. Agape is the love of true comprehension and understanding coupled with corresponding purpose." He writes this in commentary on the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 2 verse 4, where Jesus rebukes the church in Ephesus, that "Nevertheless, I have this against you that you: you have forsaken your first love." 

It is a fantastic definition in that it rebukes the idea of brotherly love (or the appearance of brotherly love - or, perhaps, even "winsomeness") as the basis of love, rather it is the fruit of a more serious kind of love grounded in truth (Ephesians 4:25).

I believe I have spoken truthfully. If I haven't, please show me where I am factually incorrect.

I believe I have made it abundantly clear I do not rebuke Joan, I rebuke Synod, and public statements by a figure they chose to make public are the necessary proof to do that. Out of respect for your concern and likely the concerns of others, I provided an expanded disclaimer on the post, making the connection between previous and subsequent posts to highlight the issue being addressed is synodical, not personal. I look forward to joining in the throng of all tribes, nations and tongues that John saw in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 14, with you and Joan and all believers.

Thank you, Eli.