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Showing posts from 2024

John Stephenson

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  "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...

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  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

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" herstory "

On those who blush at Luther and Their Lies

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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

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  "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

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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

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2023 Biblical Worldview Conference (sainttimothy.org) 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

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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

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https://cplaction.com/wp-content/uploads/unmasking-teacher-standards.pdf 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

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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

Minnesota's attack on Christians; where you at MLC?

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  Legislation_Report_0923.pdf (welsmn.org) The Minnesota District of the WELS, Legislation Committee put out a report in September covering various legislation issues affecting the district. Now, note the Minnesota district spans Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.  All the bad news revolves around Minnesota - approving an abortion rights bill, stripping parents of their legal rights if they refuse 'gender-affirming care' for their children, and protecting pedophiles (sorry, 'minor-attracted people') from being discriminated against if they seek employment in a preschool, day-care center or other facilities serving children. Minnesota sucks. But the fourth bullet is relevant to last week's post : new teacher licensing standards have been approved, including: The new standards for teacher licensure that were proposed by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) were mostly approved by two administrative law judges in December of 2022 and a

WLHS Jots, Tittles and Speculation

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 A few things coming out of the WLHS treasure trove: - Black History Month shenanigans confirmed: While lacking in detail and downplaying the significance, the minutes from March 14, 2023 confirm the event occurred: A Board member shared a concern related to a school assembly that occurred on Tuesday, March 13th. Overall, the assembly was well done and recognized the extensive work done by the students. There was a small portion of the presentation where a board member shared a concern. The administration apologized for not reviewing the controversial portion of the presentation. The administration will work to ensure the historical context is provided and that this will not happen again We discussed this issue back in February. I am genuinely curious on the historical context of "superman dat hoe" !  - Evidence that t he board at WLHS does extend divine calls . This exercise of headship would be granted to women if the bylaws are modified: And some speculation: after

BLC to cancel some liberal arts programs of study; hints at state legislation attacking Christian worldview

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I'm late to the party on this one, due to personal and professional commitments. On November 27, Bethany Lutheran College sent out a  Communication Update Letter 2023 . Amidst sundry bits of information there are two key pieces of information communicated. First, the cutting of several liberal arts and language programs: "Sadly, beginning in the Fall 2024 semester, due to low enrollment and cost considerations, Bethany will discontinue the following programs of study: American Studies major and minor, History major and minor, Social Studies major and minor, Theatre major and minor, and the Philosophy and Global and Cross-Cultural Studies minors." "In addition, due to low course enrollments, the Regents resolved to discontinue the teaching of Latin and Norwegian," This is really unfortunate for a liberal arts school. BLC is training future pastors and teachers. I understand enrollments are low, but this decision seemed to be focused on outcomes as opposed to what

Covergirl

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My Christian life: Breaking barriers in Milwaukee and beyond – FORWARD IN CHRIST Dr. Joan Prince is on the front cover of this month's Forward in Christ magazine with a feature article written by Dr. Ken Fisher. The same duo that encouraged us to examine the presence and role of whiteness  in a presentation that appears to have violated our doctrinal statement on man and woman roles , Dr. Prince has a number of woke credentials having brought mandatory anti-bias and anti-racist to UW-Milwaukee in her tenure as Vice Chancellor and continues her relationship with the UW system with her appointment to the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin, and her association with  Gloria Ladson-Billings , the mother of critical pedagogy and culturally relevant teaching ("the other CRT"). Dr. Ken Fisher  presided at a worship service  that told students that it is not enough to not be racist, we must be active anti-racists, and made questionable pairings of Scripture with MLK

Family Bible Commentary, Volume 4

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The Family Bible Commentary by Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz - Ad Crucem The first volume of Dr. Koontz' Family Bible Commentary dropped a few weeks back and I'd like to provide my review of the book. The book is print on demand but the production quality is exceptional. Sam Novak did an excellent job with the layout and making it feel like a classic text given the constraints of the print on demand media. The commentary is based on the NKJV translation of the Bible. The book is published under a very liberal license (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivates 4.0 Interational) which allows for free sharing and utilization of the text in a non-commercial manner. While this doesn't maximize potential profitability this does allow pastors to freely incorporate material into their Bible studies and people to share the insights from Koontz without fears of a copyright claim. An excellent example of doing things for the good of the Gospel instead of personl gain. This volume covers the Gosp

Wisconsin Lutheran High School proposes female voters and board members.

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I stumbled across a treasure trove of documents apparently related to Wisconsin Lutheran High School (WLHS) accreditation and found hard confirmation of rumblings that WLHS was attempting to liberalize their bylaws to allow for women as delegates and board members. For my non-WELS viewers: in the WELS we have historically held to a Biblical, but in the world's eyes,  strict view on headship . This precludes women from voting (which we interpret as exercising authority over men) and typically from serving in leadership roles within the Church like council and elders. And typically, this precludes a woman being a school principal. I have to use the caveat 'typical' because there are congregations that have things good 'on paper' but the practice deviates into what, strictly, would violate our view of headship. And the governance-by-consensus model is in my opinion a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent proper headship. The story is told in a  compilation of meeting mi