Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And That's The Way We See It

This Means War!

Someone asked me recently, "What if everyone in the WELS -- Pastors, Teachers, laypeople -- spent hours each day checking church web sites for heresy, pouring over online sermons with a fine-tooth comb, and dissecting every decision and action or lack of decision and action by every Circuit Pastor and District President?"

My response, "And that would be a bad thing, how?!?"

He, of course, intended his question to be a criticism of what I spend some time doing at some point during just about every day. He says I could find more constructive and productive things to do, and that basically being my brother's theological keeper is a waste of my time. Au Contraire Mon Frère! I contend this is not only a good use of my time, but would be a good use of any believer's time, especially a confessional Lutheran in today's topsy-turvy religious world.

Imagine every Called Worker, every staff member, every communicant over the age of 16, spending an hour a day or maybe more, studying the Bible and Book of Concord and then comparing what they read with what is being done in their congregation, school, or sacristy! Wouldn't that be great?! Of course it would!

Is there anything better than reading, learning, and "inwardly digesting" the Word of God, and the writings that we accept "because" they are a true exposition of that Word? Of course not!

Should we "test the spirits to see if they be of God?" Absolutely! Is it true that "no man can save his brother?" Yes, of course. But is it also the responsibility of every believer to see to it that their brothers and sisters in faith are also fed with only the pure doctrines of the Bible? By all means!

Should I as a Pastor, or any Pastor, or any teacher, or any professor, or any administrator be afraid of being held to the highest standard of theological excellence in the entire universe found in the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions? How absurd!

Is it possible for any of these, myself included, to be led astray by the cunning tricks of Satan into some subtle or gross false teaching, so that another believer must point out the heresy, and using the Bible and Confessional writings turn me or anyone from their wayward path? This should go without saying!

In short, are we not in a war against the Prince of this World, the Master of the Air, and the liar and murderer from the beginning, and thus should we not see the enemy for what he is -- a deadly danger to our immortal souls, and someone against whom to take up arms and fight with all our might and the strength of the Holy One who is our King? In the words of one feisty political figure currently making the rounds, "You betcha!"

So, I leave you with some words from our great God and Lord, given to Jeremiah,
    3"Line up the shield and buckler,
      And draw near for the battle!
    4"Harness the horses,
      And mount the steeds,
      And take your stand with helmets on!
      Polish the spears,
      Put on the scale-armor!
    5"Why have I seen it?
      They are terrified,
      They are drawing back,
      And their mighty men are defeated
      And have taken refuge in flight,
      Without facing back;
      Terror is on every side!"
      Declares the LORD.

    Jeremiah 46:3-5 (NASB)
And that's how we see it!

Pastor Spencer


Anonymous said...

It is a symptom of a horrible spiritual sickness (exceptionalism) that so many WELS members think comparing what our pastors do to the Word of God is a useless exercise. However, God calls us to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1). God commends us when we test even His apostles. (Acts 17:11). God commended the Bereans for comparing Paul’s word to the Word of God. So then should we test Paul and not WELS pastors? (2 Corinthians 11:2-6, 12-15).

It is better to be tested and rebuked here, than on the day of judgement. (James 3:1). For the Lord is merciful. (Deuteronomy 4:31).

Rick Techlin

PCXIAN said...

In response to Steven Spencer’s blog, all, not only Intrepid Lutherans, should continue to pursue and investigate allegations of false doctrine and teaching within WELS and other Christian organizations. However, my advice is to be careful, very careful. In zealousness to point out and address these allegations, like all sinful human beings, one can make some very serious spiritual mistakes.

As an example, in the 1980s the WELS had a fund raising program I believe was called “Reaching Out.” A pastor I knew was very indignant that the WELS would incorporate a professional fund raising company to assist congregations in obtaining their monetary goals. This firm provided methodologies that I would classify as high pressure fund raising techniques. Not quite the sanctified example of giving that Paul relates in 2 Corinthians 9:7.

This pastor, rightly so, publically pointed out this error to the WELS leadership and I initially agreed with him. Unfortunately, his own un-Christian-like methods in raising awareness of what corporate WELS apparently approved of, lead to his own arrogant and self-righteous behavior, ending in the destruction of families, relationships, friendships, and nearly a congregation.

So, Intrepid Lutherans, go forth and be on the watch for unfaithfulness to the Scriptures but, as Steven Spencer pointed out, be careful because Satan is always using scripture (falsely) and our own self-righteousness to lure us away.

P. C. Christian

Kenneth J. Schmidt said...

I agree in full with Pastor Spencer's post. I spent many years in the Missouri Synod fighting error. I went to synodical and district conventions, started a publication and wrote for others. I fought the good fight, but it was hard. There is a definite cost to doing all this. You are shunned and constantly thought of as a "troublemaker" and "malcontent." Fighting heresy is not for the faint of heart amd its twice as hard on pastors.

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