Friday, March 4, 2011

An Appleton Update

Our WELS brother Rick Techlin has provided An Update to his previous post "Why I No Longer Attend My Church."

We pray that the scheduled meeting with local pastors, laymen and district leadership gets to the heart of the doctrinal issues involved. We will assume that the invitation sent by the Northern Wisconsin district president was simply poorly worded where it says, "The goal of our meeting is to affirm that, while there may be some differences among us regarding our approaches to ministry, we are all united in doctrine and practice."

There is no substantial difference between "approaches to ministry" and "practice," especially in the context of the concerns raised by area pastors and laymen. To remove the theological underpinnings beneath the "approaches to ministry" in question would either be thoroughly dishonest or egregiously inept, which is why, again, we assume that the invitation was just poorly worded.

We pray for every one of those who will be attending this meeting.


Anonymous said...

I am fully of the Explanation to the Eighth Commandment, where we are to take words and actions in the
"kindest possible way." However, I do not believe the Lord calls us to bury our heads in the sand. Having personally witnessed the actions of my District President, I cannot in good faith believe that the invitation is "just poorly worded". President Englebrecht knows exactly what he is saying. I too will pray for those who attent this meeting, they will need them.

Scott E. Jungen

Benjamin Rusch said...

Yuk. Condescending, almost to insulting. Usually I'd expect the typical 'excruciatingly polite' Lutheran behavior.

Evidently not here...

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that the pastors and laymen who attend this meeting make the point very clearly that there is no difference between "approaches to ministry" and practice, and also that there is no difference between practice and doctrine. Thus, different "approaches" invariably mean different doctrines.

As Lutherans we base our "approach to ministry" on the doctrine that the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens faith only through the Means of Grace. The "approach to ministry" used by St. Peter and the CORE (I feel silly even typing that) is stolen from those in the church growth movement who do not share this Lutheran doctrine.

That's why doctrine=practice=approach.

Mr. Adam Peeler

Anonymous said...

By the way, does anyone else think that the wording of the letter sounds a bit ominous--especially the part about the DP being the one who will ask the questions?

It sounds a bit like what they said to Luther when he met with Cajetan: "Cajetan will ask all the questions. You, Luther, are simply to affirm that you are in agreement with him."


Mr. Adam Peeler

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Why is there some artificial distinction between "approaches to ministry" and "practice". What is your approach to ministry but your practice?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Why indeed!

Pastor Spencer said...


It's easy:

"Approaches to Ministry" = pulpit puppets, chancel dancers, clown ministry, Galactic Fighters or Cowboy Karl VBS, candy bar giveaways, five-man electrical bands, bean-bag pews, pastors (sic) in t-shirts and flip-flops, communion-in-the-closet, sectarian praise songs, and the like.

"Practices" = close communion, ban on Boy Scouts and Masons, not praying with Taoists, or swapping pulpits with the local Imam, and those kinds of things.

See, it’s just that simple.

(Said with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I for one needed a bit of sarcastic humor today.)

Pastor Spencer

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly that distinguishing between "approaches to ministry" and "practice" is semantic silliness. And I understand that practice and doctrine are intertwined. But I've alway wrestled with the concept of how different practices would mean there are different doctrines.

For example, Pastor Spencer brings up t-shirts and flip-flops. I would find a pastor so attired to be somewhat laughable. I would certainly say his practice is unwise. But to say he is guilty of false-doctrine - a heretic! - for being so attired... it seems a stretch. He's a fruitcake, certainly. But that doesn't make him a heretic. (There are pastors wearing the black Geneva who are plenty fruity too!)

Daniel Kastens

Intrepid Lutherans said...


Point well made and taken.

It does seem a bit overmuch to declare a brother conducting the service in a t-shirt a heretic, especially when I've preached that way for Sunday services at Youth Camps on a number of occasions over the years.

And we certainly don't want to even attempt to make a "Book of Confessional Canon Law" that would dictate everything from hair to underwear.

That being said, what a Pastor does, says, and yes, wears, when, and where he does, speaks to his doctrine. Preaching in shorts at the edge of the Grand Canyon on a beautiful Sunday morning to a group of teens is one thing - preaching in such attire at your normal house of worship on a regular Sunday morning is another. One is in place, the other is not. It used to be that such was taught and understood as we trained new Pastors. I'm afraid that's no longer the case.

Perhaps this is a good discussion to have these days. The underlying principles seemed to have been forgotten.

Still - practice, including "methods of ministry" = doctrine, and vice versa. I stand by that.

Pastor Spencer

Joel Lillo said...


You didn't bring an alb to the Grand Canyon????!!!??? I must say that my image of you is completely blown!

--Joel Lillo

Intrepid Lutherans said...

Sorry to bust your bubble, Joel.

Actually did the Office of Prime the other day at Pastor's Conference without my monk's cowl. Oh well.

And get this – Over my 30 years in the ministry I've done (shhhh) "Friendship Sundays," used guitars in worship, done hand-clapping "spirituals," held "Reformation" (really Halloween) parties with "fishing for God's Word," and "Dunk the Pope," done swap-meets in the church parking lot, "financial planning nights" with (gasp) AAL, used an overhead for sermons [sorry, no power-point in the Dark Ages of the 80s], and much, much more crazy, wacky stuff - most of which "worked," but only for a while. You name it - I've "been there, done that."

Then I discovered the "other Martin," Chemnitz, and got my head on straight.

That’s all I wish for my brother Pastors today – to save them the wasted time and energy and terrible embarrassment of trying to be “Lutheran Lite” - “Less Filling – Tastes Baptist.”

Take care and God bless!

Fr. Spence

Unknown said...

Perhaps the "Change or Die" conference, which will have happened before the meeting, will also be held as a reason to be concerned about the "approach to ministry". I would think that at this schedule meeting, all the pastors except Pastors Skorzewski and Glende would deny and declare as anathema. Looking for ways to play one-upsmanship with the Holy Spirit is wrong.

Joe Krohn said...

The visible church would do well to get back to organic, more minimalistic ways...

Anonymous said...

I join those praying for all in attendance at this meeting.

I believe that there are issues of our doctrine and practice that need an open, serious discussion. That's why my name appears here as a subscriber.

But I don't see how that discussion is furthered by name-calling. We can attack error, without attacking brothers in the process. If some have their own personal issues with Pastor Englebrecht, those should probably stay their personal issues. I don't see how God is glorified -- or our cause is furthered -- by accusing him of burying his head in the sand, calling him condescending, or equating him with Cajetan. We need to be better than that.

Pastor Rik Krahn

Anonymous said...

It has now been over a month since the meeting with regarding the issues at St. Peter, Freedom raised by Rick Techlin. He brought forward charges of false doctrine. Several pastors have stood behind him (see - "All the editors at Intrepid Lutheran stand behind him one hundred percent.")

Therefore, someone must to be promoting false doctrine - whether it be the accused or the accusing pastors. As these accusations were made public, there ought to be a public retraction or reprimand of one of those groups. Are we to expect any more public word on this?

This issue, and now the silence following it, has deeply shook my confidence in our synod - that it is really committed to pure doctrine. When there are charges of false doctrine made by pastors about pastors publicly, there cannot be dead silence following.

Intrepids -- what do you know about the status of this?

Dan Johnson

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