Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Praise the Lord for preserving our place of worship

I posted the following on our church website today.  Since many of our readers have been paying attention to our situation, I decided to link to it here on Intrepid:

Praise the Lord for preserving our place of worship

Our congregation decided on October 17, 2012, to disaffiliate from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) so that we can continue to believe and teach that sinners are saved and justified in no other way but by faith in Christ. The WELS demanded that we believe and teach that God has already saved and declared all people to be righteous in His sight, whether or not they believe and are baptized. When they condemned our confession of faith as false doctrine, we could no longer remain in fellowship with them. The Gospel is more important than any denominational affiliation, and by God's grace alone, the Gospel is still being proclaimed in our midst.

Our congregation faced an immediate challenge. Our church's mortgage was with the WELS Church Extension Fund (CEF), and we still owed $275,000 on the property. Within 48 hours of our decision to disaffiliate, in spite of the fact that we had never missed a monthly payment, the CEF sent us a letter in which they cited a clause in our loan agreement that placed us in default on our loan the moment we disaffiliated from the WELS. In the same letter, they threatened to begin foreclosure proceedings if we did not pay off our balance in full by December 1st.

We were not entirely surprised by this letter from the CEF. On the very evening on which we decided to disaffiliate from the WELS, within two hours of our decision, Pastor Jon Buchholz, president of the Arizona-California District of the WELS, who happened to be at a pastors' conference at that very moment, began announcing to some of the pastors there that the CEF would call the note on our loan—another warning not to defy the synod.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).

The Lord provided willing and generous hearts among our members and among our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the country, and we were immediately able to reduce our debt by over $25,000. At the same time, He provided a local bank that was willing to refinance our mortgage. We closed on the loan November 26th, five days ahead of our December 1st deadline.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies (Romans 8:31-33).

This is part of a letter I sent to my members yesterday:

I would like to thank all of the families and individuals of our congregation who helped to make all of this possible—those who donated large or small amounts. Your gifts for the work of the Lord in this place are fragrant offerings to the Lord, acceptable and pleasing to Him through faith in the blood of Christ that cleanses and purifies all the works of God’s children. I give thanks to God for all of you.

Most of all, let us give thanks to God together. We took a stand on a very basic but very important doctrinal issue, trusting that the Lord would preserve us in spite of the odds that were against us. It is He who has helped and supported us for the sake of His Gospel. We could never have done it. And so we pray with the Psalmist in Psalm 115:

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; 13 he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. 14 May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! 15 May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 16 The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. 17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence. 18 But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

See you Sunday,
+Pastor Rydecki


Brian G. Heyer said...

The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7

I once asked the president of one of the largest insurance companies in the USA if he would consider buying church bonds secured by mortgages against the church. He declined, saying his company couldn't endure the shame of foreclosing on a church.

Pastor Jeff Samelson said...

You present the actions of the WELS CEF as though they are somehow vindictive, or at least punitive. This is not only unfair, it shows a lack of understanding.

The WELS CEF exists as a "not-for-profit religious corporation established to make loans and grants to churches and other institutions affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod". Once your congregation was no longer affiliated with the WELS, the CEF was legally no longer able to hold your loan, because you no longer met the criteria by which such a loan could be maintained by the CEF.

And even if there were no such legal requirement, there would still be the matter of fidelity to its mission and keeping faith with its investors, who are all WELS members who have invested their funds with the clear and explicit understanding that all CEF loans will be to congregations or other organizations that are part of the WELS.

In other words, the WELS CEF is not just some kind of bank or credit union that chose to foreclose on your congregation because someone was angry with you. They had no choice but to do so once you disaffiliated -- and this was all perfectly in keeping with the loan documents your congregation had knowingly and voluntarily signed, and had nothing to do with whether you were current in your payments or not.

I'm unclear as to how statements of fact -- that the CEF would do what it did, since it was under obligation to do so -- constitute "another warning not to defy the synod".

The CEF has been very good to us, and has served the synod and its mission faithfully and lovingly. It pains me to see its words and actions taken in the unkindest possible way.

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Pastor Samelson, I wish you had been as pained and as vocal when the WELS suspended me from its ministerium and forced my congregation into this position.

It pains me that the synod I called my home for 35 years suspended me for teaching the truth of Scripture in accord with the Lutheran Confessions, thus forcing my congregation into an impossible situation in which they either had to be faithful to Jesus, or faithful to the WELS, using the threat of foreclosure as an "incentive" to make the "right" decision. Thankfully, they remained faithful to Jesus in spite of that threat.

The scenario of so many churches being beholden to the WELS via CEF is not a godly one.

Brett Meyer said...

May the Lord continue to richly bless Emmanuel Lutheran church in Las Cruces and faithful Pastor Rydecki.

By the everlasting grace and mercy of the Triune God you have stood firm in the faith, teaching and defending Christ's true Gospel of Justification.

In Christ,
Brett Meyer

Anonymous said...

Pastor Samelson is absolutely correct. Your congregation signed a contract guaranteeing that you would use the money loaned by CEF to support a WELS congregation. Why would you expect that money to still be available to you after leaving the WELS? CEF was contractually, legally, and morally obligated to do what they did. The proper and honorable course of action for your congregation would have been to secure a different loan before voting to leave the WELS.

What if one of the liberal WELS mega-church wannabe congregations voted to leave the WELS, but continued to receive CEF funds? Would you be fine with that? Or would you call on CEF to withdraw funds, since CEF is obligated to support only WELS congregations?

Mr. Adam Peeler

Intrepid Lutherans said...

Many years ago, upon the recommendation of an ELS pastor, I purchased and read through Nelson & Fevold's The Lutheran Church Among Norwegian Americans (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). A two volume work, it covers a massive amount of historical material, though ultimately must be characterized as a work of propaganda for the Norwegian Lutheran church body to which the authors – both professors at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN – belonged (the Evangelical Lutheran Church), and which in the year of this work's publication joined with several other Lutheran church bodies to form the American Lutheran Church (ALC). Reading through this work, I was (and remain) astonished at the protracted and bitter nature of the struggles these Norwegian Lutherans endured.

As Norwegian immigrants settled in the upper mid-west, they brought their Lutheran religion with them, forming local congregations, which, once established, reached out to other Norwegian Lutheran congregations in neighboring settlements in hopes of establishing fellowship and enjoying the benefits thereof. A great many Lutheran "synods," "conferences," and "associations" were developed among them. And these organizations were manifestly imperfect. In the first case, perhaps due to ignorance or poor legal advice, or due to language barriers, the incorporation of congregations and church bodies was not always sound. In the second, as these Lutherans discovered over time, in their understandably natural eagerness to enjoy unity with other Lutherans sharing the same language and culture, they either overlooked or failed to recognize doctrinal differences, which, festering over the years, eventually came to a head and erupted in controversy. No, "Election" was not the only one – there were many doctrinal controversies among American Lutherans in the 19th Century. As difficult as these controversies were for those involved, once personal convictions had been arrived upon and sides taken, one would have hoped that Christians of such high ideals would have amiably separated – at least respecting the stand upon Christian conscience taken by their adversaries, even if they vehemently disagreed. "Amiable separation" was not the term for what happened. The fact is, the most bitter, protracted and ugly public displays of petty materialistic vindictiveness occurred after the lines of doctrinal disagreement had been established and separation revealed as the inevitable course of action. The worst and most sickening fights were not over the doctrine. They were fought over the stuff – the publishing houses, the schools and seminaries, and the church buildings – and such fights were made all the more difficult given the legal imperfections of the incorporating documents, which in many cases very poorly considered the dispersion or liquidation of assets in the event of separation or dissolution.

Continued in next comment...

Intrepid Lutherans said...

...continued from previous comment

In one famous case – the Augsburg Controversy – a group of Lutherans lead by Rev.'s Sven Oftedahl and Georg Sverdrup from Augsburg College/Seminary in Minneapolis, withdrew from their participation in the mergers of 1890, which formed the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America (UNLC), mostly over ideologies of Christian education pitting Augsburg against St. Olaf college seminaries and threatening the existence of Augsburg (though the doctrine of the "Church" and the issue of church polity was involved as well), resulting in a crisis over control of Augsburg Publishing House and Augsburg College. The Church organization to which the Augsburg professors belonged – the Conference for the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – had emerged from a preceding church body, along with another church body which claimed control over the assets of both church bodies on the basis of the incorporating documents of their predecessor body, and on the basis of deficient incorporating documents of the Conference. Already wary of it's legal foundation in 1877, the Minnesota Legislature had gotten involved at the request of the Conference, passing a special curative Act in their favor to ensure independent control of the Seminary property. Lengthy court battles ensued. In 1890, the newly formed UNLC initiated legal proceedings against Augsburg. In 1894, the control of the Publishing House was handed over to the UNLC by the courts. In 1897, the curative Act of the Minnesota Legislature was found unconstitutional by a Minnesota District Court, which also ruled that control of the Seminary must be handed over to the UNLC. Augsburg appealed, and in 1898, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the lower court's finding that the curative Act was unconstitutional, but nevertheless overturned the decision of the lower court ordering Augsburg to hand over control to the UNLC. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the independence of the School from the UNLC on other grounds. Sverdrup and Oftedahl went on to form the Lutheran Free Church, an association of free and independent Lutheran congregations, which was part of the ALC mergers in 1960. A minority of the LFC objected to union with the ALC, and, refusing to join, formed the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC) instead, and sued once again for control of Augsburg College/Seminary. They lost that battle, and today Augsburg is entrenched in liberal protestantism. Prior to the breakup of the ELCA, the AFLC was the fourth largest Lutheran organization in North America (just behind the WELS). It remains a conservative association of Lutheran congregations, and runs the nation's only Lutheran Bible School. Interestingly, it is my understanding that the American Association of Lutheran Congregations (AALC), a small association of Lutheran congregations which enjoys fellowship with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod as of its 2007 Convention, is largely comprised of congregations from the former LFC which had joined the ALC in 1960, but which refused to join the ELCA when the ALC, LCA and other liberal Lutheran Church bodies formed it in 1987. This is irony, given the profoundly anti-Missourian positions of Sverdrup and Oftedahl from which the old LFC emerged. Anyway, I highly recommend these books, not only as a balance to the one-sided Missouri-centric history we Synodical Conference Lutherans sing in unison to each other, but as preparation for certain reality once realignment among confessional Lutherans in North America begins in earnest. It won't be pretty.

Continued in next comment...

Intrepid Lutherans said...

...continued from previous comment

In my opinion, it makes sense that a Synod funding organization like CEF would include provisions for the termination of a loan in the event of a congregation's separation from WELS. They're not in the business of funding non-WELS congregations, after all. One would hope, however, that Christian charity would prevail in such circumstances, and that reasonable terms and time periods would be applied. Whether a month-and-half is reasonable, I'm not in a position to judge. What I find troublesome, however, is not that such provisions exist in a mortgage contract or that they are acted upon, but that it is done so in a way that appears vindictive, as if the objective is to hurriedly deprive a Christian congregation of its rightful property, either in favor of a minority party who is not legally entitled to it, or to simply "get back" at them for leaving the Synod, or as if such action is calculated to impact decisions which ought to be made strictly from the standpoint of Christian conscience. Whether there was vindictive intent or not, the appearance of impropriety is certainly evident.

Regardless of whether such impropriety is the fact, this situation opens an entirely more significant issue: that of leveraging the threat of "taking stuff away" to ensure the continued allegiance of Christians to an earthly organization. I absolutely do not want a pastor to lead from anything other than the convictions of Christian conscience, nor do I wish in any way shape or form to be affiliated with a Christian organization which prohibits its members from speaking and acting from such convictions, and threatens them with loss of home, income and healthcare if they do. There is no realistic way to maintain either doctrinal integrity or unity under such circumstances. Purists will say, and quite correctly so, that material things don't matter, that only God's Word and the integrity of pure doctrine matter, and that pastors who do not stand in the face of error are weaklings and cowards. Though many would like to face the error, such purists may say in all charity, sin has made them timid and weak. I agree. I'm a sinner too, and can identify with its depleting effects. And if that were the only factors involved, then shame on all us sinners for not doing the right thing, and that would be the end of the matter. But they aren't the only factors involved.

Continued in next comment...

Intrepid Lutherans said...

...continued from previous comment

What about the organization which exploits human weakness for its own benefit by lumping the honest convictions of Christian conscience in with moral infractions like embezzlement, child pornography and marital infidelity (yes, I know, remorseful embezzlers, child pornographers and adulterers receive unconditional absolution, while those perceived as "errorists" are unrepentant sinners from whom absolution is unconditionally withheld)? Only someone worse than an embezzler, child pornographer or adulterer would dare express his genuine convictions – the threat of such a stigma is an effective deterrent. What about the organization that threatens the expression of ones genuine Christian convictions with immediate termination of pay and healthcare, and the loss of home? What does that mean to the young pastor trying to repay eight to twelve years of Synod education which he is required to have, that, outside of the Church, won't get him a job pushing a broom? What does that mean to the pastor who's been encouraged by Synod to have a large family, as the new method of "growing the church," who is now responsible for four to six or more dependents? What does it mean for the mid-to-late career pastor whose body is beginning to deteriorate, who has begun to think that he would like to avoid a retirement in forgotten obscurity as a resident of a government-run convalescent home like the ones he routinely visits? Threatening such men with immediate loss of home, loss of income, loss of healthcare and loss of pension does not in any way shape or form encourage them to do what the church needs them to do: to be watchful for error and to oppose it. It doesn't even make them ambivalent towards it. Instead, exploiting human weaknesses in this way has the effect of forcefully driving them away from this activity which is vitally important to the health and integrity of the visible church. Such men may even see error or unwise activity, but will deliberately remain silent.

In my honest opinion, since we want pastors to live out their Christian conscience, then in cases where separation occurs as a result of their honest convictions, as opposed to cases of moral turpitude, the terms of separation need to reflect the fact that we have genuinely valued Christian conscience all along. The pension accounts of pastors separating under such circumstances ought to be rolled over into personal IRAs or some other retirement vehicle, and provision for severance packages which include the continuation of pay and health care for a reasonable period of time also ought to be made. While this does not at all alleviate the uncertainty involved with separation, it tends to remove the vindictive nature of termination threats, and encourages a healthy idealism and a willingness to be objective and have dialogue. Will it ever happen? I doubt it...

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering... Do the WELS people (pastors and laypeople) who have signed on to Intrepid Lutherans and those who have their names included in the masthead agree with all that is written on this site, including the WELS bashing?

Pastor Steve Kurtzahn

Mr. Douglas Lindee said...

Oops... Comments at 7:40am were mine.

AP said...

I'm going to assume it was not intended this way, but Pastor Kurtzahn's comment sounds a little threatening.

I was one of the first to sign on to I.L. based on the original statement of purpose. I have no plans to remove my signature.

I think that Pastor Rydecki has been done a great wrong. This most recent episode strikes me as being entirely petty and possibly vindictive. I have been a WELS member for 36 years and of course have a lot of attachments to it. I am also not going to be blinded to the problems within WELS or its sometimes bad behavior by some kind of misguided sense of loyalty. The WELS is NOT a divine creation. It was founded by sinful humans and is currently run and staffed by sinful humans (including this one). Why should any of be surprised to see imperfect behavior in the WELS? It is one thing to "bash" the WELS. It is another thing to justly criticize the synod when it and its members and leaders behave poorly.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Mr. Peeler, I think you're missing two important points.

First, you talk about how our congregation should have gotten out from under CEF before deciding to leave the WELS. That's actually a very wise suggestion, and I wish that all WELS churches that love the truth would learn from our example and do just that. Mr. Lindee outlined the reasons above.

But you are not taking into account that neither I nor my congregation planned on leaving the WELS. We didn't want to leave, intend to leave or even contemplate leaving the WELS. My district president walked in and labeled me a false teacher for teaching Article IV of the Augsburg Confession, then suspended me on October 2nd, leaving my WELS congregation with a non-WELS pastor. That was an untenable situation. No one knew what to do. Some wanted to remain with the WELS, no matter what. Others, at that point, were ready to leave the WELS because they saw no Scriptural grounds for my dismissal. Which way would our congregation vote? That was not clear until the vote was taken, and the vote had to be taken quickly.

Secondly, the purpose of the original post is not to garner sympathy, but to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to rejoice, because the Lord has seen us through this trial and provided for us richly. CEF gets their money, and we get to keep our church building. In that sense, it's a win/win, isn't it? Don't you rejoice with us?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

One other point. Securing a commercial loan for a small church with very few liquid assets within a month and a half, from start to finish, is only slightly short of miraculous. Normally these things take several months to complete, if the church is able to secure the loan at all. We found out quickly that most banks are not interested in financing small churches at this point and given our current economy. Most banks wouldn't even return our phone calls. The Lord's grace is highlighted all the more by the difficult circumstances we were facing. May His name be praised!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Palmer, I didn't intend my comment to be threatening at all. I would just like some clarification. Pastor Rydecki was suspended from the WELS for teaching false doctrine when it comes to universal objective justification. Pastor Rydecki has defended his error on this blog, which is also run by a WELS pastor who served as his circuit pastor. Others from Pastor Rydecki's former WELS district (and conference I can assume) also have their signatures on the blog ("A great many others, too, have with great consent subscribed their names.") Can it be assumed that since they have not removed their names from the IL site, that they agree with Pastor Rydecki? It's an honest, straight-forward question, isn't it? Pastor Steve Kurtzahn

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Pr. Kurtzahn,

First, your facts are simply wrong. No one involved with IL has ever served as my circuit pastor. On the contrary, I was myself a circuit pastor of the AZ-CA District.

Second, your question is hardly innocent, but regardless, it has already been answered here:

Intrepid to the Last: Rev. Paul Rydecki has been Suspended from WELS

Specifically, with these words:
“Let me be very clear, your subscription to the What We Believe statements remains just that, a subscription to those specific What We Believe statements, nothing more and nothing less. Your subscription does not mean that you either agree or disagree with me about everything I say or write, or that you personally question the WELS on its teaching of justification, and we will point that out again on the blog before any discussion of this begins.”

Anonymous said...

I agree, AP. Pastor Kurtzahn's comments sound a little threatening, and I too hope they weren't meant that way. I have been a WELS member even longer than you. WELS teachings and practices are being changed. Yet I was raised and taught in the WELS that the teachings of the Bible don't change. So what happens when concerns are raised about changes in what WELS teaches and practices? Rather than a mature discussion of biblical doctrine, there are accusations of "WELS bashing". Seriously? Are our convictions on spiritual matters so weak that concerns about what is taught and practiced in the WELS is waived off as WELS bashing? What I have found here at Intrepid Lutherans is by and large consistent with what I was taught in the past by faithful WELS pastors, and consistent with what the Bible teaches. Were these pastors of the WELS in the past wrong?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying the circuit pastor remark I made earlier, Pastor Rydecki. I appreciate it.

I did check out the link you provided that supposedly answers my questions. These men don't disagree with you. So does that mean they agree with you in your position on universal objective justification? And what about the rest? I suppose they can answer for themselves.

I don't see how my questions are threatening. I'm just looking for clarification.

Pastor Steve Kurtzahn

AP said...

Vernon raises an excellent point. Whether or not any of us agrees with Pastor Rydecki, what is the harm in having the discussion? Indeed, all he asked for was a serious discussion of this issue. Luther asked for the same thing of the Roman Church and got a similar response.

Pastor Kurtzahn's question does not seem innocent to me either. How can you assume anything about us other than what has been said here publicly and repeatedly about what a signature on I.L. means and does not mean?

Again, to criticize the WELS is not heresy or "bashing". Which I.L. subscriber is bashing anything here? Define "bashing" for me if you can? What are we allowed to criticize without it being labeled "bashing"? Perhaps nothing? If that was the attitude of Luther and the reformers toward the Roman Church, then we would all probably be papists today.

Dr. Aaron Palmer

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Vernon, I find your comments reflect a fitting state of affairs. Things have changed although I was a "frog in a Pot" not noticing it. What is IL but a collection of those who have realized that the WELS is not what it once was and the change that has occurred has not been good change. There is no harm in talking about it.

About 5 years ago Doug Lindee helped me take the "red pill" and I have learned a lot. I spent the last 3 years shutting my mouth and studying like crazy. My reading list has been The Large Catechism, The Small Catechism, The AC and Apology, Luther's commentary on Galatians, Luther's Commentary on Romans, etc. I have also been reading WELS Essay files and now recently Chytraeus, Chemnitz and Gerhardt. You can't study these writings and truly believe what the WELS has to offer is an accurate reflection of the original Lutheran fathers.

So to Pr. Kurtzahn, I an not a signer on IL because I still have some vices. I like modernized classic Lutheran hymns as presented by a band. I don't have concerns about instrumentation (Sorry Doug..). I still wear shorts or jeans to church and I bring my coffee in. However, I agree with everything the IL stands for in it's statements except that one little part. And even as you said its an individual thing as to whether an IL person agrees with Pr. Rydecki.

I, personally, do agree with Pr. Rydecki. Apparently most of the people I have been quizzing in my family and WELS circles over the age of 45 agree with Pr. Rydecki (and are now somewhat shocked that WELS does not agree with him) I think you will find this may happen more and more. Maybe thats what people are afraid of. Just as my mother pulled out her catechism when we discussed the issue and looked to find the WELS justification position in it, she couldn't find it. Same thing with my catechism. However, look at my children's catechisms and there it is. The change. It has been proliferating more overtly since the mid-80's and most of us were asleep to it.

So now I sit in my casual blended contemporary church in the WELS waiting for the day I am outed. When I am booted, I will go back to a more precise liturgical Lutheran church that is truly confessional. It won't matter what synod or association it is part of, if I know my congregation is solid. It would be nice to have an organ again too. I probably won't be able to bring in my coffee and I'll probably have to go back to at least Khakis. But if that is what it comes to, I know that at least I am in a church that truly reflects its Biblical and Lutheran confession.

Tim Niedfeldt

LPC said...

The attitude shown by the WELS magisterium reminds me of the same thing I saw when I was in Pentecostalism. Their attitude is this - you disagree with us, we are not your friends anymore. All past relationships do not count.

Just play a little bit of imagination, what if the CEF said instead - ok, we have the right to extract and demand payment but let us negotiate, when can you give the money back to us? What if WELS did this in a relational manner?

I think if I were an Emmanuel church member, I would have left WELS with a little bit more respect in tact for some of its sections.

If I were CEFI would have loved Emmanuel to be in my books, why? Because they have been paying their amortisation faithfully. Why ask them to pay up now? In fact they should be given more money to borrow because CEF will get more from the interest.

I am glad Pr. Rydecki's church paid faithfully their dues, that shows they are low risk to the lenders. Needless to say it was easy for them to go to another lender. Sure thing, they are the customers lenders are looking for.

WELS CEF lost twice here. They lost good will, they lost opportunity too.

I rejoice at God's provision for his congregation.


Daniel Baker said...

I just want to give Mr. Niedfeldt's comment an "Amen."

I hope that more and more people - pastors and laymen - continue to come forward in support of Pr. Rydecki's rejection of the universal justification heresy.

Seth Enius said...

At one point Pieper wrote: "At our seminaries dogmatics predominated to such an extent and the exegetical and historical disciplines receded into the background so much that besides Pastoral Theology only dogmatics was studied....And what was the consequence of this method? This, that, although we emphasized sola scriptura in principle again and again, inwardly we were bound more and more to the authority of the fathers, and taken captive by them."

Is this what has happened to this website? Why such a lack of exegesis from pastors? Why the ad hominem attacks? Who cares what the fathers said? What we teach must be a reflection of the Scriptures. Don't be taken captive.

LPC said...

But Pieper was not a good at exegesis either, look at how he did eisegesis on Romans 4:25.


Anonymous said...

First of all, I have to say you have to love Libronix--wonderful tool.

After doing some study and even some massive reading.

What is the WELS definition of Universal Objective Justification? Is it all are "justified" that is declared not guilty?

Just looking at the Greek in Romans 4:23-24 the Present M-P participle (justify) is continously ongoing. Which reflects properly the previous verb of the present indicative (continously falling short) Paul didn't use an aorist to state this just the present.

The only time Paul uses an aorist so far that I've seen with this verb is with believers.

Anyone have a verb (justify) in an aorist not used with believers?

If you go to the sem's website and read early papers. Even the early church fathers are careful to give a definition of sins are forgiven, but they never say declared righteous.


Anonymous said...

Sorry that was Romans 3:23-24.


Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...


You're right, Libronix is a very useful tool.

The WELS definition of UOJ is that all sinners "have already been" justified, or "were all justified" either when Jesus died or when He rose from the dead.

But you make a good and important observation. The New Testament never uses the Aorist (past tense, one-time event) for the justification of all people or of any unbeliever. Always present tense. The "iterative" use of the participle in Romans 3:24 points to the fact that God justifies "all who believe" (cf. Rom. 3:22) one by one by one, as each one is brought to faith in Christ as the Mercy Seat (or propitiation). Again, good observation.

Anonymous said...

The reason I think the present is used with the world is this is-time of grace.

You are being justified (present tense) until God works faith in you through the message and becomes an aorist-you are justified THROUGH faith.


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