Saturday, December 1, 2012

Having Accumulated One-Half Million, We Continue On

This past Wednesday, exactly two years and six months since our inception, Memorial Day weekend, 2010, our humble little blog ticked past one-half million page-reads. That may not seem like much compared to other blogs, but given the type of content we offer, and the relatively small audience who might take an interest in it, we are pleased to have passed this milestone in only two and a half years. So, we thought that we would close out this Church Year, reflecting on the past thirty months.

In the past thirty months, Intrepid Lutherans has published over 355 articles, the majority of which are substantive essays covering a wide range of topics from Christian doctrine and practice, to history, philosophy, education and the arts, from the technical and ideological aspects of Bible translation to politics and culture, from apologetics to devotions and homilies, altogether having attracted over 2660 comments from readers who comment under their own name, discussing and debating the various points and issues raised within them.

The “Categories” section at the bottom of the right-hand column indicates the most frequent categories treated in these articles.. As of the writing of this post, the top ten most frequently covered categories are as follows:Our content has attracted a regular readership from all over the world, most of whom link to us directly (evidently from a bookmark) or from RSS or Facebook. Others find their way to us from links on other blogs, whether links to Intrepid Lutherans appear on their blogrolls or are contained within their own discussion of the content found in our posts. A great many of our readers find their way to us via search engines, as they specifically seek out the content we offer. Fifty percent of the page-reads our blog has attracted represents the number of unique visitors, over twenty percent of whom have visited over 200 times.

As one can imagine, our daily page-read count has fluctuated over the past thirty months, but on average has steadily increased. Today, we attract an average of approximately 900 page-reads per day, with Monday through Wednesday easily topping 1200 page-reads, while traffic tapers off through Sunday. Over 75% of these page-reads come from return visitors.

As a result of our expanding readership, Intrepid Lutherans incorporated in 2011 as a non-profit tax-exempt religious and educational organization, in order that we could more easily manage donations that we wished to solicit to help finance conferences and other events. Many generous contributors responded, and continue to do so.

Thus, in June of 2012, we held the first Annual Conference of Intrepid Lutherans: Church and Continuity. It was held on June 1-2, 2012, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Oshkosh, WI, and attracted over seventy attendees. In that short time, five fantastic papers were delivered, as follows:We can only say, Church and Continuity was an enormous success, especially given that it was our first Conference – and we simply could not have pulled it off without the generous support of our donors, to whom we offer special thanks. As a result of this success, a second Conference is certainly in the works, which our readers can expect to hear about shortly after the turn of the New Year.

Of course, it will be asked, What has attracted our readership? What had attracted interest in attending our Conference in 2012? The answer: our content – substantive and compelling, and sometimes controversial. Over the past thirty months the following twenty posts have been the most popular:

 Page TitlePage ViewsDateAuthorCommentsObservations
1.Dear Pastors Jeske and Ski: You are clearly in the wrong483002/15/11Intrepid Lutherans13Juicy controversy – everybody was interested, relatively few had the courage to comment.
2.Fraternal Dialogue on the Topic of "Objective Justification"368109/26/11Mr. Douglas Lindee54Rev. Webber (ELS) recommended “Fraternal Dialogue” on the topic, so we opened it with a position and a series of questions to debate, and attempted to keep the ensuing “dialogue” civil and centered on Scripture and the Confessions.
3.The NNIV, the WELS Translation Evaluation Committee, and the Perspicuity of the Scriptures354907/28/11Mr. Douglas Lindee71The catch-phrase, “There is no perfect translation,” ultimately devolves into a denial of Scripture's clarity and an affirmation of the Roman position that the literate Christian still needs a “Priest” to explain it to him. The sufficiency and authority of Scripture being one of the planks of the Protestant Reformation, this will never happen among Protestant Christians. Not directly. Translators now take on this role in the Protestant world, under the translation ideology of Dynamic Equivalency.
4.Change or Die – Update319402/24/11Intrepid Lutherans13The “juicy controversy” continues, as does both interest in the controversy and reluctance to become involved.
5.Why I No Longer Attend My [WELS] Church314802/06/11Intrepid Lutherans26Cross-post from Mr. Ric Techlin's blog, Light from Light, publicly revealing difficulties he was having in his congregation, namely, the refusal of his congregation to address his concerns regarding error in doctrine and practice that was being promoted in his congregation. A handful of local pastors volunteered to work with Mr. Techlin, his congregation and district to resolve these difficulties...
6.The WEB: A viable English Bible translation?274609/19/11Rev. Paul Rydecki94Discussion over an unsuitable version of the Bible degenerates into a melee over Universalism, and this version's mistranslation of certain sections which support it.
7.Emmaus Conference – Recap260705/10/11Rev. Paul Rydecki17Were some people excitedly thinking that perhaps this event represented the reunion of Missouri and Wisconsin?
8.Suspended from the WELS – Why?252710/09/12Rev. Paul Rydecki0More “juicy controversy...”
9.The whole flock won't survive 'jumping the shark'244802/02/12Mr. Brian Heyer42Thoughtless and ridiculous last-ditch efforts to “save the congregation” by abusing the term evangelism are transparently pathetic acts of desperation, make the congregation a laughing stock in the community and bring shame upon the name of Christ. The methods of the Church Growth Movement are not methods, they are antics, and kill the church by trivializing Scriptures' teachings. Shame on Lutheran congregations who do such things!
10.NNIV – the new standard for WELS?232507/15/11Mr. Douglas Lindee62Yup, it sure looks that way...
11.Thoughts on Gender-Neutral Language in the NIV 2011231009/15/11Intrepid Lutherans9Intrepid Lutherans aren't the only ones in WELS concerned that whitewashing gender differences in the Bible, by way of imposing a feminist ideology of translation over the entire text, will lead not only to doctrinal error, but to a culture of thought among supposedly “conservative” Christians that is at war against the Nature of God itself and incompatible with His message to Man.
12.The Silence Is Broken: An Appleton Update226905/08/11Rev. Paul Lidtke17An update on Mr. Techlin's difficulties, from one of the pastors personally involved in his defense. After formally objecting to what he was concerned were unscriptural practices and teachings in his congregation – and asking to be corrected where he might be in errorMr. Techlin was simply removed from fellowship: no discussion with him over the issues he raised was entertained, no brotherly attempt was made to work with him through these issues, no example of Christian humility was displayed by his “brothers” which might have suggested they were themselves open to correction. Instead, without Mr. Techlin's or his family's knowledge, the congregation scheduled a meeting, and without even offering him the opportunity to defend himself, voted to remove him and members of his family from fellowship. To his surprise, he received a “Certified Letter” in the mail informing him of the congregation's action against him. Not so much as a phone call from a “concerned brother” or even from his pastor. Just certified mail. Furthermore, this letter made no mention of any doctrinal error to which he obstinately clung, regarding which the congregation collectively determined “further admonition would be of no avail.” To this day, Mr. Techlin has no idea what his error may have been, as no admonition has ever been attempted, certainly none by a “genuine brother” who was himself open to correction. Moreover, this congregation's action was openly defended by their Bishop, and formally approved by a committee he personally appointed to review Mr. Techlin's appeal, which found that “[his] congregation had Scriptural reasons for removing [him] from membership and, in doing so, acted in the spirit of Christian love.” Mr. Techlin's is not the only recent example of similar processes used to remove “undesirables” from WELS, but his is very well-documented and betrays what seems to not only be acceptable practice but one which Christian congregations are apparently not above employing.
13."Walking Together Sunday" - The Sermon225509/25/10Rev. Paul Rydecki58Walking together under Law, cooperating in evangelistic efforts because we are commanded to do so. From a commenter on this post: “The unfortunate thing about the 'Walking Together Sunday' sermon, and the entire event, is that Evangelism is the only emphasis. Yet, our 'walking together' is predicated on our standing together. Despite this, there was no emphasis given to our full agreement in all matters of doctrine and practice, nor any mention of our Confessions or Confessional Unity. No explanation or celebration of our 'togetherness' as fundamental to our walking in this togetherness. The clear and sole emphasis was the command of Evangelism followed by an appeal for money. This is entirely the wrong emphasis, in my opinion, leading to the wrong notion that our working rather than our confessing is the essence of our togetherness.”
14.Issues with the NIV 2011: "The saints" are no more219708/15/11Rev. Paul Rydecki12Another example of Biblical and Ecclesiastical language being stripped from the Christian lexicon by liberal feminist and sectarian translators...
15.What Part of the Word "Wrong" Don't We All Seem to Understand These Days?!218012/10/10Rev. Steven Spencer47Is someone who, or something which, is wrong, merely suffering from a misunderstanding? A fantastic series of thoughtful comments follows from this post.
16.Ambivalent217606/27/12Rev. Steven Spencer47Does no one care about the threat of doctrinal error and sectarian practice? One might pardon the laity for not being informed, but what do we make of the silence and inaction of Lutheran clergy?
17.Law and Gospel: What do they teach? – Part 1216410/26/10Mr. Douglas Lindee79The message of Law and Gospel teaches the saving message of Justification, a message which is central to all of Lutheran doctrine and practice, “affirming that, through faith, men obtain remission of sins, and through faith in Christ are justified (AC:IV:1-3).” Thus, Christ is the object of faith: “In order for Justification to be taught correctly, in order for man to make Christ the sole object of his faith... the Law must be stripped from [the Gospel] entirely. That isn’t to say that the Law is not to be taught. On the contrary, in order to understand Justification properly, it is necessary that the message of the Law precede it. In other words, Justification cannot be preached properly unless Law is distinguished and kept separate from the Gospel, and the Gospel has no application unless it follows the message of the Law.”
18.Differences between Reformed and Lutheran Doctrines214204/13/11Mr. Douglas Lindee4The majority of hits on this post are from Reformed and Evangelical sources, as it has been passed around and discussed in a number of different forums.
19.The NIV 2011 and the Importance of Translation Ideology204908/02/11Mr. Douglas Lindee25Functional Arminianism is at the root of observing “The Great Commission” so slavishly as to labour under it as “The Great Law.” As a result, the adoption of translation ideologies like Dynamic Equivalency, which are derived directly from dangerously anti-Truth and thus also anti-Christian post-Modern philosophies, are observed as equally imperative.
20.C.F.W. Walther: Filching from sectarian worship resources equals "soul murder"201703/23/11Mr. Douglas Lindee26Practice and doctrine are not independent of one another. This post saw wide circulation and commentary on the internet, and opened the eyes of many people to the connection doctrine has with practice. They are not independent. They impact each other.

So,what shall our readers expect from us in the next two-and-a-half years? We'll start with this: we don't plan on quitting, that's for sure. And we'll proceed with this: we plan to continue speaking and writing from the convictions of Christian conscience, fully trusting that God will use it to the benefit of His Bride, the Church.


Anonymous said...

Who is the author of the "Observations"? I find them to be "juicy" in and of themselves!
Scott E. Jungen

Joel Lillo said...

Help if you can:

--Pastor Joel Lillo

Anonymous said...

I, for one, would like to thank all five of you so much for all you've done to bring these issues out in the open. Without Intrepid Lutherans shedding light on these dark places, people might simply be left whispering about them in the pews, discussing things amongst themselves over Sunday dinner, or possibly even chatting about them at the latest pastors get-together. Intrepid Lutherans provides a forum to anyone who cares to join in and allows everyone a chance to not only speak their minds, but to talk with like-minded thinkers synod-wide. You know you are not alone but that you have support in numbers. By the page reads being reported, there are plenty of people interested enough to take the time to at least read it. Your time and dedication to this blog is appreciated! As is your courage to 'stick your necks out' and speak up when many will not. All to the Glory of God!

Rhonda Martinez

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