Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The following paragraph is from WELS District President Doug Engelbrecht’s summary of the recent meeting of the WELS Conference of Presidents, sent out to the pastors of his district:
PD.02 Intrepid Lutherans
· Another item involved the Intrepid Lutheran website. There is a concern that those who still wholeheartedly support this group by being “signers” are also supporting a pastor who has been removed from the ministerium of the WELS for doctrinal reasons, because he has been given a forum on their website. The consensus was that each district president should approach pastors in their district who are listed as “signers” on the website and determine whether or not they are in support of the false doctrine that the suspended pastor espouses.
As for me being "given a forum on their website,” the fact is, it’s our website. I am still part of it (actually, still the chairman of Intrepid Lutherans, Inc.), much to the chagrin of the WELS leadership. No one is "authorizing" my posts here. Each of us posts independently, sometimes running our articles by one another for input, sometimes not.
Also, I don’t know how much clearer we can make this so that the COP will understand, but “being signers” on this blog has never meant anything more or less than what we have stated from the beginning on our Stand With Us page:
In what do we invite you to join “with intrepid heart, willing to appear before the judgment seat of Christ?” To what do we ask you, with great consent, to subscribe your name? To the Biblical and Confessional contents of What We Believe. We are not asking you to subscribe to the contents of every post and comment that will appear on this blog.
No error or false doctrine has ever been identified or pointed out to us on our What We Believe page, which has not changed since the first day Intrepid Lutherans rolled out.
The only change we have recently made to our Stand With Us page is to remove the reference to ourselves and our signers as “members of WELS.” This was never entirely accurate in the first place, because, technically, even lay members of a WELS congregation are not “members of WELS,” since only pastors, male teachers and whole congregations can be “members” of the synod. As it now stands, there is at least one fully and unmistakably non-WELS member who is an Intrepid signer: Yours Truly.
Of course, it was not my choice to be a non-WELS member. That decision was made for me by DP Buchholz back in October. During one of his visits to my congregation in which he labeled me a heretic and tried to convince my flock to rescind my call (before my suspension), one of my members told him point blank, “This sure seems like a witch hunt.”
DP Buchholz was visibly agitated by that comment, and referred back to it several times over the following weeks. He assumed that it originated with me, but it didn’t. My members—most of them, anyway—could see with their own eyes what was going on. He was indignant at being accused of orchestrating a witch hunt. The truth hurts, as they say.
Now the witch hunt has become official. I don’t know what else you call the above “consensus” that was reached by the WELS COP. Apparently there is some new doctrine of “blog fellowship” lurking around out there in the shadows. Apparently, since DP Buchholz has labeled me a heretic to be “marked and avoided” (Rom. 16:17), the entire COP has reached a consensus that every WELS pastor must “mark and avoid” me and my "false doctrine," even in the blogosphere, on threat of interrogation and other more sinister repercussions.
Let’s remember what, again, they would have me “marked and avoided” for. What was that wicked heresy that I was teaching—that unscriptural, unlutheran, “novel” doctrine?
That sinners are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ, and only by faith in Jesus Christ. Grace alone. Faith alone. Scripture alone. Sola gratia. Sola fide. Sola Scriptura.
Luther has surely turned over several times in his grave.
But since the COP apparently wants to continue the discussion about justification with WELS pastors, I will assist them by attempting, over the coming months, to make my position crystal clear here on this blog, so that they can judge for themselves whether “the suspended pastor” espouses “false doctrine,” or whether the suspended pastor is the one proclaiming the true Gospel, the doctrine confessed in the Lutheran Confessions, the faith once delivered to the saints. Then readers of this blog will have all the information necessary to make an informed judgment about whether I am someone to “mark and avoid” or someone with whom to stand in solidarity.
In either case, although being a signer of Intrepid Lutherans doesn’t mean you agree with everything I say or write, it has, nonetheless, just become a little more dangerous. Dear WELS reader, you should be outraged at the witch hunt that has been enacted by the COP. This is no time for fear. It’s time to be intrepid!
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