Saturday, July 20, 2013

Intrepid Lutherans: Gaining in Popularity?

Last December, as Intrepid Lutherans progressed beyond two-and-a-half years of age and one-half-million page reads, we posted a list of the top twenty most-visited posts since our inception, Memorial Day weekend 2010, in our post Having Accumulated One-Half Million, We Continue On. Since that list of most-visited posts has changed, somewhat dramatically, since last December, I had planned to post an update following my series on the 2013 ELDoNA Colloquium and Synod. Of course, I had intended to have that series finished and posted in time to post that list for our Three Year Anniversary, this past Memorial Day. Even though Memorial Day Weekend is almost two month in the past, however, the changes in the list of most-visited posts are significant enough that I though it would be interesting to post them anyway.

At the time of that previous blog post, last December, we had posted 355 articles and were seeing an average of 900 page reads per day. Since then, according to Google Analytics, we've accumulated an additional 252,000 page reads (with some of the highest page reads per month we've ever had, approaching 50,000, occurring in February and March 2013), we've added another 65 articles, and our average visitor rate has grown to almost 1100 page reads per day – though that has tapered off considerably since May, probably due to a lower publishing rate that month, and also the lack of variety through June and July, in addition to seasonal decline in readership (historically, page reads decline over the Summer months anyway). The disparity between the figure for page-reads reported by Google Analytics and the Flag Counter is indicative of another dramatic change in readership behaviour: our bounce rate has declined significantly, meaning readers are spending more time on our blog, and are taking in more of our articles (Flag Counter only counts initial page-reads of a visitor who has not accessed a page over an extended period of time). Up until last December, Flag Counter and Google Analytics were running about the same count, in terms of page-reads. Not anymore.

Also, the article with the all-time highest page-reads was written in the time since December – an article of fairly critical importance, covering a topic that has seen recurring treatment on the pages of Intrepid Lutherans since the WELS TEC announced, at the 2011 WELS Synod Convention, their full and unreserved endorsement of the feministic NIV 2011 and emphatic recommendation to adopt it as the Synod's standard translation for all of its publishing efforts. Until the next revision of the NIV, at least. The name of that blog article is, How does one interpret language in a post-Modern Age? What about the language of the Bible?. It was published December 11, 2012, currently stands at 7267 page reads, and continues to see over 100 page reads per week.

There have been many other changes in the top twenty, as well. Some have been bumped from the list since last December, other, new articles have appeared on the top twenty, and others have moved up or down the list. I list them in the table, below, from currently most popular to twentieth. For those articles remaining in the top twenty, I (mostly) retain the summary written in December. I hope you find the list interesting, and I hope you take some time to revisit the articles featured in it.

 Page TitlePage ViewsDateAuthorCommentsObservations
1.How does one interpret language in a post-Modern Age? What about the language of the Bible?726712/11/2012Mr. Douglas Lindee17I am not certain as to the precise reason for the popularity of this post – those who link to it, link to it directly, so it must have been passed around via email. However, this article was unique from all the others addressing translation issues, as it makes a doctrinal case for Formal Equivalence (FE). If we say that Scripture doctrine is built from “direct positive statements of Scripture, only” then this is a grammatical definition of doctrine, which requires a faithful grammar in a translation if those who use that translation are expected to rely on it as a source of True doctrine (laymen, for instance). Just as important, in the discussion that follows, the case for Dynamic Equivalence (DE) is destroyed. In supporting DE, one commenter insisted that “the most important issue in translation is not reproducing grammar but reproducing meaning” – an assertion with which I vehemently disagreed, stating, instead, that such a position “is tantamount to establishing levels of importance within God's Revelation, and ultimately defining the source of Scripture's meaning – that which was directly inspired by God – as outside the relevant scope of what God revealed to mankind.” The Scriptures very clearly state that words and grammar are what was inspired by God, that “meaning” is only that which emerges from what God directly inspired. A translation that attempts to reproduce so-called “meaning,” while dismissing the inspired grammatical form and vocabulary from which that meaning emerges, intrusively places man between God's Inspired Revelation and the reader of Scripture, making man – the translator, in particular – the “arbiter of Scripture's meaning.” And we've covered the consequences of this “Magisterial Use of Reason” on Intrepid Lutherans, as well. No thank you. I'll take what post-Modern advocates of Dynamic Equivalence refer to as a “clunky” FE Bible – something that the rest of the world still recognizes as an avowed “Masterpiece of the English Language” like the KJV, for instance – any day of the week, because it was translated according to a far more Scripturally faithful ideology of translation.
2.Dear Pastors Jeske and Ski: You are clearly in the wrong606902/15/11Intrepid Lutherans13Juicy controversy – everybody was interested, relatively few had the courage to comment.
3.Fraternal Dialogue on the Topic of “Objective Justification”592009/26/11Mr. 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.
4.The NNIV, the WELS Translation Evaluation Committee, and the Perspicuity of the Scriptures402907/28/11Mr. 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 Equivalence.
5.Thoughts on Gender-Neutral Language in the NIV 2011397809/15/11Intrepid 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. And let's be clear, Feminism, Abortion, Gay Marriage and Communism are all intimately linked, as exposed in the following Intrepid Lutherans (sub)-article, Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and America Today: A Very Brief Look at the Tip of the Iceberg
6.Why I No Longer Attend My [WELS] Church392602/06/11Intrepid 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...
7.Luther's translation of 2 Cor. 5:19381602/01/2013Rev. Paul Rydecki137In this article, Rev. Rydecki warns of corrupted editions of Luther's Unrevidierte Ausgabe von 1545, that are used to defend Universal Objective Justification and the notion that Luther believed, taught and confessed this doctrine – a potent defense indeed, except that those corrupted editions change the tense of certain verbs in this passage in a way that is not insignificant to the Doctrine of Justification. The verbs in uncorrupted editions of Luther's Unrevidierte Ausgabe do not support UOJ at all.
8.The Witch Hunt Has (Officially) Begun371101/15/2013Rev. Paul Rydecki32This post was issued in response to an item that appeared on the immediately previous quarterly CoP meeting, addressing not only Intrepid Lutherans, but those who have lent us their names in support of our endeavors to raise issues of doctrine and practice – even if the are uncomfortable issues – that need to be addressed. The agenda item indicated a need to begin a asserted effort to follow up with those who have lent us their names. This, of course, wasn't the only agenda item of interest to, and significant consequence on, Intrepid Lutherans, as we indicated a month later in the slightly less popular post, What on Earth could the CoP possibly have meant by THIS?. With only 2162 page reads, we nevertheless heard directly from “Certain Personages” on that one...
9.Suspended from the WELS – Why?351810/09/12Rev. Paul Rydecki0More “juicy controversy...”
10.Differences between Reformed and Lutheran Doctrines346604/13/11Mr. Douglas Lindee9The 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, and continues to be frequently read. People still comment occasionally, as well.
11.Change or Die – Update342402/24/11Intrepid Lutherans13The “juicy controversy” continues, as does both interest in the controversy and reluctance to become involved.
12.What's Missing in Groeschel's Sermons? – A brief review of Craig Groeschel, Part 2331609/07/2010Rev. Paul Lidtke22This one has been simmering for sometime, but has finally come to a boil. Most of the page reads we receive on this article are the result of people searching not just on “Craig Groeschel,” but on “problems with,” “errors of” and “information about” the man and his ministry.
13.The WEB: A viable English Bible translation?305209/18/11Rev. 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.
14.The whole flock won't survive 'jumping the shark'291202/02/12Mr. 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! Another similar and more recent, though less popular, post on Intrepid Lutherans, exposing the same pop-church shenanigans was entitled, Real? Relational?? Relevant??? O THE HORROR OF IT ALL!!! – equally worth the reader's time to revisit.
15.Emmaus Conference – Recap275605/10/11Rev. Paul Rydecki17Were some people excitedly thinking that perhaps this event represented the reunion of Missouri and Wisconsin? Most new page-reads are probably looking for updates on more recent conferences...
16.NNIV – the new standard for WELS?272307/15/11Mr. Douglas Lindee62Yup, it sure looks that way...
17.Intrepid to the Last: Rev. Paul Rydecki has been Suspended from WELS264010/06/2012Intrepid Lutherans0More juicy controversy, lots of people interested, but no one with the courage to comment. Intrepid Lutherans remains and continues.
18.Pietism and Ministry in the WELS: A brief review of Craig Groeschel, Part 1259608/30/2010Mr. Douglas Lindee
Rev. Steven Spencer
6This is Part One of the slightly more read Part Two, listed above, in which Rev. Lidtke compares the Law & Gospel Lutheran preaching common WELS to that of Craig Groeschel. In Part One, we address corrosive effects of Pietism which clearly lies at the foundation of Groeschel's ministry. 'Tis too bd that many confessional Lutherans look to Groeschel as the oracle of post-Modern ministry necessity. This includes WELS Lutherans, as the following recent post illucidates: Do any Lutherans want to be Dresden Lutherans? Meanwhile, the Groeschelites continue their agenda...
19.Ambivalent256806/27/12Rev. 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?
20.The Silence Is Broken: An Appleton Update254005/08/11Rev. Paul Lidtke29An 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,” without, of course actually enumerating them for the benefit of Mr. Techlin and all other lay members of WELS congregations who may have an interest in knowing what their actual rights as laymen really are, “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. The same “We-won't-have-a-conversation-with-you-on-this-topic” approach was used in the case of Joe Krohn, and, as recounted in one of the articles above, was also adhered to in the case of Rev. Rydecki's suspension.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please, do not mistake a lack of courage, for block of ability. Many situations, do not make this site, or others, for very good reasons. Intrepids know who we are & ya all know us. Courage comes from not bending, not simply commenting. Some speak to Intrepid in private, as seen, with good reasons. Some link, send or write down, these articles. Quiet doesn't always mean, cowardice. Observe and wait....
Heidi Stoeberl, Intrepid Lutheran

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