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Chapter Seven: Zwingli, Calvin, Pietism – The Dead Word

 

Introduction to Enthusiasm

 

J-701

“And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i. e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word."

Smalcald Articles, VIII., Confession, #3-4, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 495. Tappert, p. 312. Heiser, p. 147.

 

J-702

"All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit, and nevertheless he accomplished this through other outward words. Just as also our enthusiasts [at the present day] condemn the outward Word, and nevertheless they themselves are not silent, but they fill the world with their pratings and writings, as though, indeed, the Spirit could not come through the writings and spoken word of the apostles, but [first] through their writings and words he must come. Why [then] do not they also omit their own sermons and writings, until the Spirit Himself come to men, without their writings and before them, as they boast that He has come into them without the preaching of the Scriptures?"

Smalcald Articles, VIII., Confession, #5-6. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 495. Tappert, p. 312f. Heiser, p. 147.

 

J-703

"In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power [life], and strength of all heresy, especially of that of the Papacy and Mahomet. Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments. For God wished to appear even to Moses through the burning bush and spoken Word; and no prophet, neither Elijah nor Elisha, received the Spirit without the Ten Commandments [or spoken Word]. Neither was John the Baptist conceived without the preceding word of Gabriel, nor did he leap in his mother's womb without the voice of Mary."

Smalcald Articles, VIII. Confession, #9-10 Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 497. Tappert, p. 313. Heiser, p. 147.

 

J-704

"Also, we reject and condemn the error of the Enthusiasts, who imagine that God without means, without the hearing of God's Word, also without the use of the holy Sacraments, draws men to Himself, and enlightens, justifies, and saves them."

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 789. Tappert, p. 471. Heiser, p. 219.

 

Enthusiasm is the term used by Luther and the Book of Concord to describe those who separate the Holy Spirit from the Word and Sacraments. In plain language, the Word of God is dead unless the Enthusiasts make it relevant, germane, or attractive.[1] This teaching is the central error infecting the Lutheran Church today. To be sure, some Lutherans hide their Reformed tendencies by masking false doctrine with a dash of efficacy.[2] They will say, as WELS leaders do today, “The Word is effective, but we can be obstacles of the Word in the way we present it. Therefore, if a mission congregation is not meeting our goals, it is the pastor’s fault.” However, the synodical leaders do not accept responsibility when the entire denomination is rapidly losing members and pastors.[3]

Today’s Law-mongers have no trouble making people feel terrible. The Law can do that, even if it is man-made law. For instance, WELS/ELS leader Floyd Stolzenburg, told a group of people, “The average congregation in America spends less than $100 a year on evangelism!” The WELS members sucked in their breath in astonishment. Obviously, the answer was to spend money on evangelism. However, someone who has read Thy Strong Word this far will know that calling and paying a pastor is the most important and effective way to proclaim the Gospel, the invisible and the visible Word. Is it not ironic that District President Robert Mueller and Vice-President Paul Kuske would see to it that Stolzenburg earned a huge salary to make people lose confidence in the Means of Grace? The most important accomplishment of a Lutheran congregation is to have regular worship services, the Sacraments, and classes where the truth of God’s Word is taught with confidence and clarity. A pastor and congregation should look only to the Means of Grace for the work of the Holy Spirit. If they measure their work in terms of money spent or goals accomplished, they will not trust the Holy Spirit working through the Word.[4]

 

 

J-705

"No other human writer has so forcefully as Luther set forth the nature of the divinely ordained means of grace, their importance for faith and life, and the destructive effect of severing grace from the means of grace. For Luther was trained in the school of the terrors of conscience for the work of reforming the Church, while Zwingli's reformation and theology sprang largely from the soil of Humanism and bears a speculative stamp throughout. Calvinistic theology from Calvin down to our day teaches not so much the God who has revealed and given Himself to us in His Word, but at the critical points substitutes speculations regarding the absolute God for what the divine Word teaches."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 137f.

 

Although Luther concentrated on the papacy, he saw through the claims of the Enthusiasts from the beginning. The Zwickau prophets claimed to have direct revelations from the Holy Spirit. So did Thomas Muentzer, a religious leader in the Peasants’ Revolt. Luther was not against using ridicule when the doctrines taught were ridiculous.

 

J-706

"He wants to teach you, not how the Spirit is to come to you but how you are to come to the Spirit, so that you learn how to float on the clouds and ride on the wind."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 916.

 

J-707

"Moreover, the declaration, John 6:44, that 'no one can come to Christ except the Father draw him,' is right and true. However, the Father will not do this without means, but has ordained for this purpose His Word and Sacraments as ordinary means and instruments; and it is the will neither of the Father nor of the Son that a man should not hear or should despise the preaching of His Word, and wait for the drawing of the Father without the Word and Sacraments."

Solid Declaration, Article XI, Election, #76, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1087. Tappert, p. 628f. Heiser, p. 292f.

 

If Lutherans are to understand what their leaders have done in betraying their synods, the error of Enthusiasm must be studied and understood. This topic could easily fill several books, since so many conflicts have arisen. However, the purpose of including this material will be achieved if serious students of the Word have enough evidence to show that most Lutheran leaders in America are little more than Enthusiasts. Lutherans must face this fact and repudiate the false doctrines so thoroughly entrenched in their own synods. I have organized the discussion around three historical figures:

1.     Huldreich Zwingli began the break with Luther and the efficacy of the Word.

2.     John Calvin refined the Zwinglian errors while playing the role of a Lutheran, until Joachim Westphal smoked him out.

3.     The Pietism of Jacob Spener was built upon doctrinal indifference, unionism, and works righteousness while claiming to be the spiritual renewal of the Lutheran Church.

If all the historical threads of this topic were followed with adequate attention to all the significant leaders, the result would so complicated and footnote bound that many would give up their pursuit of the truth. Readers should be charitable in their reaction to what has been omitted and ready to pursue additional study. When one pastor was paid to give confessional Lutheran lectures at Bethany College (Evangelical Lutheran Synod), he did not know the answer to a significant question arising from his topic, “Pietism.” He was asked the view of Jacob Spener on the sacraments. His explanation for not knowing was disappointing, “I am a busy parish pastor.” In the old days, Concordia Seminary president Ludwig Fuerbringer refused to accept many speaking invitations because he needed to devote more time to study. Many people make fun of the Lutheran leaders of those days with their quaint dedication to the Word. The synods were growing then instead of collapsing. Therefore, this topic is not a substitute for research, but a prelude to additional work. Those who wisely purchase a few of the best Lutheran books will have no trouble following up on the work condensed here.

 

 

Part One: Huldreich Zwingli

 

The Reformation is often presented as Luther’s break with the Church of Rome and the Vatican’s subsequent repudiation of his doctrine at the Council of Trent. Both the opposition of Huldreich Zwingli (in Zurich, Switzerland) and the later more subtle antagonism of John Calvin (in Geneva, Switzerland) contributed to a significant undercurrent in the Lutheran Church, a plague that continues to this day. The problem can be summarized in two ways. The first is to consider the nature of Enthusiasm, defined above.

The second way is to examine the error of subjecting the Word of God to rationalistic analysis, as Siegbert Becker proved so well in his classic work, The Foolishness of God. For the believer, human reason should not be magisterial (superior to or judging the Word) but ministerial (serving or subordinate to the Scriptures).[5]

a.      Examples of the magisterial use of reason – Humans cannot walk on water, so Jesus must have known where the sandbars were on the Sea of Galilee. (Stop laughing. I heard it at Augustana College.) Or Jesus was walking on the shore, but the seasoned fishermen on the boat thought He was walking on the water. The miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand was a miracle of sharing, because the little boy’s offer of his lunch caused all the stingy adults to share their food.

b.     Examples of the ministerial use of reason - A man learns the Biblical languages and related languages to learn the exact meaning of the Scriptures, using the Word to shed light on what he does not understand. Instead of looking for problems and condemning the Bible for its alleged errors, he allows the Holy Spirit to teach him through the Word.

 

Rationalism

 

Zwingli and Calvin prepared the way for the ultimate victory of rationalism in the Unitarianism of the National Council of Churches today. In fact, after becoming bored with Unitarianism, Marxism and various activisms, many of the old established denominations have moved to embracing all religions as equal. Needless to say, one major theme of Luther’s work has been the ministerial use of reason. The theologians of the Formula of Concord and their successors in defending Lutheran doctrine were intellectual giants whose publishing accomplishments are difficult to imagine, let alone imitate. Looking at what Chemnitz and Gerhard wrote, we can only marvel. However, the Lutheran orthodox writers used their gigantic intellects to understand and explain the Word, not to set aside what their human reason could not grasp.[6] Not surprisingly, the genuine Lutheran Church has been wary of fads, movements, phony efforts at union, tricks, gimmicks, and reliance upon subjective experience. Luther’s doctrine is grounded in the unchanging nature of God’s Word, so it is inherently resistant to momentary thrills. The Reformer’s doctrine is therefore hated intensely by all agents of corruption within and without the Lutheran Church. They cannot defeat Luther’s doctrine by a direct assault on God’s Word, so they follow the example of Zwingli, who separated the Word from the Spirit and subjected the Scriptures to his rationalistic analysis.

Huldreich Zwingli was born on New Year’s Day, 1484, so he was a few months younger than Martin Luther. In all other respects he was quite different from the Reformer. Zwingli read many books, but he was never formally trained in theology, while Luther earned a doctorate in the Scriptures. Although many people know Luther’s simple and basic works, they do not realize that he could argue Medieval theology with the best and examine the philosophical terms in great detail. His massive Galatians commentary is an example, where he dealt with the Roman terms “congruent” and “condign grace” for 100 pages.

Luther was not political, teaching with great energy the concept of the two regiments (often called the two kingdoms). Luther saw the foolishness of the papacy in assuming secular rule and also using force to advance the doctrines and fortunes of the Church of Rome. Therefore, he asserted that the material regiment should use the sword to enforce peace, punish offenders, and defend the nation. The spiritual regiment should use only the Word to teach the truth and defeat false teachers. In contrast, Zwingli was extremely nationalistic, serving as a chaplain and ultimately dying on the field of battle with many other armed ministers and patriots at the battle of Cappel, 1531, shortly after the Marburg Colloquy with Luther.

While Luther was falsely accused of immorality by the Church of Rome, Zwingli admitted to affairs while a priest, including one in which he impregnated the daughter of a barber.[7] The slander against Luther continues to be repeated, even though the material has been previously refuted by Roman Catholic scholars, but Zwingli is simply remembered as the Zurich reformer. It is doubtful whether most Lutherans understand the nature of Zwingli’s quirky reformation in Zurich and how it influenced the more refined doctrinal errors of John Calvin, who worked later in Geneva. For instance, a senior at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, when asked in class who was wrong at the Marburg Colloquy, answered with great sincerity that Luther was wrong and stubborn about insisting on the Real Presence in Holy Communion, a doctrinal position clearly rejected by Zwingli. The professor was appalled. Ordination was only a few weeks away!

Zwingli’s theological illiteracy has been reproduced on a massive scale today. Seminary graduates want to be known as masters of divinity, and pastors want to take a few easy courses to be called doctors of ministry. Many conservative Lutheran pastors leave seminary with a shallow knowledge of the Lutheran Confessions, accompanied by an attitude that these documents are outdated, uninteresting, irrelevant, and boring. Unfortunately, most conservative seminary professors are hired through their political connections, not because of their scholarly abilities. John Moldstad Jr. was called to teach at Bethany Lutheran Seminary without having a bachelor’s degree![8]

Zwingli is a good example of an Enthusiast, since he was vain, unschooled, jealous of Luther’s abilities, against the efficacy of the Word and yet eager to publish his own religious opinions. Zwingli’s Lutheran disciples are similarly untrained, vain, and jealous of anyone who might counter their glib opinions with the Scriptures and the Confessions.

 

Zwingli’s Doctrine

 

The following quotation from Zwingli’s Fidei Ratio reveals the nauseating pride of the Enthusiasts. This passage is also a classic in describing Zwingli’s departure from the Scriptures and break with the doctrine of Luther.[9] Notice that Zwingli based his argument against the Sacraments upon his own inner conviction. His theological warrant for a change is that God “does not need a guide or a vehicle.” However, we do not base our faith upon rationalistic speculation about God’s needs, but upon trust in His revelation. As the eighth chapter shows with abundant, clear proof from the Scriptures, Baptism and Holy Communion are both examples of the Holy Spirit working faith through the Word combined with earthly elements. Zwingli changed the subject, using a logical fallacy. The question is not what God needs but what man needs. If man did not need visible evidence of approval, we would have no businesses catering to trophies, ribbons, award certificates, and motivational devices as basic as a gold star on a child’s homework. The Sacraments are far more than evidence of God’s forgiveness. The power of Baptism and Holy Communion comes from the Word, not from the earthly elements. The Word always accomplishes what God promises (Isaiah 55) and works forgiveness in believers.

 

J-708

"Zwingli said, 'I believe, yea I know, that all the Sacraments are so far from conferring grace that they do not even convey or distribute it. In this, most powerful Emperor, I may perhaps appear too bold to thee. But I am firmly convinced that I am right. For as grace is produced or given by the divine Spirit (I am using the term grace in its Latin meaning of pardon, indulgence, gracious favor), so this gift reaches only the spirit. The Spirit, however, needs no guide or vehicle, for He Himself is the Power and Energy by which all things are borne and has no need of being borne. Nor have we ever read in the Holy Scriptures that perceptible things like the Sacraments certainly bring with them the Spirit.' (Fidei Ratio, ed. Niemeyer p. 24; Jacobs, Book of Concord, II, 68)"

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 132f. [emphasis added]

 

J-709

"In what vulgar terms does Zwingli here speak of these sacred matters! When the Holy Spirit wants to approach man, He does not need the Word of God, the Gospel, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, for a conveyance; He can come without them! It must be a queer Bible which Zwingli read."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 156.

 

When we are dealing with generic Protestants, we have to realize that they are not simply neutral about the Sacraments. Some believe and teach that infant baptism is Satanic. I have seen Pentecostals leave the room in anger when the subject of infant baptism came up. (If only Lutherans would leave the room when Pentecostals begin defending their doctrine!) Some Protestants baptize infants, but they believe only that it is a law to be obeyed. If they were neutral about the Sacraments, the Reformed would not demand the expulsion of baptismal regeneration and the Real Presence from Lutheran doctrine as a condition of union. Both doctrines are based upon the efficacy of the Word alone. The Zwinglian doctrines have an inherent hatred toward the Sacraments in them. That attitude is the same as hostility toward the Word of God.[10]

 

J-710

"Furthermore, consider this: All doctrines of the Bible are connected with one another; they form a unit. One error draws others in after it. Zwingli's first error was the denial of the presence of Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper. In order to support this error, he had to invent a false doctrine of Christ's Person, of heaven, of the right hand of God, etc."

Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 41.

 

J-711

"They [the Zwinglians] divorced the Word and the Spirit, separated the person who preaches and teaches the Word from God, who works through the Word, and separated the servant who baptizes from God, who has commanded the Sacrament. They fancied that the Holy Spirit is given and works without the Word, that the Word merely gives assent to the Spirit, whom it already finds in the heart. If, then, this Word does not find the Spirit but a godless person, then it is not the Word of God. In this way they falsely judge and define the Word, not according to God, who speaks it, but according to the man who receives it. They want only that to be the Word of God which is fruitful and brings peace and life..."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 664f.

 

Zwingli’s Influence

 

Lutherans who have not heard the tirades of the generic Protestants will overlook that bias against the liturgy and Sacraments which is based upon hostility toward the Church of Rome. For many Protestants, and many who call themselves Lutheran, anything remotely liturgical is Roman and heretical. Lutherans fall into the same mode of thought when they believe that a white Geneva gown is suspect and not to be worn by a Lutheran pastor instead of a black Geneva gown.[11] The Lutheran Reformers only wore a black (or academic) gown when they presided at minor worship services such as Matins or Vespers. Wearing the classroom academic gown during a Holy Communion service would have been as out of place during the Lutheran Reformation as wearing blue-jeans and a Grateful Dead sweatshirt while presiding today. Therefore, we should see the efforts of Lutherans to eliminate the liturgical service, the Creeds, the Sacraments, and proper vestments as Zwinglian and Calvinist bigotry against anything identified with Rome.

As Luther wrote, Zwingli and Calvin are like the man who tried to save his brother from being attacked by a bear. Taking out his knife, the brother aimed at the bear but stabbed his brother to death. In the same way, Zwingli and Calvin sought to rid the Church of Roman influence by eliminating anything they identified with papalism. Sadly, their efforts were aimed at externals rather than at false doctrine corrupting the true worship of God. Aiming at the dangerous bear of Rome, they stabbed Baptism, Holy Communion, the liturgy, the creeds, and the efficacy of the Word to death.

 

J-712

"Luther protested against Rome's soul-destroying teachings and reformed the Church by restoring the pure doctrine of God's Word. Zwingli hoped to reform the Church by abolishing Rome's superstitious practices. Calvin believed that a complete reformation implied two things: First, it was necessary to abolish all ceremonies, even those which were in use in the ancient Church, such as the liturgy, the church year, pulpits, altars; secondly, a truly reformed Church must follow the pattern of the Apostolic Church in all its church practices and adopt the form of church government given to Israel in the Old Testament."

F. E. Mayer, American Churches, Beliefs and Practices, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, p. 24.

 

J-713

"In fact, there is no basis for a real disagreement between Zwingli and Calvin. The situation here is analogous to the one that obtains in the doctrine of Christ's Person and Word and the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. In these doctrines Zwingli and Calvin and all Reformed will agree as long as they all teach that Christ's body can possess only a local and visible mode of subsistence or presence. Similarly, Zwingli and Calvin cannot differ materially in their teaching on the means of grace because they agree, first, that Christ's merit and saving grace do not apply to all who use the means of grace; secondly, that saving grace is not bound to the means of grace."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, III, p. 163.

 

Much of the silliness of modern American worship comes from the initial efforts of Zwingli and Calvin. They deliberately took away confidence in the Word working alone through the Means of Grace, then asked, “Why are we lacking?” Trying to fill the void caused by lack of confidence in the efficacious Word, they fed the vacuum of their worship with tricks, legalism, and strange claims of Biblical authority. For instance, one rationalistic and Fundamentalist church worshiped in a church building. Some decided that the apostolic church worshiped only in homes, so they were sinning. They split and formed a separate congregation where worship was held only in homes. The same denomination made a case against ever having musical instruments leading worship. They deflected all arguments about musical instruments in the Bible, which were either in the Old Testament or only in heaven (Revelation). When a Willow Creek minister preaches in a business suit or a Missouri Synod pastor follows his example, it harkens back to the rationalism of Zwingli.[12]

As Otto Heick has observed in A History of Christian Thought, Zwingli was more of a Savanarola, a political reformer in the guise of a religious leader. Zwingli was influenced by Erasmus and Luther, but he remained a humanist and a rationalist. His literary production is considered by some to be impressive in size and quality, but not “monumental.” One does not find standard works of Zwingli as we do of Luther, Calvin, and other religious leaders. In fact, Zwingli does not have a good name in Christian theology. In other words, many borrow his idea, but no one wants to admit Zwingli as their authority. In Calvin and in all non-Lutheran Protestants, we find the same basic error taught by Zwingli with such relish: denial of the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace. This doctrine is not a casual or minor error, but so fundamental that the Reformed return to it repeatedly— like people who must constantly shore up a bad argument. Pentecostals and Baptists refuse to baptize infants, but they are not significantly different from the Presbyterians and Methodists who baptize babies while denying baptismal regeneration.

 

J-714

"Another serious defect of Reformed preaching is its emphasis upon anthropology, whereby theology is crowded off the highway. They are forever discussing what goes on in the soul of man. This tendency partakes of rationalism and of legalism. True, Lutherans also speak of conversion, regeneration, sanctification, faith, hope, charity; but a true Lutheran preacher knows that all these are not produced by talking about them. They are produced by proclaiming the theology of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The anthropological emphasis is a very subtle error not easily detected, especially by a neophyte; but it is nevertheless thoroughly corrupting. It prevents the soul from coming to peace by trusting the plain statements of God's Word. It is this uneasiness which such preaching produces in the souls of the hearers that provides the soil for...immersionism, faith-healing, Seventh-day Adventism, etc"

Martin S. Sommer, Concordia Pulpit for 1932, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1931, p. iv.

 

Answering in advance whether the Reformed downplay the Means of Grace, Otto Heick, my professor at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, summarized the doctrine of Zwingli below, in a work commonly used in the Wisconsin Synod while it was in print.

 

J-715

“As the Word of God, Scripture is clear. It needs neither interpreters nor commentators. Tradition is useless, if not downright harmful. Man must be taught by God. Strictly speaking, the spoken or material Word is no means of grace at all, let alone the sacraments.”

            Otto W. Heick, A History of Christian Thought, 2 volumes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965, I, p. 357.

 

In addition, the confusion between Law and Gospel in Zwingli is magnified among all those who have followed him in error, knowingly or unknowingly. This is another facet of the denial of the efficacy of the Word. In errorists, the Law dominates, so that one is both condemned as a sinner by the Law and also saved through works of the Law. When the power of the Holy Spirit is divorced from the visible and invisible Word, the human mind seeks restlessly for a substitute. The most important substitute is prayer as a means of grace instead of the fruit of the Gospel. The Enthusiasts order their followers to pray longer and harder to earn God’s grace.[13] Sadly, visible replacements for the divinely ordained sacraments include such demonic tricks as speaking in tongues, giving up an obvious or imagined vice (such as dancing or cosmetics), or observing certain human rites (taking a pledge in front of the congregation). Methods of the Law cannot provide comfort, so additional replacements for the sacraments are sought. Holiness Christians (no dancing, card playing, movies, make-up, or jewelry) become tongue speakers. Tongue speakers turn to the occult with spirit guides from the Fourth Dimension, as taught by Paul Y. Cho, hero to all Church Growth salesmen.

From Zwingli we get the plague of rationalism but also its false antidote, irrationalism. Rationalism seeks to explain the Scriptures in such a way that most people can accept what is beyond their limited understanding, as if God never said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts; and My ways are not your ways.”[14] Trying to make the Creation fit into a scheme of evolution is one form of rationalism, but proving the Six Day Creation with scientific research is another form of the same illness. Making the Word germane or appealing, selling the Gospel, is still another form of rationalism. The Lutheran Zwinglian says to himself, “If I can find out what the felt needs of the average person are, then I can show people that my version of the Gospel answers their felt needs – whether they are lonely, stressed, or short on time. Then they will flock to my congregation. However, I must avoid such downers as doctrinal purity, the historic liturgy, classic hymns, and creeds. In fact, it would be better if I avoid the name Lutheran altogether.” Needless to say, many of these Zwinglian Lutheran pastors have become mere Zwinglians.[15]


 

 

Part Two: John Calvin

 

John Calvin was a second generation reformer, born in northern France in 1509 when Luther was already teaching at Wittenberg University. Calvin studied at the University of Paris and earned a master’s degree when he was 19 years old. Trained in ancient languages, Calvin published a commentary on the Latin author Seneca, but it did not bring him notice or acclaim. In 1536, Calvin’s Institutes (revised and enlarged in many editions) became a sensation and drew people to him. He was delayed in Geneva, Switzerland, during a trip and encouraged by the Protestant minister G. Farel to stay and help with the work there in 1537. Calvin and Farel were expelled from Geneva but invited back in 1541. Calvin married but did not have any surviving children. He became a preacher and theologian without being ordained as a pastor, so he had much in common with Luther’s younger associate, Melanchthon, who was also trained in the classics.

Luther died in 1546 and never met Calvin. Luther’s associate Melanchthon (1497-1563) was younger than the Reformer and met Calvin at the Worms and Regensburg colloquies, 1540-41. When Calvin and Melanchthon became friends, Calvin’s doctrinal firmness affected Melanchthon’s judgment and doctrine. Melanchthon suffered from a need to bring warring groups together based upon compromise rather than doctrinal agreement. After Luther’s death, Melanchthon was so timid in the face of Roman opposition that Calvin felt compelled to rebuke him.

 

 

Calvin, June 18, 1550 to Melanchthon:

J-716

"My grief renders me almost speechless. How the enemies of Christ enjoy your conflicts with the Magdeburgers appears from their mockeries. Permit me to admonish you freely as a true friend. I should like to approve of all your actions. But now I accuse you before your very face. This is the sum of your defense: If the purity of doctrine be retained, externals should not be pertinaciously contended for. But you extend the adiaphora too far. Some of them plainly conflict with the Word of God. Now, since the Lord has drawn us into the fight, it behooves us to struggle all the more manfully. You know that your position differs from that of the multitude. The hesitation of the general or leader is more disgraceful than the flight of an entire regiment of common soldiers."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 101.

 

Melanchthon, as heir to Luther, became the instrument by which Calvinism was secretly introduced to the Lutheran Church. Most Lutherans do not realize today that Calvin seemed to be Lutheran for many years. We now look back at that period as a time of stress and mutual rejection, but Calvin was long considered a Lutheran and willingly assumed that role for years, until Westphal flushed him out. Calvin was no different from the Lutheran Church Growth leaders today, accepting the benefits of being considered a Lutheran while advancing the views of Zwingli.

 

 

 

J-717

"For the adoption of the Consensus Tigurinus in 1549, referred to above, cannot but be viewed as an overt act by which the Wittenberg Concord, signed 1536 by representative Lutheran and Reformed theologians, was publicly repudiated and abandoned by Calvin and his adherents, and whereby an anti-Lutheran propaganda on an essentially Zwinglian basis was inaugurated. Calvin confirmed the schism between the Lutherans and the Reformed which Carlstadt, Zwingli, and Oecolampadius had originated."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 174.

 

Calvin’s Doctrine

 

To understand the crypto-Calvinist (secret Calvinist) Lutherans, we need to examine the teachings of John Calvin about the Means of Grace. Not surprisingly, some of the most revealing statements come from his polemic, Against Westphal, named for the Lutheran Joachim Westphal (1510-1574) who taunted Calvin for some time to bring out his actual views.[16] The crypto-Calvinists of today loudly moan about “Christian-bashing”—a term they adapted from homosexual activists—when someone asks for doctrinal clarity. It is easy to see from Against Westphal that polemical literature is beneficial in distinguishing between sound and false doctrine.[17] Schaff said this about Westphal’s doctrinal publications: “The controversy of Westphal against Calvin and the subsequent overthrow of Melanchthonianism completed and consolidated the separation of the two Confessions.” Calvin called Westphal “a mad dog.”[18]

 

J-718

John Calvin, Against Joachim Westphal: "The nature of baptism or the Supper must not be tied down to an instant of time. God, whenever He sees fit, fulfills and exhibits in immediate effect that which he figures in the sacrament. But no necessity must be imagined so as to prevent His grace from sometimes preceding, sometimes following, the use of the sign."[19]

Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 121.

 

There Must Be Divisions

KJV 1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

 

BYZ 1 Corinthians 11:18 prw/ton me.n ga.r sunercome,nwn u`mw/n evn evkklhsi,a| avkou,w sci,smata evn u`mi/n u`pa,rcein kai. me,roj ti pisteu,w.

 

It was good for Westphal to annoy Calvin and even better for Calvin to answer Westphal honestly. Similarly, when it was rumored that Luther had given up his Biblical views about the Lord’s Supper, he responded with his Brief Confession on the Lord’s Supper, another superb document. Today, the massive doctrinal indifference in the Lutheran Church is a direct result of people studiously avoiding all doctrinal conflict. We lose our spiritual muscle tone through lack of effort just as we lose normal muscle tone from inactivity. The inactive person loses not only the ability to exert himself but also the will to try. Lutherans have become so lazy and inert that they would rather suffer from false teachers, soul murderers and wife murderers, than object to the most obnoxious heresies in their midst. Pastors fear for their tiny pensions, but not for their sheep being attacked by wolves. Synodical professors quake at the thought of returning to the parish, so they promote Reformed doctrine and methods in the name of making their institutions strong, though they are dying.

To understand the secret Calvinists, let us look first at Calvin’s openly taught doctrine. Calvin wrote well and published his errors over a long span of time. He continued to revise and expand his Institutes of the Christian Religion and completed a commentary of every book of the Bible. Sadly, his Biblical commentaries are bought and used by many Lutheran pastors today. This tragedy was encouraged by the Biblical inerrancy wars of the early 1900s. Once Lutherans began to be assaulted by highly educated proponents of Biblical error and contradiction, they turned to highly disciplined Calvinist scholars who had already been through the same trials. Lutherans did not stop to think that Calvinistic rationalism brought Unitarian doctrine to the Presbyterians earlier, while Lutheran doctrine repelled it. Therefore, Lutherans turned to Calvinists as allies against the common enemy of doubt.[20] But using human reason to cure the problem of doubt is akin to drinking brine to slake one’s thirst.

Calvin’s rationalism can be summarized by four foundational errors.

a)     Enthusiasm – Separating the Holy Spirit from the Word.

b)     Extra-calvinisticum – Denying that the finite can contain the infinite.

c)     Double predestination. Teaching that all people are either predestined to damnation or predestined to salvation, God’s “horrible decree,” before or after the fall of Adam. Calvinists are divided on the timing of the decree, which is unrecorded in the Scriptures.

d)     Law/Gospel confusion.

 

Enthusiasm

 

Calvin’s Enthusiasm and its effect upon Lutheran doctrine are reason enough for writing this book and listing so many citations on the subject. Calvin, like Zwingli, scornfully rejected the Biblical doctrine that the Holy Spirit is always at work in the Word and never works apart from the Word (Isaiah 55:8-10). Calvin replaced the Biblical teaching of the efficacious Word and Sacraments with his peculiar notion of the Sovereign Holy Spirit working independently of the Means of Grace, either before or after or not at all! The Calvinists are never completely consistent about this, because they believe in preaching, teaching, and publishing. But they take care to deny the efficacy of the Word at every chance, as did their most famous modern church father Karl Barth (1886-1968).

 

J-719

"The means of grace are thus limited for Barth. The preacher descending from the pulpit can never quote Luther and say with joyful assurance that he has preached the Word of God. Of course, he can hope and pray; but he can never know whether the Holy Spirit has accompanied the preached Word, and hence whether his words were the Word of God. To know this, or even to wish to know it, would be a presumptuous encroachment of man upon the sovereign freedom of God."

Hermann Sasse, Here We Stand, trans. Theodore G. Tappert, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1946, p. 161.

 

J-720

"The Sacraments are not mere symbolic expressions by which faith is strengthened (Calvin), nor are they mere acts of confession of faith (notae professionis, Zwingli), but are effective means by which God sows faith in the hearts of men."

Walter G. Tillmanns, "Means of Grace: Use of," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, II, p. 1506.

 

Barth, the official theologian of Fuller Seminary, was an apostate who rejected the doctrines of the Christian faith while making a tidy profit from his publication efforts, aided by his mistress, Charlotte Kirschbaum.[21] He moved her into his house over the strenuous objections of his wife and also lived with Charlotte in a mountain cabin every summer. Barth is the epitome of the Church Growth expert: unfaithful to God, unfaithful in marriage, treacherous, vain, boastful, and eager to impose silence on his critics. After opposing the Nazis from the safety of Switzerland during WWII, Barth betrayed his loyal followers in Eastern Europe and told them to submit to the authority of the Communists. He and his lovely assistant, Charlotte, had been reds all along, as the historical documents show.[22]

 

J-721

"When intent upon establishing their peculiar tenets, Calvin and Zwingli likewise preferred rational argumentation to the plain proofs of Holy Writ. Their interpretation of the words of the Sacrament is but one glaring instance; but there are many more. The schools and the denominations which they founded became infected with this same disease of theology."

Martin S. Sommer, Concordia Pulpit for 1932, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1931, p. iii.

 

J-722

John Calvin, Commentaries, Amos 8:11-12: "...we are touched with some desire for strong doctrine, it evidently appears that there is some piety in us; we are not destitute of the Spirit of God, although destitute of the outward means."

            Benjamin Milner, Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Heicko A.Oberman, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 109. CO, XLIII, 153.

 

J-723

“Wherefore, with regard to the increase and confirmation of faith, I would remind the reader (though I think I have already expressed it in unambiguous terms), that in assigning this office to the sacraments, it is not as if I thought that there is a kind of secret efficacy perpetually inherent in them, by which they can of themselves promote or strengthen faith, but because our Lord has instituted them for the express purpose of helping to establish and increase our faith. The sacraments duly perform their office only when accompanied by the Spirit, the internal Master, whose energy alone penetrates the heart, stirs up the affections, and procures access for the sacraments into our souls. If He is wanting, the sacraments can avail us no more than the sun shining on the eyeballs of the blind, or sounds uttered in the ears of the deaf. Wherefore, in distributing between the Spirit and the sacraments, I ascribe the whole energy to Him, and leave only a ministry to them; this ministry, without the agency of the Spirit, is empty and frivolous, but when He acts within, and exerts His power, it is replete with energy. ..then, it follows, both that the sacraments do not avail one iota without the energy of the Holy Spirit; and that yet in hearts previously taught by that preceptor, there is nothing to prevent the sacraments from strengthening and increasing faith.”

            John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 497. Also cited in Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 119. Institutes. IV.xiv.9.

 

J-724

“We must not suppose that there is some latent virtue inherent in the sacraments by which they, in themselves, confer the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon us, in the same way in which wine is drunk out of a cup, since the only office divinely assigned them is to attest and ratify the benevolence of the Lord towards us; and they avail no farther than accompanied by the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts, and make us capable of receiving this testimony, in which various distinguished graces are clearly manifested…They [the sacraments] do not of themselves bestow any grace, but they announce and manifest it, and, like earnests and badges, give a ratification of the gifts which the divine liberality has bestowed upon us.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 503. Institutes, IV, XIV, 17.    

 

J-725

“But assuming that the body and blood of Christ are attached to the bread and wine, then the one must necessarily be disservered from the other. For the bread is given separately from the cup, so the body, united to the bread, must be separated from the blood, included in the cup.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 570. Institutes, IV, XVII, 18.

 

J-726

John Calvin, Institutes IV.xvii.19: "We must establish such a presence of Christ in the supper as may neither fasten Him to the element of bread, not enclose Him in bread, not circumscribe Him in any way (all of which clearly derogate from His heavenly glory)...."

Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 128.

 

J-727

John Calvin, True Method of Reforming the Church: "The offspring of believers are born holy, because their children, while yet in the womb, before they breathe the vital air, have been adopted into the covenant of eternal life."

Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 123.

 

 

J-728

"To remain properly humble while firmly rejecting all erroneous teachings regarding the means of grace, we should remind ourselves how even Christians who teach and, as a rule, also believe, the correct doctrine of the means of grace, in their personal practice very often lose sight of the means of grace. This is done whenever they base the certainty of grace, or of the forgiveness of sin, on their feeling of grace or the gratia infusa, instead of on God's promise in the objective means of grace. All of us are by nature 'enthusiasts.'"

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 131.

 

 

Extra-Calvinisticum

 

The haughty spirit that denies the efficacy of the Word will also invent new doctrines. One is called the extra-calvinisticum, Calvin’s assertion that the finite cannot contain the infinite: finitum non capas infiniti. In other words, the finite forms of bread and wine cannot hold the infinite, the body of Christ. The same declaration makes the two natures, human and divine, united in the one person, Christ, impossible. In fact, both Zwingli and Calvin had serious problems with Christology. Their rationalistic denials of what Christ has clearly promised in the Word and Sacraments led to the Unitarianism (Socinianism) of their later disciples.

 

J-729

"...it is exceedingly difficult to prevent this low view from running out into Socinianism, as, indeed, it actually has run in Calvinistic lands, so that it became a proverb, often met with in the older theological writers—'A young Calvinist, an old Socinian.' This peril is confessed and mourned over by great Calvinistic divines. New England is an illustration of it on an immense scale, in our own land."

Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House, 1871, p. 489.

 

 

 

 

 

Double Predestination, Limited Atonement, Arminianism

 

Theological discussions often begin with Calvin’s doctrine of double predestination, which was published in his first edition of the Institutes and every edition thereafter. Double predestination is really secondary to Enthusiasm in harmfulness. However, one can hardly untangle the chaos created by one conflict after another in opposition to the Scriptures. Double predestination teaches that God decreed a minority saved and a majority damned before the creation of the world or perhaps after the fall of Adam. Associated with double predestination is the concept that Christ died only for the elect and not for the sins of the world, a teaching which is called the limited Atonement. Anyone who dwells on the core of Calvin’s teaching and applies it consistently must wonder why he would listen to the Word, which is dead, or receive the sacraments, which are dead, when the Holy Spirit will work before or after the Means of Grace, but not necessarily through them. A Calvinist must either be proud and secure, since he is taught “once saved, always saved,” or he is anxious and fearful that he has been predestined for damnation. The comic-tragic novels of Peter DeVries, such as Slouching Toward Kalamazoo and The Blood of the Lamb, catch this spirit of Grand Rapids Calvinism.

 

J-730

"As a matter of fact, however, also in the doctrine of predestination Zwingli and Calvin were just as far and as fundamentally apart from Luther as their entire rationalistic theology differed from the simple and implicit Scripturalism of Luther. Frank truly says that the agreement between Luther's doctrine and that of Zwingli and Calvin is 'only specious, nur scheinbar.' (1, 118.) Tschackert remarks: 'Whoever [among the theologians before the Formula of Concord] was acquainted with the facts could not but see that in this doctrine [of predestination] there was a far-reaching difference between the Lutheran and the Calvinistic theology.' (559.) F. Pieper declares that Luther and Calvin agree only in certain expressions, but differ entirely as to substance. (Dogmatics, III, 554.)"

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 209.

 

J-731

"Calvin and his adherents boldly rejected the universality of God's grace, of Christ's redemption, and of the Spirit's efficacious operation through the means of grace, and taught that, in the last analysis, also the eternal doom of the damned was solely due to an absolute decree of divine reprobation (in their estimation the logical complement of election), and this at the very time when they pretended adherence to the Augsburg Confession and were making heavy inroads into Lutheran territory with their doctrine concerning the Lord's Supper and the person of Christ, –which in itself was sufficient reason for a public discussion and determined resentment of their absolute predestinarianism."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 195f.

 

The Arminians, named for their leader Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), rejected the double predestination of Calvin and argued for the universal Atonement of Christ. The Synod of Dort (1618-1619) established the five classic doctrines of Calvinism against the Arminians, but few Reformed today believe or teach them. The Arminians emphasize free will instead of double predestination, so they are represented by most Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists today.[23] Although Calvin began the concept of making the Word “reasonable” and “germane,” the Arminians have nurtured that error to the point of insisting on “marketing the Gospel” and using “entertainment evangelism.” Their concept of salvation is no less murky than the Calvinists. The burden of the Law is great on both sides, both for the teacher and for the potential convert. The teacher must teach in such a way as to win the lost soul, but the lost soul must make a decision, have the right disposition toward God, suffer and yield, and complete the transaction. He may be required to speak in tongues or to give up certain outward vices. Although Calvin was no revivalist, all the errors of the Reformed stem from his errors, since the foundation of Enthusiasm cannot sustain anything except the monster of uncertainty.[24]

 

J-732

"Reformed ministers make the impression that they are trying to talk people into something instead of telling their people that they have a message from God, a 'Thus saith the Lord,' which is to be accepted without argumentation upon the authority of God's Word. This weakens their preaching."

Martin S. Sommer, Concordia Pulpit for 1932, Martin S. Sommer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1931, p. v.

 

J-733

"The crudest extravagances of revivalism (Methodism, Pentecostalism, Holy Rollerism) have their root in this specifically Reformed doctrine of the immediate working of the Holy Spirit.”

"Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 299.

 

J-734

"Zwingli, Calvin, and their adherents denied that the Word of God always possesses the same efficacy, and that God always operates through the Word."

E. Hove, Christian Doctrine, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1930, p. 27.

 

Law/Gospel Confusion

 

Another symptom of Enthusiasm is confusion between the Law and the Gospel. When this is done, there is often very little Gospel at all, because the Law is used to reveal sin, but the Gospel is mixed with the Law to offer salvation. When the Gospel includes Law demands, the Gospel is no longer Gospel but Law. This confusion stems from Calvin’s bizarre statements about the Gospel. He claimed that the Gospel slays the sinner, a concept captured in the popular hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

 

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.

 

The problem with Newton’s original text is that he places God’s grace in the role of the Law, teaching his heart to fear. Traditional Lutherans do not sing these words because they are contrary to the Bible.

 

 

J-735

"Because saving grace is particular, according to the teaching of the Calvinists, there are no means of grace for that part of mankind to which the grace of God and the merit of Christ do not extend. On the contrary, for these people the means of grace are intended as means of condemnation. Calvin teaches expressly: 'For there is a universal call, through which, by the external preaching of the Word, God invites all, indiscriminately, to come to Him, even those for whom He intends it as a savor of death and an occasion of heavier condemnation' (Institutes, III, 24, 8)."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 118f.

 

J-736

"But according to the teaching of Calvinism this 'inner illumination' is not brought about through the means of grace; it is worked immediately by the Holy Ghost. Modern Reformed, too, teach this very emphatically. Hodge, for example, says: 'In the work of regeneration all second causes are excluded....Nothing intervenes between the volition of the Spirit and the regeneration of the soul....The infusion of a new life into the soul is the immediate work of the Spirit....The truth (in the case of adults)[that is, the setting forth of the truth of the Gospel through the external Word] attends the work of regeneration, but is not the means by which it is effected." [Hodge, Systematic Theology, II, 634f.]

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 120.

 

Crypto-Calvinists, Then and Now

 

Before Luther's death, most of the doctrinal battles were against the Medieval errors of Roman Catholicism. After his death in 1546, the errors of John Calvin began to undermine Lutheran doctrine. Calvin's errors, in this controversy, concerned the two natures of Christ as well as the Lord's Supper. What someone believes about Christ will inevitably be reflected in what he believes about Holy Communion. Calvin could not believe that the resurrected Christ could pass through solid walls (John 20:19).

 

J-737

“They [the Lutherans] object that Christ went forth from the closed sepulcher [Matthew 28:6] and went to His disciples through closed doors [John 20:19]. This gives no more support to their error. For just as the water, like a solid pavement, provided Christ with a path as He walked upon the lake [Matthew 14:25], so it is no wonder if the hardness of the stone yielded at His approach. Yet it is more probable that the stone was removed at His command, and immediately after He passed through, returned to its place. And to enter through closed doors means not just penetrating through solid matter but opening an entrance for Himself by divine power, so that He suddenly stood among His disciples clearly, in a wonderful way, although the doors were locked.”

            John Calvin, ed. John T. McNeill, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 vols., Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, II, p. 1400. Book IV, XVII, #29.

 

Similarly, Calvin could not accept the Real Presence of Christ with the elements of the Lord's Supper.[25] In addition, he separated the work of the Holy Spirit from the Word, so the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism were symbolic and not effective in Calvin's thought. Once again, Melanchthon's unionism, timidity, and lack of honesty played a tragic part in launching the evil Crypto-Calvinist party. His desire for union with Calvin's Geneva and with Rome caused Melanchthon to change his views and try to strike a compromising position somewhere between the truth, Rome, and Geneva.

As early as 1535, Melanchthon harbored anti-Lutheran views, but hid them from Luther. By 1540 Melanchthon had changed the Augsburg Confession to conform with Calvin's views! Many people are still astonished today that Luther's co-worker could alter a confession of the Lutheran Church on his own. That is why Lutheran denominations adhere to the "Unaltered Augsburg Confession" or UAC, as found on church cornerstones. Melanchthon urged his followers to dissimulate, to cleverly deceive, rather than reveal their positions to the pure Lutherans. Modern Crypto-Calvinists, in the Church Growth Movement, also refuse to state their doctrinal beliefs.

 

J-738

"To all practical purposes the University of Wittenberg was already Calvinized. Calvinistic books appeared and were popular. Even the work of a Jesuit against the book of Jacob Andreae on the Majesty of the Person of Christ was published at Wittenberg. The same was done with a treatise of Beza, although, in order to deceive the public, the title-page gave Geneva as the place of publication. Hans Lufft, the Wittenberg printer, later declared that during this time he did not know how to dispose of the books of Luther which he still had in stock, but that, if he had printed twenty or thirty times as many Calvinistic books, he would have sold all of them very rapidly."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 189.

 

 

Joachim Westphal was the one of the first to warn Lutherans of the influence of Calvinism. John Calvin caused confusion by his early agreement with the Lutheran position. Melanchthon secretly converted to Calvin’s position on the Lord’s Supper. Westphal's polemics brought out Calvin's polemics, which clarified the differences between the two confessions. During this period of time, a group of Philipp Melanchthon's followers in Wittenberg conspired to surrender Luther's Reformation to the Calvinists. They convinced the Elector August that they were faithful Lutherans. These secret Calvinists (Crypto-Calvinists) also encouraged the Elector to drive out the genuine Lutherans, accusing the faithful men of being heretics! Luther predicted this would happen.

The Crypto-Calvinists gathered Melanchthon’s writings into a Corpus Philippicum with the approval of Melanchthon. The group of writings included Melanchthon's false doctrine and excluded Luther's writings. Those who did not subscribe to the document were deposed and driven out of their church positions. Early success made the Crypto-Calvinists bolder. They surrounded Elector August and convinced him to persecute sincere Lutherans as zealots and trouble-makers. Calvinist books were promoted to such a degree in Wittenberg that Luther's books remained unsold. The theologians craftily published a book, Exegesis Perspicua, which advocated union with the Calvinists, surrendering all doctrinal points to Calvin. Their triumph opened the eyes of the naive Elector, but one more stroke destroyed them in their cleverness.

           

 

The Crypto-Calvinists Self-Destruct

 

After Luther's death in 1546, Melanchthon's followers, with his help, conspired to replace Luther's doctrine with Calvin's at Wittenberg, Leipzig, and across Germany. Their stealth book, Exegesis Perspicua, revealed their dishonesty and allegiance to Calvin. Elector August, a faithful Lutheran who had been deceived by the Crypto-Calvinists, was angered and humiliated. The Crypto-Calvinists added to their fame as liars in 1574, when a Calvinist devotional book was delivered to the wrong person.

 

J-739

"By mistake the letter was delivered to the wife of the court-preacher Lysthenius....After opening the letter and finding it to be written in Latin, she gave it to her husband, who, in turn, delivered it to the Elector. In it Peucer requested Schuetze dexterously to slip into the hands of Anna, the wife of the Elector, a Calvinistic prayer-book which he had sent with the letter. Peucer added: 'If first we have Mother Anna on our side, there will be no difficulty in winning His Lordship [her husband] too.' Additional implicating material was discovered when Augustus now confiscated the correspondence of Peucer, Schuetze, Stoessel, and Cracow. The letters found revealed the consummate perfidy, dishonesty, cunning, and treachery of the men who had been the trusted advisers of the Elector, who had enjoyed his implicit confidence, and who by their falsehoods had caused him to persecuted hundreds of innocent and faithful Lutheran ministers. The fact was clearly established that these Philippists had been systematically plotting to Calvinize Saxony. The very arguments with which Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper and the Person of Christ might best be refuted were enumerated in these letters. However, when asked by the Elector whether they were Calvinists, these self-convicted deceivers are said to have answered that 'they would not see the face of God in eternity if in any point they were addicted to the doctrines of the Sacramentarians or deviated in the least from Dr. Luther's teaching.' (Walther, 56.)"

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 190

 

The sly letter enclosed with the book from Melanchthon's son-in-law, suggested that Elector August be converted through his wife Anna. August ordered an investigation, which revealed even more intrigue. The Crypto-Calvinists were thrown into prison. August took on a leadership role in restoring genuine Lutheran doctrine. Martin Chemnitz, Jacob Andreae, and Nicholas Selnecker were made trusted advisors to August.[26]

As horrible as the Crypto-Calvinist reign appeared at the time, their excesses and sudden collapse provided a God-given way to unite Lutherans in a common confession. At the Colloquy of Worms in 1557, the Lutherans were divided, thanks to Melanchthon, and the Romanists refused to negotiate with them. Many unity efforts failed, until Jacob Andreae published his Six Christian Sermons in 1573. Andreae's sermons, the collapse of the Crypto-Calvinists, and Martin Chemnitz' leadership all combined to generate movement toward the Formula of Concord.

 

J-740

"What really gave Andreae a break and promoted his unity endeavors was the exposure of the Crypto-Calvinists in Wittenberg in 1574. Thus all three groups of true Lutherans were for the first time in many years to sit down at the table and devote their efforts to their internal problems. Just about this time Andreae providentially published his Six Christian Sermons. At this point and on these sermons Chemnitz was willing to talk."

J. A. O. Preus, The Second Martin, The Life and Theology of Martin Chemnitz, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994, p. 183.

 

 

 

 

J-741

"The Exegesis perspicua [1573] marked the end of the hidden and underhanded efforts of those within Saxony who had espoused Calvinism. Everything was out in the open. These men repudiated the sacramental union, the oral eating of the body of Christ, and the eating of the body by the wicked. They held that Christ's body is enclosed in heaven and Christ is present in the Supper only in His power. There is no union of the body of Christ with the bread. The ubiquity doctrine of Brenz is repudiated as Eutychianism, and ancient heresy that asserted that after the union of the divine and human natures in Christ only one nature remained. Believers who participated in the Supper, the Wittenbergers asserted, become members of Christ who is present and efficacious through the symbols of bread and wine. They lavished praise on the Reformed and urged immediate union with them in opposition to the papacy."

J. A. O. Preus, The Second Martin, The Life and Theology of Martin Chemnitz, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994, p. 175f.

 

The Formula of Concord required the cooperation of Andreae, Chemnitz, Selnecker, David Chytraeus, Musculus, and Cornerus.[27] Most people could not abide Andreae, because of his tactless, overbearing, and self-willed nature, but he was crucial in getting the work started and completed. Chemnitz was the dominant theologian, but the others all contributed significant insights to the Formula, which was signed in 1577. The Book of Concord, which includes the Ecumenical Creeds, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology to the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, was completed in 1580.

 

J-742

"Such was the manner in which the Elector allowed himself to be duped by the Philippists who surrounded him, —men who gradually developed the art of dissimulation to premeditated deceit, falsehood, and perjury. Even the Reformed theologian Simon Stenius, a student at Wittenberg during the Crypto-Calvinistic period, charges the Wittenbergers with dishonesty and systematic dissimulation."

F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 188.

 

Crypto-Calvinism Now

 

J-743

"In other words, Zwingli and his numerous adherents declare that the means God has ordained are unnecessary and hinder true piety."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 104.

 

 

J-744

"Calvinism rejects the means of grace as unnecessary; it holds that the Holy Spirit requires no escort or vehicle by which to enter human hearts."

John T. Mueller, "Grace, Means of," Lutheran Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Lueker, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1975, p. 344.

 

J-745

"The Christian doctrine of the means of grace is abolished by all 'enthusiasts,' all who assume a revealing and effective operation of the Holy Spirit without and alongside the divinely ordained means of grace."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 127.

 

J-746

"Our opponents hold that saving faith must be founded on Christ Himself, not on the means of grace. This reasoning, common to the Reformed, the 'enthusiasts' of all shades, and modern 'experience' theologians, assumes that faith can and should be based on Christ to the exclusion of the means of grace."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 152.

 

J-747

"The specific Reformed cultus, due to the Reformed denial of the efficacy and objective nature of the Means of Grace, represents a quest after the grace of God revolving around human agency and subjective experience. The Lutheran cultus places the grace of God nigh unto the sinner in the Means of Grace."

Th. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 21.

 

J-748

"The Reformed are simply deluding themselves in claiming Scripture support for their teaching regarding the means of grace. Their teaching is not derived from the Bible."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 150.

 

 

J-749

"The doctrine of salvation through the Means of Grace is distinctive of Lutheranism. The Catholic churches have no use for means of grace, for a Gospel and for Sacraments which offer salvation as a free gift. And the Reformed churches, while they hold, in general, that salvation is by grace, repudiate the Gospel and the Sacraments as the means of grace. It is clear that matters of fundamental importance are involved. The chief article of the Christian religion, justification by faith, stands and falls with the article of the Means of Grace. Justification by faith means absolutely nothing without the Means of Grace, whereby the righteousness gained by Christ is bestowed and faith, which appropriates the gift, is created."

The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 4f.

 

J-750

"This downplaying of the importance of the means of grace on the part of many in the Church Growth Movement would seem to stem from several factors."[28]

David J. Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement: An Evaluation," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1991 88, p. 105. Holidaysburg, 10-15-90.[29] [emphasis added]

 

J-751

"Observe, then, the depreciative, contemptuous, and scorning ring in the words of the Reformed when they speak of the sacred Means of Grace, the Word and the Sacraments, and the grand majestic ring in the words of the Lord and the apostles when they speak of these matters...The true reason for the Reformed view is this: They do not know how a person is to come into possession of the divine grace, the forgiveness of sin, righteousness in the sight of God, and eternal salvation. Spurning the way which God has appointed, they are pointing another way, in accordance with new devices which they have invented."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 152f.

 

J-752

Luther: "True, the enthusiasts confess that Christ died on the cross and saved us; but they repudiate that by which we obtain Him; that is, the means, the way, the bridge, the approach to Him they destroy...They lock up the treasure which they should place before us and lead me a fool's chase; they refuse to admit me to it; they refuse to transmit it; they deny me its possession and use." (III, 1692)

The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 5.

 

J-753

"On the other hand, the enthusiasts should be rebuked with great earnestness and zeal, and should in no way be tolerated in the Church of God, who imagine [dream] that God, without any means, without the hearing of the divine Word, and without the use of the holy Sacraments, draws men to Himself, and enlightens, justifies, and saves them." [30]

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 80, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 911. Tappert, p. 536. Heiser, p. 249. Heiser, p. 249.

 

 

J-754

"And it is of advantage, so far as can be done, to adorn the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical men, who dream that the Holy Ghost is given not through the Word, but because of certain preparations of their own, if they sit unoccupied and silent in obscure places, waiting for illumination, as the Enthusiasts formerly taught, and the Anabaptists now teach."

Article XIII, The Sacraments, 13, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 311. Tappert, p. 213. Heiser, p. 95.

 

J-755

"Dr. Luther, who, above others, certainly understood the true and proper meaning of the Augsburg Confession, and who constantly remained steadfast thereto till his end, and defended it, shortly before his death repeated his faith concerning this article with great zeal in his last Confession, where he writes thus: 'I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all [other] saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone, and hope for no fellowship with me; this is not going to be altered [thus my opinion stands, which I am not going to change]."

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, #33. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 983. Tappert, p. 575. Heiser, p. 267.

 


 

Part Three: Jacob Spener and Pietism

 

Pieper on Pietism

J-756

"In so far as Pietism did not point poor sinners directly to the means of grace, but led them to reflect on their own inward state to determine whether their contrition was profound enough and their faith of the right caliber, it actually denied the complete reconciliation by Christ (the satisfactio vicaria), robbed justifying faith of its true object, and thus injured personal Christianity in its foundation and Christian piety in its very essence."

            Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 175.

 

 

Hoenecke on Pietism

J-757

"Wohl scheint auf den ersten Blick die ganze Differenz recht unbedeutend; aber in Wahrheit gibt sich hier die gefaehrliche Richtung der Pietisten zu erkennen, das Leben ueber die Lehre, die Heiligung ueber die Rechtfertigung und die Froemmigkeit nicht als Folge, sondern als Bedingung der Erleuchtung zu setzen also eine Art Synergismus und Pelagianismus einzufuehren. (At first glance, the total difference seems absolutely paltry, but in truth the dangerous direction of Pietism is made apparent: life over doctrine, sanctification over justification, and piety not as a consequence but declared as a stipulation of enlightenment, leading to a kind of synergism and Pelagianism.)"

Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelische-Lutherische Dogmatik, 4 vols., ed., Walter and Otto Hoenecke, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1912, III, p. 253.

 

 

Walther on Pietism

J-758

"What may be the reason why the Pietists, who were really well-intentioned people, hit upon the doctrine that no one could be a Christian unless he had ascertained the exact day and hour of his conversion? The reason is that they imagined a person must suddenly experience a heavenly joy and hear an inner voice telling him that he had been received into grace and had become a child of God. Having conceived this notion of the mode and manner of conversion, they were forced to declare that a person must be able to name the day and hour when he was converted, became a new creature, received forgiveness of sins, and was robed in the righteousness of Christ. However, we have already come to understand in part what a great, dangerous, and fatal error this is."

            C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 194f. Thesis IX.

 

"'Pay more attention to pure life, and you will raise a growth of genuine Christianity.' That is exactly like saying to a farmer: 'Do not worry forever about good seed; worry about good fruits.' Is not a farmer properly concerned about good fruit when he is solicitous about getting good seed? Just so a concern about pure doctrine is the proper concern about genuine Christianity and a sincere Christian life. False doctrine is noxious seed, sown by the enemy to produce a progeny of wickedness. The pure doctrine is wheat-seed; from it spring the children of the Kingdom, who even in the present life belong in the kingdom of Jesus Christ and in the life to come will be received into the Kingdom of Glory."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 21.

 

J-759

"Meanwhile, back in Europe the corrosive effects of Pietism in blurring doctrinal distinctions had left much of Lutheranism defenseless against the devastating onslaught of Rationalism which engulfed the continent at the beginning of the 19th century. With human reason set up as the supreme authority for determining truth, it became an easy matter to disregard doctrinal differences and strive for a 'reasonable' union of Lutherans and Reformed."

Martin W. Lutz, "God the Holy Spirit Acts Through the Lord's Supper," God The Holy Spirit Acts, ed., Eugene P. Kaulfield, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1972, p. 176.

 

If the reader has a good grasp of the Reformed rejection of the Means of Grace, then this section will explain how Pietism served as the midwife to deliver Reformed doctrines into the Lutheran Church. This is a key area, because the Church Growth serpents use Pietism as their litmus test. If a Lutheran has a favorable view of Pietism, he can be depended upon to be a supporter of cell groups, subjectivism, heart religion (with no connection to the brain), revivals, lay or staff ministers, Seeker Services, unionism, and judging success by outward appearances. All positive references to a heart religion are a signal that the speaker has a heart and is loving, in contrast with the cold, heartless orthodox who make sound doctrine the priority. If a Lutheran criticizes Pietism, then he can be safely described as an enemy of the Church Growth Movement.

 

Characteristics of Pietism

 

The Lutheran Pietists of today do not necessarily call themselves Pietists. They may even use the term Pietist in a disparaging way, a common occurrence in the Wisconsin Synod, where Pietism dominates.[31] I told one young pastor who woke up to the Confessions and phoned me, years after I left the synod, “You are not in a Lutheran Synod. You are in a Pietistic Reformed sect that has some Lutherans in it.” In fact, the Lutheran Church Growth Pietists are so burdened with self-loathing that they accuse their opponents of being Church Growth advocates, a logical short-circuit if there ever was one.[32] It goes like this, “We hate you because you criticize the Church Growth Movement. You actually support the Church Growth Movement, so you cannot say anything against us.”[33] Nevertheless, it is not difficult to detect the Lutheran Pietists, even if they throw out a smoke screen and a few stink bombs to avoid being spotted. The characteristics of Lutheran Pietism are:

1.     Doctrinal indifference. Pietists are annoyed and infuriated by doctrinal discernment.

2.     Unionism. We find an unseemly zeal in Pietists to have all manner of denominations in religious projects together. Some examples are James Tiefel’s pan-denominational worship conference, Bethany College having a Roman Catholic bishop as a featured speaker, and Wisconsin Lutheran College aping Bethany by promoting Roman Catholic Archbishop Weakland as a special speaker, along with other Roman Catholic priests![34] The Missouri Synod has featured ELCA women pastors preaching in their pulpits, always with a feeble and toothless response.

3.     Lay led cell groups. According to Pietists, this is the real church. They feverishly promote cell groups under a variety of names: home Bible study, prayer, koinonia, care or share groups. Lutheran Pietists need congregations to support their work, but they regard those who attend cell group meetings as the only genuine members. Waldo Werning and Kent Hunter, both listed in Who’s Who in Church Growth, heavily promoted cell groups in the Missouri Synod and WELS. Cell groups manufacture disciples, they claim.

4.     The ordination of women. Cell groups have by-passed normal synodical restrictions on women teaching men and usurping authority. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio, introduced Serendipity cell groups in the 1980s with a husband and wife leading the sessions. Soon the husband disappeared. Then, when a man questioned how the group was being managed, the woman snarled at him, “I’m in charge here.”

5.     Promotion of Reformed publications. Look up the Northwestern Publishing House website and look at the evangelism books. Examine the reading list for the Missouri Synod’s evangelism committees and synodical commission. Read the Church of the Lutheran Confession’s While There Is Day. Study footnotes in evangelism books. You will find the muddy footprints of the Reformed. You will not find these characters promoting orthodox Lutheran authors.[35]

6.     Spiritual gifts inventory. Lutheran leaders borrowed this from the Pentecostals, dreaming that it would beef up their congregation’s size.[36]

7.     Denigration of the ministry, worship, and the Sacraments. Everyone is a minister, so the divinely called pastor becomes a hireling to manage cell groups. Worship must generate fuzzy feelings, so the Law/Gospel sermon, the liturgy, creeds, pipe organ, and vestments must go. Baptism can remain for now, but Holy Communion is pushed into the background as an obstacle.

 

Reading Habits of Lutherans

 

Recently, someone took an informal survey about the reading habits of Lutheran clergy. The pastors who hated the Church Growth Movement read the Triglotta, the King James Version, Luther, Walther, and other confessional writers. The pastors who loved the Church Growth Movement read the NIV and books by Reformed authors. The genius of Pietism is that it can inject itself into a Lutheran body slowly while allowing the membership to think they are still Lutherans. When Pastor Tim Buelow was newly ordained in WELS, he looked at my library in astonishment. He said, “You really have a Lutheran library. Most of us have lots of Reformed books.” I asked why. “Because they were required reading at Mequon.” For that reason I have tried to get pastors to read kosher, to expend energy on Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Chytraeus, and Walther, and to sing kosher, using hymns by Luther, Selnecker, Jacobs, Loy, Gerhardt, and Nicolai.

I would like to take credit for inventing one new doctrine in the Lutheran Church: the non-reciprocity of false teachers. The Reformed do not promote Lutheran books and Lutheran doctrine at their seminaries, headquarters, and congregations, so Lutherans should not promote Reformed doctrine and books at any time. If Lutherans enforced this one rule, God would bless their work once again. I am outraged when so-called Lutheran presses publish and promote Reformed works.[37] Lutherans must also write in such a way that no one doubts their trust in the Means of Grace, even when they happen to publish with non-Lutheran presses. I understand the temptation to submerge Lutheran doctrine, because I could publish books in Grand Rapids and make a lot of money if I only suppressed infant baptism, baptismal regeneration, the Real Presence, and the efficacy of the Word. I could write around these subjects if I wanted to follow the example of Lutheran leaders today. However, I cannot write anything religious and surgically remove those doctrines that give eternal life to me and my family.

 

J-760

"Pietism greatly weakened the confessional consciousness which was characteristic of orthodox Lutheranism."

            Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1945.

 

Jacob Spener published his Pia Desideria (Pious Wishes) in 1675 when he was 40 years old. The famous book was simply an essay, published as a preface to one of J. Arndt’s sermon books. Spener had the advantage of a free promotional ride in a very popular and respected book. Much later, Arndt was still regarded as highly as Luther, so Spener had the benefit of this association. The Muhlenberg tradition regarded Pietism favorably, but the Missouri Synod did not. Nevertheless, for all the sound criticism aimed at Pietists by name in Law and Gospel, Walther did not name Spener in his classic work. Although I am guessing, I believe that Walther spared Spener because of the man’s iconic stature in the Lutheran Church. Spener’s proposals in Pia Desideria are summarized by Heick below.

 

J-761

“It contains six proposals for a reformation of the Church:

(1)  a more diligent study of the Bible;

(2)  a more serious application of Luther’s doctrine of the general priesthood of all believers;

(3)  confession of Christ by deed rather than a fruitless search after theological knowledge;

(4)  prayer for unbelievers and erring Christians rather than useless dogmatic disputations;

(5)  reform of the theological curriculum with emphasis on personal piety;

(6)  devotional arrangement of sermons instead of formal arrangement after the manner of rhetoric.”

Otto W. Heick, A History of Christian Thought, two volumes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966, II, p. 21f.

 

Pastor Mark Jeske offered almost the same program of Pietistic reform in the Wisconsin Synod, when he addressed a conference:

 

J-762

Here are the top ten areas of our ministries in which I would like to see changed.

1.     Myself. I trust God too little....

2.     We don't prize our synod and our ministry relationships enough....Our called workers at 2929 will tell you that they take a lot more abuse than encouragement.

3.     We need to loosen up....Our public worship/praise/prayer style seems stiff, overly formal, unemotional, smotheringly doctrinal. I personally do not think that our synod in general has a good balance of head & heart in our worship life. There. I said it.

4.     Our schools are not being fully utilized to draw unchurched people into the fellowship.

5.     We need to love cities more.

6.     We need to welcome diversity, prize new racial groups and the cultural and ministry treasures that they bring. New people groups coming in to the WELS will not pollute our "pure" (quotation marks in the original) Lutheran practices. but enrich them.

7.     We need a little more sanity and calm in our discussions of church fellowship. Things I can't stand:

·       Assigning a seminary professor a paper and then letting all applications and conclusions become canon law instead of each of us getting into Word [sic] personally.

·       passing off crude oversimplification as WELS canon law, such as, "You can't pray with anybody who is not WELS," or "if anyone rejects a clear word of God, he is in rebellion against the most High God and you can't be sure that he/she is really saved.

·       We have a very highly developed sense of what we can't do with other Christians, to the point that it is safer to have nothing to do with other Christians. We lack the positive side of dealing with other Christians in practical ways.

8.     I think we need a little more sanity in dealing with men/women role issues in the church....sometimes the WELS position is described as asserting male headship in all relationships: in family, church and society. Scripture speaks only of the first two areas, and so should we.

9.     We need to declare a moratorium on negative comments about public schools. It is possible to be proud of our WELS system without running down Milwaukee Public Schools. There are many wonderful educational programs and innovations happening in MPS that we would do well to study and learn from.

10.  There is a price that we have paid for our unity of practice in the WELS, and that is we have only each other as ministry models. We have many weak areas of ministry, such as in cities, and need to get around more to learn from other successful ministries even if they're not WELS. It is not helpful if our attempts to learn from other Christians is ridiculed as "sitting at the feet of the Reformed" or "capitulating to the papacy.”

Remarks delivered at a conference on March 3, 2000 by Rev. Mark Jeske, vice-president of WELS' Southeastern Wisconsin District.

 

Heick called Spener the “first union theologian.”[38] Spener rejected Calvin’s double predestination but accepted his view of the Lord’s Supper. The Pietists also rejected baptismal regeneration so the effect of the movement was to keep Lutherans as nominal Lutherans while they embraced Enthusiasm and worked actively with the Reformed.[39] Some people will argue with this claim, but I am willing to say that American Christianity is inherently the religion of Pietism and that includes Roman Catholicism as well. True, one can find all kinds of distinctions that fill the pages of dissertations and journal articles. However, look at the history of American Christianity in the last two centuries and see if it is not within the pattern of Pietism, a fact which will become more obvious when this section is studied. As Patsy Leppien observed when writing What’s Going on Among the Lutherans?, it is difficult to describe Pietism and what is wrong with the movement. When Lutherans try to start a mission in the South, they are forced into this kind of argument, “The Southern Baptists are for prayer and against whiskey. We are for whiskey and against prayer.” That explains why Lutherans would rather join the Pietists than fight them. This is our history, America:

A.    The German Lutherans and German Reformed tried to create a merger based on nationality rather than doctrine. Many congregations, including the Wisconsin Synod, began in this fashion.

B.    The German merger failed to take place on a national scale, but the Evangelical Alliance sought to bring all Protestants together in the 19th century.

C.    Revivalism has marked the American scene from the days of Whitefield.[40] The 20th century saw the hollow successes of Billy Sunday and Billy Graham.

D.    American Pietism in the 19th century led to the union efforts of the more liberal denominations through the Federal Council of Churches, reorganized as the National Council of Churches when the FCC became too overtly Marxist.

E.     Lutheran groups have often been as Pietistic as the Methodists, banning card playing, dancing, alcohol consumption, tobacco, theatre, movies, and insurance.

F.     The most Pietistic groups in one generation become the most Unitarian in the next. ELCA’s Muhlenberg roots and Midwestern Scandinavian Pietism have collapsed into mindless activism.

G.    All the mergers and pan-Christian efforts have been based upon teary-eyed emotional appeals. The American Lutheran Church Bishop David Preus, who established Holy Communion with the Reformed, admonished his audience not to “major in the minors.” He used the example of Lincoln telling his quarreling generals, “Gentleman, the enemy is over THERE.” One Lutheran leader used this story, full of enough holes to make a city slicker wonder: A little boy was lost in the fields. The entire town was called out and they could not find him in the tall rows of corn. Finally they joined hands and went down the rows together. They found him, too late. He was dead. The town leader cried out, “Why didn’t we join hands earlier?” The necessary, moist, heart-pounding conclusion was that Lutherans had to merge before someone died.[41] It is ironic that David Preus joined a host of former synod officials in howling about how the new ELCA leaders ruined their synod.

 

J-763

“Spener maintained that the doctrinal difference between the two churches of the Reformation, the Lutheran and the Reformed, was such that it should no longer exclude a mutual recognition in the faith. In this manner Spener and the Pietists in general did the spade work for the church unions of the nineteenth century.”

            Otto W. Heick, A History of Christian Thought, two volumes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966, II, p. 21f.

 

Two additional characteristics of Pietism mentioned by Heick are: 1) chiliasm, a focus upon the endtimes; and 2) an emphasis upon the blood of Christ. One early and important Pietist, Johann Bengel, taught that the blood of Christ was drained from His body on the cross, not reunited with His body, but stored in heaven for the sprinkling of sinners in justification. Bengel’s doctrine helps to explain why American Lutheran Pietists have had problems with millennialism and why Pietistic hymns are often so bloody.

 

J-764

“Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, My glorious dress;

Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.”

Ludwig von Zinzendorf, “Jesus Thy Blood,” The Lutheran Hymnal, #371, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

 

Pietism is a complicated and extensive subject to treat. The movement influenced all denominations in various ways and remains with us today in various ways. Many of our favorite hymns come from the Pietists. The common table prayer, “Come Lord Jesus,” was written by Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a man so influential that Halle sent Henry Melchior Muhlenberg to America to counter his influence among Lutherans. This action created an ironic situation, where a Pietist was sent to keep Lutherans from following another Pietist. The Muhlenberg tradition in America became the largest segment of the Lutheran Church in America when it merged in 1962. Another significant group was the Augustana Synod, the Swedish Lutheran denomination formed to bring Pietism to America.

 

 

Muhlenberg and Pietism

J-765

"The pietism and unionism of Muhlenberg and his colaborers was the door through which, in the days of Wesley and Whitefield, revivalism had found an early, though limited, entrance into the Lutheran Church."

F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 2 vols., The United Lutheran Church, Gen Synod, General Council, United Synod in the South, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 78.

 

It was not possible to merge all the doctrinally indifferent Lutherans together in the 1960s. The Norwegian Pietists and conservative Germans of the old American Lutheran Church (1930 merger) formed The American Lutheran Church in 1960. Although the German side of the ALC merger was more inclined toward orthodoxy, we can find in Professor Lenski’s excellent commentaries a reference to the issue of dancing, an issue among Pietists. That reference does not make Lenski a Pietist, but it shows that dancing was an issue in his era as well. He also wrote books for pastors to use for Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services, also typical of the agenda of Pietism. Although one will now find Sunday and Wednesday evening services expected among the Fundamentalists, it is not part of Lutheran parish planning, except for mid-week services in Advent and Lent.

 

J-766

"Since the age of Rationalism and Lutheran Pietism a new spirit has crept into the life of the church which is un-Lutheran, un-Evangelical, and un-biblical. The Sacraments have been neglected at the expense of the Word."

            Walter G. Tillmanns, "Means of Grace: Use of," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, II, p. 1505.

 

Symptoms of Lutheran Pietism

 

One must generalize about Pietism, since its influence has been so extensive and damaging. But generalizing is an effort deeply resented by Lutheran Pietists, because it implies extensive reading, study, and years of experience. If we recognize the undercurrent of Enthusiasm among Lutherans, especially in the conservative synods, we can see why rejecting the efficacy of the Word and welcoming the doctrines and methods of Pietism go claw in claw.

 

Lay Led Cell Groups[42]

The conventicle, as it was called then, was the chief method for promoting Pietism. Claiming that the visible church was dead or not active enough, Pietists gathered to study and pray. The ideal was and continues to be a higher or deeper spiritual life with an abundance of good works. Such gatherings can be very intense, intimate, and binding. A reader has pointed out that a small group is used quite effectively for Marxist cell groups and Navy SEAL teams. Since the Means of Grace are set aside in cell groups, prayer becomes the only means of grace.[43] The Reformed emphasize prayer groups and prayer as a means of grace, so Reformed material is extremely attractive to Lutheran Pietists.[44] In addition, since these groups tend to be open to outsiders, false teachers gladly participate. One Adventist minister attended a Missouri Synod Bible study group and dominated all the meetings until I complained!

When I warned a Missouri Synod congregation against all lay led cell groups, since they are typically anti-Means of Grace, one woman was very angry. She attended a Lutheran study group and did not see what was wrong with it. Later, she attended the lay-led group and brought up Baptism as a sacrament. The leader of the Lutheran cell group became very hostile and did not want to discuss the topic. The cell group leader did not believe in Baptism. Much later the woman admitted her anger about my comments and what had happened subsequently. She said, “Now I know what you meant.” She was impressed by the hostility expressed by a Lutheran leader about something so basic to all Lutherans.

 

J-767

"We probably think first of such groups coming into being in the late 1600s in connection with Pietism. Spener promoted them as a vehicle by which pious laypeople could be a leaven for good in reforming the 'dead orthodoxy' of a congregation and its pastor."[45]

Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.

 

J-768

"The point being made here is that the reason for having home Bible study in small groups seems to have shifted from the Pietists' or parachurch groups goal of creating cells of people who will reform the church to having small groups as an integral part of a congregation's work."

Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.

 

Whenever cell groups meet, Pentecostals or charismatics see these groups as fertile ground for promoting tongue-speaking. If one can fervently pray for God’s grace and forgiveness, then how much better would it be to speak in tongues? Every glossolalia salesman acts as if he swallowed the Holy Ghost feathers and all, so innocent people are easily swindled by the talk of “love” and “Jesus” and “do not let them quench the Holy Spirit.” Many WELS and LCMS pastors enamored of the Church Growth Movement have abandoned Lutheran doctrine to be non-denominational, Reformed, or charismatic.

Whether the cell group is Pentecostal or not, spiritual pride soon sets in. The group is superior to the rest of the congregation, more loving, more generous, and more willing to witness. One advocate for koinonia groups in the LCA said, “ Who was in church every Sunday? The koinonia groups. Who showed up for work day? The koinonia groups. Who gave most of the offering? The koinonia groups. Before we had the koinonia groups, nothing was going on.”

 

J-769

"The church is no longer the community of those who have been called by the Word and the Sacraments, but the association of the reborn, of those who 'earnestly desire to be Christians'...The church in the true sense consists of the small circles of pietists, the 'conventicles,' where everyone knows everyone else and where experiences are freely exchanged. The man who is really pious can and must stand on his own feet. Only little weight is attached to the ministry of the Word, to worship services, the Sacraments, to confession and absolution, and to the observance of Christian customs; a thoroughly regenerated person does not need these crutches at all. Pietism stressed the personal element over against the institutional; voluntariness versus compulsion; the present versus tradition, and the rights of the laity over against the pastors.”

            Martin Schmidt, "Pietism," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1899.

 

Cell groups are also extremely divisive. They not only act superior, but also set themselves up against the congregation and pastor. Many Baptists will admit sheepishly that they have Sunday School leaders who have never set foot in church for decades and never plan to do so. Obviously, for them, the lay-led group is the real church. These words are often spoken by Lutheran Pietists: my church is the home Bible study group. The group leader often conducts himself as an opponent of the called pastor. At the very least, the Means of Grace are scorned or diminished in favor of experience, feelings, and the intimacy of the group.

 

Doctrinal Indifference

Spener’s program made personal experience the norm of the Christian. What someone thought, felt, or experienced was more significant than what the Bible revealed or the Confessions taught. Lack of trust in the efficacy of the Gospel was accompanied by an anxious need “to witness, to save all those lost souls.” In addition, Lutheran orthodoxy is seen as an enemy of evangelism, as cold and intellectual.

 

J-770

"But a cold heart can beat close to a correct mind. There are too many churches with impeccable credentials for orthodox theology whose outreach is almost nil. They are 'sound,' but they are sound asleep." Leighton Ford (Billy Graham’s in-law), The Christian Persuader. Valleskey asks: "true to a certain degree of us?"

Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, Pastoral Theology 358A, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, p. 24.[46]

 

Lutheran Pietists excuse their love of Reformed doctrine by saying, “Look at all the witnessing I am doing.” Their position is appealing, because it does not require much thought. Any adult could carry a handful of their books easily. Their works are physically and doctrinally light but long on emotions, appealing to the Me Generation. Their leaders learn to pipe their eyes, as one person described it so eloquently. At the right moment, they burst into tears. One pastor would wipe a tear from his eye, hold it up, and look at it during the sermon. The best sermons at that church were succinctly described in this way: “The treasurer wept.”

As Professor Reu stated so well, doctrinal indifference and unionism are closely allied. One requires or causes the other. Doctrinal indifference is so important to Pietists that they get angry when someone insists on doctrinal standards. The Pietistic rebuke is either, “You are loveless and divisive,” or “We all believe in the same Lord. Why can’t we get along?” However, this indifference is also a smokescreen. The Pietists are not ecumenical about anti-Pietists. They will travel over heaven and earth to silence one dissenter, often with personal attacks. Pietists have perfected the art of shunning and excommunication. Many a pastor or lay leader has found himself permanently excluded by these apostles of love and tolerance. They should consider it a blessing from heaven.

 

The Holiness Code

The Reformed view of sanctification leads to a list of rules for proving acceptable Christian behavior. The strictest codes bar dancing or the observation of anyone dancing, all forms of alcohol, including communion wine, all makeup and jewelry, all movies and theatre, girls wearing slacks or shorts, anything suggestive of gambling, and all forms of tobacco. Each group has its peculiar variations upon the holiness code, which tends to slacken over a period of time. At first the Methodists were very keen on the code but lax about doctrine. When the Methodists became more liberal, conservatives within their ranks broke away to form their own denominations, trying to recapture the buzz of the holiness tradition. Hence, we have such groups as the Wesleyan Methodists, the Nazarenes, and the Church of God.

 

Sanctification

J-771

"This doctrine concerning the inability and wickedness of our natural free will and concerning our conversion and regeneration, namely, that it is a work of God alone and not of our powers, is [impiously, shamefully, and maliciously] abused in an unchristian manner both by enthusiasts and by Epicureans; and by their speeches many persons have become disorderly and irregular, and idle and indolent in all Christian exercises of prayer, reading and devout meditation; for they say that, since they are unable from their own natural powers to convert themselves to God, they will always strive with all their might against God, or wait until God converts them by force against their will; or since they can do nothing in these spiritual things, but everything is the operation of God the Holy Ghost alone, they will regard, hear, or read neither the Word nor the Sacrament, but wait until God without means..."

 Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 46, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 899. Tappert, p. 530. Heiser, p. 246.

 

 

No Drinking or Cards

Germans have formed Pietistic groups, but no German group has ever banned alcohol. One member of a German Canadian congregation remembered the time when the pastor, John Reble, also the president of the synod, stopped by for a visit and saw the boys playing a game of cards. The pastor said nothing but delivered a blistering sermon on Sunday about the dangers of playing cards. The same pastor had a drink at every home he visited, because it was polite to offer beverages, often home-made, and horribly rude to refuse them. The Augustana Synod banned cards and would have considered one drink per pastoral visit a sign of Satan’s visitation.

My wife made the mistake of having a glass of wine at the company dinner of the engineering firm where she worked. Seated next to her was a Fundamentalist, a good friend of ours. My wife left the party early with me and learned later that the engineers had turned the gathering into a wild bash, crashing another party and getting themselves thrown out. The Fundamentalist had no problem with the drunken revelry. He spent a lot of time condemning that solitary glass of wine. “You are a Christian. They are not.” Similarly, he was deeply disturbed by the concept of the Means of Grace. He could not accept the sacraments as anything more than symbolic.

The holier-than-thou attitude of Pietists is seldom hidden away. It may be based on never drinking, never smoking, or always being better than others in certain ways. Otto Heick (History of Christian Thought) was an LCA Lutheran but also a member of a Pietistic group. He told me his Pietistic group raised a large amount of money for missions, “quietly, in a week’s time.” He left no doubt that his group was superior in that regard to an ordinary Lutheran congregation. And he was a Lutheran seminary professor, with dual church membership.[47]

 

Proud Pietists

J-772

"Another very repulsive concomitant of the Reformed false teaching is spiritual pride. Because those who harbor the conception of an activity of the Holy Ghost apart from the means of grace are dealing in an illusory, man-made quality, they regard themselves, as experience amply proves, as the truly spiritual people and first-class Christians, while they consider those who in simple faith abide by the divinely appointed means of grace, 'intellectualists,' having a mere Christianity of the head; at best, second-rate Christians."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 162.

 

Some people think that conservative Pietists turn liberal over a period of time, but instead they simply become liberal Pietists. Being dominated by the Law does not change for Pietists, but the focus of the Law does. Conservative Pietists condemn alcohol, but liberal Pietists condemn big business, Western democracies, and the Republican Party, while condemning conservative Pietists. Those who wish to understand liberal Pietism should read Walter Rauschenbusch’s swan song, The Theology of the Social Gospel. All the Biblical doctrines are re-interpreted to deny the divinity of Christ. The book eloquently makes fun of the old Pietists while stating that congregations should be more careful about the kind of person they take in as members. A conservative Baptist church would supposedly turn down someone known to be a drinker, but a liberal Social Gospel congregation should turn down someone who is openly anti-union, in the view of Rauschenbusch.

At first, in the 1960s, the Pietists of The American Lutheran Church (TALC) were shocked at the liberalism of the Lutheran Church in America. Soon TALC leaders launched their own in-house attack on inerrancy and brought their synod up to speed, as they like to say. TALC leaders backed Lutherans Concerned with monetary grants and beat the LCA in declaring altar fellowship with the Reformed. Needless to say, some of the same TALC leaders became conservative dissenters in ELCA, when they found themselves shunned and rejected for being old fuddy-duddies. The legalism of the holiness code never ends. Each fad of the liberals is made necessary for fellowship and salvation, but fads quickly become threadbare and boring.

 

 

"Deeds Not Creeds"

Anti-Confessionalism and Missions

The Pietists have long had a slogan, “Deeds, not creeds.” Spener began this with his emphasis on good works, which is in harmony with the Reformed view of sanctification. It is at first gratifying, then terrifying to have people demonstrate outward signs of living a Christian life. Many times, as we can see from the Swedish Lutheran experience, it begins with a voluntary rejection of a damaging aspect of society. In 19th century Sweden, the founder of a temperance society began his work after a drunken fight broke out in his church during the sermon, and the two pugilists were women![48] The Augustana Synod in America, openly influenced by Pietism and the temperance movement, shunned alcohol. In the 1960s, the dean of women at Augustana College said in a huff, “No one ever drinks alcohol on this campus.” Everyone knew that alcohol consumption was a major factor in dorm life and social events, but the college officials would never admit it in public. After the first generation has passed on its rules for Christian behavior, the next generation feels a need to obey it outwardly. Eventually, the legalism is thrown out and the Ten Commandments with them, but the guilt remains. More than one person has said to me, emphasizing their pretense about not using liquor in so many words: “We have hidden the liquor while dad is visiting. Do not mention it. Do not even joke about it. I am begging you.”[49] The same college that officially banned alcohol in the 1960s now supports a homosexual activist group called Lutherans Concerned. Augustana College now has a Roman Catholic priest on its payroll to serve the Roman Catholic students. Pietism consistently degenerates into Unitarianism.

Pietists began the first mission societies, which were ecumenical, parachurch groups. Cooperation went both ways. The Reformed supported Lutheran Pietistic efforts, and Lutherans participated in Reformed works. Needless to say, when so many good things were happening through cooperation, people could not stop and fight over the sacraments and the efficacy of the Word.

Pietists do not like schools. They will say, “Schools benefit us, so they are not missions.” Pietists close down Lutheran schools to generate more money for missions. The Missouri Synod took the lead in this area, decapitating all their prep schools, which were designed to support church vocations. It helps men to have a head-start in languages by starting Latin in high school and Greek and Hebrew in college. The purpose of a prep school is to have an atmosphere where church vocations are emphasized in the context of a high quality, classical, but low cost school.[50] WELS bemoaned the stupidity of the Missouri Synod in closing their prep schools and then closed two of their four prep schools, also in the name of missions.[51] Now both synods have millions of dollars of foundation and insurance grants but fewer pastors and declining educational standards. No matter how intelligent a man is, he will gain far more from seminary if he enters pastoral training without the need to start cold in Greek and Hebrew.

The early Lutheran Pietists were fanatical about studying the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, as Heick’s work shows, but over a period of time, the educational requirements for Pietistic ministers slacken. ELCA candidates enter and leave seminary with a dash of Greek and no Hebrew. ELCA officials now admit that their future pastors enter seminary without even knowing the Small Catechism! WELS and Missouri leaders, look at ELCA. That is your future.

 

Fuller Pietism

Fuller Seminary in Pasadena was formed to teach inerrancy, although its initial position was really quite soft. Nevertheless, the faculty went through a revolution and Fuller adopted an anti-inerrancy statement. When The Battle for the Bible, about Fuller, was published, Harold Lindsell, the author, was attacked by Fuller for being “bitter and jealous” that he did not become president. In fact, the author was offered the position and turned it down. Notice how the amazingly successful president of Fuller Seminary, the late David Hubbard, defined the problem of inerrancy. Like most liberals in the driver’s seat, his words drip with sarcasm and scorn. The words are taken directly from the brochure Fuller mailed the author during a vain effort to recruit him.[52]

 

Fuller: The Bible Does Not Consider God’s Word Inerrant

J-773

"Were we to distinguish our position from that of some of our brothers and sisters who perceive their view of Scripture as more orthodox than ours, several points could be made: 1) we would stress the need to be aware of the historical and literary process by which God brought the Word to us...4) we would urge that the emphasis be placed where the Bible itself places it - on its message of salvation and its instruction for living, not on its details of geography or science, though we acknowledge the wonderful reliability of the Bible as a historical source book; 5) we would strive to develop our doctrine of Scripture by hearing all that the Bible says, rather than by imposing on the Bible a philosophical judgment of our own as to how God ought to have inspired the Word."  

David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added]

 

Inerrancy Misleading and Inappropriate

J-774

"Where inerrancy refers to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches through the biblical writers, we support its use. Where the focus switches to an undue emphasis on matters like chronological details, the precise sequence of events, and numerical allusions, we would consider the term misleading and inappropriate. Its dangers, when improperly defined, are: 1) that it implies a precision alien to the minds of the Bible writers and their own use of Scriptures; 2) that it diverts attention from the message of salvation and the instruction in righteousness which are the Bible's key themes;...5) that too often it has undermined our confidence in the Bible we have... 6)that it prompts us to an inordinate defensiveness of Scripture which seems out of keeping with the bold confidence with which the prophets, the apostles and our Lord proclaimed it."

            David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added]

 

Inerrancy Advocates Are Against the Bible and Tick Me Off

J-775

"We resent unnecessary distractions; we resist unbiblical diversions… Can anyone believe that all other activities should be suspended until all evangelicals agree on precise doctrinal statements? We certainly cannot."

            David Allan Hubbard, "What We Believe and Teach," Pasadena, California: Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, 91182. [emphasis added]

 

The downhill doctrinal slide of Pietism begins with placing the good works of man above the truth of God’s Word. At every stage of the decline, the Pietists firmly believe that they must tolerate doctrinal laxity in the name of getting more done, for the glory of God, of course. Soon they find themselves helpless to stop the radicalism of the next generation. The last bishop of the Lutheran Church in America, James Crumley, begged his extremely liberal staff not to succumb to the radicalism of the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Soon, those same staff-members were ousted for being too conservative by ELCA Bishop Herb Chilstrom’s network.

 

Road to Unitarianism.

From anti-creed to anti-Trinity

Pietism begins with the slogan of “deeds, not creeds.” In every case, Pietism has spawned Unitarianism in the next generation or two. The University of Halle was the mecca of Pietism in one generation and the headquarters for apostasy in the next. The American Lutheran congregations most devoted to unionism in the 19th century became Congregational or worse in the next. Fuller Seminary, somewhat conservative but ecumenical to a fault, became an anti-inerrancy school in only one generation. The Augustana Synod blended Pietism from the old country with orthodoxy from Capital Seminary (now Trinity, ELCA, in Columbus, Ohio). Lutheran orthodoxy was taught at Augustana Seminary until the 1930s, and then the old faculty was removed at once. The Pietists at Augustana were instrumental in bringing the Social Gospel Movement into their seminary, by calling A. D. Mattson to the faculty.

The original Wisconsin Synod was as Pietistic and unionistic as a Lutheran group might be. Many congregations offered both Reformed and Lutheran communion, both Reformed and Lutheran catechism.[53] Some congregations, like St. Paul’s in Columbus, were named “German Lutheran and Reformed.” Many congregations, like old St. John’s in Milwaukee, had Reformed splits in their early days. The Wisconsin Synod, later influenced by the great theologian Adolph Hoenecke and the synodical leaders Bading and Brenner, who rejected Pietism and unionism, joined the Synodical Conference. However, the Pietists within the Wisconsin Synod were beaten down but not conquered. They lost, too, when the Wisconsin Synod finally voted to break with the Missouri Synod after two decades of dithering. However, the Pietists did not give up. They quietly networked and got their men into key positions, using training at Fuller Seminary as their uniting force. After years of denying that anyone ever went to Fuller Seminary, even though their own Lawrence Otto Olson bragged up his D. Min. degree from Fuller, the Church Growth advocates finally came out of the closet and said, “Yes, we love Church Growth. Yes, we love religious projects with ELCA. Yes, we want women to be ordained. Now try to stop us.”

 

Ordination of Women

 

The ordination of women is a natural step for Pietists, a necessary outgrowth of the cell group. In the cell group, which is anti-Means of Grace and anti-confessional, anyone may serve as the leader. In general, women tend to be more spiritual than men and enjoy taking these positions. Cell group method books call them “lay pastors” so there is little difference between serving as a pastor in a cell group and serving as one in the congregation. Although ordination is far more important than the Pietists allow, they have already accomplished their goal when they have women teaching men and women in authority over men in the church.

Historically, women’s ordination has begun with the anti-Christian cults, whenever an alpha female can gather a group together. The Pentecostal groups follow, since they believe the Holy Spirit calls them directly in their dreams and visions. One Pentecostal woman baptized herself in a bathtub, got her tongue-speaking going by saying “yabba-dabba-doo” repeatedly, and announced she had the gift of preaching, according to her submissive husband.

If we concede that the Confessions are old-fashioned, boring, and irrevelant, even though they are not, and we claim that doctrine is divisive, then there is no particular reason why women should not be ordained and called to serve as pastors of congregations. The Lutheran Church in America took the lead in dismissing the inerrancy of the Scriptures and in teaching the flexibility of the Confessions, so they naturally, as liberal Pietists, ordained the first women pastors in America, in 1970.[54] The American Lutheran Church followed. Acknowledging the ordination of known lesbians and homosexuals followed soon after.

 

Method Actors

Since Pietism rejects the Confessions, the efficacy of the Word, and the Means of Grace, advocates of Enthusiasm must trust in methods. The key to understanding the Enthusiasts is not only in realizing their separation of the Holy Spirit from the Word but also in seeing the implication of that concept. The Reformed do more than imply what their Enthusiasm means. They teach it quite openly – The Word of God is dead and lifeless without human aid. Here is the secret to cell groups, tongue speaking, the seeker service, entertainment evangelism, friendship evangelism, child evangelism, mission vision statements, and all the flotsam of the Reformed. Why must the ministers pretend to be used car salesmen, talk show hosts, or stand-up comedians? In their eyes, God’s Word is dead without a boost from them to make it appealing and get results. Since they have no faith in the Holy Spirit working through the Word alone, they measure their success by visible results they can put on a graph. They take people out to their parking lots and tell them how many acres they have paved. That is good news for the National Asphalt Paving Association,[55] but it means nothing to God to watch these people clown around and carry on to win the approval of people, who are not even given the chance to hear the saving Word of Truth. In a word, these men are ashamed of the Gospel.

 

 

 

Pietistic Methods

J-776

"Pietist preachers were anxious to discover and in a certain sense to separate the invisible congregation from the visible congregation. They had to meet demands different than those of the preceding period: they were expected to witness, not in the objective sense, as Luther did, to God's saving acts toward all men, but in a subjective sense of faith, as they themselves had experienced it. In this way Pietism introduced a tendency toward the dissolution of the concept of the ministry in the Lutheran Church."

Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1943.

 

J-777

"All those doctrinal questions which were not immediately connected with the personal life of faith were avoided. The standard for the interpretation of Scripture thus became the need of the individual for awakening, consolation, and exhortation. The congregation as a totality was lost from view; in fact, pietistic preaching was (and is) more apt to divide the congregation than to hold it together."

            Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1943.

 

We might as well start on the bottom of Pietistic practices with the “holy laughter movement,” also known as the “Toronto Blessing.” Pentecostals wore out speaking in tongues, singing in tongues, as well as dancing and being slain in the spirit. They have done every rock version of every spiritual ditty one could imagine. What was left? Holy laughter! (They are actually reviving an old Pentecostal fad.) The minister begins a Toronto Blessing service by telling some lame jokes. People are already set to laugh their heads off. After a few jokes, people begin falling out of their chairs laughing. It helps if the minister does this too, as Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts, has done on television. Instead of piping their eyes with tears of contrition, yelling “Glory, glory, glory” on their backs on the floor, the Pentecostals now howl and bellow with laughter, with their backs on the floor. This too will fade and become wearisome. In contrast, the historic Lutheran liturgy is always uplifting to man because the worship service glorifies God, always emphasizing His grace through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Promise Keepers, a cancerous growth from cell groups and Pentecostalism, has also run through its time of excitement, its “movement of the Spirit,” and its roaringly high income. Wildly ecumenical and emotional, it offered to bring Protestants, Catholics, and Mormon men together in one big hug and cry. Stadiums were filled. Now they are not. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Visible and Invisible Church

J-778

"No one will open his eyes to the fact that mere human devices and doctrines are ensnaring souls, weakening consciences, dissipating Christian liberty and faith, and replenishing hell. Wolves! Wolves! How abominably, awfully, murderous, how harassing and destructive, are these things the world over!"

            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 32. Second Sunday in Advent Romans 15:4-13.

 

 

Divisive Preaching

J-779

"All those doctrinal questions which were not immediately connected with the personal life of faith were avoided. The standard for the interpretation of Scripture thus became the need of the individual for awakening, consolation, and exhortation. The congregation as a totality was lost from view; in fact, pietistic preaching was (and is) more apt to divide the congregation than to hold it together."

Helge Nyman, "Preaching (Lutheran): History," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1943.

 

 

 

Although the crypto-Calvinists self-destructed in Europe, they came back in the form of Lutheran Pietism, just as they returned again in the Lutheran revivalism of the 19th century and the Church Growth enthusiasm of the 20th century. Lutheran orthodoxy thrived after the Book of Concord was published in 1580. Johann Sebastian Bach composed and played his music as an orthodox Lutheran, a fact widely ignored, especially in the entertaining LCA film, “The Joy of Bach.” Lutheran orthodoxy saw the growth and revitalization of congregations and a remarkable production of excellent commentaries and doctrinal books, most of them out of print and untranslated today.[56] Although the theologians of Lutheran orthodoxy are second to Luther, they surpass all others, including the fathers of the old Synodical Conference. Walther and Pieper did not point their students to the recent writings of the Synodical Conference founders in their dogmatics classes at St. Louis, but to the Lutheran orthodox theologians of Europe.

The Lutheran orthodox theologians have been faulted more than they have been read, but even the most ardent admirers, such as Robert Preus, conceded that the philosophical style introduced by Melanchthon and hardened by polemics against the Calvinists, tended to become rather dry.[57] Nothing compares to the juiciness of the current Lutheran synodical favorites, such as C. Peter Wagner, a Pentecostal Baptist who writes with admiration about snake handlers, evil demons living in his crockery, and a spirit who rolls around in hoops. The undemanding nature of Enthusiasm, compared to the intellectual rigor demanded by orthodoxy, has made Church Growth doctrine popular among the mentally lazy and easily bored clergy of today. If the ministers lifted their standards of reading, they would find that the writings of Chemnitz, Chytraeus, and Gerhard are ideal companions to Luther.

 The folly of subordinating the Word of God to human reason can be shown by the mysteries of the faith impervious to man’s understanding or experience: the holy Trinity, the Creation, the Incarnation and Virgin Birth, and the resurrection. All attempts to explain or prove these articles of faith have reduced these versions of Christianity to a reasonable and positive philosophy of love, brotherhood, and do-goodism, which are devoid of the cross, robbed of the Gospel, and incapable of providing comfort.

 

J-780

"The Lutheran Confessions take a decisive stand against 'enthusiasts,' who teach that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men without the Word and Sacraments (SA-III VIII 3-13; LC II 34-62; FC Epitome II 13)."

John T. Mueller, "Grace, Means of," Lutheran Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Lueker, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1975, p. 344.

 

 

Can We Learn from the Pietists?

 

I found it appalling that the Wisconsin Synod prided itself on being against false doctrine while promoting the worst and stupidest Reformed authors. Their favorite authors were not distinguished Reformed theologians from the past, but greedy Law-mongers from Fuller Seminary. Time after time various Wisconsin Synod pastors either defended the use of Reformed materials or argued that they were so expert in doctrine that they could “separate the wheat from the chaff,” as they liked to say. David Valleskey, on his way to be president of the seminary, spoke in favor of “spoiling the Egyptians,” as if the Church Growth Movement were the gold and precious gems of Christendom rather than its garbage. Before you jump at spoiling the Reformed Pietists, consider what the Book of Concord has recorded about their contempt for Holy Communion.

 

J-781

"Hence it is manifest how unjustly and maliciously the Sacramentarian fanatics (Theodore Beza) deride the Lord Christ, St. Paul, and the entire Church in calling this oral partaking, and that of the unworthy, duos pilos caudae equinae et commentum, cuius vel ipsum Satanam pudeat, as also the doctrine concerning the majesty of Christ, excrementum Satanae, quo diabolus sibi ipsi et hominibus illudat, that is, they speak so horribly of it that a godly Christian man should be ashamed to translate it. [two hairs of a horse's tail and an invention of which even Satan himself would be ashamed; Satan's excrement, by which the devil amuses himself and deceives men].[58]

Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 67, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 997. Tappert, p. 581f. [emphasis added]

 

Not every Fuller Seminary professor is so crude that he would call Holy Communion “Satan’s excrement,” but the Church Growth teachers all stand in that same tradition of interpreting the Scriptures. Many other blasphemous words could be cited from the publications of Fuller faculty members and their illustrious alumni. For instance, one professor of missions taught that Christ was not necessary for salvation.[59] The meta-successful Fuller president, David Hubbard, now earning his reward in the afterlife, attacked the inerrancy of the Bible in the clearest possible way, as quoted previously in this chapter. Paul Y. Cho, the occult leader, was a special speaker at Fuller Seminary. [60] After entering many different Cho aphorisms into my database, I still wonder what he can teach anyone in Christianity. Nevertheless, Lawrence Otto Olson praised him at a WELS evangelism seminar and Pastor James Witte sold Cho books at a WELS cell group seminar.

 

J-782

"There is but one way by which the Reformed theology can escape the doctrine of works—by accepting Lutheranism. And the Reformed actually take this step when they, including Calvin, at the last direct those who are troubled by grave doubts of their election to the universal grace as it is attested in the means of grace."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 169.

 

Lurking in the minds of all Enthusiasts is the Monster of Uncertainty. Roman Catholics ask, “Are we really doing enough?” The doctrine of Purgatory feeds the monster in spite of good works, daily masses, confessions of sin, monetary offerings, acts of contrition, pilgrimages, and estate planning. The Reformed monster is no less demanding, asking if the Law has really been obeyed to perfection, if enough souls have been won for Christ, if health and wealth are conspicuous enough to impress unbelievers. That is why so many Lutheran pastors are harangued into quitting or so discouraged they look for any job where there is modicum of satisfaction. The Lutheran pastors are constantly under the Law because their supervisors think only in terms of the Law. It has been God’s good pleasure to deny statistical success to the Law-mongers and to hold before their eyes a remarkable collapse in membership and ministerial candidates, worsened by the Midas touch, producing a mountain of gold from estates, a treasure that cannot buy what they desperately need to feel successful.

 

 

 

J-783

"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."

Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.

 

J-784

"Hence, too, the lack of emphasis, even in the best of Reformed preaching, upon the divine Word as the vehicle of regenerating grace and on the Sacraments. The office of the Word, then, is merely to point to the way of life, without communicating that of which it conveys the idea. The Word and Sacraments are declared to be necessary; their office in the Church is a divine institution; but they are only symbols of what the Spirit does within; and the Spirit works immediately and irresistibly."

"Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 298.

 

J-785

"The divine power must never be separated from the Word of Scripture; that is to say, the Holy Ghost does not operate beside or outside the Word (enthusiasm, Calvinism, Rathmannism in the Lutheran Church), but always in and through the Word, Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23; John 6:23."

John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 134f.

 

J-786

"Calvin was dissatisfied with Zwingli's interpretation of the Lord's Supper, but his own interpretation was also wrong. He said that a person desiring to receive the body and blood of Christ could not get it under the bread and wine, but must by his faith mount up to heaven, where the Holy Spirit would negotiate a way for feeding him with the body and blood of Christ. These are mere vagaries, which originated in Calvin's fancy. But an incident like this shows that men will not believe that God bears us poor sinners such great love that He is willing to come to us."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 185.

 

J-787

"To the Lutheran the sermon, as the preached Word, is a means of grace. Through it the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth. It is a constant offer of pardon; a giving of life, as well as a nourishing and strengthening of life. In the Reformed churches the sermon is apt to be more hortatory and ethical. It partakes more of the sacrificial than of the sacramental character. The individuality of the preacher, the subjective choice of a text, the using of it merely for a motto, the discussion of secular subjects, the unrestrained platform style, lack of reverence, lack of dignity, and many other faults are common, and are not regarded as unbecoming the messenger of God in His temple. Where there is a properly trained Lutheran consciousness such things repel, shock, and are not tolerated."

G. H. Gerberding, The Lutheran Pastor, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1915, p. 278.

The Gospel, when proclaimed in its truth and purity, offers only comfort and forgiveness. The Gospel only makes one demand, that we believe, and the Gospel itself creates the faith it requires.

 

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

BYZ John 3:16 Ou[twj ga.r hvga,phsen o` qeo.j to.n ko,smon w[ste to.n ui`o.n auvtou/ to.n monogenh/ e;dwken i[na pa/j o` pisteu,wn eivj auvto.n mh. avpo,lhtai avll e;ch| zwh.n aivw,nion.

 

Where is the demand of the Law in the Little Gospel? Where are the qualifications and the “ifs”? The Holy Spirit does not say, “whosoever believeth in Him and taketh a pledge” or “whosoever believeth in Him if he also speaketh in tongues” or “whosoever believeth in Him and doeth good works” or “whoever believeth in Him if he is a big booming success.” Moreover, the Lord spoke later of the foundational sin when He was facing His death. The Holy Spirit would convict people of their sin, and the sin is defined. “Of sin, because they believe not on Me.”

 

KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

 

BYZ John 16:7 avll evgw. th.n avlh,qeian le,gw u`mi/n sumfe,rei u`mi/n i[na evgw. avpe,lqw eva.n ga.r evgw. mh. avpe,lqw o` para,klhtoj ouvk evleu,setai pro.j u`ma/j\ eva.n de. poreuqw/ pe,myw auvto.n pro.j u`ma/j 8 kai. evlqw.n evkei/noj evle,gxei to.n ko,smon peri. a`marti,aj kai. peri. dikaiosu,nhj kai. peri. kri,sewj\ 9 peri. a`marti,aj me,n o[ti ouv pisteu,ousin eivj evme,\

 

Those who understand the Biblical doctrine of the efficacy of the Word can understand this emphasis upon faith in the Word, but Enthusiasts cannot. For all their talk about the Gospel and conversion, Enthusiasts do not give God the glory but return to what the Old Adam and Satan desire as satisfaction, works of the Law. For that reason, most people see Christianity in America as condemning and legalistic, defined by one set of rules after another. This legalism, which is man-made law, does not make people better but serves to make them worse. Either they are thrown into despair because they can never be good enough or they are proud and spiteful because they imagine they have reached a higher level of spirituality in their obedience to God. Sin is set ablaze by this excess of the Law, whether in despair or in pride.

America is the most legalistic Christian country in the world and also the nation with the most murderous abortion parameters. No other Western democracy works so hard at getting rid of unborn children. From the moment of conception to the delivery table, the medical, educational, and social work communities are ready to murder the child. Why is this? The legalism of Reformed Pietistic Christianity in America has made getting caught a greater sin than having a baby born out of wedlock.[61] Pious parents will pay for the murder of their grandchild to keep others from finding out that their daughter is pregnant. Worse, they will fund an abortion to save money needed in raising a child. Enthusiasts actually reward this behavior by claiming that all aborted babies are in heaven, a claim I have heard more than once. Thus, one woman phoned into a pro-life radio show to say, “We do not have to worry about the aborted babies, because they are all in heaven.” When my wife and I attended a Contemporary Christian Music concert with Pastor and Mrs. James Sherod, the Reformed leader of the concert stated, “I see all those aborted babies around the throne of the Lamb.” People cheered. Murder of the unborn is excused with a rationalistic, extra-Biblical claim, based upon the Reformed attitude of natural innocence.

Law/Gospel confusion begins with a reliance upon the Law, degenerates into legalism, and finally collapses into anti-nomianism and hedonism. Most people would view the radical left-wing Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as being anti-Law and hedonistic, and that is a fair conclusion. But the ELCA is also extremely legalistic, with its man-made laws changing from moment to moment. Only the most skilled Pharisees can manage to obey the regulation du jour and appear qualified for office. In fact, the legalism of all the Lutheran synods is a testimony to the influence of Calvin and the neglect of Luther. Most Lutheran leaders, especially the conservative ones, do not even realize that they are mouthing Reformed doctrine and methods when they exhort their disciples with the lash of the Law.

Scholars are always looking for someone to blame for a movement, and it is easy to work over the orthodox for causing Pietism. However, the orthodox saw the errors of Pietism and fought against them, gradually losing control of the theological faculties and the church agenda. The Prussian Union definitely advanced the merger of Lutheran and Reformed doctrine at the expense of the Lutheran Church in Europe. The old Synodical Conference sought to restore Lutheran orthodoxy under synodical presidents Walther, Pieper, and Pfotenhauer but lost its nerve in the 1930s and retreated from the standards of the past. Now the Synodical Conference (Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Synod) is broken up and fading away, its former members actively promoting the very doctrines once anathema to all Lutherans, especially to orthodox Lutherans. Jacob Spener and his Pietists have won. The cell group appendix shows what they teach.

 

 


Appendix: Cell Group Quotations

 

The lay-led cell group or conventicle is at the heart of Pietism, Reformed doctrine, and the Church Growth Movement. Below are quotations from WELS, LCMS, and various non-Lutherans, all saying approximately the same thing in favor of cell groups.

 

J-788

"Small Group Fellowships are not, as is sometimes supposed, a formal Bible class. Instead, Small Group Fellowships are a 'relationship,' a relationship among members of the group, a relationship with God, a relationship based on and centered in the Word of God. Small Group Fellowships are gatherings of people who study God's Word together and then put the Word into action together by (a) applying it to their lives, (b) by worshiping the Triune God, and (c) by serving others—sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and their very lives."

            Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 3.

 

J-789

"The Rationale for Small Groups...5. It Follows Biblical Practice. a. Jesus and the Twelve Apostles (Jesus concentrated on investing Himself in His small group of disciples to teach and model spiritual truth, attitudes and behavior for them and to train them to be spiritual leaders. b. The Early Christians (Acts 2:42-47; 16:40; 20:20-21).

            WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 3.

 

J-790

"Small Group Fellowships are lay-led."

            Campus Ministry Foundation (WELS), Inc., Small Group Fellowships, Madison: Campus Ministry Foundation, 1990, p. 8.

 

J-791

"HomeWORD Bound Groups, Fairview (WELS), Milwaukee, WI. The Boards of Elders and Education of Fairview Ev. Lutheran Church Prayerfully Extend A DIVINE CALL to____________________ To Lead a Small Group Bible Study along with ________. Purpose: A Bible study leader in Fairview's HomeWord Bound program shall facilitate lay-led, home Bible studies which assist Fairview in its ministry...."

            WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison.

 

J-792

"Definition: 'A small group within the church is a voluntary intentional gathering of people, varying in number, regularly meeting together for mutual Christian purposes.' - Serendipity

WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 2.

 

 

 

 

J-793

"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton."

WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 10.

 

J-794

"A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)"[62]

            WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

 

J-795

"A cell group is the basic part of our church. It is not another church program—it is the program of our church."

            Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 42.

 

J-796

"We have many different types of cell groups. I have found that there is a basic sociological principle which must be maintained in order for them to be successful. The principle is one of homogeneity."[63]

            Dr. Paul Y. Cho (with R. Whitney Manzano), More Than Numbers, Waco: Word Books, 1984, p. 44.

 

J-797

"Students of Church Growth realize that a good structure for the church that really wants to grow is the organization of celebration plus congregation plus cell. When we see the importance of the organization of the church we are looking with 'Church Growth Eyes.' We are looking from an x-ray perspective and understanding the internal organs of the body of Christ—the Church!"

            Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congregation, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit: Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 81.

 

J-798

"In an article on the small group movement, J. A. Gorman notes that 'both the Church Growth Institute of Fuller Seminary and the American Institute of Church Growth became centers for influencing the use of this means for evangelizing." (Christian Education, Moody Press, 1991, pp. 509, 510)

Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126.

 

J-701.1

"This writer's acquaintance with this current phenomenon is threefold: 1) he has attended one of the workshops held by Lyman Coleman; 2) he has read about a dozen books in the last ten years coming from evangelical sources [i.e. false teachers] that deal with small groups either wholly or in part; 3) he has also inquired about why a number of WELS congregations have begun to conduct small group Bible study and how they have structured these groups."[64]

Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127.

 

J-702.1

"PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY AT CROSSROADS...Conduct seeker services... Provide small group leadership. At Crossroads, as people come to know Jesus they are encouraged to participate in groups of 8 to 10 people who meet weekly for 2 years of fellowship, holding one another accountable, discipleship training, encouragement and support. 1 Thessalonians. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."

Pastor Rick Miller, (WELS), Crossroads Community Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

 

J-703.1

"Every disciple had responsibility over two types of cells, one cell where he formed the lives of the new converts, and another cell where he took the most advanced of those new converts and taught them how to be leaders, knowing that cell would soon be divided and the most advanced disciples put over additional cells. So came the multiplication." Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 101. "A cell has five elements: 1) devotion; 2) discussion; 3) programming; 4) mobilization; 5) multiplication. It takes all five to form a cell group." Juan

Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 106.

 

J-704.1

"The cell groups are used to teach sound doctrine...Sound doctrine is not just belief in the millennium, the rapture, and the tribulation."

Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 111.

 

J-705.1

"Another cause for the misplacement of believers is the Sunday school. The early church knew nothing about Sunday schools. They knew the best way for believers to grow and multiply is not through Bible lectures, but through living cells. This means small groups of four or five persons who meet in homes under a leader so their lives may be shaped so they may mobilize and multiply themselves in other cells."

Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship, Plainfield: Logos International, 1975, p. 29.

 

J-706.1

"Resources mentioned in this 'Bulletin' are available from CHURCH GROWTH, 709 E. Colorado Blvd. #150, Pasadena, CA 91101. Or call 1-800-423-4844."

Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, Mission Counselor Newsletter, Austin, Texas, May, 1988

 

J-707.1

"Types of Home Groups, by Karen Hurston (Church Growth Assoc.), from material by Bob Fulton. Copied with the permission of Charles Arn."

Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 11.

 

J-708.1

"The dynamics of assimilation into active church membership have very little to do with theological issues. Rather, a new members' class should focus primarily on relational issues of involvement and belonging." (Defining an Assimilated Member, by Charles Arn, copied with permission from EVANGELISM, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive, Mequon, WI, 53092. Annual subscription rate for EVANGELISM is $12...Charles Arn is Vice President of Church Growth, Inc. in Monrovia, Ca.)

Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 150.

 

J-709.1

"What Are Affinity Groups? by Pastor Wayne Vogt, Fount of Life, Colorado Springs, CO."

Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, Oct., '91, 2929 Mayfair Road, Milwaukee, WI 53222 p. 8.

 

J-710.1

WELS Mission Counselors' NEWSLETTER, April, 1992: authors are - James Woodworth, Disciples of Christ; "Net Results," March, 1991; Roger K. Guy, Disciples of Christ; Arnell P. C. Arn, American Baptist Church; Jane Easter Bahls, Presbyterian; C. Jeff Woods, freelance writer and minister; Lyle Schaller, United Methodist; Pastor Paul Kelm; Pastor Jim Mumm, WELS; Pastor Peter Panitzke, WELS; Pastor Randall Cutter and Mark Freier, WELS; First Congretional Church, Winchester, MA." [65]

Pastor Jim Radloff, editor, WELS Mission Counselors' Newsletter, April, '92, 2929 Mayfair Road Milwaukee, WI 53222

 

J-711.1

"The church is no longer the community of those who have been called by the Word and the Sacraments, but association of the reborn, of those who 'earnestly desire to be Christians'...The church in the true sense consists of the small circles of pietists, the 'conventicles,' where everyone knows everyone else and where experiences are freely exchanged."

Martin Schmidt, "Pietism," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., ed. Julius Bodensieck, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, III, p. 1899.

 

J-712.1

"Some 15 years ago, Peter Wagner's equation read 'Cells + Congregation + Celebration = Church.'"

Ken Sidey, "Church Growth Fine Tunes Its Formulas," Christianity Today, June 24, 1991, p. 46.

 

J-713.1

"Wouldn't it be terrible to sleep through the Second Reformation? Cell Group Churches. The New Lifestyle For New Wineskins. Cell Group Churches Are Really Different! A 'Cell Group' Church is built on the fact that all Christians are ministers, and that there is no 'professional clergy' hired to do the work of ministry. According to Ephesians 4, God has provided 'Gifted Men' to equip 'Believers Who Are Gifted' to do the work of ministry...The life of the church is in its Cells, not in a building. While it has weekly worship events, the focus of the church is in the home Cells."

Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865.

 

J-714.1

"Cell Groups For Reaching The Unchurched Are Called...SHARE GROUPS. Touch Outreach Ministries has spent many years experimenting with the best way to train Cell Group members to form 'Sub-Groups' called SHARE GROUPS which specifically target evangelizing the unchurched. SHARE GROUPS are 'pre-Bible study' Cells, which bond relationships between three Christians and six unbelievers. A series of three small books are used over a 27-week period of training. The first book, called 'BUILDING BRIDGES, OPENING HEARTS,' guides the SHARE GROUP Team through the first part of the strategy."

Touch Outreach Ministries, P.O. Box 19888 Houston, TX 77079 1-800-735-5865 p. 7.

 

J-715.1

"The cell groups have probably become the universal trademark of Full Gospel Central Church...A cell group is a cluster of church members who meet weekly in a home, factory, office, or other place for the purpose of evangelism and Christian fellowship through singing, prayer, Bible study, offering giving, announcements, sharing of needs, and praises and ministry to one another."

John N. Vaughan, The World's Twenty Largest Churches, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984, p. 44.

 

J-716.1

"Cell. Sometimes called a kinship circle; a small group of 8-12 believers; an important part of the church's structure which has the primary functions of spiritual accountability and intimacy and secondary functions of Bible, prayer, and healing."

C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 283.


 

J-717.1

"Cell groups of Christians fellowshipping together date back to the first century, for it was largely through the activities of little groups or cells of believers that the message of Jesus Christ spread throughout the Roman Empire."

Waldo J. Werning, The Radical Nature of Christianity, Church Growth Eyes Look at the Supernatural Mission of the Christian and the Church, South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1975, p. 93.

 

J-718.1

"Bible studies from Serendipity. Serendipity makes available Bibles (with outlines and discussion questions) and topical study booklets for adults and teen-agers. See appendix D for sample study courses. Order a SERENDIPITY SMALL GROUP RESOURCES CATALOG from Serendipity, P.O. Box 1012, Littleton, CO, 80160 or call 1-800-525-9583 (In CO call 1-303-798-1313)."

Notebook, WELS School of Outreach IV, p. 225.

 

J-719.1

"Introduction to Small Group Ministry outline. Evangelism Office. Buy the book Good Things Come in Small Groups, Intervarsity Press. Small Group Bible Study Materials, Serendipity, Littleton, CO (1-800-525-9563)."

WELS Evangelism Workshop IV, LOCATING THE LOST, Five Year Plan For Outreach, p. 177.


 



[1] The Church of Rome makes the Word effective within its own structure, so people have confidence only in Roman Catholic doctrine and sacraments. Pentecostals place their trust in outward signs of the Holy Spirit, even if they have to be faked: healings, tongue-speaking, ecstatic dancing and laughter. Generic Protestants demand that their congregations have numeric growth. The radical Left insists on their church bodies having visible activity in social activism, such as newly discovered “rights.” If the Left is not spending money on these fads, they say, “We are not doing the Lord’s work.”

[2] "The term 'Reformed' has therefore become a distinctive name and denotes all those church bodies which follow the theology and particularly the church practices of Zwingli and John Calvin. It is correct when Lutherans insist that there are three large groups of Christians: the Catholics, the Lutherans, and the Reformed." F. E. Mayer, American Churches, Beliefs and Practices, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, p. 24."The history of dogma tells this story: In those doctrines in which it differs from the Lutheran Church and for the sake of which it has established itself as a separate body within visible Christendom, the Reformed Church, as far as it follows in the footsteps of Zwingli and Calvin, sets aside the Scripture principle and operates instead with rationalistic axioms. The Reformed theologians frankly state that reason must have a voice in determining Christian doctrine." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 25.

[3] The LCMS suffered a net loss of 1,305 highly trained pastors during the 1988-1997 period, marked by the peak of the Church Growth Movement and the beginning of the Barry/Otten administration in 1992. LCMS News, January 24, 2000.

[4] "A denial of the efficacy and sufficiency of the means of grace is contained in the theological systems of all religious enthusiasts." Edwin E. Pieplow, "The Means of Grace," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 343.

[5] The magisterial use of reason requires pride and increases man’s arrogance. The ministerial use of reason requires and increases humility. False teachers condemn confidence in the Word as pride while spitefully abusing the Scriptures.

[6] Calvinists could not understand how the risen Christ could leave the sealed tomb or enter the locked room. Can any miraculous work of God be understood by human reason alone? Once the leaven of rationalism begins to grow, it soon invades all doctrines of the Bible. Remember the adage: young Calvinist, old Unitarian. It is true for congregations and synods as well.

[7] Zwingli’s answer to the charges can be found in Hans J. Hillerbrand, The Reformation, New York: Harper and Row, 1964, p. 115f. The charges against Luther are discussed and explained in the last chapter of Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant. The accusations were invented by an unstable man named Cochlaeus in The Seven-Headed Luther.

[8] We can only imagine how Bethany brags about their seminary faculty – “Yes, every seminary professor has a high school diploma. We insist on that.” ELS Pastor Jay Webber said the Bethany faculty was especially weak because of selection based upon bloodlines rather than ability. Another factor is the repression of more able pastors in favor of those who will bow and scrape before the throne of WELS.

[9] "Zwingli, who was a moralist and a Humanist rather than a truly evangelical reformer, taught: 'In itself the Law is nothing else than a Gospel; that is, a good, certain message from God by means of which He instructs us concerning His will.' (Frank 2, 312.)" F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 161.

[10] "In other words, Zwingli and his numerous adherents declare that the means God has ordained are unnecessary and hinder true piety." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 104.

[11] The CLC congregation in Sleepy Eye did not accept the wearing of a white Geneva gown, according to Pastor Paul Gerhardt Fleischer. He was glad that I wore an alb there, breaking the ice. Do Lutherans ever consider that the black Geneva gown identifies them with Zwingli and Calvin? The Geneva gown was favored by many of the early Lutherans in America because they were trying to blend in with the Reformed, overly sensitive to the charge of Romanism. Roman Catholic priests do not wear Geneva gowns of any color.

[12] [Zwingli placed Numa, Aristides, Socrates, etc. among the dwellers in heaven] Zwingli: "A heathen, if he nurses a pious mind within himself, is a Christian, even though he is ignorant of Christ." (Witus Winshemius: "Beware, my hearers, of the heaven of the Zwinglians: I should not like to live in that heaven; I should be afraid of the club of Hercules.") Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 376.

[13] The Church of the Lutheran Confession distributed an evangelism program by Steve Kurtzahn who constantly urged prayer as the solution for numerical decline while remaining strangely silent about the efficacy of the Word. When we believe in the Word, we also accept what God accomplishes through the Word, so numbers do not matter to a Lutheran.

[14] "Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127. See also I, 25ff., III, 324..John 20:19.

[15] Wisconsin Synod pastors who have left Lutheranism include: Rick Miller, Randy Cutter, Mark Freier, Kelly Voigt, Robert Rhyne, and Marc Schroeder. Some WELS missionaries in WELS turned Pentecostal. The same experience has been repeated many times over in the Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The ELS Church Growth guru, Steve Quist, is now an ELCA pastor, which is tantamount to leaving Lutheranism.

[16] Calvin could appear to be Lutheran in certain statements: "Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to Christ's institution, there, it is not to be doubted, a church of God exists." Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 100. Institutes. IV.i.9. The statement by itself agrees with the Augsburg Confession, but Calvin clearly did not agree about how the Holy Spirit worked through the Word and Sacraments.

[17] Note this fruit of doctrinal conflict: "The happy result of this altercation [about Selnecker promoting the Wittenberg corpus doctrinae], however, was that Selnecker came completely around to the position of Chemnitz on the mode of Christ's presence in the Supper, especially after the Crypto-Calvinists at Wittenberg published their Wittenberg Catechism and were finally exposed and driven out by Duke August in 1574." J. A. O. Preus, The Second Martin, The Life and Theology of Martin Chemnitz, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994, p. 173.

[18] Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, I, p. 280. Cited in F. Bente, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 181.

[19] LCMS trained Alfred N. Balmer insisted on the same position about Baptism at the Norfolk conference. No one agreed with him, and most were outraged. Not surprisingly, Balmer also gave us a tear soaked testimony.

[20] Christian News follows this weak tendency of the older Missouri Synod pastors, to quote with approval rationalistic books by the Reformed, proving that God really did create the universe. The Book of Concord does not excuse liberals who reject the Means of Grace simply because they accept the authority of the Bible. Lutherans have lost the ability and the will to reject Calvinism, although the Reformed have no trouble in continuing their polemics against Luther’s doctrine, and they charge foolish Lutherans tuition to listen!

[21] Someone who earned his D. Min. at Fuller Seminary agreed that Barth is indeed the official theologian of the school. Note that Barth was a key theologian in making Fuller a liberal hothouse: "A third indication of the coming crisis involved the son of the founder, Daniel Payton Fuller...After he had been there [on the faculty at Fuller] several years, he went to Basel, Switzerland, to work for another doctorate under men like Karl Barth. While Fuller was at Basel, rumors began coming back to America that he had shifted his position on the Scriptures. I personally talked to Charles E. Fuller about this on a number of occasions. In every instance he assured me that there was no truth to the rumors that his son had changed his position. He was wrong, as subsequent events demonstrated." Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, p. 108f. Pastor Martin Kalish observed in a note that Barth is also popular at Concordia Seminary, Ft. Wayne.

[22] Many Barthians were shocked when George Hunsinger (Karl Barth and Radical Politics) revealed that Barth had always been a Marxist. Some Calvinists could tell that Barth was an apostate, but many conservative Evangelicals were fooled. I agree with the theory that Kirschbaum wrote most of the Dogmatics, the scholarly fine print, while Barth wrote the large print. Barth published almost nothing after Kirschbaum died. If you have a chance, look at the dedications. Charlotte the mistress received an early dedication. Barth’s wife Nelly was finally noticed at the end. See Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975. The Barth biography has a telling photo of the Barth family. Old Nelly is not at all happy. Young and beautiful Charlotte is grinning at the camera.

[23] Readers should not jump to the conclusion that the confessional position of Evangelicals in America is clear. A questionnaire from Wheaton College asked the reader to fill in such categories as Calvinist, Arminian, Cal-arminian, free will Baptist, Calvinist Baptist, pre-trib or mid-trib or post-trib millenniallist, and so forth. The errors of the Enthusaists vary in their number and intensity but they began with separating the Word from the Spirit.

[24] "Thus Calvin, as we saw, cautions against seeking to discern one's election from the universal call, that is, from the Word of the Gospel (Institutes, III, 24, 8). Likewise the Consensus Tigurinus (c. 20) warns against the thought that the 'visible sign [the Sacraments], in the same moment when it is being offered, brings with it the grace of God' (Niemeyer, p. 195). The Geneva Catechism, too, enjoins ['De Sacramentis'], that salvation must not be sought in the visible signs." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 145.

[25] Institutes, Book IV, XVII, #21.

[26] Articles VII (Of the Holy Supper) and VIII (Of the Person of Christ) refute the errors of the Crypto-Calvinists. One statement is: "On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel [Gabriel] testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother's womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and never-theless remained a virgin." Article VIII, Triglotta, p. 1023.

[27] See the biographical sketches at the end of this book.

[28] Theses very close to Valleskey's Quarterly article (Spring, 1991, p. 117). Questionnaire mentions CG "underemphasizing the Means of Grace as the power of the Holy Spirit." David J. Valleskey, P.T. 418, The Church Growth Movement—An Evaluation, Summer Quarter, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, June 23-July 11, 1986.

[29] Why have so many of Valleskey’s students gone charismatic? "The term 'spiritual breathing' originated with Dr. William Bright in his booklet, Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-filled Life?” David Valleskey, Forest Bivens New Life in Christ, September, 1981, p. 1.

[30] May God have mercy on the pastor who does this in the Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Church of the Lutheran Confession, or Concordia Lutheran Conference.

[31] The softs are Pietists in GA, the secret initiation rite of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. See Chapter Nine.

[32] Do Marxists accuse their opponents of being Marxists?

[33] Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min. (Fuller Seminary), tried this approach in Cascione News, claiming that my article about treating pastors’ wives well was really Church Growth.

[34] WELS districts formally asked to have the invitation to Martin Marty rescinded, but they said nothing about the coven of Roman Catholic priests speaking at Wisconsin Lutheran College. The WLC board held firm against the fanatical horde of district presidents and thumbed their noses at WELS. The district presidents declared that the religious speech did not technically violate their fellowship principles!

[35] Bob: "..I'd like to share with you a book I came across the other day. It's interesting, easy to read, and may be the answer to our problem..." "Its title is Your Church Can Grow, and it's filled with all sorts of practical hints that could help us turn things around here." Author: "Bob didn't realize it at the time, but in his browsing he had stumbled upon one of many similar books written from the perspective of the church growth movement, books with such titles as How to Grow a Church, Ten Steps for Church Growth, Church Growth: Strategies that Work, and Leading Your Church to Growth." Prof. David Valleskey, "The Church Growth Movement, Just Gathering People or Building the Church?" The Northwestern Lutheran, May 5, 1991, p. 184. "The term 'spiritual breathing' originated with Dr. William Bright in his booklet, 'Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the Spirit-filled Life?'" David Valleskey, Forest Bivens New Life in Christ, September, 1981 p. 1. "For several years I've been a Pete Wagner fan. Although I don't see eye to eye with him on many important theological points (he approves of faith healing and speaking in tongues as long as it promotes church growth and he comes from a Billy Graham decision for conversion doctrinal background), he is the most eloquent spokesman of the Church Growth Movement. A prolific author on mission/evangelism/church growth subjects, Wagner is also an excellent teacher and a crystal clear writer." Reuel J. Schulz, The Evangelism Life Line (WELS) Winter, 1980.

[36] "The instructor may find it best not to distribute the Spiritual Gifts Analysis (pp. 33-49) until the end of the course, when the time has come for class members to work through it." David J. Valleskey, Gifted to Serve, Parish Services, WELS

[37] Augsburg Fortress is an interesting and extreme version of this malady. Once Augsburg was the source of some outstanding Lutheran works, including Lenski, Sasse, and Schmid. Fortress once dominated the required reading list at Notre Dame’s theology graduate program, no mean achievement. The Fortress books were liberal but scholarly standards. Lately, Augsburg Fortress has published titles by an assortment of rabbis and women, so far removed from their own market that the concern had to completely re-assess what it was doing. ELCA may be as radical as a Unitarian cell group, but the members still long for the Gospel.

[38] "Wherever Lutherans unite with the Reformed, the former gradually sink to the level of the latter. Already by declaring the differences between the two Churches irrelevant, the Lutheran truths are actually sacrificed and denied. Unionism always breaks the backbone, and outrages the conscience, of true Lutheranism. And naturally enough, the refusal to confess the Lutheran truth is but too frequently followed by eager endorsement and fanatical defense of the opposite errors." F. Bente, American Lutheranism, The United Lutheran Church, General Synod, General Council, United Synod in the South, 2 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 68.

[39] Otto W. Heick, A History of Christian Thought, two volumes, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966, II, p. 23-4.

[40] George Whitefield was the key figure in a sweeping revival called the Great Awakening between 1763 and 1775, speaking to hundreds of thousands throughout Colonial America.

[41] ELCA leaders joined the Methodist Pietists in promoting and funding the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights. ELCA will pay a woman pastor to have an abortion through its health plan. How many little boys’ lives have been lost from ELCA joining hands?

[42] Prayer or Bible study groups are also called koinonia, share, care, or home study groups. WELS kept changing the names, but not the method.

[43] The soviet in Soviet Union refers to councils based upon cell groups.

[44] The Peretti novels found in Christian book stores portray God’s angels as energized by prayer. Towns lacking in “prayer warriors” are set upon by demons. Lots of prayer will strengthen God’s angels enough to drive the demons away. This obviously causes people to think in terms of salvation by works.

[45] "In an article on the small group movement, J. A. Gorman notes that 'both the Church Growth Institute of Fuller Seminary and the American Institute of Church Growth became centers for influencing the use of this means for evangelizing." (Christian Education, Moody Press, 1991, pp. 509, 510) Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 126. "This writer's acquaintance with this current phenomenon is threefold: 1) he has attended one of the workshops held by Lyman Coleman; 2) he has read about a dozen books in the last ten years coming from evangelical sources [i.e. false teachers] that deal with small groups either wholly or in part; 3) he has also inquired about why a number of WELS congregations have begun to conduct small group Bible study and how they have structured these groups." Prof. David Kuske, "Home Bible Study Groups in the 1990s," Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Spring, 1994. p. 127. "Definition: 'A small group within the church is a voluntary intentional gathering of people, varying in number, regularly meeting together for mutual Christian purposes.' - Serendipity WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 2. "Bible studies from Serendipity. Serendipity makes available Bibles (with outlines and discussion questions) and topical study booklets for adults and teen-agers. See appendix D for sample study courses. Order a SERENDIPITY SMALL GROUP RESOURCES CATALOG from Serendipity, P.O. Box 1012, Littleton, CO, 80160 or call 1-800-525-9583 (In CO call 1-303-798-1313)." Notebook, School of Outreach IV, p. 225. "Introduction to Small Group Ministry outline. Evangelism Office. Buy the book Good Things Come in Small Groups, Intervarsity Press. Small Group Bible Study Materials, Serendipity, Littleton, CO (1-800-525-9563)." WELS Evangelism Workshop IV, LOCATING THE LOST, Five Year Plan For Outreach, p. 177.

[46] The CLC Church Growth salesmen yelped that I could not quote Valleskey’s class notes, which are published and kept by his students, since I did not take his class. Valleskey claimed to have inherited his notes from another professor, so he would not take responsibility for the content. However, if we examine his small body of publications, no doubts are left about his love for Reformed authors and the Church Growth Movement.

[47] Heick’s History of Christian Thought was used throughout Lutheranism for a long time. He was the most Lutheran of the professors at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, but he did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. He was kind to various students, including me and my wife Chris. Unlike others, he would analyze what students said during their chapel talks.

[48] Some of you think you are in difficult parishes.

[49] One successful CPA always hid his boat when his dad visited, because his father did not approve of such frills. When he thundered at voters’ meetings, one was tempted to think, “You hide your boat from your daddy?”

[50] Herman Otten told me that his father, a painter, sent him to prep school to turn him into a pastor. It is also worthwhile if students learn at an early age that church vocations are not for them. Seminaries should not be used as group therapy for the spiritually confused to find the meaning of life.

[51] WELS tried to turn another prep school into an ordinary area high school. The two surviving schools are now deemed inadequate for the supply of students. “We need another prep school,” one official said.

[52] Every so often, Fuller Seminary would phone and I would think, “They are going to chew me out for my latest article.” Instead, they were soliciting me to spend thousands of dollars to earn a degree, because I requested a catalogue. Many WELS pastors jumped me about Fuller Seminary, so I always asked them, “Have you ordered a catalogue? Do you want the latest one, to show you what they are teaching the WELS, ELCA, and LCMS leaders?”

[53] The oldest part of the Muhlenberg tradition, the General Synod, formed many union congregations, which were being de-unionized in the 1970s for a period of time. LCA pastors might serve a Reformed congregation, or a Reformed minister might serve an LCA congregation. Both would be on the ministerial roll of both denominations. After years of agonizing de-unionizing efforts, ELCA began forming new union congregations, with the Reformed, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. One ELCA story has a photo of a Roman Catholic priest grinning at his associate, a stunningly beautiful ELCA woman pastor. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

[54] Women’s ordination required the death of LCA president Franklin C. Fry. He would not even discuss the topic. At least one of his granddaughters is an ELCA pastor. Fry led the United Lutheran Church in America in rejecting inerrancy and refused communion from an ALC leader who advocated close communion.

[55] National Asphalt Paving Association, 5100 Forbes Boulevard, Lanham, Maryland, 20706. Toll free phone: 1-800-HOT-MIXX.

[56] The best source of English translations is Repristination Press, Malone, Texas, headed by Pastor James Heiser.

[57] The orthodox writers excelled in precise language, so their elaborations about certain topics are good to study when that topic is being attacked.

[58] Beza, an apologist for Calvin, established an attitude of contempt toward Lutheran doctrine that infects the Reformed and the Lutheran Pietists today. Self-loathing Lutheran Pietists often speak the language of Beza without knowing it.

[59] "Dr. Kraft is a professor in the School of World Mission at Fuller Seminary. Two illustrations will suffice to show the continuing Fuller drift away from the authority of Scripture. Dr. Kraft has been deeply involved in anthropological and sociological studies in relation to missions...His [Dr. J. Robertson McQuilkin's] burden included demonstrating that in some cases people who profess to be evangelical place the behavioral sciences over Scripture rather than under Scripture, with the result they undermine the Word of God. He made specific reference to Professor Kraft...." Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 226. "Similarly, he [the Muslim] doesn't have to be convinced of the death of Christ. He simply has to pledge allegiance and faith to God who worked out the details to make it possible for his faith response to take the place of a righteousness requirement. He may not, in fact, be able to believe in the death of Christ...." [Dr. Charles Kraft, consultation in Marseilles, France] Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 226. "Dr. Charles Kraft...regretted that missionaries 'westernized African ways.' He questioned the missionary/church position on polygamy, and in doing so released a bomb in the audience... One delegate reminded Kraft that polygamy is not a respectable way of life, for if it were so, how come the polygamist had a 'preferred wife leaving the other wives in a secondary position?'" [Perception (Nairobi Association of Evangelicals of Africa and Madagascar, April, 1977), pp. 6-7.] Harold Lindsell, The Bible in the Balance, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 227.

[60] "They had a clear-cut goal - to have a son...Eventually God gave them a promise, and when they received the assurance, God immediately changed their names: 'You are no more Abram, but Abraham, the father of many nations'...Abraham protested to God, 'Father, people will laugh at us. We don't even have a puppy in our home, and you mean you want us to change our names to 'father of many nation,' and 'princess'? My, all the people in town will call us crazy." Paul Yonggi Cho, with a foreword by Dr. Robert Schuller, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1979, I, p. 28f. "Since the spiritual world hugged the third dimension, incubating on the third dimension, it was by this incubation of the fourth dimension on the third dimension that the earth was recreated." Paul Yonggi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, 2 vols., South Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1979, I, p. 39.

[61] This attitude degenerated into “being happy” with the number, timing, health, and gender of the child, so many couples use abortion to reach their quality of life goals.

[62] "The Network of WELS Small Group Leaders. 1. Information on active/interested small group leaders. 2. The Resource Sharing Network led by Divine Savior in Indianapolis, Indiana [Pastor Dan Kelm]." WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19. "A Look at Several WELS Small Group Ministries. 1. Fairview in Milwaukee (Pastor Jim Aderman) 2. Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel in Madison (Mr. Rolf Wegenke) 3. Emanuel in New London (Pastor Steve Witte)" WELS Campus Pastors, Small Group Training Conference, Jan. 7-9, 1991, Madison. p. 19.

[63] "The unrelenting growth is based on a multiplication of home cell groups led by lay leaders." Harry Genet, "Big Trouble for the World's Largest Church," Christianity Today, January 22, 1982 p. 30.

[64] CLC Pastor David Koenig was anxious to prove that David Kuske was not trained by Lyman Coleman. Koenig even published a letter in Christian News about it. Koenig was always eager to start cell groups and heatedly supported Pietism while trying to quash any criticism of his beloved Church Growth Movement.

[65] Two of the featured WELS authors, Cuter and Freier, have left Lutheranism.