Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Point - Counterpoint

So a member of my recent former church tried to make a comment on my previous post.  He could not post it because the Facebook sharing app I use "Networked Blogs" interferes with the comments part if you follow the link from Facebook.  So he just emailed me the comment.  I answered it in email but I thought I would share the points and my responses.  It seems very fair.

Point 1:

 (1) Based on your comments, I agree that you should leave the church and synod. You spoke of a conscience issue, and you must follow your conscience, even if it should be erring or misinformed.

Response 1:

1.)  you are 100% correct.

Point 2:

 (2) I hope you see the irony here. You cite postmodernism and relativism as major enemies to be confronted, yet you based your action on your personal feelings, impressions, and opinions rather than on any doctrine grounded in revealed, absolute truth. You made yourself a kind of poster child for postmodernism by not basing your severing of confessional fellowship on divine truth or established departures from biblical truth, but on your subjective feelings and opinions on adiaphora. (Adiaphora in fact, not an empty word as you say.) 

Response 2:

2.)  I will make sure I am more clear next time. To some degree you are correct based on the information I presented.  I should have been sharper.  After writing what turned out to be a very very long post I took out the doctrinal and confessional points as they sort of became a post of their own but I should have adjusted and added disclaimers to what remained.  I have not posted this other post yet as it needs work. However it would have at least helped to note that I didn't leave the synod based on individual practices.  I left Votl based on individual practices.  I left the synod for doctrinal reasons. If adiaphora were all that was involved I could have just moved to a WELS church near my house.  However I think you are justified in noting that what I presented was ...well...poorly presented.  At a minimum I should have positioned what I wrote as a commentary on where and why I think error is creeping in with a promise that I would expound on the actual errors in the future.  As I think about it...I think I will post a retraction and restate my position.  For the very reason you noted (posterboy...)I do not want to convey the wrong message.

Point 3

(3) Finally, I pray you acknowledge and confess your ethical lapse in throwing out the name "Time of Grace" and accusing it of having "lax doctrinal structure" (whatever that means, it is contextually pejorative) without any substantiation of that. That is slander by Bible standards and contrary to the Eighth Commandment. May you be granted swift repentance and enjoy anew the amazing truth that with God there is full and free forgiveness because of the perfect atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Response 3

3.) Unfortunately on this point there would be no such thing.  I've been dormant in the blogging world for awhile..I did hear this here and there in the past.  I have to admit this is the fastest the 8th commandment card has been whipped out but I will add it to the list.  I didn't know we had to cite substantiation with our accusations but I will do that here AND make sure I correct such things online. It's my mistake for assuming that the ways of PMJ were not in the public domain.  its rare I find someone who sticks up for it.

My Time of Grace Points

1.) The LCMS RSO thing.  You can spin this however you want, finagle the wording, get special dispensations on the rules from LCMS, but it all boils down to a supreme effort to skirt the rules of fellowship.  It was noticed enough to get reasonable support for a memorial against it at the convention.  Alas we gave ToG a mulligan on that one.  I suppose it doesn't matter now since the LCMS ended the RSO status anyways.

2.) Change or Die:  So now not only does PMJ participate in this ecumenical conference of ministry with ELCA and LCMS, now he and ToG are sponsoring it.  Even though the COP specifically told the first WELS participants the first time they participated that they should back out. (two did...) PMJ did not.  Again this is not a free conference and seems to show the world that we can all share and participate in ministry together.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before some lesbian ELCA pastor/spirit guide has a presentation on ministering to the Inner city of San Francisco.  Can't wait.
3.)Here are some Facebook posts from ToG: 
  • August 5: "When we choose to believe Jesus, we release his blessings into our lives and miracles happen all over again. -PJM"
  • August 13:"God's there for us when we need him. When we trust in him, we give him the chance to make even an illness work for us and his glory.- PMJ"
  • September 2: "Guess what? God guides your daily walk. He cares enough about your life to help you deal with life's toughest questions. Do you feel surrounded by darkness and unsure of what to do? Let him speak to you.- PMJ"
  • September 15:"Today, focus on letting God work in your heart-and don't be so suspicious of his motives.-PMJ"
  • September 16: "Only the love of Christ heals wounds. Only YOU can decide to let Christ calm your spirit and speak gently about what's hurting you.- PMJ"
  • December 10: "Something to focus on this Christmas season-are you one of the INN crowd or one of the STABLE few? Will you make room for Jesus?"
If you'd like I can find more... 
in order to state some more authoritative text in case we even need to do that:
  • Augsburg Confession article XVIII.: "it (man's free will) has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness."
  • Explanation of the Third Article of the Apostles' Creed:  "I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him."
So since I was contextually pejorative with the term "doctrinally lax"  Hopefully this will put some context around it and what I meant by that.  Even if you can wiggle yourself out of each and every single statement and situation with some explanation that just might make it marginally ok...I would say that stretching the bounds of propriety that often is at best not wise and at worst just a sleazy way to ignore doctrine.  So consider my statement as a kind interpretation because my personal opinion is that ToG is complete and utter crap.


Here is some additional information.  This is from Feb 6th on ToG facebook:  "Moms, it is you who make God believable and real to small children."  And all this time I thought it was the Holy Spirit.  Best Moms can do is make Santa Clause believable perhaps.

In conclusion however, I would like to say that I will post another post just on doctrinal issues.  The first post will remain as a commentary on the sum potential danger that lurks about in modern trends within the church waiting to spring and diminish the gospel. From now on I will aim to be more accurate in my statements.  If any of my readership of now 4 people feel I need to make it any clearer that I did not leave the church and synod due to some personal feelings of style, content, format, etc therefore shifting my shared understanding to a different relationship and thusly espousing my obvious leadership in the post-modern world...please speak up.  I will put more effort in my non-relative Truth post to help those with bated breath.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What Did You Do!?!?

I decided to write a post that I could just point people to whenever someone asks why I left my church and synod.  Not that anyone really knows I left yet, as I walked away relatively quietly and without any fuss.  However it had become a matter of conscience to the point that there really was no other option.  So this serves as my public statement on the matter, I guess.
I will start from the top down.  It is clear that modern society has embraced post-modernism.  Pop culture, media, academia, etc. have all helped to proliferate an evil mindset.  In short, it is the idea that truth is relative and we can only relate to people on the basis of a shared understanding.  My truth may not be your truth and everything is fine.  We just need to relate in some shared way and truth is irrelevant.  There hardly is a more dangerous philosophy for the church to deal with in my opinion.  It allows the Truth of the Word to be reduced down to only what is relevant to an individual. Absolute Truth becomes Truth a-la-carte that caters to the lowest common denominator.
This mindset is slowly and insidiously creeping into the synod and not just my former synod of WELS, but all the others as well to varying degrees.  In the church, the word adiaphora is often used to justify what is just a compromise to the world in an effort to make the church relevant to the masses, whom live and die in the post-modern age of thought.
The examples of this continue to mount and begin with good intentions but ultimately lead to the aforementioned “lowest common denominator” Should I list the one’s I have noticed?  Is it valuable? Perhaps you can comment with your examples.  Here is just one WELS example of good intentions gone horribly, horribly wrong:
Additionally, this trend becomes apparent not only in the beginnings of the effort to create synodical versions of evangelical non-dom’s that are relevant and relational, but also in the effort to usher in a new relevant and relational Bible (NNIV 2011), or to condone the lax doctrinal structure of synod-affiliated organizations such as “Time of Grace”.  That’s low hanging fruit but I’m certain you can provide numerous examples as well.
I do not react generally to individual examples.   I don’t leave my church and synod because someone in particular went too far here or overboard there, or someone just threw common sense out the window.  I left because when the whole “package” crosses your personal line of tolerance, or conscience, you need to take action. One should not pretend there is a way to fix the direction of the synod.  That is laughable. I have a story of a guy named Sisyphus for you if you think that is the way to go.  In that regards, you may as well suggest that Congress can control spending or that the Vikings could win a Super Bowl.  There is no particular “need” for a synod anymore particularly after it has “Jumped the Shark”. For me I will just examine each congregation one at a time.  You might be surprised what you find.
So, I will now go forward in helping an independent confessional congregation here in Milwaukee in rebuilding the church.  I will be more prolific in posting and sharing and making sure people know there is a home for them when their conscience is violated as well.  Whereas sin can never be avoided, we want to make sure we do what is possible to prevent the erosion of Truth not give in to the world.  No person or plan is perfect, but it is time for me to re-focus on the Theology of the Cross and leave behind the Theology of Glory.