Terminated from WELS Fellowship

On April 11, 2011, the voters of St. Peter congregation met, and voted to terminate my fellowship with St. Peter Church and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).  I was not aware of this meeting, no members of my family were present, and I was not afforded any opportunity to defend myself.

Out of the blue and without any warning right before Holy Week of 2011, I received a certified letter informing me that my membership in St. Peter and the WELS was terminated.  (April 12, 2011 letter from St. Peter Church).  That certified letter said:

April 12, 2011

Dear Fredrick (Rick) Techlin Jr.,

In your letter titled “Letter to WELS 2011” dated January 20, 2011 and published on your blog a few days later, you made the following statements:

“However, during our attempts to resolve the doctrinal differences reiterated by that letter, it became apparent that I disagree doctrinally not only with Pastor Glende and my Church Council, but also District President Engelbrecht, and other leaders in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).”  (page 1)

“I do disagree with my pastors and Church Council over doctrine.”  (page 11)

“My doctrinal differences with my congregation have been known by me for well over two years.”  (page 29)

“Should I continue in fellowship with synod leaders who counsel laymen not to pray with other non-WELS Christians, but then defend WELS pastors who plagiarize the sermons of our theological enemies?  The answer is no.  I should not continue in fellowship with the theological blackguards of the WELS…’  (page 31)

Rick, by your own words you have declared that you are no longer in fellowship with St. Peter Ev. Lutheran Church and the doctrine of the WELS.  On the basis of your published statements, St. Peter’s Board of Elders and Church Council recommended to the Voter’s Assembly that your membership in our congregation be terminated.  At the Voter’s Meeting of St. Peter Ev. Lutheran Church on April 11th, 2011, this recommendation was acted upon and unanimously approved.  In carrying out this action, St. Peter is simply acknowledging what you have already declared to be true in your “Letter to WELS 2011”.  This action is in keeping with St. Peter’s Constitution, Article V, Section 5 – Termination of Fellowship.

We commend you to your own spiritual care and will continue to keep you in our prayers.

Sincerely,
St. Peter Ev. Lutheran Church Voters, Board of Elders, & Church Council

According to St. Peter Church’s certified letter, “by your own words you have declared that you are no longer in fellowship with … the doctrine of the WELS” and that “St. Peter is simply acknowledging what you have already declared to be true in your ‘Letter to WELS 2011’.”  However, my 2011 letter to the WELS also said:

… if I am wrong about the doctrine, then how am I supposed to be corrected if I cannot attend any meetings where these issues are being discussed?  …

Therefore, I am sending this letter to the WELS Conference of Presidents (COP) in the hope that maybe I do not have to leave the WELS over doctrine.  These are important issues, and if I am wrong, then I should be properly instructed so that I can be convinced by God’s Word…  My strongest desire is not to leave the WELS, rather I more strongly desire that these doctrinal conflicts would be resolved with unanimous agreement.  To that end, there needs to be discussion, and that is one of the primary purposes of these letters…

1.  Is it the WELS doctrine that Christians can choose to believe God’s Word?
2.  Is it the WELS doctrine that from our perspective God needs our service?
3.  Is it the WELS doctrine that the sin of plagiarism is not a sin?  …

If the WELS Conference of Presidents answers ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please have some kind person explain the doctrine to me in a way that I can understand.  If I am wrong, then I will be wrong.  I have no personal stake in being infallible, and neither should any other Christian.  Further it is not my desire to leave the WELS without serious effort to at least understand these positions, even if I am unable to agree.

I cannot simply choose to believe that which I actually believe is false.  I must be shown the truth in the light of plain reason or the Scriptures.  This points to the fifth consequence of post conversion Decision Theology:  There has been very little (virtually no) effort put into showing me the ‘light.’  I have been simply expected to choose to believe the St. Peter & The CORE doctrine.  And if praise songs, popcorn, and big screen TVs are not enough positive motivation, then other negative motivators are applied.  The goal is not to reveal the light of truth, but to motivate a choice…

(See also “WELS Northern Wisconsin District Doctrinal Issues“).  The entire letter dated January 20, 2011 is basically a description of my efforts to discuss doctrine, and the total rebuffing of those efforts.  This final act of terminating fellowship means that I am no longer a member of the WELS or of any visible Christian church.

St. Peter Church terminated my fellowship with the WELS under Article V, Section 5 of St. Peter Church’s Constitution.  That section deals with Christians who are not accused of any willful sin (and thus can still go to heaven), but are still nonetheless guilty of false doctrine, and therefore must be excluded from the fellowship of the orthodox.  It states:

Termination of Fellowship

A.  Members who persist in an error that in itself does not make the presence of saving faith impossible and who otherwise are not under church discipline (cf Article V Section 2D and Section 3) may be excluded from the fellowship of the congregation

1.  after they have been evangelically admonished by their fellow Christians in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-16; and

2.  when their adherence to error becomes public and a matter of divisiveness (Titus 3:10) and thus an offense and obstacle to the truth of God’s Word (Romans 16:17-18).

B.  This action shall not be used for removing inactive members as a substitute for the loving act of excommunication when impenitence is clearly evident.

C.  Members thus excluded from fellowship shall lose all rights in the congregation and in its property.

That section of the Constitution cites Titus 3:10 and Romans 16:17-18.  There Paul says: “A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (KJV).  Also:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.  [KJV.  Emphasis added].

The Scriptures cited by the St. Peter Church constitution contain the phrase: “mark … and avoid.”  This means that St. Peter Church has marked me as a persistent errorist and a teacher of false doctrine that all WELS congregations and members should avoid.

St. Peter Church says I declared myself out of WELS fellowship.  That is false.  If I thought the WELS doctrine was wrong, and I believed that I could not be convinced of that doctrine, then I would gladly leave.  I would not need to be without warning kicked out right before Easter.

In terminating my fellowship, St. Peter Church cited only my letter to the WELS dated January 20, 2011.  That letter also references another letter dated November 1, 2009.  Here are links to both letters:

People can judge for themselves whether there is false doctrine in those letters.  I believe those letters accurately represent the doctrine of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Lutheran Confessions and as subscribed to by the WELS.

*

After the January 20, 2011 letter, the only meeting I had with the pastors of St. Peter Congregation was on March 25, 2011.  The five concerned area WELS pastors had been trying to meet with the pastors of St. Peter & The CORE for over a year.  However, the pastors of St. Peter refused to meet without the District Presidium, and the District Presidium refused to meet together with all the pastors.  Finally, as a courtesy to the Synod President, the Northern Wisconsin District Presidium scheduled a meeting for March 25, 2011.  The five concerned pastors were also able to secure an invitation for Tony Kubek Jr. and me.  (See the post: “An Update“).

The Northern Wisconsin District Presidium continues to maintain that these public matters cannot be handled in a brotherly way if we publicly discuss them.  However, St. Peter Church has publicly terminated my fellowship with the WELS, therefore, I should be able to at least say that the conclusion of this meeting was not: that I should leave the WELS.

No agreement was reached on any issue, nonetheless, I did not leave this meeting thinking that my fellowship with the WELS was about to be terminated.  District President Engelbrecht encouraged everyone to keep our discussions private and to be willing to engage in further meetings.  Nonetheless, two weeks later, St. Peter Church publicly terminated my fellowship in the WELS as a persistent errorist.

*

In their certified letter, St. Peter Church concluded: “We commend you to your own spiritual care …”  I have done my best to resolve these matters Scripturally by attempting to discuss them.  However, the leadership of St. Peter Church has been steadfastly adamant that there is absolutely nothing wrong at St. Peter Church, and therefore these matters will not be discussed in any way in which my concerns would be given any legitimate consideration.  By their words and deeds the leadership of St. Peter Church has officially declared that we are not walking together, we do not have the same doctrine, and we do not belong in the same synod.  Their persistence has forced me to agree, that we do not belong in the same synod.

I have appealed this wrongful termination of my WELS fellowship to the Appeals Board of the Northern Wisconsin District.  That is as high as a layman can appeal.  (WELS Constitution § 8.50(e)).  If I lose this appeal and no other WELS congregation steps in to intervene, then my days in the WELS will be over.  But at least I would know where the Northern Wisconsin District officially stands on doctrine.

Win or lose, the spiritual battle belongs to the Lord.  (Ephesians 6:12).

Kyrie eleison.

*

Holy Week

It is unfortunate that the leadership of St. Peter Church in Freedom, WI chose to take these actions without warning right before Holy Week.  As a result, I did not have time to find a place to receive the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday in an orderly fashion.  This was the first year since my confirmation that I was not able to receive the physical essence of our faith (the Lord’s body and blood) on Maundy Thursday.  After hearing all the pleas to “take, and eat,” I felt like just watching the Lord’s Supper was hardening my heart, so I did not attend Good Friday or Easter Divine Services.

A number of faithful WELS pastors graciously promised to commune me if I came forward, but I decided that it would be best to refrain.  The last thing I wanted to do was give District President Engelbrecht a technical excuse to discipline faithful pastors for communing non-WELS members.  (Open communion is a serious infraction of the ordained ministry).  Nor did I wish to spark a confrontation or a confessional crisis between two WELS congregations during Holy Week.

On Maundy Thursday, I received a second letter from St. Peter Church saying that if I disagree with my termination of WELS fellowship, then my only option was to write a letter to District President Engelbrecht.  Anything else would be disorderly.  (April 18, 2011 letter from St. Peter Church).

On Good Friday afternoon, I wandered around for awhile looking for a church to attend, but then gave up.  I stopped at another Christian church in Freedom, WI in the hope that I could touch the water to just physically remind myself that I am baptized, but their baptismal font in the entrance was dry.

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, I wrote a letter to District President Engelbrecht announcing my appeal, and dropped it in the mail.  In that letter, I also asked him to give me written permission to commune at any WELS church pending my appeal.

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26 thoughts on “Terminated from WELS Fellowship

  1. This is unacceptable. I am behind you 100% Rick. Anathema to the leadership of the Northern Wisconsin District and the voting members of St. Peter’s.

  2. This is incredible. One can only assume that you were a stumbling block to the apostasy and church growth gone wild at St. Peter, Freedom, WI. Without you there to inhibit that, they are free to proceed with their agenda. From where I sit, I see failed leadership at so many levels. Your letter to the Appeal’s Board is their chance to right this wrong. I’m praying that happens. Meanwhile you have my 100% support and gratitude for taking a stand on your beliefs.

  3. Dear Fellow Christian Rick:

    Please take comfort in the knowledge that there are at least a few laymen around the synod who are aware of your situation. And that at least I feel, from reading the letters and responses you have posted, that the St. Peter’s congregation has overstepped their authority in excluding you from fellowship. If there is something that St. Peter’s congregation has knowledge of above and beyond what has been posted here, may they please post it. This is a public matter and should be dealt with in public. May God grant you a fair hearing in your district’s appeals committee.

    May God the Son, Jesus Christ comfort you with His work for you. The life, death and ressurection of our Lord and Savior is and was for you. May you soon be allowed to attend services at a WELS congregation and partake of the body and blood of Christ.

    Yours in Christ
    Mark

  4. Dear Rick:

    Irony of ironies, our family chose NOT to join the fellowship of WELS because they were not practicing what they preached as far as fellowship/unity!

    We told them that as long as they were involved in the Lutheran version of the “Knights of Columbus” lodge (that being “Thrivent for Lutherans”) we could not, in Biblical good conscious, be in unity with WELS because we knew being in a brotherhood fellowship with Thrivent (as WELS was) was complicit with sin.

    There are other smaller Lutheran conferences you can look into, Rick. WELS may have just saved your soul!

  5. The more things change the more they stay the same.
    If it is any comfort to you, in 1977 I was terminated from membership in a WELS congregation with a letter reminiscent of the one you received from your congregation. There were alarming issues then, some of which I had taken public positions warning about the implications thereof in letters to the editor in Christian News, re: the beginning of WELS associated schools taking government grants, humanism teaching methodology creeping into WELS schools and congregations, the adoption of PPBS (Planning, Programming, Budgeting System) or management by objectives as the operating system for WELS, the orchestrated dispatching of the faithful KJV Bible to the dusbin of history for any contempory translation around at that time (the formalizing of the acceptance of NIV synod wide had not yet been announced). The years of providing documentation, provided to men in the congregation, and Synod, fell on deaf ears, and at one juncture, one individual in WELS
    leadership suggested I stop corresponding, since “I didn’t know what I was talking about.” But chickens do come home to roost. All of the above has prevailed thrusting WELS into turmoil.
    May I give a word of encouragement. There is life after WELS. A Luther quote for the times may be a comfort and one to keep in mind. Of this Luther says “it may happen that the world will become so utterly epicurian that we shall have no public ministry in all the world and the preaching will be solely epicurian outrage and that the Gospel will be preserved only in the homes by the fathers” ” (St. L. VI.938) Pieper vol3,p.439

  6. Just a comment to let you know that there are many people out there who support you. I hope you don’t think you are alone. The treatment and “doctrinal positions” you have become a victim of just make my head explode compared to the mere simplicity and obvious nature of what you have presented.

    Keep up the good fight!!

    Tim

  7. Dear Rick,
    May those in our circuit, district and synod continue the fight for doctrinal purity. My prayer is that during ensuing meetings, should they be held, Scripture and, Scripture alone will be the sole determinant. My support in your struggle will continue.
    In His name,
    Tony Kubek Jr.

  8. Well, this is interesting. It is well worth emphasizing that in “disagreeing” with your Pastor and your Church Council in matters of doctrine and practice, while simultaneously defending the doctrinal positions of your, and their, church body, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, you were most certainly not standing contra the doctrine of the WELS, but indicating that, in your observance, they are outside of WELS doctrine. And it appears that they are above discussing that with you! Instead, they have agreed with you! They agree that you and they are disagreed, and by allowing your simultaneous affirmation of agreement with WELS doctrine to stand without challenge or comment, they agree that you and Synod are agreed.

    Have you received word regarding when they will be withdrawing their membership from Synod? Anytime soon, perhaps? That is the only logical conclusion to be drawn from their statements and actions.

    In my opinion, Rick, on this basis alone, you ought to disregard their “notice of termination” as having any relevant bearing on your status as a member of the WELS. Secondly, the fact that they neglected to speak with you over these matters, whether publicly or privately, despite your requests, in my opinion makes their “notice of termination” completely unbiblical and invalid. Disregard it. It is complete arrogance, in my further opinion, that they would assume that their positions are above examination. If there are local WELS congregations who will receive you, and if their pastors will commune you, join them. If it creates a “confessional crisis,” then so much the better at this point. These matters must be broadly discussed, must be taken seriously by leadership, clergy and laity, and if the only way to draw attention to these issues is to create a ruckus by continuing to stand your ground, then so be it. I say this realizing that this has been no small toll on you, but I know that you have support locally. Use them.

  9. Hey,
    I’ve been following your story. I’ll be coming up to my final year at the Sem. Thank you for preparing me for what’s ahead.
    You and your family are in my prayers. In fact, the members of St. Peter’s are also in my prayers, as they need some guidance as well.
    I look forward to seeing you in heaven. I give you my encouragement to hold fast to the faith. God bless.

    Nick

  10. Sounds almost exactly how my situation is proceeding in my LC-MS congregation. You have broken the First and Second Commandment of American Pop-Christianity: “Thou shalt agree to disagree. Thou shalt not maintain that your church leadership needs to repent of Scripture twisting.”
    Sadness is strong right now, but “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Jesus actually said that somewhere in the Bible!)
    You are not alone. We are just scattered throughout. We will be brought back together in Christ, you just wait and stay in the Word and pray. I will pray for you and you will pray for me. Jesus is praying for both of us.
    “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, TO STAND.” (Ephesians 6:13)

  11. Dear Rick,

    I have been following this and regret that I have not offered my support publicly prior to this. I am praying for your strength and that of your loved ones. Do not feel like Elijah in this…ever.

    Your Brother in Christ,
    Joe Krohn

  12. Peace be with you.
    Let the words of our Lord Jesus Christ to his fearful disciples upon witnessing his resurrected body calm your heart. I too know the pain of being separated from a church because of doctrine, and while it hurts now, remember that all things are in the Father’s hands. This is only one bump on the road of your walk in the faith, keep in mind that you were only doing what any faithful Christian SHOULD do, and that is to understand the doctrinal position of the church. It is ONLY a church community that terminated your fellowship, not Christ himself, and we know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
    I leave you with a final thought – I’m sure Luther is proud of you, because someone has to try and keep these people honest.

    Peace

  13. Dear Rick,

    May God’s faithfulness given you preserve and strengthen you in this trial. As Mr. Lindee stated, while you and the St. Peter’s congregation have parted ways, to my limited reasoning, it appears to me you would be welcomed in a majority of WELS confessional congregations.

    Usually when a church falls out of fellowship in the ELS/WELS, the DP and Synod President would make public notice of this to all congregations. I have seen this one time with a former ELS congregation in 2006.

    Stay strong in the faith God has given you and your family.

    God bless.

    Perry Lund
    Oskaloosa, Iowa

  14. Rick,

    I am saddened to hear of the un-Christian action taken against you by St Peter’s Congregation, Freedom, WI. Their disregard of common courtesy, much less Christian brotherly concern, at the minimum, to advise you of any action they intended to pursue against you shows how callous they really are. Their actions have only inflamed this unfortunate situation.

    It is sad that the Wisconsin Synod has, on one hand, the arrogant, knucklehead, Glende-types and on the other hand, in some regard, the legalistic, Intrepid-types. St Paul would have a field day with both groups (as well as with me, personally). Neither group serves Christ by their self-centered actions or the mission that He has given us.

    You have in the past and will continue to be, in my personal and my family’s prayers. Prayers that you will be vindicated from these malicious, unwarranted, and false charges that have been laid against you. But, most importantly, prayers that you will become even more committed to serving Christ and His kingdom here on earth.

    The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints, does not consist only of those who proclaim to be a member of the WELS. Your WELS membership, or lack thereof, has nothing to do with your personal salvation. Jesus doesn’t recognized any denomination; He only recognizes His sheep. As you know, it is only your personal faith and belief in Jesus as your Savior that counts. The WELS, like all man-made organizations, is not infallible. I encourage you to commune frequently, whether that be with a congregation or in a small group of fellow believers. Remember, where two or three are gathered together in His name, Jesus is then among you. What a comfort that is to us!

    May the peace, that only the Prince of Peace, can give to us sinners by God, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend, be with you.

    P. C. Christian

  15. Dear Rick,

    I am horrified by the injustice you have been subjected to, but it should not surprise anyone. This sort of thing has manifested itself before in WELS in various ways.

    Though it is not probably politically wise for me to do so, I just wanted to publicly tell you that I fully support you and believe your congregation to be entirely in the wrong here. I agree with Mr. Sarnowski. Luther would be proud of you.

    I also agree with Mr. Lindee. There is no way that this action can legitimately terminate you as a member of WELS. Assuming you still want to be a member of WELS, I am guessing that you could find a new congregation in the Appleton area that would welcome you. There are still a few confessional places left up in that district. I can think of several in Appleton, Little Chute, and Oshkosh in particular. Moreover, due to the clear un-scriptural and unjust nature of this so-called termination, I think any confessional WELS pastor has a duty to ignore the “termination” and allow you to join in fellowship with his congregation.

    Though I suppose there is not much I can do directly about any of this, just know that there are many people out there praying for you.

    Dr. Aaron Palmer

  16. I’ll try this again. (Sorry, bit of an inside joke) I would like to expand on Dr. Palmer’s invitation. I know it’s a bit of a drive for you, but I extend my warm hand of welcome from St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Newtonburg. That’s rural Manitowoc. I am with you brother Rick.

    Scott E. Jungen

  17. I feel for you in your plight over Easter, Rick, but I think you acted wisely by refraining from communion.

    Every congregational constitution I have ever seen (granted, I haven’t seen a WELS one) requires the congregation to take all reasonable measures to contact a member _before_ removing them from membership, let alone excommunicating them. So, if I understand matters correctly, aside from the doctrinal issues, this action would seem to be procedurally unfair, denying you natural justice, i.e. the right to answer accusations brought against you. I do hope your appeal finds a sympathetic ear.

  18. Dear Rick, my dear brother in Christ,
    As mentioned above in so many ways, there is nothing externally that can separate you from Christ. A paper from an erring pastor, supported by yes-man voters who either blindly follow this pastor due to weakness/absence of spine, unwillingness to follow the example of the eager Bereans and research what he says, or are possibly some new members brought in by social gospel and have NO idea what the truth really is, is something for which he and his followers will answer to Jesus. The guilt is not yours to carry. These present sufferings you are experiencing are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in you.

    This church has put you as an outcast, but you have more support than you know. There are many inside WELS and obviously outside WELS that support you; the blessed communion of saints supports you. You are never alone, despite the words and actions of these weak people. You have a great example in our beloved Martin Luther who wore the same shoes. He wasn’t looking to start something new, but wanted to help his church to see the light (sounds a lot like you). God used Him to guide His Church through bad times.

    The WELS IS in bad times. Most of the members don’t even know it; the same could be said for the pastors too. Of course some are aware, but I am so TIRED of things being hidden from the view of the whole church. So many of us are hanging on to the blogs and websites of those who are taking bold stands just as you have done. Thank you Rick for YOUR bold stand, not based on your ideas, but those that God tells us in His Holy Word!

    I wish the people who are in positions to do something, and know that they can and SHOULD do something but have not been in the past, find a voice and a spine and start standing for the truth. Enough of the “loving manner” talks and move things along! Specifically I am speaking of the Synod President who has talked the talk, and does have support if he finds his voice to speak up. Silence and weak positions are not what is needed. By doing this a silent approval is being given to the false doctrine that is among us.

    All the above comments are correct. I especially agree with Douglas Lindee and Joe Sarnowski. This may have been meant as evil towards you, but God can and will work it for your good.

    One thing is true already. You are now free to talk about all the things of which they tried to bind you from saying. You are not subject to their “manmade” rules, but God’s rules. Your words and talents may better serve our Lord from “outside” the so-called church, as from “inside” from where this falseness originates.

    What has changed for you? You received a paper from an erring church body. Not being lighthearted about your situation, but you could possibly put that next to your confirmation certificate because it is a witness to the bold stand you have taken to try to communicate with your church about their persistent error and the stand you have taken for our Lord.

    May God continue to bless you as you persevere in your walk with Him. He loves you and is always for you, no matter what happens in this world.

  19. Hey Rick,

    I feel for you–sorry to hear that you join the ranks of those of us trod on by the wels.

    But here’s the thing: You will Never get justice no matter what you do. The WELS leadership will never remove the false teachers who have made your life not so fun. That is because the organization cares more about it’s own survival than it’s real reason for existing.

    You probably won’t believe me right now, but store these words in the back of your mind: The WELS is false church, a sect. If there are plenty of “good” pastors and “good” leaders, why wouldn’t they be standing up against this? If the WELS is **mostly** okay, why haven’t the people who terminated you already received hundreds of letters and/or been terminated themselves? The reason is, at the end of the day the WELS will not defend doctrinal purity. The WELS is a cabal, and it’s pastors dare not think on their own. (I’m sure there are plenty of Pastors, who in their normal jobs teach the truth…but it’s easy to do well in situations of no tension–the real test of a man is in situations where personal risk is involved. Show me the WELS pastor who is willing to stand up and condemn the WELS when it is wrong, when his job and pension are on the line.)

  20. Interesting use of Matthew 18. It seems as though (and correct me if I am wrong) that excommunication has been used not as a loving way to restore a erring brother, but rather as a means of punishment to bruise and beat into submission the one who dares bring any practice into question with no chance to answer or defend. Indeed it appears as though you have not been given the opportunity to be shown your error so that you could repent (what you have been asking for – that is to be shown by Scripture your error). It seems to me that it is strikingly appropriate that this would have happened to you on Holy Week. Seems they have washed their hands of you for fear of a riot perhaps? How ironic! How remeniscient of the events of Holy Week. Unless you have presented an incredibly one sided view of this event and have not been honest with the recorded events, then you have been dealt blows of punishment not deserved by what you have outlined in your letters.

    I guess Pilate’s words are more profound than I ever imagined. “What is truth?”

  21. There are folks in the LCMS who have you in our prayers. Not that us in Northwestern OK do you much direct good… but endure, and find a congregation that is faithful.

    My view is this – synods are like bodies — and sometime cancers develop there in. God grant that those cancers are dealt with quickly and do not kill the whole body — but until then, go find rest somewhere where you can, somewhere healthy.

  22. This story is unbelievable. Before the St. Peter website was scrubbed I was able to see the Groeschel material proudly displayed in the sermon section. The fact that a WELS minister was openly using reformed material was shocking. Sadly, I have found that this church is not the only one. I recently visited Christ the Rock’s (Round Rock, TX) website (http://ctrtx.net/) and they are using the Groeschel “Hostage” sermon series. See for yourselves at lifechurch.tv. If you search the open source material for “hostage” you will see the graphics and everything. I may end up leaving the WELS if this continues. I want no part of this.

  23. Peace be with you; the true peace found in Christ, and accordingly found in His blessed Sacraments. Amen, amen.

    I am ashamed of myself, and for the many who have posted at this site offering support, while perhaps blithely thinking of ourselves as being, somehow and in some way, “intrepid.” Many of us have not really made our acquaintance with the sands of the Coliseum quite yet, and even take our best precautions to do so. As long as no real action is taken to challenge the minions of Ba’al, by lifting some stones and pouring water, the authorities will be happy with our bleatings, and ignore us behind the closed doors of power. Occasionally, of course, there will be someone jauntily speak of being behind you, sir, “110%,” in the midst of your trials. I believe I saw that claim advanced once, at a Lutheran site.

    Well, piffle. The truth of the matter is, many of us belong to congregations of the WELS fellowship, or in fact are clerics of the same, all of which and whom could offer substantial support by declaring a forthright intent to terminate fellowship with the St. Peter congregation, on the basis of its serious errors of doctrine and praxis. The congregation of Smyrna could tell that of Philadelphia to shape up, in other words. Pastors are equivalent to bishops in terms of honor and respect, in the Lutheran scheme of things, which is spot on. A congregation could tell Milwaukee to clean up its act, or we’re tightening the purse strings, because we’re orthodox … and you’re a terrible failure as a cop armed with mitre and crosier. It’s apparent now. Certain high authorities of the WELS are arguably either in frank agreement with the errors of St. Peter the congregation, or are made too paralyzed or fearful to do what is meet, right and salutary … and in short order. “Right. Let’s just let things drift, until we fall asleep. Then the tumult will die down. Or the oil in the lamp will run out. When no man can gripe. Or is that “work?” ”

    But enough of the unhappy stuff. Know this, Mr. Techlin (and I agree with the thoughts of a certain Mr. Christian, above): WELS is not to be identified with the Holy Church, in the latter’s blessed entirety. The particular tributary’s paralysis and tolerance of error within its midst, to the point of an approving the flock’s dispersion under a cover of stealth and surprise, satisfactorily establishes it as heterodox, and susceptible to the devilish quagmires and dissensions of the visible whole. The truth is then, Mr. Techlin, that you are far from being alone, however we protect the pensions and our ease. Never are you so, as one baptized in the Name (Is 43:1). You are His. You are cheered on by a cloud of witnesses (visible and invisible; militant and triumphant) … although, yes, it would certainly be nice if a Lutheran church (small “c”) could keep the font wet, throughout the hours of our labors and needs. But do beware the self-labeled “intrepid” temptation; it only goes so far in furnishing an aligned backbone, and then … quite suddenly … other earthly labels take precedence of allegiance.

    God, our Rock, have mercy on us all.

    Michael L. Anderson MD, PHD

  24. Interesting situation. As a fellow pilgrim and disciple of Jesus Christ I am saddened by this. The divisions caused by “denominations” created by men…who are following their own doctrines and traditions and not the doctrines of the Lord, are painful to all in the body of Christ.

    This is why “Sola Scriptura” applies to church institutuions and any institution that goes beyond the Bible is in error.

    Do yourself and the Body of Christ a favor and find a Bible preaching church that does not rely on the traditions of man.

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