Church Status

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Saint Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Freedom, WI (WELS) was my life-long home congregation.  (St. Peter’s daughter congregation is The CORE in Appleton, WI).

In the Spring of 2011, the leadership of St. Peter Congregation terminated my fellowship with the WELS as a persistent errorist based on two letters that I wrote.  Those two letters are linked below:

They said in a certified letter that they removed me as a persistent errorist because in those letters I publicly disagreed with Pastor Glende and the Northern Wisconsin District Presidium on three doctrinal issues:

  1. I said that plagiarism was a sin, and that Pastor Glende was guilty of plagiarism.
  2. I said that God does not need our service: in other words, the means of grace are sufficient.
  3. I said that in the light of faith Christians cannot choose to believe God’s Word: in other words, from beginning to end, faith is 100% the gift of God.

Because I believed that these positions were not doctrinal error, I appealed.  However, the Northern Wisconsin District Appeal Board denied my appeal without explanation.  (Because the Appeal Board’s written decision contained no explanation, I believe their decision was based on politics, not principle).  Now, I have three choices:

  1. Sin against my conscience by renouncing the above true Christian doctrine, and then presumably rejoin St. Peter Congregation.
  2. Refuse to publicly recant the true Christian doctrine, and remain excluded from the WELS forever.  (The WELS Constitution §§ 8.30(c) and 8.50(e) would forbid my return).
  3. Disregard the District Appeal Board’s ruling and the WELS Constitution (§§ 8.30(c) and 8.50(e)), and continue indefinitely in triangular fellowship with other WELS congregations who agree with me in doctrine.  (Currently, this is where I am).

In summary, the leadership of St. Peter Congregation terminated my fellowship with the WELS because I questioned the methodology and doctrine of Pastors Glende and Skorzewski and the Northern Wisconsin District Presidium’s defense of their false doctrine and practice.

I did my best to resolve these issues in a brotherly way by spending years attempting to meet privately, and then after years of private effort, by ultimately bringing these concerns to the Church.  In return, the leadership of St. Peter Congregation terminated my fellowship with the WELS as a persistent errorist.

Lord, have mercy.

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5 thoughts on “Church Status

  1. Rick,

    You remain in our prayers as well as all of those on both sides of these issues. It does not seem at least to me that your situation is meet, right and salutary; that St. Peter has effectively excommunicated you from the WELS, all the while another WELS parish is communing you. Someone is in error and I do not believe it is a sin for you to keep pressing the issue for resolution.

    Being a baptized in the WELS lifetime member, I can surely feel your pain. I found comfort in your previous blog post. Surely we have it in our hearts to forgive the wrongs committed against us as our Savior forgives us daily. I pray that there will be contrition on the behalf of those who have wronged us so that a true forgiveness can comfort all involved. But it is not against Biblical principles to finally shake the dust from our sandals if this does not come to fruition. We will all answer at the final judgment.

    May the Lord have mercy indeed!

    In His Grace,

  2. Thanks Joe. I’m glad you found comfort in the previous blog post. True faith, love, and forgiveness is needed for the unity that Jesus desires. May all Christians always pray for each other, and may the Lord be with us all.

    Kyrie eleison.

  3. If WELS and the ELS are the orthodox synods they claim to be over against the LCMS (which is obviously lax in doctrinal discipline), one would expect Pres. Schroeder to act quickly and decisively in disciplining the district president and the erring pastors.

  4. The LCMS is not as slack as portrayed, given the pastors and theologians who refuse to cave to the modernist force, nor are WELS nor ELS the conclaves of confessional purity they claim to be.

    “Confession” is proven in practice.

    In your case, they failed miserably.

  5. This is just more evidence of American Lutheranism throwing the confessions aside. In my opinion the WELS and all American Lutheran Churches are headed down the road to Evangelical Protestantism. While in some ways Evangelical Protestantism is better than what Rome has become, it is simply not the faith the Apostles passed down to us. The faith that Fr. Martin Luther sought to restore.

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