My trip to St. Louis Seminary

This weekend I went down to Saint Louis for the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions. I decided to leave early for various reasons. Yesterday afternoon I decided to go to the seminary at St. Louis and hang out for a little while. I ate at the dining hall (good food by the way) and observed the students for a little while. Then, I went over to Loeber hall and picked up the student publication, “Around the Tower” and began reading. Here were some of the headlines:


Parts of this policy are borrowed from Concordia Theological Seminary. But listen to this: III. Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption. 3. Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage at any occasion. 4. Usually drink something non-alcoholic. 5. Take special care deciding whether or not to drink alcohol at any occasion where children and/or other under-age persons are present. 6. Students are encouraged to utitlize the Seminary Counseling Center as a proactive resource avaiable to help identify solutions to problems before issues reach the point that the vice-president of student life need address them.


The gist of the story is that just as people in the secular world are often expected to have their “financial house” in order before getting a job as a financial advisor, so also pastors-in-training should make sure that we are practicing what we are going to preach. Personally, I don’t preach about tithing. And I’m not going to tell anyone whether or not I tithe.

The last paragraph is this: “We should be tithing now because it is the right thing to do. We should be trusting in the promises of God now, because it is the right thing to do. We should be asking ourselves this question, and answering with a resounding , ‘YES’!” Nice principles, but ALL LAW.

Chad Bird had a great sermon about tithing once, only, it wasn’t about tithing, it was about Christ. It was an Ascension Day sermon where he used the idea of the OT tithe (1/10) to explain how Christ is the representative of humanity in heaven. The tithe was a representative of the whole amount, given to God. I’m not doing justice to the sermon, but hopefully you get the point.


This article is about a vicarage experience at Lutheran Church of Arcata, CA, which once was a mix of LC-MS and ALC members, and a campus ministry. When the ALC became part of the ELCA, this congregation was allowed to remain a joint congregation. The writer says: “No more churches like this will be formed between the two synods, but the few S’s of ministry: study, social, service and spread. Study: we have to find ways of proclaiming God’s Word, including Bible Study and Worship. Social: we have to (emphasis mine, by the way) give people a chance to have fun and get to know each other; over dinner, over basketball, over a cup of coffee at a local shop, even (GASP!) over a beer, without hurting consciences (of course!). Service: we have to actively serve our community, volunteering at shelters, cooking meals, building houses and doing what must get done. And spread: we have to reach people who would rather die than ever enter a church building.” (comments in parentheses mine).

Another pertinent paragraph: “In the absence of a pastor (?!!!), I have been given an opportunity to reach out to the congregation in a unique way that, honestly, does not have to be so unique after all. We have to think outside the box more than we do as LCMS Lutherans. I mean, honestly, do we really need one more evening prayer service? For the record, I myself go to the Evening Prayer and Compline every week at the seminary. Instead, why don’t we send more people to St. Louis University and Washington University to reach people as ______ , _______, and others have done?” (Instead of prayer?)

Another pertinent paragraph: “What have I done about ministering to the people of the LCMS, ELCA and other groups? Though some people may find it distasteful, the Lutheran Confessions do not ban people of different backgrounds from sharing a common table (are we still talking here about eating dinner together?) Instead, we take each person and teach them the Real Presence of Communion, and we share it within our church family. As an LCMS vicar (!), I teach them the truths that we have been taught at the semrinary, so I never have to compromise the Confessions or the truth of grace alone (except when you celebrate the Lord’s Supper without a Call, but let’s not be legalistic). And I allow the people to decide if they wish to transfer their membership, loving them no matter what.” (So, we have a vicar, celebrating the Lord’s Supper apparently, at a joint LCMS-ELCA parish. Lovely).

The article ends: “So while it has been hard not being able to assume where church members come from, it has begun to teach me how the LCMS can reach out to non-LCMS members (maybe it would be good to question unfamiliar people before admitting them to the altar). We can learn things from people different from us. We have true doctrine, but we still have a lot to learn (Yeah, like Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession). If we would spend our time talking with other Christians, and I mean talking not ecumenically but person-to-person, we might learn other ways of wording doctrine without going back to Pieper. God bless, and I wish y’all vibrant ministries that keep y’all too busy to watch too much television.” (Yeah, keep the fire Ablaze).


Apparently in a recent article the idea was brought up to close Loeber hall (where the fussball tables are) during chapel because of the people who go and play games and don’t go to chapel. (We used to talk about having a procession to the student center at Fort Wayne on Communion days to take communion to the “shut-ins” at the fussball tables–similar problems I suppose).

Anyway, the article in this issue is written by a non-Lutheran graduate student, questioning why an LCMS seminary would be so legalistic as to require chapel services five days a week. Personally, I think that daily chapel should be required of seminary students. Things are required of pastors that are not of lay people. It is part of the pastor’s spiritual formation. And it would help if the chapels were not just glorified devotions, but that they used the various prayer offices from our hymnals. That was one thing I always appreciated about Fort Wayne (even though I skipped my share of chapel services): they utilized the broad array of services within our hymnals. It laid the foundation for my daily prayer now as a parish pastor. If it had not been modeled at the seminary, I probably would not have learned to do it.

MOSQUE VISIT OFFERS INSIGHT FOR EVANGELISM: Muslims have some things to teach us about sharing our faith

In this article, the author speaks about a trip to a mosque that he and other seminary students took. It’s not a bad article, just discusses some of the common problems that Muslims and Christians face. The point of it, however, was lost on me. It describes the prayer service that was attended by the seminary students, how the Imam taught the children afterward. He talks about how the Imam offers services on Sundays and other Christian holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and uses them as an opportunity to explain more about Islam. And then the author writes: “Maybe Christians should borrow from the Muslims and take time to worship Christ and teach on Muslim holidays like the month of Ramadan, and learn more of what we have in common with other parts of their culture. (paragraph) Ritual, liturgy, orderliness and reverence are what make sense to these Muslims escaping for a moment from what is otherwise the chaotic culture of America[…].”

Perhaps we could learn something from Muslims…about reverence, orderliness, ritual, and liturgy when it comes to worship, since so many of our churches lack any form of these. Not that we would borrow from them, but that we would strive to live by such Biblical and God-pleasing principles when it comes to our own true and spiritual worship of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Muslims are unashamed about their religion and do not try to accommodate the tastes of worshipers. Why do we?

It was an interesting trip, to say the least. I even got to play some tennis out on the seminary courts. That would have been a great addition to the Fort Wayne sem while I was there–tennis courts. Perhaps I would have gotten a lot more exercise then.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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32 Responses to My trip to St. Louis Seminary

  1. sam says:

    I appreciate your comments on your trip down to CSL. I’ll try to respond more later, as this is very pertinent to me, as I will be a 1st year seminarian at CSL next year.

    The one thing that really struck me was the section on daily chapel and your comments. I fully agree with you. I served two years as the leader of the student worship committee at Concordia, Seward (we did chapel set-up, ushering, etc) for all the daily chapel services and evening prayer stuff. It was so frustrating to see chapel attendance so low. Sadly, of all the Concordia’s our attendance was the highest.

    Worship is not something in the realm of adiaphora. I fully understand that there might be circumstances that might forbid a student from attending chapel occasionally. However, this should never be the norm. Seward took care of this by closing all offices during chapel, including the bookstore and cafeteria. Sadly, attendance didn’t increase.

    Thanks for the comments. Hopefully I can jot a bit more later in reaction.

  2. Rev. Benjamin Mayes says:

    Here’s some questions for Sam, from one Seward grad to another: Why CSL? Did you ever visit Fort Wayne? If you visited both and decided that the learning opportunities were better at St. Louis, then I would respect your decision. If you haven’t given FW a fair shot, though, you really should.

  3. sam says:

    Rev. Mayes,
    This is a question that is asked a lot of me. For one, I’m a Missouri boy. So, naturally I’ve had a lot of interaction with the St. Louis Seminary. Also, a majority of my professors at Seward are St. Louis grads, as are most of the pastors in my circuit back home. Many of the pastors that I’m teaching with (while on Student teaching) are St. Louis folks too. Also, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with fine professors such as Dr. Gibbs and Dr. Brauer. I’ve also had the chance to hear a lot of other St. Louis professors speek.

    With that said, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit Ft. Wayne. I’ve wanted to. In fact, I was going to the Church Music symposia in November, but my plans fell through. I hold no ill will towards anyone at Ft. Wayne. I loved my admission’s counselor (Dreyer) and had some great conversations with him. I also have a lot of friends going there (or currently there). I plan on taking Ft. Wayne up on many of the educational programs that they have.

    However, when it all comes down to it… I just like St. Louis. I know that doesn’t hold weight with many people pushing me towards Ft. Wayne… but… one should never go against one’s conscious. I know some have concerns with St. Louis… and some of those same concerns are held in regards to Ft. Wayne. I believe upon graduation that I will be just as orthodox as a graduate from Ft. Wayne.

    That’s my .02

  4. Carl Vehse says:

    You must’ve gotten the April Fools’ issue of the student newspaper, especially where it noted:

    “MOSQUE VISIT OFFERS INSIGHT FOR EVANGELISM: Muslims have some things to teach us about sharing our faith”

    That’s like saying “the Muslim god is also the true God.”

    I mean, who but a heretic in the Lutheran Church would believe that!?!

  5. FatherDMJ says:

    We must have missed each other. I was at CSL Friday with a WELS pastor.

    I have the same publication and was shocked by the articles in question.

    So much for the Missouri Synod, eh?

  6. Pastor Beisel says:

    I thought that I had heard you were going down to St. Louis. Too bad we missed each other.

    Sam, I went to Concordia, Seward. Everyone pushed us toward St. Louis sem. We then went out for a visit during Symposium. That hooked me.

    No matter where you go, you need, and I mean, you *need* to get hold of Paul H. D. Lang’s book called “Ceremony and Celebration” and read it, and re-read it, and then read it again. It will answer a lot of your questions about worship and it will give you a tool to use against naysayers who think there is nothing wrong with changing the liturgy everyweek. I know plenty of St. Louis grads who are fine gentlemen, and plenty of Fort Wayne grads who are no so fine. I still think that there is something about going to Fort Wayne that puts fire in your belly, but I could be wrong. Perhaps you can get the same thing in St. Louis.

  7. sam says:

    Pastor Beisel,
    I appreciate your comments and will start looking for the book you mentioned. I rejoice in my eventual graduation and the opportunity to work with fine graduates from both seminaries (and have a few drinks with them from time to time).

  8. Rev. Benjamin Mayes says:

    Dear Sam,

    I too am a Missouri boy (grew up in Maryville), went to Seward, was pushed toward St. Louis, knew the SL profs, had mostly SL grads in the circuit, have a dad who was a SL grad and is a big supporter, knew little about FW and had never visited. The liturgy and the profs led me to FW. (I started in 1998.) I’m very sorry that you haven’t had the chance to visit my alma mater. It gave me a good education, but too often people don’t really give it an honest look. You really need to go there to see what you’ll be missing out on. If you decide you still made the right decision, I’d respect that. Things change over time, and it may be that the educational opportunities are currently better at SL. But you really ought to make the decision based not on where you’re from and where your friends and relatives went to school, but where you are convinced you can get the *best* education. Lord’s blessings on your preparation for seminary. (For other books that would be helpful to you, check out (Sorry for the shameless merchandizing, Beisel!)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just for the record: FW did have tennis courts years back and they were in disrepair so they were ripped out and made into the parking lot that’s way back toward the soccer fields behind the gym. Much better to create another parking lot rather than fix the tennis courts, eh?

  10. Pastor Beisel says:

    Yeah, I think I knew that about the tennis courts. Sad. I tried to nudge Wenthe over and over again about it. He’s a golfer though.

    Decision about seminary is too important not to visit both. It was January of my senior year before I finally committed.

    Here are some strengths of Fort Wayne that I think are very good: Strong emphasis on connection between doctrine and practice in every class, and modeled in Chapel. This is SO important in our day when they are so commonly divorced from each other. Secondly, I tend to hear more sacramental and christological preaching/teaching coming from profs at Fort Wayne, especially with the addition of prof. Bird. Pastoral practice classes are taught by solidly confessional pastors like John T. Pless, Harold Senkbeil, and the like. Fort Wayne also offers spoken Matins and Vespers every weekday at 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (I think it is 4:30, could be wrong) in addition to the 10:00 chapel service. These opportunities are not available at St. Louis, as far as I know. Don’t make a decision based on convenience. Many of the St. Louis grads that are good theologians wish they had gone to Fort Wayne. Plus, think about this–if you go to Fort Wayne, you will forever be branded as “one of those Fort Wayne guys” who has a high view of the Office of the Ministry, doesn’t tolerate contemporary worship, and has an opinion on just about everything theological and liturgical. You might even be called a heretic eventually because you reject the false teaching of Matthew 28 (that it is meant for every Christian). Sorry, Vehse, had to get that in.

  11. Christopher Gillespie says:

    “Plus, think about this–if you go to Fort Wayne, you will forever be branded as “one of those Fort Wayne guys” who has a high view of the Office of the Ministry, doesn’t tolerate contemporary worship, and has an opinion on just about everything theological and liturgical. You might even be called a heretic eventually because you reject the false teaching of Matthew 28 (that it is meant for every Christian). “


    Sam, I am at Fort Wayne for similar reasons. I’m an Indiana boy, got stuck in Illinois for a while and am back to home. Amen.

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about the seminary choice. Both are excellent institutions and yet do offer different focuses. I had no desire to live in a big city or have the larger academic setting so Ft. Wayne fit. Selfish choices I don’t think really get in the way… point is you are following the call. Go for it.

    On a secondary note, the quotes mentioned from the publication are definitely SCARRY. If I saw that sort of bologna here, there would be a firestorm of dissention. ONE drink at Gemutlichkeit? I don’t think so.

    Finally, the worship comments are appropriate. No one has to guilt you into not attending chapel. You go if you can. From personal and anecdotal evidence though the community gathers there and if you don’t go you miss the discussion, interaction and fellowship it brings to the campus. So yes, the daily chapel extends into the classroom setting and extends from the classroom setting. I’d say we get about 50% on average. There are usually 100-125 people, less on Fridays. 🙂

  12. Lawrence says:

    From one of the posted Articles:

    “Not that we would borrow from them, but that we would strive to live by such Biblical and God-pleasing principles when it comes to our own true and spiritual worship of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    I hope the original context for this is in jest.

  13. Carl Vehse says:

    “Sorry, Vehse, had to get that in.”

    That’s okay. The confessional Lutheran understanding of Mt. 28 given by Luther, Walther, Pieper, Mueller, the Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod (1932), and in many other documents will still be there, waiting for you.

  14. FatherDMJ says:

    I’ve often wondered if the Brief Statement jibes with how the Church (including the Reformers) has taught Matthew 28 through the centuries.

    I was told once that the whole notion of the “Great Commission” given to every baptized Christian was actually a notion from the Baptist communion a century ago.

    Allow me to think out loud.

    If we say Jesus spoke His mandate to every baptized Christian (the Apostles representing every baptized Christian), then must needs we confess that every baptized Christian is a minister in Christ’s Church?

    Must needs we confess that through Holy Baptism, a Christian is “ordained” into the Royal Priesthood of Believers?

    Must needs we confess that the only distinction between a Royal Priest and an ordained pastor is a Divine Call?

    This sounds like what I hear from some in the Wisconsin Synod, where some are wont to call baptized Christians “member ministers”.

    If there is “nothing special” about the Holy Ministry (as Walther, et alia confess), why do we hold our pastors in high regard? Why do we recognize ordination anniversaries? Why don’t we elevate a baptismal anniversary to a more important place than an ordination anniversary?

    A parting question: Is any other position on the Holy Ministry outside the Brief Statement a Romanizing position on the Ministry that is not to be tolerated in the Church of God?

    If so, Rick, then you’d best start filing charges against those who differ with the Brief Statement. I fear there won’t be too many pastors (“confessional”, “conservative”, or “liberal”) left to preach the Gospel.

    Maybe we could elevate “member ministers” to “member pastors”?

    But isn’t that happening in the Missouri “Synod” with “lay” (sic) ministers?

    Sic satis superque

  15. Lawrence says:

    The problem with Lay minstry arises when we try to infuse Lay minstry into Pastoral Holy Ministry.

    Christ commands all Christians to Witness, and in many cases this means ministering to others. But this is defining ministry in a general sense.

    The pastoral type of ministry holds a more specific definition. Pastors hold a special Holy Office within their congregation. Pastor’s primary focus is to Shepherd his congregation.

    Pastor is still a Christian who is commanded to witness, but is also Ordained to a special office within the congregation to keep the congregational theologically true, and to properly administer the Sacraments.

  16. Carl Vehse says:

    I’ve often wondered if the Brief Statement jibes with how the Church (including the Reformers) has taught Matthew 28 through the centuries.

    Rev. Juhl, both Missouri Synod seminaries have courses discussing the theology and the confessional understanding of the Lutheran Church, Luther, and Walther wrt Church and Ministry, as well as historical courses on the Missouri Synod that would have covered the 1932 Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod. Surely you reviewed your class notes on these topics before you signed and filed with your District President a statement which acknowledged your “subscription to the Constitution of the Synod”, which includes upholding its official doctrinal positions and statements.

    I was told once that the whole notion of the “Great Commission” given to every baptized Christian was actually a notion from the Baptist communion a century ago.

    You were told once incorrectly. The “whole notion” of the Great Commission originated with Christ as recorded in Matthew 28, John 20, and in other Scripture.

    As for the first of your nine questions, here’s what Martin Luther had to say:

    “Though we are not all called into the public ministry yet every Christian may and should teach, instruct, admonish, comfort, and reprove his neighbor from God’s Word whenever and whereever he is in need of it, just as parents must teach their children and servants or anyone his brother, neighbor, fellow citizen, and the like. For a Christian may teach and exhort form the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, etc., anyone who is ignorant, weak, and he who is so instructed should receive it of him as God’s Word and confess it publicly…. Behold, in such a way every Christian has and exercises his priestly works, But in addition to this there is the pastoral ministry that teaches and inculcates doctrine publicly, and for that we need ministers and pastors.” [Martin Luther, Second Exposition of Psalm 110, 1539, St. Louis Edition, 5:1036]

    As for the others, I recommend you read the various statements made by Luther, Walther, Pieper, Mueller, and other Lutheran leaders found in my responses located on the Cyberstone thread, Servants of God.

  17. Father Hollywood says:

    Rick, once again, does your statement that signing the LCMS constitution requires the “upholding its official doctrinal positions and statements” apply equally to lay ministers, Ablaze, the role of women in church offices, toleration of syncretism, joint LCMS/ELCA ventures, and all the other agenda items of the current administration in the same way that you claim it applies to the Brief Statement?

    If so, what a great bully pulpit you are handing President Kieschnick! All of us confessional Lutheran dissidents don’t have a leg to stand on. We may not dissent on any point in which synod has spoken (ex cathedra?).

    That puts Christian News, the Augustana Ministerium, and just about every Confessional Lutheran organization on the outs. Wouldn’t the COP just love that!

    I don’t know, your argument is sounding kind of papal – as though our membership in synod requires us to accept without question every canon law passed by the curia and the college of cardinals.

    No, I disagree. I didn’t swear to uphold Ablaze, the Brief Statement, the Witcheta Amendment to the Augustana, or any other extra-Biblical and extra-Confessional pronouncement of synod.

    Someone famous once said: “popes and councils have erred…”

  18. Pastor Beisel says:

    No one is saying that the Royal Priesthood does not have a role in Christ’s work of justification. In the Gospels the “rumor of Him went throughout the countryside.” People believed without having met Jesus. To say that the Apostolic Commission was given to the Apostles *as ministers* does not negate the fact that elsewhere in Scripture all Christians are called to bear witness to the Truth, to confess the Gospel, and to teach his neighbor, particularly parents. In fact, according to Matthew 10, Jesus promises that those who confess Him before men He will confess before His Father in heaven and warns that those who deny Him before men He will also deny before His Father in heaven. Confessing Christ before men is not an option for Christians. But whereas all Christians are called to confess Christ before men, only those who are called to the Holy Ministry are expressly commanded to baptize and Teach. Christians *may* baptize and teach in the case of emergency, because the power of baptism and the teaching is in the Word itself. But in doing so he is not following a command, but only acting out of necessity. Pastors, on the other hand, do this not only out of necessity, but also because such things are commanded of ministers. If the dominical command found in Matthew 28 is intended to be heard by every Christian as a call to action as it is so often used, then Christ’s last word to His Church was Law: “Go.” The role of the Church in Matthew 28, by the way, is to be “taught” all the things which Christ has taught His disciples. The Church is both teachers and hearers. Not all are called, commanded, commissioned, however you want to put it, to teach, for as St. James says: “Teachers will be judged more strictly.” The Apostles were the Church’s first Teachers, and those whom they called and laid hands on continued this apostolic task of teaching the Church and it continues to this day. If Matthew 28 is to be used as a call to action, then let it be done so on Call day at the seminary. Let those who would preach to ministerial candidates use Matthew 28 and then let them say as Christ said to His apostles: “Lo, I am with you always to the very end of the age.”

  19. Anonymous says:

    Could you post or post a link to Chad Bird’s sermon on tithing? I’d very much like to read it!


  20. Father Hollywood says:


    The articles that you’ve summarized are really disturbing – particularly the joint LCMS/ELCA vicarage. This is an abomination – the fact that the St. Louis Sem seems to be okay with this is distressing.

    Thanks God I went to Ft. Wayne! Even with its foibles, we weren’t subjected to this kind of thing.

    While I was in student government, we made a trip to St. Louis, and some of their guys came to see us at the Fort. Those guys were literally aghast and stunned that the professors would deign to drink beer and smoke cigars with us – and actually discuss theology! They were starry-eyed, talking to Weinrich and Just. And there was more than one Lutheran beverage consumed.

    I do fear that the Foirt is changing its ethos however, partly due to the deaconess program. One of my classmates now refers to CTS as the “Feminary.”

    Kyrie eleison!

  21. Carl Vehse says:

    “Rick, once again, does your statement that signing the LCMS constitution requires the “upholding its official doctrinal positions and statements” apply equally to lay ministers, Ablaze, the role of women in church offices, toleration of syncretism, joint LCMS/ELCA ventures, and all the other agenda items of the current administration in the same way that you claim it applies to the Brief Statement?”

    Once again, Hollywood, I’m not making the statement. The statement come from the documents you (not me) subscribed to when you became a member of the Missouri Synod. How your subscription applies to other issues will depend on whether they are doctrinal statements, doctrinal resolutions, or other types of resolutions. While your subscription was not part of your ordination, it was a subscription that you voluntarily made and was equivalent to signing the Synod Constitution. Consideration of the Constitution is not something that should be done flippantly.

    There’s too much of that going on now by the CCM and other liberals in the Synod, and, in the last decade or so, with the convention delegates who change the bylaws willy-nilly without even sentient regard.

    In reference to the Great Commission here, again, is one Lutheran’s statement:

    “We hold fast to this, that there is no other Word of God save that only which all Christians are commanded to proclaim; that there is no other Baptism than the one which all Christians can give; that there is no other remembrance of the Supper of the Lord than that which Christians may celebrate. which also Christ has instituted to be kept; also that there is no other sin than the one which every Christian can bind and loose; likewise we hold that there is no sacrifice except the body of every Christian; also that no one can or may pray, save only a Christian; in addition, that no one is to judge doctrine save only a Christian… (Cf. Luther’s Works, Walch Edition, X, pp.1858,1859)” [In Der Lutheraner, Vol. 17(22) (June 11, 1861), pp.169-71, reprinted in The Congregation’s Right to Choose a Pastor, translated by Fred Kramer, Concordia Seminary Publications, St. Louis, 1997, p.142]

    C.F.W. Walther commented on that statement:

    “Although there is of course a great difference between a pastor and a believing Christian, and a Christian never through his faith becomes a pastor or parish minister in the real sense of the word, it nevertheless by no means follows from this difference that the Christians do not possess this office originally, and that they are not to exercise it privately each according to his rank and calling which has been committed to ministers and parish pastors according to God’s expressly made order for public administration on behalf of the congregation, as Luther generally expresses himself” [Kramer, p. 143]

  22. Favorite Apron says:

    Well, that explains a lot.
    We left a law oriented LCMS church ( with St Louis Pastor) a little over a year ago. Even after communion we were dismissed from the rail with , “now go and do such and such . . .”
    It was oppressive.

  23. Father Hollywood says:

    Again, “Carl,” are we bound to hold to doctrinal resolutions which are in error passed by Synod?

    Are we bound to every doctrinal opinion or remark of C.F.W. Walther? Luther? Kieschnick?

    Yes or no, please…

    I believe there is a distinction between the Scriptures and the confessions (to the latter of which I hold a quia subscription) and every other document, doctrinal or otherwise.

    This is why there has never been an ordination in history in which the ordinand includes the LCMS Constitution, Bylaws, the Brief Statement, or even the (here all may genuflect) the Mission Statement of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in his or her (grin) solemn vows.

    Can you give me the name of even one man whose vows included any of these things? Just a name, please, “Carl.”

    I’m not bound the the LCMS’ errors any more than Luther was bound to Rome’s. That goes for Ablaze, the Brief Statement, resolutions of Synod, or any other extra-biblical and extra-confessional document.

    I don’t know how much clearer I can make it. If I’m guity of something, either file charges or get off the pot.

  24. Father Hollywood says:

    Oh yes, one more thing, our ordinations never mention the LCMS. If the LCMS goes belly-up, we are still called and ordained pastors.

    In other words, I was not ordained into the LCMS ministry. My ordination was worded as follows: “I ordain and consecrate you into the Office of the Holy Ministry of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.” Period.

    Synods come and go (yawn), but the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church goes on unto eternity. Of course, none of the ecumenical creeds mention the LCMS, and neither do any of the Lutheran confessions.

    Even my parish began its life outside of the corporation known as the LCMS. It would not shock me one iota if we outlived the Synod.

  25. Pastor Beisel says:

    The “go and serve the Lord” after the dismissal always annoyed me, ever since I heard it every week at Concordia College in Seward, NE. Then I heard it at my field work congregation: “Go in peace, serve the Lord…” I don’t understand why pastors cannot just let the Gospel do its thing. Why do they feel they need to add their own little personal touch to the service. The Divine Service should be as impersonal as possible, because as soon as the minister makes it personal, it is no longer about Christ and it is about him and his ability to make the Word more effective.

  26. Carl Vehse says:

    Again, “Carl,” are we bound to hold to doctrinal resolutions which are in error passed by Synod?

    The answer is in the Constitution you subscribed to, “Hollywood”. Now I doubt even Walther believed the Synod would last forever, especially if its subscribed members adopt a “couldn’t care less” attitude about what happens to the Synod.

    As for the Synod’s long-standing doctrinal position on Matthew 28, it is congruent with Scriptural and Confessional doctrine. On other issues the Synod and/or its officials are wrong, but then I’m not a subscribed member of the Synod.

    BTW, if you are ever sworn in as a witness in court, try telling the judge that even though you promise to tell the truth, it’s not mentioned in your ordination vow.

  27. Father Hollywood says:


    Are you, as a layperson, commanded to “make disciples by baptizing and teaching?” Do you hear confessions, and are you bound never to reveal something confessed to you? Do you consecrate bread and wine using Christ’s Words in order to distribute His body and blood? Do you stand in the pulpit on the Lord’s Day and preach the Gospel unto the forgiveness of sins?

    Yes, in a sense, the keys are given to the whole church in the same way that since I pay taxes, then the hospital down the road “belongs” to me, or like the McDonald’s commercials that speak of “my McDonald’s,” or if I describe the Cleveland Browns as *my* team.

    But I would be a fool to think this entitles me to take out a scalpel and start cutting up a patient (since it’s *my* hospital*. And I’m sure the owner of the local McDonald’s doesn’t think I am entitled to free food, since it’s *my* McDonald’s. And I’m pretty sure I’d be arrested if I tried to play some touch football at Cleveland Stadium. You hold the keys in the same way that I own the Liberty Bell. It’s true in a sense, but only in a very broad sense.

    The keys are a matter of vocation.

    There is also the fact that we Americans don’t like hierarchy – we’re egalitarians. Of course, God has never been an egalitarian. That’s why feminists and Marxists hate God. Democracy and voting are the American golden calf.

    Unlike the movies where Jesus gives the “Great Commission” (which is a very recent Reformed name for the event when Jesus is “apostling” (sending out) the first ministers), Jesus was not on a hillside speaking to the multitudes. No, Jesus was speaking only to the 11. He ordained *them*. He breathes on *them* in John 20, and tells them *they* have the authority to forgive or retain sins in his name.

    Notice, I’m not appealing to Walther, or Pieper, or Luther, or any other pious and venerable reverend father (whose words are often taken out of context and distorted by everyone from Rome to the Reformed). I’m appealing to Scripture. Jesus never commissions anyone but the 12 (and possibly the 72) to preach, teach, and baptize. This is why we have Augustana XIV.

    This is why the office of the keys is also called the *office of the bishops* in our confessions.

    Are you a bishop? Do you have a call? If you really have such a case of “ordination envy,” why not go to seminary, get certified for ministry, and get placed somewhere? There’s a reason our hymnals and agendas have different “absolutions” for use when there is no pastor present.

    If you look up my M.Div. paper at CTS Fort Wayne, you’ll see how I prove that we in the LCMS have to repent of our abuse of excommunication. If you study the confessions, this is solely to be done by the pastors. The lay-people have no biblical or confessional authority to vote on anyone’s excommunication.

    If I were your pastor, I would caution you against “vox populi vox Dei” that you seem to be flirting with.

    We pastors aren’t your enemy. I wish I knew why you are so hostile towards us. God made me a shepherd – and shepherds herd the sheep, not the other way around. I’m sorry, I didn’t invent the system – it was that way when I got here. There are plenty of times I wish I could go back to my old job being a sheep. I sure made more money and had less stress. But what choice do I have? I get no joy in telling the sheep what to do, but I have to. It’s my calling. believe me, it’s not fun.

    Finally, Rick, feel free to use my real name. I’m Rev. Larry Beane. My moniker “Father Hollywood” is a *joke* because I worked at a video store last year to pay for my health insurance. I don’t take my nickname for anything other than what it is – a self-depricating silly joke that’s all on me. I don’t use it to cover my identity or to try to think of myself as a romantic imitation of a long-dead historical figure.

    As far as telling the truth in court, I believe our blessed Lord said: “simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

    The same goes for my confession of what Scripture and the confessions teach. If you and Jerry Kieschnick don’t like it, well I’m sorry. I’m going to let my yes be yes, and my no be no. I’m answerable to our Lord, not you, JK, the convention, or the late Mr. Roberts and his book of parliamentary procedure.

  28. Pastor Beisel says:

    Someone asked earlier about a link to Bird’s sermon on tithing. I don’t have an electronic version of it. It might be in his book of sermons published by Emmanuel Press ( but I’m not sure. Sorry.

  29. Joe Fremer says:


    You said,
    “No, Jesus was speaking only to the 11. He ordained *them*. He breathes on *them* in John 20, and tells them *they* have the authority to forgive or retain sins in his name.”

    Please give the reference where Jesus dismisses Cleopas, Mary, and “the others with them” (Luke 24:33) before breathing on just the Eleven. (Luke 24:36 and John 20:21 clearly happen on the same day.)

    Please identify the ancient manuscript that you are using for your assertion that it was the Eleven, and no one else, that went to Galilee in Matthew 28:16. My Nestle-Aland critical edition lists no variant readings for that verse at all, but it’s an older edition. Perhaps yours lists a newly-discovered papyrus that supports your reading of the text.

  30. Pastor Beisel says:

    I think what the venerable Beane is getting at is that even if there were others present, it was still the Twelve who are given authority to forgive and retain sins. The question is, who are the Apostles? I see them as the first ministers, as does Fr. Beane. So the dominical commands that are given to them are by extension given to those who are in the Holy Ministry. It’s like the command in Genesis to Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply.” That command cannot lawfully be carried out by unmarried persons, right? First God creates the marriage estate (creates Adam and Eve and gives them to each other) and then blesses them with the command to be fruitful and multiply. The same applies to the commands to forgive sins, baptize, Teach, and celebrate the Lord’s Supper (“Do this…”). These commands are given to the Office which Christ has created for the purpose of dispensing His holy gifts. As I said somewhere else, just because people do what the Apostles are called to do (baptize, teach, etc.) does not mean they are obeying some command. They are doing it out of necessity. Pastors have no choice but to do these things.

  31. Anonymous says:

    How’s the view from that high horse?

  32. Anonymous says:

    our son is considering seminary at ST. LOUIS. We now have him on cobra insurance for the next two years but wonder if he could get on a group plan through the seminary.

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