"Over against all that reason suggests or would measure and fathom, yes, all that our senses feel and perceive, we must learn to cling to the Word and simply judge according to it."


- Martin Luther




Luther's Rose


I wish most importantly to state a case for Christ and His Cross for the unbeliever, but I also wish to make the case for both the unbeliever and the "blessedly inconsistent" towards the true apostolic and catholic teachings of the blessed and orthodox Lutheran Church.



SOLI DEO GLORIA



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(This was retrieved as part of an e-mail news letter I subscribe to called Reclaim News written by Rev. Jack Cascione, if you'd like to subscribe, then please e-mail reclaimnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. I highly recommend it!)

Indiana LCMS Pastors Convince Congregations to Relinquish Voter Supremacy

Rev. Jack Cascione Reclaimnews@earthlink.net

Sacerdotal LCMS pastors are circulating a Romanist congregational constitution to Indiana congregations. The goal is to convince the congregations to give up Voter Supremacy and their God-given right to exercise the Office of the Keys.

This new constitution takes away the Voters’ Assembly’s right to judge doctrine, decide who is a member of the congregation, and vote on matters of excommunication. It also takes away the Voters’ right to manage their own property.

In addition to the Romanist constitution these pastors are making a bogus claim that changes in Indiana law make it dangerous for LCMS congregations to maintain Voter Supremacy. They are claiming that Professor Richard Nuffer (also an attorney) who teaches at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne IN, endorses their recommendations to disenfranchise LCMS Voters’ Assemblies with their new constitution.

These LCMS pastors claim that the solution for “legal protection” from rulings by the Indiana Supreme Court is to have a Board of Deacons govern the congregation in place of the Voters’ Assembly.

This “new” constitution has the approval of the Indiana District. This is further evidence that the LCMS is abandoning Walther’s “Church and Ministry.”

They also claim that C. F. W. Walther, the founder of the LCMS, wasn’t following a Biblical model by promoting Voter Supremacy and an elected Church Council. Thus, the LCMS has not been following the Bible since its founding in 1847

Luther teaches exactly the opposite when he writes: “The right to judge and pronounce on matters of doctrine belongs to each and every Christian, so much so that he is doing an accursed thing who impairs this right by a hairbreadth”. (Luther XIX: 341) Pieper Vol. I Page 350,

“With particular vehemence the Roman theologians denounced the Scripture teaching that also ‘laymen’ could and should judge doctrine on the basis of Scripture.” Pieper Vol. I Page 351.

Pieper (Pages 351-353) quotes John Gerhard’s response to the papists who claimed laypeople should follow their shepherds even if the shepherd is wrong:

The Anti-Lutheran Jesuit Theologian Bellarmine (1542-1621) writes: “The uneducated people cannot judge the doctrine of their shepherds otherwise than by comparing it with the doctrine of their predecessors and the regular shepherds.”

John Gerhard (1582-1637) answers for the Lutherans: “I answer: The example of the Bereans shows that this is wrong; they daily searched the Scriptures, inquiring carefully whether these things were so that were proclaimed by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 17:11); they set up as norm of judgment not the doctrine of the regular shepherds, but the Holy Scriptures, and for this they were commended by the Holy Spirit. . . . When Christ, the Prophets, and the Apostles performed their ministry of teaching here on earth, they preached not only to the learned, but also the unlearned, in such a manner that they were understood by all; why, then, should the writings of the Prophets and Apostles be so obscure and perplexing that the unlearned people could not in any way judge them?”

Bellarmine writes: “But if the people could of themselves pass judgment on the doctrine of the shepherd, they would not need preachers.”

John Gerhard: “I answer: That is an illogical conclusion. Both things are commanded by God; that the people pass judgment on the doctrine of the shepherd—which Bellarmine a while in ago in definite words conceded to the people—and that there are to be nevertheless ministers in the Church, ‘they are not all teachers’ (1Cor. 12:29; Eph. 4:11). It is one thing to inquire into the truth of the doctrine and know the difference between heresy and orthodoxy, between false prophets and true teachers; this is the general call, which belongs to all Christians. It is another thing to teach publicly in the Church; that is a special call. We do not make shepherds of the sheep, but demand that they be and remain sheep; however, we do not want them to be brute sheep, which neither can nor should distinguish between shepherds and wolves. The Papists make their hearers brute sheep, which follow a shepherd without discretion, not asking whether he leads them to noxious pastures or changes himself into a wolf; they make the hearers parrots which hang on the nod of the prelates, and of the prelates they make angels, which are infallible and accountable to no one . . . . The reason which Bellarmine adds is plainly Anti-Christian: ‘When the appointed shepherd and one who is not called teach things which are contrary to each other, the people should by all means rather follow their shepherd than him who is not a shepherd, even if it should chance that the shepherd erred.’ But it is wrong that the people ought to follow the appointed shepherd when he errs; for this would be nothing else than to command the sheep to follow their shepherd also to noxious pastures, to ask the Christians to prefer darkness to light, error to truth, human regulations to divine authority.”

Following are excerpts from the letter written by Rev. Phil Meyer being circulated in the Indiana District of the LCMS to convince lay people to give up Voter Supremacy:

Meyer writes: “The event which pushed us to consider a new constitution and bylaws was a decision by the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana which [is] no longer according churches organized around Articles of Association the legal protections it once did. . . .It became clear that we needed to protect the congregation legally, and this gave us a chance to look once again at our current constitution and bylaws.”

This is a straw-man argument with no basis in fact. Meyer fails to give one example from the Indiana Supreme Court that removes “the legal protections it once did?”

Since its founding in 1847, the LCMS has published sample constitutions for its member congregations based on voter polity. At no time has this placed any congregation in any legal jeopardy. Such a blatant misrepresentation also means that any secular or church organization based on “Robert’s Rules of Order” could no longer function under the protection of the law in the United States.

“In most congregations the Voters’ Assembly is a rather small and unrepresentative group of people who make decisions which impact the whole congregation.”

Pastor Meyer may as well say that preaching is bad in so many congregations so let’s get rid of preaching. The practice of congregational Voters’ Assemblies as taught by Walther included all men over the age of 21. This was always the intent of Lutheran teaching and practice according to Luther. "That A Christian Assembly or Congregation Has the Right and Power to Judge All Teaching and To Call, Appoint, And Dismiss Teachers, Established and Proven by Scripture" (Luther’s Works American Edition Vol. 37: Pages 303 to 314.)

Meyer writes: “In some congregations Voters’ Assemblies have voted to dismiss pastors for reasons that have no basis in Holy Scripture.”

Two wrongs don’t make a right. We may as well say that in some congregations, pastors have abused their office, so let’s get rid of all pastors.

Meyer writes: “Therefore, we must always remember that the authority in any Christian congregation is not the Pastor or the Church Council or the Voters’ Assembly, but our Lord Jesus Christ alone [Colossians 1.18] who rules his people through his Word alone.”

Here is where Pastor Meyer shows himself to be a Sacerdotalist by making himself the sole interpreter of God’s Word in the congregation. The Church is the congregation of saints where the Gospel is taught in its truth and purity and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ’s institution. The Pastoral Office is not one of the marks of the local congregation. Since Jesus Christ hasn’t spoken to anyone on earth since John wrote Revelation, the voters of the local congregation have the God-given authority to judge their own doctrine and practice. "That A Christian Assembly or Congregation Has the Right and Power to Judge All Teaching and To Call, Appoint, And Dismiss Teachers, Established and Proven by Scripture" (Luther’s Works American Edition Vol. 37: Pages 303 to 314.)

“Likewise Christ gives supreme and final jurisdiction to the Church, when He says: ‘Tell it unto the Church.’” Concordia Trig. 511 par. 24, also “The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.”, also Pieper, Vol. III, 421.

Meyer writes: “It should never be a matter of ‘voting’ because that has its roots in the Kingdom of the Left Hand. Thus, this new model seeks to minimize any abuse or concentration of power in the hands of one individual or group of individuals.”

Here Pastor Meyer tells a bald-face lie. Voting in the church has its roots in the Bible.
Voting has its roots in the Bible.
"How much more, then, does not a certain community as a whole have both right and command to commit BY COMMON VOTE such an office to one or more, to be exercised in its stead. With the approval of the community these might then delegate the office to others." Luther’s Works 40:36

“A Christian, thus, is born to the ministry of the Word in baptism, and if papal bishops are unwilling to bestow the ministry of the Word except on such as destroy the Word of God and ruin the church, then it but remains either to let the church perish without the Word or to let those who come together CAST THEIR BALLOTS and elect one or as many as are needed of those who are capable." [2Tim. 2; Acts 18: 24ff; 1Cor.14: 30; Ti.1: 6ff.] Luther’s Works 40:37

"Neither Titus nor Timothy nor Paul ever instituted a priest without the CONGREGATION'S ELECTION AND CALL." Luther’s Works 39:312

"Again, we even read in Acts 4 [6:1-6] regarding an even lesser office, that the apostles were not permitted to institute a person as deacon without the knowledge and consent of the congregation. Rather, THE CONGREGATION ELECTED AND CALLED the seven deacons, and the apostles confirmed them." Luther’s Works 39:312

Lenski p. 1151
“Acts 20:4 names seven men, and no doubt all of them were appointed by VOTE.” Lenski translates 2Cor.8: 19 as follows: ..., “and not only (this), but who also was VOTED as our travel companion in this grace which is being ministered by us to show (pros) the Lord’s glory and our own readiness, (thereby) avoiding that anyone blame us in this bounty which is being ministered by us.”

"[The Greek word] ‘cheirotoneo’ means to vote by holding up the hand. The supposition that a number of churches could not thus vote for a man is unwarranted. His name was proposed in church after church, and because of his splendid reputation all voted for him to be their representative.”

Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich: “A Greek -English Lexicon of the New Testament” p. 889, the first meaning for “cheirotoneo” is “choose, elect by raising hands..."

Kittel: “A Theological Dictionary of the New Testament” in Vol. IX, p. 437, has the first meaning for “cheirotoneo, ” “1. Raising the hand to express agreement in a vote....” It also gives numerous citations from ancient Greek literature.

Liddell & Scott: “A Greek-English Lexicon Revised” published by Oxford states, “‘cheirotoneo’ means ‘Stretch out the hand, for the purpose of giving one’s vote in the assembly....’” There are also voluminous citations from ancient Greek literature supporting this interpretation on p. 1,986.

Moulton & Milligan: “The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and other Non-Literary Sources,” “cheirotoneo” means “Stretch out the hand,” then “elect by show of hands....” It also cites examples from the Early Church regarding election and ordination.

Francis Pieper: “Christian Dogmatics,” CPH, St. Louis, 1953, Volume III p. 453 “More over, the word used Acts 14:23, “cheirotoneo,” clearly states that in ordaining the elders a vote or election by the congregation took place. . . . Meyer adds: ‘The analogy of Acts 6:2-6 demands this connotation of the word ‘chosen,’ a word that, taken from the ancient method of voting by raising of hands, occurs only here and 2Cor. 8:19 in the New Testament, and this analogy forbids the wider sense. . . [appointed, placed] in the ordination of presbyters, . . . [and also forbids] ‘so that the appointment took place entirely by Apostolic authority (Loehe)’ . . . . Most arbitrarily false the Catholics: [who say] it referred to the [laying on of hands] in the ordination of presbyters.’ History shows, too, that for a long time in the Church of the first centuries public ministers were appointed by congregational vote. The remark of the Smalcald Articles: ‘Formerly the people elected pastors and bishops’ (Trigl. 525, ibid., 70), can be proved to be historically correct.”

Meyer writes: “The Deacons are chosen to the Council of Deacons but not to a specific board. This helps the Deacons recognize that they represent the entire congregation and not a certain constituency or committee.”

Any layman who would agree to give up his right to judge doctrine to a deacon or any other office in the church is willing to give up his birthright as Esau gave his birthright up to Jacob for the sake of expediency. The layman who doesn’t know about Esau and Jacob is an ignorant dolt who deserves to be enslaved by the Papacy with a ring in his nose, while he kisses the Pope’s feet. It would be better to let the U. S. Congress pick their own Congressmen than for lay people to give up their God-given right to judge doctrine and choose officers by direct nomination and vote in their own church.

Meyer writes: “We have been most careful to guard the physical assets of the congregation in the event of division and/or dissolution so that there be a God-pleasing outcome. The congregation shall retain sole control of her physical assets [buildings, property, endowment funds, etc.]. No outside body [District or Synod] may come in and seize the physical assets should a division take place on account of doctrine.”

This is just plain fear-mongering. Who is going to take their property? Give us a quote. If anything, the congregation in this new constitution loses its control over its property because the Voters’ Assembly is no longer the supreme judge over its own doctrine, practice, and property.

Meyer writes: “We have researched the various items in this document thoroughly. We have sought the counsel of Professor Richard Nuffer of Concordia Theological Seminary, a former practicing attorney and a member of our District’s Constitutional Committee, the body which shall have to approve this document.”

Nuffer should be removed from the faculty at Fort Wayne for teaching false doctrine about Walther’s “Church and Ministry.” Nuffer is opposed to Voter Supremacy, the official practice of the LCMS as taught by Walther’s “Church and Ministry.” Walther’s teaching and practice is directed at both the Kingdom on the Left and the Kingdom on the Right. The congregation is the final judge of all activity in its sphere.

Walther also regularly quotes Matthew 18:15-20 as textual proof for the divine institution of the Congregation in addition to the divine institution of the Voters’ Assembly. He writes in his pastoral theology: “Since, ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD, THE CONGREGATION IS THE HIGHEST COURT WITHIN ITS CIRCLE (Matt.18:17 Col. 4:17), and the preacher has church authority only in common [one vote like every other layman] with the congregation (Matt. 20-25-26; 23:8; 1Peter.5:1-3; 2Cor.8:8), the preacher must be concerned that the congregational assembly, both regular and special ones as needed at times, be held in Christian order to consider and carry out what is necessary for its governing (Matt. 18:17; 1Cor. 5:4;2 2Cor.2;6 Acts 6:20 15:1-4, 30; 21:17-22; 1Tim.5:20).” (“Pastoral Theology” by C.F.W. Walther, CN New Haven Mo., 5th Edition 1906 page 257)

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