Monday, March 31, 2008

Todd Wilken on Church Consultants and Heresy

Find more videos like this on The Wittenberg Trail

Todd Wilken’s Video on Church Consultants and Heresy!

How to be distinctly and unapologetically Lutheran in a post-denominational world. You can’t tone down Lutheran theology and practice without making it something else!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mollie Hemingway on the White Horse Inn

White Horse Inn producer Shane Rosenthal just let me know that Mollie Hemingway, who wrote the article "Radio Silence" in the Wall Street Journal was interviewed by Michael Horton about Issues, Etc. Click Here to listen to the interview.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Issues, Etc. Makes the Wall Street Journal

Check out this on the Wall Street Journal (CLICK HERE). Excerpt:

Radio Silence

March 28, 2008

Usually radio hosts have to offend sacred moral sensibilities to be thrown off the air. Opie and Anthony were fired after they encouraged a couple to have sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Don Imus lost his job after using racist and sexist epithets against the Rutgers University women's basketball team.

What would Martin Luther do?

But when the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod canceled its popular, nationally syndicated radio program "Issues, Etc.," listeners were baffled. Billed as "talk radio for the thinking Christian," the show was known for its lively discussions analyzing cultural influences on the American church. It seemed like precisely the thing that the Missouri Synod, a 2.4-million-member denomination whose system of belief is firmly grounded in Scripture and an intellectually rigorous theology, would enthusiastically support.

Broadcast from the nation's oldest continuously run religious radio station, KFUO-AM in St. Louis, and syndicated throughout the country, "Issues, Etc." had an even larger audience world-wide, thanks to its podcast's devoted following. With 14 hours of fresh programming each week, the show was on the leading edge of what's happening in culture, politics and broader church life. The Rev. Todd Wilken interviewed the brightest lights from across the theological spectrum on news of the day. Guests included Oxford University's Dr. Alister McGrath, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Albert Mohler and more postmodern types, like Tony Jones, national coordinator for a church network called Emergent Village.

This is a fantastic article that lays the whole issue on the line and, in all likelihood, the real reason behind the cancellation.

First Things also has a good article today although it sounds like the author doesn't believe in Genesis, as does Get Religion.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

LCMS and the Seeker-Sensitive Movement

As we know, the LCMS is in a state of crisis these days, moving away from being the Confessional church founded by C. F. W. Walther and embracing the Seeker-Sensitive and possibly Emergent Church style of church.

I am in the process of examining this transition and how it is influencing the Lutheran church - the LCMS in particular -, and may either post my findings on the internet or make it into a booklet for distribution to congregations that need to see what is happening to their church and the Synod as a whole. The body of Christ as a whole is not very discerning and I don't think Lutherans are an exception to that rule. I believe this is a vital first step in restoring the church to its original purpose as I believe the majority of Lutherans are in the dark as to what is happening in the Synod.

In doing this I need information on how these movements have influenced particular churches within the LCMS. I would have to be able to document any information provided rather than rely on heresay - documentation would include such things as articles in print from a particular church or things posted on the church's website, audio, etc. If you have such information please e-mail me at heresyhunter at Thanks!

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Joel Osteen's NOW Faith

I thought I'd seen every possible way to twist the meaning of a passage, but I was wrong. Joel Osteen found a new way in Wednesday's version of "Today's Word with Joel and Victoria":

Now Faith

Today's Scripture

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

What are you hoping for in your life today? The Bible says that faith gives substance to the things you hope for. Notice this verse starts by saying, “Now faith…” It’s not “later” faith or “one day” faith.

Sort of reminds me of the Jehovah's Witness twist on Jesus' promise to the thief on the cross, "I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise."


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Casting Out Demons - For a Price!

No, this blog hasn't become exclusively a "Restore Issues, Etc." website, but I will have regular updates.

"Exorcist" Bob Larson is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally cast those demons out of your life. He writes in a March 17th e-mail:

Dear Friend,

Do you want to cast Satan out of your life?

Are you tired of the bondage, harassment, and oppression of demonic forces that threaten to destroy you or someone you love? Overcoming these attacks lies in knowing what to confess and how to confess it.

You need to know how to:

  • Confess your destiny in Christ
  • Confess your purpose for living
  • Confess your calling for service
  • Confess your anointing for power
  • Confess words that defeat the devil
  • Confess your financial prosperity so your needs are met
  • Confess your leadership abilities to stop what Satan steals from you
  • Confess a warrior's oath to wage war against the demons attacking you

I am ready to enter into spiritual agreement with you to declare these dynamic, soul-freeing confessions. I'll say the words right along with you and teach you how to believe what you are confessing. The results will change your life forever.
These declarations of victory are found on four DVDs (eight hours of teaching) entitled:


Because you are a special friend and trusted us enough to give us your email address, I want to do something very special for you!

Our new prime-time reality TV show "The Real Exorcist" is due to premiere on Wednesday, March 19th. We desperately need your help financially. Because of our urgent situation, here is how I want to sow into your life:

1) If you are one of 1,000 Freedom Friends to share a gift of $100 or more, I'll send you all eight hours of the CONFESSIONS teaching.
2) If your gift is $50 or more I'll send you the first four hours of CONFESSIONS.
) If you'll give at least $20, and pray about supporting us monthly, I'll send the first of the CONFESSIONS, "How to Confess Your Destiny."

I want to bless you and covenant with you in prayer to stop every attack of Satan on your life. I can only do that if you have these DVDs in your hands to watch. That's why I'm practically giving away these DVDs, praying that when you watch them and God does a miracle in your life, you'll abundantly bless our ministry in return. Thank you for remembering us when you have your victory because of these CONFESSIONS.

I tell you, if you saw Jesus and brother Bob Larson side by side you could hardly tell them apart! He's so concerned about getting the demons out of your life that he's practically giving away those DVDs - assuming you have a spare $100!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Issues Petition Video

The link for signing the petition is here. As of this writing there are over 4,400 signatures.

Additionally, David O. Berger of the LCMS Board for Communications Services has written an open letter to the Praesidium of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. It can be found here.

KFUO supposedly restored the archives for Issues, Etc. after removing them, however you will note that all of the links for downloading or listening to the shows are dead.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take Issue With the Issues Cancellation

Let's not let this matter die out, as I'm sure the LCMS is desperately hoping it will. This could be make or break for the confessional wing of Lutheranism. The things the LCMS has been introducing, such as Ablaze and the Church Growth Movement, are the very things I was trying to escape when I joined the Lutheran church and I'm sure that's the case for many people. Below is some helpful information provided by Aaron Nemoyer.

Update at 12 noon. I have just received a reply from David Strand. He offered no explanation as requested and so I have informed him that I am withdrawing all financial support to the LCMS and requesting from my own church that they use my donations strictly for their own purposes without sending any of it to the LCMS district or headquarters. It is my understanding that this can be done. If enough people do this it will have an impact.
Here is all sorts of contact information to tell people what you think about this, let them know how important Issues, Etc. was to us, and ask why the show was cancelled:

Rev. David L. Strand
Executive Director
Board for Communication
(314) 996-1200
(314) 822-0000

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-7295
(888) 843-5267
(314) 965-9000
FAX: (314) 996-1016

KFUO Radio Station
(314) 725-0099
(314) 725-3030‎
(314) 721-2969

Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick
Synod President
(314) 996-1402
(314) 842-7110

LC-MS Board of Directors
(314) 996-1350


Meanwhile, an online petition has been started up about Issues, Etc. being ended. Here's the link:

For anyone who comes across this and has Facebook, the most discussion it seems is going on at the "Bring back Issues ETC!!!" Facebook group.


Finally, financial help for the Schwarz and Wilken families can be sent to the following address. Just put in the memo line that it’s for the “Schwarz/Wilken Fund”. The Schwarzes especially need the help as Jeff Schwarz's wife Beth has been recently diagnosed with small fiber neuropathy and they need to go to Mayo Clinic to try figuring out what can be done.

"Schwarz/Wilken Fund"
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
P.O. Box 247
Hamel, IL 62046

All help and all prayers are appreciated.


I will be continuing to post information and resources relating to the cancellation of Issues, Etc. and firing of Rev. Wilken and Mr. Schwarz. So, if you could please help me draw people to the resource of my blog, I would really appreciate it.

God bless,
--Aaron Nemoyer

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

KFUO Statement

For what it's worth - not much in my opinion- here is the statement KFUO has posted now on their website. They have reinstated the archives of the show:

For programmatic and business reasons, the decision was made this week to discontinue the "Issues, Etc." program on KFUO-AM. We look forward to bringing you new programming in this time slot in the near future. Also, we thank "Issues" host Rev. Todd Wilken and producer Mr. Jeff Schwarz for their years of service on behalf of the station. Those interested may still download past "Issues, Etc." programs from the "Issues" archive on this website. Thank you sincerely for your continued support of KFUO's radio ministry.

There is now a petition online to voice your concern to the LCMS about the cancellation of Issues, Etc. You can sign at

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Unholy Tuesday

Time to voice our concerns to the powers that be!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Issues, Etc. Canceled

According to The Wittenberg Trail:

Today the LCMS ordered the cancellation of the popular radio show Issues, Etc. without stating a reason why, and terminated the employment of Pastor Todd Wilken, the show's host, and Mr. Jeff Schwarz, the show's producer.
Speaking as an occasional guest on the show, I find this to be an extremely sad day for the LCMS. Check out the Wittenberg Trail for more information as it becomes available. A fund has also been set up to help Todd and Jeff on Wittenberg Trail. Additionally, to support the Schwarzes and the Wilkens donate to Saint Paul Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 247, Hamel, IL 62046 Make your gifts - Wilken/Schwarz Fund..

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Giving to Receive?

One of the mottos of the Word Faith movement is that you have to give to receive. Give God $100 and He will repay you a hundred-fold. By contrast, Oswald Bayer writes:

In his last will and testament Paul Gerhardt reminds his only son, still living after all his other children had died: "Do good to people, even if they cannot pay you back because...." The reader expects that the sentence will continue with: "God will repay you." However, Paul Gerhardt frustrates that expectation by continuing: "...because for what human beings cannot repay, the Creator of heaven and earth has already repaid long ago when he created you, when he gave you his only Son, and when he accepted and received you in holy baptism as his child and heir." (Oswald Bayer, "Justification as Basis and Boundary for Theology," Lutheran Quarterly 15 (Autumn 2001): 276, as quoted in "Handling the Word of Truth," John T. Pless)


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Itching Ears

Christianity Today has a good article that reminds those of us who are involved in apologetics and those of us who like to read blogs like this one that there is danger in the old itching ears syndrome. While Scripture tells us to expose those who are teaching false doctrine, we may find that the sin nature in us causes us to take a secret delight in running down other teachers in an effort to make ourselves look good:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

When we come across these words from the apostle Paul to Timothy, we tend to see this verse as a description of our day and age. How else do we explain the elegant churches whose liberalism has overtaken their once-glorious heritage? Or the masses that fill stadiums to hear prosperity teachers tell us how good we are and how much God wants to bless us financially?

Preaching that tickles the ears. We nod our heads in agreement and pray …

Lord, deliver us from the liberals who don't believe anything and don't preach the truth.

Lord, deliver us from those who give good advice and moral platitudes without the Good News of individual salvation.

Lord, deliver us from the stand-up comics who fill stadiums with ear-tickling, side-splitting sermons that are all about us and not about God.

Then, we sit back on Sunday mornings with a smile, satisfied in our assurance that our ears don't itch.

But are we deceiving ourselves? Do we truly believe we have escaped the temptation to listen to pastors who tickle our ears? Is it possible to preach harshly against certain sins and yet still be an ear-tickling preacher?

Click here for the rest of the article.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland in Pentecostal Bedlam

Just in case you need a laugh to start off your weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We're Not About Doctrine

From Monday's Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Patricia Sheridan: Historically, religion has been used as a tool for war. You know, "My God is better than your God" sort of thing. How is your church different?

Joel Osteen: We try to focus on what we have in common rather than what we disagree on. We don't claim to know it all. We believe what we feel in the Bible is the truth. We're not about arguing and debating doctrine.

Well Joel, if you believe what you feel is true, and since feelings are notoriously unreliable and are no measure of truth, then your beliefs about the Deity of Christ, salvation, etc. may change in the future, correct?

As for not arguing and debating doctrine, what happened to Jude's admonition?

Jude 3-4: "Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."

What do you do with Paul's statements?: "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies....Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Timothy 1:3 and 4:16)

I know - you probably don't feel that it has been interpreted correctly.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Redefining God

Joel Osteen's morning message today says:

Today's Scripture

“According to Your faith, be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

A lot of time people think that when they have a need, that if God wanted to, He could just automatically meet it. But Jesus didn’t say, according to your need be it unto you; He said, according to your faith.

Really? You mean God is limited in what He can do? He can't provide us with our needs unless we believe He can?

Going back three chapters to Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus said:

25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Jesus says nothing here about having to have enough faith before God can supply your needs, although He does ask us to have faith and not to worry. He tells us to seek His kingdom and God will supply your needs. However, even the pagans would have nothing unless God permitted them to have food, clothing and housing.

As for the passage Osteen quoted, Jesus did ask the blind men if they thought Jesus could heal them, and then responded in the affirmative. Jesus healed them based on their confession. However, just a couple of verses later we read:

32 While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
There is no indication here that the demon-possessed man had any faith at all. Jesus acted out of pure grace in this case. So it is apparent that God can act independent of whether we have faith or not.


Friday, March 07, 2008

England, Beware of an American Invasion!

Just received this e-mail from that well-known "exorcist" Bob Larson:

"The Real Exorcist" is for REAL!

Wednesday, March 19, 10:00 p.m. UK time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time), our new prime-time reality show premieres in England, the UK, and Europe. The U. S. release of the series will be announced soon. For more information, go to and click on the Virgin1 icon. Please pray for the launching of this series internationally.

I know there are lots of people in Great Britain reading this blog, so let us know what sort of a disaster this show turns out to be!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Incredible Power of Jesse Duplantis

On the February 6th Praise the Lord show, Jesse Duplantis made this incredible claim:

I went to Wendy’s and I saw one of my school mates and he said “Boy, didn’t we have a good 40th year reunion?” I said I certainly did. I said I can’t wait for the 50th. And he looked at me and he said “Do you think we’re going to make it?” I said I’m gonna make it. I don’t know about you. I’m gonna make it. “How can you say such a thing?” Let me shock you. Let me shock you now with the Word of God. Death and life are in the power of who? The tongue. It’s not in the power of cancer. It’s not in the power of diabetes. It’s not in the power of high blood pressure. It’s not in the power of anything or viruses. It’s in the power of your mouth.
Back in June of 2001 he made it clear that we control when we die:

Jesus was His own Man and He controlled His destiny and He reached His destination. Well, when I read that I said "Well, can I control my destiny and reach my destination?" The Lord said "Be ye therefore imitators of God as dear children." Whatever Jesus can do, you can do. In fact, you can do greater works. Now when you say that you're going to get letters. People say "Who do you think you are?" "Everything Jesus said I was." Now, whether you got a problem with that, that's your problem. Ain't my problem, you see. But He made me an offer I couldn't refuse. So I took it. And I just decided - bless God - that I would live the way the Lord said I could live. He said if I'd be blessed in the city, blessed in the field, blessed going in, then I never expected not to be blessed. He said if I could - more people freak out on divine health. They don't mind you getting healed, but if you start saying you'll never get sick, get ready, because somebody will write a book against you and call you a heretic! Well, He said I could walk like that. I mean Abraham was 140 years old having babies. That's good. Moses was 120 years old climbing mountains. Climbing mountains at 120 and he doesn't wear no glasses. That's good. Mary had a baby, an immaculate conception, at 15. That's real good. Think about that. They couldn't kill the apostle Paul until he was ready. They couldn't kill Peter until he was ready. He determined when. Peter said "I'm [throwing?] the latest tabernacle down and then I'm out of here." They tried to kill him and they just woke the boy up while they was sleeping. Peter - they had to kick him to get him up. He wasn't worried about it. Why? It wasn't his time. Now that's what God said.
Bet you didn't know you had that power, did you? As a matter of fact, I don't think God knew either until Jesse taught it!


Monday, March 03, 2008

Has Pharaoh's Drowned Army Been Found?

Quite often well-meaning Christians pass on stories purporting that the Ark of the Covenant has been found, or Noah's Ark, or that chariots from Pharaoh's army have been found. Answers in Genesis answers some of these claims. They write, in part:

The Wyatt/Gray claims are truly astonishing (see Amazing claims). Unfortunately, reputable Bible-believing archaeologists and other experts willing and capable of giving an objective assessment are never able to check out the claimed artifacts. There is generally a plausible-sounding story as to why that is impossible, or why the time is not right. The alleged finding of the Ark of the Covenant (see also The Ark of the Covenant—could it even be found?) is associated with claims of supernatural intervention, photographs mysteriously getting fogged or vanishing, and ‘Men in Black’ style government cover-ups.

Are the claims true? If they are, such a staggeringly impressive list would mean that Ron Wyatt had been almost as miraculously assisted by God as the patriarch Moses.4 If, however, a careful examination of just one or two of these claims reveals them to be false, fanciful or fraudulent, the ‘divine leading’ option evaporates, and it is clear that Christians are being seriously misled.

Back in 1992, Wyatt’s ‘Noah’s Ark’ claim (see This is not the Ark of Noah) was subject to a thorough investigative exposé in this magazine (see online version).5 The 13-page report told of how this ministry had checked the claims, even ringing the lab staff that had done the analyses, for instance. Sadly, though we would have been delighted if this really were the Ark, we found almost all the specific claims to be untrue and/or misleading.

....Some unsolicited evidence also came our way concerning the alleged chariot wheels of the Exodus (which have never been made available to any archaeologists, Bible-believing or otherwise). There is a Jonathan Gray video purporting to show these on the bottom of the Red Sea. In one part, Gray claims that a ‘British Admiralty chart’ he is holding shows a ‘sand bridge’ with great depths either side.

The hydrographic office of the UK Ministry of Defense is, by international agreement, the authority for charting the Red Sea. A Mrs M. H. sent them the video; they wrote back to her that:

  • Gray’s chart could be positively identified on blowups as United States chart no. 62020.

  • ‘Contrary to Mr Gray’s statement, the “sand bridge” is not now, and never has been, a recognizable feature on British Admiralty Charts. Nor is it recognizable on the U.S. chart held by Mr Gray.’

  • Gray’s comments about the ‘great depths’ also mislead.

  • The naturally lit video footage of the sea floor could not possibly have been filmed anywhere near the spot claimed by Gray, as insufficient light would penetrate at that depth.

Subsequently, Gray published a second letter from the same office, claiming it vindicated his claims of a ‘sand bridge.’ However, when we checked with them, they wrote that their comments had been ‘seriously edited,’ with ‘selected parts’ shown under their letterhead. The full letter, which they sent us, ‘does not confirm the existence of a “sand bridge.”’

In short, whenever we have had the opportunity to objectively assess any of these claims, the same pattern emerges as from our ‘Ark’ investigation.

Christians do no favors by passing on these stories - usually without checking them out! - to other Christians, and particularly to non-Christians who may take the time to disprove the claims and conclude that Christians are equally careless when it comes to accepting the claims of Christianity. Christians who pass on these stories would do well to retract them.