Bachmann is no longer a Lutheran

It is now official, I guess.  Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann left the Wisconsin Synod shortly before running for president. This, as the press started portraying the conservative Lutheran denomination as a weird cult for believing that the Pope is the antichrist and that homosexuality is a sin.  From the Washington Post story:

The conservative church that Michele Bachmann officially left days before launching her presidential campaign said Friday that the Minnesota congresswoman’s decision came at their request.

“The impetus came from the church,” said Joel Hochmuth, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the denominational organization that includes the church. “For the pastor’s sake, he wanted to know where he stood with the family.”

Bachmann (R) had stopped attending Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church two years ago but did not formally end her membership until June 21, a date first reported by CNN. The timing raised questions because it came shortly before she formally kicked off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, and because the church has taken controversial stands on Catholicism and homosexuality.

Candidates have often come under fire for the religious company they keep. During the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama was forced to disavow his affiliation with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright after videos emerged of Wright’s more controversial sermons, which included statements critical of the United States and what many considered to be slurs against white people.

A spokeswoman for Bachmann’s congressional office said she now attends a non-denominational church in the Stillwater, Minn., area but declined to specify which one.

“As the family’s schedule has allowed, they have attended their current church throughout the past two years,” spokeswoman Becky Rogness said in an e-mail.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a conservative branch of Lutheranism that has about 390,000 adherents across the country. It has been criticized in part because it holds that the Catholic pope is the Antichrist. Bachmann has said emphatically that she does not share that view, and church officials recently told the Atlantic that it is not a central tenet of the faith.

The synod — a term Hochmuth defined as “a fellowship of congregations that hold to the same beliefs and doctrines” — also believes that homosexuality is a sin and can be changed.

Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann, has recently come under fire over his Christian-based counseling center’s treatment of gay clients. Several recent reports say the center practices “reparative therapy,” which seeks to “cure” gays and lesbians of their homosexuality.

On Thursday, Marcus Bachmann acknowledged in an interview with the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis that counselors at Bachmann and Associates do treat homosexuals who seek to become heterosexual, but that it is not the clinic’s main focus, and “we don’t have an agenda or a philosophy of trying to change someone.”

Michele Bachmann stopped attending services at the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church after she moved to a different part of town, according to media reports. Around the time that her campaign for president geared up this spring, the Rev. Marcus Birkholz asked that she make clear her relationship with the church, Hochmuth said.

The Bachmanns then asked the church council that they be removed from the membership ranks — a request that is not required of a person that leaves the church, but assists with recordkeeping and helps the church ensure that “you’re in the spiritual care of someone else,” Hochmuth said. “In other words, we would want to know if you are being ‘fed the word,’ as we say.”

Bachmann did not specify to which church she was moving, Hochmuth said.

via Bachmann left church at pastor’s request, official says – The Washington Post.

The story is accompanied by another story (from the Religious News Service) on the WELS stance on the anti-Christ and the associated charge of anti-Catholicism (the abundance of links will fill you in on the whole controversy):

 The Lutheran denomination that GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann quit in June sought to explain its belief that the papacy is the anti-Christ after reports questioned whether Bachmann is anti-Catholic. . . .

The denomination says on its Web site: “We identify the anti-Christ as the papacy. This is an historical judgment based on Scripture.’’ . . .The Republican, who has surged in recent presidential polls, denied that she is anti-Catholic in a 2006 debate. “It’s abhorrent, it’s religious bigotry. I love Catholics, I’m a Christian, and my church does not believe that the pope is the anti-Christ, that’s absolutely false.’’Bachmann also said that her pastor, the Rev. Marcus Birkholz, told her he was “appalled that someone would put that out.’’

According to Hochmuth, the pastor told Bachmann that WELS “primarily views the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ, not the individual popes themselves.’’

Asked for comment, Birkholz said Thursday, “I have been asked by my congregation not to give any more interviews.’’

An online report in The Atlantic magazine on Thursday (July 14) reported on WELS’ anti-papal doctrine, and questioned whether Bachmann also subscribes to the view.

Bill Donohue, president of the watchdog Catholic League, said he does not believe Bachmann is anti-Catholic, but that “it is not inappropriate to ask some pointed questions of Rep. Bachmann and her religion’s tenets.’’

Hochmuth said in an interview the anti-papal doctrine is “not one of our driving views, and certainly not something that we preach from the pulpit.’’ Hochmuth said he doubts whether many members of WELS are aware of the doctrine, which dates to Protestant Reformer Martin Luther.

“As a confessional Lutheran church, we hold to the teachings of Martin Luther who himself maintained the papacy, and in turn the pope, has set himself up in place of Christ, and so is the anti-Christ,’’ Hochmuth said.

He also described the anti-Christ as a theological principle, not a “cartoon character with horns.’’

Hochmuth added that “we love and respect Catholic Christians … Yet we pray that they would come to see the errors of their church’s official doctrine that the pope is infallible and that no one can be saved outside of the Roman Catholic Church.’’

Was this well-handled?Is this responsible reporting?Was Michele Bachmann driven from her church in the same way Barack Obama was?

Should confessional Lutherans now refuse to support Bachmann now that she has abandoned her confirmation pledge to uphold the Lutheran confessions?

UPDATE:  The article in The Atlantic that broke the story is not all that bad, in that it explains the theological position pretty well.  HT to Jonathan and Todd for that.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    The problem would have been solved both for WELS and Bachman if she had been excommunicated earlier. A member for 2 years without attending church, without restorative discipline and without communing? This is, for me, the really, really interesting subtext.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    The problem would have been solved both for WELS and Bachman if she had been excommunicated earlier. A member for 2 years without attending church, without restorative discipline and without communing? This is, for me, the really, really interesting subtext.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    I mean, it really would have solved the problem. Bachman could have stated openly 2 years ago that she disagreed with portions of the BoC and WELS could have defended its confessional stance without scrambling wildly to explain away the church’s historic position.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    I mean, it really would have solved the problem. Bachman could have stated openly 2 years ago that she disagreed with portions of the BoC and WELS could have defended its confessional stance without scrambling wildly to explain away the church’s historic position.

  • Pete

    “Was Michele Bachmann driven from her church in the same way Barack Obama was?”

    I know some of the political pundits made hay about the fact that, for years, candidate Obama had sat under the tutelage of Reverend Wright who was, at minimum, a controversial minister. Call me cynical but when membership in Wright’s church served Obama’s purposes in terms of being the “right church” to belong to in order to be elected to the senate, his (Obama’s) name was on the membership rolls. But when the same membership became a liability in a national election, under the bus goes Wright. A statistic that I always thought would be interesting to hear (but never heard) was how many Sundays did Senator Obama actually occupy a seat in Reverend Wright’s church. My guess is not many. I do remember it being deemed newsworthy, following his election to the presidency, that it was Easter of his first term before President Obama attended church. The statement from candidate Bachmann’s spokesperson that, “As the family’s schedule has allowed, they have attended their current church throughout the past two years,” smells similar to me. Not to mention that both of these vignettes – Obama and Bachmann, speak poorly of the theological literacy of Americans. One wonders how many Lutherans are aware of, let alone understand, Luther’s teaching on the antichrist. Or how many Roman Catholics understand that their church teaches the infallibility of the Pope and what the implications of that are. Bob Dylan said it best: “It’s easy to see, without looking too far, that not much is really sacred.” From “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

  • Pete

    “Was Michele Bachmann driven from her church in the same way Barack Obama was?”

    I know some of the political pundits made hay about the fact that, for years, candidate Obama had sat under the tutelage of Reverend Wright who was, at minimum, a controversial minister. Call me cynical but when membership in Wright’s church served Obama’s purposes in terms of being the “right church” to belong to in order to be elected to the senate, his (Obama’s) name was on the membership rolls. But when the same membership became a liability in a national election, under the bus goes Wright. A statistic that I always thought would be interesting to hear (but never heard) was how many Sundays did Senator Obama actually occupy a seat in Reverend Wright’s church. My guess is not many. I do remember it being deemed newsworthy, following his election to the presidency, that it was Easter of his first term before President Obama attended church. The statement from candidate Bachmann’s spokesperson that, “As the family’s schedule has allowed, they have attended their current church throughout the past two years,” smells similar to me. Not to mention that both of these vignettes – Obama and Bachmann, speak poorly of the theological literacy of Americans. One wonders how many Lutherans are aware of, let alone understand, Luther’s teaching on the antichrist. Or how many Roman Catholics understand that their church teaches the infallibility of the Pope and what the implications of that are. Bob Dylan said it best: “It’s easy to see, without looking too far, that not much is really sacred.” From “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

  • http://www.sjlmidland.org/pastors-blog/teamblog/listings/pastors-blog Dan Kempin

    “Should confessional Lutherans now refuse to support Bachmann now that she has abandoned her confirmation pledge to uphold the Lutheran confessions?”

    I believe it is the vow of a pastor to uphold the lutheran confessions. Confirmands vow to suffer anything, even death, rather than fall away from the true faith. And if confessional Lutherans can only vote for other confessional Lutherans in civil offices, then their paticipation in the voting process will be quite limited.

    Side thought: Could a lutheran Christian be justified in ending (let’s just say “her”) public affiliation with a confessional congregation, without changing her beliefs, in order to serve the vocation of public office? That’s a serious question. One could argue, I suppose, that the public perception/misperception of the doctrine of the Antichrist is toxic politically and more than could be reasonably explained in the public forum. Is this to be seen as a denial of the true faith, or can it be seen as political savvy?

    Did Frederick the wise immediately subscribe to Luther’s teachings, or did he support Luther by maintaining some political distance?

  • http://www.sjlmidland.org/pastors-blog/teamblog/listings/pastors-blog Dan Kempin

    “Should confessional Lutherans now refuse to support Bachmann now that she has abandoned her confirmation pledge to uphold the Lutheran confessions?”

    I believe it is the vow of a pastor to uphold the lutheran confessions. Confirmands vow to suffer anything, even death, rather than fall away from the true faith. And if confessional Lutherans can only vote for other confessional Lutherans in civil offices, then their paticipation in the voting process will be quite limited.

    Side thought: Could a lutheran Christian be justified in ending (let’s just say “her”) public affiliation with a confessional congregation, without changing her beliefs, in order to serve the vocation of public office? That’s a serious question. One could argue, I suppose, that the public perception/misperception of the doctrine of the Antichrist is toxic politically and more than could be reasonably explained in the public forum. Is this to be seen as a denial of the true faith, or can it be seen as political savvy?

    Did Frederick the wise immediately subscribe to Luther’s teachings, or did he support Luther by maintaining some political distance?

  • Carl Vehse

    So, how does Joel Hochmuth, the WELS Director of Communications, who is in Milwaukee, WI, get such personal details, including church attendance records, a private meeting with the pastor, and correspondence of individual members of a congregation in Stillwater, MN, especially when the pastor is quoted as saying, “I’ve been asked to make no comments regarding them and their family”?

    Also, what media clymers like Joshua Green have not mentioned is that the pope and the Roman Church, through the Council of Trent, still declares all Lutherans in anathema (damned to hell) who hold to sola gratia, do not accept the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, and do not acknowledge the pope as the head of the Christian Church. Are true Romanists, not to mention Romanists in name only (e.g. Teddy, Nancy, etc.), fit for public office?

  • Carl Vehse

    So, how does Joel Hochmuth, the WELS Director of Communications, who is in Milwaukee, WI, get such personal details, including church attendance records, a private meeting with the pastor, and correspondence of individual members of a congregation in Stillwater, MN, especially when the pastor is quoted as saying, “I’ve been asked to make no comments regarding them and their family”?

    Also, what media clymers like Joshua Green have not mentioned is that the pope and the Roman Church, through the Council of Trent, still declares all Lutherans in anathema (damned to hell) who hold to sola gratia, do not accept the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, and do not acknowledge the pope as the head of the Christian Church. Are true Romanists, not to mention Romanists in name only (e.g. Teddy, Nancy, etc.), fit for public office?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I like Mark Veenman’s comment; should not church discipline for non-attendance have begun much earlier? And should not the pastor who failed to initiate it be facing church discipline himself?

    Goodness gracious, this is a mess. I like Mrs. Bachmann, but goodness gracious, this is a mess, and as most here know, I’m not even Lutheran.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I like Mark Veenman’s comment; should not church discipline for non-attendance have begun much earlier? And should not the pastor who failed to initiate it be facing church discipline himself?

    Goodness gracious, this is a mess. I like Mrs. Bachmann, but goodness gracious, this is a mess, and as most here know, I’m not even Lutheran.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Until this issue came up, the Fourth Estate had not many kind words to say about the Roman Catholic Church.

    Newsflash! A Protestant church body denounces the papacy! Film at Eleven!

    Yawn….

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Until this issue came up, the Fourth Estate had not many kind words to say about the Roman Catholic Church.

    Newsflash! A Protestant church body denounces the papacy! Film at Eleven!

    Yawn….

  • Kirk Anderson

    @7 Very true. I guess the media has never really though about what protestants are protesting.

  • Kirk Anderson

    @7 Very true. I guess the media has never really though about what protestants are protesting.

  • http://ailbe.org Ailbe

    Bachmann is in a tough position. If she would win or even while campaigning in the Bible Belt, she might often be in a situation where some non-Lutheran prays or sings hymns. We all know what kind of problems that will cause for her because, undoubtedly, most folks here have probably never heard of the Book of Concord or think it’s an agricultural manual about grape varieties! That alone will cause her to be scorned by many confessional Lutherans, right? So it’s a no win situation for her. She probably did the best thing under the circumstances.

  • http://ailbe.org Ailbe

    Bachmann is in a tough position. If she would win or even while campaigning in the Bible Belt, she might often be in a situation where some non-Lutheran prays or sings hymns. We all know what kind of problems that will cause for her because, undoubtedly, most folks here have probably never heard of the Book of Concord or think it’s an agricultural manual about grape varieties! That alone will cause her to be scorned by many confessional Lutherans, right? So it’s a no win situation for her. She probably did the best thing under the circumstances.

  • Mary Jack

    @1 Mark Veenman

    Wow, excommunication for not updating paperwork within two years? Granted, she attended a different denomination following her move, but my understanding is that she followed the process of what usually happens. After she determined she was settled enough (or needed to be) elsewhere, she withdrew membership.

  • Mary Jack

    @1 Mark Veenman

    Wow, excommunication for not updating paperwork within two years? Granted, she attended a different denomination following her move, but my understanding is that she followed the process of what usually happens. After she determined she was settled enough (or needed to be) elsewhere, she withdrew membership.

  • Mary Jack

    She spared her congregation the tedious process of excommunication by willingly removing herself.

  • Mary Jack

    She spared her congregation the tedious process of excommunication by willingly removing herself.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It seems to be a semantic game that hangs on popular connotations of the “Anti Christ”. Probably most Christians and even non Christians would agree that Rome’s insistence on having its own way on all things was indeed anti Christian.

    Of course, Christian haters aren’t interested in the actual meaning of the confessional statements on anti Christian behavior by church leaders, they just love being able to find some document with the words “anti Christ” and start running around misrepresenting with the intent to mislead and thereby discredit. Ironic that so many who slam folks for the statement themselves agree with its meaning.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It seems to be a semantic game that hangs on popular connotations of the “Anti Christ”. Probably most Christians and even non Christians would agree that Rome’s insistence on having its own way on all things was indeed anti Christian.

    Of course, Christian haters aren’t interested in the actual meaning of the confessional statements on anti Christian behavior by church leaders, they just love being able to find some document with the words “anti Christ” and start running around misrepresenting with the intent to mislead and thereby discredit. Ironic that so many who slam folks for the statement themselves agree with its meaning.

  • Joe

    Mark @ 1 – how would you know if her church did or did not address her attendance issues in the past? Without having any information about what did or did not go on between the Bachmann’s, their pastor and the board of elders of that congregation, I think we all ought to give the congregation and the pastor the benefit of the doubt. I’m pretty sure the 8th commandment requires us to.

  • Joe

    Mark @ 1 – how would you know if her church did or did not address her attendance issues in the past? Without having any information about what did or did not go on between the Bachmann’s, their pastor and the board of elders of that congregation, I think we all ought to give the congregation and the pastor the benefit of the doubt. I’m pretty sure the 8th commandment requires us to.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why are non denominational churches the best place for politicians? Is it because they can’t be pinned down? Because they have very few official positions that could offend voters?

    Why a non-denominational, undisclosed church?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Why are non denominational churches the best place for politicians? Is it because they can’t be pinned down? Because they have very few official positions that could offend voters?

    Why a non-denominational, undisclosed church?

  • LAJ

    Wow! I think people are waaay too concerned about excommunicating everyone! And it does not sound like it would be done in love for a fallen sinner or pastor at all! That word rarely comes up in our synod, why is the WELS so into it?

  • LAJ

    Wow! I think people are waaay too concerned about excommunicating everyone! And it does not sound like it would be done in love for a fallen sinner or pastor at all! That word rarely comes up in our synod, why is the WELS so into it?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess the media has never really though about what protestants are protesting.”

    They aren’t interested in what they are protesting.

    They just want to discredit political opponents, and a strong statement in actual black and white, albeit from a discussion 400 years ago, is perfect for a headline.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I guess the media has never really though about what protestants are protesting.”

    They aren’t interested in what they are protesting.

    They just want to discredit political opponents, and a strong statement in actual black and white, albeit from a discussion 400 years ago, is perfect for a headline.

  • LAJ

    Wouldn’t it have been better for Michelle Bachmann to study the doctrines of her church so that she could explain them and defend them if need be? I have lost respect for her for giving up the fight just so she can be elected. Perhaps a candidate who understands her faith without apologizing for it, would be a breath of fresh air to the whole campaign.

  • LAJ

    Wouldn’t it have been better for Michelle Bachmann to study the doctrines of her church so that she could explain them and defend them if need be? I have lost respect for her for giving up the fight just so she can be elected. Perhaps a candidate who understands her faith without apologizing for it, would be a breath of fresh air to the whole campaign.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Seems like there is certainly a very interesting story here. The most interesting detail to me are the way Bachmann’s people are handling this doctrine which seems pretty embarrassing to them. She certainly doesn’t win any points with me for abandoning her Lutheran congregation and other brothers and sisters who dare to be Lutheran. But one certainly wonders if a Lutheran could actually be elected to the presidential stage. Perhaps this is further evidence that honest Lutheran’s are more often called to more servant vocations.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Seems like there is certainly a very interesting story here. The most interesting detail to me are the way Bachmann’s people are handling this doctrine which seems pretty embarrassing to them. She certainly doesn’t win any points with me for abandoning her Lutheran congregation and other brothers and sisters who dare to be Lutheran. But one certainly wonders if a Lutheran could actually be elected to the presidential stage. Perhaps this is further evidence that honest Lutheran’s are more often called to more servant vocations.

  • Dan Kempin

    LAJ, #15,

    “people are waaay too concerned about excommunicating everyone . . . That word rarely comes up in our synod, why is the WELS so into it?”

    I don’t think anyone from the WELS actually used that word. Excommunication is a very serious event, declaring an attestable spiritual condition so grievous that it would separate a person from the Church–THE Church, mind you, not just a congregation. (It is Rome, by the way, that excommunicates from the true Church any person that is not in their fellowship.)

  • Dan Kempin

    LAJ, #15,

    “people are waaay too concerned about excommunicating everyone . . . That word rarely comes up in our synod, why is the WELS so into it?”

    I don’t think anyone from the WELS actually used that word. Excommunication is a very serious event, declaring an attestable spiritual condition so grievous that it would separate a person from the Church–THE Church, mind you, not just a congregation. (It is Rome, by the way, that excommunicates from the true Church any person that is not in their fellowship.)

  • Cincinnatus

    While the particularly language chosen by the Lutheran Confessions is a bit off-putting (and I disagree with it to boot), I don’t really know why this is a story. As Mike aptly notes, most of our Presidents have been Protestant, and a singular point of Protestantism was to protest the pope–presumably as some kind of anti-christic figure. In fact, this is precisely why John F. Kennedy’s candidacy was so questionable: because he might be a servant of the pope, who represents everything America stands/stood against (according to the narrative of the times, anyway). Just look at some of the political pamphlets and sermons that circulated in our revolutionary years: one would think that we were seeking independence from popery (or papistry, etc.) more desperately than from the British crown.

    That said, I really can’t stand Bachmann, and shame on her if she indeed dropped her Lutheran affiliation for mere political advantage. On the other hand, she’s a pretty wacky evangelical these days, as is her husband. Has anyone considered the fact that she might have switched denominational affiliations due to a genuine shift in her beliefs from the faith of her Minnesotan/Iowan ancestors? Certainly the press has not.

  • Cincinnatus

    While the particularly language chosen by the Lutheran Confessions is a bit off-putting (and I disagree with it to boot), I don’t really know why this is a story. As Mike aptly notes, most of our Presidents have been Protestant, and a singular point of Protestantism was to protest the pope–presumably as some kind of anti-christic figure. In fact, this is precisely why John F. Kennedy’s candidacy was so questionable: because he might be a servant of the pope, who represents everything America stands/stood against (according to the narrative of the times, anyway). Just look at some of the political pamphlets and sermons that circulated in our revolutionary years: one would think that we were seeking independence from popery (or papistry, etc.) more desperately than from the British crown.

    That said, I really can’t stand Bachmann, and shame on her if she indeed dropped her Lutheran affiliation for mere political advantage. On the other hand, she’s a pretty wacky evangelical these days, as is her husband. Has anyone considered the fact that she might have switched denominational affiliations due to a genuine shift in her beliefs from the faith of her Minnesotan/Iowan ancestors? Certainly the press has not.

  • Cincinnatus

    particular* language

  • Cincinnatus

    particular* language

  • Mark Veenman

    Mary Jack, are you aware of the early church’s (not to mention Luther’s) position on those avoiding Christ’s body and blood at The Lord’s Supper and avoiding or otherwise ignoring Christ’s mystical body in the loc communion of saints? All that for political gain? This is wrong on many levels.

  • Mark Veenman

    Mary Jack, are you aware of the early church’s (not to mention Luther’s) position on those avoiding Christ’s body and blood at The Lord’s Supper and avoiding or otherwise ignoring Christ’s mystical body in the loc communion of saints? All that for political gain? This is wrong on many levels.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding whether someone should be excommunicated for nonattendance, most of the churches I’ve been a member of do terminate membership for the same.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding whether someone should be excommunicated for nonattendance, most of the churches I’ve been a member of do terminate membership for the same.

  • Anonymous

    I have lost any respect for Bachmann that I might have had. I cannot say that I would have voted for her before this debacle, but this pretty much confirms that I now cannot. One could have simply said, “That is a religious issue, not a political issue.” If for some reason she was being compelled to answer for the WELS, then the best she could say would be something like, “I’m not sure, I’ll check on that.” I suppose I don’t really blame her for not knowing that the WELS teaching the doctrine of the Antichrist in accordance with the Book of Concord, because how many WELS members really even know what the Book of Concord is, let alone its statements concerning the Antichrist. If someone joins a particular church they should research to the best of their ability, the teachings of that church. Bachmann underperformed.

    But I suspect this really isn’t a religious issue anyway. Where is Ron Kind (D-WI) in all this mess? I haven’t seen him in the news. The Democrats launched this attack on Bachmann because she was a member of the WELS. Why aren’t they jumping on Ron Kind as well? Perhaps because he is a Democrat. What about those who are members of other Lutheran churches (even ELCA)? The ELCA website states, “This church accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church. ” Yes, I realize that this is not a quia confession, but nevertheless, they confess that they believe that the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise are “valid interpretations.” Therefore the doctrine of the Antichrist is “valid.” No one is raising a ruckus over any of these people.

    At least confessional Lutherans actually believe that there are Christians in the Roman church. The Roman church cannot accept that there are Christians in the Lutheran church, simply because of the Lutherans’ rejection of papal power and authority.

  • Anonymous

    I have lost any respect for Bachmann that I might have had. I cannot say that I would have voted for her before this debacle, but this pretty much confirms that I now cannot. One could have simply said, “That is a religious issue, not a political issue.” If for some reason she was being compelled to answer for the WELS, then the best she could say would be something like, “I’m not sure, I’ll check on that.” I suppose I don’t really blame her for not knowing that the WELS teaching the doctrine of the Antichrist in accordance with the Book of Concord, because how many WELS members really even know what the Book of Concord is, let alone its statements concerning the Antichrist. If someone joins a particular church they should research to the best of their ability, the teachings of that church. Bachmann underperformed.

    But I suspect this really isn’t a religious issue anyway. Where is Ron Kind (D-WI) in all this mess? I haven’t seen him in the news. The Democrats launched this attack on Bachmann because she was a member of the WELS. Why aren’t they jumping on Ron Kind as well? Perhaps because he is a Democrat. What about those who are members of other Lutheran churches (even ELCA)? The ELCA website states, “This church accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church. ” Yes, I realize that this is not a quia confession, but nevertheless, they confess that they believe that the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise are “valid interpretations.” Therefore the doctrine of the Antichrist is “valid.” No one is raising a ruckus over any of these people.

    At least confessional Lutherans actually believe that there are Christians in the Roman church. The Roman church cannot accept that there are Christians in the Lutheran church, simply because of the Lutherans’ rejection of papal power and authority.

  • lws

    “Hochmuth (Joel Hochmuth, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) said in an interview the anti-papal doctrine is “not one of our driving views, and certainly not something that we preach from the pulpit.’’ Hochmuth said he doubts whether many members of WELS are aware of the doctrine, which dates to Protestant Reformer Martin Luther.”

    I feel Mr. Hochmuth is wrong. When I visited a WELS congregation, I was given two books that were produced by WELS. One is titled “This we believe”(1999) and the other is titled “Doctrinal Statements of the WELS”(1997). In the latter, on page 13 of a 69-page document, is the “Statement on the Antichrist”.

    In a paper by John Brug, “A Scriptural and Historical Survey of the Doctrine of the Antichrist” (http://www.wlsessays.net/node/376), he points out that prior to Luther, there was the Italian reformer Savonarola, the Bohemian reformer Huss, the English reformer Wycliffe, Occam and Marsiglius of Padua, and even Dante in his famous Inferno (ca. 1321) attacked the popes as the Antichrist. John Brug also says, “By the 13th century attacks on popes as the Antichrist were becoming common. Reform-minded groups like the Beguines and Fraticelli were prominent in these attacks against John XXII.”

    Something that Michele Bachmann needs to ask herself is how far she is willing to go in order to be “electable?” What happens when they find out that you also believe in the Real Presence, the Two Natures of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection of the dead, etc? At what point will you sell your soul to the devil?

  • lws

    “Hochmuth (Joel Hochmuth, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) said in an interview the anti-papal doctrine is “not one of our driving views, and certainly not something that we preach from the pulpit.’’ Hochmuth said he doubts whether many members of WELS are aware of the doctrine, which dates to Protestant Reformer Martin Luther.”

    I feel Mr. Hochmuth is wrong. When I visited a WELS congregation, I was given two books that were produced by WELS. One is titled “This we believe”(1999) and the other is titled “Doctrinal Statements of the WELS”(1997). In the latter, on page 13 of a 69-page document, is the “Statement on the Antichrist”.

    In a paper by John Brug, “A Scriptural and Historical Survey of the Doctrine of the Antichrist” (http://www.wlsessays.net/node/376), he points out that prior to Luther, there was the Italian reformer Savonarola, the Bohemian reformer Huss, the English reformer Wycliffe, Occam and Marsiglius of Padua, and even Dante in his famous Inferno (ca. 1321) attacked the popes as the Antichrist. John Brug also says, “By the 13th century attacks on popes as the Antichrist were becoming common. Reform-minded groups like the Beguines and Fraticelli were prominent in these attacks against John XXII.”

    Something that Michele Bachmann needs to ask herself is how far she is willing to go in order to be “electable?” What happens when they find out that you also believe in the Real Presence, the Two Natures of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection of the dead, etc? At what point will you sell your soul to the devil?

  • Mary Jack

    Mark Veenman@22

    You want my curriculum vitae before we discuss this? Yes, I have studied the positions on excommunication within the early church and Luther. And Scripture, which you forgot to mention. And I do not believe it to be a legal formulation that occurs when one of the faithful does something stupid or thoughtless, even on a reoccurring basis. And your first comment suggests no less than an automated timetable that enrolls one into the excommunication process apart from any of the Scriptural considerations of what’s gone on between the individual, pastor, and witnesses.

    Ignoring Christ’s mystical body in the loc communion of saints? Yep, that’s bad. For political gain? Yep, bad too. Sin. And no sin is to be considered lightly. But it doesn’t convince me of the validity of your argument. Suggesting that excommunication “would have really solved the problem”–turning excommunication, which is for the sake of repentance, into an earthly tool to dismiss individuals or providing care–is this really what you’d argue for? Maybe the pastor & elders should have excommunicated her–I don’t know. But what’s the problem with membership change? Should all non-transfer membership changes be baptism or excommunication?

  • Mary Jack

    Mark Veenman@22

    You want my curriculum vitae before we discuss this? Yes, I have studied the positions on excommunication within the early church and Luther. And Scripture, which you forgot to mention. And I do not believe it to be a legal formulation that occurs when one of the faithful does something stupid or thoughtless, even on a reoccurring basis. And your first comment suggests no less than an automated timetable that enrolls one into the excommunication process apart from any of the Scriptural considerations of what’s gone on between the individual, pastor, and witnesses.

    Ignoring Christ’s mystical body in the loc communion of saints? Yep, that’s bad. For political gain? Yep, bad too. Sin. And no sin is to be considered lightly. But it doesn’t convince me of the validity of your argument. Suggesting that excommunication “would have really solved the problem”–turning excommunication, which is for the sake of repentance, into an earthly tool to dismiss individuals or providing care–is this really what you’d argue for? Maybe the pastor & elders should have excommunicated her–I don’t know. But what’s the problem with membership change? Should all non-transfer membership changes be baptism or excommunication?

  • DonS

    Much ado about nothing — a matter between a parishioner and her church, and, in this case, more about updating the church rolls to account for the fact that she no longer attends that church.

    I will wait for the press to probe Catholic doctrine regarding the eternal status of non-Catholics the next time a Catholic candidate is running for national office. I’m sure it will do so, because the Fourth Estate is perfectly evenhanded and neutral, as we all know.

    Of course, were that probe to take place, the response would be that we all know Catholics don’t really believe all that stuff anyway. And, based on the records of Catholic public officials, we would have to admit that they are right.

  • DonS

    Much ado about nothing — a matter between a parishioner and her church, and, in this case, more about updating the church rolls to account for the fact that she no longer attends that church.

    I will wait for the press to probe Catholic doctrine regarding the eternal status of non-Catholics the next time a Catholic candidate is running for national office. I’m sure it will do so, because the Fourth Estate is perfectly evenhanded and neutral, as we all know.

    Of course, were that probe to take place, the response would be that we all know Catholics don’t really believe all that stuff anyway. And, based on the records of Catholic public officials, we would have to admit that they are right.

  • Christopher Greenwood

    she stopped being a Lutheran when cozied up with Glenn Beck, any one who doesn’t know how to stay with in the confines of the two kingdoms is not Lutheran

  • Christopher Greenwood

    she stopped being a Lutheran when cozied up with Glenn Beck, any one who doesn’t know how to stay with in the confines of the two kingdoms is not Lutheran

  • Dan Kempin

    I am surprised and, frankly, disappointed to see so many people piling on Bachmann here. I don’t get it.

    Someone left the lutheran church. Gosh, there’s a show stopper. I’m sure none of us has ever seen that happen.

    Disappointing? Yes.

    Discouraging? Yes.

    Signifying that she has abandoned Christ and ought never be respected again? Umm, that one may be a bit of a leap.

    Never mind that there is arguably a justification for such a decision, considering her current vocation, (my post at #4), but who here on this thread knows the details of her situation or her intent?

    Lacking facts, let’s go by church attendance. (Mark Veenman, #1, #22, Bike, #6, #23, Mary Jack, #11.) Never mind the fact that your information is third hand, but have you considered that Bachman is a member of congress and spends much of her time out of state? Does the fact that she did not attend her home church mean she did not attend? I don’t know. I haven’t asked her. So let’s just assume that she has hardened her heart and cut herself off from the body of Christ. That sounds like a great place to start.

    Joe, #13, has it exactly right.

  • Dan Kempin

    I am surprised and, frankly, disappointed to see so many people piling on Bachmann here. I don’t get it.

    Someone left the lutheran church. Gosh, there’s a show stopper. I’m sure none of us has ever seen that happen.

    Disappointing? Yes.

    Discouraging? Yes.

    Signifying that she has abandoned Christ and ought never be respected again? Umm, that one may be a bit of a leap.

    Never mind that there is arguably a justification for such a decision, considering her current vocation, (my post at #4), but who here on this thread knows the details of her situation or her intent?

    Lacking facts, let’s go by church attendance. (Mark Veenman, #1, #22, Bike, #6, #23, Mary Jack, #11.) Never mind the fact that your information is third hand, but have you considered that Bachman is a member of congress and spends much of her time out of state? Does the fact that she did not attend her home church mean she did not attend? I don’t know. I haven’t asked her. So let’s just assume that she has hardened her heart and cut herself off from the body of Christ. That sounds like a great place to start.

    Joe, #13, has it exactly right.

  • Dan Kempin

    Mary Jack,

    After reading your post @#26, I realize that I misunderstood your post @#11. Please disregard me including you in the previous post.

  • Dan Kempin

    Mary Jack,

    After reading your post @#26, I realize that I misunderstood your post @#11. Please disregard me including you in the previous post.

  • Carl Vehse

    Perhaps leaving the WELS was not so much over the issue that the pope is the Antichrist, but rather the big issue that in its doctrinal stand WELS had too much choot spa.

  • Carl Vehse

    Perhaps leaving the WELS was not so much over the issue that the pope is the Antichrist, but rather the big issue that in its doctrinal stand WELS had too much choot spa.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I think another issue that would have come to the forefront would be the WELS position on women in the Church. Is it true that women cannot vote in this Church? I don’t know, but I thought I had read that somewhere. That may have also emerged as a point of media attention, if true.
    I can see several possibilities here:
    1) Michele Bachmann’s religious identity or views changed and this was the natural outcome
    2) For political gain, she has chosen to identify with the fastest growing segment of Christianity in America – “Non-Denominational” Churches (which can range from bizarre pentecostal in belief to basic mainstream Baptist belief)
    3) To cut perceived losses, she has abandoned the WELS Lutheran Church outwardly due to fears over the Catholic vote, worries about how women are perceived to be treated, and/or fears that Evangelicals will think Lutheranism to be another faith, not like their own and reject it.
    4) None of these considerations came into play and we don’t know the real reason – or
    5) It could be a combination of all these reasons – some of each of these came into consideration and others we don’t know.
    If it is true that she abandoned WELS due to fears, than that sends the completely wrong message – rather than holding firm in belief, it is rather something that can be tossed aside. But I don’t know that, and cannot make that judgement. I think Michele Bachmann is viciously attacked primarily because of her views, but I am sure she can and will hold her own. Bachmann has not gotten where she is by calculating and determining the most centrist and acceptable position, so number 1 above may be the driving factor – together with some of the political implications (after all she is a politician).

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I think another issue that would have come to the forefront would be the WELS position on women in the Church. Is it true that women cannot vote in this Church? I don’t know, but I thought I had read that somewhere. That may have also emerged as a point of media attention, if true.
    I can see several possibilities here:
    1) Michele Bachmann’s religious identity or views changed and this was the natural outcome
    2) For political gain, she has chosen to identify with the fastest growing segment of Christianity in America – “Non-Denominational” Churches (which can range from bizarre pentecostal in belief to basic mainstream Baptist belief)
    3) To cut perceived losses, she has abandoned the WELS Lutheran Church outwardly due to fears over the Catholic vote, worries about how women are perceived to be treated, and/or fears that Evangelicals will think Lutheranism to be another faith, not like their own and reject it.
    4) None of these considerations came into play and we don’t know the real reason – or
    5) It could be a combination of all these reasons – some of each of these came into consideration and others we don’t know.
    If it is true that she abandoned WELS due to fears, than that sends the completely wrong message – rather than holding firm in belief, it is rather something that can be tossed aside. But I don’t know that, and cannot make that judgement. I think Michele Bachmann is viciously attacked primarily because of her views, but I am sure she can and will hold her own. Bachmann has not gotten where she is by calculating and determining the most centrist and acceptable position, so number 1 above may be the driving factor – together with some of the political implications (after all she is a politician).

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I once threatened to remove a person from the roles after a long spell of them not attending. (Tell you the truth, life has been a bit more pleasant since that person has not been attending and disrupting the otherwise peaceful operation of the church). Of course there were other problems there too, and I never have removed a name for that. It is in the constitution that they can’t vote if they haven’t been active…
    But, Mark, think about this from a pastoral perspective. An absence from church, is justification for a pastoral visit. But if you are interested in bringing the people back to the fold it is not helpful to tell them they are no longer members because they haven’t been attending. Also, should something happen to me, death or a call somewhere else, leaving the names on the roll for the next pastor is helpful. At least I think. Perhaps the people have some sort of personal beef with me, it happens believe it or not, perhaps the next pastor would be able to visit and bring reconciliation etc. Removing them from the roles, especially when it is done in the form of a letter, without so much as a visit from the pastor or the elders, is really not helpful to any extent.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I once threatened to remove a person from the roles after a long spell of them not attending. (Tell you the truth, life has been a bit more pleasant since that person has not been attending and disrupting the otherwise peaceful operation of the church). Of course there were other problems there too, and I never have removed a name for that. It is in the constitution that they can’t vote if they haven’t been active…
    But, Mark, think about this from a pastoral perspective. An absence from church, is justification for a pastoral visit. But if you are interested in bringing the people back to the fold it is not helpful to tell them they are no longer members because they haven’t been attending. Also, should something happen to me, death or a call somewhere else, leaving the names on the roll for the next pastor is helpful. At least I think. Perhaps the people have some sort of personal beef with me, it happens believe it or not, perhaps the next pastor would be able to visit and bring reconciliation etc. Removing them from the roles, especially when it is done in the form of a letter, without so much as a visit from the pastor or the elders, is really not helpful to any extent.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The hilarity of it all is that other protestants agree with the doctrine as much and more than the WELS. The only real way Bachman could distance herself from it would be to go to the RCC. Going to a non-denominational church doesn’t distance her from the protestant position. It only distances her from the sacraments.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The hilarity of it all is that other protestants agree with the doctrine as much and more than the WELS. The only real way Bachman could distance herself from it would be to go to the RCC. Going to a non-denominational church doesn’t distance her from the protestant position. It only distances her from the sacraments.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I think a lot of non-denom congregations are actually post-protestant, and even post-Christian. That is, though they have their roots in the protestant reformation, they don’t really have any memory of the reformation. They’ve tossed the creeds (as being too divisive), and have adopted a new standard of belief which replaces the centrality of Christ and His work with an obsession for the subjective and emotional experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Like-minded (charismatic) Catholics are thought of as brethren to many of these types.

    See, if you can’t sign on to the ecumenical creeds, not only are you not protestant anymore, but I don’t think you’re even Christian, since even the Catholic church holds to them.

    “Whosoever will be saved, before all things he must hold the catholic faith, which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

    Who believes that any more?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I think a lot of non-denom congregations are actually post-protestant, and even post-Christian. That is, though they have their roots in the protestant reformation, they don’t really have any memory of the reformation. They’ve tossed the creeds (as being too divisive), and have adopted a new standard of belief which replaces the centrality of Christ and His work with an obsession for the subjective and emotional experience of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Like-minded (charismatic) Catholics are thought of as brethren to many of these types.

    See, if you can’t sign on to the ecumenical creeds, not only are you not protestant anymore, but I don’t think you’re even Christian, since even the Catholic church holds to them.

    “Whosoever will be saved, before all things he must hold the catholic faith, which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

    Who believes that any more?

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Hi Bror,
    I agree, totally. That seems to be exactly what happened here. It is in avoiding this problem that the Lord gives us the basis for evangelical church discipline (hence my comment above re. “restorative discipline”) in Matt. 18.

    Ms. Jack,
    Nothing is as damaging as overlooking false teaching in the congregation because of the status (political, economic or otherwise) of the individual for the sake of, what, peace? One of the pastor’s jobs is to root out false teaching, esp. when it is being taught on such a public scale, as it is here. If a member is public about her false views re.(let’s say) baptism or the papacy or adultery or co-habitation, or unrepentant, active homosexuality or whatever, and there is no public correction, I personally need to be concerned, esp. because I want to prevent (for e.g.) my children from living under the impression that this is normal, and the church seems to endorse it by inaction. You’ll note that in my initial post (and I was speaking of church orderly type stuff) I mentioned that excomm. should have happened earlier. I’m not accusing Bachmann of any particular sin here, only that a proper process should have been followed, for which there is ample precedence in scripture and the annals of church history.
    And yes, I should have asked for your c.v.. I’ll be less presumptuous (snarky) next time ;-)
    Mark.

  • http://mark.veenman@gmail.com Mark Veenman

    Hi Bror,
    I agree, totally. That seems to be exactly what happened here. It is in avoiding this problem that the Lord gives us the basis for evangelical church discipline (hence my comment above re. “restorative discipline”) in Matt. 18.

    Ms. Jack,
    Nothing is as damaging as overlooking false teaching in the congregation because of the status (political, economic or otherwise) of the individual for the sake of, what, peace? One of the pastor’s jobs is to root out false teaching, esp. when it is being taught on such a public scale, as it is here. If a member is public about her false views re.(let’s say) baptism or the papacy or adultery or co-habitation, or unrepentant, active homosexuality or whatever, and there is no public correction, I personally need to be concerned, esp. because I want to prevent (for e.g.) my children from living under the impression that this is normal, and the church seems to endorse it by inaction. You’ll note that in my initial post (and I was speaking of church orderly type stuff) I mentioned that excomm. should have happened earlier. I’m not accusing Bachmann of any particular sin here, only that a proper process should have been followed, for which there is ample precedence in scripture and the annals of church history.
    And yes, I should have asked for your c.v.. I’ll be less presumptuous (snarky) next time ;-)
    Mark.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 35: I guess you’ve covered the bases with your usage of “a lot of”, but as a reminder, the term “non-denominational” covers the gamut from pentecostal to baptistic to a lot of doctrines in between. Moreover, a lot of “non-denoms”, like Saddleback Church (Rick Warren), aren’t actually non-denominational. Saddleback is Southern Baptist (SBC), and in many other instances, churches having non-denominational sounding names are actually still affiliated with a denomination. So, if you want to be fair about it, it’s best to avoid painting with a broad brush, and to look at each church on an individual basis before making judgments, especially a judgment as harsh as assuming a church is “post-Christian”, whatever that means.

    “Protestantism” is one of three branches of Christianity, and is a catch-all for a post-Reformation Christian church which is neither Orthodox nor Catholic. There is no requirement that a Protestant church be confessional, or sacramental, and there hasn’t been for several hundred years, so I’m not sure what you mean by “post-Protestant”. Just because a church doesn’t confess a particular historic creed, by the way, doesn’t mean it disagrees with it, or couldn’t confess it. It may have just re-worded its creed into a modern doctrinal statement, which, in essence, it “confesses”. After all, let’s keep in mind that it is the Scriptural Gospel we as Christians are really confessing, not a man-made creed, whether ancient or modern.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 35: I guess you’ve covered the bases with your usage of “a lot of”, but as a reminder, the term “non-denominational” covers the gamut from pentecostal to baptistic to a lot of doctrines in between. Moreover, a lot of “non-denoms”, like Saddleback Church (Rick Warren), aren’t actually non-denominational. Saddleback is Southern Baptist (SBC), and in many other instances, churches having non-denominational sounding names are actually still affiliated with a denomination. So, if you want to be fair about it, it’s best to avoid painting with a broad brush, and to look at each church on an individual basis before making judgments, especially a judgment as harsh as assuming a church is “post-Christian”, whatever that means.

    “Protestantism” is one of three branches of Christianity, and is a catch-all for a post-Reformation Christian church which is neither Orthodox nor Catholic. There is no requirement that a Protestant church be confessional, or sacramental, and there hasn’t been for several hundred years, so I’m not sure what you mean by “post-Protestant”. Just because a church doesn’t confess a particular historic creed, by the way, doesn’t mean it disagrees with it, or couldn’t confess it. It may have just re-worded its creed into a modern doctrinal statement, which, in essence, it “confesses”. After all, let’s keep in mind that it is the Scriptural Gospel we as Christians are really confessing, not a man-made creed, whether ancient or modern.

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #33,

    A thoughtful post. You’ve got me thinking about the real, practical purpose of a “church’s rolls.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Bror, #33,

    A thoughtful post. You’ve got me thinking about the real, practical purpose of a “church’s rolls.”

  • norman teigen

    I belong to an ELS congregation. I think that the public press has not done well on this story and a review of reader comments in the Atlantic will confirm this. Congresswoman Bachmann is not a member of the WELS and it just isn’t fair to demonize her on this point. I know Pastor Birkholz and his family and I have no reason to believe that he is not a fine pastor. I wouldn’t support Bachmann when she was a WELS member. She has some undesirable, in my opinion, political views and is deficient, in my opinion, in her understanding of American history. Her synodical affiliation has nothing to do with her being unqualified for any further political advancement.

  • norman teigen

    I belong to an ELS congregation. I think that the public press has not done well on this story and a review of reader comments in the Atlantic will confirm this. Congresswoman Bachmann is not a member of the WELS and it just isn’t fair to demonize her on this point. I know Pastor Birkholz and his family and I have no reason to believe that he is not a fine pastor. I wouldn’t support Bachmann when she was a WELS member. She has some undesirable, in my opinion, political views and is deficient, in my opinion, in her understanding of American history. Her synodical affiliation has nothing to do with her being unqualified for any further political advancement.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Fair enough, DonS.

    By “a lot of” I guess I mean the charismatic/pentecostal ones.
    And, I’m also going on my own experience in one of these such congregations, whose non-denominational umbrella organization does officially have a statement of faith that affirms what standard Christians believe (as well as a bunch of other gobbledy-gook), but which most of the congregation are unaware, and is rarely taught, and neglected. Instead the emphasis is not on the sinfulness of man and the need for redemption, not a call to repentance and a proclamation of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ atonement, but on what the Holy Spirit can do for you, and what powers you will have through Him to affect the world around you (including your own health and prosperity), completely ignoring sound doctrine and, in my opinion, making a complete mockery of the Law and the Gospel.

    I don’t put Calvary Chapel in quite this category of churches, but some of their congregations do seem to be slouching in that direction…

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Fair enough, DonS.

    By “a lot of” I guess I mean the charismatic/pentecostal ones.
    And, I’m also going on my own experience in one of these such congregations, whose non-denominational umbrella organization does officially have a statement of faith that affirms what standard Christians believe (as well as a bunch of other gobbledy-gook), but which most of the congregation are unaware, and is rarely taught, and neglected. Instead the emphasis is not on the sinfulness of man and the need for redemption, not a call to repentance and a proclamation of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ atonement, but on what the Holy Spirit can do for you, and what powers you will have through Him to affect the world around you (including your own health and prosperity), completely ignoring sound doctrine and, in my opinion, making a complete mockery of the Law and the Gospel.

    I don’t put Calvary Chapel in quite this category of churches, but some of their congregations do seem to be slouching in that direction…

  • DonS

    Mike @ 40:

    Thank you, I guess ;-)

    I wasn’t seeking to defend Calvary Chapel, per se. I guess you brought that up because you know that I happen to attend one.

    The reason why we attend the particular church that we do is because of its emphasis on Scripture, contextual exegesis, and sound doctrine, over the emotionalism that afflicts more charismatic bodies. You state:

    Instead the emphasis is not on the sinfulness of man and the need for redemption, not a call to repentance and a proclamation of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ atonement, but on what the Holy Spirit can do for you, and what powers you will have through Him to affect the world around you (including your own health and prosperity), completely ignoring sound doctrine and, in my opinion, making a complete mockery of the Law and the Gospel.

    Given that horrendous description, I can’t see how my church could at all fit into that category, nor, in view of the exact opposite emphasis of the leadership of Calvary Chapel, could I see any significant number of their congregations “slouching in that direction”, at least not with the knowledge of said leadership. Such a “slouch” would be absolutely antithetical to everything that Calvary Chapel stands for. Over the years a number of more charismatic and “Spirit-driven” groups, most notably the Vineyard churches, have broken off from Calvary Chapel affiliation for this exact reason.

    So, enough about Calvary Chapel, anyway.

  • DonS

    Mike @ 40:

    Thank you, I guess ;-)

    I wasn’t seeking to defend Calvary Chapel, per se. I guess you brought that up because you know that I happen to attend one.

    The reason why we attend the particular church that we do is because of its emphasis on Scripture, contextual exegesis, and sound doctrine, over the emotionalism that afflicts more charismatic bodies. You state:

    Instead the emphasis is not on the sinfulness of man and the need for redemption, not a call to repentance and a proclamation of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ atonement, but on what the Holy Spirit can do for you, and what powers you will have through Him to affect the world around you (including your own health and prosperity), completely ignoring sound doctrine and, in my opinion, making a complete mockery of the Law and the Gospel.

    Given that horrendous description, I can’t see how my church could at all fit into that category, nor, in view of the exact opposite emphasis of the leadership of Calvary Chapel, could I see any significant number of their congregations “slouching in that direction”, at least not with the knowledge of said leadership. Such a “slouch” would be absolutely antithetical to everything that Calvary Chapel stands for. Over the years a number of more charismatic and “Spirit-driven” groups, most notably the Vineyard churches, have broken off from Calvary Chapel affiliation for this exact reason.

    So, enough about Calvary Chapel, anyway.

  • steve

    “Should confessional Lutherans now refuse to support Bachmann now that she has abandoned her confirmation pledge to uphold the Lutheran confessions?”

    No, not necessarily. Should thinking people who believe that a President should have the courage to uphold their convictions in the face of mud-slinging refuse to support Bachmann? Speaking only for myself, yes.

  • steve

    “Should confessional Lutherans now refuse to support Bachmann now that she has abandoned her confirmation pledge to uphold the Lutheran confessions?”

    No, not necessarily. Should thinking people who believe that a President should have the courage to uphold their convictions in the face of mud-slinging refuse to support Bachmann? Speaking only for myself, yes.

  • norman teigen

    Steve, I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

  • norman teigen

    Steve, I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

  • steve

    Norman, I suspect that Bachmann’s split with WELS was more pragmatic than theological. That would make her undesirable as a President because we can only wonder which of her other “convictions” she’ll throw under the bus when questioned about them. Now, if Bachmann disagreed with the WELS statement of faith, she should have left. That’s fine. If she left because she felt it would hurt her chances for the Presidency, she should be neither WELS nor President.

    Just my opinion.

  • steve

    Norman, I suspect that Bachmann’s split with WELS was more pragmatic than theological. That would make her undesirable as a President because we can only wonder which of her other “convictions” she’ll throw under the bus when questioned about them. Now, if Bachmann disagreed with the WELS statement of faith, she should have left. That’s fine. If she left because she felt it would hurt her chances for the Presidency, she should be neither WELS nor President.

    Just my opinion.

  • norman teigen

    When Bachmann was first campaigning for public office some urged us in the ELS to support her campaign because our synod was in fellowship with her synod, WELS. I found that concept highly objectionable. She is an undesirable candidate based on the really only substantive basis for opposition, her political beliefs. I respect that many support her, and I am good with that. This is a democracy, after all.

  • norman teigen

    When Bachmann was first campaigning for public office some urged us in the ELS to support her campaign because our synod was in fellowship with her synod, WELS. I found that concept highly objectionable. She is an undesirable candidate based on the really only substantive basis for opposition, her political beliefs. I respect that many support her, and I am good with that. This is a democracy, after all.

  • steve

    Norman, I disagree that her political beliefs are the only substantive reason for opposing her. One can oppose her on the basis of her record of success in her current position, her level of experience, her education level, presentation in debate, etc. There are many reasons to support or oppose a candidate beyond agreement with political philosophy.

    However, assuming for the sake of argument that you are correct, even if she holds the same political views as I do, if she shows no capability of defending her views and, in fact, runs from her views when politically expedient, what would it matter how many of those views I agree with?

  • steve

    Norman, I disagree that her political beliefs are the only substantive reason for opposing her. One can oppose her on the basis of her record of success in her current position, her level of experience, her education level, presentation in debate, etc. There are many reasons to support or oppose a candidate beyond agreement with political philosophy.

    However, assuming for the sake of argument that you are correct, even if she holds the same political views as I do, if she shows no capability of defending her views and, in fact, runs from her views when politically expedient, what would it matter how many of those views I agree with?

  • Chips

    Michelle Bachmann has the good sense to quit a narrow church mired in Sixteenth Century prejudice against Catholicism. She and her husband have sensibly come to know that WELS is a provincial church wallowing in self righteous anti-Catholic piety. Conservative Lutherans who claim the Pope is the Anti-Christ foolishly neglect that John Paul II and Benedict XVI are profound Christians who have been exemplary leaders of the true faith against both secularism and militant Islam.

  • Chips

    Michelle Bachmann has the good sense to quit a narrow church mired in Sixteenth Century prejudice against Catholicism. She and her husband have sensibly come to know that WELS is a provincial church wallowing in self righteous anti-Catholic piety. Conservative Lutherans who claim the Pope is the Anti-Christ foolishly neglect that John Paul II and Benedict XVI are profound Christians who have been exemplary leaders of the true faith against both secularism and militant Islam.

  • trotk

    Chips,

    Saying that they are profound Christians isn’t an argument. Their opposition to Islam and secularism has nothing to do with them as Christians or anti-Christs.

    Instead, do they affirm the council of Trent, with its semi-Pelagian heresy (on the concept of original sin) and its denial of salvation by grace alone? This is why they are labeled the anti-Christ.

  • trotk

    Chips,

    Saying that they are profound Christians isn’t an argument. Their opposition to Islam and secularism has nothing to do with them as Christians or anti-Christs.

    Instead, do they affirm the council of Trent, with its semi-Pelagian heresy (on the concept of original sin) and its denial of salvation by grace alone? This is why they are labeled the anti-Christ.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chips (@47), thanks for the laugh.

    I always enjoy it when people whining about “prejudice” manage to make their own issues more than clear with language like “narrow”, “mired”, “provincial”, “wallowing”, “self-righteous”, and so on. Oh, clearly, you have no issues. It’s those nasty WELS pigs, they’re the problem! Hmm.

    And, as Trotk notes (@48), your claim that Lutherans “foolishly neglect that John Paul II and Benedict XVI are profound Christians” does seem to miss the whole point. After all, as John says in his first epistle about antichrists: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us.” They came from the church!

    And no Christian can be an “exemplary leader” if he denies, as does the Catholic Church (which presumably includes its leaders), salvation by God’s grace without need of man’s work — no matter what he may or may not accomplish in the secular realm.

    Also, Chips, dare I mention that your writing style is a little … familiar … to me?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Chips (@47), thanks for the laugh.

    I always enjoy it when people whining about “prejudice” manage to make their own issues more than clear with language like “narrow”, “mired”, “provincial”, “wallowing”, “self-righteous”, and so on. Oh, clearly, you have no issues. It’s those nasty WELS pigs, they’re the problem! Hmm.

    And, as Trotk notes (@48), your claim that Lutherans “foolishly neglect that John Paul II and Benedict XVI are profound Christians” does seem to miss the whole point. After all, as John says in his first epistle about antichrists: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us.” They came from the church!

    And no Christian can be an “exemplary leader” if he denies, as does the Catholic Church (which presumably includes its leaders), salvation by God’s grace without need of man’s work — no matter what he may or may not accomplish in the secular realm.

    Also, Chips, dare I mention that your writing style is a little … familiar … to me?

  • trotk

    tODD, I knew I smelled a pig!

  • trotk

    tODD, I knew I smelled a pig!

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes, I meant to note Chips’ apparently identity in an earlier thread. Did the Porcellian club kick you out, Peter?

    Meanwhile, Chips, you are aware that the non-denominational church Bachmann now attends (or at least endorses) is at least as anti-pope (not to mention provincial) as the WELS? Not only do churches like hers claim that the pope is an/the antichrist, but they also affirm that Catholics are not and cannot be Christians!

    (Good to have you back, Peter ;-) )

  • Cincinnatus

    Yes, I meant to note Chips’ apparently identity in an earlier thread. Did the Porcellian club kick you out, Peter?

    Meanwhile, Chips, you are aware that the non-denominational church Bachmann now attends (or at least endorses) is at least as anti-pope (not to mention provincial) as the WELS? Not only do churches like hers claim that the pope is an/the antichrist, but they also affirm that Catholics are not and cannot be Christians!

    (Good to have you back, Peter ;-) )

  • steve

    Cincinnatus, do you know which church that is? I don’t think we can say that absolutely. It’s likely; though there’s undoubtedly nothing in their 3×5 mission statem… er… statement of faith that would confirm or deny such a stance because that would not be inviting.

  • steve

    Cincinnatus, do you know which church that is? I don’t think we can say that absolutely. It’s likely; though there’s undoubtedly nothing in their 3×5 mission statem… er… statement of faith that would confirm or deny such a stance because that would not be inviting.

  • Cincinnatus

    That’s true, Steve. If I were a betting man, however, I would wager that Bachmann’s church, like every single other non-denominational/Bible/independent Baptist/etc. church of which I’ve ever heard, is just as anti-Catholic as the rest of them, if only tacitly (i.e., I doubt they preach sermons about it). But this isn’t a tenet of doctrine that’s usually spelled out in so many words in such churches. It’s just one of those myriad of unstated doctrines that any good non-denominatalist must believe…or else? Catholics aren’t “saved,” as I’ve been informed many times by such folks, and if they are, it’s in spite of their Catholicism. (My parents fit into this category, actually.)

    The winner of this little bet shall receive 1 (one) internet.

  • Cincinnatus

    That’s true, Steve. If I were a betting man, however, I would wager that Bachmann’s church, like every single other non-denominational/Bible/independent Baptist/etc. church of which I’ve ever heard, is just as anti-Catholic as the rest of them, if only tacitly (i.e., I doubt they preach sermons about it). But this isn’t a tenet of doctrine that’s usually spelled out in so many words in such churches. It’s just one of those myriad of unstated doctrines that any good non-denominatalist must believe…or else? Catholics aren’t “saved,” as I’ve been informed many times by such folks, and if they are, it’s in spite of their Catholicism. (My parents fit into this category, actually.)

    The winner of this little bet shall receive 1 (one) internet.

  • Cincinnatus

    That said, I don’t really know why I’ve been having this discussion. Perhaps if I were Lutheran, I would care. But it seems to me this is just idle political chatter. Maybe Bachmann switched denominations due to a sincere conversion. If so, meh. Maybe she did it for political advantage. If so, meh.

    Bachmann is unelectable and a rube, and consequently I can’t be bothered to get too excited about her religious preferences. Though I can almost guarantee that her new church is just as anti-catholic as her old church.

    Maybe Peter/Porcell/Chips will weigh in. He seems to have a much more authoritative grasp upon Mrs. Bachmann’s personal religious motivations and her posture vis-a-vis the Roman Church.

  • Cincinnatus

    That said, I don’t really know why I’ve been having this discussion. Perhaps if I were Lutheran, I would care. But it seems to me this is just idle political chatter. Maybe Bachmann switched denominations due to a sincere conversion. If so, meh. Maybe she did it for political advantage. If so, meh.

    Bachmann is unelectable and a rube, and consequently I can’t be bothered to get too excited about her religious preferences. Though I can almost guarantee that her new church is just as anti-catholic as her old church.

    Maybe Peter/Porcell/Chips will weigh in. He seems to have a much more authoritative grasp upon Mrs. Bachmann’s personal religious motivations and her posture vis-a-vis the Roman Church.

  • steve

    Cincinnatus, #53, pardon me if I don’t take that bet. I do suspect you’re right.

  • steve

    Cincinnatus, #53, pardon me if I don’t take that bet. I do suspect you’re right.

  • Booklover

    The last paragraph of post #24, to my knowledge, is incorrect.
    In present times, Catholics refer to Lutherans as their “Christian brethren,” and would not rebaptize a Lutheran who chooses to become Catholic.

  • Booklover

    The last paragraph of post #24, to my knowledge, is incorrect.
    In present times, Catholics refer to Lutherans as their “Christian brethren,” and would not rebaptize a Lutheran who chooses to become Catholic.

  • steve

    Booklover, #56, though not specifically naming Lutherans, the Compendium to the Catechism states, “In the churches and ecclesial communities which are separated from full communion with the Catholic Church, many elements of sanctification and truth can be found. All of these blessings come from Christ and lead to Catholic unity. Members of these churches and communities are incorporated into Christ by Baptism and we so we recognize them as brothers.”

    Unless in some other encyclical or decree Lutherans are excepted from this statement, I think you are correct.

  • steve

    Booklover, #56, though not specifically naming Lutherans, the Compendium to the Catechism states, “In the churches and ecclesial communities which are separated from full communion with the Catholic Church, many elements of sanctification and truth can be found. All of these blessings come from Christ and lead to Catholic unity. Members of these churches and communities are incorporated into Christ by Baptism and we so we recognize them as brothers.”

    Unless in some other encyclical or decree Lutherans are excepted from this statement, I think you are correct.

  • Joe

    The Catholic Church still stands by the Council of Trent including these nuggets:

    CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

    CANON 12: “If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified … let him be accursed”

    According to this the Catholic Church says I am anathema and accursed. I’ll be nice to the Pope when is starts being nice to me.

  • Joe

    The Catholic Church still stands by the Council of Trent including these nuggets:

    CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

    CANON 12: “If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified … let him be accursed”

    According to this the Catholic Church says I am anathema and accursed. I’ll be nice to the Pope when is starts being nice to me.

  • Wade Brooks

    Where in the Bible does God say one can be excommunicated for changing churches?

    If Bachmann leaves confessional Lutheranism to attend a non-denominational church, she has not done it for political reasons, she has done it for theological reasons. If she truly believed in Baptismal Regeneration for children, Real Presence of Christ in the LORD’s Supper & Absolution, I guarantee where she is does not believe teach or confess these core Lutheran doctrines. She will be back to Lutheranism after she looses the primary, for one she will find out how important the confessing of her sins in the liturgy is vital to her soul and hearing the forgiveness of sins. She won’t be back for political, but theological reasons.

    Roman Catholics are not going to make a decision on voting for her based upon the Book of Concord holding to the view the Papacy is anti-Christ.

  • Wade Brooks

    Where in the Bible does God say one can be excommunicated for changing churches?

    If Bachmann leaves confessional Lutheranism to attend a non-denominational church, she has not done it for political reasons, she has done it for theological reasons. If she truly believed in Baptismal Regeneration for children, Real Presence of Christ in the LORD’s Supper & Absolution, I guarantee where she is does not believe teach or confess these core Lutheran doctrines. She will be back to Lutheranism after she looses the primary, for one she will find out how important the confessing of her sins in the liturgy is vital to her soul and hearing the forgiveness of sins. She won’t be back for political, but theological reasons.

    Roman Catholics are not going to make a decision on voting for her based upon the Book of Concord holding to the view the Papacy is anti-Christ.

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