Pastor Megadeth

David Ellefson, bassist for the heavy metal group Megadeth, is studying to become a pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod:

Ellefson grew up in the church. Each Sunday, his family drove from their farm in southwest Minnesota to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, where David attended Sunday school and was confirmed at age 16. His mother sang in the choir. His father was active on the building committee.

Just a few years after his confirmation at Our Savior’s, in the summer of 1983, Ellefson moved to Los Angeles. Within a week of arriving, he had formed a band and named it Megadeth for the unit of measurement equal to the death of 1 million people by nuclear explosion. Soon, he was playing bass on stage in front of thousands of heavy metal fans in New York with other bands like Metallica and Slayer. In 1985, Megadeth released its first album, “Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good!”

In “The Skull Beneath the Skin,” Ellefson and his bandmates sang:

“Mean and infectious the evil prophets rise

Dance of the Macabre as witches streak the sky

Decadent worship of black magic sorcery

In the womb of the Devil’s Dungeon trapped without a plea”

In the 1980s and 1990s, Megadeth gained a reputation for an intelligent take on heavy metal, earning several Grammy Award nominations, and was known for its album covers, many of which depicted a character named Vic Rattlehead, a skeleton whose eyes, ears and mouth were fused closed with metal.

But by the time Ellefson was 25, the rock star lifestyle had caught up to him. In a 12-step recovery program, he was reintroduced to his faith and embraced it. He moved to Arizona, married and had children. He also began church shopping, eventually landing at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation in Scottsdale.

“I came from a good family, not a broken home,” said Ellefson, 47. “That became a model for me, and I saw church at center of it.”

The Rev. Jon Bjorgaard , pastor of Shepherd of the Desert, asked Ellefson to start a contemporary worship service. Ellefson began to use lyrics from the Old Testament as a springboard for songwriting, penning praise music — worship songs with a soft-rock hook.

“For a Christmas service, I remixed some classics, not quite in a Megadeth fashion, but in a pretty heavy rock fashion,” Ellefson said.

Combining his musical abilities and his faith led Ellefson to a deeper exploration of Christianity, he said. And it led him to start a new music ministry within the walls of Shepherd of the Desert.

He called it MEGA Life, partially a play on Megadeth. But it’s also a reference to a verse from the Gospel of John: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

MEGA Life became so popular in Scottsdale that Shepherd of the Desert bought a new space for the ministry.

And last year, Bjorgaard asked Ellefson and MEGA Life director Jeremy DaPena to enroll in Concordia’s Specific Ministry Program.

“Most people want to become a rock star,” Bjorgaard said. “David’s a rock star who wants to become a pastor.”

via Megadeth bassist studying for Lutheran ordination at Concordia.

This has sparked some controversy in the LCMS not because a heavy metal musician is going to become a pastor–Lutherans generally wouldn’t have a problem with such things–but because the route he is taking, an online seminary lite, that qualifies him to serve just in a specific place, is taken by many confessional Lutherans as violating the pastoral office.  (If you’ve been ordained, you are ordained and should be able to serve anywhere and  should have the thorough seminary training all other pastors have.)  Also, some Lutherans who don’t mind heavy metal DO mind contemporary Christian music, and the suspicion is that the future Rev. Ellefson is being trained to go from Megadeth to Megachurch.

STILL, I appreciate the way Ellefson has gone from mega-death to mega-life, through the mercies of Christ, and I pray all blessings on his call to the ministry, adding also a petition that after getting a taste of good theology online that he will take the normal route after all and come to appreciate the greater heaviness of liturgical worship.

HT:  Pr. Charles Hendrickson

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://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Hopefully he’ll remain under the accountability of supportive pastors who will be loving enough to correct him if he strays on things. There is a real temptation in the church at times to let a “celebrity pastor” run things his own way and simply be a “yes man” to him.

    That being said, I think I need to dig up some Megadeth. C’mon, Dr. Veith! Crank that guitar!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Hopefully he’ll remain under the accountability of supportive pastors who will be loving enough to correct him if he strays on things. There is a real temptation in the church at times to let a “celebrity pastor” run things his own way and simply be a “yes man” to him.

    That being said, I think I need to dig up some Megadeth. C’mon, Dr. Veith! Crank that guitar!

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    The most important thing right now is for Mr. Ellefson to get the love and support of confessional pastors. He’s a kind man with a great family. We can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    The most important thing right now is for Mr. Ellefson to get the love and support of confessional pastors. He’s a kind man with a great family. We can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  • Joe

    btw – it should be noted that most of the lyrics of Megadeath songs are taking aim at not supporting the culture of death. Their lyrics have always been a comment on politics and culture. The choice of the name Megadeath was not to glorify a nuclear holocaust but to point out the absurdity that we even measure destructive force by the millions of dead.

    In my younger days I was a big Megadeath fan (largely missing the point of the lyrics and just banging my head). One of my old favorites calls attention to the ridiculousness of the military industrial complex right:

    Great nations build on the bones of the dead
    with mud and straw blood and sweat
    you know your worth when you enemies
    Praise your architecture of aggression

    (I may be off on a few of the words, as this is from memory)

    As the actual issue at hand, I am not a fan of the SMP program and am a strong supporter of residential seminary training.

  • Joe

    btw – it should be noted that most of the lyrics of Megadeath songs are taking aim at not supporting the culture of death. Their lyrics have always been a comment on politics and culture. The choice of the name Megadeath was not to glorify a nuclear holocaust but to point out the absurdity that we even measure destructive force by the millions of dead.

    In my younger days I was a big Megadeath fan (largely missing the point of the lyrics and just banging my head). One of my old favorites calls attention to the ridiculousness of the military industrial complex right:

    Great nations build on the bones of the dead
    with mud and straw blood and sweat
    you know your worth when you enemies
    Praise your architecture of aggression

    (I may be off on a few of the words, as this is from memory)

    As the actual issue at hand, I am not a fan of the SMP program and am a strong supporter of residential seminary training.

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    As it was reported to me, he is not a former rock star but still tours with Megadeth while at the same time in the SMP program at the Sem and handling the praise band at the new ministry… If he has time for all of this, why does he need to bypass the ordinary sem route to go the for the “lite” program?

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    As it was reported to me, he is not a former rock star but still tours with Megadeth while at the same time in the SMP program at the Sem and handling the praise band at the new ministry… If he has time for all of this, why does he need to bypass the ordinary sem route to go the for the “lite” program?

  • SKPeterson

    It sounds like what we need to do is define the SMP persons, not as pastors, but as called and ordained deacons in the Church. If you are restricted to service in one congregation, but require some respectable level of theological education, then a diaconate ministry as opposed to a pastoral ministry might be the solution. If the LCMS decided to go that route, I might consider enrolling in the SMP in order to serve my congregation and others in my winkel.

  • SKPeterson

    It sounds like what we need to do is define the SMP persons, not as pastors, but as called and ordained deacons in the Church. If you are restricted to service in one congregation, but require some respectable level of theological education, then a diaconate ministry as opposed to a pastoral ministry might be the solution. If the LCMS decided to go that route, I might consider enrolling in the SMP in order to serve my congregation and others in my winkel.

  • http://www.markchambersmusic.com Mark Chambers

    It is interesting to note that several of the metal bands, who were hammered and vilified by the moral majority and others in the 80s and 90s, have now turned to Christ. Dave Mustaine, also of Megadeth, has reportedly become a Christian as well as Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden. Not sure of Mustaine’s affiliation but McBrain came to Christ through a PCA church and has played for their worship teams, too. There are others who I have heard of but can’t recall just yet.

    As a kid growing up in the 80s I idolized these guys. In my teenage mind, and to some extent still, I saw them a consumate musicians against an ever increasing shallow and mindless pop music scene.
    But because of marketing I saw these people as unattainable and existing on some other plane but now I see them as people who have needs are broken because of their sin, not unlike many of the people in our pews. Good to see these things taking place.

    Up the irons! =)

  • http://www.markchambersmusic.com Mark Chambers

    It is interesting to note that several of the metal bands, who were hammered and vilified by the moral majority and others in the 80s and 90s, have now turned to Christ. Dave Mustaine, also of Megadeth, has reportedly become a Christian as well as Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden. Not sure of Mustaine’s affiliation but McBrain came to Christ through a PCA church and has played for their worship teams, too. There are others who I have heard of but can’t recall just yet.

    As a kid growing up in the 80s I idolized these guys. In my teenage mind, and to some extent still, I saw them a consumate musicians against an ever increasing shallow and mindless pop music scene.
    But because of marketing I saw these people as unattainable and existing on some other plane but now I see them as people who have needs are broken because of their sin, not unlike many of the people in our pews. Good to see these things taking place.

    Up the irons! =)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I didn’t realize that one of the guys I listen to the radio was Lutheran until I saw the article run in the St Louis paper.

    In regards, to SMP, I think we need to stop shooting these well meaning men in the foot and give them a better education. It scares me that we are so willing to turn out half educated pastors and call it good.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I didn’t realize that one of the guys I listen to the radio was Lutheran until I saw the article run in the St Louis paper.

    In regards, to SMP, I think we need to stop shooting these well meaning men in the foot and give them a better education. It scares me that we are so willing to turn out half educated pastors and call it good.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Count me among those who do not view this as a blessing to our Church. I would not consider a surgeon who obtained his degree on-line for an operation; why then should I entrust my soul to an internet trained shepherd? The SMP program is lutheran-lite and the lacking part can be injurious to salvation.

    After reviewing the substance of Shepherd of the Desert, they qualify as LINO – Lutheran in Name Only. They lay claim to the sola’s but leave out the central and most important – sola Christi. Their communion policy would not give pause to a Mormon much less an anabaptist. Their educational links include Paul L Maier, Charles Swindoll, Beth Moore, John Ortberg, Phillip Yancey, Ray Vander Laan. Only Paul Maier is a Lutheran; the rest are evangelical, baptist or non-denominational.

    They do have a vicar currently. I suffered through twelve minutes of his “Transformational” sermon (total length, 19.28minutes – vicars should be trained first in Christ – then taught how to get to Him rapidly before the congregation goes awry.) At the twelve minute mark, I ceased listening when the vicar declared it was our responsibility to transform our lives to God. I’m not the Holy Spirit nor have I been given His vocation; I’m not God nor will I ever be – for that I give Him thanks and praise. And most importantly, it is not I that seeks God or can do good apart from Him. He sought me while I was a sinner and adopted me in baptism; He trains me in righteousness and leads me all the days of my life.

    If this is the theology wherein Mr. Ellefson is placed, nourished and expected to grow in Christ to serve His Church, we all need to repent and pray for forgiveness; we do not grow the Church. We preach Christ crucified for sinners and let the Holy Spirit lead sinners to repentance, transformation and sanctification in Christ.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Count me among those who do not view this as a blessing to our Church. I would not consider a surgeon who obtained his degree on-line for an operation; why then should I entrust my soul to an internet trained shepherd? The SMP program is lutheran-lite and the lacking part can be injurious to salvation.

    After reviewing the substance of Shepherd of the Desert, they qualify as LINO – Lutheran in Name Only. They lay claim to the sola’s but leave out the central and most important – sola Christi. Their communion policy would not give pause to a Mormon much less an anabaptist. Their educational links include Paul L Maier, Charles Swindoll, Beth Moore, John Ortberg, Phillip Yancey, Ray Vander Laan. Only Paul Maier is a Lutheran; the rest are evangelical, baptist or non-denominational.

    They do have a vicar currently. I suffered through twelve minutes of his “Transformational” sermon (total length, 19.28minutes – vicars should be trained first in Christ – then taught how to get to Him rapidly before the congregation goes awry.) At the twelve minute mark, I ceased listening when the vicar declared it was our responsibility to transform our lives to God. I’m not the Holy Spirit nor have I been given His vocation; I’m not God nor will I ever be – for that I give Him thanks and praise. And most importantly, it is not I that seeks God or can do good apart from Him. He sought me while I was a sinner and adopted me in baptism; He trains me in righteousness and leads me all the days of my life.

    If this is the theology wherein Mr. Ellefson is placed, nourished and expected to grow in Christ to serve His Church, we all need to repent and pray for forgiveness; we do not grow the Church. We preach Christ crucified for sinners and let the Holy Spirit lead sinners to repentance, transformation and sanctification in Christ.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • PStad

    Dennis @8 – AMEN! The SMP was only one of the reasons we finally gave up and left LCMS for WELS.

  • PStad

    Dennis @8 – AMEN! The SMP was only one of the reasons we finally gave up and left LCMS for WELS.

  • Trey

    I have no confidence in a pastor who essentially has had a brief study in Lutheran doctrine. Perhaps if he actually went he might learn that contemporary worship services are preaching the Christian and a theology of glory rather than the Christ and His cross. While I lament the cost of seminary, I would not rob myself by earning an online degree.

  • Trey

    I have no confidence in a pastor who essentially has had a brief study in Lutheran doctrine. Perhaps if he actually went he might learn that contemporary worship services are preaching the Christian and a theology of glory rather than the Christ and His cross. While I lament the cost of seminary, I would not rob myself by earning an online degree.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dennis @ 8,

    While I understand your concern, and agree that the work of the Spirit is primary in transformation, I would counter that we are not merely passive in the matter. Philippians 2:11-12 makes it clear that our mortification of sin and working out of salvation is a synergistic matter: we work it, because God works it through us.

    There is a danger in overemphasizing the work of the Spirit to the negation of human activity. We are not inanimate objects a la marionettes who exercise no volition; there is a degree of exercise that we are responsible for. No, we do not in our own power do it-the Holy Spirit works through us, and you are correct in that your vicar laying it all on the person in a Finneyesque works-righteousness manner is incorrect. But it needs to be kept in scriptural perspective that, while it is the work of the Spirit, it is not only the work of the Spirit in a disconnected manner a la possession.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Dennis @ 8,

    While I understand your concern, and agree that the work of the Spirit is primary in transformation, I would counter that we are not merely passive in the matter. Philippians 2:11-12 makes it clear that our mortification of sin and working out of salvation is a synergistic matter: we work it, because God works it through us.

    There is a danger in overemphasizing the work of the Spirit to the negation of human activity. We are not inanimate objects a la marionettes who exercise no volition; there is a degree of exercise that we are responsible for. No, we do not in our own power do it-the Holy Spirit works through us, and you are correct in that your vicar laying it all on the person in a Finneyesque works-righteousness manner is incorrect. But it needs to be kept in scriptural perspective that, while it is the work of the Spirit, it is not only the work of the Spirit in a disconnected manner a la possession.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Not to be taken up the worng way, but after some interactions with seminarians of diffenrent denominations, I would say that going to seminary is no guarentee of anything either. My brother-in-law is a Dutch Reformed minister (which means earning two, separate degrees, btw), but earned a MSc first, as well as a post-grad Teachers Diploma. He is a bit of a pietist, but his comments on seminarians and their academic acuity, plus their lack of piety is something to hear… :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Not to be taken up the worng way, but after some interactions with seminarians of diffenrent denominations, I would say that going to seminary is no guarentee of anything either. My brother-in-law is a Dutch Reformed minister (which means earning two, separate degrees, btw), but earned a MSc first, as well as a post-grad Teachers Diploma. He is a bit of a pietist, but his comments on seminarians and their academic acuity, plus their lack of piety is something to hear… :)

  • #4 Kitty

    The SMP haters have found their poster child!

  • #4 Kitty

    The SMP haters have found their poster child!

  • Dennis Peskey

    To J. Dean (#11) While I appreciate your viewpoint from a Lutheran perspective, clarification is in order. You have quoted Phil 2:12, a verse central to N. T. Wright’s understanding of Pauline doctrine. Taken to his (Wright’s) conclusion, this results in a theology of a dual process of justification. Wright teaches Christ truly suffered and dies on the cross for our sins (to wit, I reply amen) but then goes on to assert we must then work out our justification through obedience to the Abrahamic covenant. This focus of the new perspective on Paul is a by-product of historical criticism.

    What this new perspective has done is drive a wedge between the doctrine Jesus taught and Pauline doctrine. The claim is the Law, given at Mt. Sinai, applied to the nation of Israel alone and it was the failure of the Jewish people to obey the commands of the Lord which necessitated the incarnation and crucifixion. In Wright’s case, he proclaims only the Abrahamic covenant to the exclusion of all other covenants mentioned by St Paul. Justification is viewed in a horizontal light where St Paul seeks to transform our lives to be included in the Abrahamic covenant. The Lutheran view of justification is solely God’s work, extra nos, coming in a vertical perspective and producing an alien righteousness for us.

    Christ descends from His heavenly throne to become incarnate, live a life according to all aspects of God’s Holy Law thereby fulfilling the requirements of His Law, then takes all our sin to His cross as a substitutionary atonement. His final word on the cross is the declaration “It is finished” (tetelestai); the demands of the Law have been met completely in Christ and justification is complete.

    Now, to our transformation in Christ and the good works we do. To this, I go directly to the parable of the Sheep and the Goats which is near and dear to the new perspective. See, they claim, we are judged by what we do on the last day. What they are less inclined to proclaim is these works merit forgiveness or mercy from God. Yet there is no way they can escape this conclusion. If, by ourselves, we can preform any good work, then the cross is truly folly – and unnecessary.

    Herein lies the doctrinal distinction which separates the new perspective from the historic christian understanding. Christ’s parable clearly indicates the neither the sheep nor the goats have any awareness of the works they preformed. We can not arise early in the morning with the conviction we’ll preform a good work to the Lord today. This rejects the proclamation Jesus made to the rich young man – “Why do you call me good; only God is good.”

    Paul’s exhortation to work our our salvation with fear and trembling should direct us to remain focused at all times on Christ and His cross, not mine the New Testament for WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). The WWJD is Law and can not save anyone. This is a prescriptive view of the Law – obedience to the Law’s demands. Didn’t work too well for the rich, young man – it will not work for me either. The christian perspective should be a descriptive view of the Law for the Law of the Spirit will conform to the will of God alone. The good works we do are solely the work of Christ in us and no merit should be sought by us for this.

    So it is with transformation of the christian life. The best work we can do is not hinder the Holy Spirit as He struggles against our old Adam. If in any part of our transformation, a part could be credited to our efforts, then with sufficient effort we could claim the whole merit. Then, we’ve just managed to deny the entirety of Christ’s vicarious atonement and we might as well become Mormon. If I go to heaven, it’s solely by God’s grace; if I go to hell, it’s solely by my choice. Grace alone; Faith alone; Christ alone. The vicar did not preach this – but a lousy Law which would only condemn.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To J. Dean (#11) While I appreciate your viewpoint from a Lutheran perspective, clarification is in order. You have quoted Phil 2:12, a verse central to N. T. Wright’s understanding of Pauline doctrine. Taken to his (Wright’s) conclusion, this results in a theology of a dual process of justification. Wright teaches Christ truly suffered and dies on the cross for our sins (to wit, I reply amen) but then goes on to assert we must then work out our justification through obedience to the Abrahamic covenant. This focus of the new perspective on Paul is a by-product of historical criticism.

    What this new perspective has done is drive a wedge between the doctrine Jesus taught and Pauline doctrine. The claim is the Law, given at Mt. Sinai, applied to the nation of Israel alone and it was the failure of the Jewish people to obey the commands of the Lord which necessitated the incarnation and crucifixion. In Wright’s case, he proclaims only the Abrahamic covenant to the exclusion of all other covenants mentioned by St Paul. Justification is viewed in a horizontal light where St Paul seeks to transform our lives to be included in the Abrahamic covenant. The Lutheran view of justification is solely God’s work, extra nos, coming in a vertical perspective and producing an alien righteousness for us.

    Christ descends from His heavenly throne to become incarnate, live a life according to all aspects of God’s Holy Law thereby fulfilling the requirements of His Law, then takes all our sin to His cross as a substitutionary atonement. His final word on the cross is the declaration “It is finished” (tetelestai); the demands of the Law have been met completely in Christ and justification is complete.

    Now, to our transformation in Christ and the good works we do. To this, I go directly to the parable of the Sheep and the Goats which is near and dear to the new perspective. See, they claim, we are judged by what we do on the last day. What they are less inclined to proclaim is these works merit forgiveness or mercy from God. Yet there is no way they can escape this conclusion. If, by ourselves, we can preform any good work, then the cross is truly folly – and unnecessary.

    Herein lies the doctrinal distinction which separates the new perspective from the historic christian understanding. Christ’s parable clearly indicates the neither the sheep nor the goats have any awareness of the works they preformed. We can not arise early in the morning with the conviction we’ll preform a good work to the Lord today. This rejects the proclamation Jesus made to the rich young man – “Why do you call me good; only God is good.”

    Paul’s exhortation to work our our salvation with fear and trembling should direct us to remain focused at all times on Christ and His cross, not mine the New Testament for WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). The WWJD is Law and can not save anyone. This is a prescriptive view of the Law – obedience to the Law’s demands. Didn’t work too well for the rich, young man – it will not work for me either. The christian perspective should be a descriptive view of the Law for the Law of the Spirit will conform to the will of God alone. The good works we do are solely the work of Christ in us and no merit should be sought by us for this.

    So it is with transformation of the christian life. The best work we can do is not hinder the Holy Spirit as He struggles against our old Adam. If in any part of our transformation, a part could be credited to our efforts, then with sufficient effort we could claim the whole merit. Then, we’ve just managed to deny the entirety of Christ’s vicarious atonement and we might as well become Mormon. If I go to heaven, it’s solely by God’s grace; if I go to hell, it’s solely by my choice. Grace alone; Faith alone; Christ alone. The vicar did not preach this – but a lousy Law which would only condemn.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Klasie (#12) You did write, “He is a bit of a pietist.” For the Dutch Reformed, this would qualify as heretical. On a more humorous note, when my current Pastor served in the Grand Rapids area (the motherlode of Dutch Reformed), he used to cut his lawn on Sunday holding a beer in one hand with a cigar in the other. This is the proper response to pietism.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Klasie (#12) You did write, “He is a bit of a pietist.” For the Dutch Reformed, this would qualify as heretical. On a more humorous note, when my current Pastor served in the Grand Rapids area (the motherlode of Dutch Reformed), he used to cut his lawn on Sunday holding a beer in one hand with a cigar in the other. This is the proper response to pietism.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • –helen

    Trey January 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    I have no confidence in a pastor who essentially has had a brief study in Lutheran doctrine. Perhaps if he actually went he might learn that contemporary worship services are preaching the Christian and a theology of glory rather than the Christ and His cross. While I lament the cost of seminary, I would not rob myself by earning an online degree.

    Perhaps he might, if he did a residential stint at Ft Wayne.
    By all accounts, men come to seminary never having been exposed to a liturgical Lutheran service…. and St Louis is catering to their whims.
    The “Deacon” suggestion is a good one; just don’t “license” a lay deacon (which is what they are, or should be) to institute the Sacrament, as if he were a Pastor. Districts do this, with men who know less than an SMP.

  • –helen

    Trey January 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm
    I have no confidence in a pastor who essentially has had a brief study in Lutheran doctrine. Perhaps if he actually went he might learn that contemporary worship services are preaching the Christian and a theology of glory rather than the Christ and His cross. While I lament the cost of seminary, I would not rob myself by earning an online degree.

    Perhaps he might, if he did a residential stint at Ft Wayne.
    By all accounts, men come to seminary never having been exposed to a liturgical Lutheran service…. and St Louis is catering to their whims.
    The “Deacon” suggestion is a good one; just don’t “license” a lay deacon (which is what they are, or should be) to institute the Sacrament, as if he were a Pastor. Districts do this, with men who know less than an SMP.

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @ 15 – Then why are we getting all pietistic with Dave Ellefson? Read Martin Noland’s comments here: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=10358 I know Pr. Noland means well and has some legitimate concerns, but he brushes up pretty close to a pietistic response to Ellefson’s candidacy.

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis @ 15 – Then why are we getting all pietistic with Dave Ellefson? Read Martin Noland’s comments here: http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=10358 I know Pr. Noland means well and has some legitimate concerns, but he brushes up pretty close to a pietistic response to Ellefson’s candidacy.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To SKP (#17) – Mr. No land specifically requested the comments on the BJS thread focus on the SMP program and it’s administration. While Dr. Veith did not explicitly place such rejoiner on this posting, I desire to refrain from questioning the individual preferring to focus on the avenue provided him to the ministry office.

    I did not find any sermons to review from Ellefson on the Shephard of the Desert church website so I opted for the closest alternative – the vicar currently serving this congregation. Being a vicar, this man would have successfully completed two years of seminary which is more training than a SMP candidate receives in total. I do not know where this vicar was instructed in homiletics but Christ was noticeably absent from the sermon I reviewed. For that matter, so was a proper distinction of Law and Gospel. The sermon centered on me, the individual, and what I can do to transform my life as a Christian. This is not Lutheran preaching. Were I a member of this congregation, my comments would be addressed to the senior pastor for this is where responsibility for the souls of the congregation rest.

    Into this environment, a newly formed Christian, eager for the Gospel enters. The senior Pastor not only encourages his entry into the SMP course but steers him into a contemporary worship to exploit his musical talents. This I simply can not condone. St. Paul cautions about giving members new to the faith time to season before enlisting them in the work of the church. (I am aware Mr. Ellefson had a “Lutheran” upbringing, but we do not confess once saved – always saved.)

    The problem here resides with the senior Pastor and the District President. The bible courses this church uses is not Lutheran; the resource material offered to members of the congregation is overwhelming non-Lutheran; their communion statement is most definitely non-Lutheran; their statement on Baptism was no more than Matthew 28:19 (at least this would produce a Trinitarian Baptism – but this can be found with Baptists, Methodists or Pentacostals). If you preach like a Baptist, treat the Sacraments as an anabaptist, worship like a Baptist and educate your flock with Baptist theology – at least have the decency not to deceive members by calling yourself “Lutheran”. If you’re not comfortable with Lutheran theology – fine ; go in peace. There’s plenty of Baptist rooms in our Father’s house- they’re just all occupied by real Lutherans!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To SKP (#17) – Mr. No land specifically requested the comments on the BJS thread focus on the SMP program and it’s administration. While Dr. Veith did not explicitly place such rejoiner on this posting, I desire to refrain from questioning the individual preferring to focus on the avenue provided him to the ministry office.

    I did not find any sermons to review from Ellefson on the Shephard of the Desert church website so I opted for the closest alternative – the vicar currently serving this congregation. Being a vicar, this man would have successfully completed two years of seminary which is more training than a SMP candidate receives in total. I do not know where this vicar was instructed in homiletics but Christ was noticeably absent from the sermon I reviewed. For that matter, so was a proper distinction of Law and Gospel. The sermon centered on me, the individual, and what I can do to transform my life as a Christian. This is not Lutheran preaching. Were I a member of this congregation, my comments would be addressed to the senior pastor for this is where responsibility for the souls of the congregation rest.

    Into this environment, a newly formed Christian, eager for the Gospel enters. The senior Pastor not only encourages his entry into the SMP course but steers him into a contemporary worship to exploit his musical talents. This I simply can not condone. St. Paul cautions about giving members new to the faith time to season before enlisting them in the work of the church. (I am aware Mr. Ellefson had a “Lutheran” upbringing, but we do not confess once saved – always saved.)

    The problem here resides with the senior Pastor and the District President. The bible courses this church uses is not Lutheran; the resource material offered to members of the congregation is overwhelming non-Lutheran; their communion statement is most definitely non-Lutheran; their statement on Baptism was no more than Matthew 28:19 (at least this would produce a Trinitarian Baptism – but this can be found with Baptists, Methodists or Pentacostals). If you preach like a Baptist, treat the Sacraments as an anabaptist, worship like a Baptist and educate your flock with Baptist theology – at least have the decency not to deceive members by calling yourself “Lutheran”. If you’re not comfortable with Lutheran theology – fine ; go in peace. There’s plenty of Baptist rooms in our Father’s house- they’re just all occupied by real Lutherans!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Texas Vicar

    Just wanted to point out to Dennis and others that the Vicar at Shepherd of the Desert is not a residential student vicar from STL or CTSFW at least according to vicarage placement announcements. This probably means that he is another SMP student in the first two years of his training prior to his ordination, and has probably finished his first online hom class. Just FYI.

  • Texas Vicar

    Just wanted to point out to Dennis and others that the Vicar at Shepherd of the Desert is not a residential student vicar from STL or CTSFW at least according to vicarage placement announcements. This probably means that he is another SMP student in the first two years of his training prior to his ordination, and has probably finished his first online hom class. Just FYI.

  • Pingback: From Megadeth to MEGA Life – The Gospel Coalition Blog

  • Pingback: From Megadeth to MEGA Life – The Gospel Coalition Blog

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis – I know what Pastor Noland said in his BJS article. I also read how he framed the “proposed” review of the SMP for the LCMS Gathering. He took the steps of damning Ellefson with faint praise in one and a blistering little aside in the motion, and then effectively says he doesn’t want the focus to be on Ellefson but the SMP. Either Ellefson is emblematic of the problems with the SMP or he’s irrelevant to the success of propriety of the program. If Noland is going to bring up the topic and take a swipe at Ellefson, he doesn’t get to call a halt to the discussion on his terms. That’s just wrong and not exactly in comportment with the best reading of the 8th Commandment. I have some problems with the SMP – I don’t have to trash Dave Ellefson to articulate them.

  • SKPeterson

    Dennis – I know what Pastor Noland said in his BJS article. I also read how he framed the “proposed” review of the SMP for the LCMS Gathering. He took the steps of damning Ellefson with faint praise in one and a blistering little aside in the motion, and then effectively says he doesn’t want the focus to be on Ellefson but the SMP. Either Ellefson is emblematic of the problems with the SMP or he’s irrelevant to the success of propriety of the program. If Noland is going to bring up the topic and take a swipe at Ellefson, he doesn’t get to call a halt to the discussion on his terms. That’s just wrong and not exactly in comportment with the best reading of the 8th Commandment. I have some problems with the SMP – I don’t have to trash Dave Ellefson to articulate them.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    SKPeterson is completely right. All Noland did in that article is demonstrate his inability to speak charitably and reveal his complete lack of understanding of Megadeth’s music.

    I didn’t know much about the music either until I started reading the lyrics, and if anything, they demonstrate that the band has an excellent understanding of original sin.

    As a friend of mine summarized his post, “I read an article about you on Wikipedia, and now I know you’re not qualified for the pastoral office.”

    Here’s some brilliant and insightful poetry from the song “Symphony of Destruction.”

    You take a mortal man
    And put him in control
    Watch him become a god
    Watch peoples heads a ‘roll
    A ‘roll, a ‘roll

    Just like the pied piper
    Led rats through the streets
    We dance like Marionettes
    Swaying to the symphony of destruction

    Acting like a robot
    It’s metal brain corrodes
    You try to take its pulse
    Before the head explodes
    Explodes, explodes

    Just like the pied piper
    Led rats through the streets
    We dance like Marionettes
    Swaying to the symphony…

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Rev. Charles Lehmann

    SKPeterson is completely right. All Noland did in that article is demonstrate his inability to speak charitably and reveal his complete lack of understanding of Megadeth’s music.

    I didn’t know much about the music either until I started reading the lyrics, and if anything, they demonstrate that the band has an excellent understanding of original sin.

    As a friend of mine summarized his post, “I read an article about you on Wikipedia, and now I know you’re not qualified for the pastoral office.”

    Here’s some brilliant and insightful poetry from the song “Symphony of Destruction.”

    You take a mortal man
    And put him in control
    Watch him become a god
    Watch peoples heads a ‘roll
    A ‘roll, a ‘roll

    Just like the pied piper
    Led rats through the streets
    We dance like Marionettes
    Swaying to the symphony of destruction

    Acting like a robot
    It’s metal brain corrodes
    You try to take its pulse
    Before the head explodes
    Explodes, explodes

    Just like the pied piper
    Led rats through the streets
    We dance like Marionettes
    Swaying to the symphony…

  • SKPeterson

    I will note that the BJS post has been revised apparently due to the restrained admonishment from Pr. Hans Fiene (of Lutheran Satire fame, or infamy). Now the proposal is more fitting for an adult conversation on the merits or demerits of the SMP.

  • SKPeterson

    I will note that the BJS post has been revised apparently due to the restrained admonishment from Pr. Hans Fiene (of Lutheran Satire fame, or infamy). Now the proposal is more fitting for an adult conversation on the merits or demerits of the SMP.

  • kerner

    Not to be too curmudgeonly here, but didn’t we confessional Lutherans get the Synodical President that we wanted at the last convention? If we think the SMP program needs improvement, aren’t we in a position to do something about that? Pappy Odaniel (from o Brother Where Art Thou), rants, “How we gonna run reform when we’re the damn Incumbent?”* Don”t we have most of the responsibility for what happens in LCMS nowadays?

    That said, I agree with those before me who want to focus on the program, rather than Mr. Ellefson, whose intentions are probably good.

    And I think that the problems with the program are not that it can be taken on line so much as that its content may be weak and that propor guidance from a confessionally minded faculty may be lacking. And also that it may be creating an office that functions as a pastor but that is really something less.

    So, how do concerned confessional Lutherans approach what is supposed to be a friendly administration to rectify problems like these?

    * A clip from the film, for those who like movies (but: profanity alert)

  • kerner

    Not to be too curmudgeonly here, but didn’t we confessional Lutherans get the Synodical President that we wanted at the last convention? If we think the SMP program needs improvement, aren’t we in a position to do something about that? Pappy Odaniel (from o Brother Where Art Thou), rants, “How we gonna run reform when we’re the damn Incumbent?”* Don”t we have most of the responsibility for what happens in LCMS nowadays?

    That said, I agree with those before me who want to focus on the program, rather than Mr. Ellefson, whose intentions are probably good.

    And I think that the problems with the program are not that it can be taken on line so much as that its content may be weak and that propor guidance from a confessionally minded faculty may be lacking. And also that it may be creating an office that functions as a pastor but that is really something less.

    So, how do concerned confessional Lutherans approach what is supposed to be a friendly administration to rectify problems like these?

    * A clip from the film, for those who like movies (but: profanity alert)

  • Sarah Roehlk

    As someone who grew up in LCMS Churches I hope is contemporary music brings in the masses. I am no longer Lutheran and that is because the church has not moved with the times. If LCMS does not embrace the MEGA Life’s in this world it is on the edge of extinction and can not sustain. I hope that doesn’t happen. Best wishes and my prayers their ministry!

  • Sarah Roehlk

    As someone who grew up in LCMS Churches I hope is contemporary music brings in the masses. I am no longer Lutheran and that is because the church has not moved with the times. If LCMS does not embrace the MEGA Life’s in this world it is on the edge of extinction and can not sustain. I hope that doesn’t happen. Best wishes and my prayers their ministry!

  • kerner

    Awwww, Sarah. You left us ’cause we aren’t hip enough? ;) But seriously, what could we have done to have convinced you to stay?

  • kerner

    Awwww, Sarah. You left us ’cause we aren’t hip enough? ;) But seriously, what could we have done to have convinced you to stay?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sarah (@24), are you saying that you changed your confession because you felt your aesthetic concerns weren’t being met? If so, doesn’t that mean that presentation trumps content for you? If so, it’s not exactly surprising that you didn’t feel at home in the Lutheran church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sarah (@24), are you saying that you changed your confession because you felt your aesthetic concerns weren’t being met? If so, doesn’t that mean that presentation trumps content for you? If so, it’s not exactly surprising that you didn’t feel at home in the Lutheran church.

  • SKPeterson

    So, Sarah – You want the Church Temporal and “Con”Temporary rather than the Church Eternal, eh?

  • SKPeterson

    So, Sarah – You want the Church Temporal and “Con”Temporary rather than the Church Eternal, eh?

  • kerner

    Hasn’t anybody got an answer to my last question @23? Conessional Lutherans are now in a position to do something besides compalin from afar if some synodical program has problems, anen’t we? So, has anybody got any suggestions as to how to solve whatever problems exist with the SMP program?

  • kerner

    Hasn’t anybody got an answer to my last question @23? Conessional Lutherans are now in a position to do something besides compalin from afar if some synodical program has problems, anen’t we? So, has anybody got any suggestions as to how to solve whatever problems exist with the SMP program?

  • kerner

    PSatd @9:

    Oh crap! Just drop the WELS “more conservative than thou” pose, ok?

    At least LCMS didn’t re-write the Nicene Creed to satisfy gender-neutral 21st Century America.

    http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe/statements-beliefs/nicene-creed

  • kerner

    PSatd @9:

    Oh crap! Just drop the WELS “more conservative than thou” pose, ok?

    At least LCMS didn’t re-write the Nicene Creed to satisfy gender-neutral 21st Century America.

    http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe/statements-beliefs/nicene-creed

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@29), one might note that your response to PStad (@9) was quite the non-sequitur. “More conservative than thou”? That’s quite the reading-into you’re doing there, for a comment so short I can quote it in full here:

    Dennis @8 – AMEN! The SMP was only one of the reasons we finally gave up and left LCMS for WELS.

    But rather than address the issue raised by PStad (the SMP — which one might also note is the topic for discussion here), you raise a completely unrelated one. Why?

    And, honestly, are you pitting the issues raised about the SMP’s place vis-a-vis the office of the ministry against the “gender-neutral” problems you perceive in the WELS’ wording of the Nicene Creed? Really? Because those don’t even seem to come close to the same level, to me.

    In short, you seem a bit touchy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@29), one might note that your response to PStad (@9) was quite the non-sequitur. “More conservative than thou”? That’s quite the reading-into you’re doing there, for a comment so short I can quote it in full here:

    Dennis @8 – AMEN! The SMP was only one of the reasons we finally gave up and left LCMS for WELS.

    But rather than address the issue raised by PStad (the SMP — which one might also note is the topic for discussion here), you raise a completely unrelated one. Why?

    And, honestly, are you pitting the issues raised about the SMP’s place vis-a-vis the office of the ministry against the “gender-neutral” problems you perceive in the WELS’ wording of the Nicene Creed? Really? Because those don’t even seem to come close to the same level, to me.

    In short, you seem a bit touchy.

  • kerner

    PStad:

    I apologize for my tone. I snapped at you and you didn’t deserve it. tODD is right. I was (actually more than) a bit touchy.

  • kerner

    PStad:

    I apologize for my tone. I snapped at you and you didn’t deserve it. tODD is right. I was (actually more than) a bit touchy.