Speaking of kiddie sermons (see “Twenty Reasons to Ditch Your Children’s Sermon” in this issue), whilest performing a fatherly duty away from home last year in Watertown, Wisconsin, I happened to sit in the pew of a Trinity Lutheran Church on, of all days, Trinity Sunday. The hole filled by the bizarre absence that day of the Athanasian Creed, or for that matter, any creed, (as well as the Sacrament) was filled by the children’s sermon. An apple was produced by the unordained minister who used it as a prop for his illustration of the Holy Trinity, Who, as the apple, was divided into three parts! After the service I directed the unordained minister to the unconfessed Creed where we would have confessed, had we, that “We worship one God…without dividing the divine being” (CW. Wesen/substantiam) and asked how that comported with his sermonette. He said he’d think about it. Oh? Catholic creeds, please, not Tritheistic applesauce.
Read this answer to a recent question asked of the Wisconsin Synod’s web sites Q/A, in which the questioner questioned the stance of his synod on a certain birth control pill, and asked what was his synod’s position. The answer began, “The WELS ‘position’ is that it supports all things consistent with God’s Word and opposes all things contrary to it.” Whew! Good enough for me! (I believe what the coal miner believes.)
Careful readers of this rag will note that the synodical affiliation of one of our editors has changed. The Reverend Peter Berg has recently colloquized into the LC-MS. This obviously will change the perspective of this rag, and it may (as it has) confuse some as I share his surname. But as we said, we speak for ourselves. So to keep it straight, do as my namesake, friend and relative in the LC-MS and I do when we correspond. LC-MS’ Reverend John “M.” Berg addresses the WELS’ Reverend John “W.” Berg with the presidential Dubbya, and I him, the Bond-like “M” (Get it? But don’t carry the analogy any further.) Anyway, it’s Peter “M.” and John “W.” Get it? §
The Reverend John W. Berg is pastor of Hope Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Fremont, California. This update was written in April 2004 when Father “W” was still rostered Wisconsin Synod, which he and his parish no longer are. As John “W” is currently independent it has been suggested he change his middle name (please, no suggestions, the “good” ones have already been made. Jerks.)
Lori Lewis writes,
My Pastor is Rev. Robert Lawson Jr. and he suggested that I get in touch with you. My husband and I just received our first copy of your publication yesterday and have enjoyed it immensely!
As Pastor Lawson probably told you, I have a background as a CCM insider. Though I grew up LCMS, I spent close to 15 years in Christian Radio, during which time I also worked for Christian Record Companies and Christian Artists directly. This led me into all kinds of aberrant theology (of which I am not proud.) I met my husband when I was 33 so I spent a majority of the time in CCM as a single woman and made many emotional choices when it came to choosing church homes. When I finally met Cliff, I had burned out on the CCM world and moved from SO CA back to Albuquerque where my family had settled. My husband had burned out on the secular music industry (he was in a heavy metal band on MCA records in the late 80's early 90's called "Femme Fatale") he too returned to his family in Albuquerque. He became a Christian at Calvary Chapel Albuquerque and they quickly drafted him into the worship band at this 10,000 member church. (They love claiming ex-celebrities.) I soon discovered that it was not just the CCM industry that I had burned out on, but the Law Oriented, Self Centered, Suck the life out of you theology I was encrusted in! Of course there is a lot more to the story. I'm continually trying to express clearly how destructive the CCM world is. I've attached a few articles we have written to give you a little more picture. The best one is the one my husband wrote for "Consensus" called "Restore Unto Me."
Just for your entertainment, my husband the ex-metal head is now a PH D Physicist. You can see his former band on several fan web sites that are still out there. It took me many years to separate myself from the CCM world, but now I am a professional Opera Singer. After having lived for Pop Culture, we upgraded!
8MM Wow. I have to say I probably enjoyed your story more than you our journal. It must be frustrating for you, a former insider, to see what is happening in Lutheranism today. Voices like yours need to be heard, especially as so many in our midst are buying into this theology hook, line and sinker. I say “theology” and you know from personal experience far better what I am speaking about, but it seems those who should know don't. Thankfully, your pastor does.
Opera, huh? Well, to each her own. Rock on. (JWB)