Friday, January 25, 2008

The Joys of E-mail...

The following is an e-mail correspondence I had with a fellow pastor in the Missouri Synod. It is regards to my concerns about a video he had posted on YouTube of a woman preaching. To be fair, she was not preaching from a pulpit or to a congregation. However, this pastor teaches a homiletics class at his church and this was her final exam. At best, this kind of thing is confusing and borders on false-teaching and a vast misunderstanding of AC XIV, at worst, this is a denial of what Scripture teaches regarding the role of women, our Confessional Documents and the doctrine our church body holds to.

I admit that I was a bit over-zealous and have called him to apologize for being so harsh. I have left two messages with my brother in the hopes that we can work this out.

As you will see in his response, he was not interested in explaining himself or his actions. He was condescending, trite, and arrogant in his response to me. I am a new pastor and I do strive for integrity to the Holy Scriptures and the Confession of Christ's Church. I encourage all Lutherans to strive for the same integrity, however, learn from my example. Don't be jerky in defense of your beliefs.

Also, do not assume new, young pastors are somehow fundamentally lacking because they have not been infected with "life-experience" (i.e., blatant liberalism and a compromising attitude toward all doctrine). If someone asks you a question, even if it is a bit (or a lot) snarky, you can't automatically play the "Pharisee" card. We are supposed to be in communion with one another. I still am waiting for a defense of his practice.

I saw a video on YouTube of a woman preaching and it claims she is studying homiletics under your supervision. Is this the actual case? If it is, as a brother pastor in the Missouri Synod, I am very disappointed and disturbed by this disdain for Scripture, the Confessions and our own church's
teaching on the role of women in the Church. I can certainly understand if you
do not agree with the teachings of Holy Scripture, the Confessions, or our
church body, but if you do not agree, why would you so blatantly scandalize and your brothers and sisters? Why not leave? Do you want there to be a rift? Are you trying to cause problems, to offend your weaker brother?
Please clarify this for me, as your dear brother. I will await your reply
while putting the best construction on what I hope is an innocent mistake.


I read your email and couldn't help but think of how Jesus continually attacked the Pharisees. The Pharisees were white washed tombs. The outside of their cups were clean but the insides were dirty. Jim, you are a modern day Pharisee.

In your email you call me brother. I can assure you that you are not a brother in any sense of the term. You are self righteous, proud and arrogant. I checked and I see that you are a recent sem graduate. Now your email makes sense.

You are young and in need of a mentor. I suggest you find a pastor who has life experience to take you under their wing. You and any ministry you are involved in need that help.

I will not read any further correspondences from you. I will delete them immediately. If you want to give me a call and apologize I will be happy to discuss any and all issues you would like.


Anonymous said...

His attack of the challenger rather than answering the charge is telling.


Father Hollywood said...

A reading from First Timothy, the fourth chapter:

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron...

6 If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed...

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

The Word of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

You are to be commended for your pastoral letter of concern. His response is arrogant. He does not even attempt to answer your questions. According to the Synod's understanding of Matthew 18, you did the correct thing. It is unfortunate that he did not.

God Bless you and your parish as you faithful preach the Word and administer the Holy Sacraments.

Rev. Matthew J. Uttenreiter, SSP

William Weedon said...


God bless your faithfulness.

Anonymous said...

Pr Roemke,

As both of you are pastors in a church body that professes to follow the Lutheran Confessions and the Scriptures, you both willingly choose to teach and do certain things. That’s why you both are brothers—not only as Christians but as pastors who voluntarily decide to do and not to do certain things because you are LC-MS pastors.

As Scripture teaches that women my not have spiritual authority over men, women are not to be pastors. That’s unpopular but all LC-MS pastors agree to such a position. It then seems incredulous that one who holds such a position would teach a woman to preach when the church he is a member of agrees not to do this. Why? It makes not sense but will simply offend.

I must ask who is following the tradition of men and who is following Scripture and the voluntarily agreed understanding of it, the Lutheran Confessions?

You are correct, you initial query was brusque--but not out of line. But a response that actually answers your concern would be nice instead of one attacking your character.

Lord have mercy!

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

Thank you for your faithfulness and concern for the brother pastor. God's blessings in Christ.

Lutheran Lucciola said...

This pastor who answered you was attacking your character, and that stinks. I also don't like how he assumed you were too young to understand things.

jWinters said...

Jim and I graduated from the Seminary on the same day. So I may be just as...oh...what was the phrase? "young and in need of a mentor" (I have one, thanks).

I, too, looked up homeboy's seminary credentials. He graduated in 2005. A whole 2 years before Jim and I did. Wow. I can't imagine how much more "life experience" he's had...I can only hope to have so much when I'm two years out of the seminary.

Jim was a little harsh. He recognizes that. Still, the "harsh" points that he brings up are germane to the discussion.

I'm wondering who this guy considers to be his mentor... I have a mentor. I don't always agree with him. The same goes with me. He doesn't always agree with my hair brained ideas. I don't think that I would point to my mentor when someone pressed me on a decision. The end result is that I believe in what I do. That's on me, not my mentor.

And if I'm wrong or if I'm right, I'm not going to cut off communication with someone. I had a commenter to my blog question some of what I did anonymously. I encouraged him/her to keep on going and explain things a little more so that I could learn more. (No such luck...but I did berate them pretty hard.)

But I did listen to what dear old Marla had to say. "Take up your cross." She said that taking up your cross was an adventure, like training for a triathlon. She said, "we're putting ourselves at risk for a lot of headaches and a lot of heartaches."

It doesn't seem like this guy is ready for that. He took a risk putting this on YouTube, but he's not ready for the consequences of that risk. He's not ready to "step out of his comfort zone."

And...yeah...the content of this sermon is pretty law heavy with no Gospel. But it does appear that it was cut off....hah...maybe by an irate congregation member.

The short version: If I'm a pastor like this in two years - crucify me. Make me take up my cross and defend my actions. Then show me Jesus' cross and tell me I'm forgiven.

in Christ,

Anonymous said...

Hi Pr. Roemke,

The fact remains that the pastor you corresponded with is not anonymous. His identity is easily discernible. The response that the particular pastor supposedly gave you is juvenile, un-Christian, and plain embarrassing (regardless of how harsh one may claim your e-mail to be). Nonetheless, all conflict should be resolved in a God-pleasing manner. Perhaps it would be best to delete this particular posting including the pastor's response and have one or two witnesses serve as mediators in case it cannot be resolved one on one. As it is, the response is damaging to the pastor's reputation.

On a side note, I am curious as to why the pastor boasts on his church's website about how his sermons are 15 minutes and not longer (like that fact is up there with the importance of our confessions). I really feel embarrassed for him.

Your brother in Christ,
a 2005 Concordia Seminary graduate

josh said...


I too have learned that not everyone in our beloved synod is playing by the same rules. I want to add my support to you though. It is not easy to stand up for what it right. We all know this to be true. Your faithfulness is very encouraging to your brothers.