Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Jesus First is at it again, using tactics that never would have been approved of just 20 years ago. This is an e-mail sent by Rev. Eric Stefanski on the Cat41 e-mail lists.

The past five years have seen an unprecedented secularization of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. Whereas throughout the rest of her history it was thought that "the office should seek the man, not the man the office," and that it was unseemly to seek to influence the nominations process, much less to criticize an incumbent for anything except false doctrine, immorality, or gross--provable--malfeasance.

All of this changed with the vicious attacks made against the Rev. Al Barry by the blasphemously-named political influence group 'Jesus First'. This group could find no actual false doctrine in Barry or his
administration, so they simply asserted evil intent in every action he or anyone else took during his time in office. When the 1998 synodical convention voted to give the synodical president the sort of supervision
of district presidents that district presidents have over pastors, the so-called 'Jesus First' bunch took this as Barry's seeking to 'consolidate power in the office of the president'. (Funny, then, that the current president sought to retain power in the David Benke case, refusing to recuse himself from sitting in judgment of a case wherein he had both given prior approval to and made a subsequent defense of Benke's words and actions...but this is now declared meet, right, and salutary by the misnamed 'Jesus First'.)

An overture was offered to the 2001 LCMS convention specifically condemning the idea that anyone should be organizing lists of people *to nominate*, skewing the process of staffing the synodical bureaucracy. Apparently, that overture never became a resolution, as now this group of political thugs who has misappropriated and tarnished our Lord's name by their brutal attacks on Dr. Barry and others, as well as their consistent twisting of the truth to present their unscriptural and anti-confessional notions has decided to tell you *exactly* whom you are to nominate if you wish to be "Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven, Future Oriented." (Forget the fact that they think tacking "in the precious name of Jesus" onto the end of a prayer and comments that made Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and anyone else think that their 'gods' and their proclamation was valid and 'strengthening' is somehow "a bold witness to the Gospel.")

Further, they desire a corruption of the whole system from its very roots! "We also hope you have organized your electoral circuit for the delegate election process that will elect delegates and alternates to the 2004 Synodical Convention in St. Louis," they write. They have now politicized and secularized the whole process down to the congregational and circuit levels, brazenly doing things that real Lutherans would shy away from.

As they profane the name of our Lord, 'Jesus First' has shown openly that their idea of 'Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven' is nothing but a 'churchification' of law-based, secular power politics; it's not about Jesus and the lost to them: it's all about power and control.

From: "Jesus First Coordinator"

For Gospel-Centered, Mission-Driven, Future Oriented Leadership in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

August 24, 2003


Dear Fellow Laborer for the Lord,

Your congregation will soon be receiving the official nominating ballots for President and for the Vice Presidents of Synod. We are writing to encourage your congregations participation in this process. Our Synod has been besieged by those who seem intent on splitting it apart. They do so with inaccurate portrayals of recent events in the church and with character assaults upon many in the church, especially our President, Jerry Kieschnick. We cannot sit idly while this group actively seeks to change the gospel-centered direction of our beloved church body. In order to elect a Presidium of Synod that will support President Kieschnicks vision of One Mission, One Message, One People, that is centered on the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ we recommend the following pastors for nomination: (Note: President and Vice President of Synod positions are constitutionally limited to pastors)

* Each congregation is allowed two nominees for President of Synod; therefore we recommend for nomination REV. DR. GERALD KIESCHNICK and one of the following: Rev. Bill Diekelman or the Rev. Vern Gundermann.
* Each congregation is allowed two nominees for 1st.Vice President of Synod; therefore we recommend for nomination Rev. Bill Diekelman and Rev. Vern Gundermann.
* Each congregation is allowed four nominees for Vice Presidents two through five of Synod; therefore we recommend for nomination the following: Rev. Victor Belton, Rev. David Buegler, Rev. Paul Maier, Rev. Dean Nadasdy, and Rev. Tom Zehnder.
It is important to note that all individuals recommended as nominees have agreed to serve if nominated and elected.

The deadline for receipt of the nominations is March 10, 2004; however, we plead with you not to procrastinate in this process.

Your active support - making sure these men are nominated, will do much to help our Synod in this hour of trial and opportunity. There is much work to do that will uplift the name of the Lord! God will work his mighty wonders among us and will restore his people as together we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, our Lord and our Redeemer.

Joy in Jesus,

The Leadership Team of Jesus First
For Gospel Centered, Mission Driven and Future Oriented Leadership in the LCMS

* PS We also hope you have organized your electoral circuit for the delegate election process that will elect delegates and alternates to the 2004 Synodical Convention in St. Louis. Most of those electoral circuit elections take place this fall. Having supportive folks elected from our electoral circuits is essential. Make a difference by getting involved in the process! For information on the process read the Jesus First monthly publication or visit our website at www.JesusFirst.net

It's me again. Please do get involved to keep these people out of office!

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