Lutheranism has a profound sickness today that is animated by our simultaneous indifference to what certain sound doctrines actually mean, and our zeal to plow full speed ahead in upholding our false applications of these doctrines. Some of our District Presidents have become masters of this corruption. After laying out the basics, I will illustrate this with my first- and secondhand knowledge of the situation with the drag queen pastor in South Carolina.
Forgiveness is the principle daily-life doctrine of Christianity. We are commanded to love those who hate us, to help those who hurt us, and to forgive those who wrong us. It is an impossible Law that we can fulfill only imperfectly on our best days. Naturally our preaching and catechesis revolve around hammering these points home. If someone apologizes, you must forgive them, no questions asked. Right?
The Scriptural truth is that it is just not that simple. The question comes down to the words that we’re using to describe the situation. English speakers today are sloppy and imprecise. We don’t care about the nuance inherent in the correct definitions of the words we use. Jealousy, covetousness, and envy all mean completely different things, yet we use them interchangeably, since it’s all the same basic idea. This sort of sloppiness kills in theology. It breeds lies and false commandments, and leads to disobedience to God in the name of obedience to the same. We are commanded to do better.
Scripture is replete with passages on repentance, and the vast majority are tied immediately to forgiveness for whatever acts necessitated it. The Greek word we translate (poorly) as repentance is μετάνοια, metanoia. It literally means “a change of mind.” Pay close attention here because these words mean things too. What is a change? It means there was a before state, and there is an after state. The repentant man is no longer the same man he was when he sinned. What is the mind here? It is our own view, attitude, and belief about our actions. I have sins in my past that appall me. I look back and shake my head in disbelief that I could have been so wicked, and while an adopted child of God to boot. I look back and say, “that is not who I am, by the Grace of God.” That is repentance.
By adopting the Latin root to embody metanoia, we inherited its emotional baggage. And a thousand years later, we now think repentance and regret are the same thing. What is not part of the metanoia equation? Emotions. Feeling bad or “being sorry” are adjacent to repentance, but they are not proof of repentance. Any parent can tell you that kids are the masters of “I’m sorry I got caught.” They aren’t sorry they trashed the carpet and cost you a thousand bucks. They aren’t sorry they violated the 4th commandment and defied your authority. They are sorry they are in trouble. They’re sorry that they are facing consequences for their actions. And oh do the profuse apologies come pouring out then. They’ll beg for forgiveness, maybe even tearfully.
That is not repentance.
The completely repentant child in that same scenario would do all of the following. He would realize that he disobeyed his father. He would realize that he caused destruction in his own home. He would realize that the $1,000 you now have to spend repairing the damage means it may be three more months before you can fix the broken air conditioning and sagging window in your 20 year old car. He would hate these things. He would hate that he caused them. Know what he wouldn’t hate? That he is in trouble, because he knows that he deserves whatever wrath you dish out. He would be profoundly sorry for his sins and their consequences for the family. And he would offer to help undo the damage. Even if it’s more than he could hope to pay back at his age, he would offer to part with his piggy bank and forego future gifts until the debt is repaid.
That is repentance.
Don’t confuse “I apologize” and “I’m sorry” with repentance. Repentance is a change of mind from one’s former sin. “I’m sorry for whatever you think I did” or “I’m sorry this blew up on the internet” is the opposite of repentance. The repentant man will correctly enumerate his sins, understand their harm, and beg forgiveness for all of it. Getting caught or facing the music will be the least of his concerns. If he is both repentant and wise, he will actually give thanks for being caught. Any addict who hits rock bottom can tell you this story firsthand.
Now that we know what repentance is and what it actually looks like, whom are we to forgive? This is the second part of the “it depends” here. The question has two answers, depending on who the “we” here means. In our capacity as an individual Christian who has been the object of another’s sin, we must always forgive them to God without regard to the repentance of the other person. Our prayer should always be, “Lord, do not punish this man for my sake.”
- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4
- And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. – Mark 11
- … and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. – Luke 11
- And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23
- And falling to his knees [Stephen] cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. – Acts 7:60
Just to be crystal clear, there is no individual Christian option of “I won’t forgive them unless they really mean it.” However, that is not the entire story. There is also the separate question of the Church properly exercising the Office of the Keys:
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” – John 22
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18
Here we have an explicit command from God not to forgive sin. Is this inconsistent with the other teachings? Of course not. God cannot err, nor can His holy Word. So what is the difference between the two circumstances?
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” – 1 Corinthians 5
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! – 1 Corinthians 6
God commands Christians to judge brothers in Christ, up to and including casting them out and recognizing them as actual pagans. It sure seems like this spells trouble for every atheist’s favorite Bible aphorism:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6
So do we judge Christians or not? This is shaping up to be a no-win situation, and as good little Lutherans, we’ve all been trained to retreat to the path of least resistance, where love is the Law and inaction is the rule. The obvious question we must answer is “what does it mean to judge?” The answer–and the resolution to the apparent conundrum–is that judging means two different things too. And the nice thing is everybody already knows this. We’ve all seen real or fictional jury trials on television. The jurors compare the evidence to the law, and they render a verdict, judging the accused guilty or not guilty. They judge. Then, the judge himself renders the sentence. He applies the due penalty to the crime. He also judges.
These are two different judgements. The first is a plain application of reason to observable facts, requiring no knowledge of a man’s heart; the second is exacting justice. We have a Christian duty to judge our own actions and those in the Church on the basis of Scripture like a juror. And we also have a Christian duty not to pronounce any sentence of judgment like a judge. That authority belongs solely to Christ on Judgment Day. Whom God damns and whom He forgives belongs to Him alone in eternity.
But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” – Jude
The Office of the Keys is authority delegated to the Church. When the Church exercises the keys to bind a man’s sins, it can only do so because it acts in accord with Scripture and God’s commands. And crucially, the Church has no discretion not to bind the sins of the unrepentant, as doing so would plainly contradict God’s Will. The Law expressly condemns the unrepentant in order to call them to repentance. When we declare a man outside the Faith, we don’t fist-pump and cheer that we got another one. It is a sorrowful recognition that a former brother in Christ has chosen Hell, despite having been given the gift of knowing better. If there is a scintilla of the Holy Spirit left in such a man, then the public declaration of excommunication will cause the very repentance which lead to that point by its absence. This is always the hope and prayer. And it is precisely for this reason that it is done.
In this light, let’s circle back to the individual mandate to forgive. And falling to his knees [Stephen] cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Note Whom Stephen addressed here. It was not the crowd; this was an intercessory prayer. Stephen did not announce his forgiveness to the murdering crowd. Nor may we. When someone sins against us and they are unrepentant, which of these acts are Christian love?
- Asking God to forgive them
- Rebuking their impenitence
- Declaring to them God’s forgiveness
Do we love our brother when he is on the path to Hell and we tell him he’s doing great? Or do we love him by warning him of the imminent threat to his immortal body and soul? Private and public rebuke of unrepentant sin is not hate but love. It is the only love we can show to someone who threatens to drive out the Holy Spirit. And the only way to show this love is (like a juror) to weigh the evidence and judge the matter rightly, even over against the testimony and protestations of the other man. Declaring forgiveness to the unrepentant is sin, and it is sin that leads them a great deal closer to paying the eternal price for their own sins. A Christian is forbidden to ever do such a thing.
It is worth pointing out that the very act of forgiving is predicated on the act of judging a man sinful! There is no Gospel without Law. It is simply impossible. The Gospel is pure gibberish if there is no Law. To forgive is to say, “the sin I judge you committed I no longer hold against you to God. Your sin is forgiven.” We are in the process of inventing a new religion where forgiveness exists in a vacuum, so far removed from what precipitated it that we have no need for the Law at all. We may get there someday as a "church" body, but we won't be Christians when we arrive.
One of the crises Lutheranism faces today is that it has become normal and accepted for us to refuse to judge the actions of others, to accept at face value any statement of contrition without regard to circumstance, and for the guilty to declare themselves preemptively forgiven because Jesus died for them too. None of this is consistent with Scripture, and all of it endangers souls. This has played out in glaring fashion twice in the past four months with three different District Presidents. This fish is rotting from the head down, and the stench has become unbearable.
A good friend of mine online has the profound spiritual handicap of living in the Southeastern District. He became Lutheran by reading the Large Catechism, but he has yet to find a Lutheran church in his region that upholds it. He left his first LCMS congregation due to the pastor’s blasphemy of pretending to Commune people over the internet. He had not been at his second LCMS congregation long when the following events took place. Through my private conversations with him, I was a party to everything below as it unfolded. I tell this story and reproduce the proof with his permission.
Sunday, May 22
My friend messaged me with some shocking news. Earlier that evening, his church had a piano dedication. The pastor announced that there would be a special guest. There was a Methodist pastor in attendance, and my friend was worried that he would have to chide his pastor afterwards for unionism. What happened next left him speechless. Toward the end of the ceremony, his own LCMS pastor, Dave Panning pranced into the Nave dressed as a drag queen, introduced by the organist under his drag name “Davey Rose Pandemic.” He proceeded to kiss the organist/head elder who was standing in the Chancel (from which the Altar had been removed to make room for the new digital piano, due to space constraints). While the congregation laughed and clapped and cheered, Tranny Dave sang several songs from the Chancel space.
My friend emailed Tranny Dave that evening to condemn his blasphemous actions, and to inform him that he would be reporting the vile public sin to the Southeastern District President John Denninger, and that he was leaving that congregation effective immediately.
Monday, May 23
Tranny Dave beat him to the punch by sending a five page email to John and ccing my friend and the head elder, describing and defending his actions. It is reproduced in full below. The reason for revealing this private communication is that it directly refutes their public statements, marking them both as public liars. Making these official communications public is entirely consistent with Christian doctrine.
The amount of misdirection, impenitence, and subtle digs against my friend in this letter is impressive. You can read my friend’s initial email to Tranny Dave on page one. Rather than addressing his sexualized, sodomitic demon performance in public in a church, Tranny Dave spends three and a half pages talking about how it’s a “multi-use space” and this wasn’t a Divine Service. The implication is of course that a sexualized, sodomitic demon performance in public is fine if it isn’t during a church service, so he didn’t actually do anything wrong. And yes, all tranny performances are inherently sexual. Trannies receive sexual gratification from these grotesque displays, and the greater the defilement they cause by their performances, the greater the satisfaction. Tranny Dave is correct that the Altar had been respectfully removed from the Chancel area for the purpose of this performance. What he does not appreciate is that this may have saved his life. Had he done these things before the Altar, God would certainly have been justified in striking him dead on the spot.
He finally gets around to the actual problem on page four:
As for my decision to participate as I did – yes, in drag – this was entirely my decision. It was not approved by anyone other than Bret. It was a complete secret. I alone bear responsibility.
This feigned nobility is meaningless when the sword he’s offering to fall on belongs to no other man.
He said there were YouTube videos showing the hilarity with which some [tranny demons] sang the song. When I saw the [tranny demon] videos, I decided I wanted to do it. Many of our members know of my sometimes-wild sense of humor. I thought it would be hilarious.
Props to Tranny Dave for finding a Luther prooftext that can be egregiously twisted to legitimize the hilarity of trannyism, after which he concludes:
So, while I am happy to discuss whether it is unbecoming for a pastor to engage in such activity, I disagree with the characterization of me as the ‘whore of babylon (sic) dancing in place of the Alter (sic).’ And since neither the words of the song, nor any of my extraneous comments contradicted Scripture I do not believe I have anything to recant. I am happy to discuss this further if you choose.
Note the subtle digs at my friends typos and his status as a new member, to suggest that his ignorance is the reason for the “confusion.” Let’s pause here for a moment to reflect on Tranny Dave’s confession. He is adamant that a man putting on woman’s clothes is not a sin. The eternal Will of God damns his actions: "A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God." When God declared things like shellfish and mixed fabrics “abominations,” He very specifically said, “they shall be an abomination unto you [Israel].” These were the ceremonial law. This in sharp distinction to passages like this one in Deuteronomy 22, where God declares, “these things [are] an abomination to the LORD your God.” This is nothing else than a declaration of God’s eternal Will. There is no “that doesn’t apply to us today” for such passages.
My friend’s email to the DP is simple, to the point, and heartbreaking. Remember this is the second faithless LCMS congregation in John’s district since my friend discovered Lutheranism. I could not possibly be more ashamed of this Synod and infuriated with these wolves. My friend was too stunned to react in the moment, and as the new guy, not established enough to feel it his duty. If there had been one other righteous man in that nave, he would have grabbed Tranny Dave by the throat, torn off his wig, and dragged him bodily in to the street. May God grant that this happen the next time one of these demonic events takes place in our church. Let’s see how one of the LCMS’s most powerful officials responds.
Wednesday, May 25
This is a tour de force in manipulation. John puts so much chaff into the air with vapid platitudes that you would never know what had actually happened in that church. He begins by characterizing my friend’s righteous anger as merely being “offended,” as though these were matters of personal preference and hypersensitivity. Note how he refuses to say that Tranny Dave sinned. He calls it a “decision” and a “choice,” one which in this case “offended” the one man in the congregation who was apparently hysterical.
He then goes immediately on the attack with the “we’re all sinners” line. My friend is a sinner too; how dare he accuse anyone of sin? This is repugnant and wicked, and one of the least pastoral acts I have ever witnessed. God has blessed you if you ever find a pastor who believes some sins are worse than others. Whatever they’re teaching these men in St. Louis, it is not the Bible. Some sins are abominations above others. What Tranny Dave did prancing around like a sodomitic demon in public was an abomination.
John goes on to blatantly twist Matthew 18 and lie to my friend about the proper recourse for witnesses of public sin. Just utterly demonic words on the bottom half of this page. John has set in motion the coverup of this vile public wickedness by lying to my friend in Jesus name. May the wrath of the 2nd Commandment consume him if he does not repent.
[Y]ou have sent me an email and a video. Those actions are appropriate, since I am Pastor Panning’s ecclesiastical supervisor. [T]o share it with anyone else would cause you to need to confess and need forgiveness from Pastor Panning. I am believing that you have only shared the information with me because of my position.
Keep in mind that not only did Tranny Dave put on his abominable performance in public before his entire congregation with dozens of witnesses, but he also live-streamed it to the entire planet, a fact about which he bragged in his preemptive strike to John. This public disgrace to the church came to the attention of other pastors. Prior to John sending his email, Tranny Dave made an appearance on Gottesdienst. John was undoubtedly under pressure before he got around to replying. These veiled threats and insinuations are intended to accuse my friend of being responsible for that article, and to intimidate him into remaining silent. This is pure groomer behavior.
For the record neither my friend nor I were responsible for this being made more widely known. I have no idea how it came to the attention of Gottesdienst. While I am not at all sorry that it did (remember all of this was public, and broadcast globally and proudly), as I helped my friend navigate the most appropriate and effective way to navigate this disaster, I advised him and he agreed to work through “the process,” even though we both knew it would be futile–as was proven.
Now I encourage both of you to meet together. The goal of the meeting: to remove the offense. To restore the relationship....to heal the brokenness.
These vipers and their “brokenness.” This spineless, cowardly linguistic misdirection for sin is the hallmark of the sort of man who never should have been permitted into seminary in the first place. Again, John makes plain that Tranny Dave’s trannyism is not sin, and that my friend needs to be educated in order to end his ignorant offense. So far the only faithful Christian in this entire scene is my friend, and yet he is the one whom our ecclesiastical supervisors attack and demean in their practiced, soothing tones. This isn’t John’s first coverup rodeo, that’s for sure. He has this sort of grooming down cold.
It’s time to meet and to have a time of confession and forgiveness. When we forgive one another, we make a promise we will never bring this sin up again, to the person or any other person.
See what just happened? My friend is guilty of sin too. Oh and these are all very secret sins that no one must ever know about, except for the whole world with internet access. This is pure groomer behavior. It is predatory and it is deadly.
Tranny Dave closes things out with his own email a little while later on Wednesday morning. We’re all sinners. Brokenness. Offense. Yawn. Note that we are now three pastoral replies deep and everyone thus far has denied that a man dressing as a woman is an abomination to God. There’s nothing wrong here except for a guy who got offended, and the “broken relationship” that resulted.
Two things should be stated for the record. First, I helped my friend draft this response. Being tag-teamed by two experienced pastors left this recent convert in over his head. As a lifelong Lutheran layman, I earnestly desire to see this Synod purified so that it may survive. I don’t believe that is possible, but if the LCMS burns, you will find my bones in the ashes. I will do anything in my power to bring these evils by our rostered men to an end, including helping a friend write an email in a time of spiritual attack.
Second, the Marquart article we cite was republished on Gottesdienst from my blog, where one of the editors found it on Gab when I still had an account there. As this is the second time in this brief incident that there is apparent coordination between myself and Gottesdiest, let me state plainly before God and man: I have never had any private communication with anyone from that website or group. I have tremendous respect for them as a whole, and am thankful for what they do. But there has been absolutely no collusion, coordination, or conspiracy on this or any other matter between us. Were I to observe these facts, I would suspect as much, so I must make myself clear here. Gottesdienst has no relationship whatsoever with me, and bears zero responsibility for my actions.
Thursday, May 26
Well this is a radical shift in tone and approach, isn’t it? Did the reply trigger the intended repentance? Of course not. The Gottesdienst exposé of this abomination lit a fire John couldn’t put out or keep secret. Do you see how this works? These men cover up and cover up and deny and deflect until the only possible hope for public repentance is public humiliation. That is the one and only thing the corrupt and depraved Synod will respond to. Matt Harrison did nothing for years while Concordia Mequon very publicly went down the tubes of Marxism (as are the rest). That Presidential search had been public for quite some time. The South Wisconsin District DP John Wille is on the board of regents for the school! He was personally involved in everything leading up to Schulz’s public detonation. But nobody did anything until it hit the blogs and Youtube. Suddenly Matt’s scurrying around with his flying monkeys in tow to monitor the situation personally. Give me a break. Matt was putting out a fire because it was humiliating us, not because he didn’t know it was already happening. Same with the recent and ongoing abominations in the Atlantic District. (Note that this is the best construction, because the alternative is that he is so stupid and out of touch that he had no idea, which is frankly even less excusable.)
What these faithless, cowardly men have made crystal clear is that they will tolerate any sort of false doctrine as long as nobody makes a stink. Well guess what, gentlemen. Stink is all you have coming your way from here on out. You earned it. You asked for it. May be it be heaped upon your heads until you can no longer see daylight.
Thursday evening, Tranny Dave sent a mass email, after having been inundated by calls to repentance. Curiously, neither he nor John ever emailed my friend to confess their false accusations and lies, or admit that the whole church was unified in the same Christian response he had. Is this repentance? Note especially the last paragraph, wherein Tranny Dave promises to use DMCA legal takedown threats against websites that mirrored what he had proudly broadcast globally only five days before. Boy have we come a long way from, “And since neither the words of the song, nor any of my extraneous comments contradicted Scripture I do not believe I have anything to recant.” His legal threats here, which I know for a fact he followed through on, are a clear violation of the passage from 1 Corinthians 6 above. That’s the problem with unrepentant sin: you can’t help but continue to double down. This seems to be the very opposite of repentance, but let’s see what his attachment says.
I performed a comedic song dressed as a woman. In that singular action, I violated the office of pastor – in my behavior and in my treatment of our building.
So Tranny Dave and the DP both lied to my friend, who was both vindicated and ignored in the final calculus. The initial 3.5 pages of “I didn’t actually defile a sacred place” were bullshit, and he knew it. He never apologized to my friend for his denials or insinuations of ignorance and hypersensitivity.
I tarnished the office of pastor by my actions, bringing the potential for disrespect to my fellow clergy. For that action and for those consequences to you, fellow pastors of the LCMS, I confess my sin, apologize, and ask for your forgiveness.
To his credit, this is the first time in the entire cursed debacle anyone with a collar has admitted that a sin occurred. Note that at no point in the four pages does he actually call the abomination of a man dressing as a woman itself a sin. All subsequent references have to do with appearances, tarnishing, disrespect, etc. When you read the whole thing carefully, this is really just a long form of his initial email to my friend: “I’m sorry you got offended.”
I would say that, while my intent was anything but theological, for those who seek a theological statement regarding my behavior, rather than endorsing, encouraging, or promoting the agenda of today’s culture, I was mocking the absurdity of believing that one can change one’s gender simply by a decision of the mind, a change of clothes, or the wearing of a wig and makeup. Furthermore, those in attendance recognized this intent by their laughter. Had I been making a serious attempt to endorse such thinking, their laughter would have offended me.
Everyone in his congregation saw an abomination before God, and they laughed. What does it say about his pastoral teaching that not one of them, besides my friend who was an outsider, reacted as the collective voice of the Synod did once this became widely known to the church? These are not subjective matters of taste. They are matters of vitally important spiritual discernment. His sheep saw something evil and they rejoiced. Let that sink in. This applies a hundredfold to himself. He watched enough tranny videos online to learn that they have personae complete with stage names. His choice of “Davey Rose Pandemic” was very much in the style of all trannies, where at least one the names refers to some great evil. At no point did he have the spiritual discernment to realize that this was evil, and to recoil from it. Never mind Scripture itself; men naturally recoil from this sort of thing, and yet he was drawn to it. This is not an insignificant spiritual point.
And that second to last paragraph quoted above proves that Tranny Dave does not think a man dressing as a woman is an abomination before God. He utterly ignores the Scriptural context wherein the act itself is wicked, apart from intent, implication, or cultural import. “I can wear women’s clothing because I don’t think I can actually be a girl, but I shouldn’t have done it in this case because it gave the wrong impression.”
This is not repentance.
And here is where we circle back to the first half of this essay. This is what I mean by weaponized forgiveness. Tranny Dave confessed one sin, but not the greater sin. Nor did he confess publicly nor privately to my friend for the additional sins he committed in his emails. He then declared himself forgiven before the whole world. What Lutheran dares question that? Jesus paid for it, so it’s over, right?
No, it is not over. There is no forgiveness absent true repentance, and true repentance can often be discerned forensically like a juror might. I don’t know the man’s heart, and I don’t need to. I know his words, I know his actions, and I know where he has remained silent. He has assiduously refused to condemn the one sin that started this long and ongoing chain of sins. His public statement contradicted his private statements. I have no doubt that he is very deeply sorry and humiliated that this blew up. But by his own words, if no one had ever known or complained, there would have been no sin to forgive. And that is even more sinful than his demonic public performance.
The faithless, slimy DP is equally culpable. He never said another word to my friend, despite turning the screws on him like Torquemada. He belittled, dismissed, and threatened my friend for daring to call a pastor to repentance in private. But when the full weight of the Synod’s faithful remnant was brought to bear, he folded like a cheap suit. Why didn’t he fend off all the other hysterical offendees the same way? And what pressure did the purple palace’s powers and principalities bring to bear to make this whole thing disappear in less than a week? This false confession was published with his consent literally one day after he damned my friend for not “following Matthew 18” and plainly said this was a private matter of confusion, where if anyone had sinned it wasn’t Tranny Dave. Repentant? Hell, no.
But by publishing this hastily contrived confession of the lesser sin, and highlighting that Tranny Dave absolved himself publicly the following Sunday, these men colluded to bring a swift end to the gross disgrace they both brought on the Lutheran church. And it worked. The Gottesdienst post was deleted. Everyone was placated. Forgiveness! Reconciliation! Fellowship!
Only Tranny Dave is still unrepentant.
Does that mean anything to us as Christians? Seriously, does it? It is easy to understand how the two of them pulled off this magic trick. My friend did everything right, which meant that all of this remained out of public view, until now. But it was not unknown to Synod. After Tranny Dave broadcast his pseudo-confession and began using threats of lawsuits to cover up his public sin, my friend collated this entire email chain. At my recommendation, he sent this documentation to Ben Ball, whom I know to be a faithful man. We hoped that if someone in the Praesidium knew what John had pulled, this would be dealt with in a Christian manner. Ben asked him to contact Esget, who is VP over John’s district. He was away during convention season, and no response ever came.
I might have left this alone, if not for watching nearly identical events, deflection, and coverup occur this week, again on the pages of Gottesdienst. A Methodist priestitute was seated in the front row of an LCMS ordination service where numerous ‘lutheran’ women officiated from the Altar. The priestitute participated in the readings accompanying the installation along with the real pastors [sic] who were present. And frankly, why shouldn’t she? There were at least three other women who had already done the same thing. This was public knowledge for three months, again streamed for the world, with high quality pictures on Facebook showing the joyful men surrounding the desecration. Until it blew up, not one of them was repentant. Not one of them was ashamed enough of the stream, the pictures, or their participation in this evil to ask that it be taken down. Not one of them “confessed” to the Synod of their public sin, until they got caught.
Carefully read the letters from Vinovskis, Taylor, and Lecakes. All three meticulously play the pronoun game. Not only does the SELC DP conceal that it was a woman and a Methodist, but he has the unmitigated gall to legitimize her as a pastrix: “a pastor,” “that pastor,” “this pastor,” “with the other pastors”! Kyrie eleison. Taylor carefully obfuscates her sex, but at least has the decency to call her “a person” rather than “a pastor.”
Atlantic DP Derek Lecakes does slip one time when he says “I did not ask the non-LCMS pastor [sic] to return to her seat.” This is the single piece of evidence in the cumulative three letters that would alert an ignorant reader that it was a woman, on top of blatant unionism. Despite this being a letter to apologize for letting a Methodist priestitute officiate, he does not realize that he revealed another sin that no one has apologized for, let alone repented of: “A number of community representatives including local clergy were invited by the congregation.” How is this is not brazen ecumenism and unionism? How is this not tacit legitimization of “women’s ordination” [sic]?
And note above all else what none of them apologize for: all the women who stood at the Altar during the service, reading the Word of God and leading prayers. This is the same motte-and-bailey scheming we see them engage in everywhere else in this world. “Oh, the Methodist priestitute was a bridge too far? Wow, sorry you guys got offended. But you’re cool with girls preaching in all but name, right? I mean, based Ft. Wayne is cranking out deaconesses too, so it has to be trad!” What began with women’s suffrage within a generation morphed into them holding every congregational office except Elder. And now even the “confessional” guys are gung-ho for these deaconesses, whose presence in seminary classrooms is actively disruptive, and whose behavior is often fundamentally at odds with how the made up program is sold to unsuspecting congregations.
All three DPs in this essay have used the same playbook. They participate in and condone evil. They cover it up. And when they’re finally called out in the most public manner possible, they tactically deploy pseudo-confessions that do not actually evince repentance for the sins that got them into trouble in the first place. But because they said “forgive me,” every good Lutheran feels bound in duty to Jesus Christ to do so without a second thought. This is sinful. It is a lie to declare forgiveness to the unrepentant. And it consigns the unrepentant to the endless furtherance of their unrepentant sins. Left unopposed, we have no reason to believe they will not follow the wide path to Hell. To claim otherwise is to confess that we can commit as much unrepentant sin as we want, and since Jesus is bigger than all our sins, it’ll be alright. This is tantamount to Universalism. That is precisely where the Missouri Synod is headed. Our Creeds and Confessions are ash in our mouths when we conduct ourselves like this.
Proper use of the Office of the Keys requires that impenitent sin not be forgiven, and that the impenitent be publicly rebuked. This Synod is full of men who do not believe either of these things, and they are running the show. God will either turn us away from our corporate wickedness, or He will remove our lampstand. It is clear to everyone with eyes to see and ears to hear which path we are hurtling down, unless we REPENT. May God preserve Lutheranism somewhere on this continent in the coming century, because at this rate, it won’t be in any existing church body.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.