Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Way of Big Government and Big Party
& Church Politics

Today I viewed a couple of videos that were very educational and enlightening. For all of my adult life, meaning from 18 years old forward, I have been bewildered concerning the fact that what the groups with whom I have been affiliated always did was the opposite of what they claimed to be. These two videos caused me to think more deeply and to acknowledge things to which I previously seem to have been wearing blinders. It is not that I did not see any of the conflicting information. But I nevertheless seem to have been running like a horse with blinders, or at least blinders with worn spots.

Here are links to the two videos if you’d like to see them.

Republican Party Origins

U.S. Government & CFR Complicity in Foreign Conflicts

Until a few years ago I have been registered as a Republican. My first experience with active participation in the GOP was as a teenager. The Reagan election was my first time voting. But the local GOP meetings disgusted me. I could not believe what frauds these people were. But I thought it was a localized problem and not the actual way of the party. I thought that the officially publicized platform actually meant something. It did to me, but the party only used it as a diversionary tool. It took me many years to realize this. Even then, my sense of loyalty accompanied by inability to find a suitable party to which I could flee, made it a struggle to leave. After all, in order to vote, one must register as something. Moreover, to leave a party that seemed to say the right things in its platform seemed as though I would be denouncing those things and not just the hypocrisy of the party. I did finally leave and registered with another party.

The greater point of this is what I have realized about my more important affiliations in life. Family and church affiliations are the more important ones in a persons’ life. Of these I have been forced to acknowledge that very similar fraud has been a part of these affiliations. One cannot do much about family. Those ties are essentially impossible to sever entirely. They can be stretched to the ends of the earth, but they never seem to break entirely. Besides, the Lord has established this bond and does not want us to sever it entirely. Only from the dysfunction and delusions are we to be severed entirely. Love and honor of parents and family must continue even in the face of total brokenness and dysfunction. Church affiliation is nearly as unbreakable, but not quite. But the pain of such action is nearly unbearable.

This is the issue that I actually wish to address primarily in this post. My own past church affiliation was the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. For most of my life I struggled regarding the discontinuity between what this synod professed to believe and what was actually embraced and practiced. In my very early years I was not truly aware of this conflict, as it was not evident in what was taught in the parochial school and my primary example of Christian life and faith was from my parents, Luther’s Small Catechism, and the Bible. With Luther’s Small Catechism as a guide, what the Bible truly teaches of Christ and His Church is easily discernable.

During one of my theological interviews at the seminary one of the professors asked me, “Considering where you are from, how did you get to be so conservative?” At first I mentioned my pastors. But even without his quizzical look I immediately realized this was not so. Then I mentioned my grandfather and parents, but realized this was not so either. Then I realized and said, “Because this is what the Scriptures teach.” It was not until years later that I realized how helpful Luther’s Small Catechism had been, but then, it is nothing more than quotes from the Scriptures with further exposing quotes from the Scriptures.

So then, what of the professor’s question? Why did he even ask such a question? He asked it because of the fallacious facade of conservatism presented by the synod and her leaders. He knew that I did not come to be a devoted believer in the true doctrine of the Scriptures through the influences of my affiliation with this church body. It simply was not possible. Making a public profession of belief and practice and requiring a “quia subscription” to this does not in itself actually produce such belief and practice.

This is another topic in itself requiring at least another discussion. However, at this juncture I will point to what it does produce. The following graphic says more than pages of explanation:

I experience considerable angst when I visit blogs and web sites of pastors and congregations and of Confessional Lutherans who proudly display this graphic. I visit these blogs hoping to find that these people have become aware of the real problem in their church body. On some occasions I am amazed at the impressive scholarship and explanation of true doctrine, that leaves me ready to rejoice, only to have the concluding statements undermine all that was previously said, leading right back to the same compromised doctrine and practice. On some of these sites this graphic is displayed.

When I see this I sometimes actually cry out: “Can’t you see what you are saying?”

Consider what is declared in this graphic: “Still Attending Grandpa’s Church.”

Herein is clearly stated the real problem. Does it jump out of the graphic at you? Do you see what the problem is declared to be?

Whose church do you say that you are attending? To whom do you say that you look for the faith and for your life of worship? To whom do you ascribe ownership of the Church?

Did you really say: Grandpa’s Church?

Do I really need to draw attention to this further? Well, just in case. . .

Whose Church do the Scriptures declare the true Church to be?

To this people often respond that one is only arguing about semantics. Yep! Semantics are indeed the issue.

From’s semantics.

se·man·tics     [si-man-tiks]

noun ( used with a singular verb )

  1. Linguistics .
    1. the study of meaning.
    2. the study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form.
  2. Also called significs. the branch of semiotics dealing with the relations between signs and what they denote.
  3. the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.: Let's not argue about semantics.
  4. general semantics.

The commonly misapplied statement of “Let's not argue about semantics.” is used as an example in this definition of semantics.

How is this misapplied? When people use “Let's not argue about semantics.” as a means of bypassing the necessity of agreement concerning the actual accepted meaning of words, then this is a misapplication of the statement. In fact, this misapplication is actually using the term in the exact opposite way that it is meant to be used. “Let's not argue about semantics.” is supposed to mean that the actual accepted meaning of words should be what is used in the conversation rather than using self-devised meanings that lead to confusion of what is really being discussed.

But when people are preaching tolerance as an alternative to acceptance and unity, they prefer to veil their real meaning.

Back to the profession made in the graphic.

The real problem within the big church bodies is that they are indeed preaching faith in the church body and the traditions of the fathers and the sense of familial loyalty, rather than the uncompromised and unadulterated faith in Christ that is taught in the Scriptures.

As long as this is the way, those who are unwilling to sever the ties will continue to say all of the right things only to denounce them in their concluding remarks. This is why the church bodies, which always demand loyalty to themselves, are never reformed. Never reformed.

The Lutheran “reformers” learned this. Though they began with seeking to reform the Roman Catholic Church, they found that it was impossible to do so from within the church body. Reformation is made by an external force, not an internal one.

By way of example, consider a child forming an object with Playdough. If the object loses its correct form, or as is usually the case, it did not turn out properly at all, how does the object become reformed? By reducing it to its original form and forming it all over again. The object is reduced to a ball of dough again, not by the object, but by the creator.

Is this not the very semantic used in Holy Scripture? Is not the Church declared to be the Lord’s Church and even a loaf of dough from which He removes all of the old leaven and forms it all over again as a pure loaf with nothing but pure ingredients?

Here again is the graphic:

In whose image is this church said to be created? Who is actually proclaimed as the creator of this church?

If people continue to insist upon attending the Church of Grandpa, whose word will ultimately be that which is preached and followed? Whose precepts will be embraced?

If it is Grandpa’s Church, then what position of authority is given to the Word of God, Jesus? Can the Rock of the true confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, truly be the foundation of a Church that is built upon Grandpa and his works and words?

Consider the history of the many church bodies that have made their emphasis following in the way of their grandpas. They always, always, always follow the same pattern of resembling Grandpa more and more and resembling the one true body of Christ less and less.

Pointing out such observations is sadly like pouring water on a slanted pane of glass.

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Gary Cepek said...


Thanks for the informative and uplifting posts on both secular, but especially spiritual matters. In the Father's providential work, in the Son's redemptive work, and in the Spirit's sanctifying work His people have life, forgiveness and true unity. LORD,keep us steadfast both in and with Your Word and Sacraments.
His blessings rest upon you and your dear wife.

Gary Cepek

Not Alone +++ PAS said...


It is good to hear from you. Thanks for your encouragement and kind words. I hope that your health has improved.

God's peace.

~ Paul