Not Your Grandfather's Synod — Anymore
There are times for silence and reflection and there are times to speak publicly. This moment is one of the latter. In this article, I am going to detail (part of) the ongoing apostasy of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
This article will include names that many readers will know, names that many readers will not recognize, and events of which virtually no one has been aware (until now). This article will not be exhaustive, as there is simply too much to cover. I will not, here, trace things back to Seminex, although it is certainly part of this narrative; rather, I will begin with the moment in time where the two sides began to truly solidify — when the battle lines were drawn.
This article is a simple stating of the facts — whatever you may think of the likes of me is irrelevant. I swear before God that nothing in this article is false (to the best of my knowledge) or deliberately misleading. As Luther before me:
Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.
SuperLutheran, the Godcast, and the AALC
In 2021, I flew out to a hearing concerning SuperLutheran (a Lutheran pastor with a ministry to the ‘far’ Right). SuperLutheran is a good friend of mine and he was being falsely accused of a number of things, not least of all being “racist”. During the hearing, I convinced the panel that it was only proper that a man should know by whom he is being accused, and so it was made clear that Jordan Cooper, head of the AALC ‘seminary’ and YouTube personality, was the one who had pushed for the charges and the hearing. Naturally, Jordan Cooper did not have the decency to show his face at the hearing; instead, the “Presiding Pastor of the AALC” — Cary Larson — and the “Administrative Assistant to the AALC” — Dean Stoner — played the role of prosecutors.
My closing argument in the ‘trial’ is publicly available. Without any doubt in my mind, I can state that we won that hearing, but the AALC does not believe in due process, and so the body that makes the decision and the body that hears the case are, in fact, two separate bodies. It does not take a genius to figure out on which one of the two Jordan Cooper did sit. Consequently, SuperLutheran was defrocked.
One would be forgiven for thinking that defrocking a faithful pastor and attempting to ruin his life over his outreach to the ‘far’ Right, which he himself describes as a de-radicalization project, would be enough, but one would be wrong. Unsatisfied with simply forcing SuperLutheran to scramble to find a new source of income to support his family (after having already made him incur significant costs to defend himself at the ‘trial’), Jordan Cooper then coördinated with Antifa (you will soon notice a pattern) to dox SuperLutheran. It would be ludicrous to characterize Jordan Cooper’s actions as anything short of attempted murder — theologically, they were actual murder.
Those who published the dox of SuperLutheran on Twitter conveniently tagged Jordan Cooper — immediately after finishing the thread:
It is, of course, not surprising that a man who would post things such as this:
would also have connections to Antifa and other Leftist groups.
Complaint Letter and Meeting
In June of 2022, Erik Johnson, Ben Meyer, and Daniel Ross — all LCMS pastors — sent a ‘complaint’ to my pastor, Edward Maanum of First Lutheran, Knoxville. The email they sent had no actual charges or relevant citations to Scripture; rather, it simply included vague accusations and some rather poorly formatted screenshots of my web site and Twitter feed. Here is the letter for those interested:
Subsequent to a meeting with my pastor, Edward Maanum, another pastor in the district, Michael Miller, and an elder from my congregation, no disciplinary action was taken against me. I continued to be admitted to the Lord’s Table and remained a member in good standing of the congregation. This is a clear indication that the charges against me were viewed as spurious.
As if the balance of this article were not enough to turn the stomach of even the most sanguine or equanimous of pastors or laymen, I would alert you to the fact that I will not be covering even the half of it.
For instance, the National Youth Gathering last year was run, in large part, by Lutherans for Racial Justice (“L4RJ”), an explicitly and openly Marxist organization that pushes CRT and many other false doctrines within the LCMS — seemingly with not only synodical sanction, but funding. The two founders of L4RJ are Matthew Gonzalez, an LCMS pastor, and Joshua Salzberg, a literal pornographer from California. These are the people Synod is sending to teach your children. How long do you suppose they will stay Lutheran if this is the filth and the wickedness to which they are exposed?
If you do not believe that L4RJ has tentacles throughout Synod, then look no further than their recent interview/‘town hall’ with Patrick Ferry, who is running for LCMS President. You could also visit their YouTube channel — their wickedness is on public display for all to see.
Joshua Salzberg does not show up only at the NYG; he also participates — as a presenter — in the Concordia St. Louis “Faith and Film Festival”. See this thread for more on the sort of ‘films’ that are being viewed on our seminary campus. Much like the new ‘annotated’ Large Catechism, infra, the “Faith and Film Festival” includes women teachers — yes, women teaching pastors and seminarians on our seminary campus.
I could continue for hours or pages more, but how much cyanide must you know is present in the dough before you have second thoughts about consuming the bread?
The ‘Annotated’ Large Catechism
We could, in point of fact, move backward from 2022 to 2016, when Matthew Harrison, President of the LCMS, made the motion to produce what would become known as the “Large Catechism with Annotations and Contemporary Applications”, but it makes far more sense to move forward to 2023 when the abomination was actually published. The ‘Annotated’ Large Catechism (“LCACA”) is a Marxist project through and through. This has been demonstrated across articles, Twitter threads, and YouTube discussions.
It is clear that Matthew Harrison wishes to make a name for himself, but it is just as clear that the name he is now making is not one of which he should be proud. Matthew Harrison has overseen the largest decline the LCMS has ever seen:
Further, Matthew Harrison has now claimed as his own the LCACA — and all its vile Marxist content. Not only has it been confirmed that the LCACA went through the CTCR (and do make sure to thank Jack Kilcrease for that), but also that it went through Matthew Harrison’s office and was approved by him. Matthew Harrison absolutely owns every word of the LCACA — including these that minimize or even excuse pedophilia:
Some of us, as you may have noticed, managed to get one of the first copies of the LCACA and began reading and reviewing. We did what faithful laymen are supposed to do — we tested the content of the LCACA against Scripture and raised the alarm when we found it wanting. Matthew Harrison was on vacation at the time and had to fly back to deal with the matter. What was promised was that the LCACA would be subjected to additional review; what was delivered was enough of a halt to distribution to quiet some of the opposition and then distribution was resumed. In fact, John Pless, one of the main editors of the LCACA, is personally delivering copies overseas to Africa. The LCMS is now spreading false doctrine globally.
Lest you think that we laymen were alone in raising this alarm, there were already LCMS pastors expressing concerns about the content of the LCACA in August of 2022.
Machaira Action (Antifa), ‘Hearing’, and Exclusion
We now come to the beginning, as it were, of the current (and growing) firestorm. On 10 February 2023, a group calling themselves “Machaira Action” (“machaira” from the Greek for ‘slaughter-knife’ — a weapon of murder) posted a fairly extensive dox on me. Not all of the information in the dox is accurate, but that is hardly the point. More important are the accounts that immediately followed this new Antifa group: Cary Larson, Jordan Cooper, Peter Slayton (social media manager for the LCMS), Daniel Ross, and several others. Some have since had the good sense to unfollow the account, but not quickly enough to go unnoticed.
You may recall Jordan Cooper coördinating with Antifa to dox and attempting to destroy SuperLutheran. Machaira Action is just more of the same. To be absolutely clear: The leadership of both the AALC and the LCMS are working with Antifa and likely other far-Left groups to dox and attempt to destroy members in good standing of Lutheran congregations.
The wickedness would be difficult to overstate.
Subsequent to the publication of this dox by Antifa, I was called before a panel comprised of Edward Maanum, David Graves (pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wartburg, and circuit visitor for the Mid-South District of the LCMS), another local pastor, and (most of) the elder board of First Lutheran, Knoxville. Pursuant to the constitution and bylaws of First Lutheran [PDF], the process for excommunication must follow these steps:
- A personal visit from an elder.
- A personal visit from two members, one being an elder.
- A meeting with the elder board.
- A notice in the church newsletter.
- A vote of the entire church at a voters’ assembly, which must be unanimous and must be conducted with the accused present, for excommunication.
Not one of these steps was followed. I did not meet with an elder, I did not meet with a member and an elder, I did not have a meeting before the elder board, there has been no notice in the church newsletter, and there has been no vote. Of course, this complete lack of due process or any kind of reasonable procedure also violates Matthew 18 in a most egregious and high-handed fashion.
It may be that Edward Maanum or David Graves or one of the elders present at the ‘hearing’ may contend that they complied with the requirement of a meeting with the elder board. Let us examine that. A meeting is a coming together of men for the purpose of discussion or entertainment. I am forced to conclude that no one is so depraved as to consider excommunication a matter of entertainment, so I must go with discussion. So, was there a discussion? Hardly.
When I arrived at the ‘meeting’, it was more an ambush. I was not apprised of the nature of the meeting, despite inquiring more than once of Edward Maanum the previous Sunday both after the service and during the chili cook-off that followed. Instead, I arrived — blind, as it were — to a room with the aforementioned cast present. (Let us never say that God has no sense of humor: The front door of the church broke the previous day, and so we were all forced to enter through a small, semi-hidden door at the side of the church.) Upon taking my seat, Edward Maanum began to read a litany of charges against me. I was given no opportunity respond, neither during the reading of the charges nor afterward. Further, I was denied even a copy of the charges against me.
When I objected to the flagrant violation of both Scripture and our general societal and legal norms, I was informed that it was not a discussion. I was then asked — in no uncertain terms — to leave the property. Naturally, I continued my objections as I was putting my things back into my bag (thankfully, I did take notes during the reading of charges) and collecting my coat. During this, one elder stopped just short of threatening me and David Graves mounted what sternness he could to reiterate that I was not welcome on the property.
I would provide the charges and evidence against me, but, again, I was not provided a copy of the charges and no evidence was presented.
Despite this lack of obedience to the Scriptures or to the constitution and bylaws of First Lutheran, Edward Maanum and the elder board went ahead and declared that I am not only not welcome at First Lutheran, but that I am forbidden to set foot on the property without risking being arrested for trespass. To prove the seriousness of their intentions, they literally called the police on me the Sunday after the meeting. Here is the audio and video:
The great irony is that the bylaws of First Lutheran also include this at the end of the section on excommunication:
SUCH PERSON, HOWEVER, WILL AT ALL TIMES BE CORDIALLY WELCOME TO ATTEND ALL DIVINE SERVICES IN OUR CHURCH.
(To be entirely clear: I have not been excommunicated, and yet I was still barred from attending the Divine Service, or even merely setting foot on church property.)
The civil courts would be appalled by such behavior, and yet supposed Christians are behaving in this way seemingly without even the tiniest of qualms or a twinge of conscience. For his part, Edward Maanum seemed almost giddy as he announced his wickedness from the lectern:
To add insult to injury, I was duly informed that I was invited to ‘attend the service online’ — a doctrinal abomination that rises virtually to the level of heresy for any Lutheran.
When I (and others) began sounding the alarm about Marxism creeping into and corrupting the church, we were not being hyperbolic or alarmist. If anything, we were neither strident nor insistent enough. Rather than heeding any of our warnings, which we have documented and substantiated every step of the way, Synod has chosen to brand us as the enemy and hand the sheep fold over to the wolves.
It seems that this year, for Lent, I will be giving up attending church, for the threat of my arrest remains, and that would be a foolish step for me to take. However, I most certainly and most firmly remain a Lutheran. I take an expansive view of the Confirmation Oath that every Lutheran has taken — I affirm that I am bound by the entirety of the Book of Concord and that my conscience is captive to the Word of God.
Do you intend to continue steadfast in this Confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?
I do, by the grace of God.
Satan has a history of taking action against Christians and Christendom on or near Ash Wednesday. If it is God’s will that I should stand in that venerable line and suffer for His Word and His Church, then, no matter how unworthy I am, I cannot but accept. If Luther could stand before pope and prince and boldly declare:
'If I am not convinced by the testimonies of Scripture and clear rational arguments, for I believe neither the pope nor the councils alone, since it is a fact that they have often erred and contradicted themselves, then I am, by the passages of the Holy Scriptures, which I have cited, overcome in my conscience and held captive in the Word of God. Therefore I can and will retract nothing, because it is neither safe nor healthful to do anything against conscience. Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen!'
then I can most certainly remain firm upon the Scriptures upon which I have sworn, the Confession to which I have subscribed, and the reality of Creation which I must affirm.
With God as my witness, I have only just begun.